Graceful Speech and Worthy Rulers

Piccolomini, de Liberorum Educatione 

(Addressing Ladislaus, Duke of Austria)

“There is nothing which would earn a prince the esteem of his people more readily than grace in speaking. He who does not understand the complaints and demands of his people is not worthy of ruling. It was as beneficial to your maternal grandfather, a beloved king, to know many languages as it was a detriment to your father not to have known any. Who would not praise Mithridates, the king of Pontus, who was able to speak to the twenty-two different peoples over whom he ruled without an interpreter? I would not have you more concerned with the Austrians than with the Bohemians or Hungarians; you should govern all of your people with equal zeal. As Plato says, it is a shameful thing when a ruler looks after one part of his people so much that he neglects the rest.”

Anonymous – Ladislaus the Postumous

Nihil est, quod suo principi favorem populi magis conciliet, quam gratia sermonis. Et indignus quodammodo regno videtur, qui conquerentis aut aliquid expostulantis regniculas non intelligit. Avo tuo materno, maximi cordis regi, tantum profuit linguas novisse complures, quantum patri tuo nocuit ignorasse. Mithridatem, qui regnavit in ponto, quis non commendat, qui viginti duabus gentibus quibus imperitabat absque interprete loquebatur? Nec ego plus Australibus te populis affectum quam Bohemis Hungarisque voluerim; tui sunt omnes aequali studio gubernandi. Indignam rem agit teste Platone qui unam partem rei publicae sic curat, ut alterum deserat.

3 thoughts on “Graceful Speech and Worthy Rulers

  1. Pingback: What Good Is Speech? Hesiod on A Good King | SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

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