Constantine P. Cavafy

(29 April 1863 – 29 April 1933 / Alexandria)

In 200 B.C. - Poem by Constantine P. Cavafy

"Alexander son of Philip, and the Greeks except the Lacedaemonians--"

We can very well imagine
that they were utterly indifferent in Sparta
to this inscription. "Except the Lacedaemonians",
but naturally. The Spartans were not
to be led and ordered about
as precious servants. Besides
a panhellenic campaign without
a Spartan king as a leader
would not have appeared very important.
O, of course "except the Lacedaemonians."

This too is a stand. Understandable.

Thus, except the Lacedaemonians at Granicus;
and then at Issus; and in the final
battle, where the formidable army was swept away
that the Persians had massed at Arbela:
which had set out from Arbela for victory, and was swept away.

And out of the remarkable panhellenic campaign,
victorious, brilliant,
celebrated, glorious
as no other had ever been glorified,
the incomparable: we emerged;
a great new Greek world.

We; the Alexandrians, the Antiocheans,
the Seleucians, and the numerous
rest of the Greeks of Egypt and Syria,
and of Media, and Persia, and the many others.
With our extensive territories,
with the varied action of thoughtful adaptations.
And the Common Greek Language
we carried to the heart of Bactria, to the Indians.

As if we were to talk of Lacedaemonians now!


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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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