Iphigenia in Aulis: Section 3


Greek

κἀμὲ στρατηγεῖν πᾶσι Μενέλεω χάριν
εἵλοντο, σύγγονόν γε. τἀξίωμα δὲ
ἄλλος τις ὤφελ᾽ ἀντ᾽ ἐμοῦ λαβεῖν τόδε.
ἠθροισμένου δὲ καὶ ξυνεστῶτος στρατοῦ
ἥμεσθ᾽ ἀπλοίᾳ χρώμενοι κατ᾽ Αὐλίδα.   40
Κάλχας δ᾽ ὁ μάντις ἀπορίᾳ κεχρημένοις
ἀνεῖλεν Ἰφιγένειαν ἣν ἔσπειρ᾽ ἐγὼ
Ἀρτέμιδι θῦσαι τῇ τόδ᾽ οἰκούσῃ πέδον,
καὶ πλοῦν τ᾽ ἔσεσθαι καὶ κατασκαφὰς Φρυγῶν.
κλύων δ᾽ ἐγὼ ταῦτ᾽, ὀρθίῳ κηρύγματι   45
Ταλθύβιον εἶπον πάντ᾽ ἀφιέναι στρατόν,
ὡς οὔποτ᾽ ἂν τλὰς θυγατέρα κτανεῖν ἐμήν.
οὗ δή μ᾽ ἀδελφὸς πάντα προσφέρων λόγον
ἔπεισε τλῆναι δεινά. κἀν δέλτου πτυχαῖς
γράψας ἔπεμψα πρὸς δάμαρτα τὴν ἐμὴν   50
πέμπειν Ἀχιλλεῖ θυγατέρ᾽ ὡς γαμουμένην,
τό τ᾽ ἀξίωμα τἀνδρὸς ἐκγαυρούμενος,
συμπλεῖν τ᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς οὕνεκ᾽ οὐ θέλοι λέγων,
εἰ μὴ παρ᾽ ἡμῶν εἶσιν ἐς Φθίαν λέχος·
πειθὼ γὰρ εἶχον τήνδε πρὸς δάμαρτ᾽ ἐμήν.   55

Commentary

English

And they chose me to be general over everyone, for the sake
of Menelaus, since of course I am his brother. If only
some other man had taken this honour instead of me.
But when the army had gathered and come together
we were sitting at Aulis experiencing weather unfit for sailing.
And Calchas the prophet foretold to us, as we experienced
perplexity, to sacrifice Iphigenia, whom I fathered,
to Artemis, who dwells in this land,
and that there would be a voyage and destruction of the Phrygians.
When I heard this I told Talthybius to send away the whole
army with a shrill announcement,
as I would never dare to kill my own daughter.
Whereupon my brother, employing every argument,
persuaded me to venture terrible things. And having written on
the folds of a tablet I sent a message to my wife,
to send our daughter to marry Achilles,
both admiring greatly the man’s high rank
and saying that he was not willing to sail with the Achaeans,
unless a bride from my family went to Phthia;
for I upheld this means of persuasion towards my wife.