Thursday, January 17, 2019


Charlatans in Charge

Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.7.5 (tr. E.C. Marchant):
The man who persuades you to lend him money or goods and then keeps them is without doubt a rogue; but much the greatest rogue of all is the man who has gulled his city into the belief that he is fit to direct it.

ἀπατεῶνα δ' ἐκάλει οὐ μικρὸν μὲν οὐδ' εἴ τις ἀργύριον ἢ σκεῦος παρά του πειθοῖ λαβὼν ἀποστεροίη, πολὺ δὲ μέγιστον ὅστις μηδενὸς ἄξιος ὢν ἐξηπατήκοι πείθων ὡς ἱκανὸς εἴη τῆς πόλεως ἡγεῖσθαι.
Marchant's translation omits μηδενὸς ἄξιος ὢν. The translation of Hugh Tredennick (rev. Robin Waterfield) is closer to the Greek:
It was no slight deception, he said, even to deprive another person by persuasion of a sum of money or an article of value, but it was the grossest deception of all for a good-for-nothing person to convey the false impression that he was capable of directing the State.

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