Adiaphoron

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This is part 2 of 2. Part 1 is here.

Ἄθεσμον τέ ἐστι παρ’ ἡμῖν μητέρα ἢ ἀδελφὴν ἰδίαν γαμεῖν· Πέρσαι δέ, καὶ μάλιστα αὐτῶν οἱ σοφίαν ἀσκεῖν δοκοῦντες, οἱ Μάγοι, γαμοῦσι τὰς μητέρας, καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι τὰς ἀδελφὰς ἄγονται πρὸς γάμον, καὶ ὡς ὁ ποιητής φησιν,
“Ζεὺς Ἥρην προσέειπε κασιγνήτην ἄλοχόν τε” [Homer, Il. 18.356].
ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁ Κιτιεὺς Ζήνων φησὶ μὴ ἄτοπον εἶναι τὸ μόριον τῆς μητρὸς τῷ ἑαυτοῦ μορίῳ τρῖψαι, καθάπερ οὐδὲ ἄλλο τι μέρος τοῦ σώματος αὐτῆς τῇ χειρὶ τρῖψαι φαῦλον ἂν εἴποι τις εἶναι. καὶ ὁ Χρύσιππος δὲ ἐν τῇ πολιτείᾳ δογματίζει τόν τε πατέρα ἐκ τῆς θυγατρὸς παιδοποιεῖσθαι καὶ τὴν μητέρα ἐκ τοῦ παιδὸς καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἐκ τῆς ἀδελφῆς. Πλάτων δὲ καὶ καθολικώτερον κοινὰς εἶναι τὰς γυναῖκας δεῖν ἀπεφήνατο. τό τε αἰσχρουργεῖν ἐπάρατον ὂν παρ’ ἡμῖν ὁ Ζήνων οὐκ ἀποδοκιμάζει· καὶ ἄλλους δὲ ὡς ἀγαθῷ τινι τούτῳ χρῆσθαι τῷ κακῷ πυνθανόμεθα. ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ ἀνθρωπείων γεύεσθαι σαρκῶν παρ’ ἡμῖν μὲν ἄθεσμον, παρ’ ὅλοις δὲ βαρβάροις ἔθνεσιν ἀδιάφορόν ἐστιν. καὶ τί δεῖ τοὺς βαρβάρους λέγειν, ὅπου καὶ ὁ Τυδεὺς τὸν ἐγκέφαλον τοῦ πολεμίου λέγεται φαγεῖν, καὶ οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Στοᾶς οὐκ ἄτοπον εἶναί φασι τὸ σάρκας τινὰ ἐσθίειν ἄλλων τε ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἑαυτοῦ; τό τε ἀνθρωπείῳ μιαίνειν αἵματι βωμὸν θεοῦ παρ’ ἡμῖν μὲν τοῖς πολλοῖς ἄθεσμον, Λάκωνες δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ βωμοῦ τῆς Ὀρθωσίας Ἀρτέμιδος μαστίζονται πικρῶς ὑπὲρ τοῦ πολλὴν αἵματος ἐπὶ τοῦ βωμοῦ τῆς θεοῦ γενέσθαι ῥύσιν. ἀλλὰ καὶ τῷ Κρόνῳ θύουσιν ἄνθρωπόν τινες, καθάπερ καὶ Σκύθαι τῇ Ἀρτέμιδι τοὺς ξένους· ἡμεῖς δὲ χραίνεσθαι τὰ ἱερὰ δοκοῦμεν ἀνθρώπου φόνῳ. τούς γε μὴν μοιχοὺς κολάζει παρ’ ἡμῖν νόμος, παρὰ δέ τισιν ἀδιάφορόν ἐστι ταῖς τῶν ἑτέρων γυναιξὶ μίγνυσθαι· καὶ φιλοσόφων δέ τινές φασιν ἀδιάφορον εἶναι τὸ ἀλλοτρίᾳ γυναικὶ μίγνυσθαι.
(Sextus Empiricus, Purrh. Hup. 3.205-209)

And with us it is sinful to marry one’s mother or one’s own sister; but the Persians, and especially those of them who are reputed to practise wisdom—namely, the Magi,—marry their mothers; and the Egyptians a take their sisters in marriage, even as the poet says—
“Thus spake Zeus unto Hera, his wedded wife and his sister.”
Moreover, Zeno of Citium says that it is not amiss for a man to rub his mother’s private part with his own private part, just as no one would say it was bad for him to rub any other part of her body with his hand. Chrysippus, too, in his book The State approves of a father getting children by his daughter, a mother by her son, and a brother by his sister. And Plato, in more general terms, has declared that wives ought to be held in common. Masturbation, too, which we count loathsome, is not disapproved by Zeno; and we are informed that others, too, practise this evil as though it were a good thing. Moreover, the eating of human flesh is sinful with us, but indifferent amongst whole tribes of barbarians. Yet why should one speak of  “barbarians” when even Tydeus is said to have devoured the brains of his enemy, and the Stoic School declare that it is not wrong for a man to eat either other men’s flesh or his own? And with most of us it is sinful to defile an altar of a god with human blood, but the Laconians lash themselves fiercely over the altar of Artemis Orthosia in order that a great stream of blood may flow over the altar of the goddess. Moreover, some sacrifice an human victim to Cronos, just as the Scythians sacrifice strangers to Artemis; whereas we deem that holy places are defiled by the slaying of a man. Adulterers are, of course, punished by law with us, but amongst some peoples intercourse with other men’s wives is a thing indifferent; and some philosophers, too, declare that intercourse with the wife of another is indifferent. (tr. Robert Gregg Bury)

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