Intelligence, Strength, and Good Fortune: Some Greek Proverbs for this Evening’s Festivities

from Diogenianus

“We who were conquering were taken.” Applied to those who hoped to conquer someone and then who were taken by them”

Αἱροῦντες ᾑρήμεθα: ἐπὶ τῶν ἐλπισάντων τινὰς νικᾶν, εἶθ’ ὑπ’ ἐκείνων ἁλόντων.

“A tearless war: a proverb applied to those who overcome affairs easily and beyond hope. For an oracle was given to the Spartans that they would win a “tearless war”—and in this no one of them died then.”

῎Αδακρυς πόλεμος: ἐπὶ τῶν ῥᾷστα καὶ παρ’ ἐλπίδα τὰ πράγματα κατορθούντων. Χρησμὸς γὰρ ἐδόθη Λακεδαιμονίοις, ἄδακρυν μάχην νικῆσαι· ὅθεν οὐδὲ εἷς τηνικαῦτα τούτων ἀπέθανεν.

“Fight with silver lances and you will win everything”: This is applied to situations where you conquer everything through money”.

᾿Αργυραῖς λόγχαις μάχου, καὶ πάντων κρατήσεις: ἀντὶ τοῦ, διὰ χρυσοῦ πάντας νικήσεις..

“The one who conquered is weeping and the one who was defeated has died.
Κλαίει ὁ νικήσας, ὁ δὲ νικηθεὶς ἀπόλωλεν

“You sing the praise before the victory!” A proverb applied to those who take outcomes for granted.

Πρὸ τῆς νίκης τὸ ἐγκώμιον ᾄδεις: ἐπὶ τῶν προλαμβανόντων τὰ πράγματα.

“An old fox is not captured”. A Proverb applied to those who have not fallen or been conquered for a long time thanks to deception.

Γέρων ἀλώπηξ οὐχ ἁλίσκεται: ἐπὶ τῶν διὰ πλήθους χρόνου μὴ περιπιπτόντων ἢ νικωμένων ἀπάτῃ.

from Zenobius

“The owl flies”: The flight of the owl is an omen of victory among the Athenians
Γλαῦξ ἵπταται: ἡ πτῆσις τῆς γλαυκὸς νίκης σύμβολον τοῖς ᾿Αθηναίοις ἐνομίζετο.

“A Cadmeian victory.” A proverb about which people say various things. Some say that it is applied to profitless victories as when Eteokles and Polyneices fought in single combat and both died…”

Καδμεία νίκη: περὶ ταύτης τῆς παροιμίας ἄλλοι ἄλλως λέγουσιν. ᾿Αποδιδόασι δὲ ταύτην ἐπὶ τῆς ἀλυσιτελοῦς νίκης, οἱ μὲν, ὅτι [ἐπεὶ] ᾿Ετεοκλῆς καὶ Πολυνείκης μονομαχοῦντες ἀμφότεροι ἀπώλοντο·

from Michael Apostolios

“there are three parts of excellence: intelligence, strength, and good fortune.”
᾿Αρετὴ τριὰς, σύνεσις καὶ κράτος καὶ τύχη

“The vote of the greater number conquers”

Terracotta Panathenaic prize amphora

Τῶν πλειόνων ἡ ψῆφος νικᾷ.

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