Home Introduction Persons Geogr. Sources Events Mijn blog(Nederlands)
Religion Subjects Images Queries Links Contact Do not fly Iberia
This is a non-commercial site. Any revenues from Google ads are used to improve the site.

Custom Search
Quote of the day: Or the emperor's ears were so formed, th
Display Latin text
Display Dutch text

Ovid XIII Chapter 5: 429-480 The deaths of Polydorus and Polyxena
Next chapter
Return to index
Previous chapter
There is a country opposite Phrygia, where Troy stood, that the Bistones inhabit: Polymestor's wealthy court was there, to whom Priam your father secretly sent you, Polydorus, to be reared away from the Phrygian war: a wise plan if he had not sent great riches with you, a reward for the criminal, a temptation to the greedy spirit. When Phrygia's fortunes waned, the impious king of Thrace took his sword and stabbed his young foster child in the throat, and threw the body from a cliff into the sea, as if murder could be eliminated with the corpse. Agamemnon had moored his fleet on a Thracian beach until the sea calmed, and the winds were kinder. Here, suddenly the ghost of Achilles appeared from a broad fissure in the earth, as large as he used to be in life. He appeared as on the day when, with threatening face, and sword in hand, he fiercely challenged Agamemnon's injustice. 'You depart, then, Achaeans, forgetting me, and gratitude for my courage is buried with me!' he cried, 'Do not let it be so! Let Polyxena be sacrificed, so that my tomb is not without its honours. Appease Achilles's shade!' He spoke, and, his countrymen obeyed the pitiless ghost. Now, she was torn from her mother's arms, and the girl, almost Hecuba's only comfort, ill-fated, but with more than a woman's courage, was led to the burial mound and became a victim of the dread grave. She remembered who she was, set before the brutal altar, knowing the savage rite was readied for her, and when she saw Neoptolemus standing, gripping his sword, his eyes gazing at her face, she said: 'Now, shed noble blood, nothing prevents you: but sheathe your sword in my throat or in my breast,' and she uncovered both her throat and her breast, 'Polyxena, for certain, has no desire to be slave to any man! No god will be appeased by such a rite as this! I only wish my death could be unknown to my mother: my mother weakens and lessens my joy in death, though it is not my dying but her living that is terrible. Now, move away, you, so that if my request is lawful, I may not be hindered in going to the Stygian shades: and take the hands of man from virgin flesh! My free blood will be more acceptable to him, whoever he is, whom you are trying to appease with my murder. If my last words still move any of you (the daughter of Priam asks it, not a prisoner) return my body to my mother without ransom: let her pay for the sad privilege of burying me, not with gold, but with tears! When she could, then she paid in gold as well' she spoke, and the crowd could not restrain its tears, that she restrained. Then the priest, also weeping, and against his will, driving his sword home, pierced the breast she offered up. Her knees gave way, and she sank to the ground, keeping her look of fearless courage to the end. Even then, as she fell, she was careful to hide the parts that should be hidden, and to protect the honour of her chaste modesty.

EventS: Polymestor and Polydorus, The sacrifice of Polyxena