Ἐγώ σοι ἐξ ἀρχῆς πάντα πειράσομαι διηγήσασθαι. ἀεὶ γὰρ δὴ καὶ τὰς πρόσθεν ἡμέρας εἰώθειμεν φοιτᾶν καὶ ἐγὼ καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι παρὰ τὸν Σωκράτη, συλλεγόμενοι ἕωθεν εἰς τὸ δικαστήριον, ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἡ δίκη ἐγένετο· πλησίον γὰρ ἦν τοῦ δεσμωτηρίου. περιεμένομεν οὖν ἑκάστοτε, ἕως ἀνοιχθείη τὸ δεσμωτήριον, διατρίβοντες μετ’ ἀλλήλων· ἀνεῴγετο γὰρ οὐ πρῴ· ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἀνοιχθείη, εἰσῇμεν παρὰ τὸν Σωκράτη καὶ τὰ πολλὰ διημερεύομεν μετ’ αὐτοῦ. καὶ δὴ καὶ τότε πρωϊαίτερον συνελέγημεν. τῇ γὰρ προτεραίᾳ ἐπειδὴ ἐξήλθομεν ἐκ τοῦ δεσμωτηρίου ἑσπέρας, ἐπυθόμεθα ὅτι τὸ πλοῖον ἐκ Δήλου ἀφιγμένον εἴη. παρηγγείλαμεν οὖν ἀλλήλοις ἥκειν ὡς πρωϊαίτατα εἰς τὸ εἰωθός. καὶ ἥκομεν καὶ ἡμῖν ἐξελθὼν ὁ θυρωρός, ὅσπερ εἰώθει ὑπακούειν, εἶπεν περιμένειν καὶ μὴ πρότερον παριέναι, ἕως ἂν αὐτὸς κελεύσῃ. “λύουσι γάρ,” ἔφη, “οἱ ἕνδεκα Σωκράτη καὶ παραγγέλλουσιν ὅπως ἂν τῇδε τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τελευτήσῃ.”
(Plato, Phaedo 59d-e)
I will try to tell you everything from the beginning. On the previous days I and the others had always been in the habit of visiting Socrates. We used to meet at daybreak in the court where the trial took place, for it was near the prison; and every day we used to wait about, talking with each other, until the prison was opened, for it was not opened early; and when it was opened, we went in to Socrates and passed most of the day with him. On that day we came together earlier; for the day before, when we left the prison in the evening we heard that the ship had arrived from Delos. So we agreed to come to the usual place as early in the morning as possible. And we came, and the jailer who usually answered the door came out and told us to wait and not go in until he told us. “For,” he said, “the eleven are releasing Socrates from his fetters and giving directions how he is to die to-day.” (tr. Harold North Fowler)
Οἷος δ’ ἀστὴρ εἶσι μετ’ ἀστράσι νυκτὸς ἀμολγῷ
ἕσπερος, ὃς κάλλιστος ἐν οὐρανῷ ἵσταται ἀστήρ,
ὣς αἰχμῆς ἀπέλαμπ᾽ εὐήκεος, ἣν ἄρ’ Ἀχιλλεὺς
πάλλεν δεξιτερῇ φρονέων κακὸν Ἕκτορι δίῳ,
εἰσορόων χρόα καλόν, ὅπῃ εἴξειε μάλιστα.
τοῦ δὲ καὶ ἄλλο τόσον μὲν ἔχε χρόα χάλκεα τεύχεα
καλά, τὰ Πατρόκλοιο βίην ἐνάριξε κατακτάς·
φαίνετο δ’ ᾗ κληῗδες ἀπ’ ὤμων αὐχέν’ ἔχουσι
λαυκανίην, ἵνα τε ψυχῆς ὤκιστος ὄλεθρος·
τῇ ῥ’ ἐπὶ οἷ μεμαῶτ’ ἔλασ’ ἔγχεϊ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς,
ἀντικρὺ δ’ ἁπαλοῖο δι’ αὐχένος ἤλυθ’ ἀκωκή.
(Homer, Il. 22.317-327)
Bright as that star amid the stars in the night sky,
star of the evening, brightest star that rides the heavens,
so fire flared from the sharp point of the spear Achilles
brandished high in his right hand, bent on Hector’s death,
scanning his splendid body – where to pierce it best?
The rest of his flesh seemed all encased in armor,
burnished, brazen – Achilles’ armor that Hector stripped
from strong Patroclus when he killed him – true,
but one spot lay exposed,
where collarbones lift the neckbone off the shoulders,
the open throat, where the end of life comes quickest – there
as Hector charged in fury brilliant Achilles drove his spar
and the point went stabbing clean through the tender neck (…)
(tr. Robert Fagles)
Haec Graeco sermone Perseo; Latine deinde suis “exemplum insigne cernitis” inquit “mutationis rerum humanarum. vobis hoc praecipue dico, iuvenes. ideo in secundis rebus nihil in quemquam superbe ac violenter consulere decet nec praesenti credere fortunae, cum quid vesper ferat incertum sit. is demum vir erit, cuius animum neque prosperae res flatu suo efferent nec adversae infringent.”
This the consul said in Greek to Perseus; then he continued in Latin to his staff: “You see before you a notable example of the changefulness of human affairs. I say this especially for you, young men. Therefore, it is proper to offer no insult or violence to anyone, while one is in favourable circumstances, and not to trust to one’s present fortune, since no one knows what evening will bring. He will be truly a man, in a word, whose spirit is neither deflected from its course by the breath of prosperity, nor broken by misfortune.” (tr. Alfred C. Schlesinger)
τὸν κάμηλον οὐχ ὁρᾷς ὅτι ἀκάθαρτον εἶναί φησι ζῷον ὁ νόμος, ἐπειδὴ μηρυκᾶται μέν, οὐ διχηλεῖ δέ (Lev. 11, 4); καίτοι γε πρὸς τὴν ῥητὴν ἐπίσκεψιν οὐκ οἶδ’ ὃν ἔχει λόγον ἡ προσαποδοθεῖσα αἰτία, πρὸς δὲ τὴν δι’ ὑπονοιῶν ἀναγκαιότατον· ὥσπερ γὰρ τὸ μηρυκώμενον τὴν προκαταβληθεῖσαν ὑπαναπλέουσαν αὖθις ἐπιλεαίνει τροφήν, οὕτως ἡ ψυχὴ τοῦ φιλομαθοῦς, ἐπειδάν τινα δι’ ἀκοῆς δέξηται θεωρήματα, λήθῃ μὲν αὐτὰ οὐ παραδίδωσιν, ἠρεμήσασα δὲ καθ’ ἑαυτὴν ἕκαστα μεθ’ ἡσυχίας τῆς πάσης ἀναπολεῖ καὶ εἰς ἀνάμνησιν τῶν πάντων ἔρχεται. μνήμη δ’ οὐ πᾶσα ἀγαθόν, ἀλλ’ ἡ ἐπὶ μόνοις τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς, ἐπεὶ τό γε ἄληστα εἶναι τὰ κακὰ βλαβερώτατον· οὗ ἕνεκα πρὸς τελειότητα χρεία τοῦ διχηλεῖν, ἵνα τοῦ μνημονικοῦ δίχα τμηθέντος ὁ λόγος διὰ στόματος, οὗ πέρατα ἡ φύσις διττὰ εἰργάσατο χείλη, ῥέων διαστείλῃ τό τε ὠφέλιμον καὶ τὸ ἐπιζήμιον μνήμης γένους εἶδος.
(Philo, Peri Geōrgias 131-133)
Do you not see that the Law says that the camel is an unclean animal, because, though it chews the cud, it does not part the hoof (Lev. xi. 4)? And yet, if we fix our eyes on the literal way of regarding the matter, I do not know what principle there is in the reason given for the camel’s uncleanness; but if we look to the way suggested by latent meanings there is a most vital principle. For as the animal that chews the cud renders digestible the food taken in before as it rises again to the surface, so the soul of the keen learner, when it has by listening taken in this and that proposition, does not hand them over to forgetfulness, but in stillness all alone goes over them one by one quite quietly, and so succeeds in recalling them all to memory. Not all memory, however, is a good thing, but that which is brought to bear upon good things only, for it would be a thing most noxious that evil should be unforgettable. That is why, if perfection is to be attained, it is necessary to divide the hoof, in order that, the faculty of memory being cut in twain, language as it flows through the mouth, for which Nature wrought lips as twin boundaries, may separate the beneficial and the injurious forms of memory. (tr. Francis Henry Colson & George Herbert Whitaker)
Ἃ δεῖ παρὼν φρόντιζε, μὴ παρὼν ἀπῇς.
(Anonymous, Tragica Adespota fr. 517 Nauck)
Do what you must when present, do not feign absence. (tr. Marinos Yeroulanos)
L. Veratius fuit egregie homo improbus atque immani vecordia. is pro delectamento habebat, os hominis liberi manus suae palma verberare. eum servus sequebatur ferens crumenam plenam assium; ut quemque depalmaverat, numerari statim secundum Duodecim Tabulas quinque et viginti asses iubebat.
(Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticus 20.1.13)
One Lucius Veratius was an exceedingly wicked man and of cruel brutality. He used to amuse himself by striking free men in the face with his open hand. A slave followed him with a purse full of asses; as often as he had buffeted anyone, he ordered twenty-five asses to be counted out at once, according to the provision of the Twelve Tables. (tr. John C. Rolfe)
Ἡ παιδεία, κἂν μηδὲν ἕτερον ἀγαθὸν ἔχῃ, τό γε συμφοιτᾶν δι’ αὐτὴν νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ἔξω κακίας, οἷς ἂν ᾖ τις αἰδώς· καὶ πολλοὶ σφᾶς αὐτοὺς καὶ ἄλλους.
(Plutarch, fr. 159)
Even if education has no other merits, attending school at least keeps pupils who have any sense of decency away from wrongdoing, whether by day or by night. (tr. James C. McKeown)