previous next
[17] Good fortune consists in the acquisition or possession
of either all, or the most, or the most important of those goods of which fortune is the cause. Now fortune is the cause of some things with which the arts also are concerned, and also of many which have nothing to do with art, for instance, such as are due to nature (though it is possible that the results of fortune may be contrary to nature); for art is a cause of health, but nature of beauty and stature.1 Speaking generally, the goods which come from fortune are such as excite envy. Fortune is also a cause of those goods which are beyond calculation; for instance, a man's brothers are all ugly, while he is handsome; they did not see the treasure, while he found it; the arrow hit one who stood by and not the man aimed at; or, one who frequented a certain place was the only one who did not go there on a certain occasion, while those who went there then for the first time met their death. All such instances appear to be examples of good fortune.

1 The results of art and the results due to nature are often assisted (or hindered) by the interference of the irregular operations of fortune or chance. Health may be the result of fortune, as well as art (a sick man may be cured by a drug taken by chance, one not prescribed by the physician); beauty and strength, of fortune as well as nature. It is parenthetically remarked that fortune may also produce unnatural monstrosities. The removal of the brackets and the substitution of a comma for the colon after φύσις have been suggested. The meaning would then be: “for instance, such as are due to nature, but possibly may be also contrary to nature.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (E. M. Cope, 1877)
load focus Greek (W. D. Ross, 1959)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: