II. Althea – Xenophon’s “Anabasis”

"Reading from Homer," Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1885, Wikiart photo.
“Reading from Homer,” Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1885, Wikiart photo.

Day and night pilgrims sailed, recounting fables,
Many known to children, fox and grapes, gnat
And ox, catharsis of Greek hearts, joyous hymns
Of praise, ascending to pale-banded Jovian light,
Four moons orbiting in celestial resonance,
Attending Zeus, ocean-quelling, ship-guiding,
Cyclaes Islands beyond horizon’s edge.

Discussions deep within starlit nights, Thyonē
Read passages from Homer and of Plato. Some
Wave-anxious voyagers spoke only of archaic
Gods, solemn tragic heroes, countless killed,
Athenians and enemies alike, those lamed by
Battle, worthy steps in valor, victorious and
Defeated, weary Greeks persevered for country.

Providing instruction on Xenophon’s “Anabasis,”
Althea quieted parishioner’s angst-filled hearts,
Their sailing ship skirting dangerous rocks. Ten
Thousand Ægean soldiers retreated from Persians’
Warring waves, to fight again on winning terms,
Strategy of cunning Xenophon, savior of Greek
Sons, favored amongst families and the gods.

Greek soldiers battled their way across abyss of
Famined desert, marching heroically to Black Sea
Shores, shouting “thalatta, thalatta,” “the sea,
The sea,” salvation of lapping surf. Thus in faithful
Praise, Thyonē and the pilgrims ventured amidst
Land and seascapes in safe procession, to worship
Before high alter of Poseidon’s ocean temple.

Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling,
and our story shall be the education of our heroes.”
― Plato, “The Republic”

This concludes Part 2 of 4. The next section is
“III. Cape Sounion – Approaching Poseidon.”

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