aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Archive for March 2013

Lucian, Life of Demonax 16

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ἐπεὶ δέ τις ἀθλητὴς καταγελασθεὶς ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἐσθῆτα ὤφθη ἀνθινὴν ἀμπεχόμενος Ὀλυμπιονίκης ὤν, ἐπάταξεν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν λίθῳ καὶ αἷμα ἐρρύη, οἱ μὲν παρόντες ἠγανάκτουν ὡς αὐτὸς ἕκαστος τετυπτημένος καὶ ἐβόων πρὸς τὸν ἀνθύπατον ἰέναι, ὁ δὲ Δημῶναξ, “μηδαμῶς,” ἔφη, “ὦ ἄνδρες, πρὸς τὸν ἀνθύπατον, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τὸν ἰατρόν.”

And an athlete was ridiculed by Demonax for drawing attention to himself, being a victor at the Olympic games, by dressing up in bright-coloured clothing; the athlete then hit him on the head with a stone and drew blood. The bystanders got angry, as though they had each been struck themselves, and shouted that they were going to go to the governor. But Demonax said, ‘No, gentlemen! Not to the governor, but to the doctor!’

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 31, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Lucian

Publilius Syrus, Aphorisms 150 (E4)

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ex vitio alterius sapiens emendat suum.

A wise person corrects their own mistake from someone else’s.

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Publilius Syrus

Epictetus, Handbook 5

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ταράσσει τοὺς ἀνθρώπους οὐ τὰ πράγματα, ἀλλὰ τὰ περὶ τῶν πραγμάτων δόγματα.

It is not things, but opinions about things, that agitate people.

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Epictetus

Petronius, Satyrica 50.5-6

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The rich freedman Trimalchio gives what Catherine Connors calls a ‘garbled and completely implausible retelling of the already unlikely story’ of the origins of Corinthian bronze during Mummius’ sack of the city.

cum Ilium captum est, Hannibal, homo vafer et magnus stelio, omnes statuas aeneas et aureas et argenteas in unum rogum congessit et eas incendit; factae sunt in unum aera miscellanea. ita ex hac massa fabri sustulerunt et fecerunt catilla et paropsides <et> statuncula. sic Corinthea nata sunt ex omnibus in unum, nec hoc nec illud.

When Troy was captured, Hannibal (a cunning man and a real snake) heaped up all the statues – bronze, gold and silver ones – and set them on fire. They all turned into a single mixed lump of bronze. So craftsmen took bits from this lump and made little bowls, dessert-dishes and statuettes. This is how Corinthian bronzes were born, from all metals mixed in one, neither one thing nor the other.

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 21, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Petronius

Lucian, Life of Demonax 37

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καὶ μάντιν δέ ποτε ἰδὼν δημοσίᾳ ἐπὶ μισθῷ μαντευόμενον, “οὐχ ὁρῶ,” ἔφη, “ἐφ’ ὅτῳ τὸν μισθὸν ἀπαιτεῖς· εἰ μὲν γὰρ ὡς ἀλλάξαι τι δυνάμενος τῶν ἐπικεκλωσμένων, ὀλίγον αἰτεῖς ὁπόσον ἂν αἰτῇς, εἰ δὲ ὡς δέδοκται τῷ θεῷ πάντα ἔσται, τί σου δύναται ἡ μαντική;”

And once, when he saw a fortune-teller telling fortunes for a fee, he said, ‘I don’t see the reason why you ask for a fee: if you are able to change any of the things that have been fated, then whatever you charge will be too small an amount, but if everything will happen in the way the god has decided, what does your fortune-telling achieve?’

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Lucian

Phaedrus, Fables 5.5.1-3

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pravo favore labi mortales solent
et, pro iudicio dum stant erroris sui,
ad paenitendum rebus manifestis agi.

Mortals tend to slip up as a result of improper partiality; and while they stand to defend their error they tend to be driven to be repentant by the plain facts.

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Phaedrus

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 4.2

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μηδὲν ἐνέργημα εἰκῇ μηδὲ ἄλλως ἢ κατὰ θεώρημα συμπληρωτικὸν τῆς τέχνης ἐνεργείσθω.

No action should be done at random, nothing other than what is an essential part of the system.

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Marcus Aurelius

Suetonius, Galba 6.1

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honoribus ante legitimum tempus initis praetor commissione ludorum Floralium novum spectaculi genus elephantos funambulos edidit.

He began to hold public office before the legal age; when he was praetor he put on the games of the Floralia, producing a new kind of spectacle – tightrope-walking elephants.

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Suetonius

Homer, Iliad 9.312-313

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ἐχθρὸς γάρ μοι κεῖνος ὁμῶς Ἀΐδαο πύλῃσιν
ὅς χ᾽ ἕτερον μὲν κεύθῃ ἐνὶ φρεσίν, ἄλλο δὲ εἴπῃ.

Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who says one thing but conceals another thing in his heart.

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Homer

anonymous, CIL IV 813

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A notice from Pompeii, in hexameter form.

otiosis locus hic non est; discede morator.

This is no place for idlers; go away, loiterer!

Written by aleatorclassicus

March 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in anonymi