Washington DC, Home of the Octopus

Theognis 213-218

my heart, show to all of our friends a changeable character,
and mix into it the disposition that each of them has.
make it your way, the ways of the infinitely changing octopus
which looks just like whatever rock it clings to.
for the moment go along with this one,
but the next moment, take on a different skin.
craftiness is better for you than rigidity.

θυμέ, φίλους κατὰ πάντας ἐπίστρεφε ποικίλον ἦθος,
ὀργὴν συμμίσγων ἥντιν᾽ ἕκαστος ἔχει.
πουλύπου ὀργὴν ἴσχε πολυπλόκου, ὃς ποτὶ πέτρῃ
τῇ προσομιλήσῃ τοῖος ἰδεῖν ἐφάνη:
νῦν μὲν τῇδ᾽ ἐφέπου, τότε δ᾽ ἀλλοῖος χρόα γίνου.
κρέσσων τοι σοφίη γίνεται ἀτροπίης.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at featsofgreek.blogspot.com.

“Marine Style” flask with octopus, c. 1500-1450 BC

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