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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

ʽΗροδότου ʽΑλικαρνησσέος ἱστορίης ἀπόδεξις ʽήδε, ὡς μήτε τὰ γενόμενα ἐξ ἀνθρώπων τῳ̂ χρόνῳ ἐξίτηλα γένηται, μήτε ʼέργα μεγάλα τε καὶ θωμαστά, τὰ μὲν ʽΈλλησι τὰ δὲ βαρβάροισι ἀποδεχθέντα, ἀκλεα̂ γένηται, τά τε ʼάλλα καὶ δι' ʽὴν αἰτίην ἐπολέμησαν ἀλλήλοισι. Δευτέρῃ δὲ λέγουσι γενεῃ̂ μετὰ ταυ̂τα ʼΑλέξανδρον τὸν Πριάμου, ἀκηκοότα ταυ̂τα, ἐθελη̂σαί οἱ ἐκ τη̂ς ʽΕλλάδος δι' ἁρπαγη̂ς γενέσθαι γυναι̂κα, ἐπιστάμενον πάντως ʽότι οὐ δώσει δίκας. οʼύτω δὴ ἁρπάσαντος αὐτου̂ ʽΕλένην. τοι̂σι ʽΈλλησι δόξαι πρω̂τὸν πέμψαντας ἀγγέλους ἀπαιτέειν τε ʽΕλένην καὶ δίκας τη̂ς ἁρπαγη̂ς αἰτέειν. τοὺς δέ, προισομένων ταυ̂τα, προφέρειν σφι Μηδείης τὴν ἁρπαγήν. ὡς οὐ δόντες αὐτοὶ δίκας οὐδὲ ἐκδόντες ἀπαιτεόντων βουλοίατό σφι παρ' ʼάλλων δίκας γίνεσθαι. Μέχρι μὲν ʼω̂ν τούτου ἁρπαγὰς μούνας εʼι̂ναι παρ' ἀλλήλων. τὸ δὲ ἀπὸ τούτου ʽΈλληνας δὴ μεγάλως αἰτίους γενέσθαι. προτέρους γὰρ ʼάρξαι στρατεύεσθαι ἐς τὴν ʼΑσίην ʼή σφέας ἐς τὴν Εὐρώπην. ʽΈλληνας δὲ Λακεδαιμονίης εʽίνεκεν γυναικὸς στόλον μέγαν συναγει̂ραι καὶ ʼέπειτα ἐλθόντας ἐς τὴν ʼΑσίην τὴν Πριάμου δύναμιν κατελει̂ν. ἀπὸ τούτου αἰεὶ ἡγήσασθαι τὸ ʽΕλληνικὸν σφίσι εʼι̂ναι πολέμιον, τὴν γὰρ ʼΑσίην καὶ τὰ ἐνοικέοντα ʼέθνεα βάρβαρα οἰκηιευ̂νται οἱ Πέρσαι, τὴν δὲ Εὐρώπην καὶ τὸ ʽΕλληνικὸν ʽήγηνται 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.