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At long last justice wins the day

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Aeacide Hectoreo perfusum sanguine scutum,
Quod Graecorum Ithaco concio iniqua dedit.
Iustior arripuit Neptunus in aequora iactum,
Naufragio ut dominum posset adire suum,
Littoreo Aiacis tumulo namque intulit unda,
Que boat, & tali voce sepulchra ferit.
Vicisti Thelamoniade tu dignior armis,
Affectus fas est cedere iusticiae.[2]

The shield of Aeacus’ descendant, stained with Hector’s blood, the unjust assembly of the Greeks awarded to the Ithacan. Neptune, showing more respect for equity, seized upon it when it was cast into the sea in the shipwreck, so that it could go to its proper master. For the wave carried it to Ajax’s tomb upon the shore, the wave which booms and smites the sepulchre with these words: ‘Son of Telamon, you have conquered. You are more worthy of these arms’. It is right for partiality to yield to justice.


1.  In other editions, the motto is Tandem tandem iustitia obtinet.

2.  This is a version of Anthologia graeca 9.115-6. See Homer, Odyssey 11.541ff. for the contest for ownership of the divine armour of the dead Achilles (i.e. Aeacus’ descendant), who had earlier killed Hector. The Greek assembly awarded the armour to smooth Odysseus (the Ithacan) rather than to brave Ajax (son of Telamon), and, according to later tradition, Ajax became mad with fury and humiliation. Returning to sanity he committed suicide in shame. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.1.ff; and [A50a175]. Ajax was buried on a promontory near Rhoeteion, not far from Troy.

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