Thursday 24 July 2014

A Greek inscription on the statue of a Roman statesman in the Forum

Plutarch, The Life of Titus Flaminius 1.1-2:

...ἰδέαν μὲν ὁποῖος ἦν πάρεστι θεάσασθαι τοῖς βουλομένοις ἀπὸ τῆς ἐν Ῥώμῃ χαλκῆς εἰκόνος, ἣ κεῖται παρὰ τὸν μέγαν Ἀπόλλωνα τὸν ἐκ Καρχηδόνος ἀντικρὺ τοῦ ἱπποδρόμου, γράμμασιν Ἑλληνικοῖς ἐπιγεγραμμένη· τὸ δ’ ἦθος ὀξὺς λέγεται γενέσθαι καὶ πρὸς ὀργὴν καὶ πρὸς χάριν, οὐ μὴν ὁμοίως, ἀλλ’ ἐλαφρὸς μὲν ἐν τῷ κολάζειν καὶ οὐκ ἐπίμονος, πρὸς δὲ τὰς χάριτας τελεσιουργός, καὶ τοῖς εὐεργετηθεῖσι διὰ παντὸς ὥσπερ εὐεργέταις εὔνους, καὶ πρόθυμος ὡς κάλλιστα τῶν κτημάτων τοὺς εὖ πεπονθότας ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ περιέπειν ἀεὶ καὶ σῴζειν.

What the outward appearance of Titus Quintius Flamininus was may be seen by those who wish it from the bronze statue of him at Rome. It stands by the side of the great Apollo from Carthage, opposite the Circus, and has upon it an inscription in Greek characters. As to his disposition, he is said to have been quick to show anger as well as to confer favours, though not in like extent. For he was gentle in his punishments and not persistent, whereas in his favours he was unremitting, always well disposed towards his beneficiaries as though they were his benefactors, and eager to protect at all times and preserve those who had ever met with kindness at his hands, as though they were his choicest possessions. (B. Perrin, Loeb, adapted).

[ From 5.7: φωνήν τε καὶ διάλεκτον Ἕλληνι '(with a man) who was Greek both in voice and in language'.]

1 comment:

franary said...

No surprise here. Since Greek was the lingua franca of the ancient world, its use was a sort of guarantee that the man's praises would be read by the upper classes, or the people that "counted" in Roman society.