Monday, May 30, 2016
Yes, and if someone fails to honor his parents' graves, the state inquires into that too, when it examines the candidates for office.Plato, Laws 4.717d-718a (tr. R.G. Bury, emphasis added):
ἐάν τις τῶν γονέων τελευτησάντων τοὺς τάφους μὴ κοσμῇ, καὶ τοῦτο ἐξετάζει ἡ πόλις ἐν ταῖς τῶν ἀρχόντων δοκιμασίαις.
When parents die, the most modest funeral rites are the best, whereby the son neither exceeds the accustomed pomp, nor falls short of what his forefathers paid to their sires; and in like manner he should duly bestow the yearly attentions, which ensure honor, on the rites already completed. He should always venerate them, by never failing to provide a continual memorial, and assigning to the deceased a due share of the means which fortune provides for expenditure.Demosthenes 24.107 (against Timocrates; tr. J.H. Vince):
τελευτησάντων δὲ γονέων ταφὴ μὲν ἡ σωφρονεστάτη καλλίστη, μήτε ὑπεραίροντα τῶν εἰθισμένων ὄγκων μήτ᾽ ἐλλείποντα ὧν οἱ προπάτορες τοὺς ἑαυτῶν γεννητὰς ἐτίθεσαν, τάς τε αὖ κατ᾽ ἐνιαυτὸν τῶν ἤδη τέλος ἐχόντων ὡσαύτως ἐπιμελείας τὰς κόσμον φερούσας ἀποδιδόναι· τῷ δὲ μὴ παραλείπειν μνήμην ἐνδελεχῆ παρεχόμενον, τούτῳ μάλιστ᾽ ἀεὶ πρεσβεύειν, δαπάνης τε τῆς διδομένης ὑπὸ τύχης τὸ μέτριον τοῖς κεκμηκόσιν νέμοντα.
What adequate satisfaction can you render, or by what punishment can you be punished as you deserve, you who, to say nothing of the rest, subvert the laws that protect old age, that compel the maintenance of parents in their lifetime, and ensure that they shall be honoured with due observance when they die?See David Whitehead, "Goneis in Athenian Law (and Perception)," Electronic Antiquity 13.1 (November 2009) 27-56 (at 44-46, § 3.4).
καίτοι τίν᾿ ἂν ἀξίαν δοίης δίκην, ἢ τί σὺ παθὼν ἂν τὰ προσήκοντ᾿ εἴης πεπονθώς, ὅς, τὰ μὲν ἄλλ᾿ ἐῶ, ἀλλὰ τοὺς τῷ γήρᾳ βοηθοὺς λυμαίνει, οἳ καὶ ζῶντας ἀναγκάζουσι τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς γονέας τρέφειν, καὶ ἐπειδὰν ἀποθάνωσιν, ὅπως τῶν νομιζομένων τύχωσι, παρασκευάζουσιν;
The graves of my parents, with flowers placed there by my sister (her husband in the background):