Rich People Need the Poor

Lucian, Saturnalia 33 (for more Lucian go to the Scaife viewer)

“See that they don’t blame you any longer but honor you and have affection for you because they take part in these things. While the cost is of little account to you, the gift in their time of need will always be remembered. Furthermore, you would not be able to live in cities if the poor did not live there with you and make your happiness possible in countless ways. You would have no one to amaze with your wealth if you were rich alone, in private, and without anyone knowing.

So, let the masses gaze upon and wonder at your silver, your fine tables, and then, when you are toasting them, have them weigh their cups while they drink, consider the weight of the gold applied with skill, and contemplate the truth of the story it tells. In addition to hearing them call you noble and philanthropic, you will fall outside their envy. For who begrudges someone who shares and gives a little portion? And who wouldn’t pray for him to live as long as possible, benefiting from his goods? Right now, your blessings go unwitnessed, your wealth is an object of envy, and your life is not pleasant.”

Ὁρᾶτε οὖν ὅπως μηκέτι ὑμᾶς αἰτιάσωνται, ἀλλὰ τιμήσωσι καὶ φιλήσωσι τῶν ὀλίγων τούτων μεταλαμβάνοντες· ὧν ὑμῖν μὲν ἡ δαπάνη ἀνεπαίσθητος, ἐκείνοις δὲ ἐν καιρῷ τῆς χρείας ἡ δόσις ἀείμνηστος. ἄλλως τε οὐδ᾿ ἂν οἰκεῖν δύναισθε τὰς πόλεις μὴ οὐχὶ καὶ πενήτων συμπολιτευομένων καὶ μυρία πρὸς τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν ὑμῖν συντελούντων, οὐδ᾿ ἂν ἔχοιτε τοὺς θαυμάζοντας ὑμῶν τὸν πλοῦτον, ἢν μόνοι καὶ ἰδίᾳ καὶ ὑπὸ σκότῳ πλουτῆτε. ἰδέτωσαν οὖν πολλοὶ καὶ θαυμασάτωσαν ὑμῶν τὸν ἄργυρον καὶ τὰς τραπέζας καὶ προπινόντων φιλοτησίας, μεταξὺ πίνοντες περισκοπείτωσαν τὸ ἔκπωμα καὶ τὸ βάρος ἴστωσαν αὐτοὶ διαβαστάσαντες καὶ τῆς ἱστορίας τὸ ἀκριβὲς καὶ τὸν χρυσὸν ὅσος, ὃς ἐπανθεῖ τῇ τέχνῃ. πρὸς γὰρ τῷ χρηστοὺς καὶ φιλανθρώπους ἀκούειν καὶ τοῦ φθονεῖσθαι ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν ἔξω γενήσεσθε. τίς γὰρ ἂν φθονήσειε τῷ κοινωνοῦντι καὶ διδόντι τῶν μετρίων; τίς δ᾿ οὐκ ἂν εὔξαιτο εἰς τὸ μήκιστον διαβιῶναι αὐτὸν ἀπολαύοντα τῶν ἀγαθῶν; ὡς δὲ νῦν ἔχετε, ἀμάρτυρος μὲν ἡ εὐδαιμονία, ἐπίφθονος δὲ ὁ πλοῦτος, ἀηδὴς δὲ ὁ βίος.

Midas, transmitting all gold into paper, print by James Gillray

 

Rich People Need the Poor

Lucian, Saturnalia 33 (for more Lucian go to the Scaife viewer)

“See that they don’t blame you any longer but honor you and have affection for you because they take part in these things. While the cost is of little account to you, the gift in their time of need will always be remembered. Furthermore, you would not be able to live in cities if the poor did not live there with you and make your happiness possible in countless ways. You would have no one to amaze with your wealth if you were rich alone, in private, and without anyone knowing.

So, let the masses gaze upon and wonder at your silver, your fine tables, and then, when you are toasting them, have them weigh their cups while they drink, consider the weight of the gold applied with skill, and contemplate the truth of the story it tells. In addition to hearing them call you noble and philanthropic, you will fall outside their envy. For who begrudges someone who shares and gives a little portion? And who wouldn’t pray for him to live as long as possible, benefiting from his goods? Right now, your blessings go unwitnessed, your wealth is an object of envy, and your life is not pleasant.”

Ὁρᾶτε οὖν ὅπως μηκέτι ὑμᾶς αἰτιάσωνται, ἀλλὰ τιμήσωσι καὶ φιλήσωσι τῶν ὀλίγων τούτων μεταλαμβάνοντες· ὧν ὑμῖν μὲν ἡ δαπάνη ἀνεπαίσθητος, ἐκείνοις δὲ ἐν καιρῷ τῆς χρείας ἡ δόσις ἀείμνηστος. ἄλλως τε οὐδ᾿ ἂν οἰκεῖν δύναισθε τὰς πόλεις μὴ οὐχὶ καὶ πενήτων συμπολιτευομένων καὶ μυρία πρὸς τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν ὑμῖν συντελούντων, οὐδ᾿ ἂν ἔχοιτε τοὺς θαυμάζοντας ὑμῶν τὸν πλοῦτον, ἢν μόνοι καὶ ἰδίᾳ καὶ ὑπὸ σκότῳ πλουτῆτε. ἰδέτωσαν οὖν πολλοὶ καὶ θαυμασάτωσαν ὑμῶν τὸν ἄργυρον καὶ τὰς τραπέζας καὶ προπινόντων φιλοτησίας, μεταξὺ πίνοντες περισκοπείτωσαν τὸ ἔκπωμα καὶ τὸ βάρος ἴστωσαν αὐτοὶ διαβαστάσαντες καὶ τῆς ἱστορίας τὸ ἀκριβὲς καὶ τὸν χρυσὸν ὅσος, ὃς ἐπανθεῖ τῇ τέχνῃ. πρὸς γὰρ τῷ χρηστοὺς καὶ φιλανθρώπους ἀκούειν καὶ τοῦ φθονεῖσθαι ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν ἔξω γενήσεσθε. τίς γὰρ ἂν φθονήσειε τῷ κοινωνοῦντι καὶ διδόντι τῶν μετρίων; τίς δ᾿ οὐκ ἂν εὔξαιτο εἰς τὸ μήκιστον διαβιῶναι αὐτὸν ἀπολαύοντα τῶν ἀγαθῶν; ὡς δὲ νῦν ἔχετε, ἀμάρτυρος μὲν ἡ εὐδαιμονία, ἐπίφθονος δὲ ὁ πλοῦτος, ἀηδὴς δὲ ὁ βίος.

Midas, transmitting all gold into paper, print by James Gillray