Lines from the Choëphoræ by Aeschylus written in Athens, 458 BC

Translation by Bhopal.Net

 

Erinyes, an etching by Erik Heyninck

Reproduced by kind permission of Erik Heyninck
http://www.castalia-art.com

The Erinyes or Furies, are vengeful goddesses who
hound those guilty of blood-crimes. Their names are Alekso,
Megaera and Tisiphone. They are creatures of nightmare,
gorgons with snakes for hair and blood-dripping eyes.

Our message to Mr Stavropoulos reads:
'Alekso, Megaera and Tisiphone are on your trail'.

The sections in blue opposite are those
parts that were given in Greek on the previous page.

 

At the dead of night came a scream that made the hairs on our heads stand on end. Our dreams were invaded by a Terror that woke with its shrieking sleepers in the innermost rooms. Those who have the God-given power to read dreams cried, "The dead beneath the earth are angry, filled with rage against their murderers".

The good earth has drunk blood, which lies in clots and will not dissolve or wash away. It cries out for justice. The souls of the guilty are filled with despair, madness presses on their minds and ruins them utterly.

It is the law: once the ground has tasted blood it craves more. Slaughter cries out to the vengeful Furies of those who have been killed and their murders beget more destruction.

God's justice will protect the revenge-takers. It cries for the blood of those who killed our loved ones. It promises years of calamity if we take no revenge. It bids us destroy them as they destroyed our parents and forbids us to take blood-money for their ransom. It reveals the true price that must be paid by those guilty of blood, demanded by dark powers beneath the earth, that breed plagues and leprous ulcers that bite into the flesh with white and weeping sores. It speaks of other things — attacks by Furies stirred up by innocent blood, dark nightmares from the depths of hell, sent by murdered kinsmen calling for revenge; terrifiying night visions, unspeakable horrors out of the night — he shall see them coming for him, his eyes rolling in the fear-filled dark. Bronze whips, like the stings of scorpions, shall scar his body and drive him out of human society. This man can never drink a convivial toast, or share the sacred cup. He is an outcast. No altar shall give him sanctuary. For him there will be no relief, no end to his suffering. No one will shelter him, and in the end, without a friend, despised by all, wasted away to nothing by unremitting pain, he will die.

O God, look! Now they come for me. They come, the Erinyes! Their eyes are dripping blood . . . Ah, you don't see them, but I do! They are coming! They are coming for me!