Teleutēsantas

Gela_Painter_-_Black-Figure_Pinax_(Plaque)_-_Walters_48225

Ἀνδρὶ δὴ τὸ μετὰ τοῦτο γεννηθέντι καὶ ἐκτραφέντι, καὶ γεννήσαντι καὶ ἐκθρέψαντι τέκνα καὶ ξυμμίξαντι ξυμβόλαια μετρίως, διδόντι τε δίκας εἴ τινα ἠδικήκει καὶ παρ’ ἑτέρου ἐκλαβόντι, σὺν τοῖς νόμοις ἐν μοίρᾳ γηράσαντι τελευτὴ γίγνοιτ’ ἂν κατὰ φύσιν. περὶ τελευτήσαντας δή, εἴτε τις ἄρρην εἴτε τις θῆλυς ᾖ, τὰ μὲν περὶ τὰ θεῖα νόμιμα τῶν τε ὑπὸ γῆς θεῶν καὶ τῶν τῇδε, ὅσα προσήκει τελεῖσθαι, τοὺς ἐξηγητὰς γίγνεσθαι κυρίους φράζειν· τὰς θήκας δ’ εἶναι τῶν χωρίων ὁπόσα μὲν ἐργάσιμα μηδαμοῦ, μήτε τι μέγα μήτε τι σμικρὸν μνῆμα, ἃ δὲ ἡ χώρα πρὸς τοῦτ’ αὐτὸ μόνον φύσιν ἔχει, τὰ τῶν τετελευτηκότων σώματα μάλιστα ἀλυπήτως τοῖς ζῶσι δεχομένη κρύπτειν, ταῦτα ἐκπληροῦν· τοῖς δὲ ἀνθρώποις ὅσα τροφὴν μήτηρ οὖσα ἡ γῆ πρὸς ταῦτα πέφυκε βούλεσθαι φέρειν, μήτε ζῶν μήτε τις ἀποθανὼν στερείτω τὸν ζῶνθ’ ἡμῶν. χῶμα δὲ μὴ χοῦν ὑψηλότερον πέντε ἀνδρῶν ἔργον, ἐν πένθ’ ἡμέραις ἀποτελούμενον· λίθινα δὲ ἐπιστήματα μὴ μείζω ποιεῖν ἢ ὅσα δέχεσθαι τῶν τοῦ τετελευτηκότος ἐγκώμια βίου, μὴ πλείω τεττάρων ἡρωϊκῶν στίχων. τὰς δὲ προθέσεις πρῶτον μὲν μὴ μακρότερον χρόνον ἔνδον γίγνεσθαι τοῦ δηλοῦντος τόν τε ἐκτεθνεῶτα καὶ τὸν ὄντως τεθνηκότα, εἴη δ’ ἂν σχεδόν ὡς τἀνθρώπινα μέτρον ἔχουσα τριταία πρὸς τὸ μνῆμα ἐκφορά.
(Plato, Nomoi 12.958c-959a)

After this, for a man who has been born and brought up, and has begotten and brought up children, and has mingled in business transactions with due measure – paying judicial penalties if he has done someone an injustice and receiving the same from another – for a man who has aged according to destiny in the company of the laws, the end would come, according to nature. Now as regards those who have died, whether it be a male or a female, the legal customs concerning the divine things that belong to the gods beneath the earth and here – concerning whatever rites are appropriately celebrated – are to be authoritatively explained by the Interpreters. Graves, however, are not to be located on any land that is cultivable, whether the monument be great or small, but only where the nature of the land is suitable for this alone: to receive and hide, in a way that is the most painless to the living, the bodies of those who have died – these are the areas that should be filled. But with respect to those areas which Mother Earth by nature intends to produce food for human beings, no one either living or dead is to deprive those among us who are living of them. And they shall not heap up a mound higher than wat can be completed by the work of five men in five days; nor shall they make stone markers larger than are required to contain at most four heroic lines of encomia on the life of the deceased. As for the laying out, first, it is not to be for a longer time than that which shows whether a man has fallen into a death-like swoon or has really died, and in dealing with human beings, the third day would be just about a well-measured time to carry the body out to the monument. (tr. Thomas L. Pangle)

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