‘When there is insurrection, as frequently happens even in our time, sometimes it turns out some ways, other times it turns out differently and not the same for everyone. A disturbance is advantageous for some people but it disappoints the expectations of others.”
Melancholy here contrasts with “thinking -wrongly” (paraphronein). A scholion to another play by Aristophanes glosses the realms of these types of mental maladies (Schol. ad Plut. 11a ex 20-28)
“He seems to say this because he harmed or helped his master through his own virtue more—and while he disturbed him through prophecy, he made him crazy [melankholan] through medicine and took away his ability to think [phronein] through wisdom, which is the art of thinking. The servant lies. For he does not speak the truth….”
“In the same way, ‘truth’ concerning the way things appear has come to some people from their senses. They believe that it is right that truth should be judged neither by the multitude or the scarcity [of those who believe it]; and they believe that the same thing seems sweet to some who taste it and bitter to others with the result that if all men were sick or if they were all insane and two or three were healthy or in their right mind, wouldn’t it seem that these few were sick and crazy and not the rest?”
“… Eurymakhos, the shining son of sharp-minded Polyboios,
whom the Ithakans now look upon the way they would a god.
He is by far the best man remaining and the best
to marry my mother and receive my father’s geras.”
“Then Antinoos, the son of Eupeithes, answered him,
“Telemachus, the gods themselves have taught you
to be a big speaker and to address us boldly. May Zeus never make you king in sea-girt Ithaca which is your inheritance by birth.”
“Antinoos, even if you are annoyed at whatever I say,
I would still pray to obtain this should Zeus grant it.
Do you really think that this is the worst thing among people? To be king is not at all bad. A king’s house grows rich quickly
and he is more honored himself. But, certainly, there are other kings of the Achaeans, too, many on sea-girt Ithaka, young and old,
who might have this right, since shining Odysseus is dead.
But I will be master of my household and my servants,
the ones shining Odysseus obtained for me.”
I am writing to express my shock and deep concern for the proposal Dean Falls of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences has produced to cut the University of Vermont’s programs in Geology, Classics, Religion, Asian studies, Latin American and Caribbean studies, and Italian studies. This proposal represents a betrayal of UVM’s historical mission and its responsibility to its community and, in addition, an outright attack on shared governance. It threatens the standing of the University as an institution of higher learning and it sets a disastrous example of educational leadership in a time of crisis.
I write first as a native New Englander who had to leave my home state of Maine to study Classics because my state system did not offer the degree. Your University fulfills a vital role in serving the people of Vermont and neighboring states. During my childhood, my dentist, pediatrician, and many of my teachers graduated from UVM. They were deeply caring and engaged members of our community because they had an education grounded in the Liberal Arts and the traditions of a great public university. Cutting these programs will impoverish the education your students receive and drive many more students out of state for their education.
I write also from personal experience with UVM. Both of my siblings graduated from your institution and my sister earned a degree in Classics. As a member of the discipline, I know that the Department of Classics at UVM produces remarkable scholarship, recently in the work of Professors Franklin, Usher and Chiu. But I also know that the department’s faculty are amazing teachers and mentors: a recent graduate student at Brandeis just beams when recalling Jessica Evans’ Greek classes; and, well over a decade later, Professor Bailly still asks me about my sister when he and I correspond. I have little doubt that the other programs on the cutting block are also filled with fine scholars and exemplary teachers. We can slash operational budgets, run deficits, draw on endowments, and cut salaries. We cannot replace the talent, memory, and dedication of faculty and staff once their programs are gone.
I also write as the Chair of the Faculty Senate at Brandeis University. Cutting academic programs in the way that Dean Falls has proposed undermines your University’s commitment to shared governance by depriving the Faculty of the ability to shape the curriculum and share responsibility in managing this crisis. These cuts are not a result of immediate financial exigency and certainly do not make up for even 10% of anticipated revenue shortfalls. Instead, these cuts represent a calculated attempt to take advantage of a crisis to eliminate programs that do not adhere to some preconceived notion of profitability and utility. The financial measures applied in making these decisions, moreover, are intellectually dishonest. By employing a measure of majors graduated by year instead of total credit-hours taught compared to cost of instruction, Dean Falls’ proposal cloaks ideological prejudice in false quantities. Even worse, Provost’s Prelock’s written comments claiming that these moves will “strengthen the liberal arts at UVM” (via Inside Higher Ed) enact a political doublespeak unworthy of your institution and proof that there is no solid financial justification for making these moves.
The next few years will indeed be a time of financial crisis for higher education. Instead of capitulating before future shortfalls are clear, educational leaders need to tell the truth of what is happening—how decades of divestment in higher education from state legislatures and the federal government put institutions in budgetary crises before the pandemic even started. University presidents and provosts should work together to lobby their state governments and the federal government for relief. Every avenue should be tried before cutting the most important resource Universities possess: the people they bring together. Now is not the time to make minor, symbolic cuts to our budgets. Higher education is facing its most serious challenge in generations and now is the time to articulate our values. We are not how much we have; we are not what we desire; we are what we are willing to fight for.
“There’s clearly nothing for me to write to you about. You know everything worth knowing and I have nothing to expect from you. Still, let me keep up our practice so that we don’t let anyone travel near you without a letter.
I am really afraid for our country. I have barely found anyone who doesn’t think we should give Caesar what he wants, rather than fighting with him.”
Plane deest quid ad te scribam. nota omnia tibi sunt, nec ipse habeo a te quod exspectem. tantum igitur nostrum illud sollemne servemus, ut ne quem istuc euntem sine litteris dimittamus.
De re publica valde timeo, nec adhuc fere inveni qui non concedendum putaret Caesari quod postularet potius quam depugnandum.
“These men have committed so much horror beyond their own criminal behavior that even while running a so-called democracy they turned each person’s house into a prison and put the police in our homes.”
“For such dealing with criminals, white or black, the South had no machinery, no adequate jails or reformatories; its police system was arranged to deal with blacks alone, and tacitly assumed that every white man was ipso facto a member of that police. Thus grew up a double system of justice, which erred on the white side by undue leniency and the practical immunity of red-handed criminals, and erred on the black side by undue severity, injustice, and lack of discrimination.”
“The crime was less offensive than the acquittal.”
Minus crimine quam absolutione peccatum est
Demosthenes, On the False Legation
“For your reputation, for your religion, for your safety, for every advantage you have, do not acquit this man—no, exact vengeance upon him to make him an example to everyone, to our citizens and to the rest of the world.”
“This is a domestic problem, in which sometimes it is enough to claim that there was only one crime, or it was just a mistake, or less severe than is claim for an acquittal”
Est enim domestica disceptatio, in qua et semel peccasse et per errorem et levius quam obiciatur absolutioni nonnumquam sufficit.
Dinarchus, Against Demosthenes 29
“Do not acquit this man, citizens, do not acquit and leave unpunished someone who has signed off on the misfortunes of this state and the world, a man who has been caught in corruption against the state….”
“Today you need to change your minds about what you have done. You need to refuse to keep being abused by these people. Don’t reproach those who have done wrong in private! Do not acquit the guilty when it is in your power to punish them.”
“You need to understand that it is impossible for you to acquit. If you ignore the charge when they admit that they are conspiring against the traders, then you will seem to make a judgment against the importers. If they were making up any other kind of defense, no one would criticize a vote to acquit since you can choose to believe whatever side you want. But, as things are now, you can’t imagine you are doing something amazing if you acquit unpunished those who admit that they broke the law!”
“We have already happened to discuss the reason why people are predisposed towards a revolution. People who desire equality rise up in strife when they believe that they have less even though they are allegedly equal to those they oppose. But those who want inequality or their own superiority imagine that even though they are unequal that don’t have more but merely an equal amount. (Of course, these feelings may exist both justly and unjustly. People who are in a lesser position engage in strife in order to become equal; those who are merely equal, do it to become superior.”
“The city was following the laws, but they were already expecting a revolution and longing for a different kind of government, not because they were hoping for equality, but because they would have more in a revolution and they would rule over their opposition in every way.”
“There are three kinds of governments: monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. There is bad form which corresponds to each: Tyranny is the worse form of monarchy; oligarchy and also plutocracy are the bad form of aristocracy; and mob rule is the worse kind of democracy. In addition to these, sometimes there is one with elements from all of them, like the Roman Empire or ancient Sparta….
“Where offices are occupied by those who fulfill what is needed by the law, then he considered the state to be an aristocracy. Where they were filled by those who had the most money, a plutocracy; where everyone could serve, a democracy.”
“[Socrates] believed that kingship and tyranny were both governments but that they differed from one another. For he believed that kingship was government of a willing people and according to the laws of the city, while tyranny was when people were unwilling and against the laws, but instead according to the wishes of the ruler. Whenever leaders were selected from those who meet the standards of the law, the government is in aristocracy. When they are chosen from those who have enough property, it is a plutocracy. When they are elected from everyone, it is a democracy.”
“If election based on wealth is oligarchic while election according to excellence is aristocratic, there can be a third system according to which a state is organized as the Carthaginian polity is constructed. For they choose their leaders looking at two issues, especially the most significant offices, that of kings and generals.
But it is right to think that this departure from aristocracy is an error by the lawmaker. For among the most critical issues to consider from the beginning is how the best citizens might be able to have the free time and to refrain from anything inappropriate, both in office and in their private life. If it is right to consider furnishing the means for free time [to rule], it is bad for the most significant positions to be for sale (the kingship and the generalship).
For this law makes wealth more important than virtue and makes the whole state structured around money. Whatever the power structure considers valuable, the opinion of the rest of the citizens will follow. Wherever virtue is not honored above all else, the constitution cannot be aristocratic. It is also likely that those who purchase their offices will make a profit from them when they rule after spending their own money. For, it would be strange if a respectable man who is poor will want to profit but a corrupt man who has spent his own money would be disinclined to do the same.”
πλουτοκρατέομαι: “to live in a state governed by the rich”
πλουτοκρατία: “an oligarchy of wealth
πλουτοτραφής: “raised on wealth”
πλουτόχθων: “rich in things of the earth”
Polybius, Histories 6.4
“The proof that what I have said is true comes from the following. It must not be asserted that every well-made government is a principality, but only the government which is assented to voluntarily and which is governed by reason rather than fear and force. Nor should we consider every oligarchy to be an aristocracy: the latter emerges only when men rule because they are the most just and the most prudent. In a similar way, a true democracy is not that in which the majority has the power to do whatever it wants, but what counts is if the will of the majority enforces observance of its traditional laws, honor to the customary laws, duty to parents, respect to elders, obedience to the laws—then it is right to call a state a democracy.
From this, we can isolate six types of government: the three I have just mentioned and three additional, related forms, monarchy, oligarchy, and mob rule. The first of these, monarchy, arises naturally, and without machination. The second follows it and develops from it with preparation and adjustment. Once this has transformed into the evil form akin to it, tyranny, and aristocracy develops from the dissolution of both. When aristocracy devolves into oligarchy as is natural, and the people turn into rage over the injustice of their leaders, democracy emerges. Over time, mob-rule develops from outrage and illegality. Anyone can understand clearly from this pattern that the things I am saying now are true, based on the nature of each government in its origins and its evolution.”
“But now the people—in defense of their own wickedness—act against reason indeed. And so, as unstable fancy flits full circle, that same thing happens as in elections in which those who selected people for office are also shocked that those very people are in office!
We approve the same things we criticize! This is the outcome of every judgment which gives preference to the majority.”
Nunc vero stat contra rationem defensor mali sui populus. Itaque id evenit quod in comitiis, in quibus eos factos esse praetores idem qui fecere mirantur, cum se mobilis favor circumegit. Eadem probamus, eadem reprehendimus; hic exitus est omnis iudicii, in quo secundum plures datur.