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Elegiac Poems

“Critias' catalogue of things peculiar to each city is this:

To Sicily belongs that rare fine thing the cottabus, which we set up to be the target of wine-drop arrows; Sicily's too is the wain that is best and cheapest.1 .. Of Thessaly is the chair that gives most comfort to the limbs; Miletus, and Chios, sea-girt city of Oenopion, have the best wool-coverlets of beds for our lying; Tuscany hath the pre-eminence in the gold-wrought jar, and in all bronze that adorns the house for any use; the Phoenicians invented letters, those helpers of discourse, Thebes first made the chariot, the Carian stewards of the brine light merchant-ships;2 and the offspring of wheel and clay and furnace, that useful keeper of the house, the most renowned pot, is hers that set up the fair trophy at Marathon.3

Athenaeus Doctors at Dinner

Constitutions in Verse

“It was not the custom of the Spartans to pledge healths at their banquets as we do at ours, or to drink from the loving-cup in doing so. This is shown by a passage from the Elegiac Poems of Critias:

This too is a custom and practice at Sparta, to drink from one and the same cup of wine, and not to give the cup when thou namest thy toast nor [to pass the cup] round the company.4 'Twas a Lydian hand, Asian-born,5 that invented pitchers, and the offering of toasts in turn around the board with the naming beforehand of the toast to be drunk. Moreover after such drinking the tongue is loosened6 unto foul tales, and the body gropeth; a darkling mist settles on the eye, oblivion melts the memory from the wits, and the arrows of the mind go wide; the serving-men become out of hand, and ruinous expenditure befalls. But at Sparta young men drink only so much as to bring all hearts into a merry confidence, and all lips into goodfellowship and moderate laughter. Such drinking advantageth alike body, understanding, and estate; it well befitteth the works of Aphrodite and sleep that's our haven after toil, befitteth also Health the God most pleasing unto man, and Piety's neighbour Discretion.

And immediately afterwards he says again:

For toastings beyond due measure make present delight only to bring lasting pain afterward, whereas the Spartan manner lieth evenly, namely to eat and drink proportional to keeping thy wits and the power to act; there's no day appointed7 for making the body drunk with immoderate drinking.


Athenaeus Doctors at Dinner

On Alcibiades

“But it is rare in heroic verse; so that Critias in his Elegy on Alcibiades considered it impossible to get his friend's name into the metre, saying:

And now will I crown the Athenian Alcibiades son of Cleinias with a new style of eulogy; for 'twas not possible to fit his name to elegias verse, and so, to save the metre, he shall stand in an iambic line.8

Hephaestion Handbook of Metre [on synizesis]
“The decree for his recall had been ratified earlier on the proposal of Critias son of Callaeschrus, as Critias has himself recorded in his Elegies, where he reminds Alcibiades of the good turn he did him, in the following lines:

The decision that brought thee home, ‘twas I that spake it among them all, and by my own proposing did the deed; upon these words the seal of my tongue is set.9

Plutarch Life of Alcibiades
“More, according to Gorgias of Leontini Cimon made money to spend it, and spent it to win credit; and when Critias became one of the Thirty Tyrants he wished, as we may read in his Elegies , for

the wealth of the Scopads, the greatmindedness of Cimon, and the victories of Arcesilas of Sparta.10

Plutarch Life of Cimon

More men are good11 by practice than by nature.

Stobaeus Anthology [on industry and practice, and that hesitation is inexpedient]
“To one of the Seven Sages belongs the maxim ‘Moderation in all things’’; it is ascribed to Cheilon; compare Critias:

Wise was the Spartan Cheilon, who said ‘Moderation in all things’; all that is good belongeth unto good measure.12

Scholiast on Euripides

1 one line lost

2 prob. sailing-ships as opposed to ships driven by oars

3 i.e. Athens; cf. Ath. 15. 666b (1-2)

4 at least one line lost

5 possibly corrupt; if so, perh. ‘swift-handed Asian-born,’ omitting ‘Lydian’

6 the unknown grammatical subjt. was supplied from the lost line or lines above; it can hardly be the (apparently Athenian, cf. l. 14) guests

7 apparently a colloquial phrase meaning ‘you ought not’

8 line 2 containing the name is an iambic instead of a pentameter

9 cf. Theogn. 19

10 twice in the horse-race, cf. Paus. 6.2.1; his son Lichas won it in 420, cf. Ibid. and Thuc. 5.50.4

11 including excellence other than moral

12 cf. Diog. L. i. 41 (1-2)

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