Praise? What Praise?

Pindar, Olympian Ode 11

There’s a time when man’s greatest need is wind,
and there’s a time when it’s waters from the sky,
the rainy offspring of clouds.
But when an individual toils and prevails
dulcet hymns are where his future fame begins
and testify to his great achievements.

Lavish is the praise offered up
for Olympic victors. My tongue would lead the way,
but here too, it’s only because of god
a man’s art blossoms.
Now then, son of Archestratus, know this:
Hagesidamus, because of your boxing,

as an adornment of your golden-olives crown
I will shout a sweet song
which recognizes your Western Lokrian tribe.
Go join the revels there, O muses!
I promise you will not encounter a host
unwelcoming and unschooled in beauty,
but one quite wise, and spear-fighting at that.
I can promise, for neither flame-colored fox
nor loud-roaring lions change their natural ways.

ἔστιν ἀνθρώποις ἀνέμων ὅτε πλείστα
χρῆσις, ἔστιν δ᾽ οὐρανίων ὑδάτων,
ὀμβρίων παίδων νεφέλας:
εἰ δὲ σὺν πόνῳ τις εὖ πράσσοι, μελιγάρυες ὕμνοι
ὑστέρων ἀρχὰ λόγων
τέλλεται καὶ πιστὸν ὅρκιον μεγάλαις ἀρεταῖς.
ἀφθόνητος δ᾽ αἶνος Ὀλυμπιονίκαις
οὗτος ἄγκειται. τὰ μὲν ἁμετέρα
γλῶσσα ποιμαίνειν ἐθέλει,
ἐκ θεοῦ δ᾽ ἀνὴρ σοφαῖς ἀνθεῖ πραπίδεσσιν ὁμοίως.
ἴσθι νῦν, Ἀρχεστράτου
παῖ, τεᾶς, Ἁγησίδαμε, πυγμαχίας ἕνεκεν
κόσμον ἐπὶ στεφάνῳ χρυσέας ἐλαίας
ἁδυμελῆ κελαδήσω,
Ζεφυρίων, Λοκρῶν γενεὰν ἀλέγων.
ἔνθα συγκωμάξατ᾽: ἐγγυάσομαι
ὔμμιν, ὦ Μοῖσαι, φυγόξενον στρατὸν
μηδ᾽ ἀπείρατον καλῶν,
ἀκρόσοφον δὲ καὶ αἰχματὰν ἀφίξεσθαι. τὸ γὰρ
ἐμφυὲς οὔτ᾽ αἴθων ἀλώπηξ
οὔτ᾽ ἐρίβρομοι λέοντες διαλλάξαντο ἦθος.

Where’s the Praise?

In Pindar’s cosmos, contingency reigns. Neither wind nor rain, whatever the need, can be counted on. The athlete isn’t assured success (it depends on the god), and if he attains it, his greatest need (an enduring and relied-upon hymn) may go unmet (it too depends on the god). That seems to be the point of the priamel: the athlete, like those who rely on specific weather, might be frustrated in their greatest need.

It’s against this backdrop that we should interpret the singer’s promise to the Muses. It’s not irrelevant that the promise is couched in the language of oaths (ἐγγυάσομαι: I promise, I pledge); after all, the ambitious claims for the hymn were too (πιστὸν ὅρκιον: literally “a reliable oath”). Those claims were of course undermined by the singer’s reminder about contingency.

And so we should read the gnomic statement about fox and lion as also unreliable. Fox and lion are constant, just as the character of Western Lokrians is constant. What the ode has not done is identify a constant in an inconstant world. Rather, claims of predictability should have been sufficiently undermined by now that we hear irony in the lines, or perhaps a test of whether we have absorbed the ode’s lesson.

I ask where’s the praise in the ode, precisely because the singer who questions his ability to hymn the Olympic victor, by extension undermines his praise of the athletes tribe as well.

Black figure vase: two boxers face each other with hands held high
Black figure amphora.
Athens, 550-500 BCE.
British Museum.

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

The Secret Keys to Sex and Pretense

Pindar, Pythian 9.37-51

“The mighty Centaur laughed brightly
With a soft brow, and immediately offered
His own wisdom: “The locks of holy sex
Are secrets of wise Persuasion, Apollo.
Gods and humans similarly avoid
Climbing quickly into bed openly, for the first time at least.

Even so, your moving lust persuaded you
To offer this speech when it is wrong For you to lie.

Are you really asking where the girl is from, lord?
You’re the one who knows the proper end of all things
And the paths that leads to them-=-
How many leaves the earth sprouts in the spring
And how many sands in the rivers and the sea
Swirl in the waves and the driven winds
Or what will be and where it will come from–
You know all of this well.

But, if it is my duty match one so wise,
I will speak…”

τὸν δὲ Κένταυρος ζαμενής, ἀγανᾷ
χλοαρὸν γελάσσαις ὀφρύι, μῆτιν ἑάν
εὐθὺς ἀμείβετο· “κρυπταὶ κλαΐδες ἐντὶ σοφᾶς
Πειθοῦς ἱερᾶν φιλοτάτων,
Φοῖβε, καὶ ἔν τε θεοῖς τοῦτο κἀνθρώποις ὁμῶς
αἰδέοντ᾿, ἀμφανδὸν ἁδεί-
ας τυχεῖν τὸ πρῶτον εὐνᾶς.
καὶ γὰρ σέ, τὸν οὐ θεμιτὸν ψεύδει θιγεῖν,
ἔτραπε μείλιχος ὀργὰ παρφάμεν τοῦ-
τον λόγον, κούρας δ᾿ ὁπόθεν γενεάν
ἐξερωτᾷς, ὦ ἄνα; κύριον ὃς πάντων τέλος
οἶσθα καὶ πάσας κελεύθους·
ὅσσα τε χθὼν ἠρινὰ φύλλ᾿ ἀναπέμπει, χὠπόσαι
ἐν θαλάσσᾳ καὶ ποταμοῖς ψάμαθοι
κύμασιν ῥιπαῖς τ᾿ ἀνέμων κλονέονται,
χὤ τι μέλλει, χὠπόθεν
ἔσσεται, εὖ καθορᾷς.
εἰ δὲ χρὴ καὶ πὰρ σοφὸν ἀντιφερίξαι,

A fresco from naples (wall painting): From left to right: Apollo (of the Apollo Lykeios type), Chiron, and Asclepius.
Fresco, 1st Century CE from Pompeii

Apollo Almost Thinks About Consent

Pindar, Pythian 9. 17-25

“[Peneius] raised up his smooth-armed
Child, Kyrene. She had no interest in
The repetitive paths of the loom
Or the pleasure of meals at home with friends,
But instead she found the bronze javelins
And a sword for fighting and killing
The wild beasts–that’s how she made so much peace
For her father’s cattle and only just
Allowing that sweet bedmate, sleep,
To rest upon her eyelids upon descent at dawn.

Once Apollo, with his wide quiver, found her
Alone and unarmed, wrestling a powerful lion.
So he immediately called Kheiron from his home, and said,

“Come out, son of Philyra, and look
At this woman’s spirit and impressive power,
How she is pursuing this fight with a steady gaze,
This girl whose heart is stronger than suffering,
Whose thoughts are unclouded by fear!

What mortal gave birth to her? From what roots
Has she been cut to live in the forests
Of dark mountains, testing her limitless courage?

Should I lay my famous hand on her
And harvest the honey-sweet fruit from her bed?”

ὁ δὲ τὰν εὐώλενον
θρέψατο παῖδα Κυράναν· ἁ μὲν οὔθ᾿ ἱ-
στῶν παλιμβάμους ἐφίλησεν ὁδούς,
οὔτε δείπνων †οἰκουριᾶν μεθ᾿ ἑταιρᾶν τέρψιας,
ἀλλ᾿ ἀκόντεσσίν τε χαλκέοις
φασγάνῳ τε μαρναμένα κεράιζεν ἀγρίους
θῆρας, ἦ πολλάν τε καὶ ἡσύχιον
βουσὶν εἰρήναν παρέχοισα πατρῴαις,
τὸν δὲ σύγκοιτον γλυκύν
παῦρον ἐπὶ γλεφάροις
ὕπνον ἀναλίσκοισα ῥέποντα πρὸς ἀῶ.
κίχε νιν λέοντί ποτ᾿ εὐρυφαρέτρας
ὀβρίμῳ μούναν παλαίοισαν
ἄτερ ἐγχέων ἑκάεργος Ἀπόλλων.
αὐτίκα δ᾿ ἐκ μεγάρων Χείρωνα προσήνεπε φωνᾷ·
σεμνὸν ἄντρον, Φιλλυρίδα, προλιπὼν
θυμὸν γυναικὸς καὶ μεγάλαν δύνασιν
θαύμασον, οἷον ἀταρβεῖ νεῖκος ἄγει κεφαλᾷ,
μόχθου καθύπερθε νεᾶνις
ἦτορ ἔχοισα· φόβῳ δ᾿ οὐ κεχείμανται φρένες.
τίς νιν ἀνθρώπων τέκεν; ποίας
δ᾿ ἀποσπασθεῖσα φύτλας
ὀρέων κευθμῶνας ἔχει σκιοέντων,
γεύεται δ᾿ ἀλκᾶς ἀπειράντου;
ὁσία κλυτὰν χέρα οἱ προσενεγκεῖν
ἦρα καὶ ἐκ λεχέων κεῖραι μελιαδέα ποίαν;”

Akesandros of Cyrene (Jacoby 469) F4

“Akesandros tells the story in his Concerning Cyrene that when Eurypylos was king in Libya, Cyrene was taken by Apollo because there was a lion plaguing the land. Eurypylos put his kingship up as a prize for anyone who could kill a lion—and Cyrene killed the lion and gained the kingdom. Her children were Autoukhos and Aristaios. Phularkhos says that she came to Libya with a group, and when they went on a hunting expedition, she joined them too.”

᾽Ακέσανδρος δὲ ἐν τοῖς Περὶ Κυρήνης ἱστορεῖ, ἐπ᾽ Εὐρυπύλου βασιλεύοντος ἐν Λιβύηι ὡς ὑπὸ ᾽Απόλλωνος διακομισθείη ἡ Κυρήνη, λέοντος δὲ τὴν χώραν λυμαινομένου προθείη τὴν βασιλείαν ὁ Εὐρύπυλος ἆθλον τῶι ἀποκτενοῦντι τὸν λέοντα, τὴν δὲ(?) διαχρήσασθαι αὐτόν καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν λαβεῖν· παῖδας δὲ αὐτῆς γενέσθαι Αὐτοῦχον καὶ ᾽Αρισταῖον. φησὶ δὲ αὐτὴν Φύλαρχος (81 F 16) ἐλθεῖν μετὰ πλειόνων εἰς Λιβύην, τούτων δὲ ἐκπεμφθέντων ἐπὶ τὴν κυνηγίαν, τούτοις καὶ αὐτὴν συνεξελθεῖν.

Black and white photograph of a relief sculpture (marble) showing a woman face forward with a lion in a headlock)
Photograph of a statue of the personification of Cyrene. Plate from ‘History of the recent discoveries at Cyrene, made during an expedition to the Cyrenaica in 1860-61…’

“No Knife for A Child”: A Proverb

Michael Apostolios, Centuria 11.51

“No knife for a child: don’t delegate serious matters to the inexperienced, lest they somehow use them for their own advantage.”

Μὴ παιδὶ μάχαιραν: μὴ τοῖς ἀπείροις ἐγχειρίζειν πράγματα μεγάλα, μή πως καθ’ ἑαυτῶν χρήσωνται.


“No knife for a child: for those who entrust to the incompetent. Eupolis also writes in the Demes “public affairs are not for a child.”

Μὴ παιδὶ μάχαιραν: ἐπὶ τῶν εἰκῆ ἐγχειριζόντων. καὶ Εὔπολις Δήμοις· μὴ παιδὶ τὰ κοινά.


Different takes on the two proverbs:

“Don’t give children a knife”

“Public affairs aren’t child’s play”

Cloud Decoys and Spinning Wheels: The Tale of Ungrateful Ixion

Pindar, Pythian 2. 13-34

“A different person pays out the prize of excellence
To different kinds, a song that carries well.
Kyprian tales sing of Kinyras, the one
Golden-haired Apollo made his friend,

That sacred follower of Aphrodite, since
Gratitude for the deeds of friends goes back and forth in exchange.

Yet the maiden of western Lokris calls you,
Son of Deinomenes, from her front door.
She is safe now thanks to your power
After the inescapable labors of war.

People claim that that at gods’ command,
As he turns in every way on his flying wheel,
Ixion has this to say to mortals:
Go and pay back fairly
Someone who has done you good.

And he learned this well, for even though he lived
a sweet life among the children of Kronos.
He couldn’t abide happiness for long
Because he went crazy when he
Started to lust for Hera, whose happy bedtimes
Are reserved for Zeus alone.
But arrogance drove him to conceited delusion
And so the man soon suffered what was right,
And received exceptional pain.

His two crimes earned this suffering.
To start, he was the first mortal
To get mixed up in familial blood,
And there was deception;
And then, he tried to attack Zeus’ wife
In the depths of her bed chambers..
You need to always take the measure of everything from your own perspective.”

ἄλλοις δέ τις ἐτέλεσσεν ἄλλος ἀνήρ
εὐαχέα βασιλεῦσιν ὕμνον ἄποιν᾿ ἀρετᾶς.
κελαδέοντι μὲν ἀμφὶ Κινύραν πολλάκις
φᾶμαι Κυπρίων, τὸν ὁ χρυσοχαῖτα προ-
φρόνως ἐφίλησ᾿ Ἀπόλλων,
ἱερέα κτίλον Ἀφροδίτας· ἄγει δὲ χάρις
φίλων ποί τινος ἀντὶ ἔργων ὀπιζομένα·
σὲ δ᾿, ὦ Δεινομένειε παῖ, Ζεφυρία πρὸ δόμων
Λοκρὶς παρθένος ἀπύει,
πολεμίων καμάτων ἐξ ἀμαχάνων
διὰ τεὰν δύναμιν δρακεῖσ᾿ ἀσφαλές.
θεῶν δ᾿ ἐφετμαῖς Ἰξίονα φαντὶ ταῦτα βροτοῖς
λέγειν ἐν πτερόεντι τροχῷ
παντᾷ κυλινδόμενον·
τὸν εὐεργέταν ἀγαναῖς
ἀμοιβαῖς ἐποιχομένους τίνεσθαι.
ἔμαθε δὲ σαφές. εὐμενέσσι γὰρ παρὰ Κρονίδαις
γλυκὺν ἑλὼν βίοτον, μακρὸν οὐχ ὑπέμεινεν ὄλ-
βον, μαινομέναις φρασίν
Ἥρας ὅτ᾿ ἐράσσατο, τὰν Διὸς εὐναὶ λάχον
πολυγαθέες· ἀλλά νιν ὕβρις εἰς ἀυάταν ὑπεράφανον
ὦρσεν· τάχα δὲ παθὼν ἐοικότ᾿ ἀνήρ
ἐξαίρετον ἕλε μόχθον. αἱ δύο δ᾿ ἀμπλακίαι
φερέπονοι τελέθοντι· τὸ μὲν ἥρως ὅτι
ἐμφύλιον αἷμα πρώτιστος οὐκ ἄτερ
τέχνας ἐπέμειξε θνατοῖς,
ὅτι τε μεγαλοκευθέεσσιν ἔν ποτε θαλάμοις
Διὸς ἄκοιτιν ἐπειρᾶτο. χρὴ δὲ κατ᾿ αὐτὸν αἰ-
εὶ παντὸς ὁρᾶν μέτρον.

Schol ad Pindar, Pythian 2 40b 16-28

“When no one would cleanse Ixion for murder, and the rest of the gods had rejected him, Zeus cleanse him for it because he pitied him and took him home to the sky. But people report that he was tempted by another mistake because of lust for Hera. When Zeus learned this, he fashioned a cloud version of Hera that looked just like her, and when he saw Ixion rushing at her and laying next to her, he fathered a wild and monstrous creature from this whom people called Centaur. Later on, he bound Ixion’s hands and feet to a wheel and Zeus ordered that it be spun around in this fashion.”

τοῦ δὲ μύσους μηδενὸς καθαρίζοντος τὸν ᾿Ιξίονα, ἀποστραφέντων δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν, οἰκτείρας ὁ Ζεὺς ἐκάθηρε μὲν αὐτὸν τοῦ φόνου, ἀνήγαγε δὲ καὶ εἰς οὐρανὸν καὶ συνέστιον εἶχεν αὐτόν. τὸν δὲ δευτέρῳ ἁμαρτήματι ἐπιχειροῦντα εἰς ἔρωτα τῆς ῞Ηρας κινηθῆναί φασι· μαθόντα δὲ τὸν Δία νεφέλην τῇ ῞Ηρᾳ ἀναπλάσαι καὶ ἐκτυπῶσαι ὁμοίαν, τὸν δὲ ᾿Ιξίονα θεασάμενον ἐφορμῆσαι καὶ παρακλιθῆναι. γενέσθαι δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἄγριόν τινα καὶ τερατώδη ἄνδρα, ὃν Κένταυρον ὠνόμασαν. ὕστερον δὲ τροχῷ τοὺς πόδας καὶ τὰς χεῖρας τοῦ ᾿Ιξίονος προσδεσμευθῆναι, καὶ κελεῦσαι τὸν Δία πρὸς τὴν δίνησιν τοῦ τροχοῦ τὸ τοιοῦτον…

Dark Oil painting of two figures looking at each other, one beginning to chain the other.
José Ribera, Ixion (1632). Oil on canvas, 220 x 301 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Careless Eating With Family

Seneca, Thyestes, 1031-1042

You have what remains of your children.
What does not remain, you have that too.

Which is it: are they sprawled-out food for screeching birds?
Are they being devoured by monsters?
Or are they feed for wild animals?

You’ve dined on your children yourself,
in a profane feast.

. . . What words suffice for me?
I can make out their cut-off heads, torn-off hands,
feet ripped from shattered legs–
This is what their glutton of a father could not swallow!
Their entrails churn inside me; wrong now locked in me
struggles with no way out, yet seeks escape.

Quidquid e natis tuis
superest habes, quodcumque non superest habes.

Utrumne saevis pabulum alitibus iacent,
an beluis vorantur, an pascunt feras?

Epulatus ipse es impia natos dape.

. . . quae verba sufficient mihi?
abscisa cerno capita et avulsas manus
et rupta fractis cruribus vestigia:
hoc est quod avidus capere non potuit pater.
volvuntur intus viscera et clausum nefas
sine exitu luctatur et quaerit fugam.

Red line drawing of large man eating a lot, alone at a table
Fernando Botero.
Man Eating. 2001.
Private collection.

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

The Exploding Frog, A Fable for Musk-ateers

Phaedrus 1.24 The Exploding Frog

“A poor man, when he tries to imitate the powerful, dies.
Once in a meadow a frog saw a bull
Whose great size exerted on her such a pull
That she inflated her wrinkled skin and asked
Her children whether she was bigger than that.
They denied it and she puffed herself out self again
But when she asked who was bigger, they said “him”.
Finally angry, she didn’t want to blow it,
She puffed again and her body exploded.”


I.24. Rana Rupta

Inops, potentem dum vult imitari, perit.
In prato quondam rana conspexit bovem,
et tacta invidia tantae magnitudinis
rugosam inflavit pellem. Tum natos suos
interrogavit an bove esset latior.
Illi negarunt. Rursus intendit cutem
maiore nisu, et simili quaesivit modo,
quis maior esset. Illi dixerunt “bovem”.
Novissime indignata, dum vult validius
inflare sese, rupto iacuit corpore.

Pythagorean Self-Invention

Scholion to Sophocles Electra 62.2

“Pythagoras shut himself in a hole in the ground and told his mother to tell people that he was dead. After that, once he reappeared again later, he was telling fantastic tales of reincarnation and the people of Hades, explaining to the living about the matters of the dead. From these stories, he created that kind of repute for himself that, before the Trojan War, he was Aithalidês the son of Hermes and then Euphorbos, and then Hermotimos of Samos, then Delian Pythios and after all of them, Pythagoras.”

…Πυθαγόρας καθείρξας ἑαυτὸν ἐν ὑπογείῳ λογοποιεῖν ἐκέλευσε τὴν μητέρα, ὡς ἄρα τεθνηκὼς εἴη. καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐπιφανεὶς περὶ παλιγγενεσίας καὶ τῶν καθ’ ᾅδου τινὰ ἐτερατεύετο, διηγούμενος πρὸς τοὺς ζῶντας περὶ τῶν οἰκείων, οἷς ἐν ᾅδου συντετυχηκέναι ἔλεγεν. ἐξ ὧν τοιαύτην ἑαυτῷ δόξαν περιέθηκεν, ὡς πρὸ μὲν τῶν Τρωϊκῶν Αἰθαλίδης ὢν ὁ Ἑρμοῦ, εἶτα Εὔφορβος, εἶτα Ἑρμότιμος Σάμιος, εἶτα Πύθιος Δήλιος, εἶτα ἐπὶ πᾶσι Πυθαγόρας.A picture of a cave with the text over it saying: “Pythagoras shut himself in a hole in the ground and told his mother to tell people that he was dead. " This is a quotation from a scholion to Sophocles.

Lips to the Ciceronian Udder

Paolo Cortesi, Letter to Politian:

I would venture even now to assert what I have often said in the past: that no one after Cicero has ever earned praise in writing (excepting one or two people here and there) who was not raised and nourished as it were on Ciceronian milk. But there was then a certain mode of imitation which ran up against a rejection of similarity and so that shining mode of writing was seasoned with a sprinkling of cheer. But now that mode lies either neglected or ignored among people of our time. My dear Politian, I would like to be similar not as an ape to a human but as a son to his parent. That ridiculous imitator only fixes with similitude the deformities and depraved faults of the body. The son, however, represents the countenance, the walk, the stature, the movement, the form, the voice, and finally even the figure of the parent’s body, and yet has in this similarity something of his own, something different, such that when they are compared, they still seem to be not entirely the same as each other.

Ausim nunc etiam affirmare idem quod saepe: neminem post Marcum Tullium in scribendo laudem consecutum, praeter unum aut alterum, qui non sit ab eo eductus et tamquam lactis nutrimento educatus. Sed erat tum quaedam certa imitandi ratio, quae et fastidio similitudinis occurrebatur et nitidum illud genus hilaritate quadam aspersa condiebatur. Nunc autem illa ab hominibus nostris aut neglecta est aut ignorata. Similem volo, mi Politiane, non ut simiam hominis sed ut filium parentis. Illa enim ridicula imitatrix tantum deformitates et vitia corporis depravata similitudine effingit. Hic autem vultum, incessum, statum, motum, formam, vocem denique et figuram corporis representat, et tamen habet in hac similitudine aliquid suum, aliquid naturale, aliquid diversum, ita ut cum comparentur dissimiles inter se esse videantur.

#BuyNothingDay: Read Some More Lucretius

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 5.1430-1439 (Full text on the Scaife Viewer)

“The human race, then, labors uselessly and in vain
as we always consume our time in empty concerns
because we don’t understand that there’s a limit to having—
and there’s an end to how far true pleasure can grow.
This has dragged life bit by bit into the deep sea
and has stirred at its bottom great blasts of war.
But the guardian of the earth turns around the great sky
and teaches men truly that the year’s seasons come full circle
and that all must be endured with a sure reason and order.”

Ergo hominum genus in cassum frustraque laborat
semper et [in] curis consumit inanibus aevom,
ni mirum quia non cognovit quae sit habendi
finis et omnino quoad crescat vera voluptas;
idque minutatim vitam provexit in altum
et belli magnos commovit funditus aestus.
at vigiles mundi magnum versatile templum
sol et luna suo lustrantes lumine circum
perdocuere homines annorum tempora verti
et certa ratione geri rem atque ordine certo.

Epicureanism doesn’t do it for you? Here’s something else;

Epictetus, Encheiridion 44 (Full text on the Scaife Viewer)

“These statements are illogical: “I am richer than you and therefore better than you. I am more articulate than you and therefore better than you.” But these conclusions are more fitting: “I am wealthier than you, therefore my possessions are greater than yours. I am more articulate than you, therefore my speech is better than yours.” You are neither your property nor your speech.”

c. 44. Οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι ἀσύνακτοι· “ἐγώ σου πλουσιώτερός εἰμι, ἐγώ σου ἄρα κρείσσων”· “ἐγώ σου λογιώτερος, ἐγώ σου ἄρα κρείσσων” ἐκεῖνοι δὲ μᾶλλον συνακτικοί· “ἐγώ σου πλουσιώτερός εἰμι, ἡ ἐμὴ ἄρα κτῆσις τῆς σῆς κρείσσων”· “ἐγώ σου λογιώτερος, ἡ ἐμὴ ἄρα λέξις τῆς σῆς κρείσσων.” σὺ δὲ γε οὔτε κτῆσις εἶ οὔτε λέξις.

Some Approving Words from Cicero,

Cicero, Paradoxa Stoicorum 7-8 (Full Latin text on the Scaife Viewer)

“Can something good be bad for anyone, or is it possible for someone not to be good in the abundance of goods? But indeed, we see that all of those things we mentioned are of such a sort that the wicked have them, but the good do not. For that reason, anyone at all may laugh at me if they wish, but true reasoning will possess more power with me than the opinion of the common mob. Nor will I ever say that someone has lost their goods if they should lose their cattle or furniture. I will always praise the wise man Bias who, as I think, is numbered among the seven sages. When the enemy had seized his fatherland of Priene, and the other citizens were fleeing while carrying many of their possessions with them, Bias was advised by another to do them same himself. Bias responded, ‘I am doing just that – I carry everything I own with me.’”

Potestne bonum cuiquam malo esse, aut potest quisquam in abundantia bonorum ipse esse non bonus? Atqui ista omnia talia videmus, ut et inprobi habeant et absint probis. Quam ob rem licet inrideat, si qui vult, plus apud me tamen vera ratio valebit quam vulgi opinio; neque ego umquam bona perdidisse dicam, si quis pecus aut supellectilem amiserit, nec non saepe laudabo sapientem illum, Biantem, ut opinor, qui numeratur in septem; cuius quom patriam Prienam cepisset hostis ceterique ita fugerent, ut multa de suis rebus asportarent, cum esset admonitus a quodam, ut idem ipse faceret, ‘Ego vero’, inquit, ‘facio; nam omnia mecum porto mea.’

Market scene, 15th century, Manuscript, Bibliothèque Municipale, Rouen