Aelian, Historical Miscellany

LCL 486: 180-181

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1. Λέγει τις νόμος Λευκανῶν, ἐὰν ἡλίου δύναντος ἀφίκηται ξένος καὶ παρελθεῖν ἐθελήσῃ εἰς στέγην τινός, εἶτα <οὗτος>1 μὴ δέξηται τὸν ἄνδρα, ζημιοῦσθαι αὐτὸν καὶ ὑπέχειν δίκας τῆς κακοξενίας ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ καὶ τῷ ἀφικομένῳ καὶ τῷ Ξενίῳ Διί.

Ὅτι Δαρδανεῖς τοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰλλυρίδος ἀκούω τρὶς μόνον λούεσθαι παρὰ πάντα τὸν ἑαυτῶν βίον, ἐξ ὠδίνων καὶ γαμοῦντας καὶ ἀποθανόντας.

Ἰνδοὶ οὔτε δανείζουσιν οὔτε ἴσασι δανείζεσθαι, ἀλλ᾿ οὔτε θέμις ἄνδρα Ἰνδὸν οὔτε ἀδικῆσαι οὔτε ἀδικηθῆναι. διὸ οὐδὲ ποιοῦνται συγγραφὴν ἢ παρακαταθήκην.2

Νόμος ἐστὶ Σαρδῷος, τοὺς ἤδη γεγηρακότας τῶν πατέρων οἱ παῖδες ῥοπάλοις τύπτοντες ἀνῄρουν καὶ ἔθαπτον, αἰσχρὸν ἡγούμενοι τὸν λίαν ὑπέργηρων ὄντα ζῆν ἔτι, ὡς πολλὰ ἁμαρτάνοντος τοῦ σώματος τοῦ διὰ τὸ γῆρας πεπονηκότος. τῶν δὲ αὐτῶν ἐστι νόμος τοιοῦτος· ἀργίας ἦσαν δίκαι, καὶ τὸν εἰκῇ ζῶντα ἔδει κρίνεσθαι καὶ διδόναι τὰς εὐθύνας ἀποδεικνύντα ὁπόθεν ζῇ.


Book 4

Book Four

1. A law in Lucania declares: if a traveller arrives after sunset and wishes to enter someone’s house but the latter declines to receive him, there is a punishment and the man pays the penalty for his bad hospitality, I presume both to the traveller and to Zeus Xenios.1

Note that the Dardanians of Illyria, as I hear, are washed only three times in the whole course of their lives, after birth, on marriage, and at death.

The Indians do not lend money, nor do they have any notion of accepting a loan. For an Indian it is not right to commit an injustice or to be the victim of one. Hence they make no written contracts or deposits.2

It was a custom in Sardinia that the children of aged parents beat them to death with clubs and buried them, in the belief that it was wrong for the excessively old to continue living, since the body, suffering through age, had many failings. The same community had the following law: there were trials for idleness, and a person who lived without a regular routine had to go to court and submit to an examination to prove the source of his income.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aelian-historical_miscellany.1997