Dimaratos The Canon
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His subject, The character of Dimaratos,
which Porphyry proposed to him in conversation
was outlined by the young sophist as follows
(he planned to develop it rhetorically later):
 
First a courtier of King Dareios,
and after that of King Xerxes,
now with Xerxes and his army,
at last Dimaratos will be vindicated.
 
Hed been treated very unjustly.
He was Aristons son, but his enemies
bribed the oracle brazenly.
And it wasnt enough that they deprived him of his kingship,
but when he finally gave in and decided
to live quietly as a private citizen,
they had to insult him even in front of the people,
they had to humiliate him publicly at the festival.
 
As a consequence, he serves Xerxes assiduously.
Along with the great Persian army,
he will make it back to Sparta too;
and king once again, how quickly
he will throw him out, how thoroughly
he will shame that schemer Leotychidis.
 
So now he spends his days full of anxiety,
advising the Persians, explaining
what they should do to conquer Greece.
 
Much worrying, much thinking, and for this reason
Dimaratos finds his days so burdensome;
much worrying, much thinking, and for this reason
Dimaratos cannot find a moments joy
because what hes feeling cant be called joy
(it is not; he will not admit it;
how can he call it joy? His distress could not be greater)
now things make it quite clear to him
that it is the Greeks who are going to win.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

- Original Greek Poem