Honoring and Following the Wise

Some Fragments of the Orator Alcidamas (according to Aristotle, Rhetoric 1398b)


“As Alcidamas says, everyone honors wise men: “The Parians honored Archilochus even though he was sacrilegious; the Khians honored Homer even though he was not their citizen; the Mytileneans honored Sappho even though she was a woman; the Lakedaimonians made Khilôn one of their elders even though they are the least philological people; and the Italians honored Pythagoras as the Lampsakenians gave burial rites to Anaxagoras though he was a foreigner—they honor him to this day.

Just so the Athenians have lived well because they keep Solon’s laws and the Spartans prosper thanks to those of Lykourgos. And once the rulers of Thebes became philosophers, their city’s fortune changed.”


ὡς ᾿Αλκιδάμας, ὅτι πάντες τοὺς σοφοὺς τιμῶσιν· “Πάριοι γοῦν ᾿Αρχίλοχον καίπερ βλάσφημον ὄντα τετιμήκασι, καὶ Χῖοι ῞Ομηρον οὐκ ὄντα πολίτην, καὶ Μυτιληναῖοι Σαπφῶ καίπερ γυναῖκα οὖσαν, καὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι Χίλωνα καὶ τῶν γερόντων

ἐποίησαν ἥκιστα φιλόλογοι ὄντες, καὶ ᾿Ιταλιῶται Πυθαγόραν, καὶ Λαμψακηνοὶ ᾿Αναξαγόραν ξένον ὄντα ἔθαψαν καὶ τιμῶσι ἔτι καὶ νῦν, καὶ ᾿Αθηναῖοι τοῖς Σόλωνος νόμοις χρησάμενοι εὐδαιμόνησαν καὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι τοῖς Λυκούργου, καὶ Θήβησιν ἅμα οἱ προστάται φιλόσοφοι ἐγένοντο καὶ εὐδαιμόνησεν ἡ πόλις”.

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