1. THE author of the encomium upon Alcibiades for his victory in the chariot-race at Olympia,1 whether he was Euripides, as the prevailing report has it, or some other, says, Sosius,2 that the first requisite to a man's happiness is birth in ‘a famous city’; but in my opinion, for a man who would enjoy true happiness, which depends for the most part on character and disposition, it is no disadvantage to belong to an obscure and mean city, any more than it is to be born of a mother who is of little stature and without beauty. [2] For it were laughable to suppose that Iulis, which is a little part of the small island of Ceos, and Aegina, which a certain Athenian was urgent to have removed as an eye-sore of the Piraeus,3 should breed good actors and poets,4 but should never be able to produce a man who is just, independent, wise, and magnanimous. [3] The arts, indeed, since their object is to bring business or fame, naturally pine away in obscure and mean cities; but virtue, like a strong and hardy plant, takes root in any place, if she finds there a generous nature and a spirit that shuns no labour. Wherefore we also, if we fail to live and think as we ought, will justly attribute this, not to the smallness of our native city, but to ourselves.

1 See the Alcibiades, chapter xi.

2 One of Plutarch's Roman friends. See the note on the Theseus, i. 1.

3 See the Pericles, viii. 5.

4 The great poet Simonides was of Ceos, and the great actor Polus of Aegina.

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 (Bernadotte Perrin, 1919)
hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Plutarch, Alcibiades, 11.1
    • Plutarch, Pericles, 8.5
    • Plutarch, Theseus, 1.1
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: