Saturday, April 28, 2018


A Demagogue

Euripides, Orestes 902-908 (tr. David Kovacs):
                                                           Then there stood up
a man with no check on his tongue, strong in his brashness;
he was an Argive but no Argive, suborned,
relying on noise from the crowd and the obtuse license of his tongue,
persuasive enough to involve them in the future in some misfortune.
When someone of pleasing speech but without sense
persuades the people, it is a great misfortune for the city.

                                   κἀπὶ τῷδ᾿ ἀνίσταται
ἀνήρ τις ἀθυρόγλωσσος, ἰσχύων θράσει·
Ἀργεῖος οὐκ Ἀργεῖος, ἠναγκασμένος,
θορύβῳ τε πίσυνος κἀμαθεῖ παρρησίᾳ,        905
πιθανὸς ἔτ᾿ αὐτοὺς περιβαλεῖν κακῷ τινι.
ὅταν γὰρ ἡδύς τις λόγοις φρονῶν κακῶς
πείθῃ τὸ πλῆθος, τῇ πόλει κακὸν μέγα.

904-913 del. Hartung, seq. Kovacs
906 αὐτοὺς C: ἀστοὺς Valckenaer
907 τις Musgrave: τοῖς C
I especially like ἀθυρόγλωσσος (hapax legomenon, from alpha privative plus θύρα = door plus γλῶσσα = tongue) and ἀμαθεῖ παρρησίᾳ.

From Joel Eidsath:
Aristophanes may have been thinking of the first when he has Euripides say (in Frogs) that Aeschylus has an ἀπύλωτον στόμα.

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