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Pausanias: Woe to man

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Pausanias: Peace cradling Wealth in her arms

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Pausanias
From Description of Greece
Translated by J.G. Frazer

When Lichas arrived the Spartans were seeking the bones of Orestes in accordance with an oracle. Now Lichas inferred that they were buried in a smithy, the reason for this inference being this. Everything that he saw in the smithy he compared with the oracle from Delphi, likening to the winds the bellows, for that they too sent forth a violent blast, the hammer to the “stroke,” the anvil to the “counterstroke” to it, while the iron is naturally a “woe to man,” because already men were using iron in warfare. In the time of those called heroes the god would have called bronze a woe to man.

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