Archilochus quotes

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Archilochus

Birthdate: 680 BC
Date of death: 645 BC

For the hummingbird, see Archilochus .

Archilochus was a Greek lyric poet from the island of Paros in the Archaic period. He is celebrated for his versatile and innovative use of poetic meters, and is the earliest known Greek author to compose almost entirely on the theme of his own emotions and experiences.Alexandrian scholars included him in their canonic list of iambic poets, along with Semonides and Hipponax, yet ancient commentators also numbered him with Tyrtaeus and Callinus as the possible inventor of the elegy. Modern critics often characterize him simply as a lyric poet. Although his work now only survives in fragments, he was revered by the ancient Greeks as one of their most brilliant authors, able to be mentioned in the same breath as Homer and Hesiod, yet he was also censured by them as the archetypal poet of blame—his invectives were even said to have driven his former fiancée and her father to suicide. He presented himself as a man of few illusions either in war or in love, such as in the following elegy, where discretion is seen to be the better part of valour:

Archilochus was much imitated even up to Roman times and three other distinguished poets later claimed to have thrown away their shields—Alcaeus, Anacreon and Horace.

„Jealousy has no power over me,
Nor do I envy a god his work,
And I do not burn to rule.
Such things have no
Fascination for my eyes.“

—  Archilochus

Fragments
Variant: The affairs of gold-laden Gyges do not interest me
zealousy of the gods has never seized me nor anger
at their deeds. But I have no love for great tyranny
for its deeds are very far from my eyes.
Context: These golden matters
Of Gyges and his treasuries
Are no concern of mine.
Jealousy has no power over me,
Nor do I envy a god his work,
And I do not burn to rule.
Such things have no
Fascination for my eyes.

„Some Saian mountaineer
Struts today with my shield.
I threw it down by a bush and ran
When the fighting got hot.
Life seemed somehow more precious.
It was a beautiful shield.
I know where I can buy another
Exactly like it, just as round.“

—  Archilochus

Fragments
Variant: A Saian boasts about the shield which beside a bush
though good armour I unwillingly left behind.
I saved myself, so what do I care about the shield?
To hell with it! I'll get one soon just as good.
Variant: I don't give a damn if some Thracian ape strut
Proud of that first-rate shield the bushes got.
Leaving it was hell, but in a tricky spot
I kept my hide intact. Good shields can be bought. (as translated by Stuart Silverman)
Variant: Let who will boast their courage in the field,
I find but little safety from my shield.
Nature's, not honour's, law we must obey:
This made me cast my useless shield away,
And by a prudent flight and cunning save
A life, which valour could not, from the grave.
A better buckler I can soon regain;
But who can get another life again?

„I have a high art: I hurt with cruelty those who wound me.“

—  Archilochus

As quoted in Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, Vol. 20 (2001), p. 184
As quoted in Quotations for Martial Artists : Hundreds of Inspirational Quotes to Motivate and Enlighten the Modern Warrior (2003) edited by John D. Moore
Fragments
Variant: I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me.

„The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.“

—  Archilochus

As quoted in The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953) by Isaiah Berlin
Variant translations:
The fox knows many things; the hedgehog one great thing.
The fox knows many tricks; the hedgehog one good one.
The fox knows many tricks; and the hedgehog only one; but that is the best one of all.
Fragments
Original: (el) πόλλ' οἶδ' ἀλώπηξ, ἐχῖνος δ'ἓν μέγα

„Keep some measure in the joy you take in luck, and the degree you
give way to sorrow.“

—  Archilochus

Fragment 67, as translated by R. Lattimore http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/arkhilokhos67.htm
Variant translations:
Soul, my soul, don't let them break you,
all these troubles. Never yield:
though their force is overwhelming,
up! attack them shield to shield...
"Archilochos: To His Soul" : A fragment http://web.archive.org/20030629194753/geocities.com/joncpoetics/translations/Archsoul.htm as translated from the Greek by Jon Corelis http://web.archive.org/20030805055937/www.geocities.com/joncpoetics/
Take the joy and bear the sorrow,
looking past your hopes and fears:
learn to recognize the measured
dance that orders all our years.
"Archilochos: To His Soul" : A fragment, as translated from the Greek by Jon Corelis
Fragments
Original: (el) θυμέ, θύμ᾽ ἀμηχάνοισι κήδεσιν κυκώμενε,
ἄνα δέ, δυσμενέων δ᾽ ἀλέξευ προσβαλὼν ἐναντίον
στέρνον, ἐν δοκοῖσιν ἐχθρῶν πλησίον κατασταθείς
ἀσφαλέως· καὶ μήτε νικῶν ἀμφαδὴν ἀγάλλεο
μηδὲ νικηθεὶς ἐν οἴκωι καταπεσὼν ὀδύρεο.
ἀλλὰ χαρτοῖσίν τε χαῖρε καὶ κακοῖσιν ἀσχάλα
μὴ λίην· γίνωσκε δ᾽ οἷος ῥυσμὸς ἀνθρώπους ἔχει.
Context: Heart, my heart, so battered with misfortune far beyond your strength,
up, and face the men who hate us. Bare your chest to the assault
of the enemy, and fight them off. Stand fast among the beamlike spears.
Give no ground; and if you beat them, do not brag in open show,
nor, if they beat you, run home and lie down on your bed and cry.
Keep some measure in the joy you take in luck, and the degree you
give way to sorrow. All our life is up-and-down like this.

„Heart, my heart, so battered with misfortune far beyond your strength,
up, and face the men who hate us.“

—  Archilochus

Fragment 67, as translated by R. Lattimore http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/arkhilokhos67.htm
Variant translations:
Soul, my soul, don't let them break you,
all these troubles. Never yield:
though their force is overwhelming,
up! attack them shield to shield...
"Archilochos: To His Soul" : A fragment http://web.archive.org/20030629194753/geocities.com/joncpoetics/translations/Archsoul.htm as translated from the Greek by Jon Corelis http://web.archive.org/20030805055937/www.geocities.com/joncpoetics/
Take the joy and bear the sorrow,
looking past your hopes and fears:
learn to recognize the measured
dance that orders all our years.
"Archilochos: To His Soul" : A fragment, as translated from the Greek by Jon Corelis
Fragments
Original: (el) θυμέ, θύμ᾽ ἀμηχάνοισι κήδεσιν κυκώμενε,
ἄνα δέ, δυσμενέων δ᾽ ἀλέξευ προσβαλὼν ἐναντίον
στέρνον, ἐν δοκοῖσιν ἐχθρῶν πλησίον κατασταθείς
ἀσφαλέως· καὶ μήτε νικῶν ἀμφαδὴν ἀγάλλεο
μηδὲ νικηθεὶς ἐν οἴκωι καταπεσὼν ὀδύρεο.
ἀλλὰ χαρτοῖσίν τε χαῖρε καὶ κακοῖσιν ἀσχάλα
μὴ λίην· γίνωσκε δ᾽ οἷος ῥυσμὸς ἀνθρώπους ἔχει.
Context: Heart, my heart, so battered with misfortune far beyond your strength,
up, and face the men who hate us. Bare your chest to the assault
of the enemy, and fight them off. Stand fast among the beamlike spears.
Give no ground; and if you beat them, do not brag in open show,
nor, if they beat you, run home and lie down on your bed and cry.
Keep some measure in the joy you take in luck, and the degree you
give way to sorrow. All our life is up-and-down like this.

„Be bold! That's one way
Of getting through life.“

—  Archilochus

Be bold! That's one way
Context: Be bold! That's one way
Of getting through life.
So I turn upon her
And point out that,
Faced with the wickedness
Of things, she does not shiver.

„Nothing can be surprising any more or impossible or miraculous, now that Zeus, father of the Olympians has made night out of noonday, hiding the bright sunlight, and . . . fear has come upon mankind. After this, men can believe anything, expect anything.“

—  Archilochus

Fragments
Variant: Zeus, the father of the Olympic Gods, turned mid-day into night, hiding the light of the dazzling Sun; and sore fear came upon men.
Context: Nothing can be surprising any more or impossible or miraculous, now that Zeus, father of the Olympians has made night out of noonday, hiding the bright sunlight, and... fear has come upon mankind. After this, men can believe anything, expect anything. Don't any of you be surprised in future if land beasts change places with dolphins and go to live in their salty pastures, and get to like the sounding waves of the sea more than the land, while the dolphins prefer the mountains.

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„Oh Zeus, father Zeus, Yours is the Kingdom of Heaven, and you watch men's deeds, the crafty and the right, and You are who cares for beasts' transgression and justice.“

—  Archilochus

Fragment 177
Fragments
Original: (el) ὦ Ζεῦ͵ πάτερ Ζεῦ͵ σὸν μὲν οὐρανοῦ κράτος͵ σὺ δ΄ ἔργ΄ ἐπ΄ ἀνθρώπων ὁρᾶις λεωργὰ καὶ θεμιστά͵ σοὶ δὲ θηρίων ὕβρις τε καὶ δίκη μέλει.

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