After the Batttle of Arabella March 14, 2015Posted by anagasto in art, history, poetry.
Alexander the Great
by the anonymous (?) “Master of the Griselda legend”, British Government collection
!! — This is a prose translation of a Heine ballad.
After the battle of Arabella, great Alexander bagged all of Darius’ belongings, his land and his people, his court and his harem, his horses, wives,
elephants and coins, and the crown and the scepter, — all the golden plunder ended up in Alexander’s wide Macedonian leisure pants.
Great Darius had to flee to avoid getting bagged, too, and in Darius’ tent our young hero found a little box, a small gold case richly decorated with miniature sculptures, precious stones and cameos.
This little case, which was itself a jewel of incalculable value, had been used by the ruler to keep his most precious gems.
Alexander gave those jewels away to the brave men of his army to watch with a smile how real men enjoy those colourful little stones just like children.
One of the most beautiful gems he sent to his dear mother. It had been the seal of Cyrus and became a brooch.
And to his old world-ass mentor Aristotle he sent an onyx for his stones and bones collection.
In the little case there were pearls, a marvellous string, which Queen Atossa had received as a present from that false Smerdis.
But the pearls were not false, and the light-hearted warrior gave them to a pretty dancer from Korinth. Her name was Tahis.
She wore them in her hair the night of the fire when she danced at Persepolis and full of insolence threw her torch into the royal palace so that the flames roared up like fireworks for the celebration
This file is under the CC Attribution 3.0 Unported license attributed to Amalex5 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PersepolisPanorama2007.jpg
After beautiful Tahis had died in Babylon of the Babylonian disease, her pearls were peddled off at the local stock exchange. They were bought by a priest from Memphis who took them to Egypt where later they appeared on the dressing table
of Cleopatra, who crushed the most beautiful pearl with her foot, mixed it with wine and swallowed it to tease Antonius.
With the last Omayads the pearl chain reached Spain to be worn like a snake all around the turban of the Calif at Cordoba.
Abderam III*** wore them on his armour at the tournament when he pierced thirty rings of gold and also Zuleima’s heart.
After the fall of the Moors, the pearls were passed on to the Christians and ended up in the crown treasure of Castille.
Their Catholic Majesties, the Queens of Spain wore them for the Court festivities, bullfights, Church processions and autodafés, where, sitting on the balconies, they enjoyed the refreshing scent of people burning.
Later Mendizabel, Satan’s offspring, pawned these pearls to cover the deficit of the treasury.
The pearls were last seen at the the royal court of Paris and they glistened on the throat of Baroness Salomon.
This was the story of the pearls.
However, the story of the little case is just as eventful. Alexander kept it for himself.
He enclosed in it the songs of his darling Homer, and the little case stood by his bedside at night.
Yet the times, they have changed.
In those days life felt so gloriously sunny. On my forehead I wore the winner’s crown of vines, and fanfares rang out…
Don’t mention it. My proud winner’s carriage lies broken, and the panthers that pulled it croaked like the women that danced around me with their tambourines and cymbels, and now I squirm miserably on the ground, miserably like a cripple dragging myself away…
But don’t mention it. We are talking about Darius’ little treasure case, and I was considering: if I owned it and my financial situation did not oblige me to sell it instantly, I would keep in it the poems of our Rabbi Jehuda ben Halevy.
Heine goes on explaining how absolutely beautiful those pearls are.
And here is his conclusion and the reason he wrote the long story of Alexander :-):
These world famous pearls are only the pale slime of a poor dumb oyster animal that languishes on the bottom of the sea.
But the pearls in this little case were brought forth by a human soul that is abyss-deeper than the ocean —
for these pearls are the tears shed by Yehuda ben Halevi weeping for the destruction of Jerusalem.
Heinrich Heine, translated as part of
The original text in German
Nach der Schlacht bei Arabella / Hat der große Alexander / Land und Leute des Darius, / Hof und Harem, Pferde, Weiber….
Heine: Yehuda ben Halevi Part III MSWord: After the battle of Arabella…….
*** Judah Halevi (also Yehuda Halevi; Hebrew: יהודה הלוי; Arabic: يهوذا هاليفي; c. 1075–1141) was a Spanish Jewish physician, poet and philosopher. He was born in Spain, either in Toledo or Tudela, in 1075 or 1086, and died shortly after arriving in the Land of Israel in 1141. Halevi is considered one of the greatest Hebrew poets — and the Jewish Encyclopedia calls Heine “his equal in poetic ability” (R. Gottheil, M. Schloessinger. I. Broydé).
The map shows the part of Spain that was at the time ruled by Arabs.
*** Abderram IIIAbd ar-Rahman ibn Muhammad (en árabe: عبد الرحمن بن محمد) Córdoba, also called Abderramán or Abd al-Rahman III, was the first Omayyad Caliph of Córdoba (929-961), known as an-Nāṣir li-dīn Allah (الناصر لدين الله), “he who brings triumph to the religion of Allah”.