Some Relevant Passages Submitted by Friends

We asked for apt inauguration week quotations from friends on Facebook. Here they are. Favorites? New Suggestions?

Silius Italicus, Punica 11.183-4 (From Neil Bernstein)

“Shall I put up with a leader whose sword now stands in place of justice and treaties and whose only praises stem from bloodshed?”

ductoremque feram, cui nunc pro foedere proque
iustitia est ensis solaeque e sanguine laudes?

 Sophocles, Ant. 175-77 (Al Duncan)

“It is impossible to gain a full understanding of any man’s moral nature (psûche), mentality (phronêmà), or judgement (gnome) until he has shown himself exercising the functions of ruler and law-giver.”

ἀμήχανον δὲ παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐκμαθεῖν
ψυχήν τε καὶ φρόνημα καὶ γνώμην, πρὶν ἂν
ἀρχαῖς τε καὶ νόμοισιν ἐντριβὴς φανῇ

Arist. Eth. Nic. 5.1130a

“There are many people who can exercise virtue in their own affairs, but are unable to do so in their relations with others. This is why the aphorism of Bias, “Office will reveal the man”, seems a good one, since an official is, by virtue of his position, engaged with other people and the community at large’ (trans. R. Crisp, Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics)

(Note: Fragment also attributed to Chilon) πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐν μὲν τοῖς οἰκείοις τῇ ἀρετῇ δύνανται χρῆσθαι, ἐν δὲ τοῖς πρὸς ἕτερον ἀδυνατοῦσιν. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο εὖ δοκεῖ ἔχειν τὸ τοῦ Βίαντος, ὅτι ἀρχὴ ἄνδρα δείξει· πρὸς ἕτερον γὰρ καὶ ἐν κοινωνίᾳ ἤδη ὁ ἄρχων.

Soph. Ant. 707-9

“For if anyone believes that only he has good sense (phronein), or has powers of speech (glossa) or moral quality (psûche) unlike any other – such people, when they’re laid open, are seen to be empty.

ὅστις γὰρ αὐτὸς ἢ φρονεῖν μόνος δοκεῖ,
ἢ γλῶσσαν, ἣν οὐκ ἄλλος, ἢ ψυχὴν ἔχειν,
οὗτοι διαπτυχθέντες ὤφθησαν κενοί.

Heraclitus, fr. 44 (Edward McEneely)

“The people must fight for law just as they would for the walls”

μάχεσθαι χρὴ τὸν δῆμον ὑπὲρ τοῦ νόμου ὅκωσπερ τείχεος — Heraclitus

Publilius Syrus (My Sister)

“He conquers who conquers himself.”

Vincit qui se vincit.

[Adaptation of Publilius Syrus: Bis vincit qui se vincit in victoria  “He conquers twice who conquers himself when he is victorious”]

Sallust, Iug. 35.10 (Jim O’Hara)  

“yonder lies a city up for sale, and woe unto it when it finds a buyer.”

Iug. 35.10 sed postquam Roma egressus est, fertur saepe eo tacitus respiciens postremo dixisse: ‘urbem venalem et mature perituram, si emptorem invenerit.’

Vergil, Aeneid 1.203 (William Tortorelli) 

“One day we’re going to look back on even this and laugh (maybe).”

forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Thucydides 3.82, (Jonathan MacLellan)

“Many terrible things happened to the cities during the revolution, as it always has been and always will be, as long as human nature is the same, although it sometimes takes a harsher or more mild form as the changes arise in different cities. During peace and times of abundance, cities and individual citizens have better ideas since they do not experience the compulsion of scarcity. But war, in depriving them of their daily needs, is a forceful teacher, and makes the character of most people equal to their present conditions.”

[2] καὶ ἐπέπεσε πολλὰ καὶ χαλεπὰ κατὰ στάσιν ταῖς πόλεσι, γιγνόμενα μὲν καὶ αἰεὶ ἐσόμενα, ἕως ἂν ἡ αὐτὴ φύσις ἀνθρώπων ᾖ, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἡσυχαίτερα καὶ τοῖς εἴδεσι διηλλαγμένα, ὡς ἂν ἕκασται αἱ μεταβολαὶ τῶν ξυντυχιῶν ἐφιστῶνται. ἐν μὲν γὰρ εἰρήνῃ καὶ ἀγαθοῖς πράγμασιν αἵ τε πόλεις καὶ οἱ ἰδιῶται ἀμείνους τὰς γνώμας ἔχουσι διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐς ἀκουσίους ἀνάγκας πίπτειν: ὁ δὲ πόλεμος ὑφελὼν τὴν εὐπορίαν τοῦ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν βίαιος διδάσκαλος καὶ πρὸς τὰ παρόντα τὰς ὀργὰς τῶν πολλῶν ὁμοιοῖ.

Tacitus’ Agricola 42 (Theo Nash)
“Let those in the habit of admiring the flouting of authority know that there can be great men, even under bad rulers.”
sciant, quibus moris est inlicta mirari, posse etiam sub malis princibus magnos viros esse
Cicero (Thomas Klugh)
“Few men desire wisdom”
Pauci viri sapientiae student
Horace, Odes 3.30 (Gabriele Alfinito)
“I will not die, completely”
Non omnis moriar, Horace
Neo-Latin (Mark Clark)
“Don’t let the bastards get you down”
Non illegitimi carborundum
Horace, Epistles 1.14.13
“The fault lies in the mind that never escapes itself”
In culpa est animus, qui se non effugit umquam

Leave a Reply