The Greatness of Freedom

Epictetus, Discourses 4.54-55

“Tell me this then—does freedom seem to be something great, noble, and valuable to you?

How wouldn’t it be?

Is it possible for someone who receives something so great, noble, and valuable to be miserable?

It is not.

So, when you see someone begging someone else or flattering them against what they really believe, be brave enough to say that this person is not free. And it is not just if someone does this for a meal but if they do it for a cabinet position or another office too…”

Ἔτι οὖν ἀπόκριναί μοι κἀκεῖνο· δοκεῖ σοι μέγα τι εἶναι καὶ γενναῖον ἡ ἐλευθερία καὶ ἀξιόλογον; —

Πῶς γὰρ οὔ;—

Ἔστιν οὖν τυγχάνοντά τινος οὕτως μεγάλου καὶ ἀξιολόγου καὶ γενναίου ταπεινὸν εἶναι;

Οὐκ ἔστιν.

Ὅταν οὖν ἴδῃς τινὰ ὑποπεπτωκότα ἑτέρῳ ἢ κολακεύοντα παρὰ τὸ φαινόμενον αὐτῷ, λέγε καὶ τοῦτον θαρρῶν μὴ εἶναι ἐλεύθερον· καὶ μὴ μόνον, ἂν δειπναρίου ἕνεκα αὐτὸ ποιῇ, ἀλλὰ κἂν ἐπαρχίας ἕνεκα κἂν ὑπατείας

Sophocles, fr. 873 [= Mich. Apostol 13.8]

“Whoever does business with a tyrant is
That man’s slave, even if he starts out free.”

ὅστις γὰρ ὡς τύραννον ἐμπορεύεται
κείνου ‘στι δοῦλος, κἂν ἐλεύθερος μόλῃ.

 

Traitors and Crowns

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 1068-1070

“I have learned to hate traitors
For there is no sickness
I reject greater than that”

τοὺς προδότας γὰρ μισεῖν ἔμαθον,
κοὐκ ἔστι νόσος
τῆσδ᾿ ἥντιν᾿ ἀπέπτυσα μᾶλλον.

Galen, Method of Medicine 1, 1 19k

“But what is this? For purse-snatchers envy purse-snatches and traitors envy traitors. It’s simple: there’s no person who does have some crowd ready to crown them.”

ἀλλὰ τί τοῦτο; καὶ γὰρ οἱ βαλαντιοτόμοι τὰ τῶν βαλαντιοτόμων ζηλοῦσι καὶ οἱ προδόται τὰ τῶν προδοτῶν καὶ οὐδείς ἐστιν ἁπλῶς ἄνθρωπος ὃς οὐκ ἂν σχοίη χορὸν οἰκεῖον ἐν ᾧ στεφθήσεται.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) gestures toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory Jan. 6, 2021 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Some demonstrators later breached security and stormed the Capitol. (Francis Chung/E&E News and Politico via AP Images)

No Greener Grass: Life is Painful Everywhere

Plutarch, On the Tranquility of Mind, 466

“Menander addresses those who believe that some kind of life is singularly free of pain, as some people think about the life of farmers, or of bachelors, or of kings. He reminds rightly (Men. Fr. 281):

‘I once thought, Phanias, that rich men,
who are not pressed to borrow money, do not groan
During the night, don’t turn over and over mumbling
“Alas”, and are able to sleep a sweet and
calm sleep.’

He then proceeds to describe how he has noted that the wealthy suffer the same things as the poor:

‘Is there some relation between life and pain?
Pain abides in a rich life; it’s in a famous one,
It grows old alongside a poor life too.’

But just as, while sailing, cowards and the sick believe that they would fare more easily if they moved from a skiff to a larger boat, or again if they went from there to a trireme, they achieve nothing since they carry their sickness and their cowardice with them. Changing your lifestyle doesn’t separate pains and troubles from the soul. These things come from inexperience in affairs, lack of reason, and an inability or ignorance concerning approaching the present circumstances correctly.

These things storm around the rich and poor; they annoy the married and unmarried too. Men avoid appearing in public because of these things but then cannot endure their peaceful life; because of these things, men pursue advancement in the seats of power but when they get there, they are immediately bored.”

Τοὺς μὲν γὰρ ἀφωρισμένως ἕνα βίον ἄλυπον νομίζοντας, ὡς ἔνιοι τὸν τῶν γεωργῶν ἢ τὸν τῶν ἠιθέων ἢ τὸν τῶν βασιλέων, ἱκανῶς ὁ Μένανδρος ὑπομιμνήσκει λέγων (fr. 281)

‘ᾤμην ἐγὼ τοὺς πλουσίους, ὦ Φανία,
οἷς μὴ τὸ δανείζεσθαι πρόσεστιν, οὐ στένειν
τὰς νύκτας οὐδὲ στρεφομένους ἄνω κάτω
‘οἴμοι’ λέγειν, ἡδὺν δὲ καὶ πρᾶόν τινα
ὕπνον καθεύδειν•’

εἶτα προσδιελθὼν ὡς καὶ τοὺς πλουσίους ὁρᾷ ταὐτὰ πάσχοντας τοῖς πένησιν

‘ἆρ’ ἐστί’ φησί ‘συγγενές τι λύπη καὶ βίος;
τρυφερῷ βίῳ σύνεστιν, ἐνδόξῳ βίῳ
πάρεστιν, ἀπόρῳ συγκαταγηράσκει βίῳ.’

ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ οἱ δειλοὶ καὶ ναυτιῶντες ἐν τῷ πλεῖν, εἶτα ῥᾷον οἰόμενοι διάξειν, ἐὰν εἰς γαῦλον ἐξ ἀκάτου καὶ πάλιν ἐὰν εἰς τριήρη μεταβῶσιν, οὐδὲν περαίνουσι τὴν χολὴν καὶ τὴν δειλίαν συμμεταφέροντες αὑτοῖς, οὕτως αἱ τῶν βίων ἀντιμεταλήψεις οὐκ ἐξαιροῦσι τῆς ψυχῆς τὰ λυποῦντα καὶ ταράττοντα• ταῦτα δ’ ἐστὶν ἀπειρία πραγμάτων, ἀλογιστία, τὸ μὴ δύνασθαι μηδ’ ἐπίστασθαι χρῆσθαι τοῖς παροῦσιν ὀρθῶς. ταῦτα καὶ πλουσίους χειμάζει καὶ πένητας, ταῦτα καὶ γεγαμηκότας ἀνιᾷ καὶ ἀγάμους• διὰ ταῦτα φεύγουσι τὴν ἀγορὰν εἶτα τὴν ἡσυχίαν οὐ φέρουσι, διὰ ταῦτα προαγωγὰς ἐν αὐλαῖς διώκουσι καὶ παρελθόντες εὐθὺς βαρύνονται.

Saving the State With A Single Body

Cicero, De Domo Sua 63-64

“Leaders, this violence, this crime, this rage was what I defended from the necks of all good people with my body—I met with my skin the full force of civil strife, the explosive savagery of criminals which was just now bursting out because it had found such daring leaders after it had grown for so long as hatred suppressed.

Against me alone the consular firebrands fell, thrown by the tribunes’ hands; all the criminal points of conspiracy which I had broken before struck me. But if I had done what many of the bravest men found pleasing and had decided to face this force in open arms, I would have been victorious with the death of so many criminals who were still citizens or I would have fallen with the Republic following the death of so many good people, something those criminals wished for most.”

Hanc ego vim, pontifices, hoc scelus, hunc furorem meo corpore opposito ab omnium bonorum cervicibus depuli omnemque impetum discordiarum, omnem diu collectam vim improborum, quae inveterata compresso odio atque tacito iam erumpebat nancta tam audaces duces, excepi meo corpore. In me uno consulares faces, iactae manibus tribuniciis, in me omnia, quae ego quondam rettuderam, coniurationis nefaria tela adhaeserunt. Quod si, ut multis fortissimis viris placuit, vi et armis contra vim decertare voluissem, aut vicissem cum magna internicione improborum, sed tamen civium, aut interfectis bonis omnibus, quod illis optatissimum erat, una cum re publica concidissem

Officer Eugene Goodman at the Capitol Building on January 6th, 2021. Image taken from The Hill https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/533657-capitol-police-officer-hailed-as-hero-for-drawing-rioters-away-from-senate

A Secret Messaging Strategy for the De-platformed

Aeneas Tacticus, Fragments LI: on the Sending of Messages”

“People who plan to work with traitors need to know how to send messages. Send them like this. Have a man be sent openly carrying some note about other matters. Have a different letter be secretly placed under the sole of the sandals of the person carrying the first message. Sew it between the layers and have it inscribed on tin to be safeguarded against mud and water.

Once the messenger has arrived to his destination and he has rested for the night, let the intended recipient remove the stitches from the sandals, take the message out, write a response secretly, and send the messenger back once he has written some public message to carry openly. In this way, not even the messenger will know what he carries.”

Τοῖς κεχρημένοις προδόταις ἀναγκαῖον εἰδέναι πῶς ἐπιστολὰς δεῖ αὐτοὺς εἰσπέμπειν. ἀπόστελλε γοῦν οὕτως. πεμπέσθω ἀνὴρ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ φέρων1 ἐπιστολήν τινα περὶ ἄλλων πραγμάτων. τοῦ δὲ πορεύεσθαι μέλλοντος κρυφαίως αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ τῶν ὑποδημάτων πέλμα ἐντεθήτω εἰς τὸ μεταξὺ βιβλίον καὶ καταραπτέσθω· πρὸς δὲ τοὺς πηλοὺς καὶ τὰ ὕδατα εἰς κασσίτερον ἐληλασμένον2 γραφέσθω πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἀφανίζεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ὑδάτων τὰ γράμματα. ἀφικομένου δὲ πρὸς ὃν δεῖ3 καὶ ἀναπαυομένου νυκτὸς ἀναλυέτω τὰς ῥαφὰς τῶν ὑποδημάτων καὶ ἐξελὼν ἀναγνούς τε καὶ4 ἄλλα γράψας λάθρᾳ ἀποστελλέτω τὸν ἄνδρα, ἀνταποστείλας καὶ δούς τι5 φέρειν φανερῶς· οὕτως γὰρ οὔτε ἄλλος οὔτε ὁ φέρων εἰδήσει.

Exhibit in the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greek_balsamaria_in_shape_of_lower_leg_with_open-toed_sandal,_6th_century_BC_-_Bata_Shoe_Museum_-_DSC00016.JPG

Warring Parts of the Soul: Some Fragments on Insurrection

Dio Chrysostom, The 24th Discourse

“If you think that they are harming you and started the insurrection and the chaos, you need to get rid of them completely and not allow them into the assemblies.”

οὓς εἰ μὲν οἴεσθε βλάπτειν ὑμᾶς καὶ στάσεως ἄρχειν καὶ ταραχῆς, ὅλως ἐχρῆν ἀπελάσαι καὶ μὴ παραδέχεσθαι ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις·

 

Pausanias, Corinth 33

“When everyone was a total insurrection in the city, people say that these women were killed by the opposing rebels and that today they have a festival for them called the Stoning.”

 στασιασάντων δὲ ὁμοίως τῶν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἁπάντων καὶ ταύτας φασὶν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀντιστασιωτῶν καταλευσθῆναι, καὶ ἑορτὴν ἄγουσί σφισι Λιθοβόλια ὀνομάζοντες

Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 4.64

“I’ll try to explain in brief who the leaders of the insurrection were and how they came to this point of affairs.”

οἵτινες δ᾿ ἦσαν οἱ τῆς ἐπαναστάσεως ἄρξαντες καὶ δι᾿ οἵων τρόπων ἦλθον ἐπὶ τὰ πράγματα, δι᾿ ὀλίγων πειράσομαι διελθεῖν.

Plato, Republic 4 444b

“I said—so be it, after that we need to examine injustice, I think.”

“Clearly”

“[Injustice], then, must be a kind of civil strife of those three pre-existing things: doing too much, overreaching into other people’s business, and insurrection of some part against the whole of the soul in order to take power that doesn’t belong to it even those that part’s nature is to serve the whole. Yeah, we would say these kinds of things I think and that when there is confusion or wandering in them we get injustice, loss of control, wickedness, ignorance, and, to put it briefly, every evil.”

Ἔστω δή, ἦν δ’ ἐγώ· μετὰ γὰρ τοῦτο σκεπτέον οἶμαι ἀδικίαν. |

Δῆλον.

Οὐκοῦν στάσιν τινὰ αὖ τριῶν ὄντων τούτων δεῖ αὐτὴν εἶναι καὶ πολυπραγμοσύνην καὶ ἀλλοτριοπραγμοσύνην καὶ ἐπανάστασιν μέρους τινὸς τῷ ὅλῳ τῆς ψυχῆς, ἵν’ ἄρχῃ ἐν αὐτῇ οὐ προσῆκον, ἀλλὰ τοιούτου ὄντος φύσει οἵου πρέπειν αὐτῷ δουλεύειν, †τοῦ δ’ αὖ δουλεύειν ἀρχικοῦ γένους ὄντι†;6 | τοιαῦτ’ ἄττα οἶμαι φήσομεν καὶ τὴν τούτων ταραχὴν καὶ πλάνην εἶναι τήν τε ἀδικίαν καὶ ἀκολασίαν καὶ δειλίαν καὶ ἀμαθίαν καὶ συλλήβδην πᾶσαν κακίαν.

Fragmentary Friday: Why Are You Sober if You Have Money?

Baton, the Comic Poet (fr. 3.1-11, preserved in Athenaeus Deipn. 4.163b)

“I am calling the prudent philosophers here,
Those who never allow themselves anything good,
Those who seek a thoughtful man in every walk
And in their discussions as if he were a fugitive slave.
Wretched man, why are you sober if you have money?
Why do you dishonor the gods this much?
Why do you think money is worth more than you are?
Does it have some intrinsic worth?
If you drink water, you’re useless to the city.
You hurt the farmer and the trader at the same time.
But I make them wealthier by getting drunk.”

τῶν φιλοσόφων τοὺς σώφρονας ἐνταυθοῖ καλῶ,
τοὺς ἀγαθὸν αὑτοῖς οὐ διδόντας οὐδὲ ἕν,
τοὺς τὸν φρόνιμον ζητοῦντας ἐν τοῖς περιπάτοις
καὶ ταῖς διατριβαῖς ὥσπερ ἀποδεδρακότα.
ἄνθρωπ’ ἀλάστωρ, διὰ τί συμβολὰς ἔχων
νήφεις; τί τηλικοῦτον ἀδικεῖς τοὺς θεούς;
τί τἀργύριον, ἄνθρωπε, τιμιώτερον
σαυτοῦ τέθεικας ἢ πέφυκε τῇ φύσει;
ἀλυσιτελὴς εἶ τῇ πόλει πίνων ὕδωρ·
τὸν γὰρ γεωργὸν καὶ τὸν ἔμπορον κακοῖς.
ἐγὼ δὲ τὰς προσόδους μεθύων καλὰς ποιῶ.

Another fragmentary author with no Wikipedia page.  All the Suda says about him is: Βάτων, κωμικός· δράματα αὐτοῦ Συνεξαπατῶν, ᾿Ανδροφόνος, Εὐεργέται. (“A Comic Poet whose plays were the Conspirators, the Murder and the Goodworkers.”) Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists is the main source for his fragments. This Batôn should not be confused with the historian and orator Batôn (also mentioned in Athenaeus).

 

How Do You Say ShantyTok in Ancient Greek?

P. Oxy. iii. 1903, no. 425,  A Sailor’s Song

“Sailors who race over deep waves,
along Triton’s salty swells
Nile-runners who make their sweet way
sailing over the waters’ smile
Friends, tell us your judgment
between the sea and the fertile Nile”

ν]αῦται βυθοκυμα[τ]οδρόμοι
ἁλίων Τρίτωνες ὑδάτων
καὶ Νειλῶται γλυκυδρόμοι
τὰ γελῶντα πλέοντες ὑδάτη
τὴν σύγκρισιν εἴπατε, φίλοι,
πελάγους καὶ Νείλοῠ γονίμου.

h/t to Tim Whitmarsh for posting this

Here’s the translation from the Loeb: “Sailors who skim deep waters, Tritons of the briny waves, and Nilots who sail in happy course upon the smiling waters, tell us, friends, the comparison of the ocean with the fruitful Nile.” (LCL 360, 428-430, Page)

See Peter Gainsford’s excellent post on Greek sea shanties in Assassin’s Creed for even better material.

black-figure terracotta vessel depicting an ancient greek ship https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:NaveGreca.jpg

The internet, to crib from “rocky horror”, don’t dream it, be it. I pledged to donate money to The Sportulafor actual ShantyToks and people made it happen

From the inestimable Ryan Baumann

@ryan_fb

#AncientGreek #Shanty – from a 2nd-3rd century CE papyrus (P.Oxy. 3 425) 📜

♬ original sound – user4798037192129

The amazing Katie Mikos:

@ph_dummie

🚨 Ancient Greek sea shanty alert 🚨 (for charity 😅) #shantytok #seashanty #voiceeffects #SkinCare101 #ZodiacSign #ancientgreece #greek #foryoupage

♬ original sound – Katie Mikos

This one gets extra points for costume and props

Ah, but Odysseus himself might have sailed straight into the Sirens’ rocks for the singing in this one…

@earlyonemorning

English version of Ancient Greek sea shanty. Original melody, pretty raw. Thoughts? #shanty #shantytok #shantytiktok #ancientgreek #historytiktok

♬ original sound – earlyonemorning

As a native of Maine I grew up hearing sea shanties from time to time. I must have seen Schooner Fare in elementary school 3 or 4 times

Thunderous-Mouth-Milling and Petty-Bragging: Some Words for a Thursday

The Suda has the following anecdote which seems to be taken and altered from Diogenes Laertius or something similar.

“thunderous-mouth-milling”: Eubulides says this “the eristic, asking his horn questions and discombobulating the orators with his falsely-intellectual arguments, taking with him the “thunderous-mouth-milling” of Demosthenes.

Ῥομβοστωμυλήθρα: Εὐβουλίδης φησίν: οὑριστικὸς κερατίνας ἐρωτῶν καὶ ψευδαλαζόσιν λόγοις τοὺς ῥήτορας κυλίων ἀπῆλθ’, ἔχων Δημοσθένους τὴν ῥομβοστωμυλήθραν.

ῥομβοστωμυλήθρη (lit. “thunderous-mouth-milling” (?) seems to be a misunderstanding or humorous take on ῥωποπερπερήθρη, usually translated as “braggadocio” but is more like “cheap/petty bragging”
From Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 2.10

“The eristic Euboulides, asking questions about horns
And discombobulating the speakers with his falsely-intellectual arguments
Has gone off, taking the petty self regard of Demosthenes with him

For it seems that Demosthenes was a student of Eubulides and was able to stop his problems with the letter ‘r’ because of it. Eubulides was also in conflict with Aristotle and undermined him a lot.

οὑριστικὸς δ᾿ Εὐβουλίδης κερατίνας ἐρωτῶν
καὶ ψευδαλαζόσιν λόγοις τοὺς ῥήτορας κυλίων
ἀπῆλθ᾿ ἔχων Δημοσθένους τὴν ῥωποπερπερήθραν.

ἐῴκει γὰρ αὐτοῦ καὶ Δημοσθένης ἀκηκοέναι καὶ ῥωβικώτερος ὢν παύσασθαι. ὁ δ᾿ Εὐβουλίδης καὶ πρὸς Ἀριστοτέλην διεφέρετο, καὶ πολλὰ αὐτὸν διαβέβληκε.

Eubulides is now known for some interesting paradoxes.

Image result for ancient greek eubulides
Demosthenes, no longer thunderous-mouth-milling.

Will Eyewitnesses to Injustice Spare This Man?

Dinarchus, Against Philocles 110 14-15

“Citizens, you need to remember these things and not take lightly all the information made public by the council—act here as you have in cases judged before. It is shameful to tire of punishing people who have proved themselves traitors to the state and shameful that any insurrectionists and wicked people should be left out there when the gods have clearly shown their true nature and handed them over to you to be punished.

You have seen that the whole electorate accuses this man and now they have given him to you before all the others to get what he deserves.

Sweet Zeus, Savior! I am ashamed that you need us to force you, to push you on to bring punishment to this person who has already been judged. Aren’t you all eyewitnesses of the injustices he committed? Because all the people believe he is neither just nor safe to be trusted with children they rejected him as guardian of the youth. Will you very protectors of the democracy and the laws—those people chance and fortune have given the power of justice over our people—will you spare a man who has attempted these kinds of things?”

ὧν ἀναμιμνησκομένους ὑμᾶς, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, δεῖ μὴ παρέργως ἔχειν πρὸς τὰς ὑπὸ τῆς βουλῆς γεγενημένας ἀποφάσεις, ἀλλ᾿ ἀκολούθως ταῖς πρότερον κεκριμέναις· αἰσχρὸν γὰρ ἀπειπεῖν τιμωρουμένους ἐστὶ τοὺς προδότας τῆς πόλεως γεγενημένους, καὶ ὑπολείπεσθαί τινας τῶν ἀδίκων καὶ πονηρῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὅτε οἱ θεοὶ φανεροὺς ὑμῖν ποιήσαντες παρέδοσαν τιμωρήσασθαι, ἑορακότες τὸν δῆμον ἅπαντα κατήγορον τούτου γεγενημένον καὶ προκεχειρικότα πρῶτον τῶν ἄλλων ἐπὶ τὸ τὴν τιμωρίαν ἐν ὑμῖν δοῦναι.

Ἀλλ᾿ ἔγωγε, νὴ τὸν Δία τὸν σωτῆρα, αἰσχύνομαι, εἰ προτραπέντας ὑμᾶς δεῖ4 καὶ παροξυνθέντας ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ νῦν εἰσεληλυθότος τὴν κρίσιν τιμωρίαν ἐλθεῖν. [καὶ] οὐκ αὐτόπται ἐστὲ τῶν ὑπὸ τούτου γεγενημένων ἀδικημάτων; καὶ ὁ μὲν δῆμος ἅπας οὔτ᾿ ἀσφαλὲς οὔτε δίκαιον νομίζων εἶναι παρακαταθέσθαι τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ παῖδας ἀπεχειροτόνησεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν ἐφήβων ἐπιμελείας,  ὑμεῖς δ᾿ οἱ τῆς δημοκρατίας καὶ τῶν νόμων φύλακες, οἷς ἡ τύχη καὶ ὁ κλῆρος . . . ὑπὲρ τοῦ δήμου δικάσοντας ἐπέτρεψεν;