No Comment, Quotation — March 2, 2008, 9:39 am

Thucydides on the Destructive Qualities of the Thirst for Power

calyx-krater

???? ?? ?? ?????? ????????? ????? ?????? ????????? ? ??????? ??????, ??? ?? ??? ???????????, ??? ?? ?? ??????????. ?????? ?? ????? ?????? ???? ? ??? ?????????? ??? ??????????· ?? ?? ????? ??? ?? ?? ?????????? ???????????? ?? ????????.?? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ?????????? ???? ???????? ???????? ?????????, ??????? ?? ????????? ????????? ??? ????????????? ???????? ??????????, ?? ??? ????? ???? ???????????? ???? ?????????, ????? ?? ????? ???????????? ??????? ????????????? ????????? ?? ?? ????????? ???????? ?? ??? ???????? ??? ???????, ?? ????? ??? ??????? ??? ?? ????? ???????? ???????????, ?? ?? ?? ????????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ?????????, ??? ? ???? ????? ?????? ??????????? ? ????? ???????? ?? ??????? ??????? ???? ??? ?????? ?????????? ???????????. ???? ???????? ??? ????????? ????????, ????????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? ????????? ?? ????????????, ??????? ??????. ?? ?? ???? ??? ??????? ??? ????????? ? ??? ?? ????????????? ? ????? ??? ????????? ????????????.

The cause of all these evils was the lust for power arising from greed and ambition; and from these passions proceeded the violence of parties once engaged in contention. The leaders in the cities, each provided with the fairest professions, on the one side with the cry of political equality of the people, on the other of a moderate aristocracy, sought prizes for themselves in those public interests which they pretended to cherish, and, recoiling from no means in their struggles for ascendancy, engaged in the direct excesses; in their acts of vengeance they went to even greater lengths, not stopping at what justice or the good of the state demanded, but making the party caprice of the moment their only standard, and invoking with equal readiness the condemnation of an unjust verdict or the authority of the strong arm to glut the animosities of the hour. Thus religion was in honor with neither party; but the use of fair phrases to arrive at guilty ends was in high reputation. Meanwhile the moderate part of the citizens perished between the two, either for not joining in the quarrel, or because envy would not suffer them to escape.

Thucydides (??????????), History of the Peloponnesian War, bk iii, ch 82, sec 8 (from the description of the revolution in Corcyra)(ca 405 BCE)

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