Just Acts and Raising Children

4 Stob. 2.31.38 = Aelian Frag 4

“Noble Socrates used to rebuke those fathers who failed to educated their sons and then, when they fell into poverty, took their boys to court and were suing them for lack of gratitude because they were not supporting their fathers. He said the fathers were expecting the impossible because people who have not learned just acts are never able to perform them.”

Σωκράτης ὁ γενναῖος ᾐτιᾶτο τῶν πατέρων ἐκείνους, ὅσοι <μὴ> παιδεύσαντες αὑτῶν τοὺς υἱεῖς, εἶτα ἀπορούμενοι ἦγον ἐπὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς τοὺς νεανίσκους καὶ ἔκρινον αὐτοὺς ἀχαριστίας, ὅτι οὐ τρέφονται ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν. εἶπε γὰρ ἀδύνατον ἀξιοῦν τοὺς πατέρας· μὴ γὰρ οἵους τε εἶναι τοὺς μὴ μαθόντας τὰ δίκαια ποιεῖν αὐτά.

 Euripides, Herakles 586

“It is your right, child, to be a friend to friends
And to hate your enemies. But don’t do it to excess.”

Αμ. πρὸς σοῦ μέν, ὦ παῖ, τοῖς φίλοις <τ’> εἶναι φίλον
τά τ’ ἐχθρὰ μισεῖν· ἀλλὰ μὴ ‘πείγου λίαν.

Euripides, Herakles 631-636

“I will lead you taking you by the hands like a ship
That pulls smaller ships behind it. I do not refuse
Care to my children. All humans have this
Richer people love their children and so do
Those who have nothing. They differ in wealth.
Some have, some don’t. But every kind loves their children.”

ἄξω λαβών γε τούσδ’ ἐφολκίδας χεροῖν,
ναῦς δ’ ὣς ἐφέλξω· καὶ γὰρ οὐκ ἀναίνομαι
θεράπευμα τέκνων. πάντα τἀνθρώπων ἴσα·
φιλοῦσι παῖδας οἵ τ’ ἀμείνονες βροτῶν
οἵ τ’ οὐδὲν ὄντες· χρήμασιν δὲ διάφοροι·
ἔχουσιν, οἱ δ’ οὔ· πᾶν δὲ φιλότεκνον γένος.

Gift wine vessel

Don’t Worry, I Read it For You

Macrobius, Saturnalia (Preface) 1-4

“My child Eustathius: nature has imbued our life with many different instincts, but none is greater than the force which binds us to our own children. She has made our need to educate you and raise you so powerful that parents can gain no greater pleasure–if everything goes according to plan–and feel no more savage sorrow, than when they fail. For this reason I have valued nothing more than your education and, because I believe that focused work should be preferred to prolonged diversion–I am intolerant of delays: I cannot wait for you to advance through only the studies you make tirelessly on your own, so I have also made an effort to read for you and to put together whatever I have read spread out among various volumes of Greek and Latin, before and since you were born as a total supplement of knowledge. And, just as if from your own pantry of culture, whenever you need some fact from history which evades other men by hiding in books, or you need to remember some famous deed or saying, it will be easy and efficient for you to find it.”

Multas variasque res in hac vita nobis, Eustachi fili, natura conciliavit: sed nulla nos magis quam eorum qui e nobis essent procreati caritate devinxit, eamque nostram in his educandis atque erudiendis curam esse voluit, ut parentes neque, si id quod cuperent ex sententia cederet, tantum ulla alia ex re voluptatis, neque, si contra eveniret, tantum maeroris capere possent.Hinc est quod mihi quoque institutione tua nihil antiquius aestimatur, ad cuius perfectionem compendia longis amfractibus anteponenda ducens moraeque omnis inpatiens non opperior ut per haec sola promoveas quibus ediscendis naviter ipse invigilas, sed ago ut ego quoque tibi legerim, et quicquid mihi, vel te iam in lucem edito vel antequam nascereris, in diversis seu Graecae seu Romanae linguae voluminibus elaboratum est, id totum sit tibi scientiae supellex, et quasi de quodam litterarum peno, si quando usus venerit aut historiae quae in librorum strue latens clam vulgo est aut dicti factive memorabilis reminiscendi, facile id tibi inventu atque depromptu sit.

Image result for ancient greek and roman education

Teach Your Children Well: A Back To School Passage from Euripides

Euripides, Suppliant Women, 909-917

“Don’t be surprised by the things I have said,
Theseus, that these men dared to die in front of the walls.
For being raised well produces shame:
Everyone who has been fitted to good things is ashamed
Of becoming wicked. Bravery can be taught–
For even an infant learns to speak
And listen to things he has no understanding of.
Whatever someone learns, he wants to save
For old age. So, teach your children well.”

ἐκ τῶνδε μὴ θαύμαζε τῶν εἰρημένων,
Θησεῦ, πρὸ πύργων τούσδε τολμῆσαι θανεῖν.
τὸ γὰρ τραφῆναι μὴ κακῶς αἰδῶ φέρει·
αἰσχύνεται δὲ τἀγάθ᾿ ἀσκήσας ἀνὴρ
κακὸς γενέσθαι πᾶς τις. ἡ δ᾿ εὐανδρία
διδακτόν, εἴπερ καὶ βρέφος διδάσκεται
λέγειν ἀκούειν θ᾿ ὧν μάθησιν οὐκ ἔχει.
ἃ δ᾿ ἂν μάθῃ τις, ταῦτα σῴζεσθαι φιλεῖ
ἐς γῆρας. οὕτω παῖδας εὖ παιδεύετε.

Image result for Ancient Greek education

 

Don’t Make Babies When You’re Drunk (Plutarch, On the Education of Children 1D-2A)

“In connection with this it is necessary to cover something which has not be passed over by earlier writers. What is this? The fact that men who come near their wives for the sake of baby-making should do so completely sober or, at the very least, after drinking only moderately. For children who were made by fathers who were drunk at the time of their sowing turn out to be lovers of drink and drunks themselves. This is why, when Diogenes saw a young man who was out-of-his mind drunk, said “Young man, your father sired you when he was drunk.” That’s enough said about my ideas about fathering children…”

᾿Εχόμενον δ’ ἂν εἴη τούτων εἰπεῖν ὅπερ οὐδὲ τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν παρεωρᾶτο. τὸ ποῖον; ὅτι τοὺς ἕνεκα παιδοποιίας πλησιάζοντας ταῖς γυναιξὶν ἤτοι τὸ παράπαν ἀοίνους ἢ μετρίως γοῦν οἰνωμένους ποιεῖσθαι προσήκει τὸν συνουσιασμόν. φίλοινοι γὰρ καὶ μεθυστικοὶ γίγνεσθαι φιλοῦσιν ὧν ἂν τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς σπορᾶς οἱ πατέρες ἐν μέθῃ ποιησάμενοι τύχωσιν. ᾗ καὶ Διογένης μειράκιον ἐκστατικὸν ἰδὼν καὶ παραφρονοῦν “νεανίσκε” ἔφησεν, “ὁ πατήρ σε μεθύων ἔσπειρε.” καὶ περὶ μὲν τῆς γενέσεως τοσαῦτ’ εἰρήσθω μοι…