Monday, April 17, 2017


Let Us Drink

Ion of Chios, elegaic fragment 27 West (tr. David A. Campbell, with his notes):
Greetings to our king, our saviour and father1; and for us let the wine-pouring attendants mix the bowl from silver pitchers; and let him who holds in his hands the golden jug wash our hands on to the floor.2 Let us make holy libation to Heracles and Alcmena, to Procles and Perseus' descendants,3 beginning with Zeus, and let us drink and play; let the singing last all night, let there be dancing; begin the jollity with a will; and if any one has a shapely woman waiting to share his bed, he will drink more confidently than the rest.

1 Dionysus or wine (cf. 'king wine' in 26.16) rather than the Spartan king.
2 Text of this sentence very insecure.
3 Ion lists the ancestors of the Spartan king Archidamus: Perseus was great-grandfather of Heracles (son of Alcmena), whose descendants, the Heracleidae, carried out the Dorian invasion of the Peloponnese; Procles established the Eurypontid line of kings. Jacoby, C.Q. 41 (1947) 9 dated the poem to 463/2, when Cimon led Athenian troops to help Archidamus against the Messenians; West, B.I.C.S. 32 (1985) 74 to c. 450, when Cimon was in Sparta to negotiate the 5-year truce.

χαιρέτω ἡμέτερος βασιλεὺς σωτήρ τε πατήρ τε·
    ἡμῖν δὲ κρητῆρ᾿ οἰνοχόοι θέραπες
κιρνάντων προχύταισιν ἐν ἀργυρέοις· †ὁ δὲ χρυσὸς
    οἶνον ἔχων χειρῶν νιζέτω εἰς ἔδαφος.†
σπένδοντες δ᾿ ἁγνῶς Ἡρακλεῖ τ᾿ Ἀλκμήνῃ τε,        5
    Προκλεῖ Περσείδαις τ᾿ ἐκ Διὸς ἀρχόμενοι
πίνωμεν, παίζωμεν· ἴτω διὰ νυκτὸς ἀοιδή,
    ὀρχείσθω τις· ἑκὼν δ᾿ ἄρχε φιλοφροσύνης.
ὅντινα δ᾿ εὐειδὴς μίμνει θήλεια πάρευνος,
    κεῖνος τῶν ἄλλων κυδρότερον πίεται.        10
Gentili and Prato, edd., Poetae Elegiaci, 2nd ed., Vol. II (2002; rpt. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2008), pp. 65-66:

See Edmund Stewart, "Ion of Chios: The Case of a Foreign Poet in Classical Sparta."

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