Epigram 6.141

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Codex Palatinus 23 p. 166


Ῥυσαμένα Πύθωνα δυσαχέος ἐκ πολέμοιο,
ἀσπὶς Ἀθηναίης ἐν τεμένει κρέμαται,

— Paton edition

Poiché salvò Pitone dalla rauca battaglia,
lo scudo è appeso nel tempio di Atena.




A composition in verse dedicated to the shield represents a remarkable occurrance compared to votive inscriptions. Inscribed shields returned from excavations, mostly tithes of war booty, usually convey nothing more than the name of the dedicator and that of the defeated people (see Lazzarini 1976, n° 900, 958, 961, 968, 973, 978, 980). It remains ambiguous whether the epigram ἐπὶ τῇ ἀσπίδι (on the shield), mentioned by Pausanias V 10.4, was engraved directly onto the shield offered by the Spartans to the temple of Zeus at Olympia as a tithe for their victory at Tanagra (458/457 BC), or on a nearby object (see Zizza 2006, 160-166). Conversely, among the epigrams in the Anthology that focus on military equipment, very few concern the public dedication of spoils of war; most, like the 'anacreontic', represent the much less documented custom of individually dedicating one's own weapons. - M. Legnini


This is the simplest and most concise epigram of the Anthology to express gratitude for the protection bestowed by the shield. It is far removed stylistically from the exhibitions of skill typical of Hellenistic literary exercises and, thus, possibly authentically inscriptional in origin (see Page 1981, 141). Within it, it is possible to identify certain distinctive features that seem to be developed and varied in works from subsequent ages: note, in particular, the portrayal of the battle through evocative auditory imagery (line 1: δυσαχέος ἐκ πολέμοιο) and the unconventional identification of the divine recipient by indicaton of the location of the vow (line 2: Ἀθηναίας ἐν τεμένει). Therefore, it is plausible that this epigram serves as the template, if not for the overarching motif of the weapon placed at rest in temples (see Martin 2021, 46-48), at least for that of the salvific shield. See also comments on related epigrams. - M. Legnini


Bergk's proposed emendation at line 2, replacing κρέμαται with κρέμαμαι, is corroborated by the dedications of the same theme, especially if we consider that the 'anacreontic' distich might serve as the inspiration for epigrams concerning the salvific nature of the shield. The personification of the weapon emerges as a recurring technique in Hellenistic-era parallels: most shields in such texts speak in the first person, while in the sole exception the personified weapon is nonetheless directly addressed in the second person. This observation complements the findings of quantitative analysis of epigraphic evidence, indicating that object was often the presumed speaker in both votive and funerary epigrams from the genre's inception until the early fourth century (see Tueller 2008, 16-27). - M. Legnini


Ῥυσαμένα Πύθωνα δυσαχέος ἐκ πολέμοιο ,
ἀσπὶς Ἀθηναίης ἐν τεμένει κρέμαται ,

Poiché salvò Pitone dalla rauca battaglia ,
lo scudo è appeso nel tempio di Atena .


Last modifications

Epigram 6.141: Modification of Comment (PK 1599) by “MartaLegnini

Epigram 6.141: Modification of Comment (PK 1599) by “MartaLegnini

Epigram 6.141: Modification of Comment (PK 1599) by “MartaLegnini

Epigram 6.141: Addition of ExtRef: Dedication of the shield in the Anthology: comment by “MartaLegnini

Epigram 6.141: Addition of ExtRef: Additional witness: Suda δ 1634 A. s.v. δυσηχής by “MartaLegnini

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