Hiero by Xenophon

Etext prepared by John Bickers, jbickers@templar.actrix.gen.nz. Hiero by Xenophon Translation by H. G. Dakyns Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move
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  • 474 BC
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Etext prepared by John Bickers, jbickers@templar.actrix.gen.nz.


by Xenophon

Translation by H. G. Dakyns

Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move once more, to settle in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C.


This was typed from Dakyns’ series, “The Works of Xenophon,” a four-volume set. The complete list of Xenophon’s works (though there is doubt about some of these) is:

Work Number of books

The Anabasis 7
The Hellenica 7
The Cyropaedia 8 The Memorabilia 4
The Symposium 1
The Economist 1
On Horsemanship 1 The Sportsman 1
The Cavalry General 1 The Apology 1
On Revenues 1
The Hiero 1
The Agesilaus 1
The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians 2

Text in brackets “{}” is my transliteration of Greek text into English using an Oxford English Dictionary alphabet table. The diacritical marks have been lost.


by Xenophon

Translation by H. G. Dakyns

The Hiero is an imaginary dialogue, c. 474 B.C., between Simonides of Ceos, the poet; and Hieron, of Syracuse and Gela, the despot.


A Discourse on Despotic Rule


Once upon a time Simonides the poet paid a visit to Hiero the “tyrant,”[1] and when both obtained the liesure requisite, Simonides began this conversation:

[1] Or, “came to the court of the despotic monarch Hiero.” For the “dramatis personae” see Dr. Holden’s Introduction to the “Hieron” of Xenophon.

Would you be pleased to give me information, Hiero, upon certain matters, as to which it is likely you have greater knowledge than myself?[2]

[2] Or, “would you oblige me by explaining certain matters, as to which your knowledge naturally transcends my own?”

And pray, what sort of things may those be (answered Hiero), of which I can have greater knowledge than yourself, who are so wise a man?

I know (replied the poet) that you were once a private person,[3] and are now a monarch. It is but likely, therefore, that having tested both conditions,[4] you should know better than myself, wherein the life of the despotic ruler differs from the life of any ordinary person, looking to the sum of joys and sorrows to which flesh is heir.

[3] Or, “a common citizen,” “an ordinary mortal,” “a private individual.”

[4] Or, “having experienced both lots in life, both forms of existence.”

Would it not be simpler (Hiero replied) if you, on your side,[5] who are still to-day a private person, would refresh my memory by recalling the various circumstances of an ordinary mortal’s life? With these before me,[6] I should be better able to describe the points of difference which exist between the one life and the other.

[5] Simonides is still in the chrysalis or grub condition of private citizenship; he has not broken the shell as yet of ordinary manhood.

[6] Lit. “in that case, I think I should best be able to point out the ‘differentia’ of either.”

Thus it was that Simonides spoke first: Well then, as to private persons, for my part I observe,[7] or seem to have observed, that we are liable to various pains and pleasures, in the shape of sights, sounds, odours, meats, and drinks, which are conveyed through certain avenues of sense–to wit, the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth. And there are other pleasures, those named of Aphrodite, of which the channels are well known. While as to degree of heat and cold, things hard and soft, things light and heavy, the sense appealed to here, I venture to believe, is that of the whole body;[8] whereby we discern these opposites, and derive from them now pain, now pleasure. But with regard to things named good and evil,[9] it appears to me that sometimes the mind (or soul) itself is the sole instrument by which we register our pains and pleasures; whilst at other times such pains and pleasures are derived conjointly through both soul and body.[10] There are some pleasures, further, if I may trust my own sensations, which are conveyed in sleep, though how and by what means and when precisely, are matters as to which I am still more conscious of my ignorance. Nor is it to be wondered at perhaps, if the perceptions of waking life in some way strike more clearly on our senses than do those of sleep.[11]

[7] Or, “if I may trust my powers of observation I would say that common men are capable of pains and pleasures conveyed through certain avenues of sense, as sight through our eyes, sounds through our ears, smells through our noses, and meats and drinks through our mouths.”

[8] Cf. Cic. “de N. D.” ii. 56, S. 141.

[9] Reading {edesthai te kai lupeisthai . . .} or if with Breit reading {ote d’ au lupeisthai}, transl. “then as to good and evil we are affected pleasurably or painfully, as the case may be: sometimes, if I am right in my conclusion, through the mind itself alone; at other times . . .”

[10] Or, “they are mental partly, partly physical.”

[11] Lit. “the incidents of waking life present sensations of a more vivid character.”

To this statement Hiero made answer: And I, for my part, O Simonides, would find it hard to state, outside the list of things which you have named yourself, in what respect the despot can have other channels of perception.[12] So that up to this point I do not see that the despotic life differs in any way at all from that of common people.

[12] i.e. “being like constituted, the autocratic person has no other sources of perception: he has no claim to a wider gamut of sensation, and consequently thus far there is not a pin to choose between the life of the despot and that of a private person.”

Then Simonides: Only in this respect it surely differs, in that the pleasures which the “tyrant” enjoys through all these several avenues of sense are many times more numerous, and the pains he suffers are far fewer.

To which Hiero: Nay, that is not so, Simonides, take my word for it; the fact is rather that the pleasures of the despot are far fewer than those of people in a humbler condition, and his pains not only far more numerous, but more intense.

That sounds incredible (exclaimed Simonides); if it were really so, how do you explain the passionate desire commonly displayed to wield the tyrant’s sceptre, and that too on the part of persons reputed to be the ablest of men? Why should all men envy the despotic monarch?

For the all-sufficient reason (he replied) that they form conclusions on the matter without experience of the two conditions. And I will try to prove to you the truth of what I say, beginning with the faculty of vision, which, unless my memory betrays me, was your starting-point.

Well then, when I come to reason[13] on the matter, first of all I find that, as regards the class of objects of which these orbs of vision are the channel,[14] the despot has the disadvantage. Every region of the world, each country on this fair earth, presents objects worthy of contemplation, in quest of which the ordinary citizen will visit, as the humour takes him, now some city [for the sake of spectacles],[15] or again, the great national assemblies,[16] where sights most fitted to entrance the gaze of multitudes would seem to be collected.[17] But the despot has neither part nor lot in these high festivals,[18] seeing it is not safe for him to go where he will find himself at the mercy of the assembled crowds;[19] nor are his home affairs in such security that he can leave them to the guardianship of others, whilst he visits foreign parts. A twofold apprehension haunts him:[20] he will be robbed of his throne, and at the same time be powerless to take vengeance on his wrongdoer.[21]

[13] {logizomenos}, “to apply my moral algebra.”

[14] {en tois dia tes opseos theamasi}. See Hartman, “An. Xen. Nova,” p. 246. {theamasi} = “spectacular effects,” is perhaps a gloss on “all objects apprehensible through vision.” Holden (crit. app.) would rather omit {dia tes opseos} with Schneid.

[15] The words are perhaps a gloss.

[16] e.g. the games at Olympia, or the great Dionysia at Athens, etc.

[17] Omitting {einai}, or if with Breit. {dokei einai . . . sunageiresthai}, transl. “in which it is recognised that sights are to be seen best fitted to enchain the eyes and congregate vast masses.” For other emendations see Holden, crit. app.; Hartm. op. cit. p. 258.

[18] “Religious embassies”; it. “Theories.” See Thuc. vi. 16; “Mem.” IV. viii. 2.

[19] Lit. “not stronger than those present.”

[20] Or, “The dread oppresses him, he may be deprived of his empire and yet be powerless.”

[21] Cf. Plat. “Rep.” ix. 579 B: “His soul is dainty and greedy; and yet he only of all men is never allowed to go on a journey, or to see things which other free men desire to see; but he lives in his hole like a woman hidden in the house, and is jealous of any other citizen who goes into foreign parts and sees things of interest” (Jowett).

Perhaps you will retort: “Why should he trouble to go abroad to seek for such things? They are sure to come to him, although he stops at home.” Yes, Simonides, that is so far true; a small percentage of them no doubt will, and this scant moiety will be sold at so high a price to the despotic monarch, that the exhibitor of the merest trifle looks to receive from the imperial pocket, within the briefest interval, ten times more than he can hope to win from all the rest of mankind in a lifetime; and then he will be off.[22]

[22] Lit. “to get from the tyrant all in a moment many times more than he will earn from all the rest of mankind in a whole lifetime, and depart.”

To which Simonides: Well, granted you have the worst of it in sights and sightseeing; yet, you must admit you are large gainers through the sense of hearing; you who are never stinted of that sweetest of all sounds,[23] the voice of praise, since all around you are for ever praising everything you do and everything you say. Whilst, conversely, to that most harsh and grating of all sounds, the language of abuse, your ears are sealed, since no one cares to speak evil against a monarch to his face.

[23] Cf. Cic. “pro Arch.” 20, “Themistoclem illum dixisse aiunt cum ex eo quaereretur, ‘quod acroama aut cujus vocem libentissime audiret’: ‘ejus, a quo sua virtus optime praedicaretur.'”

Then Hiero: And what pleasure do you suppose mere abstinence from evil words implies, when it is an open secret that those silent persons are cherishing all evil thoughts against the tyrant?[24] What mirth, do you imagine, is to be extracted from their panegyrics who are suspected of bestowing praise out of mere flattery?

[24] “One knows plainly that these dumb attendants stand there like mutes, but harbour every evil thought against their autocratic lord.”

Simonides made answer: Yes, I must indeed admit, I do concede to you, that praise alone is sweetest which is breathed from lips of free men absolutely free. But, look you, here is a point: you will find it hard to persuade another, that you despots, within the limits of those things whereby we one and all sustain our bodies, in respect, that is, of meats and drinks, have not a far wider range of pleasures.

Yes, Simonides (he answered), and what is more, I know the explanation of the common verdict. The majority have come to the conclusion that we monarchs eat and drink with greater pleasure than do ordinary people, because they have got the notion, they themselves would make a better dinner off the viands served at our tables than their own. And doubtless some break in the monotony gives a fillip of pleasure. And that explains why folk in general look forward with pleasure to high days and holy days–mankind at large, but not the despot; his well- stocked table groaning from day to day under its weight of viands admits of no state occasions. So that, as far as this particular pleasure, to begin with, goes, the pleasure of anticipation, the monarch is at disadvantage compared with private people.

And in the next place (he continued), I am sure your own experience will bear me out so far: the more viands set before a man at table (beyond what are sufficient),[25] the more quickly will satiety of eating overtake him. So that in actual duration of the pleasure, he with his many dishes has less to boast of than the moderate liver.

[25] {ta peritta ton ikanon}. These words Hartm. op. cit. p. 254, regards as an excrescence.

Yes, but good gracious! surely (broke in Simonides), during the actual time,[26] before the appetite is cloyed, the gastronomic pleasure derived from the costlier bill of fare far exceeds that of the cheaper dinner-table.

[26] Lit. “so long as the soul (i.e. the appetite) accepts with pleasure the viands”; i.e. there’s an interval, at any rate, during which “such as my soul delights in” can still apply and for so long.

But, as a matter of plain logic (Hiero retorted), should you not say, the greater the pleasure a man feels in any business, the more enthusiastic his devotion to it?

That is quite true (he answered).

Hiero. Then have you ever noticed that crowned heads display more pleasure in attacking the bill of fare provided them, than private persons theirs?

No, rather the reverse (the poet answered); if anything, they show a less degree of gusto,[27] unless they are vastly libelled.

[27] “No, not more pleasure, but exceptional fastidiousness, if what people say is true.” {agleukesteron}, said ap. Suid. to be a Sicilian word = “more sourly.”

Well (Hiero continued), and all these wonderfully-made dishes which are set before the tyrant, or nine-tenths of them, perhaps you have observed, are combinations of things acid to the taste, or pungent, or astringent, or akin to these?[28]

[28] Lit. “and their congeners,” “their analogues,” e.g. “curries, pickles, bitters, peppery condiments.”

To be sure they are (he answered), unnatural viands, one and all, in my opinion, most alien to ordinary palates.[29]

[29] Or, “unsuited to man’s taste,” “‘caviare to the general’ I name them.”

Hiero. In fact, these condiments can only be regarded as the cravings[30] of a stomach weakened by luxurious living; since I am quite sure that keen appetites (and you, I fancy, know it well too) have not the slightest need for all these delicate made things.

[30] Cf. Plat. “Laws,” 687 C; “Hipp.” ii. 44. Lit. “can you in fact regard these condiments as other than . . .” See Holden ad loc. (ed. 1888); Hartm. op. cit. p. 259, suggests {enthumemata}, “inventions.”

It is true, at any rate (observed Simonides), about those costly perfumes, with which your persons are anointed, that your neighbours rather than yourselves extract enjoyment from them; just as the unpleasant odour of some meats is not so obvious to the eater as to those who come in contact with him.

Hiero. Good, and on this principle we say of meats, that he who is provided with all sorts on all occasions brings no appetite to any of them. He rather to whom these things are rarities, that is the man who, when some unfamiliar thing is put before him, will take his fill of it with pleasure.[31]

[31] {meta kharas}. Cf. Aesch. Fr. 237, {stomatos en prote khara}, of a hungry man; “Od.” xvii. 603.

It looks very much (interposed Simonides) as if the sole pleasure left you to explain the vulgar ambition to wear a crown, must be that named after Aphrodite. For in this field it is your privilege to consort with whatever fairest fair your eyes may light on.

Hiero. Nay, now you have named that one thing of all others, take my word for it, in which we princes are worse off than lesser people.[32]

[32] Reading {saph’ isthi}, or if as Cobet conj. {saphestata}, transl. “are at a disadvantage most clearly by comparison with ordinary folk.”

To name marriage first. I presume a marriage[33] which is contracted with some great family, superior in wealth and influence, bears away the palm, since it confers upon the bridegroom not pleasure only but distinction.[34] Next comes the marriage made with equals; and last, wedlock with inferiors, which is apt to be regarded as degrading and disserviceable.

[33] Cf. “Hunting,” i. 9. Holden cf. Eur. “Rhes.” 168; “Androm.” 1255.

[34] Cf. Dem. “in Lept.” S. 69, p. 499. See Plat. “Rep.” 553 C.

Now for the application: a despotic monarch, unless he weds some foreign bride, is forced to choose a wife from those beneath him, so that the height of satisfaction is denied him.[35]

[35] Al. “supreme content, the quintessential bliss, is quite unknown to him.”

The tender service of the proudest-souled of women, wifely rendered, how superlatively charming![36] and by contrast, how little welcome is such ministration where the wife is but a slave–when present, barely noticed; or if lacking, what fell pains and passions will it not engender!

[36] Or, “the gentle ministrations of loftiest-thoughted women and fair wives possess a charm past telling, but from slaves, if tendered, the reverse of welcome, or if not forthcoming . . .”

And if we come to masculine attachments, still more than in those whose end is procreation, the tyrant finds himself defrauded of such mirthfulness,[37] poor monarch! Since all of us are well aware, I fancy, that for highest satisfaction,[38] amorous deeds need love’s strong passion.[39]

[37] “Joys sacred to that goddess fair and free in Heaven yclept Euphrosyne.”

[38] For {polu diapherontos} cf. Browning (“Abt Vogler”), not indeed of Aphrodisia conjoined with Eros, but of the musician’s gift:

That out of three sounds he frame not a fourth sound, but a star.

[39] i.e. “Eros, the Lord of Passion, must lend his hand.” “But,” he proceeds, “the god is coy; he has little liking for the breasts of kings. He is more likely to be found in the cottage of the peasant than the king’s palace.”

But least of all is true love’s passion wont to lodge in the hearts of monarchs, for love delights not to swoop on ready prey; he needs the lure of expectation.[40]

[40] Or, “even on the heels of hoped-for bliss he follows.”

Well then, just as a man who has never tasted thirst can hardly be said to know the joy of drinking,[41] so he who has never tasted Passion is ignorant of Aphrodite’s sweetest sweets.

[41] Reading with Holden (after H. Steph.) {osper oun an tis . . .} or with Hartm. (op. cit. p. 259) {osper ouk an tis . . .}

So Hiero ended.

Simonides answered laughingly: How say you, Hiero? What is that? Love’s strong passion for his soul’s beloved incapable of springing up in any monarch’s heart? What of your own passion for Dailochus, surnamed of men “most beautiful”?

Hiero. That is easily explained, Simonides. What I most desire of him is no ready spoil, as men might reckon it, but rather what it is least of all the privilege of a tyrant to obtain.[42] I say it truly, I–the love I bear Dailochus is of this high sort. All that the constitution of our souls and bodies possibly compels a man to ask for at the hands of beauty, that my fantasy desires of him; but what my fantasy demands, I do most earnestly desire to obtain from willing hands and under seal of true affection. To clutch it forcibly were as far from my desire as to do myself some mortal mischief.

[42] Lit. “of tyrant to achieve,” a met. from the chase. Cf. “Hunting,” xii. 22.

Were he my enemy, to wrest some spoil from his unwilling hands would be an exquisite pleasure, to my thinking. But of all sweet favours the sweetest to my notion is the free-will offering of a man’s beloved. For instance, how sweet the responsive glance of love for love; how sweet the questions and the answers;[43] and, most sweet of all, most love-enkindling, the battles and the strifes of faithful lovers.[44] But to enjoy[45] one’s love perforce (he added) resembles more an act of robbery, in my judgment, than love’s pastime. And, indeed, the robber derives some satisfaction from the spoils he wins and from the pain he causes to the man he hates. But to seek pleasure in the pain of one we love devoutly, to kiss and to be hated, to touch[46] and to be loathed–can one conceive a state of things more odious or more pitiful? For, it is a certainty, the ordinary person may accept at once each service rendered by the object of his love as a sign and token of kindliness inspired by affection, since he knows such ministry is free from all compulsion. Whilst to the tyrant, the confidence that he is loved is quite foreclosed. On the contrary,[47] we know for certain that service rendered through terror will stimulate as far as possible the ministrations of affection. And it is a fact, that plots and conspiracies against despotic rulers are oftenest hatched by those who most of all pretend to love them.[48]

[43] “The ‘innere Unterhaltung'”; the {oarismos}. Cf. Milton, “P. L.”:

With thee conversing, I forget all time.

[44] Cf. Ter. “Andr.” iii. 3. 23, “amantium irae amoris intergratiost.”

[45] “To make booty of.”

[46] For {aptesthai} L. & S. cf. Plat. “Laws,” 840 A; Aristot. “H. A.” v. 14. 27; Ep. 1 Cor. vii. 1.

[47] Reading {au}. “If we do know anything it is this, that,” etc.

[48] Or, “do oftenest issue from treacherous make-believe of warmest friendship.” Cf. Grote, “H. G.” xi. 288; “Hell.” VI. iv. 36.


To these arguments Simonides replied: Yes, but the topics you have named are to my thinking trifles; drops, as it were, in the wide ocean. How many men, I wonder, have I seen myself, men in the deepest sense,[1] true men, who choose to fare but ill in respect of meats and drinks and delicacies; ay, and what is more, they voluntarily abstain from sexual pleasures. No! it is in quite a different sphere, which I will name at once, that you so far transcend us private citizens.[2] It is in your vast designs, your swift achievements; it is in the overflowing wealth of your possessions; your horses, excellent for breed and mettle; the choice beauty of your arms; the exquisite finery of your wives; the gorgeous palaces in which you dwell, and these, too, furnished with the costliest works of art; add to which the throng of your retainers, courtiers, followers, not in number only but accomplishments a most princely retinue; and lastly, but not least of all, in your supreme ability at once to afflict your foes and benefit your friends.

[1] Lit. “many among those reputed to be men.” Cf. “Cyrop.” V. v. 33; “Hell.” i. 24, “their hero”; and below, viii. 3. Aristoph. “Ach.” 78, {oi barbaroi gar andras egountai monous} | {tous pleista dunamenous phagein te kai piein}: “To the Barbarians ’tis the test of manhood: there the great drinkers are the greatest men” (Frere); id. “Knights,” 179; “Clouds,” 823; so Latin “vir.” See Holden ad loc.

[2] “Us lesser mortals.”

To all which Hiero made answer: That the majority of men, Simonides, should be deluded by the glamour of a despotism in no respect astonishes me, since it is the very essence of the crowd, if I am not mistaken, to rush wildly to conjecture touching the happiness or wretchedness of people at first sight.

Now the nature of a tyrrany is such: it presents, nay flaunts, a show of costliest possessions unfolded to the general gaze, which rivets the attention;[3] but the real troubles in the souls of monarchs it keeps concealed in those hid chambers where lie stowed away the happiness and the unhappiness of mankind.

[3] There is some redundancy in the phraseology.

I repeat then, I little marvel that the multitude should be blinded in this matter. But that you others also, you who are held to see with the mind’s eye more clearly than with the eye of sense the mass of circumstances,[4] should share its ignorance, does indeed excite my wonderment. Now, I know it all too plainly from my own experience, Simonides, and I assure you, the tyrant is one who has the smallest share of life’s blessings, whilst of its greater miseries he possesses most.

[4] Lit. “the majority of things”; al. “the thousand details of a thing.”

For instance, if peace is held to be a mighty blessing to mankind, then of peace despotic monarchs are scant sharers. Or is war a curse? If so, of this particular pest your monarch shares the largest moiety. For, look you, the private citizen, unless his city-state should chance to be engaged in some common war,[5] is free to travel wheresoe’er he chooses without fear of being done to death, whereas the tyrant cannot stir without setting his foot on hostile territory. At any rate, nothing will persuade him but he must go through life armed, and on all occasions drag about with him armed satellites. In the next place, the private citizen, even during an expedition into hostile territory,[6] can comfort himself in the reflection that as soon as he gets back home he will be safe from further peril. Whereas the tyrant knows precisely the reverse; as soon as he arrives in his own city, he will find himself in the centre of hostility at once. Or let us suppose that an invading army, superior in force, is marching against a city: however much the weaker population, whilst they are still outside their walls, may feel the stress of danger, yet once within their trenches one and all expect to find themselves in absolute security. But the tyrant is not out of danger, even when he has passed the portals of his palace. Nay! there of all places most, he feels, he must maintain the strictist watch.[7] Again, to the private citizen there will come eventually, either through truce or terms of peace, respite from war; but for the tyrant, the day of peace will never dawn. What peace can he have with those over whom he exercises his despotic sway?[8] Nor have the terms of truce been yet devised, on which the despotic ruler may rely with confidence.[9]

[5] {koinon}, i.e. making demands upon the eneriges of all the citizens in common, as opposed to the personal character of war as conducted by a despot = “public,” “patriotic,” “national” war. Al. borne by the particular {polis} as member of a league, whether of states united for the time being in a {summakhia}, or permanently in a confederacy = a “federal” war.

[6] “Even if serving on a campaign in the enemy’s country.”

[7] Or, “he has to exercise the utmost vigilance.”

[8] “With those who are ‘absolutely governed,’ not to say tyrannically ruled.”

[9] Or, “which the tyrant may accept in faith and go his way rejoicing.”

Wars doubtless there are,[10] wars waged by states and wars waged by autocratic monarchs against those whom they have forcibly enslaved, and in respect of these wars there is no hardship which any member of the states at war[11] can suffer but the tyrant will feel it also. That is to say, both must alike be under arms, keep guard, run risks; and whatever the pains of defeat may be, they are equally sustained by both. Up to this point there is no distinction. The “bitters” are equal. But when we come to estimate the “sweets” derivable from warfare between states,[12] the parallel ceases. The tyrant, if he shared the pains before, no longer shares the pleasures now. What happens when a state has gained the mastery in battle over her antagonist? It would be hard (I take it) to describe the joy of that occurrence: joy in the rout, joy in the pursuit, joy in the slaughter of their enemies; and in what language shall I describe the exultation of these warriors at their feats of arms? With what assumption they bind on their brows the glittering wreath of glory;[13] with what mirth and jollity congratulate themselves on having raised their city to newer heights of fame. Each several citizen claims to have shared in the plan of the campaign,[14] and to have slain the largest number. Indeed it would be hard to find where false embellishment will not creep in,[15] the number stated to be the slain exceeding that of those that actually perished. So truly glorious a thing it seems to them to have won a great victory.[16]

[10] Lit. “and further, wars there are, waged against forcibly- subjected populations whether by free states”–e.g. of Olynthus, “Hell.” V. ii. 23, or Athens against her “subject allies” during the Pel. war–“or by despotic rules”–Jason of Pherae (“Hell.” VI.) Al. “wars waged by free states against free states, and wars waged by tyrants against enslaved peoples.”

[11] Does {o en tais polesi} = “the citizen”? So some commentators; or (sub. {polemos}) = “the war among states” (see Hartman, op. cit. p. 248)? in which case transl. “all the hardships involved in international war come home to the tyrant also.” The same obscurity attaches to {oi en tais polesi} below (the commonly adopted emend. of the MS. {oi sunontes polesi} = “the citizens,” or else = “international wars.”

[12] “The pleasures incidental to warfare between states”; al. “the sweets which citizens engaged in warfare as against rival states can count upon.”

[13] Reading {analambanousin}, or, if after Cobet, etc., {lambanousin}, transl. “what brilliant honour, what bright credit they assume.”

[14] “To have played his part in counsel.” See “Anab.” passim, and M. Taine, “Essais de Critique,” “Xenophon,” p. 128.

[15] Lit. “they do not indulge in false additions, pretending to have put more enemies to death than actually fell.”

[16] Cf. “Hipparch,” viii. 11; “Cyrop.” VIII. iii. 25; “Thuc.” i. 49.

But the tyrant, when he forebodes, or possibly perceives in actual fact, some opposition brewing, and puts the suspects[17] to the sword, knows he will not thereby promote the welfare of the state collectively. The cold clear fact is, he will have fewer subjects to rule over.[18] How can he show a cheerful countenance?[19] how magnify himself on his achievement? On the contrary, his desire is to lessen the proportions of what has taken place, as far as may be. He will apologise for what he does, even in the doing of it, letting it appear that what he has wrought at least was innocent;[20] so little does his conduct seem noble even to himself. And when those he dreaded are safely in their graves, he is not one whit more confident of spirit, but still more on his guard than heretofore. That is the kind of war with which the tyrant is beset from day to day continually, as I do prove.[21]

[17] See Hold. (crit. app.); Hartman, op. cit. p. 260.

[18] Cf. “Mem.” I. ii. 38.

[19] Cf. “Anab.” II. vi. 11; “Hell.” VI. iv. 16.

[20] “Not of malice prepense.”

[21] Or, “Such then, as I describe it, is the type of war,” etc.


Turn now and contemplate the sort of friendship whereof it is given to tyrants to partake. And first, let us examine with ourselves and see if friendship is truly a great boon to mortal man.

How fares it with the man who is beloved of friends? See with what gladness his friends and lovers hail his advent! delight to do him kindness! long for him when he is absent from them![1] and welcome him most gladly on his return![2] In any good which shall betide him they rejoice together; or if they see him overtaken by misfortune, they rush to his assistance as one man.[3]

[1] Reading {an ate}, or if {an apie}, transl. “have yearning hearts when he must leave them.”

[2] See Anton Rubinstein, “Die Musik and ihre Meister,” p. 8, “Some Remarks on Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 81.”

[3] Cf. “Cyrop.” I. vi. 24 for a repetition of the sentiment and phraseology.

Nay! it has not escaped the observation of states and governments that friendship is the greatest boon, the sweetest happiness which men may taste. At any rate, the custom holds[4] in many states “to slay the adulterer” alone of all “with impunity,”[5] for this reason clearly that such miscreants are held to be destroyers of that friendship[6] which binds the woman to the husband. Since where by some untoward chance a woman suffers violation of her chastity,[7] husbands do not the less honour them, as far as that goes, provided true affection still appear unsullied.[8]

[4] Lit. “many of the states have a law and custom to,” etc. Cf. “Pol. Lac.” ii. 4.

[5] Cf. Plat. “Laws,” 874 C, “if a man find his wife suffering violence he may kill the violator and be guiltless in the eye of the law.” Dem. “in Aristocr.” 53, {ean tis apokteine en athlois akon . . . e epi damarti, k.t.l. . . . touton eneka me pheugein kteinanta}.

[6] See Lys. “de caed Eratosth.” S. 32 f., {outos, o andres, tous biazomenous elattonos zemias axious egesato einai e tous peithontas . ton men gar thanaton kategno, tois de diplen epoiese ten blaben, egoumenos tous men diaprattomenous bia upo ton biasthenton miseisthai, tous de peisantas outos aution tas psukhas diaphtheirein ost’ oikeioteras autois poiein tas allotrias gunaikas e tois andrasi kai pasan ep’ ekeinois ten oikian gegonenai kai tous paidas adelous einai opoteron tugkhanousin ontes, ton andron e ton moikhon . anth’ on o ton nomon titheis thanaton autois epoiese ten zemian}. Cf. “Cyrop.” III. i. 39; “Symp.” viii. 20; Plut. “Sol.” xxiii., {olos de pleisten ekhein atopian oi peri ton gunaikon nomoi to Soloni dokousi. moikhon men gar anelein tio labonti dedoken, ean d’ arpase tis eleutheran gunaika kai biasetai zemian ekaton drakhmas etaxe’ kan proagogeue drakhmas aikosi, plen osai pephasmenos polountai, legon de tas etairas. autai gar emphanos phoitosi pros tous didontas}, “Solon’s laws in general about women are his strangest, for he permitted any one to kill an adulterer that found him in the act; but if any one forced a free woman, a hundred drachmas was the fine; if he enticed her, twenty;–except those that sell themselves openly, that is, harlots, who go openly to those that hire them” (Clough, i. p. 190).

[7] Or, “fall a victim to passion through some calamity,” “commit a breach of chastity.” Cf. Aristot. “H. A.” VII. i. 9.

[8] Or, “if true affection still retain its virgin purity.” As to this extraordinary passage, see Hartman, op. cit. p. 242 foll.

So sovereign a good do I, for my part, esteem it to be loved, that I do verily believe spontaneous blessings are outpoured from gods and men on one so favoured.

This is that choice possession which, beyond all others, the monarch is deprived of.

But if you require further evidence that what I say is true, look at the matter thus: No friendship, I presume, is sounder than that which binds parents to their children and children to their parents, brothers and sisters to each other,[9] wives to husbands, comrade to comrade.

[9] Or, “brothers to brothers.”

If, then, you will but thoughtfully consider it, you will discover it is the ordinary person who is chiefly blest in these relations.[10] While of tyrants, many have been murderers of their own children, many by their children murdered. Many brothers have been murderers of one another in contest for the crown;[11] many a monarch has been done to death by the wife of his bosom,[12] or even by his own familiar friend, by him of whose affection he was proudest.[13]

[10] Or, “that these more obvious affections are the sanctities of private life.”

[11] Or, “have caught at the throats of brothers”; lit. “been slain with mutually-murderous hand.” Cf. Pind. Fr. 137; Aesch. “Sept. c. Theb.” 931; “Ag.” 1575, concerning Eteocles and Polynices.

[12] See Grote, “H. G.” xi. 288, xii. 6; “Hell.” VI. iv. 36; Isocr. “On the Peace,” 182; Plut. “Dem. Pol.” iii. (Clough, v. p. 98); Tac. “Hist.” v. 8, about the family feuds of the kings of Judaea.

[13] “It was his own familiar friend who dealt the blow, the nearest and dearest to his heart.”

How can you suppose, then, that being so hated by those whom nature predisposes and law compels to love him, the tyrant should be loved by any living soul beside?


Again, without some moiety of faith and trust,[1] how can a man not feel to be defrauded of a mighty blessing? One may well ask: What fellowship, what converse, what society would be agreeable without confidence? What intercourse between man and wife be sweet apart from trustfulness? How should the “faithful esquire” whose faith is mistrusted still be lief and dear?[2]

[1] “How can he, whose faith’s discredited, the moral bankrupt . . .”

[2] Or, “the trusty knight and serving-man.” Cf. “Morte d’Arthur,” xxi. 5, King Arthur and Sir Bedivere.

Well, then, of this frank confidence in others the tyrant has the scantiest share.[3] Seeing his life is such, he cannot even trust his meats and drinks, but he must bid his serving-men before the feast begins, or ever the libation to the gods is poured,[4] to taste the viands, out of sheer mistrust there may be mischief lurking in the cup or platter.[5]

[3] Or, “from this . . . is almost absolutely debarred.”

[4] “Or ever grace is said.”

[5] Cf. “Cyrop.” I. iii. 4.

Once more, the rest of mankind find in their fatherland a treasure worth all else beside. The citizens form their own body-guard[6] without pay or service-money against slaves and against evil-doers. It is theirs to see that none of themselves, no citizen, shall perish by a violent death. And they have advanced so far along the path of guardianship[7] that in many cases they have framed a law to the effect that “not the associate even of one who is blood-guilty shall be accounted pure.” So that, by reason of their fatherland,[8] each several citizen can live at quiet and secure.

[6] “Are their own ‘satellites,’ spear-bearers.” Cf. Thuc. i. 130; Herod. ii. 168; vii. 127.

[7] “Pushed so far the principle of mutual self-aid.”

[8] “Thanks to the blessing of a fatherland each citizen may spend his days in peace and safety.”

But for the tyrant it is again exactly the reverse.[9] Instead of aiding or avenging their despotic lord, cities bestow large honours on the slayer of a tyrant; ay, and in lieu of excommunicating the tyrannicide from sacred shrines,[10] as is the case with murderers of private citizens, they set up statues of the doers of such deeds[11] in temples.

[9] “Matters are once more reversed precisely,” “it is all ‘topsy- turvy.'”

[10] “And sacrifices.” Cf. Dem. “c. Lept.” 137, {en toinun tois peri touton nomois o Drakon . . . katharon diorisen einai}. “Now in the laws upon this subject, Draco, although he strove to make it fearful and dreadful for a man to slay another, and ordained that the homicide should be excluded from lustrations, cups, and drink- offerings, from the temples and the market-place, specifying everything by which he thought most effectually to restrain people from such a practice, still did not abolish the rule of justice, but laid down the cases in which it should be lawful to kill, and declared that the killer under such circumstances should be deemed pure” (C. R. Kennedy).

[11] e.g. Harmodius and Aristogeiton. See Dem. loc. cit. 138: “The same rewards that you gave to Harmodius and Aristogiton,” concerning whom Simonides himself wrote a votive couplet:

{‘E meg’ ‘Athenaioisi phoos geneth’ enik’ ‘Aristogeiton ‘Ipparkhon kteine kai ‘Armodios.}

But if you imagine that the tyrant, because he has more possessions than the private person, does for that reason derive greater pleasure from them, this is not so either, Simonides, but it is with tyrants as with athletes. Just as the athlete feels no glow of satisfaction in asserting his superiority over amateurs,[12] but annoyance rather when he sustains defeat at the hands of any real antagonist; so, too, the tyrant finds little consolation in the fact[13] that he is evidently richer than the private citizen. What he feels is pain, when he reflects that he has less himself than other monarchs. These he holds to be his true antagonists; these are his rivals in the race for wealth.

[12] Or, “It gives no pleasure to the athlete to win victories over amateurs.” See “Mem.” III. viii. 7.

[13] Or, “each time it is brought home to him that,” etc.

Nor does the tyrant attain the object of his heart’s desire more quickly than do humbler mortals theirs. For consider, what are their objects of ambition? The private citizen has set his heart, it may be, on a house, a farm, a servant. The tyrant hankers after cities, or wide territory, or harbours, or formidable citadels, things far more troublesome and more perilous to achieve than are the pettier ambitions of lesser men.

And hence it is, moreover, that you will find but few[14] private persons paupers by comparison with the large number of tyrants who deserve the title;[15] since the criterion of enough, or too much, is not fixed by mere arithmetic, but relatively to the needs of the individual.[16] In other words, whatever exceeds sufficiency is much, and what falls short of that is little.[17]

[14] Reading as vulg. {alla mentoi kai penetas opsei oukh outos oligous ton idioton os pollous ton turannon}. Lit. “however that may be, you will see not so few private persons in a state of penury as many despots.” Breitenbach del. {oukh}, and transl., “Daher weist du auch in dem Masse wenige Arme unter den Privat- leuten finden, als viele unter den Tyrannen.” Stob., {penetas opsei oligous ton idioton, pollous de ton turannon}. Stob. MS. Par., {alla mentoi kai plousious opsei oukh outos oligous ton idioton os penetas pollous ton turannon}. See Holden ad loc. and crit. n.

[15] Cf. “Mem.” IV. ii. 37.

[16] Or, “not by the number of things we have, but in reference to the use we make of them.” Cf. “Anab.” VII. vii. 36.

[17] Dr. Holden aptly cf. Addison, “The Spectator,” No. 574, on the text “Non possidentem multa vocaveris recte beatum . . .”

And on this principle the tyrant, with his multiplicity of goods, is less well provided to meet necessary expenses than the private person; since the latter can always cut down his expenditure to suit his daily needs in any way he chooses; but the tyrant cannot do so, seeing that the largest expenses of a monarch are also the most necessary, being devoted to various methods of safeguarding his life, and to cut down any of them would be little less than suicidal.[18]

[18] Or, “and to curtail these would seem to be self-slaughter.”

Or, to put it differently, why should any one expend compassion on a man, as if he were a beggar, who has it in his power to satisfy by just and honest means his every need?[19] Surely it would be more appropriate to call that man a wretched starveling beggar rather, who through lack of means is driven to live by ugly shifts and base contrivances.

[19] i.e. “to expend compassion on a man who, etc., were surely a pathetic fallacy.” Al. “Is not the man who has it in his power, etc., far above being pitied?”

Now it is your tyrant who is perpetually driven to iniquitous spoilation of temples and human beings, through chronic need of money wherewith to meet inevitable expenses, since he is forced to feed and support an army (even in times of peace) no less than if there were actual war, or else he signs his own death-warrant.[20]

[20] “A daily, hourly constraint is laid upon him to support an army as in war time, or–write his epitaph!”


But there is yet another sore affliction to which the tyrant is liable, Sinmonides, which I will name to you. It is this. Tyrants no less than ordinary mortals can distinguish merit. The orderly,[1] the wise, the just and upright, they freely recognise; but instead of admiring them, they are afraid of them–the courageous, lest they should venture something for the sake of freedom; the wise, lest they invent some subtle mischief;[2] the just and upright, lest the multitude should take a fancy to be led by them.

[1] The same epithets occur in Aristoph. “Plut.” 89:

{ego gar on meirakion epeiles’ oti os tous dikaious kai sophous kai kosmious monous badioimen.}

Stob. gives for {kasmious} {alkimous}.

[2] Or, “for fear of machinations.” But the word is suggestive of mechanical inventions also, like those of Archimedes in connection with a later Hiero (see Plut. “Marcel.” xv. foll.); or of Lionardo, or of Michael Angelo (Symonds, “Renaissance in Italy,” “The Fine Arts,” pp. 315, 393).

And when he has secretly and silently made away with all such people through terror, whom has he to fall back upon to be of use to him, save only the unjust, the incontinent, and the slavish-natured?[3] Of these, the unjust can be trusted as sharing the tyrant’s terror lest the cities should some day win their freedom and lay strong hands upon them; the incontinent, as satisfied with momentary license; and the slavish-natured, for the simple reason that they have not themselves the slightest aspiration after freedom.[4]

[3] Or, “the dishonest, the lascivious, and the servile.”

[4] “They have no aspiration even to be free,” “they are content to wallow in the slough of despond.” The {adikoi} (unjust) correspond to the {dikaioi} (just), {akrateis} (incontinent) to the {sophoi} (wise) (Breit. cf. “Mem.” III. ix. 4, {sophian de kai sophrosunen ou diorizen}), {andrapododeis} (servile) to the {kasmioi}, {andreioi} (orderly, courageous).

This, then, I say, appears to me a sore affliction, that we should look upon the one set as good men, and yet be forced to lean upon the other.

And further, even a tyrant cannot but be something of a patriot–a lover of that state, without which he can neither hope for safety nor prosperity. On the other hand, his tyrrany, the exigencies of despotic rule, compel him to incriminate his fatherland.[5] To train his citizens to soldiery, to render them brave warriors, and well armed, confers no pleasure on him; rather he will take delight to make his foreigners more formidable than those to whom the state belongs, and these foreigners he will depend on as his body-guard.

[5] Or, “depreciate the land which gave him birth.” Holden cf. “Cyrop.” VII. ii. 22. See Sturz, s.v.

Nay more, not even in the years of plenty,[6] when abundance of all blessings reigns, not even then may the tyrant’s heart rejoice amid the general joy, for the greater the indigence of the community the humbler he will find them: that is his theory.

[6] “In good seasons,” “seasons of prosperity.” Cf. Aristot. “Pol.” v. 6. 17.


He continued: I desire to make known to you, Simonides,[1] those divers pleasures which were mine whilst I was still a private citizen, but of which to-day, nay, from the moment I became a tyrant, I find myself deprived. In those days I consorted with my friends and fellows, to our mutual delectation;[2] or, if I craved for quietude,[3] I chose myself for my companion. Gaily the hours flitted at our drinking-parties, ofttimes till we had drowned such cares and troubles as are common to the life of man in Lethe’s bowl;[4] or ofttimes till we had steeped our souls in song and dance[5] and revelry; ofttimes till the flame of passion kindled in the breasts of my companions and my own.[6] But now, welladay, I am deprived of those who took delight in me, because I have slaves instead of friends as my companions; I am robbed of my once delightful intercourse with them, because I discern no vestige of goodwill towards me in their looks. And as to the wine-cup and slumber–these I guard against, even as a man might guard against an ambuscade. Think only! to dread a crowd, to dread solitude, to dread the absence of a guard, to dread the very guards that guard, to shrink from having those about one’s self unarmed, and yet to hate the sight of armed attendants. Can you conceive a more troublesome circumstance?[7] But that is not all. To place more confidence in foreigners than in your fellow-citizens, nay, in barbarians than in Hellenes, to be consumed with a desire to keep freemen slaves and yet to be driven, will he nill he, to make slaves free, are not all these the symptoms of a mind distracted and amazed with terror?

[1] Or, “I wish I could disclose to you (he added) those heart-easing joys.” For {euphrosunas} cf. “Od.” vi. 156; Aesch. “P. V.” 540; Eur. “Bacch.” 376. A favourite word with our author; see “Ages.” ix. 4; “Cyrop.” passim; “Mem.” III. viii. 10; “Econ.” ix. 12.

[2] Lit. “delighting I in them and they in me.”

[3] Or, “when I sought tranquility I was my own companion.”

[4] Or, “in sheer forgetfulness.”

[5] Or, “absorbed our souls in song and festal cheer and dance.” Cf. “Od.” viii. 248, 249, {aiei d’ emin dais te phile kitharis te khoroi te} | {eimata t’ exemoiba loetra te therma kau eunai}, “and dear to us ever is the banquet and the harp and the dance, and changes of raiment, and the warm bath, and love and sleep” (Butcher and Lang).

[6] Reading as vulg. {epithumias}. Breit. cf. “Mem.” III. ix. 7; Plat. “Phaed.” 116 E, “he has eaten and drunk and enjoyed the society of his beloved” (Jowett). See “Symp.” the finale; or if, after Weiske and Cobet, {euthumias}, transl. “to the general hilarity of myself and the whole company” (cf. “Cyrop.” I. iii. 12, IV. v. 7), but this is surely a bathos rhetorically.

[7] Or, “a worse perplexity.” See “Hell.” VII. iii. 8.

For terror, you know, not only is a source of pain indwelling in the breast itself, but, ever in close attendance, shadowing the path,[8] becomes the destroyer of all sweet joys.

[8] Reading {sumparakolouthon lumeon}. Stob. gives {sumparomarton lumanter}. For the sentiment cf. “Cyrop.” III. i. 25.

And if you know anything of war, Simonides, and war’s alarms; if it was your fortune ever to be posted close to the enemy’s lines,[9] try to recall to mind what sort of meals you made at those times, with what sort of slumber you courted rest. Be assured, there are no pains you then experienced, no horrors to compare with those that crowd upon the despot, who sees or seems to see fierce eyes of enemies glare at him, not face to face alone, but from every side.

[9] Or, “in the van of battle, opposite the hostile lines.”

He had spoken so far, when Simonides took up the thread of the discourse, replying: Excellently put. A part I must admit, of what you say; since war is terrible. Yet, Hiero, you forget. When we, at any rate, are out campaigning, we have a custom; we place sentinels at the outposts, and when the watch is set, we take our suppers and turn in undauntedly.

And Hiero answered: Yes, I can well believe you, for the laws are the true outposts,[10] who guard the sentinels, keeping their fears alive both for themselves and in behalf of you. Whereas the tyrant hires his guards for pay like harvest labourers.[11] Now of all functions, all abilities, none, I presume, is more required of a guard than that of faithfulness; and yet one faithful man is a commodity more hard to find than scores of workmen for any sort of work you like to name;[12] and the more so, when the guards in question are not forthcoming except for money’s sake;[13] and when they have it in their power to get far more in far less time by murdering the despot than they can hope to earn by lengthened service in protecting him.

[10] Or, “beyond the sentinels themselves is set the outpost of the laws, who watch the watch.”

[11] Or, “ten-day labourers in harvest-time.”

[12] Or, “but to discover one single faithful man is far more difficult than scores of labourers in any field of work you please.”

[13] Or, “are merely hirelings for filthy lucre’s sake.”

And as to that which roused your envy–our ability, as you call it, to benefit our friends most largely, and beyond all else, to triumph over our foes–here, again, matters are not as you suppose.

How, for instance, can you hope to benefit your friends, when you may rest assured the very friend whom you have made most your debtor will be the happiest to quit your sight as fast as may be? since nobody believes that anything a tyrant gives him is indeed his own, until he is well beyond the donor’s jurisdiction.

So much for friends, and as to enemies conversely. How can you say “most power of triumphing over our enemies,” when every tyrant knows full well they are all his enemies, every man of them, who are despotically ruled by him? And to put the whole of them to death or to imprison them is hardly possible; or who will be his subjects presently? Not so, but knowing they are his enemies, he must perform this dexterous feat:[14] he must keep them at arm’s length, and yet be compelled to lean upon them.

[14] Lit. “he must at one and the same moment guard against them, and yet be driven also to depend upon them.”

But be assured, Simonides, that when a tyrant fears any of his citizens, he is in a strait; it is ill work to see them living and ill work to put them to the death. Just as might happen with a horse; a noble beast, but there is that in him makes one fear he will do some mischief presently past curing.[15] His very virtue makes it hard to kill the creature, and yet to turn him to account alive is also hard; so careful must one be, he does not choose the thick of danger to work irreparable harm. And this, further, doubtless holds of all goods and chattels, which are at once a trouble and a benefit. If painful to their owners to possess, they are none the less a source of pain to part with.

[15] Lit. “good but fearful (i.e. he makes one fear), he will some day do some desperate mischief.”


Now when he had heard these reasonings, Simonides replied: O Hiero, there is a potent force, it would appear, the name of which is honour, so attractive that human beings strain to grasp it,[1] and in the effort they will undergo all pains, endure all perils. It would further seem that even you, you tyrants, in spite of all that sea of trouble which a tyranny involves, rush headlong in pursuit of it. You must be honoured. All the world shall be your ministers; they shall carry out your every injunction with unhestitating zeal.[2] You shall be the cynosure of neighbouring eyes; men shall rise from their seats at your approach; they shall step aside to yield you passage in the streets.[3] All present shall at all times magnify you,[4] and shall pay homage to you both with words and deeds. Those, I take it, are ever the kind of things which subjects do to please the monarch,[5] and thus they treat each hero of the moment, whom they strive to honour.[6]

[1] Lit. “that human beings will abide all risks and undergo all pains to clutch the bait.”

[2] Cf. “Cyrop.” II. iii. 8; VIII. i. 29.

[3] Cf. “Mem.” II. iii. 16; “Cyrop.” VII. v. 20.

[4] {gerairosi}, poetic. Cf. “Cyrop.” VIII. i. 39; “Hell.” I. vii. 33; “Econ.” iv. 8; “Herod.” v. 67; Pind. “O.” iii. 3, v. 11; “N.” v. 15; “Od.” xiv. 437, 441; “Il.” vii. 321; Plat. “Rep.” 468 D, quoting “Il.” vii. 321.

[5] Reading {tois turannois}, or if {tous turannous}, after Cobet, “That is how they treat crowned heads.”

[6] Cf. Tennyson, “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington”:

With honour, honour, honour to him, Eternal honour to his name.

Yes, Hiero, and herein precisely lies the difference between a man and other animals, in this outstretching after honour.[7] Since, it would seem, all living creatures alike take pleasure in meats and drinks, in sleep and sexual joys. Only the love of honour is implanted neither in unreasoning brutes[8] nor universally in man. But they in whose hearts the passion for honour and fair fame has fallen like a seed, these unmistakably[9] are separated most widely from the brutes. These may claim to be called men,[10] not human beings merely. So that, in my poor judgment, it is but reasonable you should submit to bear the pains and penalties of royalty, since you are honoured far beyond all other mortal men. And indeed no pleasure known to man would seem to be nearer that of gods than the delight[11] which centres in proud attributes.

[7] Or, “in this strong aspiration after honour.” Holden aptly cf. “Spectator,” No. 467: “The love of praise is a passion deeply fixed in the mind of every extraordinary person; and those who are most affected with it seem most to partake of that particle of the divinity which distinguishes mankind from the inferior creation.”

[8] {alogous}, i.e. “without speach and reason”; cf. modern Greek {o alogos} = the horse (sc. the animal par excellence). See “Horsemanship,” viii. 14.

[9] {ede}, “ipso facto.”

[10] See “Anab.” I. vii. 4; Frotscher ap. Breit. cf. Cic. “ad Fam.” v. 17. 5, “ut et hominem te et virum esse meminisses.”

[11] Or, “joyance.”

To these arguments Hiero replied: Nay, but, Simonides, the honours and proud attributes bestowed on tyrants have much in common with their love-makings, as I described them. Like honours like loves, the pair are of a piece.

For just as the ministrations won from loveless hearts[12] are felt to be devoid of grace, and embraces forcibly procured are sweet no longer, so the obsequious cringings of alarm are hardly honours. Since how shall we assert that people who are forced to rise from their seats do really rise to honour those whom they regard as malefactors? or that these others who step aside to let their betters pass them in the street, desire thus to show respect to miscreants?[13] And as to gifts, it is notorious, people commonly bestow them largely upon those they hate, and that too when their fears are gravest, hoping to avert impending evil. Nay, these are nothing more nor less than acts of slavery, and they may fairly be set down as such.

[12] Or, “the compliance of cold lips where love is not reciprocated is . . .”

[13] Or, “to rank injustice.”

But honours have a very different origin,[14] as different to my mind as are the sentiments to which they give expression. See how, for instance, men of common mould will single out a man, who is a man,[15] they feel, and competent to be their benefactor; one from whom they hope to reap rich blessings. His name lives upon their lips in praise. As they gaze at him, each one among them sees in him a private treasure. Spontaneously they yield him passage in the streets. They rise from their seats to do him honour, out of love not fear; they crown him for his public[16] virtue’s sake and benefactions. They shower gifts upon him of their own free choice. These same are they who, if my definition holds, may well be said to render honour to their hero by such service, whilst he that is held worthy of these services is truly honoured. And for my part I can but offer my congratulations to him. “God bless him,” say I, perceiving that so far from being the butt of foul conspiracy, he is an object of anxiety to all, lest evil should betide him; and so he pursues the even tenour of his days in happiness exempt from fears and jealousy[17] and risk. But the current of the tyrant’s life runs differently. Day and night, I do assure you, Simonides, he lives like one condemned by the general verdict of mankind to die for his iniquity.

[14] Lit. “Honours would seem to be the outcome and expression of conditions utterly remote from these, in fact their very opposites.”

[15] Cf. Napoleon’s accost of Goethe, “Vous etes un homme,” and “as Goethe left the room, Napoleon repeated to Berthier and Daru, ‘Voila un homme!'” (“The Life of Goethe,” Lewes, p. 500).

[16] Reading {koines}, which ought to mean “common to them and him”; if with Cobet {koine}, “in public crown him for his virtue’s sake, a benefactor.”

[17] Or, “without reproach.”

Now when Simonides had listened to these reasonings to the end,[18] he answered: How is it, Hiero, if to play the tyrant is a thing so villainous,[19] and that is your final judgment, how comes it you are not quit of so monstrous an evil? Neither you, nor, for that matter, any monarch else I ever heard of, having once possessed the power, did ever of his own free will divest himself of sovereignty. How is that, Hiero?

[18] Cf. “Econ.” xi. 1.

[19] Or, “if to monarchise and play the despot.”

For one simple reason (the tyrant answered), and herein lies the supreme misery of despotic power; it is not possible even to be quit of it.[20] How could the life of any single tyrant suffice to square the account? How should he pay in full to the last farthing all the moneys of all whom he has robbed? with what chains laid upon him make requital to all those he has thrust into felons’ quarters?[21] how proffer lives enough to die in compensation of the dead men he has slain? how die a thousand deaths?

[20] Holden aptly cf. Plut. “Sol.” 14, {kalon men einai ten torannida khorion, ouk ekhein de apobasin}, “it was true a tyrrany was a very fair spot, but it had no way down from it” (Clough, i. p. 181).

[21] Or, “how undergo in his own person the imprisonments he has inflicted?” Reading {antipaskhoi}, or if {antiparaskhoi}, transl. “how could he replace in his own person the exact number of imprisonments which he has inflicted on others?”

Ah, no! Simonides (he added), if to hang one’s self outright be ever gainful to pour mortal soul, then, take my word for it, that is the tyrant’s remedy: there’s none better suited[22] to his case, since he alone of all men is in this dilemma, that neither to keep nor lay aside his troubles profits him.

[22] Or, “nought more profitable to meet the case.” The author plays on {lusitelei} according to his wont.


Here Simonides took up the thread of the discourse[1] as follows: That for the moment, Hiero, you should be out of heart regarding tyranny[2] I do not wonder, since you have a strong desire to be loved by human beings, and you are persuaded that it is your office which balks the realisation of your dream.

[1] Al. “took up the speaker thus.”

[2] “In reference to despotic rule.”

Now, however, I am no less certain I can prove to you that government[3] implies no obstacle to being loved, but rather holds the advantage over private life so far. And whilst investigating if this be really so, let us not embarass the inquiry by asking whether in proportion to his greater power the ruler is able to do kindness on a grander scale. But put it thus: Two human beings, the one in humble circumstances,[4] the other a despotic ruler, perform a common act; which of these twain will, under like conditions,[5] win the larger thanks? I will begin with the most trifling[6] examples; and first a simple friendly salutation, “Good day,” “Good evening,” dropped at sight of some one from the lips of here a ruler, there a private citizen. In such a case, whose salutation will sound the pleasanter to him accosted?

[3] {to arkhein}. Cf. “Cyrop.” passim.

[4] “A private person.”

[5] Lit. “by like expenditure of power.”

[6] {arkhomai soi}. Lit. “I’ll begin you with quite commonplace examples.” Holden cf. Shakesp. “Merry Wives,” i. 4. 97, “I’ll do you your master what good I can”; “Much Ado,” ii. 3. 115, “She will sit you.” For the distinction between {paradeigmaton} = examples and {upodeigmata} = suggestions see “Horsem.” ii. 2.

Or again,[7] let us suppose that both should have occasion to pronounce a panegyric. Whose compliments will carry farther, in the way of delectation, think you? Or on occasion of a solemn sacrifice, suppose they do a friend the honour of an invitation.[8] In either case it is an honour, but which will be regarded with the greater gratitude, the monarch’s or the lesser man’s?

[7] “Come now.”

[8] Cf. “Mem.” II. iii. 11 as to “sacrifices as a means of social enjoyment.” Dr. Holden cf. Aristot. “Nic. Eth.” VIII. ix. 160, “And hence it is that these clan communites and hundreds solemnise sacrifices, in connection with which they hold large gatherings, and thereby not only pay honour to the gods, but also provide for themselves holiday and amusement” (R. Williams). Thuc. ii. 38, “And we have not forgotten to provide for our weary spirits many relaxations from toil; we have regular games and sacrifices throughout the year” (Jowett). Plut. “Them.” v., {kai gar philothuten onta kai lampron en tais peri tous xenous dapanais . . .} “For loving to sacrifice often, and to be splendid in his entertainment of strangers, he required a plentiful revenue” (Clough, i. 236). To which add Theophr. “Char.” xv. 2, “The Shameless Man”: {eita thusas tois theois autos men deipnein par’ etero, ta de krea apotithenai alsi pasas, k.t.l.}, “then when he has been sacrificing to the gods, he will put away the salted remains, and will himself dine out” (Jebb).

Or let a sick man be attended with a like solicitude by both. It is plain, the kind attentions of the mighty potentate[9] arouse in the patient’s heart immense delight.[10]

[9] “Their mightinesses,” or as we might say, “their serene highnesses.” Cf. Thuc. ii. 65.

[10] “The greatest jubilance.”

Or say, they are the givers of two gifts which shall be like in all respects. It is plain enough in this case also that “the gracious favour” of his royal highness, even if halved, would more than counterbalance the whole value of the commoner’s “donation.”[11]

[11] Or, “half the great man’s ‘bounty’ more than outweighs the small man’s present.” For {dorema} cf. Aristot. “N. E.” I. ix. 2, “happiness . . . a free gift of God to men.”

Nay, as it seems to me, an honour from the gods, a grace divine, is shed about the path of him the hero-ruler.[12] Not only does command itself ennoble manhood, but we gaze on him with other eyes and find the fair within him yet more fair who is to-day a prince and was but yesterday a private citizen.[13] Again, it is a prouder satisfaction doubtless to hold debate with those who are preferred to us in honour than with people on an equal footing with ourselves.

[12] Lit. “attends the footsteps of the princely ruler.” Cf. “Cyrop.” II. i. 23, Plat. “Laws,” 667 B, for a similar metaphorical use of the word.

[13] {to arkhein}, “his princely power makes him more noble as a man, and we behold him fairer exercising rule than when he functioned as a common citizen.” Reading {kallio}, or if {edion}, transl. “we feast our eyes more greedily upon him.”

Why, the minion (with regard to whom you had the gravest fault to find with tyranny), the favourite of a ruler, is least apt to quarrel[14] with gray hairs: the very blemishes of one who is a prince soon cease to be discounted in their intercourse.[15]

[14] Lit. “feels least disgust at age”; i.e. his patron’s years and wrinkles.

[15] Cf. Plat. “Phaedr.” 231 B.

The fact is, to have reached the zenith of distinction in itself lends ornament,[16] nay, a lustre effacing what is harsh and featureless and rude, and making true beauty yet more splendid.

[16] Or, “The mere prestige of highest worship helps to adorn.” See Aristot. “N. E.” xi. 17. As to {auto to tetimesthai m. s.} I think it is the {arkhon} who is honoured by the rest of men, which {time} helps to adorn him. Others seem to think it is the {paidika} who is honoured by the {arkhon}. If so, transl.: “The mere distinction, the privilege alone of being highly honoured, lends embellishment,” etc.

Since then, by aid of equal ministrations, you are privileged to win not equal but far deeper gratitude: it would seem to follow, considering the vastly wider sphere of helpfulness which lies before you as administrators, and the far grander scale of your largesses, I say it naturally pertains to you to find yourselves much more beloved than ordinary mortals; or if not, why not?

Hiero took up the challenge and without demur made answer: For this good reason, best of poets, necessity constrains us, far more than ordinary people, to be busybodies. We are forced to meddle with concerns which are the very fount and springhead of half the hatreds of mankind.

We have moneys to exact if we would meet our necessary expenses. Guards must be impressed and sentinels posted wherever there is need of watch and ward. We have to chastise evil-doers; we must put a stop to those who would wax insolent.[17] And when the season for swift action comes, and it is imperative to expedite a force by land or sea, at such a crisis it will not do for us to entrust the affair to easy- goers.

[17] Or, “curb the over-proud in sap and blood.”

Further than that, the man who is a tyrant must have mercenaries, and of all the burdens which the citizens are called upon to bear there is none more onerous than this, since nothing will induce them to believe these people are supported by the tyrant to add to his and their prestige,[18] but rather for the sake of his own selfishness and greed.

[18] Reading with Breit. {eis timas}, or if the vulg. {isotimous}, transl. “as equal merely to themselves in privilege”; or if with Schenkl (and Holden, ed. 3) {isotimias}, transl. “their firm persuasion is these hirelings are not supported by the tyrant in the interests of equality but of undue influence.”


To these arguments Simonides in turn made answer: Nay, Hiero, I am far from stating that you have not all these divers matters to attend to. They are serious duties,[1] I admit. But still, what strikes me is, if half these grave responsibilities do lend themselves undoubtedly to hatred,[2] the remaining half are altogether gratifying. Thus, to teach others[3] arts of highest virtue, and to praise and honour each most fair performance of the same, that is a type of duty not to be discharged save graciously. Whilst, on the other hand, to scold at people guilty of remissness, to drive and fine and chasten, these are proceedings doubtless which go hand in hand with hate and bitterness.

[1] Cf. “Econ.” vii. 41.

[2] Or, “tend indisputably to enmity.”

[3] Or, “people,” “the learner.”

What I would say then to the hero-ruler is: Wherever force is needed, the duty of inflicting chastisement should be assigned to others, but the distribution of rewards and prizes must be kept in his own hands.[4]

[4] Cf. “Cyrop.” VIII. ii. 27; ib. i. 18; “Hipparch,” i. 26.

Common experience attests the excellence of such a system.[5] Thus when we[6] wish to set on foot a competition between choruses,[7] it is the function of the archon[8] to offer prizes, whilst to the choregoi[9] is assigned the duty of assembling the members of the band;[10] and to others[11] that of teaching and applying force to those who come behindhand in their duties. There, then, you have the principle at once: The gracious and agreeable devolves on him who rules, the archon; the repellent counterpart[12] on others. What is there to prevent the application of the principle to matters politic in general?[13]

[5] Or, “current incidents bear witness to the beauty of the principle.”

[6] {emin}. The author makes Simonides talk as an Athenian.

[7] Lit. “when we wish our sacred choirs to compete.”

[8] Or, “magistrate”; at Athens the Archon Eponymos. See Boeckh, “P. E. A.” p. 454 foll. Al. the {athlethetai}. See Pollux, viii. 93; cf. Aeschin. “c. Ctes.” 13.

[9] Or more correctly at Athens the choragoi = leaders of the chorus.

[10] i.e. the choreutai.

[11] Sc. the choro-didaskaloi, or chorus-masters.

[12] {ta antitupa}, “the repellent obverse,” “the seamy side.” Cf. Theogn. 1244, {ethos ekhon solion pistios antitupon}. “Hell.” VI. iii. 11.

[13] Or, “Well then, what reason is there why other matters of political concern–all other branches of our civic life, in fact– should not be carried out on this same principle?”

All states as units are divided into tribes ({thulas}), or regiments ({moras}), or companies ({lokhous}), and there are officers ({arkhontes}) appointed in command of each division.[14]

[14] e.g. Attica into ten phylae, Lacedaemon into six morae, Thebes and Argos into lochi. See Aristot. “Pol.” v. 8 (Jowett, i. 166); “Hell.” VI. iv. 13; VII. ii. 4.

Well then, suppose that some one were to offer prizes[15] to these political departments on the pattern of the choric prizes just described; prizes for excellence of arms, or skill in tactics, or for discipline and so forth, or for skill in horsemanship; prizes for prowess[16] in the field of battle, bravery in war; prizes for uprightness[17] in fulfilment of engagements, contracts, covenants. If so, I say it is to be expected that these several matters, thanks to emulous ambition, will one and all be vigorously cultivated. Vigorously! why, yes, upon my soul, and what a rush there would be! How in the pursuit of honour they would tear along where duty called: with what promptitude pour in their money contributions[18] at a time of crisis.

[15] See “Revenues,” iii. 3; A. Zurborg, “de. Xen. Lib. qui {Poroi} inscribitur,” p. 42.

[16] Cf. “Hell.” III. iv. 16; IV. ii. 5 foll.

[17] “In reward for justice in, etc.” See “Revenues,” l.c.; and for the evil in question, Thuc. i. 77; Plat. “Rep.” 556.

[18] {eispheroien}, techn. of the war-tax at Athens. See “Revenues,” iii. 7 foll.; iv. 34 foll.; Thuc. iii. 19; Boeckh, “P. E. A.” pp. 470, 539. Cf. Aristot. “Pol.” v. 11. 10, in illustration of the tyrant’s usual method of raising money.

And that which of all arts is the most remunerative, albeit the least accustomed hitherto to be conducted on the principle of competition[19]–I mean agriculture–itself would make enormous strides, if some one were to offer prizes in the same way, “by farms and villages,” to those who should perform the works of tillage in the fairest fashion. Whilst to those members of the state who should devote themselves with might and main to this pursuit, a thousand blessings would be the result. The revenues would be increased; and self-restraint be found far more than now, in close attendance on industrious habits.[20] Nay further, crimes and villainies take root and spring less freely among busy workers.

[19] Al. “and what will be the most repaying . . . being a department of things least wont,” etc.

[20] Or, “soundness of soul much more be found allied with occupation.”

Once more, if commerce[21] is of any value to the state, then let the merchant who devotes himself to commerce on the grandest scale receive some high distinction, and his honours will draw on other traders in his wake.

[21] Cf. “Revenues,” l.c.

Or were it made apparent that the genius who discovers a new source of revenue, which will not be vexatious, will be honoured, by the state, a field of exploration will at once be opened, which will not long continue unproductive.[22]

[22] Lit. “that too is an inquiry which will not long lie fallow.”

And to speak compendiously, if it were obvious in each department that the introducer of any salutary measure whatsoever will not remain unhonoured, that in itself will stimulate a host of pople who will make it their business to discover some good thing or other for the state. Wherever matters of advantage to the state excite deep interest, of necessity discoveries are made more freely and more promptly perfected. But if you are afraid, O mighty prince, that through the multitude of prizes offered[23] under many heads, expenses also must be much increased, consider that no articles of commerce can be got more cheaply than those which people purchase in exchange for prizes. Note in the public contests (choral, equestrian, or gymnastic)[24] how small the prizes are and yet what vast expenditure of wealth and toil, and painful supervision these elicit.[25]

[23] Reading {protithemenon} with Cobet.

[24] Lit. “hippic, gymnic, and choregic contests.”

[25] e.g. “in the choral dances (1) money on the part of the choragoi; (2) pains on the part of the choreutai; (3) supervising care on the part of the choro-didaskoi, and so mutatis mutandis of the hippic and gymnic.”


And Hiero replied: Thus far you reason prettily, methinks, Simonides; but about these mercenary troops have you aught to say? Can you suggest a means to avoid the hatred of which they are the cause? Or will you tell me that a ruler who has won the affection of his subjects has no need for body-guards?

Nay, in good sooth (replied Simonides), distinctly he will need them none the less. I know it is with certain human beings as with horses, some trick of the blood they have, some inborn tendency; the more their wants are satisfied, the more their wantonness will out. Well then, to sober and chastise wild spirits, there is nothing like the terror of your men-at-arms.[1] And as to gentler natures,[2] I do not know by what means you could bestow so many benefits upon them as by means of mercenaries.

[1] Lit. “spear-bearers”; the title given to the body-guard of kings and tyrants.

[2] Lit. “the beautiful and good,” the {kalois kagathois}. See “Econ.” vi. 11 foll.

Let me explain: You keep them, I presume, in the first instance, for yourself, as guards of your own person. But for masters, owners of estates and others, to be done to death with violence by their own slaves is no unheard-of thing. Supposing, then, the first and foremost duty laid on mercenary troops were this: they are the body-guards of the whole public, and bound as such to come to the assistance of all members of the state alike, in case they shall detect some mischief brewing[3] (and miscreants do spring up in the hearts of states, as we all know); I say then, if these mercenary troops were under orders to act as guardians of the citizens,[4] the latter would recognise to whom they were indebted.

[3] “If they become aware of anything of that sort.” Is not this modelled on the {krupteia}? See Pater, “Plato and Platonism,” ch. viii. “Lacedaemon,” p. 186.

[4] Or, “as their police.” {toutous}, sc. “the citizens”; al. “the evil-doers.” If so, transl. “to keep watch and ward on evil-doers; the citizens would soon recognise the benefit they owe them for that service.”

But in addition to these functions, such a body might with reason be expected to create a sense of courage and security, by which the country labourers with their flocks and herds would greatly benefit, a benefit not limited to your demesne, but shared by every farm throughout the rural district.

Again, these mercenaries, if set to guard strategic points,[5] would leave the citizens full leisure to attend to matters of more private interest.

[5] Or, “as garrisons of critical positions,” like Phyle or Decelia near Athens.

And again, a further function: Can you conceive a service better qualified to gain intelligence beforehand and to hinder the secret sudden onslaughts of a hostile force, than a set of troopers always under arms and fully organised?[6]

[6] Or, “trained to act as one man.” See Sturz, s.v.

Moreover, on an actual campaign, where will you find an arm of greater service to the citizens than these wage-earning troops?[7] than whom, it is likely, there will none be found more resolute to take the lion’s share of toil or peril, or do outpost duty, keeping watch and ward while others sleep, brave mercenaries.

[7] The author is perhaps thinking of some personal experiences. He works out his theory of a wage-earning militia for the protection of the state in the “Cyropaedia.” See esp. VII. v. 69 foll.

And what will be the effect on the neighbour states conterminous with yours?[8] Will not this standing army lead them to desire peace beyond all other things? In fact, a compact force like this, so organised, will prove most potent to preserve the interests of their friends and to damage those of their opponents.

[8] Or, “that lie upon your borders,” as Thebes and Megara were “nigh- bordering” to Athens. Cf. Eur. “Rhes.” 426; Soph. “Fr.” 349.

And when, finally, the citizens discover it is not the habit of these mercenaries to injure those who do no wrong, but their vocation rather is to hinder all attempts at evil-doing; whereby they exercise a kindly providence and bear the brunt of danger on behalf of the community, I say it must needs be, the citizens will rejoice to pay the expenses which the force entails. At any rate, it is for objects of far less importance that at present guards[9] are kept in private life.

[9] “Police or other.”


But, Hiero, you must not grudge to spend a portion of your private substance for the common weal. For myself, I hold to the opinion that the sums expended by the monarch on the state form items of disbursement more legitimate[1] than those expended on his personal account. But let us look into the question point by point.

[1] {eis to deon}. Holden cf. “Anab.” I. iii. 8. Aristoph. “Clouds,” 859, {osper Periklees eis to deon apolesa}: “Like Pericles, for a necessary purpose, I have lost them.”

First, the palace: do you imagine that a building, beautified in every way at an enormous cost, will afford you greater pride and ornament than a whole city ringed with walls and battlements, whose furniture consists of temples and pillared porticoes,[2] harbours, market- places?

[2] Reading {parastasi}, properly “pillasters” (Poll. i. 76. 10. 25) = “antae,” hence “templum in antis” (see Vitruv. iii. 2. 2); or more widely the entrance of a temple or other building. (Possibly the author is thinking of “the Propylea”).Cf. Eur. “Phoen.” 415; “I. T.” 1159. = {stathmoi}, Herod. i. 179; Hom. “Il.” xiv. 167; “Od.” vii. 89, {stathmoi d’ argureoi en khalkeo estasan oudio}.

The brazen thresholds both sides did enfold Silver pilasters, hung with gates of gold (Chapman).

Al. {pastasi}, = colonnades.

Next, as to armaments: Will you present a greater terror to the foe if you appear furnished yourself from head to foot with bright emlazonrie and horrent arms;[3] or rather by reason of the warlike aspect of a whole city perfectly equipped?

[3] Or, “with armour curiously wrought a wonder and a dread.” {oplois tois ekpaglotatois}, most magnificent, awe-inspiring, a poetical word which appears only in this passage in prose (Holden). L. & S. cf. Hom. “Il.”i. 146, xxi. 589, of persons; “Od.” xiv. 552, of things. Pind. “Pyth.” iv. 140; “Isth.” 7 (6), 30.

And now for ways and means: On which principle do you expect your revenues to flow more copiously–by keeping your own private capital[4] employed, or by means devised to make the resources of the entire state[5] productive?

[4] Reading {idia}, al. {idia}, = “your capital privately employed.”

[5] Lit. “of all citizens alike,” “every single member of the state.”

And next to speak of that which people hold to be the flower of institutions, a pursuit both noble in itself and best befitting a great man–I mean the art of breeding chariot-horses[6]–which would reflect the greater lustre on you, that you personally[7] should train and send to the great festal gatherings[8] more chariots than any Hellene else? or rather that your state should boast more racehorse- breeders than the rest of states, that from Syracuse the largest number should enter to contest the prize?

[6] Cf. Plat. “Laws,” 834 B.

[7] Breit. cf. Pind. “Ol.” i. 82; “Pyth.” i. 173; ii. 101; iii. 96.

[8] “Our solemn festivals,” e.g. those held at Olympia, Delphi, the Isthmus, Nemea.

Which would you deem the nobler conquest–to win a victory by virtue of a chariot, or to achieve a people’s happiness, that state of which you are the head and chief? And for my part, I hold it ill becomes a tyrant to enter the lists with private citizens. For take the case he wins, he will not be admired, but be envied rather, when is is thought how many private fortunes go to swell the stream of his expenditure; while if he loses, he will become a laughing-stock to all mankind.[9]

[9] Or, “you will be mocked and jeered at past all precedence,” as historically was the fate of Dionysus, 388 or 384 B.C. (?); and for the possible connection between that incident and this treatise see Lys. “Olymp.”; and Prof. Jebb’s remarks on the fragment, “Att. Or.” i. p. 203 foll. Grote, “H. G.” xi. 40 foll.; “Plato, iii. 577.

No, no! I tell you, Hiero, your battlefield, your true arena is with the champion presidents of rival states, above whose lesser heads be it your destiny to raise this state, of which you are the patron and supreme head, to some unprecedented height of fortune, which if you shall achieve, be certain you will be approved victorious in a contest the noblest and the most stupendous in the world.

Since what follows? In the first place, you will by one swift stroke have brought about the very thing you have set your heart on, you will have won the affection of your subjects. Secondly, you will need no herald to proclaim your victory; not one man only, but all mankind, shall hymn your virtue.

Wherever you set foot you shall be gazed upon, and not by individual citizens alone, but by a hundred states be warmly welcomed. You shall be a marvel, not in the private circle only, but in public in the sight of all.

It shall be open to you, so far as safety is concerned, to take your journey where you will to see the games or other spectacles; or it shall be open to you to bide at home, and still attain your object.

Before you shall be gathered daily an assembly, a great company of people willing to display whatever each may happen to possess of wisdom, worth, or beauty;[10] and another throng of persons eager to do you service. Present, regard them each and all as sworn allies; or absent, know that each and all have one desire, to set eyes on you.

[10] Or, “to display their wares of wisdom, beauty, excellence.”

The end will be, you shall not be loved alone, but passionately adored, by human beings. You will not need to woo the fair but to endure the enforcement of their loving suit.

You shall not know what fear is for yourself; you shall transfer it to the hearts of others, fearing lest some evil overtake you. You will have about you faithful lieges, willing subjects, nimble servitors. You shall behold how, as a matter of free choice, they will display a providential care for you. And if danger threatens, you will find in them not simply fellow-warriors, but champions eager to defend you with their lives.[11]

[11] Not {summakhoi}, but {promakhoi}.

Worthy of many gifts you shall be deemed, and yet be never at a loss for some well-wisher with whom to share them. You shall command a world-wide loyalty; a whole people shall rejoice with you at your good fortunes, a whole people battle for your interests, as if in very deed and truth their own. Your treasure-houses shall be coextensive with the garnered riches of your friends and lovers.

Therefore be of good cheer, Hiero; enrich your friends, and you will thereby heap riches on yourself. Build up and aggrandise your city, for in so doing you will gird on power like a garment, and win allies for her.[12]

[12] Some commentators suspect a lacuna at this point.

Esteem your fatherland as your estate, the citizens as comrades, your friends as your own children, and your sons even as your own soul. And study to excel them one and all in well-doing; for if you overcome your friends by kindness, your enemies shall nevermore prevail against you.

Do all these things, and, you may rest assured, it will be yours to own the fairest and most blessed possession known to mortal man. You shall be fortunate and none shall envy you.[13]

[13] Al. “It shall be yours to be happy and yet to escape envy.” The concluding sentence is gnomic in character and metrical in form. See “Pol. Lac.” xv. 9.