Zēteisthō

Ἰουλιανὸς Ἐκδικίῳ ἐπάρχῳ Αἰγύπτου. ἄλλοι μὲν ἵππων, ἄλλοι δ’ ὀρνέων, ἄλλοι δὲ θηρίων ἐρῶσιν· ἐμοὶ δὲ βιβλίων κτήσεως ἐκ παιδαρίου δεινὸς ἐντέτηκε πόθος. ἄτοπον οὖν εἰ ταῦτα περιίδοιμι σφετερισαμένους ἀνθρώπους, οἷς οὐκ ἀρκεῖ τὸ χρυσίον μόνον ἀποπλῆσαι τὸν πολὺν ἔρωτα τοῦ πλούτου, πρὸς δὲ καὶ ταῦτα ὑφαιρεῖσθαι ῥᾳδίως διανοουμένους. ταύτην οὖν ἰδιωτικὴν μοι δὸς τὴν χάριν, ὅπως ἀνευρεθῇ πάντα τὰ Γεωργίου βιβλία. πολλὰ μὲν γὰρ ἦν φιλόσοφα παρ’ αὐτῷ πολλὰ δὲ ῥητορικά, πολλὰ δὲ ἦν καὶ τῆς τῶν δυσσεβῶν Γαλιλαίων διδασκαλίας· ἃ βουλοίμην μὲν ἠφανίσθαι πάντα, τοῦ δὲ μὴ σὺν τούτοις ὑφαιρεθῆναι τὰ χρησιμώτερα, ζητείσθω κἀκεῖνα μετ’ ἀκριβείας ἅπαντα. ἡγεμὼν δὲ τῆς ζητήσεως ἔστω σοι ταύτης ὁ νοτάριος Γεωργίου, ὃς μετὰ πίστεως μὲν ἀνιχνεύσας αὐτὰ γέρως ἴστω τευξόμενος ἐλευθερίας· εἰ δ’ ἁμωσγέπως γένοιτο κακοῦργος περὶ τὸ πρᾶγμα, βασάνων εἰς πεῖραν ἥξων. ἐπίσταμαι δὲ ἐγὼ τὰ Γεωργίου βιβλία, καὶ εἰ μὴ πάντα, πολλὰ μέντοι· μετέδωκέ γάρ μοι περὶ τὴν Καππαδοκίαν ὄντι πρὸς μεταγραφήν τινα, καὶ ταῦτα ἔλαβε πάλιν.
(Julian, Ep. 23 Wright)

Julianus to Ekdikios, Prefect of Egypt. Some people have a passion for horses, others for birds, others for wild animals; the ‘dread longing’ that has become ingrained in me ever since I was a small child is for the possession of books. So it would be absurd if I were to look on while they are appropriated by individuals whose great passion for wealth cannot be satiated by gold alone, and who plan to filch them too without a second thought. So please, as a personal favour to me, see to it that all of Georgios’ books are sought out. He had many philosophical books in his library and many books on rhetoric, and many besides relating to the doctrines of the impious Galilaeans. These last I should prefer to be destroyed in their entirety, but so as to avoid the more beneficial volumes being done away with alongside them, let all of them too be scrupulously traced. Georgios’ secretary should take charge of this search for you: give him to understand that if he hunts for them faithfully, he will win his freedom as a reward, but that if he should prove dishonest in any way in this matter, he will suffer for it under torture. I know the contents of Georgios’ library, many of them at any rate, even if not all: when I was in Cappadocia he lent me some of them to copy, and got them back from me. (tr. Michael Trapp)

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