What Hephaestus Really Wanted from Thetis

Schol. to Pin. Nemian Odes, 4.81

“Phylarkhos claims that Thetis went to Hephaistos on Olympos so that he might create weapons for Achilles and that he did it. But, because Hephaistos was lusting after Thetis, he said he would not give them to her unless she had sex with him. She promised him that she would, but that she only wanted to try on the weapons first, so she could see if the gear he had made was fit for Achilles. She was actually the same size as him.

Once Hephaistos agreed on this, Thetis armed herself and fled. Because he was incapable of grabbing her, he took a hammer and hit Thetis in the ankle. Injured in this way, she went to Thessaly and healed in the city that is called Thetideion after her.”

Φύλαρχός φησι Θέτιν πρὸς ῞Ηφαιστον ἐλθεῖν εἰς τὸν ῎Ολυμπον, ὅπως ᾽Αχιλλεῖ ὅπλα κατασκευάσηι, τὸν δὲ ποιῆσαι. ἐρωτικῶς δὲ ἔχοντα τὸν ῞Ηφαιστον τῆς Θέτιδος, οὐ φάναι ἂν δώσειν αὐτῆι, εἰ μὴ αὐτῶι προσομιλήσαι. τὴν δὲ αὐτῶι ὑποσχέσθαι, θέλειν μέντοι ὁπλίζεσθαι, ὅπως ἴδηι εἰ ἁρμόζει ἃ ἐπεποιήκει ὅπλα τῶι ᾽Αχιλλεῖ· ἴσην γὰρ αὐτὴν ἐκείνωι εἶναι. τοῦ δὲ παραχωρήσαντος ὁπλισαμένην τὴν Θέτιν φυγεῖν, τὸν δὲ οὐ δυνάμενον καταλαβεῖν σφύραν λαβεῖν καὶ πατάξαι εἰς τὸ σφυρὸν τὴν Θέτιν· τὴν δὲ κακῶς διατεθεῖσαν ἐλθεῖν εἰς Θετταλίαν καὶ ἰαθῆναι ἐν τῆι πόλει ταύτηι τῆι ἀπ᾽ αὐτῆς Θετιδείωι καλουμένηι.

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Hephaistos Thetis Kylix by the Foundry Painter Antikensammlung Berlin F2294

Cruel, Bad, but Loved by the Bodyguards

Historia Augusta, Antoninus Caracella  9

“His way of life was bad and he was more cruel than his father. He was a glutton who was addicted to wine and hated by his own household and despised by every division except for the praetorian guard. There was nothing similar between him and his brother.”

Fuit male moratus et patre duro crudelior. avidus cibi, vini etiam adpetens, suis odiosus et praeter milites praetorianos omnibus castris exosus. prorsus nihil inter fratres simile.

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Surprise! Wolf Slaughters Lamb on Slight Pretext

Phaedrus, Fabula 1.1 (Go to the Scaife Viewer for the Full Latin text) 

 

“A wolf and lamb arrived at the same stream
Compelled by thirst. The wolf was standing above it,
And the lamb far below. Then with wicked jaw agape
For a bark the wolf began to argue his case:

“Why”, he asked, “did you dirty up the water that
I am drinking?” The little lamb responded in fear:

“Please, how can I have done what you have accused, wolf?
The water runs from you to my jaws.”

Rebuffed by the strength of truth, he said,
“Six months ago you maligned my name.”

The lamb responded, “But I was not yet born!”
The wolf said, “By god, then your father did me wrong.”
And he then he killed the lamb by tearing him to pieces.

This fable has been written against those men
Who oppress the innocent for trumped-up reasons.”

Wolf

 

Ad rivum eundem lupus et agnus venerant,
siti compulsi. Superior stabat lupus,
longeque inferior agnus. Tunc fauce improba
latro incitatus iurgii causam intulit;
‘Cur’ inquit ‘turbulentam fecisti mihi
aquam bibenti?’ Laniger contra timens
‘Qui possum, quaeso, facere quod quereris, lupe?
A te decurrit ad meos haustus liquor’.
Repulsus ille veritatis viribus
‘Ante hos sex menses male’ ait ‘dixisti mihi’.
Respondit agnus ‘Equidem natus non eram’.
‘Pater hercle tuus’ ille inquit ‘male dixit mihi’;
atque ita correptum lacerat iniusta nece.
Haec propter illos scripta est homines fabula
qui fictis causis innocentes opprimunt.

For more, go to mythfolklore

Continue reading “Surprise! Wolf Slaughters Lamb on Slight Pretext”

A Lie To Kill A Tyrant

Elias, Commentary on Aristotle’s Categories 109.12–15

“When [Diogenes] was asked by the tyrant one day who the people were who were conspiring against his power the most, he pointed to his bodyguards. The tyrant believed him and was assassinated after he killed them. [Diogenes] believed it was good to tell a lie for the killing of a tyrant.”

ἐρωτηθεὶς γὰρ οὗτός ποτε ὑπό του τυράννου τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ μάλιστα ἐπιβουλεύοντες τῇ τυραννίδι αὐτοῦ, τοὺς δορυφόρους ἔδειξεν· ὁ δὲ πεισθεὶς καὶ ἀνελὼν αὐτοὺς διεφθάρη· ἀγαθὸν γὰρ ἐνόμισε τὸ ψεύσασθαι διὰ τὴν τοῦ τυράννου ἀναίρεσιν.

 

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Scoundrels, Fools, and Failing States

Antisthenes, fr. 103 [=Diogenes Laertius 6.11]

“He used to say that states fail when they cannot distinguish fools from serious men.”

τότ’ ἔφη τὰς πόλεις ἀπόλλυσθαι, ὅταν μὴ δύνωνται τοὺς φαύλους ἀπὸ τῶν σπουδαίων διακρίνειν.

Fr.104

“He used to say that it is strange that we sift out the chaff from the wheat and those useless for war, but we do not forbid scoundrels in politics.”

ἄτοπον ἔφη τοῦ μὲν σίτου τὰς αἴρας ἐκλέγειν καὶ ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ τοὺς ἀχρείους, ἐν δὲ πολιτείᾳ τοὺς πονηροὺς μὴ παραιτεῖσθαι.

Hesychius

“Phaulos: evil, tricky, mean; simple, dumb. Ridiculous”

φαῦλος· κακός, δόλιος, χαλεπός. εὐτελής, ἁπλοῦς. καταγέλαστος

Phaulos lsj

Apostolius Paroemiographus, 9.18.12

“Fish start to stink at the top”: [this is a proverb] applied to people who have scoundrels for leaders.”

᾿Ιχθὺς ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς ὄζειν ἄρχεται: ἐπὶ τῶν ἐπιστάτας φαύλους ἐχόντων.

Stobaeus, 2.3.4

“When Plato saw that someone was doing evil things, but claiming that he was carrying out justice for other people, he said. “This man carries his mind on his tongue.”

᾿Ιδών τινα Πλάτων φαῦλα μὲν πράττοντα, δίκας δὲ ὑπὲρ ἑτέρων λέγοντα, εἶπεν, Οὗτος νοῦν „ἐπὶ γλώσσῃ φέρει”.

2.14.3 Mousonius

“[He said] that associating with wise people is worth a lot, but that you should avoid scoundrels and the uneducated.”

῞Οτι χρὴ περὶ πολλοῦ ποιεῖσθαι τὰς τῶν σοφῶν συνουσίας, ἐκκλίνειν δὲ τοὺς φαύλους καὶ ἀπαιδεύτους

Menander fr. 274

“It is much better to have learned one thing well,
Than to cast about for many deeds foolishly.”

Πολὺ κρεῖττόν ἐστιν ἓν καλῶς μεμαθηκέναι,
ἢ πολλὰ φαύλως περιβεβλῆσθαι πράγματα.

From Beekes 2010

phaulos Beekes 1Phaulos beekes 2

Democritus fr. 234

“Associating with scoundrels frequently increases the possession of wickedness.”

Φαύλων ὁμιλίη ξυνεχὴς ἕξιν κακίης συναέξει.

Socrates, Stobaeus 2.45.3

“It is the same thing to attach your boat to a weak anchor and your hopes to foolish judgment.”

Ταὐτὸν ἐξ ἀσθενοῦς ἀγκυρίου σκάφος ὁρμίζειν καὶ ἐκ φαύλης γνώμης ἐλπίδα.

 

Eusebius, fr. 7 [=Stobaeus 3.4.104]

“Foolish people honor and wonder at those who have a lot of money and are scoundrels, and hold serious people in contempt when they see that they are poor.”

Οἱ μάταιοι τῶν ἀνθρώπων τοὺς μὲν μεγάλα χρήματα ἔχοντας καὶ φαύλους ἐόντας τιμῶσί τε καὶ τεθωυμάκασι· τῶν δὲ σπουδαίων, ἐπειδὰν ἀχρηματίην καταγνῶσιν, ὑπερφρονέουσιν.

Image result for dirty rotten scoundrels

I’m Not A Dictator…

Augustus, Res Gestae 30

“Even though the Roman people and the senate offered me the dictatorship when I was absent and there too, during the consulship of Marcellus and Lucius Arruntius, I did not accept it. I did not refuse the control of the grain supply when there was the most severe scarcity. I did this in such a way that after a few days I relieved the people of the fear and peril they found themselves at my own cost. I also did not accept the consulship when it was offered to me for a year or forever.”

 (Dictatura)m et apsent(i et praesenti a populo et senatu Romano mihi oblatam2) | (M. Marce)llo e(t) L. Ar(runtio consulibus non accepi. Non recusavi in Summa) | (frumenti p)enuri(a c)uratio(ne)m an(nonae, qu)am ita ad(ministravi, ut intra) | (paucos die)s metu et per(i)c(lo praesenti populu)m univ(ersum meis im-)ǁ (pensis liberarem). § Con(sulatum tum dat)um annuum e(t perpetuum non) | (accepi.) |

Αὐτεξούσιόν μοι ἀρχὴν καὶ ἀπόντι καὶ παρόντι | διδομένην (ὑ)πό. τε τοῦ δήμου καὶ τῆς συνκλήτου | Μ(άρκ)ωι (Μ)αρκέλλωι καὶ Λευκίωι 5Ἀρρουντίωι ὑπάτοις ǁ ο(ὐκ ἐδ)εξάμην. § Οὐ παρῃτησάμην ἐν τῆι μεγίστηι | (τοῦ) σ(είτ)ου σπάνει τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν τῆς ἀγορᾶς, ἣν οὕ|(τως ἐπετήδευ)σα, ὥστ᾿ ἐν ὀλίγαις ἡμέρα(ις το)ῦ παρόντος | φόβου καὶ κι(νδ)ύνου ταῖς ἐμαῖς δαπάναις τὸν δῆμον | ἐλευθερῶσα(ι). Ὑπατείαν τέ μοι τότε 10δι(δ)ομένην καὶ ǁ ἐ(ν)ιαύσιον κα(ὶ δ)ι(ὰ) βίου οὐκ ἐδεξάμην.

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Informers, Flatterers, and Figs: On Sycophants

From the Suda

“To be a sykophant: To rub sexually. That’s how Plato and Menander use it.”

Συκοφαντεῖν: κνίζειν ἐρωτικῶς. οὕτως Πλάτων καὶ Μένανδρος.

Browse the Suda on the Scaife Viewer. Or, check out translation and commentary on the Suda Online

More from the Suda

“To be a sykophant: to falsely accuse someone. They the Athenians called it this at the time when a fig-plant was first discovered and they were stopping the export of figs for this reason. Those people who reported that figs were being exported were called “sykophants” [lit. “fig speakers”]. Over time, anyone who accused people in a super annoying manner were named in this way.

Aristophanes writes “these things are small and indigenous” since being a sykophant is a native characteristic of Athenians. Aelian adds “he alleged [sukophantei] that he god was negligent. For these reasons plagues and famine over came the Himerians’ city.”

Συκοφαντεῖν: τὸ ψευδῶς τινος κατηγορεῖν. κεκλῆσθαι δέ φασι τοῦτο παρ’ ᾿Αθηναίοις πρῶτον εὑρεθέντος τοῦ φυτοῦ τῆς συκῆς καὶ διὰ τοῦτο κωλυόντων ἐξάγειν τὰ σῦκα. τῶν δὲ φαινόντων τοὺς ἐξάγοντας συκοφαντῶν κληθέντων, συνέβη καὶ τοὺς ὁπωσοῦν κατηγοροῦντας τινῶν φιλαπεχθημόνως οὕτω προσαγορευθῆναι. ᾿Αριστοφάνης· καὶ ταῦτα μὲν δὴ σμικρὰ κἀπιχώρια. ἴδιον γὰρ ᾿Αθηναίων τὸ συκοφαντεῖν. Αἰλιανός· ὁ δὲ ἐσυκοφάντει τὸν θεὸν ὀλιγωρίας. ἐκ δὴ τούτων νόσοι καὶ τροφῶν ἀπορίαι τὴν ῾Ιμεραίων κατέσχον.

Even more from the Suda

“Sykophant: When there was a famine in Attica, some people were gathering figs in secrete which had been promised to the gods. After this, when times were good again. Some people were prosecuting these men. This is where the term developed. Look at the term “fig squeezer” too.

Συκοφάντης: λιμοῦ γενομένου ἐν τῇ ᾿Αττικῇ, τινὲς λάθρα τὰς συκᾶς τὰς ἀφιερωμένας τοῖς θεοῖς ἐκαρποῦντο· μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα εὐθηνίας γενομένης, κατηγόρουν τούτων τινές. ἐκεῖθεν οὖν συκοφάντης λέγεται. ζήτει ἐν τῷ ἀποσυκάζεις.

“Sykophant: The devil. For he made a false accusation of god, claimed that he prevented [humans] from having a share of the tree [of knowledge]. He also spoke slanderously against Job: “Does Job worship god with no return?”

Consider also sykophantia, which means false prosecution.

Συκοφάντης: ὁ διάβολος· τὸν γὰρ θεὸν ἐσυκοφάντησε, φήσας κεκωλυκέναι τοῦ ξύλου τὴν μετάληψιν· καὶ κατὰ τοῦ ᾿Ιώβ· μὴ δωρεὰν σέβεται ᾿Ιὼβ τὸν θεόν; καὶ Συκοφαντία, ἡ ψευδὴς κατηγορία.

For the story of Solon and the sycophants, see Plutarch’s Life of Solon on the Scaife Viewer. The sense of flatterer or parasite is somewhat present in the ancient Greek but becomes more prominent in English usage. The negative use can be seen in the fragment from Alexis’ The Poet (fr. 187) preserved in Athenaeus:

The name of sykophant is not rightly
Given to corrupted men.
For it should have been right for any man
Who was good and sweet to have figs
Attached to him to reveal his character.
But it fills us with confusion on why something sweet
Has been attached to someone bad.

ὁ συκοφάντης οὐ δικαίως τοὔνομα |
ἐν τοῖσι μοχθηροῖσίν ἐστι κείμενον.
ἔδει γάρ, ὅστις χρηστὸς ἦν ἡδύς τ᾿ ἀνήρ,
τὰ σῦκα προστεθέντα δηλοῦν τὸν τρόπον·
νυνὶ δὲ πρὸς μοχθηρὸν ἡδὺ προστεθὲν
ἀπορεῖν πεπόηκε διὰ τί τοῦθ᾿ οὕτως ἔχει.

Syc OED