Epigram 9.551

Created on
Updated on



Καλχαδὼν δύστηνον ἐρωδιὸν ἐχθρὰ κολάζει:
τεῦ χάριν ὁ προδότης ὄρνις ἀεὶ λέγεται,
† Φοῖβοσἐρεῖ: τεναγῖτιν ὅτ᾽ εἰς ἅλα κῶλον ἐλαφρὸν
στήσας, ψαμμίτην δόρπον [ ἐθημολόγει,

δυσμενέες τότ᾽ ἔβησαν ἐπὶ πτόλιν ἀντιπέρηθεν,
ὀψὲ διδασκόμενοι πεζοβατεῖν πέλαγος.
βάλλετε δὴ κακὸν ὄρνιν, ἐπεὶ βαρὺν ἤρατο μισθὸν
ἐκ δηίων, κόχλους καὶ βρύον, ὁ προδότης.

— Paton edition

Calchedon hates and punishes the ill-omened
heron. Phoebus will tell for what reason it is always
called the traitor-bird. When in the shallow sea
standing on its thin shanks it was picking up its food
from the sand, then the foemen crossed to the city
from opposite, learning at length to pass over the
sea on foot. Stone the wicked bird, for it got from
the enemy a heavy reward — conchs and seaweed,
the traitor.¹

— Paton edition





Paton Edition: The incident alluded to in this epigram is quite unknown, and the whole looks like a legend made up to account for the bad name this bird had at Chalcedon Such popular explanations of local superstitions are legion. The last couplet is, of course, playful and ironical.


External references