"The Sacrifice of Iphigenia," Francois Perrier, 17th century painting, Wikipedia photo.
“The Sacrifice of Iphigenia,” Francois Perrier, 17th century painting, Wikipedia photo.

O! Fates and furies! Forsaken by gods and
My father, Agamemnon, I am death bound,
Breast bared upon sacrificial altar, Iphigenia,
Daughter of Attic king, able to bear strong
Children, yet for cause of war, survival of
Greek city-states, to defeat Troy, cutting edge
Of bronze knife brought to my willing throat.

To whom should I pray, when Artemis de-
Mands deceitful blood? Lured by my father
For wedding to Achilles, for his armies, my
Destiny realized, soul rose from mortal body
As knife descended, cleaving breast and
Heart, anguished pain, metallic taste of blood,
Vision in dutiful death darkened.

Godly hands cupped my face, I arose by
Artemis’ divine intervention, soul burnished
By immortal light, I awakened in deific sanc-
Tuary at Brauron, stag sacrificed in my place,
Single drop of my blood on stone altar spilled,
Love and loyalty to family, obedience to perish
By my father’s ignoble hands.

Lo! On Attic shores, commanding view of azure
Skies and seas, I am priestess of columned
Temple of Artemis, guardian of bronze doors,
As I protect her holy naos, Artemis shall shield
Me, serving her for all my days, by holy honour,
I will know not warring strife of Greece and
Troy, countless deaths by spear and sword.

Another mythic account of daughter, father, and stag, this poem tells of sacrifice to appease the gods, enabling Agamemnon’s victory in the Trojan War.

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