“Glaucus, you know how you and I
Have the best of everything in Lycia —
Seats, cuts of meat, full cups, everybody
Looking at us as if we were gods?
Not to mention our estates on the Xanthus,
Fine orchards and riverside wheat fields.
Well, now we have to take our stand at the front,
Where all the best fight, and face the heat of battle,
So that many an armored Lycian will say,
‘So they’re not inglorious after all,
Our Lycian lords who eat fat sheep
And drink the sweetest wine. No,
They’re strong, and fight with our best.’
Ah, my friend, if you and I could only
Get out of the war alive and then
Be immortal and ageless all of our days.
I would never again fight among the foremost
Or send you into battle where men win glory.
But as it is, death is everywhere
In more shapes that we can count,
And since no mortal is immune or can escape,
Let’s go forward, either to give glory
To another man or get glory from him.”
Sarpedon speaking to Glaucus during the height of the Trojan War. Lines 320-342 in book 12 of Homer’s Iliad (Lombardo translation).
The wealthy, the heads of government fighting at the front lines. What a concept.