previous next

Such were the Athenians at that time, after flattery, that worst of wild beasts, had inspired their city with frenzy, that city which once the Pythia entitled the Hearth of Greece, and which Theopompus, who hated them, called the Prytaneum of Greece; he who said in other places that Athens was full of drunken flatterers, and sailors, and pickpockets, and also of false witnesses, sycophants, and false accusers. And it is my opinion that it was they who introduced all the flattery which we have been speaking of, like a storm, or other infliction, sent on men by the gods; concerning which Diogenes said, very elegantly—“That it was much better to go ἐς κόρακας than ἐς κόλακας, who eat up all the good men while they are still alive;” and, accordingly, Anaxilas says, in his Young Woman—
The flatterers are worms which prey upon
All who have money; for they make an entrance
Into the heart of a good guileless man,
And take their seat there, and devour it,
Till they have drain'd it like the husk of wheat,
And leave the shell; and then attack some other.
And Plato says, in his Phædrus—“Nature has mingled some pleasure which is not entirely inelegant in its character of a flatterer, though he is an odious beast, and a great injury to a state.” And Theophrastus, in his treatise on Flattery, [p. 400] says that Myrtis the priest, the Argive, taking by the ear Cleonymus (who was a dancer and also a flatterer, and who often used to come and sit by him and his fellow-judges, and who was anxious to be seen in company with those who were thought of consideration in the city), and dragging him out of-the assembly, said to him in the hearing of many people, You shall not dance here, and you shall not hear us. And Diphilus, in his Marriage, says—
A flatterer destroys
By his pernicious speeches
Both general and prince,
Both private friends and states;
He pleases for a while,
But causes lasting ruin.
And now this evil habit
Has spread among the people,
Our courts are all diseased,
And all is done by favour.
So that the Thessalians did well who razed the city which was called Colaceia (Flattery), which the Melians used to inhabit, as Theopompus relates in the thirtieth book of his History.

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 (Kaibel)
load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: