Monday, December 06, 2021



Plutarch, Sayings of Spartans: Agis, Son of Archidamus 17 (= Moralia 216 B-C; tr. Frank Cole Babbitt):
When one of the elderly men said to him in his old age, inasmuch as he saw the good old customs falling into desuetude, and other mischievous practices creeping in, that for this reason everything was getting to be topsy-turvy in Sparta, Agis said humorously, "Things are then but following a logical course if that is what is happening; for when I was a boy, I used to hear from my father that everything was topsy-turvy among them; and my father said that, when he was a boy, his father had said this to him; so nobody ought to be surprised if conditions later are worse than those earlier, but rather to wonder if they grow better or remain approximately the same."

φήσαντος δέ τινος τῶν πρεσβυτέρων πρὸς αὐτὸν γηραιὸν ὄντα, ἐπειδὴ τὰ ἀρχαῖα νόμιμα ἐκλυόμενα ἑώρα ἄλλα δὲ παρεισδυόμενα μοχθηρά, διότι τὰ ἄνω κάτω ἤδη γίγνεται ἐν τῇ Σπάρτῃ, παίζων εἶπε, "κατὰ λόγον οὕτω προβαίνει τὰ πράγματα, εἰ τοῦτο γίνεται· καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ παῖς ὢν ἤκουον παρὰ τοῦ πατρός, ὅτι τὰ ἄνω κάτω γέγονε παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς· ἔφη δὲ καὶ τὸν πατέρα αὐτῷ παιδὶ ὄντι τοῦτο εἰρηκέναι· ὥστε οὐ χρὴ θαυμάζειν, εἰ χείρω τὰ μετὰ ταῦτα τῶν προτέρων, ἀλλ᾽ εἴ που βελτίω καὶ παραπλήσια γένοιτο."

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