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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [N1r p193]

Sola culpa praestanda.
De Antiphonte poėta a Dionysio damnato.[1]

One can only be held responsible for one’s guilt. On the conviction of the poet Antiphon by Dionysius.

Nullius sceleris qui conscius esse putatur,
Cur fugiat mortem? funere maior erit.
Namque bonus culpam si praestitit, omnia solvit,
Sunt reliqua exigui temporis, acta fluunt.
Labe igitur vacuus vates, quem saeva tyrannis
Supplicio addixit, corripuit socios:
Qui faciem ut sontes velabant: Quid pudet huius,
Cras ne quis videat forte timetis, ait?
Praetereunt hora crudelia iussa tyranni,
Morte brevi longam cur vereare diem?
Tantus amor veri, tantum sibi conscia virtus
Fidit, & oblitum non sinit esse sui.
Socratis en quantum se mors diffudit in aevum,
Solamenque mali noxia nulla gravans.

Why should he, who knows he is not guilty of a crime, flee death? He will be greater through death. For if a good man shows a sense of guilt, he will settle everything, the rest is quickly over, the deeds pass by. Therefore, the blameless poet, whom savage tyranny had convicted to death, rebuked his friends, who covered their faces as if they were guilty. ‘Why are you ashamed for this? Is it perhaps that someone will look at [you] tomorrow,’ he said. ‘The cruel orders of the tyrant go past with time, why are you afraid of a long day while death is short? So great is love of truth, so confident is virtue conscious of herself, and she does not allow herself to be forgotten. Look, in what tremendous time Socrates’ death extends itself, and it is a comfort for hardship while no wrongdoing is weighing one down.’


1.  The poet Antiphon was put to death by Dionysius the Elder, Tyrant of Syracuse, according to some accounts, for having used a sarcastic expression in regard to tyranny, or, according to others, for having imprudently censured the tyrant’s compositions (see variously, Plutarch, Philostrates, and Aristotle).

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