"The youth of today" - in ancient times?

There’s a quote which goes the email rounds every so often all about yow the “youth of today” have no manners, no morals, no respect … and the kicker is that this quote is purportedly from some ancient Greek or Roman author about 2000 years ago.

Does anyone know a) the quote I’m talking about and b) if it’s actually genuine, or just made up out of wholecloth?

Plato quotes Socrates in The Republic as saying,

I think that’s the one that’s usually trotted out.

O tempora, O mores!

That was from Cicero, BTW.

You mean the supposed Assyrian tablet from 2800 B.C. that reads, in translation: …bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book, and the end of the world is evidently approaching?

According to Bartleby’s the first cite for this quote is from 1949, and seems to be spurious as there is no actual tablet that can be identified as the source. A quick Googling shows it continues to be frequently quoted and referred to though, including a speech by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen in 1997.

I thought this was supposed to be a complaint about the food at a Japanese restaurant, particularly the unagi. O Tempura, O Morays!

Damn, I was going to come back and post that joke!

There are lots of great passages in “History Begins at Sumer”–translations of the Sumerian clay tablets, the earliest written documents we have (or at least they were when I studied history). My favorite is the one where a father is raving at his son, something along the lines of: “Your mother and I work hard to send you to scribe school, and do you study? No! You’re hanging around on the street corner with the wrong kind of friends instead of coming home and doing schoolwork.” Etc.

Not exactly the same, but darned close. That’s from some 4 or 5 thousand years ago, IIRC.

Hesiod has a poem about the loss of the old values, but unfortunately I can remember only a single line from it after all these years - ‘no brother will take from brother the love once freely given’ not a clue but I dont think it comes from works and days, nor from theogony but since i havent seen my copies of tehm for about 15 years i cant check it out.

Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!

Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food and tyrannise their teachers.

Here’s the cite. It doesn’t look like it lists the source but I’ve seen this quote bandied about often.

I’m late again!

Only I was going to ask how to say ‘Hey, you kids! Get off my lawn’ in Latin.

O pueros! Ab meus ortus!


Read Aristophanes’ The Clouds for a good diatribe against these goddam youts.

There are also similar quotes from ancient times about how the world is getting more dangerous, that you used to be able to trust people and never lock your house, etc.