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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

Herodotus Bilingual Anthology : THE END JUDGES EVERYTHING

from Herodotus' History, * Lines 1.5.9-18, 1.30.4-1.34.3, * Translated by G. Rawlinson, * Greek Fonts


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Page 2

 (...) On the third or fourth day after, he bade his servants conduct Solon over his treasuries, and show him all their greatness and magnificence. When he had seen them all, and, so far as time allowed, inspected them, Croesus addressed this question to him. "Stranger of Athens, we have heard much of thy wisdom and of thy travels through many lands, from love of knowledge and a wish to see the world. I am curious therefore to inquire of thee, whom, of all the men that thou hast seen, thou deemest the most happy?" This he asked because he thought himself the happiest of mortals: but Solon answered him without flattery, according to his true sentiments, "Tellus of Athens, sire." Full of astonishment at what he heard, Croesus demanded sharply, "And wherefore dost thou deem Tellus happiest?" To which the other replied, "First, because his country was flourishing in his days, and he himself had sons both beautiful and good, and he lived to see children born to each of them, and these children all grew up; and further because, after a life spent in what our people look upon as comfort, his end was surpassingly glorious. In a battle between the Athenians and their neighbours near Eleusis, he came to the assistance of his countrymen, routed the foe, and died upon the field most gallantly. The Athenians gave him a public funeral on the spot where he fell, and paid him the highest honours."

(...) μετὰ δέ͵ ἡμέρῃ τρίτῃ ἢ τετάρτῃ͵ κελεύσαντος Κροίσου τὸν Σόλωνα θεράποντες περιῆγον κατὰ τοὺς θησαυροὺς καὶ ἐπεδείκνυσαν πάντα ἐόντα μεγάλα τε καὶ ὄλβια. Θεησάμενον δέ μιν τὰ πάντα καὶ σκεψάμενον͵ ὥς οἱ κατὰ καιρὸν ἦν͵ εἴρετο ὁ Κροῖσος τάδε· Ξεῖνε Ἀθηναῖε͵ παρ΄ ἡμέας γὰρ περὶ σέο λόγος ἀπῖκται πολλὸς καὶ σοφίης [εἵνεκεν] τῆς σῆς καὶ πλάνης͵ ὡς φιλοσοφέων γῆν πολλὴν θεωρίης εἵνεκεν ἐπελήλυθας· νῦν ὦν ἐπειρέσθαι σε ἵμερος ἐπῆλθέ μοι εἴ τινα ἤδη πάντων εἶδες ὀλβιώτατον. Ὁ μὲν ἐλπίζων εἶναι ἀνθρώπων ὀλβιώτατος ταῦτα ἐπειρώτα͵ Σόλων δὲ οὐδὲν ὑποθωπεύσας͵ ἀλλὰ τῷ ἐόντι χρησάμενος͵ λέγει· Ὦ βασιλεῦ͵ Τέλλον Ἀθηναῖον. Ἀποθωμάσας δὲ Κροῖσος τὸ λεχθὲν εἴρετο ἐπιστρεφέως· Κοίῃ δὴ κρίνεις Τέλλον εἶναι ὀλβιώτατον; Ὁ δὲ εἶπε· Τέλλῳ τοῦτο μὲν τῆς πόλιος εὖ ἡκούσης παῖδες ἦσαν καλοί τε κἀγαθοί͵ καί σφι εἶδε ἅπασι τέκνα ἐκγενόμενα καὶ πάντα παραμείναντα͵ τοῦτο δὲ τοῦ βίου εὖ ἥκοντι͵ ὡς τὰ παρ΄ ἡμῖν͵ τελευτὴ τοῦ βίου λαμπροτάτη ἐπεγένετο· γενομένης γὰρ Ἀθηναίοισι μάχης πρὸς τοὺς ἀστυγείτονας ἐν Ἐλευσῖνι βοηθήσας καὶ τροπὴν ποιήσας τῶν πολεμίων ἀπέθανε κάλλιστα͵ καί μιν Ἀθηναῖοι δημοσίῃ τε ἔθαψαν αὐτοῦ τῇ περ ἔπεσε καὶ ἐτίμησαν μεγάλως.

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