Thursday, June 25, 2020


Lawlessness versus Lawfulness

Solon, fragment 4 West, lines 30-39 (tr. André Laks and Glenn W. Most):
This my heart bids me teach the Athenians:
That Lawlessness (Dysnomia) gives the city countless evils,
But Lawfulness (Eunomia) makes all things ordered and well-fitting,
And often puts fetters on the unjust.
She smoothes the rough, stops excess, weakens arrogance,
Withers the blooming flowers of disaster,
Straightens crooked judgments, softens arrogant deeds,
And stops acts of civil strife,
And stops the anger of evil contention. Under her
All things among men are well-fitting and wise.

ταῦτα διδάξαι θυμὸς Ἀθηναίους με κελεύει,        30
    ὡς κακὰ πλεῖστα πόλει Δυσνομίη παρέχει·
Εὐνομίη δ᾿ εὔκοσμα καὶ ἄρτια πάντ᾿ ἀποφαίνει,
    καὶ θαμὰ τοῖς ἀδίκοις ἀμφιτίθησι πέδας·
τραχέα λειαίνει, παύει κόρον, ὕβριν ἀμαυροῖ,
    αὑαίνει δ᾿ ἄτης ἄνθεα φυόμενα,        35
εὐθύνει δὲ δίκας σκολιάς, ὑπερήφανά τ᾿ ἔργα
    πραΰνει, παύει δ᾿ ἔργα διχοστασίης,
παύει δ᾿ ἀργαλέης ἔριδος χόλον, ἔστι δ᾿ ὑπ᾿ αὐτῆς
    πάντα κατ᾿ ἀνθρώπους ἄρτια καὶ πινυτά.
See Maria Noussia-Fantuzzi, Solon the Athenian, the Poetic Fragments (Leiden; Brill, 2010), pp. 256-265.

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