Kalos

body beautiful 002

ὁ δὲ Κριτόβουλος, “οὐκοῦν αὖ ἐγὼ λέξω, ἔφη, ἐξ ὧν ἐπὶ τῷ κάλλει μέγα φρονῶ;”“λέγε”, ἔφασαν. “εἰ μὲν τοίνυν μὴ καλός εἰμι, ὡς οἴομαι, ὑμεῖς ἂν δικαίως ἀπάτης δίκην ὑπέχοιτε· οὐδενὸς γὰρ ὁρκίζοντος ἀεὶ ὀμνύοντες καλόν μέ φατε εἶναι. κἀγὼ μέντοι πιστεύω. καλοὺς γὰρ καὶ ἀγαθοὺς ὑμᾶς ἄνδρας νομίζω. εἰ δ’ εἰμί τε τῷ ὄντι καλὸς καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ αὐτὰ πρὸς ἐμὲ πάσχετε οἷάπερ ἐγὼ πρὸς τὸν ἐμοὶ δοκοῦντα καλὸν εἶναι, ὄμνυμι πάντας θεοὺς μὴ ἑλέσθαι ἂν τὴν βασιλέως ἀρχὴν ἀντὶ τοῦ καλὸς εἶναι. νῦν γὰρ ἐγὼ Κλεινίαν ἥδιον μὲν θεῶμαι ἢ τἆλλα πάντα τὰ ἐν ἀνθρώποις καλά· τυφλὸς δὲ τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων μᾶλλον δεξαίμην ἂν εἶναι ἢ Κλεινίου ἑνὸς ὄντος· ἄχθομαι δὲ καὶ νυκτὶ καὶ ὕπνῳ ὅτι ἐκεῖνον οὐχ ὁρῶ, ἡμέρᾳ δὲ καὶ ἡλίῳ τὴν μεγίστην χάριν οἶδα ὅτι μοι Κλεινίαν ἀναφαίνουσιν. ἄξιόν γε μὴν ἡμῖν τοῖς καλοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖσδε μέγα φρονεῖν, ὅτι τὸν μὲν ἰσχυρὸν πονοῦντα δεῖ κτᾶσθαι τἀγαθὰ καὶ τὸν ἀνδρεῖον κινδυνεύοντα, τὸν δέ γε σοφὸν λέγοντα· ὁ δὲ καλὸς καὶ ἡσυχίαν ἔχων πάντ’ ἂν διαπράξαιτο.”
(Xenophon, Symp. 4.10-13)

Then Critobulus said, “Shall I take my turn now and tell you my reasons for taking pride in my handsomeness?”
“Do,” they said.
“Well then, if I am not handsome, as I think I am, you could fairly be sued for misrepresentation; for though no one puts you under oath, you’re always swearing that I’m handsome. And I believe you, for I consider you to be real gentlemen. But if I really am handsome and you feel about me what I feel about I consider handsome , I swear by all the gods that I wouldn’t trade being handsome for the King’s empire. For as it is, I would rather gaze at Cleinias* than at everything else the world considers handsome. I would rather be blind to everything else than to Cleinias alone. I’m annoyed by both night and sleep because then I can’t see him; I feel the deepest gratitude to day and the sun because they reveal Cleinias to me. We handsome people have a right to be proud of this fact too: that whereas the strong man must get the good things he wants by toiling, and the brave man by running risks, and the sage man by speaking, the handsome man can have it all without doing anything.”

* Probably the young cousin of Alcibiades; cf. Mem. 1.3.8.

(tr. Otis Johnson Todd with his note; revised by Jeffrey Henderson)

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