previous next
their being aware of it— for instance honors, and disgraces, and the prosperity and misfortunes of their children and their descendants in general. [4] But here too there is a difficulty. For suppose a man to have lived in perfect happiness until old age, and to have come to a correspondingly happy end: he may still have many vicissitudes befall his descendants, some of whom may be good and meet with the fortune they deserve, and others the opposite; and moreover these descendants may clearly stand in every possible degree of remoteness from the ancestors in question. Now it would be a strange thing if the dead man also were to change1 with the fortunes of his family, and were to become a happy man at one time and then miserable at another; [5] yet on the other hand it would also be strange if ancestors were not affected at all, even over a limited period, by the fortunes of their descendants. [6]

But let us go back to our former difficulty,2 for perhaps it will throw light on the question3 we are now examining. [7] If we are to look to the end, and congratulate a man when dead not as actually being blessed, but because he has been blessed in the past, surely it is strange if at the actual time when a man is happy that fact cannot be truly predicated of him,

1 i.e., if our estimate of his life as happy or the reverse had to change. There is no idea of the dead being conscious of what happens to their descendants (cf. 10.3 fin.), though this is inconsistently suggested by the wording of 10.5.

2 That raised in 10.1.

3 That raised in 10.4.

load focus Greek (J. Bywater)
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 Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: