Popoi

The_Tomb_of_the_Diver_-_Paestum_-_Italy

Ἀμφοτέρας δ’ ὀφρῦς σύνελεν λίθος, οὐδέ οἱ ἔσχεν
ὀστέον, ὀφθαλμοὶ δὲ χαμαὶ πέσον ἐν κονίῃσιν
αὐτοῦ πρόσθε ποδῶν· ὁ δ’ ἄρ’ ἀρνευτῆρι ἐοικὼς
κάππεσ’ ἀπ’ εὐεργέος δίφρου, λίπε δ’ ὀστέα θυμός.
τὸν δ’ ἐπικερτομέων προσέφης, Πατρόκλεες ἱππεῦ·
“ὢ πόποι, ἦ μάλ’ ἐλαφρὸς ἀνήρ, ὡς ῥεῖα κυβιστᾷ.
εἰ δή που καὶ πόντῳ ἐν ἰχθυόεντι γένοιτο,
πολλοὺς ἂν κορέσειεν ἀνὴρ ὅδε τήθεα διφῶν,
νηὸς ἀποθρῴσκων, εἰ καὶ δυσπέμφελος εἴη,
ὡς νῦν ἐν πεδίῳ ἐξ ἵππων ῥεῖα κυβιστᾷ.
ἦ ῥα καὶ ἐν Τρώεσσι κυβιστητῆρες ἔασιν.”
(Homer, Il. 16.740-750)

It* shattered both his eyebrows, crushing the bone; and his eyes fell out and rolled in the dust at his feet. He fell back out of the well-built chariot like a diver, and life left his bones. Mocking him, charioteer Patroclus, you said: ‘Well, well! How light on his toes, judging by that acrobatic somersault! Now, if the delightful dive he has taken from the chariot on to the plain is anything to go by, he’d satisfy the hunger of lots of people by doing the same at sea. Even in the roughest weather he could leap off a boat and grope about for molluscs. I never knew the Trojans had such acrobats!’

* the stone thrown by Patroclus at Cebriones, Hector’s charioteer.

(tr. Robert Fagles)

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