JW Hewitt calls the prayer of Cyrus recorded at the end of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia “the loftiest and purest thanksgiving I have found anywhere in Greek literature.” Curious that it is put into the mouth of a Persian.
The prayer reads (in Walter Miller’s translation): ”O ancestral Zeus and Helius and all the gods, accept these offerings as tokens of gratitude for help in achieving many glorious enterprises; for in omens in the sacrifice, in signs from heaven, in the flight of birds, and in ominous words, ye ever showed me what I ought to do and what I ought not to do. And I render heartfelt thanks to you that I have never failed to recognize your fostering care and never in my successes entertained proud thoughts transcending human bounds. And I beseech of you that ye will now also grant prosperity and happiness to my children, my wife, my friends, and my country, and to me myself an end befitting the life that ye have given me.”
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm
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