Lucian, Saturnalia

LCL 430: 98-99

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The Works Of Lucian

ἐνίοτε βάλλειν ἀναγκαζόμενον· ἀλλὰ πρεσβυτικόν τινα τοῦτον ἥδιστον βίον διάγω ζωρότερον πίνων τὸ νέκταρ, τῷ Ἰαπετῷ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις τοῖς ἡλικιώταις προσμυθολογῶν· ὁ δὲ ἄρχει μυρία ἔχων πράγματα. πλὴν ὀλίγας ταύτας ἡμέρας ἐφ᾿ οἷς εἶπον ὑπεξελέσθαι μοι ἔδοξε καὶ ἀναλαμβάνω τὴν ἀρχήν, ὡς ὑπομνήσαιμι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους οἷος ἦν ὁ ἐπ᾿ ἐμοῦ βίος, ὁπότε ἄσπορα καὶ ἀνήροτα πάντα ἐφύετο αὐτοῖς, οὐ στάχυες, ἀλλ᾿ ἕτοιμος ἄρτος καὶ κρέα ἐσκευασμένα, καὶ ὁ οἶνος ἔρρει ποταμηδὸν καὶ πηγαὶ μέλιτος καὶ γάλακτος· ἀγαθοὶ γὰρ ἦσαν καὶ χρυσοῖ ἅπαντες. αὕτη μοι ἡ αἰτία τῆς ὀλιγοχρονίου ταύτης δυναστείας, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἁπανταχοῦ κρότος καὶ ᾠδὴ καὶ παιδιὰ καὶ ἰσοτιμία πᾶσι καὶ δούλοις καὶ ἐλευθέροις. οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἐπ᾿ ἐμοῦ δοῦλος ἦν.


8Ἐγὼ δέ, ὦ Κρόνε, καὶ τοῦτο εἴκαζον τὸ1 εἰς τοὺς δούλους καὶ πεδότριβας2 φιλάνθρωπον ἐκ τοῦ μυθου ἐκείνου ποιεῖν σε τιμῶντα τοὺς τὰ ὅμοια πάσχοντας, ἅτε καὶ αὐτὸν δουλεύοντα, μεμνημένον τῆς πέδης.


Οὐ παύσῃ γὰρ τοιαῦτα ληρῶν;


Εὖ λέγεις, καὶ παύσομαι. πλὴν ἔτι μοι κα τοῦτο ἀπόκριναι. τὸ πεττεύειν σύνηθες ἦν τοῖς ἐπὶ σοῦ ἀνθρώποις;



having to throw hail occasionally. No, I live this pleasant life of an old man, drinking stiff nectar and chatting with Iapetus and my other cronies, and Zeus is king with all the worry. Nevertheless I thought it best to filch these few days on the terms I mentioned, and I take over the sovereignty again to remind mankind what life was like under me, when everything grew for them without sowing and without ploughing—not ears of wheat, but loaves ready-baked and meats ready-cooked. Wine flowed like a river, and there were springs of honey and milk; for everyone was good, pure gold. This is the reason for my short-lived dominion, and why everywhere there is clapping and singing and playing games, and everyone, slave and free man, is held as good as his neighbour. There was no slavery, you see, in my time.


Well, Cronus, I had assumed from the story that this humanity you showed to slaves and those in chains was to do honour to men whose sufferings had been like your own, since you yourself had been a slave and you were remembering your chains.


Oh, stop that silly talk.


You are right. I will stop. But answer me another question. Was it customary for men to gamble in your time?

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.lucian-saturnalia.1959