Theophrastus, Characters: Fraudulence
“Fraudulence will seem to be a certain pretending about goods which don’t exist. The fraudster is the kind of person who
Stands near the pier telling strangers how much of his money is on the sea. He also talks at great length about his money lending work, how much he has earned and how much he has lost. At the very same time that he amplifies these, he sends his slave to the bank where he has a drachma on credit.
While talking cleverly on a trip he tricks his travel companion about how he went on campaign with Alexander and how he liked him, and how many jewel-encrusted cups he got and debating about how much better the craftsmen in Asia are than those in Europe. And he says these things even though he has never left the town.
He says he has received three or so letters from Antipater asking him to visit Macedonia and that he has denied to grant him the export of timber without tax because he does not want to be tricked by any apple-polisher. Since “It’s right for the Macedonians to be a lot wiser than that”.
He’ll also tell you that during a food shortage he lost more than five talents from giving to poor citizens, because he just can’t say no.
When people who are unknown sit next to him, he asks them to move the stones for him and as they do the addition by the thousand columns down to the one and make it to ten talents and explains that that’s how much he has out on loan to friends, without counting the warships and the public festivals he has been paying for.
He approaches the best horses and pretends to the sales people that he is going to buy them.
He goes to the tailor and picks out clothing for nearly two talents and then argues with his slave because he followed him without bringing any gold.
When he is inhabiting a rented house he says that it is his father’s family home to someone he does not know and that he is going to sell it because it is too small for having parties.”
(1) ἀμέλει δὲ ἡ ἀλαζονεία δόξει εἶναι προσποίησίς τις ἀγαθῶν οὐκ ὄντων, ὁ δὲ ἀλαζὼν τοιοῦτός τις,
(2) οἷος ἐν τῷ διαζεύγματι ἑστηκὼς διηγεῖσθαι ξένοις ὡς πολλὰ χρήματα αὐτῷ ἐστιν ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ· καὶ περὶ τῆς ἐργασίας τῆς δανειστικῆς διεξιέναι ἡλίκη, καὶ αὐτὸς ὅσα εἴληφε καὶ ἀπολώλεκε· καὶ ἅμα ταῦτα πλεθρίζων πέμπειν τὸ παιδάριον εἰς τὴν τράπεζαν, δραχμῆς αὐτῷ κειμένης.
(3) καὶ συνοδοιπόρου δὲ ἀπολαῦσαι ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ δεινὸς λέγων, ὡς μετ᾿Ἀλεξάνδρου ἐστρατεύσατο, καὶ ὡς αὐτῷ εἶχε, καὶ ὅσα λιθοκόλλητα ποτήρια ἐκόμισε· καὶ περὶ τῶν τεχνιτῶν τῶν ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ ὅτι βελτίους εἰσὶ τῶν ἐν τῇ Εὐρώπῃ ἀμφισβητῆσαι· καὶ ταῦτα φῆσαι, οὐδαμοῦ ἐκ τῆς πόλεως ἀποδεδημηκώς.
(4) καὶ γράμματα δὲ εἰπεῖν ὡς πάρεστι παρ᾿ Ἀντιπάτρου τριττὰ δὴ λέγοντα παραγενέσθαι αὐτὸν εἰς Μακεδονίαν· καὶ διδομένης αὐτῷ ἐξαγωγῆς ξύλων ἀτελοῦς ὅτι ἀπείρηται, ὅπως μηδ᾿ ὑφ᾿ ἑνὸς συκοφαντηθῇ, “περαιτέρω φιλοσοφεῖν προσῆκε τοῖς Μακεδόσι·”
(5) καὶ ἐν τῇ σιτοδείᾳ δὲ ὡς πλείω ἢ πέντε τάλαντα αὑτῷ γένοιτο τὰ ἀναλώματα διδόντι τοῖς ἀπόροις τῶν πολιτῶν, ἀνανεύειν γὰρ οὐ δύνασθαι.
(6) καὶ ἀγνώτων δὲ παρακαθημένων κελεῦσαι θεῖναι τὰς ψήφους ἕνα αὐτῶν καὶ ποσῶν κατὰ χιλιάδας καὶ κατὰ μίαν καὶ προστιθεὶς πιθανῶς ἑκάστοις τούτων ὀνόματα ποιῆσαι καὶ δέκα τάλαντα· καὶ τοῦτο φῆσαι εἰσενηνέχθαι εἰς ἐράνους αὑτῷ καὶ τὰς τριηραρχίας εἰπεῖν ὅτι οὐ τίθησιν οὐδὲ τὰς λειτουργίας ὅσας λελειτούργηκε.
(7) καὶ προσελθὼν δ᾿ εἰς τοὺς ἵππους τοὺς ἀγαθοὺς τοῖς πωλοῦσι προσποιήσασθαι ὠνητιᾶν.
(8) καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς κλίνας ἐλθὼν ἱματισμὸν ζητῆσαι εἰς δύο τάλαντα καὶ τῷ παιδὶ μάχεσθαι, ὅτι τὸ χρυσίον οὐκ ἔχων αὐτῷ ἀκολουθεῖ.
(9) καὶ ἐν μισθωτῇ οἰκίᾳ οἰκῶν φῆσαι ταύτην εἶναι τὴν πατρῴαν πρὸς τὸν μὴ εἰδότα, καὶ διότι μέλλει πωλεῖν αὐτὴν διὰ τὸ ἐλάττω εἶναι αὐτῷ πρὸς τὰς ξενοδοχίας.