For instance, the story is told of the answer of Themistocles in a wrangle with a certain Seriphian, who asserted that he owed his brilliant position to the reputation of his country, not to his own. "If I had been a Seriphian," said he, "even I should never have been famous, nor would you if you had been an Athenian." Something like this may be said of old age.
I might answer them as Themistocles answered the Seriphian who was abusing him and saying that he was famous, not for his own merits but because he was an Athenian: 'If you had been a native of my country or I of yours, neither of us would have been famous. And to those who are not rich and are impatient of old age, the same reply may be made; for to the good poor man old age cannot be a light burden, nor can a bad rich man ever have peace with himself.
When the Seriphian told him that he had not obtained this honor by himself, but by the greatness of his city, he replied, "You speak truth; I should never have been famous if I had been of Seriphus; nor you, had you been of Athens."
Seriphos—wretched islet—sent only one ship, but thanks to the Greek mania for “equality” Phlegon’s vote had equal weight with that of Themistocles. “Salamis is not defensible,” announced the Seriphian, shortly. “Retreat.” “And you, Charmides of Melos?” “Retreat.” “And you, Phoibodas of Trœzene?” “Retreat, by all the gods.” “And you, Hippocrates of Ægina?” “Stay and fight.
When a Seriphian told him that he had not obtained this honor by himself, but by the greatness of his city, he replied: "You speak truth; I should never have been famous if I had been of Seriphus; nor you, had you been of Athens."
Once when a citizen of Seriphos said to him that he owed his glory, not to himself but to his city, he answered, "Very true; I should not have become a great man if I had been a Seriphian, nor would you if you had been an Athenian."