Friday Poetry: Melinno

Happy Friday!

I have gone for a poem by Melinno this week. Melinno is known only by her one extant poem, a Greek hymn to the goddess Roma. The date of Melinno is highly disputed, with suggestions varying by over four hundred years. Some argue she is from as early as the second century BC, others think as late as the second century AD.

The poem is in the style of Sappho, and might have been composed for a ritual.

Melinno's Hymn to Roma

Hail to Roma, the war-god's daughter
warrior queen in a golden girdle,
your Heaven here on earth, eternal
and unassailable.

On you alone, our ancient of days. 
Fate has bestowed this royal glory
of unbroken rule, sovereign strength
to lead where all follow.

For under your yoke, by your strong reins,
the great back of earth and foam-white seas
are bent; without a falter you steer
the cities of all men.

But time's great span can topple us all;
life sways us one way, then another
you alone sail on fair winds of rule
and never alter course.

For you alone have borne strong warriors,
great spearman, springing up unbidden
like Demeter's fruitful ears of corn,
a crop of mortal men.


Happy Reading

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