Bad Signs, Worse Decisions

Plutarch, Moralia 168f-169a

“Superstitions make many moderate sufferings deadly. That ancient Midas, as it seems, was so disturbed and troubled by some dreams that he became upset enough to kill himself by drinking the blood of a bull. And the king of the Messenian, Aristodêmos, in that war against the Spartans, when the dogs were howling like wolves, the grass began to grow up over his ancestral hearth and some of the seers were frightened by the signs, was completely disheartened and extinguished all hopes when he took his own life.

It might have been best for Nikias the general of the Athenians to free himself of his superstition following Midas and Aristodêmos. Since he was afraid of the shadow of a moon in eclipse, rather than to sit there while he was walled in by the enemy only to get captured by them with forty thousand men who were slaughtered or taken alive and then die in infamy.”

Πολλὰ τῶν μετρίων κακῶν ὀλέθρια ποιοῦσιν αἱ δεισιδαιμονίαι. Μίδας ὁ παλαιός, ὡς ἔοικεν, ἔκ τινων ἐνυπνίων ἀθυμῶν καὶ ταραττόμενος οὕτω κακῶς ἔσχε τὴν ψυχήν, ὥσθ᾿ ἑκουσίως ἀποθανεῖν αἷμα ταύρου πιών. ὁ δὲ τῶν Μεσσηνίων βασιλεὺς Ἀριστόδημος ἐν τῷ πρὸς Λακεδαιμονίους  πολέμῳ, κυνῶν λύκοις ὠρυομένων ὅμοια καὶ περὶ τὴν ἑστίαν αὐτοῦ τὴν πατρῴαν ἀγρώστεως ἀναβλαστανούσης καὶ τῶν μάντεων τὰ σημεῖα φοβουμένων, ἐξαθυμήσας καὶ κατασβεσθεὶς ταῖς ἐλπίσιν αὐτὸς ἑαυτὸν ἀπέσφαξεν. ἦν δ᾿ ἴσως καὶ Νικίᾳ τῷ Ἀθηναίων στρατηγῷ κράτιστον οὕτως ἀπαλλαγῆναι τῆς δεισιδαιμονίας ὡς Μίδας ἢ Ἀριστόδημος ἢ φοβηθέντι τὴν σκιὰν ἐκλιπούσης τῆς σελήνης καθῆσθαι περιτειχιζόμενον ὑπὸ τῶν πολεμίων, εἶθ᾿ ὁμοῦ τέτταρσι μυριάσιν ἀνθρώπων φονευθέντων τε καὶ ζώντων ἁλόντων ὑποχείριον γενέσθαι καὶ δυσκλεῶς ἀποθανεῖν.

File:Nicias, p 105 (World's Famous Orations Vol 1).jpg
Nicias

Sharing the Struggle For Freedom

Thucydides 6.56

“When Harmodios defeated his lawsuit, as he intended, [Hipparkhos] insulted him. After they invited his sister to come out to carry a basket in a certain procession, they rejected her, claiming they had not invited her at all because she was not good enough. Even as Harmodios took this badly, Aristogeitôn was a great deal angrier. Then all of the arrangements were made for the deed with those who were sympathetic to them but they were waiting for the great Panathenaia festival, because on that day there would be no suspicion at all if the citizens who were going to be part of the procession would be armed.

They had to begin the act, but the others were supposed to take care of the bodyguard immediately. The conspirators were few for safety’s sake, since they hoped that  even those who did not know beforehand would be willing to share the struggle for their own freedom necessarily if they had arms in their hands and saw so few acting boldly.”

LVI. Τὸν δ᾿ οὖν Ἁρμόδιον ἀπαρνηθέντα τὴν πείρασιν, ὥσπερ διενοεῖτο, προυπηλάκισεν· ἀδελφὴν γὰρ αὐτοῦ κόρην ἐπαγγείλαντες ἥκειν κανοῦν οἴσουσαν ἐν πομπῇ τινι, ἀπήλασαν λέγοντες οὐδὲ ἐπαγγεῖλαι τὴν ἀρχὴν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἀξίαν εἶναι. χαλεπῶς δὲ ἐνεγκόντος τοῦ Ἁρμοδίου πολλῷ δὴ μᾶλλον δι᾿ ἐκεῖνον καὶ ὁ Ἀριστογείτων παρωξύνετο. καὶ αὐτοῖς τὰ μὲν ἄλλα πρὸς τοὺς ξυνεπιθησομένους τῷ ἔργῳ ἐπέπρακτο, περιέμενον δὲ Παναθήναια τὰ μεγάλα, ἐν ᾗ μόνον ἡμέρᾳ οὐχ ὕποπτον ἐγίγνετο ἐν ὅπλοις τῶν πολιτῶν τοὺς τὴν πομπὴν πέμψοντας ἁθρόους γενέσθαι· καὶ ἔδει ἄρξαι μὲν αὐτούς, ξυνεπαμύνειν δὲ εὐθὺς τὰ πρὸς τοὺς δορυφόρους ἐκείνους. ἦσαν δὲ οὐ πολλοὶ οἱ ξυνομωμοκότες ἀσφαλείας ἕνεκα· ἤλπιζον γὰρ καὶ τοὺς μὴ προειδότας, εἰ καὶ ὁποσοιοῦν τολμήσειαν, ἐκ τοῦ παραχρῆμα, ἔχοντάς γε ὅπλα, ἐθελήσειν σφᾶς αὐτοὺς ξυνελευθεροῦν.

Plato, Hipparchus 229b

“But his death is said to have occurred by the more polished people not in the way most believe, because his sister was not allowed to be a basket-bearer in the procession. That’s pretty simplistic. Instead, they say Harmodius was Aristogeitôn’s brother and had been educated by him. For this reason, Aristogeitôn also took pride in educating people and considered Hipparkhos his rival. At the same time, it seems, Harmodios was in love with one of the fine and well-born young men of the day. People use his name but I don’t remember it. This young man was enamored with both Harmodios and Aristogeitôn for a while because they were wise. But when he started hanging out with Hipparkhos, he despised them and they were so pissed off by this slight that they killed Hipparkhos.”

λέγεται δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν χαριεστέρων ἀνθρώπων καὶ ὁ θάνατος αὐτοῦ γενέσθαι οὐ δι᾿ ἃ οἱ πολλοὶ ᾠήθησαν, διὰ τὴν τῆς ἀδελφῆς ἀτιμίαν τῆς κανηφορίας, ἐπεὶ τοῦτό γε εὔηθες, ἀλλὰ τὸν μὲν Ἁρμόδιον γεγονέναι παιδικὰ τοῦ Ἀριστογείτονος καὶ πεπαιδεῦσθαι ὑπ᾿ ἐκείνου. μέγα δ᾿ ἐφρόνει ἄρα καὶ ὁ Ἀριστογείτων ἐπὶ τῷ παιδεῦσαι ἄνθρωπον, καὶ ἀνταγωνιστὴν ἡγεῖτο εἶναι τὸν Ἵππαρχον. ἐν ἐκείνῳ δὲ τῷ χρόνῳ αὐτὸν τὸν Ἁρμόδιον τυγχάνειν ἐρῶντά τινος τῶν νέων τε καὶ καλῶν καὶ γενναίων τῶν τότε· καὶ λέγουσι τοὔνομα αὐτοῦ, ἐγὼ δὲ οὐ μέμνημαι· τὸν οὖν νεανίσκον τοῦτον τέως μὲν θαυμάζειν τόν τε Ἁρμόδιον καὶ τὸν Ἀριστογείτονα ὡς σοφούς, ἔπειτα συγγενόμενον τῷ Ἱππάρχῳ καταφρονῆσαι ἐκείνων, καὶ τοὺς περιαλγήσαντας ταύτῃ τῇ ἀτιμίᾳ οὕτως ἀποκτεῖναι τὸν Ἵππαρχον.

 

Drinking Songs for Harmodios and Aristogeton

PMG 893-897

“I will wrap my sword in a crown of myrtle
As Harmodius and Aristogeiton did
When they killed the tyrant
And made the Athenians equal under the law.”

ἐν μύρτου κλαδὶ τὸ ξίφος φορήσω
ὥσπερ ῾Αρμόδιος καὶ ᾿Αριστογείτων
ὅτε τὸν τύραννον κτανέτην
ἰσονόμους τ’ ᾿Αθήνας ἐποιησάτην.

“Dearest Harmodius, you have never died,
But they say you live in the isles of the blest
Where swift-footed Achilles
And Tydeus’ fine son Diomedes are”

φίλταθ’ ῾Αρμόδι’, οὔ τί πω τέθνηκας,
νήσοις δ’ ἐν μακάρων σέ φασιν εἶναι,
ἵνα περ ποδώκης ᾿Αχιλεὺς
Τυδεΐδην τέ †φασι τὸν ἐσθλὸν† Διομήδεα.

“I will wrap my sword with a branch of myrtle,
Just as Harmodius and Aristogeiton did
When at the Athenian sacrifices
They killed the tyrant, a man named Hipparchus”

ἐν μύρτου κλαδὶ τὸ ξίφος φορήσω
ὥσπερ ῾Αρμόδιος καὶ ᾿Αριστογείτων
ὅτ’ ᾿Αθηναίης ἐν θυσίαις
ἄνδρα τύραννον ῞Ιππαρχον ἐκαινέτην.

“Fame will always be yours in this land,
Dearest Harmodios and Aristogeiton,
Because you killed the tyrant
And made the Athenians equal under the law.”

αἰεὶ σφῶιν κλέος ἔσσεται κατ’ αἶαν,
φίλταθ’ ῾Αρμόδιε καὶ ᾿Αριστόγειτον,
ὅτι τὸν τύραννον κτανέτην
ἰσονόμους τ’ ᾿Αθήνας ἐποιησάτην.

An Epigram

Hephaestion, Handbook on Meter

 “Every line of verse ends with a complete word. For this reason, lines like Simonides’ Epigram should be criticized:

“A great light arose for the Athenians when Aristo-
geitôn and Harmodios killed Hipparkhos

[…]

They restored equality to their land.”

πᾶν μέτρον εἰς τελείαν περατοῦται λέξιν· ὅθεν ἐπίληπτά ἐστι τὰ τοιαῦτα Σιμωνίδου ἐκ τῶν ἐπιγραμμάτων·

ἦ μέγ᾿ Ἀθηναίοισι φόως γένεθ᾿, ἡνίκ᾿ Ἀριστο-
γείτων Ἵππαρχον κτεῖνε καὶ Ἁρμόδιος·
[ ]
[ ἰσόνομον πα]τρίδα γῆν ἐθέτην.

Naples National Archaeological Museum

Tyrants in the Stacks: Pisistratus, the First Librarian?

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 7.17

17: Who was the first of all to provide books for the public to read; and what quantity of books were in Athenian public libraries before the Persian invasions?

Pisistratus the tyrant is said to have been the first to make books of liberal disciplines available to be read publicly in Athens. Afterwards, the Athenians themselves increased the collection eagerly and carefully. But later when Xerxes became master of Athens and the city was burned except for the citadel, he stole the entire collection and took it to Persia. Many years later, King Seleucus, who was nicknamed Nicanor, made sure that all of these books were returned to Athens.

At a later date, a great number of books—nearly seven hundred thousand volumes, were either collected or published in Egypt under the Ptolemaic kings; but these books were all burned in our first Alexandrian War during the sack of the city—this wasn’t done on purpose or by any orders, but accidentally by the auxiliary regiment.”

 XVII. Quis omnium primus libros publice praebuerit legendos; quantusque numerus fuerit Athenis ante clades Persicas librorum in bibliothecis publicorum.

1 Libros Athenis disciplinarum liberalium publice ad legendum praebendos primus posuisse dicitur Pisistratus tyrannus. Deinceps studiosius accuratiusque ipsi Athenienses auxerunt; sed omnem illam postea librorum copiam Xerxes Athenarum potitus urbe ipsa praeter arcem incensa abstulit asportavitque in Persas. 2 Eos porro libros universos multis post tempestatibus Seleucus rex, qui Nicanor appellatus est, referendos Athenas curavit. 3 Ingens postea numerus librorum in Aegypto ab Ptolemaeis regibus vel conquisitus vel confectus est ad milia ferme voluminum septingenta; sed ea omnia bello priore Alexandrino, dum diripitur ea civitas, non sponte neque opera consulta, sed a militibus forte auxiliaris incensa sunt.

 

[The War mentioned here is likely 48 CBE; the Library at Alexandria was rebuilt by 41 BCE. It was burned again in 272 CE and abandoned by the end of the 4th century CE]

Ingres - Pisistratus head and left hand of Alcibiades, 1824-1834.jpg
From here

On Revolution and Forgetting

Thucydides, 4.74

“Later, when the allies were released to their cities [Brasidas] also returned and went to Corinth where he was preparing an attack on Thrace, the very place where he was heading first. After the Athenians returned home, those in the city from Megara–however many were especially involved with matters pertaining to the Athenians–departed immediately because they knew they had been discovered. The rest conversed with the friends of exiles and returned those from Pegae after they made them swear with great oaths that they would take no action on previous actions [mnêsikakêsein] but would instead consider what was best for the city.

But, when they took up positions in office and made a review of the hoplites, once they separated the units and chose out around one hundred of their enemies and those who seemed to be most implicated in overtures to the Athenians and they forced the people to vote openly about them, they killed them and established an oligarchy in the city. This change, even though it was achieved by the smallest number during the civil strife, lasted the longest amount of time.”

καὶ ὕστερον ὁ μὲν διαλυθέντων τῶν ξυμμάχων κατὰ πόλεις ἐπανελθὼν καὶ αὐτὸς ἐς τὴν Κόρινθοντὴν ἐπὶ Θρᾴκης στρατείαν παρεσκεύαζεν, ἵνα περ καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ὥρμητο: [2] οἱ δὲ ἐν τῇ πόλει Μεγαρῆς, ἀποχωρησάντων καὶ τῶν Ἀθηναίων ἐπ᾽ οἴκου, ὅσοι μὲν τῶν πραγμάτων πρὸς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους μάλιστα μετέσχον, εἰδότες ὅτι ὤφθησαν εὐθὺς ὑπεξῆλθον, οἱ δὲ ἄλλοι κοινολογησάμενοι τοῖς τῶν φευγόντων φίλοις κατάγουσι τοὺς ἐκ Πηγῶν, ὁρκώσαντες πίστεσι μεγάλαις μηδὲν μνησικακήσειν, βουλεύσειν δὲ τῇ πόλει τὰ ἄριστα. [3] οἱ δὲ ἐπειδὴ ἐν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς ἐγένοντο καὶ ἐξέτασιν ὅπλων ἐποιήσαντο, διαστήσαντες τοὺς λόχους ἐξελέξαντο τῶν τε ἐχθρῶν καὶ οἳ ἐδόκουν μάλιστα ξυμπρᾶξαι τὰ πρὸς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἄνδρας ὡς ἑκατόν, καὶ τούτων πέρι ἀναγκάσαντες τὸν δῆμον ψῆφον φανερὰν διενεγκεῖν, ὡς κατεγνώσθησαν, ἔκτειναν, καὶ ἐς ὀλιγαρχίαν τὰ μάλιστα κατέστησαν τὴν πόλιν. [4] καὶ πλεῖστον δὴ χρόνον αὕτη ὑπ᾽ ἐλαχίστων γενομένη ἐκ στάσεως μετάστασις ξυνέμεινεν.

Thucydides, 8.73.5

“Some listened to the soldiers individually and appealed for them not to intervene, not the least the Paralii, all Athenians and free men who were sailing in their ship and always prepared to set upon the Oligarchy, even if it did not exist. Both Leôn and Diomedôn left some ships as guards for them whenever they were sailing elsewhere. Thus, when the three hundred were ready to attack, all of these went to help, but especially the Parali, and the majority Samian party prevailed. They killed thirty of the three hundred and then punished the three most responsible with exile. Because they would not hold a grudge [mnêsikakountes] against the rest, they lived together as a democracy for the remaining time.”

 οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες τῶν τε στρατιωτῶν ἕνα ἕκαστον μετῇσαν μὴ ἐπιτρέπειν, καὶ οὐχ ἥκιστα τοὺς Παράλους, ἄνδρας Ἀθηναίους τε καὶ ἐλευθέρους πάντας ἐν τῇ νηὶ πλέοντας καὶ αἰεὶ δήποτε ὀλιγαρχίᾳ καὶ μὴ παρούσῃ ἐπικειμένους: ὅ τε Λέων καὶ ὁ Διομέδων αὐτοῖς ναῦς τινάς, ὁπότε ποι πλέοιεν, κατέλειπον φύλακας.[6] ὥστε ἐπειδὴ αὐτοῖς ἐπετίθεντο οἱ τριακόσιοι, βοηθησάντων πάντων τούτων, μάλιστα δὲ τῶν Παράλων, περιεγένοντο οἱ τῶν Σαμίων πλέονες, καὶ τριάκοντα μέν τινας ἀπέκτειναν τῶν τριακοσίων, τρεῖς δὲ τοὺς αἰτιωτάτους φυγῇ ἐζημίωσαν: τοῖς δ᾽ ἄλλοις οὐ μνησικακοῦντες δημοκρατούμενοι τὸ λοιπὸν ξυνεπολίτευον.

Compare to Thucydides, 3.82.7-8:

“To exact vengeance from someone was thought to be more important than not suffering at all.  If oaths were ever taken in turn, they were strong because each person was at a loss and had no power at all. But as soon as one of them had the advantage, he attacked if he saw anyone unguarded: it was sweeter to take vengeance despite a pledge than to do so openly. It was thought generally to be safe and to have won a prize for intelligence, prevailing by deceit. Many [more] wicked people become famous for being clever than good people do for being ingenuous. We are ashamed by the latter but delight in the former.

To blame for all of these things is the love of power and a love of honor. From both, they fell into a voluntary love of conflict. For those who were in charge of the state each claimed identities for themselves, some the equal rights of the masses, the others the wisdom of the aristocrats; while guarding the common goods in word, they were making them the contest’s prize, competing with one another to be pre-eminent, they dared the most terrible things—and they surpassed them with greater acts of vengeance too. They did not regard either justice or advantage for the city…”

ἀντιτιμωρήσασθαί τέ τινα περὶ πλείονος ἦν ἢ αὐτὸν μὴ προπαθεῖν. καὶ ὅρκοι εἴ που  ἄρα γένοιντο ξυναλλαγῆς, ἐν τῷ αὐτίκα πρὸς τὸ ἄπορον ἑκατέρῳ διδόμενοι ἴσχυον οὐκ ἐχόντων ἄλλοθεν δύναμιν· ἐν δὲ τῷ παρατυχόντι ὁ φθάσας θαρσῆσαι, εἰ ἴδοι ἄφαρκτον, ἥδιον διὰ τὴν πίστιν ἐτιμωρεῖτο ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ προφανοῦς, καὶ τό τε ἀσφαλὲς ἐλογίζετο καὶ ὅτι ἀπάτῃ περιγενόμενος ξυνέσεως ἀγώνισμα προσελάμβανεν. ῥᾷον δ’ οἱ πολλοὶ κακοῦργοι ὄντες δεξιοὶ κέκληνται ἢ ἀμαθεῖς ἀγαθοί, καὶ τῷ μὲν αἰσχύνονται, ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ ἀγάλλονται. πάντων δ’ αὐτῶν αἴτιον ἀρχὴ ἡ διὰ πλεονεξίαν καὶ φιλοτιμίαν· ἐκ δ’ αὐτῶν καὶ ἐς τὸ φιλονικεῖν καθισταμένων τὸ πρόθυμον. οἱ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι προστάντες μετὰ ὀνόματος ἑκάτεροι εὐπρεποῦς, πλήθους τε ἰσονομίας πολιτικῆς καὶ ἀριστοκρατίας σώφρονος προτιμήσει, τὰ μὲν κοινὰ λόγῳ θεραπεύοντες ἆθλα ἐποιοῦντο, παντὶ δὲ τρόπῳ ἀγωνιζόμενοι ἀλλήλων περιγίγνεσθαι ἐτόλμησάν τε τὰ δεινότατα ἐπεξῇσάν τε τὰς τιμωρίας ἔτι μείζους…

Photius

Mnêsikakein: “to make a reminder of evil deeds”

Μνησικακεῖν: τὸ ὑπομιμνήσκεσθαι τῶν κακῶν.

Aeschines 2.176

“Even though we had it going so well, we waged war against the Spartans again because we were persuaded by the Argives. Eventually, thanks to the war-lust of our politicians, we lost and ended up with a garrison in the city along with the four-hundred and the unholy thirty. We did not make peace, but we were forced by commands. But when we were governed sensibly again and the democracy returned from Phyle—and Arkhinos and Thrasuboulos were leading—they established for us the oath of not holding grudges [to mê mnêsikakein], a thing for which all people judged our city most wise.

From this, the democracy was revived and strong from its foundation. But now people who have been enrolled as citizens against the law and are always attracted to any sickness of the city are pursuing war after war as a political platform. Yet, while they see terrible things in peace and incite our covetous and excessively violent minds, nevertheless they never touch weapons during times of war. No, once they become secretaries and cabinet members—these children of prostitutes, rightfully stripped of their rights for their slander—these men pilot the state into the most extreme dangers. They minister to the name of democracy not with their behavior but with their flattery even as they annihilate peace. Democracy is preserved by peace; they struggle to find wars which bring about democracy’s end.”

καὶ τοσαῦτ᾽ ἔχοντες τἀγαθά, πάλιν πόλεμον πρὸς Λακεδαιμονίους ἐξηνέγκαμεν πεισθέντες ὑπ᾽ Ἀργείων, καὶ τελευτῶντες ἐκ τῆς τῶν ῥητόρων ἁψιμαχίας εἰς φρουρὰν τῆς πόλεως καὶ τοὺς τετρακοσίους καὶ τοὺς ἀσεβεῖς τριάκοντα ἐνεπέσομεν, οὐκ εἰρήνην ποιησάμενοι, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ προσταγμάτων ἠναγκασμένοι. πάλιν δὲ σωφρόνως πολιτευθέντες, καὶ τοῦ δήμου κατελθόντος ἀπὸ Φυλῆς, Ἀρχίνου καὶ Θρασυβούλου προστάντων τοῦ δήμου, καὶ τὸ μὴ μνησικακεῖν πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἔνορκον ἡμῖν καταστησάντων, ὅθεν σοφωτάτην ἅπαντες τὴν πόλιν ἡγήσαντο εἶναι, κἀνταῦθα ἀναφύντος τοῦ δήμου καὶ πάλιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἰσχύσαντος, ἄνθρωποι παρέγγραπτοι γεγενημένοι πολῖται, καὶ τὸ νοσοῦν τῆς πόλεως ἀεὶ προσαγόμενοι, καὶ πόλεμον ἐκ πολέμου πολιτευόμενοι, ἐν μὲν εἰρήνῃ τὰ δεινὰ τῷ λόγῳ προορώμενοι, καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς τὰς φιλοτίμους καὶ λίαν ὀξείας ἐρεθίζοντες, ἐν δὲ τοῖς πολέμοις ὅπλων οὐχ ἁπτόμενοι, ἐξετασταὶ δὲ καὶ ἀποστολεῖς γιγνόμενοι, παιδοποιούμενοι δὲ ἐξ ἑταιρῶν, ἄτιμοι δ᾽ ἐκ συκοφαντίας, εἰς τοὺς ἐσχάτους κινδύνους τὴν πόλιν καθιστᾶσι, τὸ μὲν τῆς δημοκρατίας ὄνομα οὐ τοῖς ἤθεσιν, ἀλλὰ τῇ κολακείᾳ θεραπεύοντες, καταλύοντες δὲ τὴν εἰρήνην, ἐξ ἧς ἡ δημοκρατία σῴζεται, συναγωνιζόμενοι δὲ τοῖς πολέμοις, ἐξ ὧν ὁ δῆμος καταλύεται.

Aeschines 3.208

“Indeed, whenever he says these sorts of things against arguments for specific factions, propose this in return: “Demosthenes, if the people who restored the democracy in exile from Phyle were similar to you, the democracy would never have been re-established. But now they saved the city from great calamities and uttered that finest speech of a cultured mind: “Don’t hold a grudge” [mnêsikakein]” But you rip open wounds: today’s speech matters more to you than the safety of the state.”

But when an oathbreaker takes flight in the faith you put in oaths, mention this to him, that when someone frequently breaks an oath but is always thinking it necessary to procure trust with oaths, one of two options remain to him. Either, he swears by new gods or he finds audiences that are different.”

ὅταν δὴ τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγῃ, πρὸς μὲν τοὺς στασιαστικοὺς λόγους ἐκεῖνο αὐτῷ ὑποβάλλετε: ‘ὦ Δημόσθενες, εἰ ὅμοιοι ἦσαν σοὶ οἱ ἀπὸ Φυλῆς φεύγοντα τὸν δῆμον καταγαγόντες, οὐκ ἄν ποθ᾽ ἡ δημοκρατία κατέστη. νῦν δὲ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μεγάλων κακῶν συμβάντων ἔσωσαν τὴν πόλιν τὸ κάλλιστον ἐκ παιδείας ῥῆμα φθεγξάμενοι, ‘μὴ μνησικακεῖν’: σὺ δὲ ἑλκοποιεῖς, καὶ μᾶλλόν σοι μέλει τῶν αὐθημερὸν λόγων, ἢ τῆς σωτηρίας τῆς πόλεως.’

ὅταν δ᾽ ἐπίορκος ὢν εἰς τὴν τῶν ὅρκων πίστιν καταφυγγάνῃ, ἐκεῖνο ἀπομνημονεύσατε αὐτῷ, ὅτι τῷ πολλάκις μὲν ἐπιορκοῦντι, ἀεὶ δὲ  μεθ᾽ ὅρκων ἀξιοῦντι πιστεύεσθαι, δυοῖν θάτερον ὑπάρξαι δεῖ,  ἢ τοὺς θεοὺς καινούς, ἢ τοὺς ἀκροατὰς μὴ τοὺς αὐτούς.

 

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It’s Ok: Tyrants Don’t Get Real Pleasure from Sex

Xenophon, Hiero 1.29-30

“In his sexual relationships with boyfriends, much more even  than those activities for having children, a tyrant falls short of happiness. Certainly, we all understand that sexual pleasures are much increased under the influence of desire. But desire is certainly least willing to arise in a tyrant.

For lust does not take pleasure in aiming for things ready at hand, but instead for those things that are only hoped for. For this reason, a man who knows nothing of thirst gets no pleasure from drinking; and the man untested by desire is inexperienced of the sweetest sexual delights”

Ἐν δὲ τοῖς παιδικοῖς ἀφροδισίοις ἔτι αὖ πολὺ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐν τοῖς τεκνοποιοῖς μειονεκτεῖ τῶν εὐφροσυνῶν ὁ τύραννος. ὅτι μὲν γὰρ τὰ μετ᾿ ἔρωτος ἀφροδίσια πολὺ διαφερόντως εὐφραίνει, πάντες δήπου ἐπιστάμεθα. ὁ δὲ ἔρως πολὺ αὖ ἐθέλει ἥκιστα τῷ τυράννῳ ἐγγίγνεσθαι. οὐ γὰρ τῶν ἑτοίμων ἥδεται ὁ ἔρως ἐφιέμενος, ἀλλὰ τῶν ἐλπιζομένων. ὥσπερ οὖν οὐκ ἄν τις ἄπειρος ὢν δίψους τοῦ πιεῖν ἀπολαύοι, οὕτω καὶ ὁ ἄπειρος ὢν ἔρωτος ἄπειρός ἐστι τῶν ἡδίστων ἀφροδισίων.

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On Revolution and Forgetting

These passages are read well together with Aeschines’ comments on amnesties.

Thucydides, 4.74

“Later, when the allies were released to their cities [Brasidas] also returned and went to Corinth where he was preparing an attack on Thrace, the very place where he was heading first. After the Athenians returned home, those in the city from Megara–however many were especially involved with matters pertaining to the Athenians–departed immediately because they knew they had been discovered. The rest conversed with the friends of exiles and returned those from Pegae after they made them swear with great oaths that they would take no action on previous actions [mnêsikakêsein] but would instead consider what was best for the city.

But, when they took up positions in office and made a review of the hoplites, once they separated the units and chose out around one hundred of their enemies and those who seemed to be most implicated in overtures to the Athenians and they forced the people to vote openly about them, they killed them and established an oligarchy in the city. This change, even though it was achieved by the smallest number during the civil strife, lasted the longest amount of time.”

καὶ ὕστερον ὁ μὲν διαλυθέντων τῶν ξυμμάχων κατὰ πόλεις ἐπανελθὼν καὶ αὐτὸς ἐς τὴν Κόρινθοντὴν ἐπὶ Θρᾴκης στρατείαν παρεσκεύαζεν, ἵνα περ καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ὥρμητο: [2] οἱ δὲ ἐν τῇ πόλει Μεγαρῆς, ἀποχωρησάντων καὶ τῶν Ἀθηναίων ἐπ᾽ οἴκου, ὅσοι μὲν τῶν πραγμάτων πρὸς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους μάλιστα μετέσχον, εἰδότες ὅτι ὤφθησαν εὐθὺς ὑπεξῆλθον, οἱ δὲ ἄλλοι κοινολογησάμενοι τοῖς τῶν φευγόντων φίλοις κατάγουσι τοὺς ἐκ Πηγῶν, ὁρκώσαντες πίστεσι μεγάλαις μηδὲν μνησικακήσειν, βουλεύσειν δὲ τῇ πόλει τὰ ἄριστα. [3] οἱ δὲ ἐπειδὴ ἐν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς ἐγένοντο καὶ ἐξέτασιν ὅπλων ἐποιήσαντο, διαστήσαντες τοὺς λόχους ἐξελέξαντο τῶν τε ἐχθρῶν καὶ οἳ ἐδόκουν μάλιστα ξυμπρᾶξαι τὰ πρὸς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἄνδρας ὡς ἑκατόν, καὶ τούτων πέρι ἀναγκάσαντες τὸν δῆμον ψῆφον φανερὰν διενεγκεῖν, ὡς κατεγνώσθησαν, ἔκτειναν, καὶ ἐς ὀλιγαρχίαν τὰ μάλιστα κατέστησαν τὴν πόλιν. [4] καὶ πλεῖστον δὴ χρόνον αὕτη ὑπ᾽ ἐλαχίστων γενομένη ἐκ στάσεως μετάστασις ξυνέμεινεν.

Thucydides, 8.73.5

“Some listened to the soldiers individually and appealed for them not to intervene, not the least the Paralii, all Athenians and free men who were sailing in their ship and always prepared to set upon the Oligarchy, even if it did not exist. Both Leôn and Diomedôn left some ships as guards for them whenever they were sailing elsewhere. Thus, when the three hundred were ready to attack, all of these went to help, but especially the Parali, and the majority Samian party prevailed. They killed thirty of the three hundred and then punished the three most responsible with exile. Because they would not hold a grudge [mnêsikakountes] against the rest, they lived together as a democracy for the remaining time.”

 οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες τῶν τε στρατιωτῶν ἕνα ἕκαστον μετῇσαν μὴ ἐπιτρέπειν, καὶ οὐχ ἥκιστα τοὺς Παράλους, ἄνδρας Ἀθηναίους τε καὶ ἐλευθέρους πάντας ἐν τῇ νηὶ πλέοντας καὶ αἰεὶ δήποτε ὀλιγαρχίᾳ καὶ μὴ παρούσῃ ἐπικειμένους: ὅ τε Λέων καὶ ὁ Διομέδων αὐτοῖς ναῦς τινάς, ὁπότε ποι πλέοιεν, κατέλειπον φύλακας.[6] ὥστε ἐπειδὴ αὐτοῖς ἐπετίθεντο οἱ τριακόσιοι, βοηθησάντων πάντων τούτων, μάλιστα δὲ τῶν Παράλων, περιεγένοντο οἱ τῶν Σαμίων πλέονες, καὶ τριάκοντα μέν τινας ἀπέκτειναν τῶν τριακοσίων, τρεῖς δὲ τοὺς αἰτιωτάτους φυγῇ ἐζημίωσαν: τοῖς δ᾽ ἄλλοις οὐ μνησικακοῦντες δημοκρατούμενοι τὸ λοιπὸν ξυνεπολίτευον.

Compare to Thucydides, 3.82.7-8:

“To exact vengeance from someone was thought to be more important than not suffering at all.  If oaths were ever taken in turn, they were strong because each person was at a loss and had no power at all. But as soon as one of them had the advantage, he attacked if he saw anyone unguarded: it was sweeter to take vengeance despite a pledge than to do so openly. It was thought generally to be safe and to have won a prize for intelligence, prevailing by deceit. Many [more] wicked people become famous for being clever than good people do for being ingenuous. Men are ashamed by the latter but delight in the former.

To blame for all of these things is the love of power and a love of honor. From both, they fell into a voluntary love of conflict. For those who were in charge of the state each claimed identities for themselves, some the equal rights of the masses, the others the wisdom of the aristocrats; while guarding the common goods in word, they were making them the contest’s prize, competing with one another to be pre-eminent, they dared the most terrible things—and they surpassed them with greater acts of vengeance too. They did not regard either justice or advantage for the city…”

ἀντιτιμωρήσασθαί τέ τινα περὶ πλείονος ἦν ἢ αὐτὸν μὴ προπαθεῖν. καὶ ὅρκοι εἴ που  ἄρα γένοιντο ξυναλλαγῆς, ἐν τῷ αὐτίκα πρὸς τὸ ἄπορον ἑκατέρῳ διδόμενοι ἴσχυον οὐκ ἐχόντων ἄλλοθεν δύναμιν· ἐν δὲ τῷ παρατυχόντι ὁ φθάσας θαρσῆσαι, εἰ ἴδοι ἄφαρκτον, ἥδιον διὰ τὴν πίστιν ἐτιμωρεῖτο ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ προφανοῦς, καὶ τό τε ἀσφαλὲς ἐλογίζετο καὶ ὅτι ἀπάτῃ περιγενόμενος ξυνέσεως ἀγώνισμα προσελάμβανεν. ῥᾷον δ’ οἱ πολλοὶ κακοῦργοι ὄντες δεξιοὶ κέκληνται ἢ ἀμαθεῖς ἀγαθοί, καὶ τῷ μὲν αἰσχύνονται, ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ ἀγάλλονται. πάντων δ’ αὐτῶν αἴτιον ἀρχὴ ἡ διὰ πλεονεξίαν καὶ φιλοτιμίαν· ἐκ δ’ αὐτῶν καὶ ἐς τὸ φιλονικεῖν καθισταμένων τὸ πρόθυμον. οἱ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι προστάντες μετὰ ὀνόματος ἑκάτεροι εὐπρεποῦς, πλήθους τε ἰσονομίας πολιτικῆς καὶ ἀριστοκρατίας σώφρονος προτιμήσει, τὰ μὲν κοινὰ λόγῳ θεραπεύοντες ἆθλα ἐποιοῦντο, παντὶ δὲ τρόπῳ ἀγωνιζόμενοι ἀλλήλων περιγίγνεσθαι ἐτόλμησάν τε τὰ δεινότατα ἐπεξῇσάν τε τὰς τιμωρίας ἔτι μείζους…

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Herakles in India: Discovering and Hoarding Pearls

More on India from a Roman Greek:

Arrian, Historia Indica 8

“When Dionysus was leaving India because he had put everything in good order, he set up Spatembas as king of the land, one of his companions who was the most Bacchic. When he died, he left the kingdom to his son Bouduas—the first ruled the Indians for 52 years, the second for 20. His son Kraduas inherited the kingship. For the most part thereafter the rule passed from father to son. If a blood-heir was absent, the Indians selected kings according to who was best. Then Herakles—as the story goes he came to India and the Indians claim he was born from the earth. This Heracles is especially worshiped by the Sourasênians, an Indian people who have two great cities, Methora and Kleisobora. The passable river Iômanês flows through their land. Megasthenes claims that this Herakles wore a similar apparel to the Theban Herakles, as the Indian themselves claim. This Herakles had many male children born to him in India (for he took many wives, this Herakles) but he only had one daughter. This child’s name was Pandaia and the land in which she was born and over which Herakles gave her authority was named after her. From her father she received five hundred elephants, 4000 cavalry, and 132,000 infantrymen.

A rather select group of Indians tell this story about Herakles, that once he had crossed the whole earth and the sea destroying whatever was evil, he uncovered in the sea a new kind of female jewelry, the type which even today those merchants who come here buying and selling goods acquire eagerly, which Romans and Greeks who were very wealthy bought with even greater excitement, which they call the ocean pearl in the Indian tongue. Herakles, because he thought it was a great possession, gathered pearls from every sea and brought them to India to be jewelry for his own daughter.

Megasthenes also says that the mussel-shell is caught in nets, that they often find many shells together in the sea in the same place, just like bees. And that pearl-mussels have a king or queen just like bees. Whoever is lucky enough to catch the king, gathers together the rest of the swarm easily. If the king gets away, then it is not possible to catch the rest. Fishermen allow the flesh of the mussel to rot, but they use the shells for decoration. Among the Indians, the pearl is worth three times its weight in gold, which is also mined in India.”

Heracles Bahram
Bahram as Herakles, 2nd Century BCE, Iran

ἀπιόντα δὲ ἐκ τῆς ᾿Ινδῶν γῆς, ὥς οἱ ταῦτα κεκοσμέατο, καταστῆσαι βασιλέα τῆς χώρης Σπατέμβαν, τῶν ἑταίρων ἕνα τὸν βακχωδέστατον· τελευτήσαντος δὲ Σπατέμβα τὴν βασιληίην ἐκδέξασθαι Βουδύαν τὸν τούτου παῖδα. καὶ τὸν μὲν πεντήκοντα καὶ δύο ἔτεα βασιλεῦσαι ᾿Ινδῶν, τὸν πατέρα, τὸν δὲ παῖδα εἴκοσιν ἔτεα. καὶ τούτου παῖδα ἐκδέξασθαι τὴν βασιληίην Κραδεύαν, καὶ τὸ ἀπὸ τοῦδε τὸ πολὺ μὲν κατὰ γένος ἀμείβειν τὴν βασιληίην, παῖδα παρὰ πατρὸς ἐκδεχόμενον· εἰ δὲ ἐκλείποι τὸ γένος, οὕτω δὴ ἀριστίνδην καθίστασθαι ᾿Ινδοῖσι βασιλέας. ῾Ηρακλέα δέ, ὅντινα ἐς ᾿Ινδοὺς ἀφικέσθαι λόγος κατέχει, παρ’ αὐτοῖσιν ᾿Ινδοῖσι γηγενέα λέγεσθαι. τοῦτον τὸν ῾Ηρακλέα μάλιστα πρὸς Σουρασηνῶν γεραίρεσθαι, ᾿Ινδικοῦ ἔθνεος, ἵνα δύο πόληες μεγάλαι, Μέθορά τε καὶ Κλεισόβορα· καὶ ποταμὸς ᾿Ιωμάνης πλωτὸς διαρρεῖ τὴν  χώρην αὐτῶν· τὴν σκευὴν δὲ οὗτος ὁ ῾Ηρακλέης ἥντινα ἐφόρεε Μεγασθένης λέγει ὅτι ὁμοίην τῷ Θηβαίῳ ῾Ηρακλεῖ, ὡς αὐτοὶ ᾿Ινδοὶ ἀπηγέονται. καὶ τούτῳ ἄρσενας μὲν παῖδας πολλοὺς κάρτα γενέσθαι ἐν τῇ ᾿Ινδῶν γῇ—πολλῇσι γὰρ δὴ γυναιξὶν ἐς γάμον ἐλθεῖν καὶ τοῦτον τὸν ῾Ηρακλέα—, θυγατέρα δὲ μουνογενέην. οὔνομα δὲ εἶναι τῇ παιδὶ Πανδαίην, καὶ τὴν χώρην,ἵνα τε ἐγένετο καὶ ἧστινος ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτῇ ἄρχειν ῾Ηρακλέης, Πανδαίην <καλεῖσθαι> τῆς παιδὸς ἐπώνυμον. καὶ ταύτῃ ἐλέφαντας μὲν γενέσθαι ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐς πεντακοσίους, ἵππον δὲ ἐς τετρακισχιλίην, πεζῶν δὲ ἐς τὰς τρεῖς καὶ δέκα μυριάδας. καὶ τάδε μετεξέτεροι ᾿Ινδῶν περὶ ῾Ηρακλέους λέγουσιν, ἐπελθόντα αὐτὸν πᾶσαν γῆν καὶ θάλασσαν καὶ καθήραντα ὅ τι περ κακόν, καινὸν εἶδος ἐξευρεῖν ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ κόσμου γυναικηίου, ὅντινα καὶ εἰς τοῦτο ἔτι οἵ τε ἐξ ᾿Ινδῶν τῆς χώρης τὰ ἀγώγιμα παρ’ ἡμέας ἀγινέοντες σπουδῇ ὠνεόμενοι ἐκκομίζουσι, καὶ ῾Ελλήνων δὲ πάλαι καὶ ῾Ρωμαίων νῦν ὅσοι πολυκτέανοι καὶ εὐδαίμονες μέζονι ἔτι σπουδῆ ὠνέονται, τὸν μαργαρίτην δὴ τὸν θαλάσσιον οὕτω τῇ ᾿Ινδῶν γλώσσῃ καλεόμενον. τὸν γὰρ ῾Ηρακλέα, ὡς καλόν οἱ ἐφάνη τὸ φόρημα, ἐκ πάσης τῆς θαλάσσης ἐς τὴν ᾿Ινδῶν γῆν συναγινέειν τὸν μαργαρίτην δὴ τοῦτον, τῇ θυγατρὶ τῇ ἑωυτοῦ εἶναι κόσμον.

καὶ λέγει Μεγασθένης, θηρεύεσθαι τὴν κόγχην αὐτοῦ δικτύοισι, νέμεσθαι δ’ ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ κατὰ ταὐτὸ πολλὰς κόγχας, κατάπερ τὰς μελίσσας. καὶ εἶναι γὰρ καὶ τοῖσι μαργαρίτῃσι βασιλέα ἢ βασίλισσαν, ὡς τῇσι μελίσσῃσι. καὶ ὅστις μὲν ἐκεῖνον κατ’ ἐπιτυχίην συλλάβοι, τοῦτον δὲ εὐπετέως περιβάλλειν καὶ τὸ ἄλλο σμῆνος τῶν μαργαριτῶν· εἰ δὲ διαφύγοι σφᾶς ὁ βασιλεύς, τούτῳ δὲ οὐκέτι θηρατοὺς εἶναι τοὺς ἄλλους. τοὺς ἑλόντας δὲ περιορᾶν κατασαπῆναί σφισι τὴν σάρκα, τῷ δὲ ὀστέῳ ἐς κόσμον χρῆσθαι. καὶ εἶναι γὰρ καὶ παρ’ ᾿Ινδοῖσι τὸν μαργαρίτην τριστάσιον κατὰ τιμὴν πρὸς χρυσίον τὸ ἄπεφθον, καὶ τοῦτο ἐν τῇ ᾿Ινδῶν γῇ ὀρυσσόμενον.