Saturday, May 13, 2017


The Thin Blue Line

Colotes, quoted by Plutarch, Against Colotes 30 (Moralia 1124 D; tr. Benedict Einarson and Phillip H. De Lacy):
The men who appointed laws and usages and established the government of cities by kings and magistrates brought human life into a state of great security and peace and delivered it from turmoil. But if anyone takes all this away, we shall live a life of brutes, and anyone who chances upon another will all but devour him.

τὸν βίον οἱ νόμους διατάξαντες καὶ νόμιμα καὶ τὸ βασιλεύεσθαι τὰς πόλεις καὶ ἄρχεσθαι καταστήσαντες εἰς πολλὴν ἀσφάλειαν καὶ ἡσυχίαν ἔθεντο καὶ θορύβων ἀπήλλαξαν· εἰ δέ τις ταῦτα ἀναιρήσει, θηρίων βίον βιωσόμεθα καὶ ὁ προστυχὼν τὸν ἐντυχόντα μονονοὺ κατέδεται.
Cf. Pirke Aboth 3.2 (tr. R. Travers Herford):
R. Hanina the deputy of the priests, said,—Pray for the peace of the government; for, except for the fear of that, we should have swallowed each other alive.

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