What do I care about that shield?

A fragment of Archilochus, recorded by Plutarch in Ancient Customs of the Spartans (34.239b):

When the poet Archilochus arrived in Sparta, they drove him out at once, because they learned that in his poetry he had said that it was better to throw away one’s arms than to be killed:

Some Saian exults in my shield which I left—a faultless weapon—beside a bush against my will. But I saved myself. What do I care about that shield? To hell with it! I’ll get one that’s just as good another time.


Ἀρχίλοχον τὸν ποιητὴν ἐν Λακεδαίμονι γενόμενον αὐτῆς ὥρας ἐδίωξαν, διότι ἐπέγνωσαν αὐτὸν πεποιηκότα ὡς κρεῖττόν ἐστιν ἀποβαλεῖν τὰ ὅπλα ἢ ἀποθανεῖν·

ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἣν παρὰ θάμνῳ,
ἔντος ἀμώμητον, κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων·
αὐτὸν δ᾿ ἐξεσάωσα. τί μοι μέλει ἀσπὶς ἐκείνη;
ἐρρέτω· ἐξαῦτις κτήσομαι οὐ κακίω.

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