aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

[Xenophon], Constitution of the Athenians, 1.1

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The writer of this is not Xenophon but an anonymous author now known affectionately as the ‘Old Oligarch’. Whether he was actually old is anyone’s guess… He doesn’t really approve of democracy:

περὶ δὲ τῆς Ἀθηναίων πολιτείας, ὅτι μὲν εἵλοντο τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον τῆς πολιτείας οὐκ ἐπαινῶ διὰ τόδε, ὅτι ταῦθ᾽ ἑλόμενοι εἵλοντο τοὺς πονηροὺς ἄμεινον πράττειν ἢ τοὺς χρηστούς· διὰ μὲν οὖν τοῦτο οὐκ ἐπαινῶ. ἐπεὶ δὲ ταῦτα ἔδοξεν οὕτως αὐτοῖς, ὡς εὖ διασῴζονται τὴν πολιτείαν καὶ τἆλλα διαπράττονται ἃ δοκοῦσιν ἁμαρτάνειν τοῖς ἄλλοις Ἕλλησι, τοῦτ᾽ ἀποδείξω.

And concerning the Athenians’ constitution, I do not think well of their having chosen this sort of constitution, because by making that choice they have chosen to let the common people do better than the good people. This is the reason why I do not praise it. But since they have made this decision for themselves, I shall show that they are preserving their constitution in a good way, and that they do accomplish those other things which the other Greeks think they are doing in the wrong way.

Written by aleatorclassicus

May 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in anonymi

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