Monday, June 26, 2017


Pliny the Elder

Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, "Pliny the Elder and Man's Unnatural History," Greece & Rome 37.1 (April, 1990) 80-96 (at 80):
Not everybody shares my enthusiasm for the elder Pliny. We all have a nodding acquaintance with the Natural History, but few wish to pursue the relationship to the level of intimacy. Critics who care for the purity of Latin prose take a particularly dim view of him. Eduard Norden's verdict in Die antike Kunstprosa (i.314) is much cited: 'His work belongs, from the stylistic point of view, to the very worst which we have.' This negative judgement was firmly endorsed by Frank Goodyear in the Cambridge History of Latin Literature:
Pliny is one of the prodigies of Latin literature, boundlessly energetic and catastrophically indiscriminate, wide-ranging and narrow-minded, a pedant who wanted to be a popularizer, a sceptic infected by traditional sentiment, and an aspirant to style who can hardly frame a coherent sentence.
Not that Goodyear would have us ignore him. On the contrary, he serves as a deterrent exemplum of all that is frightful in Latin prose:
Students of Latin language and style neglect Pliny at their peril. Here, better than in most other places, we may see the contortions and obscurities, the odd combinations of preciosity and baldness, and the pure vacuity to which rhetorical prose, handled by any but the most talented, could precipitously descend and would indeed often descend again.


A Sanctuary

Cicero, On His House 41.109 (tr. N.H. Watts):
What is more sacred, what more inviolably hedged about by every kind of sanctity, than the home of every individual citizen? Within its circle are his altars, his hearths, his household gods, his religion, his observances, his ritual; it is a sanctuary so holy in the eyes of all, that it were sacrilege to tear an owner therefrom.

quid est sanctius, quid omni religione munitius quam domus unius cuiusque civium? hic arae sunt, hic foci, hic di penates, hic sacra, religiones, caerimoniae continentur; hoc perfugium est ita sanctum omnibus ut inde abripi neminem fas sit.
John Bodel, "Cicero's Minerva, Penates, and the Mother of the Lares: An Outline of Roman Domestic Religion," in Household and Family Religion in Antiquity, edd. John Bodel and Saul M. Olyan (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2008), pp. 248-275 (at p. 269, n. 14, with my correction):
A law code promulgated by the emperor Theodosius in 392 CE explicitly prohibited private veneration of the Lares, Penates, and the genius (of the head of the household): Codex Theodosianus 16.10.12. For earlier Christian polemic against traditional domestic worship, see, e.g., Tertullian, Apology, 13.4; Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 2.24.12–13; Jerome, Against Isiah [sic, should be Commentary on Isaiah], 16.57.7.
Clyde Pharr's translation of the edict from the Theodosian Code, followed by the Latin:
No person at all, of any class or order whatsoever of men or of dignities, whether he occupies a position of power or has completed such honors, whether he is powerful by the lot of birth or is humble in lineage, legal status and fortune, shall sacrifice an innocent victim to senseless images in any place at all or in any city. He shall not, by more secret wickedness, venerate his lar with fire, his genius with wine, his penates with fragrant odors; he shall not burn lights to them, place incense before them, or suspend wreaths for them.

Nullus omnino ex quolibet genere ordine hominum dignitatum vel in potestate positus vel honore perfunctus, sive potens sorte nascendi seu humilis genere condicione fortuna in nullo penitus loco, in nulla urbe sensu carentibus simulacris vel insontem victimam caedat vel secretiore piaculo larem igne, mero genium, penates odore veneratus accendat lumina, inponat tura, serta suspendat.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Hexameters Consisting Entirely of Words in Asyndeton: A Horatian Example

Horace, Satires 1.2.98 is a hexameter consisting entirely of nouns in asyndeton:
custodes, lectica, ciniflones, parasitae
For similar lines in Greek and Latin poetry see:


Different Kinds of Emendation

B.L. Ullman (1882-1965), "The Present Status of Latin Text Criticism," Classical Weekly 4.4 (October 22, 1910) 25-29 (at 26):
Now there are many different kinds of emendation, as many as there are different kinds of men — the emendations of inspiration, the emendations reached by logical deduction, and the emendations that do not emend. Some men are born emenders, others make themselves emenders — while the rest of us have emendations thrust upon us. Not that I do not believe in emendation, but I do believe that much of it is unnecessary and easily avoidable.
Id. (at 27):
The work of others has proved that the references to MSS of Scaliger, Bosius, Cruquius, Barth and a host of others are full of fraud or carelessness, or both. I would suggest a canon of criticism that ought to be adopted by all textual critics: A scholar of the period between the 15th and 18th centuries who quotes readings from MSS is guilty of fraud or gross carelessness until he is proved innocent. If this principle were rigorously adhered to, it would be a great step in advance.


Preoccupation with the Classics

John Buchan (1875-1940), Pilgrim's Way: An Essay in Recollection (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1940), pp. 26-27:
This preoccupation with the classics was the happiest thing that could have befallen me. It gave me a standard of values. To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education. That is why the Oxford school of classical 'Greats' seems to me so fruitful, for it compels a close study of one or two masters like Plato and Thucydides. The classics enjoined humility. The spectacle of such magnificence was a corrective to youthful immodesty, and, like Doctor Johnson, I lived 'entirely without my own approbation.' Again, they corrected a young man's passion for rhetoric. This was in the nineties, when the Corinthian manner was more in vogue than the Attic. Faulty though my own practice has always been, I learned sound doctrine — the virtue of a clean, bare style, of simplicity, of a hard substance and an austere pattern. Above all the Calvinism of my boyhood was broadened, mellowed, and also confirmed. For if the classics widened my sense of the joy of life they also taught its littleness and transience; if they exalted the dignity of human nature they insisted upon its frailties and the aidos with which the temporal must regard the eternal. I lost then any chance of being a rebel, for I became profoundly conscious of the dominion of unalterable law. Prometheus might be a fine fellow in his way, but Zeus was king of gods and men.

Indeed, I cannot imagine a more precious viaticum than the classics of Greece and Rome, or a happier fate than that one's youth should be intertwined with their world of clear, mellow lights, gracious images, and fruitful thoughts. They are especially valuable to those who believe that Time enshrines and does not destroy, and who do what I am attempting to do in these pages, and go back upon and interpret the past. No science or philosophy can give that colouring, for such provide a schematic, and not a living, breathing universe. And I do not think that the mastery of other literatures can give it in a like degree, for they do not furnish the same totality of life — a complete world recognisable as such, a humane world, yet one untouchable by decay and death —
                   Based on the crystalline sea
                   Of truth and its eternity.

Saturday, June 24, 2017



Horace, Satires 1.1.73-75 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough):
Don't you know what money is for, what end it serves?
You may buy bread, greens, a measure of wine, and
such other things as would mean pain to our human nature, if withheld.

nescis quo valeat nummus, quem praebeat usum?
panis ematur, holus, vini sextarius; adde
quis humana sibi doleat natura negatis.


The So-Called Refugee Cantata

Yesterday I listened to Bach's Cantata 39, Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot.

Alfred Dürr, The Cantatas of J.S. Bach. Revised and translated by Richard D.P. Jones (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005; rpt. 2006), p. 394:
It is sometimes maintained that Bach composed his so-called 'Refugee Cantata' in 1732 for a service to celebrate the banished Protestants of Salzburg. This is no more than an agreeable legend, however, for research has established that the work was in fact written for 23 June 1726. It is, of course, possible that at a repeat performance six years later the cantata found a new purpose which had been anticipated by neither librettist nor composer, but whether this really happened we do not know.
Mack Walker, The Salzburg Transaction: Expulsion and Redemption in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), p. 102:
Probably the most widely distributed and reprinted contemporary account of the expulsion—also the earliest and in most respects quite accurate—was written by Christoph Sancke, pastor at the Thomaskirche at Leipzig (where J.S. Bach was musical director).39

39 Characteristic of the legendary magnetism already gathering about the Salzburg emigration is the story that J.S. Bach's cantata "Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot, und die, so im Elend sind, führe ins Haus," called the "Flüchtlings-kantate," was inspired by the Salzburg expulsion and was introduced before an audience of emigrants by the Thomasschule choir at Leipzig in June 1732. This was not the case: S. Jost Casper, "Johann Sebastian Bach and die Salzburger Emigranten—eine unheilige Legende," MGSL 122 (1982), 341-70. I owe the reference to Tanya Kevorkian.
MGSL is Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Salzburger Landeskunde.

By chance yesterday I also read a newspaper article by Germany's chief promoter of refugee resettlement, Angela Merkel. The article is her answer to the question "Was ist deutsch?" and takes the form of an alphabetical list. The list is an idiosyncratic one, as such lists must be, and it contains what look to me like some evident contradictions (e.g. both Ordnung under O, and Unordnung under U). Among other items on the list are:
Whether all of these things are echt deutsch and can exist together in harmony, I couldn't say. But as for Chorgesang and Lutherbibel, here are the words of the opening chorus of Bach's cantata 39, taken from Isaiah 58.7-8:
Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot und die, so im Elend sind, führe ins Haus! So du einen nacket siehest, so kleide ihn und entzeuch dich nicht von deinem Fleisch.

Alsdenn wird dein Licht herfür brechen wie die Morgenröte, und deine Besserung wird schnell wachsen, und deine Gerechtigkeit wird für dir hergehen, und die Herrlichkeit des Herrn wird dich zu sich nehmen.
As translated in Dürr, pp. 392-393:
Break your bread with the hungry, and bring those who are in distress into your house! If you see someone naked, then clothe him, and do not avoid your own kin.

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your improvement shall grow swiftly, and your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall take you to His own home.

Fritz Eichenberg, Christ of the Breadline

P.S. Some items on Merkel's list which I wholeheartedly embrace:


Nicknames and Caricatures

Lyndal Roper, Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet (New York: Random House, 2017), pp. 142-143 (endnote omitted):
Luther playfully invented nicknames for his enemies. There was the plodding Hieronymus Düngersheim von Ochsenfahrt, who became "the ox"; Emser was dubbed the goat, Eck the fool, Alveld the donkey, Pope Leo "that wolf," and the theologians became the "asses" of Louvain and Cologne. He punned with the name of his adversary, Thomas Murner, christening him the "cat fool" (Mur means "tomcat" in German, and Narr means "fool"). It made excellent cartoon material, and soon their grotesque portraits decorated the cheap pamphlets. Turning one's opponents into animals denies them the status of worthy intellectual antagonists, and laughter removed some constraints on aggression — on both sides.
Illustration, id., p. 143:

To my mind, the full name Hieronymus Düngersheim von Ochsenfahrt (usually without the umlaut) is funnier than the nickname, mostly because of the English homophones.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Four Ages of Man

Pseudo-Hippocrates, Epistles 17.9, tr. C.D.N. Costa, Greek Fictional Letters. A Selection with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 102 (Greek) and 103 (English):
Do you not see that even the cosmos is full of hatred for humanity? It has collected innumerable afflictions for them. Man is one complete illness from birth: while being nurtured he is useless and a suppliant for help; as he grows up he is presumptuous and a fool in his tutor's hands; in his prime he is reckless; when past it he is pitiable, with a crop of troubles brought on himself by his own witlessness. Such he is from when he sprang from the blood of his mother's womb.

οὐχ' ὁρῇς, ὅτι καὶ ὁ κόσμος μισανθρωπίης πεπλήρωται; ἄπειρα κατ' αὐτῶν πάθεα ξυνήθροικε. ὅλος ἄνθρωπος ἐκ γενετής νοῦσός ἐστι· τρεφόμενος ἄχρηστος, ἱκέτης βοηθείης· αὐξανόμενος ἀτάσθαλος, ἄφρων διὰ χειρὸς παιδαγωγίης· θρασὺς ἀκμάζων, παρακμάζων οἰκτρός, τοὺς ἰδίους πόνους ἀλογιστίῃ γεωργήσας· ἐκ μητρῴων γὰρ λύθρων ἐξέθορε τοιοῦτος.


A Good Death

Suetonius, Life of Augustus 99.2 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
For almost always on hearing that anyone had died swiftly and painlessly, he prayed that he and his might have a like euthanasia, for that was the term he was wont to use.

nam fere quotiens audisset cito ac nullo cruciatu defunctum quempiam, sibi et suis εὐθανασίαν similem—hoc enim et verbo uti solebat—precabatur.


Our Barbarians

Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option (New York: Sentinel, 2017), p. 17:
Our barbarians have exchanged the animal pelts and spears of the past for designer suits and smartphones.
Although I'm not a professor, I usually do try to follow "Common Rules of the Professors of Higher Faculties," § 8, Ratio Studiorum (tr. Allan P. Farrell):
It scarcely becomes the dignity of a professor to cite an authority whose works he himself has not read.
I confess that I haven't read Dreher's book, except for excerpts in reviews.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


A Herm in the House of Caecilius Jucundus

Mary Beard, Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town (London: Profile Books, 2008), pp. 181-182:
In the atrium of the house, two squared pillars (or herms) were found, of a type commonly used in the Roman world to support marble or bronze portrait heads. In the case of male portraits, genitals would be attached half way down the herm, making what is, to be honest, a rather odd ensemble. On one of these pillars genitals and bronze head survived — a highly individualised portrait of a man, with thinning hair and a prominent wart on his left cheek (Ill. 68). Both pillars carry exactly the same inscription: 'Felix, ex-slave, set this up to the our Lucius'.
There is obviously something amiss with "the our Lucius". The inscription (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum X 860) reads
Genio L(uci) nostri / Felix l(ibertus)
and should be translated
Felix, ex-slave, set this up to the genius of our Lucius.
Oxford Latin Dictionary, s.v. genius, sense 1.a:
The male spirit of a gens existing during his lifetime in the head of the family, and subsequently in the divine or spiritual part of each individual.
Herm in the House of Caecilius Jucundus (V.i.26), Pompeii (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, inv. 110663):

Another misprint in Beard's book, p. 109:
At one point, in the middle of a marital row, Trimalchio takes a barbed potshot at his wife's lowly origins: 'If you're borne on a mezzanine, you don't sleep in a house.'
For borne read born. The reference is to Petronius, Satyricon 74.14 (sed hic qui in pergula natus est aedes non somniatur).



Restrictions on Citizenship

Suetonius, Life of Augustus 40.3 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
Considering it also of great importance to keep the people pure and unsullied by any taint of foreign or servile blood, he was most chary of conferring Roman citizenship and set a limit to manumission. When Tiberius requested citizenship for a Grecian dependent of his, Augustus wrote in reply that he would not grant it unless the man appeared in person and convinced him that he had reasonable grounds for the request; and when Livia asked it for a Gaul from a tributary province, he refused, offering instead freedom from tribute, and declaring that he would more willingly suffer a loss to his privy purse than the prostitution of the honour of Roman citizenship.

magni praeterea existimans sincerum atque ab omni colluvione peregrini ac servilis sanguinis incorruptum servare populum, et civitates Romanas parcissime dedit et manumittendi modum terminavit. Tiberio pro cliente Graeco petenti rescripsit, non aliter se daturum, quam si praesens sibi persuasisset, quam iustas petendi causas haberet; et Liviae pro quodam tributario Gallo roganti civitatem negavit, immunitatem optulit affirmans facilius se passurum fisco detrahi aliquid, quam civitatis Romanae vulgari honorem.


How Could Anyone Ever Live Before This or That Invention?

Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), Zibaldone, tr. Kathleen Baldwin et al. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), p. 1839 (Z 4198-4199):
If in time the invention, e.g., of lightning conductors (which now we must agree are hardly of much use), becomes more solidly based and extensive, more reliable, more worthy of attention, and more generally used; if aerostatic balloons, and aeronautics acquire a certain degree of science, and become more common, and utility becomes part of them (which now it is not), etc.; if so many other modern discoveries, like those of steam navigation, telegraphs, etc., find applications and improvements so as to change the face of civilized life, which does not seem unlikely; and if eventually other new discoveries compete to do that; then certainly men in a thousand years' time, will call the present age scarcely civilized, they will say that we were living in continual and extreme fear and hardship, they will find it hard to understand how people could lead and bear their lives being continually exposed to the danger of storms, lightning, etc., navigate at sea with such risk of sinking, trade [4199] and communicate with distant lands when air navigation was unknown or imperfect, the use of telegraphs, etc., they will look in wonder at how slow our present means of communication are, how unreliable, etc. And yet we have no sense of, we are not aware of how impossible or difficult the life that will be attributed to us is; we think we have a fairly comfortable life, that we communicate with one another fairly easily and quickly, that we have plenty of comforts and pleasures, in fact that we live in a century of refinement and luxury. Now believe me that exactly the same thoughts were in the minds of those men who lived before the use of fire, navigation, etc. etc., those men that we, especially in this century, with our grandiose rhetorical arguments declare were exposed to continual danger, continual and immense discomfort, ferocious animals, bad weather, hunger, thirst; continually trembling and shaking with fear, and surrounded perpetually by suffering, etc. And believe me that what I reflect on above is the perfect solution to the ridiculous problem we make for ourselves—how could men ever live in that state; how could anyone ever live before this or that invention. (Bologna, 10 September, Sunday, 1826.)

Se una volta in processo di tempo l'invenzione per esempio dei parafulmini (che ora bisogna convenire esser di molto poca utilità), piglierà piú consistenza ed estensione, diverrà di uso piú sicuro, piú considerabile e piú generale; se i palloni aereostatici, e l'aeronautica acquisterà un grado di scienza, e l'uso ne diverrà comune, e la utilità (che ora è nessuna) vi si aggiungerà ec.; se tanti altri trovati moderni, come quei della navigazione a vapore, dei telegrafi ec. riceveranno applicazioni e perfezionamenti tali da cangiare in gran parte la faccia della vita civile, come non è inverisimile; e se in ultimo altri nuovi trovati concorreranno a questo effetto; certamente gli uomini che verranno di qua a mille anni, appena chiameranno civile la età presente, diranno che noi vivevamo in continui ed estremi timori e difficoltà, stenteranno a comprendere come si potesse menare e sopportar la vita essendo di continuo esposti ai pericoli delle tempeste, dei fulmini ec., navigare con tanto rischio di sommergersi, commerciare [4199] e comunicar coi lontani essendo sconosciuta o imperfetta la navigazione aerea, l'uso dei telegrafi ec., considereranno con meraviglia la lentezza dei nostri presenti mezzi di comunicazione, la loro incertezza ec. Eppur noi non sentiamo, non ci accorgiamo di questa tanta impossibilità o difficoltà di vivere che ci verrà attribuita; ci par di fare una vita assai comoda, di comunicare insieme assai facilmente e speditamente, di abbondar di piaceri e di comodità, in fine di essere in un secolo raffinatissimo e lussurioso. Or credete pure a me che altrettanto pensavano quegli uomini che vivevano avanti l'uso del fuoco, della navigazione ec. ec. quegli uomini che noi, specialmente in questo secolo, con magnifiche dicerie rettoriche predichiamo come esposti a continui pericoli, continui ed immensi disagi, bestie feroci, intemperie, fame, sete; come continuamente palpitanti e tremanti dalla paura, e tra perpetui patimenti ec. E credete a me che la considerazione detta di sopra è una perfetta soluzione del ridicolo problema che noi ci facciamo: come potevano mai vivere gli uomini in quello stato; come si poteva mai vivere avanti la tale o la tal altra invenzione (Bologna. 10 settembre Domenica. 1826).


Pert Little Fellows

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), Untimely Meditations (Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen), II: "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life" ("Vom Nutzen und Nachtheil der Historie für das Leben"), § 4 (tr. R.J. Hollingdale):
[W]e behold pert little fellows associating with the Romans as though they were their equals: and they root and burrow in the remains of the Greek poets as though these too were corpora for their dissection and were as vilia as their own literary corpora may be.

[K]leine vorlaute Burschen sehen wir mit den Römern umgehen, als wären diese ihres gleichen: und in den Überresten griechischer Dichter wühlen und graben sie, als ob auch diese corpora für ihre Sektion bereitlägen und vilia wären, was ihre eignen literarischen corpora sein mögen.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


The Thucydides Trap

Michael Crowley, "Why the White House Is Reading Greek History," Politico Magazine (June 21, 2017):
Most Americans probably don't know Thucydides from Mephistopheles.


Addressing the Troops

Suetonius, Life of Julius 67.2 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
In the assembly he addressed them not as "soldiers," but by the more flattering term "comrades"...

nec milites eos pro contione, sed blandiore nomine commilitones appellabat...
Id. 70:
Again at Rome, when the men of the Tenth clamoured for their discharge and rewards with terrible threats and no little peril to the city, though the war in Africa was then raging, he did not hesitate to appear before them, against the advice of his friends, and to disband them. But with a single word, calling them "citizens," instead of "soldiers," he easily brought them round and bent them to his will; for they at once replied that they were his "soldiers" and insisted on following him to Africa, although he refused their service.

Decimanos autem Romae cum ingentibus minis summoque etiam urbis periculo missionem et praemia flagitantes, ardente tunc in Africa bello, neque adire cunctatus est, quanquam deterrentibus amicis, neque dimittere; sed una voce, qua "Quirites" eos pro militibus appellarat, tam facile circumegit et flexit, ut ei milites esse confestim responderint et quamvis recusantem ultro in Africam sint secuti.
Suetonius, Life of Augustus 25.1 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
After the civil wars he never called any of the troops "comrades," either in the assembly or in an edict, but always "soldiers"; and he would not allow them to be addressed otherwise, even by those of his sons or stepsons who held military commands, thinking the former term too flattering for the requirements of discipline, the peaceful state of the times, and his own dignity and that of his household.

neque post bella civilia aut in contione aut per edictum ullos militum commilitones appellabat, sed milites, ac ne a filiis quidem aut privignis suis imperio praeditis aliter appellari passus est, ambitiosius id existimans, quam aut ratio militaris aut temporum quies aut sua domusque suae maiestas postularet.
See Suetonius, Divus Julius. Edited with Commentary by H.E. Butler & M. Cary with New Introduction, Bibliography and Additional Notes by G.B. Townend (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1982), p. 128, and Eleanor Dickey, Latin Forms of Address (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002; rpt. 2007), pp. 288-291.


Holy Anorexia

Lyndal Roper, Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet (New York: Random House, 2017), p. 52:
On the way back, the two Augustinians stopped at Augsburg, where, Luther recalled, he was taken to meet the holy Anna 'Laminit', or 'leave me not'. The daughter of simple craftspeople, she was believed to live miraculously without eating. This kind of religiosity — or what modern writers have termed 'holy anorexia' — was a powerful streak in late medieval devotion, encouraged by an extreme asceticism that regarded bodily appetites as inimical to religious perfection. Female saints in particular might fast to extremes and undergo mystical experiences. In a church which was deeply distrustful of women, asceticism offered them an avenue of expression and authority. Laminit reported visions of St Anna, her name saint and the saint to whom we know Luther himself was attached. Not only did she go without food, she was famed as passing neither water nor stools.
Id., p. 53:
She was unmasked soon after by the duchess of Bavaria, who discovered her secret stash of luxury food, such as pepper-cakes and pears; it turned out that she emptied her stools out of the window.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Pleasure as a Central Value in Life

House of the Figured Capitals (VII.iv.57), Pompeii (married couple):

House of the Figured Capitals (VII.iv.57), Pompeii (maenad and satyr):

Paul Zanker, Pompeii: Public and Private Life, tr. Deborah Lucas Schneider (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), pp. 38-39:
On the capital to the right of the entrance the master of the house, naked to the waist, is shown at a banquet, together with his wife. Across from them are a drunken satyr and maenad. With this type of self-depiction the owner identified himself with the cult of Dionysus and the notion of pleasure as a central value in life.


Right and Wrong

Dissoi Logoi 2.18 (tr. Daniel W. Graham):
I think if one were to bid all men to gather together what is wrong, according to their opinions, into one pile, and from this collection to take what is right, according to the views of each, not one thing <would> be left, but all would take all. For all do not have the same beliefs.

οἶμαι δ', αἴ τις τὰ αἰσχρὰ ἐς ἓν κελεύοι συνενεῖκαι πάντας ἀνθρώπως, ἃ ἕκαστοι νομίζοντι, καὶ πάλιν ἐξ ἀθρόων τούτων τὰ καλὰ λαβέν, ἃ ἕκαστοι ἅγηνται, οὐδὲ ἕν <κα> καλλειφθῆμεν, ἀλλὰ πάντας πάντα διαλαβέν. οὐ γὰρ πάντες ταὐτὰ νομίζοντι.

suppl. Weber


Recipe for a Happy Life

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799), Sudelbücher G 75 (tr. Sten G. Flygt):
How happily would many a person live if he concerned himself as little about other people's affairs as about his own.

Wie glücklich würde mancher leben, wenn er sich um anderer Leute Sachen so wenig bekümmerte, als um seine eigenen.
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