Lepidior

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

Haec eadem super Pythagora noster Taurus cum dixisset: “nunc autem” inquit “isti, qui repente pedibus illotis ad philosophos devertunt, non est hoc satis, quod sunt omnino ἀθεώρητοι, ἄμουσοι, ἀγεωομέτρητοι, sed legem etiam dant, qua philosophari discant. alius ait ‘hoc me primum doce’, item alius ‘hoc volo’ inquit ‘discere, istud nolo’; hic a Symposio Platonis incipere gestit propter Alcibiadae comisationem, ille a Phaedro propter Lysiae orationem. est etiam,” inquit “pro Iuppiter! qui Platonem legere postulet non vitae ornandae, sed linguae orationisque comendae gratia, nec ut modestior fiat, sed ut lepidior.” haec Taurus dicere solitus novicios philosophorum sectatores cum veteribus Pythagoricis pensitans. sed id quoque non praetereundum est, quod omnes, simul atque a Pythagora in cohortem illam disciplinarum recepti erant, quod quisque familiae, pecuniae habebat, in medium dabat, et coibatur societas inseparabilis, tamquam illud fuit anticum consortium, quod iure atque verbo Romano appellabatur “ercto non cito”.
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 1.9.8-12)

Having thus expressed himself about Pythagoras, my friend Taurus continued: “But nowadays these fellows who turn to philosophy on a sudden with unwashed feet, not content with being wholly ‘without purpose, without learning, and without scientific training,’ even lay down the law as to how they are to be taught philosophy. One says, ‘first teach me this,’ another chimes in, “I want to learn this, I don’t want to learn that’; one is eager to begin with the Symposium of Plato because of the revel of Alcibiades, another with the Phaedrus on account of the speech of Lysias. By Jupiter!” said he, “one man actually asks to read Plato, not in order to better his life, but to deck out his diction and style, not to gain in discretion, but in prettiness.” That is what Taurus used to say, in comparing the modern students of philosophy with the Pythagoreans of old. But I must not omit this fact either—that all of them, as soon as they had been admitted by Pythagoras into that band of disciples, at once devoted to the common use whatever estate and property they had, and an inseparable fellowship was formed, like the old-time association which in Roman legal parlance was termed an “undivided inheritance.” (tr. John C. Rolfe)

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