“Death is the Only Doctor”

Epistles of Phalaris, I : To Lucinus

“Polycleitus the Messenian, whom you accuse of betraying his countrymen, has cured me of an unbearable illness. I am not unconscious of the fact that, in announcing this to you, you will find yourself afflicted with pain and tears. As for you, even (among all the gods) Asclepius himself, the commander of the medicinal arts, could heal you. Medicine can cure the sickness of the body, but death is the only doctor for diseases of the soul. Accept, then, this most efficacious remedy for your many great injustices which were not forced upon you (such as those things for which you accuse me), but were performed entirely of your own choice.”

Πολύκλειτος ὁ Μεσσήνιος, οὗ κατηγορεῖς παρὰ τοῖς πολίταις προδοσίαν, ἰάσατό μου νόσον ἀνήκεστον, οὐκ ἀγνοῶ δὲ λύπας εὐαγγελιζόμενός σοι καὶ δάκρυα· σὲ δ’ οὐκ ἂν οὐδ’ αὐτὸς ὁ τῆς τέχνης ἡγεμὼν ᾿Ασκληπιὸς μετὰ πάντων ἰάσαιτο τῶν θεῶν. σώματος μὲν γὰρ ἀρρωστίαν θεραπεύει τέχνη, ψυχῆς δὲ νόσον ἰατρὸς ἰᾶται θάνατος, ὃν ἐπαχθέστατον ἀντὶ πολλῶν καὶ μεγάλων ἀδικημάτων, οὐκ ἀκουσίων, ὧν ἐμοὶ προστρίβεις, ἀλλ’ ἑκουσίων, ὧν αὐτὸς εἴργασαι, προσδέχου.

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