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ARISTIDES. Aristides the Just always managed his offices himself, and avoided all political clubs, because power gotten by the assistance of friends was an encouragement to the unjust. When the Athenians were fully bent to banish him by an ostracism, an illiterate country fellow came to him with his shell, and asked him to write in it the name of Aristides. Friend, said he, do you know Aristides Not I, said the fellow, but I do not like his surname of Just. He said no more, but wrote his name in the shell and gave it him. He was at variance with Themistocles, who was sent on an embassy with him. Are you content, said he, Themistocles, to leave our enmity at the borders? and if you please we will take it up again at our return. When he levied an assessment upon the Greeks, he returned poorer by so much as he spent in the journey.

Aeschylus wrote these verses on Amphiaraus—

His shield no emblem bears; his generous soul
Wishes to be, not to appear, the best;
While the deep furrows of his noble mind
Harvests of wise and prudent counsel bear.1

[p. 211] And when they were pronounced in the theatre, all turned their eyes upon Aristides.


σῆμα δ᾽ οὐκ ἐπῆν κύκλῳ
οὐ γὰρ δοκεῖν ἄριστος ἀλλ᾽ εὶναι θέλει,
βαθεῖαν ἄλοκα διὰφρενὸς καρπούμενος,
᾿εξ ἧς τὰ κεδνὰ βλαστάνει βουλεύματα.

Aesch. Sept. 591.

Thus the passage stands in all MSS, of Aeschylus; but it is quoted by Plutarch in his Life of Aristides, § 3, with δίκαιος in the second verse in the place of ἄριστος. It has been plausibly conjectured, that the actor who spoke the part intentionally substituted the word δίκαιος as a compliment to Aristides, on seeing him in a conspicuous place among the spectators. See Hermann's note on the passage in his edition of Aeschylus. (G.)

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