aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Dio Chrysostom, Orations 9.1

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An appropriate passage for the opening of the Commonwealth Games? The philosopher Diogenes visits the Isthmian games to observe human nature.

Ἰσθμίων ὄντων κατέβη Διογένης εἰς τὸν Ἰσθμιόν, ὡς ἔοικεν, ἐν Κορίνθῳ διατρίβων. παρετύγχανε δὲ ταῖς πανηγύρεσιν οὐχ ὧνπερ οἱ πολλοὶ ἕνεκα, βουλόμενοι θεάσασθαι τοὺς ἀθλητὰς καὶ ἵνα ἐμπλησθῶσιν, ἀλλ’ ἐπισκοπῶν οἶμαι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ τὴν ἄνοιαν αὐτῶν. ᾔδει γὰρ ὅτι φανερώτατοί εἰσιν ἐν ταῖς ἑορταῖς καὶ ταῖς πανηγύρεσιν· ἐν δὲ πολέμῳ καὶ στρατοπέδῳ λανθάνουσι μᾶλλον διὰ τὸ κινδυνεύειν καὶ φοβεῖσθαι.

When the Isthmian Games were taking place, Diogenes went down to the Isthmus (seemingly when he was staying in Corinth). But he attended the gatherings not for the same reason as most people, who want to watch the athletes and to fill themselves with food, but so that he could observe people, I think, and their folly. For he knew that people are at their most open at festivals and gatherings, but in war and in camp they are less easily observed because of the danger and fear.

Written by aleatorclassicus

October 4, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Dio Chrysostom

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