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Denys d'Halicarnasse, Les Antiquités romaines, livre XV [fragments]


Texte grec :

[15,1] Τῶν Κελτῶν ἐπιστρατευσάντων τῇ Ῥώμῃ καί τινος βασιλέως εἰς μονομαχίαν προκαλουμένου τῶν Ῥωμαίων, ὅστις εἴη ἀνήρ, Μάρκος Οὐαλέριος, εἷς τῶν χιλιάρχων, ἀπόγονος ὢν Οὐαλερίου Ποπλικόλα τοῦ συνελευθερώσαντος ἀπὸ τῶν βασιλέων τὴν πόλιν, ἐξῄει τῷ Κελτῷ διαγωνίσασθαι. ὡς δὲ συνῄεσαν ὁμόσε, κόραξ καθεζόμενος ἐπὶ τοῦ κράνους αὐτοῦ ἐκεκράγει τε δεινὸν εἰς τὸν βάρβαρον ὁρῶν καί, ὁπότε μέλλοι πληγὴν ἐκφέρειν, πηδῶν ἐπ´ αὐτὸν τοτὲ μὲν τοῖς ὄνυξιν ἤμυττε τὰς παρειάς, τοτὲ δὲ τῷ ῥύγχει τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔκοπτεν, ὥστε τὸν Κελτὸν ἔξω γενέσθαι τῶν φρενῶν, οὔθ´ ὅπως τὸν ἄνδρα ἀμύνοιτο δυνάμενον συμβαλεῖν, οὔθ´ ὅπως τὸν κόρακα φυλάττοιτο. Ὡς δὲ πολὺς ἐγεγόνει τῇ μάχῃ χρόνος, ὁ μὲν Κελτὸς φέρων ἐπὶ τὸν Οὐαλέριον τὴν μάχαιραν ὡς διὰ τῆς προβολῆς εἰς τὰ πλευρὰ βάψων, ἔπειτ´ ἐπιπτάντος αὐτῷ τοῦ κόρακος καὶ τὰς ὄψεις ὀρύττοντος ἀνέτεινε τὸν θυρεὸν ὡς ἀπελάσων τὸν ὄρνιν· ὁ δὲ Ῥωμαῖος ἔτι μετεωρίζοντος τὸ ὅπλον ἀκολουθήσας κάτωθεν ὑποφέρει τὸ ξίφος καὶ ἀναιρεῖ τὸν Κελτόν. ὁ δὲ στρατηγὸς Κάμιλλος χρυσέῳ τοῦτον στεφάνῳ ἐκόσμησεν ἐπωνυμίαν θέμενος αὐτῷ Κορβῖνον ἀπὸ τοῦ συναγωνισαμένου κατὰ τὴν μονομαχίαν ζῴου· κόρβους γὰρ οἱ Ῥωμαῖοι καλοῦσι τοὺς κόρακας· αὐτός τε διετέλεσεν ἐξ ἐκείνου συμβόλῳ κατὰ τοῦ κράνους κοσμούμενος κόρακι, καὶ ταῖς εἰκόσιν αὐτοῦ πάσαις οἱ πλάττοντες καὶ γράφοντες τοῦτο τὸ ζῷον ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν ἐφήρμοττον.

Traduction française :

[15,1] When the Gauls made an expedition against Rome and one of their chieftains challenged to single combat any one of the Romans who was a man, Marcus Valerius, one of the tribunes and a descendant of Valerius Publicola, the man who had helped free the city from the kings, went out to fight with the Gaul. 2 When they engaged, a raven perched on Valerius's helmet and cawed while looking fiercely at the barbarian, and every time the latter made ready to deliver a blow he would fly at him, now tearing his cheeks with his claws and now pecking at his eyes with his beak, so that the Gaul was driven out of his senses, being unable to contrive how he could either ward off his foe or defend himself against the raven. 3 When the combat had continued for a long time, the Gaul aimed his sword at Valerius, as if intending to plunge it through his shield into his side; then, when the raven flew at him and clawed his eyes, he held up his shield as if to drive the bird away; but (p285) the Roman, following him up while he was still holding his shield aloft, drove his sword home from underneath and slew the Gaul. 4 The general, Camillus, honoured him with a golden crown and gave him the cognomen Corvinus because of the bird which had fought in the single battle with him; for the Romans call ravens "corvi". And not only did Valerius himself continue from that time on to have his helmet decorated with a raven as his emblem, but in all his likenesses as well both sculptors and painters placed this bird on his head.

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Dernière mise à jour : 19/07/2007