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First to the Neitian gate, Parthenopaeus, son of the huntress, [1105] led a company bristling with thick rows of shields, and he had his own device in the centre of his shield: Atalanta slaying the Aetolian boar with an arrow shot from far. To the gates of Proetus [1110] came the prophet Amphiaraus, bringing the victims on a chariot; he had no boastful sign, but weapons chastely plain.

Next lord Hippomedon came marching to the Ogygian gates with this device in the middle of his shield: [1115] Argus the all-seeing dappled with eyes on the watch, some open with the rising stars, others hiding when they set, as could be seen after he was slain.

At the Homoloian gates Tydeus had his post, [1120] a lion's skin with shaggy mane upon his shield, while the Titan Prometheus bore a torch in his right hand, to fire the town.

Your own Polyneices led the battle against the Fountain gate; upon his shield for a device [1125] were the colts of Potniae galloping at frantic speed, revolving by some clever contrivance on pivots by the handle, so as to appear distraught.

At Electra's gate Capaneus brought up his company, bold as Ares for the battle; [1130] this device his shield bore upon its iron back: an earth-born giant carrying on his shoulders a whole city which he had wrenched from its base, a hint to us of the fate in store for Thebes.

Adrastus was at the seventh gate; [1135] a hundred vipers engraved on his shield, [ as he bore on his left arm the hydra] the boast of Argos, and serpents were carrying off in their jaws the sons of Thebes from within our very walls. Now I was able to see each of them, [1140] as I carried the watch-word along to the leaders of our companies.

To begin with, we fought with bows and thonged javelins, with slings that shoot from far and crashing stones; and as we were conquering, Tydeus and your son suddenly cried aloud: [1145] “You sons of Danaus, before you are torn to pieces by their attack, why delay to fall upon the gates with all your might, light-armed and cavalry and charioteers?” No loitering then, soon as they heard that call; and many fell with bloody head, [1150] and many of us you could have seen thrown to the earth like tumblers before the walls, breathing their last, bedewing the dry ground with streams of blood.

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Thebes (Greece) (2)
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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 1316
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