This text is part of:
Search the Perseus Catalog for:
Table of Contents:
Enter a Messenger by Eisodos A.
My lady, I bring a report, one most lovely  for you to hear and brief for me to tell: we are victorious over our enemies and the trophies of victory are being raised with the armor of your enemies upon them! Alcmene
Dear friend, this day has brought you blessing: because of your message you are set free.  But there is one stroke of misfortune from which you have not freed me, for I am worried whether those I wish to live are still alive. Messenger
They are alive and enjoy great glory in the army. Alcmene
Is aged Iolaus still alive? Messenger
Yes, and his fortune from the gods is good. Alcmene
 What? Did he perform some noble deed of valor? Messenger
He has changed back from old to young. Alcmene
A remarkable story you have told! But first I want you to tell me that our friends have been successful in battle. Messenger
A single account by me will tell you all.  When we had drawn up our hoplite lines facing one another, Hyllus, stepping from his four-horse chariot, took his stand in the middle of the space between the armies. Then he said, ‘Argive general,  why can we not let this land <and Argos be at peace? You will not needlessly make an enemy of Athens,> and you will not harm to Mycenae by depriving it of its soldiery. Rather, join in single combat with me, and either, if you kill me, take away the children of Heracles, or, if you are killed,  cede to me the honors and the house that are mine from my father.’ The army murmured its approval of this speech both for the escape from toil it promised and for its courage. But Eurystheus, who neither respected the listening army nor felt shame at his own cowardice as general,  could not bring himself to enter battle but was a coward: has a man like this, then, come to enslave the children of Heracles? So Hyllus went back into the ranks. The diviners, when they realized that the peace  by single combat was not going to be brought about, proceeded to slaughter without delay, and they released at once the propitious stream of blood from the necks of the cattle. Others mounted their chariots, while the foot-soldiers put flank against flank under the protection of their shields. The leader of the Athenians  gave his men such exhortation as a brave man ought to give: ‘Fellow-citizens, now must a man protect the land that gave him birth and raised him up.’ But the enemy general for his part fervently urged his allies that they not consent to disgrace Argos and Mycenae.