Wednesday, January 05, 2022


Pittacus of Mytilene: "A crime committed by a person when drunk should receive double the punishment that it would merit if the offender were sober."

He composed his laws in verse. That would make law school a bit more interesting--assuming the poetry was competent. Of course, poetry often tries to shove multiple meanings into a phrase, and that might give judges rather more interpretive discretion than we generally expect.

"Pittacus at Mitylene made stairs to the Temples, which served for no use, but as a dedicated gift ; hereby signifying the ascent and descent of Fortune : those whom Fortune favours ascending, the unfortunate descending."

I'd build a big, tall house with rooms by the dozen
Right in the middle of the town
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below
There would be one long staircase just going up
And one even longer coming down
And one more leading nowhere, just for show

Thanks to Dr. Boli for learning about Pittacus.

UPDATE: "The Cretans commanded all free-born children to learn the Laws with a kind of melody"


Grim said...

According to the stories of Iceland, Odin did likewise. Here you will see that he always spoke everything in rhyme, and gave the laws -- presumably, then, also in rhyme.

From the "Ynglinga Saga," Heimskringla, by Snorri Sturlarson (A. H. Smith translation):

6. Odin was the cleverest of all, and from him they learned all because he know most of them first. And why he was so honoured shall be told of him for this reason: when he sat with his friends he was so fair and noble in looks that all were joyful; but when he was with his army then he seemed terrifying to his foes. It was said that he understood such tricks of cunning that he could change himself and appear in any form he would, and it was said that he talked so glibly and shrewdly that all who heard him must needs take his tale to be wholly true; he said everything in rime in a manner which is now called skaldcraft.


8. Odin set his laws in the land which had formerly been upheld by the Asa folks...

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Learning with melody involves a more reliable part of the brain - which is why you remember the scripture from songs much more easily. So it is a good practical idea. Think Handel's "Messiah."

Korora said...

"Co-ongress shall make no law respe-ecting
"An establishment of re-eligion,
"Or pro-ohibiting
"Pro-hi-i-i-i-i-biting the free exercise
"Free e-e-e-exerciiiise thereooof..."

james said...