Sunday, April 02, 2017


National Differences

Julian, Against the Galileans 116a-b (tr. Wilmer C. Wright):
Come, tell me why it is that the Celts and the Germans are fierce, while the Hellenes and Romans are, generally speaking, inclined to political life and humane, though at the same time unyielding and warlike? Why the Egyptians are more intelligent and more given to crafts, and the Syrians unwarlike and effeminate, but at the same time intelligent, hot-tempered, vain and quick to learn? For if there is anyone who does not discern a reason for these differences among the nations, but rather declares that all this so befell spontaneously, how, I ask, can he still believe that the universe is administered by a providence?

λεγέσθω γάρ μοι, τίς αἰτία τοῦ Κελτοὺς μὲν εἶναι καὶ Γερμανοὺς θρασεῖς, Ἕλληνας δὲ καὶ Ῥωμαίους ὡς ἐπίπαν πολιτικοὺς καὶ φιλανθρώπους μετὰ τοῦ στερροῦ τε καὶ πολεμικοῦ, συνετωτέρους δὲ καὶ τεχνικωτέρους Αἰγυπτίους, ἀπολέμους δὲ καὶ τρυφηλοὺς Σύρους μετὰ τοῦ συνετοῦ καὶ θερμοῦ καὶ κούφου καὶ εὐμαθοῦς. ταύτης γὰρ τῆς ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσι διαφορᾶς εἰ μὲν οὐδεμίαν τις αἰτίαν συνορῴη, μᾶλλον δὲ αὐτά φησι καὶ ἐκ τοῦ αὐτομάτου συμπεσεῖν, πῶς ἔτι προνοίᾳ διοικεῖσθαι τὸν κόσμον οἴεται;

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