Saturday, July 23, 2011

Words of Wisdom From Boethius

"Quae vero pestis efficacior ad nocendum quam familiaris inimicus?"(consolatio III.V.41)
In truth, what kind of pestilence is more effective at causing harm than a hostile friend?
Ain't that the truth? A friend knows all your secrets.
S.J. Tester translated this as "and what plague is more able to hurt a man than an enemy who was once a friend?"
I do not know where he gets the 'once' from. I think people can be working to undo you while still wearing the face of friendship. Which is the point I think Boethius wanted to make.

3 comments:

anachronist said...

A very acute remark, indeed a good friend might know a lot about you; also nobody can drive you to tears as effectively as your family members. They can hurt better than any stranger because they know you so well.

A question: does "familius" have another meaning than just "friend"?

The Red Witch said...

Yes, a 'familiaris'(the nominative form) can be any member of your household, slave, family member, hanger-on. It basically means anyone you are on intimate terms with.

Tracy said...

Definitely very true.
They can hurt better than any stranger because they know you so well.
And why would a stranger want to hurt you so badly? It's usually personal, which implies a pretty strong link.