ΠΡΟΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΝΕΟΥΣ
ὍΠΩΣ ἌΝ ἘΞ ἙΛΛΗΝΙΚΩΝ ὨΦΕΛΟΙΝΤΟ ΛΟΓΩΝ1
I. Πολλά με τὰ παρακαλοῦντά ἐστι ξυμβουλεῦσαι ὑμῖν, ὦ παῖδες, ἃ βέλτιστα εἶναι κρίνω, καὶ ἃ ξυνοίσειν ὑμῖν ἑλομένοις πεπίστευκα. τό τε γὰρ ἡλικίας οὕτως ἔχειν καὶ τὸ διὰ πολλῶν ἤδη γεγυμνάσθαι πραγμάτων καὶ μὴν καὶ τὸ τῆς πάντα παιδευούσης ἐπ᾿ ἄμφω μεταβολῆς ἱκανῶς μετασχεῖν, ἔμπειρόν με εἶναι τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων πεποίηκεν, ὥστε τοῖς ἄρτι καθισταμένοις τὸν βίον ἔχειν ὥσπερ ὁδῶν τὴν ἀσφαλεστάτην 2ὑποδεικνύναι. τῇ τε παρὰ τῆς φύσεως οἰκειότητι εὐθὺς μετὰ τοὺς γονέας ὑμῖν τυγχάνω, ὥστε μήτε αὐτὸς2 ἔλαττόν τι πατέρων εὐνοίας νέμειν ὑμῖν· ὑμᾶς δὲ νομίζω, εἰ μή τι ὑμῶν διαμαρτάνω τῆς γνώμης, μὴ ποθεῖν τοὺς τεκόντας, πρὸς ἐμὲ βλέποντας. 3εἰ μὲν οὖν προθύμως δέχοισθε τὰ λεγόμενα, τῆς δευτέρας τῶν ἐπαινουμένων ἔσεσθε παρ᾿ Ἡσιόδῳ τάξεως· εἰ δὲ μή, ἐγὼ μὲν οὐδὲν ἂν εἴποιμι
Basil the Great’s
To Young Men, on How They Might Derive Profit from Pagan Literature
I. There are many considerations which urge me to counsel you, my children, on what things I judge to be best, and on those which I am confident, if you accept them, will be to your advantage. For the fact that I have reached this age, and have already been trained through many experiences, and indeed also have shared sufficiently in the all-teaching vicissitude of both good and evil fortune, has made me conversant with human affairs, so that I can indicate the safest road, as it were, to those who are just entering upon life. Moreover, I come immediately after your parents in natural relationship to you, so that I myself entertain for you no less good-will than do your fathers; and I am sure, unless I am somewhat wrong in my judgment of you, that you do not long for your parents when your eyes rest upon me. If, then, you should receive my words with eagerness, you will belong to the second class of those praised by Hesiod;1 but should you not do so, I indeed should not like to say anything
- 1Cf. Hesiod, Works and Days, 293–297: οὗτος μὲν πανάριστος, ὃς αὐτὸς πάντα νοήσῃ | φρασσάμενος, τὰ κ᾿ ἔπειτα καὶ ἐς τέλος ᾖσιν ἀμείνω· | ἐσθλὸς δ᾿ αὖ κἀκεῖνος, ὃς εὖ εἰπόντι πίθηται. | ὃς δέ κε μήτ᾿ αὐτὸς νοέῃ μήτ᾿ ἄλλου ἀκούων | ἐν θυμῷ βάλληται, ὅδε αὖτ᾿ ἀχρήιος ἀνήρ. “That man is altogether best who considers all things himself and marks what will be better afterwards and at the end; and he, again, is good who listens to a good adviser; but whoever neither thinks for himself nor keeps in mind what another tells him, he is an unprofitable man.” Trans. by H. G. Evelyn-White in L.C.L.