Rhetoric and Power: The Drama of Classical Greece

By Nathan Crick | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Aeschylus’s Persians and
the Birth of Tragedy

MESSENGER:

O you cities of the whole land of Asia! O land of Persia, repository of great
wealth! How all your great prosperity has been destroyed in a single
blow, and the flower of the Persians are fallen and departed! [to the CHO-
rus of royal counselors:] Ah, me, it is terrible to be the first to announce
terrible news, but I have no choice but to reveal the whole sad tale, Per-
sians: the whole of the Oriental Army has been destroyed! …

CHORUS:

Otototoi! It was all in vain
that those many weapons, all mingled together,
went from the land of Asia to the country
of Zeus, the land of Hellas!

MESSENGER:

Yes, our archery was of no avail; the whole host perished, destroyed by the
ramming of ships.

CHORUS:

Otototoi, you are saying
that the dead bodies of our loved ones
are floating, soaked and constantly buffeted by salt water,
shrouded in mantles that drift in the waves!

MESSENGER:

The shores of Salamis, and all the region near them, are full of corpses
wretchedly slain.

-43-

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