Tuesday, February 16, 2021


Truth and Justice

Demosthenes 2.10 (tr. Arthur Wallace Pickard-Cambridge):
It is impossible, men of Athens, utterly impossible, to acquire power that will last, by unrighteousness, by perjury, and by falsehood. Such power holds out for a moment, or for a brief hour; it blossoms brightly, perhaps, with fair hopes; but time detects the fraud, and the flower falls withered about its stem. In a house or a ship, or any other structure, it is the foundations that must be strongest; and no less, I believe, must the principles, which are the foundation of men's actions, be those of truth and righteousness.

οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν, οὐκ ἔστιν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, ἀδικοῦντα κἀπιορκοῦντα καὶ ψευδόμενον δύναμιν βεβαίαν κτήσασθαι, ἀλλὰ τὰ τοιαῦτ᾽ εἰς μὲν ἅπαξ καὶ βραχὺν χρόνον ἀντέχει, καὶ σφόδρα γ᾽ ἤνθησ᾽ ἐπὶ ταῖς ἐλπίσιν, ἂν τύχῃ, τῷ χρόνῳ δὲ φωρᾶται καὶ περὶ αὑτὰ καταρρεῖ. ὥσπερ γὰρ οἰκίας, οἶμαι, καὶ πλοίου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν τοιούτων τὰ κάτωθεν ἰσχυρότατ᾽ εἶναι δεῖ, οὕτω καὶ τῶν πράξεων τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ὑποθέσεις ἀληθεῖς καὶ δικαίας εἶναι προσήκει.

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