1:7: ἐπειδὴ δέ μοι ἡ μήτηρ ἐτελεύτησε, πάντων τῶν κακῶν ἀποθανοῦσα αἰτία μοι γεγένηται.
Paul Derouda wrote:I don't think Euphiletos is really blaming the mother for dying - he's just saying "it all began when..."
daivid wrote:Maybe the speech is an example of how alien 5th century Athens is to us.
To me it reads like a clever piece of fiction in which the surface appeal of Euphiletos to the jury is undercut by a subtext in which the reader is invited to imagine the fate not of their wife but of an unfortunate sister married off to the likes of Euphiletos.
ἐν μὲν οὖν τῷ πρώτῳ χρόνῳ, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, πασῶν ἦν βελτίστη: καὶ γὰρ οἰκονόμος δεινὴ καὶ φειδωλὸς (ἀγαθὴ?) καὶ ἀκριβῶς πάντα διοικοῦσα: ἐπειδὴ δέ μοι ἡ μήτηρ ἐτελεύτησε, πάντων τῶν κακῶν ἀποθανοῦσα αἰτία μοι γεγένηται.
ἐλθὼν δὲ οἴκαδε ἐκέλευον ἀκολουθεῖν μοι τὴν θεράπαιναν εἰς τὴν ἀγοράν, ἀγαγὼν δ᾽ αὐτὴν ὡς τῶν ἐπιτηδείων τινὰ ἔλεγον ὅτι ἐγὼ πάντα εἴην πεπυσμένος τὰ γιγνόμενα ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ: ‘σοὶ οὖν’ ἔφην ‘ἔξεστι δυοῖν ὁπότερον βούλει ἑλέσθαι, ἢ μαστιγωθεῖσαν εἰς μύλωνα ἐμπεσεῖν καὶ μηδέποτε παύσασθαι κακοῖς τοιούτοις συνεχομένην, ἢ κατειποῦσαν ἅπαντα τἀληθῆ μηδὲν παθεῖν κακόν, ἀλλὰ συγγνώμης παρ᾽ ἐμοῦ τυχεῖν τῶν ἡμαρτημένων. ψεύσῃ δὲ μηδέν, ἀλλὰ πάντα τἀληθῆ λέγε.’
Returning home, I bade the servant-girl follow me to the market, and taking her to the house of an intimate friend, I told her I was fully informed of what was going on in my house: “So it is open to you,” I said, “to choose as you please between two things,—either to be whipped and thrown into a mill, and to be irrevocably immersed in that sort of misery, or else to speak out the whole truth and, instead of suffering any harm, obtain my pardon for your transgressions. Tell no lies, but speak the whole truth.”
Qimmik wrote:Euphiletus is a typical Athenian man speaking to typical Athenian men in a language they understand. The speech was written in the expectation that the jurors would accept him as one of their own, doing what any self-respecting Athenian man would do under the circumstances.
The ancient world was full of cruelty, just like the modern world, but maybe more so. If you want to engage with ancient Greek, you have to accept this, even if it's painful.
Lysias wrote: ἐγὼ δ᾽ εἶπον ὅτι ‘οὐκ ἐγώ σε ἀποκτενῶ, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ τῆς πόλεως νόμος, ὃν σὺ παραβαίνων περὶ ἐλάττονος τῶν ἡδονῶν ἐποιήσω, καὶ μᾶλλον εἵλου τοιοῦτον ἁμάρτημα ἐξαμαρτάνειν εἰς τὴν γυναῖκα τὴν ἐμὴν καὶ εἰς τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς ἐμοὺς ἢ τοῖς νόμοις πείθεσθαι καὶ κόσμιος εἶναι.’
my translation wrote:It's not I that will kill you but the laws of the city which you violating them considered to be less than your pleasure and you chose to commit a sin in relation to my wife and to my child rather than to obey the laws and to be moderate.
Scribo wrote:It depends on what you mean by fiction, I doubt not it has been edited but the logic and evidence against it being genuine is rather...well insurmountable. The ancients didn't think so, similar tropes are found elsewhere in oratory, this would doubtless have served as a good advertisement of the logographer Lysias' skill and so on.
Scribo wrote:You bring up some interesting points re: psychopathy. I'm actually really bad at picking these things up and just sort of...go with the flow. Hence my recent quip about hanging handmaidens. I'd not do it but I find it not at all surprising. Anyway turning back to that admirable passage, I take it thus (and I suspect the Athenians did too):
ἐγὼ δ᾽ εἶπον ὅτι ‘οὐκ ἐγώ σε ἀποκτενῶ, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ τῆς πόλεως νόμος,
This isn't grandiose but rather impersonal, the speaker is subsuming himself in the law as a faceless entity. A good shield in the phalanx so to speak. The idea here is that this isn't a personal action but one from civic mindness. The Athenians were terrified of seduction (which came under a graphe hubrews btw, pretty damn series! we're talking death or atimia here...). Cf a statement made by Demosthenes somewhere...something like "we believe the laws have power but if a man strikes you the law does nothing etc, men have to defend them". So this is an admirable statement. Not at all true, ofc, in order to have the right of death of an adulterer you had to catch him strictly red handed.
Scribo wrote:Is it wallowing? It seems very much like he's simply saying "oh do as I bid you or suffer x" with the kind of passive intransigence who knows such things are quite possible. I mean I doubt the kind of stuff that goes on in Iran nowadays is any better and will be said with as much casualness as this.
Scribo wrote:As for the wife not going on, we know it was a sort of cultural meme that women didn't need to go the well to get their own water if they were well off. So in apparently keeping her inside he was advertising to the jury look how high class we are, look how I keep her. In Menander then the playwright could be sending two messages to the audience. Either lol they're poor! (unlikely) or they're rustic and without the pretensions of the city..
Scribo wrote: Although the Thesmophoria thing is a bit weird! There were a few festivals where women were allowed out.
Paul Derouda wrote:I agree with Scribo and Qimmik here. Your "problem" here (in the lack of a better word) is that you want to believe that we humans are fundamentally good. I'm not so sure about that. Maybe it's possible to become better, but I'm not completely sure about that either.
Paul Derouda wrote:That checklist of symptoms of psychopath is basically a list of the traits that make a successful leader (successful at least from the person's own perspective). It's an effective way to transmit your genes to future generations. Many, many great military leaders, politicians, multinational business leaders etc. fit the criteria. But since we live in a peace time world that favors collaboration between peers more than in times past, we have started to call someone with these personality traits abnormal. If Julius Caesar's physician had told him he was suffering from a mental illness called psychopathy, Caesar would just have fed him to the lions and went on committing his genocide in Gaul.
Paul Derouda wrote:Daivid, what I mean is that I find it problematic to call all behaviour we find morally unacceptable psychically abnormal. Instead of saying "bad" or "evil" we now say "insane", but using a medical term doesn't explain anything. The fact is that the majority ancient Greeks thought, in John Wayne's words, that slavery "is a fact of life".
daivid wrote: "Oh yes, you should have heard his squeal when I told him. HAH HAH".
Paul Derouda wrote:I essentially agree what you say here about psychopaths. One problem with calling psychopathy a disease, in addition to the ones you mention, is that the person himself does not necessarily suffer from it. A person with a personality disorder gets himself into trouble, but a psychopath is usually just trouble for other people. I think this is one reason psychiatrists haven't accepted psychopathy as a personality disorder.
Paul Derouda wrote:But I disagree with your last point - this speech is genuinely meant to win over the jurors. Our starting point should be that what Lysias makes a good job in making his client say was supposed to present him in a good light. We may not like the picture it gives of the cradle of democracy and philosophy, but that's the truth and that's what we can learn from this speech. I can't blame you if it depresses you.
Paul Derouda wrote:But whether Euphiletos or indeed Lysias were psychopaths - maybe. In the end, psychopath is just a fancy word for an incurable !&?hole.
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests