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Messenger
This much I know and witnessed on the spot. Leaving the royal circle of the chiefs who sat in council, [750] Calchas separated himself from the Atreidae and put his right hand with all kindness into the hand of Teucer. The prophet then addressed him and strictly commanded him to use every possible resource to keep Ajax inside his tent for the duration of this day that now shines on us, and to prevent him from moving about [755] if he wished ever to look on him alive. For this day alone will the anger of divine Athena lash at him. That was the prophet's warning. “Yes,” the seer went on to explain, “lives that have grown too proud and no longer yield good fall on grave difficulties sent from the gods, [760] especially when someone born to man's estate forgets that fact by thinking thoughts too high for man. And Ajax, even at the time he first set out from home, showed himself foolish, when his father advised him well. For Telamon told him, ‘My son, [765] seek victory in arms, but always seek it with the help of god.’ Then with a tall boast and foolishly he replied, ‘Father, with the help of the gods even a worthless man might achieve victory; but I, even without that help, fully trust to bring that glory within my grasp.’ [770] So much he boasted. Then once again in answer to divine Athena—at a time when she was urging him forward and telling him to turn a deadly hand against the enemy—he answered her with words terrible and blasphemous, ‘Queen, stand beside the other Greeks; [775] where Ajax stands, battle will never break our line.’ It was by such words, you must know, that he won for himself the intolerable anger of the goddess since his thoughts were too high for man. But if he survives this day, perhaps with the god's help we may find means to save him.”

[780] With those words the seer finished, and at once Teucer rose from his seat and sent me with these orders for you to follow. But if I have been cheated of success, Ajax does not live. Otherwise Calchas has no skill.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • John Conington, Commentary on Vergil's Aeneid, Volume 2, 11.118
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 1180
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
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