Excoluisse

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Hoc iacet in tumulo raptus puerilibus annis
Pantagathus, domini cura dolorque sui,
vix tangente vagos ferro resecare capillos
doctus et hirsutas excoluisse genas.
sis licet, ut debes, tellus, placata levisque,
artificis levior non potes esse manu.
(Martial, Ep. 6.52)

In this tomb lies Pantagathus, snatched away in his boyhood years, his master’ s care and grief, skilled to cut straying locks and shave hairy cheeks with steel that barely touched them. Though you be kind and light, earth, as you should be, you cannot be light er than the artist’s hand. (tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey)

Limoi

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Οἱ συνεχῶς ἐτῶν οὐκ ὀλίγων ἐφεξῆς γενόμενοι λιμοὶ κατὰ πολλὰ τῶν Ῥωμαίοις ὑπακουόντων ἐθνῶν ἐναργῶς ἐπεδείξαντο τοῖς γε μὴ παντάπασιν ἀνοήτοις, ἡλίκην ἔχει κακοχυμία δύναμιν εἰς νόσων γένεσιν. οἱ μὲν γὰρ τὰς πόλεις οἰκοῦντες, ὥσπερ ἦν ἔθος αὐτοῖς παρασκευάζεσθαι κατὰ τὸ θέρος εὐθέως σῖτον αὐτάρκη πρὸς ὅλον τὸν ἐφεξῆς ἐνιαυτὸν, ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν πάντα τὸν πυρὸν αἴροντες ἅμα ταῖς κριθαῖς τε καὶ τοῖς κυάμοις καὶ φακοῖς, ἀπέλιπον τοῖς ἀγροίκοις τοὺς ἄλλους Δημητρίους καρποὺς, οὕς ὀνομάζουσιν ὄσπριά τε καὶ χέδροπα, μετὰ τοῦ καὶ τούτων αὐτῶν οὐκ ὀλίγα κομίζειν εἰς ἄστυ. τὰ γοῦν ὑπολειφθέντα διὰ τοῦ χειμῶνος ἐκδαπανῶντες οἱ κατὰ τὴν χώραν ἄνθρωποι τροφαῖς κακοχύμοις ἠναγκάζοντο χρῆσθαι δι’ ὅλου τοῦ ἦρος, ἐσθίοντες ἀκρέμονάς τε καὶ βλάστας δένδρων καὶ θάμνων, καὶ βολβοὺς, καὶ ῥίζας κακοχύμων φυτῶν, ἐμφορούμενοι δὲ καὶ τῶν ἀγρίων ὀνομαζομένων λαχάνων, ὅτου τις ἔτυχεν εὐπορήσας, ἀφειδῶς ἄχρι κόρου, καθάπερ καὶ πόας χλωρὰς ὅλας ἕψοντες ἤσθιον, ὧν πρότερον οὐδ’ ἄχρι πείρας ἐγεύσαντο πώποτε. παρῆν οὖν ὁρᾶν ἐνίους μὲν αὐτῶν ἐν τοῖς ἐσχάτοις τοῦ ἦρος, ἅπαντας δ’ ὀλίγου δεῖν ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ θέρους ἁλισκομένους ἕλκεσι παμπόλλοις κατὰ τὸ δέρμα συνισταμένοις, οὐ τὴν αὐτὴν ἰδέαν ἅπασιν ἴσχουσι· τὰ μὲν γὰρ αὐτῶν ἦν ἐρυσιπελατώδη, τὰ δὲ φλεγμονώδη, τὰ δ’ ἑρπυστικὰ, τὰ δὲ λειχηνώδη, καὶ ψωρώδη, καὶ λεπρώδη. τούτων μὲν ὅσα πρᾳότατα, διὰ τοῦ δέρματος ἐξανθήσαντα τὴν κακοχυμίαν ἐκ τῶν σπλάγχνων τε καὶ τοῦ βάθους ἐκένωσεν· ἐνίοις δέ τισιν ἀνθρακώδη τε καὶ φαγεδαινικὰ γενόμενα μετὰ τῶν πυρετῶν, ἀπέκτεινε πολλοὺς ἐν χρόνῳ μακρῷ μόλις ὀλιγίστων σωθέντων. ἄνευ δὲ τῶν κατὰ τὸ δέρμα παθημάτων πυρετοὶ πάμπολλοι ἐγένοντο, διαχωρήσεις γαστρὸς ἐπιφέροντες δυσώδεις καὶ δακνώδεις, εἰς τεινεσμοὺς καὶ δυσεντερίας τελευτώσας, οὖρά τε δριμέα, καὶ αὐτὰ δυσώδη, τὴν κύστιν ἐνίων ἑλκώσαντα. τινὲς δ’ αὐτῶν ἐκρίθησαν ἱδρῶσι, καὶ τούτοις δυσώδεσιν, ἢ ἀποστήμασι σηπεδονώδεσιν. οἷς δ’ οὐδὲν τούτων ἐγένετο, πάντες ἀπέθανον ἢ μετὰ φανερᾶς φλεγμονῆς ἑνός γέ τινος τῶν σπλάγχνων, ἢ διὰ τὸ μέγεθός τε καὶ τὴν κακοήθειαν τῶν πυρετῶν. ὀλιγίστων δὲ φλέβα τεμεῖν ἐν ἀρχῇ τῆς νόσου τολμησάντων ἐνίων ἰατρῶν, (ἐδεδίεσαν γὰρ εἰκότως χρῆσθαι τῷ βοηθήματι διὰ τὸ προκαταλελῦσθαι τὴν δύναμιν,) οὐδενὸς εἶδον αἷμα χρηστὸν ἐκκριθὲν, ὁποῖον ἐκ τῶν ὑγιεινῶν σωμάτων ὁρᾶται κενούμενον, ἀλλ’ ἤτοι πυρρότερον, ἢ μελάντερον, ἢ ὀῤῥωδέστερον, ἢ δριμὺ καὶ δάκνον αὐτὴν τὴν διαιρεθεῖσαν φλέβα κατὰ τὴν ἐκροὴν, ὡς δυσεπούλωτον γενέσθαι τὸ ἕλκος. ἐνίοις δὲ καὶ συμπτώματα μετὰ τῶν πυρετῶν, καὶ μάλιστα τοῖς ἀποθανοῦσιν, ἐγένοντο βλάβην τῆς διανοίας ἐπιφέροντα σὺν ἀγρυπνίαις καὶ καταφοραῖς. οὐδὲν δὲ θαυμαστὸν, ἐναντίοις ἁλῶναι νοσήμασί τε καὶ συμπτώμασι τοὺς τότε νοσήσαντας, αὐτούς τε διαφέροντας ἀλλήλοις οὐ ταῖς φύσεσι μόνον ἢ ταῖς ἡλικίαις, ἀλλὰ καὶ ταῖς ἔμπροσθεν διαίταις, ἐναντίαν τε δύναμιν ἐχούσας ἐδηδοκότας ἐν τῷ λιμῷ τροφάς. ἤσθιον μὲν γὰρ ἅπαντες ὧν ηὐπόρουν· ἀνομοίου δὲ τῆς εὐπορίας οὔσης, ἔνιοι μὲν ὀξεῖς, ἢ δριμεῖς, ἢ ἁλυκοὺς, ἢ πικροὺς ἔχοντα χυμοὺς ἐδέσματα προσηνέγκαντο, τινὲς δ’ αὐστηροὺς, ἢ στρυφνοὺς, ἢ ψύχοντας σαφῶς, ἢ ὑγροὺς ἱκανῶς, ἢ γλίσχρους, ἢ φαρμακώδεις. οἶδα γοῦν ἐνίους μὲν αὐτίκα διὰ μυκήτων ἐδωδὴν ἀποθανόντας, ἐνίους δὲ διὰ κωνείων, ἢ ναρθήκων, ὀλίγους δ’ ἐξ αὐτῶν μόγις διασωθέντας.
(Galen, De rebus boni malique suci 6.749-752K = C.M.G. 5.4.2.389-391)

The famines that occurred continuously, many years in a row, in many peoples subject to the Romans have shown to those who aren’t completely without understanding what great power bad juices have in the generation of diseases. Now the inhabitants of the cities have the habit of providing for themselves, right after summer, sufficient grain for the entire following year, taking all wheat from the fields, along with the barley, beans and lentils, and leaving for the country people the other fruits of Demeter, the ones we call pulses and legumes, after having taken a sizable portion to town from those as well. So, having exhausted what remained during the winter, the people in the country were forced to use unwholesome foods throughout springtime, eating twigs and shoots of trees and bushes, and bulbs, and roots of indigestible plants. They also filled themselves with so-called wild herbs, whichever ones there happened to be large quantities of, and they used them freely and to satiety, as they also cooked and ate all sorts of green grasses that previously they had never so much as tasted even to try. As a result one could see some of these people by the end of spring, and virtually all of them at the beginning of summer, victim to numerous ulcers that formed on the skin; and they did not all have the same look, for some were similar to erysipelas, others to phlegmon, others to herpes, and yet others to lichen, scabies or lepra. The most benign ones, when breaking through the skin, purged the bad juices from the entrails and from deep within the body; but in others these turned into anthrax and gangreen, accompanied by fevers, and they killed many, only a very few being narrowly saved, and only after a long time. As for those whose skin was not affected, they too were gripped by numerous fevers, inflicting malodorous, pungent evacuations of the bowels, ending in tenesmus and dysentery, and acrid urination, also malodorous, and causing ulcerations of the bladder in some. For some the sickness took the form of sweats, these too malodorous, or putrid abscesses. As to those who had none of these things, they all died either due to noticeable inflammation of some organ or other, or because of the intensity and virulence of the fevers. In those very rare cases where a doctor had dared to open a vein in the early stages of the illness (a remedy which they were afraid to use, with reason, given the weakened condition of the patients), they never saw good blood being secreted, such as can be seen flowing from healthy bodies, but either yellowish blood, or blackish, or whey-like, or acidic and corroding the incised vein itself when flowing out, making it hard for the wound to scar over. In some, especially in those who were dying, the fevers were accompanied by symptoms that involved loss of the mental faculties along with insomnia and lethargy. And we shouldn’t be surprised that the people who were sick in those days fell prey to different diseases and conflicting symptoms, as they differed from each other not only in constitution and age, but also by their previous diets, since during the famine they had eaten food with contrasting properties. For everyone ate that which he had in abundance; but since this abundance varied, the juices of the food that some fed on were acrid, sour, salty, or bitter, while those of others’ were dry, or astringent, or had a clear cooling effect, or were too liquid, or viscous, or medicinal. I know for instance that some died straight away from eating mushrooms, others from hemlock or wild fennel, and just a few of them only barely recovered. (tr. David Bauwens)

Scythicam

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Emperor Michael III

In tantam vero furoris abundantiam prorupistis, ut linguae Latinae iniuriam irrogaretis, hanc in epistola vestra barbaram et Scythicam appellantes ad iniuriam eius, qui fecit eam; omnis enim operis derogatio ad opificis redundat iniuriam. o furorem, qui nec linguae novit parcere, quam Deus fecit, et quae inter ceteras in nomine Domini hortante apostolo confitetur, quia ‘dominus noster Iesus Christus in gloria est Dei patris’ et quae cum Hebrea atque Graeca in titulo Domini a reliquis discreta insignem principatum tenens omnibus nationibus praedicat Iesum Nazarenum regem Iudaeorum. quem titulum multi Iudaeorum corrumpere voluerunt, sicut vos nunc huius celeberrimae linguae temptatis insigne destruere, sed minime potuerunt; scriptum quippe divinitus in libro psalmorum fuerat: ne corrumpas tituli inscriptionem! vel quia Christiani sunt, quorum linguam barbaram vel Scythicam appellatis, gloriam vestram quare non pudeat, obstupescimus. cum enim barbari omnes et Scythae ut insensata animalia vivant, Deum verum nesciant, ligna autem et lapides adorent, in eo ipso, quo verum Deum colit lingua Latina, quantum barbaram vel Scythicam linguam antecedat, agnoscitur. iam vero, si ideo linguam Latinam barbaram dicitis, quoniam illam non intelligitis, vos considerate, quia ridiculum est vol appellare Romanorum imperatores et tamen linguam non nosse Romanam. ad extremum autem, si iam saepe nominatam linguam ideo barbaram nuncupatis, quoniam a translatoribus in Graecam dictionem mutata barbarismos generat, non linguae Latinae, sed culpa est, ut opinamur, interpretum, qui quando necesse est non sensum e sensu, sed violenter verbum edere conantur e verbo. ecce enim in principio epistolae vestrae imperatorem vos nuncupastis Romanorum et tamen Romanam linguam barbaram appellare non veremini. ecce cotidie, immo vero in praecipuis festivitatibus inter Graecam linguam veluti quiddam pretiosum hanc, quam barbaram et Scythicam linguam appellatis, miscentes, quasi minus decori vestro facitis, si hac etiam non bene ac ex toto intellecta in vestris obsequiis ac officiis non utamini. quiescite igitur vos nuncupare Romanorum imperatores, quoniam secundum vestram sententiam barbari sunt, quorum vos imperatores esse asseritis.
(Nicholas I, Ep. 88 MGH = 86 PG, ad Michaelem III imperatorem)

You were driven into such an overwhelming frenzy, that you insulted the Latin language calling it in your letter barbaric and Skythian, which is an insult to him who created this language, because every denigration of a work entails also an insult to its author. Oh, what fury, which has not even spared the language which was created by God; †a language which, along with other ones, professes in the name of the lord, as the apostle admonished, ‘that Jesus Christ is lord, to the glory of God the father’ [Phil. 2:11]! This is the language that, together with Hebrew and Greek, was placed in an exalted position on the sign on the cross of our lord (these three languages, and none other!), proclaiming to all peoples: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, king of the Jews’ [John 19:20]! Many Jews wanted to destroy this sign, just like you are now trying to destroy the renown of this our distinguished language; but they did not succeed, because it was already written by God in the book of Psalms. So do not destroy the language of the sign!† We are dismayed that your majesty is not ashamed: for it is the language of Christian peoples which you call barbaric and Skythian. Is it not well known that all barbarians and Skythians live like ignorant animals, that they do not know the true God, but worship trees and stones? Fromthis, of course, one can see how much the latin language, which worships the true God, surpasses the barbarian and Skythian language. Furthermore, if you call the Latin language barbaric, because you do not understand Latin, you should be careful: is it not ridiculous to call yourself emperor of the Romans when you do not know the language of the Romans? And finally, you call the language under discussion barbaric for the simple reason that by translating Latin into Greek certain barbarisms were generated. This, though, we believe, is not the fault of the Latin language but the fault of interpreters, who tried to force words out of words rather than, as is necessary, to produce meaning out of meaning. In fact, in the beginning of your letter you call yourself ’emperor of the Romans’, but you are not afraid to call the Roman language barbaric! In truth, every day, especially on the occasion of major ceremonies, you set into the Greek language as if it were a precious jewel exactly what you call a barbarian and Skythian language! And you do so as if you would diminish your majesty if you were to refrain from using Latin words in your retinue and offices—even though these words are not used properly or perfectly understood. So, abandon the title ’emperor of the Romans’, because according to your own opinion they are barbarians whose emperor you claim to be! (tr. Marie Theres Fögen; except the passage between †† added by David Bauwens)

Mortiferam

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Quam consuetudinem Massiliensium non in Gallia ortam, sed ex Graecia translatam inde existimo, quod illam etiam in insula Cea servari animadverti, quo tempore Asiam cum Sex. Pompeio petens Iulidem oppidum intravi: forte enim evenit ut tunc summae dignitatis ibi femina, sed ultimae iam senectutis, reddita ratione civibus cur excedere vita deberet, veneno consumere se destinarit mortemque suam Pompei praesentia clariorem fieri magni aestimaret. nec preces eius vir ille, ut omnibus virtutibus, ita humanitatis quoque laude instructissimus, aspernari sustinuit. venit itaque ad eam facundissimoque sermone, qui ore eius quasi e beato quodam eloquentiae fonte manabat, ab incepto consilio diu nequicquam revocare conatus ad ultimum propositum exequi passus est. quae nonagesimum annum transgressa cum summa et animi et corporis sinceritate lectulo, quantum dinoscere erat, cotidiana consuetudine cultius strato recubans et innixa cubito ‘tibi quidem’ inquit, ‘Sex. Pompei, dii magis quos relinquo quam quos peto gratias referant, quod nec hortator vitae meae nec mortis spectator esse fastidisti. ceterum ipsa hilarem fortunae vultum semper experta, ne aviditate lucis tristem intueri cogar, reliquias spiritus mei prospero fine, duas filias et septem nepotum gregem superstitem relictura permuto’. cohortata deinde ad concordiam suos distributo eis patrimonio et cultu suo sacrisque domesticis maiori filiae traditis poculum, in quo venenum temperatum erat, constanti dextera arripuit. tum defusis Mercurio delibamentis et invocato numine eius, ut se placido itinere in meliorem sedis infernae deduceret partem, cupido haustu mortiferam traxit potionem ac sermone significans quasnam subinde partes corporis sui rigor occuparet, cum iam visceribus eum et cordi imminere esset elocuta, filiarum manus ad supremum opprimendorum oculorum officium advocavit. nostros autem, tametsi novo spectaculo obstupefacti erant, suffusos tamen lacrimis dimisit.
(Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia 2.6.8)

I believe this usage of the Massilians did not originate in Gaul but was borrowed from Greece because I saw it also observed in the island of Cea when I entered the town of Iulis on my way to Asia with Sex. Pompeius. For it so happened on that occasion that a lady of the highest rank there but in extreme old age, after explaining to her fellow citizens why she ought to depart from life, determined to put an end to herself by poison and set much store on having her death gain celebrity by the presence of Pompeius. Nor could that gentleman reject her plea, excellently endowed as he was with the virtue of good nature as with all other noble qualities. So he visited her and in fluent speech, which flowed from his lips as from some copious fountain of eloquence, tried at length but in vain to turn her back from her design. Finally he let her carry out her intention. Having passed her ninetieth year in the soundest health of mind and body, she lay on her bed, which was spread, as far as might be perceived, more elegantly than every day, and resting on her elbow she spoke: “Sex. Pompeius, may the gods whom I am leaving rather than those to whom I am going repay you because you have not disdained to urge me to live nor yet to be witness of my death. As for me, I have always seen Fortune’s smiling face. Rather than be forced through greed of living to see her frown, I am exchanging what remains of my breath for a happy end, leaving two daughters and a flock of seven grandchildren to survive me.” Then, having urged her family to live in harmony, she distributed her estate among them, and having consigned her own observance and the domestic rites to her elder daughter, she took the cup in which the poison had been mixed in a firm grasp. After pouring libations to Mercury and invoking his divine power, that he conduct her on a calm journey to the happier part of the underworld, she eagerly drained the fatal potion. She indicated in words the parts of her body which numbness seized one by one, and when she told us that it was about to reach her vitals and heart, she summoned her daughters’ hands to the last office, to close her eyes. As for us Romans, she dismissed us, stunned by so extraordinary a spectacle but bathed in tears. (tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey)

Koresthēti

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Στρατεύσας γὰρ ἐπὶ Πέρσας ἐδελεάσθη ὑπὸ τῶν αὐτομόλων ἐμπρῆσαι τὰς ναῦς· εἶτα δι’ ἐρημίας καὶ ἀνωμάλων χωρίων τὴν πορείαν ποιούμενος ἐφ’ ἱκανόν, πάντων ἀπολελοιπότων τῶν τε χρειωδῶν καὶ τῶν ἀναγκαίων, καὶ πολλὰ ταλαιπωρησάντων τῶν μετ’ αὐτοῦ, ἐπειδὴ καιρὸς τοῦ πολέμου καὶ μάχης ἀφίκετο, τραπεὶς εἰς φυγὴν τιτρώσκεται δόρατι, καὶ τοῦ αἵματος διὰ τῶν ῥινῶν φερομένου λαβὼν αὐτὸ ταῖς χερσὶ καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀέρα λικμήσας ἔφη· “νενίκηκας, Χριστέ· κορέσθητι, Ναζωραῖε·” καὶ οὕτως ἀπέρριψε τὴν δολίαν αὐτοῦ ψυχήν.
(Symeon Metaphrastes(?), Chron. 90.3)

For when he* had campaigned against Persia, he was enticed by deserters to burn the ships. Then, after he had marched a sufficient distance through desert and rugged areas, when all the supplies and necessities had been expended, and when those with him had suffered much, when opportunity for war and battle arrived, having turned to flight, he was wounded by a lance, and, after he had taken in his hands the blood coming from his nostrils and scattered it to the air, he said, “You have conquered, Christ. Sate yourself, Nazarene,” and thus did he cast forth his deceitful spirit.

* The emperor Julian.

(tr. Thomas N. Banchich & Eugene N. Lane)

Perirrupos

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Κράτης Ἀσκώνδου Θηβαῖος. καὶ οὗτος τῶν ἐλλογίμων τοῦ κυνὸς μαθητῶν. Ἱππόβοτος δέ φησιν οὐ Διογένους αὐτὸν μαθητὴν γεγονέναι, ἀλλὰ Βρύσωνος τοῦ Ἀχαιοῦ. τούτου Παίγνια φέρεται τάδε·
“Πήρη τις πόλις ἐστὶ μέσῳ ἐνὶ οἴνοπι τύφῳ
καλὴ καὶ πίειρα, περίρρυπος, οὐδὲν ἔχουσα,
εἰς ἣν οὔτε τις εἰσπλεῖ ἀνὴρ μωρὸς παράσιτος,
οὔτε λίχνος πόρνης ἐπαγαλλόμενος πυγῇσιν·
ἀλλὰ θύμον καὶ σκόρδα φέρει καὶ σῦκα καὶ ἄρτους.
ἐξ ὧν οὐ πολεμοῦσι πρὸς ἀλλήλους περὶ τούτων,
οὐχ ὅπλα κέκτηνται περὶ κέρματος, οὐ περὶ δόξης.” [Crates, fr. 4]
(Diogenes Laertius, Bioi kai Gnōmai 6.85)

Crates, son of Ascondas, was a Theban. He too was one of the Cynic’s* distinguished students. Hippobotus, however, says that Crates was not a student of Diogenes, but of Bryson the Achaean. These playful verses are attributed to Crates:
There is a city, Pera**, in the middle of a wine-dark mist,
Lovely and fertile, rich in dirt, possessing nothing,
Into which sails neither stupid parasite,
Nor glutton exulting in the buttocks of a harlot;
Instead it bears thyme and garlic and figs and loaves,
For the sake of which men do not fight each other,
Nor take up arms for fame or fortune.

* Meaning Diogenes of Sinope, discussed at 6.20-81.
** Crates’ imaginary city is named after the knapsack often carried by Cynics as a sign of their disdain for the material goods. The paradisical description that follows is written in Homeric meter and style.

(tr. Pamela Mensch, with her notes)

Exoikizomai

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Καὶ ἐὰν μὲν ἐκποιῇ πενητεύουσι <δεῖ> μένειν ἐν τῷ βίῳ, εἰ δὲ μή, ῥᾳδίως ἀπαλλάττεσθαι ὥσπερ ἐκ πανηγύρεως. καθάπερ καὶ ἐξ οἰκίας, φησὶν ὁ Βίων, ἐξοικιζόμεθα, ὅταν τὸ ἐνοίκιον ὁ μισθώσας οὐ κομιζόμενος τὴν θύραν ἀφέλῃ, τὸν κέραμον ἀφέλῃ, τὸ φρέαρ ἐγκλείσῃ, οὕτω, φησί, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ σωματίου ἐξοικίζομαι,  ὅταν ἡ μισθώσασα φύσις τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἀφαιρῆται τὰ ὦτα τὰς χεῖρας τοὺς πόδας· οὐχ ὑπομένω, ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ ἐκ συμποσίου ἀπαλλάττομαι οὐθὲν δυσχεραίνων, οὕτω καὶ ἐκ τοῦ βίου, ὅταν ὥρα ᾖ, “ἔμβα πορθμίδος ἔρυμα.”
(Teles, Peri Autarkeias p. 15-16 Hense)

And if it is possible, the poor should remain in life, but otherwise they should depart readily, as if from a festival. “Just as we are ejected from our house,” says Bion, “when the landlord, because he has not received his rent, takes away the door, takes away the pottery, stops up the well, in the same way,” he says, “am I being ejected from this poor body when Nature, the landlady, takes away my eyes, my ears, my hands, my feet. I am not remaining, but as if leaving a banquet and not at all displeased, so also I leave life; when the hour comes, ‘step on board the ship.'” (tr. Edward N. O’Neil)