Statius, Thebaid 2.715-742
Note: the speaker is Tydeus of Calydon in Aetolia, now an exile and married to one of the daughters of King Adrastus of Argos. He has just single-handedly wiped out a band of Theban youths that Eteocles, king of Thebes, had sent to ambush him. “Pandion’s mountain”: the Athenian Acropolis. “Fields of Porthaon”: Calydon (Porthaon was Tydeus’ grandfather). “Secret symbol of reverence”: the Palladium, cult image of Athena/Minerva, which only her priestess was permitted to look upon. “Diana will offer no objection”: Tydeus’ father Oeneus had neglected to invoke Artemis/Diana when making a sacrifice of first fruits to all the gods; in retaliation, the angry goddess sent an enormous boar to ravage the fields of Calydon.
Fierce goddess, glory and genius of your great father,
You who are mighty in war, you who wear upon your cheeks
A savage helmet of beautiful horror,
You whose Gorgon-head rages ever more as blood spatters on it-
Neither Mars nor Bellona, spear-armed for battle,
Would drive forward more ardent battle-trumpets-
Give your approval to this sacrifice, whether you are coming
To witness my slaughter from Pandion’s mountain,
Or whether you, chorus-lover, are making a detour from Boeotian Itone,
Or whether you come having just washed your combed-back hair
In Libyan Triton, where the swift axle of your unspoiled mares
Bears you swiftly, as you clamor in your two-horse chariot:
Now I dedicate to you men’s broken spoils and shapeless plunder,
But if one day I enter again my ancestral fields of Porthaon
And Mars’ Pleuron lies open to me as I return from exile,
Then I shall dedicate to you golden temples on the heights at the city center,
Where it will be sweet to look down upon Ionian tempests,
Where turbulent Achelous, lifting up the sea with his blond head,
Goes out to sea, leaving the obstructing Echinades in his wake.
Here I will fashion the battles of my ancestors and the dreadful faces
Of great-hearted kings; I will affix in proud domes
Captured arms, both those that I brought back myself,
Obtained with my own blood, and those that you,
Tritonia, will grant on the day that Thebes is captured.
There a hundred Calydonian women, vowed to your virgin altars,
Will weave for you in proper fashion from a chaste tree
Actaean torches and purple head-bands with white partitions;
An elderly priestess will feed an unsleeping fire on the hearth-
Never will she neglect the secret symbol of reverence.
In war and in peace, you will receive in great numbers,
According to custom, the first fruits of our labors;
And Diana will offer no objection.
‘diua ferox, magni decus ingeniumque parentis,
bellipotens, cui torua genis horrore decoro
cassis, et asperso crudescit sanguine Gorgon,
nec magis ardentes Mauors hastataque pugnae
impulerit Bellona tubas, huic adnue sacro,
seu Pandionio nostras inuisere caedes
monte uenis, siue Aonia deuertis Itone
laeta choris, seu tu Libyco Tritone repexas
lota comas qua te biiugo temone frementem
intemeratarum uolucer rapit axis equarum:
nunc tibi fracta uirum spolia informesque dicamus
exuuias. at si patriis Porthaonis aruis
inferar et reduci pateat mihi Martia Pleuron,
aurea tunc mediis urbis tibi templa dicabo
collibus, Ionias qua despectare procellas
dulce sit, et flauo tollens ubi uertice pontum
turbidus obiectas Achelous Echinadas exit.
hic ego maiorum pugnas uultusque tremendos
magnanimum effingam regum, figamque superbis
arma tholis, quaeque ipse meo quaesita reuexi
sanguine, quaeque dabis captis, Tritonia, Thebis.
centum ibi uirgineis uotae Calydonides aris
Actaeas tibi rite faces et ab arbore casta
nectent purpureas niueo discrimine uittas,
peruigilemque focis ignem longaeua sacerdos
nutriet, arcanum numquam spretura pudorem.
tu bellis, tu pace feres de more frequentes
primitias operum, non indignante Diana.’
Pallas Athene (detail), Franz Stuck, 1898