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Acritic Verse

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Greek Verse

Acritic Verse, Greek-"song of the frontiersmen” is the heroic or epic poetry of 10th century Byzantium. This poetic genre emerged from an almost continuous state of warfare. It was composed as first hand experiences in narratives of recitation, or in a simple, recurring, cadence that was easy to remember and pass on. It set up the beginnings of modern Greek verse.

Digenes Akrites is the most famous of the Acritic songs, an epic narrative. I found this fragment with translation at Wikipedia.

Below is an excerpt from the translation of the Escorial manuscript, lines 32-42, by E.M. Jeffreys (pp. 241–2):

εκαβαλίκευσαν, 'ς τόν κάμπον κατεβαίνουν.
Ώς δράκοντες εσύριζαν και ως λέοντες εβρύχουντα
και ώς αετοί επέτουντα και εσμίξαν οι δύο.
Και τότε να ειδής πόλεμον καλών παλληκαρίων
και από της μάχης της πολλής κρούσιν διασυντόμως                            
και από τον κρύπον τον πολύν και από το δός και λάβε
οι κάμποι φόβον είχασιν και τα βουνά αηδονούσαν,
το αίμαν εκατέρεεν εις τα σκαλόλουρά των
και ο ίδρος τους εξέβαινε απάνω απ'τα λουρίκια.
Ήτον γάρ του Κωνσταντή γοργότερος ο μαύρος,
και θαυμαστός νεώτερος ήτον ο
They mounted at once and they came to the battlefield.
They hissed like serpents, they roared like lions,
They soared like eagles, and the two clashed.
And then you could see a fight between fine brave youths.
In the heat of the battle they struck continuously,
and from the great clashing and the cut and thrust
trees were uprooted and the sun was darkened,
Blood flowed down over their horse-trappings
and their sweat ran out over their breastplates.
Constantine’s black horse was speedier,
and its rider was a marvellous young man.</table>

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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