Cat Poems – Agathias 550AD

agathias cat poemAgathias wrote the first poem about a cat in history.  Born in 530AD in Asia Minor, in today’s Turkey, he was known as a poet and a historian of the reign of the Byzantine Roman emperor Justinian I between 552 and 558.  


In this poem written in 550AD Agathias mentions a ravenous cat attacking one of his beloved partridges.   


“O CAT in semblance, but in heart akin
To canine raveners, whose ways are sin;
Still at my hearth a guest thou dar’st to be?
Unwhipt of Justice, hast no dread of me?
Or deem’st the sly allurements shall avail
Of purring throat and undulating tail?
No! as to pacify Patroclus dead
Twelve Trojans by Pelides’ sentence bled,
So shall thy blood appease the feathery shade,
And for one guiltless life shall nine be paid.”


My partridge, wand’rer from the hills forlorn,
Thy house, light-woven of the willow-bough
No more, thou patient one, shall know thee now;
And in the radiance of the bright-eyed morn
Shalt stretch and stir thy sun-kissed wings no more.
A cat struck off thy head–but all the rest
From out the glutton’s envious grasp I tore!
Now may the earth lie heavy–so ’twere best–
Upon thee, and not lightly, so that she
May ne’er drag forth these poor remains of thee.”



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