The Future of the Past

In the final book of Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, Death’s End, when faced with an unstoppable extinction-level event, Cheng Xin and Ai AA go to the distant edge of the solar system to try to preserve some artifacts of human existence from the encroachment of two-dimensional space. When they reach the isolated moon bunker where many of the objects are stored, they come upon miles of inscriptions in the surface rock. Previous plans to preserve human knowledge had included etching human history and knowledge into the stone. Teams of scientists and data specialists could devise no method which ensured as long a future as the multilingual inscriptions in space.

Any system of encoding and preserving knowledge—whether we are talking of raw, binary data or language—relies upon two challenges for legibility in the future. The first is a ‘key’—some type of instruction that might indicate to readers unfamiliar with language or code how to make meaning out of signs. The second challenge is medium—how do the materials which encode the information respond to the passage of time and elements.

Encrypted digital data in every form faces the danger of significant loss under even the best of conditions; changing software and computational paradigms can make accessing extant data even more difficult. The decryption of preserved digital data relies on the end-user being able to access functional hardware and manipulate the same original data protocol. Despite the ability to extend human life centuries through hibernation and the technology to create space ships which traveled at the speed of light, the humans of Cixin’s universe can find no better way to preserve the past than cold, alien stone.

The survival of the past into the future is something of a motif in science fiction, thanks to its longue durée perspective. Just in the past year, I have read of the ‘classicist’ in Adrian Tchaikovksy’s Children of Time series, a figure whose knowledge of the past and ability to use ancient programs makes him central to the survival of the human race. In many cases, such as the works of Isaac Asimov, the Earth we know and the past we cherish is entirely forgotten or mostly unsalvageable. But for every novel that imagines the preservation of knowledge over time—like Neal Stephenson’s Anathem—we have the more stark reality to deal with of strange re-uses of our reconstructed past as in Ada Palmer’s Terra Incognota series or generations of lost knowledge over time, as in Walter Miller Jr.’s classic, A Canticle for Leibowitz.

“The prophecy which was given to the Thessalians was ordering them to consider “the hearing of a deaf man; the sight of the blind.”

ὁ μὲν γὰρ Θετταλοῖς περὶ Ἄρνης δοθεὶς χρησμὸς ἐκέλευε φράζειν: “κωφοῦ τ᾿ ἀκοὴν τυφλοῖό τε δέρξιν”  Plutarch, Obsolesence Of Oracles (Moralia 432)

A widely linked recent article alleges that the human race has around 30 years left, that by 2050 climate change will create a systems collapse that will end human civilization as we currently know it. Similar reports diverge at whether the extinction event that is the Anthropocene will also eradicate the human species or just result in a cruel, apocalyptic contraction. Even if we find the political will to radically change our behavior over the next few years, we are looking at the almost certain probability of widespread government collapses, severe famine and death in the ‘global south’, and widespread conflicts over resources.

For the sake of argument (and acceding to science), let’s say that we should be preparing for one of the worst-case scenarios. While it would be great if all of us consumed less, recycled more, and gave up internal combustion engines, the fact is that late-stage capitalism is an out of control freight train which no single government or group of governments appears to have the will or the resources to slow down. The vast majority of all world carbon polllution is perpetrated not by billions of human beings making bad decisions each day, but by the profit-driven interests of a hundred corporations. We are not going to stop this with anything short of massive collective and revolutionary action.

“What is worst from bygone days provides the best safeguard for the future.”

ὃ γάρ ἐστι χείριστον αὐτῶν ἐκ τοῦ παρεληλυθότος χρόνου, τοῦτο πρὸς τὰ μέλλοντα βέλτιστον ὑπάρχει, Demosthenes, Philippic 1.2

In the meantime, maybe some of us should be looking past that destructive horizon to what comes next. I don’t do this cynically—there is a part of me that thinks the neo-fascist maniacs who are creating concentration camps and clamoring for border control now are rehearsing for the inevitable migrations caused by climate change and attempting to habituate an American populace to the murder and carnage needed to survive in that apocalyptic contraction scenario. By pursuing an insane set of policies, the very actors who deny climate change his happening are actively bringing it about. Yes, I do suspect there are those who would rather dehumanize and slaughter other human beings rather than make difficult decisions and sacrifice a standard of living now.

(And, truth be told, a disturbing number of Americans seem ok with this).

“if you find good luck in the time that is left
Perhaps it will be solace for the things in the past”

εἰ καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ τῆς τύχης εὐδαίμονος
τύχοιτε, πρὸς τὰ πρόσθεν ἀρκέσειεν ἄν.

Euripides, Helen 698-699

My question is: what are we of learned societies doing to plan for the collapse of the social and political infrastructure that has produced the deepest learning for the broadest number of people in the history of humankind? For those who study the ancient world and the way that earlier societies have dealt with change, we must ask ourselves what is the future of the past and what ability do we still have to shape it.

Asking this question, of course, leads to a series of ancillary concerns which in themselves are likely useful to debate. With only a little scrutiny, it is clear that this coming challenge is unlike anything we have faced before (with the exception, perhaps, of the Late Bronze Age Collapse as some have imagined it). To the contrary of popular imagination, antiquity never fell: instead, it went through a period of transformations, stalled cultural developments, geographical shifts, and technological change under the influence of new religions, mass migrations, social senescence and, perhaps, even climate change.

Indeed, to think about the “future of the past” we need to consider the “past” of the past and its present status. We have spent nearly 700 years ‘reconstructing’ a past that never actually existed. Take, for instance, the textual wealth contained within the Loeb Classical Library: no figure or library ever possessed all of this collective knowledge in one place prior to the 20th century. In fact, I would be hard pressed to imagine that there were more than a handful of individuals in the ancient world who had access to 20% of it.

As Classicists we often can be found lamenting everything we don’t have, the imagined texts we have lost and whose titles alone give some indication of their promise. But we do not often enough stop to consider how remarkable it is that we have as much as we do and how much we have intervened and produced since the Renaissance to create what we now consider Classical knowledge. Contemplating and then gaming out how to preserve the past we have now can help us better understand the processes that occurred over the past 1000 years and the extent to which they have created a tremendously biased if not mostly fictionalized view of the past.

“It is undoubtedly foolish to be unhappy today simply because you may be unhappy in the future.”

est sine dubio stultum, quia quandoque sis futurus miser, esse iam miserum, Seneca EM 3.3

There are, then, important differences between earlier epochal shifts and this. First, the “loss” of antiquity that occurred from the building of the first Museion at Alexandria, through its multiple burnings, civil wars in Rome, sacks of the city, the ‘decline and fall’ of the empire, and the sack of Byzantium by Christian crusaders, was a slow attrition and loss by neglect. If there were more texts and art works available in 200 CE than there were in 1200 CE, it is because (1) of what we are counting as mattering and (2) a generally higher standard of living and access to resources to a non-religious leisure class.

An unvarnished examination of the recovery of Classical knowledge must acknowledge that the Renaissance was not a recuperation of all of antiquity, but a selective curation of its remains. What we face with the next possible civilizational collapse is the loss of the knowledge that has been reconstructed and the tremendous body of work we have produced since then. Where a 15th Century humanist had but a handful of manuscripts of Homer to worry about, we have dozens plus the papyri fragments, plus the commentaries, original and edited scholia introductions, monographs, articles, and edited texts with critical apparatus we have created over centuries.

And that’s just Homer. I am not saying that I am turning full doomsday prepper on you, but I am saying that we should take the threat of civilizational collapse seriously and that it is not just within our remit as academic classicists to make some plans for how the material of the past might survive to benefit future generations and to provide a record of what came before our era, but it is our responsibility to be having these conversations now.

“I think that it is clear to everyone that it is not in our nature to predict the future”

Οἶμαι γὰρ ἅπασιν εἶναι φανερὸν ὅτι τὰ μέλλοντα προγιγνώσκειν οὐ τῆς ἡμετέρας φύσεώς ἐστιν, Isocrates, Against the Sophists 13.2

If we don’t, none of the scenarios look great. In many cases, 12th century CE Byzantine manuscripts and papyri (still buried) have a far better chance of surviving than the rapidly degrading and poorly printed books of the past 50 years. If we are to imagine that someone else might make these plans, we must consider who will do it instead. Should we leave it up to silicon valley disrupters? What works would they choose to preserve? Should individual universities be responsible? Will governments and libraries do the work?

(Sidebar: when I was in elementary school we viewed the full series of Tomes & Talismans during library time each week. The central characters were librarians with a bookmobile; the threat were an alien species in a post-apocalyptic earth who were trying to wipe out accumulated human knowledge. They were called “The Wipers”.)

I think that it is probably best for professional organizations across linguistic and geographical territory to start to have this conversation. Most of our current output is currently stored in digital form across myriad platforms, with little concern for data degradation or recuperability. Not only are our blogs, tweets, open access articles, and personal correspondence at risk, but the very texts we have worked so hard to preserve, establish, and edit, are mostly in cheap, glue-bound paper versions. And this does not even begin to touch the challenges presented by material culture in a changing climate. Should we continue to excavate when climate change and geo-political stability threaten anything not under the earth? How does the possibility of future collapse change museum studies?

We need to talk about what will be preserved, how we will preserve it, who makes these decisions, and what aid we can store up for the historians of the future. We need to talk about the overlapping responsibility of universities, professional organizations, and governments to work together to preserve what we have won. And we need to make sure that voices from different backgrounds and experiences are central to this conversation

“Prudently the god covers the outcome of the future in dark night”

prudens futuri temporis exitum
caliginosa nocte premit deus, Horace Ars Poetica 25

Years ago, I used to teach a course called “Classical Myth and Literature”, which I think was originally designed as a bridge between straight up myth courses and more focused literature in translation offerings. I used it as a means to trouble the definitions of both myth and literature. One of the final essay questions asked students to imagine a flight from planet earth under the threat of alien invasion and to explain the choice of preserving either the corpus of 1990s pop songs or early Greek poetry (usually, specifically the Homeric Hymns). It was a fascinating assignment because students had to justify their answers using examples from the corpora. And, let me tell you, the pop songs were preserved nearly as frequently as the Hymns.

We are at a unique albeit horrifying moment in history. Perhaps the younger among us or the less thoroughly institutionalized will find ways to fight or forestall coming events. Those of us who are committed for better or worse to the study of the past even as the present crumbles around us need to start having hard conversations now before it is too late.

“For, it is right, Athenians, to use prior events as a guide about what will happen in the future.”

χρὴ γάρ, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, τεκμηρίοις χρῆσθαι τοῖς πρότερον γενομένοις περὶ τῶν μελλόντων ἔσεσθαι, Andocides, On the Peace with Sparta 2


Tomes and Talismans (1986)
Tomes & Talismans Still Shots from IMDB

Nothing But Hate, Bad News, and Disgust!

Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy 2.3.7:

“I say the same of scoffs, slanders, contumelies, obloquies, defamations, detractions, pasquilling libels, and the like, which may tend any way to our disgrace: ’tis but opinion; if we could neglect, contemn, or with patience digest them, they would reflect on them that offered them at first. A wise citizen, I know not whence, had a scold to his wife: when she brawled, he played on his drum, and by that means madded her more, because she saw that he would not be moved. Diogenes in a crowd when one called him back, and told him how the boys laughed him to scorn, Ego, inquit, non rideor [I am not being laughed at], took no notice of it. Socrates was brought upon the stage by Aristophanes, and misused to his face, but he laughed as if it concerned him not: and as Aelian relates of him, whatsoever good or bad accident or fortune befel him going in or coming out, Socrates still kept the same countenance; even so should a Christian do, as Hierom describes him, per infamiam et bonam famam grassari ad immortalitatem, march on through good and bad reports to immortality, not to be moved: for honesty is a sufficient reward, probitas sibi praemium; and in our times the sole recompense to do well, is, to do well: but naughtiness will punish itself at last, Improbis ipsa nequitia supplicium [to the wicked, their own worthlessness is their punishment]. As the diverb is,

Qui bene fecerunt, illi sua facta sequentur;
Qui male fecerunt, facta sequentur eos:
They that do well, shall have reward at last:
But they that ill, shall suffer for that’s past.

Yea, but I am ashamed, disgraced, dishonoured, degraded, exploded: my notorious crimes and villainies are come to light (deprendi miserum est [it is a miserable thing to be caught]), my filthy lust, abominable oppression and avarice lies open, my good name’s lost, my fortune’s gone, I have been stigmatised, whipped at post, arraigned and condemned, I am a common obloquy, I have lost my ears, odious, execrable, abhorred of God and men. Be content, ’tis but a nine days’ wonder, and as one sorrow drives out another, one passion another, one cloud another, one rumour is expelled by another; every day almost, come new news unto our ears, as how the sun was eclipsed, meteors seen in the air, monsters born, prodigies, how the Turks were overthrown in Persia, an earthquake in Helvetia, Calabria, Japan, or China, an inundation in Holland, a great plague in Constantinople, a fire at Prague, a dearth in Germany, such a man is made a lord, a bishop, another hanged, deposed, pressed to death, for some murder, treason, rape, theft, oppression, all which we do hear at first with a kind of admiration, detestation, consternation, but by and by they are buried in silence: thy father’s dead, thy brother robbed, wife runs mad, neighbour hath killed himself; ’tis heavy, ghastly, fearful news at first, in every man’s mouth, table talk; but after a while who speaks or thinks of it?

It will be so with thee and thine offence, it will be forgotten in an instant, be it theft, rape, sodomy, murder, incest, treason, &c., thou art not the first offender, nor shalt not be the last, ’tis no wonder, every hour such malefactors are called in question, nothing so common, Quocunque in populo, quocunque sub axe [in every population, under every pole]? Comfort thyself, thou art not the sole man. If he that were guiltless himself should fling the first stone at thee, and he alone should accuse thee that were faultless, how many executioners, how many accusers wouldst thou have? If every man’s sins were written in his forehead, and secret faults known, how many thousands would parallel, if not exceed thine offence? It may be the judge that gave sentence, the jury that condemned thee, the spectators that gazed on thee, deserved much more, and were far more guilty than thou thyself. But it is thine infelicity to be taken, to be made a public example of justice, to be a terror to the rest; yet should every man have his desert, thou wouldst peradventure be a saint in comparison; vexat censura columbas [criticism harasses the doves], poor souls are punished; the great ones do twenty thousand times worse, and are not so much as spoken of.”

Paris and Menelaos Go to an Oracle (Together)

Schol bT Ad Il. 5.64 ex

“Since he had learned none of the prophecies from the gods. For they report that the Spartans were hard-pressed by a famine and asked the god for the reason. The oracle responded that they should propitiate the gods of the Teucrians, Khimaireus and Lukos. So, then Menelaos left for Troy to complete the tasks he was assigned and after he spent some time with Alexandros he went with him for the purpose of asking the gods about the creation of children.

Alexandros also asked about how he might kidnap Helen. The oracle responded to them: ‘Why do two kings, one Trojan and one Greek / why do you come to my temple with completely different intentions. / One of you seeks to discover the birth of a horse / but the other…..; What are you devising now, Zeus?’ When they failed to understand these things, they returned. This is why the poet says “he did not understand the prophecies of the gods.”

ἐπεὶ οὔτι θεῶν ἐκ θέσφατα ᾔδη: Λακεδαιμονίους φασὶ λιμῷ πιεζομένους τὸ αἴτιον ἀνακρίνειν τὸν θεόν. τὸν δὲ εἰπεῖν ἐξιλάσκεσθαι τοὺς Τεύκρων δαίμονας, Χιμαιρέα τε καὶ Λύκον. τὸν δὲ Μενέλαον ἀπελθόντα εἰς ῎Ιλιον ἐπιτελεῖν τὰ προσταχθέντα καὶ συμμίξαντα ᾿Αλεξάνδρῳ ἅμα αὐτῷ ἀπιέναι εἰς †θεοὺς† ἐρησόμενον περὶ παίδων γονῆς· ἐρωτᾶν δὲ καὶ ᾿Αλέξανδρον, ὅπως ἂν ἁρπάσοι τὴν ῾Ελένην. τὸν δὲ θεὸν εἰπεῖν  „Τίπτε δύω βασιλῆες,

ὁ μὲν Τρώων, ὁ δ’ ᾿Αχαιῶν, / οὐκέθ’ ὁμὰ φρονέοντες ἐμὸν ποτὶ νηὸν ἔβητε, / ἤτοι ὁ μὲν γενεὴν ἵππου διζήμενος εὑρεῖν, / αὐτὰρ ὁ [……….]; τί νυ μήσεαι, ὦ μάκαρ ὦ Ζεῦ;”

τοὺς δὲ μὴ νοήσαντας ὑποστρέψαι. τοῦτο οὖν λέγει ὁ ποιητὴς ἐπεὶ οὔτι θεῶν ἐκ θέσφατα ᾔδη.

Image result for Menelaus and Paris
Duel of Menelaos and Paris Vase

Corpses and Prisons: Uses and Metaphors for Wealth

On the Wealth of Herodes the Athenian (Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists, 547)

“[Herodes] used his wealth in the best way of all men. We do not, however, believe that this was the easiest thing to do, but instead that it was wholly difficult and unpleasant.  For men who are drunk with wealth usually afflict other people with insults. In addition, they make the specious claim that wealth is blind—but even if wealth appears rightly blind at other times, it looked upon Herodes: it gazed upon his friends, his cities, and whole nations since the man was able to keep a watch over them all and make a storehouse of his riches in the opinions of the men with whom he shared them.

For he used to say indeed that it was necessary for the man who would use wealth correctly to provide it to those who need it so that they may not be in need and also to those who didn’t need it, so that they might not become impoverished. He used to call wealth that was not used and was hoarded up by envy ‘corpse wealth’ and the storehouses of those who hoarded their riches ‘prisons of wealth’.

He mocked those who believed it was right to sacrifice to their accumulated riches “Aloadae” because [Otos and Ephialtes] had sacrificed to Ares after they imprisoned him.”*

῎Αριστα δὲ ἀνθρώπων πλούτῳ ἐχρήσατο. τουτὶ δὲ μὴ τῶν εὐμεταχειρίστων ἡγώμεθα, ἀλλὰ τῶν παγχαλέπων τε καὶ δυσκόλων, οἱ γὰρ πλούτῳ μεθύοντες  ὕβριν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἐπαντλοῦσιν. προσδιαβάλλουσι δὲ ὡς καὶ τυφλὸν τὸν πλοῦτον, ὃς εἰ καὶ τὸν ἄλλον χρόνον ἐδόκει τυφλός, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ ῾Ηρώδου ἀνέβλεψεν, ἔβλεψε μὲν γὰρ ἐς φίλους, ἔβλεψε δὲ ἐς πόλεις, ἔβλεψε δὲ ἐς ἔθνη, πάντων περιωπὴν ἔχοντος τοῦ ἀνδρὸς καὶ θησαυρίζοντος τὸν πλοῦτον ἐν ταῖς τῶν μετεχόντων αὐτοῦ γνώμαις. ἔλεγε γὰρ δή, ὡς προσήκοι τὸν ὀρθῶς πλούτῳ χρώμενον τοῖς μὲν δεομένοις ἐπαρκεῖν, ἵνα μὴ δέωνται, τοῖς δὲ μὴ δεομένοις, ἵνα μὴ δεηθῶσιν, ἐκάλει τε τὸν μὲν ἀσύμβολον πλοῦτον καὶ φειδοῖ κεκολασμένον νεκρὸν πλοῦτον, τοὺς δὲ θησαυρούς, ἐς οὓς ἀποτίθενται τὰ χρήματαἔνιοι, πλούτου δεσμωτήρια, τοὺς δὲ καὶ θύειν ἀξιοῦντας ἀποθέτοις χρήμασιν ᾿Αλωάδας ἐπωνόμαζε θύοντας ῎Αρει μετὰ τὸ δῆσαι αὐτόν.

*This story is told in the Iliad 5.385 as part of Dione’s catalogue of mortals who caused the gods harm.  Otus and Ephialtes captured Ares and put him in a bronze jar.

Image result for ancient greek corpses

Western Crusaders: Bold but Dumb

Nicetas Choniates, The Capture of Constantinople:

“Baldwin, then, having become king, left for the western lands, not with the intention of subduing them (for he considered everything easy to conquer ‘wherever I step, I will shake the earth with my spear,’ as he put it, boasting in his regal way that it was of no great difficulty), but so that he could go through friendly lands, saluted before all as the King of the Romans, for the sake of which he did not deem some of the people in the Roman army and political system worth his attention, so he sent them all away at once. This seemed like the right treatment for the other leaders and marshals of the Romans. For they separated manliness from the other kindred virtues and claimed it as their own as though it were innate and habitual to them, and they allowed none of the other races to be compared to them in the works of war. But none of the Graces or the Muses was ever given hospitable treatment by these barbarians. Beyond that, I think that they were by nature savage and possessed of an anger which far outran their faculty of reason.”

Baldwin I of Constantinople.jpg

Βασιλεύσας τοίνυν ὁ Βαλδουῖνος ἐς μέρη ἔξεισι τὰ ἑσπέρια, οὐχ ὡς αὐτὰ χειρωσόμενος (πάντα γάρ οἱ ἁλώσιμα ᾤετο, „πᾷ βῶ καὶ κινήσω τὰν γᾶν τῷ δόρατι” μικροῦ κομπάζων καὶ λίαν ἀγερώχως φθεγγόμενος), ἀλλ’ ὡς διὰ φιλίων χώρων παρελευσόμενος καὶ βασιλεὺς ῾Ρωμαίων ἀναγορευθησόμενος πρὸς παντός, οὗ χάριν οὐδὲ κομιδῆς οἱασοῦν κατηξιώκει τινὰς τῶν ῾Ρωμαίων ἐκ τοῦ στρατιωτικοῦ τε καὶ πολιτικοῦ συντάγματος, ἀλλ’ ἁπαξάπαντας ἀπεπέμψατο. τοῦτο δὲ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις τοῦ στρατοῦ ἡγεμόσι καὶ κόμησι δέδοκτο· τὴν γὰρ ἀνδρείαν τῶν συννόμων ἀρετῶν ἀφορίζοντες καὶ ταύτην ἑαυτοῖς οἰκειοῦντες ὡς συγγενὲς καὶ σύντροφον ἐπιτήδευμα οὐδὲν τῶν ἄλλων ἐθνῶν εἰς ῎Αρεος ἔργα παρασυμβεβλῆσθαι σφίσιν ἠνείχοντο. ἀλλ’ οὐδέ τις τῶν Χαρίτων ἢ τῶν Μουσῶν παρὰ τοῖς βαρβάροις τούτοις ἐπεξενίζετο· καὶ παρὰ τοῦτο οἶμαι καὶ τὴν φύσιν ἦσαν ἀνήμεροι καὶ τὸν χόλον εἶχον τοῦ λόγου προτρέχοντα.

Women Kissing on the Lips

Plutarch, Roman Questions 6:

“QUESTION: Why do women kiss their family members on the mouth?

Perhaps, as most think, because it is forbidden for women to drink wine. And so, it was decided that they should kiss their family members, so that they cannot get away with drinking wine, but will be chastised in the company of their household.

Or perhaps it is for the reason which Aristotle has related: it is a much-related story, and said to have been undertaken by the Trojan women in many places, even in Italy. As the men sailed out and got off of their ships, the women burned them in their desire to be done with wandering and the sea. Being afraid of their husbands, they embraced those of their families and households who happened to be there with a kiss and a hug. When their anger had subsided and the men relented, they continued to employ the same affection toward them.

Perhaps, rather, it was a custom given to the women because it have them both honor and power to be seen to have many noble relations and members of the household?

Or perhaps, since it is forbidden to marry one’s relations, affection may only proceed as far as a kiss, and that alone remains as a common symbol of their relation to each other? In earlier times, people did not marry those who were related through blood, and similarly so, people do not marry their aunts or their sisters, but much later they proceeded to marry cousins for this reason: a man in need of money, but noble in all other respects, and more well-loved by the people than the other bigshots in the city, seemed to have married his heiress cousin and to be getting rich off of her. When a charge was leveled against him for this, the people dismissed the charge and did not even compel him to defend himself against it, voting that everyone should be permitted to marry up to their cousins, but should be prevented from marrying any farther into their relations than that.”

Image result for kiss emoji

‘Διὰ τί τοὺς συγγενεῖς τῷ στόματι φιλοῦσιν αἱ γυναῖκες;’ πότερον, ὡς οἱ πλεῖστοι νομίζουσιν, ἀπειρημένον ἦν πίνειν οἶνον ταῖς γυναιξίν· ὅπως οὖν αἱ πιοῦσαι μὴ λανθάνωσιν ἀλλ’ ἐλέγχωνται περιτυγχάνουσαι τοῖς οἰκείοις, ἐνομίσθη καταφιλεῖν;

ἢ δι’ ἣν ᾿Αριστοτέλης (fr. 609) ὁ φιλόσοφος αἰτίαν ἱστόρηκε; τὸ γὰρ πολυθρύλλητον ἐκεῖνο καὶ πολλαχοῦ γενέσθαι λεγόμενον ὡς ἔοικεν ἐτολμήθη καὶ ταῖς Τρῳάσι περὶ τὴν ᾿Ιταλίαν. τῶν γὰρ ἀνδρῶν, ὡς προσέπλευσαν, ἀποβάντων ἐνέπρησαν τὰ πλοῖα, πάντως ἀπαλλαγῆναι τῆς πλάνης δεόμεναι καὶ τῆς θαλάττης· φοβηθεῖσαι δὲ τοὺς ἄνδρας ἠσπάζοντο  τῶν συγγενῶν καὶ οἰκείων μετὰ τοῦ καταφιλεῖν καὶ περιπλέκεσθαι τοὺς προστυγχάνοντας. παυσαμένων δὲ τῆς ὀργῆς καὶ διαλλαγέντων ἐχρῶντο καὶ τὸ λοιπὸν ταύτῃ τῇ φιλοφροσύνῃ πρὸς αὐτούς.

ἢ μᾶλλον ἐδόθη τοῦτο ταῖς γυναιξὶν ὡς τιμὴν ἅμα καὶ δύναμιν αὐταῖς φέρον, εἰ φαίνοιντο πολλοὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς ἔχουσαι συγγενεῖς καὶ οἰκείους;

ἤ, μὴ νενομισμένου συγγενίδας γαμεῖν, ἄχρι φιλήματος ἡ φιλοφροσύνη προῆλθεν καὶ τοῦτο μόνον ἀπελείφθη σύμβολον καὶ κοινώνημα τῆς συγγενείας; πρότερον γὰρ οὐκ ἐγάμουν τὰς ἀφ’ αἵματος, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ νῦν τιτθίδας οὐδ’ ἀδελφὰς γαμοῦσιν, ἀλλ’ ὀψὲ συνεχώρησαν ἀνεψιαῖς συνοικεῖν ἐκ τοιαύτης αἰτίας· ἀνὴρ χρημάτων ἐνδεὴς τὰ δ’ ἄλλα χρηστὸς καὶ παρ’ ὁντινοῦν τῷ δήμῳ τῶν πολιτευομένων ἀρέσκων ἐπίκληρον ἀνεψιὰν ἔχειν ἔδοξε καὶ πλουτεῖν ἀπ’ αὐτῆς· ἐπὶ τούτῳ δὲ γενομένης αὐτοῦ κατηγορίας ὁ δῆμος ἀφεὶς τὴν αἰτίαν ἐλέγχειν ἔλυσε τὸ ἔγκλημα, ψηφισάμενος πᾶσιν ἐξεῖναι γαμεῖν ἄχρις ἀνεψιῶν, τὰ δ’ ἀνωτέρω κεκωλῦσθαι.

Leaving Out a Consular Pair

Redacting Annals: Livy, AUC 44

“The year had Publius Cornelius Scipio as a dictator with Publius Decius Mus as a master of Horse. A Consular election was held by these men—which was the reason they were given their position, since neither consul was able to be absent from the war. The consuls elected were Lucius Postumius and Tiberius Minucius.

Piso says that these consuls came after Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius by leaving out the two year period in which we have the consuls Caludius and Voumnius followed by Cornelius and Marcus.  Whether his memory escaped him while he was correcting his annals or he intentionally left these two consular pairs out is unclear.”

XLIV. Dictatorem idem annus habuit P. Cornelium Scipionem cum magistro equitum P. Decio Mure. Ab his, propter quae creati erant, comitia consularia habita, quia neuter consulum potuerat bello abesse. Creati consules L. Postumius Ti. Minucius. Hos consules Piso Q. Fabio et P. Decio suggerit biennio exempto quo Claudium Volumniumque et Cornelium cum Marcio consules factos tradidimus. 4Memoriane fugerit in annalibus digerendis, an consulto binos consules, falsos ratus, transcenderit, incertum est.

Jacob Matthias Schmutzer (1733-1811)