Thursday, April 23, 2020


Thrasycles the Hypocrite

Lucian, Timon 54-55 (tr. A.M. Harmon):
But what have we here? Isn't this Thrasycles? No other! With his beard spread out and his eyebrows uplifted, he marches along deep in haughty meditation, his eyes glaring like a Titan's and his hair tossed back from his forehead, a typical Boreas or Triton such as Zeuxis used to paint. Correct in his demeanour, gentlemanly in his gait, and inconspicuous in his dress, in the morning hours he discourses forever about virtue, arraigns the votaries of pleasure and praises contentment with little; but when he comes to dinner after his bath and the waiter hands him a large cup (and the stiffer it is, the better he likes it) then it is as if he had drunk the water of Lethe, for his practice is directly opposed to his preaching of the morning. He snatches the meat away from others like a kite, elbows his neighbour, covers his beard with gravy, bolts his food like a dog, bends over his plate as if he expected to find virtue in it, carefully wipes out the dishes with his forefinger so as not to leave a particle of the sauce, and grumbles continually, even if he gets the whole cake or the whole boar to himself. He is the height of gluttony and insatiability, and he gets so drunken and riotous that he not only sings and dances, but even abuses people and flies into a passion. Besides he has much to say over his cup—more then than at any other time, in fact!—about temperance and decorum, and he says all this when he is already in a bad way from taking his wine without water and stammers ridiculously. Then a vomit follows, and at last he is picked up and carried out of the dining-room, catching at the flute girl with both hands as he goes. But even when sober, he won't yield the palm to anyone in lying and impudence and covetousness; on the contrary, he is a peerless toady and he perjures himself with the greatest facility; humbug is his guide and shamelessness his follower, and to sum it up, he is a wonderfully clever piece of work, correct in every detail and perfect in a world of ways.

Ἀλλὰ τί τοῦτο; οὐ Θρασυκλῆς ὁ φιλόσοφος οὗτός ἐστιν; οὐ μὲν οὖν ἄλλος· ἐκπετάσας γοῦν τὸν πώγωνα καὶ τὰς ὀφρῦς ἀνατείνας καὶ βρενθυόμενός τι πρὸς αὑτὸν ἔρχεται, τιτανῶδες βλέπων, ἀνασεσοβημένος τὴν ἐπὶ τῷ μετώπῳ κόμην, Αὐτοβορέας τις ἢ Τρίτων, οἵους ὁ Ζεῦξις ἔγραψεν. οὗτος ὁ τὸ σχῆμα εὐσταλὴς καὶ κόσμιος τὸ βάδισμα καὶ σωφρονικὸς τὴν ἀναβολὴν ἕωθεν μυρία ὅσα περὶ ἀρετῆς διεξιὼν καὶ τῶν ἡδονῇ χαιρόντων κατηγορῶν καὶ τὸ ὀλιγαρκὲς ἐπαινῶν, ἐπειδὴ λουσάμενος ἀφίκοιτο ἐπὶ τὸ δεῖπνον καὶ ὁ παῖς μεγάλην τὴν κύλικα ὀρέξειεν αὐτῷ—τῷ ζωροτέρῳ δὲ χαίρει μάλιστα—καθάπερ τὸ Λήθης ὕδωρ ἐκπιὼν ἐναντιώτατα ἐπιδείκνυται τοῖς ἑωθινοῖς ἐκείνοις λόγοις, προαρπάζων ὥσπερ ἴκτινος τὰ ὄψα καὶ τὸν πλησίον παραγκωνιζόμενος, καρύκης τὸ γένειον ἀνάπλεως, κυνηδὸν ἐμφορούμενος, ἐπικεκυφὼς καθάπερ ἐν ταῖς λοπάσι τὴν ἀρετὴν εὑρήσειν προσδοκῶν, ἀκριβῶς τὰ τρύβλια τῷ λιχανῷ ἀποσμήχων ὡς μηδὲ ὀλίγον τοῦ μυττωτοῦ καταλίποι, μεμψίμοιρος ἀεί, κἂν τὸν πλακοῦντα ὅλον ἢ τὸν σῦν μόνος τῶν ἄλλων λάβῃ, ὅ τι περ λιχνείας καὶ ἀπληστίας ὄφελος, μέθυσος καὶ πάροινος οὐκ ἄχρι ᾠδῆς καὶ ὀρχηστύος μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ λοιδορίας καὶ ὀργῆς. προσέτι καὶ λόγοι πολλοὶ ἐπὶ τῇ κύλικι, τότε δὴ καὶ μάλιστα, περὶ σωφροσύνης καὶ κοσμιότητος· καὶ ταῦτά φησιν ἤδη ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀκράτου πονήρως ἔχων καὶ ὑποτραυλίζων γελοίως· εἶτα ἔμετος ἐπὶ τούτοις· καὶ τὸ τελευταῖον, ἀράμενοί τινες ἐκφέρουσιν αὐτὸν ἐκ τοῦ συμποσίου τῆς αὐλητρίδος ἀμφοτέραις ἐπειλημμένον. πλὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ νήφων οὐδενὶ τῶν πρωτείων παραχωρήσειεν ἂν ψεύσματος ἕνεκα ἢ θρασύτητος ἢ φιλαργυρίας· ἀλλὰ καὶ κολάκων ἐστὶ τὰ πρῶτα καὶ ἐπιορκεῖ προχειρότατα, καὶ ἡ γοητεία προηγεῖται καὶ ἡ ἀναισχυντία παρομαρτεῖ, καὶ ὅλως πάνσοφόν τι χρῆμα καὶ πανταχόθεν ἀκριβὲς καὶ ποικίλως ἐντελές.

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