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[11] And since every kind of good is not suitable to the first comer, but a certain proportion and suitability are necessary (as for instance beautiful weapons are not suitable to the just but to the courageous man, and distinguished marriages not to the newly rich but to the nobly born), if a virtuous man does not obtain what is suitable to him, we feel indignant. Similarly, if the inferior contends with the superior, especially among those engaged in the same pursuit,—whence the saying of the poet, “ He avoided battle with Ajax, son of Telamon,1 for Zeus was indignant with him, when he would fight with a better man;


or, if the pursuit is not the same, wherever the inferior contends with the superior in anything whatever, as for instance, the musician with the just man; for justice is better than music.

From this it is clear, then, with whom men are indignant and for what reasons; they are these or of such a kind.

1 Hom. Il. 11.542. Only the first verse is given in the received text of Homer; the second is not found in any of the mss. The reference is to Cebriones, a son of Priam slain by Patroclus.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 1753
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