Home > Uncategorized > Catullus: Appalled by fratricide, gods turned from man

Catullus: Appalled by fratricide, gods turned from man

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Catullus
From The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis, Poem 64
Translated by Thomas Banks

Often in the death-bringing struggle of war, Mars
or Minerva, ruler of the swift river Triton, or Nemesis
in person urged on the armed hordes of men.

But after the earth was stained with unspeakable crime
and all chased justice from their desirous minds,
and brothers suffused their hands with brother’s blood,

then all things speakable, unspeakable, jumbled in evil madness,
turned the gods’ mind of justice away from us.

Therefore they do not deign to visit such throngs
nor allow themselves to be touched by day’s bright light.


Eteocles and Polynices
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

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