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Sophocles, Ajax 646-649

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ἅπανθ’ ὁ μακρὸς κἀναρίθμητος χρόνος
φύει τ’ ἄδηλα καὶ φανέντα κρύπτεται·
κοὐκ ἔστ’ ἄελπτον οὐδέν, ἀλλ’ ἁλίσκεται
χὠ δεινὸς ὅρκος χαἰ περισκελεῖς φρένες.

Long, unmeasurable Time brings to light everything unseen and hides what has been apparent. Nothing is beyond hope; even the fearsome oath and the most stubborn will is overcome.

See too this earlier post.

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Sophocles

Suetonius, Caligula 51.2

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Imperial crowd-surfing.

adversus barbaros quoque minacissimus, cum trans Rhenum inter angustias densumque agmen iter essedo faceret, dicente quodam non mediocrem fore consternationem sicunde hostis appareat, equum ilico conscendit ac propere reversus ad pontes; ut eos calonibus et impedimentis stipatos repperit, impatiens morae per manus ac super capita hominum translatus est.

Although he also issued very many threats against the barbarians, when he was travelling in a chariot, and amid a close-packed column of men, through a narrow pass on the far side of the Rhine, someone said that there would be no little alarm if the enemy should appear from anywhere. Caligula immediately mounted a horse and rushed back to the bridges. When he found that they were crammed full of camp servants and baggage, he was impatient at the delay and was carried by hand over the men’s heads.

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 28, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Suetonius

Isocrates, Panegyric of Athens 9

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αἱ μὲν γὰρ πράξεις αἱ προγεγενημέναι κοιναὶ πᾶσιν ἡμῖν κατελείφθησαν, τὸ δ’ ἐν καιρῷ ταύταις καταχρήσασθαι καὶ τὰ προσήκοντα περὶ ἑκάστης ἐνθυμηθῆναι καὶ τοῖς ὀνόμασιν εὖ διαθέσθαι τῶν εὖ φρονούντων ἴδιόν ἐστιν.

The deeds which were done in the past have been bequeathed to us all in common, but the full use of them at the right moment, the consideration of the correct opinions about each one, and the good arrangement of them in words, are a particular ability of men of good counsel.

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Isocrates

Juvenal, Satires 10.1-6

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omnibus in terris, quae sunt a Gadibus usque
Auroram et Gangen, pauci dinoscere possunt
vera bona atque illis multum diversa, remota
erroris nebula. quid enim ratione timemus
aut cupimus? quid tam dextro pede concipis ut te
conatus non paeniteat votique peracti?

In all the lands from Gades to the East and the Ganges, there are few people who can remove the mist of error and tell apart what things are truly good and what things are much their opposite. For, when accompanied by reason, what do we fear or desire? What plan do you draw up so auspiciously that you do not end up regretting the effort and the granting of your wish?

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September 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Juvenal

Plutarch, Sayings of Romans 207c-d (Augustus 7)

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The ancient equivalent of taking a deep breath and counting to ten.

Ἀθηνοδώρῳ δὲ τῷ φιλοσόφῳ διὰ γῆρας εἰς οἶκον ἀφεθῆναι δεηθέντι συνεχώρησεν. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἀσπασάμενος αὐτὸν ὁ Ἀθηνόδωρος εἶπεν, “ὅταν ὀργισθῇς, Καῖσαρ, μηδὲν εἴπῃς μηδὲ ποιήσῃς πρότερον ἢ τὰ εἰκοσι καὶ τέτταρα γράμματα διελθεῖν πρὸς ἑαυτόν,” ἐπιλαβόμενος αὐτοῦ τῆς χειρός, “ἔτι σοῦ παρόντος,” ἔφη, “χρείαν ἔχω”, καὶ κατέσχεν αὐτὸν ἐνιαυτὸν ὅλον, εἴπων ὅτι “ἔστι καὶ σιγῆς ἀκίνδυνον γέρας.”

He granted the request of the philosopher Athenodorus, who asked to be allowed to return home because of his old age. But when Athenodorus was taking his leave he said, ‘Whenever you get angry, Caesar, say nothing and do nothing before you have run through the twenty-four letters of the alphabet to yourself.’ Augustus seized hold of his hand and said, ‘I still need you to be here!’ and kept him for a whole year, saying ‘The reward of silence is a lack of risk’ [Simonides, fr. 582].

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Plutarch

Seneca, Thyestes 344-349

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regem non faciunt opes,
non vestis Tyriae color,
non frontis nota regia,
non auro nitidae fores;
rex est qui posuit metus
et diri mala pectoris.

Riches do not make a king, nor clothing of Tyrian hue, nor the mark of royalty on the brow, nor doors gleaming with gold. A king is he who has put aside fear and the evil desires of an ill-boding heart.

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Seneca the Younger

Aristophanes, Clouds 181-3

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Strepsiades has been hearing examples of Socrates’ scientific investigations and is now impatient to enrol as a student.

ἄνοιγ’ ἄνοιγ’ ἁνύσας τὸ φροντιστήριον
καὶ δεῖξον ὡς τάχιστά μοι τὸν Σωκράτη.
μαθητιῶ γάρ. ἀλλ’ ἄνοιγε τὴν θύραν.

Hurry, open up! Open up the Thinkery and show me this Socrates as soon as possible! I want to be a student! Open the door!

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 14, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Aristophanes

Augustine, Confessions 2.9

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Augustine reflects on the group psychology of the teen gang with whom he infamously stole some pears.

quid erat ille affectus animi? certe enim plane turpis erat nimis, et vae mihi erat qui habebam illum. sed tamen quid erat? ‘delicta quis intellegit?’ risus erat quasi titillato corde, quod fallebamus eos qui haec a nobis fieri non putabant et vehementer nolebant. cur ergo eo me delectabat quo id non faciebam solus? an quia etiam nemo facile solus ridet? nemo quidem facile, sed tamen etiam solos et singulos homines, cum alius nemo praesens, vincit risus aliquando, si aliquid nimie ridiculum vel sensibus occurit vel animo. at ego illud solus non facerem, non facerem omnino solus.

What was that state of mind? It was, for sure, certainly and exceedingly depraved, and was woe to me who was in that state of mind. But still, what was it? ‘Who can understand his transgressions?’ [Psalm 18.13] There was laughter, as if our hearts were tickled because we were deceiving those who had no idea that we were doing these things, and who would have strongly desired that we should not do them. So why was I so delighted at that thing which I would not have done alone? Is it because no one laughs easily when they are alone? Certainly not easily, but still, even when no one else is present, sometimes laughter overtakes even people who are solitary and on their own, if something all too funny presents itself to their senses or mind. But I on my own would not have done that deed, on my own I would not have done it at all.

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Augustine

Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 71

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Plutarch, priest of Apollo at Delphi, doesn’t really approve of Egyptian religion.

τοῦτο δ’ οὐχ ἥκιστα πεπόνθασιν Αἰγύπτιοι περὶ τὰ τιμώμενα τῶν ζῴων. Ἕλληνες μὲν γὰρ ἔν γε τούτοις λέγουσιν ὀρθῶς καὶ νομίζουσιν ἱερὸν Ἀφροδίτης ζῷον εἶναι τὴν περιστερὰν καὶ τὸν δράκοντα τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς καὶ τὸν κόρακα τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος καὶ τὸν κύνα τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος, ὡς Εὐριπίδης· “Ἑκάτης ἄγαλμα φωσφόρου κύων ἔσῃ”· Αἰγυπτίων δ’ οἱ πολλοὶ θεραπεύοντες αὐτὰ τὰ ζῷα καὶ περιέποντες ὡς θεοὺς οὐ γέλωτος μόνον οὐδὲ χλευασμοῦ καταπεπλήκασι τὰς ἱερουργίας, ἀλλὰ τοῦτο τῆς ἀβελτερίας ἐλάχιστόν ἐστι κακόν· δόξα δ’ ἐμφύεται δεινὴ τοὺς μὲν ἀσθενεῖς καὶ ἀκάκους εἰς ἄκρατον ὑπερείπουσα τὴν δεισιδαιμονίαν, τοῖς δὲ δριμυτέροις καὶ θρασυτέροις εἰς ἀθέους ἐμπίπτουσα καὶ θηριώδεις λογισμούς.

The Egyptians have fallen into no less an error in their worship of animals. For the Greeks speak of these matters in the correct way, and consider the dove to be the sacred animal of Aphrodite, the snake that of Athena, the raven that of Apollo, and the dog that of Artemis – as Euripides says: ‘You shall be a dog, the image of Hecate the torch-bearer.’ But most of the Egyptians do honour to the animals themselves and treat them with respect as though they were gods; not only have they filled the sacred rites with laughter and mockery – this is the smallest evil to come out of their silliness – but a terrible belief is implanted, which casts the weak and guileless into superstition and which brings down the more shrewd and bold into atheism and savage theorising.

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Euripides, Plutarch

Plautus, Curculio 53-54

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‘There’s no smoke without fire.’

semper tu scito, flamma fumo est proxima;
fumo comburi nil potest, flamma potest.

Know this always: a flame is very close to smoke. With smoke a thing can’t be burnt; with a flame, it can.

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 6, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Plautus