5εἰ δ᾿ αὖθ᾿, ὃ μὴ γένοιτο, συμφορὰ τύχοι, Ἐτεοκλέης ἂν εἷς πολὺς κατὰ πτόλιν ὑμνοῖθ᾿ ὑπ᾿ ἀστῶν φροιμίοις πολυρρόθοις οἰμώγμασίν θ᾿, ὧν Ζεὺς ἀλεξητήριος ἐπώνυμος γένοιτο Καδμείων πόλει. 10ὑμᾶς δὲ χρὴ νῦν, καὶ τὸν ἐλλείποντ᾿ ἔτι ἥβης ἀκμαίας καὶ τὸν ἔξηβον χρόνῳ βλαστημὸν ἀλδαίνοντα σώματος πολύν, ὤραν ἔχονθ᾿ ἕκαστον, ὥστε συμπρεπές, πόλει τ᾿ ἀρήγειν καὶ θεῶν ἐγχωρίων 15βωμοῖσι, τιμὰς μὴ ᾿ξαλειφθῆναί ποτε, τέκνοις τε γῇ τε μητρί, φιλτάτῃ τρόφῳ· ἣ γὰρ νέους ἕρποντας εὐμενεῖ πέδῳ, ἅπαντα πανδοκοῦσα παιδείας ὄτλον, ἐθρέψατ᾿ οἰκητῆρας ἀσπιδηφόρους 20πιστοὺς ὅπως γένοισθε πρὸς χρέος τόδε. καὶ νῦν μὲν εἰς τόδ᾿ ἦμαρ εὖ ῥέπει θεός· χρόνον γὰρ ἤδη τόνδε πυργηρουμένοις καλῶς τὰ πλείω πόλεμος ἐκ θεῶν κυρεῖ. νῦν δ᾿ ὡς ὁ μάντις φησίν, οἰωνῶν βοτήρ, 25ἐν ὠσὶ νωμῶν καὶ φρεσὶν πυρὸς δίχα χρηστηρίους ὄρνιθας ἀψευδεῖ τέχνῃ—οὗτος
- 12-13transposed by Paley.
- 13ὤραν Ms b: ὥραν M I b k (τ᾿ add. b´).
- 13ὥστε Bourdelot: ὥστι Ms I b k: ὥστις M b.
- 19οἰκητῆρας x: οἰκηστῆρας I k: οἰκιστῆρας M b k.
would be god’s; but if on the other hand disaster were to strike (which may it not!) then Eteocles’ name alone would be repeatedly harped on by the citizens throughout the town amid a noisy surge of terrified wailing3—from which may Zeus the Defender, true to his title, defend the city of the Cadmeans! This is the time when every one of you—including both those who have not yet reached the peak of young manhood, and those whom time has carried past it and who are feeding abundant bodily growth—must have a care for your city, as is right and proper, must come to its aid, to the aid of the altars of its native gods so as never to let their rites be obliterated, to the aid of your children, and to the aid of your Motherland, your most loving nurse; for when you were children crawling on her kindly soil, she generously accepted all the toil of your upbringing, and nurtured you to become her shield-bearing inhabitants and be faithful to her in this hour of need. And thus far, up to this day, god has inclined to the right side: we have been besieged within our walls all this time, but for the most part, thanks to the gods, the war is turning out well for us. But now, as the prophet4 states—that shepherd of fowl,5 who with infallible skill observes birds of augury with his ears and his mind, without using fire6—this man, the master
- 3Lit. “with loud-surging preludes and wailings”, i.e. with loud surges of wailing which will precede and anticipate the horrors which the conquered population can expect to suffer.
- 4Since the prophet is said to use his “ears and mind” he evidently does not see the flight of the birds, and the audience will readily identify him as the blind Teiresias.
- 5So called, presumably, because he knows the birds as well as a shepherd does his flock.
- 6Contrasting divination by augury with divination from the manner in which sacrifices burn on an altar.