On Preferring Tears to Laughter; Or, Dio Chrysostom Was Probably Not Much Fun

Stob. Flor. 4. 23 Attributed to Dio Chrysostom

“Constant, loud laughter is worse than anger. This is why it reaches a peak among prostitutes and rather foolish children. Personally, I think that a face is decorated better by tears than laughter. I think this because, generally, some kind of learning accompanies tears; while a lack of control comes with laughter. No one encourages an arrogant person by weeping; but laughter builds up his hopes.”

Γέλως δὲ συνεχὴς καὶ μέγας θυμοῦ κακίων· διὰ τοῦτο μάλιστα ἑταίραις ἀκμάζων καὶ παίδων τοῖς ἀφρονεστέροις. ἐγὼ δὲ κοσμεῖσθαι πρόσωπον ὑπὸ δακρύων ἡγοῦμαι μᾶλλον ἢ ὑπὸ γέλωτος. δάκρυσι μὲν γὰρ ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πλεῖστον σύνεστι καὶ μάθημά που χρηστόν, γέλωτι δὲ ἀκολασία. καὶ κλάων μὲν οὐδεὶς προυτρέψατο ὑβριστήν, γελῶν δὲ ηὔξησεν αὐτοῦ τὰς ἐλπίδας.

I might have to disagree with Sir Golden-Mouth on this one. I think it is much better to be like…

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3 responses

  1. Are you sure ‘arrogant person’ is the best translation for ὑβριστήν here? It seems to be used in the specific sense of ‘seducer/rapist’.

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