Oldest Member of the European Parliament and veteran left politician Manolis Glezos had a very original idea on Tuesday morning. He sharply criticized the “I-talk-non -stop-and-scare-Greeks” European Parliament President Martin Schulz teaching him a lesson on how democracy works. Glezos addressed Schulz in Ancient Greek and added also a sentence in Latin in hope that Schulz will get an idea of what Glezos’ criticism was about.
Glezos recited an verse from Euripides‘ tragedy “Iketides“/Hiketides ( The Suppliants):
“Πρώτον μεν ήρξω του λόγου ψευδώς, ξένε, ζητών τύραννον ἐνθάδ᾽· οὐ γαρ άρχεται ενός προς ανδρός ἀλλ᾽ ελευθέρα πόλις. Δήμος δ᾽ ἀνάσσει διαδοχαισιν ἐν μέρει ἐνιαυσίαισιν, οὐχὶ τω πλούτῳ διδοὺς τὸ πλείστον ἀλλὰ χὠ πένης έχων ίσον.”
In Euripides’ tragedy, this is the phrase by Athenean king Theseus to the herald sent by Thebes king Creon. The Thebean herald asked to learn who is the tyrant of the city and Theseus replied that question was wrong because there is no tyrant in Athens which is a free city run by the many.
“First of all, stranger, you started with an error when you asked for the tyrant here, this city is not dominated by a man, it is free. Here govern the many who alternate in office year after year, who do not pay much more in wealth and the poor have the same.”
Glezos’ concluded his Democracy lesson to Martin Schulz adding:
“I chose this verse in ancient Greeks and a quotation in Latin which I belive our President Martin Schulz knows very well: Timeo hominem unius libri.”
Thirteen-century Scholar Thomas Aquinas‘ quote translated: “I fear the man of a single book.” In the sense: “fear” of the opinions of the illiterate man who has “only read a single book.”
It’s certainly not a coincidence of Glezos’ open and subtle criticism to EP President, that before devoting his live to politics, Martin Schulz had started his professional career as “apprentice bookseller”, continued working in various bookshops and publishing houses and was “bookshop proprietor” until 1994.
And as everybody knows selling books does not mean one reads the books he sells.
Rumors that Martin Schulz will reply to Glezos singing epic Song of Nibelungen in Middle High German still awaiting to be confirmed.
PS As Schulz has not replied to Glezos yet, I assume he is searching for the relevant Nibelungen verse.