Destroying the People

Homer, Iliad 2.115 (Agamemnon Speaking)

“But now Zeus has given me evil deception as counsel, and orders me
To return home to Argos infamous, since I ruined a great people.”

νῦν δὲ κακὴν ἀπάτην βουλεύσατο, καί με κελεύει
δυσκλέα ῎Αργος ἱκέσθαι, ἐπεὶ πολὺν ὤλεσα λαόν.

Iliad 22.104–107 (Hektor speaking)

“But I now, since I ruined our people because of my own recklessness,
I am ashamed to face the Trojans and Trojan-women with their trailing robes,
That some other person who is worse than me will say
Hektor ruined the people because he believed too much in his own strength.”

νῦν δ’ ἐπεὶ ὤλεσα λαὸν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ἐμῇσιν,
αἰδέομαι Τρῶας καὶ Τρῳάδας ἑλκεσιπέπλους,
μή ποτέ τις εἴπῃσι κακώτερος ἄλλος ἐμεῖο·
῞Εκτωρ ἧφι βίηφι πιθήσας ὤλεσε λαόν.

Hom. Il. 1.231

“You are a people-eating king who rules over nobodies”
δημοβόρος βασιλεὺς ἐπεὶ οὐτιδανοῖσιν ἀνάσσεις·

Apollonius Sophista

“People-eater: one who eats the people’s common goods”
δημοβόρος ὁ τὰ τοῦ δήμου κοινὰ κατεσθίων.

Photius

“People Eater: one who eats the common goods”
Δημοβόρος· ὁ τὰ δημόσια ἐσθίων.

Schol. ad Il. bT ad. Il. 1.231ex

“This [comment] disturbs the masses. For the most serious accusation is making the common goods your own…”

ex. δημοβόρος: κινητικὰ ταῦτα τοῦ πλήθους· μεγίστη γὰρ κατηγορία τὸ σφετερίζεσθαι τὰ κοινά.

Eustathius, Commentary on the Iliad 1.143.27

“The insult “people-devouring king” is aimed especially at moving the people and provoking Agamemnon to Anger. Just as the term “gift-devourer” emphasizes the evil of taking bribes, just so here the term dêmoboros highlights the injustice which is more subtly announced in the phrase “deprive one of gifts”. Note as well that Agamemnon is maligned not just for drinking [being “wine-heavy”] but also for eating.”

σφόδρα δὲ κινητικὸν τοῦ δήμου τὸ δημοβόρος βασιλεύς καὶ ἐρεθιστικὸν εἰς θυμόν. ὥσπερ δὲ παρ’ ῾Ησιόδῳ τὸ δωροφάγοι ἐπιτείνει τὸ κακὸν τοῦ δωροληπτεῖν, οὕτω κἀνταῦθα τὴν ἀδικίαν τὸ δημοβόρον, ὃ ἠρέμα ὑπελαλήθη καὶ ἐν τῷ «δῶρ’ ἀποαιρεῖσθαι». ὅρα δὲ καὶ ὅτι οὐ μόνον οἰνοβαρὴς ὁ ᾿Αγαμέμνων σκώπτεται ἀλλὰ καὶ βορός.

Eustathius, Commentary to the Iliad 4.448.7

“For the allies of the Trojans eat the public goods of the people and the leaders of the Argives drink the public goods. It has already been shown that, when a division of spoils was made, some portion was granted from the common shares to the king and for the symposia of the best men—the misuse of this makes the king a “people-eater”—by which this means a “consumer of the people’s things. For to claim that dêmoboros is the same as cannibalism [anthropo-phagy], that he eats the people, is both bitter to the thought and harmful to the sense. For it is clear that this is not what is being criticized, because it is not the people [demos] rather than the things of the people, the public goods, as is clear from other compounds like demiopratôn, which Kômikos brings up, or also from the Homeric dêmioergôn.”

οἵ τε γὰρ τῶν Τρώων ἐπίκουροι δήμια ἤσθιον τὰ τῶν λαῶν ἔδοντες, καὶ οἱ τῶν ᾿Αργείων ἡγήτορες δήμια ἔπινον. δεδήλωται γὰρ ἤδη ὅτι δασμοῦ γινομένου μερὶς ἐδίδοτό τις τῷ βασιλεῖ ἐκ τῶν κοινῶν καὶ εἰς τὰ τῶν ἀριστέων συμπόσια, ὧν ἡ παράχρησις δημοβόρον τὸν βασιλέα ποιεῖ, ταὐτὸν δ’ εἰπεῖν δημιοβόρον. [Φάναι γὰρ δημοβόρον τὸν δίκην ἀνθρωποφάγου αὐτὸν τὸν δῆμον ἐσθίοντα δριμὺ μὲν τῇ ἐννοίᾳ, πάνυ δὲ ἀτηρὸν τῇ τροπῇ. Σημείωσαι δὲ καὶ ὅτι ἔκπαλαι μὲν οὐ ψεκτὸν ἦν, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ ὁ δῆμος, οὕτως οὐδὲ ὁ δήμιος οὐδὲ τὸ δήμιον, ὡς δῆλον ἔκ τε τῶν δημιοπράτων, ὧν μέμνηται καὶ ὁ Κωμικός, καὶ ἐκ τῶν ῾Ομηρικῶν δημιοεργῶν.

Theognis 1179-1182

“Kyrnus, revere and fear the gods. For this restrains a man
From doing or saying anything sinful.
Put a people-eating tyrant to rest however you want—
No criticism will come from the gods for that.”

Κύρνε, θεοὺς αἰδοῦ καὶ δείδιθι· τοῦτο γὰρ ἄνδρα
εἴργει μήθ’ ἕρδειν μήτε λέγειν ἀσεβῆ.
δημοφάγον δὲ τύραννον ὅπως ἐθέλεις κατακλῖναι
οὐ νέμεσις πρὸς θεῶν γίνεται οὐδεμία.

Hes. Works and Days 219-223

“Oath runs immediately from crooked judgments.
And a roar rises from wounded Justice where men strike,
Bribe-eating men who apply the law with crooked judgments.

αὐτίκα γὰρ τρέχει ῞Ορκος ἅμα σκολιῇσι δίκῃσιν·
τῆς δὲ Δίκης ῥόθος ἑλκομένης ᾗ κ’ ἄνδρες ἄγωσι
δωροφάγοι, σκολιῇς δὲ δίκῃς κρίνωσι θέμιστας·

263-266

“Guard against these things, kings, and straighten your stories,
Bribe-eaters, forget about your crooked rulings completely.
Who fashions evil for another man brings it on himself.
The vilest end comes for the man who has made evil plans.”

ταῦτα φυλασσόμενοι, βασιλῆς, ἰθύνετε μύθους,
δωροφάγοι, σκολιέων δὲ δικέων ἐπὶ πάγχυ λάθεσθε.
οἷ αὐτῷ κακὰ τεύχει ἀνὴρ ἄλλῳ κακὰ τεύχων,
ἡ δὲ κακὴ βουλὴ τῷ βουλεύσαντι κακίστη.

Schol ad Hes. Prolg. 125

“He says this educationally, answering to the kings who should make a great effort to make people prosperous even though some of them take bribes. Not only this, he says clearly that if the kingly right is bestowed by the gods to do good, then it is right that kingly men be givers of wealth, and to expunge wrong doing, including a desire for money, for which they should be leaders for others according to the will of the gods.”

ΠΛΟΥΤΟΔΟΤΑΙ. Τοῦτο παιδευτικῶς εἶπεν, ἀποκρινόμενος πρὸς τοὺς βασιλεῖς, οἳ πολλοῦ δέουσιν εὐπόρους ποιεῖν τοὺς ἀνθρώπους δωροφάγοι τινὲς ὄντες. Μονονουχὶ λέγει σαφῶς, εἰ γέρας ἐστὶ βασιλικὸν προτεινόμενον ὑπὸ τῶν θεῶν τὸ ἀγαθοποιεῖν, καὶ πλουτοδότας εἶναι δεῖ τοὺς βασιλικοὺς ἄνδρας, καθαρεύειν τε πάσης κακουργίας, καὶ τῆς τῶν χρημάτων ἐπιθυμίας, ὧν εἰσιν ἄλλοις χορηγοὶ κατὰβούλησιν τῶν θεῶν.

Neoptolemus kills Priam

Talking Dreams in Silent Speech

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4.453-461

“And when sleep has bound our limbs with sweet
slumber and the whole body lies in deep repose,
we still seem to ourselves to be awake and to move
our limbs—in the obscure darkness of night.
We think that we see the sun and the light of day;
we seem to trade a closed room or the sky, sea,
rivers and mountains—-we cross fields on our feet.
We hear sounds when the heavy quiet of night
hangs over everything; we utter words while staying silent.”

Denique cum suavi devinxit membra sopore
somnus et in summa corpus iacet omne quiete,
tum vigilare tamen nobis et membra movere
nostra videmur, et in noctis caligine caeca
cernere censemus solem lumenque diurnum,
conclusoque loco caelum mare flumina montis
mutare et campos pedibus transire videmur,
et sonitus audire, severa silentia noctis
undique cum constent, et reddere dicta tacentes.

 

Image result for Ancient Roman Dreams

Eclipse and a Metaphor for Seeing the Real

Plato, Phaedo 99d-e

“So it seemed to me, he said, that after these travails, since I had come away with nothing while examining reality, that I should be careful not to suffer the very thing which people who gaze at the sun during an eclipse do. For some of them go blind, I think, unless they examine the sight in water or something like that. I mulled over this sort of thing and I feared that my soul might be similarly blinded should I try to grasp these matters with my eyes and each of my other senses. That’s why it seemed right to me to retreat into ideas and use them to examine the truth of reality.”

Ἔδοξε τοίνυν μοι, ἦ δ’ ὅς, μετὰ ταῦτα, ἐπειδὴ ἀπειρήκη τὰ ὄντα σκοπῶν, | δεῖν εὐλαβηθῆναι μὴ πάθοιμι ὅπερ οἱ τὸν ἥλιον ἐκλείποντα θεωροῦντες καὶ σκοπούμενοι πάσχουσιν· διαφθείρονται γάρ που ἔνιοι τὰ ὄμματα, ἐὰν μὴ ἐν ὕδατι ἤ τινι τοιούτῳ σκοπῶνται τὴν εἰκόνα αὐτοῦ. τοιοῦτόν τι καὶ ἐγὼ διενοήθην, καὶ ἔδεισα μὴ παντάπασι τὴν ψυχὴν τυφλωθείην βλέπων πρὸς τὰ πράγματα τοῖς ὄμμασι καὶ ἑκάστῃ τῶν αἰσθήσεων ἐπιχειρῶν ἅπτεσθαι αὐτῶν. ἔδοξε δή μοι χρῆναι εἰς τοὺς λόγους καταφυγόντα ἐν ἐκείνοις | σκοπεῖν τῶν ὄντων τὴν ἀλήθειαν.

Image result for Ancient Greek Astronomy Plato

While reading this the other day, I discovered I was not the only one:

In Sleep Our Dreams Seem Real

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4.453-461

“And when sleep has bound our limbs with sweet
slumber and the whole body lies in deep repose,
we still seem to ourselves to be awake and to move
our limbs—in the obscure darkness of night.
We think that we see the sun and the light of day;
we seem to trade a closed room or the sky, sea,
rivers and mountains—-we cross fields on our feet.
We hear sounds when the heavy quiet of night
hangs over everything; we utter words while staying silent.”

Denique cum suavi devinxit membra sopore
somnus et in summa corpus iacet omne quiete,
tum vigilare tamen nobis et membra movere
nostra videmur, et in noctis caligine caeca
cernere censemus solem lumenque diurnum,
conclusoque loco caelum mare flumina montis
mutare et campos pedibus transire videmur,
et sonitus audire, severa silentia noctis
undique cum constent, et reddere dicta tacentes.

Aye. but our waking troubles plague us in sleep too!

Accius, Brutus 29-38

“King, it is not at all a surprise that the things men do in life, what they think
Worry over, see, what they do and pursue while awake, should plague each man
While sleeping too. But in this one, the gods present you something quite unexpected.
Be on guard that the many you consider an imbecile just like a sheep
Might actually possess a heart especially safeguarded with wisdom.
He may supplant you in this kingdom: for the sign which comes to you from the sun
Foretells of a great change in the near future for your people.
May these things actually be a good change for the people.
For, since the most powerful sign moved from left to right in the sky,
It has prophesied that the Roman Republic would reign on high.”

Rex, quae in vita usurpant homines, cogitant curant vident
Quaeque agunt vigilantes agitantque ea si cui in somno accidunt
Minus mirum est, sed di in re tanta haut temere inprovisa offerunt.
Proin vide ne quem tu esse hebetem deputes aeque ac pecus
Is sapientia munitum pectus egregie gerat,
Teque regno expellat; nam id quod de sole ostentum est tibi
Populo conmutationem rerum portendit fore
Perpropinquam. Haec bene verruncent populo! Nam quod ad dexteram
Cepit cursum ab laeva signum praepotens, pulcherrume
Auguratum est rem Romanam publicam summam fore

Aelian, Varia Historia 3.1

“The Peripatetics say that at day the soul is a slave encased by the body and it is not able to see the truth clearly. At night, it is freed from its service and, after takes the shape of a sphere in the area around the chest, it becomes somewhat prophetic: this is where dreams come from.”

Οἱ περιπατητικοί φασι μεθ’ ἡμέραν θητεύουσαν τὴν ψυχὴν τῷ σώματι περιπλέκεσθαι καὶ μὴ δύνασθαι καθαρῶς τὴν ἀλήθειαν θεωρεῖν• νύκτωρ δὲ διαλυθεῖσαν τῆς περὶ τοῦτο λειτουργίας καὶ σφαιρωθεῖσαν ἐν τῷ περὶ τὸν θώρακα τόπῳ μαντικωτέραν γίνεσθαι, ἐξ ὧν τὰ ἐνύπνια.