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Theban Herald
Who is the despot of this land? To whom must I announce [400] the message of Creon who rules over the land of Cadmus, since Eteocles was slain by the hand of his brother Polyneices, at the sevenfold gates of Thebes?

Theseus
You have made a false beginning to your speech, stranger, in seeking a despot here. For this city is not ruled [405] by one man, but is free. The people rule in succession year by year, allowing no preference to wealth, but the poor man shares equally with the rich.

Theban Herald
You give me here an advantage, as in a game of checkers; [410] for the city from which I come is ruled by one man only, not by the mob; no one there puffs up the citizens with specious words, and for his own advantage twists them this way or that, one moment dear to them and lavish of his favors, [415] the next harmful to all; and yet by fresh calumnies of others he hides his former failures and escapes punishment. Besides, how would the people, if it cannot form true judgments, be able rightly to direct the state? No, it is time, not haste, that affords a better [420] understanding. A poor farmer, even if he were not unschooled, would still be unable from his toil to give his mind to politics. Truly the better sort count it no healthy sign when the worthless man obtains a reputation [425] by beguiling with words the populace, though before he was nothing.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), LATRU´NCULI
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