What Is Best? Impending Death!

Plutarch, Consolatio ad Apollonium 108-109:

“Pindar says of Agamedes and Trophonius that they built a temple of Apollo and asked the god for a reward. He responded that he would give it to them on the seventh day, and told them to enjoy themselves during that time. They did as instructed, and on the seventh day, they fell asleep and died.

The story goes that Pindar was sent by the Boeotians to ask Apollo what was best for mortals. The priest responded that Pindar himself could hardly be ignorant of the answer, if he had really written the story of Trophonius and Agamedes. Yet, he was told that if he wished to experience it directly, it would all be made clear in a short time. When Pindar heard this, he reasoned that all of this foretold his own death, and after a short period of time, he died.”

Καὶ περὶ ᾿Αγαμήδους δὲ καὶ Τροφωνίου φησὶ Πίνδαρος τὸν νεὼν τὸν ἐν Δελφοῖς οἰκοδομήσαντας αἰτεῖν παρὰ τοῦ ᾿Απόλλωνος μισθόν, τὸν δ’ αὐτοῖς ἐπαγγείλασθαι εἰς ἑβδόμην ἡμέραν ἀποδώσειν, ἐν τοσούτῳ δ’ εὐωχεῖσθαι παρακελεύσασθαι· τοὺς δὲ ποιήσαντας τὸ προσταχθὲν τῇ ἑβδόμῃ νυκτὶ κατακοιμηθέντας τελευτῆσαι.

Λέγεται δὲ καὶ αὐτῷ Πινδάρῳ ἐπισκήψαντι τοῖς παρὰ τῶν Βοιωτῶν πεμφθεῖσιν εἰς θεοῦ πυθέσθαι “τί ἄριστόν ἐστιν ἀνθρώποις” ἀποκρίνασθαι τὴν πρόμαντιν ὅτι οὐδ’ αὐτὸς ἀγνοεῖ, εἴ γε τὰ γραφέντα περὶ Τροφωνίου καὶ ᾿Αγαμήδους ἐκείνου ἐστίν· εἰ δὲ καὶ πειραθῆναι βούλεται, μετ’ οὐ πολὺ ἔσεσθαι αὐτῷ πρόδηλον. καὶ οὕτω πυθόμενον τὸν Πίνδαρον συλλογίζεσθαι τὰ πρὸς τὸν θάνατον, διελθόντος δ’ ὀλίγου χρόνου τελευτῆσαι.

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