Changing the Nature of the State

Aristotle, Politics 1307a-b

“And since all aristocratic states tend towards oligarchy, the upper classes bicker over wealth–which is the kind of thing that happened in Sparta, where the estates belong to a very few–and it is possible for the ‘nobles’ to do whatever they want to and to combine their families however they’d like. This is how the state of the Locrians fell thanks to marriage with Dionysius, which never would have happened in a democracy or a well mixed aristocracy.

In particular, Aristocracies experience revolutions quietly, through incremental loosening, as I have said before in general about most constitutions, that even a small thing might be the cause of revolutions. For, whenever they alter the laws of the state a little bit, they always follow it up with a less minor change later, until they have changed the entire system.”

Ἔτι διὰ τὸ πάσας τὰς ἀριστοκρατικὰς πολιτείας ὀλιγαρχικὰς εἶναι μᾶλλον πλεονεκτοῦσιν οἱ γνώριμοι (οἷον καὶ ἐν Λακεδαίμονι εἰς ὀλίγους αἱ οὐσίαι ἔρχονται)· καὶ ἔξεστι ποιεῖν ὅ τι ἂν θέλωσι τοῖς γνωρίμοις μᾶλλον, καὶ κηδεύειν ὅτῳ θέλωσιν (διὸ καὶ ἡ Λοκρῶν πόλις ἀπώλετο ἐκ τῆς πρὸς Διονύσιον κηδείας, ὃ ἐν δημοκρατίᾳ οὐκ ἂν ἐγένετο, οὐδ᾿ ἂν ἐν ἀριστοκρατίᾳ εὖ μεμιγμένῃ).

μάλιστα δὲ λανθάνουσιν αἱ ἀριστοκρατίαι μεταβάλλουσαι τῷ λύεσθαι κατὰ μικρόν, ὅπερ εἴρηται ἐν τοῖς πρότερον καθόλου κατὰ πασῶν τῶν πολιτειῶν, ὅτι αἴτιον τῶν μεταβολῶν καὶ τὸ μικρόν ἐστιν· ὅταν γάρ τι προῶνται τῶν πρὸς τὴν πολιτείαν, μετὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἄλλο μικρῷ μεῖζον εὐχερέστερον κινοῦσιν, ἕως ἂν πάντα κινήσωσι τὸν κόσμον.

Grant Wood, “Daughters of Revolution”, 1932

Judging the Days of the Week

Hesiod, Works and Days 822-828

“Some days bring great advantage to mortals on the earth,
But others are unpredictable, aimless, providing nothing.
One person praises one, another praises a different one,
But few know at all. One day’s a mother, another a stepmother.

Lucky and blessed is someone who knows all these things
And does all their work without angering the gods,
Judging all the bird signs and avoiding excesses.”

αἵδε μὲν ἡμέραι εἰσὶν ἐπιχθονίοις μέγ᾽ ὄνειαρ·
αἱ δ᾽ ἄλλαι μετάδουποι, ἀκήριοι, οὔ τι φέρουσαι,
ἄλλος δ᾽ ἀλλοίην αἰνεῖ, παῦροι δέ τ᾽ ἴσασιν·
ἄλλοτε μητρυιὴ πέλει ἡμέρη, ἄλλοτε μήτηρ
τάων. εὐδαίμων τε καὶ ὄλβιος, ὃς τάδε πάντα
εἰδὼς ἐργάζηται ἀναίτιος ἀθανάτοισιν,
ὄρνιθας κρίνων καὶ ὑπερβασίας ἀλεείνων.

Terracotta jug Period: Cypro-Archaic I Date: ca. 750–600 B.C. ...
Cypriot Vase, c. 750-600 BCE, MET


Diary of a Towson CCA Worker – The Roar

A Person’s God

From the Suda:

“A person is a person’s god.” This proverb is for when people are unexpectedly saved by human being and become famous because of this. There are also the proverbs “A person [like] Euripos”; “Chance [like] Euripos”, “An opinion [like the] Euripos”—these proverbs are for people who change easily and are not stable.”

Ἄνθρωπος ἀνθρώπου δαιμόνιον: παροιμία ἐπὶ τῶν ἀπροσδοκήτως ὑπὸ ἀνθρώπου σῳζομένων καὶ δι’ αὐτῶν εὐδοκιμούντων. καὶ Ἄνθρωπος Εὔριπος, Τύχη Εὔριπος, Διάνοια Εὔριπος. ἐπὶ τῶν ῥᾷστα μεταβαλλομένων καὶ ἀσταθμήτων ἀνθρώπων.

Explained elsewhere:

“Euripos: A sea strait, or a water body between two [bodies] of land. This one is between Boiôtia and Attica. The water there changes direction seven times a day.”

Εὔριπος: πέλαγος στενόν, ἢ τόπος ὑδατώδης μεταξὺ δύο γαιῶν. τουτέστι Βοιωτίας καὶ ᾿Αττικῆς. ἑπτάκις δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας τὸ ἐκεῖσε ὕδωρ τρέπεται.

Related image
A krater from the MET