Aelian, Historical Miscellany

LCL 486: 182-183

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Aelian

Ἀσσύριοι τὰς ὡραίας γάμου παρθένους ἀθροίσαντες εἴς τινα πόλιν ἀγορὰν αὐτῶν προκηρύττουσι, καὶ ἕκαστος ἣν ἂν πρίηται ἀπάγει νύμφην.

Βύβλιος ἀνὴρ ἐν ὁδῷ περιτυχὼν οὐδὲν ὧν μὴ κατέθετο ἀναιρεῖται· οὐ γὰρ ἡγεῖται τὸ τοιοῦτον εὕρεμα ἀλλὰ ἀδίκημα.

Δερβίκκαι τοὺς ὑπὲρ ἑβδομήκοντα ἔτη βεβιωκότας ἀποκτείνουσι, τοὺς μὲν ἄνδρας καταθύοντες, ἀπάγχοντες δὲ τὰς γυναῖκας.

Κόλχοι δὲ τοὺς νεκροὺς ἐν βύρσαις θάπτουσι καὶ καταρράψαντες ἐκ τῶν δένδρων ἐξαρτῶσι.

Δυδοῖς ἦν ἔθος πρὸ τοῦ συνοικεῖν τὰς γυναῖκας ἀνδράσιν ἑταιρεῖν, ἅπαξ δὲ καταζευχθείσας σωφρονεῖν· τὴν δὲ ἁμαρτάνουσαν εἰς ἕτερον3 συγγνώμης τυχεῖν ἀδύνατον ἦν.

2. Νικόστρατον τὸν κιθαριστὴν λόγος τις περίεισι λέγων Λαοδόκῳ τῷ κιθαρῳδῷ διαφερόμενον ὑπὲρ μουσικῆς εἰπεῖν ὅτι ἄρα ἐκεῖνος μέν ἐστιν ἐν μεγάλῃ τῇ τέχνῃ μικρός, αὐτὸς δὲ ἐν μικρᾷ μέγας. οὐ μόνον δὲ ἄρα ἐστὶ σεμνὸν οἰκίαν αὐξῆσαι καὶ πλοῦτον, ἀλλὰ γὰρ καὶ τέχνην, εἴ γέ τι δεῖ προσέχειν Νικοστράτῳ εὖ καὶ καλῶς τοῦτο εἰπόντι.

3. Πολύγνωτος ὁ Θάσιος καὶ Διονύσιος ὁ Κολοφώνιος γραφέε ἤστην. καὶ ὁ μὲν Πολύγνωτος ἔγραφε τὰ

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Book 4

The Assyrians collect in one city all the girls of marriageable age and announce a sale. Each man takes away as his bride the one he has bought.

A man from Byblus who finds an object in the street will not pick it up unless he put it there. He does not regard this as a find, but as an injustice.

The Derbiccae3 kill those who are seventy years of age. They sacrifice the men and strangle the women.

The Colchians put the dead in leather skins; they sew them up and hang them from trees.4

It was the custom in Lydia for the women to live as courtesans before setting up house with their husbands; once married, they behaved correctly. The woman who misbehaved with another man had no chance of being forgiven.

2. A story circulates which says that Nicostratus the cithara player had an argument about music with Laodocus the singer and said that the latter was a minor exponent of a great art, whereas he himself was a great exponent of a minor art. Not only is it laudable to augment one’s house and one’s wealth, but also one’s art, if we are to heed Nicostratus’ apt and well-phrased comment.

3. Polygnotus of Thasus and Dionysius of Colophon were painters. Polygnotus painted on a large scale and

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aelian-historical_miscellany.1997