Tuesday, May 09, 2017
A Land of Many Laws
And Plato has said as much—that where there are very many laws, there are also very many lawsuits and corrupt practices, just as where there are many physicians, there are also likely to be many diseases.1The implication seems to be that knavish lives (βίοι μοχθηροί) are the result of many laws (not vice versa).
1 This appears to be an exact quotation, but the translator has been unable to find the reference in extant works. Plato utters a somewhat similar sentiment, however, in the Republic 404 E-405 A.
τοῦτο δὲ καὶ Πλάτων εἴρηκεν, ὅτι παρ᾽ οἷς πλεῖστοι νόμοι καὶ δίκαι παρὰ τούτοις καὶ βίοι μοχθηροί, καθάπερ καὶ παρ᾽ οἷς ἰατροὶ πολλοὶ καὶ νόσους εἰκὸς εἶναι πολλάς.
Cf. Plato, Republic 3.13 (404 E-405 A; tr. Paul Shorey):
"And when licentiousness and disease multiply in a city, are not many courts of law and dispensaries opened, and the arts of chicane and medicine give themselves airs when even free men in great numbers take them very seriously?"
"How can they help it?"
ἀκολασίας δὲ καὶ νόσων πληθυουσῶν ἐν πόλει ἆρ᾽ οὐ δικαστήριά τε καὶ ἰατρεῖα πολλὰ ἀνοίγεται, καὶ δικανική τε καὶ ἰατρικὴ σεμνύνονται, ὅταν δὴ καὶ ἐλεύθεροι πολλοὶ καὶ σφόδρα περὶ αὐτὰ σπουδάζωσιν;
τί γὰρ οὐ μέλλει;
I noticed a misprint in Strabo 7.4.2 as printed in Strabo, Geography, Books 6-7, with an English Translation by Horace Leonard Jones (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1924; rpt. ? = Loeb Classical Library, 182), p. 230: καλουμενη (missing an accent) should be καλουμένη. The mistake persists in the Digital Loeb Classical Library.
Labels: typographical and other errors