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“Next take confidence. Surely he who has very little of that is stinted in a great blessing? What companionship is pleasant without mutual trust? What intercourse between husband and wife is delightful without confidence? What squire is pleasant if he is not trusted? [2] Now of this confidence in others despots enjoy the smallest share. They go in constant suspicion even of their meat and drink; they bid their servitors taste them first, before the libation is offered to the gods, because of their misgiving that they may sup poison in the dish or the bowl. [3] Again, to all other men their fatherland is very precious. For citizens ward one another without pay from their slaves and from evildoers, to the end that none of the citizens may perish by a violent death. [4] They have gone so far in measures of precaution that many have made a law whereby even the companion of the bloodguilty is deemed impure; and so—thanks to the fatherland—every citizen lives in security. [5] But for despots the position is the reverse in this case too. Instead of avenging them, the cities heap honours on the slayer of the despot; and, whereas they exclude the murderers of private persons from the temples, the cities, so far from treating assassins in the same manner, actually put up statues of them in the holy places. [6]

“If you suppose that just because he has more possessions than the private citizen, the despot gets more enjoyment out of them, this is not so either, Simonides. Trained athletes feel no pleasure when they prove superior to amateurs, but they are cut to the quick when they are beaten by a rival athlete; in like manner the despot feels no pleasure when he is seen to possess more than private citizens, but is vexed when he has less than other despots; for he regards them as his rivals in wealth. [7] Nor even does the despot gain the object of his desire any quicker than the private citizen. For the private citizen desires a house or a farm or a servant; but the despot covets cities or wide territory or harbours or strong citadels, and these are far more difficult and perilous to acquire than the objects that attract the citizen. [8] And, moreover, you will find that even poverty is rarer among private citizens than among despots. For much and little are to be measured not by number, but in relation to the owner's needs; so that what is more than enough is much, and what is less than enough is little. [9] Therefore, the despot with his abundance of wealth has less to meet his necessary expenses than the private citizen. For while private citizens can cut down the daily expenditure as they please, despots cannot, since the largest items in their expenses and the most essential are the sums they spend on the life-guards, and to curtail any of these means ruin. [10] Besides, when men can have all they need by honest means, why pity them as though they were poor? May not those who through want of money are driven to evil and unseemly expedients in order to live, more justly be accounted wretched and poverty-stricken? [11] Now, despots are not seldom forced into the crime of robbing temples and their fellow men through chronic want of cash to meet their necessary expenses. Living, as it were, in a perpetual state of war, they are forced to maintain an army, or they perish.

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