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Monday, August 11, 2014

Aeneid: We were Trojans


`Quo res summa, loco, Panthu?  Quam prendimus arcem?'
Vix ea fatus eram, gemitu cum talia reddit:
`Venit summa dies et ineluctabile tempus
Dardaniae:  fuimus Troes, fuit Ilium et ingens
gloria Teucrorum; ferus omnia Iuppiter Argos
transtulit; incensa Danai dominantur in urbe.
Arduus armatos mediis in moenibus adstans
fundit equus, victorque Sinon incendia miscet
insultans; portis alii bipatentibus adsunt,
milia quot magnis umquam venere Mycenis;
obsedere alii telis angusta viarum
oppositi; stat ferri acies mucrone corusco
stricta, parata neci; vix primi proelia temptant
portarum vigiles, et caeco Marte resistunt.'

 there was Panthus,who'd come unscathed through the Greek barrage. He was a son of Othrys, priest of Apollo's temple on the citadel. He was holding his holy emblems of office, and was hanging on to the images of his defeated gods and dragging his young grandson along as he rushed in panic for the gates.
"Where is the action? Which strongpoint are we making our stand on?"
I'd hardly got the words out when he came back at me:
"It's here - the final hour - Troy's time is up. As Trojans we no longer exist : Troy is history; so too is all the might and glory of the Trojan race. Jupiter, in cold blood, has gone over to the Greeks. Our city is in flames, and the Danaans are triumphant. The towering Horse bestrides the walls disgorging warriors, and Sinon fans the flames revelling in his victory. Others are massing where the gates stand open - all the countless thousands who came from mighty Mycene; others - weapons at the ready - have blocked the narrow alleys. A ring of steel waits poised for the kill, swords glinting. The front line of sentries is just holding out - but they are fighting blind."

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