Aesopic Proverbs 31-40: Old Wolves, Missing Proverbs

: 31.
“An aged wolf lays down the laws.”
Interpretation:
“An aged evildoer, when he arrives at old age, will ordain laws to flee the young who do the same things which he himself did.”
Λύκος γηράσας νόμους ὁρίζει.
῾Ερμηνεία.
Νουθετήσει κακοῦργος εἰς γῆρας μολὼν
Φεύγειν τοὺς νέους ἅπερ αὐτὸς ἔπραξεν.

32.
“A wolf is not scared to take from the multitude.”
Interpretation:
“Neither votes, nor decrees, nor even the barring of doors will check the thieving mind.”

Λύκος ἀπὸ ἀριθμοῦ οὐ φοβεῖται λαβεῖν.
῾Ερμηνεία.
Τὸ κλεπτικὸν φρόνημα παύσει οὐδέπω
Οὐ ψῆφος, οὐ σφραγῖδες, οὐ κλείθρων θέσις.

33.
“When the ape sees its own children, it says ‘These are not beautiful.’”
Interpretation:
“Even when a mindless being is brought to perception, it recognizes that it has committed injustice in the things which it has done.”
Πίθηκος ἰδὼν τὰ ἑαυτοῦ τέκνα ἔφη “ταῦτα οὐ καλά.”
῾Ερμηνεία.
Εἰς αἴσθησιν καὶ ἄφρων ἐλάσας ποτὲ
῎Εγνωσεν ἀδικήσας ἐν οἷς ἔπραξεν.

34.
<Proverb Missing in Text>
Interpretation:
“The labors of lament [lead] to the ruin of tears, but the wailing of hunger does not seize the whip.”
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<῾Ερμηνεία.>
Θρήνων μὲν πόνοι εἰς δακρύων <τὴν> φοράν,
Λιμοῦ δὲ κλαυθμὸς οὐκ αἴρει τὴν μάστιγα.

35.
“A silent river runs deep below the earth.”
Interpretation:
“A wicked man, though he seems gentle to those near him, holds them as slaves to his hidden evil.”

Σιγηρὸς ποταμὸς κατὰ γῆν βαθύς.
῾Ερμηνεία.
᾿Ανὴρ κακοῦργος πρᾶος τοῖς πέλας φανεὶς
Κεκρυμμένῃ κακίᾳ τοὺς δόλους ἔχει.

36.
“Move even your hands with god.”
Interpretation:
“Don’t sleep while you look upon chance; good fortune consists of being active in deeds.”
Σὺν θεῷ καὶ τὰς χεῖρας κίνει.
῾Ερμηνεία.
Τὴν τύχην βλέπων μὴ καθεύδειν ἔθελε·
Εὐτυχία γὰρ ἀνδρὶ τὸ ἐν ἔργοις εἶναι.

37.
“God is the avenger of a silent mouth.”
Interpretation:
“He who honors fairness with his mind will have help against his enemies from the gods.”
Στόματος σιγῶντος θεὸς ἔκδικος.
῾Ερμηνεία.
᾿Επιείκειαν ὁ τῇ φρονήσει τιμῶν
Θεόθεν ἔξει τὴν κατ’ ἐχθρῶν βοήθειαν.

38.
“I honor you and you do not perceive it; I dishonor you, so that you may perceive.”
Interpretation:
“If senseless men do not rejoice in noble things, change their ungrateful minds with bad ones.”
Τιμῶ σε καὶ οὐκ αἰσθάνῃ· ἀτιμάζω σε, ἵνα αἴσθησιν λάβῃς.
῾Ερμηνεία.
Καλοῖς εἰ μὴ χαίρουσιν ἄνδρες ἄφρονες,
Κακοῖς ἀμείβου τὴν ἀχάριστον γνώμην.

39.
“A needy spirit has come near in the assembly.”
Interpretation:
“Whoever wanders in the market without money will grieve at heart as he looks upon all in vain.”
῎Ακερμος ἐν πανηγύρει δαίμων πελαζόμενος.
῾Ερμηνεία.
῞Οστις ἐν ἀγορᾷ χρημάτων δίχα φοιτᾷ,
Νοσεῖ τὴν φρένα μάτην τοὺς πάντας ὁρῶν.

40.
“From a bad money-lender a chickpea.”
Interpretation:
“When there is clear loss among all, consider it a windfall if you receive even the smallest portion.”
᾿Απὸ κακοῦ δανειστοῦ κἂν ὀρόβια
῾Ερμηνεία.
Ζημίας δήλης ἐν ἅπασι κειμένης,
Τοὐλάχιστον εἰ λάβοις ἕρμαιον κάλει.

2 thoughts on “Aesopic Proverbs 31-40: Old Wolves, Missing Proverbs

    1. Yeah, and as I said earlier, the interpretations provided don’t make it any better! One can gather that these represent the wilted blossom of Greek learning.

      I haven’t looked into the history of these or the textual tradition relating to them, but the problems seem to be inherent to the sentiments and expressions themselves, rather than copyists’ corruptions. This may be why we associate Aesop primarily with the fables and not these “Aesopic” proverbs.

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