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Headword: Κέρδος αἰσχύνης ἄμεινον
Adler number: kappa,1389
Translated headword: advantage is better than dishonour
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
"If he does not gain his advantage fairly, but works the unholy, or possesses the untouchable. Where such things occur, what man out of the foolish ones will think any more that he can ward off the arrows from his soul?"[1] That is, who could drive away punishment from himself when he does such things?[2]
Greek Original:
Κέρδος αἰσχύνης ἄμεινον. εἰ μὴ τὸ κέρδος κερδανεῖ δικαίως καὶ τῶν ἀσέπτων ἔρξεται καὶ τῶν ἀθίκτων ἕξεται: ματαίων δὲ τίς ἔτι ποτ' ἐν τοῖσδ' ἀνὴρ θυμῷ βέλη ἔρξεται ψυχᾶς ἀμύνειν; τουτέστι τίς ἂν ἀπελάσειεν αὐτοῦ τὴν τιμωρίαν τοιαῦτα πράττοντος;
Notes:
The unglossed headword phrase is the first half of a line (for the second half see under mu 1360) of Attic comedy -- Callias [kappa 213] fr. 1 Kock and Kassel-Austin, from the Atalante: "advantage is better than dishonour; drag the adulterer to the corner". Fragment taken up by collectors of proverbs (Diogenianus 5.42, Zenobius 4.67, Macarius Chrysocephalus 5.13, Michael Apostolius 9.68). The proverb is vaguely connected to the passage from Sophocles discussed next.
[1] An approximation of Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus 889-894 (web address 1): "if he does not gain his advantage fairly, but works the unholy [deeds], or touches the untouchable [sanctities] in folly. Where such things occur, what man will think any more that he can ward off the arrows [of the gods] from his soul?" The original's ματᾴζων , "doing vain, foolish things", is misconstrued as ματαίων "of vain, foolish ones", and as the start of a new sentence.
[2] From the scholia thereto (892).
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; ethics; imagery; proverbs; tragedy
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 7 November 2008@00:56:34.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 7 November 2008@05:16:25.
Catharine Roth (tweak, typo) on 9 November 2008@01:11:44.
Catharine Roth (added link) on 9 November 2008@15:02:56.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 18 February 2013@08:44:28.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 3 January 2015@08:59:18.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 5 August 2019@10:00:52.

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