Sunday, July 02, 2017


Dead and Gone

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 4.32.1-2 (tr. C.R. Haines):
Think by way of illustration upon the times of Vespasian, and thou shalt see all these things: mankind marrying, rearing children, sickening, dying, warring, making holiday, trafficking, tilling, flattering others, vaunting themselves, suspecting, scheming, praying for the death of others, murmuring at their own lot, loving, hoarding, coveting a consulate, coveting a kingdom. Not a vestige of that life of theirs is left anywhere any longer.

Change the scene again to the times of Trajan. Again it is all the same; that life too is dead. In like manner contemplate all the other records of past time and of entire nations, and see how many after all their high-strung efforts sank down so soon in death and were resolved into the elements.

Ἐπινόησον λόγου χάριν τοὺς ἐπὶ Οὐεσπασιανοῦ καιρούς, ὄψει ταῦτα πάντα· γαμοῦντας, παιδοτροφοῦντας, νοσοῦντας, ἀποθνήσκοντας, πολεμοῦντας, ἑορτάζοντας, ἐμπορευομένους, γεωργοῦντας, κολακεύοντας, αὐθαδιζομένους, ὑποπτεύοντας, ἐπιβουλεύοντας, ἀποθανεῖν τινας εὐχομένους, γογγύζοντας ἐπὶ τοῖς παροῦσιν, ἐρῶντας, θησαυρίζοντας, ὑπατείας, βασιλείας ἐπιθυμοῦντας. οὐκοῦν ἐκεῖνος μὲν ὁ τούτων βίος οὐκ ἔτι οὐδαμοῦ.

Πάλιν ἐπὶ τοὺς καιροὺς τοὺς Τραϊανοῦ μετάβηθι· πάλιν τὰ αὐτὰ πάντα· τέθνηκε κἀκεῖνος ὁ βίος. ὁμοίως καὶ τὰς ἄλλας ἐπιγραφὰς χρόνων καὶ ὅλων ἐθνῶν ἐπιθεώρει, καὶ βλέπε πόσοι κατενταθέντες μετὰ μικρὸν ἔπεσον καὶ ἀνελύθησαν εἰς τὰ στοιχεῖα.

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