Like People who Cannot Be Saved

Theognis, Elegies 61-68

“Don’t make any of these citizens your friend, Polypaides
At least not in your heart for any real need.
But seem to be friendly to all in your speech,
While sharing your business with no one, especially not
Anything serious. For then, you would know the thoughts of vile men,
How there is nothing trustworthy in their actions,
But they adore tricks, deceptions, and conspiracies,
Just like people who cannot be saved.”

μηδένα τῶνδε φίλον ποιεῦ, Πολυπαΐδη, ἀστῶν
ἐκ θυμοῦ χρείης οὕνεκα μηδεμιῆς·
ἀλλὰ δόκει μὲν πᾶσιν ἀπὸ γλώσσης φίλος εἶναι,
χρῆμα δὲ συμμείξῃς μηδενὶ μηδ᾿ ὁτιοῦν
σπουδαῖον· γνώσῃ γὰρ ὀιζυρῶν φρένας ἀνδρῶν,
ὥς σφιν ἐπ᾿ ἔργοισιν πίστις ἔπ᾿ οὐδεμία,
ἀλλὰ δόλους ἀπάτας τε πολυπλοκίας τ᾿ ἐφίλησαν
οὕτως ὡς ἄνδρες μηκέτι σῳζόμενοι.

- description A: youth and bearded man in padded costumes dancing - B: man playing auloi, dancing youth with cup
Athens – painter: Komast Group, KX Painter – period / date: early archaic, ca. 580-570 – Beazley Archive Pottery Database 300303

Beauty and Love, A Wedding Song

Theognis, fr. 1-18

“Lord, son of Leto, child of Zeus, I will never
Forget you when beginning or ending my song.
But I sing you first and last and in the middle too
Hear me now and grant me good things.

Lord Phoebus, when the goddess Leto first gave birth to you,
The finest of the gods, she was holding close to the palm tree
with her slight arms, next to the curve of the lake—
and all of Delos was overwhelmed with a divine scent
as the expansive earth laughed beneath,
and the see delighted in its salty depths.

Artemis, slayer of beasts, daughter of Zeus, the one
Agamemnon honored with a temple as he sailed to Troy in swift ships
Hear me as I pray to you—ward off the evil spirts of death.
It is a minor thing for you, goddess; but a big deal for me.”

Muses and Graces, daughters of Zeus, who once
Went to the marriage of Kadmos and sang this beautiful line:
“Whatever is beautiful is loved; and what isn’t beautiful isn’t loved’
That’s the line that rang from your immortal mouths.”

῏Ω ἄνα, Λητοῦς υἱέ, Διὸς τέκος, οὔποτε σεῖο
λήσομαι ἀρχόμενος οὐδ’ ἀποπαυόμενος,
ἀλλ’ αἰεὶ πρῶτόν τε καὶ ὕστατον ἔν τε μέσοισιν
ἀείσω· σὺ δέ μοι κλῦθι καὶ ἐσθλὰ δίδου.

Φοῖβε ἄναξ, ὅτε μέν σε θεὰ τέκε πότνια Λητώ
φοίνικος ῥαδινῆις χερσὶν ἐφαψαμένη
ἀθανάτων κάλλιστον ἐπὶ τροχοειδέι λίμνηι,
πᾶσα μὲν ἐπλήσθη Δῆλος ἀπειρεσίη
ὀδμῆς ἀμβροσίης, ἐγέλασσε δὲ Γαῖα πελώρη,
γήθησεν δὲ βαθὺς πόντος ἁλὸς πολιῆς.

῎Αρτεμι θηροφόνη, θύγατερ Διός, ἣν ᾿Αγαμέμνων
εἵσαθ’, ὅτ’ ἐς Τροίην ἔπλεε νηυσὶ θοῆις,
εὐχομένωι μοι κλῦθι, κακὰς δ’ ἀπὸ κῆρας ἄλαλκε·
σοὶ μὲν τοῦτο, θεά, σμικρόν, ἐμοὶ δὲ μέγα.

Μοῦσαι καὶ Χάριτες, κοῦραι Διός, αἵ ποτε Κάδμου
ἐς γάμον ἐλθοῦσαι καλὸν ἀείσατ’ ἔπος,
‘ὅττι καλόν, φίλον ἐστί· τὸ δ’ οὐ καλὸν οὐ φίλον ἐστί,’
τοῦτ’ ἔπος ἀθανάτων ἦλθε διὰ στομάτων.

Small clay figure of larger divine woman holding human male in arms.
Artemis Kourotrophos. Small terracotta . 430-400 BC. Archaeological Museum of Brauron.

A Brother or a Counterfeit: Theognis on Friendship

Theognis, 93-100

“If someone praises you for as long as you see him
But lashes you with an evil tongue when you are apart,
That kind of man is not a very good friend at all.
He’s the kind who speaks smoothly with his tongue, but harbors different thoughts.

Let me have that kind of friend who knows his companion
And puts up with him when he’s mean or in a rage,
Like a brother. But you, friend, keep these things your heart
And you will remember me in future days.”

ἄν τις ἐπαινήσῃ σε τόσον χρόνον ὅσσον ὁρῴης,
νοσφισθεὶς δ᾿ ἄλλῃ γλῶσσαν ἱῇσι κακήν,
τοιοῦτός τοι ἑταῖρος ἀνὴρ φίλος οὔ τι μάλ᾿ἐσθλός.
ὅς κ᾿ εἴπῃ γλώσσῃ λεῖα, φρονῇ δ᾿ ἕτερα.
ἀλλ᾿ εἴη τοιοῦτος ἐμοὶ φίλος, ὃς τὸν ἑταῖρον
γινώσκων ὀργὴν καὶ βαρὺν ὄντα φέρει
ἀντὶ κασιγνήτου. σὺ δέ μοι, φίλε, ταῦτ᾿ ἐνὶ θυμῷ
φράζεο, καί ποτέ μου μνήσεαι ἐξοπίσω.

117-118

“Nothing is harder than recognizing a counterfeit.
But, Kurnos, there is nothing more urgent than guarding against one.”

κιβδήλου δ᾿ ἀνδρὸς γνῶναι χαλεπώτερον οὐδέν,
Κύρν᾿, οὐδ᾿ εὐλαβίης ἐστὶ περὶ πλέονος.

119-128

“One can survive the ruin from counterfeit silver and gold
Kurnos—and a wise person can easily discover it.
But if a dear friend’s mind is hidden in his chest
When he is false and he has a deceptive heart,
Well this the most counterfeit thing god has made for mortals
And it is the most painful thing of all to recognize.
For you cannot know the mind of a man or a woman
Before you investigate them, like an animal under a yoke—
And you cannot imagine what they are like at the right time
Since the outer image often misleads your judgment.”

Χρυσοῦ κιβδήλοιο καὶ ἀργύρου ἀνσχετὸς ἄτη,
Κύρνε, καὶ ἐξευρεῖν ῥάιδιον ἀνδρὶ σοφῶι.
εἰ δὲ φίλου νόος ἀνδρὸς ἐνὶ στήθεσσι λελήθηι
ψυδρὸς ἐών, δόλιον δ’ ἐν φρεσὶν ἦτορ ἔχηι,
τοῦτο θεὸς κιβδηλότατον ποίησε βροτοῖσιν,
καὶ γνῶναι πάντων τοῦτ’ ἀνιηρότατον.
οὐδὲ γὰρ εἰδείης ἀνδρὸς νόον οὐδὲ γυναικός,
πρὶν πειρηθείης ὥσπερ ὑποζυγίου,
οὐδέ κεν εἰκάσσαις ὥσπερ ποτ’ ἐς ὥριον ἐλθών·
πολλάκι γὰρ γνώμην ἐξαπατῶσ’ ἰδέαι.

1318a-b

“Alas, I am a wretch: because of the terrors I have suffered
I bring pleasure to my enemies and toil to my friends”

῎Ωιμοι ἐγὼ δειλός· καὶ δὴ κατάχαρμα μὲν ἐχθροῖς,
τοῖσι φίλοις δὲ πόνος δεινὰ παθὼν γενόμην.

1079-80

“I’ll fault no enemy when he is noble,
nor will I praise a friend when he is wrong”

Οὐδένα τῶν ἐχθρῶν μωμήσομαι ἐσθλὸν ἐόντα,
οὐδὲ μὲν αἰνήσω δειλὸν ἐόντα φίλον.

1151–52

“Never dismiss a present friend and seek another
Because you are persuaded by the words of cowardly people.”

μήποτε τὸν παρεόντα μεθεὶς φίλον ἄλλον ἐρεύνα
δειλῶν ἀνθρώπων ῥήμασι πειθόμενος.

 595-598

“Dude, let’s be friends with each other at a distance.
With the exception of wealth, there’s too much of any good thing.
But we can be friends for a long time, just spend time with different men
Who have a better grasp of your mind.”

ἄνθρωπ᾿, ἀλλήλοισιν ἀπόπροθεν ὦμεν ἑταῖροι·
πλὴν πλούτου παντὸς χρήματός ἐστι κόρος.
δὴν δὴ καὶ φίλοι ὦμεν· ἀτάρ τ᾿ ἄλλοισιν ὁμίλει
ἀνδράσιν, οἳ τὸν σὸν μᾶλλον ἴσασι νόον.

1219-1220

“It is difficult for an enemy to deceive
But it is easy for a friend to fool a friend.”

᾿Εχθρὸν μὲν χαλεπὸν καὶ δυσμενεῖ ἐξαπατῆσαι,
Κύρνε· φίλον δὲ φίλωι ῥάιδιον ἐξαπατᾶν.

Friendship
Royal 19 C II  f. 59v

The Sun’s Endless Labor and Magic Bed

Mimnermus fr. 12 [=12 Ath. 11.470a]

“Helios was allotted labor for all days–
He and his horse never have
A break after rosy-toed Dawn
Leaves Ocean and ascends the Sky.

A curved, much-loved bed carries him
Across the waves, crafted by Hephaestus’ hands
Made of dear gold, with wings, he deeply sleeps
Above the water’s surface, from the land of the Hesperides
To the Ethiopians’ home, where his chariot and horses
Wait until dawn arrives, newly-born,
When Hyperion’s son climbs into his second car…

Ἠέλιος μὲν γὰρ ἔλαχεν πόνον ἤματα πάντα,
οὐδέ ποτ᾿ ἄμπαυσις γίνεται οὐδεμία
ἵπποισίν τε καὶ αὐτῷ, ἐπὴν ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠὼς
Ὠκεανὸν προλιποῦσ᾿ οὐρανὸν εἰσαναβῇ.

τὸν μὲν γὰρ διὰ κῦμα φέρει πολυήρατος εὐνή,
κοιίλη, Ἡφαίστου χερσὶν ἐληλαμένη,
χρυσοῦ τιμήεντος, ὑπόπτερος, ἄκρον ἐφ᾿ ὕδωρ
εὕδονθ᾿ ἁρπαλέως χώρου ἀφ᾿ Ἑσπερίδων
γαῖαν ἐς Αἰθιόπων, ἵνα δὴ θοὸν ἅρμα καὶ ἵπποι
ἑστᾶσ᾿, ὄφρ᾿ Ἠὼς ἠριγένεια μόλῃ·
ἔνθ᾿ ἐπέβη ἑτέρων ὀχέων Ὑπερίονος υἱός.

Half of a clay plate with an immage on it in brown, black, and tan. A long-haird divine figure, Helios, driving a chairiot team. Images fragmented,
Helios, painting on a terracotta disk, 480 BC. Museum of the Ancient Agora in Athens.

A Good Shared by the State and the People

Tyrtaeus 12 [= Stob. 4.10.1 (vv. 1–14) + 6 (vv. 15–44)]

“I wouldn’t celebrate or even mention a man
For the strength of his feet or his wrestling,
Not even if he had a Cyclopean size and strength
And could conquer the gods’ Thracian Northwind

And not even if he were better looking than Tithonos
And wealthier than Midas and Kinyras,
Not even if he were more royal than the Tantalid Pelops
And had a tongue more persuasive than Adrastus
And possessed fame for everything except rushing courage.

No man proves good in a war
If he cannot endure seeing bloody murder,
And can strike out while standing near the enemy.
This is virtue, this is the best prize among human beings,
The noblest thing for a young man to win.

This is a shared good for the whole state and the people,
When a man stands firm among the front ranks,
Relentless, completely forgetful of shameful retreat,
Offering up his life and enduring heart,
Ready with an encouraging word for the man next to him.
This man proves to be good in war.

Then he quickly turns aside the threatening ranks
Of the enemy soldiers and the battle’s wave is fueled by his passion.
And should he fall among the first ranks, losing his life,
He brings fame to his city, people, and father,
Stabbed through many times around the chest
And embossed shield, straight through his armor.

The young and the old mourn for him alike
And the whole city feels harsh grief from longing,
Yet his grave and children are well known to all
Along with his children’s children and generations to come.

His noble fame will never die, nor his name
But he will be immortal even though under the earth,
Whoever the man is raging Ares slays in his moment of excellence
As he stands fast and struggles for his land and children.

But if he escapes the fate of a sorrowful death,
And claims victory to vouchsafe his boastful spear,
Everyone will honor him, the young and the old alike,
And he will go to Hades, after living life well.
He will be prominent among his people as he ages,
No one will dream of slighting his respect and due:
All the young men give their places at the bench to him,
And yield to him, along with his peers and elders.
May everyone now try to reach the peak
Of that virtue, never giving up in war.

οὔτ᾿ ἂν μνησαίμην οὔτ᾿ ἐν λόγῳ ἄνδρα τιθείμην
οὔτε ποδῶν ἀρετῆς οὔτε παλαιμοσύνης,
οὐδ᾿ εἰ Κυκλώπων μὲν ἔχοι μέγεθός τε βίην τε,
νικῴη δὲ θέων Θρηΐκιον Βορέην,
οὐδ᾿ εἰ Τιθωνοῖο φυὴν χαριέστερος εἴη,
πλουτοίη δὲ Μίδεω καὶ Κινύρεω μάλιον,
οὐδ᾿ εἰ Τανταλίδεω Πέλοπος βασιλεύτερος εἴη,
γλῶσσαν δ᾿ Ἀδρήστου μειλιχόγηρυν ἔχοι,
οὐδ᾿ εἰ πᾶσαν ἔχοι δόξαν πλὴν θούριδος ἀλκῆς·

οὐ γὰρ ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς γίνεται ἐν πολέμῳ
εἰ μὴ τετλαίη μὲν ὁρῶν φόνον αἱματόεντα,
καὶ δηίων ὀρέγοιτ᾿ ἐγγύθεν ἱστάμενος.
ἥδ᾿ ἀρετή, τόδ᾿ ἄεθλον ἐν ἀνθρώποισιν ἄριστον
κάλλιστόν τε φέρειν γίνεται ἀνδρὶ νέῳ.

ξυνὸν δ᾿ ἐσθλὸν τοῦτο πόληί τε παντί τε δήμῳ,
ὅστις ἀνὴρ διαβὰς ἐν προμάχοισι μένῃ
νωλεμέως, αἰσχρῆς δὲ φυγῆς ἐπὶ πάγχυ λάθηται,
ψυχὴν καὶ θυμὸν τλήμονα παρθέμενος,
θαρσύνῃ δ᾿ ἔπεσιν τὸν πλησίον ἄνδρα παρεστώς·
οὗτος ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς γίνεται ἐν πολέμῳ.

αἶψα δὲ δυσμενέων ἀνδρῶν ἔτρεψε φάλαγγας
τρηχείας, σπουδῇ δ᾿ ἔσχεθε κῦμα μάχης.
αὐτὸς δ᾿ ἐν προμάχοισι πεσὼν φίλον ὤλεσε θυμόν,
ἄστυ τε καὶ λαοὺς καὶ πατέρ᾿ εὐκλεΐσας,
πολλὰ διὰ στέρνοιο καὶ ἀσπίδος ὀμφαλοέσσης
καὶ διὰ θώρηκος πρόσθεν ἐληλαμένος.

τὸν δ᾿ ὀλοφύρονται μὲν ὁμῶς νέοι ἠδὲ γέροντες,
ἀργαλέῳ δὲ πόθῳ πᾶσα κέκηδε πόλις,
καὶ τύμβος καὶ παῖδες ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἀρίσημοι
καὶ παίδων παῖδες καὶ γένος ἐξοπίσω·

οὐδέ ποτε κλέος ἐσθλὸν ἀπόλλυται οὐδ᾿ ὄνομ᾿αὐτοῦ,
ἀλλ᾿ ὑπὸ γῆς περ ἐὼν γίνεται ἀθάνατος,
ὅντιν᾿ ἀριστεύοντα μένοντά τε μαρνάμενόν τε
γῆς πέρι καὶ παίδων θοῦρος Ἄρης ὀλέσῃ.

εἰ δὲ φύγῃ μὲν κῆρα τανηλεγέος θανάτοιο,
νικήσας δ᾿ αἰχμῆς ἀγλαὸν εὖχος ἕλῃ,
πάντες μιν τιμῶσιν, ὁμῶς νέοι ἠδὲ παλαιοί,
πολλὰ δὲ τερπνὰ παθὼν ἔρχεται εἰς Ἀΐδην,
γηράσκων δ᾿ ἀστοῖσι μεταπρέπει, οὐδέ τις αὐτὸν
βλάπτειν οὔτ᾿ αἰδοῦς οὔτε δίκης ἐθέλει,
πάντες δ᾿ ἐν θώκοισιν ὁμῶς νέοι οἵ τε κατ᾿ αὐτὸν
εἴκουσ᾿ ἐκ χώρης οἵ τε παλαιότεροι.
ταύτης νῦν τις ἀνὴρ ἀρετῆς εἰς ἄκρον ἱκέσθαι
πειράσθω θυμῷ μὴ μεθιεὶς πολέμου.

Black vase with red warrior holding shield and spear. Right knee is raised.
ed figure lekythos, Tithonos Painter, aroud 470 BC. Archaeological Museum of Syracuse.

Leaders, Corrupting the State for their Own Profit

Theognis, Elegies 39–52

“Kyrnos, this city is pregnant and I am afraid she will bear a man
Meant to correct our evil arrogance.
The citizens are still sane, but the leaders have changed
And have fallen into great evil.

Good people, Kyrnos, have never yet destroyed a city,
But whenever it pleases wicked men to commit outrage,
They corrupt the people and issue legal judgment in favor of the unjust,
For the sake of their own private profit and power.

Don’t expect this city to stay peaceful for very long
Even if it is not at a moment of great peace now,
When these deeds are dear to evil men,
As their profit accrues with public harm.

Civil conflicts and murder of kin comes from this,
And tyrants do too: may this never bring our city pleasure.”

Κύρνε, κύει πόλις ἥδε, δέδοικα δὲ μὴ τέκηι ἄνδρα
εὐθυντῆρα κακῆς ὕβριος ἡμετέρης.
ἀστοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἔθ’ οἵδε σαόφρονες, ἡγεμόνες δέ
τετράφαται πολλὴν εἰς κακότητα πεσεῖν.
οὐδεμίαν πω, Κύρν’, ἀγαθοὶ πόλιν ὤλεσαν ἄνδρες,
ἀλλ’ ὅταν ὑβρίζειν τοῖσι κακοῖσιν ἅδηι
δῆμόν τε φθείρουσι δίκας τ’ ἀδίκοισι διδοῦσιν
οἰκείων κερδέων εἵνεκα καὶ κράτεος·
ἔλπεο μὴ δηρὸν κείνην πόλιν ἀτρεμέ’ ἧσθαι,
μηδ’ εἰ νῦν κεῖται πολλῆι ἐν ἡσυχίηι,
εὖτ’ ἂν τοῖσι κακοῖσι φίλ’ ἀνδράσι ταῦτα γένηται,
κέρδεα δημοσίωι σὺν κακῶι ἐρχόμενα.
ἐκ τῶν γὰρ στάσιές τε καὶ ἔμφυλοι φόνοι ἀνδρῶν·
μούναρχοι δὲ πόλει μήποτε τῆιδε ἅδοι.

Image result for ancient greece megara ruins

Don’t Stop Thinking about…Tomorrow?

Simonides, Fr. 20

“As long as any person holds on to the beloved flower of youth,
Their heart is light, because they imagine many things are endless.
No one young thinks they will grow old and die.
The healthy person doesn’t spare a thought for sickness either.

Fools have minds like this, because they don’t understand
That mortals have only a short time for youth and life too.
You, learn these things and hold on to the end of your time,
Taking pleasure in the good things in your mind.”

θνητῶ⎦ν δ’ ὄ⎣φρα τις⎦ ἄνθος ἔχη⎣ι πολυήρατον ἥβης,
κοῦφο⎦ν ἔχω⎣ν θυμ⎦ὸν πόλλ’ ἀτέλεσ⎣τα νοεῖ·
οὔ⎦τε γὰρ ἐλπ⎣ίδ’ ἔχ⎦ει γηρασέμεν ⎣οὔτε θανεῖσθαι,
οὐδ’, ὑ⎦γιὴς ὅτα⎣ν ἦι, φ⎦ροντίδ’ ἔχει κ⎣αμάτου.
νή⎦πιοι, οἷς ταύ⎣τηι⎦ κεῖται νόος, ο⎣ὐδὲ ἴσασιν
ὡς χρό⎦νος ἔ⎣σθ’ ἥβη⎦ς καὶ βιότου ὀλ⎣ίγος
θνη⎦τοῖς. ἀλλὰ ⎣σὺ⎦ ταῦτα μαθὼν ⎣βιότου ποτὶ τέρμα
ψυχῆι τῶν⎦ ἀγαθῶν τλῆθι χα⎣ριζόμενος.

A cleaner version of the text:

θνητῶν δ’ ὄφρα τις ἄνθος ἔχῃ πολυήρατον ἥβης,
κοῦφον ἔχων θυμὸν πόλλ’ ἀτέλεστα νοεῖ.
οὔτε γὰρ ἐλπίδ’ ἔχει γηρασέμεν οὐδὲ θανεῖσθαι,
οὐδ’ ὑγιὴς ὅταν ᾖ, φροντίδ’ ἔχει καμάτου.
νήπιοι, οἷς ταύτῃ κεῖται νόος· οὐδὲ ἴσασιν
ὡς χρόνος ἔσθ’ ἥβης καὶ βιότοι’ ὀλίγος
θνητοῖς· ἀλλὰ σὺ ταῦτα μαθὼν βιότου ποτὶ τέρμα
ψυχῇ τῶν ἀγαθῶν τλῆθι χαριζόμενος.

N.B.This fragment is preserved in Stobaeus’ Extracts, under a section entitled “Concerning life, that it is brief and cheap and full of worry” ΠΕΡΙ ΤΟΥ ΒΙΟΥ, ΟΤΙ ΒΡΑΧΥΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΥΤΕΛΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΦΡΟΝΤΙΔΩΝ ΑΝΑΜΕΣΤΟΣ.

Edvard Munch, “Old age” 1908

Lawlessness and The City

Solon, Fragment 4. 21-33.

Thanks to its enemies a prized city
Fast succumbs to wrongdoers’ cherished mobs.
This evil circulates in the land.
Many of the poor leave for foreign lands,
Bound and sold in shameful chains.

And so the people’s evil comes to each house
And the doors are disinclined to bar it.
It bounds the tall wall and always finds its man,
Even when he’s slipped into some recess
of an inner room.

My heart commands I teach Athenians this:
Lawlessness brings the city complete evil,
But respect for the law renders the whole
Orderly and sound, and it puts wrongdoers
In handcuffs, sometimes.

ἐκ γὰρ δυσμενέων ταχέως πολυήρατον ἄστυ
τρύχεται ἐν συνόδοις τοῖς ἀδικοῦσι φίλαις.
ταῦτα μὲν ἐν δήμῳ στρέφεται κακά: τῶν δὲ πενιχρῶν
ἱκνεῦνται πολλοὶ γαῖαν ἐς ἀλλοδαπὴν
πραθέντες δεσμοῖσί τ᾽ ἀεικελίοισι δεθέντες
…………………………………………
οὕτω δημόσιον κακὸν ἔρχεται οἴκαδ᾽ ἑκάστῳ,
αὔλειοι δ᾽ ἔτ᾽ ἔχειν οὐκ ἐθέλουσι θύραι,
ὑψηλὸν δ᾽ ὑπὲρ ἕρκος ὑπέρθορεν, εὗρε δὲ πάντως,
εἰ καί τις φεύγων ἐν μυχῷ ᾖ θαλάμου.
ταῦτα διδάξαι θυμὸς Ἀθηναίους με κελεύει,
ὡς κακὰ πλεῖστα πόλει δυσνομίη παρέχει,
εὐνομίη δ᾽ εὔκοσμα καὶ ἄρτια πάντ᾽ ἀποφαίνει,
καὶ θαμὰ τοῖς ἀδίκοις ἀμφιτίθησι πέδας.

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 featsofgreek.blogspot.com.

A Blessed Man

“Is the governor positioning himself for a White House run in 2024?”–Politico, June 23, 2022

Theognis, 933-938

Excellence and beauty attend few men.
Blessed is the one to whom fate grants both.
Everybody honors him: Gen Y, his peers,
And old boomers all make way for him.
With age he becomes more distinguished
Among his countrymen, and none of them
Wants to disrespect or cost him his due.

παύροις ἀνθρώπων ἀρετὴ καὶ κάλλος ὀπηδεῖ:
ὄλβιος, ὃς τούτων ἀμφοτέρων ἔλαχεν.
πάντες μιν τιμῶσιν: ὁμῶς νέοι οἵ τε κατ᾽ αὐτὸν
χώρης εἴκουσιν τοί τε παλαιότεροι:
γηράσκων δ᾽ ἀστοῖσι μεταπρέπει, οὐδέ τις αὐτὸν
βλάπτειν οὔτ᾽ αἰδοῦς οὔτε δίκης ἐθέλει.

Gavin Newsom, Governor of California
and potential 2024 presidential candidate,
before fitted shirts.

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 featsofgreek.blogspot.com.

Praising Plato, by the Poet Aristotle

Olympiodorus on Plato, Gorgias 215

“Aristotle doesn’t merely praise Plate in the piece he wrote about him, but he also delivers praise in the elegies he composed for Eudemus, writing as follows:

[missing line of dactylic hexameter]

“Once he came to Kekrops’ famous plain
He reverently built an altar for the sacred friendship
Of a man whom it is not right for the evil to praise
Who alone or first of mortals demonstrated clearly
Through his own life and the practices of his words
That the good person and the happy person are the same.

And now there is no way for anyone to do the same things again.”

οὐ μόνον δὲ ἐγκώμιον ποιήσας αὐτοῦ ἐπαινεῖ αὐτόν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἐλεγείοις τοῖς πρὸς Εὔδημον αὐτὸν ἐπαινῶν Πλάτωνα ἐγκωμιάζει, γράφων οὕτως·

ἐλθὼν δ᾿ ἐς κλεινὸν Κεκροπίης δάπεδον
εὐσεβέως σεμνῆς φιλίης ἱδρύσατο βωμὸν
ἀνδρὸς ὅν οὐδ᾿ αἰνεῖν τοῖσι κακοῖσι θέμις,
ὃς μόνος ἢ πρῶτος θνητῶν κατέδειξεν ἐναργῶς
οἰκείῳ τε βίῳ καὶ μεθόδοισι λόγων
ὡς ἀγαθός τε καὶ εὐδαίμων ἅμα γίνεται ἀνήρ·
οὐ νῦν δ᾿ ἔστι λαβεῖν οὐδενὶ ταῦτά ποτε.

fresco depicting the School of Aristotle by Gustav Adolph Spangenberg, ca 1883-1888