Monday 14 January 2013

'warm blood for the souls'

'And he shall come to the dark plain of the departed and shall seek the ancient seer of the dead, who knows the mating of men and women. He shall pour in a trench warm blood for the souls, and, brandishing before him his sword to terrify the dead, he shall there hear the thin voice of the ghosts, uttered from shadowy lips.'

from ALEXANDRA, in
Callimachus, Hymns and Epigrams. Lycophron. Aratus. Translated by Mair, A. W. & G. R. Loeb Classical Library Volume 129. London: William Heinemann, 1921.

LYCOPHRON of Chalcis was a Greek poet and scholar of the Library of Alexandria who flourished in the C3rd BC. His cryptic poem, the Alexandra, tells the stories of the heroes of the Trojan War in the riddling, prophetic words of the Trojan princess Cassandra.

The speaker is a slave appointed to watch Cassandra and report her prophecies. He addresses Priam.