Besantinus, Altar

LCL 28: 580-581

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PATTERN POEMS

ΒΗΣΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ ΒΩΜΟΣ

580

PATTERN POEMS

BESANTINUS THE ALTAR

The deep-red blood of sacrifices does not drench me with drops of gore dark as the ink of the cuttlefish; the knives sharpened on a Naxian whetstone1 spare the possession of Pan;2 the fragrant sap of Nysian branches3 does not blacken me with its swirling smoke: behold, I am an altar made neither of gold ingots nor of nuggets from Alybe;4 may I not weigh so much as the altar built by the twins born on Cynthus from the horns of bleating sheep that graze on the smooth ridges of Cynthus.5 I was made, with the help of the children of heaven,6 by a group of nine born on earth,7 and the lord of the immortals granted that their art should live for ever. O you who drank from the fountain which the Gorgon’s offspring struck forth,8 may you sacrifice and offer upon me sufficient libations much sweeter than the daughters of Hymettus.9 Approach this structure of mine with confidence: I am free from such poisonous creatures as hid near that altar set up at Thracian Neae near Myrine to you, Goddess of Three Fathers, by the thief of the purple ram.10

581
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.besantinus-altar.2015