46. ΠΕΡΙ ΤΥΧΗΣ ΔΕΥΤΕΡΟΣ
1Τὰ γιγνόμενα παρὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων εἰς τὴν τύχην ἐγκλήματα μέγιστα ἂν ἔγωγε θείην ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς ἐγκώμια. τὰς γοῦν ἀδήλους τῶν πραγμάτων μεταβολὰς εἰς ταύτην ἀναφέρουσι, καὶ οἷς ἀπὸ γνώμης ἐπιχειρήσαντες διήμαρτον, τούτων ἀφῃρῆσθαι νομίζουσιν ὑπὸ1 τῆς τύχης, ὡς πάντα περιποιεῖν, εἰ θελήσαι, δυναμένης. ἀκούσαις δ᾿ ἂν αἰτιωμένων αὐτὴν καὶ γεωργῶν καὶ ἐμπόρων καὶ πλουσίων ἐπὶ τοῖς χρήμασι καὶ καλῶν ἐπὶ τοῖς σώμασι καὶ Πανθείας ἐπὶ τῷ ἀνδρὶ καὶ Κροίσου ἐπὶ τῷ παιδὶ καὶ Ἀστυάγους ἡττηθέντος καὶ Πολυκράτους ἑαλωκότος. καὶ Πέρσαι δὲ ἐμέμφοντο τὴν τύχην μετὰ τὴν Κύρου σφαγὴν καὶ Μακεδόνες μετὰ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρου τελευτήν.
2Ἤδη δέ τινα καὶ τῶν ἰδίων παθῶν τῇ τύχῃ προφέρουσιν, ἡ Μήδεια τὸν ἔρωτα, ὁ Μίδας τὴν
The Sixty-Fourth Discourse: on Fortune (II)
The charges which men lay to the account of Fortune I would consider to be highest encomia in her favour. For example, the inscrutable vicissitudes in their affairs they ascribe to her, and whenever they unwisely set their hands to certain projects and meet with failure they imagine they have been robbed of their purposes by her, since, in their opinion, she could do any and every thing if she only would. Again, you may hear farmers, shippers, and men of wealth blaming her for their loss of money, dandies for their persons, Pantheia for her husband,1 Croesus for his son,2 Astyages for his defeat,3 and Polycrates for his capture.4 Moreover, the Persians blamed Fortune after the slaying of Cyrus,5 as did the Macedonians after Alexander’s death.
Furthermore, men even reproach Fortune for some of their own emotional weaknesses—Medea for her
- 1Pantheia, wife of Abradatas, king of Susa, was taken captive by Cyrus. Through her efforts Abradatas accepted service with Cyrus and was slain fighting for him. Pantheia committed suicide at his grave. Xenophon devotes much space to the tale in his Cyropaedeia but he fails to note anywhere that Pantheia blamed Fortune.
- 2Warned in a dream, Croesus vainly tries to save his son Atys; cf. Herodotus 1. 34–35.
- 3Learning that his daughter is fated to bear a son who will bring ruin on her father, Astyages tries to thwart fate, but to no avail, and he is dethroned by that son (Cyrus); cf. Herodotus 1. 107–130.
- 4Though warned by soothsayers, Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, is taken captive and crucified by the Persian Oroetes; cf. Herodotus 3. 120–125.
- 5Though warned in a dream, Cyrus is slain by Tomyris, the nomad queen; cf. Herodotus 1. 205–213.