Stultifying Sentiments

Stultus, a, um -adj. “Foolish, simple, silly, fatuous”

Stultus, m. “a fool”

Publilius Syrus 451

“It is impossible for one who knows he is a fool not have some intelligence”

Non pote non sapere qui se stultum intellegit.

Dicta Catonis 18

“Be foolish when the time or the affair demands: sometimes to pretend foolishness is the greatest wisdom.”

Insipiens esto, cum tempus postulat aut res: stultitiam simulare loco, prudentia summa est.

Publilius Syrus 692

“Silence works as wisdom for a foolish person”

Taciturnitas stulto homini pro sapientia est.

Lucilius, 19.591

“Finally, nothing is enough for a fool even when he has everything”

Denique uti stulto nil sit satis, omnia cum sint

Publilius Syrus 144

“You make a criminal from a fool by forgiving too much”

Crebro ignoscendo facies de stulto improbum.

Seneca, EM 9.14 [Paraphrasing Chrysippus]

“A fool needs nothing since he knows how to use nothing but wants everything”

Contra stulto nulla re opus est, nulla enim re uti scit, sed omnibus eget

Publilius Syrus 118

“Contempt is harder on the wise than a beating is on a fool”

Contemni gravius est quam stulto percuti.

Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.10

“If someone who wants to buy a horse inspects not the horse itself but its saddle and bridle, he is a fool. Even more foolish is the one who thinks a person can be judged from his clothing or the chance that covers us like clothing.”

quemadmodum stultus est qui empturus equum non ipsum inspicit sed stratum eius ac frenos, sic stultissimus est qui hominem aut ex veste aut ex condicione quae nobis vestis modo circumdata est aestimandum putat.

Publilius Syrus 671

“Fortune makes whomever she wants to destroy into a fool”

Stultum facit Fortuna quem vult perdere

Seneca, EM 58

“Since the danger from living badly is greater than the danger of dying quickly, he is a fool who does not bet the price of a little time on a throw of great gain”

Et cum maius periculum sit male vivendi quam cito moriendi, stultus est, qui non exigua temporis mercede magnae rei aleam redimit.

Publilius Syrus 40

“The wise man rules his spirit, a fool serves his”

Animo imperabit sapiens, stultus serviet.

Ennius, Fr. 306

“It is a fool who, in desiring, desires desirously with a desirous mind.”

Stultus est qui cupida mente cupiens cupienter cupit

 

Image result for Medieval manuscript fool

Four Proverbs for Fools

Go here for more information about Ancient Greek collections of proverbs.

Arsenius, 5.29b

“A fool laughs even when nothing is funny.”

Γελᾷ δ’ ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ.

 

Michael Apostolios 3.87

“You are considering ancient history.” A proverb applied to fools and simpletons.

᾿Αρχαϊκὰ φρονεῖς: ἐπὶ τῶν μωρῶν καὶ εὐηθῶν.

 

Michaelos Apostolios 11.92

“A fool can’t keep quiet”

Μωρὸς σιωπᾷν οὐ δύναται.

11.93

“He will blame instead of imitate”: a proverb applied to the uneducable and because it is easier to criticize than emulate.”

Μωμήσεται μᾶλλον ἢ μιμήσεται: ἐπὶ τῶν ἀπαιδεύτων, καὶ ὅτι τὸ ψέγειν τοῦ μιμεῖσθαι ῥᾳότερον.

 

Roman comments on fools.

Also: μωρολογία: properly, “stupid-talking” or “the talk of fools”. But why not: “the science of stupidity”?

Related image
Miniature from the Bute Psalter; c. 1270-80

A bonus anecdote for this evening;

Stobaeus 3.34.15

“Solon, after he was asked by Periander over drink—when the former happened to be quiet—whether he was silent because of a loss of words or foolishness, said “No fool could ever be quiet at a drinking party.”

Σόλων ἐρωτηθεὶς ὑπὸ Περιάνδρου παρὰ πότον, ἐπεὶ σιωπῶν ἐτύγχανε, πότερα διὰ λόγων σπάνιν ἢ διὰ μωρίαν σιωπᾷ, ‘ἀλλ’ οὐδεὶς ἄν’ εἶπε ‘μωρὸς σιωπᾶν ἐν συμποσίῳ δύναιτο’.

Stupidity, Evil’s Sibling.

μωρολογία: properly, “stupid-talking” or “the talk of fools”. But why not: “the science of stupidity”?

Sophocles, fr. 924

“Stupidity is a terrible opponent to wrestle”

ὡς δυσπάλαιστόν <ἐστιν> ἀμαθία κακόν

Terence, Phormio, 659-660

“Whether I claim he does this because of stupidity or

malice—whether this is a knowing plot, or incompetence, I am unsure.”

utrum stultitia facere ego hunc an malitia
dicam, scientem an imprudentem, incertu’ sum.

Sophocles, fr. 925

“Stupidity really is evil’s sibling”

ἡ δὲ μωρία
μάλιστ᾿ ἀδελφὴ τῆς πονηρίας ἔφυ

Suetonius, Divus Claudius 38

“But he did not stay quiet even about his own stupidity: but claimed that he had faked it on purpose under Gaius because he would have not escaped and advanced to his eventual position otherwise—and that this was supported by certain oracles. But he persuaded no one. And after a brief time, a book was published with the title “The Ascension of Fools” which posited that no one can pretend stupidity.”

Ac ne stultitiam quidem suam reticuit simulatamque a se ex industria sub Gaio, quod aliter evasurus perventurusque ad susceptam stationem non fuerit, quibusdam oratiunculis testatus est; nec tamen49 persuasit, cum intra breve tempus liber editus sit, cui index erat μωρῶν ἐπανάστασις, argumentum autem stultitiam neminem fingere.

Plutarch, Rational Beasts 998a

“Note that a lack of intelligence or stupidity in some animals emerges in contrast with the abilities and sharpness of others as you might compare an ass or a sheep with a fox, a wolf or a bee. It would be the same if you would compare Polyphemos or that idiot Koroibos to your grandfather Autolykos. For I do not think that there is so great a difference between beasts as there is between individual people in thinking, using reason, and in memory.”

ἐννόησον δ᾿ ὅτι τὰς ἐνίων ἀβελτερίας καὶ βλακείας ἐλέγχουσιν ἑτέρων πανουργίαι καὶ δριμύτητες, ὅταν ἀλώπεκι καὶ λύκῳ καὶ μελίττῃ παραβάλῃς ὄνον καὶ πρόβατον· ὥσπερ εἰ σαυτῷ τὸν Πολύφημον ἢ τῷ πάππῳ σου τῷ Αὐτολύκῳ τὸν Κόροιβον ἐκεῖνον τὸν μωρόν οὐ γὰρ οἶμαι θηρίου πρὸς θηρίον ἀπόστασιν εἶναι τοσαύτην, ὅσον ἄνθρωπος ἀνθρώπου τῷ φρονεῖν καὶ λογίζεσθαι καὶ μνημονεύειν ἀφέστηκεν.

Andocides, On His Return 2

“These men must be the dumbest of all people or they are the most inimical to the state. If they believe that it is also better for their private affairs when the state does well, then they are complete fools in pursuing something opposite to their own advantage right now. If they do not believe that they share common interests with you, then they must be enemies of the state”

δεῖ γὰρ αὐτοὺς ἤτοι ἀμαθεστάτους εἶναι πάντων ἀνθρώπων, ἢ τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ δυσμενεστάτους. εἰ μέν γε νομίζουσι τῆς πόλεως εὖ πραττούσης καὶ τὰ ἴδια σφῶν αὐτῶν ἄμεινον ἂν φέρεσθαι, ἀμαθέστατοί εἰσι τὰ ἐναντία νῦν τῇ ἑαυτῶν ὠφελείᾳ σπεύδοντες· εἰ δὲ μὴ ταὐτὰ ἡγοῦνται σφίσι τε αὐτοῖς συμφέρειν καὶ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ κοινῷ, δυσμενεῖς ἂν τῇ πόλει εἶεν·

Seneca the Elder, Suasoriae, 21

“A special recognition for stupidity needs to be given to the rhetorician Corvus who said, “Since Xerxes is already sailing against us on his sea, shouldn’t we flee before the earth is taken from us””

Corvo rhetori testimonium stuporis reddendum est, qui dixit: “quidni, si iam Xerses ad nos suo mari navigat, fugiamus, ntequam nobis terra subripiatur?”

Image result for ancient greek stupidity

Stultifying Sentiments for a Friday

Stultus, a, um -adj. “Foolish, simple, silly, fatuous

Stultus, m. “a fool”

Publilius Syrus 451

“It is impossible for one who knows he is a fool not have some intelligence”

Non pote non sapere qui se stultum intellegit.

Dicta Catonis 18

“Be foolish when the time or the affair demands: sometimes to pretend foolishness is the greatest wisdom.”

Insipiens esto, cum tempus postulat aut res: stultitiam simulare loco, prudentia summa est.

Publilius Syrus 692

“Silence works as wisdom for a foolish person”

Taciturnitas stulto homini pro sapientia est.

Lucilius, 19.591

“Finally, nothing is enough for a fool even when he has everything”

Denique uti stulto nil sit satis, omnia cum sint

Publilius Syrus 144

“You make a criminal from a fool by forgiving too much”

Crebro ignoscendo facies de stulto improbum.

Seneca, EM 9.14 [Paraphrasing Chrysippus]

“A fool needs nothing since he knows how to use nothing but wants everything”

Contra stulto nulla re opus est, nulla enim re uti scit, sed omnibus eget

Publilius Syrus 118

“Contempt is harder on the wise than a beating is on a fool”

Contemni gravius est quam stulto percuti.

Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.10

“If someone who wants to buy a horse inspects not the horse itself but its saddle and bridle, he is a fool. Even more foolish is the one who thinks a person can be judged from his clothing or the chance that covers us like clothing.”

quemadmodum stultus est qui empturus equum non ipsum inspicit sed stratum eius ac frenos, sic stultissimus est qui hominem aut ex veste aut ex condicione quae nobis vestis modo circumdata est aestimandum putat.

Publilius Syrus 671

“Fortune makes whomever she wants to destroy into a fool”

Stultum facit Fortuna quem vult perdere

Seneca, EM 58

“Since the danger from living badly is greater than the danger of dying quickly, he is a fool who does not bet the price of a little time on a throw of great gain”

Et cum maius periculum sit male vivendi quam cito moriendi, stultus est, qui non exigua temporis mercede magnae rei aleam redimit.

Publilius Syrus 40

“The wise man rules his spirit, a fool serves his”

Animo imperabit sapiens, stultus serviet.

Ennius, Fr. 306

“It is a fool who, in desiring, desires desirously with a desirous mind.”

Stultus est qui cupida mente cupiens cupienter cupit

 

Image result for Medieval manuscript fool

Homeric Sexual Healing: Margites fragments 1-3 and More!

We are near the end of a semester at my University and I seem to be limping to the end. As a tonic for tired days, I turned to the Homeric Margites today. What’s more therapeutic than laughing at a fool? (Well, maybe we should ask Margites’ wife…)

“Some old man, a divine singer, came to Kolophon,
An assistant of the Muses and Apollo
Holding a sweet-singing lyre in his dear hands.
The gods didn’t make him an excavator or a ploughman
Nor wise in anything at all: he screwed up every kind of craft:
He knew many deeds, but he knew all of them badly.”

ἦλθέ τις ἐς Κολοφῶνα γέρων καὶ θεῖος ἀοιδός,
Μουσάων θεράπων καὶ ἑκηβόλου ᾿Απόλλωνος,
φίληις ἔχων ἐν χερσὶν εὔφθογγον λύρην.
τὸν δ’ οὔτ’ ἂρ σκαπτῆρα θεοὶ θέσαν οὔτ’ ἀροτῆρα
οὔτ’ ἄλλως τι σοφόν· πάσης δ’ ἡμάρτανε τέχνης.
πόλλ’ ἠπίστατο ἔργα, κακῶς δ’ ἠπίστατο πάντα.

Actual T-Shirt, Game-worn Condition
Actual T-Shirt, Game-worn Condition

And yes, I do own a t-shirt proudly emblazoned with the motto: πόλλ’ ἠπίστατο ἔργα, κακῶς δ’ ἠπίστατο πάντα. I would not be so proud to be known for the following details, however.

According to the testimonies part of Margites’ ignorance extended to carnal acts (from Dio Chrys. Or. 67.5 (On Reputation)):

“He would be much more foolish than Margites, who was ignorant about what to do with a woman after being married.”

Πολύ γε ἂν εἴη τοῦ Μαργίτου μωρότερος, ἀγνοοῦντος ὅ,τι χρὴ γήμαντα χρῆσθαι τῇ γυναικί.

Hesychius (the Alexandrian Lexicographer, not the Monk!) adds another detail for titillation: his wife told him she had been bitten in her genitals by a scorpion and that she needed, well, sexual healing. Eustathius (Comm ad Od. 1.395), as one might expect, repeats this anecdote with relish.

“We have learned a similar thing about the fool Margites, thanks to whom “raging” (margainein) means also “to be a fool”. The poet who bears Homer’s name makes him a son of extremely wealthy parents who, after he got married, did not climb upon his wife until she persuaded him that she had been wounded in her nether regions. She said that no medicine would help her except the act of fitting male genitals into that place. And in this way he laid next do his wife, for the sake of therapy.”

οὕτως ἔγνωμεν καὶ τὸν ἄφρονα Μαργίτην τὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ μαργαίνειν ὅ ἐστι μωραίνειν. ὃν ὁ ποιήσας τὸν ἐπιγραφόμενον ῾Ομήρου Μαργίτην ὑποτίθεται εὐπόρων μὲν εἰς ὑπερβολὴν γονέων φῦναι, γήμαντα δὲ μὴ συμπεσεῖν τῇ νύμφῃ ἕως ἀναπισθεῖσα ἐκείνη τετραυματίσθαι τὰ κάτω ἐσκήψατο. φάρμακόν τε μηδὲν ὠφελήσειν ἔφη, πλὴν εἰ τὸ ἀνδρεῖον αἰδοῖον ἐκεῖ ἐφαρμοσθείη. καὶ οὕτω θεραπείας χάριν ἐκεῖνος ἐπλησίασεν.

And if you didn’t expect some Marvin Gaye now, well, you’re worse off than Margites:

Homer, Iliad 14.83

 

“What notion has escaped the bulwark of your teeth?”

 

Odysseus asks Agamemnon this question...

ποῖόν σε ἔπος φύγεν ἕρκος ὀδόντων·

 

epos can simply mean “word”, but it can also mean “plan”.