Saturday, August 26, 2023

Telesilla's Prophecy: Herodotus, Histories 6.77

Herodotus records the following prophecy in his account of the story of Telesilla's defense of Argos:

θήλεια τὸν ἄρσενα νικήσασα

ἐξελάσῃ καὶ κῦδος ἐν Ἀργείοισιν ἄρηται,

πολλὰς Ἀργείων ἀμφιδρυφέας τότε θήσει.

ὧς ποτέ τις ἐρέει καὶ ἐπεσσομένων ἀνθρώπων

δεινὸς ὄφις τριέλικτος ἀπώλετο δουρὶ δαμασθείς.


Verum, quando marem praevertet foemina victrix,

inter et Argivos referet praelustris honorem;

tunc Argivarum reddet plerasque gementes,

ut venturorum aiat quis quandoque virorum:

telo saevus obiit nuoso corpore servens.

--Herodotus Histories 6.77Translated into Latin by Johannes Schweighaeuser (1814)


When a woman conquers a man,

And drives him off,

She will raise up glory among the Argives,

She will bring tears upon the cheeks of many Argive women.

One day, someone in the future will say

“The triple-coiled dragon, now tamed by the spear, is dead.”




Name: Herodotus  

Date:  484 – 425 BCE

Works:  Histories



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 Herodotus was an Anatolian-born Greek author who lived during the 5th century BCE. He was born into nobility, and used his privilege to travel the Mediterranean extensively. His magnum opus, Histories, details wars between the Greeks and the Persian Empire, as well as important cultural information for these and Egyptian culture. He is often called the “Father of Greek History,” since his work is the earliest attempt within Greek literature to collect research and primary accounts of historical events.


ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)



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