“Ὀρθῶς,” ἔφη, “λέγεις,” ὁ Λαμπρίας, “ἀλλ᾽ ἔτι τῷ λόγῳ προσφιλοσοφήσωμεν. ὁ γὰρ ἐμὸς πάππος εἰώθει λέγειν ἑκάστοτε τοὺς Ἰουδαίους ἐπισκώπτων, ὅτι τὸ δικαιότατον κρέας οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν· ἡμεῖς δὲ φήσομεν δικαιότατον ὄψον εἶναι τὸ ἐκ θαλάττης. πρὸς μὲν γὰρ ταυτὶ τὰ χερσαῖα κἂν ἄλλο μηδὲν ἡμῖν ᾖ δίκαιον, ἀλλὰ τρέφεταί γε τοῖς αὐτοῖς καὶ λαμβάνει τὸν αὐτὸν ἀέρα, καὶ λουτρὰ καὶ ποτὸν αὐτοῖς ἅπερ ἡμῖν ἔστιν· ᾗ καὶ σφάττοντες ἐδυσωποῦντο φωνὴν ἀφιέντα γοερὰν καὶ τὰ πλεῖστα πεποιημένοι συνήθη καὶ σύντροφα ταῖς διαίταις. τὸ δὲ τῶν ἐναλίων γένος ἔκφυλον ὅλως καὶ ἄποικον ἡμῶν, ὥσπερ ἐν ἄλλῳ τινὶ κόσμῳ γεγονότων καὶ ζώντων, οὔτ’ ὄψις οὔτε φωνή τις οὔθ’ ὑπουργία παραιτεῖται τῆς προσφορᾶς (οὐδὲν γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἔχει χρήσασθαι ζῷον, ὃ μηδ’ ὅλως ζῇ παρ᾽ ἡμῖν), οὐδὲ δεῖ τινος ἐπ᾽ αὐτὰ στοργῆς, ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ Ἅιδης αὐτοῖς ἐστιν οὗτος ὁ παρ’ ἡμῖν τόπος· ἐλθόντα γὰρ εἰς αὐτὸν εὐθέως τέθνηκεν.”
(Plutarch, Sumposiaka 669d-e)

“You are right,” said Lamprias, “but let us add a little to our speculations. My grandfather used to say on every occasion, in derision of the Jews, that what they abstained from was precisely the most legitimate meat. But we shall say that of all delicacies the most legitimate kind is that from the sea. As far as the land animals whose meat is here before us are concerned, we must admit at least this if nothing else, that they consume the same food and breathe the same air as we do, and drink and bathe in water no different from ours. This has in times past made men ashamed when they butchered them in spite of their pitiful cries and in spite of having made companions of most of them and shared their store of food with them. Sea animals, on the other hand, are a species entirely alien and remote from us, as if they had sprung up and were living in some different world. Neither look nor voice nor service rendered pleads with us not to eat them, for no animal can employ these pleas that has no life at all among us; nor need we feel any affection for them. Our world is equivalent to Hades for them, since to come here is instant death.” (tr. Paul A. Clement & Herbert B. Hoffleit)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: