The Commandments of the Seven Wise Men

Apollodorus

Member
English UK
The Commandments of the Seven Wise Men/Οι «εντολές» των επτά σοφών

A N Oikonomides in Records of "The Commandments of the Seven Wise Men" in the 3rd century B.C., The Classical Bulletin, Vol. 63(3), Summer 1987, pp 67-76, describes a stone inscription discovered in Afghanistan that purports to reproduce the Delphic Maxims inscribed at Apollo’s sanctuary at Delphi.

But the text he gives in the article has ῥῆματα rhemata “sayings” which together with γράμματα grammata “writing” seems to be the term used by Plato and other ancient writers. This doesn’t seem to be the same as “commandments” (παραγγέλματα paraggelmata or εντολές entoles).

Were they ever actually called “commandments” or is this a recent trend (maybe started by Oikonomides)?
 
  • ioanell

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Were they ever actually called “commandments” or is this a recent trend (maybe started by Oikonomides)?

    One of the meanings of the ancient word ῥήματα (which was written on the stone inscription discovered in Afghanistan) is παραγγέλματα, and this meaning originated from the fact that they were mainly expressed in the imperative mood either as divine messages of the gods or as inscriptions of maxims of the Wise Men on the walls of the Delphi Oracle. Bear in mind the words of the famous epigram on the monument at the site of the Battle of Thermopylae composed by the poet Simonides of Ceos.

    Ὦ ξεῖν᾿, ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε // κείμεθα τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.

    where the word ῥήμασι (here, dative plural of the noun ῥῆμα) has the meaning of “commandment”.

    (Ω, ξένε διαβάτη [που περνάς], ανάγγειλε στους Λακεδαιμόνιους ότι θαφτήκαμε εδώ, υπακούοντας στα προστάγματά τους)

    You passer-by, tell Lacedaemonians (here=Spartans) that we lie here, obeying their commands.
     
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    Apollodorus

    Member
    English UK
    where the word ῥήμασι (here, dative plural of the noun ῥῆμα) has the meaning of “commandment”.

    Thanks for pointing that out. This seems to explain why the Delphic ῥήματα were not referred to as παραγγέλματα in antiquity.
     
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