Wednesday, March 11, 2020


Objects of Human Endeavor

Lucian, Icaromenippus 4 (tr. A.M. Harmon):
As soon as I began to find, in the course of my investigation of life, that all objects of human endeavour are ridiculous and trivial and insecure (wealth, I mean, and office and sovereign power), contemning those things and assuming that the effort to get them was an obstacle to getting things truly worth effort, I undertook to lift my eyes and contemplate the universe.

ἐγὼ γὰρ ἐπειδὴ τάχιστα ἐξετάζων τὰ κατὰ τὸν βίον γελοῖα καὶ ταπεινὰ καὶ ἀβέβαια τὰ ἀνθρώπινα πάντα εὕρισκον, πλούτους λέγω καὶ ἀρχὰς καὶ δυναστείας, καταφρονήσας αὐτῶν καὶ τὴν περὶ ταῦτα σπουδὴν ἀσχολίαν τῶν ἀληθῶς σπουδαίων ὑπολαβὼν ἀνακύπτειν τε καὶ πρὸς τὸ πᾶν ἀποβλέπειν ἐπειρώμην.
Latin translation by Erasmus:
ego igitur quum expendens ea quae sunt in vita mortalium protinus omnes res humanas repperissem ridiculas, humiles, instabiles, nempe opes imperia magistratus, contemptis his atque horum studio adiectoque animo ad ea quae vere sunt bona, conatus sum ab his tenebris emicare et ad uniuersi naturam suspicere.

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