Politeia (Der Staat) (German Edition)

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Xuthus proposes that Ion come back to Athens with him, but the young man is reluctant to take on the role of "the bastard son of an imported father.


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When he says that he would prefer to remain a temple attendant, Xuthus breaks off the conversation with "Enough of that. You must learn to be happy. When the time is right, he will arrange for Ion to be his heir. As he leaves to offer sacrifice, he names the boy Ion because he met him 'coming out' and tells him to arrange for a banquet to celebrate his departure from Delphi.

He enjoins the chorus to reveal nothing of what has happened. Ion reluctantly agrees to go to Athens, but he longs to meet his unknown mother and fears he will not be well received. The Chorus of Creusa's maids, suspecting treachery, pray for the death of Xuthus and Ion, whom they consider interlopers.

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Creusa returns to the temple gate accompanied by her father's elderly tutor. Sensing that something is amiss, Creusa presses her maids to tell what they know. They reveal that Apollo gave Ion to Xuthus as a son while she will remain childless. The old tutor speculates that Xuthus discovered that Creusa was barren, sired the child by a slave and gave him to a Delphian to raise. The old man tells Creusa that she must not allow the bastard child of a foreigner to inherit the throne.

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Instead, she must kill her husband and his son to prevent further treachery. He volunteers to help her. The servants pledge their support. She describes how he came upon her as she was gathering flowers — a shining god who grabbed her by the wrists and dragged her into a cave as she screamed for her mother.

She gave birth to a child and left him in the cave in the hope that the god would save him. Now she realizes that Apollo has completely abandoned her and their son. The tutor encourages her to avenge herself by torching Apollo's temple, but she refuses. When she also refuses to kill her husband, the tutor suggests that she kill the young man. One drop kills and the other cures. She gives the deadly drop to the tutor to poison Ion during his farewell banquet, then they go their separate ways. The Chorus prays for the plot's success, fearing that if it fails, Creusa will take her own life before allowing a foreigner to take over Athenian rule.

They condemn the ingratitude of Apollo who gave preference to Xuthus over their mistress. Following the Chorus' song, a messenger arrives, announcing that the plot has failed. He tells them in a typically Euripidean messenger speech that a Delphian mob is searching for Creusa to stone her to death. He says that Xuthus arranged for Ion to host a banquet under a tent, while he went off to offer sacrifice. The messenger then reports how the plan went awry. Ingratiating himself with the crowd, the old tutor took on the role of wine steward and slipped the poison into Ion's cup as planned; but just as they were about to drink, someone made an ill-omened remark and Ion called on the company to pour out their cups.

When a flock of doves drank the spilled wine, all survived except the dove that drank the wine intended for Ion.

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The bird died in torment, revealing the plot. Ion grabbed the old tutor, found the vial and forced a confession from him. Then he successfully brought a charge of murder against Creusa at a hastily assembled court of Delphian leaders. Now the entire city is searching for her. The Chorus sings a song anticipating their death at the hands of the Delphian mob. Creusa then enters, saying that she is pursued by the Delphian mob. On the advice of her servants, she seeks sanctuary at the altar of Apollo, just as Ion arrives with sword in hand.

Each accuse the other of treachery. He says that she tried to murder him; she says that he tried to overturn the house of her fathers. Advising Ion to go to Athens with his father, she shows him the basket he was found in.

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She has kept it secret all these years, but now that Ion's father has been revealed, she can give it to him to help in the search for his mother. Ion vows to travel all of Asia and Europe to search for her. She advises him to start his search in Delphi. As he peers into the basket, Ion marvels at the fact that it shows no sign of age or decay. Recognizing the basket, Creusa knows immediately that Ion is her son. She leaves the altar to embrace him even at the risk of her life. When she announces that she is his mother, Ion accuses her of lying. In an attempt to discredit her, he challenges her to name what is in the basket.

There is an unfinished weaving with a Gorgon in the center fringed with serpents like an aegis; a pair of golden serpents in memory of Erichthonius, fashioned into a necklace; and a wreath of olive branches which ought to still be green. Convinced, Ion flies to Creusa's welcoming arms — her long dead son has been returned alive.

Embracing her son and heir, Creusa expresses her joy. There is no more unlikely chance than this, Ion tells her, than to discover that you are my mother. I am childless no longer, she tells him. When Ion questions her about his father, Creusa tells him with some embarrassment that he is the son of Apollo and that she reluctantly abandoned him in a deserted cave to be the prey of birds.

As they celebrate their change of fortune, Ion takes her aside to ask if perhaps she conceived him with a mortal father and made up the story about Apollo. After all, Apollo said that Xuthus was his father. Athena explains that Apollo thought it best not to show himself in person lest he be blamed for what happened, but sent Athena in his place to tell Ion that he is Ion's father and Creusa is his mother. Athena tells Ion that Apollo brought them together on purpose, to provide Ion with a proper place in a noble house.

Apollo had planned for Ion to discover the truth after he went to Athens, but since the plot was discovered, he decided to reveal the secret here to prevent either of them from killing the other. Athena then tells Creusa to establish Ion on the ancient Athenian throne where he will be famous throughout Hellas. He and his half brothers will establish the Ionian, Dorian and Achaean races.

Apollo, the goddess concludes, has managed all things well.

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As she leaves, Athena orders them not to tell Xuthus but to let him think that Ion is his son. The testimony of the goddess convinces Ion, who affirms that Apollo is his father and Creusa his mother. For her part, Creusa swears that she will now praise Apollo because he gave her son back. The gods may be slow to action, Athena observes, but in the end they show their strength. Cambridge University Press. Creusa sung O unhappy in my fate, I have received, I have suffered an unbearable pain, my friends.

Creusa sung What message for me? Tutor If the master has a share in this same fate, or you alone are unfortunate. Ion O Pallas, daughter of all-powerful Zeus! Creusa Hear now my words also; I praise Phoebus, whom I did not praise before; [] because he gives back to me the child that he once neglected.


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These gates are lovely to my eyes, and the oracles of the god, which were hostile before. But now I gladly cling to the handle of the door and address the gates. Athena I am glad that you have changed your mind and praise the god; for always [] the gifts of Heaven are somehow slow, but at the end they are not weak.

Chorus O son of Leto and Zeus, Apollo, hail! Where have you come from now, to pay us this visit? Socrates Do you mean to say that the Epidaurians honor the god with a contest of rhapsodes also? Ion Certainly, and of music [1] in general. Socrates Why then, you were competing in some contest, were you? And how went your competition? Ion We carried off the first prize, Socrates. Ion Why, so we shall, God willing.

So one cannot but envy all this. Socrates That is good news, Ion; for obviously you will not grudge me an exhibition of them. Ion And indeed it is worth hearing, Socrates, how well I have embellished Homer; so that I think I deserve to be crowned with a golden crown by the Homeridae. Ion No, no, only in Homer; for that seems to me quite enough.