“What’s this got to do with Helen?” Four Passages from Euripides Iphigenia at Aulis

“…It isn’t right that
A well-born man change his ways when attempting great deeds:
No, he should at that moment be steadfast, especially to his friends
Since a men is most able to help his friends when he does well.”

…ἄνδρα δ᾽ οὐ χρεὼν
τὸν ἀγαθὸν πράσσοντα μεγάλα τοὺς τρόπους μεθιστάναι,
ἀλλὰ καὶ βέβαιον εἶναι τότε μάλιστα τοῖς φίλοις,
ἡνίκ᾽ ὠφελεῖν μάλιστα δυνατός ἐστιν εὐτυχῶν.

This sounds nice and sententious. But remember that Menelaos is trying to convince Agamemnon to kill his daughter.

494: “What does your daughter have to do with Helen?”

…τί δ’ ῾Ελένης παρθένωι τῆι σῆι μέτα;

Agamemnon: “The offspring of Sisyphus knows everything.”
Menelaos: “There is no way that Odysseus will hurt you and me.”
Agamemnon: “He has always been clever with the mob.”
Menelaos: “He is a slave to public favor, a terrible evil.?

Αγ. τὸ Σισύφειον σπέρμα πάντ’ οἶδεν τάδε.
Με. οὐκ ἔστ’ ᾿Οδυσσεὺς ὅτι σὲ κἀμὲ πημανεῖ.
Αγ. ποικίλος ἀεὶ πέφυκε τοῦ τ’ ὄχλου μέτα.
Με. φιλοτιμίαι μὲν ἐνέχεται, δεινῶι κακῶι.


“Men have different natures;
They have different ways. But acting rightly
Always stands out.
The preparation of education
points the way to virtue.
For it is a mark of wisdom to feel shame
and it brings the transformative grace
of seeing through its judgment
what is right; it is reputation that grants
an ageless glory to your life.”

διάφοροι δὲ φύσεις βροτῶν,
διάφοροι δὲ τρόποι· τὸ δ’ ὀρ-
θῶς ἐσθλὸν σαφὲς αἰεί·
τροφαί θ’ αἱ παιδευόμεναι
μέγα φέρουσ’ ἐς τὰν ἀρετάν·
τό τε γὰρ αἰδεῖσθαι σοφία,
†τάν τ’ ἐξαλλάσσουσαν ἔχει
χάριν ὑπὸ γνώμας ἐσορᾶν†
τὸ δέον, ἔνθα δόξα φέρει
κλέος ἀγήρατον βιοτᾶι.

On Curbing Temper and Intemperance: Plutarch, How to Study Poetry 31b-c

“It is a wonderful mark of forethought not to miss the fact that you have an uncontrollable temper and just be difficult and emotional by nature, but instead handle it well and be on guard against causes of anger and to defer them by considering the matter beforehand in order not to unwillingly descend into such suffering, is a mark of wondrous forethought. A similar approach toward wine is best for someone fond of drinking or toward sex for the rather lusty among us.”

τὸ γὰρ ἐπισφαλῶς πρὸς ὀργὴν ἔχοντα καὶ φύσει τραχὺν ὄντα καὶ θυμοειδῆ μὴ λανθάνειν ἑαυτὸν ἀλλ’ ἐξευλαβεῖσθαι καὶ φυλάττεσθαι τὰς αἰτίας καὶ προκαταλαμβάνειν τῷ λογισμῷ πόρρωθεν ὅπως οὐδ’ ἄκων τῷ πάθει περιπεσεῖται, θαυμαστῆς ἐστι προνοίας. οὕτω δὲ δεῖ καὶ πρὸς μέθην τὸν φίλοινον ἔχειν καὶ πρὸς ἔρωτα τὸν ἐρωτικόν•