Aristides and Marcus Cato

Aristides and Marcus Cato

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Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, was of the tribe Antiochis, and township of Alopece. As to his wealth, statements differ; some say he passed his life in extreme poverty, and left behind him two daughters whose indigence long kept them unmarried: but Demetrius, the Phalerian, in opposition to this general report, professes in his Socrates, to know a farm at Phalerum going by Aristides’s name, where he was interred; and, as marks of his opulence, adduces first, the office of archon eponymus, which he obtained by the lot of the bean; which was confined to the highest assessed families, called the Pentacosiomedimni; second, the ostracism, which was not usually inflicted on the poorer citizens, but on those of great houses, whose elation exposed them to envy; third and last, that he left certain tripods in the temple of Bacchus, offerings for his victory in conducting the representation of dramatic performances, which were even in our age still to be seen, retaining this inscription upon them, “The tribe Antiochis obtained the victory: Aristides defrayed the charges: Archestratus’s play was acted.” But this argument, though in appearance the strongest, is of the least moment of any. For Epaminondas, who all the world knows was educated, and lived his whole life, in much poverty, and also Plato, the philosopher, exhibited magnificent shows, the one an entertainment of flute-players the other of dithyrambic singers; Dion, the Syracusan, supplying the expenses of the latter, and Pelopidas those of Epaminondas. For good men do not allow themselves in any inveterate and irreconcilable hostility to receiving presents from their friends, but while looking upon those that are accepted to be hoarded up and with avaricious intentions, as sordid and mean, they do not refuse such as, apart from all profit, gratify the pure love of honor and magnificence. Panaetius, again, shows that Demetrius was deceived concerning the tripod by an identity of name. For, from the Persian war to the end of the Peloponnesian, there are upon record only two of the name of Aristides, who defrayed the expense of representing plays and gained the prize neither of which was the same with the son of Lysimachus; but the father of the one was Xenophilus, and the other lived at a much later time, as the way of writing, which is that in use since the time of Euclides, and the addition of the name of Archestratus prove, a name which, in the time of the Persian war, no writer mentions, but which several, during the Peloponnesian war, record as that of a dramatic poet. The argument of Panaetius requires to be more closely considered. But as for the ostracism, everyone was liable to it, whom his reputation, birth, or eloquence raised above the common level; insomuch that even Damon, preceptor to Pericles, was thus banished, because he seemed a man of more than ordinary sense. And, moreover, Idomeneus says, that Aristides was not made archon by the lot of the bean, but the free election of the people. And if he held the office after the battle of Plataea, as Demetrius himself has written, it is very probable that his great reputation and success in the war, made him be preferred for his virtue to an office which others received in consideration of their wealth. But Demetrius manifestly is eager not only to exempt Aristides but Socrates likewise, from poverty, as from a great evil; telling us that the latter had not only a house of his own, but also seventy minae put out at interest with Crito.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Pdm Classics
  • United States
  • English
  • 0740826867
  • 9780740826863