Ael. VH 12.57

Abbreviated Work Title: 

Ael. VH 12.57


Claudius Aelianus


Varia historia


Book 12 section 57


ἡνίκα Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Φιλίππου ἐπὶ τὰς Θήβας ἦγε τὴν δύναμιν, οἱ μὲν θεοὶ σημεῖα αὐτοῖς καὶ τέρατα ἀπέστελλον, προσημαίνοντες τὰς περὶ αὐτῶν ὅσον οὐδέπω τύχας: οἳ δὲ ὡς ᾤοντο ἐν Ἰλλυριοῖς Ἀλέξανδρον τεθνάναι, πολλὰ καὶ βλάσφημα ἐς αὐτὸν ἀπερρίπτουν. ἡ μὲν γὰρ ἐν Ὀγχηστῷ λίμνη φοβερὸν ἦχον ἀνέδωκε καὶ συνεχῆ καὶ ταύρου μυκήματι ἐῴκει: ἡ δὲ παρὰ τὸν Ἰσμήνιον καὶ αὐτὰ τὰ τείχη ῥέουσα κρήνη καλουμένη Δίρκη καθαρῷ καὶ ἡδεῖ ῥέουσα ὕδατι παρὰ πάντα τὸν πρόσθεν χρόνον, ἄφνω καὶ παρ᾽ ἐλπίδα αἵματος ἀνεπλήσθη. Μακεδόσι δὲ ἐπίστευον Θηβαῖοι ἀπειλεῖν τὸ δαιμόνιον. ἐν δὲ τῷ κατὰ πόλιν ναῷ τῆς Δήμητρος ἀράχνη κατὰ τοῦ προσώπου τοῦ ἀγάλματος ἐξύφαινε τὴν ἑαυτῆς τέχνην καὶ τὸν ἱστὸν ὃν εἴωθεν ἐργάζεσθαι. τὸ δὲ τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς τῆς καλουμένης Ἀλαλκομενηίδος ἄγαλμα αὐτομάτως κατεφλέχθη, πρὸς μὴ προσαχθέντος, καὶ ἄλλα πολλά.



When Alexander the son of Philip led his forces against Thebes the gods sent them signs and portents presaging their imminent fate; but the Thebans thought Alexander had died in Illyria and they made many rude remarks about him.  The marsh at Onchestus made a continuous frightening noise which seemed like a bull roaring.  The spring called Dirce, running parallel to the Ismenus and the walls themselves, which had always previously had clear water, was suddenly and unexpectedly filled with blood.  The Thebans were sure the gods threatened the Macedonians.  In the city at the temple of Demeter a spider began to cover the face of the cult statue with its handiwork and weave its usual product.  The statue of Athena known as Alalcomeneïs caught fire spontaneously, though no light was set to it; and much else.

Translated By: 

N.G. Wilson (1997)