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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - Antique Statues - 1. The Aphrodite of Melos

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1 82 ROMAN DA YS.
resolve to die, if need be, for that which is to profit
others than ourselves. She led me into the homes where
chaste mothers suckled the sturdy-minded sons, who at
Marathon and Salamis saved Europe. She revived the
dim heroic memories of the little isle where her temple
stood. In front of her, I forgot that Venus who had in-
trigues with Mars, and her who longed for the apple of
Paris ; and it is still hard for me to believe, although I
know it, that any one, in presence of this statue, could
have thought of them.
Still another trait from the history of Melos, to illus-
trate the statue. The same pigmy state that defied the
Persian giant when the freedom of Hellas was at stake,
refused to take part in that feud between brethren that is
called the Peloponnesian war. All the Grecian states
stood armed for battle in one camp or the other. All
the islands had declared themselves for Athens or Sparta.
One alone, and that was Melos, dared have its own opin-
ion and maintain it. " For Hellenes to fight against
Hellenes is a crime in which we will not share. But
whoever would force us to do so, against him we draw the
sword." This was the neutrality of patriotism, but not
of politic circumspection, still less ,of cowardice ; for
neutrality here, every one saw, was the same as compul-
sory war with either side, without help from the other.
It has already been mentioned that the Athenians came
with force to Melos, to compel it to an alliance, but were
repulsed. From that hour, Melos declared itself for
Sparta. The Athenians returned, laid waste the island’s
fields and vineyards and surrounded the city. The Meli-
ans defended their walls valiantly, and made bold sallies,
but were forced at last to capitulate. Once masters of

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