ith the base, getting pleasure for himself but leaving his children disgrace.] noble birth repels misfortune better than base birth. We ourselves, when we had fallen into the utmost disaster, found friends and kinsmen here, men who, alone of all Hellas, have been these children's champions. Children, give these men your right hands, and you, my friends, give the children yours! Draw near!
The children and the Chorus clasp hands.
My children, we have put our friends to the test. And so if you eryone your nobility>, and in death, when I die, I shall stand next to Theseus and extoll you in praise and cheer him with this story, that in kindness you took in and defended the children of Heracles and that you enjoy good repute throughout all Hellas and keep your father's reputation and, though born of noble stock, you in no way prove less noble than your father. Of few others can this be said: only one man out of a great multitude can be found who is not inferior to his father.
blood. It is my claim that as right-hand man to Heracles I once sailed with Theseus to fetch the girdle, cause of many deaths, The sense of the supplement is less clear even than usual. Hyginus 30 makes Heracles give Antiope, Hippolyta's daughter, to Theseus, and in Pindar, fr. 176 Sn, she is the mother of Demophon. But other supplements are also possible. and brought your father out of the dark recesses of Hades. All Hellas bears witness to this. For these things his children here ask repayment [, not to be surrendered, not to be dragged off against the will of your gods and banished from the land. For this is a particular shame to you, and an evil in the eyes of the city, for suppliants, wanderers, kinsmen—alas for the pain, look at them, look at them—to be dragged off by force].
Kneeling before Demophon as a suppliant
But I beg you and wreathe you in my suppliant grasp, do not—I entreat you by your chin—do
ed high prosperity. And these men, seeing that my power was weak and that these children were small and had lost their father, honored the mightier side and kept us from the land. With these children who are exiled I too am in exile, and I companion their wretchedness with my own. I shrink from abandoning them for fear someone might say, ‘Look, when the children do not have a father, Iolaus does not protect them, though he is their kinsman!’ Since we have been banished from all the rest of Greece, we have come to Marathon and the land that borders it and are sitting at the altars of the gods supplicating for help. For it is said that Theseus' two sons dwell in the plain of this land, which they received by the drawing of lots among the descendants of Pandion.In this play Athens is governed, even in heroic times, on democratic lines: choosing officials by lot from a pre-determined list of those eligible was a feature of fifth-century Athenian polity. Those two are kin to these boys.
to know） who thought it right, villain, to commit so many outrages on my son, wherever he now is, and sent him off with order to kill hydras and lions? I say nothing of all the other troubles you contrived for him, for my tale would become too long. What outrages against him exceeded your daring? You even brought him down alive to the house of Hades. You were not content with these acts of hardihood but pursued me and these children, who sat as suppliants of the gods, from every corner of Greece, though some of us were old and others still babes. But you found men and a city who were free, who did not fear you. You must die an evil death, and that will be all gain to you. For we should be killing you several times over, since you caused us so many griefs.
It cannot be that you shall kill this man.
Is it for nothing that we have taken him prisoner?
But what law is it that prevents his being killed?