Eichomēn

College Student Studying in Library

Τεττάρων δή μοι τουτονὶ διελθόντων τὸν τρόπον ἐνιαυτῶν πέμπτου τε ἐπὶ τοῖς δέκα ἡπτόμην καί με εἰσήρχετο δριμύς τις ἔρως τῶν λόγων· ὥστε ἠμέληντο μεν αἱ τῶν ἀγρῶν χάριτες, ἐπέπραντο δὲ περιστεραί, δεινὸν θρέμμα καταδουλώσασθαι νέον, ἅμιλλαι δὲ ἵππων καὶ τὰ τῆς σκηνῆς πάντα ἀπέρριπτο, καὶ ᾧ δὴ διαφερόντως ἐξέπλησα καὶ νεότητα καὶ γῆρας, ἀθέατος ἔμεινα μονομαχιῶν ἐκείνων, ἐν αἷς ἔπιπτόν τε καὶ ἐνίκων ἄνδρες, οὓς ἔφησθα ἂν μαθητὰς εἶναι τῶν ἐν Πύλαις τριακοσίων. ὁ μὲν δὴ ταῦτα λειτουργῶν ἦν θεῖος ἐμὸς πρὸς μητρὸς ἐκάλει τέ με ὀψόμενον, ἐγὼ δὲ ἄρα ὑπὸ τῶν βιβλίων εἰχόμην. λόγος γε τὸν σοφιστὴν ἐκεῖνον μαντεύσασθαι περὶ ἐμοῦ πόρρωθεν, ἃ δὴ καὶ τετέλεσται.
(Libanius, Bios 5)

Four years passed by in this way, but when I was nearly fifteen my interest was kindled and an earnest love of study began to possess me. Hence the charms of the countryside were put aside: I sold my pigeons, pets which are apt to get a strong hold on a boy; the chariot races and everything to do with the stage were discarded, and I remained aloof, far from the sight of those gladiatorial combats where men, whom you would swear to be the pupils of the three hundred at Thermopylae, used to conquer or die. My attitude in this caused the greatest amazement both to young and old. The person responsible for the presentation of these shows was my maternal uncle, and though he invited me to the spectacle, I still stayed wedded to my books. The story goes that he, all that time ago, foretold for me the position of sophist that has actually come to pass. (tr. Albert Francis Norman)

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