Sunday, December 02, 2018


Foolish Citizens and Unjust Rulers

Solon, fragment 4 West, lines 1-8 (tr. Douglas E. Gerber):
Our state will never perish through the dispensation of Zeus or the intentions of the blessed immortal gods; for such a stout-hearted guardian, Pallas Athena, born of a mighty father, holds her hands over it. But it is the citizens themselves who by their acts of foolishness and subservience to money are willing to destroy a great city, and the mind of the people's leaders is unjust; they are certain to suffer much pain as a result of their great arrogance.

ἡμετέρη δὲ πόλις κατὰ μὲν Διὸς οὔποτ᾿ ὀλεῖται
    αἶσαν καὶ μακάρων θεῶν φρένας ἀθανάτων·
τοίη γὰρ μεγάθυμος ἐπίσκοπος ὀβριμοπάτρη
    Παλλὰς Ἀθηναίη χεῖρας ὕπερθεν ἔχει·
αὐτοὶ δὲ φθείρειν μεγάλην πόλιν ἀφραδίῃσιν        5
    ἀστοὶ βούλονται χρήμασι πειθόμενοι,
δήμου θ᾿ ἡγεμόνων ἄδικος νόος, οἷσιν ἑτοῖμον
    ὕβριος ἐκ μεγάλης ἄλγεα πολλὰ παθεῖν.

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