“Nor should you hesitate to draw on your private property, Hiero, for the common good. For in my opinion the sums that a great despot spends on the city are more truly necessary expenses than the money he spends on himself. [2] But let us go into details. First, which do you suppose is likely to bring you more credit, to own a palace adorned with priceless objects of art, or to have the whole city garnished with walls and temples and verandahs and market-places and harbours? [3] Which will make you look more terrible to the enemy, to dazzle all beholders with your own glittering panoply, or to present the whole of your people in goodly armour? [4] Which plan, think you, will yield revenues more abounding, to keep only your own capital employed, or to contrive to bring the capital of all the citizens into employment? [5] And what about the breeding of chariot horses, commonly considered the noblest and grandest business in the world? By which method do you think you will gain most credit for that, if you out-do all other Greeks in the number of teams you breed and send to the festivals, or if the greatest number of breeders and the greatest number of competitors are drawn from your city? And how is the nobler victory gained, by the excellence of your team, or by the prosperity of the city of which you are the head? [6] Indeed my own opinion is that it is not even seemly for a great despot to compete with private citizens. For your victory would excite envy rather than admiration, on the ground that many estates supply the money that you spend, and no defeat would be greeted with so much ridicule as yours. [7] I tell you, Hiero, you have to compete with other heads of states, and if you cause your state to surpass theirs in prosperity, be well assured1 that you are the victor in the noblest and grandest competition in the world. [8] And in the first place you will forthwith have secured just what you really want, the affection of your subjects. Secondly, your victory will not be proclaimed by one herald's voice, but all the world will tell of your virtue. [9] The observed of all observers' eyes, you will be a hero, not only to private citizens, but to many states: you will be admired not only in your home, but in public among all men. [10] And you will be free to go wherever you choose, so far as safety is concerned, to see the sights, and equally free to enjoy them in your home; for you will have a throng of aspirants before you, some eager to display something wise or beautiful or good, others longing to serve you. [11] Everyone present will be an ally, everyone absent will long to see you.

“Thus you will be not only the loved, but the adored of mankind. You will need not to court the fair, but to listen patiently to their suit. Anxiety for your welfare will fall not on yourself, but on others. [12] You will have the willing obedience of your subjects; you will mark their unsolicited care for you; and should any danger arise, you will find in them not merely allies, but champions and zealots.2 Accounted worthy of many gifts, and at no loss for some man of goodwill with whom to share them, you will find all rejoicing in your good fortune, all fighting for your interests, as though they were their own. [13] And all the riches in the houses of your friends will be yours in fee.

“Take heart then, Hiero; enrich your friends, for so you will enrich yourself. Exalt the state, for so you will deck yourself with power. [14] Get her allies [for so you will win supporters for yourself]. Account the fatherland your estate, the citizens your comrades, friends your own children, your sons possessions dear as life. And try to surpass all these in deeds of kindness. [15] For if you out-do your friends in kindness, it is certain that your enemies will not be able to resist you.

“And if you do all these things, rest assured that you will be possessed of the fairest and most blessed possession in the world; for none will be jealous of your happiness.”

1 But εὖ ἴσθι is not right. All the MSS. have εὖ ἔσει, which perhaps conceals εὐδαίμων ἔσει, “you will be happy, being the victor.”

2 Or ‘champions full of zeal.’ The καὶ is not free from suspicion.

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 Greek (1920)
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 (4 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: