Thursday, September 27, 2007


Insatiable Avarice

In Aristophanes, Wealth 188-197 (tr. anonymous), Chremylus and Cario talk to the god Wealth (Plutus):
CH. Men are never tired of your gifts. They get weary of all else,
— of love ...
CA. Bread.
CH. Music.
CA. Sweetmeats.
CH. Honors.
CA. Cakes.
CH. Battles.
CA. Figs.
CH. Ambition.
CA. Gruel.
CH. Military advancement.
CA. Lentil soup.
CH. But of you they never tire. If a man has thirteen talents, he has all the greater ardor to possess sixteen; if that wish is achieved, he will want forty or will complain that he knows not how to make both ends meet.

Χρ. ὥστ' οὐδὲ μεστὸς σοῦ γέγον' οὐδεὶς πώποτε.
τῶν μὲν γὰρ ἄλλων ἐστὶ πάντων πλησμονή,
Κα. ἄρτων,—
Χρ. μουσικῆς,—
Κα. τραγημάτων,—
Χρ. τιμῆς,—
Κα. πλακούντων,—
Χρ. ἀνδραγαθίας,—
Κα. ἰσχάδων,—
Χρ. φιλοτιμίας,—
Κα. μάζης,—
Χρ. στρατηγίας,—
Κα. φακῆς.
Χρ. σοῦ δ' ἐγένετ' οὐδεὶς μεστὸς οὐδεπώποτε.
ἀλλ' ἢν τάλαντά τις λάβῃ τριακαίδεκα,
πολὺ μᾶλλον ἐπιθυμεῖ λαβεῖν ἑκκαίδεκα:
κἂν ταῦτ' ἀνύσηται, τετταράκοντα βούλεται,
ἢ φησὶν οὐ βιωτὸν αὑτῷ τὸν βίον.
Cario is Chremylus' slave. Note the difference between the things coveted by a slave (bread, sweetmeats, cakes, figs, gruel, lentil soup) and by a free man (love, music, honors, battles, ambition, military advancement). For more on the insatiable nature of avarice see:

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