eugenics

Kyrnos, when we are breeding stock,
we look for the best in horses, donkeys, or rams for stud,
to get a good strain; yet even the finest man
is willing to marry a rascal’s rascally daughter,
if only she brings him money enough.

Theognis

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Charon the Smith

Nothing to me the life of Gyges and his glut
of gold. I neither envy nor admire him, as
I watch his life and what he does. I want no pride
of tyranny; it lies far off from where I look.

Archilochus

life and death

The time of afterdeath for us is very long.
We live a wretched sum of years, and badly, too.

Semonides

the ten ages of man

A child in his infancy grows his first set of teeth and loses them
within seven years. For so long he counts as only a child.
When God has brought to accomplishment the next seven-year period,
one shows upon his body the signs of maturing youth.
In the third period he is still getting his growth, while on his chin
the beard comes, to show he is turning from youth to a man.
The fourth seven years are the time when every man reaches his highest
point of physical strength where men look for prowess achieved.
In the fifth period the time is ripe for a young man
to think of marriage and children, a family to be raised.
The mind of a man comes to full maturity in the sixth period,
but he cannot now do as much, nor does he wish that he could.
In the seventh period of seven years and in the eighth also
for fourteen years in all, his speech is best in his life.
He can still do much in his ninth period, but there is a weakening
seen in his ability both to think and to speak.
But if he completes ten ages of seven years each, full measure,
death, when it comes, can no longer be said to come too soon.

Solon

the well-tempered symposium

Now the floor is swept clean, and the hands of all who are present
are washed, and the cups are clean. One puts the garlands on,
another passes the fragrant myrrh on a dish. The mixing
bowl is set up and stands by, full of the spirit of cheer,
and more wine still stands ready and promises no disappointment;
sweet wine, in earthen jars, preserving its own bouquet.
In the middle of all, frankincense gives out its holy fragrance,
and we have water there too, cold and crystal and sweet.
Golden-brown loaves are set nearby, and the lordly table
is weighted down underneath its load of honey and cheese.
The altar, in the center, is completely hidden in flowers.
Merriment and singing fill all the corners of the house.
First of all, enlightened men should hymn the God, using
words of propriety, and stories that have no fault.
Then, when they have made libation and prayed to be able
to conduct themselves like gentlemen as occasion demands,
it will not be drunk-and-disorderly to drink as much as one can
and still get home without help—except for a very old man.
Best approve that man who in drinking discloses notable
ideas, as they come to his mind and his good disposition directs.
It’s no use to tell the tale of the battles of Titans and Giants,
or Centaurs either, those fictions of our fathers’ imaginations,
nor wars of the Gods; there’s no good to be got from such subjects.
One should be thoughtful always and right-minded toward the Gods.

Xenophanes

aphrodite

Such is the passion for love
that has twisted its way beneath my heartstrings
and closed deep mist across my eyes
stealing the soft heart from inside my body…

Archilochus

love

Here I lie mournful with desire,
feeble in bitterness of the pain
gods inflicted upon me,
stuck through the bones with love.

Archilochus