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Enter the King of Argos with men-at-arms

King
From where comes this band we address, [235] clothed in foreign attire and luxuriating in closely-woven and barbaric robes? For your apparel is not that of the women of Argos, nor yet of any part of Hellas. How you have gained courage thus fearlessly to come to this land, unheralded and friendless and without guides, [240] this makes me wonder. And yet, truly, I see that branches usually carried by suppliants are laid by your side before the gods assembled here—as to this alone can Hellas guess with confidence.1As for the rest, there is still much I should with reason leave to conjecture, [245] if your voice were not here to inform me.

Chorus
You have not spoken falsely about our clothing. But, for my part, how am I to address you? As commoner, as spokesman, bearer of the sacred wand,2or as ruler of the realm?

King
As for that, answer and speak to me with confidence. [250] For I am Pelasgus, offspring of Palaechthon, whom the earth brought forth, and lord of this land; and after me, their king, is rightly named the race of the Pelasgi, who harvest the land. Of all the region through which the pure [255] Strymon flows, on the side toward the setting sun, I am the lord. There lies within the limits of my rule the land of the Perrhaebi, the parts beyond Pindus close to the Paeonians, and the mountain ridge of Dodona; the edge of the watery sea borders my kingdom. I rule up to these boundaries.

[260] The ground where we stand is Apian land itself, and has borne that name since antiquity in honor of a healer. For Apis, seer and healer, the son of Apollo, came from Naupactus on the farther shore and purified this land of monsters deadly to man, which Earth, [265] defiled by the pollution of bloody deeds of old, caused to spring up—plagues charged with wrath, an ominous colony of swarming serpents. Of these plagues Apis worked the cure by sorcery and spells to the content of the Argive land, [270] and for reward thereafter earned for himself remembrance in prayers.

Now that you have my testimony, declare your lineage and speak further—yet our people do not take pleasure in long discourse.

1 The original means “agree in forming a conjecture,” i.e. be satisfied with a guess.

2 Apparently a periphrasis for “herald”; but the Greek text is uncertain.

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