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What do you want to say to this, stranger, in turn? After you name your country and family and fortunes, then defend yourself against this charge; if indeed, relying on the justice of your case, you sit clinging to my image near my hearth, [440] as a sacred suppliant, like Ixion.1 To all this give me a plain answer.

Lady Athena, first of all I will take away a great anxiety from your last words. I am not a suppliant in need of purification, nor did I sit at your image with pollution on my hands. [445] I will give you strong proof of this. It is the law for one who is defiled by shedding blood to be barred from speech until he is sprinkled with the blood of a new-born victim by a man who can purify from murder. [450] Long before at other houses I have been thus purified both by victims and by flowing streams.

And so I declare that this concern is out of the way. As to my family, you will soon learn. I am an Argive; my father—you rightly inquire about him [455] —was Agamemnon, the commander of the naval forces; along with him, you made Troy, the city of Ilion, to be no city. He did not die nobly, after he came home; but my black-hearted mother killed him after she covered him in a crafty snare that still remains to witness his murder in the bath. [460] And when I came back home, having been an exile in the time before, I killed the woman who gave birth to me, I will not deny it, as the penalty in return for the murder of my dearly-loved father. Together with me Loxias is responsible for this deed, [465] because he threatened me with pains, a goad for my heart, if I should fail to do this deed to those who were responsible. You judge whether I acted justly or not; whatever happens to me at your hands, I will be content.

1 Ixion, king of the Lapiths, murdered the father of his bride, and was given purification by Zeus after having been denied by the other gods. Cp. 718.

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