Kleptocracy, Beauty Contests, and Lies

From the Suda

“To speak Cretan to Cretans: Since they liars and deceivers”

Κρητίζειν πρὸς Κρῆτας. ἐπειδὴ ψεῦσται καὶ ἀπατεῶνές εἰσι.

Hesychius

krêtizein: used for lying and deceiving. People use this phrase because Krêtans are liars.”

κρητίζειν· ἐπὶ τοῦ ψεύδεσθαι καὶ ἀπατᾶν. ἔταττον δὲ τὴν λέξιν ἀπὸ <τοῦ> τοὺς Κρῆτας ψεύστας εἶναι

Zenobius, 4.62.10

“To be a Cretan: People use this phrase to mean lying and cheating. And they say it developed as a proverb from Idomeneus the Cretan. For, as the story goes, when there was a disagreement developed about the greater [share] among the Greeks at troy and everyone was eager to acquire the heaped up bronze for themselves, they made Idomeneus the judge. Once he took open pledges from them that they would adhere to the judgments he would make, he put himself in from of all the rest! For this reason, it is called Krêtening.”

Κρητίζειν: ἐπὶ τοῦ ψεύδεσθαι καὶ ἀπατᾶν ἔταττον τὴν λέξιν, καὶ φασὶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ᾿Ιδομενέως τοῦ Κρητὸς τὴν παροιμίαν διαδοθῆναι. Λέγεται γὰρ διαφορᾶς ποτὲγενομένης τοῖς ἐν Τροίᾳ ῞Ελλησιν περὶ τοῦ μείζονος, καὶ  πάντων προθυμουμένων τὸν συναχθέντα χαλκὸν ἐκ τῶν λαφύρων πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς ἀποφέρεσθαι, γενόμενον κριτὴν τὸν ᾿Ιδομενέα, καὶ λαβόντα παρ’ αὐτῶν τὰς ἐνδεχομένας πίστεις ἐφ’ ᾧ κατακολουθῆσαι τοῖς κριθησομένοις, ἀντὶ πάντων τῶν ἀριστέων ἑαυτὸν προτάξαι. Διὸ λέγεσθαι τὸ Κρητίζειν.

 

Dionysius Attic, Aelian

Krêtizein: to lie. For Idomenus, when he was placed in charge of distributing the bronze from the spoils, chose the best for himself.”

κρητίζειν· τὸ ψεύδεσθαι. ᾿Ιδομενεὺς γὰρ ἐπιτραπεὶς τὸν ἀπὸ τῶν λαφύρων χαλκὸν διανεῖμαι τὸν ἄριστον αὑτῷ ἐξείλετο.

There is another tradition too for why Cretans are liars:

Medeia’s Beauty Contest: Fr. Gr. Hist (=Müller 4.10.1) Athenodorus of Eretria

“In the eighth book of his Notes, Athenodorus says that Thetis and Medeia competed over beauty in Thessaly and made Idomeneus the judge—he gave the victory to Thetis. Medeia, enraged, said that Kretans are always liars and she cursed him, that he would never speak the truth just has he had [failed to] in the judgment. And this is the reason that people say they believe that Kretans are liars. Athenodorus adds that Antiokhos records this in the second book of his Urban Legends.”

Ἀθηνόδωρος ἐν ὀγδόῳ Ὑπομνημάτων φησὶ Θέτιν καὶ Μήδειαν ἐρίσαι περὶ κάλλους ἐν Θεσσαλίᾳ, καὶ κριτὴν γενέσθαι Ἰδομενέα, καὶ προσνεῖμαι Θέτιδι τὴν νίκην. Μήδειαν δ ̓ ὀργισθεῖσαν εἰπεῖν· Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψευσταὶ, καὶ ἐπαράσασθαι αὐτῷ, μηδέποτε ἀλήθειαν εἰπεῖν, ὥσπερ ἐπὶ τῆς κρίσεως ἐποίησε. Καὶ ἐκ τούτου φησὶ τοὺς Κρῆτας ψεύστας νομισθῆναι· παρατίθεται δὲ τοῦτο ἱστοροῦντα ὁ Ἀθηνόδωρος Ἀντίοχον ἐν δευτέρῳ τῶν Κατὰ πόλιν μυθικῶν.

 

Of course, in the Odyssey Idomeneus shows up in Odysseus’ lies

Od. 13.256-273

“I heard of Ithaca even in broad Krete
Far over the sea. And now I myself have come
With these possessions. I left as much still with my children
When I fled, because I killed the dear son of Idomeneus,
Swift-footed Orsilokhos who surpassed all the grain-fed men
In broad Krete with his swift feet
Because he wanted to deprive me of all the booty
From Troy, over which I had suffered much grief in my heart,
Testing myself against warlike men and the grievous waves.
All because I was not showing his father favor as an attendant
In the land of the Trojans, but I was leading different companions.
I struck him with a bronze-pointed spear as he returned
From the field, after I set an ambush near the road with a companion.
Dark night covered the sky and no human beings
Took note of us, I got away with depriving him of life.
But after I killed him with the sharp bronze,
I went to a ship of the haughty Phoenicians
And I begged them and gave them heart-melting payment.”

“πυνθανόμην ᾿Ιθάκης γε καὶ ἐν Κρήτῃ εὐρείῃ,
τηλοῦ ὑπὲρ πόντου· νῦν δ’ εἰλήλουθα καὶ αὐτὸς
χρήμασι σὺν τοίσδεσσι· λιπὼν δ’ ἔτι παισὶ τοσαῦτα
φεύγω, ἐπεὶ φίλον υἷα κατέκτανον ᾿Ιδομενῆος,
᾿Ορσίλοχον πόδας ὠκύν, ὃς ἐν Κρήτῃ εὐρείῃ
ἀνέρας ἀλφηστὰς νίκα ταχέεσσι πόδεσσιν,
οὕνεκά με στερέσαι τῆς ληΐδος ἤθελε πάσης
Τρωϊάδος, τῆς εἵνεκ’ ἐγὼ πάθον ἄλγεα θυμῷ,
ἀνδρῶν τε πτολέμους ἀλεγεινά τε κύματα πείρων,
οὕνεκ’ ἄρ’ οὐχ ᾧ πατρὶ χαριζόμενος θεράπευον
δήμῳ ἔνι Τρώων, ἀλλ’ ἄλλων ἦρχον ἑταίρων.
τὸν μὲν ἐγὼ κατιόντα βάλον χαλκήρεϊ δουρὶ
ἀγρόθεν, ἐγγὺς ὁδοῖο λοχησάμενος σὺν ἑταίρῳ·
νὺξ δὲ μάλα δνοφερὴ κάτεχ’ οὐρανόν, οὐδέ τις ἥμεας
ἀνθρώπων ἐνόησε, λάθον δέ ἑ θυμὸν ἀπούρας.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ δὴ τόν γε κατέκτανον ὀξέϊ χαλκῷ,
αὐτίκ’ ἐγὼν ἐπὶ νῆα κιὼν Φοίνικας ἀγαυοὺς
ἐλλισάμην καί σφιν μενοεικέα ληΐδα δῶκα·

This is the first ‘lie’ Odysseus tells upon his arrival on Ithaca. He does not know that he is speaking to Athena and a scholiast explains his choices as if he were speaking to a suitor or one who would inform them.

Scholia V ad. Od. 13.267

“He explains that he killed Idomeneus’ son so that the suitors will accept him as an enemy of dear Odysseus. He says that he has sons in Crete because he will have someone who will avenge him. He says that the death of Orsilochus was for booty, because he is showing that he would not yield to this guy bloodlessly. He says that he trusted Phoenicians so that he may not do him wrong, once he has reckoned that they are the most greedy for profit and they spared him.”

τὸν μὲν ἐγὼ κατιόντα] σκήπτεται τὸν ᾿Ιδομενέως υἱὸν ἀνῃρηκέναι, ἵνα αὐτὸν πρόσωνται οἱ μνηστῆρες ὡς ἐχθρὸν τοῦ ᾿Οδυσσέως φίλου. ἑαυτῷ δὲ ἐν Κρήτῃ υἱούς φησιν εἶναι, ὅτι τοὺς τιμωρήσοντας ἕξει. καὶ τὸν ᾿Ορσιλόχου δὲ θάνατον λέγει διὰ τὴν λείαν, δεικνὺς ὅτι οὐδὲ ἐκείνῳ παραχωρήσει ἀναιμωτί. Φοίνιξι δὲ πιστεῦσαι λέγει, ἵνα μὴ ἀδικήσῃ, λογισάμενος ὅτι οἱ φιλοκερδέσταται αὐτοῦ ἐφείσαντο.
V.

idomeneus

Give me the loot.

 

Fragmentary Friday, Greek: To Not Even Desire to Do Wrong

More Fragments of Democritus

Fr. 55

“It is necessary to envy the deeds of the work of virtue not the words.”

ἔργα καὶ πρήξιας ἀρετῆς, οὐ λόγους, ζηλοῦν χρειών

Fr. 56

“Those who are shaped in relation to them will recognize and envy noble things.”

τὰ καλὰ γνωρίζουσι καὶ ζηλοῦσιν οἱ εὐφυέες πρὸς αὐτά.

Fr. 58

“The hopes of those who think correctly are achievable, those of the fools are impossiblities”

ἐλπίδες αἱ τῶν ὀρθὰ φρονεόντων ἐφικταί, αἱ δὲ τῶν ἀξυνέτων ἀδύνατοι

Fr. 59

“Neither art nor wisdom are achievable unless someone learns.”

24. οὔτε τέχνη οὔτε σοφίη ἐφικτόν, ἢν μὴ μάθηι τις

Fr. 60

“It is better to rebuke familiar faults than foreign ones.”

25. κρέσσον τὰ οἰκήϊα ἐλέγχειν ἁμαρτήματα ἢ τὰ ὀθνεῖα

Fr. 61

“it is not good to not commit injustice, but rather to not desire to.”

ἀγαθὸν οὐ τὸ μὴ ἀδικεῖν, ἀλλὰ τὸ μηδὲ ἐθέλειν

Fr. 62

“It is good to utter praise for noble works. For it is the work of a charlatan and a deceiver to praise base works.”

εὐλογέειν ἐπὶ καλοῖς ἔργμασι καλόν· τὸ γὰρ ἐπὶ φλαύροισι κιβδήλου καὶ ἀπατεῶνος ἔργον

Fr. 64

“Many who have learned a lot do not have a mind”

πολλοὶ πολυμαθέες νοῦν οὐκ ἔχουσιν

Fr. 65

“It is better to take counsel before actions than to change your mind afterwards”

προβουλεύεσθαι κρεῖσσον πρὸ τῶν πράξεων ἢ μετανοεῖν.

Fr. 66

“Trust those who are right not everyone. One is stupid, the other is the mark of the wise”

μὴ πᾶσιν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς δοκίμοισι πιστεύειν· τὸ μὲν γὰρ εὔηθες, τὸ δὲ σωφρονέοντος.

 

Fr. 67

“One of esteem and one without it do not only act for different reasons but they desire for different reasons too.”

δόκιμος ἀνὴρ καὶ ἀδόκιμος οὐκ ἐξ ὧν πράσσει μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐξ ὧν βούλεται.

Fr. 68

“Truth and goodness are the same for all people. But pleasure varies from one to another.”

ἀνθρώποις πᾶσι τωὐτὸν ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἀληθές· ἡδὺ δὲ ἄλλωι ἄλλο.

Fr. 69

“It is the mark of a child not an adult to desire without measure.”

παιδός, οὐκ ἀνδρὸς τὸ ἀμέτρως ἐπιθυμεῖν.

Fr. 70

“Untimely pleasures give birth to displeasing things.”

ἡδοναὶ ἄκαιροι τίκτουσιν ἀηδίας.

Image result for ancient greek democritus

Fragmentary Friday: Cicero Tricked Us All!

Fragments of Cicero’s Letters to Brutus  in Quintilian (Taken from LCL 462)

Or. Inst. 3.8.41

“Cicero might be able to absolve me when he writes to Brutus with the suggestion of many things which could be used to advise Caesar:

“Would I be a good man, if I counseled him? Not at all—for an advisor’s goal should be to be useful to the person he advises. But the advice should also be right–Who denies it? But there is not always room for what is right when giving advice”

Poterat me liberare Cicero, qui ita scribit ad Brutum praepositis plurimis quae honeste suaderi Caesari possint: simne bonus vir, si haec suadeam? minime; suasoris enim finis est utilitas eius cui quisque suadet. at recta sunt. Quis negat? sed non est semper rectis in suadendo locus

8.3.6

“Cicero correctly puts it in these very words in some letter to Brutus: “For I do not think that eloquence which does not provoke wonder is eloquence at all”

Recteque Cicero his ipsis ad Brutum verbis quadam in epistula scribit: nam eloquentiam quae admirationem non habet nullam iudico

 

8.6.20

“When Cicero was writing to Brutus he said this much about himself: “I have tricked the people and seem to be an orator!”

Cicero ad Brutum populo, inquit, imposuimus et oratores visi sumus, cum de se tantum loqueretur

Image result for medieval manuscript epistles cicero

Burney 157  f. 121v (British Library)

“I Defecated Because of Fear”

I was just recently thinking of our ongoing skatokhasm and the sheer variety of excremental words in ancient Greek. I happened to look up my favorite Greek word from graduate school and stumbled upon what must be the most charming entry in the Suda.

Suda, Epsilon 92 [referring to Aristophanes, Frogs 479]

“I shat myself”: I defecated because of some fear. I pooped. Aristophanes says this in the Frogs. He is calling the god to help.”

᾿Εγκέχοδα: ἀπεπάτησα διὰ φόβον τινά, ἔχεσον. ᾿Αριστοφάνης Βατράχοις. κάλει θεὸν εἰς βοήθειαν.

Principal parts: χέζω, χεσοῦμαι, ἔχεσα, κέχοδα, κέχεσμαι….

Strattis, fr. 1.3

“If he will not have the leisure to shit,
Nor to visit a profligate man’s home, nor if he meets
Anyone, to talk to them at all…”

Εἰ μηδὲ χέσαι γ’ αὐτῷ σχολὴ γενήσεται,
μηδ’ εἰς ἀσωτεῖον τραπέσθαι, μηδ’ ἐάν
αὐτῷ ξυναντᾷ τις, λαλῆσαι μηδενί.

Image result for medieval manuscript defecation

Add_ms_49622_f061r_detail

Aristophanes, Clouds, 391

“When I shit, it’s like thunder: pa-pa-pa-papp-AKS!

χὤταν χέζω, κομιδῇ βροντᾷ “παπαπαππάξ,”

 

My kids like this song. Thanks to Aristophanes, I can now think of it diffrently

 

 

The Worst Things and the Best Speeches (Fragmentary Friday: Democritus Edition)

Fr. 38

“It is fine to hinder the one who commits injustice; if not, it is noble not to do wrong with him.”

καλὸν μὲν τὸν ἀδικέοντα κωλύειν· εἰ δὲ μή, μὴ ξυναδικέειν.

Fr. 39

“It is good either to be noble or to imitate it.”

ἀγαθὸν ἢ εἶναι χρεὼν ἢ μιμεῖσθαι

Fr. 40

“Human beings live in good fortune neither by body nor by money but by rectitude and great-intelligence.”

οὔτε σώμασιν οὔτε χρήμασιν εὐδαιμονοῦσιν ἄνθρωποι, ἀλλ’ ὀρθοσύνηι καὶ πολυφροσύνηι.

Fr. 41

“Restrain yourself from mistakes because of what is right not because of fear.”

μὴ διὰ φόβον, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸ δέον ἀπέχεσθαι ἁμαρτημάτων

 

Fr. 43

“A change of mind is a saving grace among shameful deeds.”

μεταμέλεια ἐπ’ αἰσχροῖσιν ἔργμασι βίου σωτηρίη.

Fr. 44

“It is right to be a speaker of truth not of many words.”

ἀληθόμυθον χρὴ εἶναι, οὐ πολύλογον

Fr. 45

“The one who does wrong is more evil than the one who is wronged.”

ὁ ἀδικῶν τοῦ ἀδικουμένου κακοδαιμονέστερος.

Fr. 48

“The good person makes no reckoning of rebuking fools.”

μωμεομένων φλαύρων ὁ ἀγαθὸς οὐ ποιεῖται λόγον

Fr. 49

“It is hard to be ruled by the worse person.”

χαλεπὸν ἄρχεσθαι ὑπὸ χερείονος

Fr. 50

“The one completely bested by money could never be just.”

ὁ χρημάτων παντελῶς ἥσσων οὐκ ἄν ποτε εἴη δίκαιος.

Fr. 51

“An argument inclined toward persuasion is often stronger than gold.”

ἰσχυρότερος ἐς πειθὼ λόγος πολλαχῆι γίνεται χρυσοῦ

 

Fr. 53

“Many live according to reason even if they have not learned it.”

πολλοὶ λόγον μὴ μαθόντες ζῶσι κατὰ λόγον.

Fr. 54

“Many who do the worst things prepare the best speeches.”

πολλοὶ δρῶντες τὰ αἴσχιστα λόγους ἀρίστους ἀσκέουσιν

 

Related image

1477 Italian fresco, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.

Fragmentary Friday: Excessive Speech of the Soul

 

The following might be from Accius (lines 46-63: from Varro De Lingua Latina 6.60). Additional lines are added LCL’s Remains of Old Latin. I have posted some of this before). The speaker is allegedly Aeneas.

“Who is it who calls out my name?
People say that Tantalus was born from Jove
And Pelops came from Tantalus, and then from Pelops
Atreus was born, the next father of our family.

….now the Atreid kings are devising their homeward turn.

But if you don’t shut up, Menelaos, you’ll die by this right hand.
And in this way while it has control of its counsel
Argos will remove you from power.
O ancient parent of our family, Argive prize.

….He accomplished the greatest deed, when he completed
The utmost act against the Danaans in retreat,
He regained the battle with his own hand
In his madness.

An arrogant conquerer
Was incapable of enduring his own conquest
Because of the pain of the shame.

I see, I am seeing you. Live while you can, Ulysses.
Grasp this final ray of light with your eyes

Is this one here Telamon, whose glory just now
Rose to the sky, whom everyone was watching,
Towards whose face the Greeks turned their own?

….His spirit has crashed with their fortunes.
Poeas raised ancient hands to the sky.

…Friend, what forces you to gaze upon
The unmoving waters of wide Avernus?

Because of his crimes and the unruliness
And excessive speech of his soul…
Touching but the barest top of the water with his chin, but tortured by thirst.
…chariots suspended over waves.”

Quis enim est qui meum nomen nuncupat?
Iove propagatus est ut perhibent Tantalus,
Ex Tantalo ortus Pelops, ex Pelope autem satus
Atreus, qui nostrum porro propagat genus.

. . . Iam domutionem reges Atridae parant.
Quod nisi quieris, Menelae, hac dextra occides.
Proin demet abs te regimen Argos dum est
potestas consili.

O parens antiqua nostrae gentis, Argivum decus,
. . . Facinus fecit maximum, cum Danais
inclinantibus
summam perfecit rem, manu sua restituit proelium
insaniens.

Victor insolens
ignominiae se dolore victum non potuit pati.

Video, video te. Vive, Ulixes, dum licet;
oculis postremum lumen radiatum rape.

Hicine est Telamo ille, modo quem gloria ad
caelum extulit,
quem aspectabant, cuius ob os Grai ora obvertebant
sua? . . .

. . . Simul animus cum re concidit.
Tetulit seniles Poeas ad caelum manus.
. . . Quaenam te adigunt hospes
stagna capacis visere Averni?

ob scelera animique inpotentiam et
superbiloquentiam.
mento summam aquam attigens, enectus siti.
. . . per undas currus suspensos.

Image result for Ancient Roman Aeneas

Fools and Dances of Nebulous Names

Accius, Principles for Playwrights

From Nonius
“Perperos: uneducated, fools, basic, uncultured, liars. In his pragmatics, Accius uses perperos to describe common people. That same poet writes:
Poets are often abused because of this rather than their own mistake:
Your mind’s extreme gullibility or its sheer simplicity.”

‘Perperos,’ indoctos, stultos, rudis, insulsos, mendaces. Accius Pragmaticis—describere in theatro perperos popularis.
Idem eodem—
et eo plectuntur poetae quam suo vitio saepius
ductabilitate animi nimia vestra aut perperitudine.

From Gellius

“The Sicinnium was once a type of ancient dance. The poet Lucius Accius once used this term in his Principles and says that they were called “satyr-shakers of nebulous name”. I think he uses the word “nebulous because it was uncertain why anyone said “sicinnium”.

Gellius, XX, 3: ‘Sicinnium’ . . . genus veteris saltationis fuit. Posuit hoc verbum L. Accius poeta in Pragmaticis appellarique ait—
sicinnistas nebuloso nomine;
credo propterea nebuloso quod sicinnium cur diceretur obscurum esset.

Related image

Roman Bacchanal Dance

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