Politics, Ancient and Modern: Men See Wealth as an Indicator of Wisdom (Euripides, fr. 327)

Thus fragment from Euripides’ lost Danae speaks to some of the less pleasant truths about modern politics (and attests to some rather ancient continuities).

“Truly, men love to take the words
Of wealthy men as wisdom, and yet when
Some poor man from a lesser house speaks well
They laugh. But I have often noticed
That poor men are wiser than the rich
And that those who make small offerings to the gods
Are more pious than those who slaughter bulls.”

φιλοῦσι γάρ τοι τῶν μὲν ὀλβίων βροτοὶ
σοφοὺς τίθεσθαι τοὺς λόγους, ὅταν δέ τις
λειτῶν ἀπ’ οἴκων εὖ λέγῃ πένης ἀνήρ,
γελᾶν· ἐγὼ δὲ πολλάκις σοφωτέρους
πένητας ἄνδρας εἰσορῶ τῶν πλουσίων
καὶ <τοὺς> θεοῖσι μικρὰ θύοντας τέλη
τῶν βουθυτούντων ὄντας εὐσεβεστέρους.

3 thoughts on “Politics, Ancient and Modern: Men See Wealth as an Indicator of Wisdom (Euripides, fr. 327)

  1. I was a bit puzzled by λειτων so I looked it up in my shorter Liddell & Scott but couldn’t find it. So I referred to the big one (I got this free from the local University when they were throwing out unwanted books). It says for λειτος – found in inscriptions for λιτός. Under λιτός it says “though ι is long whence it is sometimes spelt λειτος.¨ So now I know!

    Thanks for this blog.

    1. I am horrified by the thought of a university throwing out a big LSG, but simultaneously jealous. It would be a terrible thing if a university attempted to liquidate an entire Classics collection, but I would nevertheless be eager to profit from it personally!

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