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Aegyptus; and now that you know my ancient lineage, I pray you to help1a band that is Argive by descent.

[325] I think you indeed have some share in this land from old. But how did you bring yourselves to leave the home of your fathers? What stroke of fortune befell you?

Lord of the Pelasgians, of varying color are the ills of mankind, and nowhere can you find trouble of the same plume. [330] For who dreamed that a kindred race, sprung of old, would thus in unexpected flight find haven at Argos, fleeing in terror through loathing of the marriage-bed?

Why have you come as suppliants of these gods congregated here, holding in your hands those white-wreathed, fresh-plucked boughs?

[335] So as not to be made slave to Aegyptus' race.

By reason of hatred? Or do you speak of unlawfulness ?

Who would purchase their lords from among their kin?

In this way families have enhanced their power.

And it is easy then, if things go ill, to separate from a wife.

[340] How then am I to deal with you in accordance with my sacred duty?

By not surrendering us at the demand of Aegyptus' sons.

A serious request—to take upon myself a dangerous war.

But Justice protects her champions.

True, if she had a share in the matter from the beginning.

[345] Show reverence for the ship of state thus crowned.2

I shrink as I gaze upon these shaded shrines.

Yet heavy is the wrath of Zeus, god of the suppliant.

1 Literally “raise” from sanctuary.

2 The gods, whose statues have been wreathed with the suppliants' branches, are regarded as the pilots who direct the ship of state. Possibly there is also a reference to the custom of crowning a vessel's stern with flowers.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.2.4
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