Home > Uncategorized > Nonnos: Brother-murdering blade. Disarming the god of war.

Nonnos: Brother-murdering blade. Disarming the god of war.


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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace


From Dionysiaca
Translated by W. H. D. Rouse

“I will strip murderous Ares of his ragged bucklers, I will bind the lord of battle, and carry him off, and make him Killer the Gentle…that I may see Ares a slave…”

“[C]lamp with chains of bronze Ares the governor of iron!”


Cadmos for all that did not neglect Athena’s injunction. He reaped the stubble of giants springing up ever anew. One he struck with windswift spear over the breast, hit one on the broad neck by the collarbone shearing the bones of the hairy throat: another he tore with hurtling stone while he sowed as far as the belly. The blood of the dreadful giants flowed in rivers; Ares slipt in the gore staining his limbs with crimson, and Victory’s robe was reddened with purple drops while she stood beside the battle…

Then by the wise counsel of Pallas he lifted a stone high above the giants’ heads; and they drunken with gory lust for Enyo, went wild with warlike fury and destroyed each other with the steel of their cousin, and found burial in the dust. One fought with another: with ruddy gore the surface of the shield was drenched and spotted and darkened, as a giant died; the crop of that field was shorn by the brother-murdering blade of an earthgrown knife.

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