6.2.17

Delphic Maxims from Ai Khanoum

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Ai Khanoum Delphic Maxims
Epigram by Klearchos of Soloi accompanying inscription of Delphic maxims in the temenos of Kineas (the oikistes (founder) of the Greek settlement) at Ai-Khanoum.early 3rd. century BC.

Inscription of Kineas. Ai-Khanoum 3rd century BCE. Musée Guimet. 

Apart from the two inscriptions at Kandahar, in which Asoka addressed his Greek subjects in their own language, the most revealing text concerning the Hellenism of the Greek colonists is undoubtedly the inscription discovered at Ai-Khanoum in the heart of the city inside a funerary monument. 36 The philosopher Clearchus of Soli, a well-known figure in the history of the Aristotelian school, on a visit from Greece around 275 B.C., had set up in this monument a copy of the famous Delphic maxims to serve as a code of good conduct.
The maxims were a collection of some 150 aphorisms kept on display at the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi embodying the ideals of Greek life. The stone stele on which they had been inscribed at Ai-Khanoum has disappeared, but the base on which it stood has survived. It preserves not only Clearchus' own dedication, but the final maxims of the series, inscribed on the base for lack of room on the stele itself. These read as follows: 'In childhood, learn good manners; in youth, control thy passions; in middle age, practise justice; in old age, be of good counsel; in death, have no regrets.' The fact that the municipal authorities allowed this moral and civil code - the quintessence, as it were, of Greek wisdom - to be displayed publicly in the centre of town provides a striking example of the determination of the Greek colonists to place their city under the protection of the traditional patron
deity of the Greek colonization and to remain faithful national heritage.



ἀνδρῶν τοι σοφὰ ταῦτα παλαιοτέρων ἀνάκει[τα]ι
ῥήματα ἀριγνώτων Πυθοῖ ἐν ἠγαθέαι·
ἔνθεν ταῦτ[α] Κλέαρχος ἐπιφραδέως ἀναγράψας
εἵσατο τηλαυγῆ Κινέου ἐν τεμένει.
μετάφραση :

Ανδρών σοφά παλαιότερων έχουν ανατεθεί
αποφθέγματα σπουδαίων στην ιερώτατη Πυθώ
εδώ αυτά ο Κλέαρχος με προσοχή ανέγραψε
να φαίνονται από μακρυά, στου Κινέα το τέμενος
ελεύθερη μετάφραση:

Ανδρών παλαιότερων και σπουδαίων
τα σοφά λόγια, από τους ιερότατους Δελφούς,
αντέγραψε εδώ, ο Κλέαρχος, με προσοχή,
για να τα βλέπουν όλοι, στο τέμενος του Κινέα

On a Herôon (funerary monument), identified in Greek as the tomb of Kineas (the oikistes, founder, of the Greek settlement), it's written:
ἀνδρῶν τοι σοφὰ ταῦτα παλαιοτέρων ἀνάκει[τα]ι
ῥήματα ἀριγνώτων Πυθοὶ ἐν ἠγαθέαι·
ἔνθεν ταῦτ[α] Κλέαρχος ἐπιφραδέως ἀναγράψας
εἵσατο τηλαυγῆ Κινέου ἐν τεμένει.
Bactria — Ai-Khanoum— 3rd c. BC — CRAI 1968.421-430 — Merk.-Staub., Jenseits Euphrat 103A; Fouilles Ai-Khanoum VIII (1992) 389,1a — Merk.-Staub. III 12/01/01

English translation:

"These wise sayings of older men, far-famed, are dedicated in holy Pytho; from where Clearhus assidously copied these things and set them up in the temenos of Cineas to shine out far and wide."
παῖς ὢν κόσμιος γίνου,
ἡβῶν ἐγκρατής,
μέσος δίκαιος ,
πρεσβύτης εὔβουλος,
τελευτῶν ἄλυπος.
Bactria — Ai-Khanoum — 3rd c. BC — CRAI 1968.424-426, 429 — Merk.-Staub. III 12/01/01

English translation:

"As children, learn good manners
as young men, learn to control the passions
in middle age, be just
in old age, give good advice
then die, without regret."



Πηγή/Φωτογραφία/Βιβλιογραφία

Οδύσσεια/θ «Πυθοῖ ἐν ἠγαθέῃ, ὅθ' ὑπέρβη λάϊνον οὐδὸν» (στην άγια την Πυθώ, το πέτρινο κατώφλι σαν εδιάβη - μετάφραση Καζαντζάκη-Κακριδή))
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