Using the Past as a Guide for the Future

Andocides, On the Peace with Sparta 1-2

“You all seem to me to understand, Athenians, that it is better to make a just peace than to keep going to war. That politicians agree to peace in name but they oppose the acts that foster peace, you do not all perceive this. For they claim that, once peace is achieved, there is the greatest peril for the people that the current regime may be dissolved.

Therefore, if the people of the Athenians had never made peace before with the Lakedaimonians, we might rightly fear this because of inexperience of the process or distrust for them. Since you have often made peace with them previously when you were already ruled as a democracy, how would it not be right for you to first examine the things that happened before. For, it is right, Athenians, to use prior events as a guide about what will happen in the future.”

Ὅτι μὲν εἰρήνην ποιεῖσθαι δικαίαν ἄμεινόν ἐστιν ἢ πολεμεῖν, δοκεῖτέ μοι, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, πάντες γιγνώσκειν· ὅτι δὲ οἱ ῥήτορες τῷ μὲν ὀνόματι τῆς εἰρήνης συγχωροῦσι, τοῖς δ᾿ ἔργοις ἀφ᾿ ὧν ἂν ἡ εἰρήνη γένοιτο ἐναντιοῦνται, τοῦτο δὲ οὐ πάντες αἰσθάνεσθε. λέγουσι γὰρ ὡς ἔστι δεινότατον τῷ δήμῳ, γενομένης εἰρήνης, ἡ νῦν οὖσα πολιτεία μὴ καταλυθῇ.

Εἰ μὲν οὖν μηδεπώποτε πρότερον ὁ δῆμος ὁ [τῶν]2Ἀθηναίων εἰρήνην ἐποιήσατο πρὸς Λακεδαιμονίους, εἰκότως ἂν ἐφοβούμεθα αὐτὸ διά τε τὴν ἀπειρίαν τοῦ ἔργου διά τε τὴν ἐκείνων ἀπιστίαν· ὅπου δὲ πολλάκις ἤδη πρότερον εἰρήνην ἐποιήσασθε δημοκρατούμενοι, πῶς οὐκ εἰκὸς ὑμᾶς πρῶτον ἐκεῖνα σκέψασθαι τὰ τότε γενόμενα; χρὴ γάρ, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, τεκμηρίοις χρῆσθαι τοῖς πρότερον γενομένοις περὶ τῶν μελλόντων ἔσεσθαι.

ὡς ἔστι δεινότατον… Smyth §2224 δεινός εἰμι functions grammatically as an expression of fear, triggering the fear clause postponed to the end of the sentence (μὴ καταλυθῇ)

 

Image result for Athens treaty with sparta inscription
Segment of the Gortyn Legal inscription

Using the Past as a Guide for the Future

Andocides, On the Peace with Sparta 1-2

“You all seem to me to understand, Athenians, that it is better to make a just peace than to keep going to war. That politicians agree to peace in name but they oppose the acts that foster peace, you do not all perceive this. For they claim that, once peace is achieved, there is the greatest peril for the people that the current regime may be dissolved.

Therefore, if the people of the Athenians had never made peace before with the Lakedaimonians, we might rightly fear this because of inexperience of the process or distrust for them. Since you have often made peace with them previously when you were already ruled as a democracy, how would it not be right for you to first examine the things that happened before. For, it is right, Athenians, to use prior events as a guide about what will happen in the future.”

Ὅτι μὲν εἰρήνην ποιεῖσθαι δικαίαν ἄμεινόν ἐστιν ἢ πολεμεῖν, δοκεῖτέ μοι, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, πάντες γιγνώσκειν· ὅτι δὲ οἱ ῥήτορες τῷ μὲν ὀνόματι τῆς εἰρήνης συγχωροῦσι, τοῖς δ᾿ ἔργοις ἀφ᾿ ὧν ἂν ἡ εἰρήνη γένοιτο ἐναντιοῦνται, τοῦτο δὲ οὐ πάντες αἰσθάνεσθε. λέγουσι γὰρ ὡς ἔστι δεινότατον τῷ δήμῳ, γενομένης εἰρήνης, ἡ νῦν οὖσα πολιτεία μὴ καταλυθῇ.

Εἰ μὲν οὖν μηδεπώποτε πρότερον ὁ δῆμος ὁ [τῶν]2Ἀθηναίων εἰρήνην ἐποιήσατο πρὸς Λακεδαιμονίους, εἰκότως ἂν ἐφοβούμεθα αὐτὸ διά τε τὴν ἀπειρίαν τοῦ ἔργου διά τε τὴν ἐκείνων ἀπιστίαν· ὅπου δὲ πολλάκις ἤδη πρότερον εἰρήνην ἐποιήσασθε δημοκρατούμενοι, πῶς οὐκ εἰκὸς ὑμᾶς πρῶτον ἐκεῖνα σκέψασθαι τὰ τότε γενόμενα; χρὴ γάρ, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, τεκμηρίοις χρῆσθαι τοῖς πρότερον γενομένοις περὶ τῶν μελλόντων ἔσεσθαι.

ὡς ἔστι δεινότατον… Smyth §2224 δεινός εἰμι functions grammatically as an expression of fear, triggering the fear clause postponed to the end of the sentence (μὴ καταλυθῇ)

 

Image result for Athens treaty with sparta inscription
Segment of the Gortyn Legal inscription

War-Lust, Amnesties, and the Destruction of the State

Photius

Mnêsikakein: “to make a reminder of evil deeds”

Μνησικακεῖν: τὸ ὑπομιμνήσκεσθαι τῶν κακῶν.

mnesikakein

Aeschines 2.176

“Even though we had it going so well, we waged war against the Spartans again because we were persuaded by the Argives. Eventually, thanks to the war-lust of our politicians, we lost and ended up with a garrison in the city along with the four-hundred and the unholy thirty. We did not make peace, but we were forced by commands. But when we were governed sensibly again and the democracy returned from Phyle—and Arkhinos and Thrasuboulos were leading—they established for us the oath of not holding grudges [to mê mnêsikakein], a thing for which all people judged our city most wise.

From this, the democracy was revived and strong from its foundation. But now people who have been enrolled as citizens against the law and are always attracted to any sickness of the city are pursuing war after war as a political platform. Yet, while they see terrible things in peace and incite our covetous and excessively violent minds, nevertheless they never touch weapons during times of war. No, once they become secretaries and cabinet members—these children of prostitutes, rightfully stripped of their rights for their slander—these men pilot the state into the most extreme dangers. They minister to the name of democracy not with their behavior but with their flattery even as they annihilate peace. Democracy is preserved by peace; they struggle to find wars which bring about democracy’s end.”

καὶ τοσαῦτ᾽ ἔχοντες τἀγαθά, πάλιν πόλεμον πρὸς Λακεδαιμονίους ἐξηνέγκαμεν πεισθέντες ὑπ᾽ Ἀργείων, καὶ τελευτῶντες ἐκ τῆς τῶν ῥητόρων ἁψιμαχίας εἰς φρουρὰν τῆς πόλεως καὶ τοὺς τετρακοσίους καὶ τοὺς ἀσεβεῖς τριάκοντα ἐνεπέσομεν, οὐκ εἰρήνην ποιησάμενοι, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ προσταγμάτων ἠναγκασμένοι. πάλιν δὲ σωφρόνως πολιτευθέντες, καὶ τοῦ δήμου κατελθόντος ἀπὸ Φυλῆς, Ἀρχίνου καὶ Θρασυβούλου προστάντων τοῦ δήμου, καὶ τὸ μὴ μνησικακεῖν πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἔνορκον ἡμῖν καταστησάντων, ὅθεν σοφωτάτην ἅπαντες τὴν πόλιν ἡγήσαντο εἶναι, κἀνταῦθα ἀναφύντος τοῦ δήμου καὶ πάλιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἰσχύσαντος, ἄνθρωποι παρέγγραπτοι γεγενημένοι πολῖται, καὶ τὸ νοσοῦν τῆς πόλεως ἀεὶ προσαγόμενοι, καὶ πόλεμον ἐκ πολέμου πολιτευόμενοι, ἐν μὲν εἰρήνῃ τὰ δεινὰ τῷ λόγῳ προορώμενοι, καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς τὰς φιλοτίμους καὶ λίαν ὀξείας ἐρεθίζοντες, ἐν δὲ τοῖς πολέμοις ὅπλων οὐχ ἁπτόμενοι, ἐξετασταὶ δὲ καὶ ἀποστολεῖς γιγνόμενοι, παιδοποιούμενοι δὲ ἐξ ἑταιρῶν, ἄτιμοι δ᾽ ἐκ συκοφαντίας, εἰς τοὺς ἐσχάτους κινδύνους τὴν πόλιν καθιστᾶσι, τὸ μὲν τῆς δημοκρατίας ὄνομα οὐ τοῖς ἤθεσιν, ἀλλὰ τῇ κολακείᾳ θεραπεύοντες, καταλύοντες δὲ τὴν εἰρήνην, ἐξ ἧς ἡ δημοκρατία σῴζεται, συναγωνιζόμενοι δὲ τοῖς πολέμοις, ἐξ ὧν ὁ δῆμος καταλύεται.

Aeschines 3.208

“Indeed, whenever he says these sorts of things against arguments for specific factions, propose this in return: “Demosthenes, if the people who restored the democracy in exile from Phyle were similar to you, the democracy would never have been re-established. But now they saved the city from great calamities and uttered that finest speech of a cultured mind: “Don’t hold a grudge” [mnêsikakein]” But you rip open wounds: today’s speech matters more to you than the safety of the state.”

But when an oathbreaker takes flight in the faith you put in oaths, mention this to him, that when someone frequently breaks an oath but is always thinking it necessary to procure trust with oaths, one of two options remain to him. Either, he swears by new gods or he finds audiences that are different.”

ὅταν δὴ τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγῃ, πρὸς μὲν τοὺς στασιαστικοὺς λόγους ἐκεῖνο αὐτῷ ὑποβάλλετε: ‘ὦ Δημόσθενες, εἰ ὅμοιοι ἦσαν σοὶ οἱ ἀπὸ Φυλῆς φεύγοντα τὸν δῆμον καταγαγόντες, οὐκ ἄν ποθ᾽ ἡ δημοκρατία κατέστη. νῦν δὲ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μεγάλων κακῶν συμβάντων ἔσωσαν τὴν πόλιν τὸ κάλλιστον ἐκ παιδείας ῥῆμα φθεγξάμενοι, ‘μὴ μνησικακεῖν’: σὺ δὲ ἑλκοποιεῖς, καὶ μᾶλλόν σοι μέλει τῶν αὐθημερὸν λόγων, ἢ τῆς σωτηρίας τῆς πόλεως.’

ὅταν δ᾽ ἐπίορκος ὢν εἰς τὴν τῶν ὅρκων πίστιν καταφυγγάνῃ, ἐκεῖνο ἀπομνημονεύσατε αὐτῷ, ὅτι τῷ πολλάκις μὲν ἐπιορκοῦντι, ἀεὶ δὲ  μεθ᾽ ὅρκων ἀξιοῦντι πιστεύεσθαι, δυοῖν θάτερον ὑπάρξαι δεῖ,  ἢ τοὺς θεοὺς καινούς, ἢ τοὺς ἀκροατὰς μὴ τοὺς αὐτούς.

 

Related image
Amazonomachy Frieze from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Using the Past as a Guide for the Future

Andocides, On the Peace with Sparta 1-2

“You all seem to me to understand, Athenians, that it is better to make a just peace than to keep going to war. That politicians agree to peace in name but they oppose the acts that foster peace, you do not all perceive this. For they claim that, once peace is achieved, there is the greatest peril for the people that the current regime may be dissolved.

Therefore, if the people of the Athenians had never made peace before with the Lakedaimonians, we might rightly fear this because of inexperience of the process or distrust for them. Since you have often made peace with them previously when you were already ruled as a democracy, how would it not be right for you to first examine the things that happened before. For, it is right, Athenians, to use prior events as a guide about what will happen in the future.”

Ὅτι μὲν εἰρήνην ποιεῖσθαι δικαίαν ἄμεινόν ἐστιν ἢ πολεμεῖν, δοκεῖτέ μοι, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, πάντες γιγνώσκειν· ὅτι δὲ οἱ ῥήτορες τῷ μὲν ὀνόματι τῆς εἰρήνης συγχωροῦσι, τοῖς δ᾿ ἔργοις ἀφ᾿ ὧν ἂν ἡ εἰρήνη γένοιτο ἐναντιοῦνται, τοῦτο δὲ οὐ πάντες αἰσθάνεσθε. λέγουσι γὰρ ὡς ἔστι δεινότατον τῷ δήμῳ, γενομένης εἰρήνης, ἡ νῦν οὖσα πολιτεία μὴ καταλυθῇ.

Εἰ μὲν οὖν μηδεπώποτε πρότερον ὁ δῆμος ὁ [τῶν]2Ἀθηναίων εἰρήνην ἐποιήσατο πρὸς Λακεδαιμονίους, εἰκότως ἂν ἐφοβούμεθα αὐτὸ διά τε τὴν ἀπειρίαν τοῦ ἔργου διά τε τὴν ἐκείνων ἀπιστίαν· ὅπου δὲ πολλάκις ἤδη πρότερον εἰρήνην ἐποιήσασθε δημοκρατούμενοι, πῶς οὐκ εἰκὸς ὑμᾶς πρῶτον ἐκεῖνα σκέψασθαι τὰ τότε γενόμενα; χρὴ γάρ, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, τεκμηρίοις χρῆσθαι τοῖς πρότερον γενομένοις περὶ τῶν μελλόντων ἔσεσθαι.

ὡς ἔστι δεινότατον… Smyth §2224 δεινός εἰμι functions grammatically as an expression of fear, triggering the fear clause postponed to the end of the sentence (μὴ καταλυθῇ)

 

Image result for Athens treaty with sparta inscription
Segment of the Gortyn Legal inscription

War and Peace and Weddings: Two Cities in Siena, Homer and Hesiod

 

In the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, Italy there are a series of Frescoes referred to as “The Allegory of Good and Bad Government” painted from 1338 to 1339 by Abrogio Lorenzetti. One panel shows a good government, and to the right the effects of a city governed well where the people seem free of the threat of war and their lives are full with good things–children, marriages, dancing.

Good government

The other city facing it is ruled by a tyrant; soldiers wander the streets and the law of might seems to be in effect.

Bad government

Here’s a short video giving you an idea of the whole composition. The City of Bad Government is more fragmentary, but the state of all three Frescoes communicates well the oppositions between Good Rule and Bad Rule, what ancient Greeks might call eunomia and dusnomia.

The allegorizing and the strict dichotomy are both rather typical of late Medieval thought, but what struck me about the city of Good Government is the collocation of images in the lower left hand corner:

20150612_172853

The image of the marriage so close to the festive dancing in the context of two contrasted cities made me think of the decoration Hephaestus puts on Homer’s shield in the IliadThe first city’s description starts in the following way (18.489-495):

“On the shield he made two cities of mortal men,
Beautifully. In one there were marriages and feasts
Under the lights of burning torches as they led brides
Through the city from their bedrooms—a great marriage hymn rose up.
And the young men whirled about dancing as among them
The pipes and lyres cried out. Women stood there,
Each at her own doorway, staring in amazement.”

᾿Εν δὲ δύω ποίησε πόλεις μερόπων ἀνθρώπων
καλάς. ἐν τῇ μέν ῥα γάμοι τ’ ἔσαν εἰλαπίναι τε,
νύμφας δ’ ἐκ θαλάμων δαΐδων ὕπο λαμπομενάων
ἠγίνεον ἀνὰ ἄστυ, πολὺς δ’ ὑμέναιος ὀρώρει·
κοῦροι δ’ ὀρχηστῆρες ἐδίνεον, ἐν δ’ ἄρα τοῖσιν
αὐλοὶ φόρμιγγές τε βοὴν ἔχον· αἳ δὲ γυναῖκες
ἱστάμεναι θαύμαζον ἐπὶ προθύροισιν ἑκάστη.

But we also find an elaborated comparison of two cities in a work ascribed to Hesiod, the “Shield of Herakles”.  In this short ‘epic’ poem, Herakles goes to fight Kyknos. His shield’s description is a central part of the poem.

Hesiod, Aspis [“Shield] 237-247; 270-285; cf. the two Cities in Iliad 18 (below)

“..Beyond them
Men in arms of war were struggling—
Some fought, warding destruction away from their city
and their parent; others were eager to sack it.
Many were dead; but many more still struggled in strife.
On the well-built bronze walls of the city their wives
cried sharply and they tore at their cheeks,
so much like living women, this work of famous Hephaestus.
The elders, the men whom age had bent,
Stood close together outside the walls, holding their hands
To the blessed gods, because they feared for their children….”

…. οἳ δ’ ὑπὲρ αὐτέων
ἄνδρες ἐμαρνάσθην πολεμήια τεύχε’ ἔχοντες,
τοὶ μὲν ὑπὲρ σφετέρης πόλιος σφετέρων τε τοκήων
λοιγὸν ἀμύνοντες, τοὶ δὲ πραθέειν μεμαῶτες.
πολλοὶ μὲν κέατο, πλέονες δ’ ἔτι δῆριν ἔχοντες
μάρνανθ’. αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες ἐυδμήτων ἐπὶ πύργων
χαλκέων ὀξὺ βόων, κατὰ δ’ ἐδρύπτοντο παρειάς,
ζωῇσιν ἴκελαι, ἔργα κλυτοῦ ῾Ηφαίστοιο.
ἄνδρες δ’ οἳ πρεσβῆες ἔσαν γῆράς τε μέμαρπεν
ἀθρόοι ἔκτοσθεν πυλέων ἔσαν, ἂν δὲ θεοῖσι
χεῖρας ἔχον μακάρεσσι, περὶ σφετέροισι τέκεσσι
δειδιότες…

“Next to [that city] was a well-towered city of men,
Seven gates were fitted in gold to their frames around it.
The men were engaged in pleasure at festivals and dances.
Some were conveying a wife home to her husband
On a well-wheeled cart as a great hymn arose;
And in the distance the light of burning torches waved
In maidens’ hands. They walked in front, flushed with joy
At the festival, as the playful choruses followed them.
The men rang out a song to the clear-voiced flutes
With their tender lips, and the echo rang around them.
Others led the lovely dance to the lyre’s songs.
On the other side youths paraded to the aulos;
Others plays in turn in the dancing floor to a song;
More were laughing near them as each went forth
At the flute-player’s lead. And the whole city was full
Of dance, and singing, and pleasure…”

… παρὰ δ’ εὔπυργος πόλις ἀνδρῶν,
χρύσειαι δέ μιν εἶχον ὑπερθυρίοις ἀραρυῖαι
ἑπτὰ πύλαι· τοὶ δ’ ἄνδρες ἐν ἀγλαΐαις τε χοροῖς τε
τέρψιν ἔχον· τοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἐυσσώτρου ἐπ’ ἀπήνης
ἤγοντ’ ἀνδρὶ γυναῖκα, πολὺς δ’ ὑμέναιος ὀρώρει·
τῆλε δ’ ἀπ’ αἰθομένων δαΐδων σέλας εἰλύφαζε
χερσὶν ἐνὶ δμῳῶν· ταὶ δ’ ἀγλαΐῃ τεθαλυῖαι
πρόσθ’ ἔκιον, τῇσιν δὲ χοροὶ παίζοντες ἕποντο·
τοὶ μὲν ὑπὸ λιγυρῶν συρίγγων ἵεσαν αὐδὴν
ἐξ ἁπαλῶν στομάτων, περὶ δέ σφισιν ἄγνυτο ἠχώ·
αἳ δ’ ὑπὸ φορμίγγων ἄναγον χορὸν ἱμερόεντα.
[ἔνθεν δ’ αὖθ’ ἑτέρωθε νέοι κώμαζον ὑπ’ αὐλοῦ.]
τοί γε μὲν αὖ παίζοντες ὑπ’ ὀρχηθμῷ καὶ ἀοιδῇ
[τοί γε μὲν αὖ γελόωντες ὑπ’ αὐλητῆρι ἕκαστος]
πρόσθ’ ἔκιον· πᾶσαν δὲ πόλιν θαλίαι τε χοροί τε
ἀγλαΐαι τ’ εἶχον….

The three sets of images (the Shields and the Frescoes) obviously convey different specific values and draw on separate moralizing traditions, but the attendant imagery and the distinction between a city governed-well and one beset by strife is striking. I do not mean to imply in any way that I think there is a direct relationship between the two, but rather that they are both the natural outcome of cultures steeped in dichotomous representations.

But that corner image of the weddings and dances when coupled with the opening of the peaceful city in the Iliad really started me wondering…