Thursday, May 14, 2015


Eating Alone

Socrates, Ecclesiastical History 6.4 (on John Chrysostom; tr. A.C. Zenos):
What contributed greatly to gain credence for these complaints was the bishop's always eating alone, and never accepting an invitation to a feast. His reasons for thus acting no one knew with any certainty, but some persons in justification of his conduct state that he had a very delicate stomach, and weak digestion, which obliged him to be careful in his diet; while others impute his refusal to eat in company with any one to his rigid and habitual abstinence. Whatever the real motive may have been, the circumstance itself was made a serious ground of accusation by his calumniators.

Εἰς πίστιν δὲ ἦγεν τοὺς ἀκούοντας τὰ λεγόμενα τὸ μὴ βούλεσθαι τὸν ἐπίσκοπον συνεσθίειν τινὶ, μηδὲ καλούμενον ἐφ' ἑστίαν παραγίνεσθαι· ἐξ οὗ καὶ μάλιστα ἡ μείζων ἐκράτησε διαβολὴ κατ' αὐτοῦ. Καὶ τίνι μὲν σκοπῷ συνεσθίειν οὐδενὶ προῄρητο, σαφῶς οὐδεὶς ἀπαγγεῖλαι δεδύνηται· οἱ μὲν γὰρ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ ἀπολογεῖσθαι βουλόμενοι ἔφασκον ὡς εἴη ἐμπαθὴς, καὶ δυσφόρως τὰ σιτία προσφέροιτο, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο μόνος ἐσθίει· ἄλλοι δὲ, ὅτι δι' ὑπερβάλλουσαν ἄσκησιν τοῦτο ἐποίει. Ὅπως δὲ ἀληθείας ἂν εἶχε τὸ γινόμενον, οὐ μικρὰ συνεβάλλετο πρὸς διαβολὴν τοῖς κατηγοροῦσιν αὐτοῦ.
For the Greeks and Romans, solitary dining (μονοφαγία) was a distinguishing mark of the unsociable, greedy man. See:

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