Suetonius, Divus Augustus LXIX (Augustus Memorial Edition)

“Even his friends could not deny that he occasionally engaged in a bit of adultery, excusing his behavior on the account that he didn’t do it because of desire, but rather because of prudent considerations of policy, that he might all the more easily learn the plans of his enemies by asking their wives.”

Adulteria quidem exercuisse ne amici quidem negant, excusantes sane non libidine, sed ratione commissa, quo facilius consilia adversariorum per cuiusque mulieres exquireret.

Note: Augustus died 2,000 years ago today.

No doubt, he also made just allowance for the fact that the population needed augmentation following decades of civil wars.

Edward Gibbon describes the elevation of Augustus thus:

“It would require the pen of Tacitus (if Tacitus had assisted at this assembly) to describe the various emotions of the senate, those that were suppressed, and those that were affected. It was dangerous to trust the sincerity of Augustus; to seem to distrust it was still more dangerous. The respective advantages of monarchy and a republic have often divided speculative inquirers; the present greatness of the Roman state, the corruption of manners, and the license of the soldiers, supplied new arguments to the advocates of monarchy; and these general views of government were again warped by the hopes and fears of each individual. Amidst this confusion of sentiments, the answer of the senate was unanimous and decisive. They refused to accept the resignation of Augustus; they conjured him not to desert the republic, which he had saved. After a decent resistance, the crafty tyrant submitted to the orders of the senate; and consented to receive the government of the provinces, and the general command of the Roman armies, under the well-known names of Proconsul and Imperator. But he would receive them only for ten years. Even before the expiration of that period, he hope that the wounds of civil discord would be completely healed, and that the republic, restored to its pristine health and vigor, would no longer require the dangerous interposition of so extraordinary a magistrate. The memory of this comedy, repeated several times during the life of Augustus, was preserved to the last ages of the empire, by the peculiar pomp with which the perpetual monarchs of Rome always solemnized the tenth years of their reign.”
Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol.1 Chp.3

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Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.38

“Even living too long can be a bad thing.”

et nimium vixisse diu nocet.

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Hegemon the Parodist, fr. 1 (Brandt 1988): Thasian BM-Missiles

 

 

When I arrived at Thasos they met me with missiles of shit.

And then someone stood near me and said:

“Dirtiest of all men, who persuaded you to mount

this pristine stage with feet like yours?”

 

᾿Ες δὲ Θάσον μ’ ἐλθόντα μετεωρίζοντες ἔβαλλον

πολλοῖσι σπελέθοισι, καὶ ὧδέ τις εἶπε παραστάς·

‘ὦ πάντων ἀνδρῶν βδελυρώτατε, τίς σ’ ἀνέπεισεν

καλὴν ἐς κρηπῖδα ποσὶν τοιοῖσδ’ ἀναβῆναι;’

 

I like parody. Who doesn’t? Not enough people know about the Batrakhomuomakhia. But I knew nothing about Hegemon before today. Hegemon? Apparently the inventor of parody who does not merit a Wikipedia page of his own.

 

I like this because of the language, oh and the ugly feet thing. I empathize.  In the rest of the passage, the speaker says that Athena came to him and encouraged him to sing

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Heraclitus, Parmenides and Friends go Back, Up and Down on Time

Heraclitus, Fragment 61

“The road upward and down is one and the same.”

ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω μία καὶ ὡυτή.

Some Heraclitus references.

 

Parmenides, fr. 6.16

 

“The path of all things goes backwards.”

…πάντων δὲ παλίντροπός ἐστι κέλευθος.

 

I know these passages don’t say the same thing, but I can’t articulate the difference. Stupid Monday morning.  Help?

While we’re worrying about time, here’s some more:

 

Euenus (Simplicius on Aristotle’s Physics 4.221a31)

 

“Time is the wisest and most unteachable thing.”

σοφώτατόν τοι κἀμαθέστατον χρόνος

 

Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae 1.1

“We don’t have too little time, but we do waste most of it. Life is long enough for the completion of the greatest affairs—it is apportioned to us generously, if it is wholly well managed.”

 

non exiguum temporis habemus, sed multum perdidimus. satis longa uita et in maximarum rerum consummationem: large data est, si tota bene conlocaretur.

 

Diocles, fr. 14 (Photius, a247)

“Let no one of you ever long to get old.
Think instead how to die at the right time
Still young and living life well
And how not to wear on to the toothless time of life.”

μηδείς ποθ᾿ ὑμῶν, ἄνδρες, ἐπιθυμησάτω
γέρων γένεσθαι. περινοησάτω δ᾿
ὅπως νέος ὢν ἀγαθόν τι τῆ̣ ψυχῆ̣ παθὼν
ὥρᾳ καταλύσῃ μηδ᾿ ἀγόμφιόν ποτε
αἰῶνα τρίψει

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Sunday with Theognis: Overthrowing Tyranny, Hope, Drinking and Friendship

Saturday’s symposia wear you out? Here’s a little dose of Theognis for what ails you:

 

 

Theogonis, 1181-1182: On Overthrowing Tyrants

 

“Bring down a people-eating tyrant however you want

No criticism for this comes from the gods”

 

δημοφάγον δὲ τύραννον ὅπως ἐθέλεις κατακλῖναι

οὐ νέμεσις πρὸς θεῶν γίνεται οὐδεμία.

 

 

Theognis, 1135-6: On Hope

 

“Hope is the only good god present among men

The rest abandoned us and went to Olympos.”

 

᾿Ελπὶς ἐν ἀνθρώποισι μόνη θεὸς ἐσθλὴ ἔνεστιν,

ἄλλοι δ’ Οὔλυμπόν<δ’> ἐκπρολιπόντες ἔβαν·

 

 

 

Theognis 989-990: On Concealing Your Feelings when Drinking

 

Drink whenever they drink but when you are heartsick, may no man learn you’re burdened [or drunk]

 

Πῖν’ ὁπόταν πίνωσιν· ὅταν δέ τι θυμὸν ἀσηθῆις,

μηδεὶς ἀνθρώπων γνῶι σε βαρυνόμενον.

 

 

 

Theogonis, 1181-1182

 

Bring down a people-eating tyrant however you desire

No criticism for this comes from the gods

 

δημοφάγον δὲ τύραννον ὅπως ἐθέλεις κατακλῖναι

οὐ νέμεσις πρὸς θεῶν γίνεται οὐδεμία.

 

 

Theognis, 1135-6

 

Hope is the only good god present among men

The rest abandoned us and went to Olympos

 

 

᾿Ελπὶς ἐν ἀνθρώποισι μόνη θεὸς ἐσθλὴ ἔνεστιν,

ἄλλοι δ’ Οὔλυμπόν<δ’> ἐκπρολιπόντες ἔβαν·

 

 

 

Theognis 1079-80

 

I’ll fault no enemy when he is noble, nor will I praise a friend when he is wicked

 

Οὐδένα τῶν ἐχθρῶν μωμήσομαι ἐσθλὸν ἐόντα,

οὐδὲ μὲν αἰνήσω δειλὸν ἐόντα φίλον.

 

 

Theognis 989-990

 

Drink whenever they drink but when you are heartsick, may no man learn you’re burdened

 

Πῖν’ ὁπόταν πίνωσιν· ὅταν δέ τι θυμὸν ἀσηθῆις,

μηδεὶς ἀνθρώπων γνῶι σε βαρυνόμενον.

 

 

Theognis, 979-980: On Friendship

 

“May a man be friend not in speech but in deed too.”

 

‘Μή μοι ἀνὴρ εἴη γλώσσηι φίλος, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἔργωι.’

 

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Euripides, Helen, 805-6 (Menelaus in Love)

Helen: Don’t feel ashamed of it, just flee from this land.

Menelaus: And leave you? I razed Troy to the ground for your sake!

Ἑλένη:μή νυν καταιδοῦ, φεῦγε δ᾽ ἐκ τῆσδε χθονός.

Μενελέως: λιπών σε; Τροίαν ἐξέπερσα σὴν χάριν.

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Lucretius, de Rerum Natura 1.149-150

“There is this one fundamental point we need to begin from:

a divine force never made something out of nothing.”

 

Principium cuius hinc nobis exordia sumet,
nullam rem e nihilo gigni divinitus umquam.

 

A swerve that once (and still)

was considered a curve (by some).

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