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Three Millennia of Greek Literature



from Epistle to orators, * Published in Sp. Lambros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnesiaka, v. II, Athens 1912-24, pp. 273.30-275.5. Translated by Elpenor  * Greek Fonts  * Gennadius Resources


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Page 2

Words legislate and order, they award virtue and punish evil and as much as possible they adorn each person's manners bringing the conscience and life of the city to perfect goodness. Words judge and decide, it is their work to advise intelligently both keeping peace well and using weapons on time. They tame men, who are defined by some by the serenity of their nature, providing more of what they are said to be and making them social, and while they are not famous they despise the dangers of the body and they abstain alltogether from carnal pleasures. As for the arts, without which a city could not have been even established nor secured, who ignores the words being their spring? They find out the honors of the divinity, and after they are found they alone have the power to keep them, and the future bliss no one can gain if not by the words, because we know that even them who searched without words for this bliss, they layed down as exemplar in life those who rushed to it with words.

Καὶ γὰρ νομοθετοῦσι καὶ τάττουσι καὶ στεφανοῦσι μὲν ἀρετήν, τιμωροῦνται δὲ πονηρίαν καὶ τοὺς ἑκάστου τρόπους ὡς οἷόν τε κοσμοῦντες, χρηστὸν ἅπαν τὸ τῆς πόλεως ἀποφαίνουσιν ἦθος, καὶ δικάζουσι καὶ βουλεύονται καὶ πρεσβεύουσιν εὐφυῶς καὶ φυλάξαι μὲν εἰρήνην καλῶς, χρήσασθαι δὲ ὅπλοις ἐγκαίρως τούτων ἄντικρύς || ἐστιν ἔργον, ἐξημεροῦσί τε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, ἡμερότητι φύσεως ὑπ' ἐνίων ὁριζομένους καὶ τοῦθ' ὃ λέγονται μᾶλλον εἶναι παρασκευάζουσιν καὶ πολιτικοὺς ποιοῦσιν αὐτοὺς καὶ δόξης μὲν ἐστερημένους, τῶν δὲ τοῦ σώματος κινδύνων ὀλιγωροῦντας, ἡδονῶν δὲ καθάπαξ ἀπέχοντας. Τῶν δέ γε τεχνῶν ὧν ἄνευ οὐδ' ἂν συσταίη πόλις καὶ σώζοιτο, τίς ἀγνοεῖ τοὺς λόγους ὄντας πηγήν; Οὗτοι καὶ τὰς εἰς τὸ θεῖον τιμὰς ἐξευρεῖν τε καὶ φανείσας φυλάττειν δύνανται μόνοι καὶ τῆς μελλούσης εὐδαιμονίας οὐκ ἔστιν εἰ μὴ διὰ λόγων τυχεῖν, ἐπεὶ καὶ τοῖς ἄνευ λόγων ταύτην ἐζητηκόσιν ἴσμεν βίου κειμένους παράδειγμα τοὺς μετὰ λόγων ἐπ' αὐτὴν ὡρμημένους.

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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