Sors

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Quid tam sollicitis vitam consumimus annis
torquemurque metu caecaque cupidine rerum
aeternisque senes curis, dum quaerimus, aevum
perdimus et nullo votorum fine beati
victuros agimus semper nec vivimus umquam,
pauperiorque bonis quisque est, quia plura requirit
nec quod habet numerat, tantum quod non habet optat,
cumque sibi parvos usus natura reposcat
materiam struimus magnae per vota ruinae
luxuriamque lucris emimus luxuque rapinas,
et summum census pretium est effundere censum?
solvite, mortales, animos curasque levate
totque supervacuis vitam deplete querellis.
fata regunt orbem, certa stant omnia lege
longaque per certos signantur tempora casus.
nascentes morimur, finisque ab origine pendet.
hinc et opes et regna fluunt et, saepius orta,
paupertas, artesque datae moresque creatis
et vitia et laudes, damna et compendia rerum.
nemo carere dato poterit nec habere negatum
fortunamve suis invitam prendere votis
aut fugere instantem: sors est sua cuique ferenda.
(Manilius, Astr. 4.1-22)

Oh, why do we spend the years of our lives in worry, tormenting ourselves with fears and senseless desires; grown old before our time with anxieties which never end; forfeiting length of days by our very quest for it; setting no limit to our wishes, so that their fulfilment leaves us still unblest, but ever playing the part of men who mean to live but never do? Everyone is the poorer for his possessions because he looks for more: none counts his blessings, but only lusts for what he lacks. Though nature needs only modest requirements, we build higher and higher the peak from which to fall, and purchase luxury with our gains, and with love of luxury the fear of dispossession, until the greatest boon that wealth can confer is the squandering of itself. So set free your minds, o mortals, and rid your lives of all this vain complaint! Fate rules the world, all things stand fixed by its immutable laws, and the long ages are assigned a predestined course of events. At birth our death is sealed, and our end is consequent upon our beginning. Fate is the source of riches and kingdoms and the more frequent poverty; by fate are men at birth given their skills and characters, their merits and defects, their losses and gains. None can renounce what is bestowed or possess what is denied; no man by prayer may seize fortune if it demur, or escape if it draw nigh: each one must bear his appointed lot. (tr. George Patrick Goold)

Eunouchos

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Eugène Delacroix, Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement (1834)

Τοιαῦτα δὴ λαλούντων πρὸς ἀλλήλους κραυγὴ τῶν βασιλείων ἐξεφοίτησεν εὐνούχων καὶ γυναικῶν ἅμα· εἴληπτο δὲ ἄρα εὐνοῦχός τις ἐπὶ μιᾷ τῶν τοῦ βασιλέως παλλακῶν ξυγκατακείμενός τε καὶ ὁπόσα οἱ μοιχοὶ πράττων, καὶ ἦγον αὐτὸν οἱ ἀμφὶ τὴν γυναικωνῖτιν ἐπισπῶντες τῆς κόμης, ὃν δὴ ἄγονται τρόπον οἱ βασιλέως δοῦλοι. ἐπεὶ δὲ ὁ πρεσβύτατος τῶν εὐνούχων ἐρῶντα μὲν τῆς γυναικὸς πάλαι ᾐσθῆσθαι ἔφη καὶ προειρηκέναι οἱ, μὴ προσδιαλέγεσθαι αὐτῇ, μηδὲ ἅπτεσθαι δέρης ἢ χειρός, μηδὲ κοσμεῖν ταύτην μόνην τῶν ἔνδον, νῦν δὲ καὶ ξυγκατακείμενον εὑρηκέναι καὶ ἀνδριζόμενον ἐπὶ τὴν γυναῖκα, ὁ μὲν Ἀπολλώνιος ἐς τὸν Δάμιν εἶδεν, ὡς δὴ τοῦ λόγου ἀποδεδειγμένου, ὃς ἐφιλοσοφεῖτο αὐτοῖς περὶ τοῦ καὶ εὐνούχων τὸ ἐρᾶν εἶναι, ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς πρὸς τοὺς παρόντας “ἀλλ᾽ αἰσχρόν γε” εἶπεν “ὦ ἄνδρες, παρόντος ἡμῖν Ἀπολλωνίου περὶ σωφροσύνης ἡμᾶς, ἀλλὰ μὴ τοῦτον, ἀποφαίνεσθαι· τί οὖν κελεύεις, Ἀπολλώνιε, παθεῖν αὐτόν;”—”τί δὲ ἄλλο ἢ ζῆν;” εἶπε παρὰ τὴν πάντων ἀποκρινάμενος δόξαν. ἀνερυθριάσας οὖν ὁ βασιλεὺς “εἶτα οὐ πολλῶν” ἔφη “θανάτων ἄξιος ὑφέρπων οὕτως τὴν εὐνὴν τὴν ἐμήν;”—”ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ὑπὲρ ξυγγνώμης” ἔφη “βασιλεῦ, ταῦτα εἶπον, ἀλλ᾽ ὑπὲρ τιμωρίας, ἣ ἀποκναίσει αὐτόν· εἰ γὰρ ζήσεται νοσῶν καὶ ἀδυνάτων ἁπτόμενος καὶ μήτε σῖτα μήτε ποτὰ ἥσει αὐτὸν μήτε θεάματα, ἃ σέ τε καὶ τούς σοι συνόντας εὐφρανεῖ, πηδήσεταί τε ἡ καρδία θαμὰ ἐκθρώσκοντος τοῦ ὕπνου, ὃ δὴ μάλιστα περὶ τοὺς ἐρῶντάς φασι γίγνεσθαι, καὶ, τίς μὲν οὕτω φθόη τήξει αὐτόν, τίς δὲ οὕτω λιμὸς ἐπιθρύψει τὰ σπλάγχνα; εἰ δὲ μὴ τῶν φιλοψύχων εἴη τις, αὐτός, ὦ βασιλεῦ, δεήσεταί σού ποτε καὶ ἀποκτεῖναι αὐτὸν ἢ ἑαυτόν γε ἀποκτενεῖ πολλὰ ὀλοφυρόμενος τὴν παροῦσαν ταύτην ἡμέραν, ἐν ᾗ μὴ εὐθὺς ἀπέθανε.” τοῦτο μὲν δὴ τοιοῦτον τοῦ Ἀπολλωνίου καὶ οὕτω σοφόν τε καὶ ἥμερον, ἐφ᾽ ᾧ ὁ βασιλεὺς ἀνῆκε τὸν θάνατον τῷ εὐνούχῳ.
(Philostratus, Apoll. 1.36)

While they were thus conversing with one another a hubbub was heard to proceed from the palace, of eunuchs and women shrieking all at once. And in fact an eunuch had been caught misbehaving with one of the royal concubines just as if he were an adulterer. The guards of the harem were now dragging him along by the hair in the way they do royal slaves. The senior of the eunuchs accordingly declared that he had long before noticed he had an affection for this particular lady, and had already forbidden him to talk to her or touch her neck or hand, or assist her toilette, though he was free to wait upon all the other members of the harem; yet he had now caught him behaving as if he were the lady’s lover. Apollonius thereupon glanced at Damis, as if to indicate that the argument they had conducted on the point that even eunuchs fall in love, was now demonstrated to be true; but the king remarked to the bystanders: “Nay, but it is disgraceful, gentlemen, that, in the presence of Apollonius, we should be enlarging on the subject of chastity rather than he. What then, O Apollonius, do you urge us to do with him?” “Why, to let him live, of course,” answered Apollonius to the surprise of them all. Whereon the king reddened, and said: “Then you do not think he deserves to die may times for thus trying to usurp my rights?” “Nay, but my answer, O king, was suggested not by any wish to condone his offense, but rather to mete out to him a punishment which will wear him out. For if he lives with this disease of impotence on him, and can never take pleasure in eating or drinking, nor in the spectacles which delight you and your companions, and if his heart will throb as he often leaps up in his sleep, as they say is particularly the case of people in love, – is there any form of consumption so wasting as this, any form of hunger so likely to enfeeble his bowels? Indeed, unless he be one of those who are ready to live at any price, he will entreat you, O king, before long even to slay him, or he will slay himself, deeply deploring that he was not put to death straight away this very day.” Such was the answer rendered on this occasion by Apollonius, one so wise and humane, that the king was moved by it to spare the life of his eunuch. (tr. Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare)

Politikon

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Διότι δὲ πολιτικὸν ὁ ἄνθρωπος ζῷον πάσης μελίττης καὶ παντὸς ἀγελαίου ζῴου μᾶλλον, δῆλον. οὐθὲν γάρ, ὡς φαμέν, μάτην ἡ φύσις ποιεῖ· λόγον δὲ μόνον ἄνθρωπος ἔχει τῶν ζῴων· ἡ μὲν οὖν φωνὴ τοῦ λυπηροῦ καὶ ἡδέος ἐστὶ σημεῖον, διὸ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ὑπάρχει ζῴοις (μέχρι γὰρ τούτου ἡ φύσις αὐτῶν ἐλήλυθε, τοῦ ἔχειν αἴσθησιν λυπηροῦ καὶ ἡδέος καὶ ταῦτα σημαίνειν ἀλλήλοις), ὁ δὲ λόγος ἐπὶ τῷ δηλοῦν ἐστι τὸ συμφέρον καὶ τὸ βλαβερόν, ὥστε καὶ τὸ δίκαιον καὶ τὸ ἄδικον· τοῦτο γὰρ πρὸς τὰ ἄλλα ζῷα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἴδιον, τὸ μόνον ἀγαθοῦ καὶ κακοῦ καὶ δικαίου καὶ ἀδίκου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων αἴσθησιν ἔχειν· ἡ δὲ τούτων κοινωνία ποιεῖ οἰκίαν καὶ πόλιν. καὶ πρότερον δὲ τῇ φύσει πόλις ἢ οἰκία καὶ ἕκαστος ἡμῶν ἐστιν. τὸ γὰρ ὅλον πρότερον ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι τοῦ μέρους· ἀναιρουμένου γὰρ τοῦ ὅλου οὐκ ἔσται ποὺς οὐδὲ χείρ, εἰ μὴ ὁμωνύμως, ὥσπερ εἴ τις λέγοι τὴν λιθίνην· διαφθαρεῖσα γὰρ ἔσται τοιαύτη, πάντα δὲ τῷ ἔργῳ ὥρισται καὶ τῇ δυνάμει, ὥστε μηκέτι τοιαῦτα ὄντα οὐ λεκτέον τὰ αὐτὰ εἶναι ἀλλ’ ὁμώνυμα. ὅτι μὲν οὖν ἡ πόλις καὶ φύσει πρότερον ἢ ἕκαστος, δῆλον· εἰ γὰρ μὴ αὐτάρκης ἕκαστος χωρισθείς, ὁμοίως τοῖς ἄλλοις μέρεσιν ἕξει πρὸς τὸ ὅλον, ὁ δὲ μὴ δυνάμενος κοινωνεῖν ἢ μηδὲν δεόμενος δι’ αὐτάρκειαν οὐθὲν μέρος πόλεως, ὥστε ἢ θηρίον ἢ θεός.
(Aristotle, Pol. 1253a7-28)

But obviously man is a political animal in a sense in which a bee is not, or any other gregarious animal. Nature, as we say, does nothing without some purpose; and she has endowed man alone among the animals with the power of speech. Speech is something different from voice, which is possessed by other animals also and used by them to express pain or pleasure; for their nature does indeed enable them not only to feel pleasure and pain but to communicate these feelings to each other. Speech, on the other hand serves to indicate what is useful and what is harmful, and so also what is just and what is unjust. For the real difference between man and other animals is that humans alone have perception of good and evil, just and unjust, etc. It is the sharing of a common view in these matters that makes a household and a state. Furthermore, the state has a natural priority over the household and over any individual among us. For the whole must be prior to the part. Separate hand or foot from the whole body, and they will no longer be hand or foot except in name, as one might speak of a ‘hand’ or ‘foot’ sculptured in stone. That will be the condition of the spoilt hand, which no longer has the capacity and the function which define it. So, though we may say they have the same names, we cannot say that they are, in that condition, the same things. It is clear then that the state is both natural and prior to the individual. For if an individual is not fully self-sufficient after separation, he will stand in the same relationship to the whole as the parts in the other case do. Whatever is incapable of participating in the association which we call the state, a dumb animal for example, and equally whatever is perfectly self-sufficient and has no need to (e.g. a god), is not a part of the state at all. (tr. Thomas Alan Sinclair, revised by Trevor J. Saunders)

Hetairan

Houses-of-Pleasure-in-Ancient-Pompeii

Ὅστις ἀνθρώπων ἑταίραν ἠγάπησε πώποτε,
οὗ γένος τίς ἂν δύναιτο παρανομώτερον φράσαι;
τίς γὰρ ἢ δράκαιν’ ἄμικτος ἢ Χίμαιρα πύρπνοος,
ἢ Χάρυβδις, ἢ τρίκρανος Σκύλλα, ποντία κύων,
Σφίγξ, ῞Υδρα, λέαιν’, ἔχιδνα, πτηνά θ’ ῾Αρπυιῶν γένη,
εἰς ὑπερβολὴν ἀφῖκται τοῦ καταπτύστου γένους;
οὐκ ἔνεσθ’· αὖται δ’ ἁπάντων ὑπερέχουσι τῶν κακῶν.
ἔστι δὲ σκοπεῖν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πρῶτα μὲν τὴν Πλαγγόνα,
ἥτις ὥσπερ ἡ Χίμαιρα πυρπολεῖ τοὺς βαρβάρους.
εἷς μόνος δ’ ἱππεύς τις αὐτῆς τὸν βίον παρείλετο·
πάντα τὰ σκεύη γὰρ ἕλκων ᾤχετ’ ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας.
οἱ Σινώπῃ δ’ αὖ συνόντες οὐχ ῞Υδρᾳ σύνεισι νῦν;
γραῦς μὲν αὐτή, παραπέφυκε δ’ ἡ Γνάθαινα πλησίον,
ὥστ’ ἀπαλλαγεῖσι ταύτης ἐστὶ διπλάσιον κακόν.
ἡ δὲ Νάννιον τί νυνὶ διαφέρειν Σκύλλης δοκεῖ;
οὐ δύ’ ἀποπνίξασ’ ἑταίρους τὸν τρίτον θηρεύεται
ἔτι λαβεῖν; ἀλλ’ †ἐξέπεσε† πορθμὶς ἐλατίνῳ πλάτῃ.
ἡ δὲ Φρύνη τὴν Χάρυβδιν οὐχὶ πόρρω που ποεῖ,
τόν τε ναύκληρον λαβοῦσα καταπέπωκ’ αὐτῷ σκάφει;
ἡ Θεανὼ δ’ οὐχὶ Σειρήν ἐστιν ἀποτετιλμένη;
βλέμμα καὶ φωνὴ γυναικός, τὰ σκέλη δὲ κοψίχου.
Σφίγγα Θηβαίαν δὲ πάσας ἔστι τὰς πόρνας καλεῖν,
αἳ λαλοῦσ’ ἁπλῶς μὲν οὐδέν, ἀλλ’ ἐν αἰνιγμοῖς τισιν,
ὡς ἐρῶσι καὶ φιλοῦσι καὶ σύνεισιν ἡδέως.
εἶτα “τετράπους μοι γένοιτο”, φησί, “†τήνπρος† ἢ θρόνος,”
εἶτα δὴ “τρίπους τις”, εἶτα, φησί, “παιδίσκη δίπους.”
εἶθ’ ὃ μὲν γνοὺς ταῦτ’ ἀπῆλθεν εὐθὺς ὥσπερ <Οἰδίπους>,
οὐδ’ ἰδειν δόξας ἐκείνην, σῴζεται δ’ ἄκων μόνος.
οἱ δ’ ἐρᾶσθαι προσδοκῶντες εὐθύς εἰσιν ἠρμένοι
καὶ φέρονθ’ ὑψοῦ πρὸς αἴθραν · συντεμόντι δ’ οὐδὲ ἓν
ἔσθ’ ἑταίρας ὅσα πέρ ἔστιν θηρί’ ἐξωλέστερον.
(Anaxilas, Neottis fr. 22)

If anyone’s ever grown attached to a courtesan—
could you name a more criminal bunch?
Because what fearsome dragon, or fire-breathing Chimaera,
or Charybdis, or three-headed Scylla, or shark,
Sphinx, Hydra, lion, poisonous snake, or winged flock of Harpies
outdoes this revolting group?
It’s impossible; they’re worse than the worst!
You can think about it systematically, starting with Plangon,
who reduces the barbarians to cinders, like the Chimaera.
But one solitary horseman* stripped her of her livelihood;
when he left her house, he took all the furniture with him!
As for the people who sleep with Sinope—aren’t they sleeping with a Hydra now?
She’s an old woman, but Gnathaena’s appeared next door;
so if they escape the first, the other one’s twice as bad.
What difference can you see today between Nannion and Scylla?
After she strangled two boyfriends, isn’t she angling now
to catch a third? But †fell out† a ship with a fir-wood oar.
And isn’t Phryne behaving just like Charybdis,
by grabbing the ship-owner and gulping him down, boat and all?
Isn’t Theano a siren with no feathers?
She looks and sounds like a woman—but she’s got the legs of a blackbird!
You could call any whore a Theban Sphinx,
because they never talk straight, but speak in riddles,
claiming to love you, and be sweet on you, and enjoy sleeping with you.
Then she says: “I’d like a [corrupt] or a chair with four feet!”
Then: “or a table with three feet!” And then she says: “or a slave-girl with two feet!”
Then anyone who can solve these riddles leaves immediately, like Oedipus,
pretending he doesn’t see her; and he’s the only one to get away, even if she doesn’t want to.
But the others, who think she loves them, are immediately grabbed
and carried off high into the air. To sum up, however many wild beasts
there are, nothing’s more dangerous than a courtesan!

* Recalling Bellerophon, who rode Pegasus when he killed the Chimaera.

(tr. Stuart Douglas Olson, with his note)

Eratōsan

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Ὁ μὲν γὰρ θεός, ὁ τῶν ὄντων πατὴρ καὶ δημιουργός, πρεσβύτερος μὲν ἡλίου, πρεσβύτερος δὲ οὐρανοῦ, κρείττων δὲ χρόνου καὶ αἰῶνος καὶ πάσης ῥεούσης φύσεως, ἀνώνυμος νομοθέταις καὶ ἄρρητος φωνῇ καὶ ἀόρατος ὀφθαλμοῖς· οὐκ ἔχοντες δὲ αὐτοῦ λαβεῖν τὴν οὐσίαν, ἐπερειδόμεθα φωναῖς καὶ ὀνόμασιν καὶ ζῴοις, καὶ τύποις χρυσοῦ καὶ ἐλέφαντος καὶ ἀργύρου, καὶ φυτοῖς καὶ ποταμοῖς καὶ κορυφαῖς καὶ νάμασιν, ἐπιθυμοῦντες μὲν αὐτοῦ τῆς νοήσεως, ὑπὸ δὲ ἀσθενείας τὰ παρ’ ἡμῖν καλὰ τῇ ἐκείνου φύσει ἐπονομάζοντες· αὐτὸ ἐκεῖνο τὸ τῶν ἐρώντων πάθος, οἷς ἥδιστον εἰς μὲν θέαμα οἱ τῶν παιδικῶν τύποι, ἡδὺ δὲ εἰς ἀνάμνησιν καὶ λύρα καὶ ἀκόντιον καὶ θῶκός που καὶ δρόμος, καὶ πᾶν ἁπλῶς τὸ ἐπεγεῖρον τὴν μνήμην τοῦ ἐρωμένου. τί μοι τὸ λοιπὸν ἐξετάζειν καὶ νομοθετεῖν ὑπὲρ ἀγαλμάτων; θεῖον ἴστωσαν γένος, ἴστωσαν μόνον. εἰ δὲ Ἕλληνας μὲν ἐπεγείρει πρὸς τὴν μνήμην τοῦ θεοῦ ἡ Φειδίου τέχνη, Αἰγυπτίους δὲ ἡ πρὸς τὰ ζῷα τιμή, καὶ ποταμὸς ἄλλους καὶ πῦρ ἄλλους, οὐ νεμεσῶ τῆς διαφωνίας· ἴστωσαν μόνον, ἐράτωσαν μόνον, μνημονευέτωσαν.
(Maximus Tyrius 2.10)

For divinity, indeed, the father and fabricator of all things, is more ancient than the sun and the heavens, more excellent than time and eternity, and every flowing nature, and is a legislator without law, ineffable by voice, and invisible by the eyes. Not being able, however, to comprehend his essence, we apply for assistance to words and names, to animals and figures of gold, and ivory and silver, to plants and rivers, to the summits of mountains, and to streams of water; desiring, indeed, to understand his nature, but through imbecility calling him by the names of such things as appear to us to be beautiful. And in thus acting we are affected in the same manner as lovers, who are delighted with surveying the images of the objects of their love, and with recollecting the lyre, the dart, and the seat of these, the circus in which they ran, and every thing, in short, which excites the memory of the beloved object. What then remains for me to investigate and determine respecting statues? Only to admit the subsistence of deity. But if the art of Phidias excites the Greeks to the recollection of divinity, honour to animals the Egyptians, a river others, and fire others, I do not condemn the dissonance: let them only know, let them only love, let them only be mindful of the object they adore. (tr. Thomas Taylor)

Kreophagia

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Ὁ δὲ κελεύων μὴ ἐσθίειν καὶ ἄδικον ἡγούμενος, οὐδὲ κτείνειν δίκαιον ἐρεῖ οὐδὲ ψυχὰς ἀφαιρεῖσθαι. ἀλλὰ μὴν πρός γε τὰ θηρία πόλεμος ἡμῖν ἔμφυτος ἅμα καὶ δίκαιος. τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἑκόντα ἐπιτίθεται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, ὥσπερ λύκοι καὶ λέοντες· τὰ δ’ οὐχ ἑκόντα, ὥσπερ οἱ ἔχεις· πατηθέντες γὰρ ἐνίοτε δάκνουσιν· καὶ τὰ μὲν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἐπιτίθεται, τὰ δὲ τοὺς καρποὺς φθείρει· ὑπὲρ ὧν πάντων μέτιμεν ταῦτα, καὶ τὰ κατάρξαντα θηρία κτείνομεν καὶ τὰ μὴ κατάρξαντα, ὡς μή τι πρὸς αὐτῶν πάθωμεν. οὐκ ἔστιν γὰρ ὅστις ἰδὼν ὄφιν οὐκ ἔκτεινε δυνάμενος, ὡς μήτ’ αὐτὸς δηχθείη μήτ’ ἄλλος ἁπλῶς ἄνθρωπος· οὐ γὰρ μόνον ἐστὶ μῖσος κατὰ τῶν κτεινομένων, ἀλλὰ καὶ στοργὴ πρὸς ἄνθρωπον ἀνθρώπου. δικαίου δ’ ὄντος τοῦ πρὸς τὰ θηρία πολέμου πολλῶν ἀπεχόμεθα τῶν συνανθρωπούντων. ὅθεν οἱ Ἕλληνες οὔτε κυνοφαγοῦσιν οὔθ’ ἵππους ἐσθίουσιν οὔτ’ ὄνους μέντοι ἐσθίουσιν ὡς ταὐτοῦ γένους τοῖς ἀγρίοις τὸ ἥμερον· ὡσαύτως τε τοὺς ὄρνιθας. οὐδὲ γάρ ἐστι χρήσιμον πρὸς ἄλλο τι ὗς ἢ πρὸς βρῶσιν. Φοίνικες δὲ καὶ Ἰουδαῖοι ἀπέσχοντο, ὅτι οὐδ’ ὅλως ἐν τοῖς τόποις ἐφύετο· ἐπεὶ οὐδὲ νῦν ἐν Αἰθιοπίᾳ φασὶν ὁρᾶσθαι τὸ ζῷον τοῦτο. ὡς οὖν κάμηλον ἢ ἐλέφαντα Ἑλλήνων οὐδεὶς θεοῖς ἔθυσε, παρ’ ὅσον οὐδ’ ἤνεγκεν ἡ Ἑλλὰς ταῦτα τὰ ζῷα, οὕτως οὐδ’ ἐν Κύπρῳ ἢ Φοινίκῃ θεοῖς προσήχθη τὸ ζῷον τοῦτο, παρ’ ὅσον οὐκ ἦν ἐντόπιον· οὐδὲ Αἰγύπτιοι θεοῖς θύουσιν ὗν παρὰ τὴν αὐτὴν αἰτίαν. τὸ δ’ ὅλως ἀπέχεσθαι τοῦ ζῴου τινὰς ὅμοιόν ἐστιν τῷ μηδ’ ἂν ἡμᾶς ἐθελῆσαι καμήλεια ἐσθίειν. διὰ τί δ’ ἄν τις καὶ ἀπόσχοιτο τῶν ἐμψύχων; ἆρά γε τὴν ψυχὴν χείρω ποιεῖ ἢ τὸ σῶμα; δῆλον δ’ ἐστὶν ὡς οὐδέτερον. τὰ γὰρ σαρκοφαγοῦντα ζῷα συνετώτερα τῶν ἄλλων. θηρευτικὰ γοῦν ἐστὶ καὶ τέχνην ἔχει ταύτην, ἀφ’ ἧς περιποιεῖται τὸν βίον, ἰσχύν τε καὶ ἀλκὴν κέκτηται, ὥσπερ λέοντες καὶ λύκοι· ὥσθ’ ἡ κρεοφαγία οὔτε τὴν ψυχὴν οὔτε τὸ σῶμα λυμαίνεται. δῆλον δ’ ἐστὶ κἀκ τοῦ τοὺς ἀθλητὰς τὰ σώματα κρείσσω τῇ κρεοφαγίᾳ παρέχειν, κἀκ τῶν ἰατρῶν, οἳ τὰ ἐκ τῆς ἀρρωστίας σώματα ἀναλαμβάνουσι ταῖς κρεοφαγίαις. τοῦ δὲ μὴ ὑγιῶς δοξάσαι τὸν Πυθαγόραν σημεῖον οὐ μικρόν· τῶν γὰρ σοφῶν ἀνδρῶν οὐδεὶς ἐπείσθη, οὔτε τῶν ἑπτὰ οὔτε τῶν ὕστερον γενομένων φυσικῶν, ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ὁ σοφώτατος Σωκράτης οὐδ’ οἱ ἀπὸ Σωκράτους.
(Porphyry, Peri Apochēs Empsuchōn 1.14-15)

Someone who says we should not eat [animals], thinking it unjust, will also say that it is unjust to kill them and to take away their souls. But between us and the beasts there is a war which is innate and also just. Some beasts intentionally attack humans, as wolves and lions do; some attack unintentionally, like snakes, which sometimes bite because they have been trodden on. Some attack humans, some destroy crops. For all these reasons we go after them: we kill beasts, both those that take the initiative and those that do not, to avoid suffering any harm from them. Anyone who sees a snake kills it if he can, so that neither he nor any other human being should be bitten; for we have not only hatred for the creatures which are killed, but also affection of human for human. But though the war against the beasts is just, we abstain from many that live with humans. That is why the Greeks do not eat dogs, or horses, or donkeys. They do eat pigs, because domestic pigs are of the same race as wild pig, and likewise birds. Indeed, pigs are not useful for anything except for eating. Phoenicians and Jews abstain [from pigs], because there were none at all in those places; and even now, they say, this animal is not found in Ethiopia. So, just as no Greek has sacrificed a camel or elephant to the gods, because Greece does not produce these creatures, so in Cyprus and Phoenicia this animal was not offered to the gods, because it was not local, and the Egyptians do not sacrifice pigs to the gods for the same reason. So some people abstain entirely from this animal, but it is as if we refused to eat camels. Why would anyone abstain from animate creatures? Do they make the soul worse, or the body? Obviously, neither. Flesh-eating animals are more intelligent than the others: they are hunters, and have this skill with which they get a living and acquire strength and fighting spirit, like lions and wolves. So meat-eating does not damage either the soul or the body. This is also clear from the fact that athletes make their bodies stronger by meat-eating, and from doctors, who prescribe meat-eating to restore bodies which are recovering from illness. There is also strong evidence that Pythagoras’ views were unsound: none of the sages was convinced, either from the Seven or from the later natural scientists, not even Socrates, wisest of all, or his successors. (tr. Gillian Clark)

Comites

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Cur me querelis exanimas tuis?
nec dis amicum est nec mihi te prius
obire, Maecenas, mearum
grande decus columenque rerum.

a! te meae si partem animae rapit
maturior vis, quid moror altera,
nec carus aeque nec superstes
integer? ille dies utramque

ducet ruinam. non ego perfidum
dixi sacramentum: ibimus, ibimus,
utcumque praecedes, supremum
carpere iter comites parati.

(Horace, Carm. 2.17.1-12)

Why do you worry me to death with your grumbling? It is not the gods’ will or mine that you should die first, Maecenas, you who are the greatest glory and keystone of my existence. If some force snatches away you, who are part of my soul, before me, ah, what do I care for the other part, no longer equally loved, and, though surviving, no longer a whole person? That day will drag both of us down to death. I have sworn a solemn oath and will not break it: we will go, yes, we will go, whenever you take the lead; we are ready to set out on the final journey as comrades together. (tr. Niall Rudd)