Philhellene The Canon
Print
Take pains with the design so that it be
artistic. Grave and dignified the expression.
The diadem rather narrow; I dislike
the ample headband that the Parthians use.
The inscription, as is usual, in Greek;
not pompous, not excessive in its terms,
lest the proconsul always ferreting out
and sending word to Rome, should misconstrue;
but certainly a legend honouring me.
On the reverse, have something elegant;
to wit, a handsome youth at game of disc.
But more explicitly I bid you see
(Sithaspes, if you love me, see yourself)
that after King and Saviour there be added
in well-shaped characters, Philhellene ..... Nay,
spare me your arguments, your witticisms:
where the Hellenes? where Hellenic things?
in our seclusion, on the east of Zagrus,
far even from Phraata. Seeing that others,
so many others, have assumed the name,
and they, forsooth, more barbarous than we,
we also will assume it. After all,
do not forget that sometimes, in our midst,
sophists from Syria can be seen and heard,
and versifiers, and other smatterers.
So we are fairly hellenized, I think.

Translated by John Cavafy

(Poems by C. P. Cavafy. Translated, from the Greek, by J. C. Cavafy. Ikaros, 2003)

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

- Translation by Daniel Mendelsohn