Graecatim

tertullian

Quid nunc, si est Romanitas omni salus, nec honestis tamen modis ad Graios estis? aut, ni ita est, unde gentium, in provinciis melius exercitis, quas natura agro potius eluctando commodavit, studia palaestrae, male senescentia et cassum laborantia et lutea unctio et pulverea volutatio, arida saginatio? unde apud aliquos Numidas, etiam equis caesariatos, iuxta cutem tonsor, et cultri vertex solus immunis? unde apud hirtos et hirsutos tam rapax a culo resina, tam furax a mento volsella? prodigium est, haec sine pallio fieri; illius est haec tota res Asiae. quid tibi, Libya et Europa, cum xysticis munditiis, quas vestire non nosti? revera enim quale est Graecatim depilari magis quam amiciri? habitum transferre ita demum culpae prope est, si non consuetudo, sed natura mutetur. sat refert inter honorem temporis et religionem; det consuetudo fidem tempori, natura deo.
(Tertullian, De Pallio 4.1.1-4.2.1)

But now, if Romanity is to the benefit of all, why are you nonetheless inclined to the Greeks, even in less honourable matters? Or if this is not the case, from where else in the world is it that in provinces that are better trained, adapted by nature rather for conquering the soil, there are exercises of the wrestling-school (thereby lasting into a bad old age and labouring in vain), and unction with mud, and wallowing in the dust, and living on a dry diet? From where else is it that with some Numidians, who even wear their hair long due to horses, the barber comes close to the skin and just the crown remains exempt from the knife? Whence is it that with hairy and hirsute men the resin is so rapacious at the arse, the tweezers are so ravenous at the chin? It is a marvel that all this happens without the pallium! To it belongs this whole habit of Asia. What do you, Libya and Europe, have to do with athletic elegances when you do not know how to clothe them? Really, what is it like to use the Greek way in depilation rather than in dress? The transfer of clothing only approaches a fault if it is not convention that is changed, but nature. There is an important difference between the honour due to time and to religion. Let convention faithfully follow time, nature God. (tr. Vincent Hunink)

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