§ 1.1 The First Discourse on Kingship
The story goes that when the flute-player Timotheus gave his first exhibition before King Alexander, he showed great musical skill in adapting his playing to the king's character by selecting a piece that was not languishing or slow nor of the kind that would cause relaxation or listlessness, but rather, I fancy, the ringing strain which bears Athena's name and none other.
§ 1.2 They say, too, that Alexander at once bounded to his feet and ran for his arms like one possessed, such was the exaltation produced in him by the tones of the music and the rhythmic beat of the rendering. The reason why he was so affected was not so much the power of the music as the temperament of the king, which was high-strung and passionate.
§ 1.3 Sardanapallus, for example, would never have been aroused to leave his chamber and the company of his women even by Marsyas himself or by Olympus, much less by Timotheus or any other of the later artists; nay, I believe that had even Athena herself — were such a thing possible — performed for him her own measure, that king would never have laid hand to arms, but would have been much more likely to leap up and dance a fling or else take to his heels; to so depraved a condition had unlimited power and indulgence brought him.
§ 1.4 In like manner it may fairly be demanded of me that I should show myself as skilful in my province as a master flautist may be in his, and that I should find words which shall be no whit less potent than his notes to inspire courage and high-mindedness -
§ 1.5 words, moreover, not set to a single mood but at once vigorous and gentle, challenging to war yet also speaking of peace, obedience to law, and true kingliness, inasmuch as they are addressed to one who is disposed, methinks, to be not only a brave but also a law-abiding ruler, one who needs not only high courage but high sense of right also.
§ 1.6 If, for instance, the skill which Timotheus possessed in performing a warlike strain had been matched by the knowledge of such a composition as could make the soul just and prudent and temperate and humane, and could arouse a man not merely to take up arms but also to follow peace and concord, to honour the gods and to have consideration for men, it would have been a priceless boon to Alexander to have that man live with him as a companion, and to play for him, not only when he sacrificed but at other times also:
§ 1.7 when, for example, he would give way to unreasoning grief regardless of propriety and decorum, or would punish more severely than custom or fairness allowed, or would rage fiercely at his own friends and comrades or disdain his mortal and real parents.
§ 1.8 But unfortunately, skill and proficiency in music cannot provide perfect healing and complete relief for defect of character. No indeed! To quote the poet: "E'en to Asclepius' sons granted not god this boon." Nay, it is only the spoken word of the wise and prudent, such as were most men of earlier times, that can prove a competent and perfect guide and helper of a man endowed with a tractable and virtuous nature, and can lead it toward all excellence by fitting encouragement and direction.
§ 1.9 What subject, then, will clearly be appropriate and worthy of a man of your earnestness, and where shall I find words so nearly perfect, mere wanderer that I am and self-taught philosopher, who find what happiness I can in toil and labour for the most part and employ eloquence only for the encouragement of myself and such others as I meet from time to time? My case is like that of men who in moving or shifting a heavy load beguile their labour by softly chanting or singing a tune — mere toilers that they are and not bards or poets of song.
§ 1.10 Many, however, are the themes of philosophy, and all are worth hearing and marvellously profitable for any who listen with more than casual attention; but since we have found as our hearer one who is near at hand and ready eagerly to grasp our words, we must summon to our aid Persuasion, the Muses, and Apollo, and pursue our task with the greatest possible devotion.
§ 1.11 Let me state, then, what are the characteristics and disposition of the ideal king, summarizing them as briefly as possible — the king "to whom the son Of Saturn gives the sceptre, making him The lawgiver, that he may rule the rest."
§ 1.12 Now it seems to me that Homer was quite right in this as in many other sayings, for it implies that not every king derives his sceptre or this royal office from Zeus, but only the good king, and that he receives it on no other title than that he shall plan and study the welfare of his subjects; he is not to become licentious or profligate,
§ 1.13 stuffing and gorging with folly, insolence, arrogance, and all manner of lawlessness, by any and every means within his power, a soul perturbed by anger, pain, fear, pleasure, and lusts of every kind, but to the best of his ability he is to devote his attention to himself and his subjects, becoming indeed a guide and shepherd of his people, not, as someone has said, a caterer and banqueter at their expense. Nay, he ought to be just such a man as to think that he should sleep at all the whole night though as having no leisure for idleness.
§ 1.14 Homer, too, in agreement with all other wise and truthful men, says that no wicked or licentious or avaricious person can ever become a competent ruler or master either of himself or of anybody else, nor will such a man ever be a king even though all the world, both Greeks and barbarians, men and women, affirm the contrary, yea, though not only men admire and obey him, but the birds of the air and the wild beasts on the mountains no less than men submit to him and do his bidding.
§ 1.15 Let me speak, then, of the king as Homer conceives him, of him who is in very truth a king; for this discourse of mine, delivered in all simplicity without any flattery or abuse, of itself discerns the king that is like the good one, and commends him in so far as he is like him, while the one who is unlike him it exposes and rebukes. Such a king is, in the first place, regardful of the gods and holds the divine in honour.
§ 1.16 For it is impossible that the just and good man should repose greater confidence in any other being than in the supremely just and good — the gods. He, however, who, being wicked, imagines that he at any time pleases the gods, in that very assumption lacks piety, for he has assumed that the deity is either foolish or evil.
§ 1.17 Next after the gods the good king has regard for his fellow-men; he honours and loves the good, yet extends his care to all. Now who takes better care of a herd of cattle than does the herdsman? Who is more helpful and better to flocks of sheep than a shepherd? Who is a truer lover of horses than he who controls the greatest number of horses and derives the greatest benefit from horses?
§ 1.18 And so who is presumably as great a lover of his fellow-man as he who exercises authority over the greatest number of men and enjoys the highest admiration of men? For it would be strange if men governing beasts, wild and of another blood than theirs, prove more kindly to these their dependents than a monarch to civilized men who are of the same flesh and blood as himself.
§ 1.19 And further, cattle love their keepers best and are most submissive to them; the same is true of horses and their drivers; hunters are protected and loved by their dogs, and in the same way other subject creatures love their masters.
§ 1.20 How then would it be conceivable that, while beings devoid of intelligence and reason recognize and love those who care for them, that creature which is by far the most intelligent and best understands how to repay kindness with gratitude should fail to recognize, nay, should even plot against, its friends? No indeed! For of necessity the kindly and humane king is not only beloved but even adored by his fellow-men. And because he knows this and is by nature so inclined, he displays a soul benignant and gentle towards all, inasmuch as he regards all as loyal and as his friends.
§ 1.21 The good king also believes it to be due to his position to have the larger portion, not of wealth or of pleasures, but of painstaking care and anxieties; hence he is actually more fond of toil than many others are of pleasure or of wealth. For he knows that pleasure, in addition to the general harm it does to those who constantly indulge therein, also quickly renders them incapable of pleasure, whereas toil, besides conferring other benefits, continually increases a man's capacity for toil.
§ 1.22 He alone, therefore, may call his soldiers "fellow-soldiers" and his associates "friends" without making mockery of the word friendship; and not only may he be called by the title "Father" of his people and his subjects, but he may justify the title by his deeds. In the title "master," however, he can take no delight, nay, not even in relation to his slaves, much less to his free subjects;
§ 1.23 for he looks upon himself as being king, not for the sake of his individual self, but for the sake of all men. Therefore he finds greater pleasure in conferring benefits than those benefited do in receiving them, and in this one pleasure he is insatiable. For the other functions of royalty he regards as obligatory; that of benefaction alone he considers both voluntary and blessed.
§ 1.24 Blessings he dispenses with the most lavish hand, as though the supply were inexhaustible; but of anything hurtful, on the contrary, he can no more be the cause than the sun can be the cause of darkness. Men who have seen and associated with him are loath to leave him, while those who know him only by hearsay are more eager to see him than children are to find their unknown fathers.
§ 1.25 His enemies fear him, and no one acknowledges himself his foe; but his friends are full of courage, and those exceeding near unto him deem themselves of all men most secure. They who come into his presence and behold him feel neither terror nor fear; but into their hearts creeps a feeling of profound respect, something much stronger and more powerful than fear. For those who fear must inevitably hate and want to escape; those who feel respect must linger and admire.
§ 1.26 He holds that sincerity and truthfulness are qualities befitting a king and a prudent man, while unscrupulousness and deceit are for the fool and the slave, for he observes that among the wild beasts also it is the most cowardly and ignoble which surpass all the rest in lying and deceiving.
§ 1.27 Though naturally covetous of honour, and knowing that it is the good that men are prone to honour, he has less hope of winning honour from the unwilling than he has of gaining the friendship of those who hate him. He is warlike to the extent that the making of war rests with him, and peaceful to the extent that there is nothing left worth his fighting for. For assuredly he is well aware that they who are best prepared for war have it most in their power to live in peace.
§ 1.28 He is also by nature fond of his companions, fellow-citizens, and soldiers in like measure; for a ruler who is suspicious of the military and has never or rarely seen those who face peril and hardship in support of his kingdom, but continually flatters the unprofitable and unarmed masses, is like a shepherd who does not know those who help him to keep guard, never proffers them food, and never shares the watch with them; for such a man tempts not only the wild beasts, but even his own dogs, to prey upon the fold.
§ 1.29 He, on the contrary, who pampers his soldiers by not drilling them or encouraging them to work hard and, at the same time, evinces no concern for the people at large, is like a ship-captain who demoralizes his crew with surfeit of food and noonday sleep and takes no thought for his passengers or for his ship as it goes to ruin.
§ 1.30 And yet if one is above reproach in these two matters, but fails to honour those who are close to him and are called his friends, and does not see to it that they are looked upon by all men as blessed and objects of envy, he becomes a traitor to himself and his kingdom ere he is aware by disheartening those who are his friends and suffering nobody else to covet his friendship and by robbing himself of that noblest and most profitable possession: friendship.
§ 1.31 For who is more indefatigable in toil, when there is occasion for toil, than a friend? Who is readier to rejoice in one's good fortune? Whose praise is sweeter than that of friends? From whose lips does one learn the truth with less pain? What fortress, what bulwarks, what arms are more steadfast or better than the protection of loyal hearts?
§ 1.32 For whatever is the number of comrades one has acquired, so many are the eyes with which he can see what he wishes, so many the ears with which he can hear what he needs to hear, so many the minds with which he can take thought concerning his welfare. Indeed, it is exactly as if a god had given him, along with his one body, a multitude of souls all full of concern in his behalf.
§ 1.33 But I will pass over most of the details and give the clearest mark of a true king: he is one whom all good men can praise without compunction not only during his life but even afterwards. And yet, even so, he does not himself covet the praise of the vulgar and the loungers about the market-place, but only that of the free-born and noble, men who would prefer to die rather than be guilty of falsehood.
§ 1.34 Who, therefore, would not account such a man and such a life blessed? From what remote lands would men not come to see him and to profit from his honourable and upright character? What spectacle is more impressive than that of a noble and diligent king? What can give greater pleasure than a gentle and kindly ruler who desires to serve all and has it in his power so to do?
§ 1.35 What is more profitable than an equitable and just king? Whose life is safer than his whom all alike protect, whose is happier than his who esteems no man an enemy, and whose is freer from vexation than his who has no cause to blame himself? Who is more fortunate, too, than that man whose goodness is known of all?
§ 1.36 In plain and simple language I have described the good king. If any of his attributes seem to belong to you, happy are you in your gracious and excellent nature, and happy are we who share its blessings with you.b
§ 1.37 It was my purpose, after finishing the description of the good king, to discuss next that supreme king and ruler whom mortals and those who administer the affairs of mortals must always imitate in discharging their responsibilities, directing and conforming their ways as far as possible to his pattern.
§ 1.38 Indeed, this is Homer's reason for calling true kings "Zeus-nurtured" and "like Zeus in counsel"; and Minos, who had the greatest name for righteousness, he declared was a companion of Zeus. In fact, it stands to reason that practically all the kings among Greeks or barbarians who have proved themselves not unworthy of this title have been disciples and emulators of this god.
§ 1.39 For Zeus alone of the gods has the epithets of "Father" and "King," "Protector of Cities," "Lord of Friends and Comrades," "Guardian of the Race," and also "Protector of Suppliants," "God of Refuge," and "God of Hospitality," these and his countless other titles signifying goodness and the fount of goodness. He is addressed as "King" because of his dominion and power; as "Father," I ween, on account of his solicitude and gentleness; as "Protector of Cities" in that he upholds the law and the commonweal; as "Guardian of the Race" on account of the tie of kinship which unites gods and men; as "Lord of Friends and Comrades" because he brings all men together and wills that they be friendly to one another and never enemy or foe;
§ 1.41 as "Protector of Suppliants" since he inclines his ear and is gracious to men when they pray; as "God of Refuge" because he gives refuge from evil; as "God of Hospitality" because it is the very beginning of friendship not to be unmindful of strangers or to regard any human being as an alien; and as "God of Wealth and Increase" since he causes all fruitage and is the giver of wealth and substance, not of poverty and want. For all these functions must at the outset be inherent in the royal function and title.
§ 1.42 I might well speak next of the administration of the universe and tell how the world — the very embodiment of bliss and wisdom — ever sweeps along through infinite time in infinite cycles without cessation, guided by good fortune and a like power divine, and by foreknowledge and a governing purpose most righteous and perfect, and renders us like itself since, in consequence of the mutual kinship of ourselves and it, we are marshalled in order under one ordinance and law and partake of the same polity.
§ 1.43 He who honours and upholds this polity and does not oppose it in any way is law-abiding, devout and orderly; he, however, who disturbs it, as far as that is possible to him, and violates it or does not know it, is lawless and disorderly, whether he be called a private citizen or a ruler, although the offence on the part of the ruler is far greater and more evident to all.
§ 1.44 Therefore, just as among generals and commanders of legions, cities or provinces, he who most closely imitates your ways and shows the greatest possible conformity with your habits would be by far your dearest comrade and friend, while he who showed antagonism or lacked conformity would justly incur censure and disgrace and, being speedily removed from his office as well, would give way to better men better qualified to govern;
§ 1.45 so too among kings, since they, I ween, derive their powers and their stewardship from Zeus; the one who, keeping his eyes upon Zeus, orders and governs his people with justice and equity in accordance with the laws and ordinances of Zeus, enjoys a happy lot and a fortunate end,
§ 1.46 while he who goes astray and dishonours him who entrusted him with his stewardship or gave him this gift, receives no other reward from his great authority and power than merely this: that he has shown himself to all men of his own time and to posterity to be a wicked and undisciplined man, illustrating the storied end of Phaethon, who mounted a mighty chariot of heaven in defiance of his lot but proved himself a feeble charioteer.
§ 1.47 In somewhat this wise Homer too speaks when he says: "Whoso bears A cruel heart, devising cruel things, On him men call down evil from gods While living, and pursue him, when he dies, With scoffs. But whoso is of generous heart And harbours generous aims, his guests proclaim His praises far and wide to all mankind, And numberless are they who call him good."
§ 1.48 For my part, I should be most happy and eager, as I have said, to speak on this subject — on Zeus and the nature of the universe. But since it is altogether too vast a theme for the time now at my command and requires a somewhat careful demonstration, perhaps in the future there may be leisure for its presentation.
§ 1.49 But if you would like to hear a myth, or rather a sacred and withal edifying parable told under the guise of a myth, perhaps a story which I once heard an old woman of Elis or Arcadia relate about Heracles will not appear to you out of place, either now or hereafter when you come to ponder it alone.
§ 1.50 Once when I chanced to be wandering in exile — and great is my gratitude to the gods that they thus prevented my becoming an eye-witness of many an act of injustice — I visited as many lands as possible, at one time going among the Greeks, at another among barbarians, assuming the guise and dress of a vagabond beggar, "Demanding crusts, not caldrons fine or swords."
§ 1.51 At last I arrived in the Peloponnesus, and keeping quite aloof from the cities, spent my time in the country, as being quite well worth study, mingling with herdsmen and hunters, an honest folk of simple habits.
§ 1.52 As I walked along the Alpheus on my way from Heraea to Pisa, I succeeded in finding the road for some distance, but all at once I got into some wood land and rough country, where a number of trails led to sundry herds and flocks, without meeting anybody or being able to inquire my way. So I lost my direction, and at high noon was quite astray. But noticing on a high knoll a clump of oaks that looked like a sacred grove, I made my way thither in the hope of discovering from it some roadway or house.
§ 1.53 There I found blocks of stone set roughly together, hanging pelts of animals that had been sacrificed, and a number of clubs and staves — all evidently being dedications of herdsmen. At a little distance I saw a woman sitting, strong and tall though rather advanced in years, dressed like a rustic and with some braids of grey hair falling about her shoulders.
§ 1.54 Of her I made full inquiry about the place, and she most graciously and kindly, speaking in the Dorian dialect, informed me that it was sacred to Heracles and, regarding herself, that she had a son, a shepherd, whose sheep she often tendered herself. She also said that the Mother of the Gods had given her the gift of divination and that all the herdsmen and farmers round about consulted her on the raising and preservation of their crops and cattle.
§ 1.55 "And you too," she continued, "have come into this place by no mere human chance, for I shall not let you depart unblest." Thereupon she at once began to prophesy, saying that the period of my wandering and tribulation would not be long, nay, nor that of mankind at large.
§ 1.56 The manner of her prophesying was not that of most men and women who are said to be inspired; she did not gasp for breath, whirl her head about, or try to terrify with her glances, but spoke with entire self-control and moderation. "Some day," she said, "you will meet a mighty man, the ruler of very many lands and peoples. Do not hesitate to tell him this tale of mine even if there be those who will ridicule you for a prating vagabond.
§ 1.57 For the words of men and all their subtleties are as naught in comparison with the inspiration and speech due to the promptings of the gods. Indeed, of all the words of wisdom and truth current among men about the gods and the universe, none have ever found lodgment in the souls of men except by the will and ordering of heaven and through the lips of the prophets and holy men of old.
§ 1.58 For instance, they say there once lived in Thrace a certain Orpheus, a Muse's son; and on a certain mountain of Boeotia another, a shepherd who heard the voices of the Muses themselves. Those teachers, on the other hand, who without divine possession and inspiration have circulated as true stories born of their own imaginings are presumptuous and wicked. "Hear, therefore, the following tale and listen with vigilance and attention that you may remember it clearly and pass it on to that man whom I say you will meet. It has to do with this god in whose presence we now are.
§ 1.59 Heracles was, as all men agree, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and he was king not only of Argos but of all Greece. (Most people, however, do not know that Heracles was continually absent from Argos because he was engaged in making expeditions and defending his kingdom, but they assert that Eurystheus was king at this time. These, however, are but their idle tales.)
§ 1.60 And he was not only king of Greece, but also held empire over every land from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof, aye, over all peoples where are found shrines of Heracles.
§ 1.61 He had a simple education too, with none of the elaboration and superfluity devised by the unscrupulous cleverness of contemptible men. "This, also, is told of Heracles: that he went unclothed and unarmed except for a lion's skin and a club,
§ 1.62 and they add that he did not set great store by gold or silver or fine raiment, but considered all such things worth nothing save to be given away and bestowed upon others. At any rate he made presents to many men, not only of money without limit and lands and herds of horses and cattle, but also of whole kingdoms and cities. For he fully believed that everything belonged to him exclusively and that gifts bestowed would call out the good-will of the recipients.
§ 1.63 Another story which men tell is untrue: that he actually went about alone without an army. For it is not possible to overturn cities, cast down tyrants, and to dictate to the whole world without armed forces. It is only because, being self-reliant, zealous of soul, and competent in body, he surpassed all men in labour, that the story arose that he travelled alone and accomplished single-handed whatsoever he desired.
§ 1.64 Moreover, his father took great pains with him, implanting in him noble impulses and bringing him into the fellowship of good men. He would also give him guidance for each and every enterprise through birds and burnt offerings and every other kind of divination.
§ 1.65 And when he saw that the lad wished to be a ruler, not through desire for pleasure and personal gain, which leads most men to love power, but that he might be able to do the greatest good to the greatest number, he recognized that his son was naturally of noble parts, and yet suspected how much in him was mortal and thought of the many baneful examples of luxurious and licentious living among mankind, and of the many men there were to entice a youth of fine natural qualities away from his true nature and his principles even against his will.
§ 1.66 So with these considerations in mind he despatched Hermes after instructing him as to what he should do. Hermes therefore came to Thebes, where the lad Heracles was being reared, and told him who he was and who had sent him. Then, taking him in charge, he led him over a secret path untrodden of man till he came to a conspicuous and very lofty mountain-peak whose sides were dreadfully steep with sheer precipices and with the deep gorge of a river that encompassed it, whence issued a mighty rumbling and roaring. Now to anyone looking up from below the crest above seemed single; but it was in fact double, rising from a single base; and the two peaks were far indeed from each other.
§ 1.67 The one of them bore the name Basileios (Peak Royal) and was sacred to Zeus Basileus; the other, Tyrannike, was named after Typhon. There were two approaches to them from without, each having one. The path that led to Peak Royal was safe and broad, so that a person mounted on a chariot might enter thereby without peril or mishap, if he had the permission of the greatest of the gods. The other was narrow, crooked, and difficult, so that most of those who attempted it were lost over the cliffs and in the flood below, the reason being, methinks, that they transgressed justice in taking that path.
§ 1.68 Now, as I have said, to most persons the two peaks appear to be practically one and undivided, inasmuch as they see them from a distance; but in fact Peak Royal towers so high above the other that it stands above the clouds in the pure and serene ether itself, whereas the other is much lower, lying in the very thick of the clouds, wrapped in darkness and fog.
§ 1.69 Hermes then explained the nature of the place to Heracles as he led him thither. But when Heracles, ambitious youth that he was, longed to see what was within, he said, 'Follow, then, that you may see with your own eyes the difference in all other respects also, things hidden from the foolish.'
§ 1.70 He therefore took him first to the loftier peak and showed him a woman seated upon a resplendent throne. She was beautiful and stately, clothed in white raiment, and held in her hand a sceptre, not of gold or silver, but of a different substance, pure and much brighter — a figure for all the world like the pictures of Hera.
§ 1.71 Her countenance was at once radiant and full of dignity, so that all the good could behold it without fear, but no evil person could gaze upon it any more than a man with weak eyes can look up at the orb of the sun; composed and steadfast was her mien, and her glance did not waver.
§ 1.72 A profound stillness and unbroken quiet pervaded the place; everywhere were fruits in abundance and thriving animals of every species. And immense heaps of gold and silver were there, and of bronze and iron; yet she heeded not at all the gold, nor did she take delight in it, but rather in the fruits and living creatures.
§ 1.73 Now when Heracles beheld the woman, he was abashed and blushes mantled his cheeks, for he felt that respect and reverence for her which a good son feels for a noble mother. Then he asked Hermes which of the deities she was, and he replied, 'Lo, that is the blessed Lady Basileia (Royalty), child of King Zeus.' And Heracles rejoiced and took courage in her presence. And again he asked about the women who were with her. 'Who are they?' said he; 'how decorous and stately, like men in countenance!'
§ 1.74 'Behold,' he replied, 'she who sits there at her right hand, whose glance is both fierce and gentle, is Dike (justice), aglow with a surpassing and resplendent beauty. Beside her sits Eunomia (civic order), who is very much like her and differs but slightly in appearance.
§ 1.75 On the other side is a woman exceeding beautiful, daintily attired, and smiling benignly; they call her Peace. But he who stands near Royalty, just beside the sceptre and somewhat in front of it, a strong man, grey-haired and proud, has the name of Law; but he has also been called Right Reason, Counsellor, Coadjutor, without whom these women are not permitted to take any action or even to purpose one.'
§ 1.76 With all that he heard and saw Heracles was delighted, and he paid close attention, determined never to forget it. But when they had come down from the higher peak and were at the entrance to Tyrannike, Hermes said, 'Look this way and behold the other woman. It is with her that the majority of men are infatuated and to win her they give themselves much trouble of every kind, committing murder, wretches that they are, son often conspiring against father, father against son, and brother against brother, since they covet and count as felicity that which is the greatest evil — power conjoined with folly.'
§ 1.77 He then began by showing Heracles the nature of the entrance, explaining that whereas only one pathway appeared to view, that being about as described above — perilous and skirting the very edge of the precipice — yet there were many unseen and hidden corridors, and that the entire region was undermined on every side and tunnelled, no doubt up to the very throne, and that all the passages and bypaths were smeared with blood and strewn with corpses. Through none, however, of these passages did Hermes lead him, but along the outside one that was less befouled, because, I think, Heracles was to be a mere observer.
§ 1.78 When they entered, they discovered Tyranny seated aloft, of set purpose counterfeiting and making herself like to Royalty, but, as she imagined, on a far loftier and more splendid throne, since it was not only adorned with innumerable carvings, but embellished besides with inlaid patterns of gold, ivory, amber, ebony, and substances of every colour. Her throne, however, was not secure upon its foundation nor firmly settled, but shook and slouched upon its legs.
§ 1.79 And in general things were in disorder, everything suggesting vainglory, ostentation, and luxury — many sceptres, many tiaras and diadems for the head. Furthermore, in her zeal to imitate the character of the other woman, instead of the friendly smile Tyranny wore a leer of false humility, and instead of a glance of dignity she had an ugly and forbidding scowl.
§ 1.80 But in order to assume the appearance of pride, she would not glance at those whom came into her presence but looked over their heads disdainfully. And so everybody hated her, and she herself ignored everybody. She was unable to sit with composure, but would cast her eyes incessantly in every direction, frequently springing up from her throne. She hugged her gold to her bosom in a disgusting manner and then in terror would fling it from her in a heap, then she would forthwith snatch at whatever any passer-by might have, were it never so little.
§ 1.81 Her raiment was of many colours, purple, scarlet and saffron, with patches of white, too, showing here and there from her skirts, since her cloak was torn in many places. From her countenance glowed all manners of colours according to whether she felt terror or anguish or suspicion or anger; while at one moment she seemed prostrate with grief, at another she appeared to be in an exaltation of joy. At one time a quite wanton smile would come over her face, but at the next moment she would be in tears.
§ 1.82 There was also a throng of women about her, but they resembled in no respect those whom I have described as in attendance upon Royalty. These were Cruelty, Insolence, Lawlessness, and Faction, all of whom were bent upon corrupting her and bringing her to ignoble ruin. And instead of Friendship, Flattery was there, servile and avaricious and no less ready for treachery than any of the others, nay rather, zealous above all things to destroy.
§ 1.83 Now when Heracles had viewed all this also to his heart's content, Hermes asked him which of the two scenes pleased him and which of the two women. 'Why, it is the other one,' said he, 'whom I admire and love, and she seems to me a veritable goddess, enviable and worthy to be accounted blest; this second woman, on the other hand, I consider so utterly odious and abominable that I would gladly thrust her down from this peak and thus put an end to her.' Whereupon Hermes commended Heracles for this utterance and repeated it to Zeus, who entrusted him with the kingship over all mankind as he considered him equal to the trust.
§ 1.84 And so wherever Heracles discovered a tyranny and a tyrant, he chastised and destroyed them, among Greeks and barbarians alike; but wherever he found a kingdom and a king, he would give honour and protection." This, she maintained, was what made him Deliverer of the earth and of the human race, not the fact that he defended them from the savage beasts — for how little damage could a lion or a wild bear inflict? — nay, it was the fact that he chastised savage and wicked men, and crushed and destroyed the power of overweening tyrants. And even to this day Heracles continues this work and you have in him a helper and protector of your government as long as it is vouchsafed you to reign.
§ 2.1 The Second Discourse on Kingship A.D. 104?
It is said that Alexander, while still a lad, was once conversing with Philip his father about Homer in a very manly and lofty strain, their conversation being in effect a discussion of kingship as well. For Alexander was already to be found with his father on his campaigns, although Philip tried to discourage him in this. Alexander, however, could not hold himself in, for it was with the lad as with young dogs of fine breed that cannot brook being left behind when their masters go hunting, but follow along, often breaking their tethers to do so.
§ 2.2 It is true that sometimes, because of their youth and enthusiasm, they spoil the sport by barking and starting the game too soon, but sometimes too they bring down the game themselves by bounding ahead. This, in fact, happened to Alexander at the very beginning, so that they say he brought about the battle and victory of Chaeronea when his father shrank from taking the risk. Now it was on this occasion, when they were at Dium in Pieria on their way home from the campaign and were sacrificing to the Muses and celebrating the Olympic festival, which is said to be an ancient institution in that country,
§ 2.3 that Philip in the course of their conversation put this question to Alexander: "Why, my son, have you become so infatuated with Homer that you devote yourself to him alone of all the poets? You really ought not to neglect the others, for the men are wise." And Alexander replied: "My reason, father, is that not all poetry, any more than every style of dress, is appropriate to a king, as it seems to me.
§ 2.4 Now consider the poems of other men; some I consider to be suitable indeed for the banquet, or for love, or for the eulogy of victorious athletes or horses, or as dirges for the dead, and some as designed to excite laughter or ridicule, like the works of the comic writers and those of the Parian poet.
§ 2.5 And perhaps some of them might be called popular also, in that they give advice and admonition to the masses and to private citizens, as, for instance, the works of Phocylides and Theognis do. What is there in them by which a man could profit, who, like you or me, 'aspires to be The master, over all to domineer.'
§ 2.6 The poetry of Homer, however, I look upon as alone truly noble and lofty and suited to a king, worthy of the attention of a real man, particularly if he expects to rule over all the peoples of the earth — or at any rate over most of them, and those the most prominent — if he is to be, in the strict sense of the term, what Homer calls a 'shepherd of the people.' Or would it not be absurd for a king to refuse to use any horse but the best and yet, when it is a question of poets, to read the poorer ones as though he had nothing else to do?
§ 2.7 On my word, father, I not only cannot endure to hear any other poet recited but Homer, but even object to any other metre than Homer's heroic hexameter." Then Philip admired his son greatly for his noble spirit, since it was plain that he harboured no unworthy or ignoble ideas but made the heroes and demigods his examples.
§ 2.8 Nevertheless, in his desire to arouse him, he said, "But take Hesiod, Alexander; do you judge him of little account as a poet?" "Nay, not I," he replied, "but of every account, though not for kings and generals, I suppose." "Well, then, for whom?" And Alexander answered with a smile: "For shepherds, carpenters, and farmers; since he says that shepherds are beloved by the Muses, and to carpenters he gives very shrewd advice as to how large they should cut an axle, and to farmers, when to broach a cask."
§ 2.9 "Well," said Philip, "and is not such advice useful to men?" "Not to you and me, father," he replied, "nor to the Macedonians of the present day, though to those of former times it was useful, when they lived a slave's life, herding and farming for Illyrians and Triballians." "But do you not like these magnificent lines of Hesiod about seed-time and harvest?" said Philip: "Mark well the time when the Pleiads, daughters of Atlas, are rising; Then begin with the harvest, but do not plough till their setting."
§ 2.10 "I much prefer what Homer says on farm-life," said Alexander. "And where," Philip asked, "has Homer anything to say about farming? Or do you refer to the representations on the shield of men ploughing and gathering the grain and the grapes?" "Not at all," said Alexander, "but rather to these well-known lines: 'As when two lines of reapers, face to face, In some rich landlord's field of barley or wheat Move on, and fast the severed handfuls fall, So, springing on each other, they of Troy And they of Argos smote each other down, And neither thought of ignominious flight.'
§ 2.11 "And yet, in spite of such lines as these," said Philip, "Homer was defeated by Hesiod in the contest. Or have you not heard of the inscription which is inscribed upon the tripod that stands on Mount Helicon? 'Hesiod offered this gift to the Muses on Helicon's mountain When at Chalcis in song he had vanquished Homer, the godlike.'
§ 2.12 "And he richly deserved to be defeated," rejoined Alexander, "for he was not exhibiting his skill before kings, but before farmers and plain folk, or, rather, before men who were lovers of pleasure and effeminate. And that is why Homer used his poetry to avenge himself upon the Euboeans." "How so?" asked Philip in wonder. "He singled them out among all the Greeks for a most unseemly haircut, for he makes them wear their hair in long locks flowing down their backs, as the poets of today do in describing effeminate boys."
§ 2.13 Philip laughed and said, "You observe, Alexander, that one must not offend good poets or clever writers, since they have the power to say anything they wish about us." "Not absolute power," said he; "it was a sorry day for Stesichorus, at any rate, when he told the lies about Helen. As for Hesiod, it seems to me that he himself, father, was not unaware of how much inferior his powers were to Homer's."
§ 2.14 "How is that?" "Because, while Homer wrote of heroes, he composed a Catalogue of Fair Women, and in reality made the women's quarters the subject of his song, yielding to Homer the eulogy of men." Philip next asked him: "But as for you, Alexander, would you like to have been Agamemnon or Achilles or any one of the heroes of those days, or Homer?"
§ 2.15 "No, indeed, said Alexander, "but I should like to go far beyond Achilles and the others. For you are not inferior to Peleus, in my opinion; nor is Macedonia less powerful than Phthia; nor would I admit that Olympus is a less famous mountain than Pelion; and, besides, the education I have gained under Aristotle is not inferior to that which Achilles derived from Amyntor's son, Phoenix, an exiled man and estranged from his father. Then, too, Achilles had to take orders from others and was sent with a small force of which he was not in sole command, since he was to share the expedition with another. I, however, could never submit to any mortal whatsoever being king over me."
§ 2.16 Whereupon Philip almost became angry with him and said: "But I am king and you are subject to me, Alexander." "Not I," said he, "for I hearken to you, not as king, but as father." "I suppose you will not go on and say, will you, that your mother was a goddess, as Achilles did," said Philip, "or do you presume to compare Olympias with Thetis?" At this Alexander smiled slightly and said, "To me, father, she seems more courageous than any Nereid."
§ 2.17 Whereupon Philip laughed and said, "Not merely more courageous, my son, but also more warlike; at least she never ceases making war on me." So far did they both go in mingling jest with earnest. Philip then went on with his questioning: "If, then, you are so enthusiastic an admirer of Homer, how is it that you do not aspire to his poetic skill?" "Because," he replied, "while it would give me the greatest delight to hear the herald at Olympia proclaim the victors with strong and clear voice, yet I should not myself care to herald the victories of others; I should much rather hear my own proclaimed."
§ 2.18 With these words he tried to make it clear that while he considered Homer to be a marvellous and truly divine herald of valour, yet he regarded himself and the Homeric heroes as the athletes who strove in the contest of noble achievement. "Still, it would not be at all strange, father," he continued, "if I were to be a good poet as well, did nature but favour me; for you know that a king might find that even rhetoric was valuable to him. You, for example, are often compelled to write and speak in opposition to Demosthenes, a very clever orator who can sway his audience — to say nothing of the other political leaders of Athens."
§ 2.19 "Yes," said Philip playfully, "and I should have been glad to cede Amphipolis to the Athenians in exchange for that clever Demosthenes. But what do you think was Homer's attitude regarding rhetoric?" "I believe that he admired the study, father," said he, "else he would never have introduced Phoenix as a teacher of Achilles in the art of discourse. Phoenix, at any rate, says that he was sent by Achilles' father, 'To teach thee both, that so thou mightst become In words an orator, in warlike deeds A doer.'
§ 2.20 And as for the other chieftains, he depicted the best and the best qualified for kingly office as having cultivated this art with no less zeal: I mean Diomedes, Odysseus, and particularly Nestor, who surpassed all the others in both discernment and persuasiveness. Witness what he says in the early part of his poem: 'whose tongue Dropped words more sweet than honey.'
§ 2.21 It was for this reason that Agamemnon prayed that he might have ten such elders as counsellors rather than youths like Ajax and Achilles, implying that the capture of Troy would thus be hastened. And, indeed, in another instance he showed the importance of rhetorical skill.
§ 2.22 For when the Greeks had at last become faint-hearted in pursuing the campaign because the war had lasted so long and the siege was so difficult, and also, no doubt, because of the plague that laid hold of them and of the dissensions between the kings, Agamemnon and Achilles; and when, in addition, a certain agitator rose to oppose them and threw the assembly into confusion — at this crisis the host rushed to the ships, embarked in hot haste, and were minded to flee. Nobody was able to restrain them, and even Agamemnon knew not how to handle the situation.
§ 2.23 Now in this emergency the only one who was able to call them back and change their purpose was Odysseus, who finally, by the speech he made, and with the help of Nestor, persuaded them to remain. Consequently, this achievement was clearly due to the orators; and one could point to many other instances as well.
§ 2.24 It is evident, then, that not only Homer but Hesiod, too, held this view, implying that rhetoric in the true meaning of the term, as well as philosophy, is a proper study for the king; for the latter says of Calliope, 'She attendeth on kings august that the daughters of great Zeus Honour and watch at their birth, those kings that of Zeus are nurtured.'
§ 2.25 But to write epic poetry, or to compose pieces in prose like those letters of yours, father, which are said to have won you high repute, is not altogether essential for a king, except indeed when he is young and has leisure, as was the case with you when, as they say, you diligently cultivated rhetorical studies in Thebes.
§ 2.26 Nor, again, is it necessary that he study philosophy to the point of perfecting himself in it; he need only live simply and without affectation, to give proof by his very conduct of a character that is humane, gentle, just, lofty, and brave as well, and, above all, one that takes delight in bestowing benefits — a trait which approaches most nearly to the nature divine. He should, indeed, lend a willing ear to the teachings of philosophy whenever opportunity offers, inasmuch as these are manifestly not opposed to his own character but in accord with it;
§ 2.27 yet I should especially counsel the noble ruler of princely soul to make poetry his delight and to read it attentively — not all poetry, however, but only the most beautiful and majestic, such as we know Homer's alone to be, and of Hesiod's the portions akin to Homer's, and perhaps sundry edifying passages in other poets."
§ 2.28 "And so, too, with music," continued Alexander; "for I should not be willing to learn all there is in music, but only enough for playing the cithara or the lyre when I sing hymns in honour of the gods and worship them, and also, I suppose, in chanting the praises of brave men. It would surely not be becoming for kings to sing the odes of Sappho or Anacreon, whose theme is love; but if they do sing odes, let it be some of those of Stesichorus or Pindar, if sing they must.
§ 2.29 But perhaps Homer is all one needs even to that end." "What!" exclaimed Philip, "do you think that any of Homer's lines would sound well with the cithara or the lyre?" And Alexander, glaring at him fiercely like a lion, said: "For my part, father, I believe that many of Homer's lines would properly be sung to the trumpet — not, by heavens, when it sounds the retreat, but when it peals forth the signal for the charge, and sung by no chorus of women or maids, but by a phalanx under arms. They are much to be preferred to the songs of Tyrtaeus, which the Spartans use."
§ 2.30 At this Philip commended his son for having spoken worthily of the poet and well. "And indeed," Alexander continued, "Homer illustrates the very point we have just mentioned. He has represented Achilles, for instance, when he was loitering in the camp of the Achaeans, as singing no ribald or even amorous ditties — though he says, to be sure, that he was in love with Briseis; nay, he speaks of him as playing the cithara, and not one that he had bought, I assure you, or brought from his father's house, but one that he had plucked from the spoils when he took Thebe and slew Eetion, the father of Hector's wife. Homer's words are:
§ 2.31 'To sooth his mood he sang The deeds of heroes.' Which means that a noble and princely man should never forget valour and glorious deeds whether he be drinking or singing, but should without ceasing be engaged in some great and some admirable action himself, or in recalling deeds of that kind."
§ 2.32 In this fashion Alexander would talk with his father, thereby revealing his innermost thoughts. The fact is that while he loved Homer, for Achilles he felt not only admiration but even jealousy because of Homer's poesy, just as handsome boys are sometimes jealous of others who are handsome, because these have more powerful lovers. To the other poets he gave hardly a thought; but he did mention
§ 2.33 Stesichorus and Pindar, the former because he was looked upon as an imitator of Homer and composed a "Capture of Troy," a creditable work, and Pindar because of the brilliancy of his genius and the fact that he had extolled the ancestor whose name he bore: Alexander, nicknamed the Philhellene, to whom the poet alluded in the verse "Namesake of the blest sons of Dardanus." This is the reason why, when later he sacked Thebes, he left only that poet's house standing, directing that this notice be posted upon it: "Set not on fire the roof of Pindar, maker of song." Undoubtedly he was most grateful to those who eulogized him worthily, when he was so particular as this in seeking renown.
§ 2.34 "Well, then, my son," said Philip, "since I am glad indeed to hear you speak in this fashion, tell me, is it your opinion that the king should not even make himself a dwelling beautified with precious ornaments of gold and amber and ivory to suit his pleasure?" "By no means should he, father," he replied; "such ornaments should consist rather of spoils and armour taken from the enemy. He should also embellish the temples with such ornaments and thus propitiate the gods. This was Hector's opinion when he challenged the best of the Achaeans, declaring that if victorious he would deliver the body to the allied host, 'but the arms,' said he, 'I shall strip off and 'hang them high Within the temple of the archer-god Apollo.'
§ 2.35 For such adornment of sacred places is altogether superior to jasper, carnelian, and onyx, with which Sardanapallus bedecked Nineveh. Indeed, such ostentation is by no means seemly for a king though it may furnish amusement to some silly girl or extravagant woman.
§ 2.36 And so I do not envy the Athenians, either, so much for the extravagant way they embellished their city and their temples as for the deeds their forefathers wrought; for in the sword of Mardonius and the shields of the Spartans who were captured at Pylos they have a far grander and more excellent dedication to the gods than they have in the Propylaea of the Acropolis and in Olympieum, which cost more than ten thousand talents."
§ 2.37 "In this particular, then," said Philip, "you could not endorse Homer; for he has embellished the palace of Alcinous, a Greek and an islander, not only with gardens and orchards and fountains, but with statues of gold also. Nay, more, does he not describe the dwelling of Menelaus, for all that he had just got back from a campaign, as though it were some Persian or Median establishment, almost equalling the palaces of Semiramis, or of Darius and Xerxes?
§ 2.38 He says, for instance: 'A radiance bright, as of the sun or moon. Throughout the high-roofed halls of Atreus' son Did shine.' 'The sheen of bronze, Of gold, of silver, and of ivory.'
§ 2.39 And yet, according to your conception, it should have shone, not with such materials, but rather with Trojan spoils!" Here Alexander checked him and said, "I have no notion at all of letting Homer go undefended. For it is possible that he described the palace of Menelaus to accord with his character, since he is the only one of the Achaeans whom he makes out to be a faint-hearted warrior.
§ 2.40 Indeed it is fairly clear that this poet never elsewhere speaks without a purpose, but repeatedly depicts the dress, dwelling, and manner of life of people so as to accord with their character. This is why he beautified the palace of the Phaeacians with groves, perennial fruits, and ever-flowing springs;
§ 2.41 and again, with even greater skill, the grotto of Calypso, since she was a beautiful and kindly goddess living off by herself on an island. For he says that the island was wonderfully fragrant with the odours of sweetest incense burning there; and again, that it was overshadowed with luxuriant trees; that round about the grotto rambled a beautiful vine laden with clusters, while before it lay soft meadows with a confusion of parsley and other plants; and, finally, that in its centre were four springs of crystal-clear water which flowed out in all directions, seeing that the ground was not on a slope or uneven. Now all these touches are marvellously suggestive of love and pleasure, and to my thinking reveal the character of the goddess.
§ 2.42 The court of Menelaus, however, he depicts as rich in possessions and rich in gold, as though he were some Asiatic king, it seems to me. And, in fact, Menelaus was not far removed in line of descent from Tantalus and Pelops; which I think is the reason why Euripides has his chorus make a veiled allusion to his effeminacy when the king comes in: 'And Menelaus, By his daintiness so clear to behold, Sprung from the Tantalid stock.'
§ 2.43 The dwelling of Odysseus, however, is of a different kind altogether; he being a cautious man, Homer has given him a home furnished to suit his character. For he says: 'Rooms upon rooms are there: around its court Are walls and battlements, and folding doors Shut fast the entrance; no man may contemn Its strength.'
§ 2.44 But there are passages where we must understand the poet to be giving advice and admonition, others where he merely narrates, and many where his purpose is censure and ridicule. Certainly, when he describes going to bed or the routine of daily life, Homer seems a competent instructor for an education that may truthfully be described as heroic and kingly. Lycurgus, for instance, may have got from him his idea of the common mess of the Spartans when he founded their institutions.
§ 2.45 In fact, the story is that he came to be an admirer of Homer and was the first who brought his poems from Crete, or from Ionia, to Greece. To illustrate my point: the poet represents Diomedes as reclining on a hard bed, the 'hide of an ox that dwelleth afield'; round about him he had planted his spears upright, butts downward, not for the sake of order but to have them ready for use. Furthermore, he regales his heroes on meat, and beef at that, evidently to give them strength, not pleasure.
§ 2.46 For instance, he is always talking about an ox being slain by Agamemnon, who was king over all and the richest, and of his inviting the chieftains to enjoy it. And to Ajax, after his victory, Agamemnon gives the chine of an ox as a mark of favour.
§ 2.47 But Homer never represents his heroes as partaking of fish although they are encamped by the sea; and yet he regularly calls the Hellespont fish-abounding, as in truth it is; Plato has very properly called attention to this striking fact. Nay, he does not even serve fish to the suitors at their banquet though they are exceedingly licentious and luxury-loving men, are in Ithaca and, what is more, engaged in feasting.
§ 2.48 Now because Homer does not give such details without a purpose, he is evidently declaring his own opinion as to what kind of nourishment is best, and what it is good for. If he wishes to commend a feature, he uses the expression 'might-giving,' that is to say, 'able to supply might' or strength. In the passages in question he is giving instruction and advice as to how good men should take thought even for their table, since, as it happened, he was not unacquainted with food of all kinds and with high living. So true is this that the peoples of today who have fairly gone mad in this direction — the Persians, Syrians and, among the Greeks, the Italiots, and Ionians — come nowhere near attaining the prodigality and luxury we find in Homer."
§ 2.49 "But how is it that he does not give the finest possible apparel to his heroes?" Philip enquired. "Why, by Zeus, he does," replied all, "though it is no womanish or embroidered apparel; Agamemnon is the only one that wears a purple robe, and even Odysseus has but one purple cloak that he brought from home. For Homer believes that a commander should not be mean of appearance or look like the crowd of private soldiers, but should stand out from the rest in both garb and armour so as to show his greater importance and dignity, yet without being a fop or fastidious about such things.
§ 2.50 He roundly rebuked the Carian, for instance, who decked himself out for war in trappings of gold. These are his words: 'who, madly vain, Went to the battle pranked like a young girl In golden ornaments. They spared him not The bitter doom of death; he fell beneath The hand of swift Aeacides within The river's channel. There the great in war, Achilles, spoiled Nomion of his gold.'
§ 2.51 Thus he ridicules him for his folly as well as his vanity in that he practically carried to the foemen a prize for slaying him. Homer, therefore, clearly does not approve the wearing of gold, particularly on going into a battle, whether bracelets and necklaces or even such golden head-gear and bridles for one's horses as the Persians are said to affect; for they have no Homer to be their censor in affairs of war.
§ 2.52 By inculcating such conduct as the following, he has made his officers good and his soldiers well disciplined. For instance, he has them advance 'silently, fearing their leaders' whereas the barbarians advance with great noise and confusion, like cranes, thus showing that it is important for safety and victory in battle that the soldiers stand in awe of their commanders. For those who are without fear of their own officers would be the first to be afraid of the enemy.
§ 2.53 Furthermore, he says that even when they had won a victory the Achaeans kept quiet in their camp, but that among the Trojans, as soon as they thought they had gained any advantage, at once there were throughout the night 'the sound Of flutes and fifes, and tumult of the crowd.' implying that here also we have an excellent indication of virtue according as men bear their successes with self-restraint, or, on the contrary, with reckless abandon.
§ 2.54 And so to me, father, Homer seems a most excellent disciplinarian, and he who tries to give heed to him will be a highly successful and exemplary king. For he clearly takes for granted himself that pre-eminently kingly virtues are two — courage and justice. Mark what he says, 'An excellent king and warrior mighty withal.' as though all the other virtues followed in their train.
§ 2.55 However, I do not believe that the king should simply be distinguished in his own person for courage and dignity, but that he should pay no heed to other people either when they play the flute or the harp, or sing wanton and voluptuous songs; nor should he tolerate the mischievous craze for filthy language that has come into vogue for the delight of fools;
§ 2.56 nay, he should cast out all such things and banish them to the uttermost distance from his own soul, first and foremost, and then from the capital of his kingdom — I mean such things as ribald jests and those who compose them, whether in verse or prose, along with scurrilous gibes — then, in addition, he should do away with indecent dancing and the lascivious posturing of women in licentious dances as well as the shrill and riotous measures played on the flute, syncopated music full of discordant turns, and motley combinations of noisy clanging instruments.
§ 2.57 One song only will he sing or permit to be sung — the song that comports with the God of War, full of vigour, ringing clear, and stirring in the hearer no feeling of delight or languidness, but rather an overpowering fear and tumult; in short, such a song as Ares himself awoke, as he 'shrilly yelled, encouraging The men of Troy, as on the city heights He stood.' or as Achilles when, at the mere sound of his voice and before he could be seen, he turned the Trojans to flight and thus caused the destruction of twelve heroes midst their own chariots and arms.
§ 2.58 Or it might be like the triumphal song composed by the Muses for the celebration of victory, like the paean which Achilles bade the Achaeans chant as he brought Hector's body to the ships, he himself leading: 'Now then, ye Achaean youth, move on and chant A paean, while, returning to the fleet, We bring great glory with us; we have slain The noble Hector, whom, throughout their town, The Trojans ever worshipped like a god.'
§ 2.59 Or, finally, it might be the exhortations to battle such as we find in the Spartan marching songs, its sentiments comporting well with the polity of Lycurgus and the Spartan institutions: 'Up, ye sons of Sparta, Rich in citizen fathers; Thrust with the left your shields forth, Brandish bravely your spears; Spare not your lives. That's not custom in Sparta.'
§ 2.60 In conformity with these songs, our king should institute dance movements and measures that are not marked by reeling or violent motions, but are as virile and sober as may be, composed in a sedate rhythm; the dance should be the 'enoplic,' the execution of which is not only a tribute to the gods but a drill in warfare as well — the dance in which the poet says Meriones was skilful, for he has put these words into the mouth of a certain Trojan: 'Had I but struck thee, dancer though thou art, Meriones, my spear had once for all Ended thy dancing.'
§ 2.61 Or do you think that he can have meant that some other dance was known to the son of Molus, who was accounted one of the best of the Achaeans, and not the military dance of the Kouretes, a native Cretan dance, the quick and light movement designed to train the soldiers to swerve to one side and easily avoid the missile?
§ 2.62 From these considerations, moreover, it follows that the king should not offer such prayers as other men do nor, on the other hand, call upon the gods with such a petition as Anacreon, the Ionian poet, makes: 'O King with whom resistless love Disports, and nymphs with eyes so dark, And Aphrodite, fair of hue, O thou who rangest mountain crests, Thee do I beseech, do thou To me propitious come and hear With kindly heart the prayer I make: Cleobulus' confessor be And this love of mine approve, O Dionysus.'
§ 2.63 Nor, by heavens, should he ever utter such prayers as those we find in the ballads and drinking-songs of the Attic symposia, for these are suitable, not for kings, but for country folk and for the merry and boisterous clan-meetings. For instance, 'Would that I became a lovely ivory harp, And some lovely children carried me to Dionysus' choir! Would that I became a lovely massive golden trinket, And that me a lovely lady wore!'
§ 2.64 He would much better pray as Homer has represented the king of all the Greeks as praying: 'O Zeus, most great and glorious, who dost rule The tempest — dweller of the ethereal space! Let not the sun go down and night come on Ere I shall lay the halls of Priam waste With fire, and give their portals to the flames, And hew away the coat of mail that shields The breast of Hector, splitting it with steel. And may his fellow-warriors, many a one, Fall round him to the earth and bite the dust.'
§ 2.65 There are many other lessons and teachings in Homer, which might be cited, that make for courage and the other qualities of a king, but perhaps their recital would require more time than we now have. I will say, however, that he not only expresses his own judgment clearly in every instance — that in his belief the king should be the superior of all men — but particularly in the case of Agamemnon, in the passage where for the first time he sets the army in array, calls the roll of the leaders, and gives the tale of the ships.
§ 2.66 In that scene the poet has left no room for any other hero even to vie with Agamemnon; but as far as the bull surpasses the herd in strength and size, so far does the king excel the rest, as Homer says in these words: 'And as a bull amid the horned herd Stands eminent and nobler than the rest, So Zeus to Agamemnon on that day Gave to surpass in manly port and mien The heroes all.'
§ 2.67 This comparison was not carelessly chosen, so it seems to me, merely in order to praise the hero's strength and in the desire to demonstrate it. In that case it seems that he would surely have chosen the lion for his simile and thus have made an excellent characterization. No, his idea was to indicate the gentleness of his nature and his concern for his subjects. For the bull is not merely one of the nobler animals; nor does it use its strength for its own sake, like the lion, the boar, and the eagle, which pursue other creatures and master them for their own bellies' sake. (For this reason one might in truth say that these animals have come to be symbols of tyranny rather than of kingship.)
§ 2.68 But clearly, in my opinion, the bull has been used by the poet to betoken the kingly office and to portray a king. For the bull's food is ready to hand, and his sustenance he gets by grazing, so that he never needs to employ violence or rapacity on that score; but he, like affluent kings, has all the necessaries of life, unstinted and abundant.
§ 2.69 He exercises the authority of a king over his fellows of the herd with good-will, one might say, and solicitude, now leading the way to pasture, now, when a wild beast appears, not fleeing but fighting in front of the whole herd and bringing aid to the weak in his desire to save the dependent multitude from dangerous wild beasts; just as is the duty of the ruler who is a real king and not unworthy of the highest honour known among men.
§ 2.70 Sometimes, it is true, when another herd appears upon the scene, he engages its leader and strives for victory so that all may acknowledge his superiority and the superiority of his herd. Consider, again, the fact that the bull never makes war against man, but, notwithstanding that nature has made him of all unreasoning animals the best and best fitted to have dominion, he nevertheless accepts the dominion of his superior; and although he acknowledges his inferiority to none as regards strength, spirit, and might, yet he willingly subordinates himself to reason and intelligence. Why should we not count this a training and lesson in kingship for prudent kings,
§ 2.71 to teach them that while a king must rule over men, his own kind, because he is manifestly their superior, who justly and by nature's design exercises dominion over them; and while he must save the multitude of his subjects, planning for them and, if need be, fighting for them and protecting them from savage and lawless tyrants, and as regards other kings, if any such there should be, must strive with them in rivalry of goodness, seeking if possible to prevail over them for the benefit of mankind at large;
§ 2.72 yet the gods, who are his superiors, he must follow, as being, I verily believe, good herdsmen, and must give full honour to their superior and more blessed natures, recognizing in them his own masters and rulers and showing that the most precious possession which God, the greatest and highest king, can have is, first himself and then those who have been appointed to be his subjects?
§ 2.73 Now we know how wise herdsmen deal with a bull. When he becomes savage and hard to handle, and rules outrageously in violation of the law of nature, when he treats his own herd with contempt and harms it, but gives ground before outsiders who plot against it and shields himself behind the helpless multitude, yet, when there is no peril at hand, waxes overbearing and insolent, now bellowing loudly in a menacing way, now goring with levelled horns any who cannot resist, thus making show of his strength upon the weaker who will not fight, while at the same time he will not permit the multitude of the cattle to graze in peace because of the consternation and panic he inspires — when the owners and the herdsmen, I say, have such a bull, they depose and kill him as not being fit to lead the herd nor salutary to it.
§ 2.74 That bull, on the other hand, which is gentle towards the kine of his following, but valiant and fearless towards wild beasts, that is stately, proud, and competent to protect his herd and be its leader, while yet submissive and obedient to the herdsmen — him they leave in charge til extreme old age, even after he becomes too heavy of body.
§ 2.75 In like manner do the gods act, and especially the great King of Kings, Zeus, who is the common protector and father of men and gods. If any man proves himself a violent, unjust and lawless ruler, visiting his strength, not upon the enemy, but upon his subjects and friends; if he is insatiate of pleasures, insatiate of wealth, quick to suspect, implacable in anger, keen for slander, deaf to reason, knavish, treacherous, degraded, wilful, exalting the wicked, envious of his superiors, too stupid for education, regarding no man as friend nor having one, as though such a possession were beneath him, -
§ 2.76 such a one Zeus thrusts aside and deposes as unworthy to be king or to participate in his own honour and titles, putting upon him shame and derision, as methinks he did with Phalaris and Apollodorus and many others like them.
§ 2.77 But the brave and humane king, who is kindly towards his subjects and, while honouring virtue and striving that he shall not be esteemed as inferior to any good man therein, yet forces the unrighteous to mend their ways and lends a helping hand to the weak — such a king Zeus admires for his virtue and, as a rule, brings to old age, as, for instance, according to tradition, Cyrus and Deioces the Mede, Idanthyrsus the Scythian, Leucon, many of the Spartan kings, and some of the earlier kings of Egypt.
§ 2.78 But if the inevitable decree of fate snatches him away before reaching old age, yet Zeus vouchsafes unto him a goodly renown and praise among all men for ever and ever, as indeed," concluded Alexander, "he honoured our own ancestor, who, because of his virtue, was considered the son of Zeus — I mean Heracles."
§ 2.79 Now when Philip heard all this, he was delighted and said, "Alexander, it wasn't for naught that we esteemed Aristotle so highly, and permitted him to rebuild his home-town Stagira, which is in the domain of Olynthus. He is a man who merits many large gifts, if such are the lessons which he gives you in government and the duties of a king, be it as interpreter of Homer or in any other way."
§ 3.1 The Third Discourse on Kingship
When Socrates, who, as you also know by tradition, lived many years ago, was passing his old age in poverty at Athens, he was asked by someone whether he considered the Persian king a happy man, and replied, "Perhaps so"; but he added that he did not really know, since he had never met him and had no knowledge of his character, implying, no doubt, that a man's happiness is not determined by any external possessions, such as gold plate, cities or lands, for example, or other human beings, but in each case by his own self and his own character.
§ 3.2 Now Socrates thought that because he did not know the Persian king's inner life, he did not know his state of happiness either. I, however, most noble Prince, have been in your company and am perhaps as well acquainted with your character as anyone, and now that you delight in truth and frankness rather than in flattery and guile.
§ 3.3 To begin with, you suspect irrational pleasures just as you do flattering men, and you endure hardship because you believe that it puts virtue to the test. And when I see you, O Prince, perusing the works of the ancients and comprehending their wise and close reasoning, I maintain that you are clearly a blessed man in that you wield a power second only to that of the gods and nevertheless use that power most nobly.
§ 3.4 For the man who may taste of everything that is sweet and avoid everything that is bitter, who may pass his life in the utmost ease, who, in a word, may follow his own sweet will, not only without let or hindrance but with the approval of all -
§ 3.5 when that man, I say, is at once a judge more observant of the law than an empanelled jury, a king of greater equity than the responsible magistrates in our cities, a general more courageous than the soldiers in the ranks, a man more assiduous in all his tasks than those who are forced to work, less covetous of luxury than those who have no means to indulge in luxury, kindlier to his subjects than a loving father to his children, more dreaded by his enemies than are the invincible and irresistible gods — how can one deny that such a man's fortune is a blessing, not to himself alone, but to all others as well?
§ 3.6 For in the case of the generality of men, those either in private station or holding some petty office, the individual's personal fortune is of slight account and concerns himself alone; but let untold cities yield obedience to a man, let countless nations be governed by his judgment, let tribes of men unnumbered and hostile to one another look to his prudence alone, and that man becomes the saviour and protector of men everywhere — that is, if such be his type.
§ 3.7 For when a man governs and holds sway over all mankind, his prudence avails to help even the imprudent, since he takes thought for all alike; his temperance serves to restrain even the intemperate, since his eye is over all alike; his justice gives of itself even to the unjust; and his courage is able, not only to save the less valiant, but even to fire them with greater courage.
§ 3.8 For no one is such a coward as not to feel reassured when he follows a general with whom victory is certain, nor so exceeding indifferent as to sit at ease when he sees submitting to take orders that man to whom God has apportioned the right to give orders only, nor, again, so completely lost to a sense of shame that he can watch a man toiling in behalf of another although under no necessity to toil — and yet refuse him aid.
§ 3.9 This, it seems to me, is exactly Homer's view as well; for, after speaking of the ideal king, he concludes by saying, "And virtuous the people beneath him." Such a king considers virtue a fair possession for others but an absolute necessity for himself.
§ 3.10 Who, in fact, must exercise greater wisdom than he who is concerned with the weightiest matters; who, a keener sense of justice than he who is above the law; who, a more rigorous self-control than he to whom all things are permissible; who, a stouter courage than he upon the safety of everything depends?
§ 3.11 And who takes greater delight in the works of virtue than he who has all men as spectators and witnesses of his own soul? — so that nothing he may do can ever be hidden any more than the sun can run its course in darkness; for, in bringing all other things to light, it reveals itself first.
§ 3.12 These things I say in the full knowledge that my present statements will have to be repeated at greater length; and yet there is no danger of my appearing to speak aught in flattery, since I have given no slight nor fleeting evidence of my sincerity.
§ 3.13 If, in bygone days when fear made everyone think falsehood a necessity, I was the only one bold enough to tell the truth even at the peril of my life, and yet am lying now when all may speak the truth without incurring danger — then I could not possibly know the time for either frankness or flattery.
§ 3.14 Again, all who act deliberately do so either for money, for reputation, or for some pleasurable end, or else, I suppose, for virtue's sake and because they honour goodness itself.
§ 3.15 But I could never bring myself to accept money from anyone, although many are willing to give it. Nay, little as I had, you will find that I not only shared it with others, but actually squandered it many a time.
§ 3.16 And what sort of pleasure was I seeking, when even those flatterers who openly follow the business acknowledge that to play the flatterer is of all things most distasteful? For what pleasure is there in praising someone else undeservedly merely to be deservedly blamed one's self?
§ 3.17 Furthermore, flattery seems neither reputable nor honourable even when practised to gain distinction, or from some other worthy motive. Nay, of all vices, I may say, flattery will be found to be the meanest.
§ 3.18 In the first place, it debases a thing most beautiful and just, even praise, so that it no longer appears honest or sincere, and — what is most outrageous — it gives to vice the prizes of virtue. Flatterers, therefore, do much more harm than those who debase the coinage: for whereas the latter cause us to suspect the coinage, the former destroy our belief in virtue.
§ 3.19 Then again, as I see the matter, we always call the bad man a fool, and so he really is; but for downright folly the flatterer outdoes all, since he is the only perverter of the truth who had the hardihood to tell his lies to the very persons who know best that he is lying. For who does not know his own business? or who is so stupid as not to know whether work or idleness brings him joy, whether he finds pleasure in over-reaching another or in acting justly, and whether he is the slave of pleasure or a lover of noble deeds?
§ 3.20 And, further, it seems to me that the flatterer fails worst just where he is most confident that he is succeeding — namely, in pleasing those whom he praises. Nay, he is odious rather than pleasing to them unless they be utter fools.
§ 3.21 For example, he who congratulates a poor man on his wealth not only lies himself, but holds up to scorn the poverty of the man he congratulates. Again, does not he who praises a most ugly person for his beauty simply cast his ugliness in his teeth? Or how could he who calls a cripple able-bodied please him by reminding him of his misfortune? — The man, however, who lauds the fool for his wisdom is perhaps the most convincing of all on account of the stupidity of his hearer and thus does all the greater harm, since he induces the fellow to take his own counsel and not trust to intelligent men.
§ 3.22 But the man who extols the coward as a hero makes the most justifiable use of the folly of him who is flattered; since, if the craven believes him and attempts to perform heroic deeds, he will come to grief all the more speedily. -
§ 3.23 Yet, generally speaking, when the flatterer is found out, he is not only condemned, but hated as well, since his words are thought to be mockery; while, if he convinces one of the truth of his words, he gets no very great thanks. For what great favour is he thought to confer by simply telling the truth?
§ 3.24 Besides, he is a much greater rascal than a lying witness: for the latter does not corrupt the judge, he merely deceives him; but the flatterer corrupts at the same time that he praises.
§ 3.25 Accordingly, that I may not be open to the charge of flattery by my would-be detractors, and that you on your part may not be accused of a wanting to be praised to your very face, I shall speak of the ideal king, of what sort he should be, and how he differs from the man who pretends to be a ruler but is in reality far from true dominion and kingship.
§ 3.26 And if anyone shall say that I always say the same things, this will be the same charge that was laid against Socrates. For the story runs that once Hippias of Elis, who had been listening for some time to the words of Socrates about justice and virtue and to his wonted comparisons with pilots, physicians, cobblers and potters, finally made the exclamation natural to a sophist,
§ 3.27 "The same things once more, Socrates!" to which the other replied with a laugh, "Yes, and on the same subjects. Now you by reason of your wisdom probably never say the same about the same things, but to me this appears a thing most excellent. We know that liars say many things and all different, while those who stick to the truth cannot find anything else to say than just the truth."
§ 3.28 So too with me: if I knew of any subject more serious or more suited to you, that is the subject that I should attempt to handle. But as it is, just as I should say that the proper subject for the physician to listen to or discuss is physical health and disease (indeed, the terms applied to physicians, hygieinoi and iatrikoi, mean "men who are concerned with health and with healing"), and for the navigator, seasons and winds and stars (for navigators are rightly termed kybernetikoi, "men concerned with the steering of ships"), so I maintain that the proper subject for the ruler and king is the government and control of men.
§ 3.30 "Socrates," said he, "you know perfectly well that of all men under the sun that man is most powerful and in might no whit inferior to the gods themselves who is able to accomplish the seemingly impossible — if it should be his will, to have men walk dryshod over the sea, to sail over the mountains, to drain rivers dry by drinking -
§ 3.31 or have you not heard that Xerxes, the king of the Persians, made of the dry land a sea by cutting through the loftiest of the mountains and separating Athos from the mainland, and that he led his infantry through the sea, riding upon a chariot just like Poseidon in Homer's description? And perhaps in the same way the dolphins and the monsters of the deep swam under his raft as the king drove along."
§ 3.32 "I cannot tell you that either," replied Socrates; "I mean whether the man who does such things has the greatest power, as you affirm, or the least power, or none at all. If, for example, he was temperate, brave, and just, if all his acts were marked by judgment, I think he was a powerful man and really had the greatest might.
§ 3.33 But if, on the other hand, he was cowardly, foolish, licentious, and lawless, and understood what he did in wanton insolence, then, on the contrary, I think he was a weaker man than the veriest beggar who has not even a clod of earth to break up with the pick to gain his livelihood — to say nothing of breaking through the highest mountains, the feat of which you speak.
§ 3.34 For he who cannot check a fit of anger, which is often caused by mere trifles; who cannot conquer a lust for the basest things; who cannot thrust pain aside, imaginary as it often is; who cannot endure toil, even to gain pleasure; who cannot drive fear from his soul, though it avails naught in the midst of alarms but works the greatest mischief — must not such a man be greatly lacking in strength, be weaker than a woman, weaker than a eunuch?
§ 3.35 Or do you call that man strong who is weaker than the softest of things? — I mean sleep, enchained by which, often without fetters, he cannot help himself, let alone others, nor call to his aid anyone willing to fight in his defence."
§ 3.36 On hearing this, the other exclaimed: "However, I presume you know, Socrates, that of the entire inhabited world the Persian king rules over the largest and best part; for, excluding Greece, Italy, and a few other peoples scattered throughout Europe, he has made all the rest subject to him;
§ 3.37 and of what we call Asia he governs everything as far as the Indies, many of whose people are said to own his sway too, as well as the greater part of Africa; while in Europe he governs Thrace and Macedonia. All these he holds in subjection, and this is the reason that he alone has received the title of 'The Great King.'
§ 3.38 "But I am not absolutely sure even on this point," replied Socrates, "whether he is king of any city or hamlet at all." "Have you alone," interjected the other, "never heard what all the world knows?" "Yes," he replied, "I do hear many people say just what you are saying — many, both Greeks and barbarians; but what keeps me from forming a definite opinion on the point I raise is this:
§ 3.39 I do not know, my good sir, whether he is placed in right and lawful authority over all these people and is a man of the stamp I have mentioned time and again. If he is a man of good mind and heart, respects the law, cares for his subjects with an eye to their safety and welfare, and is, to begin with, happy and wise himself, as I have described him, and shares this happiness of his with others, not divorcing his own interest from that of his subjects, but rejoicing most and regarding himself as most prosperous when he sees his subjects prosperous too — then he is most powerful and a king in very truth.
§ 3.40 If, on the other hand, he loves pleasure and wealth, is overbearing and lawless, and is minded to exalt himself alone to the end that he may get the most wealth and enjoy the most and greatest pleasures, leading an idle and effortless life and looking upon his subjects one and all as but slaves and ministers to his own luxury;
§ 3.41 if he lacks even the quality of a good shepherd, who takes thought for the shelter and pasturing of his own flock, and, besides, keeps off wild beasts and guards it against thieves; nay, if he is the very first to plunder and destroy them and to grant the same privilege to others as though they were veritable spoil of the enemy — never should I style such a ruler either emperor or king. Much rather should I call him a tyrant and oppressor, as Apollo once called the tyrant of Sikyon — yea, even though he had many tiaras, many sceptres, and many obeyed his behests." Such was the sage's habitual message while he constantly incited to virtue and tried to make both rulers and subjects better.
§ 3.42 In a similar vein his successors have spoken about government and kingship, following his most wise doctrine as closely as they might.
§ 3.43 And the very terms they use make the distinctions clear at the outset. "Government" is defined as the lawful ordering of men and as oversight over men in accordance with law; "monarchy," as an irresponsible government where the king's will is law;
§ 3.44 "tyrant," or rather "tyranny," on the contrary, as the arbitrary and lawless exploitation of men by one regarded as having superior force on his side.
§ 3.45 The three most conspicuous forms of government — governments based on law and justice and enjoying the favour of heaven and fortune — are expressly named. One is the first to come into existence and the most practicable — that which forms the subject of the present address — where we have a city, or a number of peoples, or the whole world, well ordered by one good man's judgment and virtue; second, the so called "aristocracy,"
§ 3.46 where not one man, nor a considerable number of men, but a few, and they the best, are in control — a form of government, at length, far from being either practicable or expedient. It seems to me that Homer too had this in mind when he said: "The rule Of the many is not well. One must be chief In war, and one the king, to whom the son Of Cronus, crafty in counsel, the sceptre doth give."
§ 3.47 Third, possibly the most impracticable one of all, the one that expects by the self-control and virtue of the common people some day to find an equitable constitution based on law. Men call it "democracy" — a specious and inoffensive name, if the thing were but practicable.
§ 3.48 To these forms of government — three in number, as I have said — are opposed three degenerate forms not based on law: The first is "tyranny," where one man's high-handed use of force is the ruin of others. Next comes oligarchy, harsh and unjust, arising from the aggrandizement of a certain few wealthy rascals at the expense of the needy masses.
§ 3.49 The next in order is a motley impulsive mob of all sorts and conditions of men who know absolutely nothing but are always kept in a state of confusion and anger by unscrupulous demagogues, just as a wild rough sea is whipped this way and that by the fierce blasts. These degenerate forms I have merely touched on in passing, though I could point to many mischances and disasters that each of them has suffered in the past,
§ 3.50 but it is my duty to discuss more carefully the happy and god-given polity at present in force. Now there are many close parallels and striking analogies to this form of government to be found in nature, where herds of cattle and swarms of bees indicate clearly that it is natural for the stronger to govern and care for the weaker. However, there could be no more striking or beautiful illustration than that government of the universe which is under the control of the first and best god.
§ 3.51 A ruler of this character is, to begin with, highly favoured of the gods, seeing that he enjoys their greatest respect and confidence, and he will give the first and chief place to religion, not merely confessing but also believing in his heart that there are gods, to the end that he too may have worthy governors under him.
§ 3.52 And he believes that his own oversight is advantageous to others just as the rule of the gods is to himself. Furthermore, being firmly resolved in his own heart never to receive a gift from wicked men, he believes that the gods also do not delight in the offerings or sacrifices of the unjust, but accept the gifts made by the good alone. Accordingly, he will be zealous to worship them with these also without stint. Of a truth he will never cease honouring them with noble deeds and just acts. Each one, indeed, of the gods he will propitiate as far as within him lies.
§ 3.53 Virtue he regards as holiness and vice as utter impiety, being firmly persuaded that not only those who rob temples or blaspheme the gods are sinners and accursed but, much more so, the cowardly, the unjust, the licentious, the fools, and, in general, those who act contrary to the power and will of the gods.
§ 3.54 Furthermore, he believes not only in gods but also in good spirits and demi-gods, which are the souls of good men that have cast off this mortal nature; and in confirming this belief he does no small service to himself as well.
§ 3.55 Then, the care bestowed on his subjects he does not consider an incidental thing or mere drudgery, when weighed down, let us say, by cares, but as his own work and profession. And when he is otherwise engaged, he does not feel that he is doing anything worth while or that he is attending to his own business; it is only when he helps men that he thinks he is doing his duty, having been appointed to this work by the greatest god, whom it is not right for him to disobey in aught nor yet to feel aggrieved, believing, as he does, that these tasks are his duty.
§ 3.56 For no one is so effeminate or enslaved to pleasure as not to like his own occupation even if it chance to be laborious. A sea-captain, for example, never finds his toil at sea irksome, nor a farmer his work in tilling the soil; never is the huntsman wearied by the hardships of the chase; and yet both farming and hunting are most laborious.
§ 3.57 No indeed, the king does not object to toil and discomfort in behalf of others, nor does he deem his lot any the worse simply because he has to face the most tasks and have the most troubles. For he sees that the sun, too, although inferior to none of the gods, frets not because, to preserve man and life, he must accomplish all his many tasks throughout the ages.
§ 3.58 And again, he considers courage, self-control, and prudence necessary even for those who disregard justice and wish to play the tyrant, if they are not speedily to perish; nay, he sees that they stand in need of these qualities even more than those others,
§ 3.59 and that the more such a man is beset by those who hate him and by those who plot against him, while he has no one on whom he can rely or look to for sympathy; so much the more, if he is to remain safe for any time, must he be on the alert and use his wits, guarding against defeat by his enemies and plotting to have full knowledge of the plotters, and so much the more must he abstain from pleasure and refuse to yield under any pressure to the allurement of high living, sloth, and carnal pleasure — yea, much more than the man beloved by all who has no one plotting against him.
§ 3.60 Therefore, if the unjust ruler must have the same anxieties as the other — or even more — and much more exacting toil, if he must equally steel himself against pleasure, must equally face danger, how much better it is for him to show justice and virtue rather than wickedness and injustice in doing all this, to win credit rather than censure for his acts, to have the love of men and gods instead of their hate?
§ 3.61 Besides, man's present is short and uncertain; the most of his life is filled with remembrance of the past and expectation of the future. Which, therefore, of the two men do we think finds joy in remembrance, and which remorse? Which do we think is encouraged by his expectations and which dismayed? Therefore of necessity the life of the good king is more pleasant also.
§ 3.62 Once more, you see that God has everywhere appointed the superior to care for and rule over the inferior: skill, for instance, over unskilfulness, strength over weakness; and for the foolish he has made the wise to have care and thought, to watch and plan; and with all these responsibilities governing is by no means easy; nay, it is laborious and does not get the greater share of relaxation and ease, but rather of care and toil.
§ 3.63 Thus, on board ship the passengers may disregard the sea and not even look at it; yes, not even know "where on earth they are," as the saying is — and many do sail the sea after this fashion in fair weather, some gambling, some singing, some feasting the livelong day. Then when a storm comes on, they wrap themselves up and await the event, while some few retire and do not rise from their beds until they reach port.
§ 3.64 But the pilot — he must look out to sea, must scan the sky, must see the land in time; nay, nor should what is in the depths escape him either, else he will unexpectedly strike submerged rocks or hidden reefs.
§ 3.65 He is the only one who during the night has less chance to sleep than the night-watch; while by day, if he does by any chance snatch a wink of sleep, even this is anxious and fitful, since he shouts out frequently, "Furl the sail," or "Hard on the tiller," or gives some other nautical command. And so, even when dozing, he has more thought for the ship than any of the others who are widest awake.
§ 3.66 To take another illustration: On a campaign, the individual soldier sees to weapons and food for himself alone, and besides, does not furnish them himself but expects to find them ready at hand. It is only his own health, only his own safety that he has to think of.
§ 3.67 But it is the general's duty to see that all are well equipped, that all are provided with shelter, and to furnish sufficient food not only for the men but for the horses as well; and if all do not have their supplies, he is much more vexed than he would be if ill himself; while the safety of his men he considers just as important as his own. Indeed, victory is impossible if the soldiers be not saved, and to win victory many good men choose even to die.
§ 3.68 Again, the body of each one of us, being devoid of intelligence, is not in a position to help itself, nor by its very nature can it take thought for itself; indeed, when the soul departs, it cannot endure even a short time, but suffers immediate decay and dissolution; whereas the soul feels every care in its behalf, is troubled by every fancy when it is hurt, and is greatly distressed.
§ 3.69 Only when the soul is present is the body sensitive to pain; but the soul is distressed before the pain comes; often, too, through foreboding when it is not going to come. As for death, the body never feels it, but the soul understands it and suffers greatly, now rescuing the body from disease, now from war, rescuing it from storms and rescuing it from the sea. So, while from every point of view the soul is more subject to hardship and suffering than the body, yet it is the more divine and regal part.
§ 3.70 Then compare the lots of man and woman. Now everyone would admit that man is stronger than woman and more fitted to lead. Consequently, to her falls the larger share of the household tasks, and, for the most part, she remains unacquainted with storms and wars, unacquainted with dangers in general;
§ 3.71 while it is the man's part, on the other hand, to serve in the army, to sail the sea, and to do the hard outdoor work. Yet no one would on that account deem women happier than men.
§ 3.72 Nay, every man whose weakness and lack of virility have led him to emulate their life, as Sardanapallus did, is to this day branded with the shame of it.
§ 3.73 But this is the best illustration: You see how greatly the sun, being a god, surpasses man in felicity and yet throughout the ages does not grow weary in ministering to us and doing everything to promote our welfare.
§ 3.74 For what else would one say that the sun accomplishes throughout the ages except what man stands in need of? Does he not cause and mark out the seasons, give growth and nourishment to all living creatures and to all plant life? Does he not lavish upon us the fairest and most delightful of visions, even his light, without which we should have no profit of the other beautiful things, be they in heaven or on earth; nay, not even of life itself? And he never grows weary in showering these blessings upon us.
§ 3.75 Verily one might say that he endures a servitude most exacting; for, if he were to be careless but for a moment and leave his appointed track, absolutely nothing would prevent the whole heavens, the whole earth, and the whole sea from going to wrack and ruin, and all this fair and blissful order from ending in the foulest and most dread disorder.
§ 3.76 But now, as though touching the strings of the lyre with an artist's touch, he never swerves from his pure and exquisite harmony, ever moving along his one recurrent track.
§ 3.77 And since the earth needs warmth to bring forth her produce, to give it increase, and to bring it to perfection, since animals need it likewise both for the preservation of their bodies and for their natural pleasure, and since we, being so utterly dependent in our helplessness, need it above all others, he brings on summer step by step as he approaches nearer and nearer to our habitation, that he may give growth to everything, nourish everything, perfect everything, and spread a divine and wondrous feast of good cheer before man.
§ 3.78 But when, on the other hand, we and all other things come to need the opposite temperature — for our bodies need to be braced up by cold, plants need hardening, and the earth needs rain — he goes away from us again, withdrawing a moderate distance;
§ 3.79 and with such perfect nicety of adjustment does he observe his bounds with respect to our advantage that, if in his approach he got a little nearer, he would set everything on fire, and if he went a little too far in his departure, everything would be stiffened with frost.
§ 3.80 And since a sudden change would be too much for our weakness, he brings all this to pass gradually, and in a way he accustoms us insensibly in the spring to endure the heat of summer and in the late autumn gives preliminary training to support the chill of winter — in the one case taking off the chill of winter little by little, in the other, reducing the heat of summer, so that we reach either extreme without discomfort.
§ 3.81 And furthermore, since it is so great a pleasure to see the light and impossible to do anything without it, and since, when we are asleep, we do absolutely nothing and make no use of the light, he has made day the time requisite for our waking hours, and turned into night the time necessary for sleep, making a complete revolution around the earth and sending now these men to rest or awakening them, now those: departing from them who no longer need his light and appearing to those who need it again in their turn. And he never grows weary of bringing these things to pass throughout the ages.
§ 3.82 But where a god, the fairest and most conspicuous of all, does not neglect his eternal watch over man, can it possibly be right for man, intelligent object of the god's care, to feel oppressed by similar duties? Should he not, so far as in him lies, imitate the god's power and goodness?
§ 3.83 Reasoning thus, the good king endures without repining. He realizes too that toil brings health and salvation and goodly report as well; while, on the other hand, luxurious ease brings quite the opposite. Then again, toil endured ever grows less and easier to support, the while it makes pleasure greater and less harmful if it follows the toil. Ease, on the other hand, makes toil appear more and more difficult in that it lessens pleasure and blunts its edge.
§ 3.84 The man who lives in the lap of luxury and never puts his hand to a single task, ends by being unable to endure any task or to feel any pleasure at all, however intense.
§ 3.85 Consequently, he who loves to toil and exercises self-control is not only better qualified to be king but is able to live a much more pleasant life than those in the opposite case.
§ 3.86 Friendship, moreover, the good king holds to be the fairest and most sacred of his possessions, believing that the lack of means is not so shameful or perilous for a king as the lack of friends, and that he maintains his happy state, not so much by means of revenues and armies and his other sources of strength, as by the loyalty of his friends.
§ 3.87 For no one, of and by himself, is sufficient for a single one of even his own needs; and the more and greater the responsibilities of a king are, the greater is the number of co-workers that he needs, and the greater the loyalty required of them, since he is forced to entrust his greatest and most important interests to others or else to abandon them.
§ 3.88 Furthermore, the law protects the private individual from being easily wronged by men with whom he enters into business relations, either by entrusting them with money, or by making them agents of an estate, or by entering into partnership with them in some enterprise; and it does so by punishing the offender. A king, however, cannot look to the law for protection against betrayal of a trust, but must depend upon loyalty.
§ 3.89 Naturally, those who stand near the king and help him rule the country are the strongest, and from them he has no other protection than their love. Consequently, it is not a safe policy for him to share his power carelessly with the first men he meets; but the stronger he makes his friends,
§ 3.90 the stronger he becomes himself.
§ 3.91 Once more, necessary and useful possessions do not in all cases afford their owner some pleasure, nor does it follow that because a thing is pleasing it is also profitable. On the contrary, many pleasant things prove to be unprofitable.
§ 3.92 Fortifications, for example, arms, engines, and troops are possessions necessary for a ruler, since without them his authority cannot be maintained, but I do not see what gratification they afford — at least, apart from their utility;
§ 3.93 and on the other hand, beautiful parks, costly residences, statues, paintings in the exquisite early style, golden bowls, inlaid tables, purple robes, ivory, amber, perfumes, everything to delight the eye, delightful music, both vocal and instrumental, and besides these, beautiful maidens and handsome boys — all these evidently subserve no useful purpose whatever, but are obviously the inventions of pleasure.
§ 3.94 To friendship alone has it have been given to be both the most profitable of all and the most pleasurable of all. To illustrate: I presume that our greatest necessities, arms, walls, troops, and cities, without friends to control them, are neither useful nor profitable; nay, they are exceedingly precarious; while friends, even without these, are helpful. Besides, these things are useful in war only,
§ 3.95 while for men who are going to live in unbroken peace — if such a thing be possible — they are a useless burden. Without friendship, however, life is insecure even in peace.
§ 3.96 Once more, the pleasures I have mentioned afford more delight when shared with friends; to enjoy them in solitude is the dreariest thing imaginable, and no one could endure it. But it would be still more disagreeable if you had to share them with people who disliked you.
§ 3.97 Nay, what festivity could please unless the most important thing of all were at hand, what symposium could delight you if you lacked the good-will of the guests? What sacrifice is acceptable to the gods without the participants in the feast?
§ 3.98 Indeed, are not even those love relations the pleasantest and least wanton which are based on the affection of the lovers, and which men whose object is good-will experience in the society of boys or women?
§ 3.99 Many are the names applied to friendship just as its services undoubtedly are many; but where youth and beauty enter in, there friendship is rightly called love and is held to be the fairest of the gods.
§ 3.100 Again, salutary drugs are salutary to the sick, but of no use to the well. Of friendship, however, men stand ever in the greatest need, whether in health or in sickness: it helps to defend wealth and relieves poverty; it adds lustre to fame and dims the glare of infamy.
§ 3.101 It is this alone that makes everything unpleasant seem less so and magnifies everything good. For what misfortune is not intolerable without friendship, and what gift of fortune does not lose its charm if friends be lacking? And although solitude is cheerless and of all things the most terrible, it is not the absence of men that we should consider as solitude, but the absence of friends; for often complete solitude is preferable to the presence of persons not well-disposed.
§ 3.102 For my part, I have never regarded even good fortune to be such if attended by no friend to rejoice with me, since the severest strokes of misfortune can more easily be borne with friends than the greatest good fortune without them. For with good right I judge that man most wretched who in misfortune has the largest number to gloat over him but in good fortune no one to rejoice with him.
§ 3.103 When a man has hosts of excellent friends and his foes are very few in number — if he has any foe at all — when he has many who love him, still more who admire him, and no one who can censure him, is he not perfectly happy? For such a man has multitudes to share his joy but not one to gloat over him in misfortune, and for this reason he is fortunate in all things, in that he has hosts of friends but not a single enemy.
§ 3.104 If eyes, ears, tongue, and hands are worth everything to a man that he may be able merely to live, to say nothing of enjoying life, then friends are not less but more useful than these members.
§ 3.105 With his eyes he may barely see what lies before his feet; but through his friends he may behold even that which is at the ends of the earth. With his ears he can hear nothing save that which is very near; but through those who wish him well
§ 3.106 he is without tidings of nothing of importance anywhere. With his tongue he communicates only with those who are in his presence, and with his hands, were he never so strong, he can not do the work of more than two men; but through his friends he can hold converse with all the world and accomplish every undertaking, since those who wish him well are saying and doing everything that is in his interest.
§ 3.107 The most surprising thing of all, however, is that he who is rich in friends is able, although but one man, to do a multiplicity of things at the same time, to deliberate about many matters simultaneously, to see many things, to hear many things, and to be in many places at once — a thing difficult even for the gods — with the result that there is nothing remaining anywhere that is bereft of his solicitude.
§ 3.108 Once more, the happy experiences of his friends are bound to delight a good man no less than some joy of his own. For is that man not most blessed who has many bodies with which to be happy when he experiences a pleasure, many souls with which to rejoice when he is fortunate?
§ 3.109 And if glory be the high goal of the ambitious, he may achieve it many times over through the eulogies of his friends. If wealth naturally gladdens its possessor, he can be rich many times over who shares what he has with his friends.
§ 3.110 Then, too, while it is a pleasure to show favours to good men and true when one's means are ample, it is also a pleasure to receive gifts when they are deserved and for merit. Hence, he who shows his friends a favour rejoices both as giver and as receiver at the same time. Old, in sooth, is the proverb which says that "Common are the possessions of friends." Therefore, when the good have good things, these will certainly be held in common.
§ 3.111 Now, while in any other matter, such as leisure, ease, and relaxation, our good king does not wish to have unvarying advantage over private citizens and, indeed, would often be satisfied with less, in the one matter of friendship he does want to have the larger portion;
§ 3.112 and he doubtless thinks it in no wise peculiar or strange — nay, he actually exults because young people love him more than they do their parents, and older men more than they do their children, because his associates love him more than they do their peers, and those who know him only by hearsay love him more than they do their nearest neighbours.
§ 3.113 Extremely fond of kith and kin though he may be, yet, in a way, he considers friendship a greater good than kinship. For a man's friends are useful even without the family tie, but without friendship not even the most nearly related are of service. So high a value does he set on friendship as to hold that at no time has anyone been wronged by a friend, and that such a thing belongs to the category of the impossible;
§ 3.114 for the moment one is detected doing wrong, he has shown that he was no friend at all. Indeed, all who have suffered any outrage have suffered it at the hands of enemies — friends in name, whom they did not know to be enemies. Such sufferers must blame their own ignorance and not reproach the name of friendship.
§ 3.115 Furthermore, it is not impossible for a father to be unjust to a son and for a child to sin against its parents; brother, too, may wrong brother in some way; but friendship our king esteems as such an altogether sacred thing that he tries to make even the gods his friends.
§ 3.116 Now, while it may be gathered from all that has been said that tyrants suffer all the ills that are the opposites of the blessings we have enumerated, this is especially true as regards the matter we are now discussing. For the tyrant is the most friendless man in the world, since he cannot even make friends.
§ 3.117 Those like himself he suspects, since they are evil, and by those unlike himself, and good, he is hated; and the hated man is an enemy to both the just and the unjust. For some men do justly hate him; while others, because they covet the same things, plot against him.
§ 3.118 And so the Persian king had one special man, called the "king's eye" — not a man of high rank, but just an ordinary one. He did not know that all the friends of a good king are his eyes.
§ 3.119 And should not the ties of blood and kinship be especially dear to a good king? For he regards his kith and kin as a part of his own soul,
§ 3.120 and sees to it that they shall not only have a share of what is called the king's felicity, but much more that they shall be thought worthy to be partners in his authority; and he is especially anxious to be seen preferring them in honour, not because of their kinship, but because of their qualifications. And those kinsmen who live honourable lives he loves beyond all others, but those who do not so live he considers, not friends, but relatives.
§ 3.121 For other friends he may cast off when he has discovered something objectionable in them, but in the case of his kinsmen, he cannot dissolve the tie; but whatever their character, he must allow the title to be used.
§ 3.122 His wife, moreover, he regards not merely as the partner of his bed and affections, but also as his helpmate in his counsel and action, and indeed in his whole life.
§ 3.123 He alone holds that happiness consists, not in flowery ease, but much rather in excellence of character; virtue, not in necessity but in free-will; while patient endurance, he holds, does not mean hardship but safety. His pleasures he increases by toil, and thereby gets more enjoyment out of them, while habit lightens his toil.
§ 3.124 To him "useful" and "pleasurable" are interchangeable terms; for he sees that plain citizens, if they are to keep well and reach old age, never give nourishment to an identical and inactive body, but that a part of them work first at trades, some of which — such as smithing, shipbuilding, the construction of houses — are very laborious;
§ 3.125 while those who own land first toil hard at farming, and those who live in the city have some city employment;
§ 3.126 he sees the leisured class crowd the gymnasia and wrestling-floors — some running on the track, others again wrestling, and others, who are not athletes, taking some form of exercise other than the competitive — in a word, everyone with at least a grain of sense doing something or other and so finding his meat and drink wholesome.
§ 3.127 But the ruler differs from all these in that his toil is not in vain, and that he is not simply developing his body, but has the accomplishment of things as his end and aim. He attends to some matter needing his supervision, he acts promptly where speed is needed, accomplishes something not easy of accomplishment, reviews an army, subdues a province, founds a city, bridges rivers, or builds roads through a country.
§ 3.128 He does not count himself fortunate just because he can have the best horses, the best arms, the best clothing, and so forth, but because he can have the best friends; and he holds that it is far more disgraceful to have fewer friends among the private citizens than any one of them has.
§ 3.129 For when a man can select his most trustworthy friends from among all men — and there is scarcely a man who would not gladly accept his advances — surely it is ridiculous that he does not have the best. Most potentates have an eye only for those who get near them no matter how, and for those who are willing to flatter, while they hold all others at a distance and the best men more especially.
§ 3.130 The true king, however, makes his choice from among all men, esteeming it perverse to import horses from the Nisaean plains because they surpass the Thessalian breed, or hounds from India, and only in the case of men to take those near at hand;
§ 3.131 since all the means for making friends are his. For instance, the ambitious are won over to friendliness by praise, those who have the gift of leadership by participation in the government, the warlike by performing some sort of military service, those having executive ability by the management of affairs, and, assuredly, those with a capacity for love, by intimacy.
§ 3.132 Now, who is more able to appoint governors? Who needs more executives? Who has it in his power to give a part in greater enterprises? Who is in a better position to put a man in charge of military operations? Who can confer more illustrious honours? Whose table lends greater distinction? And if friendship could be bought, who has greater means to forestall every possible rival?
§ 3.133 Since nature made him a man, and man of exalted station in life, he too needs some distraction as it were to relieve his more serious duties; and it is this, alas! which for many has proved to be the source of many ignoble and soul-destroying vices — vices which also destroy the high esteem in which royalty is held.
§ 3.134 One king, having become enamoured of singing, spent his time warbling and wailing in the theatres and so far forgot his royal dignity that he was content to impersonate the early kings upon the stage; another fell in love with flute-playing;
§ 3.135 but the good king never makes a practice even of listening to such things. He considers hunting the best recreation and finds his greatest delight therein. It makes his body stronger, his heart braver, and affords a field for the practice of every military activity.
§ 3.136 For he must ride, run, in many cases meet the charge of the big game, endure heat and withstand cold, often be tortured by hunger and thirst, and he becomes habituated to enduring any hardship with pleasure through his passion for the chase. But he does not hold this opinion of the Persian chase.
§ 3.137 Those people would enclose the game in parks and then, whenever they listed, slaughter it as if it were in a pen, showing that they neither sought hard work nor ran any risk since their quarry was weak and broken in spirit. But they robbed themselves alike of the joy of uncovering the game, of the excitement in running it down, and of the struggle on coming to close quarters.
§ 3.138 It is just as if they had claimed to be fond of war and then, letting slip the chance to engage their enemy, had seized the prisoners at home and put them to death.
§ 4.1 The Fourth Discourse on Kingship
They tell us that once upon a time Alexander when not over busy met Diogenes, who had an abundance of time on his hands. For the one was king of Macedonia and many other countries beside, while there was an exile from Sinope; and there are many who in speaking and writing of this encounter give no less admiration and credit to Alexander than to Diogenes because, although he was ruler over so many people and had greater power than any other man of his day, he did not disdain to converse with a poor man who had intelligence and the power of endurance.
§ 4.2 For all men without exception are naturally delighted when they see wisdom honoured by the greatest power and might; hence they not only relate the facts in such cases but add extravagant embellishments of their own; nay more, they strip their wise men of all else, such as wealth, honours, and physical strength, so that the high regard in which they are held may appear to be due to their intelligence alone.
§ 4.3 And so I should like on this occasion to tell what in all likelihood was the nature of their conversation, since it happens too that I have nothing else that demands my attention.
§ 4.4 Now it should be explained that Alexander was by common report the most ambitious of men and the greatest lover of glory. He was anxious to leave his name the greatest among the Greeks and barbarians and longed to be honoured, not only — as one might put it — by mankind the world over, but, if it were at all possible, by the birds of the air and the beasts of the mountains.
§ 4.5 Moreover, he looked down upon all other men and thought that no one was a dangerous rival in this matter — neither the Persian king nor the Scythian nor the Indian nor any man or city among the Greeks.
§ 4.6 For he perceived that they had all been well-nigh ruined in soul by luxury and idleness and were the slaves of money and pleasure. But as to Diogenes, when Alexander heard of the words which this man spoke and of the deeds which he did and how he bore his exile, though at times he despised the man for his poverty and shabbiness, quite naturally, as he himself was young and had been reared in royal luxury,
§ 4.7 yet often he would admire and envy the man for his courage and endurance, and especially for his great reputation, because all the Greeks knew and admired him for what he was, and no one else could match him in point of distinction.
§ 4.8 He himself needed his Macedonian phalanx, his Thessalian cavalry, Thracians, Paeonians, and many others if he was to go where he wished and get what he desired; but Diogenes went forth unattended in perfect safety by night as well as by day whithersoever he cared to go.
§ 4.9 Again, he himself required huge sums of gold and silver to carry out any of his projects; and what is more, if he expected to keep the Macedonians and the other Greeks submissive, must time and again curry the favour of their rulers and the general populace by words gifts;
§ 4.10 whereas Diogenes cajoled no men by flattery, but told everybody the truth and, even though he possessed not a single drachma, succeeded in doing as he pleased, failed in nothing he set before himself, was the only man who lived the life he considered the best and happiest, and would not have accepted Alexander's throne or the wealth of the Medes and Persians in exchange for his own poverty.
§ 4.11 Therefore Alexander, being nettled to think that anyone living so easy and care-free a life was going to surpass himself and in addition should be no less famous, and thinking perhaps too that he would receive some benefit from an interview with the man, had long desired to behold him and converse with him;
§ 4.12 and when he had come to Corinth and had received the Greek embassies and regulated the affairs of the allies as well, he told his attendants that he wished to have a little leisure and went off — I will not say to the court of Diogenes, for he had no court either great or small, nor house nor hearth of his own as the well-to-do have,
§ 4.13 but he made the cities his home and used to live there in the public buildings and in the shrines, which are dedicated to the gods, and took for his hearth-stone the wide world, which after all is man's common hearth and nourisher.
§ 4.14 On that day it happened that Diogenes was all alone in the Craneion, for he had no pupils at all nor any such crowd about him as the sophists and flue-players and choral masters have. So the king came up to him as he sat there and greeted him, whereat the other looked up at him with terrible glare like that of a lion and ordered him to step aside a little, for Diogenes happened to be warming himself in the sun.
§ 4.15 Now Alexander was at once delighted with the man's boldness and composure in not being awestruck in his presence. For it is somehow natural for the courageous to love the courageous, while cowards eye them with misgiving and hate them as enemies, but welcome the base and like them. And so to the one class truth and frankness are the most agreeable things in the world, to the other, flattery and deceit. The latter lend a willing ear to those who in their intercourse seek to please, the former, to those who have regard for the truth.
§ 4.16 Then after a brief pause Diogenes asked the king who he was and what object he had in coming to him. "Was it," he said, "to take some of my property?" "Why, have you any property?" replied the other; "do you own anything that you might share with one?" "Much indeed," he replied, "and very valuable, in which I do not at all feel sure that you will ever be able to have a share. Yet it is not glaives or cauldrons or mixing-bowls or couches and tables such as Darius is reported by some writers to possess in Persia that I happen to own."
§ 4.17 "What," retorted the other, "do you not know Alexander the king?" "I hear many speak his name, to be sure," said he, "like so many jackdaws flitting about, but the man I know not, for I am not acquainted with his mind." "But now," came the answer, "you shall know his mind also, since I have come for the very purpose of letting you know me thoroughly and of seeing you."
§ 4.18 "Well, it would be hard for you to see me," rejoined the other, "just as it is for men with weak eyes to see the light. But tell me this: are you the Alexander whom they call a bastard?" At this the king flushed and showed anger, but he controlled himself and regretted that he had deigned to enter into conversation with a man who was both rude and an impostor, as he thought.
§ 4.19 Diogenes, however, marking his embarrassment, would fain change his throw just like men playing at dice. So when the king said, "What gave you the idea of calling me a bastard?" he replied, "What gave it? Why, I hear that your own mother says this of you. Or is it not Olympias who said that Philip is not your father, as it happens, but a dragon or Ammon or some god or other or demigod or wild animal? And yet in that case you would certainly be a bastard."
§ 4.20 Thereupon Alexander smiled and was pleased as never before, thinking that Diogenes, so far from being rude, was the most tactful of men and the only one who really knew how to pay a compliment. "Well then," said he, "do you think the story is true or false?"
§ 4.22 for this is what they claim Homer says: that Zeus is the father, not only of gods but of men as well, though not of slaves nor of any mean and ignoble man. If, however, you are cowardly and love luxury and have a servile nature, then you are in no way related to the gods or to good men.
§ 4.23 Why, methinks of old the 'Sown men,' as they were called, of Thebes had what seemed a spear mark on their bodies as a sign of their origin, and he who did not have this mark was not regarded as one of the 'Sown men.' And do you not think that in the souls of the offspring of Zeus also a sign is to be found by which those who have the power to judge will know whether they are of his seed or not?" Of course Alexander was greatly delighted with this thought.
§ 4.24 Hereupon he put the following question to Diogenes. "How," said he, "could one be the best king?" At this the other, eyeing him sternly, answered, "But no one can be a bad king any more than he can be a bad good man; for the king is the best one among men, since he is most brave and righteous and humane, and cannot be overcome by any toil or by any appetite.
§ 4.25 Or do you think a man is a charioteer if he cannot drive, or that one is a pilot if he is ignorant of steering, or is a physician if he knows not how to cure? It is impossible, nay, though all the Greeks and barbarians acclaim him as such and load him with many diadems and sceptres and tiaras like so many necklaces that are put on castaway children lest they fail of recognition. Therefore, just as one cannot pilot except after the manner of pilots, so no one can be a king except in a kingly way."
§ 4.26 Then Alexander in alarm, lest after all he might be found ignorant of the science of kingship, said, "And who, think you, imparts this art, or where must one go to learn it?"
§ 4.27 To which Diogenes replied, "Well, you know it if the words of Olympias are true and you are a son of Zeus, for it is he who first and chiefly possesses this knowledge and imparts it to whom he will; and all they to whom he imparts it are sons of Zeus and are so called.
§ 4.28 Or do you think that it is the sophists who teach kingship? Nay, the most of them do not even know how to live, to say nothing of how to be king.
§ 4.29 Do you not know," he continued, "that education is of two kinds, the one from heaven, as it were, the other human? Now the divine is great and strong and easy, while the human is small and weak and full of pitfalls and no little deception; and yet it must be added to the other if everything is to be right.
§ 4.30 This human sort, however, is what most people call 'education' — meaning thereby something for children, I suppose — and they have the notion that he who knows the most literature, Persian or Greek or Syrian or Phoenician, and has read the most books is the wisest and best educated person; but again, when people find any knaves or cowards or avaricious men among these, then they say the fact is as insignificant as the individual. The other kind men sometimes call simply education, at other times, 'true manhood' and 'high-mindedness.'
§ 4.31 And it was for that reason that men of old called those persons 'sons of Zeus' who received the good education and were manly of soul, having been educated after the pattern of the great Heracles. Whoever, then, being noble by nature, possesses that higher education, readily acquires this other also, having only to learn a few things in a few lessons, merely the greatest and most important things, and is already initiated and treasures them in his soul.
§ 4.32 And thenceforth nothing can rob him of any of these things, neither time nor any tricky sophist, nay, not even one who would fain burn them out by fire. But if the man were burned, as Heracles is said to have burned himself, yet his principles would abide in his soul just as, I believe, the teeth of bodies that have been cremated are said to remain undestroyed though the rest of the body has been consumed by the fire.
§ 4.33 For he does not have to learn but merely to recall; after that he at once knows and recognizes, as having had these principles in his mind at the beginning. And furthermore, if he comes upon a man who knows the road, so to speak, this man easily directs him, and on getting the information he at once goes his way. If, however, he falls in with some ignorant and charlatan sophist, the fellow will wear him out by leading him hither and thither, dragging him now to the east and now to the west and now to the south, not knowing anything himself but merely guessing, after having been led far afield himself long before by impostors like himself.
§ 4.34 It is just the same as in hunting. When dogs that are untrained and unruly catch no scent and do not pick up the trail, they mislead others by barking and behaving as if they knew and saw, and many, chiefly the most foolish, follow those dogs that bark at random,
§ 4.35 and of this pack those which make no outcry and keep silent are merely deceived themselves, but the most impetuous and foolish dogs, imitating the first ones, raise a din and strive to deceive others. Around the so-called sophists, likewise, you will sometimes find such a great accompanying throng of simpletons, and you will discover that your sophist does not differ one whit from a lecherous eunuch."
§ 4.36 On hearing this, Alexander wondered what his reason was for likening the sophist to a eunuch and asked him. "Because," came the reply, "the most wanton eunuchs, protesting their virility and their passion for women, lie with them and annoy them, and yet nothing comes of it, not even if they stay with them night and day.
§ 4.37 So too in the schools the sophists you will find many growing old in their ignorance, wandering about in their discussions far more helplessly than Homer says Odysseus ever did upon the deep, and any one of them might sooner find his way to Hades as that hero did than become a good man by talking and listening.
§ 4.38 And you, since you have been born with the right nature, if you come upon a man of understanding, will find a single day sufficient to get a grasp of his subject and art, and you will no longer have any need of subtle claptrap and discussions. But if you are not so fortunate as to have a disciple of Zeus or one like Zeus for your teacher to tell you forthwith and clearly what your duty is, then nothing comes of it for you, even if you waste your whole life in sleepless study and fasting in the schools of the miserable sophists.
§ 4.39 I am not the first man to say this, but Homer said it before me. Or are you not acquainted with the Homeric poems?" Now Alexander prided himself very greatly on knowing by right the whole of the one poem, the Iliad, and much of the Odyssey likewise. And so he said in surprise, "Pray, where has Homer discoursed about these things?" "In the passage," came the reply, "where he calls Minos the consort of Zeus.
§ 4.40 Or does not 'to consort' mean 'to associate'? Well then, he says that he was an associate of Zeus, which would virtually be calling him his disciple. Now do you imagine that he associated with Zeus as a pupil with any other object than to learn justice and the duties of a king? For mark you, Minos is said to have been the most righteous man in the world.
§ 4.41 Once more, when he says that kings are 'nurtured of Zeus' and 'dear unto Zeus,' do you think that he means any other nurture than the teaching and instruction which I called divine? Or do you believe that he means that kings are nourished by Zeus as by a nurse, on milk and wine and various foods, and not on knowledge and truth?
§ 4.42 And in the same way he means that friendship also is nothing else than identity of wish and of purpose, that is, a kind of likemindedness. For this, I presume, is the view of the world too: that friends are most truly likeminded and are at variance in nothing.
§ 4.43 Can anyone, therefore, who is a friend of Zeus and is likeminded with him by any possibility conceive any unrighteous desire or design what is wicked and disgraceful? Homer seems to answer this very question clearly also when in commending some king he calls him a 'shepherd of peoples.'
§ 4.44 For the shepherd's business is simply to oversee, guard, and protect flocks, not, by heavens, to slaughter, butcher, and skin them. It is true that at times a shepherd, like a butcher, buys and drives off many sheep; but there is a world of difference between the functions of butcher and shepherd, practically the same as between monarchy and tyranny.
§ 4.45 For instance, when Xerxes and Darius marched down from Susa driving a mighty host of Persians, Medes, Sacae, Arabs, and Egyptians into our land of Greece to their destruction, were they functioning as kings or as butchers in driving this booty for future slaughter?"
§ 4.46 And Alexander said: "Apparently you do not hold even the Great King to be a king, do you?" And Diogenes with a smile replied, "No more, Alexander, than I do my little finger." "But shall I not be a great king," Alexander asked, "when once I have overthrown him?" "Yes, but not for that reason," replied Diogenes;
§ 4.47 "for not even when boys play the game to which the boys themselves give the name 'kings' is the winner really a king. The boys, anyhow, know that the winner who has the title of 'king' is only the son of a shoemaker or a carpenter — and he ought to be learning his father's trade, but he has played truant and is now playing with the other boys, and he fancies that now of all times he is engaged in a serious business -
§ 4.48 and sometimes the 'king' is even a slave who has deserted his master. Now perhaps you kings are also doing something like that: each of you has playmates — the eager followers on his side — he his Persians and the other peoples of Asia, and you your Macedonians and the other Greeks. And just as those boys try to hit one another with the ball, and the one who is hit loses, so you now are aiming at Darius and he at you, and perhaps you may hit him and put him out; for I think you are the better shot.
§ 4.49 Then, those who were on his side at first will be on yours and will do you obeisance, and you will be styled king over all." Now Alexander was again hurt and vexed, for he did not care to live at all unless he might be king of Europe, Asia, Libya, and of any islands which might lie in the ocean.
§ 4.50 His state of mind, you see, was the opposite of what Homer says was that of Achilles' ghost. For that hero said that he preferred to live in bondage to Some man of mean estate, who makes scant cheer, Rather than reign o'er all who have gone down To death." But Alexander, I doubt not, would have chosen to die and govern even a third part of the dead rather than become merely a god and live for ever — unless, of course, he became king over the other gods.
§ 4.51 Perhaps, too, Zeus is the only one for whom he would have shown no contempt, and that because men call him king. This is the reason why Diogenes was bent on reproving him thoroughly. The king replied, "Diogenes, you seem to be joking. If I capture Darius and the hand of the Indians to boot, there will be nothing to prevent my being the greatest king that ever lived. For what is left for me when I have once become master of Babylon, Susa, Ecbatana, and the Empire of the Indies?"
§ 4.52 And the other, observing that he was aflame with ambition and that with all his heart he was being borne at full stretch in that direction, just as the cranes when flying stretch themselves out in whatever direction they are speeding, exclaimed,
§ 4.53 "Nay, in the state of mind in which you are, you will have not one whit more than anyone else, nor will you really be a king, no, not even if you leap over the walls of Babylon and capture the city in that way, instead of breaking through the walls from without or sapping them from beneath,
§ 4.54 nor even if you imitate Cyrus and glide in like a water-snake by the river-route, and in the same way get inside the walls of Susa and Bactra, no, not even though you swim across the ocean and annex another continent greater than Asia."
§ 4.55 "And what enemy have I still left," said he, "if I capture those peoples I have mentioned?" "The most difficult of all to conquer," he answered, "one who does not speak Persian or Median as Darius does, I presume, but Macedonian and Greek." At this Alexander was troubled and sore distressed for fear the other knew of someone in Macedonia or Greece who was preparing to make war on him,
§ 4.56 and asked, "Who is this enemy of mine in Greece or Macedonia?" "Why, do you not know," said he, "you who think that you know more than anyone else?" "In that case will you please tell me?" he asked; "do not conceal it." "I have been trying to tell you for a long time, but you do not hear that you are yourself your own bitterest foe and adversary as long as you are bad and foolish. And this is the man of whom you are more ignorant than of any other person.
§ 4.57 For no foolish and evil man knows himself; else Apollo would not have given as the first commandment, 'Know thyself!' regarding it as the most difficult thing for every man.
§ 4.58 Or do you not think that folly is the greatest and most serious of all ailments and a blight to those that have it, and that a foolish man is his own greatest bane? Or do you not admit that he who is most harmful to a man and causes him the most ills is that man's greatest foe and adversary? In view of what I say rage and prance about," said he,
§ 4.59 "and think me the greatest blackguard and slander me to the world and, if it be your pleasure, run me through with your spear; for I am the only man from whom you will get the truth, and you will learn it from no one else. For all are less honest than I and more servile."
§ 4.60 Thus spoke Diogenes, counting it as nothing that he might be chastised, yet quite convinced that nothing would happen. For he knew that Alexander was a slave of glory and would never make a bad move where it was at stake.
§ 4.61 So he went on to tell the king that he did not even possess the badge of royalty. And Alexander said in amazement, "Did you not just declare that the king needs no badges?" "No indeed," he replied; "I grant that he has no need of outward badges such as tiaras and purple raiment — such things are of no use -
§ 4.62 but the badge which nature gives is absolutely indispensable." "And what badge is that?" said Alexander. "It is the badge of the bees," he replied, "that the king wears. Have you not heard that there is a king among the bees, made so by nature, who does not hold office by virtue of what you people who trace your descent from Heracles call inheritance?" "What is this badge?" inquired Alexander.
§ 4.63 "Have you not heard farmers say," asked the other, "that this is the only bee that has no sting, since he requires no weapon against anyone? For no other bee will challenge his right to be king or fight him when he has this badge. I have an idea, however, that you not only go about fully armed but even sleep that way.
§ 4.64 Do you not know," he continued, "that it is a sign of fear in a man for him to carry arms? And no man who is afraid would ever have a chance to become king any more than a slave would." At these words Alexander came near hurling his spear.
§ 4.65 With these words Diogenes strove to encourage him to put his trust in well-doing and devotion to righteousness and not in arms. "But you," he continued, "also carry in your soul a keen-whetted temper, a goad difficult to restrain, as we see, and compelling.
§ 4.66 Will you not throw off this armour which you now wear, don a worker's tunic, and serve your betters, instead of going about wearing a ridiculous diadem? And perhaps before long you will grow a comb or tiara as cocks do? Have you never heard about the Sacian feast held by the Persians, against whom you are now preparing to take the field?"
§ 4.67 And Alexander at once asked him what it was like, he wished to know all about the Persians. "Well, they take one of their prisoners," he explained, "who has been condemned to death, set him upon the king's throne, give him the royal apparel, and permit him to give orders, to drink and carouse, and to dally with the royal concubines during those days, and no one prevents his doing anything he pleases. But after that they strip and scourge him and then hang him.
§ 4.68 Now what do you suppose this is meant to signify and what is the purpose of this Persian custom? Is it not intended to show that foolish and wicked men frequently acquire this royal power and title and then after a season of wanton insolence come to a most shameful and wretched end?
§ 4.69 And so, when the fellow is freed from his chains, the chances are, if he is a fool and ignorant of the significance of the procedure, that he feels glad and congratulates himself on what is taking place; but if he understands, he probably breaks out into wailing and refuses to go along without protesting, but would rather remain in fetters just as he was.
§ 4.70 Therefore, O perverse man, do not attempt to be king before you have attained to wisdom. And in the meantime," he added, "it is better not to give orders to others but to live in solitude, clothed in a sheepskin." "You," he objected, "do you bid me, Alexander, of the stock of Heracles, to don a sheepskin — me, the leader of the Greeks and king of the Macedonians?"
§ 4.71 "Surely," he replied, "just as your ancestor did." "What ancestor?" he asked. "Archelaus. Was not Archelaus a goatherd and did he not come into Macedonia driving goats? Now do you think he did this clad in purple rather than in a sheepskin?" And Alexander calmed down, laughed, and said, "Do you refer to the story about the oracle, Diogenes?"
§ 4.72 The other puckered his face and said, "Oracle indeed! All I know is that Archelaus was a goatherd. But if you will drop your conceit and your present occupations, you will be a king, not in word maybe, but in reality; and you will prevail over all women as well as all men, as did Heracles, whom you claim as an ancestor of yours."
§ 4.73 Alexander said, "Women indeed! Or am I to understand that you refer to the Amazons?" "Nay, it was no hard matter to overcome them," he replied. "I refer to women of another kind, who are extremely dangerous and savage. Have you not heard the Libyan myth?" And the king replied that he had not.
§ 4.74 Then Diogenes told it to him with zest and charm, because he wanted to put him in a good humour, just as nurses, after giving the children a whipping, tell them a story to comfort and please them.
§ 4.75 "Be assured," he continued, "that you will never be king until you have propitiated your attendant spirit and, by treating it as you should, have made it commanding, free-spirited and kingly, instead of, as in your present state, slavish, illiberal, and vicious."
§ 4.76 Then was Alexander amazed at the courage and fearlessness of the man; yet deeming him to have greater knowledge than other men, he urgently besought him not to say him nay but to explain what his attendant spirit was and how he must propitiate it. For he assumed that he would hear some deity's name and of certain sacrifices or purifications that he would have to perform.
§ 4.77 So when Diogenes perceived that he was greatly excited and quite keyed up in mind with expectancy, he toyed with him and pulled him about in the hope that somehow he might be moved from his pride and thirst for glory and be able to sober up a little.
§ 4.78 For he noticed that at one moment he was delighted, and at another grieved, at the same thing, and that his soul was as unsettled as the weather at the solstices when both rain and sunshine come from the very same cloud. He realized, too, that Alexander despised the way in which he argued with him, due to the fact that the prince had never heard a real master of discourse but admired the style of the sophists, as being lofty and distinguished.
§ 4.79 So wishing to win his favour and at the same time to show that he was quite able, whenever he chose, to make his discourse step out like a well-trained and tractable horse, he spoke to him as follows about attendant spirits, showing that the good and the bad spirits that bring happiness and misery are not outside the man,
§ 4.80 and that each one's intelligence — this and nothing more — is the guiding spirit of its owner, that the wise and good man's spirit is good, the evil man's evil, and likewise the free man's is free, the slave's slavish, the kingly and high-minded man's kingly, the abject and base man's abject.
§ 4.81 "However, not to provoke a tedious discussion," he continued, "by taking up each separate point, I shall mention the commonest and most noticeable spirits by which everybody, generally speaking, is actuated — tyrants and private citizens, rich and poor, whole nations and cities." Thereupon he let out all his sails and delivered the following discourse with great loftiness and courage.
§ 4.82 "Many, thou son of Philip, are the vices and corrupting influences that in all circumstances beget wretched man, and they are well-nigh more numerous than tongue can tell. For in truth, as the poet says, "No word is there so fraught with fear to speak, Nor sorrow, nor calamity god-sent, But mortal man might bear the weight thereof."
§ 4.83 "Now as there are, roughly speaking, three prevailing types of lives which the majority usually adopt, not after thoughtful consideration and testing, I assure you, but because they are carried away by chance and thoughtless impulse, we must affirm that there is just the same number of spirits whom the great mass of foolish humanity follows and serves — some men one spirit and some another — just as a wicked and wanton troop follows a wicked and frenzied leader.
§ 4.84 Of these types of lives which I have mentioned, the first is luxurious and self-indulgent as regards bodily pleasures, the second, in its turn, is acquisitive and avaricious, while the third is more conspicuous and more disordered than the other two — I mean the one that loves honour and glory — and it manifests a more evident and violent disorder or frenzy, deluding itself into believing that it is enamoured of some noble ideal.
§ 4.85 "Therefore, come, let us imitate clever artists. They put the impress of their thought and art upon practically everything, representing not only the various gods in human forms but everything else as well. Sometimes they paint rivers in the likeness of men and springs in certain feminine shapes, yes, and islands and cities and well-nigh everything else, like Homer, who boldly represented the Scamander as speaking beneath his flood,
§ 4.86 and though they cannot give speech to their figures, nevertheless do give them forms and symbols appropriate to their nature, as, for example, their river gods recline, usually naked, and wear long flowing beards and on their heads crowns of tamarisk or rushes.
§ 4.87 Let us then show ourselves to be no whit worse or less competent in the field of discourse than they in their several arts as we mould and depict the characters of the three spirits of the three lives, therein displaying an accomplishment the reverse of and complementary to the skill and prophetic power of the physiognomists, as they call them.
§ 4.88 These men can determine and announce a man's character from his shape and appearance; while we propose to draw from a man's habits and acts, a type and shape that will match the physiognomist's work — that is, if we shall succeed in getting hold rather of the average and lower types.
§ 4.89 Since our purpose is to show the absurdity existing in human lives, there is no impropriety or objection to our being seen imitating poets or artists or, if need be, priests of purification and to our striving to furnish illustrations and examples from every source, in the hope of being able to win souls from evil, delusion, and wicked desires and to lead them to love virtue and to long for a better life;
§ 4.90 or else we might follow the practice of some of those who deal with initiations and rites of purification, who appease the wrath of Hecate and undertake to make a person sound, and then before the cleansing process, as I understand, set forth and point to the many and various visions that, as they claim, the goddess sends when angry.
§ 4.91 "Well, then, the avaricious spirit craves gold, silver, lands, cattle, blocks of houses, and every kind of possession. Would it not be represented by a good artist as downcast and gloomy of appearance, humble and mean of dress — aye, as squalid and ragged, loving neither children nor parents nor native land, and recognizing no kinship but that of money, and considering the gods as nothing more than that which reveals to him many vast treasures or the deaths of certain kinsfolk and connections from whom he might inherit, regarding our holy festivals as sheer loss and useless expense, never laughing or smiling,
§ 4.92 eyeing all with suspicion and thinking them dangerous, distrusting everybody, having a rapacious look, ever twitching his fingers as he computes his own property, I take it, or that of someone else — a spirit not only without appreciation or capacity for any other thing, but scoffing at education and literature except when they have to do with estimates and contracts, the still blinder lover of wealth, which is rightly described and portrayed as blind;
§ 4.93 mad about every kind of possession and thinking that nothing should be thrown away; unlike the magnetic stone, which they say attracts iron to itself, but amassing copper and lead as well, yes, even sand and rock if anyone gives them, and everywhere and in almost every case regarding possession as more profitable and better than non-possession. He is most frantic and eager, however, to get money, simply because success here is quickest and cheapest, since money goes on piling up day and night and outstrips, I ween, the circuits of the moon.
§ 4.94 He recks naught of dislike, hate, and curses and, besides, holds that while other kinds of possessions may be pretty baubles wherewith to amuse oneself, money, to put it succinctly, is the very essence of wealth.
§ 4.95 This, therefore, is what he seeks and pursues from any and every source, never concerning himself at all to ask whether it is acquired by shameful or by unjust means, except insofar as, observing the punishments meted out to footpads, he lets cowardice get the better of him and becomes cautious. For he has the soul of a worthless cur, that snatches up things when it expects not to be noticed, and looks on other morsels with longing eyes but keeps away from them, though reluctantly, because the guards are by.
§ 4.96 So let him be a man insignificant in appearance, servile, unsleeping, never smiling, ever quarrelling and fighting with someone, very much like a pander, who in garb as well as in character is shameless and niggardly, dressed in a coloured mantle, the finery of one of his harlots.
§ 4.97 A foul and loathsome spirit is this, for he brings every possible insult and shame upon his own friends and comrades, or, rather, his slaves and underlings, whether he find them in the garb of private citizens or in that of royalty.
§ 4.98 Or is it not plain to see that many who are called kings are only traders, tax-gatherers, and keepers of brothels? Shall we assert that Dromon and Sarambus, because they keep shops in Athens and are called shopkeepers by the Athenians, come fairly by the name, but that the elder Darius, who kept a shop in Babylon and in Susa, and whom the Persians still to this day call a shopkeeper, has not deserved this name?
§ 4.99 Moreover, there is one peculiarity about this spirit, not shared by the others: although he sometimes rules and masters the soul, yet sometimes he seems to be compliant, the reason being that wealth is the handmaid and the willing ministrant to every appetite and interest.
§ 4.100 I, however, am now speaking of the spirit that takes the lead himself and dominates the faculties of his unhappy possessor; he has neither pleasure nor glory as the motive for the acquisition of wealth, and does not intend to spend or to use what he has gotten together, but keeps his wealth out of circulation and useless, actually locked up in secret and sunless vaults.
§ 4.101 "So far so good. The second man and the attendant spirit of that man is the one which proclaims the orgies of Pleasure and admires and honours this goddess, a truly feminine being. He is of many hues and shapes, insatiable as to things that tickle nostril and palate, and further, methinks, as to all that pleases the eye, and all that affords any pleasure to the ear, as to all things that are soothing and agreeable to the touch, such as warm baths taken daily, or rather, twice a day, anointings that are not for the relief of weariness
§ 4.102 and, besides, the wearing of soft sweeping robes, bolstered repose, and attentive service for every appetite and desire. He is passionately devoted to all these things, but especially and most unrestrainedly to the poignant and burning madness of sexual indulgence, through intercourse both with females and with males, and through still other unspeakable and nameless obscenities; after all such indiscriminately he rushes and also leads others, abjuring no form of lust and leaving none untried.
§ 4.103 "At present, it should be explained, we are treating as one this spirit which is afflicted with all these maladies and excesses of the soul; for we do not want to assemble a huge gallery of lecherous, gluttonous, and bibulous spirits and others unnumbered, but to treat as simply one that spirit which is incontinent and enslaved to pleasure,
§ 4.104 which — if only there is from some source an inflow of inexhaustible means, whether from royal coffers or from great private estate — wallows in a deep and boundless slough of debauchery until old age comes; failing such resources, the man speedily squanders the fortune he began with, or is reduced to impotent and licentious penury, and in deprivation combined with craving falls terribly short of his desires.
§ 4.105 And, further, this spirit has sometimes changed those possessed by it to the life and the garb of women, just as the myths relate of those who transformed human beings into birds or beasts, if they were unfortunate enough to have become enslaved to an appetite of such a nature. "But here again we find a contrast in our examples.
§ 4.106 There is, first in this class, the weak and unventuresome spirit, which easily leads men into effeminate vices and other kinds of misconduct which involve loss and disgrace, but, where certain indulgences are followed by punishments that inflict upon the culprit death or imprisonment or heavy fines, altogether avoids inciting the victim to those extremes.
§ 4.107 There is, however, the more aggressive and audacious spirit, which compels its victim to overleap absolutely all bounds, both human and divine. Now while the weak and unventuresome spirit no sooner gets involved than he acknowledges his shameful weakness by taking up no manly occupation, but leaving social and civic activities to those who have lived a better life,
§ 4.108 the bold and impetuous spirit, after enduring many a rebuff and humiliation, by a sudden turn of fortune's wheel, as they say, emerged as a general or as a popular leader with shrill and piercing voice, and, like actors on the stage, discards his feminine attire for the time being and then, having seized that of a general or an orator, stalks about as a blackmailer and an object of terror, looking all the world in the eye.
§ 4.109 "Now does a manly and grave appearance befit such a spirit, or rather a weak and effeminate one? Therefore we shall dress him up in his proper attire, not in the brave and awe-inspiring clothes which he often assumes when playing a part.
§ 4.110 So, by heavens, let him step forth luxurious, breathing of myrrh and wine, in a saffron robe, with much inordinate laughter, resembling a drunken reveller in a wanton midday riot and wearing faded garlands on his head and about his neck, reeling in his gait, dancing and singing an effeminate and tuneless song. Let him be led by brazen, dissolute women,
§ 4.111 known as certain of the sensual lusts, each pulling him her own way, and he rebuffs none of them nor says her nay, but follows readily and eagerly enough.
§ 4.112 And let them, with a great din of cymbals and flutes, come eagerly forth, escorting the frenzied fellow. And from the midst of the women let him utter shriller and more passionate cries than they; he is pale and effeminate in appearance, unacquainted with heaven's air or honest toil, lets his head droop, and leers lasciviously, with his watery eyes ever studying his fleshy self, but heedless of the soul and her mandates.
§ 4.113 Whether a statuary or a painter compelled to represent this man, he could create no better likeness of him than that of the Syrian king, who spent his life in his harem with eunuchs and concubines without ever a sight of army or war or assembly at all.
§ 4.114 Let his steps also be guided by Delusion, a very beautiful and enticing maid, decked out in harlot's finery, smiling and promising a wealth of good things and making him believe that she is leading him to the very embrace of happiness, till unexpectedly she drops him into the pit, into a morass of foul mud, and then leaves him to flounder about in his garlands and saffron robe.
§ 4.115 In servitude to such a tyrant and suffering such tribulation those souls wander through life which, craven and impotent in the face of hardships, enslaved to pleasure, pleasure-loving, and carnally-minded, go on living a disgraceful and reprehensible life, not from choice, the because they have drifted into it.
§ 4.116 "And now, leaving this spirit, my discourse is eager, as in a contest, to bring in the third spirit, as the herald to bring in a chorus — I mean the ambitious one. He is not so very eager at present to contest, although he is naturally emulous about everything and demands to be first. However, the present trial is not concerned with the question of any fame or honour that may come to him, but with his abundant and merited dishonour.
§ 4.117 So come, what garb and appearance shall we give to the ambitious spirit? Or is it manifest that he shall be winged and buoyant in keeping with his character and ambition, floating along with the breezes like those sons of Boreas whom artists have conceived and painted, lightly poised on high and running in company with their father's breezes?
§ 4.118 But while they used to display a power of their own whenever they pleased, yet for a time they went voyaging with the other heroes on the Argo, serving as their shipmates and performing the regular tasks as much as anyone. But the spirit who presides over men who love glory is always aspiring and never touches the earth or anything lowly; no, he is high and lifted up
§ 4.119 as long as he enjoys a calm and clear sky or a gently blowing zephyr, feeling ever happier and happier and mounting to the very heavens, but often he is enwrapped in a dark cloud when accompanied by some unpopularity or censure from the many people whom he courts and honours and has appointed to the mastery over his own happiness.
§ 4.120 "As to his safety, this spirit is not at all to be classed with either eagles or cranes or any other feathered species; nay, one might rather liken his flight to the violent and unnatural soaring of Icarus, whose father undertook to contrive a device that proved disastrous.
§ 4.121 So then the lad, moved by the conceit of youth and desiring to soar above the stars, was safe enough for a short time, but when the fastenings became loose and the wax ran, he gave his name from this circumstance to the sea where he fell to be seen no more.
§ 4.122 Just so with this spirit of ambition: When he also puts his faith in weak and truly airy wings — I mean at honours and plaudits bestowed at haphazard by the general crowd — he floats away on his perilous and unsteady voyage, taking with him the man, his admirer and henchman, who now appears to many to be high and blessed, but now again seems low and wretched, not only to others, but first and foremost to himself.
§ 4.123 But if there be anyone who does not care to conceive of and portray him as winged, let him liken him to Ixion, constrained to cruel and violent gyrations as he is rapidly whirled round and round on a wheel. Indeed, the comparison of the wheel with reputation would not be unfitting nor far inferior in truth to the clever and brilliant metaphors of the rhetoricians: by its shifting movement it very readily turns round, and in its revolutions forces the soul to assume all kinds of shapes, more truly than the potter's wheel affects the things that are being shaped upon it.
§ 4.124 Such a man, ever turning and revolving, a flatterer of peoples and crowds, whether in public assemblies or lecture halls, or in his so-called friendship with tyrants or kings and his courting of them — who would not feel pity for his character and manner of living? I am not speaking of the man, however, who, having managed his own life admirably, endeavours by the persuasion of speech combined with goodwill and a sense of justice to train and direct a great multitude of men and to lead them to better things.
§ 4.125 "Let us, then, come to an end with this spirit, too, for I should prefer at the present time not to provide him with clothing and shape, and his other appurtenances, and thus add a great and endless throng of words.
§ 4.126 Put briefly, then, he could be characterized as contentious, foolish, and conceited, and a prey to vainglory, jealousy, and all such difficult and savage emotions. For it is quite inevitable that all these unsociable and savage and difficult feelings should accompany the honour-seeking type of soul,
§ 4.127 and it is natural that he should change his mind often and be inconsistent — inasmuch as he serves and courts so fickle a thing — alternating between joy and sorrow more often and continuously than hunters are said to do. For they say this is their especial and most continuous experience, when they sight the game and then lose it again.
§ 4.128 So it is with the ambitious: When good repute and praise come their way, their souls are magnified and swell and show a wondrous burgeoning, just like the shoot of the sacred olive that they tell of at Athens, which swelled and grew to full size in a single day. But, alas! they soon wither again and droop and die when censure and obloquy overtake them.
§ 4.129 And Delusion, the most convincing thing imaginable, besets this spirit also. For while the miser's delusion and the hedonist's were not able to promise them definitely a brilliant fruition, and did not open the door for their dupes to exalted and splendid destinies, but merely whispered and suggested to them the names of the blessings in prospect, it is otherwise with the Delusion of ambition. Fascinating her victim with her charms and spells, she tells him he is a lover of all that is good and leads him towards notoriety as to some virtue or fair renown.
§ 4.130 So I shall be tempted here again to make a second allusion to the same story of Ixion. 'Tis said that in his eagerness for the blissful union with Hera he embraced a dark and dismal cloud and became the parent of a useless and monstrous brood, the curious hybrid race of the centaurs.
§ 4.131 And in the same way he who has been disappointed in his love for true fame and has then dallied with a lust for notoriety has in reality been consorting with a cloud without knowing it instead of enjoying intercourse with the divine and august. And from such associations and unions nothing useful or serviceable can come, but only strange irrational creations that resemble the centaurs -
§ 4.132 I mean the political acts of certain demagogues and the treatises of the sophists; for both sophists and demagogues are purely mercenary leaders. But in saying this I distinguish the generals and educators and statesmen from those whom I have just mentioned, all of whom may well be assigned to that spirit of ambition and be counted in its faction and following.
§ 4.133 "And now I have described those who are under the sway of each of the spirits named; but very often two or all of them get hold of the same individual, make conflicting demands upon him, and threaten that, if he does not obey, they will inflict severe penalties upon him.
§ 4.134 The pleasure-loving spirit bids him to spend money on pleasures and to spare neither gold nor silver nor anything else he has, while the avaricious and parsimonious spirit objects, and checks him and threatens that it will destroy him with hunger, thirst, and utter beggary and want, so surely as he heeds the other.
§ 4.135 Again, the spirit that loves distinction counsels and encourages him to sacrifice all that he has for the sake of honour, but the other spirit opposes and blocks this one. And indeed, the lover of pleasure and the lover of fame can never be in accord or say the same thing; for the one despises fame, thinks it nonsense, and often cites the lines of Sardanapallus: 'What I have eaten and wantoned, the joys I have had of my amours, These alone have I now. The rest of my blessings have vanished.'
§ 4.136 And especially does this spirit ever keep death before his eyes, warning him that when dead he will be able to enjoy no pleasures any longer. But the spirit that courts fame leads, yea, drags him away from pleasure by keeping him in mind of the censure and reproach that will be his.
§ 4.137 Not knowing, therefore, what to do or whither to turn and hide himself, he often runs away into the darkness and under its cover tries to please and serve the second spirit,
§ 4.138 but the other finds him out and drags him into the open, and his soul, thus torn and distracted and ever in battle and ceaseless strife with itself, cannot but end its course in utter misery. For just as a complication of maladies, that often seem to conflict with one another, make the cure difficult and well-nigh hopeless, so, in my opinion, must the situation be when different affections of the soul are mingled and entwined into one.
§ 4.139 "But come, let us attain a pure harmony, better than that which we enjoyed before, and extol the good and wise guardian spirit or god — us who the kindly Fates decreed should receive Him when we should have gained a sound education and reason."
§ 5.1 The Fifth Discourse: A Libyan Myth
To develop a Libyan myth and to fritter away one's industry upon such a subject is not a promising undertaking, — indeed not, since these themes do not incline the most able men to imitation. Nevertheless, we must not refrain because of their contempt from dallying with such themes. For perhaps we ourselves should derive no small benefit if the myth in some way were given the right turn and became a parable of the real and the true.
§ 5.2 Now when one employs his powers to such an end, he suggests to me the farmer's treatment of plant-life, when it is successful. Sometimes by grafting cultivated and fruit-bearing scions on wild and barren stocks and making them grow there, he changes a useless and unprofitable plant into a useful and profitable one.
§ 5.3 And in just the same way, when some useful and edifying moral is engrafted on an unprofitable legend, the latter is saved from being a mere idle tale. Perhaps, too, those who composed these tales in the first place composed them for some such purpose, using allegory and metaphor for such as had the power to interpret them aright.
§ 5.4 So much by way of prelude to my ode, as someone has said. It still remains to recite and sing the ode itself, that is, the myth which tells to what we may best liken the human passions.
§ 5.5 Once upon a time, so runs the story, there was a dangerous and savage species of animal whose main haunt was in the uninhabited regions of Libya. For that country even to this day seems to produce all sorts of living creatures, reptiles as well as other kinds.
§ 5.6 Now among them was the species with which this story has to deal. It had a body that, in general, was a composite thing of the most incongruous parts, an utter monstrosity, and it used to roam as far as the Mediterranean and the Syrtis in search of food.
§ 5.7 For it hunted both the beasts of prey such as the lion and the panther, even as those hunt the deer and the wild asses and the sheep, but took the most delight in catching men; and this is why it used to come near the settlements even as far as the Syrtis.
§ 5.8 The Syrtis is an arm of the Mediterranean extending far inland, a three days' voyage, they say, for a boat unhindered in its course. But those who have once sailed into it find egress impossible;
§ 5.9 for shoals, cross-currents, and long sand-bars extending a great distance out make the sea utterly impassable or troublesome. For the bed of the sea in these parts is not clean, but as the bottom is porous and sandy it lets the sea seep in, there being no solidity to it.
§ 5.10 This, I presume, explains the existence there of the great sand-bars and dunes, which remind one of the similar condition created inland by the winds, though here, of course, it is due to the surf. The surrounding country is very much the same — a lonely stretch of sandy dunes.
§ 5.11 However that may be, if shipwrecked mariners came inland or any Libyans were compelled to pass through or lost their way, the beasts would make their appearance and seize them.
§ 5.12 The general character and appearance of their body were as follow: the face was that of a woman, a brief woman. The breast and bosom, and the neck, too, were extremely beautiful, the like of which no mortal maid or bride in the bloom of youth could claim, nor sculptor or painter will ever be able to reproduce. The complexion was of dazzling brightness, the glance of the eyes aroused affection and yearning in the souls of all that beheld.
§ 5.13 The rest of the body was hard and protected by scales, and all the lower part was snake, ending in the snake's baleful head. Now the story does not say that these animals were winged like the sphinxes — nor that they, like them, spoke or made any sound whatever except a hissing noise such as dragons make, very shrill — but that they were the swiftest of all land creatures, so that no one could ever escape them.
§ 5.14 And while they overcame other creatures by force, they used guile with man, giving them a glimpse of their bosom and breasts and at the same time they infatuated their victims by fixing their eyes upon them, and filled them with a passionate desire for intercourse. Then the men would approach them as they might women, while they on their part stood quite motionless, often dropping their eyes in the manner of a decorous woman.
§ 5.15 But as soon as a man came within reach they seized him in their grasp; for they had clawlike hands too, which they had kept concealed at first. Then the serpent would promptly sting and kill him with his poison; and the dead body was devoured by the serpent and the rest of the beast together.
§ 5.16 Now this myth, which has not been invented for a child's benefit to make it less rash and ungovernable, but for those whose folly is greater and more complete, may perhaps, now that we have brought it into this context, be able to show adequately the character of the passions, that they are irrational and brutish and that, by holding out the enticement of some pleasure, they win over the foolish by guile and witchery and bring them to a most sad and pitiable end.
§ 5.17 These things we should always keep before our eyes to deter us — even as those terrifying images deter children when they want food or play or anything else unseasonably — whenever we are in love with luxury, or money, or sensual indulgence, or fame, or any other pleasure, lest, coming too near to these unscrupulous passions, we be seized by them for the most shameful destruction and ruin conceivable.
§ 5.18 And, indeed, to interpret the rest of the myth in this way would not be a difficult task for a clever man who perhaps has more time at his disposal than he should have. For this is what they add to the myth. A certain king of Libya attempted to destroy this breed of animals, angered as he was at the destruction of his people. And he found that many of them had established themselves there, having taken possession of a dense wild wood beyond the Syrtis.
§ 5.19 So he mustered a mighty host and found their dens. For they were not difficult to detect owing to the trails left by their serpents' tails and to the terrible stench that emanated from the dens. He thus surrounded them on all sides and hurled fire in upon them, so that, being cut off, they perished with their young. As for the Libyans, they fled with all haste from the region, resting neither night nor day, until, thinking they had gained a great start, they halted for rest beside a certain river.
§ 5.20 But those of the creatures who had been away hunting, as soon as they learned of the destruction of their dens, pursued the army to the river, and finding some asleep and others exhausted by the toil, destroyed them one and all.
§ 5.21 At that time, then, the task of destroying this brood was not completed by the king. Later, however — so the story continues — Heracles, while clearing the whole earth of wild beasts and tyrants, came to this place too, set it on fire, and when the creatures were escaping from the flames, slew with his club all that attacked him, and with his arrows those that tried to run away.
§ 5.22 Now perhaps the myth is an allegory to show that, when the majority of men try to clear the trackless region of their souls, teeming with savage beasts, by rooting out and destroying the brood of lusts in the hope of then having got rid of them and escaped, and yet have not one this thoroughly, they are soon afterwards overwhelmed and destroyed by the remaining lusts;
§ 5.23 but that Heracles, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, carried the task through to completion and made his own heart pure and gentle or tame; and that this is what is meant by his taming, that is, civilizing the earth.
§ 5.24 Would you care, then, to have me gratify the younger people among you by giving a brief additional portion of the myth? For they believe so thoroughly in it and are so convinced of its truth as to assert that one of this brood appeared to the oracle of Ammon under the escort of a strong force of cavalry and archers.
§ 5.25 They saw what seemed to be a woman, reclining on a pile of sand; she wore a sheepskin thrown over her head after the manner of the Libyan women, but displayed her bosom and breasts and lay with her head thrown back. They supposed that she was one of the professional harlots from some village who was on her way thither to join their company.
§ 5.26 Accordingly, a certain two young men, greatly taken with her appearance, approached her, one outstripping the other. When the creature seized this one, she dragged him into a hole in the sand and devoured him.
§ 5.27 The other young man, rushing past her, saw this and cried aloud so that the rest of the party came to his assistance. But the creature hurled itself at the young man with the snake part foremost, and after killing him disappeared with a hissing sound. They add that the body was found rotten and putrefying, and that the Libyans who were acting as guides permitted no one to touch the body lest all should perish.
§ 6.1 The Sixth Discourse: Diogenes, or On Tyranny
When Diogenes of Sinope was exiled from that place, he came to Greece and used to divide his time between Corinth and Athens. And he said he was following the practice of the Persian king. For that monarch spent the winters in Babylon and Susa, or occasionally in Bactra, which are the warmest parts of Asia, and the summers in Median Ecbatana, where the air is always very cool and the summer is like the winter in the region of Babylon.
§ 6.2 So he too, he said, changed his residence according to the seasons of year. For Attica had no high mountains, nor rivers running through it as had the Peloponnese and Thessaly; its soil was thin and the air so dry that rain rarely fell, and what did fall was not retained. Besides, it was almost entirely surrounded by the sea; from which fact indeed it got its name, since Attica is a sort of beach-land.
§ 6.3 The city, moreover, was low-lying and faced to the south, as shown by the fact that those sailing from Sounion could not enter the Peiraeus except with a south wind. Naturally, therefore, the winters were mild. In Corinth, on the other hand, the summer was breezy, since currents of air always met there on account of the bays that dented the shore. The Acrocorinthus, too, overshadows it, and the city itself rather inclines toward the Lechaion and the north.
§ 6.4 Diogenes thought that these cities were far more beautiful than Ecbatana and Babylon, and that the Craneion, and the Athenian acropolis with the Propylaea were far more beautiful structures than those abodes of royalty, yielding to them only in size. And yet the circumference of Athens was two hundred stades, now that the Peiraeus and the connecting walls had been added to the compass of the city — for this whole area was not inhabited in ancient times — so that Athens was one-half as large as Babylon, if we could take as true what was said of things there.
§ 6.5 Moreover, in respect to the beauty of the harbours, and, further, to the statues, paintings, the works in gold, silver, and bronze, in respect to the coinage, the furnishings, the splendour of the houses, he thought that Athens was far superior; only he, for his part, did not care much about such things.
§ 6.6 Besides, the king had a very long distance to travel in changing residences; he had to spend pretty much the larger part of the winter and summer on the road. He himself, on the other hand, by spending the night near Megara, could very easily be in Athens on the following day — or else, if he preferred, at Eleusis; otherwise, he could take a shorter way through Salamis, without passing through any deserts. So he had an advantage over the king and enjoyed greater luxury, since his housing arrangements were better.
§ 6.7 This is what he was wont to say jestingly, and yet he meant to bring to the attention of those who admired the wealth of the Persian and his reputed happiness that there was nothing in his actual life such as they imagined. For some things were of no use at all and other things were within the reach of even the very poor.
§ 6.8 In fact, Diogenes was not neglectful of his body as certain foolish people thought; but when they saw him often shivering and living in the open and going thirsty, they imagined that he was careless of his health and life, whereas this rigorous regime gave him better health than fell to the lot of those who were ever gorging themselves, better than fell to the lot of those who stayed indoors and never experienced either cold or heat.
§ 6.9 And he got more pleasure, too, out of sunning himself and more pleasure in eating his food than they did. But the seasons were by far his greatest delight. On the one hand, he rejoiced as the summer approached and was already dissolving the cold air; and on the other, he felt no regret as it drew to its close, since this brought him relief from its excessive heat; and by keeping pace with the seasons and growing accustomed to them gradually, he met either extreme without discomfort.
§ 6.10 He rarely made use of heat, shade, or shelter in anticipation of the proper seasons for them, nor did he do as others do, who, because they may light a fire any time and are well supplied with clothes and own houses, run away at once from the open air at the least sensation of cold, thus enfeebling their bodies and making them incapable of enduring the winter's cold,
§ 6.11 or, on the other hand, because it is possible for them to enjoy abundant shade in the summer-time and drink all the wine they wish, on that account never expose themselves to the sun, never experience a natural thirst, keep to the house just as much as women do, are inactive and sluggish of body, and have their souls steeped in a drunken stupor. This is why they devise for themselves both unwholesome menus and baths to counteract the bad effects of these, and within the same twenty-four hours they often want both a breeze and heavy clothing; they want ice and fire at one and the same time, and — what is most absurd of all — they long for both hunger and thirst.
§ 6.12 And though they are incontinent, they find no delight in love because they do not wait till they desire it naturally; consequently the pleasures they seek are devoid of satisfaction and are joyless. Diogenes, however, always waited until he was hungry or thirsty before he partook of nourishment, and he thought that hunger was the most satisfactory and pungent of appetizers. And so he used to partake of a barley cake with greater pleasure than others did of the costliest of foods, and enjoyed a drink from a stream of running water more than others did their Thasian wine.
§ 6.13 He scorned those who would pass by a spring when thirsty and move heaven and earth to find where they could buy Chian or Lesbian wine; and he used to say that such persons were far sillier than cattle, since these creatures never pass by a spring or a clear brook when thirsty or, when hungry, disdain the tenderest leaves or grass enough to nourish them.
§ 6.14 He also said that the most beautiful and healthful houses were open to him in every city: to wit, the temples and the gymnasia. And one garment was all he needed for both summer and winter, for he endured the cold weather easily because he had become used to it.
§ 6.15 He never protected his feet, either, because they were no more sensitive, he claimed, than his eyes and face. For these parts, though by nature most delicate, endured the cold very well on account of their constant exposure; for men could not possibly walk after binding their eyes as they did their feet. He used to say, too, that rich men were like new-born babes; both were in constant need of swaddling-clothes.
§ 6.16 That for which men gave themselves the most trouble and spent the most money, which caused the razing of many cities and the pitiful destruction of many nations — this he found the least laborious and most inexpensive of all things to procure.
§ 6.17 For he did not have to go anywhere for his sexual gratification but, as he humorously put it, he found Aphrodite everywhere, without expense; and the poets libelled the goddess, he maintained, on account of their own want of self-control, when they called her "the all-golden." And since many doubted this boast, he gave a public demonstration before the eyes of all, saying that if men were like himself, Troy would never have been taken, nor Priam, king of the Phrygians and a descendant of Zeus, been slain at the altar of Zeus.
§ 6.18 But the Achaeans had been such fools as to believe that even dead men found women indispensable and so slew Polyxena at the tomb of Achilles. Fish showed themselves more sensible than men almost; for whenever they needed to eject their sperm, they went out of doors and rubbed themselves against something rough.
§ 6.19 He marvelled that while men were unwilling to pay out money to have a leg or arm or any other part of their body rubbed, that while not even the very rich would spend a single drachma for this purpose, yet on that one member they spent many talents time and again and some had even risked their lives in the bargain.
§ 6.20 In a joking way he would say that this sort of intercourse was a discovery made by Pan when he was in love with Echo and could not get hold of her, but roamed over the mountains night and day till Hermes in pity at his distress, since he was his son, taught him the trick. So Pan, when he had learned his lesson, was relieved of his great misery; and the shepherds learned the habit from him.
§ 6.21 In such language he at times used to ridicule the victims of conceit and folly, though it was against the sophists, who wanted to be looked up to and thought they knew more than other men, that he railed in particular. He used to say that men, owing to their softness, lived more wretched lives than the beasts.
§ 6.22 For these took water for their drink and grass for their food, were most of them naked from one end of the year to the other, never entered a house nor made any use of fire, and yet they lived as long as nature had ordained for each, if no one destroyed them, and all alike remained strong and healthy, and had no need of doctors or of drugs.a
§ 6.23 Men, however, who are so very fond of life and devise so many ways to postpone death, generally did not even reach old age, but lived infested by a host of maladies which it were no easy task even to name, and the earth did not supply them with drugs enough, but they required the knife and cautery as well.
§ 6.25 Men crowded into the cities to escape wrong from those outside, only to wrong one another and commit all sorts of the most dreadful misdeeds as though that had been the object of their coming together. And the reason, in his opinion, why the myth says that Zeus punished Prometheus for his discovery and bestowal of fire was that therein lay the origin and beginning of man's softness and love of luxury; for Zeus surely did not hate men or grudge them any good thing.
§ 6.26 When some people urged that it is impossible for man to live like the animals owing to the tenderness of his flesh and because he is naked and unprotected either by hair, as the majority of beasts are, or by feathers and has no covering of tough skin,
§ 6.27 he would say in reply that men are so very tender because of their mode of life, since, as a rule, they avoid the sun and also avoid the cold. It is not the nakedness of the body that causes the trouble. He would then call attention to the frogs and numerous other animals much more delicate than man and much less protected, and yet some of them not only withstand the cold air but are even able to live in the coldest water during the winter.
§ 6.28 He also pointed out that the eyes and the face of man himself have no need of protection. And, in general, no creature is born in any region that cannot live in it. Else how could the first human beings to be born have survived, there being no fire, or houses, or clothing, or any other food than that which grew wild? Nay, man's ingenuity and his discovering and contriving so many helps to life had not been altogether advantageous to later generations,
§ 6.29 since men do not employ their cleverness to promote courage or justice, but to procure pleasure. And so, as they pursue the agreeable at any cost, their life becomes constantly less agreeable and more burdensome; and while they appear to be attending to their own needs, they perish most miserably, just because of excessive care and attention. And for these reasons Prometheus was justly said to have been bound to the rock and to have had his liver plucked by the eagle.
§ 6.30 Things, therefore, that were costly or demanded constant attention and worry he rejected and showed to be injurious to those who used them; but whatever could readily and without effort help the body to withstand the winter's cold or hunger or to satisfy some other appetite of the body, he would never forgo; nay, he would choose localities that were healthful in preference to the unhealthy, and those that were adapted to the different seasons,
§ 6.31 and he took care to have a sufficient supply of food and moderate clothing, but from public affairs, lawsuits, rivalries, wars, and factions he kept himself clear. He tried especially to imitate the life of the gods, for they alone, as Homer asserts, live at ease, implying that the life of man is full of labour and hardship. Even the lower animals, he claimed, understand this sort of thing clearly.
§ 6.32 The storks, for example, leave the heat of the summer and migrate to a temperate climate, and after spending as long a time there as is most congenial to them, depart in flocks, retreating before the winter; while cranes, which stand the winter fairly well, come at seeding time and for the food they pick up.
§ 6.33 Deer and hares come down from the mountains into the plains and valleys in the cold weather and find shelter there in comfortable nooks away from the wind, but in the hot season withdraw into the woods and the most northerly regions.
§ 6.34 When, therefore, he observed how other men were harassed throughout their whole lives, ever plotting against one another, ever encompassed by a thousand ills and never able to enjoy a moment's rest, nay, not even during the great festivals nor when they proclaimed a truce; and when he beheld that they did or suffered all this simply in order to keep themselves alive, and that their greatest fear was lest their so called necessities should fail them, and how, furthermore, they planned and strove to leave great riches to their children, he marvelled that he too did not do the like, but was the only independent man in the world, and that nobody else had any comprehension of his own highest happiness.
§ 6.35 For these reasons he refused to compare himself any farther with the king of the Persians, since there was a great difference between them. In fact, the king was, he said, the most miserable man alive, fearing poverty in spite of all his gold, fearing sickness and yet unable to keep away from the things that cause it, in great dread of death and imagining that everybody was plotting against him, even his own sons and his brothers.
§ 6.36 So the despot could neither eat with pleasure, though the most tempting dishes were placed before him, nor drown his troubles in wine. Not a day did he pass "at ease" in which he looked about without suffering torments. When sober, he longed for intoxication in the belief that he would then have relief from his misfortunes, and when drunk, he imagined himself to be ruined just because he was unable to help himself.
§ 6.37 And further, when awake, he prayed for sleep that he might forget his fears, but when asleep he would immediately leap up, imagining that his very dreams were killing him; and neither the golden plane-tree, nor the mansions of Semiramis, nor the walls of Babylon were of any help to him.
§ 6.38 The most absurd thing of all, however, was that, though he feared unarmed persons, yet he entrusted himself to his armed guards, that though he searched those who approached him to see if any had a weapon, yet he lived surrounded by men who carried weapons. He was forever fleeing from the unarmed to the armed and from the armed to the unarmed; from the people he protected himself by means of his bodyguard and from his bodyguard by means of his eunuchs. He had no one that he could trust, nor refuge to which he could turn so that he might live a single day without fear.
§ 6.39 He suspected everything he ate or drank, and had men to sample things for him like so many scouts on a road beset by the enemy. Nay, he could not place confidence in his nearest and dearest, whether children or wife. Yet, difficult and grievous as the position of monarch was, he never wanted to get rid of it, nor could be.
§ 6.40 "Still, all human ills admit of this one consolation," continued Diogenes — "they may possibly come to an end. The prisoner in chains expects some time to be set free; it is not impossible for the exile to return to his home; and he who is sick can hope until the end comes for recovery. But the tyrant may not escape his condition; no, he cannot even so much as pray except it be for something else. Anyone who has suffered the loss of a friend by death believes in his heart that time will eventually heal his grief; but tyrants, on the contrary, find their troubles growing worse and worse;
§ 6.41 since it is not easy for a tyrant to reach old age, and a tyrant's old age is grievous, unlike that of the horse in the proverb. For his victims as well as those who despise him have multiplied, and he, owing to his own infirmities, cannot defend himself. "Now all calamities are naturally more alarming in anticipation than they are grievous in experience, as is true of hunger, exile, imprisonment, or loss of civil rights;
§ 6.42 but if the fear of death were removed, then no further distress remains. For death in itself is so far from troubling those who have experienced it, that they have no further grief at all. Fear of it, however, is so intense that many have anticipated the event. People on a storm-tossed ship have not waited for it to go down but have taken their own lives first; others have done the same when surrounded by the enemy, although they well knew that nothing worse than death awaited them.
§ 6.43 This is the evil plight that despots are ever in, both by day and by night. For condemned criminals a stated day is set on which they must die, but tyrants are uncertain whether death will come soon or the hour has already struck. No moment, not even the most fleeting, is free from this dread, but whether eating or sacrificing to the gods the tyrant must live in this fear.
§ 6.44 And if ever it occurs to such a ruler to seek diversion, even in the enjoyments of love, no matter how intense the passion, his mind dwells on death, imagining that perhaps he will be slain by the very object of his love, and with this fear he must quaff his wine and with it must lay himself down to sleep.
§ 6.45 And so, in my opinion, the tyrant is happy only at the moment when he is struck down, since it is then that he is freed from his greatest evil. "But the most absurd thing of all is this: Other men realize that their condition is hopeless and so do not suffer long when death is possible for them; but tyrants, though suffering from the greatest evils, imagine that they are surrounded by the greatest blessings, presumably because they are deceived by the opinions of others who have not had experience of ruling.
§ 6.46 God has inflicted tyrants with this ignorance that they may hold out under their punishment. Again, to the prosperous life seems more worth living and death correspondingly more bitter,
§ 6.47 while those in adversity seem to find life harder to endure and to welcome death more gladly. But for tyrants both are harder than for others, since in life they have far less happiness than those who eagerly long to die, and yet they fear death as if they were getting the greatest enjoyment out of life.
§ 6.48 And if things pleasurable naturally afford greater delight when they are rare but become repulsive to those who have the continuous enjoyment of them, and if evils that never cease are naturally harder to bear; then we may almost say that both these — the pleasurable and the painful — are always with the tyrant in such a way that he rarely finds relief from pain and is never conscious of pleasure.
§ 6.49 Besides, he continually dreads the power of the rich and the craving of the poor for riches. Again, despots are the only persons who receive no thanks for the favours they bestow; since people never think they get enough, while those who fail to get what they want hate them above all others.
§ 6.50 "The most disliked man, too, is he who has acquired great wealth unjustly; hence no man is more disliked than a tyrant. And furthermore, he is obliged to show favours to those about him, otherwise he will perish most speedily. But it is not easy to give to many repeatedly without taking from others. Accordingly, the men whom he despoils are his enemies, while his beneficiaries eye him with suspicion and seek to be rid of him as soon as possible. What is far removed from him he fears because of its remoteness; what is near, because it is close to him; from those at a distance he looks for war, from those near at hand, treachery.
§ 6.51 Peace he considers undesirable because it leaves men idle, and war, because he is obliged to disturb his subjects by raising money and compelling them to take the field as well. So when there is a war, tyrants want peace; and when peace has been made, they at once scheme for war.
§ 6.52 When the people have all the comforts of life, they fear their insolence; when hard times come, they fear their wrath. They feel that it is safe neither to leave the country nor to stay the home, neither to appear in public nor to live in seclusion, nay, not even to set foot where they may do so in safety, and that plotting and treachery menace them on every side.
§ 6.53 Every one of them calls to mind the deaths of tyrants and all the conspiracies that have ever been formed against them; he imagines that they are all coming his way, and is terror-stricken as if he were doomed to all those deaths; and he is always wanting to look on every side and to turn around, as though he might be struck from any quarter; but this is the very thing he may not do from shame and fear at once.
§ 6.54 For the more apparent the tyrant's fear, the more do men conspire against him through scorn of his cowardice. He lives, therefore, like one shut up in a narrow cell with swords hanging over his head and others, just touching the skin, fixed all about him.
§ 6.55 So closely indeed about the tyrant's soul as well as his body are the swords set that Tantalus in Hades has a far easier time of it, Tantalus, who is said 'to dread the rock that sways above his head.' Tantalus at least has no further dread of death, while the tyrant suffers in life that fate which men ascribe to Tantalus in the other world.
§ 6.56 "Now for those who have made themselves tyrants of but a single city or a small country it is not impossible to flee from their realm and live in seclusion elsewhere — yet no one has any fondness for a tyrant, but only hatred and suspicion, and everyone is ready to surrender him to his victims — those, however, who rule over many cities and peoples and over a boundless territory, as the Persian king does, cannot escape, even though they come to comprehend their evil plight and some god remove their ignorance from them.
§ 6.57 It seems, then, that the tyrant's life would never be safe, not even if he were to become bronze or iron, but that even then he would be destroyed by being broken to pieces or melted down. "If you talk with him boldly, he is angered and fears your frankness; if you converse with him meekly and deferentially, he suspects your meekness.
§ 6.58 He feels that he is being insulted by those who treat him as an equal and deceived by those who are more obsequious. Censure, too, stings him far more than it does others because he, a sovereign, is spoken ill of; nor is he pleased with praise either,
§ 6.59 for he does not think that the speaker is sincere in his praise. Then, of the fairest and most useful of all treasures he has the greatest lack; for friendship and good-will he can expect from no one; nay, keepers of savage lions will love these brutes sooner than they who court and approach tyrants will love them.
§ 6.60 "I, however," says Diogenes, "go by night whithersoever I will and travel by day unattended, and I am not afraid to go even through an army if need be, without the herald's staff, yea, and amid brigands; for I have no enemy, public or private, to block my way. If all the gold, all the silver, and all the copper should give out, that would not injure me in the least.
§ 6.61 And if an earthquake lays all the houses low as happened once in Sparta, and all the sheep are killed so that not a single man has wherewithal to clothe himself, and want overwhelms not only Attica but Boeotia as well and the Peloponnesus and Thessaly, as it is said to have done aforetime, I shall fare none the worse nor be the more destitute.c
§ 6.62 For how much more naked shall I be than I am now, how much more homeless? I shall find all the food I need in apples, millet, barley, vetches, the cheapest of lentils, acorns roasted in the ashes, and cornel-berries, on which Homer says Circe feasted Odysseus' comrades and on which even the largest animals can subsist."
§ 7.1 The Euboean Discourse, or The Hunter
I shall now relate a personal experience of mine; not merely something I have heard from others. Perhaps, indeed, it is quite natural for an old man to be garrulous and reluctant to drop any subject that occurs to him, and possibly this is just as true of the wanderer as of the old man. The reason, I dare say, is that both have had many experiences that they find considerable pleasure in retelling. Anyhow I shall describe the character and manner of life of some people that I met in practically the centre of Greece.
§ 7.2 It chanced that at the close of the summer season I was crossing from Chios with some fishermen in a very small boat, when such a storm arose that we had great difficulty in reaching the Hollows of Euboea in safety. The crew ran their boat up a rough beach under the cliffs, where it was wrecked, and then went off to a company of purple-fishers whose vessel was anchored in the shelter of the spur of rocks near by, and they planned to stay there and work along with them.
§ 7.3 So I was left alone, and not knowing of any town in which to seek shelter, I wandered aimlessly along the shore on the chance that I might find some boat sailing by or riding at anchor. I had gone on a considerable distance without seeing anybody when I chanced upon a deer that had just fallen over the cliff and lay in the wash of the breakers, lapped by the waves and still breathing. And soon I thought I heard the barking of dogs above, but not clearly owing to the roar of the sea.
§ 7.4 On going forward and gaining an elevated position with great difficulty, I saw the dogs baffled, running to and fro, and inferred that their quarry, being hard pressed by them, had jumped over the cliff. Then, soon after, I saw a man, a hunter, to judge by his appearance and dress; he wore a beard on his healthy face, and not simply hair at the back of his head in mean and base fashion, as Homer says the Euboeans did when they went again Troy, mocking and ridiculing them, it seems to me, because, while the other Greeks there made a good appearance, they had hair on only half the head.
§ 7.5 Now this man hailed me, saying, "Stranger, have you see a deer running anywhere hereabouts?" And I replied, "Yonder it is this minute, in the surf," and I took him and showed it to him. So he dragged it out of the sea, ripped off the skin with his knife while I lent a helping hand as best I could. Then, after cutting off the hind quarters, he was about to carry them away along with the hide, when he invited me to come along and dine upon the venison with him, adding that his dwelling was not far away.
§ 7.6 "And then in the morning," he continued, "after you have rested with us, you shall come back to the sea, since the present is no weather for sailing. Yet do not worry about that," he continued, "I should be content to have the wind die down after full five days, but that is not likely when the peaks of the Euboean mountains are so capped with clouds as you see them now." And at the same time he asked me whence I came, how I had landed there, and whether the boat had not been wrecked. "It was a very small one," I replied, "belonging to some fishermen who were crossing over, and I, their only passenger, sailed with them on urgent business,
§ 7.7 but all the same it ran aground and was wrecked." "Well, it could not easily have been otherwise," he replied; "for see, how wild and rugged the part of the island is that faces the sea. These are what they call the Hollows of Euboea, where a ship is doomed if it is driven ashore, and rarely are any of those aboard saved either, unless, of course, like you they sail in a very light craft. But come and have no fear. Today you shall rest after your trying experience, but tomorrow we shall do our best to get you out safely, now that we have come to know you.
§ 7.8 You look to me like a man from the city, not a sailor or worker on the land, nay, you seem to be suffering from some grievous infirmity of body, to judge by your leanness." I followed him gladly without fear of any treachery, since I had nothing but a shabby cloak.
§ 7.9 Now I had often found in other situations like this — for I was continually roaming about — and I certainly did in this one, that poverty is in reality a sacred and inviolable thing and no one wrongs you; yes, much less than they wrong those who carry the herald's wand. And so I followed without misgiving on this occasion.
§ 7.10 And it was about five miles to his place. As we proceeded on our way he told me of his circumstances and how he lived with his wife and children. "There are two of us, stranger," he said, "who live in the same place. Each is married to a sister of the other, and we have children by them, sons and daughters.
§ 7.11 We live by the chase for the most part and work but a small bit of land. You see, the place does not belong to us: we did not inherit it or get it by our own efforts. Our fathers, though free, were just as poor as we are — hired herdsmen tending the cattle of a wealthy man, one of the residents of the island here, a man who owned many droves of horses and cattle, many flocks, many good fields too and many other possessions together with all these hills.
§ 7.12 Now when he died and his property was confiscated — they say he was put to death by the emperor for his wealth — they at once drove off his stock to be butchered, and in addition to his stock our own few cattle, and, as for our wages, no one has ever paid them.
§ 7.13 At that time, then, we stayed of necessity at the place where he happened to have had our cattle and had built certain huts and an enclosure of palings for the calves, not very large or strong — just what would do for the summer, I suppose; for in the winter we grazed our cattle in the flat lands, where we had plenty of pasturage and a good deal of hay put up; but in the summer we would drive them into the hills.
§ 7.14 It was in this place especially that our fathers made their steadings; for the place sloped in from both sides, forming a ravine, deep and shaded; through the centre flowed a quiet stream in which the cows and calves could wade with perfect ease; the water was abundant and pure, bubbling up from a spring near by; and in the summer a breeze always blew through the ravine. Then the glades round about were soft and moist, breeding never a gadfly or any other cattle pest.
§ 7.15 Many very beautiful meadows stretched beneath tall sparse trees, and the whole district abounded in luxuriant vegetation throughout the entire summer, so that the cattle did not range very far. For these reasons they regularly established the herd there. "Now our fathers remained in the huts at that time, hoping to hire out or find some work, and they lived on the produce of a very small piece of land which they happened to have under cultivation near the cattle-yard.
§ 7.16 This was quite enough for them as it was well manured. And having nothing more to do with cattle they turned to hunting, sometimes going alone and at other times with dogs; for two of those which had followed the cattle, after going a long distance and not seeing the herdsmen, had left the herd and returned to the place. These at first merely followed as if out for some other purpose than hunting, and though, when he saw wolves, they would give chase for a distance, yet to boars or deer they would pay no attention whatever.
§ 7.17 But whenever they sighted a bear, whether early or late, they would rally to the attack, barking and fending him off, as if they were fighting a man. And so, from tasting the blood of boars and deer and often eating their flesh, they changed their habits late in life and learned to like meat instead of barley-bread, gorging themselves with it whenever any game was caught and going hungry otherwise, till they finally gave more attention to the chase, pursued with equal zest every animal they sighted, began to pick up the scent and trails in some way or other, and thus changed from shepherd dogs into a sort of late-trained and rather slow hunting dogs.
§ 7.18 "Then when winter came on, there was no work in sight for the men whether they came down to town or to a village. So after making their huts tighter and the yard fence closer, they managed to get along and worked the whole of that plot, and the winter hunting proved easier.
§ 7.19 The tracks were naturally clearer, because printed on the damp ground, and the snow made them visible at a great distance, so that there was no need of a troublesome search, since a high-road, as it were, led to them, and the quarry was sluggish and waited longer. It is possible, besides, to catch hares and gazelles in their lairs.
§ 7.20 In this way, then, our fathers lived from that time on, no longer having any desire for a different kind of life. And they married us their sons to wives, each giving his own daughter. The two old men died about a year ago, counting the many years they had lived, but being still strong and youthful and vigorous of body. Of the mothers mine is yet living.
§ 7.21 "Now the other one of us has never yet been to town, though he is fifty years old, and I only twice — once when I was still a boy, with my father, when we had the cattle; and later on a man came demanding money, under the impression that we had some, and bade us follow him to the city. Now we had no money and swore on oath that we had not, adding that otherwise we would have given it.
§ 7.22 We entertained him as best we could and gave him two deerskins, and I followed him to the city, for he said it was necessary for one of us to go and explain this matter. "Now, as on my former trip, I saw many large houses and a strong surrounding wall with a number of lofty square structures on the wall and many boats lying in complete calm at anchor in a lake as it were.
§ 7.23 There is nothing like that anywhere here where you put in, and that is why the ships are wrecked. Now that is what I saw, and a big crowd herded in together and a tremendous uproar and shouting, so that I thought they were all fighting with one another. Well, he brought me before certain magistrates and said with a laugh, 'This is the man you sent me for. He has nothing but his long hair and a hut of very strong timber.'
§ 7.24 Then the officials went into the theatre and I with them. The theatre is hollow like a ravine, except that it is not long in two directions but semi-circular, and not natural but built of stone. But perhaps you are laughing at me for telling you what you know perfectly well. "Now at first the crowd deliberated on other matters for a considerable while, and they kept up a shouting, at one time in gentle fashion and all of them in cheerful mood, as they applauded certain speakers, but at other times with vehemence and in wrath.
§ 7.25 This wrath of theirs was something terrible, and they at once frightened the men against whom they raised their voices, so that some of them ran about begging for mercy, while others threw off their cloaks for fear. I too myself was once almost knocked over by the shouting, as though a tidal wave or thunder-storm had suddenly broken over me.
§ 7.26 And other men would come forward, or stand up where they were, and address the multitude, sometimes using a few words, at other times making long speeches. To some of these they would listen for quite a long time, but at others they were angry as soon as they opened their mouths, and they would not let them so much as cheep. "But when they finally settled down and there was quiet, they brought me forward.
§ 7.27 And some cried out, 'This man, sirs, is one of the fellows who have been enjoying the use of our public land for many years, and not only he but his father before him. They graze their cattle on our mountains, farm and hunt, have built many houses, have set out vines, and enjoy many other advantages without paying rent to anybody for the land or ever having received it from the people as a gift.
§ 7.28 For what, pray, would they ever have received it? And though they occupy what is ours and are wealthy, yet they have never performed any public service, nor do they pay any tax on what they make, but live free from taxes and public services as though they were benefactors of the city. Yes, and I believe,' he continued, 'that they have never come here before.'
§ 7.29 I shook my head, and the crowd laughed when they saw. This laughing enraged the speaker and he abused me roundly. Then turning toward the audience once more, he said, 'Well, then, if these doings meet with your approval, we had all better lose no time in looting the public property, some of us taking the city's money, just as certain individuals are even now doing, no doubt, and others squatting upon the land without your consent, if you are going to let these backwoodsmen hold without payment more than acres of the best land, from which you might get three Attic measures of grain per head.'
§ 7.30 "When I heard this, I laughed as loud as I could. The crowd, however, did not laugh as before but became very noisy, while the fellow grew angry, and giving me a fierce look, said, 'Do you see the deceitfulness and impudence of the scamp and how insolently he mocks me? I have a mind to have him and his partner dragged off to prison; for I understand that there are two ringleaders of this gang that has seized practically all the land in the mountains.
§ 7.31 Yes, and I do not believe they keep their hands off the wrecks that are cast up from time to time, living as they do almost above the rocks above Cape Caphereus. Where, otherwise, did they get such valuable fields, nay, rather, entire villages, and such numbers of cattle and draught animals and slaves?
§ 7.32 Perhaps, too, you note how poor his blouse is and the skin he put on to come here in order to deceive you with the notion that he is evidently a beggar and has nothing. For my part, said he, when I look at him, I am almost frightened, as I fancy I should be if I saw Nauplius come from Caphereus. I believe he flashes mariners a signal from the heights so as to decoy them on to the rocks.'
§ 7.33 While he said this and much more besides, the crowd grew ugly, while I was sore perplexed and afraid they might do me some mischief. "Then another person came forward, a good kindly man, to judge from the words he spoke and from his appearance. He first asked the people to be silent, and they became silent, and then in a quiet tone he said that they who tilled the country's idle land and got it into shape did no wrong, but, on the contrary, deserved commendation.
§ 7.34 They should not be angry at those who built upon public land and planted trees upon it, but at those who injured it. 'At this moment, sirs,' he said, 'almost two-thirds of our land is a wilderness because of neglect and lack of population. I too own many acres, as I imagine some others do, not only in the mountains but also on the plains, and if anybody would till them, I should not only give him the chance for nothing but gladly pay money besides.
§ 7.35 For it is plain that they become more valuable to me, and at the same time the sight of land occupied and under cultivation is a pleasing one, while waste lands are not only a useless possession to those who hold them, but very distressing evidence of some misfortune of their owners.
§ 7.36 Wherefore, I advise you rather to encourage all the other citizens you can to take some of the public land and work it, those who have some capital taking more, and the poorer citizens as much as each is able to handle, that your land may be in use, and the citizens who accept may be free from two very great evils, idleness and poverty.
§ 7.37 So let these men have it free for ten years, and after that period let them agree to pay a small portion from their produce but nothing from their cattle. If any alien takes up land, let him likewise pay nothing for the first five years, but after that twice as much as the citizens. And let any alien who shall put fifty acres under cultivation be made a citizen, in order to encourage as many as possible.
§ 7.38 "'At the present moment even the land just outside the city gates is quite wild and terribly unattractive, as though it were in the depths of a wilderness and not in the suburbs of a city, while most of the land inside the walls is sown or grazed. It is therefore surprising that orators trump up charges against the industrious people of Caphereus in the remote parts of Euboea, and yet hold that the men farming the gymnasium and grazing cattle in the market-place are doing nothing out of the way.
§ 7.39 You can doubtless see for yourself that they have made your gymnasium into a ploughed field, so that the Heracles and numerous other statues are hidden by the corn, some those of heroes and others statues of gods. You see too, day after day, the sheep belonging to this orator invade the market-place at dawn and graze about the council chamber and the executive buildings. Therefore, when strangers first come to our city, they either laugh at it or pity it.' Now on hearing this they burst into a rage against that first speaker in his turn and made a great uproar.
§ 7.40 'Yet though the accuser does such things, he thinks that humble and needy citizens ought to be haled off to prison, so that no one, forsooth, may do any work hereafter, but that those outside the city may live by brigandage and those within by thievery. I move,' he continued, 'that we leave these men in possession of what they themselves have created, provided they pay a moderate tax hereafter, and that we cancel all arrears to date, since they tilled land that had been wild and valueless and gained possession in that way. If, however, they wish to pay a price for their farm, let us sell to them at a cheaper figure than to anybody else.'
§ 7.41 When he had thus concluded, that first speaker again spoke in reply, and the two stormed at each other for a long time. But finally I was bidden today whatever I wished.
§ 7.42 'And what ought I to say?' I asked. 'Reply to what has been said,' cried one from his seat. 'Well then, I declare,' said I, 'that there is not one word of truth in what he has said. And as for me, sirs,' I continued, 'I thought I was dreaming when he prated about fields and villages and such like. We have no village or horses or asses or cattle. I wish we might possess all the good things he described, that we might not only have given to you but might also belong to the wealthy class ourselves! Yet what we even now have is sufficient for us, and do you take whatever you wish of it. Even if you want all, we shall replace it.' At these words they applauded.
§ 7.43 Thereupon the magistrate asked me what we would be able to give to the people, to which I replied, 'Four deer pelts of excellent quality.' Here the majority laughed and the magistrate was vexed at me. 'That is because the bear skins are rough,' I continued, 'and the goat skins are not as good as they. Some are old and some are small. But take these too, if you wish.' Then he was vexed once more and said that I was a downright landloper,
§ 7.44 and I replied, 'Do I again hear mention of lands, and from you? Did I not tell you that we have no lands?' "He asked next whether we would agree each to give an Attic talent, and I replied, 'We do not weigh our meat, but we will give whatever we have. There is a little salted down, but the rest is smoked and not much inferior to the other. There are sides of bacon and venison and other excellent meats.'
§ 7.45 Then they did raise an uproar and called me a liar. The man also asked me if we had any grain and about how much. I told him the exact amount. 'Three bushels of wheat,' said I, 'six of barley, and the same amount of millet, but only four quarts of beans, since there were none this year. Now do you take the wheat and the barley,' said I, 'and leave us the millet. But if you need millet, take it too.'
§ 7.46 'And do you not make any wine?' another asked. 'We make it,' I said, 'so that if any one of you comes, we will hand it over, but be sure to bring some kind of wineskin with you, since we haven't any.' 'Now, just how many vines have you?' 'Two,' I replied, 'outside our doors, twenty in the yard, the same number across the river that we set out recently. They are of very fine quality and yield large clusters when the passers by leave them alone.
§ 7.47 But to spare you the trouble of asking about every detail, I will tell you what else we have: eight she-goats, a mulley cow with a very pretty calf, four sickles, four grub hoes, three spears, and each of us owns a hunting knife. As for the crockery — why should one mention that? We have wives too, and children by them. We live in two pretty huts, and we have a third where the grain and the pelts are kept.'
§ 7.48 'Yes by heavens,' said the orator, 'where you bury your money too, I suspect.' 'Well then,' said I, 'come and dig it up, you fool! Who buries money in the ground? It certainly does not grow.' Then everybody laughed, and it was at him, I thought. " 'That is what we have; and now, if you want everything, we are willing to give it to you voluntarily. There is no need for you to take it from us by force as though it belonged to foreigners or rogues;
§ 7.49 for, mark you, we are citizens too of this city, as I used to hear my father say. And once he too came here just when a grant of money was being made, as it happened, and got some too along with the rest. Therefore we are raising our children to be your fellow-citizens; and should you ever need them, they will help you against brigands and foreign foes. Just now there is peace; but if ever such a crisis does arise, you will pray heaven that the majority be like ourselves. For do not imagine that this talker will fight for you then, unless, indeed, it be to scold like a woman.
§ 7.50 Besides, whenever we catch any game, we will give you a part of the meat and of the skins; only send someone to get them. Then if you bid us raze our huts, we will do so if they trouble you. But you must give us housing here; else how shall we endure the winter's cold? You have many empty houses inside the city walls; one of them will be enough for us. Yet if we choose to live elsewhere than here and thus avoid adding to the congestion caused by so many people being huddled together, that surely is no reason for moving us.
§ 7.51 'Then as to that ghoulish and wicked practice in case of wrecked vessels which the speaker had the hardihood to accuse us of — and I almost forgot to speak of it, although I should have done so at the very start — who among you could possibly believe him? Not to mention the impiety of it, it is impossible to salvage anything at all there. Indeed, all the timber you can find there is the splinters, so very small are the fragments cast up. Besides, that is the most inaccessible beach in existence.
§ 7.52 And the oar-blades which I once found cast ashore — why, I nailed them to the sacred oak that grows by the sea. Pray god I may never get or earn any profit like that from human misfortune! Why, I have never made anything out of it, but many is the time I have pitied shipwrecked travellers who have come of the my door, taken them into my hut, given them to eat and to drink, helped them in any other way that I could, and accompanied them until they got out of the wilderness.
§ 7.53 Yet who of them is there who will testify for me now? And I never did that to win a testimonial or gratitude; why, I never knew where the men came from even. I pray that none of you may ever undergo such an experience.' While I was thus speaking, a man rose in their midst, and I thought to myself that perhaps he was another of the same sort who was going to slander me,
§ 7.54 but he said: 'Sirs, for a long time I have been wondering whether I knew this man, but nevertheless was inclined to think that I did not. But now that I have clearly identified him, it seems to me that it would be dreadful, or rather a crime against heaven, for me not to corroborate his statements as far as I can, or express my gratitude in words after having in very deed received the greatest kindness at his hands.
§ 7.55 I am,' he continued, 'a citizen here, as you are aware, and so is this man,' pointing to his neighbour, who thereupon rose also. 'Two years ago we happened to be sailing in Socles' boat when it was lost off Caphereus and only a handful of us were saved out of a large number. Now some were sheltered by purple-fishers, for a few had money in their wallets; but we who were cast ashore destitute tramped along a path, hoping to find some shelter among shepherds or herdsmen, for we were in danger of perishing from hunger and thirst.
§ 7.56 And after much hardship we did finally reach some huts and stopped and hallooed, when this man here came out, brought us in, and made a low fire which he gradually increased. Then he himself rubbed one of us, and his wife the other, with tallow, they had no olive oil. Finally, they poured warm water over us until they brought us around, chilled to the bone as we had been.
§ 7.57 Then, after making us recline and throwing about us what they had, they put wheaten loaves before us to eat while they themselves ate millet porridge. They also gave us wine to drink, they themselves drinking water, and they roasted venison in abundance, while some of it they boiled. And though we wanted to go away on the morrow, they held us back for three days.
§ 7.58 Then they escorted us down to the plains and gave us meat when we left them, as well as a very handsome pelt for each of us. And when this man here saw that I was still ill from my trying experience, he put on me a little tunic which he took from his daughter, and she girded a bit of cloth about herself instead. This I gave back when I reached the village. So, next to the gods, we owe our lives to this man especially.'
§ 7.59 "While he was thus speaking, the people listened with pleasure and showed me their approval, and I recalled it all and cried out, 'Hello, Sotades!' And I approached and kissed him and the other man. However, the people laughed heartily because I kissed them. Then I understood that in the cities people do not kiss one another.
§ 7.60 "Then that kind and good man who had spoken in my behalf at the beginning came forward and said, 'I move, sirs, that we invite this man to dine in the town-hall. If he had saved one of our townsfolk in battle by covering him with his shield, would he not have received many large gifts? But now, when he has saved two citizens, and perhaps others who are not here, is he entitled to no honour at all?
§ 7.61 For the tunic which he stripped from his daughter and gave to his fellow-townsman in distress, let the city give him a tunic and a cloak as an inducement to others to be righteous and to help one another. Further, let it vote that they and their children have the use of the farm free from molestation, and that the man himself be given one hundred drachmas for equipment; and as for this money, I offer it out of my own pocket on behalf of the city.'
§ 7.62 "For this he was applauded and the motion was carried. The clothes and the money were also brought into the theatre at once. But I was loath to accept, whereupon they said, 'You cannot dine in the skin.' 'Well then,' said I, 'I shall go without dinner today.' However, they put the tunic on me and threw the cloak over my shoulders. Then I wanted to throw my skin on top of all, but they would not let me.
§ 7.63 The money I absolutely refused and swore that I would not take it. 'But if you are hunting for somebody who will take it,' said I, 'give it to that orator that he may bury it, for he knows all about that evidently.' And from that day nobody has bothered us."
§ 7.64 Now he had hardly ended when we were at the huts, and laughing I said, "But you have hidden from your fellow-citizens one thing, the fairest of your possessions." "What is that?" said he. "This garden," I replied, "very pretty indeed with all its vegetables and trees." "There was not any then," he said; "we made it afterwards."
§ 7.65 Then we entered and feasted the rest of the day, we reclining on boughs and skins the made a high bed and the wife sitting beside her husband. But a daughter of marriageable age served the food and poured us a sweet dark wine to drink; and the boys prepared the meat, helping themselves as they passed it around, so that I could not help deeming these people fortunate and thinking that of all the men that I knew, they lived the happiest lives.
§ 7.66 And yet I knew the homes and tables of rich men, of satraps and kings as well as of private individuals; but then they seemed to me the most wretched of all; and though they had so appeared before, yet I felt this the more strongly as I beheld the poverty and free spirit of the humble cottagers and noted that they lacked naught of the joy of eating and drinking, nay, that even in these things they had, one might almost say, the better of it.
§ 7.67 We were almost already well enough supplied when that other man entered, accompanied by his son, a prepossessing lad who carried a hare. The latter on entering commenced to blush; and while his father was welcoming us, he himself kissed the maiden and gave her the hare. The child then ceased serving and sat down beside her mother while the boy served in her stead.
§ 7.68 "Is she the one," I enquired of my host, "whose tunic you took off and gave to the shipwrecked man?" "No," said he with a smile, "that daughter was married long ago and already has grown up children. Her husband is a rich man living in a village." "And do they help you when you need anything?" I enquired. "We do not need anything," replied the wife,
§ 7.69 "but they get game from us whenever we catch any, and fruit and vegetables, for they have no garden. Last year we borrowed some wheat just for seed, but we repaid them as soon as harvest time was come." "Tell me," said I, "do you intend to marry this girl also to a rich man that she too may lend you wheat?" At this the two blushed, the girl as well as the boy.
§ 7.70 "She will have a poor man for a husband," said the father, "a hunter like ourselves," and with a smile he glanced at the young man. And I said, "But why do you not give her away at once? Must her husband come from some village or other?" "I have an idea," he replied, "that he is not far off; nay, he is here in this house, and we shall celebrate the marriage when we have picked out a good day." "And how do you determine the good day?" said I. And he replied, "When the moon is not in a quarter; a the air must be clear too, and the weather fine."
§ 7.71 And then I said, "Tell me, is he really a good hunter?" "I am," cried the youth; "I can run down a deer and face the charge of a boar. You shall see tomorrow, stranger, if you wish it." "And did you catch this hare?" said I. "Yes," he replied, laughing — "with my net during the night, for the sky was very beautiful, and the moon was never so big before."
§ 7.72 Then the two men laughed, not only the girl's father but his also. As for him, he felt ashamed and became silent. Then the girl's father said, "Well, my boy, it is not I who am delaying you, but your father is waiting until he can go and buy a victim, for we must sacrifice to the gods." At this point the girl's younger brother interrupted, saying, "Why, this fellow got a victim long ago. It is being fattened in there behind the hut, and a fine animal it is."
§ 7.73 "Is it really so?" they asked him, and he said "Yes." "And where did you get it?" they enquired. "When we caught the wild sow that had the young ones, they all escaped but one. They ran more swiftly than the hare," he added. "One, however, I hit with a stone, caught, and covered with my leather jerkin. I exchanged it in the village and got a young pig for it. Then I made a sty out behind and raised it."
§ 7.74 "So that is the reason why your mother would laugh," exclaimed the father, "when I used to wonder on hearing the pig grunt, and you were using the barley so freely." "Well," he replied, "the chestnuts were not enough to fatten her, supposing she had been willing to eat nuts without anything else. But if you wish to see her, I will go and fetch her in." And they bade him do so. So he and the boys were off at once on the run full of glee.
§ 7.75 Meanwhile the girl had risen and brought from another hut some sliced sorb-apples, medlars, winter apples, and swelling clusters of fine grapes, and placed them on the table after wiping off the stains from the meat with leaves and putting some clean fern beneath. Then the boys came in laughing and full of fun, leading the pig,
§ 7.76 and with them followed the young man's mother and two small brothers. They brought white loaves of wheaten bread, boiled eggs in wooden platters, parched chickpeas. After the woman had greeted her brother and her niece, his daughter, she sat down beside her husband and said, "See, there is the victim which that boy has long been feeding for his wedding day, and everything else is ready on our side. The barley and wheaten flour have been ground; only perhaps we shall need a little more wine. This too we can easily get from the village."
§ 7.77 And close beside her stood her son, glancing at his future father-in law. He smiled at the lad and said, "There is the one who is holding things up. I believe he wants to fatten the pig a bit more." The young man replied, "Why, she is ready to burst with fat."
§ 7.78 And wishing to help him, I said, "take care that your young man doesn't get thin while the pig gets fat." "Our guest speaks well," said the mother, "for he has already grown thinner than I have ever seen him before; and I noticed a short time ago that he was wakeful in the night and went out of the hut." "The dogs were barking," the young man interrupted, "and I went out to see."
§ 7.79 "No, you did not," said she, "but you were walking around distraught. So don't let us permit him to be tortured any longer." And throwing her arms about the girl's mother she kissed her; and the latter, turning to her husband, said, "Let us do as they wish." This they decided to do and said, "Let us have the wedding the day after tomorrow." They also invited me to stay over,
§ 7.80 and I did so gladly, at the same time reflecting on the character of weddings and other things among the rich, on the matchmakers, the scrutinies of property and birth, the dowries, the gifts from the bridegroom, the promises and deceptions, the contracts and agreements, and, finally, the wranglings and enmities that often occur at the wedding itself.
§ 7.81 Now I have not told this long story idly or, as some might perhaps infer, with the desire to spin a yarn, but to present an illustration of the manner of life that I adopted at the beginning and of the life of the poor — an illustration drawn from my own experience for anyone who wishes to consider whether in words and deeds and in social intercourse the poor are at a disadvantage in comparison with the rich on account of their poverty, or in every way have the advantage.
§ 7.82 And really, when I consider Euripides' words and ask myself whether as a matter of fact the entertainment of strangers is so difficult for them that they can never welcome or succour anyone in need, I find this by no means to be true of their hospitality. They light a fire more promptly than the rich and guide one on the way without reluctance — indeed, in such matters a sense of self-respect would compel them — and often they share what they have more readily. When will you find a rich man who will give the victim of a shipwreck his wife's or his daughter's purple gown or any article of clothing far cheaper than that: a mantle, for example, or a tunic, though he has thousands of them, or even a cloak from one of his slaves?
§ 7.83 Homer too illustrates this, for in Eumaeus he has given us a slave and a poor man who can still welcome Odysseus generously with food and a bed, while the suitors in their wealth and insolence share with him but grudgingly even what belongs to others, and this, I think, is just what Odysseus himself is represented as saying to Antinous when he upbraids him for his churlishness. "Thou wouldst not give a suppliant even salt In thine own house, — thou who, while sitting here, Fed at another's table, canst not bear To give me bread from thy well-loaded board."
§ 7.84 But granted that such meanness on the suitors' part was in accord with their general depravity, yet how was it with Penelope? Though she was an excellent woman, overjoyed to talk with Odysseus and learn about her husband, Homer does not say that even she gave him a cloak as he sat beside her in a bare tunic, but that she merely promised him one if it turned out that he was telling the truth about Odysseus in saying that he would arrive within the month.
§ 7.85 And afterwards, when he asked for the bow, and the suitors, who could not draw it, were angry at him because he had the hardihood to vie with them in prowess, she urged that it be given to him, adding that of course her promise of marriage could not apply to him; but she promised to give him a tunic, cloak, and shoes, if he succeeded in stretching the bow and shooting through the axes;
§ 7.86 as though he had to bend the bow of Eurytus and become the enemy of all those young men, and perhaps lose his life at their hands then and there, if he was to receive tunic and shoes, or else must produce Odysseus in person, who had not been seen anywhere for twenty years, and within a stated time at that, with the alternative, in case he could do neither, of departing in the same rags out of the presence of the good and prudent daughter royal of Icarius!
§ 7.87 Other words of about the same purport Telemachus too addresses to the swineherd regarding Odysseus when he bids the latter to send him to the city as soon as possible that he may beg for alms there, and not to feed him at the steading any longer. And even if this had been agreed upon between them, yet the swineherd feels no surprise at the treatment and its inhumanity,
§ 7.88 as though it were the regular procedure to deal with needy strangers thus strictly and meanly and to welcome open-heartedly with gifts and presents only the rich, from whom, of course, the host expected a like return, very much as the present custom is in selecting the recipients of our kindly treatment and preferment;
§ 7.89 for what seem to be acts of kindliness and favours turn out, when examined rightly, to be loans, and that too at a high rate of interest as a usual thing, if, by heavens, conditions today are not worse than they used to be, just as is the case with every other evil.
§ 7.90 Furthermore, I could state in regard to the Phaeacians also and their generosity, in case anyone imagines that their behaviour towards Odysseus was neither ungenerous nor unworthy of their wealth, just what motives and reasons induced them to be so open-handed and splendid in their generosity. But what I have said so far about this matter is more than sufficient.
§ 7.91 It is certainly clear that wealth does no great service to its owners as regards the entertainment of strangers or otherwise. On the contrary, it is more likely to make them stingy and parsimonious, generally speaking, than poverty is. Even if some man of wealth may be found — one perhaps in a million — who is liberal and magnanimous in character, this by no means conclusively proves that the majority do not become worse in this regard than those whose means are limited.
§ 7.92 A poor man, if he be of strong character, finds the little that he has sufficient both to enable him to regain his health when his body has been attacked by an illness not too severe — when, for example, he is visited by the sort of malady that usually attacks hard-working people whenever they overeat — and also to give acceptable gifts to strangers when they come — gifts willingly given that do not arouse the recipient's suspicion or give him offence -
§ 7.93 perhaps not silver bowls, or embroidered robes, or a four-horse chariot, which were the gifts of Helen and Menelaus to Telemachus. For the poor man would be unlikely to have such guests to welcome as satraps or kings, for instance, unless they were very temperate and good men in whose eyes no gift is inadequate which is prompted by affection. But guests that are dissolute and tyrannical they would neither be able, I suppose, to serve acceptably nor, perhaps, would they care to extend such hospitality.
§ 7.94 For it surely did not turn out any better for Menelaus that he was able to receive the wealthiest prince of Asia as a guest and that nobody else in Sparta was equal to entertaining the son of King Priam.
§ 7.95 For, mark you, that prince despoiled his home, appropriated his wife as well as his treasures, left the daughter motherless, and sailed away. And after that Menelaus wasted a great deal of time travelling all over Greece bewailing his misfortunes and begging every king in turn to help him. He was forced also to implore his brother to give his daughter to be sacrificed at Aulis.
§ 7.96 Then for ten years he sat fighting in Troy-land, where again both he and his brother kept cajoling the leaders of the army. When this was not done, the soldiers would grow angry and on every occasion would threaten to sail for home. Besides, he endured many hardships and dire perils, after which he wandered about and was able to reach his home only after infinite trouble.
§ 7.97 Is it not, then, most unfitting to admire wealth as the poet does and regard it as really worth seeking? He says that its greatest good lies in giving to guests and, when any who are used to luxury come of the one's house, being in a position to offer them lodging and set such tokens of hospitality before them as would please them most.
§ 7.98 And in advancing these views we cite the poets, not to gainsay them idly nor because we are envious for their reputation for wisdom that they have won by their poems; no, it is not for these reasons we covet the honour of showing them to be wrong, but because we think that it is in them especially that we shall find the thought and feeling of men generally, just what the many think about wealth and the other objects of their admiration, and what they consider would be the greatest good derived from each of them.
§ 7.99 For it is evident that men would not love the poets so passionately nor extol them as wise and good and exponents of the truth if the poetry did not echo their own sentiments nor express their own views.
§ 7.100 Since, then, it is not possible to take each member of the multitude aside and show him his error or to cross-question everybody in turn by saying, "How is it, sir, that you fear poverty so exceedingly and exalt riches so highly?" and again, "What great profit do you expect to win if you happen to have amassed wealth or, let us say, to have turned merchant or even become a king?" Such a procedure would involve infinite trouble and is altogether impracticable.
§ 7.101 Therefore, because we must, let us go to their prophets and spokesmen, the poets, with the conviction that we shall find among them the beliefs of the many clearly put and enshrined in verse; and in truth I do not think that we fall very far short of our object in so doing.
§ 7.102 And our present procedure, I believe, is the usual one even with men wiser than myself. Indeed, one very great philosopher has expressly contradicted the sentiments contained in these same lines of Euripides, and he is a man whom I think no one would ever accuse of contradicting them and Sophocles' words about wealth in any spirit of captiousness. He objects briefly in the former instance but in more detail in the case of Sophocles, and yet not at great length as we are now doing, since he was not discussing the question ex tempore with an orator's full privilege but was writing in a book.
§ 7.103 Now so much for the life of the farmer, the hunter, and the shepherd. Perhaps I have spent more time on this theme than I should have done, but I desired to show in some way or other that poverty is no hopeless impediment to a life and existence befitting free men who are willing to work with their hands, but leads them on to deeds and actions that are far better and more useful and more in accordance with nature than those to which riches are wont to attract most men.
§ 7.104 Well then, it would now be our duty to consider the life and occupations of poor men who live in the capital or some other city, and see by what routine of life and what pursuits they will be able to live a really good life, one not inferior to that of men who lend out money at excessive rates of interest and understand very well the calculation of days and months, nor to that of those who own large tenement houses and ships and slaves in great numbers!
§ 7.105 For the poor of this type suitable work may perhaps be hard to find in the cities, and will need to be supplemented by outside resources when they have to pay house-rent and buy everything they get, not merely clothes, household belongings, and food, but even the wood to supply the daily need for fire, and even any odd sticks, leaves, or other most trifling thing they need at any time,
§ 7.106 and when they are compelled to pay money for everything but water, since everything is kept under lock and key, and nothing is exposed to the public except, of course, the many expensive things for sale. It will perhaps seem hard for men to subsist under such conditions who have no other possession than their own bodies, especially as we do not advise them to take any kind of work that offers or all kinds indiscriminately from which it is possible to make some money.
§ 7.107 So perhaps we shall be forced in our discussion to banish the respectable poor from the cities in order to make our cities in reality cities "well-inhabited," as Homer calls them, where only the prosperous dwell, and we shall not allow any free labourer, apparently, within the walls. But what shall we do with all these poor people? Shall we scatter them in settlements in the country as the Athenians are said to have been spread all over Attica in early times and again later when Peisistratus became tyrant?
§ 7.108 That mode of life did not prove disadvantageous to the Athenians of that time, nor did it produce a degenerate breed of citizens either, but men in every way better and more temperate than those who later on got their living in the city as ecclesiasts, jurymen, and clerks — a lazy and at the same time ignoble crowd. It will not, therefore, cause any great and dire peril if all these respectable poor shall become by any end and every means rustics, but nevertheless I think that even in the city they will not fail to make a living.
§ 7.109 But let us see what the variety and nature of the occupations are which they are to follow in order to live in what we believe is the proper way and not be often compelled to turn to something unworthy because they are out of work. The occupations and trades in the city, if all are taken into consideration, are many and of all kinds, and some of them are very profitable for those who engage in them if one thinks of money when he says "profitable."
§ 7.110 But it is not easy to name them all separately on account of their multitude, and equally because that would be out of place here. Therefore, let this brief criticism and praise of them suffice: All which are injurious to the body by impairing its health or by preventing the maintenance of its adequate strength through their inactive or sedentary character, or which engender in the soul either turpitude or illiberality or, in general, are useless and good for nothing since they owe their origin to the silly luxury of the cities — these cannot properly be called trades or occupations at all; for Hesiod, a wise man, would never have commended all occupations alike if he had thought that any evil or disgraceful thing was entitled to that name -
§ 7.111 so where any of these evils, be it what it may, is attached to these activities, no self-respecting and honourable man should himself have anything to do with them or know anything about them or teach them to his sons, for he knows that he will not be what either Hesiod or we mean by "workman" if he engages in any such business, but will incur the shameful reproach of being an idler living on disgraceful gains and hear himself bluntly called sordid, good for nothing, and wicked.
§ 7.112 But, on the other hand, where the occupations are not unbecoming to those who follow them and create no evil condition in their souls nor injure their health by inducing, among other diseases, physical weakness in particular, sluggishness, and softness on account of the almost complete lack of exercise, and, further, enable one to make a satisfactory living -
§ 7.113 the men who engage zealously and industriously in any of these will never lack work and a living from it, nor will they give the rich any justification for calling them the "poor class," as is their wont; on the contrary, they will be rather purveyors to the rich and lack practically nothing that is necessary and useful.
§ 7.114 Now without describing in detail each and every occupation, but simply offering a general outline, let us mention in these two classes the kinds we do not approve of, giving our reasons, and the kinds we urge men to undertake without hesitation. Let them pay no heed to those idle objectors who are wont often to sneer obviously not only at a man's occupation when it has nothing at all objectionable in it, but even at that of his parents, when, for instance, his mother was once on occasion someone's hired servant or a harvester of grapes, or was a paid wet-nurse for a motherless child or a rich man's, or when his father was a schoolmaster or a tutor. Let them, I say, feel no shame before such persons but go right ahead.
§ 7.115 For if they refer to such things, they will simply be mentioning them as indications of poverty, evidently abusing and holding up poverty itself as something evil and unfortunate, and not any of these occupations. Therefore, since we maintain that to be poor is no worse and no more unfortunate than to be rich, and perhaps no less advantageous to many, the sneer at one's occupation ought not to give any greater offence than the sneer at one's poverty.
§ 7.116 You see, if, without mentioning the thing with which they found fault, they had to bring up and denounce the things it caused from day today, they would have a great many more and really disgraceful things caused by the possession of wealth to bring up, and not least of all what in Hesiod is adjudged the greatest shame, namely, the charge of idleness, and exclaim, "Sir, "Never a delver did the gods make thee, nor a ploughman," adding, "In vain hast thou hands; soft and tender are they like those of the suitors."
§ 7.117 Now what I have to say next is, I imagine, apparent to every man and perhaps often remarked — that dyeing and perfumery, along with the dressing of men's and women's hair — nearly the same for both sexes today — and practically all adorning, not only of clothing, but even of the hair and skin by the use of alkanet, white lead, and all kinds of chemicals in the attempt to counterfeit youthfulness make a spurious image of the person, and further, the decorating of the roofs, walls, and floor of houses, now with paints, now with precious stones, here with gold and there with ivory,
§ 7.118 and, again, with carving of the walls themselves — that as for these occupations, the best thing would be that cities should admit none of them at all, but that for us in our present discussion the next best thing would be to rule that none of our poor should adopt any such trade; for we are at present contending against the rich as if with a chorus, and the contest is not for happiness — that is not the prize set before poverty, or before wealth either, but is the especial reward of virtue alone — no, it is for a certain manner of life and moderation therein.
§ 7.119 Furthermore, we shall not permit our poor to become tragic or comic actors or creators of immoderate laughter by means of certain mimes, or dancers or chorus-men either. We except, however, the sacred choruses, but not if they represent the sorrows of Niobe or Thyestes by song or dance. Nor shall the poor become harpers or flute-players contending for victory in the theatres, even if we shall offend certain distinguished cities by so doing, cities such as Smyrna or Chios, for example, and, of course, Argos too, for not permitting the glory of Homer and Agamemnon to be magnified, at least so far as we can help it.
§ 7.120 Perhaps the Athenians also will have a grievance because they believe that we are disparaging their poets, tragic and comic, when we deprive them of their assistants, claiming that there is nothing good in their calling. It is likely that the Thebans too will be resentful, on the ground that indignity is being offered their victory in flute-playing which was awarded them by Greece.
§ 7.121 They cherished that victory so dearly that when their city had been destroyed — almost as it remains today except for a small part, the Cadmea, which is still inhabited — they cared nothing for the other things that had disappeared, for the many temples, many columns and inscriptions, but the Hermes they hunted out and set up again because the inscription about the contest in flute-playing was engraved upon it. "Greece awarded to Thebes the victory in playing on flute-pipes." And now in the middle of the old market-place stands this one statue surrounded by ruins.
§ 7.122 But we shall have no fear of any of these people nor of those who will charge us with disparaging the things which the Greeks cherish as most important, but shall declare that all such activities have no place with self-respecting or free men, holding that many evils are due to them, the greatest of which certainly is shamelessness, that overweening pride on the part of the populace, for which arrogance would be a better name.
§ 7.123 Neither should our poor become auctioneers or proclaimers of rewards for the arrest of thieves or runaways, shouting in the streets and market-place with great vulgarity, or scriveners who draw up contracts and summonses or, in general, documents that have to do with trials and complaints, and claim knowledge of legal forms; nor must they be learned and clever pettifogging lawyers, who pledge their services to all alike for a fee, even to the greatest scoundrels, and undertake to defend unblushingly other men's crimes, and to rage and rant and beg mercy for men who are neither their friends nor kinsmen, though in some cases these advocates bear a high report among their fellow-citizens as most honourable and distinguished men. No, we shall allow none of our poor to adopt such professions but shall leave these to the other sort.
§ 7.124 For though some of them must of necessity become handcraftsmen, there is no necessity that they should become tongue-craftsmen and law-craftsmen. Still, if any of the occupations of which I have been speaking, and shall yet speak, seem to have their useful place in our cities as they do in these now existing, such as perhaps the registering of judgments and contracts, and perhaps certain proclamations, it is not now the place for us to determine how and by whom these needs shall be met with the least harm.
§ 7.125 For we are not at present mapping out the form of government that would be best, or better than many, but we did set out to discuss poverty and to show that its case is not hopeless, as the majority think, but that it affords many opportunities of making a living that are neither unseemly nor injurious to men who are willing to work with their hands.
§ 7.126 Indeed, it was with that very premise that we were led to tell that quite lengthy tale at the beginning about life among farmers and hunters, and to speak now about city occupations, defining those that are befitting and not harmful to men who are not to live on the lowest plane, and those which degrade the men who are employed in them.
§ 7.127 Further, if much that I have said is, in general, serviceable in moulding public policy and assisting in a proper choice, then there is the greater reason for pardoning the length of my discourse, because I have not dragged it out in idle wandering or talk about useless things. For the study of employments and trades and, in general, of the life fitting or otherwise for ordinary people has proved to be, in and of itself, worthy of a great deal of very careful research.
§ 7.128 The hearer should therefore not be annoyed at digressions even if they do seem excessively long, if only they are not about trivial or unworthy or irrelevant things, since the speaker has not abandoned the real theme of the whole provided he treats of the matters that are essential and pertinent to philosophy.
§ 7.129 Probably if we imitated the hunter in this we should not go far astray. When he picks up his first trail and, following it, all at once comes upon another that is clearer and fresher, he does not hesitate to follow up this latter and then, after bagging his game, goes back to the first trail.
§ 7.130 Neither should we, perhaps, find fault with a man who set out to discuss the just man and justice and then, having mentioned a city for the sake of illustration, expatiated at much greater length on the constitution of a state and did not grow weary until he had enumerated all the variations and the kinds of such organizations, setting forth very clearly and magnificently the features characteristic of each;
§ 7.131 even though he does find critics here and there who take him to task for the length of his discussion and the time spent upon "the illustration, forsooth!" But if the criticism be that his remarks on the state have no bearing on the matter in hand and that not the least light has been thrown on the subject of investigation which led him into the discussion at the start — for these reasons, if for any, it is not altogether unfair to call him to task.
§ 7.132 So if we too shall be found to be expounding matters that are not pertinent or germane to the question before us, then we might be found guilty of prolixity. But, strictly speaking, it is not fair on other grounds to commend or to criticize either length or brevity in a discourse. Now we must confidently go on and finish our discussion of the other activities of city life, mentioning some of them and leaving others unmentioned and unrecorded.
§ 7.133 In dealing with brothel-keepers and their trade we must certainly betray no weakness as though something were to be said on both sides, but must sternly forbid them and insist that no one, be he poor or be he rich, shall pursue such a business, thus levying a fee, which all the world condemns as shameful, upon brutality and lust. Such men bring individuals together in union without love and intercourse without affection, and all for the sake of filthy lucre. They must not take hapless women or children, captured in war or else purchased with money, and expose them for shameful ends in dirty booths which are flaunted before the eyes in every part of the city, at the doors of the houses of magistrates and in market-places, near government buildings and temples,
§ 7.134 in the midst of all that is holiest. Neither barbarian women, I say, nor Greeks — of whom the latter were in former times almost free but now live in bondage utter and complete — shall they put in such shameful constraint, doing a much more evil and unclean business than breeders of horses and of asses carry on, not mating beasts with beasts where both are willing and feel no shame, but mating human beings that do feel shame and revulsion, with lecherous and dissolute men in an ineffectual and fruitless physical union that breeds destruction rather than life. Yes, and they respect no man nor god -
§ 7.135 not Zeus, the god of family life, not Hera, the goddess of marriage, not the Fates, who bring fulfilment, not Artemis, protectress of the child-bed, not mother Rhea, not the Eileithyiae, who preside over human birth, not Aphrodite, whose name stands for the normal intercourse and union of male and female.
§ 7.136 No, we must proclaim that neither magistrate nor lawgiver shall allow such merchandising or legalize it, whether our cities are to house a people of the highest virtue or to fall into a second, third, fourth, or any other class, so long as it is in the power of any one of them to prevent such things.
§ 7.137 But if old customs and diseases that have become entrenched in the course of time fall to the care of our ruler, he shall by no means leave them without attention and correction, but, with an eye to what is practicable, he shall curb and correct them in some way or other. For evils are never wont to remain as they are; they are ever active and advancing to greater wantonness if they meet no compelling check.
§ 7.138 It is our duty, therefore, to give some heed to this and under no condition to bear this mistreatment of outcast and enslaved creatures with calmness and indifference, not only because all humanity has been held in honour and in equal honour by God, who begat it, having the same marks and tokens to show that it deserves honour, to wit, reason and the knowledge of evil and good, but also because of the following consideration, which we must always remember: that for flagrant wrong fostered by licence it is difficult to set a limit that it will no longer, through fear of the consequences, dare to transgress. Indeed, beginning with practices and habits that seem trivial and allowable, it acquires a strength and force that are uncontrollable, and no longer stops at anything.
§ 7.139 Now at this point we must assuredly remember that this adultery committed with outcasts, so evident in our midst and becoming so brazen and unchecked, is to a very great extent paving the way to hidden and secret assaults upon the chastity of women and boys of good family, such crimes being only too boldly committed when modesty is openly trampled upon, and that it was not invented, as some think, to afford security and abstinence from these crimes.
§ 7.140 Perhaps now someone may say, rather rudely, something like this: "O you wise rulers and lawgivers, who tolerated such practices in the beginning and imagined you had actually discovered some wondrous elixir to produce chastity in our cities, your motive being to keep these open and unbarred brothels from contaminating your barred homes and inner chambers, and keep men who practise their excesses abroad and openly at little cost from turning to your free-born and respected wives with their many bribes and gifts!" For men do grow weary of what is excessively cheap and freely permitted, but pursue in fear and at great expense what is forbidden simply because it is forbidden.
§ 7.141 I think you will see this more clearly if you just consider. For where men condone even the matter of adultery in a somewhat magnificent fashion and the practice of it finds great and most charitable consideration, where husbands in their simplicity do not notice most things and do not admit knowledge of some things but suffer the adulterers to be called guests and friends and kinsmen, at times even entertaining these themselves and inviting them to their tables at festivals and sacrifices as, I imagine, they might invite their bosom friends,
§ 7.142 and display but moderate anger at actions that are most glaring and open — where, I say, these intrigues of the married women are carried on with such an air of respectability, in that community it will not be easy to feel quite sure of the maidenhood of the unmarried girls or ever to be confident that the words of the wedding song sung at the marriage of the girls are truthful and honest.
§ 7.143 Is it not inevitable that in these cities many things occur which are like the old legends? — omitting, of course, the angry and meddlesome fathers — that a great many persons copy the storied amours of the gods and gold pours down in showers through the roofs (and with little difficulty, since the chambers are not of brass or stone),
§ 7.144 and yes, by heavens, that silver trickles in no small stream nor into the laps of the maidens alone, but into those of mothers also and nurses and tutors — to say nothing of many other handsome gifts which sometimes enter stealthily through the roof and sometimes openly no doubt at the very bedside!
§ 7.145 Is it not likely, too, that much occurs in rivers and beside springs which is like those happenings of ancient times that the poets describe? Only perhaps they do not occur in the open publicly, but in homes of truly great felicity, at costly lodges in parks and city suburbs, in luxurious artificial bowers and in splendid groves; for it is not a question of poor daughters of penniless kings, the kind that carry water and play on beaches beside the rivers, bathing in cool water, or on wide-spreading beaches of the sea; no, they are the wealthy daughters of wealthy parents in princely establishments that possess all these things in private far surpassing anything in public splendour and magnificence.
§ 7.146 But perhaps they would nevertheless be expecting children to be born in that city, children of the kind that Homer refers to when he mentions Eudorus, son of Hermes and Polydora, and makes use of an euphemism, as I see it, in referring to his birth: "Virgin's son whom bore Polydora, fair in the chorus."
§ 7.147 I suspect that at Sparta as well some boys of a similar paternity received this appellation, since quite a number are called Parthenians. Consequently, if the majority born in such immoral cities did not perish through utter lack, I imagine, of divine protection, then nothing would save the world from being overrun by demigods.
§ 7.148 But as it is, some die at birth, while those that do survive live on to old age in obscurity in the status of slaves, since those who gave them being can give them no further support. Now then, in a city where the girls' condition is as bad as we have described,
§ 7.149 what are we to expect the boys to be? What education and training should we expect them to receive? Is there any possibility that this lecherous class would refrain from dishonouring and corrupting the males, making their clear and sufficient limit that set by nature? Or will it not, while it satisfies its lust for women in every conceivable way, find itself grown weary of this pleasure, and then seek some other worse and more lawless form of wantonness?
§ 7.150 Yes, the seduction of women — especially, one might almost say, of the freeborn and virgins — has been found easy and no task for a man who pursues that kind of game with money; and even against the highly respected wives and daughters of men really respected, the libertine who attacks with the device of Zeus and brings gold in his hands will never fail.
§ 7.151 But the further developments, I presume, are perfectly evident, since we see so many illustrations. The man whose appetite is insatiate in such things, when he finds there is no scarcity, no resistance, in this field, will have contempt for the easy conquest and scorn for a woman's love, as a thing too readily given — in fact, too utterly feminine — and will turn his assault against the male quarters, eager to befoul the youth who will very soon be magistrates and judges and generals,
§ 7.152 believing that in them he will find a kind of pleasure difficult and hard to procure. His state is like that of men who are addicted to drinking and wine-bibbing, who after long and steady drinking of unmixed wine, often lose their taste for it and create an artificial thirst by the stimulus of sweatings, salted foods, and condiments.
§ 8.1 The Eighth Discourse, on Virtue Diogenes or On Virtue
When Diogenes was exiled from his native Sinope, he came to Athens, looking like the veriest beggar; and there he found a goodly number still of Socrates' companions: to wit, Plato, Aristippus, Aeschylus, Antisthenes, and Eucleides of Megara; but Xenophon was in exile on account of his campaign with Cyrus. Now it was not long before he despised them all save Antisthenes, whom he cultivated, not so much from approval of the man himself as of the words he spoke, which he felt to be alone true and best adapted to whether mankind.
§ 8.2 For when he contrasted the man Antisthenes with his words, he sometimes made this criticism, that the man himself was much weaker; and so in reproach he would call him a trumpet because he could not hear his own self, no matter how much noise he made. Antisthenes tolerated this banter of his since he greatly admired the man's character;
§ 8.3 and so, in requital for being called a trumpet, he used to say that Diogenes was like the wasps, the buzz of whose wings is slight but the sting very sharp. Therefore he took delight in the outspokenness of Diogenes, just as horsemen, when they get a horse that is high-strung and yet courageous and willing to work, do not object to the difficult temper of the animal, but dislike and have no use for the lazy and slow.
§ 8.4 Sometimes, therefore, he used to key Diogenes up, while at other times he tried to relax his tension, just as those who twist strings for musical instruments stretch the strings, taking care, however, not to break them. After Antisthenes' death he moved to Corinth, since he considered none of the others worth associating with, and there he lived without renting a house or staying with a friend, but camping out in the Craneion.
§ 8.5 For he observed that large numbers gathered at Corinth on account of the harbours and the hetaerae, and because the city was situated as it were at the cross-roads of Greece. Accordingly, just as the good physician should go and offer his services where the sick are most numerous, so, said he, the man of wisdom should take up his abode where fools are thickest in order to convict them of their folly and reprove them.
§ 8.6 So, when the time for the Isthmian games arrived, and everybody was at Isthmus, he went down also. For it was his custom at the great assemblies to make a study of the pursuits and ambitions of men, of their reasons for being abroad, and of the things on which they prided themselves.
§ 8.7 He gave his time also to any who wished to interview him, remarking that he was surprised by the fact that had he claimed to be a physician for the teeth, everybody would flock to him who needed to have a tooth pulled; yes, and by heavens, had he professed to treat the eyes, all who were suffering from sore eyes would present themselves, and similarly, if he had claimed to know of a medicine for diseases of the spleen or for gout or for running of the nose;
§ 8.8 but when he declared that all who should follow his treatment would be relieved of folly, wickedness, and intemperance, not a man would listen to him or seek to be cured by him, no matter how much richer he might become thereby, as though he were less inconvenienced by these spiritual complaints than by the other kind, or as though it were worse for a man to suffer from an enlarged spleen or a decayed tooth than from a soul that is foolish, ignorant, cowardly, rash, pleasure-loving, illiberal, irascible, unkind, and wicked, in fact utterly corrupt.
§ 8.9 That was the time, too, when one could hear crowds of wretched sophists around Poseidon's temple shouting and reviling one another, and their disciples, as they were called, fighting with one another, many writers reading aloud their stupid works, many poets reciting their poems while others applauded them, many jugglers showing their tricks, many fortune-tellers interpreting fortunes, lawyers innumerable perverting judgment, and peddlers not a few peddling whatever they happened to have.
§ 8.10 Naturally a crowd straightway gathered about him too; no Corinthians, however, for they did not think it would be at all worth their while, since they were accustomed to see him every day in Corinth. The crowd that gathered was composed of strangers, and each of these, after speaking or listening for a short time, went his way, fearing his refutation of their views.
§ 8.11 Just for that reason, said Diogenes, he was like the Laconian dogs; there were plenty of men to pat them and play with them when they were shown at the popular gatherings, but no one was willing to buy any because he did not know how to deal with them. And when a certain man asked whether he too came to see the contest, he said, "No, but to take part." Then when the man laughed and asked him who his competitors were,
§ 8.12 he said with that customary glance of his: "The toughest there are and the hardest to beat, men whom no Greek can look straight in the eye; not competitors, however, who sprint, or wrestle or jump, not those that box, throw the spear, and hurl the discus, but those that chasten a man."
§ 8.13 "Who are they, pray?" asked the other. "Hardships," he replied, "very severe and insuperable for gluttonous and folly-stricken men who feast the livelong day and snore at night, but which yield to thin, spare men, whose waists are more pinched in than those of wasps.
§ 8.14 Or do you think those pot-bellies are good for anything? — creatures whom sensible people ought to lead around, subject to the ceremony of purification, and then thrust beyond the borders, or, rather, kill, quarter, and use as food just as people do with the flesh of large fish, don't you know, boiling it in brine and melting out the fat, the way our people at home in Pontus do with the lard of pigs when they want to anoint themselves. For I think these men have less soul than hogs.
§ 8.15 But the noble man holds his hardships to be his greatest antagonists, and with them he is ever wont to battle day and night, not to win a sprig of parsley as so many goats might do, nor for a bit of wild olive, or of pine, but to win happiness and virtue throughout all the days of his life, and not merely when the Eleans make proclamation, or the Corinthians, or the Thessalian assembly. He is afraid of none of those opponents nor does he pray to draw another antagonist,
§ 8.16 but challenges them one after another, grappling with hunger and cold, withstanding thirst, and disclosing no weakness even though he must endure the lash or give his body to be cut or burned. Hunting, exile, loss of reputation, and the like have no terrors for him; nay, he holds them as mere trifles, and while in their very grip the perfect man is often as sportive as boys with their dice and their coloured balls.
§ 8.17 "Of course," he continued, "these antagonists do seem terrible and invincible to all cravens; but if you treat them with contempt and meet them boldly, you will find them cowardly and unable to master strong men, in this greatly resembling dogs, which pursue and bite people who run away from them, while some they seize and tear to pieces, but fear and slink away from men who face them and show fight, and in the end wag their tails when they come to know them.
§ 8.18 Most people, however, are in mortal terror of these antagonists, always avoiding them by flight and never looking them in the face. And indeed, just as skilful boxers, if they anticipate their opponents, are not hit at all, but often actually end by winning the bout themselves, but if, on the contrary, they give ground through fear, they receive the heaviest blow; in the same way, if we accept our hardships in a spirit of contempt for them and approach them cheerfully, they avail very little against us; but if we hang back and give way, they appear altogether greater and more severe.
§ 8.19 You can see that the same thing applies to fire also: if you attack it most vigorously, you put it out; but if with caution and fear, you get badly burned, just as children do when in sport they sometimes try to put out a fire with their tongues. The adversaries of this class are a good deal like the pancratiasts, who strike, choke, rend, and occasionally kill.
§ 8.20 "But there is another battle more terrible and a struggle not slight but much greater than this and fraught with greater danger, I mean the fight against pleasure. Nor is it like that battle which Homer speaks of when he says, Fiercely then around the ships The struggle was renewed. With halberds and with trenchant battle-axe They fought, with mighty sword and two-edged spear.
§ 8.21 No, it is no such battle, for pleasure uses no open force but deceives and casts a spell with baneful drugs, just as Homer says Circe drugged the comrades of Odysseus, and some forthwith became swine, some wolves, and some other kinds of beasts. Yes, such is this thing pleasure, that hatches no single plot but all kinds of plots, and aims to undo men through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, with food too, and drink and carnal lust, tempting the waking and the sleeping alike.
§ 8.22 For it is not possible to set guards and then lie down to sleep as in ordinary warfare, since it is just then of all times that she makes her attack, at one time weakening and enslaving the soul by means of sleep itself, at another, sending mischievous and insidious dreams that suggest her.
§ 8.23 "Now work is carried on by means of touch for the most part and proceeds in that way, but pleasure assails a man through each and every sense that he has; and while he must face and grapple with work, to pleasure he must give the widest berth possible and have none but unavoidable dealings with her.
§ 8.24 And herein the strongest man is indeed strongest, one might almost say, who can keep the farthest away from pleasures; for it is impossible to dwell with pleasure or even to dally with her for any length of time without being completely enslaved. Hence when she gets the mastery and overpowers the soul by her charms, the rest of Circe's sorcery at once follows. With a stroke of her wand pleasure coolly drives her victim into a sort of sty and pens him up,
§ 8.25 and now from that time forth the man goes on living as a pig or a wolf. Pleasure also brings divers and deadly vipers into being, and other crawling things that attend constantly upon her as they lie about her doors, and though yearning for pleasure and serving her, they yet suffer a thousand hardships all in vain.
§ 8.26 For pleasure, after overpowering and taking possession of her victims, delivers them over to hardships, the most hateful and most difficult to endure. "This is the contest which I steadfastly maintain, and in which I risk my life against pleasure and hardship, yet not a single wretched mortal gives heed to me, but only to the jumpers and runners and dancers.
§ 8.27 Neither, indeed, did men have eyes for struggles and labours of Heracles or have any interest in them, but perhaps even then they were admiring certain athletes such as Zetes,22a Calais,22b Peleus, and other like runners and wrestlers; and some they would admire for their beauty and others for their wealth, as, for example, Jason and Cinyras.
§ 8.28 About Pelops, too, the story ran that he had an ivory shoulder, as if there were any use in a man having a golden or ivory hand or eyes of diamond or malachite; but the kind of soul he had men did not notice. As for Heracles, they pitied him while he toiled and struggled and called him the most 'trouble-ridden,' or wretched, of men; indeed, this is why they gave the name 'troubles,' or tasks, to his labours and works, as though a laborious life were a trouble-ridden, or wretched life; but now that he is dead they honour him beyond all others, deify him, and say he has Hebe to wife, and all pray to him that they may not themselves be wretched — to him who in his labours suffered wretchedness exceedingly great.
§ 8.29 "They have an idea, too, that Eurystheus had him in his power and ordered him about, Eurystheus, whom they considered a worthless fellow and to whom no one ever prayed or sacrificed. Heracles, however, roved over all Europe and Asia, though he did not look at all like any of these athletes;
§ 8.30 for where could he have penetrated, had he carried so much flesh or required so much meat or drink into such depths of sleep? No, he was as alert and lean like a lion, keen of eye and ear, recking naught of cold or heat, having no use for bed, shawl, or rug, clad in a dirty skin, with an air of hunger about him, as he succoured the good and punished the bad.
§ 8.31 And because Diomedes, the Thracian, wore such fine raiment and sat upon a throne drinking the livelong day in high revel, and treated strangers unrighteously as well as his own subjects, and kept a large stable, Heracles smote him with his club and smashed him as if he had been an old jar. Then Geryones, who had ever so many cattle and was the richest of all western lords and the most arrogant, he also killed along with his brothers and drove his cattle away.
§ 8.32 And when he found Busiris very diligently training, eating the whole day long, and exceeding proud of his wrestling, Heracles burst him open like an over-filled bag by dashing him to the ground. He loosed the girdle of the Amazon, who tried to coquet with him and thought to win by means of her beauty. For he both consorted with her and made her understand that he could never be overcome by beauty and would never tarry far away from his own possessions for a woman's sake.
§ 8.33 And Prometheus, whom I take to have been a sort of sophist, he found being destroyed by popular opinion; for his liver swelled and grew whenever he was praised and shrivelled again when he was censured. So he took pity on him, frightened . ., and thus relieved him of his vanity and inordinate ambition; and straightway he disappeared after making him whole. "Now in all those exploits he was not doing a favour to Eurystheus at all.
§ 8.34 And as to the golden apples that he got and brought back — I mean those of the Hesperides — he did give them to him, since he had no use for them himself, but told him to keep them and go hang; for he explained that apples of gold are of no use to a man, nor had the Hesperides, either, found them to be. Then, finally, when he was growing ever slower and weaker, from fear that he would not be able to live as before, and besides, I suppose, because he was attacked by some disease, he made the best provision that was humanly possible for himself, for he reared a pyre of the very driest wood in the courtyard and showed that he minded the fiery heat precious little.
§ 8.35 But before that, to avoid creating the opinion that he did only impressive and mighty deeds, he went and removed and cleaned away the dung in the Augean stables, that immense accumulation of many years. For he considered that he ought to fight stubbornly and war against opinion as much as against wild beasts and wicked men."
§ 8.36 While Diogenes thus spoke, many stood about and listened to his words with great pleasure. Then, possibly with this thought of Heracles in his mind, he ceased speaking and, squatting on the ground, performed an indecent act, whereat the crowd straightway scorned him and called him crazy, and again the sophists raised their din, like frogs in a pond when they do not see the water-snake.
§ 9.01 The Ninth or Isthmian Discourse
§ 9.1 When the Isthmian games were in progress, Diogenes, who probably was sojourning at Corinth, went down to the Isthmus. He did not attend the great public gatherings, however, with the same motives as the majority, who wished to see the athletes and to gormandize. No, I warrant he came as an observer of mankind and of men's folly. He knew that men show their real character most clearly at public festivals and large gatherings, while in war and in camp it is more concealed owing to the presence of peril and fear.
§ 9.2 Moreover, he thought they were more easily healed here (for bodily diseases are more readily treated by the physician when they are plain to be seen than while the trouble remains hidden), but that those who are neglected when engaged in such pursuits most speedily perish. Therefore he used to attend the public gatherings.
§ 9.3 And he would jestingly remark when taxed for his currish manners, "Well, dogs follow along to the festivals, but they do no wrong to any of those attending; they bark and attack rogues and thieves, and when their masters are in a drunken sleep, they stay awake and guard them."
§ 9.4 No Corinthian, however, paid any attention to him when he appeared at the gathering, because they often saw him in the city and around the Craneion. For men do not pay much attention to those whom they are constantly seeing and whom they think they can approach whenever they wish, but they turn to those whom they only see at intervals or have never seen before. So the Corinthians derived the least profit from Diogenes, precisely as if sick people would not consult a physician resident in their midst but thought the bare sight of him in the city sufficient.
§ 9.5 As regards other persons, it was those from a distance who visited him chiefly, all who came to the festival from Ionia, Sicily, and Italy, and some of those who came from Libya, Massilia, and Borysthenes, and the motive of all those was to see and hear him speak for even a short time so as to have something to tell others rather than to get improvement for themselves.
§ 9.6 For he had the reputation of having a sharp tongue and being instantly ready with an answer for his interrogators. Accordingly, just as those who know nothing of the Pontic honey try a taste of it and then quickly spit it out because it is bitter and unpleasant in taste, so people in their idle curiosity wished to make trial of Diogenes, but on being put to confusion by him would turn on their heels and flee.
§ 9.7 They were amused, of course, when others were railed at, but on their own account they were afraid and so would withdraw out of his way. Again, when he jested and joked, as was his wont at times, they were pleased beyond measure; but when he warmed up and became serious, they could not stand his frankness. The situation was the same, I fancy, as when children delight to play with well-bred dogs but are terrified and scared to death when they show anger and bark more loudly. At these meetings also he held to the same line of conduct, not changing his ways nor caring whether anyone of his audience commended or criticized him; no, not even if it was some wealthy and prominent person such as a general or ruler who approached and conversed with him, or some very humble and poor individual.
§ 9.8 When such people talked nonsense, he usually scorned them merely, but those that assumed airs and prided therefore on their wealth or family or some other distinction he would make the especial object of his attack and castigate thoroughly. Some admired him, therefore, as the wisest man in the world, to others he seemed crazy, many scorned him as a beggar and a poor good-for nothing, some jeered at him,
§ 9.9 others tried to insult him grossly by throwing bones at his feet as they would to dogs, yet others would approach him and pluck at his cloak, but many could not tolerate him and were indignant. It was just like the way in which Homer says the suitors made sport of Odysseus; he too endured their riotous conduct and insolence for a few days, and Diogenes was like him in every respect. For he really resembled a king and lord who in the guise of a beggar moved among the slaves and menials while they caroused in ignorance of his identity, and yet was patient with them, drunken as they were and crazed by reason of ignorance and stupidity.
§ 9.10 Generally the managers of the Isthmian games and other honourable and influential men were sorely troubled and held themselves aloof whenever they came his way, and passed on, all of them, in silence and with scowling glances. But when he went so far as to put the crown of pine upon his head, the Corinthians sent some of their servants to bid him lay aside the crown and do nothing unlawful.
§ 9.11 He, however, asked them why it was unlawful for him to wear the crown of pine and not so for others. Whereupon one of them said, "Because you have won no victory, Diogenes." To which he replied, "Many and mighty antagonists have I vanquished, not like these slaves who are now wrestling here, hurling the discus and running,
§ 9.12 but more difficult in every way — I mean poverty, exile, and disrepute; yes, and anger, pain, desire, fear, and the most redoubtable beast of all, treacherous and cowardly, I mean pleasure, which no Greek or barbarian can claim he fights and conquers by the strength of his soul, but all alike have succumbed to her and have failed in this contest — Persians, Medes, Syrians, Macedonians, Athenians, Lacedemonians — all, that is, save myself.
§ 9.13 Is it I, then, think you, that am worthy of the pine, or will you take and bestow it upon the one who is stuffed with the most meat? Take this answer, then, to those who sent you and say that it is they who break the law; for they go about wearing crowns and yet have won in no contest; and add that I have lent a great lustre to the Isthmian games by having myself taken the crown, which ought to be a thing for goats, forsooth, to fight over, not for men."
§ 9.14 And on a later occasion when he saw a person leaving the race-track surrounded by a great mob and not even walking on the earth, but carried shoulder high by the throng, with some following after and shouting, others leaping for joy and lifting their hands towards heaven, and still others throwing garlands and ribbons upon him, he asked, when he was able to get near, what was the meaning of the tumult about him, and what had happened.
§ 9.15 The victor replied, "I have won the two hundred yards dash for men, Diogenes." "And what does that amount to?" he inquired; "for you certainly have not become one whit more intelligent for having outstripped your competitors, nor more temperate than you were, nor less cowardly, nor are you less discontented, nor will your wants be less in the future or your life freer from grief and pain."
§ 9.16 "No, by heavens," said he, "but I am the fastest on foot of all the Greeks." "But not faster than rabbits," said Diogenes, "nor deer; and yet these animals, the swiftest of all, are also the most cowardly. They are afraid of men and dogs and eagles and lead a wretched life. Do you not know," he added, "that speed is a mark of cowardice? It is in the order of things that the swiftest animals are likewise the most timid.
§ 9.17 Heracles, for instance, on account of being slower than many and unable to catch evil-doers by running, used to carry a bow and arrows and to employ them against those who ran from him." "But," was the reply, "the poet states that Achilles, who was very swift-footed, was, nevertheless, very brave." "And how," exclaimed Diogenes, "do you know that Achilles was swift-footed? For he was unable to overtake Hector although he pursued him all day.
§ 9.18 "Are you not ashamed," he continued, "to take pride in an accomplishment in which you are naturally outclassed by the meanest beasts? I do not believe that you can outstrip even a fox. And by how much did you beat the man after all?" "By just a little, Diogenes," said he; "for you know that is what made the victory so marvellous." "So," replied Diogenes, "you are fortunate by just one stride." "Yes, for all of us who ran were first-rate runners." "How much more quickly, however, does a crested lark get over the course than you?" "Ah, but it has wings," he said.
§ 9.19 "Well," replied Diogenes, "if the swiftest thing is the best, it is much better, perhaps, to be a lark than to be a man. So then we need not pity the nightingale or the hoopoe because they were changed from human beings into birds according to the myth." "But," replied he, "I, a man, am the fleetest of men." "What of it? Is it not probable that among ants too," Diogenes rejoined, "one is swifter than another? Yet they do not admire it, do they? Or would it not seem absurd to you if one admired an ant for its speed?
§ 9.20 Then again, if all the runners had been lame, would it have been right for you to take on airs because, being lame yourself, you had outstripped lame men?" As he spoke to the man in this vein, he made the business of foot-racing seem cheap in the eyes of many of the bystanders and caused the winner himself to go away sorrowing and much meeker.
§ 9.21 And this was no small service which he rendered to mankind whenever he discovered anyone who was foolishly puffed up and lost to all reason on account of some worthless thing; for he would humble the man a little and relieve him of some small part of his folly, even as one pricks or punctures inflated and swollen parts.
§ 9.22 On this occasion he saw two horses that were hitched together fall to fighting and kicking each other, with a large crowd standing by and looking on, until one of the animals, becoming exhausted, broke loose and ran off. Then Diogenes came up and placed a crown upon the head of the horse that had stood its ground and proclaimed it winner of an Isthmian prize, because it had "won in kicking." At this there was a general laugh and uproar, while many applauded Diogenes and derided the athletes. They say, too, that some persons actually left without witnessing their performances — those who had poor lodgings or none.
§ 10.1 The Tenth Discourse: Diogenes or On Servants
Once when Diogenes was leaving Corinth for Athens, he met an acquaintance on the road and asked whither he was going; not, however, as most persons ask such questions and thereby make a show of interest in their friends' affairs, yet have no sooner heard than off they go; no, but just as physicians ask the sick what they are planning to do, with the idea of giving them counsel and recommending what they should do and what they should avoid, so for the same purpose Diogenes asked the man what he was doing.
§ 10.2 And the latter replied, "I am on my way to Delphi, Diogenes, to make use of the oracle, but when I was about to pass through Boeotia, my slave, who was with me, ran away, and so I am now bound for Corinth, for perhaps I may find the boy there." At this Diogenes replied with that characteristic earnestness of his, "And so, you ridiculous fellow, are you attempting to make use of the god when you are incapable of using a slave? Or does not the latter strike you as less difficult and dangerous than the former for those who are incapable of using things properly? Besides, what is your object in hunting for the boy? Was he not a bad slave?"
§ 10.3 "Yes, he certainly was," replied the latter, "for although I had done him no wrong and, what is more, had made him my body-servant, he ran away." "Perhaps he thought you were a bad master, for if he had thought you were a good one, he would never have left you." "Perhaps, Diogenes, it was because he was bad himself." "And so," continued Diogenes, "because he thought you were bad, he ran off to avoid injury by you, while you are searching for him although you say he is bad, evidently with the desire to be injured by him!
§ 10.4 Is it not true that bad men are injurious to those who own them or to those who use them, whether they be Phrygians or Athenians, bond or free? And yet no one hunts for a runaway dog that he thinks is no good; nay, some even kick such a dog if he comes back; but when people are rid of a bad man they are not satisfied, but go to a lot of trouble by sending word to their friends, making trips themselves, and spending money to get the fellow back again.
§ 10.5 Now do you believe that more have been hurt by bad dogs than by bad men? To be sure we hear that one man, Actaeon, was slain by worthless dogs, and mad ones at that; but it is not even possible to say how many private individuals, kings, and whole cities have been destroyed by bad men, some by servants, some by soldiers and bodyguards, others by so called friends, and yet others by sons and brothers and wives.
§ 10.6 Is it not, therefore, a great gain when one happens to be rid of a bad man? Should one hunt and chase after him? That would be like hunting after a disease one had got rid of and trying to get it back into one's system again." The man replied, "What you say is right enough, Diogenes, but it is hard for a man who has been wronged not to seek redress. That renegade suffered no wrong at my hands, as you see, and yet he dared to desert me. At my house he did none of the work that slaves perform, but was kept inside in idleness with nothing else to do but to accompany me."
§ 10.7 "Then were you doing him no wrong," Diogenes answered, "by keeping him in idleness and ignorance and making him as bad as could be? For idleness and lack of occupation are the best things in the world to ruin the foolish. Therefore he was right in deciding that you were his undoing, and he was justified in running off, evidently so as to get work and not become worse and worse all the time by loafing, sleeping, and eating. But you, perhaps, think that it is a trifling wrong when anyone makes another man worse. And yet is it not right to keep away from such a man above all as the deadliest and most treacherous of enemies?" "What shall I do then?" he asked, "for I have no other domestic.
§ 10.8 "Well, what will you do," said he, "when you have no other shoes and those you have hurt and lacerate your feet? Will you not take them off as soon as you can and go barefoot? If, however, they fall off themselves, do you tie them on again and pinch your feet? Why, sometimes barefooted persons get about more easily than those who are badly shod; and similarly, many live more comfortably and with less annoyance without domestics than those who have many. See what worries the rich have.
§ 10.9 Some are taking care of their sick slaves and wanting doctors and nurses — for it is usually the way of slaves to neglect themselves and not be careful when sick, partly through lack of self-control, partly because they think that if anything befalls them, it will be their master's loss and not their own — other rich men inflict corporal punishment daily, others put fetters on them, while yet others are pursuing runaways. And so it goes; they can neither get away from home easily whenever they like nor have leisure if they stay at home.
§ 10.10 And the most absurd thing of all is that they are often worse off for help than are the poor who keep no servants. Their situation reminds one of the centipede — I think you know it — which has innumerable feet and yet it is the slowest of creeping things. Do you not know that nature has made each man's body to be sufficient to serve him? — feet so as to move about, hands to work with and to care for the rest of the body, eyes to see, and ears to hear.
§ 10.11 Besides, she has made his stomach of a size in keeping, so that man does not require more nourishment than he is able to provide for himself, but this amount represents what is quite adequate for each man and best and most wholesome. Just as a hand is all the weaker for having more fingers than belong there naturally, and such a man is called a sort of cripple when he has an extra finger on the outside and cannot use the other fingers properly; so when a man gets equipped with many additional feet, hands, and stomachs, by heavens, he becomes not a whit more efficient for any task whatever, nor does he obtain what he must obtain any better, but rather, much less well and with greater difficulty.
§ 10.12 "You now provide food for one person," he continued, "but then it was for two; and now, if any illness attacks you, you will have only yourself to treat, but then you had to take care of him, too, when he was ill. Now, when you are in the house all by yourself, you do not worry for fear that you may steal something yourself, nor, when you retire, lest your slave be awake and doing some mischief. All these things you should surely think about. And further, if you have a wife, she would then not have considered it her duty to look after you when she saw a domestic kept in the family, and she would have been likely to annoy you, sometimes by quarrelling with him, at other times by being hard to suit herself; but now she will be less discontented herself and will take better care of you.
§ 10.13 Then too, wherever there is a servant, the children as they come on are at once spoiled and become lazier and more overbearing as long as there is someone to dance attendance upon them, and as they have somebody whom they look down upon. On the other hand, wherever the children are by themselves, they are much more manly and vigorous and learn to care for their parents from the very start." "But, Diogenes, I am a poor man, and if it should not be to my advantage to keep the servant, I shall dispose of him." "In that case," he rejoined, "are you not ashamed, in the first place, to deceive the purchaser by selling him a bad slave? For either you will conceal the truth or be unable to sell him.
§ 10.14 Further, if a man sells a cloak or a utensil that is not what it purports to be, or an animal that is diseased and useless, he must take it back; so, by selling you will be none the better off. And even if you shall be able to deceive somebody and he shall not be aware of the slave's depravity, are you not afraid of the money? For perhaps you will buy another still worse slave if you chance upon a seller who is too shrewd for you. Or perhaps you will use the money received for something that will harm you. For by no means in every case does money help those who have gotten it; but men have suffered many more injuries and many more evils from money than from poverty, particularly when they lacked sense.
§ 10.15 Are you going to try to secure first, not that other thing, which will enable you to derive profit from everything and to order all your affairs well, but in preference to wisdom are you going to seek riches or lands or teams of horses or ships or houses? You will become their slave and will suffer through them and perform a great deal of useless labour, and will spend all your life worrying over them without getting any benefit whatsoever from them.
§ 10.16 Consider the beasts yonder and the birds, how much freer from trouble they live than men, and how much more happily also, his much healthier and stronger they are, and how each of them lives the longest life possible, although they have neither hands nor human intelligence. And yet, to counter-balance these and their other limitations, they have one very great blessing — they own no property." "Well, Diogenes, I believe I shall let my servant go, that is, unless he happens to come my way." "Well, I declare," exclaimed Diogenes, "that would be like your saying that you would not look for a horse that bites or kicks, but that if you came across him, you would go up to him for the fun of being bitten or kicked!"
§ 10.17 "Enough of that! But why do you object to my making use of the god?" "What! I object to your making use of the god if you can! That is not what I was saying, but that it is difficult, nay rather impossible, to make use of god or man or one's own self if one does not know how. To make the attempt without knowing how is an extremely harmful thing. Or do you think that the man who is untrained in the use of horses could make use of them?" "I do not." "And that, if, on the other hand, he should use force, he would get some harm from it rather than good?" "True."
§ 10.18 "Now then, will the man ignorant of the use of dogs be able to use them? Or does not the using of anything imply deriving benefit from it?" "I think so." "No one, therefore, of those injured by a thing really uses the thing by which he is injured, does he?" "Certainly not." "If, therefore, a man attempts to use dogs without knowing how, will he not receive damage from them?" "Very likely." "He, therefore, will not be using them either, since use does not properly exist where damage results. And this is true not only in the case of dogs and horses but of oxen and mules also, and — what might surprise you more — not even the using of an ass or a sheep is a matter for inexperienced persons.
§ 10.19 Or do you not know that from the keeping of sheep and the driving of asses some derive benefit and others injury?" "I do." "Is it not simply because the inexperienced necessarily receive damage and those who know benefit, whether it be a question of asses or swine of geese or any other creature?" "It appears so." "Furthermore, can it be that, as regards the use of things, the same reasoning does not hold good, but that one who has no knowledge of music could use a lyre, or would he not be ridiculous for trying, not to speak of his accomplishing nothing and ruining the lyre and breaking the strings?
§ 10.20 Then again, if one who is not a flautist should wish to use the flute and appear in the theatres and play upon it, would he not be pelted as a punishment and be likely to smash his flute into the bargain? And if a man undertakes to handle a rudder without knowing how to steer, will he not assuredly capsize the boat in short order and cause the death of both himself and his fellow-passengers? Still further, does the use of spear or shield do any good when wielded by timid and inexperienced persons, or rather, would they not by such an attempt at use lose not only their weapons but their own lives as well?" "I grant it, Diogenes," he replied; "but you are letting the sun down with your interminable questions."
§ 10.21 "And is it not better," said he, "to let the sun go down if one is listening to useful words than to go on an idle journey?" "And likewise in almost all cases where practical experience in 'using' is lacking, it is difficult to be zealous, and the damage is likely to be greater where the things concerned are greater. Do you, then, think that the 'use' of an ass is like the 'use' of a horse?" "Of course not." "Well, then, is the 'use' of a man like the 'use' of a god?" "But that question does not deserve an answer, Diogenes," said he. "Is there anyone, then, who can make use of himself who does not know himself?" "How could he?" replied the other. "Because the one who does not understand man is unable to 'use' man?" "Yes, because he cannot."
§ 10.22 "So he who does not understand himself would not be able to make use of himself, would he?" "I believe not." "Have you ever heard of the inscription at Delphi: 'Know thyself'?" "I have." "Is it not plain that the god gives this command to all, in the belief that they do not know themselves?' "It would seem so." "You, therefore, would be included in the 'all'?" "Certainly." "So then you also do not know yourself?" "I believe not." "And not knowing yourself, you do not know man; and not knowing man, you are unable to 'use' man; and yet, although you are unable to 'use' a man, you are attempting to 'use' a god, an attempt which we agree is altogether the greater and more difficult of the two.
§ 10.23 "Tell me, do you think Apollo speaks Attic or Doric? Or that men and gods have the same language? Yet the difference is so great that the Scamander river in Troy is called Xanthus by the gods, and that the bird kymindis is called chalkis, and that a certain spot outside the city which the Trojans called Batieia was called the Sema Myrines by the gods. From this it naturally follows that the oracles are obscure and have already deceived many men.
§ 10.24 Now for Homer perhaps it was safe to go to Apollo at Delphi, as being bilingual and understanding the dialects — if he really did understand them all and not just a few things, like persons who know two or three Persian, Median, or Assyrian words and thus fool the ignorant. "But how about you? Have you no fear, lest, when the god says one thing you may understand another? As, for instance, the story of the famous Laius, the man who became the lover of Chrysippus; when he had gone to Delphi, he asked the god how he might have issue. The god bade him 'not to beget, or, having begotten, to expose.'
§ 10.25 And Laius was so foolish as to misunderstand both commands of the god, for he begot a son and did not rear him. Afterwards both he and all his house were destroyed, all because he had undertaken to 'make use of' Apollo when he lacked the ability. For if he had not received that oracle, he would not have exposed Oidipus, and the latter, having been reared at home, would not have slain Laius, for he would have known that he was his son.
§ 10.26 Then you have heard the story about Croesus, the Lydian, who, imagining that he was most faithfully carrying out the behests of the god, crossed the river Halys, lost his empire, was bound in chains himself, and barely escaped being burned alive. Or do you, pray, think that you are wiser than Croesus, a man of such wealth, who ruled over so many people and had met Solon and a great many other wise men?
§ 10.27 As for Orestes, I presume you see him also in tragic performances inveighing against the god in his fits of madness, and accusing him as though he had counselled him to slay his mother. But do not imagine that Apollo ever ordered those that consult him to commit any dreadful or disgraceful act. It is as I said: although men are incapable of 'using' the god, they go ahead, try, and then blame him and not themselves. "You, then, if you follow my advice, will take heed and aim first to know yourself; afterwards, having found wisdom, you will then, if it be your pleasure, consult the oracle.
§ 10.28 For I am persuaded that you will have no need of consulting oracles if you have intelligence. Why just consider! If the god bids you to read and write correctly when you have no knowledge of letters, you will not be able to do so; but if you know your letters, you will read and write well enough, even without any command from the god. In the same way, if he advises you to do anything else when you do not know how, you will not be in a condition to obey. You will not be able to live properly, either, if you do not know how, even though you importune Apollo day after day and he gives you all his time. But if possessed of intelligence, you will know of yourself what you ought to do and how to go about it.
§ 10.29 "There is one thing, however, that I forgot to say about Oidipus: He did not go to Delphi to consult the oracle but fell in with Teiresias and suffered great calamities from that seer's divination on account of his own ignorance. For he knew that he had consorted with his own mother and that he had children by her; and subsequently, when perhaps he should have concealed this or made it legal in Thebes, in the first place he let everybody know the fact and then became greatly wrought up, lifted up his voice and complained that he was father and brother at once of the same children, and husband and son of the same woman.
§ 10.30 But domestic fowls do not object to such relationships, nor dogs, nor any ass, nor do the Persians, although they pass for the aristocracy of Asia. And in addition to all this, Oidipus blinded himself and then wandered about blind, as though he could not wander while still keeping his sight." The other on hearing this replied, "You, Diogenes, make Oidipus out to be the greatest dullard in the world; but the Greeks believe that, though he was not a fortunate man, he was the most sagacious of all men. At any rate they say that he alone solved the Sphinx's riddle."
§ 10.31 At this Diogenes broke into a laugh and said, "He solve the Sphinx's riddle! Have you not heard that the Sphinx prompted him to give the answer 'man'? As to the meaning of 'man,' however, he neither expressed himself nor knew, but when he said the word 'man' he thought he was answering the question. It was just as if one were asked, 'What is Socrates?' and should give no other answer than the word 'Socrates.' I have heard someone say that the Sphinx stands for stupidity;
§ 10.32 that this, accordingly, proved the ruin of the Boeotians in the past just as it does now, their stupidity preventing their knowing anything, such utter dullards they are; and that while the others had an inkling of their ignorance, Oidipus, who thought that he was very wise and had escaped the Sphinx, and who had made the other Thebans believe all this, perished most miserably. For any man who in spite of his ignorance deludes himself with the belief that he is wise is in a much sorrier plight than anyone else. And such is the tribe of sophists."
§ 11.01 The Eleventh Discourse Maintaining that Troy was not Captured
§ 11.1 I am almost certain that while all men are hard to teach, they are easy to deceive. They learn with difficulty — if they do learn anything — from the few that know, but they are deceived only too readily by the many who do not know, and not only by others but by themselves as well. For the truth is bitter and unpleasant to the unthinking, while falsehood is sweet and pleasant.
§ 11.2 They are, I fancy, like men with sore eyes — they find the light painful, while the darkness, which permits them to see nothing, is restful and agreeable. Else how would falsehood often prove mightier than the truth, if it did not win its victories through pleasure? But though, as I have said, it is hard for men to learn, it is immensely more difficult for them to unlearn and learn over again, especially when they have been listening to falsehood for a long time, and not only they themselves, but their fathers, their grandfathers, and, generally speaking, all former generations have been deceived.
§ 11.3 For it is no easy matter to disabuse these of their opinion, no matter how clearly you show it to be wrong. I presume it is the same as when people have brought up supposititious children: it is hard to get these away from them afterwards when you tell them the truth, but if you had told them in the beginning, they would not have undertaken to rear them. So strong is this tendency that many prefer to claim bad children and to acknowledge them, to their own disadvantage, as their own, if they have originally believed them to be so, rather than good children of whom they learn long afterward.
§ 11.4 Therefore, I should not be surprised at you, men of Ilium, if you were going to put greater faith in Homer, notwithstanding his most grievous misstatements against you, than in my present statement of the truth, and hold him to be a wise and inspired man, and to teach your children his epic from their very earliest years, though he has nothing but denunciation for your city, and untruthful at that, but should refuse to listen to me when I tell the facts as they occurred, just because I was born many years later than Homer.
§ 11.5 And yet most people say that time is the very best judge of things, but whenever they hear anything after a long lapse of time, they consider it incredible for that very reason. Now if I had the hardihood to contradict Homer before the Argives and to show the error in his poetry regarding the most important things, perhaps it would be natural for them to be angry at me and drive me from their city if they saw that I was dispelling and destroying the reputation which their city has derived from that source. You, on the other hand, should be grateful and hear me gladly, for I have been zealous in defence of your ancestors.
§ 11.6 I wish to say at the outset that this discourse must be delivered before other audiences also, and that many will hear about it, of whom some will not comprehend it, while others will pretend to treat it lightly though they really do not, and yet others will attempt to refute its arguments, especially, I suppose, the miserable sophists. I know quite well that it will not please you, I suppose, either. For most men are so completely corrupted at heart by opinion that they would rather be notorious for the greatest calamities than suffer no ill and be unknown.
§ 11.7 Even the Argives, I believe, would not wish that the events told of Thyestes, Atreus, and the house of Pelops had happened otherwise, but would be greatly displeased if anyone disproved the myths set forth in the tragic poets by asserting that Thyestes did not defile the wife of Atreus and that the latter did not slay his brother's sons nor cut them up and then serve their remains as a feast for Thyestes, or that Orestes did not kill his own mother. Should any man make any such assertions, they would feel aggrieved on the ground that they were being insulted.
§ 11.8 I believe, too, that the feelings of the Thebans would be exactly the same, should anyone assert that there was no truth in their tales of woe and insist that Oidipus did not kill his father or wed his mother or blind himself, or that his sons did not die before the walls, each by the other's hand, or that the Sphinx did not come and devour the children of the city. Nay, on the contrary, they are delighted to hear that Sphinx was sent to molest them because of Hera's anger, that Laius was slain by his son and that Oidipus, after what he did and suffered, wandered in blindness,
§ 11.9 and that the sons of an earlier king, Amphion, who founded the city, were slain by the arrows Apollo and Artemis because they were the fairest among men. These are the themes that they can endure to hear interpreted by the flute or song in their theatres, and they offer prizes for the most pathetic interpretation of the story in words or in music; but the man who says that none of these things occurred they expel from their city.
§ 11.10 So far have the majority carried their folly, and so completely has their infatuation got the better of them. They want to be talked about as much as possible, but as to the nature of what is said, they care not a whit. Generally speaking, men are too cowardly to be willing to undergo severe suffering, since they fear death and pain, but they highly prize being mentioned as having so suffered.
§ 11.11 But as for me, desiring neither to gain your favour nor to quarrel with Homer, much less to rob him of his fame, I shall try to show all the false statements I think he has made with regard to the events which happened here, and I shall use no other means of refuting him than his own poetry. In this I am simply defending the truth, and for Athena's sake especially, that she may not be thought to have destroyed her own city unjustly or to have set her will against her father's; but I speak no less in behalf of Hera and Aphrodite also.
§ 11.12 For it is passing strange that the consort of Zeus did not consider him a competent judge of her beauty unless it should be pleasing to one of the shepherds of Ida also, and that she had any contest at all with Aphrodite for the prize of beauty, she who asserted that she was the eldest of the children of Cronus, as Homer himself has expressed it in the verse, "Me as the eldest child hath Cronus the crafty begotten."
§ 11.13 Furthermore, it is strange that she became so bitterly disposed towards Paris when she herself had entrusted the judgment to him; and yet, even in human affairs, the man who refers a dispute to arbitration does not regard the arbitrator as an enemy when the decision is not in his favour. It is strange also that Aphrodite should have bestowed a gift so scandalous, so fraught with evil and injustice, and that she was so regardless both of Helen, her own sister, and of Paris, who had decided in her favour, but rewarded the latter with such a marriage that he was destined through it to ruin himself, his parents, and his city.
§ 11.14 Furthermore, the position of Helen, in my judgment, should not be ignored either; for she, the reputed daughter of Zeus, has become through unjust report a byword for disgrace, and yet has been held as a deity among the Greeks on account of her grace. Yet, though such very serious matters are involved in the present discussion, some of the sophists will declare that I am guilty of impiety in gainsaying Homer and will seek to slander me to their wretched disciples, for whom I care less than for so many monkeys.
§ 11.15 In the first place, they say that Homer being constrained by dire poverty, went begging throughout Greece, and yet they think such a man was unable to lie to please those whose dole he received and that he would not have recited the sort of stories that were likely to please them. Beggars of the present time, however, tell nothing but lies, we are told, and nobody would accept the evidence of any of them on any matter whatsoever or receive their praise as sincere.
§ 11.16 For every one knows that they are compelled to cajole in all they say. It has been said, further, that some gave of their bounty to Homer the beggar, and others to Homer the madman, and it is believed that the people his day held him for a madman when he told the truth rather than when he distorted it. Now on this score I certainly have no criticism to bring against Homer; for there is nothing to prevent a wise man from going begging or pretending to be mad; but I do say that, according to the opinion those men entertain of Homer and his kind, there is probably nothing trustworthy in what he said.
§ 11.17 And, further, they do not think that falsehood was foreign to the character of Homer or that he made no use of it. Odysseus, at any rate, whom he praised most highly, he has represented as telling numerous falsehoods. He says, too, that Autolycus actually perjured himself and that he learned this from Hermes. And as regards the gods, practically every man, including his warmest admirers, admits that Homer does not speak a word of truth, and they seek to offer such excuses as this, that at such times he is not speaking his real mind but is using riddles and figures of speech.
§ 11.18 Then what is to prevent him having spoken in the same way of men also? For when a man does not frankly tell the truth about the gods, but, on the contrary, puts the matter in such a way that his readers get the wrong idea of them and without any advantage to himself either, why would he hesitate to utter any falsehood whatsoever regarding men? That he has represented the gods as suffering pain, groaning, being wounded, and almost dying; that he tells of their amours withal, of their durance vile, of their giving bonds — on these matters I do not dwell; many others have already done that. For I have no desire to impeach Homer, but only to show how the truth stands. For indeed I shall even tell in his defence what I think to be the facts.
§ 11.19 But this I do assert, that he made the freest possible use of falsehood and considered it no shame. Whether he was right in this or not, I forbear to consider now. Omitting, then, what he has pictured concerning the gods in his poems that is shocking and unbecoming to them, I say merely this, that he did not hesitate to repeat conversations of the gods, which he says they held with one another, not only those held in open court when all the other deities were present, but also those which some had privately with one,
§ 11.20 as, for instance, when Zeus was angered at Hera for deceiving him and bringing on the defeat of the Trojans, or that previous conversation which she had with Aphrodite, in which she urged her to drug her father and lend her the love charm, to wit, the embroidered girdle — a request which she presumably made in secret. For it is unlikely even in human affairs that any outsider knows of those occasional scenes where husbands and wives fall out and abuse one another. Yet Homer has a passage in which Odysseus puts this matter properly so as not to seem a mere impostor, namely, where he tells of the debates which the gods held concerning him. For he says that he heard these debates from Calypso and that she had learned of them from someone else; but about himself Homer has made no such claim of having received his information from some god.
§ 11.21 Such utter contempt did Homer show for men, and not a whit did he care if all his statements were regarded as false. For of course he did not imagine that he would convince anyone that he knew [of his own knowledge about] the debates among the gods. He tells also of the dalliance of Zeus and Hera that occurred on Mount Idea, and what words Zeus spoke before the meeting, as though he had personally seen and heard, and apparently no obstacle was presented by the cloud in which Zeus had wrapped himself to escape being seen.
§ 11.22 And to all this Homer has just added the finishing touch. For, not to keep us in doubt as to how he came to understand the gods, he talks to us almost as though he were acquainted with their language, tells us that it was not the same as ours, and that they do not apply the same names to the various things as we do. He draws attention to this in the case of a bird, which he says the gods call chalkis and men kymindis, and in the case of a place before Troy which men call Batieia, but the gods call the Sema Myrines.
§ 11.23 And after telling us that the river is called not Scamander but Xanthus by the gods, Homer himself proceeds to call it by this latter name in his verses, as though it were his privilege not only to mix the various dialectal forms of the Greeks freely, using now the Aeolic, now a Dorian, and now an Ionic form, but to employ even the Zeus dialect in the bargain. I have spoken in this way just as I have said, not by way of criticism, but because Homer was the boldest liar in existence and showed no less assurance and pride in his lying than in telling the truth.
§ 11.24 Thus regarded, none of my statements seems strange and incredible any longer; nay, they appear as but insignificant human falsehoods in comparison with great superhuman ones. For when Homer undertook to describe the war between the Achaeans and the Trojans, he did not start at the very beginning, but at haphazard; and this is the regular way with practically all who distort the truth; they entangle the story and make it involved and refuse to tell anything in sequence, thus escaping detection more readily. Otherwise they are convicted by the very subject-matter.
§ 11.25 This is just what may be seen happening in courts of justice and in the case of others who lie skilfully; whereas those who wish to present each fact as it really occurred do so by reporting the first thing first, the second next, and so on in like order. This is one reason why Homer did not begin his poem in the natural way. Another is that he planned especially to do away with its beginning and its end as far as possible and to create the very opposite impression concerning them.
§ 11.26 That is why he did not dare to tell either the beginning or the end in a straightforward way and did not bind himself to say anything about them, but if he does make mention of them anywhere, it is incidental and brief, and he is evidently trying to confuse. For he was ill at ease with respect to these parts and unable to speak freely. The following device, too, is usually employed by those who wish to deceive: They mention some parts of the story and dwell upon them, but what they are particularly anxious to conceal they do not bring out clearly or when their auditor is paying attention, nor do they put it in its proper place, but where it may best escape notice. They do this, not only for the reason just mentioned, but also because lying makes them ashamed and reluctant to go on with it, especially when it is about the most important matters.
§ 11.27 And so liars do not speak aloud when they come to this part. Some of them falter and speak indistinctly, others as if they themselves did not know but spoke from hearsay. He, however, who speaks the truth, does so without fear or reserve. Now Homer was not straightforward or frank when telling of the abduction of Helen or the fall of Troy. Nay, with all that boldness which I have said he had, he nevertheless flinched and weakened because he knew he was telling the reverse of the truth and falsifying the essential part of his subject.
§ 11.28 Or at what point of the story might Homer have more properly begun than with Paris' wanton crime itself, which caused the war, since all the readers of his poem would then have joined in indignation and would have been eager for the outcome, and no one would have pitied the sufferings of the Trojans? For by so doing Homer would have been assured of a more sympathetic and interested audience.
§ 11.29 If, on the other hand, he wished to describe the greatest and most terrible things, all forms of suffering and calamity, and, further, to tell what everybody was yearning above all things to hear, what greater or more awe-inspiring subject could he have chosen than the capture of the city? He could not have found an event in which a greater number of people met their death or where with greater pathos men fled to the altars of their gods or fought to save their children and wives, where royal matrons and maidens were dragged away to slavery and disgrace in foreign parts, some torn from their husbands, some from their fathers, others from their brothers, and some even from the holy images, while they beheld their beloved husbands weltering in their blood and yet were unable to embrace them or to close their eyes, and beheld their helpless babes dashed cruelly to earth.
§ 11.30 Think, too, of the desecration of the sanctuaries of the gods, the plundering of stores of wealth, the whole city burnt to the very ground by the flames, the mighty cries of men, the clash of bronze, the roar of the flames as some were perishing in them and others were being hurled upon them. These things Homer makes Priam speak of as soon to come to pass, though he could perhaps have related them as actual events in any way that pleased him and with all that horror with which he was accustomed to describe other slaughters, thrilling the listener and magnifying the smallest details.
§ 11.31 If it was his wish to tell of the death of illustrious men, how is it that he omitted the slaying of Achilles, Memnon, Antilochus, Ajax, and of Paris himself? Why did he not mention the expedition of the Amazons and that battle between Achilles and the Amazon, which is said to have been so splendid and so strange?
§ 11.32 Yet he represented the river as fighting with Achilles just for the sake of telling a marvellous tale, and also the battle between Hephaestus and the Scamander, and the mutual discomfitures, defeats, and woundings of the other gods, desiring something great and wonderful to say because he was at a loss for facts, though so many important facts were still left untouched.
§ 11.33 So from what has been said it must be acknowledged that Homer was either unintelligent and a bad judge of the facts, so that he selected the more unimportant and trivial things and left to others the greatest and most impressive, or else that he was unable, as I have said, to bolster up his falsehoods and show his poetic genius in handling those incidents whose actual nature it was his purpose to conceal.
§ 11.34 We find this in the Odyssey also. For he tells of events in Ithaca and of the death of the suitors in his own person, but has not ventured to mention the greatest of his falsehoods — the story of Scylla, of the Cyclops, the magic charms of Circe, and further, the descent of Odysseus into the lower world. These he makes Odysseus narrate to Alcinous and his court, and there too he had Demodocus recount the story of the horse and the capture of Troy in a song of only a few lines.
§ 11.35 As it seems to me, he had made no provision for these incidents at all inasmuch as they never occurred; but as his poem grew, and he saw that men would readily believe anything, he showed his contempt for them and his desire withal to humour the Greeks and the Atreidae, by throwing everything into confusion and reversing the outcome. At the beginning he says, "O Goddess! sing the wrath of Peleus' son, Achilles; sing the deadly wrath that brought Woes numberless upon the Greeks, and swept To Hades many a valiant soul, and gave Their limbs a prey to dogs and birds of air, For so had Jove appointed."
§ 11.36 In these verses he says that he will sing of the wrath of Achilles alone, and the hardships and destruction of the Achaeans, that their sufferings were many and terrible, that many perished and remained unburied, as though these were the chief incidents and worthy of poetic treatment, and that therein the purpose of Zeus was accomplished; all of which did indeed come to pass. But the subsequent shift of events, including the death of Hector, which was likely to please his hearers, he did not have in his original plan, nor the final capture of Ilium. For perhaps he had not yet planned to turn everything upside down,
§ 11.37 but later, when he wishes to state the cause of the sufferings, he drops Paris and Helen, and babbles about Chryses and that man's daughter. I, therefore, shall give the account as I learned it from a certain very aged priest in Onuphis, who often made merry over the Greeks as a people, claiming that they really knew nothing about most things, and using as his chief illustration of this, the fact that they believed that Troy was taken by Agamemnon and that Helen fell in love with Paris while she was living with Menelaus; and they were so thoroughly convinced of this, he said, being completely deceived by one man, that everybody actually swore to its truth.
§ 11.38 My informant told me that all the history of earlier times was recorded in Egypt, in part in the temples, in part upon certain columns, and that some things were remembered by a few only as the columns had been destroyed, while much that had been inscribed on the columns was disbelieved on account of the ignorance and indifference of later generations. He added that these stories about Troy were included in their more recent records, since Menelaus had come to visit them and described everything just as it had occurred.
§ 11.39 When I asked him to give this account, he hesitated at first, remarking that the Greeks are vainglorious, and that in spite of their dense ignorance they think they know everything. He maintained that no affliction more serious could befall either individual or community than when an ignoramus held himself to be most wise, since such men could never be freed from their ignorance.
§ 11.40 "And so ludicrous an effect have these men had upon you," he continued, "that you say of another poet — Stesichorus, I believe it is — who followed Homer's account and repeated these same stories about Helen, that he was struck blind by her as a liar and recovered his sight upon recanting. And though you tell this tale, you none the less believe that Homer's account is true.
§ 11.41 You say, too, that Stesichorus in his palinode declared that Helen never sailed off to any place whatsoever, while certain others say that Helen was carried off by Paris but came to us here in Egypt. Yet with all this uncertainty and ignorance surrounding the matter you cannot even thus see through the deception."
§ 11.42 This, he claimed, was due to Greek love of pleasure. Whatever they delight to hear from anyone's lips they at once consider to be true. They give their poets full licence to tell any untruth they wish, and they declare that this is the poets' privilege. Yet they trust them in everything they say and even quote them at times as witnesses in matters of dispute. Among the Egyptians, however, it is illegal to say anything in verse. Indeed they have no poetry at all, since they know this is but the charm with which pleasure lures the ear. "Therefore," said he, "just as the thirsty have no need of wine, but a drink of water suffices them, so too seekers after truth have no need of verse, but it is quite enough for them to hear the unadorned truth.
§ 11.43 Poetry, however, tempts them to listen to falsehood just as wine leads to over-drinking." Now I shall endeavour to repeat what he told me, adding my reasons for thinking his words to be true. According to his account, Tyndareus, a wise man and a very great king, was born in Sparta. Then Leda and he had two daughters named just as we name them, Clytemnestra and Helen, and two large handsome twin sons, by far the best among the Greeks.
§ 11.44 Helen was famed for her beauty, and while yet but a little girl had many suitors and was carried off by Theseus, who was king of Athens. Whereupon her brothers straightway invaded Theseus' country, sacked the city, and recovered their sister. They freed all the women they had captured except the mother of Theseus, whom they carried off a prisoner in retaliation; for they were a match for all Greece and could have subjugated it easily had they so wished.
§ 11.45 I remarked that this was our account also and that, moreover, I had myself seen at Olympia in the rear chamber of the temple of Hera a memorial of that abduction upon the wooden chest dedicated by Cypselus. It represents the Dioscuri holding Helen, who is standing upon Aethra's head pulling her hair, and there is also an inscription in ancient characters.
§ 11.46 "Thereupon," so he continued, "Agamemnon, who feared the sons of Tyndareus — because he knew that, though he ruled the Argives, he was a stranger and a new-comer — sought to win them over by a marriage alliance and for that reason married Clytemnestra. Helen's hand he sought for his brother, but the Greeks to a man declared that they would not permit it, since each one of them held that she was more closely akin to himself in blood than to Menelaus, who was a descendant of Pelops. Many suitors came from outside Greece also because of Helen's reputation for beauty and the power of her brothers and father."
§ 11.47 Now I thought that this last statement also was true, since the story goes that the daughter of Cleisthenes, the tyrant of Sikyon, was wooed by a man from Italy, and that Pelops, who married Hippodameia, the daughter of Oinomaus, came from Asia, and that Theseus married one of the Amazons from the banks of the Thermodon
§ 11.48 and, as that priest maintained, Io came to Egypt as a betrothed bride and not as a heifer maddened by the gadfly. "And," he added, "since the great houses were accustomed, as we have seen, to make distance no barrier in forming marriage alliances with one another, it came to pass that Paris came as a suitor, trusting in the power of his father, who was the ruler of practically all Asia. Besides, Troy was not far distant, and what was especially important, the descendants of Pelops were already in power in Greece and much intercourse between the two peoples had developed.
§ 11.49 So when he arrived with a great show of wealth and a great equipage for a mere wooing — and he was strikingly handsome too — he had an interview the Tyndareus and Helen's brothers, in which he dwelt upon Priam's empire, the extent of his resources, and his power in general, and added that he was next in succession. Menelaus, he declared, was but a private individual, since the royal prerogative descended to the children of Agamemnon, not to him. He urged that he himself enjoyed the favour of the gods and that Aphrodite had promised him the most brilliant marriage in the world. Accordingly, he had chosen Tyndareus' daughter, though he might have taken someone from Asia had he desired, whether an Egyptian or an Indian princess.
§ 11.50 As for himself, he said that he was king of all other peoples from Troy to Ethiopia, for the Ethiopians were under the sway of his cousin, Memnon, who was the son of Tithonus, Priam's brother. Many other enticements did he mention and he offered to Leda and the rest of the family gifts such as all the Greeks together could not have matched. "He urged also that he himself was of the same stock as Helen, since Priam was descended from Zeus and he had been told that she and her brothers were also his offspring; that it did not lie with Agamemnon and Menelaus to taunt him on his origin, for they themselves were Phrygians from Mount Sipylus; Tyndareus might much better ally his family with the ruling kings of Asia than with immigrants from that country. For Laomedon too had given his daughter, Hesione, to Telamon, who came with Heracles to Troy to sue for her hand, bringing the latter along also because he was the friend and ally of Laomedon.
§ 11.51 And so Tyndareus consulted with his sons regarding these matters, and after due consideration they decided that it was not such a bad policy to ally themselves with the kings of Asia. For they saw that the house of Pelops had Clytemnestra, who was the wife of Agamemnon, and besides, if they became allied by marriage with Priam's house, they would have control of affairs there too and nobody would stand in the way of their governing all Asia and Europe." Agamemnon opposed all this, but the weight of the argument was too strong for him.
§ 11.52 For Tyndareus assured him that it was quite enough for him to have become his son-in law and warned him that it was not at all advisable for his brother to have power equal to his own, since he might thus the more easily undermine him. Thyestes, for example, had not been loyal to Atreus. He dissuaded him most effectively, however, by urging that the other suitors from Greece would not tolerate their own rejection in his interest, neither Diomedes nor Antilochus nor Achilles, but would take up arms, and so he would be in danger of making the strongest men among the Greeks his foes.
§ 11.53 It would, therefore, be better not to leave any cause for war and dissension among the Greeks. This, however, so the priest said, angered Agamemnon, but he was unable successfully to oppose Tyndareus, who was master of his own daughter; and at the same time he stood in awe of Tyndareus' sons. Thus it was that Paris took Helen as his lawful wife after gaining the consent of her parents and brothers, and took her home with him amid great enthusiasm and rejoicing. And Priam, Hector, and all the others were delighted with the union and welcomed Helen with sacrifices and prayers.
§ 11.54 "Then see," continued the priest, "how foolish the opposite story is. Can you imagine it possible for anyone to have become enamoured of a woman whom he had never seen, and then, that she could have let herself be persuaded to leave husband, fatherland, and all her relatives — and that too, I believe, when she was the mother of a little daughter — and follow a man of another race? It is because this is so improbable that they got up that cock-and bull story about Aphrodite, which is still more preposterous.
§ 11.55 And if Paris had any thought of carrying Helen away, why was the thing permitted to happen by his father, who was no fool, but had the reputation of having great intelligence, and by his mother? What likelihood is there that Hector tolerated such a deed at the outset and then afterwards heaped abuse and reproach upon him for abducting her as Homer declares he did? Here are his words: 'O luckless Paris, nobly formed, Yet woman-follower and seducer! Thou Shouldst never have been born, or else at best Have died unwedded. Thy harp will not avail, Nor all the gifts of Venus, nor thy locks, Nor thy fair form, when thou art laid in dust.'
§ 11.56 How comes it that neither Helenus, seer though he was, nor Cassandra, the divinely inspired, nor even Antenor, reputed for his wisdom, gave a word of warning but afterwards were indignant and censured what had been done, when they could have kept Helen from their doors? "But that you may understand the excess of absurdity and see how the lies contradict one another, I cite what is told of Heracles sacking the city a few years previously on a slight pretext, angered because Laomedon had proved himself false in not giving him the horses which he had promised."
§ 11.57 And I recalled the verses in which Homer makes this statement: "Hercules The lion-hearted, who once came to Troy To claim the coursers of Laomedon, With but six ships, and warriors but a few, He laid the city waste and made its streets A desolation." "This is another popular misstatement," said my friend, "for how could a city that had been thus taken and reduced to a wilderness have made such a wondrous recovery in so short a time so as to become the greatest of all in Asia? And how was it that Heracles, coming with only six ships, captured it when it had long been inviolate, while the Achaeans, who came with twelve hundred ships, could not capture it? Or how did Heracles, who slew Priam's father, his mortal enemy, suffer Priam to become king instead of appointing someone else as ruler of the country?
§ 11.58 But if it was as they say, how is that Priam and the Trojans did not dread a feud with the Greeks when they were aware that once before, and for a crime not so great, their people had lost their lives or been driven into exile? And though many recalled the capture, how is it that not one of them thought of any of these things," cried the Egyptian, "and that not one of them stopped Paris?" "And how in the world after coming to Greece did he become intimate with Helen, and talk to her, and finally persuade her to elope, without thinking of parents, country, husband, or daughter, or of her repute among the Greeks, nay, without fearing even her brothers, who were still living and had once before recovered her from Theseus and had not brooked her abduction?
§ 11.59 For if Menelaus was at home, how did he fail to notice what was going on, but if, on the other hand, he was away from home, how is it probable that his wife could meet and converse with a strange man and none of the others be alive to the plot, or that they should have concealed it if they knew of it; and further, that Aethra, the mother of Theseus, and she a captive, should have sailed away with her — For it was not enough that she, the daughter of Pittheus, should be a slave in Sparta, but she must deliberately follow along to Troy,
§ 11.60 and Paris conducted the affair so boldly and with such licence that it was not enough for him to abduct the wife, but he took the treasure too! — and that not a single soul should have put out after him, none of the people of Menelaus or of Tyndareus, nor Helen's brothers, though there were ships in Laconia and, what is more, though the pair had first to get down on foot from Sparta to the coast, and the news of her abduction was probably published at once? It would have been impossible for her to go with Paris in any such way, but possible if she was given in marriage with the full consent of her kinsfolk.
§ 11.61 Thus only was it reasonable that Aethra arrived with her and that the treasures were taken along. None of these facts points to an abduction, but much rather to a marriage. "But when, as I said, Paris married Helen and departed with her, Menelaus brooded over the failure of his suit and upbraided his brother, declaring that he had been betrayed by him.
§ 11.62 But Agamemnon was not so much concerned about him as he was fearful of Paris, who, he suspected, might interfere some time in the affairs of Greece, which concerned him now on account of his marriage with Helen. For this reason he convoked the others who had been Helen's suitors and declared that they had one and all been outraged and Greece treated with contempt, and that the best woman among them had been given in marriage to barbarians and was gone, as though there were no one among themselves who was worthy of her.
§ 11.63 In such terms, he sought to excuse Tyndareus and urged them to forgive him as having been blinded by the gifts; but he laid the entire blame upon Paris and Priam and exhorted his countrymen to make war together upon Troy, declaring that he had great hopes of taking it if they would all join in, and of their reaping a rich harvest of booty in that event and securing dominion over the fairest of countries; for of all cities, he said, Troy was the wealthiest, and its people had been enervated by luxury. Besides, he had many relatives in Asia who belonged to the house of Pelops and would make common cause with him because they hated Priam.
§ 11.64 "Now some of the suitors were furious on hearing these words, feeling that the occurrence was indeed a disgrace to Greece, while others expected to profit from the campaign; for the notion prevailed that Asia was a land of big things and of wealth untold. Now had it been Menelaus who had defeated them in the suit for Helen's hand, they would not have cared themselves; nay, on the contrary, they doubtless would have rejoiced in his happiness. But as it was, they all hated Paris, each man feeling as though his own bride had been torn from him. Thus it was that the campaign began, and Agamemnon sent to demand the return of Helen on the ground that she, a Greek woman, should be married to some one of the Greeks.
§ 11.65 "When they heard this message, the Trojans were indignant and so was Priam, but Hector in particular, since Paris had lawfully received her at her father's hand, and Helen had consented to be his wife, and yet the Greeks dared to use such impudent language. They perceived, they said, that the Greeks were seeking a pretext for war, and that they were not the aggressors, stronger though they were, but were defending themselves from attack. This is why the Trojans held out although they were assailed a long time and suffered many hardships — not so many as Homer says, but none the less their land was being wasted and numbers of their people were perishing — because they knew that the Achaeans were in the wrong and that Paris had done nothing improper.
§ 11.66 If this had not been the case, would any of them, would any of the brothers or the father have endured it while their fellow-countrymen perished and the city was in danger of total destruction on account of Paris' lawless act, when by the surrender of Helen they might have saved themselves? Yet according to the story, they even afterwards upon the death of Paris kept her and married her to Deiphobus, as though it were a very great boon to have her in the city and they feared she might desert them.
§ 11.67 And yet if at first it was for love of Paris that she stayed in Troy, why did she consent to stay on as the story goes, she came to love Deiphobus too? For the Trojans in all probability could have been induced to surrender her, since they were ready to do that. If she, however, had reason to fear the Achaeans, it would only have been necessary to arrive at terms of peace first. Indeed, the Achaeans would have been glad to get out of the war, since they had lost many of their best men. Enough! There was no truth in the tale of Helen's abduction, nor were the Trojans responsible for the war, and therefore they confidently expected victory. For men fight to the last ditch when they are being wronged.
§ 11.68 "I assure you," the priest continued, "these things happened just as I have described them. For it is much more plausible that Tyndareus voluntarily formed a marriage alliance with the kings of Asia, that Menelaus was angered by having to give up his suit, that Agamemnon was alarmed lest the descendants of Priam should get control of Greece, hearing, as he did, that his own forefather, Pelops, who came from that same Asia, gained control of the Peloponnesus by his connection with Oinomaus, and that the remaining leaders took part in the war, each with revenge rankling in his heart because he had not been the accepted suitor — this, I say, is much more plausible than that Paris fell in love with a woman he did not know and that his father permitted him to sail on such an enterprise, although, according to the story, Troy had but recently been taken by the Greeks and Priam's father, Laomedon, slain;
§ 11.69 and that afterwards in spite of the war and their countless hardships the Trojans refused to surrender Helen either when Paris was living or after he died, although they had no hope for safety; much more reasonable than that Helen gave her affection to a stranger with whom she had probably never come in contact at all and shamefully abandoned her fatherland, relatives, and husband to come to a people who hated her. How incredible too that no one should have nipped all these doings in the bud, or sought to catch her while she was hurrying to the sea, and on foot too, or pursued after she had embarked, and that the mother of Theseus, an elderly woman, who certainly hated Helen, should have accompanied her on the journey.
§ 11.70 Afterwards too it is just as unlikely that on the death of Paris, whom they say Helen loved, she should have been the wife of Deiphobus — I suppose because Aphrodite had promised her to him also — and that not only she should have been unwilling to return to her husband, but that the Trojans should not have been unwilling, until their city was captured, to surrender her through compulsion. All that is improbable and indeed impossible. The same applies also to the following. "According to Homer, all the other Greeks, in spite of the fact that they had but a secondary interest in the dispute, took part in the expedition, while Castor and Pollux, who had been most deeply injured, did not go.
§ 11.71 Homer in veiling this blunder has represented Helen as expressing her astonishment and then, made excuse for them himself by saying that they had died before this. Hence it is evident that they were still living when she was carried off. And yet did they wait ten years for Agamemnon to waste time and muster an army instead of pursuing their sister at once in the hope of taking her on the voyage if possible, or else waging war with their own force if they failed?
§ 11.72 I cannot believe that they would have proceeded at once against Theseus, a man of Greek blood and peerless in valour, a ruler also of many and a comrade of Heracles and Peirithous with Thessalians and Boeotians to help him, and yet would not have proceeded against Paris but would have waited ten years for the Atreidae to muster their forces. Why, perhaps we should have expect Tyndareus himself to go and to find his years no hindrance.
§ 11.73 He certainly was not older than Nestor or Phoenix either, nor was it any more fitting for them to feel resentment than for the father himself. Yet neither he nor his sons came nor did they approve of the expedition. The reason was, in fact, that they had voluntarily given Helen in marriage since they preferred Paris to the other suitors on account of the greatness of his kingdom and his manly qualities, for he was no man's inferior in character. So neither did those men come to fight nor anyone from Lacedemon; nay, it is also untrue that Menelaus led the Lacedemonians and was king of Sparta while Tyndareus was yet alive.
§ 11.74 It would have been strange indeed if Nestor, neither previous to his departure nor afterwards on his return from Troy, ceded his royal power and realm to his sons because of his age, and yet Tyndareus made way for Menelaus. These considerations also certainly raise serious difficulties. "Now when the Achaeans arrived, they were at first prevented from making a landing, and Protesilaus with many others was slain in trying to force one. They therefore sailed across to the Chersonese after recovering their dead under truce, and there Protesilaus was buried. After this they sailed around, effected a landing in the country, and sacked some of the towns,
§ 11.75 whereupon Paris and Hector brought all the country folk into the city, but left the small towns on the coast to their fate through inability to furnish help everywhere. The enemy then sailed back to the harbour of the Achaeans and landed under of darkness, built a wall about their ships, and dug a trench because they feared Hector and the Trojans, and made preparations as if it were they who expected a siege.
§ 11.76 "Now while the Egyptians agree with Homer on the other points, they insist that he does not speak of the wall as having been finished, their reason being that he has represented Apollo and Poseidon as having at a later time sent the rivers against it and swept it away. The most plausible explanation of it all was merely the foundations of the wall that were inundated. Indeed, even in our day the rivers still make a marsh of the place and have deposited silt far out into the sea.
§ 11.77 "In the years that followed, the Greeks both did and suffered damage. However, not many pitched battles were fought, since they did not dare to approach the city because of the number and courage of the inhabitants. Skirmishes and forays there were on the part of the Greeks, and it was thus that Troilus, still a boy, perished, and Mestor and many others; for Achilles was very skilful in laying ambushes and making night attacks.
§ 11.78 In this way he almost caught and slew Aeneas upon Mount Ida and many others throughout the country, and he captured any forts that were poorly guarded. For the Achaeans had only a foothold for their camp and did not control the country. Here is a proof: Troilus would never have ventured outside the walls for exercise, and far from the city too, nor would the Achaeans have tilled the Chersonese, as all agree they did, if they had been in control of the Troad, nor would they have gone to Lemnos for wine.
§ 11.79 "As the Achaeans met with misfortune in the war and realized none of their expectations, while more and more allies were flocking to the Trojans, hunger and disease began to oppress them and dissension broke out among their leaders, as generally happens to the unsuccessful side, not to the victors.
§ 11.80 Even Homer acknowledges this, since he could not hide all the facts. For example, he tells how Agamemnon called an assembly of the Greeks as though intending to withdraw his army, undoubtedly because the troops were dissatisfied and wished to go home; how, too, the mob rushed to the ships, and Nestor and Odysseus barely managed to restrain them by invoking an old prophecy and declaring that their patience was required but a little while longer.
§ 11.81 Yet in an earlier passage Agamemnon affirms that the seer who made this prophecy was never a true prophet. "So far in the order of events Homer evidently does not treat his readers so cavalierly, but adheres to the truth fairly well except in regard to the abduction; this he does not relate in his own person as having taken place, but depicts Hector as upbraiding Paris, Helen as lamenting to Priam, and Paris himself as alluding to it in his interview with Helen, although this fact should have been presented with especial clearness and the greatest care. A further exception is the account of the single combat.
§ 11.82 For since Homer cannot say that Menelaus slew Paris, he favours him with an empty honour and with a victory that is ridiculous by saying that his sword broke. Pray was it impossible for him to use Paris' sword — when he was at any rate strong enough to drag him alive to the Achaeans, armour and all — but did he have to choke him with the strap of his helmet?
§ 11.83 The single combat between Ajax and Hector is also a pure fabrication, and its ending is very absurd. Here again Ajax conquers, but there is no finality, and the two make gifts to one another as if they were friends! "But immediately after this Homer gives the true account, telling of the defeat and rout of the Achaeans, Hector's mighty deeds, and the numbers of the slain, as he had promised to do, and yet with a certain reluctance and a desire to enhance Achilles' glory.
§ 11.84 Still he calls the city 'beloved of the gods,' and has Zeus say frankly that of all the cities beneath the sun he had loved Ilium best, and Priam and his people. Yet afterwards when the shell fell other side up, as the expression is, he made such a complete volte-face as to destroy that most beloved of cities most miserably on account of one man's crime, if crime there was. However, Homer cannot ignore the story of Hector's exploits when he routed and pursued the enemy even to the ships, and all the bravest were terror-stricken at the sight of him. Now he compares him to Ares, and again he says that his strength is like that of fire and not a single one dares to confront him, while Apollo stands at his side and Zeus from above signals his approval with wind and thunder.
§ 11.85 Homer is reluctant to state these things so frankly, yet since they are true, he cannot refrain when once he has started. Then there is that dreadful night of discouragement in the camp, Agamemnon's panic fear and lamentation, that midnight council, too, at which they deliberated on the method of flight, and that appeal to Achilles in the hope that he might find it possible after all to give them some aid.
§ 11.86 "For the following day Homer does grant some ineffectual display of prowess to Agamemnon, and to Diomede, Odysseus, and Eurypylus, and he says that Ajax did fight stoutly, but that the Trojans straightway gained the upper hand and Hector pursued them to the Achaean rampart and the ships. In this part of his narrative he is also evidently telling the truth and what really occurred, carried away as he is by the facts themselves. But when he glorifies the Achaeans, he is terribly embarrassed, and anyone can see that he is dealing in fiction: when, for instance, he has Ajax conquer Hector twice, but both times without result, once in the single combat and once again with the stone; again when Diomede conquers Aeneas, this time too without any result beyond merely capturing his horses, a statement that could not be disproved.
§ 11.87 So not knowing what to credit the Achaeans with, he tells how Ares and Aphrodite were wounded by Diomede. In all such accounts it is clear that he is partial to the Achaeans and eager to extol them, but that, not knowing of anything to say that is true, he is led in his embarrassment to mention impossible and impious deeds — the usual experience of all who oppose the truth.
§ 11.88 "In the case of Hector, however, he shows no such a loss for something great and splendid to say — because, I believe, he is telling of actual events. Nay, he says that all fled pell-mell, even the bravest, whose names he gives, that neither Idomeneus stood his ground, nor Agamemnon, nor the two Ajaxes, but only Nestor, and he because he was forced to do so, and that he was almost captured; but that Diomede came to his relief, put on a bold front for a short time, then straightway wheeled about and fled — because, forsooth, some thunderbolts deterred him!
§ 11.89 Finally, Homer tells how the trench was crossed, the ship-station besieged and the gates broken down by Hector, how the Achaeans were now crowded into their ships and all the war centred around the huts, how Ajax fights above on the ships and is finally dislodged by Hector and retires, while some of the ships are set on fire.
§ 11.90 For here there is no Aeneas snatched away by Aphrodite, no Ares wounded by a mortal, nor any other such incredible tales; nay, here are true events, and they resemble actual occurrences. After this defeat the men who had been so completely crushed could by no possibility have renewed the struggle or even regained courage so as to be helped at all by the trench or the rampart, or even so as to save their ships.
§ 11.91 For where now was any such strength to be found or any hero so invincible and possessed of a god's might, that they who were already lost could have been saved by his appearance? How insignificant, for instance, was the number of Myrmidons compared with that of the entire Trojan army! — or the strength of Achilles, who was certainly not going to fight then for the first time, but had time and again in the many years preceding engaged in conflict, and yet neither slain Hector nor performed any other great exploit beyond capturing Troilus, who was still a boy in years!
§ 11.92 "However, on reaching this point in his narrative Homer had no further concern for the truth but carried his shamelessness to extremes. He simply turned all the events topsy-turvy and reversed them, holding his hearers in contempt because he saw how easily they were duped in other matters, and particularly about the gods. Besides, there were no other poets or authors where one could read the truth, but he was the first who applied himself to the recording of these events, though he composed his poem many generations after the actual occurrences, when those who had known the facts had passed away along with their descendants, and only an obscure and uncertain tradition survived, as is to be expected in the case of events that have occurred in the distant past. Moreover, he intended to recite his epics to the masses and the common people, at the same time overstating the achievements of the Greeks, so that even the wiser persons would not refute him.
§ 11.93 Thus it was that he went so far as to represent the opposite of what actually occurred. "For instance, when Achilles came to their aid during the assault on the ships, of necessity for the most part and to save his own skin, there was," so the Egyptian claimed, "a partial rout of the Trojans, who withdrew from the ships forthwith, and the fire was quenched because Achilles had fallen upon them by surprise; and, in addition to the general retreat, Hector himself withdrew beyond the trench and the narrow space about the encampment, stoutly contesting each step, however, as Homer himself admits.
§ 11.94 Then when they clashed and engaged again, Achilles and his followers fought most brilliantly and slew great numbers of the Trojans and their allies, notably Sarpedon, king of the Lycians and a reputed child of Zeus; and at the river ford there was a great slaughter of the fleeing Trojans, not fleeing in headlong confusion, however, but repeatedly turning to make a stand.
§ 11.95 Meanwhile Hector, experienced as he was in discerning the critical moment in a fight, kept on his guard, and as long as Achilles possessed his full strength and fought with youthful vigour, avoided him, contenting himself with cheering the others on. But later he noticed that Achilles was at last growing fatigued and had lost a great measure of his original impetus because he had not spared his strength in that struggle, and that he was exhausted by his reckless plunge into the river, swollen beyond its wont, and had been wounded by Asteropaeus, the son of Paeon. Then he saw, too, that Aeneas had engaged Achilles and, after a prolonged fight, had come off in safety at the moment he desired, and that the latter, rushing in pursuit of Agenor, had not been able to overtake him — and yet it was in this very point that Achilles chiefly excelled, in that he was reckoned the swiftest of foot.
§ 11.96 And so it had become clear to Hector, a master in the art of war, that in view of all these conditions Achilles was an easy prey. Accordingly he boldly confronted him in the open plain. At first he gave way as if in open flight, but with the real purpose of testing him and, at the same time, wearying him by now making a stand and now fleeing. Then when he noted that he lagged and fell behind, he himself turned and fell upon Achilles, who was no longer able even to support his arms. He gave him battle, slew him, and, just as Homer has told it, possessed himself of his arms. He pursued the horses of Achilles too," said the Egyptian priest, "but he did not bring them in though they too were caught.
§ 11.97 The two Ajaxes with great difficulty managed to bring back the body of Achilles to the ships; for the Trojans, now feeling relieved and believing that they were victorious, were pressing on with less energy; while Hector, after donning the emblazoned arms of Achilles, continued the slaughter and pressed on in pursuit to the sea, just as Homer admits. Night fell, however, and prevented the burning of all the ships. "Yet in the face of these facts, Homer, finding it impossible to conceal the truth, says it was Patroclus who attacked with the Myrmidons after taking Achilles' arms, that it was he who was slain by Hector, and that Hector in this manner won the arms.
§ 11.98 And yet when the army was beset with so great peril, when the ships were now ablaze, and danger was almost at his own doors, how was it possible for Achilles, hearing that Hector declared he had found no foeman worthy of his steel and that Zeus was helping him and showing him signs of his favour, to remain in his tent, great champion that he was, if he really desired the salvation of the Achaeans, and to send a hero much his inferior and exhort him to lay on manfully and beat back the Trojans, only not only to engage with Hector? For it was quite impossible, I imagine, for Patroclus to choose with whom he would fight when once he had set forth.
§ 11.99 But although he had such a poor opinion of Patroclus and distrusted him, did Achilles entrust his force to him, and his own weapons and horses, an insane course which no one would adopt regarding his own interests unless he wished to ruin everything? Then did he pray Zeus to bring back Patroclus with all his arms and comrades, while sending him forth so foolishly against a mightier man whose challenge to the bravest and one was willing to accept,
§ 11.100 and whom Agamemnon declared frankly even Achilles so feared that he shrank from encountering him? Consequently, after making this plan, he lost, as Homer admits, both his comrade and many other men, while he almost lost his horses too, and did lose his arms. Now Achilles would never have done such things unless he was out of his senses, and if this had been the case, Phoenix would certainly have restrained him. "But, says Homer, Achilles did not wish to free the Achaeans from their peril speedily, not until he should receive his gifts. Besides, he had not yet given over his anger.
§ 11.101 But what was there to prevent his coming forth and then nursing his wrath as long as he wished? Homer is aware of this inconsistency and hints that he tarried in his tent on account of a certain prophecy that declared he would surely die if he went out, thus laying the charge of cowardice squarely at his door. And yet on the strength of this prophecy he might have withdrawn from the expedition after his quarrel with Agamemnon. But what is more to the point, it happens that he had heard the warning which his mother gave with reference to Patroclus, whom he declares he loves as his own soul and after whose death he would wish to live no longer.
§ 11.102 Yet when he saw him unable to lift the spear, he gave him the other things that were evidently proportionate in weight to the spear and did not fear that he would be unable to carry them. And this is just what Homer says did happen in the battle. "But it would be a long task to show up every misstatement. To any careful observer the falsehoods are self-evident, so much so that anyone with half a mind can see that Patroclus is little more than a counterfeit that Homer has substituted for Achilles in his eagerness to conceal the truth concerning that hero.
§ 11.103 "Then Homer had a misgiving that there might actually be some search for the tomb of Patroclus — it would naturally be, I suppose, clearly marked just as are the tombs of the other chieftains also who were slain at Troy — so, safeguarding himself against this, he says that Patroclus had no separate tomb but was buried with Achilles. Again, Nestor, who brought back the bones of Antilochus with him from Troy, did not ask to be buried with him, although Antilochus died for him, but the ashes of Achilles were mingled with those of Patroclus. "Now it was Homer's especial aim to throw a veil over the death of Achilles and create the impression that he did not die at Troy;
§ 11.104 but seeing the impossibility of this, since the tradition prevailed and his tomb was being pointed out, Homer, suppressing the account of his death by Hector's hand, makes the contrary statement that the latter, who was so far superior to all other men, was slain by Achilles, adding that his corpse was dishonoured and dragged as far as the walls. Knowing, too, that there was a tomb of Hector where he was honoured by the citizens, Homer goes on to say that his body was returned by command of Zeus upon payment of a ransom,
§ 11.105 Aphrodite and Apollo having in the meanwhile cared for its preservation. But not knowing what disposition to make of Achilles — for he must have been slain by some one of the Trojans, since Homer had no idea of representing him as dying by his own hand as he did Ajax, thereby denying his slayer the glory of the deed — Homer says that Paris slew him, Paris, whom he has depicted as the most base and cowardly of the Trojans, and as having been almost captured alive by Menelaus, whom he has depicted as being always reviled as a faint-hearted spearman and a name of reproach among the Greeks; and he does this, we see,
§ 11.106 in order to steal the glory for Hector — who undoubtedly slew Achilles — thus making the hero's end much less creditable than it really was and much more inglorious. "Finally, he brings forth Achilles, who was in fact already slain, and has him do battle with the Trojans. But his arms are not at hand but are in Hector's possession — for here Homer did permit one truth to escape his lips — and so he says that Thetis brought from heaven the arms made by Hephaestus, letting Achilles in this way, forsooth, rout the Trojans single-handed — a ridiculous conception, wherein Homer has ignored all the other Achaeans as though not a single man were available. And having once given himself the liberty of making this misrepresentation, he went on to distort the entire story. At this point he makes the gods fight with one another, thus virtually acknowledging his utter disregard for the truth.
§ 11.107 Moreover, he recounts Achilles' heroic deeds in a manner very weak and unconvincing. Now the hero is fighting with a river, now threatening Apollo and pursuing him, the entire narrative at this point showing how well-nigh desperate the poet was. For when he is telling the truth, he is not so unconvincing or dull. Once when the Trojans were hard bestead to withdraw safely into the city, Homer has represented the splendid heroism with which Hector awaited Achilles outside the city walls, deaf to the prayers of father and mother. Then he circles the city in flight when he might have entered it, and Achilles is unable to catch him, though he is always represented by Homer as the swiftest of men.
§ 11.108 Meanwhile all the Achaeans were looking on as if attending a show, and none rendered Achilles any help after all they had suffered at Hector's hands and though they so hated him that they afterwards even wounded his dead body. Then he makes Deiphobus come forth from the walls — or, rather, Athena in his guise — and deceive Hector and steal his spear from him in the duel, the poet being at his wits' end how to despatch Hector, and dazed as it were by his falsehood, so that he actually describes the fight as if in a dream. At any rate the account of that struggle bears the closest resemblance to a nightmare.
§ 11.109 "When he reached this point, Homer gave up, not knowing how to continue his work and being dissatisfied with his falsehoods. He merely added some sort of funeral games, a perfectly ridiculous thing, then the arrival of king Priam in the Greek camp at the tent of Achilles without the knowledge of any of the Achaeans, and the ransom of Hector. But of the help which Memnon and the Amazons brought, great and splendid episodes though they were, not a word did he venture to speak, nor of the death of Achilles, nor of the capture of Troy.
§ 11.110 Homer, methinks, did not have the heart to depict Achilles, who had long been dead, as being slain again, or the defeated and routed as victorious, or this conquering city as being sacked. Then later writers, because they were deceived and the falsehood was now generally accepted, henceforth wrote without misgiving. But the actual course of events was as I have given it.
§ 11.111 "Now when Achilles, in his defence of the ships, had been slain by Hector, the Trojans, just as they had done before, bivouacked hard by the ships in order to keep watch on the Achaeans, who they suspected would flee during the night. But Hector, rejoicing in his success, withdrew into the city to be with his parents and wife, leaving Paris in command of the forces.
§ 11.112 He with the host of the Trojans lay down to rest, as was natural, since they were exhausted and suspected no evil and, moreover, had been completely successful. But meanwhile, after Agamemnon had taken counsel with Nestor, Odysseus, and Diomede, they quietly launched the majority of the ships, realizing that on the preceding day they had come near being destroyed, so even flight would not again be possible; and in fact a considerable part of the fleet had fallen prey to the flames, not merely the one ship of Protesilaus. Having launched their ships, therefore, they sailed off to the Chersonese, leaving behind many of their prisoners and a good deal of their other property.
§ 11.113 "In the morning when the fact became evident, Hector was filled with angry indignation and upbraided Paris for letting the enemy escape out of his hands. The Trojans then burned the huts and plundered what had been left behind, while the Achaeans, after taking counsel from their position of safety — for Hector and his people had no fleet in hand in which to cross over to attack them — unanimously decided to withdraw, since they had lost many of their people and their bravest warriors. There was the danger, however, that the Trojans might build themselves ships and sail at once against Greece.
§ 11.114 They were therefore obliged to remain and live by plundering as at first, in the hope of making peace with Paris when he became wearied, and departing after establishing friendly relations. They did as they had decided and remained across the water. "At this juncture Memnon came from Ethiopia to aid the Trojans, and the Amazons from Pontus, as well as other allies in great numbers when they learned that Priam and Hector were successful and that the Achaeans now were all but utterly destroyed. Some came out of friendship, others fearing the power of Troy, since it is not those who have met with defeat or are in sore straits but those who have conquered and overcome all their enemies that everyone is eager to help.
§ 11.115 The Achaeans also sent for whatever reinforcements they had at home, for no one outside of Greece any longer paid any heed whatsoever to them. Thus it was that Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, came although he was still very young, and Philoctetes, hitherto neglected because of his ailment, and other equally poor and feeble recruits from home. Upon their arrival the Achaeans having revived their strength, recrossed to Troy, and threw up another much smaller wall, not in the same place as previously along the shore, but on the higher part of it, which they seized.
§ 11.116 Some of the ships lay at anchor close to this rampart, others remained across the water. For since the Greeks had no hope of winning but wished to make terms, as I have said, they did not prosecute the war vigorously, but in a somewhat half-hearted way and with their minds set rather upon returning home. "They resorted to ambush, therefore, and guerilla warfare for the most part; but on one occasion, when an unusually fierce struggle arose over an attempt of the Trojans to raze their stronghold, Ajax was slain by Hector, and Antilochus, while defending his father, by Memnon.
§ 11.117 But Memnon too was wounded by Antilochus and died while being carried off the field. Then too it was that the Achaeans enjoyed a period of success as never before. For not only was Memnon, who was held in great esteem, wounded mortally but the Amazon also, who flung herself upon the ships with unusual ferocity and tried to fire them, was killed by Neoptolemus, who fought from his ship with a naval pike; and Paris was slain, pierced by Philoctetes' arrow.
§ 11.118 Thus the Trojans in turn were disheartened and wondered whether they ever would be rid of the war or any advantage would redound to them through victory. Priam too was a changed man after the death of Paris, through his deep grief for him and his fear for Hector, while the deaths of Antilochus and Ajax left the Achaeans in a much weaker condition. The result was that they sent an embassy offering to withdraw as soon as peace was made and oaths taken that the one people would not invade Asia nor the other, Argos.
§ 11.119 Thereupon Hector spoke against this, for the Trojans, he said, were far stronger and would capture the fortification by assault; but what angered him most was the death of Paris. However, upon the appeal of his father, who urged his fullness of years and the loss of his sons, and influenced by the desire of the people of the city to be relieved of the war, he consented to the cessation of hostilities, but insisted that the Achaeans pay the expenses of the war and make reparation because they had been the aggressors, had pillaged the country for many years, and had slain Paris along with many other brave warriors, not because he had done them any injury but because he had been preferred in the wooing of Helen and had won a wife from Hellas, given by those who had the right to do so.
§ 11.120 Against this, Odysseus, who was a member of the peace embassy, protested, pointing out that the achievements of the Achaeans were no less than their defeats and was for laying the blame for the war upon their enemies. Paris, he thought, had no business, when there were so many women in Asia, to go from there to Greece to sue for a wife and then return after snapping his fingers at her chieftains and triumphing through the power of his wealth. His errand, he insisted, had been no simple courtship; nay, they were not oblivious of the fact that by its means Paris was plotting against Greek interests. He therefore insisted that this be given up for the future, since both sides had suffered so much, and that too although the Atreidae were already connected with the Trojans by marriage ties and kinship through Pelops.
§ 11.121 With regard to indemnity, he had only ridicule. The Greeks, he said, had no means; nay, even the larger part of the army was serving voluntarily on account of the poverty of the mainland. This he urged to deter the Trojans from a campaign against Greece, and said that if any indemnity should be necessary for propriety's sake, he was ready with a plan. For the Greeks would leave a very large and beautiful offering to Athena and carve upon it this inscription: "A Propitiation from the Achaeans to Athena of Ilium." This, he explained, conferred great honour upon the Trojans and stood against the Greeks as an evidence of their defeat.
§ 11.122 He exhorted Helen also to interest herself in the peace, and she gladly lent her help, for it pained her that she was blamed for the many misfortunes of the Trojans. So hostilities were brought to an end, and a truce was made between the Trojans and the Achaeans. But here too Homer has distorted the facts though he knew what occurred. He says that the Trojans broke the truce; and Hector and Agamemnon together with the other prominent chieftains had only sworn to each other that the Achaeans would never invade Asia so long as the family of Priam was on the throne, and that the descendants of Priam would not invade the Peloponnese, Boeotia, Crete, Ithaca, Phthia, or Euboea. These were the only countries that they specified;
§ 11.123 as regards the others, the Trojans refused to give their oath, nor were the Atreidae insistent. When this compact had been sworn to, the horse, a huge structure, was completed by the Achaeans and conveyed up to the city by the Trojans, who removed a portion of the walls when the gates did not admit its passage. Hence the ridiculous story of the capture of the city by the horse. The army departed under truce in this way. Then Hector gave Helen to Deiphobus as his wife, for he was the best of the brothers next to himself.
§ 11.124 His father died as the most fortunate man in the world except for the grief he bore for the sons who had perished. Hector too died full of years at the end of a long reign after subduing most of Asia, and was buried outside the city. His kingdom he left to his son Scamandrus." Though this is the true account, I see clearly that no one will accept it, but that all save the thoughtful will declare it to be false. By "all" I mean you as well as the Greeks. For calumny is extremely hard to overcome, and especially when men have been deceived for a long time.
§ 11.125 But rid yourselves of your opinions and prejudices and consider how ridiculous the opposite story is. A whole army was hidden in a horse and yet not a single Trojan noticed it or even surmised it in spite of the fact that they had an unerring prophetess among them, but by their own efforts they brought the enemy within the city. Then before this, when all were defeated, one man appeared unarmed and proved able by the power of his voice to put to flight so many thousands; and after this, being without arms, he received fresh weapons from heaven and overwhelmed the victors of but the previous day and unaided chased them all from the field.
§ 11.126 Can you believe, further, that this same Achilles, so pre-eminent a hero, was slain by the most faint-hearted man in the world, as the Trojans themselves confess, that while one man was slain it was another who was stripped of his arms, and that this hero was the only one among the chieftains to be given no burial-place; that yet another, and he one of the bravest, who fought so many years, was saved from the hands of the enemy only to slay himself in a fit of anger, and that although he was looked upon as the most dignified and gentle-mannered among the allies?
§ 11.127 And finally, the poet, who set out to tell of the Trojan War, omitted the most glorious and important events and did not even give an account of the capture of the city! The following are some of the things that he mentions in his poem: — When the Achaeans had already been worsted, and more than once, Achilles' own force included, and he was the sole survivor, he made a great change in the situation by slaying Hector and was himself slain by Paris, who was the meanest of the Trojans, as they themselves admit, and when Patroclus was slain, it was Achilles whose body was stripped and whose arms were taken, while Patroclus was not buried.
§ 11.128 Then since there was a grave of Ajax and everyone knew that he died at Troy, he slew himself simply to deprive the man who slew him of honour! The Achaeans fled in silence from Asia after burning their huts, and their naval camp was set on fire by Hector and their rampart captured. Then they erected a votive offering to Athena and carved an inscription upon it, as is the custom for the vanquished, but none the less they captured Troy and an army of men was hidden in the Wooden Horse. The Trojans suspected what was afoot and purposed to burn the Wooden Horse or cut it to pieces, and yet did neither the one nor the other, but ate and slept, in spite of Cassandra's forewarning too.
§ 11.129 Does not all this in reality remind one of dreams and wild fiction? In the book "Dreams" by Horus people have such experiences, imagining at one time that they are being killed and their bodies stripped of arms and that they rise to their feet again and fight unarmed, at other times imagining they are chasing somebody or holding converse with the gods or committing suicide without any cause for the act, and at times, possibly, flying offhand or walking on the sea. For this reason one might well call Homer's poetry a kind of dream, obscure and vague at that.
§ 11.130 The following also is worth thinking about along with what has been said above. Everybody is agreed that the stormy season had already set in when the Achaeans sailed from Asia and that for this reason the greater part of their expedition came to grief off Euboea; further, that they did not all take the same course, since a division arose in the army and between the Atreidae, some joining Agamemnon, others Menelaus, while yet others, whom Homer mentions in the Odyssey, departed by themselves. For it is reasonable to suppose that if things were going well, there would have been unanimity and the fullest obedience to the king, and that Menelaus would not have quarrelled with his brother just after receiving the great favour from him; but in defeat and failure all such things are sure to happen.
§ 11.131 Be it noted also that when an army is in fear and flight, it retires with the greatest speed from the enemy's country and takes no chances by remaining, while a victorious army that has added to its own resources a great number of prisoners and great supplies awaits the safest moment for withdrawing, since it both controls the country itself and has a great abundance of everything, but would not, after waiting ten years, have come within a little of being wholly destroyed. The domestic disasters also which befell those who reached their homes are not the least evidence of their discomfiture and weakness.
§ 11.132 It is certainly not the rule for attacks to be made on men who are victorious and successful. Such men are feared and admired. The unsuccessful, however, are held in contempt by outsiders and even by some of their own kinsfolk. It was undoubtedly because of his defeat that Agamemnon was despised by his wife, that Aegisthus attacked and easily overcame him, and that the Argives took the matter into their own hands and made Aegisthus king. They would not have done it had he slain an Agamemnon who had returned with all his glory and power after conquering Asia.
§ 11.133 Diomede too, who won a reputation second to no one in the war, was exiled from his home, and so was Neoptolemus, whether by Hellenes or by certain others. Then soon after they were all driven from the Peloponnese and the family of the Pelopidae came to an end because of this calamity, while the Heraclidae, hitherto a weak and despised family, came in with Dorians.
§ 11.134 Odysseus, however, delayed voluntarily, in part because he was ashamed, and in part because he suspected the situation; and on account of this, the youth of Cephallenia set themselves to court Penelope and seize his property, while of Odysseus' friends not one came to his aid, not even Nestor though so near. For all who had taken part in the expedition were humbled and in poor circumstances; whereas, had they conquered, they would necessarily have inspired fear in all and no one would have attacked them.
§ 11.135 Menelaus did not return to the Peloponnesus at all but remained in Egypt. Among other proofs of his arrival there is the fact that a province was named after him; which would not have been the case had he been a wanderer and stayed for only a short period. But he married the king's daughter and told the priests the story of the expedition, concealing nothing.
§ 11.136 One could almost say that Homer is not only well acquainted with all this account, but also that he is hinting at it when he says that Menelaus was sent by the gods after his death to the Elysian fields, where there is neither snow nor storm but sunshine and balmy air throughout the year, for such is the climate of Egypt. It seems to me that some of the later poets too have an inkling of the facts. One of the tragic poets, for instance, says that Helen immediately upon her return was the object of Orestes' plotting and that on the appearance of her brothers she was not to be found. Now the poet would never have so represented it in his play had it been an established fact that Helen lived in Greece after the war, and as the wife of Menelaus.
§ 11.137 This is the gloomy and weak state into which the fortune of Greece fell after the war, while that of Troy became much brighter and more glorious. On the one hand, Aeneas was sent by Hector with a large fleet and force of men and occupied Italy, the most favoured country in Europe; and, on the other, Helenus penetrated into the interior of Greece and became king of the Molossians and of Epeirus near Thessaly. And yet which was the more probable: that a vanquished people should sail to the land of their conquerors and reign among them, or that, on the contrary, the victors should sail to the land of the conquered?
§ 11.138 Furthermore, if, when Troy fell, Aeneas, Antenor, Helenus, and their people fled, why did they not betake themselves anywhere else rather than to Greece and Europe, or content themselves with occupying some place in Asia, rather than sail straight to the land of those who had driven them out? And how did they all come to rule over regions by no means small or obscure, when they might have seized Greece also? But, one says, they refrained on account of their oaths. Still, Helenus cut off no small part of it, namely, Epirus. Then Antenor acquired dominion over the Heneti and the very best land about the Adriatic, while Aeneas became master of all Italy and founded the greatest city in the world.
§ 11.139 Now it does not stand to reason that men driven into exile and crushed by calamities at home accomplished such things, but rather that they would have been satisfied to be allowed to settle anywhere, especially when one considers with what humble resources whether of men or of money they would have had to come, fleeing through the midst of the enemy, their city lying in ashes and everything lost, when it would have been hard for the young and vigorous to save even their lives, to say nothing of setting forth with wives, children, parents, and property, when, to make matters worse, their city had been taken suddenly and contrary to their expectation, and they would not have departed gradually as men are wont to do when there has been a formal agreement. Nay, what did happen was a thing that could happen.
§ 11.140 The story goes that after the Achaeans sailed away there was a great multitude assembled in the city, and that the allies were not all inclined to depart, and that, further, Hector discovered that Aeneas would not be satisfied if he did not get some share in the royal power, as Priam had promise him, so he claimed, if he saw the war through to the end and expelled the Achaeans; so Hector sent the colonists forth, generously supplying means and despatching with Aeneas as large a force as he wished, with all goodwill.
§ 11.141 He assured Aeneas that he was fully entitled to reign and have an authority no whit inferior to his own, but that it was better for him to get another country; because it was not impossible for Aeneas to become master of all Europe, and in that event he had hopes that their descendants would be rulers of both continents as long as their race endured.
§ 11.142 Accordingly, Aeneas adopted the suggestion of Hector, partly to please him, partly because he hoped to achieve greater things. So thanks to vigour and spirit the colony became an actuality and under the guidance of fortune's favourites was a power at once and in future times. Then Antenor, so they say, on observing Aeneas' preparations, likewise desired to get a kingdom in Europe. So another similar expedition was fitted out. The story adds that Helenus, complaining that he was getting less than Deiphobus, petitioned his father, obtained a fleet and army, and sailed to Greece as though it were waiting for him, and occupied all the territory from which the treaties did not exclude him.
§ 11.143 And so it happened that when Diomedes in exile from Argos heard of Aeneas' expedition, he came to him, since peace and friendship existed between them, and asked for his help, after relating the misfortunes that had befallen Agamemnon and himself. Aeneas welcomed him and his little fleet of ships and gave him a small part of his army, since he had brought all the country under his sway.
§ 11.144 Later those Achaeans who had been driven out by the Dorians, not knowing in their weak condition which way to turn, made their way to Asia and to the descendants of Priam and Hector as to friends and allies, and then, with the friendly consent of these, founded Lesbos, whose inhabitants allowed them to do so through friendship, and other not inconsiderable places. If anyone does not accept this account under the influence of the old view, let him know that he is unable to get free of error and distinguish truth from falsehood.
§ 11.145 The fact that a thing has long been accepted by foolish people is not a weighty consideration nor the fact that the falsehoods were current among those of former times. You see, in regard to many other matters also men differ and hold contrary views. In regard to the Persian War, for instance, some hold that the naval engagement off Salamis took place after the battle of Plataea, others that the affair at Plataea was the last of the events; yet a record was made immediately after the events occurred.
§ 11.146 For most people have no accurate knowledge. They merely accept rumour, even when they are contemporary with the time in question, while the second and third generations are in total ignorance and readily swallow whatever anyone says; as, for example, when people speak of the Scirite company in the Lacedemonian army, which, as Thucydides says, never existed, or when the Athenians give the highest honours to Harmodius and Aristogeiton, under the impression that they had freed the city and slain the tyrant.
§ 11.147 But why speak of human affairs when people maintain and dare to say that Uranus was mutilated by Cronus, and the latter by Zeus? Just as soon as anyone has thought of an absurdity, as often happens, it is absurd to refuse to believe it. But I wish to offer a defence in behalf of Homer by saying that there is nothing wrong in accepting his fictions. First, they are much less serious than the falsehoods told about the gods. Second, there was some advantage in them for the Greeks of those days, since they saved them from being alarmed in case war, as was expected, arose between them and the people of Asia. We can pardon one who, being a Greek, used every means to aid his countrymen.
§ 11.148 This is a very common device. I heard, for instance, a Mede declare that the Persians concede none of the claims made by the Greeks, but maintain that Darius despatched Datis and Artaphernes against Naxos and Eretria, and that after capturing these cities they returned to the king; that, however, while they were lying at anchor off Euboea, a few of their ships were driven on to the Attic coast — not more than twenty — and their crews had some kind of an engagement with the inhabitants of that place;
§ 11.149 that, later on, Xerxes in his expedition against Greece conquered the Lacedemonians at Thermopylae and slew their king Leonidas, then captured and razed the city of the Athenians and sold into slavery all who did not escape; and that after these successes he laid tribute upon the Greeks and withdrew to Asia. Now it is quite clear that this is a false account, but, since it was the natural thing to do, it is quite possible that the king ordered this story to be spread among the inland tribes in order to keep them quiet. So if Homer used this same device we ought to forgive him.
§ 11.150 Perhaps, however, some uninformed person may say, "It is not right for you to disparage the Greeks in this way." Well, the situation has changed and there is no longer any fear of an Asiatic people ever marching against Greece. For Greece is subject to others and so is Asia. Besides, the truth is worth a great deal. And in addition to all this, had I known that my words would carry conviction, perhaps I should have decided not to speak at all. But nevertheless I maintain that I have freed the Greeks from reproaches greater and more distressing.
§ 11.151 That a man should fail in the capture of a city is nothing unusual, nor is it, either, to have made a campaign against a country which was no concern of theirs and then to have retreated after making peace; and for a man of noble spirit to fall in battle by the hand of a worthy foe, that too is no reproach. Nay, a man who is on the point of death might well meet it as Achilles is represented to have done when he said, "Would that Hector, the most brave Of warriors reared upon the Trojan soil, Had slain me."
§ 11.152 But for the bravest of the Greeks to be slain by the most contemptible man among the enemy, that indeed is a great reproach; and likewise for one who was reputed to be a man of intelligence and the most temperate of the Greeks to begin by slaughtering the sheep and oxen when he meant to slay the kings and then to despatch himself, all for the sake of a suit of armour, is most shameful.
§ 11.153 Furthermore, when Astyanax, the son of a noble warrior, is so brutally slain by being hurled from the city walls, and indeed by the united decision of army and kings; when the maiden Polyxena is sacrificed at the tomb and such libations are made to the son of a goddess; when Cassandra, a consecrated maiden and priestess of Apollo, is outraged in the sanctuary of Athena while clinging to the goddess' statue, and this is done, not by some obscure or worthless man, but by one of the most prominent leaders;
§ 11.154 when Priam, the king of Asia, in extreme old age is wounded beside the altar of Zeus, from whom he was descended, and is slaughtered upon it, and no obscure man perpetrates this deed either, but the very son of Achilles, in spite of the fact that Achilles, his father, had entertained Priam and spared his life on a former occasion; when Hecuba, the sorrow-stricken mother of so many children, is given to Odysseus to her shame and under the weight of her miseries is changed to a dog — an utterly ridiculous idea; and when the lord of the Greeks takes as his bride that holy virgin of Apollo, whom no one had dared to marry for fear of the god — an act for which he is held to have met a deserved fate — how much better for the Greeks never to have committed these excesses than to have captured Troy!
§ 12.01 The Twelfth or Olympic Discourse: or, On Man's First Conception of God
§ 12.1 Can it be, Sirs, that here before you, just as before many another audience — to use a familiar saying — I have met with the strange and inexplicable experience of the owl? For though she is no whit wiser than the other birds nor more beautiful in appearance, but on the contrary only what we know her to be, yet whenever she utters her mournful and far from pleasing note, they all flock to her — yes, and even when they merely see her, the reason being, as it seems to me, that they look with scorn upon her insignificance and weakness; and yet people in general say that the birds admire the owl.
§ 12.2 Surely, however, the birds ought rather to admire the peacock when they see him, beautiful and many-coloured as he is, and then again truly when he lifts himself up in pride and shows the beauty of his plumage, as he struts before his hen with his tail spread out and arched all about him like a fair-shaped theatre or some picture of the heavens studded with stars — a figure well deserving of admiration for the colouring also, which is nearest to gold blended with dark blue; and then too on the tips of his feathers there are eyes, as it were, or markings like rings both in shape and in their general similitude.
§ 12.3 And, if you want something further, observe the lightness of his plumage, so light indeed that it is not an encumbrance nor hard to carry on account of its length. In the centre of it he offers himself to the spectator's gaze, quite calm and unconcerned, turning himself this way and that as if on parade; and when he wishes really to astound us, he rustles his feathers and makes a sound not unpleasing, as of a light breeze stirring some thick wood. But it is not the peacock with all this fine display that the birds want to see, nor when they hear the song of the nightingale as she rises at early dawn are they at all affected by her -
§ 12.4 nay, not even the swan do they greet on account of its music, not even when in the fullness of years it sings its last song, and through joy, and because it has forgotten the troubles of life, utters its triumphant notes and at the same time without sorrow conducts itself, as it seems, to a sorrowless death — even then, I say, the birds are not so charmed by its strains that they gather on some river's bank or on a broad mead or the clean strand of a mere, or on some tiny green islet in a river.
§ 12.5 And since you likewise, though having so many delightful spectacles to behold, and so many things to hear — able orators, most charming writers of both verse and prose, and finally, like gorgeous peacocks, sophists in great numbers, men who are lifted aloft as on wings by their fame and disciples — since you, I say, despite all these attractions, draw near and wish to listen to me, a man who knows nothing and makes no claim to knowing, am I not right in likening your interest to that which the birds take in the owl, one might almost say not without some divine purpose?
§ 12.6 This purpose is seen in men's belief that this bird is beloved of Athene also, the fairest of the gods and the wisest, and indeed at Athens it was honoured by the art of Pheidias, who did not count the owl unworthy to share a dedication with the goddess, the popular assembly approving; but Pericles and his own self he depicted covertly, so we are told, on the shield of the goddess. However, it does not occur to me to regard all this as good fortune on the part of the owl, unless she really does in fact possess some superior sagacity.
§ 12.7 And this, I imagine, is the reason why Aesop composed the fable in which he represents her as being wise and as advising the birds, when the first oak tree began to grow, not to let it happen, but by all means to destroy the plant; for, she explained, the tree would produce a drug from which none might escape, the bird-lime, and they would be caught by it. Again, when men were sowing flax, she bade them pick up this seed also, since if it grew, no good would come of it.
§ 12.8 And in the third place, when she saw a man armed with a bow, she prophesied, saying: "Yonder man will outstrip you with the help of your own feathers, for though he is on foot himself, he will send feathered shafts after you." But the other birds mistrusted her words of warning. They considered her foolish, and said she was mad; but afterwards through experience they came to admire her and to consider her in very truth exceedingly wise. And that is the reason why, whenever she shows herself, they draw near to her as to one possessing all knowledge; but as for her, she no longer gives them advice, but merely laments.
§ 12.9 So perhaps there has been delivered unto you some true word and salutary counsel, which Philosophy gave to the Greeks of old, but the men of that time comprehended it not and despised it; whereas those of the present day, recalling it, draw near to me on account of my appearance, thus honouring Philosophy as the birds honour the owl, although it is in reality voiceless and reticent of speech. For I am quite well aware that I have not hitherto said anything worthy of consideration, and that now I have no knowledge superior to your own.
§ 12.10 But there are other men who are wise and altogether blessed; and if you wish, I shall make them known to you, mentioning each one by name. For indeed this alone I consider to be profitable — to know the men who are wise and able and omniscient. To such if you are willing to cleave, neglecting all other things — both parents and the land of your birth, the shrines of the gods, and the tombs of your forefathers — following wherever they lead, or remaining wherever they establish themselves — whether in the Babylon of Ninus and Semiramis, or in Bactra, or Sousa, or Palibothra, or in some other famous and wealthy city — giving them money or in some other way winning their favour, you will become happier than happiness itself.
§ 12.11 But if you not willing to do this yourselves, mistrusting your own natural ability, or pleading poverty or age or lack of physical strength, you will at least not begrudge your sons this boon nor deprive them of the greatest blessings, but will entrust them to these teachers if they are willing to receive them; and if they are unwilling, you will persuade them or compel them by any and all means, to the end that your sons, having been properly educated and having grown wise, may thenceforth be renowned among all Greeks and barbarians, being pre-eminent in virtue and reputation and wealth and in almost every kind of power. For not only do virtue and renown attend upon wealth, as we are told, but wealth likewise and of necessity accompanies virtue.
§ 12.12 This is the prophecy and counsel that I give you in the presence of yonder god, moved by a spirit of goodwill and friendship toward you. And I suppose that it would be my duty to urge and exhort myself first of all, if only the state of my health and my advanced age permitted, but the fact is that, on account of the infirmities which afflict me, I am under the necessity, if perchance I shall find it in any way possible, of discovering some bit of wisdom which has already been from the ancients cast aside as it were, and had grown stale for lack of teachers who are both better and still living. And I shall tell you of another respect too in which I am like the owl, even if you are ready to laugh at my words.
§ 12.13 For just as that bird makes no use herself of the others that fly to her side, but to the fowler is the most useful of all possessions — since he has no need to throw out feed or mimic a call, but merely to show the owl and then have a great multitude of birds — so I too have nothing to gain by the interest of the many. For I do not take disciples, since I know there is nothing I should be able to teach them, seeing that I know nothing myself; but to lie and deceive by my promises, I have not the courage for that. But if I associated myself with a professional sophist, I should help him greatly by gathering a great crowd to him and then allowing him to dispose of the catch as he wished. However, for some reason or other, not one of the sophists is willing to take me on, nor can they bear the sight of me.
§ 12.14 Now I am almost sure that you believe me when I speak of my own inexperience and lack of knowledge and sagacity — and it seems to me that you not only believe me on this point, but would have believed Socrates also, when he continually and to all men advanced on his own behalf the same defence — that he knew nothing; but that Hippias and Polus and Gorgias, each of whom was more struck with admiration of himself than of anyone else, you would have considered wise and blessed.
§ 12.15 But notwithstanding, I declare to that, great as is your number, you have been eager to hear a man who is neither handsome in appearance nor strong, and in age is already past his prime, one who has no disciple, who professes, I may almost say, no art or special knowledge either of the nobler or of the meaner sort, no ability either as a prophet or a sophist, nay, not even as an orator or a flatterer, one who is not even a clever writer, who does not even have a craft deserving of praise or of interest, but who simply — wears his hair long! But if you think it a better and wiser course,
§ 12.16 I must do this and try to the best of my ability. However, you will not hear words such as you would hear from any other man of the present day, but words much less pretentious and wearisome, in fact just such as you now observe. And in brief, you must allow me to pursue any thought that occurs to me and not become annoyed if you find me wandering in my remarks exactly as in the past I have lived a life of roving, but you must grant me your indulgence, bearing in mind that you are listening to a man who is a layman and who is fond of talking. For in fact, as it happens, I have just finished a long, long journey, all the way from the Ister and the land of the Getae, or Mysians as Homer, using the modern designation of the race, calls them.
§ 12.17 And I went there, not as a merchant with his wares, nor yet as one of the supply-train of the army in the capacity of baggage-carrier or cattle-driver, nor was I discharging a mission as ambassador to our allies or on some embassy bearing congratulations, the members of which join in prayers with the lips only. I went Unarmed, with neither helm nor shield nor lance,
§ 12.18 nor indeed with any other weapon either, so that I marvelled that they brooked the sight of me. For I, who could not ride a horse and was not a skilled bowman or man-at arms, nor yet a javelin-thrower, or slinger, belonging to the light-armed troops who carry no heavy armour, nor, again, was able to cut timber or dig a trench, nor to mow fodder from an enemy's meadow 'with many a glance behind,' nor yet to raise a tent or a rampart, just as certain non-combatants do who follow the legions as helpers,
§ 12.19 I, who was useless for all such things, came among men who were not dullards, and yet had no leisure to listen to speeches, but were high-strung and tense like race-horses at the starting barriers, fretting at the delay and in their excitement and eagerness pawing the ground with their hoofs. There one could see everywhere swords, everywhere corselets, everywhere spears, and the whole place was crowded with horses, with arms, and with armed men. Quite alone I appeared in the midst of this mighty host, perfectly undisturbed and a most peaceful observer of war,
§ 12.20 weak in body and advanced in years, not bearing 'a golden sceptre' or the sacred fillets of any god and arriving at the camp on an enforced journey to gain a daughter's release, but desiring to see strong men contending for empire and power, and their opponents for freedom and native land. Then, not because I shrank from the danger — let no one think this — but because I recalled to mind an old vow, I turned my course hither to you, ever considering that things divine have the greater claim and are more profitable than things human, however important these may be.
§ 12.21 Now is it more agreeable and more opportune for you that I should describe what I saw there — the immense size of the river and the character of the country, what climate the inhabitants enjoy and their racial stock, and further, I suppose, the population and their military strength? Or should you prefer that I take up the older and greater tale of this god at whose temple we are now?
§ 12.22 For he is indeed alike of men and gods the king and ruler and lord and father, and in addition, the dispenser of peace and of war, as the experienced and wise poets of the past believed — to see if perchance we can commemorate both his nature and his power in a brief speech, which will fall short of what it should be even if we confine ourselves to these two themes alone.
§ 12.23 Should I, then, begin in the manner of Hesiod, a man good and beloved of the Muses, imitating the way in which he, quite shrewdly, does not venture to begin in his own person and express his own thoughts, but invites the Muses to tell about their own father? For this hymn to the goddesses is altogether more fitting than to enumerate those who went against Ilium, both themselves and the benches of their ships seriatim, although the majority of the men were quite unknown. And what poet is wiser and better than he who invokes aid for this work in the following manner? -
§ 12.24 O ye Pierian Muses, who glorify man by your lays, Draw nigh me, and sing for me Zeus your father, and chant his praise. It is he through whom mortal men are renowned or unrenowned; At the pleasure of Zeus most high by fame are they crowned or discrowned; For lightly he strengtheneth this one, and strength unto that one denies; Lightly abases the haughty, the lowly he magnifies; Lightly the crooked he straightens, and withers the pride of the proud, Even Zeus who thunders on high, who dwelleth in mansions of cloud.
§ 12.25 Answer, therefore and tell me whether the address I offer and the hymn would prove more suitable to this assemblage, you sons of Elis — for you are the rulers and the directors of this national festal gathering, both supervisors and guardians of what is said and done here — or perhaps those who have gathered here should be spectators merely, not only of the sights to be seen, admittedly altogether beautiful and exceedingly renowned, but, very specially, of the worship of the god and of his truly blessed image, which your ancestors by lavish expenditure and by securing the service of the highest art made and set up as a dedication — of all the statues which are upon the earth the most beautiful and the most dear to the gods, Pheidias having, as we are told, taken his pattern from Homer's poesy, where the god by a slight inclination of his brows shook all Olympus,
§ 12.26 as the great poet most vividly and convincingly has expressed it in the following verses: He said, and nodded with his shadowy brows; Waved on th' immortal head th' ambrosial locks, And all Olympus trembled at his nod. Or, should we somewhat more carefully consider these two topics themselves, I mean the expressions of our poets and the dedications here, and try to ascertain whether there is some sort of influence which in some way actually moulds and gives expression to man's conception of the deity, exactly as if we were in a philosopher's lecture-room at this moment?
§ 12.27 Now concerning the nature of the gods in general, and especially that of the ruler of the universe, first and foremost an idea regarding him and a conception of him common to the whole human race, to the Greeks and to the barbarians alike, a conception that is inevitable and innate in every creature endowed with reason, arising in the course of nature without the aid of human teacher and free from the deceit of any expounding priest, has made its way, and it rendered manifest God's kinship with man and furnished many evidences of the truth, which did not suffer the earliest and most ancient men to doze and grow indifferent to them;
§ 12.28 for inasmuch as these earlier men were not living dispersed far away from the divine being or beyond his borders apart by themselves, but had grown up in his company and had remained close to him in every way, they could not for any length of time continue to be unintelligent beings, especially since they had received from him intelligence and the capacity for reason, illumined as they were on every side by the divine and magnificent glories of heaven and the stars of sun and moon, by night and day encountering varied and dissimilar experiences, seeing wondrous sights and hearing manifold voices of winds and forest and rivers and sea, of animals tame and wild; while they themselves uttered a most pleasing and clear sound, and taking delight in the proud and intelligent quality of the human voice, attached symbols to the objects that reached their senses, so as to be able to name and designate everything perceived,
§ 12.29 thus easily acquiring memories and concepts of innumerable things. How, then, could they have remained ignorant and conceived no inkling of him who had sowed and planted and was now preserving and nourishing them, when on every side they were filled with the divine nature through both sight and hearing, and in fact through every sense? They dwelt upon the earth, they beheld the light of heaven, they had nourishment in abundance, for god, their ancestor, had lavishly provided and prepared it to their hand.
§ 12.30 As a first nourishment the first men, being the very children of the soil, had the earthy food — the moist loam at that time being soft and rich — which they licked up from the earth, their mother as it were, even as plants now draw the moisture therefrom. Then the later generation, who were now advancing, had a second nourishment consisting of wild fruits and tender herbs along with sweet dew and fresh nymph-haunted rills. Furthermore, being in contact with the circumambient air and nourished by the unceasing inflow of their breath, they sucked in moist air as infants suck in their food, this milk never failing them because the teat was ever at their lips.
§ 12.31 Indeed, we should almost be justified in calling this the first nourishment for both the earlier and the succeeding generations without distinction. For when the babe, still sluggish and feeble, is cast forth from the womb, the earth, its real mother, receives it, and the air, after breathing into it and quickening it, at once awakens it by a nourishment more liquid than milk and enables it to emit a cry. This might reasonably be called the first teat that nature offered to human beings at the moment of birth.
§ 12.32 So experiencing all these things and afterwards taking note of them, men could not help admiring and loving the divinity, also because they observed the seasons and saw that it is for our preservation that they come with perfect regularity and avoidance of excess in either direction, and yet further, because they enjoyed this god-given superiority over the other animals of being able to reason and reflect about the gods.
§ 12.33 So it is very much the same as if anyone were to place a man, a Greek or a barbarian, in some mystic shrine of extraordinary beauty and size to be initiated, where he would see many mystic sights and hear many mystic voices, where light and darkness would appear to him alternately, and a thousand other things would occur; and further, if it should be just as in the rite called enthronement, where the inducting priests are wont to seat the novices and then dance round and round them — pray, is it likely that the man in this situation would be no whit moved in his mind and would not suspect that all which was taking place was the result of a more than wise intention and preparation, even if he belonged to the most remote and nameless barbarians and had no guide and interpreter at his side — provided, of course, that he had the mind of a human being?
§ 12.34 Or rather, is this not impossible? impossible too that the whole human race, which is receiving the complete and truly perfect initiation, not in a little building erected by the Athenians for the reception of a small company, but in this universe, a varied and cunningly wrought creation, in which countless marvels appear at every moment, and where, furthermore, the rites are being performed, not by human beings who are of no higher order than the initiates themselves, but by immortal gods who are initiating mortal men, and night and day both in sunlight and under the stars are — if we may dare to use the term — literally dancing around them forever — is it possible to suppose, I repeat, that of all these things his senses told him nothing, or that he gained no faintest inkling of them, and especially when the leader of the choir was in charge of the whole spectacle and directing the entire heaven and universe, even as a skilful pilot commands a ship that has been perfectly furnished and lacks nothing?
§ 12.35 That human beings should be so affected would occasion no surprise, but much rather that, as we see, this influence reaches even the senseless and irrational brutes, so that even they recognize and honour the god and desire to live according to his ordinance; and it is still stranger that the plants, which have no conception of anything, but, being soulless and voiceless, are controlled by a simple kind of nature — it is passing strange, I say, that even these voluntarily and willingly yield each its own proper fruit; so very clear and evident is the will and power of yonder god.
§ 12.36 Nay, I wonder if we shall be thought exceedingly absurd and hopelessly behind the times in view of this reasoning, if we maintain that this unexpected knowledge is indeed more natural for the beasts and the trees than dullness and ignorance are for us? Why, certain men have shown themselves wiser than all wisdom; yes, they have poured into their ears, not wax, as I believe they say that the sailors from Ithaca did that they might not hear the song of the Sirens, but a substance like lead, soft at once and impenetrable by the human voice, and they also methinks have hung before their eyes a curtain of deep darkness and mist like that which, according to Homer, kept the god from being recognized when he was caught; these men, then, despise all things divine, and having set up the image of one female divinity, depraved and monstrous, representing a kind of wantonness or self-indulgent ease and unrestrained lewdness, to which they gave the name of Pleasure — an effeminate god in very truth — her they prefer in honour and worship with softly tinkling cymbal-like instruments, or with pipes played under cover of darkness -
§ 12.37 a form of entertainment which nobody would grudge such men if their cleverness went only as far as singing, and they did not attempt to take our gods from us and send them into banishment, driving them out of their own state and kingdom, clean out of this ordered universe to alien regions, even as unfortunate human beings are banished to sundry uninhabited isles; and all this universe above us they assert is without purpose or intelligence or master, has no ruler, or even steward or overseer, but wanders at random and is swept aimlessly along, no master being there to take thought for it now, and no creator having made it in the first place, or even doing as boys do with their hoops, which they set in motion of their own accord, and then let them roll along of themselves.
§ 12.38 Now to explain this digression — my argument is responsible, having turned aside of itself; for perhaps it is not easy to check the course of a philosopher's thoughts and speech, no matter what direction they may take; for whatever suggests itself to his mind always seems profitable, nay indispensable, for his audience, and my speech has not been prepared to "suit the water-clock and the constraint of court procedure," to use somebody's expression, but allows itself a great deal of license. Well, it is not difficult to run back again, just as on a voyage it is not difficult for competent steersmen who have got a little off their course to get back upon it.
§ 12.39 To resume, then: Of man's belief in the deity and his assumption that there is a god we were maintaining that the fountain-head, as we may say, or source, was that idea which is innate in all mankind and comes into being as the result of the actual facts and the truth, an idea that was not framed confusedly nor yet at random, but has been exceedingly potent and persistent since the beginning of time, and has arisen among all nations and still remains, being, one may almost say, a common and general endowment of rational beings. As the second source we designate the idea which has been acquired and indeed implanted in men's souls through no other means than narrative accounts, myths, and customs, in some cases ascribed to no author and also unwritten, but in others written and having as their authors men of very great fame.
§ 12.40 Of this acquired notion of the divine being let us say that one part is voluntary and due to exhortation, another part compulsory and prescriptive. By the kind that depends upon voluntary acceptance and exhortation I mean that which is handed down by the poets, and by the kind that depends upon compulsion and prescription I mean that due to the lawgivers. I call these secondary because neither of them could possibly have gained strength unless that primary notion had been present to begin with; and because it was present, there took root in mankind, of their own volition and because they already possessed a sort of foreknowledge, the prescriptions of the lawgivers and the exhortations of the poets, some of them expounding things correctly and in consonance with the truth and their hearers' notions, and others going astray in certain matters.
§ 12.41 But which of the two influences mentioned should be called the earlier in time, among us Greeks at any rate, namely, poetry or legislation, I am afraid I cannot discuss at length on the present occasion; but perhaps it is fitting that the kind which depended, not upon penalties, but upon persuasion should be more ancient than the kind which employed compulsion and prescription.
§ 12.42 Now up to this point, we may almost say, the feelings of the human race towards their first and immortal parent, whom we who have a share in the heritage of Hellas call Patroos (Ancestral) Zeus, develop step by step along with those which men have toward their mortal and human parents. For in truth the goodwill and desire to serve which the offspring feel toward their parents is, in the first type, present in them, untaught, as a gift of nature and as a result of acts of kindness received,
§ 12.43 since that which has been begotten straightway from birth loves and cherishes in return, so far as it may, that which begat and nourishes and loves it, whereas the second and third types, which are derived from our poet and lawgivers, the former exhorting us not to withhold our gratitude from that which is older and of the same blood, besides being the author of life and being, the latter using compulsion and the threat of punishment for those who refuse obedience, without, however, making anything clear and showing plainly just who parents are and what the acts of kindness are for which they enjoin upon us not to leave unpaid a debt which is due. But to an even greater extent do we see this to be true in both particulars in their stories and myths about the gods. Now I am well aware that to most men strict exactness in any exposition is on every occasion irksome, and that exactness in a speech is no less so for those whose sole interest is in quantity alone; these without any preface whatever or any statements defining their subject-matter, nay, without even beginning their speeches with any beginning, but straight off 'with unwashen feet,' as the saying is, proceed to expound things most obvious and naked to the sight. Now as for 'unwashen feet,' though they do no great harm when men must pass through mud and piles of refuse, yet an ignorant tongue causes no little injury to an audience. However, we may reasonably expect that the educated men of the audience, of whom one ought to take some account, will keep up with us and go through the task with us until we merge from bypath and rough ground, as it were, and get our argument back upon the straight road.
§ 12.44 Now that we have set before us three sources of man's conception of the divine being, to wit, the innate, that derived from the poets, and that derived from the lawgivers, let us name as the fourth that derived from the plastic art and the work of skilled craftsmen who make statues and likenesses of the gods — I mean painters and sculptors and masons who work in stone, in a word, everyone who has held himself worthy to come forward as a portrayer of the divine nature through the use of art, whether (1) by means of a rough sketch, very indistinct or deceptive to the eye, or (2) by the blending of colours and by line-drawing, which produces a result which we can almost say is the most accurate of all, or (3) by the carving of stone, or (4) by the craft which makes images of wood, in which the artist little by little removes the excess of material until nothing remains but the shape which the observer sees, or (5) by the casting of bronze and the like precious metals, which are heated and then either beaten out or poured into moulds, or (6) by the moulding of wax, which most readily answers the artist's touch and affords the greatest opportunity for change of intention.
§ 12.45 To this class belong not only Pheidias but also Alcamenes and Polycleitus and further, Aglaophon and Polygnotus and Zeuxis and, earlier than all these, Daedalus. For these men were not satisfied to display their cleverness and skill on commonplace subjects, but by exhibiting all sorts of likenesses and representations of gods they secured for their patrons both private persons and the states, whose people they filled with an ample and varied conception of the divine; and here they did not differ altogether from the poets and lawgivers, in the one case that they might not be considered violators of the laws and thus make themselves liable to the penalties imposed upon such, and in the other case because they saw that they had been anticipated by the poets and that the poets' image-making was the earlier.
§ 12.46 Consequently they preferred not to appear to the many as untrustworthy and to be disliked for making innovations. In most matters, accordingly, they adhered to the myths and maintained agreement with them in their representations, but in some few cases they contributed their own ideas, becoming in a sense the rivals as well as fellow-craftsmen of the poets, since the latter appealed to the ear alone, whereas it was simply through the eye that they, for their part, interpreted the divine attributes to their more numerous and less cultivated spectators. And all these influences won strength from that primary impulse, as having originated with the honouring of the divine being and winning his favour.
§ 12.47 And furthermore, quite apart from that simple and earliest notion of the gods which develops in the hearts of all men along with their reasoning power, in addition to those three interpreters and teachers, the poets, the lawgivers, and creative artists, we must take on a fourth one, who is by no means indifferent nor believes himself unacquainted with the gods, I mean the philosopher, the one who by means of reason interprets and proclaims the divine nature, most truly, perhaps, and most perfectly.
§ 12.48 As to the lawgiver, let us omit for the present to hale him here for an accounting; a stern man is he and himself accustomed to hold all others to an accounting. Indeed, we ought to have consideration for ourselves and for our own preoccupation. But as for the rest, let us select the foremost man of each class, and consider whether they will be found to have done by their acts or words any good or harm to piety, and how they stand as to agreement with each other or divergence from one another, and which one of them adheres to the truth most closely, being in harmony with that primary and guileless view. Now in fact all these men speak with one voice, just as if they had taken the one track and were keeping to it, some clearly and others less plainly. Would the true philosopher, perhaps, not stand in need of consolation if he should be brought into comparison with the makers of statues or of poetic measures, and that too, before the throng of a national festive-gathering where the judges are predisposed in their favour?
§ 12.49 Suppose, for instance, that someone were to take Pheidias first and question him before the tribunal of the Hellenes, Pheidias, that wise and divinely-inspired creator of this awe-inspiring masterpiece of surpassing beauty, and should appoint as judges the men who are directing this contest in honour of the god, or better, a general court of all Peloponnesians and of the Boeotians, too, and Ionians and of the other Hellenes, wherever they are to be found in Asia as well as in Europe, and then suppose they should demand an accounting, not of the monies or of the sum spent on the statue — the number of talents paid for gold and ivory, and for cypress and citron-wood, which are durable and indestructible timber for the interior work, or of the expenditure for the maintenance and wages of the workmen, who were not few in number and worked for so long a time, the wages not only of the men in general, who were no mean artisans, but of Pheidias also, to whom went the greatest and fullest reward on account of his artistic skill — of these items, I say, it was fitting that the Eleans, who poured out their money so lavishly and magnificently, should have called for a reckoning;
§ 12.50 but as for us, we shall maintain that it is for something else that Pheidias must submit to trial. Suppose, then, that someone should actually say to him: "O best and noblest of artists, how charming and pleasing a spectacle you have wrought, and a vision of infinite delight for the benefit of all men, both Greeks and barbarians, who have ever come here, as they have come in great throngs and time after time, no one will gainsay.
§ 12.51 For verily even the irrational brute creation would be so struck with awe if they could catch merely a glimpse of yonder statue, not only the bulls which are being continually led to the altar, so that they would willingly submit themselves to the priests who perform the rites of sacrifice, if so they would be giving some pleasure to the god, but eagles too, and horses and lions, so that they would subdue their untamed and savage spirits and preserve perfect quiet, delighted by the vision; and of men, whoever is sore distressed in soul, having in the course of his life drained the cup of many misfortunes and griefs, nor ever winning sweet sleep — even this man, methinks, if he stood before this image, would forget all the terrors and hardships that fall to our human lot.
§ 12.52 Such a wondrous vision did you devise and fashion, one in very truth a Charmer of grief and anger, that from men All the remembrance of their ills could loose! So great the radiance and so great the charm with which your art has clothed it. Indeed it is not reasonable to suppose that even Hephaestus himself would criticize this work if he judged it by the pleasure and delight which it affords the eye of man." "But, on the other hand, was the shape you by your artistry produced appropriate to a god and was its form worthy of the divine nature, when you not only used a material which gives delight but also presented a human form of extraordinary beauty and size; and apart from its being a man's shape, made also all the other attributes as you have made them? that is the question which I invite you to consider now. And if you make a satisfactory defence on these matters before those present and convince them that you have discovered the proper and fitting shape and form for the foremost and greatest god, then you shall receive in addition a second reward, greater and more perfect than the one given by the Eleans.
§ 12.53 For you see that the issue is no small one, nor the danger, for us. Since in times past, because we had no clear knowledge, we formed each his different idea, and each person, according to his capacity and nature, conceived a likeness for every divine manifestation and fashioned such likenesses in his dreams; and if we do perchance collect any small and insignificant likenesses made by the earlier artists, we do not trust them very much nor pay them very much attention. But you by the power of your art first conquered and united Hellas and then all others by means of this wondrous presentment, showing forth so marvellous and dazzling a conception, that none of those who have beheld it could any longer easily form a different one.
§ 12.54 Pray, do you imagine that it was owing to lack of money that Iphitus and Lycurgus and the Eleans of that period, while instituting the contest and the sacrifice in such wise as to be worthy of Zeus, yet failed to search for and find a statue to bear the name and show the aspect of the god, although they were, one might almost say, superior in power to their descendants? Or was it rather because they feared that they would never be able adequately to portray by human art the Supreme and most Perfect Being?"
§ 12.55 Perhaps in answer to this Pheidias would say, since he was not tongue-tied nor belonged to a tongue-tied city, and besides was the close friend and comrade of Pericles: "My Greek fellow-citizens, the issue is the greatest that has ever arisen. For it is not about empire or the presidency of one single state or the size of the navy or as to whether an army of infantry has or has not been correctly administered, that I am now being called to account, but concerning that god who governs the universe and my representation of him: whether it has been made with due respect to the dignity of the god and so as to be a true likeness of him, in no way falling short of the best portrayal of the divinity that is within the capacity of human beings to make, or is unworthy of him and unbefitting.
§ 12.56 "Remember, too, that it is not I who was your first expounder and teacher of the truth, for I was not even born as yet when Hellas began to be and while it still had no ideas that were firmly established about these matters, but when it was rather old, so to speak, and already had strong beliefs and convictions about the gods. And all the works of sculptors or painters earlier than my art which I found to be in harmony therewith, except so far as the perfection of the workmanship is concerned, I omit to mention;
§ 12.57 your views, however, I found to be ingrained, not to be changed, so that it was not possible to oppose them, and I found other artistic portrayers of the divinity who were older than I and considered themselves much wiser, namely the poets, for they were able through their poetry to lead men to accept any sort of idea, whereas our artistic productions have only this one adequate standard of comparison.
§ 12.58 For those divine manifestations — I mean the sun and the moon and the entire heavens and the stars — while in and of themselves they certainly appear marvellous, yet the artist's portrayal of them is simple and has no need of artistic skill, if one should wish merely to depict the moon's crescent or the sun's full orb; and furthermore, whereas those heavenly bodies certainly, taken by themselves, reveal in abundance character and purpose, yet in their representations they show nothing to suggest this: which perhaps is the reason why at first they were not yet regarded by the Greeks as deities.
§ 12.59 For mind and intelligence in and of themselves no statuary or painter will ever be able to represent; for all men are utterly incapable of observing such attributes with their eyes or of learning of them by inquiry. But as for that in which this intelligence manifests itself, men, having no mere inkling thereof but actual knowledge, fly to it for refuge, attributing to God a human body as a vessel to contain intelligence and rationality, in their lack of a better illustration, and in their perplexity seeking to indicate that which is invisible and unportrayable by means of something portrayable and visible, using the function of a symbol and doing so better than certain barbarians, who are said to represent the divine by animals — using as his starting-point symbols which are trivial and absurd. But that man who has stood out most above others in respect of beauty and majesty and splendour, he, we may say, has been by far the greatest creator of the images of the divine beings.
§ 12.60 For certainly no one would maintain that it had been better that no statue or picture of gods should have been exhibited among men, on the ground that we should look only at the heavens. For although the intelligent man does indeed reverence all those objects, believing them to be blessed gods that he sees from a great distance, yet on account of our belief in the divine all men have a strong yearning to honour and worship the deity from close at hand, approaching and laying hold of him with persuasion by offering sacrifice and crowning him with garlands.
§ 12.61 For precisely as infant children when torn away from father or mother are filled with terrible longing and desire, and stretch out their hands to their absent parents often in their dreams, so also do men to the gods, rightly loving them for their beneficence and kinship, and being eager in every possible way to be with them and to hold converse with them. Consequently many of the barbarians, because they lack artistic means and find difficulty in employing them, name mountains gods, and unhewn trees, too, and unshapen stones, things which are by no means whatever more appropriate in shape than is the human form.
§ 12.62 "But if you find fault with me for the human figure, you should make haste to be angry with Homer first; for he not only represented a form most nearly like this statue of mine by mentioning the flowing locks of the god and the chin too at the very beginning of the poem, when he says that Thetis made supplication for the bestowal of honour upon her son; but in addition to these things he ascribes to the gods meetings and counsellings and harangues, then also journeyings from Ida to the heavens and Olympus, and sleep-scenes and drinking-bouts and love-embraces, clothing everything in very lofty poetical language and yet keeping close to mortal likeness. And the most striking instance of this is when he ventured to liken Agamemnon to the god in respect to the most distinctive features by saying, His eye and lofty brow the counterpart Of Zeus, the Lord of thunder.
§ 12.63 But as to the product of my workmanship nobody, not even an insane person, would liken it to any mortal man soever, if it be carefully examined from the point of view of a god's beauty or stature; since, if I shall not be found to be a better and more temperate artificer than Homer, whom you thought godlike in his skill, I am willing to pay any fines you wish! But I am speaking with an eye to what is possible in my art.
§ 12.64 For an extravagant thing is poetry and in every respect resourceful and a law unto itself, and by the assistance of the tongue and a multitude of words is able all by itself to express all the devisings of the heart, and whatever conception it may arrive at concerning any shape or action or emotion or magnitude, it can never be at a loss, since the voice of a Messenger can disclose with perfect clearness each and all these things. For, as Homer himself says,
For glib runs the tongue, and can at will
Give utterance to discourse in ev'ry vein;
Wide is the range of language; and such words
As one may speak, another may return.
§ 12.65 Indeed, the race of man is more likely to run short of everything else than of voice and speech; of this one thing it possesses a most astounding wealth. At any rate it has left unuttered and undesignated no single thing that reaches our sense perceptions, but straightway puts upon everything the mind perceives the unmistakable seal of a name, and often even several vocal signs for one thing, so that when man gives utterance to any one of them, they convey an impression not much less distinct than does the actual thing itself. Very great indeed is the ability and power of man to express in words any idea that comes into his mind.
§ 12.66 But the poets' art is exceedingly bold and not to be censured therefor; this was especially true of Homer, who practiced the greatest frankness and freedom of language; and he did not choose just one variety of diction, but mingled together every Hellenic dialect which before his time were separate — that of the Dorians and Ionians,