Sunday, July 17, 2022

M/M: Harmodius & Aristogiton, Sacred Names of Freedom Fighters: Aulus Gellius 9.2.10-11

Maiores autem mei Athenienses nomina iuvenum fortissimorum Harmodii et Aristogitonis, qui libertatis recuperandae gratia Hippiam tyrannum interficere adorsi erant, ne umquam servis indere liceret decreto publico sanxerunt, quoniam nefas ducerent nomina libertati patriae devota servili contagio pollui. Cur ergo nos patimur nomen philosophiae inlustrissimum in hominibus deterrimis exsordescere?

--Aulus Gellius Att. Noct. 9.2.10-11

Herodes Atticus criticizes a scammer disguised as a philosopher:

“My Athenian ancestors made a law that slaves could never have the name of Harmodius & Aristogiton, the incredibly brave youths who undertook a plot to kill the tyrant Hippias in an attempt to restore liberty to the city.  They thought it was an abomination for the names of those who sacrificed their lives for their country’s freedom should be polluted by being associated with slaves.   So then why are we allowing the noble name of ‘philosopher’ to be made filthy by disgusting scammers?  



Name:  Aulus Gellius

Date:  2nd. c. CE

Works:  Attic Nights



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 Aulus Gellius lived during the 2nd century CE. His work, the Attic Nights, are a collection of anecdotes about literature, history, and grammar.  From internal evidence, we can deduce that he was in the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ social circle, having close friendships with Herodes Atticus and Fronto.


Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE


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