If mortals continually nurse never-ending hate,
And anger once ignited never leaves their hearts,
But instead, the winning side maintains its arms
While the losing side readies its own,
Then wars will leave nothing standing.
The land will be neglected, the fields ravaged.
When the torch has been put to houses,
Deep ash will cover the inhabitants buried within.
It’s advantageous for the victor to wish
For the restoration of peace,
But for the defeated it’s a necessity.
si aeterna semper odia mortales gerant,
nec coeptus umquam cedat ex animis furor,
sed arma felix teneat infelix paret,
nihil relinquent bella; tum vastis ager
squalebit arvis, subdita tectis face
altus sepultas obruet gentes cinis.
pacem reduci velle victori expedit,
victo necesse est.
“Sappho: some claim she is the daughter of Simon, others, Eumenus, while others name Eeriguios, Semos, Kamon, Etarkhos, or Skamandronumos. Her mother was Kleis. She was a Lesbian from Eressos and a lyric poet who peaked around the 42nd Olympiad [c. 612-608 BCE] at the same time that Alcaeus, Stesichorus, and Pittakos where still alive. She had three brothers: Larikhos, Kharaksos, and Eurugios. She was married to a super rich guy named Kerkulas. He was a merchant from Andros. She had a daughter with him who was named Kleis. She had three girlfriends: Atthis, Telesippa, and Margara. Her friendship with them earned her a bad reputation. Her students included Anagora the Milesian, Gongula of Colophon, and Eunika of Salamis. She composed nine books of lyric poems and was the first to use the pletctrum. She also wrote epigrams, elegies, iambs, and monodies.”
“Sappho was a Lesbian by birth, fromt he city of Mytilene. Her father was Skamandros, or Skamandronumos, according to some. She had three brothers: Eriguios, Larikhos, and the oldest Kharaksos. He sailed to Egypt because of his obsession with Dorikha on whom he spared no expense. But Sappho took more joy in Larikohs. She had a daughter named Kleis after her own mother. She has been accused by some of being strange in her manner and a lover of women. It appears that her looks were worthy of contempt and that she was very ugly, dusky in appearance and extremely short.”
“What could the love of Sappho be other than that Socratic erotic art? For they seem to me to have loved in their own ways, she loved women and he loved men. For they both used to say that they loved many and were caught up by beautiful things. What Alkibiades, Kharmides, and Phaidros were to him is exactly what Gurrina, Atthis and Anaktoria were to her! What the rivals Prodikos, Gorgias, Thrasymakhos and Protagoras were to Socrates is exactly what Gorgo and Andromeda were to Sappho. Sometimes she refutes them, other times she is ironic just like Socrates.”
The following is not really a single poem but rather a collection of lines cited in Athenaeus, Plutarch and others and attributed to Cleobulina
Cleobulina fr. 3.1
“I have seen a man fashioning bronze on another man with fire
Fitting it so well that he joined them in the blood.
I saw a man stealing and deceiving violently—
To accomplish this with violence is the most just thing.
A donkey corpse struck me on the ear with its horny shin.”
These lines are poetic riddles: the first one, according to Athenaeus, is about using a cupping glass to draw blood to the surface of the skin) the last one is about a Phrygian flute (which was made from a donkey bone)
“Solon the Athenian, the son of Eksêkestides, when his nephew sang some song of Sappho at a drinking party, took pleasure in it and asked the young man to teach it to him. When someone asked why he was eager to learn it, he responded: “So, once I learn it, I may die.”
“Sosikrates in his Successions writes that when Pythagoras was asked by Leon the Tyrant of Plius what he was, he said “A philosopher”. And he was in the custom of comparing life to the Great Games because while some go there to compete, others go there to make money, even as some of the best go to watch. In the same way, in life, some grow up in servile positions, Pythagoras used to say, hunting for fame and profit while the philosopher hunts for the truth. That’s enough of that.”
“This will be enough regarding the stained origin of games in idolatry”
Sed haec satis erunt ad originis de idololatria reatum.
“How many ways have we shown that nothing which has to do with these games pleases god!”
Quot adhuc modis probavimus, nihil ex his quae spectaculis deputantur placitum deo esse!
Plutarch, Progress in Virtue 79F
Once when Aeschylus was watching a boxing match at the Isthmian games, one of the men was hit and the audience screamed out. He elbowed Ion of Chios and said, “Do you see what training is like? The man who was hit stays silent and the spectators yell!”
“The story of deeds lives longer than deeds themselves”
ῥῆμα δ’ ἐργμάτων χρονιώτερον βιοτεύει
Cicero, De Senectute 58
“Let others have weapons, horses, spears, fencing-foils, ball games, swimming competitions, races, and leave to the old men dice and knucklebones for games. Or let that go too since old age can be happy without it.”
Sibi habeant igitur arma, sibi equos, sibi hastas, sibi clavam et pilam, sibi natationes1 atque cursus; nobis senibus ex lusionibus multis talos relinquant et tesseras; id ipsum ut2 lubebit, quoniam sine eis beata esse senectus potest.
Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4.973-984
“And whenever people for many days in a row
Have given endless attention to games, we see that many
Have stopped actually absorbing these things with their senses
Even though there are paths still open in the mind
By which the representations of things may enter.
For many days in this way the same things are seen
Before their eyes and they stay awake so that they might seem
To see dancers moving their gentle limps
Or brush with their ears the liquid song of the lyre
And the talking chords, and to sense again that same concord
And the wild spectacular with its bright scene.”
Et quicumque dies multos ex ordine ludis
adsiduas dederunt operas, plerumque videmus,
cum iam destiterunt ea sensibus usurpare,
relicuas tamen esse vias in mente patentis,
qua possint eadem rerum simulacra venire.
per multos itaque illa dies eadem obversantur
ante oculos, etiam vigilantes ut videantur
cernere saltantis et mollia membra moventis,
et citharae liquidum carmen chordasque loquentis
auribus accipere, et consessum cernere eundem
scenaique simul varios splendere decores.
Horace, Epistles 1.19.48-9
“Sport tends to give rise to heated strife and anger, anger in turns brings savage feuds and war to the death”.
ludus enim genuit trepidum certamen et iram, ira truces inimicitias et funebre bellum.
Xenophanes, Fragment 2. 16-19
“Swiftness of feet—the thing honored most in all of man’s acts of strength in the contest—could never make a city governed well.”
“Lesbia talks a lot of shit about me when her husband is around
This brings the greatest pleasure to that fool.
Ass, do you know nothing? She would be sound
If she forgot us in silence—but she rants and she squawks.
She not only remembers me but—a thing sharper to touch,
She’s enraged: it’s like this, she’s burning and talks.”
Lesbia mi praesente viro mala plurima dicit:
haec illi fatuo maxima laetitia est.
mule, nihil sentis? si nostri oblita taceret,
sana esset: nunc quod gannit et obloquitur,
non solum meminit, sed, quae multo acrior est res,
irata est. hoc est, uritur et loquitur.
“Plato, the son of Ariston, at first pursued poetry and used to write heroic verse. But he soon burned it all because he despised it, since he reckoned that his poetry was far inferior when compared to Homer’s. He then tried tragedy and even completed a tetralogy, and he was about to enter the competition, even to the point of giving the verses to actors. But right before the Dionysia, he went and heard Socrates; and once he was seized by that Siren, he not only withdrew from the competition, but he also gave up the writing of tragedy for good to immerse himself in philosophy.”
“The best doctor for sufferings when they’re done
Is celebration—and the Muses’ talented daughters,
Songs to distract when they touch us,
Not even warm water can make limbs as soft
As the praise that takes the lyre as its partner.
An utterance lives longer than deeds,
Any word the tongue chances upon
With the Graces, drawn from a deep mind.”