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)

Eruditi

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

Ordo atque ratio Pythagorae ac deinceps familiae et successionis eius recipiendi instituendique discipulos huiuscemodi fuisse traditur: iam a principio adulescentes, qui sese ad discendum obtulerant, ἐφυσιογνωμόνει. id verbum significat mores naturasque hominum coniectatione quadam de oris et vultus ingenio deque totius corporis filo atque habitu sciscitari. tum qui exploratus ab eo idoneusque fuerat, recipi in disciplinam statim iubebat et tempus certum tacere: non omnes idem, sed alios aliud tempus pro aestimato captu sollertiae. is autem, qui tacebat, quae dicebantur ab aliis, audiebat, neque percontari, si parum intellexerat, neque commentari, quae audierat, fas erat; sed non minus quisquam tacuit quam biennium: hi prorsus appellabantur intra tempus tacendi audiendique ἀκουστικοί. ast ubi res didicerant rerum omnium difficillimas, tacere audireque, atque esse iam coeperant silentio eruditi, cui erat nomen ἐχεμυθία, tum verba facere et quaerere quaeque audissent scribere et, quae ipsi opinarentur, expromere potestas erat; hi dicebantur in eo tempore μαθηματικοί, ab his scilicet artibus, quas iam discere atque meditari inceptaverant: quoniam geometriam, gnomonicam, musicam ceterasque item disciplinas altiores μαθήματα veteres Graeci appellabant; vulgus autem, quos gentilicio vocabulo “Chaldaeos” dicere oportet, “mathematicos” dicit. exinde his scientiae studiis ornati ad perspicienda mundi opera et principia naturae procedebant ac tunc denique nominabantur φυσικοί.
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 1.9.1-7)

It is said that the order and method followed by Pythagoras, and afterwards by his school and his successors, in admitting and training their pupils were as follows: At the very outset he “physiognomized” the young men who presented themselves for instruction. That word means to inquire into the character and dispositions of men by an inference drawn from their facial appearance and expression, and from the form and bearing of their whole body. Then, when he had thus examined a man and found him suitable, he at once gave orders that he should be admitted to the school and should keep silence for a fixed period of time; this was not the same for all, but differed according to his estimate of the man’s capacity for learning quickly. But the one who kept silent listened to what was said by others; he was, however, religiously forbidden to ask questions, if he had not fully understood, or to remark upon what he had heard. Now, no one kept silence for less than two years, and during the entire period of silent listening they were called ἀκουστικοί or “auditors.” But when they had learned what is of all things the most difficult, to keep quiet and listen, and had finally begun to be adepts in that silence which is called ἐχεμυθία or “continence in words,” they were then allowed to speak, to ask questions, and to write down what they had heard, and to express their own opinions. During this stage they were called μαθηματικοί or “students of science,” evidently from those branches of knowledge which they had now begun to learn and practise; for the ancient Greeks called geometry, gnomonics, music and other higher studies μαθήματα or “sciences”; but the common people apply the term mathematici to those who ought to be called by their ethnic name, Chaldaeans. Finally, equipped with this scientific training, they advanced to the investigation of the phenomena of the universe and the laws of nature, and then, and not till then, they were called φυσικοί or “natural philosophers.” (tr. John C. Rolfe)

Gigni

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Praeterea ego de partu humano, praeterquam quae scripta in libris legi, hoc quoque usu venisse Romae comperi: feminam bonis atque honestis moribus, non ambigua pudicitia, in undecimo mense post mariti mortem peperisse, factumque esse negotium propter rationem temporis, quasi marito mortuo postea concepisset, quoniam decemviri in decem mensibus gigni hominem, non in undecimo scripsissent; sed divum Hadrianum causa cognita decrevisse in undecimo quoque mense partum edi posse; idque ipsum eius rei decretum nos legimus. in eo decreto Hadrianus id statuere se dicit requisitis veterum philosophorum et medicorum sententiis.
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 3.16.12)

Furthermore, besides what I have read in books about human gestation, I also heard of the following case, which occurred in Rome: A woman of good and honourable character, of undoubted chastity, gave birth to a child in the eleventh month after her husband’s death, and because of the reckoning of the time the accusation was made that she had conceived after the death of her husband, since the decemvirs had written* that a child is born in ten months and not in the eleventh month. The deified Hadrian, however, having heard the case, decided that birth might also occur in the eleventh month, and I myself have read the actual decree with regard to the matter. In that decree Hadrian declares that he makes his decision after looking up the views of the ancient philosophers and physicians.

* XII Tab. iv. 4, Schöll. The fragment is not extant, but it is cited also by Ulpian, Dig. xxxviii. 16. 3. 11: post decem menses mortis natus non admittetur ad legitimam hereditatem.

(tr. John C. Rolfe, with his note)

Sententiae

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Publilius mimos scriptitavit. dignus habitus est qui subpar Laberio iudicaretur. C. autem Caesarem ita Laberii maledicentia et adrogantia offendebat, ut acceptiores sibi esse Publili quam Laberii mimos praedicaret. huius Publili sententiae feruntur pleraeque lepidae et ad communem sermonum usum commendatissimae, ex quibus sunt istae singulis versibus circumscriptae, quas libitum hercle est adscribere:
malum est consilium quod mutari non potest.
beneficium dando accepit, qui digno dedit.
feras, non culpes, quod vitari non potest.
cui plus licet, quam par est, plus vult, quam licet.
comes facundus in via pro vehiculo est.
frugalitas miseria est rumoris boni.
heredis fletus sub persona risus est.
furor fit laesa saepius patientia.
improbe Neptunum accusat, qui iterum naufragium facit.
ita amicum habeas pesse ut facile fieri hunc inimicum putes.
veterem ferendo iniuriam invites novam.
numquam periclum sine periclo vincitur.
nimium altercando veritas amittitur.
pars benefici est, quod petitur si belle neges.
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 17.14)

Publilius wrote mimes. He was thought worthy of being rated about equal to Laberius. But the scurrility and the arrogance of Laberius so offended Gaius Caesar, that he declared that he was better pleased with the mimes of Publilius than with those of Laberius. Many sayings of this Publilius are current, which are neat and well adapted to the use of ordinary conversation. Among these are the following, consisting of a single line each, which I have indeed taken pleasure in quoting*:
Bad is the plan which cannot bear a change.
He gains by giving who has given to worth.
Endure and don’t deplore what can’t be helped.**
Who’s given too much, will want more than’s allowed.***
A witty comrade at your side,
To walk’s as easy as to ride.
Frugality is misery in disguise.
Heirs’ tears are laughter underneath a mask.
Patience too oft provoked is turned to rage.
He wrongly Neptune blames, who suffers shipwreck twice.
Regard a friend as one who may be foe.
By bearing old wrongs new ones you provoke.
With danger ever danger’s overcome.
‘Mid too much wrangling truth is often lost.
Who courteously declines, grants half your suit.

* Meyer, vv. 362, 55, 176, 106, 104, 193, 221, 178, 264, 245, 645, 383, 416, 469. In one instance it has seemed necessary to use two lines in the English version.
** Cf. “What can’t be cured must be endured.”
*** Cf. “Give an inch, he’ll take an ell.”

(tr. John C. Rolfe, with his notes)

Comoedias

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Sedigitus in libro, quem scripsit de poëtis, quid de his sentiat, qui comoedias fecerunt, et quem praestare ex omnibus ceteris putet ac deinceps, quo quemque in loco et honore ponat, his versibus suis demonstrat:
multos incertos certare hanc rem vidimus,
palmam poëtae comico cui deferant.
eum meo iudicio errorem dissolvam tibi,
ut, contra si quis sentiat, nihil sentiat.
Caecilio palmam Statio do comico.
Plautus secundus facile exsuperat ceteros.
dein Naevius, qui fervet, pretio in tertiost.
si erit, quod quarto detur, dabitur Licinio.
post insequi Licinium facio Atilium.
in sexto consequetur hos Terentius,
Turpilius septimum, Trabea octavum optinet,
nono loco esse facile facio Luscium.
decimum addo causa antiquitatis Ennium.
[Volcacius Sedigitus, fr. 1]
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 15.24)

In the book he wrote about poets, Sedigitus demonstrates in the following verses what he thinks of those who wrote comedies and whom he believes to suprass all others, and finally to which position of honor he assigns each individual: “we see that many debate this manner, being uncertain to which comic poet they should assign the victory parlm. By my judgment, I will resolve this uncertainty for you, so that, if anyone thinks otherwise, that opinion has no value. I give the victory palm to the comic poet Caecilius Statius. Plautus, in second place, easily surpasses the others. Then Naevius, who is passionate, is in third position. If there is something to give to the one in fourth place, it will be given to Licinius. I have Attilius following Licinius. In sixth place Terence will follow them, Turpilius holds seventh, Trabea eighth position. I easily put Luscius [Lanuvinus] in ninth place. As the tenth poet I add Ennius by virtue of his antiquity.” (tr. Gesine Manuwald)

Aischunē

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In problematis Aristotelis philosophi ita scriptum est: Διὰ τί οἱ μὲν αἰσχυνόμενοι ὠχριῶσιν, παραπλησίων τῶν παθῶν ὄντων; ὅτι τῶν μὲν αἰσχυνομένων διαχεῖται τὸ αἷμα ἐκ τῆς καρδίας εἰς ἅπαντα τὰ μέρη τοῦ σώματος, ὥστε ἐπιπολάζειν· τοῖς δὲ φοβηθεῖσιν συντρέχει εἰς τὴν καρδίαν, ὥστε ἐκλείπειν ἐκ τῶν ἄλλων μερῶν [fr. 243 R3]. hoc ego Athenis cum Tauro nostro legissem percontatusque essem, quid de ratione ista reddita sentiret, “dixit quidem” inquit “probe et vere, quid accideret diffuso sanguine aut contracto, sed cur ita fieret, non dixit. adhuc enim quaeri potest, quam ob causam pudor sanguinem diffundat, timor contrahat, cum sit pudor species timoris atque ita definiatur: ‘timor iustae reprehensionis’. ita enim philosophi definiunt: αἰσχύνη ἐστὶν φόβος δικαίου ψόγου.”
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 19.6)

In the Problems of the philosopher Aristotle is the following passage: “Why do men who are ashamed turn red and those who fear grow pale; although these emotions are similar? Because the blood of those who feel shame flows from the heart to all parts of the body, and therefore comes to the surface; but the blood of those who fear rushes to the heart, and consequently leaves all the other parts of the body.” When I had read this at Athens with our friend Taurus and had asked him what he thought about that reason which had been assigned, he answered: “He has told us properly and truly what happens when the blood is diffused or concentrated, but he has not told us why this takes place. For the question may still be asked why it is that shame diffuses the blood and fear contracts it, when shame is a kind of fear and is defined by the philosophers as ‘the fear of just censure.’ For they say: αἰσχύνη ἐστὶν φόβος δικαίου ψόγου [shame is the fear of just censure].” (tr. John C. Rolfe)

Convivae

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Lepidissimus liber est M. Varronis ex Satiris Menippeis, qui inscribitur Nescis Quid Vesper Serus Vehat, in quo disserit de apto convivarum numero deque ipsius convivii habitu cultuque. dicit autem, convivarum numerum incipere oportere a Gratiarum numero et progredi ad Musarum, [id est proficisci a tribus et consistere in novem], ut, cum paucissimi convivae sunt, non pauciores sint quam tres, cum plurimi, non plures quam novem (fr. 333). “Nam multos,” inquit, “esse non convenit, quod turba plerumque est turbulenta et Romae quidem stat, sedet Athenis, nusquam autem cubat (fr. 334). ipsum deinde convivium constat,” inquit, “ex rebus quattuor et tum denique omnibus suis numeris absolutum est, si belli homunculi collecti sunt, si electus locus, si tempus lectum, si apparatus non neglectus (fr. 335). nec loquaces autem,” inquit, “convivas nec mutos legere oportet, quia eloquentia in foro et apud subsellia, silentium vero non in convivio, sed in cubiculo esse debet (fr. 336).”
(Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 13.11.1-3)

That is a very charming book of Marcus Varro’s, one of his Menippean Satires, entitled You know not what the Late Evening may Bring, in which he descants upon the proper number of guests at a dinner, and about the order and arrangement of the entertainment itself. Now he says that the number of the guests ought to begin with that of the Graces and end with that of the Muses; [that is, it should begin with three and stop at nine], so that when the guests are fewest, they should not be less than three, when they are most numerous, not more than nine. “For it is disagreeable to have a great number, since a crowd is generally disorderly, and at Rome it stands, at Athens it sits, but nowhere does it recline. Now, the banquet itself,” he continues, “has four features, and then only is it complete in all its parts: if a nice little group has been got together, if the place is well chosen, the time fit, and due preparation not neglected. Moreover, one should not,” he says, “invite either too talkative or too silent guests, since eloquence is appropriate to the Forum and the courts, but silence to the bed-chamber and not to a dinner.” (tr. John C. Rolfe)