Saturday, November 20, 2021


The Uncertainty and Inconstancy of Fortune

Plutarch, To Apollonius 5 (Moralia 103 E-F; tr. Frank Cole Babbitt):
But, in spite of this condition of affairs, some persons, through their foolishness, are so silly and conceited, that, when only a little exalted, either because of abundance of money, or importance of office, or petty political preferments, or because of position and repute, they threaten and insult those in lower station, not bearing in mind the uncertainty and inconstancy of fortune, nor yet the fact that the lofty is easily brought low and the humble in turn is exalted, transposed by the swift-moving changes of fortune.

ἀλλ᾽ ὅμως τοιούτων ὄντων τῶν πραγμάτων ἔνιοι διὰ τὴν ἀφροσύνην οὕτως εἰσὶν ἀβέλτεροι καὶ κεναυχεῖς, ὥστε μικρὸν ἐπαρθέντες ἢ διὰ χρημάτων περιουσίαν ἄφθονον ἢ διὰ μέγεθος ἀρχῆς ἢ διά τινας προεδρίας πολιτικὰς ἢ διὰ τιμὰς καὶ δόξας ἐπαπειλεῖν τοῖς ἥττοσι καὶ ἐξυβρίζειν, οὐκ ἐνθυμούμενοι τὸ τῆς τύχης ἄστατον καὶ ἀβέβαιον, οὐδ᾽ ὅτι ῥᾳδίως τὰ ὑψηλὰ γίγνεται ταπεινὰ καὶ τὰ χθαμαλὰ πάλιν ὑψοῦται ταῖς ὀξυρρόποις μεθιστάμενα τῆς τύχης μεταβολαῖς.
I would modify this slightly and translate χρημάτων περιουσίαν ἄφθονον as "plentiful abundance of money." The Greek is redundant and the English should be, too.

Related post: Powerful and Rich, Lowly and Hungry.

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