Don’t Distort the Truth

Homer, The Iliad. Trans. Peter V. Jones (New York: Penguin Books, 2003), IV.400-410:

‘That was Tydeus from Aetolia. You are his son. But you do not fight as he did, though you may be better when it comes to talking.’

So he spoke, and mighty Diomedes made no reply. He dutifully accepted the rebuke from the leader he respected.

But Sthenelus son of illustrious Capaneus replied:

’Son of Atreus, you know the facts: don’t lie about them. I say we are far better men than our fathers. We did succeed in capturing seven-gated Thebes. With a weaker force, we stormed more powerful defences than they ever faced, because we trusted in Zeus’ help and the signs that the gods sent us; but our fathers were destroyed through their own recklessness. So don’t talk to me about our fathers in the same breath as us.’

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