Sunday, August 08, 2021


The Most Foolish of Animals

Polybius 18.15.15-16 (tr. Ian Scott-Kilvert):
[15] All this might lead us to conclude that man, who is reputed to be the most cunning of animals, may with good reason be considered the most foolish. [16] For the other animals, which are the slaves of their bodily needs, only suffer misfortune through being led astray by these, while man, though he has reason to guide him, goes astray as much from want of thought as from physical appetite.

[15] ἐξ ὧν εἰκότως εἴποι τις ἂν ὅτι τὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γένος, δοκοῦν πανουργότατον εἶναι τῶν ζῴων, πολὺν ἔχει λόγον τοῦ φαυλότατον ὑπάρχειν. [16] τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἄλλα ζῷα, ταῖς τοῦ σώματος ἐπιθυμίαις αὐταῖς δουλεύοντα, διὰ μόνας ταύτας σφάλλεται· τὸ δὲ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γένος, καίπερ δεδοξοποιημένον, οὐχ ἧττον διὰ τὴν ἀλογιστίαν ἢ διὰ τὴν φύσιν ἁμαρτάνει.

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