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Headword: *tele/silla
Adler number: tau,260
Translated headword: Telesilla
Vetting Status: high
[Name of a] poetess.
[sc. As depicted] on a stele she was throwing away her books but putting a helmet on her head. For when the Lacedaemonians were destroying those who had taken refuge in the sanctuary of Argos [Myth, Place] and were approaching the city in order to capture it, then Telesilla armed the young women and led them to meet the attackers. Seeing this, the Lacedaemonians turned back, considering it shameful to fight with women, since defeating them [would bring] no glory and being defeated great disgrace. In this also the oracle was fulfilled, which said to the Argives: "but when the female conquers and drives out the male and wins glory for the Argives, then she will make many of the Argive women tear their cheeks."[1]
Greek Original:
*tele/silla, poih/tria. e)pi\ sth/lhs ta\ me\n bibli/a a)pe/rripte, kra/nos de\ th=| kefalh=| perie/qhke. kai\ ga\r o(/te *lakedaimo/nioi tou\s e)n tw=| i(erw=| tou= *)/argous katafugo/ntas die/fqeiron kai\ pro\s th\n po/lin h)/|esan w(s ai(rh/sontes, to/te *tele/silla ta\s e)n h(liki/a| gunai=kas o(pli/sasa u(ph/nthsen oi(= prosh/|esan. o(/per i)do/ntes oi( *lakedaimo/nioi e)s tou)pi/sw u(pe/streyan, ai)sxro\n nomi/santes gunaici\ polemei=n, a(\s kai\ to\ nika=n a)/docon kai\ h(tta=sqai me/ga o)/neidos. e)s tou=to kai\ o( xrhsmo\s peplh/rwto, *)argei/ois le/gwn: a)ll' o(/tan h( qh/leia to\n a)/rrena nikh/sasa e)cela/sh| kai\ ku=dos *)argei/oisin a)/rhtai, polla\s *)argei/wn a)mfidrufe/as to/te qh/sei.
Early C5 BCE; OCD(4) s.v.
Few fragments of Telesilla's lyrics survive; evidently she wrote hymns for choirs of girls. The Telesillean meter was named for her. See Perseus Encyclopedia at web address 1.
[1] This second and lengthy gloss summarises and paraphrases Pausanias 2.20.8-10 (accessible via the Perseus Encyclopedia link), on an event of c.494 BCE. See also Plutarch, Bravery of Women 245C-F. Herodotus (6.77) cites the oracle without mentioning Telesilla.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: art history; biography; clothing; ethics; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; meter and music; poetry; religion; women
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 20 November 2000@16:38:15.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes; added keyword; cosmetics) on 21 May 2001@06:19:17.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 13 December 2005@06:52:22.
David Whitehead (expanded n.1; more keywords; cosmetics) on 12 August 2011@07:35:59.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note) on 23 December 2013@00:45:20.
David Whitehead on 8 January 2014@04:00:32.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 2 August 2014@11:16:46.
Catharine Roth (tweaked link) on 24 August 2014@20:08:45.


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