Everyone Hates Your Dad

Plutarch, Pompey (§ 1):

It seems that the Roman people held straight from the beginning the same feeling toward Pompey which Aeschylus’ Prometheus directed toward Heracles when he was saved by him, saying:

To me, you are the dearest offspring of a detestable father.

For the Romans never took up such a firm and savage hatred of another general as they felt for Pompey’s father Strabo. While he lived, they feared his power in arms (for he was a most warlike man), and when he died after being struck by lightning, they dragged out his corpse from the couch and insulted it. Yet at the same time, no one of the Romans but Pompey received from the people such abiding goodwill that began so quickly, reached a pinnacle while his fortunes were good, and remained firm while his fortunes were low. The one cause of the hatred for Strabo was his insatiable eagerness for wealth; there were, however, many causes for Pompey’s being loved, such as his prudent mode of life, his bearing in arms, the persuasiveness of his speech, the faith in his character, his easiness in conversation, such that his requests were less grievous than anyone else’s, nor was anyone more pleasant in doing a good deed. In addition to all of his other charms there was in him a mode of giving without offense and of taking in a respectful way.

Πρὸς Πομπήϊον ἔοικε τοῦτο παθεῖν ὁ ῾Ρωμαίων δῆμος εὐθὺς ἐξ ἀρχῆς, ὅπερ ὁ Αἰσχύλου Προμηθεὺς πρὸς τὸν ῾Ηρακλέα σωθεὶς ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ λέγων·

᾿Εχθροῦ πατρός μοι τοῦτο φίλτατον τέκνον.

οὔτε γὰρ μῖσος οὕτως ἰσχυρὸν καὶ ἄγριον ἐπεδείξαντο ῾Ρωμαῖοι πρὸς ἕτερον στρατηγὸν ὡς τὸν Πομπηΐου πατέρα Στράβωνα, ζῶντος μὲν αὐτοῦ φοβούμενοι τὴν ἐν τοῖς ὅπλοις δύναμιν (ἦν γὰρ ἀνὴρ πολεμικώτατος), ἐπεὶ δὲ ἀπέθανε κεραυνωθείς, ἐκκομιζόμενον τὸ σῶμα κατασπάσαντες ἀπὸ τοῦ λέχους καὶ καθυβρίσαντες, οὔτε μὴν εὔνοιαν αὖ πάλιν σφοδροτέραν ἢ θᾶσσον ἀρξαμένην ἢ μᾶλλον εὐτυχοῦντι συνακμάσασαν ἢ πταίσαντι παραμείνασαν βεβαιότερον ἄλλος ἔσχε ῾Ρωμαίων ἢ Πομπήϊος. αἰτία δὲ τοῦ μὲν μίσους ἐκείνῳ μία, χρημάτων ἄπληστος ἐπιθυμία, τούτῳ δὲ πολλαὶ τοῦ ἀγαπᾶσθαι, σωφροσύνη περὶ δίαιταν, ἄσκησις ἐν ὅπλοις, πιθανότης λόγου, πίστις ἤθους, εὐαρμοστία πρὸς ἔντευξιν, ὡς μηδενὸς ἀλυπότερον δεηθῆναι μηδὲ ἥδιον ὑπουργῆσαι δεομένῳ. προσῆν γὰρ αὐτοῦ ταῖς χάρισι καὶ τὸ ἀνεπαχθὲς διδόντος καὶ τὸ σεμνὸν λαμβάνοντος.


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