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Early Indo-European Texts

Classical Greek

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Classical Greek with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Classical Greek Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Classical Greek language and its speakers' culture.

from Herodotus' History, Book 1

Ἡροδότου Ἁλικαρνησσέος ἱστορίης ἀπόδεξις ἥδε, ὡς μήτε τὰ γενόμενα ἐξ ἀνθρώπων τῷ χρόνῳ ἐξίτηλα γένηται, μήτε ἔργα μεγάλα τε καὶ θωμαστά, τὰ μὲν Ἕλλησι τὰ δὲ βαρβάροισι ἀποδεχθέντα, ἀκλεᾶ γένηται, τά τε ἄλλα καὶ δι' ἣν αἰτίην ἐπολέμησαν ἀλλήλοισι. Δευτέρῃ δὲ λέγουσι γενεῇ μετὰ ταῦτα Ἀλέξανδρον τὸν Πριάμου, ἀκηκοότα ταῦτα, ἐθελῆσαί οἱ ἐκ τῆς Ἑλλάδος δι' ἁρπαγῆς γενέσθαι γυναῖκα, ἐπιστάμενον πάντως ὅτι οὐ δώσει δίκας. οὔτω δὴ ἁρπάσαντος αὐτοῦ Ἑλένην. τοῖσι Ἕλλησι δόξαι πρῶτὸν πέμψαντας ἀγγέλους ἀπαιτέειν τε Ἑλένην καὶ δίκας τῆς ἁρπαγῆς αἰτέειν. τοὺς δέ, προισομένων ταῦτα, προφέρειν σφι Μηδείης τὴν ἁρπαγήν. ὡς οὐ δόντες αὐτοὶ δίκας οὐδὲ ἐκδόντες ἀπαιτεόντων βουλοίατό σφι παρ' ἄλλων δίκας γίνεσθαι. Μέχρι μὲν ὦν τούτου ἁρπαγὰς μούνας εἶναι παρ' ἀλλήλων. τὸ δὲ ἀπὸ τούτου Ἕλληνας δὴ μεγάλως αἰτίους γενέσθαι. προτέρους γὰρ ἄρξαι στρατεύεσθαι ἐς τὴν Ἀσίην ἤ σφέας ἐς τὴν Εὐρώπην. Ἕλληνας δὲ Λακεδαιμονίης εἵνεκεν γυναικὸς στόλον μέγαν συναγεῖραι καὶ ἔπειτα ἐλθόντας ἐς τὴν Ἀσίην τὴν Πριάμου δύναμιν κατελεῖν. ἀπὸ τούτου αἰεὶ ἡγήσασθαι τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν σφίσι εἶναι πολέμιον, τὴν γὰρ Ἀσίην καὶ τὰ ἐνοικέοντα ἔθνεα βάρβαρα οἰκηιεῦνται οἱ Πέρσαι, τὴν δὲ Εὐρώπην καὶ τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν ἥγηνται κεχωρίσθαι.

Translation

This is the exposition of the history of Herodotus, the Halicarnassian, (produced) so that neither the events be forgotten by humans in time, nor the great and wonderful deeds done by Greeks and foreigners may be without fame, and especially the reason why they fought with one another.
Then in the second generation after these things, they say that Paris, the son of Priam, having heard these things, wanted to get for himself a wife out of Greece through rapine, believing full well that he would not make amends. And so indeed he carried off Helen. It was resolved first by the Greeks that messengers that were sent should demand back Helen and request reparations. When they proposed these things, the Trojans brought up the rape of Medea, and they reminded the Greeks that they had not given satisfaction nor given what was requested but asked that reparations be given to them by others. Up to this point there were only robberies from one another. But after this (the Persians say) the Greeks became greatly blameworthy. For they began to make war against Asia before they themselves did against Europe. --- The Greeks for the sake of a Lacedaemonian woman brought together a great army and then coming to Asia destroyed the power of Priam. From this time on we have always regarded the Greeks as hostile us. The Persians claim Asia and the foreign nations living there for themselves and consider Europe and the Greeks to be separate.