Saturday, January 11, 2014


Most Beautiful

Plato, Hippias Major 291 d-e (Hippias speaking; tr. W.R.M. Lamb):
I say, then, that for every man and everywhere it is most beautiful to be rich and healthy, and honored by the Greeks, to reach old age, and, after providing a beautiful funeral for his deceased parents, to be beautifully and splendidly buried by his own offspring.

λέγω τοίνυν ἀεὶ καὶ παντὶ καὶ πανταχοῦ κάλλιστον εἶναι ἀνδρί, πλουτοῦντι, ὑγιαίνοντι, τιμωμένῳ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων, ἀφικομένῳ εἰς γῆρας, τοὺς αὑτοῦ γονέας τελευτήσαντας καλῶς περιστείλαντι, ὑπὸ τῶν αὑτοῦ ἐκγόνων καλῶς καὶ μεγαλοπρεπῶς ταφῆναι.
περιστείλαντι: περιστέλλω is the techical term for dressing a corpse, on which custom see Robert Garland, The Greek Way of Death (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985; rpt. 1988), pp. 24-26 and note ("Funeral garments") on p. 139. Liddell-Scott-Jones say that in this passage it means simply "bury," but I doubt whether the primary sense ("dress, clothe, wrap up") was ever lost sight of.

Lamb didn't translate ἀεὶ; I would add it, e.g. "I say, then, that always and for every man and everywhere..."

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