Maybe it’s the Medizing, Maybe it’s the Wine

Aelian, Historical Miscellany 9.41

They say that Simonides of Ceos and Pausanias the Spartan were once at a dinner party together, and when Pausanias urged Simonides to say something wise, that man of Ceos laughed and said, ‘Remember that you are just human.’ Pausanias thought little of this thought right then, and set it down as essentially worthless, perhaps because he was already blinded by his eagerness for Medizing, or perhaps it is just as likely that he was a bit carried away by the wine. But when it happened that he was in the Bronze House of Athena, struggling with hunger and about to die in the most wretched way possible, he remembered what old Simonides had said and cried out three times, ‘O stranger from Ceos, your advice was a great thing to have, but in my folly I thought that it was nothing.’

“I wish I hadn’t been so drunk that night…”

῎Εν τινί φασι συνδείπνῳ παρῆν Σιμωνίδης ὁ Κεῖος καὶ Παυσανίας ὁ Λακεδαιμόνιος. προσέταξεν οὖν ὁ Παυσανίας τῷ Σιμωνίδῃ σοφόν τι εἰπεῖν, ὃ δὲ γελάσας ὁ Κεῖος ‘μέμνησο’ εἶπεν ‘ἄνθρωπος ὤν.’ τοῦτο παραχρῆμα μὲν ἐξεφαύλισε Παυσανίας καὶ παρ’ οὐδὲν ἔθετο, ὑποτυφόμενος ἤδη ἐς τὸν τοῦ μηδίζειν ἔρωτα, καὶ μεγαλοφρονῶν ἐπὶ τῇ πρὸς βασιλέα ξενίᾳ, ἴσως δὲ καὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ οἴνου παραφερόμενος. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἦν πρὸς τῇ Χαλκιοίκῳ, καὶ διεπάλαιε τῷ λιμῷ καὶ ἔμελλεν ἀποθνήσκειν ἀνθρώπων ἀλγεινότατα, ἀλλὰ τηνικαῦτα ἐμνήσθη τοῦ Σιμωνίδου καὶ ἐξεβόησεν ἐς τρὶς ‘ὦ ξένε Κεῖε, μέγα τι ἄρα χρῆμα ἦν ὁ λόγος σου, ἐγὼ δὲ ὑπ’ ἀνοίας οὐδὲν αὐτὸν ᾤμην εἶναι.’

Leave a Reply