Aesopic Proverbs: 1-10

A number of proverbs attributed to Aesop, along with interpretations, have survived among the sometimes unbearably large and confusing body of works attributed to Aesop, composed in the Aesopic mode, or even simply about Aesop. The proverbs themselves are occasionally perplexing, even with the Interpretation; As I post these, I welcome any comments or elucidation!



“The things of yesteryear are always fine.”

Interpretation: When someone experiences the mischief of his recent time, he will be mindful of the glory that came before.”

᾿Αεὶ τὰ πέρυσι καλά.


῎Αρτι τῆς ὥρας τὴν βλάβην ὁ πειραθεὶς

Τῆς πρόσθεν οὗτος εὐκλείας μεμνήσεται.



“When you live with a lame person, you will learn to limp.”

Interpretation: When you spend time with the wicked you become like them.”

Χωλῷ παροικήσας ὑποσκάζειν μάθοις.


Συνὼν πονηροῖς ὅμοιος αὐτοῖς γενήσῃ.



“The gold persuaded a willing Danae.”

Interpretation: Love of profitmasters even the prudent who is decked out with instruments against wantonness.”

Χρυσὸς Δανάην ἔπεισεν ἐθέλουσαν.


Καὶ τὸν σώφρονα χειροῦται τιμάρια,

Χρήμασιν ὁπλίζοντα πρὸς ἀσέλγειαν.



“Have good fortune and rail at me.


The rich jeer at the ways of the poor. They see the rags, and not their courage.”

Εὐτυχεῖτε καὶ λοιδορεῖτέ με.


Γελῶσιν οἱ πλουτοῦντες ἤθη πενήτων·

Τὰ ῥάκη γὰρ ὁρῶσιν, οὐχὶ τὴν τόλμαν.



“The Crocodile said ‘I settled in my city as an oil salesman.’

Interpretation: The wicked, and the evilly-disposed love to be thought of as having a great lineage and a noble reputation.”

Κροκόδειλος ἔλεγεν ὅτι “εἰς τὴν πόλιν μου ἐλαιοπώλης ἤμην.”


Φιλοῦσιν οἱ πονηροὶ καὶ κακότροποι

Γένους μεγάλου λέγεσθαι καὶ δόξης καλῆς.



“The serpent sheds his skin, but never his mind.”


“A wicked man does not change his ways, but changes his appearance for the sake of deceit.”

῎Οφις τὸ δέρμα ἀποδύεται, τὴν γνώμην δὲ οὐδαμῶς.


Κακοῦργος ἀνήρ, τοὺς τρόπους οὐκ ἀμείβων,

Τὸ σχῆμα μεταλλάσσει ἀπάτης χάριν.



“You see a face – don’t scrutinize its intentions.”


“Often the ill-composed face will make clear the sinister turn of its perverse soul.”

῎Οψιν εἶδες, περὶ τῆς γνώμης μὴ ἐξέταζε.


Δηλοῖ πολλάκις κακοσύνθετος ὄψις

Ψυχῆς διεστραμμένης τὸν σκαιὸν τρόπον.



He is not Hermes, nor he Heracles.”


“A character given to boasting will always injure the wicked with a free tongue.”

Οὔτε οὗτος ῾Ερμῆς οὔτε οὗτος ῾Ηρακλῆς.


῾Ο φιλοκόμπον ἦθος ἐλέγχων ἀεὶ

Γλώττῃ τιτρώσκει τοὺς κακοὺς ἐλευθέρᾳ.



The living look upon the living.”


“Properly, those who are breathing look upon each other. For, those who are dead are unseen by the living.”

῾Ο ζῶν τοὺς ζῶντας βλέπει.


Τοὺς ἐμπνέοντας εἰκὸς ἀλλήλους βλέπειν·

Οἱ γὰρ θανόντες τοῖς ζῶσιν ἀθέατοι.



“Fine words will soften the bones.”


“A mild character and gentle speech know how to soften even the most stone-cold people.”

Λόγος καλὸς ὀστοῦν κατεάξει.


῏Ηθος τὸ πρᾶον καὶ τὸ προσηνὲς ῥῆμα

Μαλάττειν οἶδεν καὶ τοὺς ἄγαν λιθώδεις.

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