Monday, January 07, 2019


Lessons Taught by Enemies

Aristophanes, Birds 375-380 (tr. Benjamin Bickley Rogers):
Yet to clever folk a foeman very useful hints may show;
Thus, that foresight brings us safety, from a friend we ne'er should know,
But the truth is forced upon us, very quickly, by a foe.
Hence it is that, all the Cities, taught by foe, and not by friend,
Learn to build them ships of battle, and their lofty walls extend;
So by this, a foeman's, teaching children, home, and wealth defend.

ἀλλ᾿ ἀπ᾿ ἐχθρῶν δῆτα πολλὰ μανθάνουσιν οἱ σοφοί.        375
ἡ γὰρ εὐλάβεια σῴζει πάντα. παρὰ μὲν οὖν φίλου
οὐ μάθοις ἂν τοῦθ᾿, ὁ δ᾿ ἐχθρὸς εὐθὺς ἐξηνάγκασεν.
αὐτίχ᾿ αἱ πόλεις παρ᾿ ἀνδρῶν ἔμαθον ἐχθρῶν κοὐ φίλων
ἐκπονεῖν θ᾿ ὑψηλὰ τείχη ναῦς τε κεκτῆσθαι μακράς·
τὸ δὲ μάθημα τοῦτο σῴζει παῖδας, οἶκον, χρήματα.        380

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