Friday, April 29, 2011

En Garde!

Kyrnos, this polis is pregnant, and I fear that it will give birth to a man who will be a straightener of our base hubris. The citizens here are still moderate, but the leaders [hēgemones] have veered so much as to fall into debasement [kakotēs]. Men who are agathoi, Kyrnos, have never yet ruined any polis, but when the kakoi decide to behave with outrage [hubris], and when they ruin the dēmos and render judgments [dikai] in favor of the unjust [i.e., persons or things without dikē], for the sake of private gain [kerdos plural], and for the sake of power, do not expect that polis to be peaceful for long, not even if it is now in a state of great serenity [hēsukhiē], when the base [kakoi] decide on these things, namely, private gains [kerdos plural] entailing public damage. From these things arise discord [stasis plural], intestine killings [phonoi] of men, and tyrants [mounarkhoi]. May this polis never decide to adopt these things!”
- Theognis of Megara (39–42)

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