Aesopic Proverbs 81-90: Birds, Camels, and Misadventures in Urination

“The highest peaks are equal.”
“Great wealth and great poverty have the same repose from cares.”
᾿Ακρότητες ἰσότητες.
Πλοῦτος ὁ πολὺς καὶ πεν̣ί̣α̣ με<γάλη>
᾿Ανάπαυσιν ἴσην φροντί<δων ἔχουσι.>

“The old woman will oppose you <…>”
“Even a wise man will be led to his downfall if he does not restrain his ears from idle talk.”
᾿Απαντήσει σοι γρα<ῦς ……….>α
Εἰς πτῶμα πεσεῖται κ<αὶ ὁ σοφὸς ἀνὴ>ρ
Οὐ κωλύων τὰ ὦτα φληνάφων λόγων.

“A man’s character may be seen from his speech.”
᾿Ανδρὸς χαρακτὴρ ἐκ λόγου γνωρίζεται.

[No Interpretation]

“The sparrow’s soul is with its millet.”
“A person will fix attention where the indulgence of pleasure may be found.”
῾Η ψυχὴ τοῦ στρουθοῦ παρὰ τὴν κέγχρον.
᾿Εκεῖ τὴν διάνοιαν ἄνθρωπος στρέφει,
῎Ενθα καὶ <ἡ> τῆς ἡδονῆς τρυφὴ κεῖται.

“Either say what you think or think what you say.”
“The crow who plumes himself with peacock’s feathers is a poor speaker, but richly dressed.
῍Η λάλει ὡς φρονεῖς ἢ φρόνει ὡς λαλεῖς.
Πένης τὴν γλῶτταν καὶ πλούσιος τὴν στολὴν
Κόραξ ταῶνός ἐστι τοῖς πτεροῖς κομῶν.

“The camel said to his mother, ‘I will be a dancer,’ and she responded, ‘My son, even your walking is beautiful.’”
“Let those, whose wicked ways hinder life, be barred from passing life in enjoyment.”
῾Η κάμηλος ἔλεγε τῇ μητρί “ὀρχήσομαι,” κἀκείνη “τέκ-
νον,” φησί, “καὶ ὁ περίπατός σου καλός ἐστιν.”
Οἷς μοχθηρίᾳ τρόπων κωλύζεται τὸ ζῆν,
Τούτοις ἀπηγορεύσθω τὸ τέρψει συζῆν.

“You in my eye, and I upon your back.”
“In those whom you wish to strike, though not performing well… < … >”
Σὺ κατὰ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ μου κἀγὼ κατὰ τοῦ νώτου σου.
᾿Εν οἷς πλήττειν ἐθέλεις οὐ πράττων καλῶς
< >

“And from a camel, a letter from Charon.”
“A man without sense will send others falling to their graves with a fierce blow.”
Κἀξ καμήλου ἐπιστολὴ Χά<ρ>ωνος.
᾿Ανὴρ νοῦν οὐκ ἔχων θυμώδει <τῇ> πληγῇ
Τάφοις παραδίδωσι τοὺς ἐμπίπτοντας.

“Orestes, who killed you?” – “My own knowledge of myself.”
“Our mode of acting badly will render us all known and accountable.”
᾿Ορέστα, τίς σε ἀπώλεσεν; “ἡ ἰδία μου συνείδησις.”
῞Εκαστον ὑπεύθυνον ὧν πράττει κακῶς
῾Ο τρόπος ἀπελέγχει καὶ δῆλον ποιεῖ.

“Go ahead and piss – you’re pissing on your skin.”
“The one who wishes to throw bold reproaches to a lofty height will have his punishment poured upon his head.”
Οὔρει· κατὰ τοῦ δέρματος οὐρεῖς.
῾Ο βάλλειν τολμῶν εἰς ὕψος θρασεῖς ψόγους
᾿Επὶ κεφαλῆς ἕξει τὴν τιμωρίαν.

4 thoughts on “Aesopic Proverbs 81-90: Birds, Camels, and Misadventures in Urination

  1. 81, 83, 84, and 90 all make good proverbial sense, as does 85, even if its interpretation is wonky.
    82 and 87 are incomplete, and so opaque.

    86 is actually quite nice, and my favourite of this group: a mother’s unquestioning support of her child despite its limitations, except that’s not what the interpretation says it means.

    88, more camels, and I don’t understand this one. What’s being said here?

    89 is interesting. I’m wondering if συνείδησις means “self-conviction” or “conscience” rather than “knowledge of self”? That would be more appropriate for Orestes (rather than an Oedipus).

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