(525 BC - 455 BC / Eleusis)

The Battle Of Salamis - Poem by Aeschylus

The night was passing, and the Grecian host
By no means sought to issue forth unseen.
But when indeed the day with her white steeds
Held all the earth, resplendent to behold,
First from the Greeks the loud-resounding din
Of song triumphant came; and shrill at once
Echo responded from the island rock.
Then upon all barbarians terror fell,
Thus disappointed; for not as for flight
The Hellenes sang the holy pæan then,
But setting forth to battle valiantly.
The bugle with its note inflamed them all;
And straightway with the dip of plashing oars
They smote the deep sea water at command,
And quickly all were plainly to be seen.
Their right wing first in orderly array
Led on, and second all the armament
Followed them forth; and meanwhile there was heard
A mighty shout: "Come, O ye sons of Greeks,
Make free your country, make your children free,
Your wives, and fanes of your ancestral gods,
And your sires' tombs! For all we now contend!"
And from our side the rush of Persian speech
Replied. No longer might the crisis wait.
At once ship smote on ship with brazen beak;
A vessel of the Greeks began the attack,
Crushing the stem of a Phoenician ship.
Each on a different vessel turned its prow.
At first the current of the Persian host
Withstood; but when within the strait the throng
Of ships was gathered, and they could not aid
Each other, but by their own brazen bows
Were struck, they shattered all our naval host.
The Grecian vessels not unskillfully
Were smiting round about; the hulls of ships
Were overset; the sea was hid from sight,
Covered with wreckage and the death of men;
The reefs and headlands were with corpses filled,
And in disordered flight each ship was rowed,
As many as were of the Persian host.
But they, like tunnies or some shoal of fish,
With broken oars and fragments of the wrecks
Struck us and clove us; and at once a cry
Of lamentation filled the briny sea,
Till the black darkness' eye did rescue us.
The number of our griefs, not though ten days
I talked together, could I fully tell;
But this know well, that never in one day
Perished so great a multitude of men.

Comments about The Battle Of Salamis by Aeschylus

  • Paresh Chakra (11/29/2018 3:13:00 AM)

    This poem is a very beautiful poem (Report) Reply

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  • (11/11/2018 9:21:00 PM)

    Who is the music by (Report) Reply

  • (7/24/2018 7:07:00 PM)

    So well penned. That valiant battle of history past is but not unclear to the mind as hererin presented...not without poetic aplomb. An engaging read this is. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (4/1/2018 5:56:00 PM)

    History viewed through the frame of poetry... gets the urgency and the visual aspects across better than a dry newspaper-style reporting... the translator did a very smooth job here (Report) Reply

  • (4/1/2018 5:42:00 PM)

    Beautiful and captivating. There is a certain sense of thrill in poem’s lyrics. Probably this same thrill of emotions is what keeps humans indulge in war. (Report) Reply

  • Joshua Adeyemi (4/1/2018 5:11:00 PM)

    And from our side the rush of Persian
    Replied. No longer might the crisis wait.
    At once ship smote on ship with brazen
    A vessel of the Greeks began the attack,
    Crushing the stem of a Phoenician ship.
    (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (4/1/2018 3:14:00 AM)

    A vivid picture of war has been presented astutely. Beautiful poem. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (4/1/2018 3:11:00 AM)

    Such a great poem by Aeschylus👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • Muzahidul Reza (4/1/2018 1:05:00 AM)

    Were smiting round about; the hulls of ships, ..... well penned (Report) Reply

  • (4/1/2017 11:52:00 PM)

    The great freedom struggle and battle for it narrated in a captivating vein. Thanks for sharing it here. (Report) Reply

  • Ubong Essien (4/1/2017 5:41:00 PM)

    A poem like never before. As though it was once written on the tablet of a Greek gods (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (4/1/2017 5:06:00 PM)

    Now that was the way to send a message home about a battle (Report) Reply

  • Lantz Pierre (4/1/2017 8:59:00 AM)

    Were things any better when poems served as the textbooks of history? Certainly they were no worse. (Report) Reply

  • Joshua Adeyemi (4/1/2017 7:11:00 AM)

    A poem indeed. Embroided with imageries.
    That's how we know outstanding poets, which youre one.
    (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (4/1/2017 3:09:00 AM)

    A piece of history and mythology poetically presented. Great translation of a classic poem. Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • (4/1/2017 2:29:00 AM)

    Like Titanic mishaps.heavy casualties were there in one day.that was not in line with what was order of the day
    In every era there was war, war rules, and casualty expectation.It is a naval war, soldiers swimming as shoal of fish.
    .Fight between Greece, Persian, Helenese, Phoenician.
    (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (4/1/2017 1:41:00 AM)

    The deep sea water..... thanks for posting.... (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (4/1/2017 1:03:00 AM)

    'Struck us and clove us'! ! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (1/20/2016 12:46:00 PM) amazingly penned poem of war and destruction...
    if only love were the motto of all men....if only men could
    follow a golden rule: love thy brother ★
    (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (7/10/2015 6:59:00 AM)

    ''The Persians'' (Persai) was performed in 472 BC and based on experiences in Aeschylus's own life, specifically the Battle of Salamis (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sea, fish, together, children, song, water, death, fishing, child, son

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

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