Hupokorizesthai

Busto di Solone (640 a.C ca-560 a.C ca), marmo

Ἃ δ’ οὖν οἱ νεώτεροι τοὺς Ἀθηναίους λέγουσι τὰς τῶν πραγμάτων δυσχερείας ὀνόμασι χρηστοῖς καὶ φιλανθρώποις ἐπικαλύπτοντας ἀστείως ὑποκορίζεσθαι, τὰς μὲν πόρνας ἑταίρας, τοὺς δὲ φόρους συντάξεις, φυλακὰς δὲ τὰς φρουρὰς τῶν πόλεων, οἴκημα δὲ τὸ δεσμωτήριον καλοῦντας, πρώτου Σόλωνος ἦν, ὡς ἔοικε, σόφισμα τὴν τῶν χρεῶν ἀποκοπὴν σεισάχθειαν ὀνομάσαντος.
(Plutarch, Bios Solōnos 15.2-3)

Now later writers observe that the ancient Athenians used to cover up the ugliness of things with auspicious and kindly terms, giving them polite and endearing names. Thus they called harlots “companions,” taxes “contributions,” the garrison of a city its “guard,” and the prison a “chamber.” But Solon was the first, it would seem, to use this device, when he called his cancelling of debts a “disburdenment.” (tr. Bernadotte Perrin)

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