Tuesday, March 24, 2020



Lucian, Icaromenippus 29 (tr. A.M. Harmon):
There is a class of men which made its appearance in the world not long ago, lazy, disputatious, vainglorious, quick-tempered, gluttonous, doltish, addle-pated, full of effrontery and to use the language of Homer, 'a useless load to the soil'.1 Well, these people, dividing themselves into schools and inventing various word-mazes, have called themselves Stoics, Academics, Epicureans, Peripatetics and other things much more laughable than these. Then, cloaking themselves in the high-sounding name of Virtue, elevating their eyebrows, wrinkling up their foreheads and letting their beards grow long, they go about hiding loathsome habits under a false garb, very like actors in tragedy; for if you take away from the latter their masks and their gold-embroidered robes, nothing is left but a comical little creature hired for the show at seven drachmas.

1 Iliad 18, 104.

γένος γάρ τι ἀνθρώπων ἐστὶν οὐ πρὸ πολλοῦ τῷ βίῳ ἐπιπολάσαν ἀργὸν φιλόνεικον κενόδοξον ὀξύχολον ὑπόλιχνον ὑπόμωρον τετυφωμένον ὕβρεως ἀνάπλεων καὶ ἵνα καθ᾿ Ὅμηρον εἴπω 'ἐτώσιον ἄχθος ἀρούρης.' οὗτοι τοίνυν εἰς συστήματα διαιρεθέντες καὶ διαφόρους λόγων λαβυρίνθους ἐπινοήσαντες οἱ μὲν Στωϊκοὺς ὠνομάκασιν ἑαυτούς, οἱ δὲ Ἀκαδημαϊκούς, οἱ δὲ Ἐπικουρείους, οἱ δὲ Περιπατητικοὺς καὶ ἄλλα πολλῷ γελοιότερα τούτων· ἔπειτα δὲ ὄνομα σεμνὸν τὴν ἀρετὴν περιθέμενοι καὶ τὰς ὀφρῦς ἐπάραντες καὶ τὰ μέτωπα ῥυτιδώσαντες1 καὶ τοὺς πώγωνας ἐπισπασάμενοι περιέρχονται ἐπιπλάστῳ σχήματι κατάπτυστα ἤθη περιστέλλοντες, ἐμφερεῖς μάλιστα τοῖς τραγικοῖς ἐκείνοις ὑποκριταῖς, ὧν ἢν ἀφέλῃ τις τὰ προσωπεῖα καὶ τὴν χρυσόπαστον ἐκείνην στολήν, τὸ καταλειπόμενόν ἐστι γελοῖον ἀνθρώπιον ἑπτὰ δραχμῶν ἐς τὸν ἀγῶνα μεμισθωμένον.

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