Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Summum Bonum

Athenaeus 12.512 c-d = Heracleides of Pontus, fragment 55 Wehrli (tr. S. Douglas Olson):
So too the most thoughtful individuals, he says, who have the best reputation for wisdom, regard pleasure as the greatest good. Thus Simonides (PMG 584) says the following:
For without pleasure, what mortal
    lifestyle or what tyranny
    is desirable?
Without this, not even the life of the gods is worth having.
Pindar (fr. 126), offering advice to Hieron, the ruler of Syracuse, says:
Do not let not let pleasure fade from your lifestyle; a pleasant life
is far and away the best possession a man can have.
Homer as well claims [Odyssey 9.5-8] that joy and having a good time is the height of happiness, when feasters are listening to a bard, and full tables are set beside them.

καὶ οἱ φρονιμώτατοι δέ, φησίν, καὶ μεγίστην δόξαν ἐπὶ σοφίᾳ ἔχοντες μέγιστον ἀγαθὸν τὴν ἡδονὴν εἶναι νομίζουσιν, Σιμωνίδης μὲν οὑτωσὶ λέγων·
τίς γὰρ ἁδονᾶς ἄτερ θνα-
    τῶν βίος ποθεινὸς ἢ ποί-
    α τυραννίς; |
τᾶσδ᾽ ἄτερ οὐδὲ θεῶν ζηλωτὸς αἰών.
Πίνδαρος παραινῶν Ἱέρωνι τῷ Συρακοσίων ἄρχοντι·
μηδ᾽ ἀμαύρου (φησί) τέρψιν ἐν βίῳ· πολύ τοι
φέριστον ἀνδρὶ τερπνὸς αἰών.
καὶ Ὅμηρος δὲ τὴν εὐφροσύνην καὶ τὸ εὐφραίνεσθαι τέλος φησὶν εἶναι χαριέστερον, ὅταν δαιτυμόνες μὲν ἀοιδοῦ ἀκουάζωνται, παρὰ δὲ πλήθωσι τράπεζαι.

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