Beware The Street-Corner Cynics!

Dio Chrysostom, Discourse 32: To the People of Alexandria

“There is a great mob of those people called Cynics in this city and like any other thing there’s a seasonal crop of them too—people who believe nothing illegitimate or ignoble but need to earn a living. But these Cynics hang around at street-corners and in alleys and in front of temples performing and deceiving young people and sailors and that kind of crowd, whipping up jokes and rambling stories and all that kind of street-talk.

This is way they don’t do any good at all, but actually accomplish the worst harm: they get foolish people used to mocking philosophers. If someone taught kids to disregard their teachers, it would be right to knock some sense into their audiences, but these people make the problem worse!”

τῶν δὲ Κυνικῶν λεγομένων ἔστι μὲν ἐν τῇ πόλει πλῆθος οὐκ ὀλίγον, καὶ καθάπερ ἄλλου τινὸς πράγματος καὶ τούτου φορὰ γέγονε, νόθον μέντοι γε καὶ ἀγεννὲς ἀνθρώπων οὐθέν, ὡς εἰπεῖν, ἐπισταμένων, ἀλλὰ χρείων τροφῆς· οὗτοι δὲ ἔν τε τριόδοις καὶ στενωποῖς καὶ πυλῶσιν ἱερῶν ἀγείρουσι καὶ ἀπατῶσι παιδάρια καὶ ναύτας καὶ τοιοῦτον ὄχλον, σκώμματα καὶ πολλὴν σπερμολογίαν συνείροντες καὶ τὰς ἀγοραίους ταύτας ἀποκρίσεις. τοιγαροῦν ἀγαθὸν μὲν οὐδὲν ἐργάζονται, κακὸν δ᾿ ὡς οἷόν τε τὸ μέγιστον, καταγελᾶν ἐθίζοντες τοὺς ἀνοήτους τῶν φιλοσόφων, ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ παῖδάς τις ἐθίζοι διδασκάλων καταφρονεῖν, καὶ δέον ἐκκόπτειν τὴν ἀγερωχίαν αὐτῶν οἱ δ᾿ ἔτι αὔξουσιν.

Dog Statues, Stockton High Street.

Book Learning and Philosophical Sub-disciplines

Julian, To the Cynic Heracleios, Oration 7 (215d-216b)

“I should now say a little bit about the divisions or tools of philosophy. For it is no big deal whether someone applies logic with practical or natural philosophy, for it is similarly necessary in both cases. But these three divisions can each be split into three others. Natural philosophy has theology, mathematics and as a third the examination of things that develop and perish and those that are unseen and which concerns what their essence is and existence entails for each one.

Practical philosophy, because it concerns a single man, has ethics, economics—when it pertains to a household—and politics—when it concerns the state. Logic in turn is demonstrative through truths, but rather violent when dealing with opinions or polemical when concerned with beliefs that merely appear to be true.

These are the subdisciplines of philosophy unless something has escaped me. Indeed, it would not be shocking were some mere soldier incapable of precisely describing or managing these kinds of definitions, since they come not from book learning but from observation and some experience. You can be my witnesses for this to, if you consider how many days there were because the lecture we recently heard and today and in addition the number of matters which have taken my attention. But, the thing I was saying, if I missed anything, and I really don’t think I did, if someone else can finish it, he won’t be my enemy but my friend.”

Μικρὰ οὖν ὑπὲρ τῶν τῆς φιλοσοφίας εἴτε μορίων εἴτε ὀργάνων προρρητέον. ἔστι γὰρ οὐ μέγα τὸ διαφέρον ὁποτέρως ἄν τις τῷ πρακτικῷ καὶ τῷ φυσικῷ τὸ λογικὸν προσαριθμῇ· ἀναγκαῖον γὰρ ὁμοίως φαίνεται κατ᾿ ἀμφότερα. τριῶν δὴ τούτων αὖθις ἕκαστον εἰς τρία τέμνεται, τὸ μὲν φυσικὸν εἰς τὸ θεολογικὸν καὶ τὸ περὶ τὰ μαθήματα καὶ τρίτον τὸ περὶ τὴν τῶν γινομένων καὶ ἀπολλυμένων καὶ τῶν ἀιδίων μέν, σωμάτων δὲ ὅμως θεωρίαν, τί τὸ εἶναι αὐτοῖς καὶ τίς ἡ οὐσία ἑκάστου· τοῦ πρακτικοῦ δὲ τὸ μὲν πρὸς ἕνα ἄνδρα, ἠθικόν, οἰκονομικὸν δὲ τὸ περὶ μίαν οἰκίαν, πολιτικὸν δὲ τὸ περὶ πόλιν· ἔτι μέντοι τοῦ λογικοῦ τὸ μὲν ἀποδεικτικὸν διὰ τῶν ἀληθῶν, τὸ δὲ διὰ τῶν ἐνδόξων βιαστικόν, τὸ δὲ διὰ τῶν φαινομένων ἐνδόξων παραλογιστικόν. ὄντων δὴ τοσούτων τῶν τῆς φιλοσοφίας μερῶν, εἰ μή τί με λέληθε· καὶ οὐδὲν θαυμαστὸν ἄνδρα στρατιώτην μὴ λίαν ἐξακριβοῦν μηδ᾿ ἐξονυχίζειν τὰ τοιαῦτα, ἅτε οὐκ ἐκ βιβλίων ἀσκήσεως, ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς προστυχούσης αὐτὰ ἕξεως ἀποφθεγγόμενον· ἔσεσθε γοῦν μοι καὶ ὑμεῖς μάρτυρες, εἰ τὰς ἡμέρας λογίσαισθε, πόσαι τινές εἰσιν αἱ μεταξὺ ταύτης τε καὶ τῆς ἔναγχος ἡμῖν γενομένης ἀκροάσεως ὅσων τε ἡμῖν ἀσχολιῶν πλήρεις· ἀλλ᾿, ὅπερ ἔφην, εἰ καί τι παραλέλειπται παρ᾿ ἐμοῦ· καίτοι νομίζω γε μηδὲν ἐνδεῖν· πλὴν ὁ προστιθεὶς οὐκ ἐχθρός, ἀλλὰ φίλος ἔσται.

Julian the Apostate Presiding at a Conference by Edward Armitage

Too Busy Writing to Fear Ghosts

Lucian, The Lover of Lies, 32 (Full text on the Scaife Viewer)

“He was completely convinced that nothing like this can possibly exist, so much so that, once he closed himself in a funerary monument outside the city gates, he was spending all day and night writing and editing.

Then some of the young men who wanted to annoy or frighten him dressed like corpses in black robes and masks that were imitations of skulls stood around him and were danced, leaping to the air in a quick step. He did not fear their mimicry nor even look at them, but kept writing and said, “Stop playing around.” That’s how certainly he was that souls do not exist once they have left their bodies.”

ὕτως ἄρα ἐπέπειστο μηδὲν οἷόν τε εἶναι συστῆναι τοιοῦτον ὥστε, ἐπειδὴ καθείρξας ἑαυτὸν εἰς μνῆμα ἔξω πυλῶν ἐνταῦθα διετέλει γράφων καὶ συντάττων καὶ νύκτωρ καὶ μεθ᾿ ἡμέραν, καί τινες τῶν νεανίσκων ἐρεσχελεῖν αὐτὸν βουλόμενοι καὶ δειματοῦν στειλάμενοι νεκρικῶς ἐσθῆτι μελαίνῃ καὶ προσωπείοις εἰς τὰ κρανία μεμιμημένοις περιστάντες αὐτὸν περιεχόρευον ὑπὸ πυκνῇ τῇ βάσει ἀναπηδῶντες, ὁ δὲ οὔτε ἔδεισεν τὴν προσποίησιν αὐτῶν οὔτε ὅλως ἀνέβλεψεν πρὸς αὐτούς, ἀλλὰ μεταξὺ γράφων, ‘Παύσασθε,’ ἔφη, ‘παίζοντες·’ οὕτω βεβαίως ἐπίστευε μηδὲν εἶναι τὰς ψυχὰς ἔτι ἔξω γενομένας τῶν σωμάτων.”

Antakya Archaeology Mosaic

“Cancel-Culture” is Unfair to Philosophy!

Lucian, The Dead Come to Life, 32

“Hey Philosophy, this was especially striking to me: if people saw someone doing something wicked or improper, or just gross, there wasn’t anyone who didn’t blame Philosophy herself and then Chrysippos or Plato or Pythagoras or whatever name you gave to that person who started all the mistakes and whose arguments were being imitated.

People make terribly unfair judgments about you who have been dead for so long thanks to this guy living his life so badly! He can’t be compared to you because you’re not alive. But you were not there and they all saw him clearly pursuing terrible and unholy habits with the result that you were caught in the open with him and got wrapped up in the same slander!”

Ὃ δὲ μάλιστά μοι δεινόν, ὦ Φιλοσοφία, κατεφαίνετο, τοῦτο ἦν· οἱ γὰρ ἄνθρωποι εἴ τινα τούτων ἑώρων πονηρὸν ἢ ἄσχημον ἢ ἀσελγές τι ἐπιτηδεύοντα, οὐκ ἔστιν ὅστις οὐ Φιλοσοφίαν αὐτὴν ᾐτιᾶτο καὶ τὸν Χρύσιππον εὐθὺς ἢ Πλάτωνα ἢ Πυθαγόραν ἢ ὅτου ἐπώνυμον αὑτὸν ὁ διαμαρτάνων ἐκεῖνος ἐποιεῖτο καὶ οὗ τοὺς λόγους ἐμιμεῖτο· καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ κακῶς βιοῦντος πονηρὰ περὶ ὑμῶν εἴκαζον τῶν πρὸ πολλοῦ τεθνηκότων· οὐ γὰρ παρὰ ζῶντας ὑμᾶς ἡ ἐξέτασις αὐτοῦ ἐγίγνετο, ἀλλ᾿ ὑμεῖς μὲν ἐκποδών, ἐκεῖνον δὲ ἑώρων σαφῶς ἅπαντες δεινὰ καὶ ἄσεμνα ἐπιτηδεύοντα, ὥστε ἐρήμην ἡλίσκεσθε μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν ὁμοίαν διαβολὴν συγκατεσπᾶσθε.’’

“Hell” by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch

Magic Words and Quack Cures: An ‘Epic’ Fail During a Plague

Lucian, Alexander the False Prophet 36

“There was one oracle, also an autophone, which he had sent to all peoples during the plague. It was a single line of verse, “Phoebus, with uncut hair, keeps off the cloud of plague.”

This line was to be seen everywhere, written on doorposts as a spell against the plague. In most cases it produced the opposite result. For, through some fortune, those homes on which the line was written were those which were especially impacted. Don’t imagine that I am saying that they were destroyed because of the line, but that it happened this way in some fashion. Perhaps the people who were encouraged by the words acted negligently or took everything too easily and did nothing to help the oracle against the disease because they believed they had these syllables to fight for them and “long-haired” Apollo to shoot down the plague with his bow.”

ἕνα δέ τινα χρησμόν, αὐτόφωνον καὶ αὐτόν, εἰς ἅπαντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐν τῷ λοιμῷ διεπέμψατο· ἦν δὲ τὸ ἔπος ἕν·

Φοῖβος ἀκειρεκόμης λοιμοῦ νεφέλην ἀπερύκει.

καὶ τοῦτο ἦν ἰδεῖν τὸ ἔπος πανταχοῦ ἐπὶ τῶν πυλώνων γεγραμμένον ὡς τοῦ λοιμοῦ ἀλεξιφάρμακον. τὸ δ᾿ εἰς τοὐναντίον τοῖς πλείστοις προὐχώρει· κατὰ γάρ τινα τύχην αὗται μάλιστα αἱ οἰκίαι ἐκενώθησαν αἷς τὸ ἔπος ἐπεγέγραπτο. καὶ μή με νομίσῃς τοῦτο λέγειν, ὅτι διὰ τὸ ἔπος ἀπώλλυντο· ἀλλὰ τύχῃ τινὶ οὕτως ἐγένετο. τάχα δὲ καὶ οἱ πολλοὶ θαρροῦντες τῷ στίχῳ ἠμέλουν καὶ ῥᾳθυμότερον διῃτῶντο, οὐδὲν τῷ χρησμῷ πρὸς τὴν νόσον συντελοῦντες, ὡς ἂν ἔχοντες προμαχομένας αὑτῶν τὰς συλλαβὰς καὶ τὸν ἀκειρεκόμην Φοῖβον ἀποτοξεύοντα τὸν λοιμόν.

Herakles tripod Louvre F341.jpg
Apollo and Herakles fight over tripod, Taleides painter

An Immortal Soul and a Pious Poet: Another Poem by Julia Balbilla

Julia Balbilla, Epigram 991 [from Kaibel 1878 with supplements from Rosenmeyer 2008]

In Memnonis crure sinistro. C. I. 4730 coll. Add. III p. 1202 sq.

“When I was near Memnon with August Sabina:

Child of Dawn and noble Tithonos,
Seated before Zeus’s city of Thebes
Or, Amenoth, Egyptian King, as the priests name you
The ones who know the ancient stories

Greet us and speak out to show your welcome, Memnon,
To the revered wife of Lord Hadrian.
A barbarian man lopped off your tongue and ears
That atheist Kambyses, but he paid the price
With a painful death under the same pitiful blade
He used to kill divine Apis.

But I do not believe that this statue of yours could ever be destroyed
And I cherish in my thoughts a soul immortal for all time.
This is because my parents and grandparents were reverent,
Wise Balbillus and the king Antiochus.
Balbillus was my Queen mother’s father
And King Antiochus was my father’s father.

I too have been allotted noble blood from their people—
And these are the words from reverent me, Balbilla.”

῞Οτε σὺν τῆι Σεβαστῆι Σαβείνηι ἐγενόμην παρὰ τῶι Μέμνονι.

Αὔως καὶ γεράρω, Μέμνον, πάι Τιθώνοιο,
Θηβάας θάσσων ἄντα Δίος πόλιος,
ἢ ᾿Αμένωθ, βασίλευ Αἰγύπτιε, τὼς ἐνέποισιν
ἴρηες μύθων τῶν παλάων ἴδριες.

Χαῖρε καὶ αὐδάσαις πρόφρων ἔμε [δέχνυσο, Μέμνον,
τὰν σέµναν ἄλοχον κοιράνω ῾¬Αδριάνω.
γλῶσσαν μέν τοι τ[μ]ᾶξ[ε (καὶ ὤατα βάρβαρος ἄνηρ
Καμβύσαις ἄθεος–τῶ λύγρῳ θανάτῳ
δῶκέν τοι ποίναν τῶ σῶ οἰκτ[ίρματος ἠδ’ ἇς
τῷ νήλας ῏Απιν κάκτανε τὸν θέιον.

ἄλλ’ ἔγω οὐ δοκίμωμι σέθεν τό [γε θῆον ὄλεσθαι,
ψύχαν δ’ ἀθανάταν, ἄ[φθιτε], σῶ[σδες ἄι.
εὐσέβεες γὰρ ἔμοι γένεται σέ[πτας ἀπὸ ῥίσδας
Βάλβιλλός τε σόφος κἀντίοχος [προπάτωρ·

Βάλβιλλος γένετ’ ἐκ μᾶτρος βασιλήιδος ῎Ακ[μας,
τῶ πάτερος δὲ πάτηρ ᾿Αντίοχος βασίλευς·
κήνων ἐκ γενέας κἄγω λόχον αἶμα τὸ κᾶλον,
Βαλβίλλας δ’ ἔμεθεν γρόπτα τόδ’ εὐσέβ[εος.

Colossi of Memnon

Rosenmeyer, P. (2008). Greek Verse Inscriptions in Roman Egypt: Julia Balbilla’s Sapphic Voice. Classical Antiquity, 27(2), 334-358.

Brennan, T. (1998). “The Poets Julia Balbilla and Damo at the Colossus of Memnon”. Classical World, 91(4), 215.

Plant, I., & Plant, Ian Michael. (2004). Women writers of ancient Greece and Rome : An anthology (University of Oklahoma Press ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Memnon’s Speaking Stone: Two Poems by Julia Balbilla

Julia Balbilla is a Roman poet from the time of Hadrian. She composed Greek verse. For more of her poems see Rosenmeyer 2008 below and Brennan 1998 for additional historical context

Julia Balbilla, Two Poems

In Memnonis pede sinistro. C. I. 4727 coll. Add. III p. 1202.

“I, Balbilla, heard from the stone when it spoke
Either the divine voice of Memnon or Phamenoth.
I came here alongside my beautiful queen Sabina,
as the sun kept its course in the first hour.
In the fifteenth year of Hadrian’s reign
When Hathyr had made its twenty-fourth day,
It was on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Hathyr.

῎Εκλυον αὐδάσαντος ἐγὼ ‘πὺ λίθω Βάλβιλλα
φώνας τᾶς θείας Μέμνονος ἢ Φαμένωθ·
ἦνθον ὔμοι δ’ ἐράται βασιλήιδι τυῖδε Σαβίνναι,
ὤρας δὲ πρώτας ἄλιος ἦχε δρόμος,

κοιράνω ᾿Αδριάνω πέμπτωι δεκότωι δ’ ἐνιαύτωι,
φῶτ]α δ’ ἔχεσκεν ῎Αθυρ εἴκοσι καὶ πέσυρα·
εἰκόστωι πέμπτωι δ’ ἄματι μῆνος ῎Αθυρ.

In Memnonis crure sinistro. C. I. 4725 coll. Add. III p. 1201 sq.

“Julia Balbilla [wrote this]
When August Hadrian heard Memnon

I’ve learned that the Egyptian Memnon, bronzed by
The bright sun, sounds out from a Theban stone.
When he gazed upon Hadrian, the kingliest king
He addressed him as much as he could before the light of the sun.

But as Titan was driving through the sky on white horses
Holding the second part of the day in shadow,
Memnon’s voice rang out again like struck bronze,
High-pitched: and he let loose a third sound greeting.

And then Lord Hadrian hailed Memnon in return
And left on this column for future generations to see
Inscribed verses telling of everything he saw and heard.
And it was clear to everyone how much the gods love him.

᾿Ιουλίας Βαλβίλλης, ὅτε ἤκουσε τοῦ Μέμνονος ὁ σεβαστὸς
᾿Αδριανός.

Μέμνονα πυνθανόμαν Αἰγύπτιον, ἀλίω αὔγαι
αἰθόμενον, φώνην Θηβαίκω ‘πὺ λίθω·
᾿Αδρίανον δ’ ἐςίδων, τὸν παμβασίληα πρὶν αὐγὰς
ἀελίω χαίρην εἶπέ [v]οι ὠς δύνοτον·

Τίταν δ’ ὄττ’ ἐλάων λεύκοισι δι’ αἴθερος ἴπποις
ἐ]ν σκίαι ὠράων δεύτερον ἦχε μέτρον,
ὠς χάλκοιο τυπέντος ἴη Μέμνων πάλιν αὔδαν
ὀξύτονον· χαίρων καὶ τρίτον ἆχον ἴη.

κοίρανος ᾿Αδρίανος χ[ήρ]αις δ’ ἀσπάσσατο καὖτος
Μέμνονα. κἀ[πιθέμαν] καλλ[ιλό]γοισι πόνοις
γρόππατα σαμαίνο[ν]τά τ’ ὄσ’ εὔιδε κὤσσ’ ἐςάκουσε·
δᾶλον παῖσι δ’ ἔγε[ν]τ’ ὤς [v]ε φίλ[ε]ισι θέοι.

Antonio Beato, Colosses de Memnon

Rosenmeyer, P. (2008). Greek Verse Inscriptions in Roman Egypt: Julia Balbilla’s Sapphic Voice. Classical Antiquity, 27(2), 334-358.

Brennan, T. (1998). “The Poets Julia Balbilla and Damo at the Colossus of Memnon”. Classical World, 91(4), 215.

Plant, I., & Plant, Ian Michael. (2004). Women writers of ancient Greece and Rome : An anthology (University of Oklahoma Press ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

 

An Awkward Letter about Not Getting Letters

In our day and age, this might instead be a text message or a tweet to someone in a position of authority. But this letter is from Libanius to Julian the Apostate, Roman Emperor and our personal (anti-?)hero:

Ep. 86

“Even if you don’t send me letters, I still dine on your words. For whenever someone else gets one, we hear about it and immediately read it, either by persuading or overpowering the unwilling recipient. So, my profit is no less than theirs even though it is only their right to be honored. I would also ask for honor, for some love-token from you. For, clearly, if you would honor me in any way, you wouldn’t do it without love.”

Ἀλλ᾿ εἰ καὶ μὴ πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἐπιστέλλεις, ἡμεῖς γε τοῖς σοῖς ἑστιώμεθα γράμμασιν. ὅταν γὰρ ὅτι τις ἔλαβε μάθωμεν, εὐθὺς ἡμεῖς πλησίον καὶ ἢ πείσαντες ἢ κρατήσαντες ἀκόντων ἀνέγνωμεν.τὸ μὲν οὖν κέρδος οὐχ ἧττον ἡμῶν ἢ ᾿κείνων, τὸ τετιμῆσθαι δὲ παρ᾿ ἐκείνοις μόνοις. ἐρῶμεν δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ τιμῆς, ἐπειδὴ καὶ φίλτρου τοῦ παρὰ σοί. δῆλον γὰρ ὡς, εἴ τι τιμήσεις, οὐκ ἄνευ γε τοῦ φιλεῖν τοῦτο ποιήσεις.

Image result for Julian the Apostate

You Have Enough Books Already

Lucian, On the Ignorant Book-Collector 26

“Once a dog has learned to chew leather it can’t stop. Another way is easier: not buying any more books. You are sufficiently educated, you have enough wisdom. You have all of antiquity nearly at the top of your lips.

You know all of history, every art of argumentation including their strengths and weaknesses and how to use Attic words. Your abundance of books has given you a special kind of wisdom and placed you at the peak of learning. Nothing stops me from messing with you since you enjoy being thoroughly deceived.”

οὐδὲ γὰρ κύων ἅπαξ παύσαιτ᾿ ἂν σκυτοτραγεῖν μαθοῦσα. τὸ δ᾿ ἕτερον ῥᾴδιον, τὸ μηκέτι ὠνεῖσθαι βιβλία. ἱκανῶς πεπαίδευσαι, ἅλις σοι τῆς σοφίας. μόνον οὐκ ἐπ᾿ ἄκρου τοῦ χείλους ἔχεις τὰ παλαιὰ πάντα. πᾶσαν μὲν ἱστορίαν οἶσθα, πάσας δὲ λόγων τέχνας καὶ κάλλη αὐτῶν καὶ κακίας καὶ ὀνομάτων χρῆσιν τῶν Ἀττικῶν· πάνσοφόν τι χρῆμα καὶ ἄκρον ἐν παιδείᾳ γεγένησαι διὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν βιβλίων. κωλύει γὰρ οὐδὲν κἀμέ σοι ἐνδιατρίβειν, ἐπειδὴ χαίρεις ἐξαπατώμενος.

books

Favorinus, [According to Aulus Gellius]

“It is impossible for someone who has fifteen thousand cloaks not to want more.”

 τὸν γὰρ μυρίων καὶ πεντακισχιλίων χλαμύδων δεόμενον οὐκ ἔστι μὴ πλειόνων δεῖσθαι·

Spartans Abroad: Rape and No Accountability

Another poorly named “erotic story” from Plutarch

Plutarch, Love Stories 3

“A poor man named Skadasos used to live in Leuktra (which is a village in the land of the Thespians). He had two daughters who were named Hippo and Milêtia or, as some say, Thenô and Euksippê. Skedasos was a good man and solicitous of strangers, even though he did not have much. When two Spartan youths came to him, he welcomed them happily. Although they were lusting after the maidens, they were hindered from bold action by the good character of the father. On the next day, they went to Delphi. The same road laid before them.

So, after they got an oracle from the god about which they were in need, they returned homeward again, traveling through Boiotia and returning to the home of Skedasos. But he did not happen to be in Leuktra at the time. Still, the daughters welcomed the strangers in the family’s usual manner. But when the youths found them alone, they raped the girls. When they noticed that the girls were taking the offense pretty badly, they killed them and rid themselves of the burden by throwing the bodies in a well.

When Skedasos returned and did not see his daughters, he discovered that everything else he left behind was safe. He was at a loss over the affair until a certain dog kept pawing at him and often ran up to him and from him back to the well. From this he figured it out, and he raised his daughters’ corpses up from the well. Once he learned from his neighbors that they had seen those Spartans on the previous day and returning again on the next one, he attributed the deed to them because they were constantly praising the girls on the earlier day and counting as blessed the men they would marry.

He went to Sparta in order to take his case to the Ephors. When he was near Argos, because night overtook him, he stayed in an inn. There was another old man in the same inn who was from the city of Oreus in the region of Hestiaia. After Skedasos heard him groaning and cursing the Spartans, he asked him what evil he had suffered at their hands. He explained that he was a Spartan subject and that after Aristodemos was sent to Oreus as a governor, he proved himself to be very cruel and lawless.

He explained, “He lusted after my son. When he couldn’t persuade him, he attempted to rape him and abduct him from the wrestling school. Because the teacher was preventing him and there were many young men helping, Aristodemos retreated out of necessity. But on the following day, he outfitted a trireme, kidnapped the boy and sailed to the opposite shore where he was trying to rape the boy. He killed him because he was fighting back. After returned, he threw a dinner party.” The old man continued, “Once I learned of what happened and took care of the body, I went to Sparta and met with the Ephors. But they showed this no concern.”

Hearing these things, Skedasos lost heart because he was imagining that the Spartans would ignore his case as well. But he did explain his own misfortune to the stranger in turn. The man was advising him not to meet with the Ephors but just to return to Boiotia and build a tomb for his daughters. Skedasos, nevertheless, was not persuaded, but he went to Sparta to meet with the Ephors. When they did not pay attention, he went to the kings and then went up and wept before each of the citizens. When he gained nothing else, he was rushing through the city raising his hands to the sun. Then he was striking his fists on the ground and calling on the Furies. Finally, he killed himself.”

Ἀνὴρ πένης Σκέδασος τοὔνομα κατῴκει Λεῦκτρα· ἔστι δὲ κώμιον τῆς τῶν Θεσπιέων χώρας. τούτῳ θυγατέρες γίνονται δύο· ἐκαλοῦντο δ᾿ Ἱππὼ καὶ Μιλητία, ἤ, ὥς τινες, Θεανὼ καὶ Εὐξίππη. ἦν δὲ χρηστὸς ὁ Σκέδασος καὶ τοῖς ξένοις ἐπιτήδειος, καίπερ οὐ πολλὰ κεκτημένος. ἀφικομένους οὖν πρὸς αὐτὸν δύο Σπαρτιάτας νεανίας ὑπεδέξατο προθύμως· οἱ δὲ τῶν παρθένων ἡττώμενοι διεκωλύοντο πρὸς τὴν τόλμαν ὑπὸ τῆς τοῦ κεδάσου χρηστότητος. τῇ δ᾿ ὑστεραίᾳ Πυθώδε ἀπῄεσαν· αὕτη γὰρ αὐτοῖς προύκειτο ἡ ὁδός· καὶ τῷ θεῷ χρησάμενοι περὶ ὧν ἐδέοντο, πάλιν ἐπανῄεσαν οἴκαδε, καὶ χωροῦντες διὰ τῆς Βοιωτίας ἐπέστησαν πάλιν τῇ τοῦ Σκεδάσου οἰκίᾳ. ὁ δ᾿ ἐτύγχανεν οὐκ ἐπιδημῶν τοῖς Λεύκτροις, ἀλλ᾿ αἱ θυγατέρες αὐτοῦ ὑπὸ τῆς συνήθους ἀγωγῆς τοὺς ξένους ὑπεδέξαντο. οἱ δὲ καταλαβόντες ἐρήμους τὰς κόρας βιάζονται· ὁρῶντες δ᾿ αὐτὰς καθ᾿ ὑπερβολὴν τῇ ὕβρει χαλεπαινούσας ἀπέκτειναν, καὶ ἐμβαλόντες ἔς τι φρέαρ ἀπηλλάγησαν. ἐπανελθὼν δ᾿ ὁ Σκέδασος τὰς μὲν κόρας οὐχ ἑώρα, πάντα δὲ τὰ καταλειφθέντα εὑρίσκει σῷα καὶ τῷ πράγματι ἠπόρει, ἕως τῆς κυνὸς κνυζωμένης καὶ πολλάκις μὲν προστρεχούσης πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀπὸ δ᾿ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ φρέαρ ἐπανιούσης, εἴκασεν ὅπερ ἦν, καὶ τῶν θυγατέρων τὰ νεκρὰ οὕτως ἀνιμήσατο. πυθόμενος δὲ παρὰ τῶν γειτόνων, ὅτι ἴδοιεν τῇ χθὲς ἡμέρᾳ τοὺς καὶ πρῴην καταχθέντας ἐπ᾿ αὐτοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους εἰσιόντας, συνεβάλετο τὴν πρᾶξιν ἐκείνων, ὅτι καὶ πρῴην συνεχῶς ἐπῄνουν τὰς κόρας, μακαρίζοντες τοὺς γαμήσοντας.

Ἀπῄει εἰς Λακεδαίμονα, τοῖς ἐφόροις ἐντευξόμενος· γενόμενος δ᾿ ἐν τῇ Ἀργολικῇ, νυκτὸς καταλαμβανούσης, εἰς πανδοκεῖόν τι κατήχθη· κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ δὲ καὶ πρεσβύτης τις ἕτερος τὸ γένος ἐξ Ὠρεοῦ πόλεως τῆς Ἑστιαιάτιδος· οὗ στενάξαντος καὶ κατὰ Λακεδαιμονίων ἀρὰς ποιουμένου ἀκούσας ὁ Σκέδασος ἐπυνθάνετο τί κακὸν ὑπὸ Λακεδαιμονίων πεπονθὼς εἴη. ὁ δὲ διηγεῖτο, ὡς ὑπήκοος μέν ἐστι τῆς Σπάρτης, πεμφθεὶς δ᾿ εἰς Ὠρεὸν Ἀριστόδημος ἁρμοστὴς παρὰ Λακεδαιμονίων ὠμότητα καὶ παρανομίαν ἐπιδείξαιτο πολλήν. “ἐρασθεὶς γάρ,” ἔφη, “τοῦ ἐμοῦ παιδός, ἐπειδὴ πείθειν ἀδύνατος ἦν, ἐπεχείρει βιάσασθαι καὶ ἀπάγειν αὐτὸν τῆς παλαίστρας· κωλύοντος δὲ τοῦ παιδοτρίβου καὶ νεανίσκων πολλῶν ἐκβοηθούντων, παραχρῆμα ὁ Ἀριστόδημος ἀπεχώρησε· τῇ δ᾿ ὑστεραίᾳ πληρώσας τριήρη συνήρπασε τὸ μειράκιον, καὶ ἐξ Ὠρεοῦ διαπλεύσας εἰς τὴν περαίαν ἐπεχείρει ὑβρίσαι, οὐ συγχωροῦντα δ᾿ αὐτὸν ἀπέσφαξεν.  ἐπανελθὼν δ᾿ εἰς τὴν Ὠρεὸν εὐωχεῖτο. ἐγὼ δ᾿,” ἔφη, “τὸ πραχθὲν πυθόμενος καὶ τὸ σῶμα κηδεύσας παρεγενόμην εἰς τὴν Σπάρτην καὶ τοῖς ἐφόροις ἐνετύγχανον· οἱ δὲ λόγον οὐκ ἐποιοῦντο.” Σκέδασος δὲ ταῦτα ἀκούων ἀθύμως διέκειτο, ὑπολαμβάνων ὅτι οὐδ᾿ αὐτοῦ λόγον τινὰ ποιήσονται οἱ Σπαρτιᾶται· ἐν μέρει τε τὴν οἰκείαν διηγήσατο συμφορὰν τῷ ξένῳ· ὁ δὲ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν μηδ᾿ ἐντυχεῖν τοῖς ἐφόροις, ἀλλ᾿ ὑποστρέψαντα εἰς τὴν Βοιωτίαν κτίσαι τῶν θυγατέρων τὸν τάφον. οὐκ ἐπείθετο δ᾿ ὅμως ὁ Σκέδασος, ἀλλ᾿ εἰς τὴν Σπάρτην ἀφικόμενος τοῖς ἐφόροις ἐντυγχάνει· ὧν μηδὲν προσεχόντων, ἐπὶ τοὺς βασιλέας ἵεται καὶ ἀπὸ τούτων ἑκάστῳ τῶν δημοτῶν προσιὼν ὠδύρετο. μηδὲν δὲ πλέον ἀνύων ἔθει διὰ μέσης τῆς πόλεως, ἀνατείνων πρὸς ἥλιον τὼ χεῖρε, αὖθις δὲ τὴν γῆν τύπτων ἀνεκαλεῖτο τὰς Ἐρινύας καὶ τέλος αὑτὸν τοῦ ζῆν μετέστησεν.

Spartan warrior as depicted on a Greek red-figured vase, c. 480 bc. The Granger Collection, New Yor