Monday, June 09, 2014

It's Greek To Me

Consider this:-

Ζεὺς μὲν ἀφίκτωρ ἐπίδοι προφρόνως
στόλον ἡμέτερον νάιον ἀρθέντ᾽
ἀπὸ προστομίων λεπτοψαμάθων
Νείλου. Δίαν δὲ λιποῦσαι
χθόνα σύγχορτον Συρίᾳ φεύγομεν,
οὔτιν᾽ ἐφ᾽ αἵματι δημηλασίαν
ψήφῳ πόλεως γνωσθεῖσαν,
ἀλλ᾽ αὐτογενεῖ φυξανορίᾳ
γάμον Αἰγύπτου παίδων ἀσεβῆ

That is from The Suppliants by Aeschylus and translates so:-

I pray that Zeus who cares for suppliants
will look with kindness on our company,
whose ship has travelled here across the sea
from the fine-grained sandy estuary
of river Nile. We fled that sacred land,
whose pastures border Syria, and come
as fugitives, not exiled by decree
of public banishment for shedding blood, 
but acting on our own, because we wished
to flee a marriage we could not accept,
a hateful and sacrilegious match
with Aegyptus’ sons.

I do appreciate literature (one of my daughters earned a MA in Comparative Literature and her thesis was on leg injuries) but what caught my eye was the fact that between Syria and Egypt, well, there is no "Palestine".

The play dates from around 470 BCE.

At that time period, the Land of Israel was still seeking to reconstruct after the expulsion to Babylon.  Ezra had not yet arrived with a significant number of returnees.  It is quite logical that the "Land of Israel" would not be mentioned.

But, if as Arabs claim, the land was always "Palestine", why no mention?


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