Sunday, June 18, 2017



Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), Zibaldone, tr. Kathleen Baldwin et al. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), p. 1863 (Z 4226-4227):
Hierocles makes a most beautiful observation in De amore fraterno, in Stobaeus's discourse ὅτι κάλλιστον ἡ φιλαδελφία, etc. 84 Grotius, 82 Gessner: that as human life is like a continual war, in which we are attacked by external things (by nature and by fortune), our brothers, parents, relations are given to us as allies and supporters, etc. Finding myself far away from my family, although I was surrounded by kind people, and had no enemies, yet I recall how I lived in a kind of fear [4227] or continual timidity, in the face of troubles not of human making, and as they came over me, they frightened me and wore me down, and afflicted my soul rather more than usual, for no other reason than because I felt myself alone amid enemies, that is, in the hands of hostile nature, without allies, because my family was far away; (Recanati, 16 Nov. 1826) and on the other hand how, when I went back to them, I felt a powerful and clear sense of security, courage, and peace of mind at the thought, anticipation, arrival of adversities, illnesses, etc.

Bellissima è l'osservazione di Hierocles, nel libro de Amore fraterno, ap. Stobeo serm. 82, ὅτι κάλλιστον ἡ φιλαδελφία etc. 84. Grot. 82. Gesner. che essendo la vita umana come una continua guerra, nella quale siamo combattuti dalle cose di fuori (dalla natura e dalla fortuna), i fratelli, i genitori, i parenti ci son dati come alleati e ausiliari ec. E io, trovandomi lontano dalla mia famiglia, benché circondato da persone benevole, e benché senza inimici, pur mi ricordo di esser vissuto in una specie di timore [4227] o timidezza continua, rispetto ai mali indipendenti dagli uomini, e questi, sopravvenendomi, avermi spaventato, ed abbattuto e afflitto l'animo assai piú del solito, non per altro se non perché io mi sentiva essere come solo in mezzo a nemici, cioè in mano alla nemica natura, senza alleati, per la lontananza de' miei; (Recanati. 16 novembre 1826), e per lo contrario, ritornando fra loro, aver provato un vivo e manifesto senso di sicurezza, di coraggio, e di quiete d'animo, al pensiero, all'aspettativa, al sopravvenirmi di avversità, malattie ec.
See Hierocles the Stoic: Elements of Ethics, Fragments, and Excerpts. By Ilaria Ramelli. Translated by David Konstan (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009), pp. 88 (Greek) and 89 (English):
In general, one must consider that life for us runs the risk of being a long and perennial battle, and this, on the one hand, because of the very nature of things, which have something contrary about them, and, on the other hand, because of the sudden and unexpected assaults of fortune, but most of all because of vice itself, which does not refrain from any kind of violence or treachery or evil schemes. Hence, nature has, as though it were not ignorant of why it creates us, nicely brought each of us into the world with, in a way, an ally. Thus, no one is alone, or born from an oak or a rock, but rather from parents and with brothers and relatives and other members of the household.

ὅλως δὲ ἐνθυμητέον ὡς ὁ βίος ἡμῖν κινδυνεύει μακρός τις εἶναι καὶ πολυετὴς πόλεμος, τοῦτο μὲν διὰ τὴν αὐτῶν τῶν πραγμάτων φύσιν ἐχόντων τι ἀντίτακτον, τοῦτο δὲ διὰ τὰς ἐξαιφνιδίους καὶ ἀπροσδοκήτους ἐπιδρομὰς τῆς τύχης, πολὺ δὲ μάλιστα δι' αὐτὴν τὴν κακίαν οὔτε βίας τινὸς ἀπεχομένην οὔτε δόλου καὶ κακῶν στρατηγημάτων. ὅθεν καλῶς ἡ φύσις, ὡς ἂν ἐφ' ἃ γεννᾷ μὴ ἀγνοοῦσα, παρήγαγεν ἡμῶν ἕκαστον τρόπον τινὰ μετὰ συμμαχίας. οὐδεὶς οὖν ἐστι μόνος οὐδ' ἀπὸ δρυὸς οὐδ' ἀπὸ πέτρης, ἀλλ' ἐκ γονέων καὶ μετ' ἀδελφῶν καὶ συγγενῶν καὶ ἄλλων οἰκείων.

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