Pindar. Arnson Svarlien, Diane, translator. Created for the Perseus Project, 1990.
Today you must stand beside a beloved man, Muse, the king of Cyrene with its fine horses, so that while Arcesilas celebrates his triumph you may swell the fair wind of song that is due to the children of Leto and to Pytho, where once the priestess seated beside the golden eagles of Zeus,
on a day when Apollo happened to be present, gave an oracle naming Battus as the colonizer of fruitful Libya, and telling how he would at once leave the holy island and found a city of fine chariots on a shining white breast of the earth,
and carry out
in the seventeenth generation the word spoken at Thera by Medea, which once the inspired daughter of Aeetes, the queen of the Colchians, breathed forth from her immortal mouth. She spoke in this way to the heroes who sailed with the warrior Jason: “Hear me, sons of high-spirited men and of gods. For I say that from this wave-washed land one day the daughter of Epaphus
will have planted in her a root of cities that are [*](Reading with Snell μελησιμβρότων for μελησίμβροτον. ) dear to men, in the temple of Zeus Ammon.
Instead of short-finned dolphins they will have swift horses, and reins instead of oars, and they will drive storm-footed chariot teams. That token shall make
Thera the mother-city of great cities, the token which once, beside the out-flowing waters of lake Tritonis, Euphemus received as he descended from the prow, a clod of earth as a gift of friendship from a god in the likeness of a man. And as a sign of favor, Zeus the son of Cronus sounded a peal of thunder,
when the stranger found us hanging the bronze-jawed anchor
, the bridle of the swift Argo, against the ship. Before that we had been dragging our seafaring ship for twelve days from the Ocean over the deserted back of the land, having drawn it ashore by my counsels. And then the solitary god approached, who had assumed the splendid appearance of an honored man. He began to speak friendly words,
such as beneficent hosts use when they first invite arriving strangers to a meal.
But we could not stay, for the plea of our sweet homecoming prevented us from lingering. He said that he was Eurypylus, the son of the holder of the earth, the immortal earth-shaker Poseidon. He realized that we were hurrying on our way, and straightaway with his right hand he snatched up a piece of earth,
the first thing to come to hand, and sought to present it as a gift of hospitality. He did not fail to persuade Euphemus; the hero leapt down onto the shore, and, pressing his hand in the hand of the stranger, received the divine clod of earth. But now I learn that it was washed out of the ship into the sea by a wave
at evening, following the watery tide. Truly, I often urged the sailors who relieve their masters from toil to guard it; but their minds were forgetful, and now on this island the immortal seed of spacious Libya is washed ashore before the proper time. For if only Euphemus had gone to his home in holy Taenarus and cast the clod beside the earthly mouth of Hades—
Euphemus the son of lord Poseidon, ruler of horses, whom once Europa the daughter of Tityus bore beside the banks of the Cephisus—
the blood of the fourth generation descended from him would have taken possession of that broad continent together with the Danaans; for then they will be uprooted from Lacedaemon and the Argive gulf and Mycenae.
As it is, Euphemus shall find in the beds of foreign women a chosen race, who, with the honor of the gods, will come to this island and beget a man who will be master of the dark-clouded plains; whom one day Phoebus, in his home rich in gold, will mention in his oracles
when he goes into the Pythian shrine at a later time; Phoebus will tell him to carry cities in his ships to the fertile precinct of the son of Cronus beside the Nile.” Indeed, these were the oracular verses of Medea. And the godlike heroes bowed down motionless and in silence, listening to her shrewd words of wisdom. Battus, blessed son of Polymnestus, it was you that, in accord with this word of prophecy,
the oracle glorified by the spontaneous cry of the Delphic Bee, who three times loudly bid you hail, and declared that you were the destined king of Cyrene,
when you came to ask the oracle what relief the gods would grant you for your stammering voice. And even now, in later days, as in the prime of red-blossoming spring,
eighth in the line of Battus’ descendants flourishes Arcesilas. To him Apollo and Pytho gave glory in the chariot race above those that live around. I will offer him, and the all-golden fleece of the ram, to the Muses as a theme for song. For when the Minyans sailed after that fleece, divinely-sent honors were planted for his race.