02 September 2015

A Warning Against Wage Theft from the Iliad

[Poseidon speaks to Apollo]
Young fool, what a mindless heart you have.  Can you not even
now remember all the evils we endured here by Ilion,
you and I alone of the gods, when to proud Laomedon
we came down from Zeus and for a year were his servants
for a stated hire, and he told us what to do, and to do it?
Then I built a wall for the Trojans about their city,
wide, and very splendid, so none could break into their city,
but you, Phoibos, herded his shambling horn-curved cattle
along the spurs of Ida with all her folds and her forests.
But when the changing seasons brought on the time for our labor
to be paid, then headstrong Laomedon violated and made void
all our hire, and sent us away, and sent threats after us.
For he threatened to hobble our feet and to bind our arms,
to carry us away for slaves in the far-lying islands.
He was even going to strip with bronze the ears from both of us.
Then you and I took our way back with hearts full of anger
and wrath for our hire which he promised us and would not accomplish it.
Yet to his people you give now your grace, and you will not
try with us to bring destruction on the insolent Trojans
evil and complete, with their honored wives and their children." (21: 441-460, Richmond Lattimore translation)

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