Μήτοι χλιδῇ δοκεῖτε μήτ’ αὐθαδίᾳ
σιγᾶν με· συννοίᾳ δὲ δάπτομαι κέαρ
ὁρῶν ἐμαυτὸν ὧδε προυσελόυμενον.
καίτοι θεοῖσι τοῖς νέοις τούτοις γέρα
τίς ἄλλος ἢ ‘γὼ παντελῶς διώρισεν;
ἀλλ’ αὐτὰ σιγῶ· καὶ γὰρ εἰδυίαισιν ἂν
ὑμῖν λέγοιμι. τἀν βροτοῖς δὲ πήματα
ἀκούσαθ’, ὥς σφας νηπίους ὄντας τὸ πρὶν
ἔννους ἔθηκα καὶ φρενῶν ἐπηβόλους.
λέξω δὲ μέμψιν οὔτιν’ ἀνθρώποις ἔχων,
ἀλλ’ ὧν δέδωκ’ εὔνοιαν ἐξηγούμενος·
οἳ πρῶτα μὲν βλέποντες ἔβλεπον μάτην,
κλύοντες οὐκ ἤκουον, ἀλλ’ ὀνειράτων
ἁλίγκιοι μορφαῖσι τὸν μακρὸν βίον
ἔφυρον εἰκῇ πάντα, κοὔτε πλινθυφεῖς
δόμους προσείλους ᾖσαν, οὐ ξυλουργίαν,
κατωρύχες δ’ ἔναιον ὥστ’ ἀήσυροι
μύρμηκες ἄντρων ἐν μυχοῖς ἀνηλίοις.
ἦν δ’ οὐδὲν αὐτοῖς οὔτε χείματος τέκμαρ
οὔτ’ ἀνθεμώδους ἦρος οὔτε καρπίμου
θέρους βέβαιον, ἀλλ’ ἄτερ γνώμης τὸ πᾶν
ἔπρασσον, ἔστε δή σφιν ἀντολὰς ἐγὼ
ἄστρων ἔδειξα τάς τε δυσκρίτους δύσεις.
καὶ μὴν ἀριθμόν, ἔξοχον σοφισμάτων,
ἐξηῦρον αὐτοῖς, γραμμάτων τε συνθέσεις,
μνήμην ἁπάντων, μουσομήτορ’ ἐργάνην·
κἄζευξα πρῶτος ἐν ζυγοῖσι κνώδαλα,
ζεύγλαισι δουλεύοντα σάγμασίν θ’, ὅπως
θνητοῖς μεγίστων διάδοχοι μοχθημάτων
γένοινθ’, ὑφ’ ἅρμα τ’ ἤγαγον φιληνίους
ἵππους, ἄγαλμα τῆς ὑπερπλούτου χλιδῆς.
θαλασσόπλαγκτα δ’ οὔτις ἄλλος ἀντ’ εμοῦ
λινόπτερ’ ηὗρε ναυτίλων ὀχήματα.
τοιαῦτα μηχανήματ’ ἐξευρὼν τάλας
βροτοῖσιν αὐτὸς οὐκ ἔχω σόφισμ’ ὅτῳ
τῆς νῦν παρούσης πημονῆς ἀπαλλαγῶ.
(Aeschylus, Prom. Desm. 436-471)
Do not think that my silence is due to vanity or arrogance. No, my heart is eaten up with brooding, when I see myself treated so outrageously. After all, who was it but I that did all the distributing of privileges to these new gods? But I will say no more about that, because I would be telling you what you already know. Instead, listen to the miseries of mortals, how infantile they were before I made them intelligent and possessed of understanding. I shall say this, not because I have any desire to criticize humans, but to demonstrate the goodwill that inspired my gifts to them. In the beginning, though they had eyes and ears they could make nothing of what they saw and heard; like dream-figures they lived a life of utter random confusion all their days. They knew nothing of brick-built, sun-warmed houses, nor of wooden construction; they dwelt underground, like tiny ants, in the sunless recesses of caves. Nor had they any reliable indicator of winter, or of flowery spring, or of fruitful summer; they did everything without planning, until I showed them the hard-to-discern risings and settings of stars. I alone invented for them the art of number, supreme among all techniques, and that of combining letters into written words, the tool that enables all things to be remembered and is mother of the Muses. And I was the first to bring beasts under the yoke as slaves to the yoke-strap and the pack-saddle, so that they might relieve humans of their greatest labours; and I brought horses to love the rein and pull chariots, making them a luxurious ornament for men of great wealth. And it was no one other than me that invented the linen-winged vehicles in which sailors roam the seas. Such contrivances have I invented for mortals, yet, wretched that I am, I have no device by which I can escape from my present sufferings. (tr. Alan H. Sommerstein)