Sophocles, The Women of Trachis

LCL 21: 132-133

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Λόγος μὲν ἔστ᾿ ἀρχαῖος ἀνθρώπων φανεὶς ὡς οὐκ ἂν αἰῶν᾿ ἐκμάθοις βροτῶν, πρὶν ἂν θάνῃ τις, οὔτ᾿ εἰ χρηστὸς οὔτ᾿ εἴ τῳ κακός· ἐγὼ δὲ τὸν ἐμόν, καὶ πρὶν εἰς Ἅιδου μολεῖν, 5ἔξοιδ᾿ ἔχουσα δυστυχῆ τε καὶ βαρύν, ἥτις πατρὸς μὲν ἐν δόμοισιν Οἰνέως ναίουσ᾿ ἔτ᾿ ἐν Πλευρῶνι νυμφείων ὄτλον ἄλγιστον ἔσχον, εἴ τις Αἰτωλὶς γυνή. μνηστὴρ γὰρ ἦν μοι ποταμός, Ἀχελῷον λέγω, 10ὅς μ᾿ ἐν τρισὶν μορφαῖσιν ἐξῄτει πατρός, φοιτῶν ἐναργὴς ταῦρος, ἄλλοτ᾿ αἰόλος δράκων ἑλικτός, ἄλλοτ᾿ ἀνδρείῳ κύτει βούπρῳρος· ἐκ δὲ δασκίου γενειάδος κρουνοὶ διερραίνοντο κρηναίου ποτοῦ. 15τοιόνδ᾿ ἐγὼ μνηστῆρα προσδεδεγμένη δύστηνος ἀεὶ κατθανεῖν ἐπηυχόμην, πρὶν τῆσδε κοίτης ἐμπελασθῆναί ποτε. χρόνῳ δ᾿ ἐν ὑστέρῳ μέν, ἀσμένῃ δέ μοι,

  • 7ἔτ᾿ ἐν Vitus Winshemius: ἐν L: ἐνὶ VRa ὄτλον Lγρ: ὄκνον fere cett.
  • 12-13κύτει βούπρῳρος Strabo 10,458: τύπῳ βούκρανος codd.
  • 17τῆσδε] τοῦδε Wunder

The Women of Trachis

The Women of Trachis

The stage building represents the house at Trachis where Heracles has been living in exile. Enter deianeira, followed by the nurse.


There is an ancient saying among men, once revealed to them, that you cannot understand a man’s life before he is dead, so as to know whether he has a good or bad one. But I know well, even before going to Hades, that the one I have is unfortunate and sorrowful. While I still lived in the house of my father Oeneus, in Pleuron, I suffered painful affliction in the matter of my wedding, if any Aetolian woman did. For I had as a wooer a river, I mean Achelous, who came in three shapes to ask my father for me, at some times manifest as a bull, at others as a darting, coiling serpent, and again at others with a man’s trunk and a bull’s head; and from his shaggy beard there poured streams of water from his springs. Expecting such a suitor as that I was always praying, poor creature, that I might die before ever coming near his bed. But at the last moment, and to

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.sophocles-women_trachis.1994