Monday, June 15, 2015


Other Goods Compared with Education

Pseudo-Plutarch, The Education of Children 8 = Moralia 5D-E (tr. Frank Cole Babbitt; I've divided the passage into smaller sections and interspersed the Greek with the translation):
And, in comparison with this [i.e. education], all other advantages are human, and trivial, and not worth our serious concern.

καὶ τὰ μὲν ἄλλα τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀνθρώπινα καὶ μικρὰ καὶ οὐκ ἀξιοσπούδαστα καθέστηκεν.

Good birth is a fine thing, but it is an advantage which must be credited to one's ancestors.

εὐγένεια καλὸν μέν, ἀλλὰ προγόνων ἀγαθόν.

Wealth is held in esteem, but it is a chattel of fortune, since oftentime she takes it away from those who possess it, and brings and presents it to those who do not expect it. Besides, great wealth is the very mark for those who aim their shafts at the purse—rascally slaves and blackmailers; and above all, even the vilest may possess it.

πλοῦτος δὲ τίμιον μέν, ἀλλὰ τύχης κτῆμα, ἐπειδὴ τῶν μὲν ἐχόντων πολλάκις ἀφείλετο, τοῖς δ᾿ οὐκ ἐλπίσασι φέρουσα προσήνεγκε, καὶ ὁ πολὺς πλοῦτος σκοπὸς ἔκκειται τοῖς βουλομένοις βαλλάντια τοξεύειν, κακούργοις οἰκέταις καὶ συκοφάνταις, καὶ τὸ μέγιστον, ὅτι καὶ τοῖς πονηροτάτοις μέτεστι.

Repute, moreover, is imposing, but unstable.

δόξα γε μὴν σεμνὸν μέν, ἀλλ᾿ ἀβέβαιον.

Beauty is highly prized, but short-lived.

κάλλος δὲ περιμάχητον μέν, ἀλλ᾿ ὀλιγοχρόνιον.

Health is a valued possession, but inconstant.

ὑγίεια δὲ τίμιον μέν, ἀλλ᾿ εὐμετάστατον.

Strength is much admired, but it falls an easy prey to disease and old age. And, in general, if anybody prides himself wholly upon the strength of his body, let him know that he is sadly mistaken in judgement. For how small is man's strength compared with the power of other living creatures! I mean, for instance, elephants and bulls and lions.

ἰσχὺς δὲ ζηλωτὸν μέν, ἀλλὰ νόσῳ εὐάλωτον καὶ γήρᾳ. τὸ δ᾿ ὅλον εἴ τις ἐπὶ τῇ τοῦ σώματος ῥώμῃ φρονεῖ, μαθέτω γνώμης διαμαρτάνων. πόστον γάρ ἐστιν ἰσχὺς ἀνθρωπίνη τῆς τῶν ἄλλων ζῴων δυνάμεως; λέγω δ᾿ οἷον ἐλεφάντων καὶ ταύρων καὶ λεόντων.

But learning, of all things in this world, is alone immortal and divine.

παιδεία δὲ τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν μόνον ἐστὶν ἀθάνατον καὶ θεῖον.

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