What Is Believed Overpowers the Truth: Sophoklean Fragments on Lies and Truth

Sons of Aleus


“Indeed, what is believed overpowers the truth”

Α. τό τοι νομισθὲν τῆς ἀληθείας κρατεῖ.


“Where it is not possible to speak what is best freely
The worse ideas often win out in the city
And mistakes undermine its safety.”

ὅπου δὲ μὴ τἄριστ’ ἐλευθέρως λέγειν
ἔξεστι, νικᾷ δ’ ἐν πόλει τὰ χείρονα,
ἁμαρτίαι σφάλλουσι τὴν σωτηρίαν

Creusa, fr. 352

“It is not noble to tell lies
But for whomever the truth has some terrible ruin in store
It is pardonable to utter even what isn’t noble.”

καλὸν μὲν οὖν οὐκ ἔστι τὰ ψευδῆ λέγειν•
ὅτῳ δ’ ὄλεθρον δεινὸν ἁλήθει’ ἄγει,
συγγνωστὸν εἰπεῖν ἐστι καὶ τὸ μὴ καλόν

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