Again, I once heard a conversation of his* about friendship that I thought likely to be of great help in acquiring and making use of friends. For he said that he often heard it stated that of all possessions the most precious is a good and sincere friend. “And yet,” he said, “there is no transaction most men are so careless about as the acquisition of friends. For I find that they are careful about getting houses and lands and slaves and cattle and furniture, and anxious to keep what they have; but though they claim that a friend is the greatest blessing, I find that most men take no thought how to get new friends or how to keep their old ones. Indeed, if one of their friends and one of their servants get sick at the same time, I find that some call in the doctor to attend the servant and are careful to provide everything that may contribute to his recovery, whereas they pay no attention to the friend. In the event that both die, they are annoyed at losing the servant and consider it a loss, but don’t feel that the death of the friend matters in the least. And though none of their other possessions is uncared for and unconsidered, they neglect their friends’ need of attention. And besides all this, I find that most men know the number of their other possessions, however great it may be, yet cannot tell the number of their friends, few as they are, and if asked to try to make a list they will insert names and presently remove them. So much for the thought they give to their friends!
* i.e. Socrates’.
(tr. Edgar Cardew Marchant & Otis Johnson Todd, revised by Jeffrey Henderson)
Then Critobulus said, “Shall I take my turn now and tell you my reasons for taking pride in my handsomeness?”
“Do,” they said.
“Well then, if I am not handsome, as I think I am, you could fairly be sued for misrepresentation; for though no one puts you under oath, you’re always swearing that I’m handsome. And I believe you, for I consider you to be real gentlemen. But if I really am handsome and you feel about me what I feel about I consider handsome , I swear by all the gods that I wouldn’t trade being handsome for the King’s empire. For as it is, I would rather gaze at Cleinias* than at everything else the world considers handsome. I would rather be blind to everything else than to Cleinias alone. I’m annoyed by both night and sleep because then I can’t see him; I feel the deepest gratitude to day and the sun because they reveal Cleinias to me. We handsome people have a right to be proud of this fact too: that whereas the strong man must get the good things he wants by toiling, and the brave man by running risks, and the sage man by speaking, the handsome man can have it all without doing anything.”
* Probably the young cousin of Alcibiades; cf. Mem. 1.3.8.
(tr. Otis Johnson Todd with his note; revised by Jeffrey Henderson)
Then and there they told Cyrus of the deeds of which Tissaphernes had been guilty, and begged him to show the utmost zeal in the war. Cyrus replied that this was what his father had instructed him to do, and that he had no other intention himself, but would do everything possible; he had brought with him, he said, five hundred talents; if this amount should prove insufficient, he would use his own money, which his father had given him; and if this too should prove inadequate, he would go so far as to break up the throne whereon he sat, which was of silver and gold. The ambassadors thanked him, and urged him to make the wage of each sailor an Attic drachma a day, explaining that if this were made the rate, the sailors of the Athenian fleet would desert their ships, and hence he would spend less money. He replied that their plan was a good one, but that it was not possible for him to act contrary to the King’s instructions; besides, the original compact ran in this way, that the King should give thirty minae per month to each ship, whatever number of ships the Lacedaemonians might wish to maintain. Lysander accordingly dropped the matter for the moment; but after dinner, when Cyrus drank his health and asked him by what act he could gratify him most, Lysander replied: “By adding an obol to the pay of each sailor.” And from this time forth the wage was four obols, whereas it had previously been three. (tr. Carleton L. Brownson)
And when the Greeks, as they proceeded, were among the friendly Mossynoecians, they would exhibit to them fattened children of the wealthy inhabitants, who had been nourished on boiled nuts and were soft and white to an extraordinary degree, and pretty nearly equal in length and breadth, with their backs adorned with many colours and their fore parts all tattooed with flower patterns. These Mossynoecians wanted also to have intercourse openly with the women who accompanied the Greeks, for that was their own fashion. And all of them were white, the men and the women alike. They were said by the Greeks who served on the expedition as the most uncivilized people whose country they traversed, the furthest removed from Greek customs. For they habitually did in public the things that other people would do only in private, and when they were alone they would behave just as if they were in the company of others, talking to themselves, laughing at themselves, and dancing in whatever spot they chanced to be, as though they were giving an exhibition to others. (tr. Carleton L. Brownson, revised by John Dillery)
Hereupon Gaulites, a Samian exile who was there and was in the confidence of Cyrus, said: “And yet, Cyrus, there are those who say that your promises are big now because you are in such a critical situation – for the danger is upon you – but that if any good fortune befall, you will fail to remember them; and some say that even if you should remember and have the will, you would not have the means to make good all your promises.” Upon hearing these words Cyrus said: “Well, gentlemen, my father’s realm extends towards the south to a region where men cannot dwell by reason of the heat, and to the north to a region where they cannot dwell by reason of the cold; and all that lies between these limits my brother’s friends rule as satraps. Now if we win the victory, we must put our friends in control of these provinces. I fear, therefore, not that I shall not have enough to give to each of my friends, if success attends us, but that I shall not have enough friends to give to.” (tr. Carleton L. Brownson, revised by John Dillery)