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MNASALCAS : EPIGRAMS

Mnasalcas of Plataeae near Sicyon was a Greek poet who lived in the first half of the 3rd century B.C. Theodoridas wrote a satirical epitaph for him ( 13.21 ).

All of his surviving epigrams are shown here, in the order that they appear scattered throughout the Greek Anthology. The labels in red at the start of each epigram are their numbers within the Anthology. The labels in green are the numbers assigned to the epigrams in the edition by A.S.F.Gow & D.L.Page, "The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams".

The translations are taken from the edition by W.R.Paton (1916-18), but have been modified to remove some of the archaic language. The translator's notes are shown in green.   Click on G to go to the Greek text of each epigram.



[6.9]   { G-P 3 }   G

Here hang as gifts from Promachus to you, Phoebus, his crooked bow and quiver that delights in arrows ; but his winged shafts, the deadly gifts he sent his foes, are in the hearts of men on the field of battle.


[6.110]   { - }   G

-- By LEONIDAS or MNASALCAS

Cleolaus killed with his sharp spear, from his ambush under the hill, this hind by the winding water of Maeander, and nailed to the lofty pine the eight-pointed defence of its forehead.


[6.125]   { G-P 4 }   G

{On a Shield}

Now I rest here far from the battle, I who often saved my lord's fair breast by my back. Though receiving far-flying arrows and dreadful stones in thousands and long lances, I declare I never quitted Cleitus' long arm in the horrid din of battle.


[6.128]   { G-P 5 }   G

Rest in this holy house, bright shield, a gift from the wars to Artemis, Leto's child. For often in the battle, fighting on Alexander's arm, you did splendidly befoul your golden rim with dust.


[6.264]   { G-P 6 }   G

I am the shield of Alexander, Phylleus' son, and hang here a holy gift to golden-haired Apollo. My edge is old and war-worn, old and worn is my boss, but I shine by the valour I attained going forth to the battle with the bravest of men, him who dedicated me. From the day of my birth onwards I have remained unconquered.


[6.268]   { G-P 2 }   G

This image, Holy Artemis, Cleonymus set up to you. Bestow your blessing on this upland chase when your feet, our lady, tread the forest-clad mountain, as you follow eagerly the dreadful panting of your pack.


[7.54]   { G-P 18 }   G

On Hesiod

Ascra, the land of broad corn-fields, was my country, but the land of the charioteer Minyae *   holds my bones now I am dead. I am Hesiod, in the eyes of the world the most glorious of men who are judged by the test of wisdom.

*   Orchomenus.


[7.171]   { G-P 8 }   G

Here, too, the birds of heaven shall rest their swift wings, alighting on this sweet plane-tree. For Poemander of Melos is dead, and comes here no longer, his fowling canes smeared with lime.


[7.192]   { G-P 12 }   G

On a Locust

No longer, locust, sitting in the fruitful furrows shall you sing with your shrill-toned wings, nor shall you delight me as I lie under the shade of the leaves, striking sweet music from your tawny wings.


[7.194]   { G-P 13 }   G

This clay vessel *   set beside the far-reaching road holds the body of Democritus' locust that made music with its wings. When it started to sing its long evening hymn, all the house rang with the melodious song.

*   According to others, Argilos is the name of a town.


[7.212]   { G-P 11 }   G

On a Mare

Stranger, say that this is the tomb of wind-footed Aethyia, a child of the dry land, lightest of limb ; often toiling over the long course, she, like a bird, *   travelled as far as do the ships.

*   i.e. like the sea-bird whose name she bore.


[7.242]   { G-P 7 }   G

These men delivering their country from the tearful yoke that rested on her neck, clothed themselves in the dark dust. High praise they win by their valour; let each citizen look on them and dare to die for his country.


[7.488]   { G-P 9 }   G

Alas ! Aristocrateia, you are gone to deep Acheron, gone to rest before your prime, before your marriage ; and naught but tears is left for your mother, who reclining on your tomb often bewails you.


[7.491]   { G-P 10 }   G

Alas the baleful virginity, for which, delightful Cleo, you cut short your bright youth ! We stones in the semblance of Sirens stand on your tomb tearing our cheeks for you and weeping. *  

*   This seems to be on a girl who killed herself to preserve her virginity.


[9.70]   { G-P 14 }   G

O daughter of Pandion with the plaintive twittering voice, you who submitted to the unlawful embraces of Tereus, why do you complain, swallow, all day in the house ? Cease, for tears await you hereafter too.


[9.324]   { G-P 16 }   G

Why, O pipe, have you come here to the house of the Foam-born? *   Why are you here fresh from a shepherd's lips ? Here are no more hills and dales, nothing but the Loves and Desire. The mountains are the dwelling place of the rustic Muse.

*   Aphrodite.


[9.333]   { G-P 15 }   G

Let us stand on the low beach of the sea-washed promontory, gazing at the sanctuary of Cypris of the Sea, and the spring overshadowed by poplars from which the yellow kingfishers sip with their bills the running water.


[12.138]   { G-P 1 }   G

Vine, do you fear the setting of the Pleiads in the west, *   that you hasten to shed your leaves on the ground ? Tarry till sweet sleep fall on Antileon beneath you ; tarry till then, bestower of all favours on the fair.

*   The season in Autumn at which the vines begin to lose their leaves.


[ - ]   { G-P 17 }


  ἅδ' ἐγὼ ἁ τλάμων Ἀρετὰ παρὰ τῇδε κάθημαι
  Ἡδονῇ, αἰσχίστως κειραμένη πλοκάμους,
  θυμὸν ἄχει μεγάλῳ βεβολημένα, εἴπερ ἅπασιν
  ἁ κακόφρων Τέρψις κρεῖσσον ἐμοῦ κέκριται.

Translated by C.B.Gulick:

I, unhappy Virtue, have taken my seat here beside Pleasure, my curly locks shorn in direst distress, my soul caught in the meshes of heavy grief, because insane Joy has been preferred to me.


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