Monday, November 04, 2013


The Good Old Days

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 95.18 (tr. Richard M. Gummere):
Why should I mention the other innumerable diseases, the tortures that result from high living? Men used to be free from such ills, because they had not yet slackened their strength by indulgence, because they had control over themselves, and supplied their own needs. They toughened their bodies by work and real toil, tiring themselves out by running or hunting or tilling the earth. They were refreshed by food in which only a hungry man could take pleasure. Hence, there was no need for all our mighty medical paraphernalia, for so many instruments and pill-boxes. For plain reasons they enjoyed plain health; it took elaborate courses to produce elaborate diseases.

quid alios referam innumerabiles morbos, supplicia luxuriae? immunes erant ab istis malis qui nondum se deliciis solverant, qui sibi imperabant, sibi ministrabant. corpora opere ac vero labore durabant, aut cursu defatigati aut venatu aut tellure versanda; excipiebat illos cibus qui nisi esurientibus placere non posset. itaque nihil opus erat tam magna medicorum supellectile nec tot ferramentis atque pyxidibus. simplex erat ex causa simplici valetudo: multos morbos multa fericula fecerunt.

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