Aelian, Historical Miscellany

LCL 486: 62-63

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1. Καὶ ταῦτα Σωκράτους πρὸς Ἀλκιβιάδην. ὁ μὲν ἠγωνία καὶ ἐδεδίει πάνυ σφόδρα εἰς τὸν δῆμον παρελθεῖν τὸ μειράκιον· ἐπιθαρσύνων δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ ἐγείρων ὁ Σωκράτης “οὐ καταφρονεῖς” εἶπεν “ἐκείνου τοῦ σκυτοτόμου;” τὸ ὄνομα εἰπὼν αὐτοῦ. φήσαντος δὲ τοῦ Ἀλκιβιάδου ὑπολαβὼν πάλιν ὁ Σωκράτης· “ἔτι δὲ ἐκείνου τοῦ ἐν τοῖς κύκλοις κηρύττοντος ἢ ἐκείνου τοῦ σκηνορράφου;” ὁμολογοῦντος δὲ τοῦ Κλεινίου μειρακίου1 “οὐκοῦν” ἔφη ὁ Σωκράτης “ὁ δῆμος ὁ Ἀθηναίων ἐκ τοιούτων ἤθροισται· καὶ εἰ τῶν καθ᾿ ἕνα καταφρονεῖς, καταφρονητέον ἄρα καὶ τῶν ἠθροισμένων,” μεγαλοφρόνως ταῦτα ὁ τοῦ Σωφρονίσκου καὶ τῆς Φαιναρέτης τὸν τοῦ Κλεινίου καὶ τῆς Δεινομάχης διδάσκων.

2. Μεγαβύζου ποτὲ ἐπαινοῦντος γραφὰς εὐτελεῖς καὶ ἀτέχνους, ἑτέρας δὲ σπουδαίως ἐκπεπονημένας διαψέγοντος, τὰ παιδάρια τὰ τοῦ Ζεύξιδος <τὰ>2 τὴν μηλίδα3 τρίβοντα κατεγέλα. ὁ τοίνυν Ζεῦξις ἔφατο· “ὅταν μὲν σιωπᾷς, ὦ Μεγάβυζε, θαυμάζει σε τὰ

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Book 2

Book Two

1. And here is how Socrates advised Alcibiades. The latter was anxious and felt great diffidence as a young man about speaking in public. Socrates gave him encouragement and support by saying “Don’t you despise that leather worker?” adding the man’s name. When Alcibiades agreed Socrates continued: “And also the town crier who accosts the public; and that tent maker?” The young son of Clinias agreed. “Well, the Athenian public is composed of such people,” said Socrates, “and if you despise them as individuals, you should despise them collectively.” Such was the distinguished lesson given by the son of Sophroniscus and Phaenarete to the son of Clinias and Dinomache.1

2. One day when Megabyzus gave praise to some inferior and crude paintings, while being quite critical of others that displayed excellent technique, the slaves of Zeuxis who were grinding Melian earth began to laugh.2 So Zeuxis remarked, “Megabyzus, when you keep silent, the

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aelian-historical_miscellany.1997