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To Kadmos

[1330] . . . changing your form, you will become a dragon, and your wife, Harmonia, Ares' daughter, whom you though mortal held in marriage, will be turned into a beast, and will receive in exchange the form of a serpent. And as the oracle of Zeus says, you will drive along with your wife a chariot of heifers, ruling over barbarians. [1335] You will sack many cities with a force of countless numbers. And when they plunder the oracle of Apollo, they will have a miserable return, but Ares will protect you and Harmonia and will settle your life in the land of the blessed.

[1340] That is what I, Dionysus, born not from a mortal father, but from Zeus, say. And if you had known how to be wise when you did not wish to be, you would have acquired Zeus' son as an ally, and would now be happy.

Dionysus, we beseech you, we have acted injustly.

[1345] You have learned it too late; you did not know it when you should have.

Now we know, but you go too far against us.

Yes, for I, a god by birth, was insulted by you.

Gods should not resemble mortals in their anger.

My father Zeus approved this long ago.

[1350] Alas! A miserable exile has been decreed for us, old man.

Why then do you delay what must necessarily be?

Child, what a terrible disaster we have all come to—unhappy you, your sisters, and unhappy me. I shall reach a foreign land [1355] as an aged immigrant. Still it is foretold that I shall bring into Hellas a motley barbarian army. Leading their spears, I, having the fierce nature of a serpent, will bring my wife Harmonia, daughter of Ares, to the altars and tombs of Hellas. [1360] I will neither rest from my troubles in my misery, nor will I sail over the downward flowing Acheron and be at peace.

O father, I will go into exile deprived of you.

Why do you embrace me with your hands, child, [1365] like a swan for its exhausted gray-haired parent?

For where can I turn, banished from my father-land?

I do not know, child; your father is a poor ally.

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    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 9.43
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