The Suicide Gaul is part of a group of some Roman replicas attributed to the great gift commissioned by King Attalus I of Pergamum to celebrate the defini-tive victory over the Galatian barbarians at the river Caicus in 240 BCE. The Greeks had great admiration for the strength and courage of the latter who, it was said, fought naked and without armor.
The warrior kills himself rather than give in to the enemy, proudly and reso-lutely plunging the sword into his neck regardless of the ‘loss of life or of the trophy’ (Byron, ‘Childe Harold’, canto IV).
I have tried with this short poem to recover the lyricism of the last moments through the song of the courageous fighter who prefers death to imprison-ment.
We’re tired of dragging ourselves
in this night without end.
Courage! Let us die!
There is enough death to bleed dry
your field, these lands
consecrated to filth,
this dust and the putrid wars
of ruined autumns.
We’ll go further in, further
we’ll bury our dreams
with yours! We’ll recount them
in the light of the moon. In that cemetery
down there we’ll celebrate, again for a while
I’ll be able to sing that sad song.