Friday, September 17, 2021


A Habit Common to All

Josephus, Against Apion 2.36.258-261 (tr. H. St. J. Thackeray):
[258] Of these facts Apollonius Molon took no account when he condemned us for refusing admission to persons with other preconceived ideas about God, and for declining to associate with those who have chosen to adopt a different mode of life. [259] Yet even this habit is not peculiar to us; it is common to all, and shared not only by Greeks, but by Greeks of the highest reputation. The Lacedaemonians made a practice of expelling foreigners and would not allow their own citizens to travel abroad, in both cases apprehensive of the of their laws being corrupted. [260] They might perhaps be justly reproached for discourtesy, because they accorded to no one the rights either of citizenship or of residence among them. [261] We, on the contrary, while we have no desire to emulate the customs of others, yet gladly welcome any who wish to share our own. That, I think, may be taken as a proof both of humanity and magnanimity.

[258] ὧν οὐδὲν λογισάμενος ὁ Μόλων Ἀπολλώνιος ἡμῶν κατηγόρησεν, ὅτι μὴ παραδεχόμεθα τοὺς ἄλλαις προκατειλημμένους δόξαις περὶ θεοῦ, μηδὲ κοινωνεῖν ἐθέλομεν τοῖς καθ᾿ ἑτέραν συνήθειαν βίου ζῆν προαιρουμένοις. [259] ἀλλ᾿ οὐδὲ τοῦτ᾿ ἔστιν ἴδιον ἡμῶν, κοινὸν δὲ πάντων, οὐχ Ἑλλήνων δὲ μόνων, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ἐν τοῖς Ἕλλησιν εὐδοκιμωτάτων. Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ καὶ ξενηλασίας ποιούμενοι διετέλουν καὶ τοῖς αὑτῶν ἀποδημεῖν πολίταις οὐκ ἐπέτρεπον, διαφθορὰν ἐξ ἀμφοῖν ὑφορώμενοι γενήσεσθαι περὶ τοὺς νόμους. [260] ἐκείνοις μὲν οὖν τάχ᾿ ἂν δυσκολίαν τις ὀνειδίσειεν εἰκότως· οὐδενὶ γὰρ οὔτε τῆς πολιτείας οὔτε τῆς παρ᾿ αὐτοῖς μετεδίδοσαν διατριβῆς. [261] ἡμεῖς δὲ τὰ μὲν τῶν ἄλλων ζηλοῦν οὐκ ἀξιοῦμεν, τοὺς μέντοι μετέχειν τῶν ἡμετέρων βουλομένους ἡδέως δεχόμεθα. καὶ τοῦτο ἂν εἴη τεκμήριον, οἶμαι, φιλανθρωπίας ἅμα καὶ μεγαλοψυχίας.
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