Don’t Be Honest in the Senate

Epictetus, Discourses 1.2:

“Helvidius Priscus saw these things, and acted thus. When Vespasian send to him and ordered him not to come to the senate, he responded, ‘It is in your power not to allow me into the senate. But as long as I am a senator, it is necessary that I go.’

Vespasian then said, ‘Well, come, but be quiet.’

‘Don’t ask my opinion there, and I will be silent.’

‘But I have to ask your opinion.’

‘And I have to say what seems just.’

‘But if you say it, I will kill you.’

‘When did I ever tell you that I am immortal? Act your part, and I will act mine. It is your duty to kill me, and mine to die without fear. It is your business to banish me, and mine to leave without grief.’”

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ταῦτα εἶδεν καὶ Πρῖσκος Ἑλουίδιος καὶ ἰδὼν ἐποίησε. προσπέμψαντος αὐτῷ Οὐεσπασιανοῦ, ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς τὴν σύγκλητον, ἀπεκρίνατο ‘ἐπὶ σοί ἐστι μὴ ἐᾶσαί με εἶναι συγκλητικόν: μέχρι δὲ ἂν ὦ, δεῖ με εἰσέρχεσθαι.’  ‘ἄγε ἀλλ᾽ εἰσελθών,’ φησίν, ‘σιώπησον.’ ‘μή μ᾽ ἐξέταζε καὶ σιωπήσω.’ ‘ἀλλὰ δεῖ με ἐξετάσαι.’ ‘κἀμὲ εἰπεῖν τὸ φαινόμενον δίκαιον.’ ‘ἀλλ᾽ ἐὰν εἴπῃς, ἀποκτενῶ σε.’  ‘πότε οὖν σοι εἶπον, ὅτι ἀθάνατός εἰμι; καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. σόν ἐστιν ἀποκτεῖναι, ἐμὸν ἀποθανεῖν μὴ τρέμοντα: σὸν φυγαδεῦσαι, ἐμὸν ἐξελθεῖν μὴ λυπούμενον.’

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