Translated by C.D.Yonge (1854). A few words and spellings have been changed.
See key to translations for an explanation of the format. The page numbers in the Greek text are shown in red. The chapter numbers in the translation are shown in green.
← Previous pages (528-544)
[63.] G  We find also whole schools of philosophers which have openly professed to have made choice of pleasure. And there is the school called the Cyrenaic, which derives its origin from Aristippus the pupil of Socrates: and he devoted himself to pleasure in such a way, that he said that it was the main end of life; and that happiness was founded on it, and that happiness was at best but short-lived. And he, like the most debauched of men, thought that he had nothing to do either with the recollection of past enjoyments, or with the hope of future ones; but he judged of all good by the present alone, and thought that having enjoyed, and being about to enjoy, did not at all concern him; since the one case had no longer any existence, and the other did not yet exist and was necessarily uncertain: acting in this respect like thoroughly dissolute men, who are content with being prosperous at the present moment. And his life was quite consistent with his theory; for he spent the whole of it in all kinds of luxury and extravagance, both in perfumes, and dress, and women. Accordingly, he openly kept Lais as his mistress; and he delighted in all the extravagance of Dionysius, although he was often treated insultingly by him.
Accordingly, Hegesander says that once, when he was assigned a very mean place at a banquet by Dionysius, he endured it patiently; and when Dionysius asked him what he thought of his present place, in comparison of his yesterday's seat, he said, "That the one was much the same as the other; for that one," says he, "is a mean seat today, because it is deprived of me; but it was yesterday the most respectable seat in the room, owing to me: and this one today has become respectable, because of my presence in it; but yesterday it was an inglorious seat, as I was not present in it." And in another place Hegesander says- "Aristippus, being ducked with water by Dionysius' servants, and being ridiculed by Antiphon for bearing it patiently, said, 'But suppose I had been out fishing, and got wet, was I to have left my employment, and come away?' " And Aristippus stayed a considerable time in Aegina, indulging in every kind of luxury; on which account Xenophon says in his Memorabilia [ 2.1 ], that Socrates often reproved him, and invented the parable of Virtue and Pleasure to apply it to him. And Aristippus said, respecting Lais, "I have her, and I am not possessed by her." And when he was at the court of Dionysius, he once had a quarrel with some people about a choice of three women. And he used to wash with perfumes, and to say that [ Euripides, Bacch_317 ] -
Even in the midst of Bacchanalian revels
A modest woman will not be corrupted.
And Alexis, turning him into ridicule in his Galateia, represents one of the slaves as speaking in the following manner of one of his disciples:
For this my master once did turn his thoughts
To study, when he was a stripling young,
And set his mind to learn philosophy.
And then a Cyrenaean, as he calls himself,
Named Aristippus, an ingenious sophist,
And far the first of all the men of his time,
But also far the most intemperate,
Was in the city. Him my master sought,
Giving a talent to become his pupil:
He did not learn, indeed, much skill or wisdom,
But got instead a sad complaint on his chest.
And Antiphanes, in his Antaeus, speaking of the luxurious habits of the philosophers, says-
My friend, now do you know who this old man
Is called? By his look he seems to be a Greek.
 His cloak is white, his tunic fawn-coloured
His hat is soft, his stick of moderate size,
His table scanty. Why need I say more,
I seem to see the genuine Academy.
[64.] G And Aristoxenus the musician, in his Life of Archytas, represents ambassadors as having been sent by Dionysius the younger to the city of the Tarentines, among whom was Polyarchus, who was surnamed the Luxurious, a man wholly devoted to sensual pleasures, not only in deed, but in word and profession also. And he was a friend of Archytas, and not wholly unversed in philosophy; and so he used to come with him into the sacred precincts, and to walk with him and with his friends, listening to his lectures and arguments: and once, when there was a long dispute and discussion about the passions, and altogether about sensual pleasures, Polyarchus said- "I, indeed, my friends, have often considered the matter, and it has seemed to me that this system of the virtues is altogether a long way removed from nature; for nature, when it utters its own voice, orders one to follow pleasure, and says that this is the conduct of a wise man: but that to oppose it, and to bring one's appetites into a state of slavery, is neither the part of a wise man, nor of a fortunate man, nor indeed of one who has any accurate understanding of what the constitution of human nature really is. And it is a strong proof of this, that all men, when they have acquired any power worth speaking of, betake themselves to sensual pleasures, and think the power of indulging them the principal advantage to be gained from the possession of power, and everything else, so to say, as unimportant and superfluous. And we may adduce the example of the Persian king at present, and every other tyrant possessed of any power worth speaking of,- and in former times, the sovereigns of the Lydians and of the Medes,- and even in earlier times still, the tyrants of the [Assyrians] behaved in the same manner; for all these men left no kind of pleasure unexplored: and it is even said that rewards were offered by the Persians to any one who was able to invent a new pleasure. And it was a very wise offer to make; for the nature of man is soon satiated with long-continued pleasures, even if they be of a very exquisite nature. So that, since novelty has a very great effect in making a pleasure appear greater, we must not despise it, but rather pay great attention to it. And on this account it is that many different kinds of dishes have been invented, and many sorts of cakes; and many discoveries have been made in the articles of incenses and perfumes, and clothes, and beds, and, above all, of cups and other utensils. For all these things contribute some amount of pleasure, when the material which is admired by human nature is properly employed: and this appears to be the case with gold and silver, and with most things which are pleasing to the eye and also rare, and with all things which are elaborated to a high degree of perfection by manual arts and skill."
[65.] G And having discussed after this all the attendance with which the king of the Persians is surrounded, and what a number of servants he has, and what their different offices are, and also about his amorous indulgences, and also about the sweet perfume of his skin, and his personal beauty, and the way in which he lives among his friends, and the pleasing sights or sounds which are sought out to gratify him, he said that he considered "the king of Persia the happiest of all men now alive. For there are pleasures prepared for him which are both most numerous and most perfect in their kind. And next to him," said he, "any one may fairly rank our sovereign, though he falls far short of the king of Persia.  For this latter has all Asia to supply him with luxury, but the store which supplies Dionysius will seem very contemptible if compared with his. That, then, such a life as his is worth struggling for, is plain from what has happened. For the Medes, after encountering the greatest dangers, deprived the [Assyrians] of the supremacy, for no other object except to possess themselves of the unrestrained affluence of the [Assyrians]. And the Persians overthrew the Medes for the same reason, namely, in order to have an unrestrained enjoyment of sensual pleasures. And the lawgivers who wish the whole race of men to be on an equality, and that no citizens shall indulge in superfluous luxury, have made some species of virtue hold its head up. And they have written laws about contracts and other matters of the same kind, and whatever appeared to be necessary for relationships within the state, and also with respect to dress, and to all the other circumstances of life, that they should be similar among all the citizens. And so, as all the lawgivers made war upon every kind of covetousness, then first the praises of justice began to be more thought of: and one of the poets spoke of-
The golden face of justice;
and in another passage some one speaks of-
The golden eye of justice.
And the very name of justice came to be accounted divine, so that in some countries there were altars erected and sacrifices instituted to Justice. And next to this they inculcated a respect for modesty and temperance, and called an excess in enjoyment covetousness; so that a man who obeyed the laws and was influenced by the common conversation of men in general, was necessarily moderate with respect to sensual pleasures."
[66.] G And Duris says, in the twenty-third volume of his History, that in ancient times the nobles had a definite fondness for getting drunk. On which account Homer represents Achilles as reproaching Agamemnon, and saying [ Il_1'225 ]-
O thou whose senses are all dimmed with wine,
Thou dog in forehead.
And when he is describing the death of the king he makes Agamemnon say [ Od_11'419 ]-
Even in my mirth, and at the friendly feast,
Over the full bowl the traitor stabbed his guest;
pointing out that his death was partly caused by his fondness for drunkenness.
Speusippus also, the relation of Plato, and his successor in his school, was a man very fond of pleasure. At all events Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, in his letter to him blaming him for his fondness for pleasure, reproaches him also for his covetousness, and for his love of Lastheneia the Arcadian, who had been a pupil of Plato.
[67.] G But not only did Aristippus and his followers embrace that pleasure which consists in motion, but also Epicurus and his followers did the same. And not to say anything of those sudden motions, and irritations, and titillations, and also those ticklings and stimuli which Epicurus often brings forward, I will merely cite what he has said in his treatise on the End. For he says- "For I am not able to perceive any good, if I take away all the pleasures which arise from flavours, and if I leave out of the question all the pleasures arising from amorous indulgences, and all those which are caused by hearing sweet sounds, and all those motions which are excited by figures which are pleasant to the sight." And Metrodorus in his Epistles says- "My good natural philosopher Timocrates, reason which proceeds according to nature devotes its whole attention to the stomach." And Epicurus says- "The origin and root of all good is the pleasure of the stomach; and all excessive efforts of wisdom have reference to the stomach." And again, in his treatise concerning the End, he says- "You ought therefore to respect honour and the virtues, and all things of that sort, if they produce pleasure; but if they do not, then we may as well have nothing to do with them:" evidently in these words making virtue subordinate to pleasure, and performing as it were the part of a hand-maid to it.  And in another place he says- "I spit upon honour, and those who worship it in a foolish manner, when it produces no pleasure."
[68.] G # Well then did the Romans, who are in every respect the most admirable of men, banish Alcaeus and Philiscus the Epicureans out of their city, when Lucius Postumius was consul, on account of the pleasures which they sought to introduce into the city. And in the same manner the Messenians by a public decree banished the Epicureans. But Antiochus the king banished all the philosophers out of his kingdom, writing thus- "King Antiochus to Phanias: We have written to you before, that no philosopher is to remain in the city, nor in the country. But we hear that there is no small number of them, and that they do great injury to the young men, because you have done none of the things about which we wrote to you. As soon, therefore, as you receive this letter, order a proclamation to be made, that all the philosophers do at once depart from those places, and that as many young men as are detected in going to them, shall be fastened to a pillar and flogged, and their fathers shall be held in great blame. And let not this order be transgressed.
But before Epicurus, Sophocles the poet was a great instigator to pleasure, speaking as follows in his Antigone [ 1165 ] -
For when men utterly forsake all pleasure,
I reckon such a man no longer living,
But look upon him as a breathing corpse.
He may have, if you like, great wealth at home,
And go in monarch's guise; but if his wealth
And power bring no pleasure to his mind,
I would not for a moment deem it all
Worth the shadow of smoke, compared with pleasure.
[69.] G # "And Lycon the Peripatetic," as Antigonus the Carystian says, "when as a young man he had come to Athens for the sake of his education, was most accurately informed about everything relating to banquets and drinking parties, and as to how much pay every courtesan required. But afterwards having become the chief man of the Peripatetic school, he used to entertain his friends at banquets with excessive arrogance and extravagance. For, besides the music which was provided at his entertainments, and the silver plate and coverlets which were exhibited, all the rest of the preparation and the superb character of the dishes was such, and the multitude of tables and cooks was so great, that many people were actually alarmed, and, though they wished to be admitted into his school, shrunk back, fearing to enter, as into a badly governed state, which was always burdening its citizens with the duty of choregus and other expensive offices. For men were compelled to undertake the regular office of manager of the Peripatetic school. And the duties of this office were, to superintend all the new students for thirty days, and see that they behaved appropriately. And then, on the last day of the month, having received nine obols from each of the new students, he received at supper not only all those who contributed their share, but all those also whom Lycon might chance to invite, and also all those of the elders who were diligent in attending the school; so that the money which was collected was not sufficient even for providing sufficient unguents and garlands. He also was bound to perform the sacrifices, and to oversee the rites of the Muses. All which duties appeared to have but little connexion with reason or with philosophy, but to be more akin to luxury and parade. For even if they did not compel any person to spend money on these objects, if he had only very scanty and meagre resources, yet the practice was very harmful. For Plato and Speusippus had not established these entertainments, in order that people might dwell upon the pleasures of dinner from day-break, or for the sake of getting drunk;  but in order that men might appear to honour the Deity, and to associate with one another in a natural manner; and chiefly with a view to natural relaxation and conversation; all which things afterwards became in their eyes second to the softness of their garments, and to their indulgence in their before-mentioned extravagance. Nor do I except the rest. For Lycon, to gratify his luxurious and insolent disposition, had a room large enough to hold twenty couches, in the most frequented part of the city, in Conon's house, which was well adapted for him to give parties in. And Lycon was a skilful and clever player at ball."
[70.] G And of Anaxarchus, Clearchus of Soli writes, in the fifth book of his Lives, in the following manner- "Anaxarchus, who was one of those who called themselves Eudaemonists, after he had become a rich man through the folly of those men who supplied him with means out of their abundance, used to have a naked full-grown girl for his cup-bearer, who was superior in beauty to all her fellows; she, if one is to look at the real truth, thus exposing the intemperance of all those who employed her. And his baker used to knead the dough wearing gloves on his hands, and a cover on his mouth, to prevent any perspiration running off his hands, and also to prevent him from breathing on his cakes while he was kneading them." So that a man might fairly quote to this wise philosopher the verses of Anaxilas in his Harp-maker -
And anointing one's skin with a gold-coloured ointment,
And wearing long cloaks reaching down to the ground,
And the thinnest of slippers, and eating rich truffles,
And the richest of cheese, and the newest of eggs;
And all sorts of shell-fish, and drinking strong wine
From the island of Chios, and having, besides,
A lot of Ephesian beautiful letters,
In carefully-sewn leather bags.
[71.] G But how far superior to these men is Gorgias of Leontini; of whom the same Clearchus says, in the eighth book of his Lives, that because of the temperance of his life he lived nearly (?) eighty years in the full possession of all his intellect and faculties. And when some one asked him what his mode of life had been which had caused him to live with such comfort, and to retain such full possession of his senses, he said, "I have never done anything merely for the sake of pleasure." But Demetrius of Byzantium, in the fourth book of his treatise on Poems, says- "Gorgias the Leontine, being once asked by some one what was the cause of his living more than a hundred years, said that it was because he had never done anything to please any one else except himself." And Ochus, after he had had a long enjoyment of kingly power, and of all the other things which make life pleasant, being asked towards the close of his life by his eldest son, by what course of conduct he had preserved the kingly power for so many years, that he also might imitate it; replied, "By behaving justly towards all men and all gods." And Carystius of Pergamon, in his Historical Commentaries, says- "Cephisodorus the Theban relates that Polydorus the physician of Teos used to live with Antipater, and that the king had a common kind of coarse carpet worked in rings like a coverlet, on which he used to recline; and bronze bowls and only a small number of cups; for that he was a man fond of plain living and averse to luxury."
[72.] G But the story which we have of Tithonus represents him as a person sleeping from daybreak to sunset, so that his appetites scarcely awakened him by evening. On which account he was said to sleep with Dawn, because he was so wholly enslaved by his appetites. And as he was at a later period of life prevented from indulging them by old age, and being wholly dependent on them, he is (?) shut up in a bird-cage.  And Melanthius, stretching out his neck, was choked by his enjoyments, being a greater glutton than the Melanthius of Odysseus. And many other men have destroyed their bodily strength entirely by their unreasonable indulgence; and some have become inordinately fat; and others have become stupid and insensible by reason of their inordinate luxury. Accordingly, Nymphis of Heracleia, in the second book of his History of Heracleia, says "Dionysius the son of Clearchus, who was the first tyrant of Heracleia, and who was himself afterwards tyrant of his country, grew enormously fat without perceiving it, owing to his luxury and to his daily gluttony; so that on account of his obesity he was constantly oppressed by a difficulty of breathing and a feeling of suffocation. On which account his physicians ordered thin needles of an exceedingly great length to be made, to be run into his sides and chest whenever he fell into a deeper sleep than usual. And up to a certain point his flesh was so callous by reason of the fat, that it never felt the needles; but if ever they touched a part that was not so overloaded, then he felt them, and was awakened by them. And he used to give answers to people who came to him, holding a box in front of his body so as to conceal all the rest of his person, and leave only his face visible; and in this condition he conversed with those who came to him."
And Menander also, who was a person as little given to evil-speaking as possible, mentions Dionysius in his Fishermen, introducing some exiles from Heracleia as saying-
For a fat pig was lying on his face;
and in another place he says-
He gave himself to luxury so wholly,
That he could not last long to practise it;
and again he says-
Forming desires for myself, this death
Does seem the only happy one,- to grow
Fat in my heart and stomach, and so lie
Flat on my back, and never say a word,
Drawing my breath high up, eating my fill,
And saying, " Here I waste away with pleasure."
And Dionysius died when he was fifty-five years of age, of which he had been tyrant thirty-three, being superior to all the tyrants who had preceded him in gentleness and humanity.
[73.] G And Ptolemy the Seventh, king of Egypt, was a man of this sort, the same who caused himself to be styled Euergetes ["Benefactor"], but who was called Cacergetes ["Malefactor"] by the Alexandrians. # Accordingly, Poseidonius the Stoic, who went with Scipio Africanus when he was sent to Alexandria, and who there saw this Ptolemy, writes thus, in the seventh book of his History [ Fr_6 ],- "But owing to his luxury his whole body was eaten up with fat, and with the greatness of his belly, which was so large that no one could put his arms all round it; and he wore over it a tunic which reached down to his feet, having sleeves which reached to his wrists, and he never by any chance walked out except on this occasion of Scipio's visit." # And that this king was not averse to luxury, he tells us when he speaks of himself, relating, in the eighth book of his Commentaries, how he was priest of Apollo at Cyrene, and how he gave a banquet to those who had been priests before him; writing thus:- "The Artemitia is the great festival of Cyrene, on which occasion the priest of Apollo (and that office is one which lasts a year) gives a banquet to all those who have been his predecessors in the office; and he sets before each of them a separate dish. And this dish is an earthenware vessel, holding about twenty artabae, in which there are many kinds of game elaborately dressed, and many kinds of bread, and of tame birds, and of sea-fish, and also many species of foreign preserved meats and pickled-fish.  And very often some people also furnish them with a handsome youth as an attendant. But we ourselves omitted all this, and instead we furnished them with cups of solid silver, each being of as much value as all the things which we have just enumerated put together; and also we presented each man with a horse properly harnessed, and a groom, and gilt trappings; and we invited each man to mount his horse and ride him home."
His son Alexander also became exceedingly fat, # the one, I mean, who put his mother to death who had been his partner in the kingdom. Accordingly Poseidonius, in the forty-seventh book of his History [ Fr_26 ], mentions him in the following terms:- "But the king of Egypt being detested by the multitude, but flattered by the people whom he had about him, and living in great luxury, was not able even to walk, unless he went leaning on two friends; but for all that he would, at his banquets, leap off from a high couch, and dance barefoot with more vigour than even those who made dancing their profession."
[74.] G # And Agatharchides, in the sixteenth book of his History of Europe, says that Magas, who was king of Cyrene for fifty years, and who never had any wars, but spent all his time in luxury, became, towards the end of his life, so immensely bulky and burdensome to himself, that he was at last actually choked by his fat, from the inactivity of his body, and the enormous quantity of food which he consumed. But among the Lacedaemonians, the same man relates, in his twenty-seventh book, that it is thought a proof of no ordinary infamy if any one is of an unmanly appearance, or if any one appears at all inclined to have a large belly; as the young men are exhibited naked before the ephors every ten days. And the ephors used every day to take notice both of the clothes and bedding of the young men; and very properly. Moreover, the cooks at Lacedaemon were employed solely on dressing meat plainly, and on nothing else. And in his twenty-seventh book, Agatharchides says that the Lacedaemonians brought Naucleides, the son of Polybiades, who was enormously fat in his body, and who had become of a vast size through luxury, into the middle of the assembly; and then, after Lysander had publicly reproached him as an effeminate voluptuary, they nearly banished him from the city, and threatened him that they would certainly do so if he did not reform his life; on which occasion Lysander said that Agesilaus also, when he was in the country near the Hellespont, making war against the barbarians, seeing the Asians very expensively clothed, but utterly useless in their bodies, ordered all who were taken prisoners, to be stripped naked and sold by the auctioneer; and after that he ordered their clothes to be sold without them; in order that the allies, knowing that they had to fight for a great prize, and against very contemptible men, might advance with greater spirit against their enemies. And Python the orator, of Byzantium, as Leon, his fellow-citizen, relates, was enormously fat; and once, when the Byzantians were divided against one another in seditious quarrels, he urged his fellow-citizens to be reconciled, saying - "You see, my friends, what a size my body is; but I have a wife who is much fatter than I am; now, when we are both agreed, one small bed is large enough for; both of us; but when we quarrel, the whole house is not big enough for us."
[75.] G  How much better, then, is it, my good friend Timocrates, to be poor and thinner than even those men whom Hermippus mentions in his Cercopes, than to be enormously rich, and like that whale of Tanagra, as the before-mentioned men were! But Hermippus uses the following language, addressing Dionysus on the present occasion-
For poor men now to sacrifice to you
But maimed and crippled oxen; thinner far
Than even Thumantis or Leotrophides.
And Aristophanes, in his Gerytades, gives a list of the following people as very thin, who, he says, were sent as ambassadors by the poets on earth down to Hades to the poets there, and his words are-
(A) And who is this who dares to pierce the gates
Of lurid darkness, and the realms of the dead!
(B) We're by unanimous agreement chosen,
(Making the choice in solemn convocation,)
One man from each department of our art,
Who were well known travellers to Hades,
As often voluntarily going thither.
(A) Are there among you any men who thus
Frequent the realms of Hades?
(B) Aye, by Zeus,
And plenty; just as there are men who go
To Thrace and then come back again. You know
The whole case now.
(A) And what may be their names ?
First, there's Sannyrion, the comic poet;
Then, of the tragic choruses, Melitus;
And of the cyclic choruses, Cinesias.
And presently afterwards he says-
On what slight hopes did you then all rely!
For if a flow of diarrhoea came
Upon these men, they'd all be carried off.
And Strattis also mentions Sannyrion, in his Men fond of Cold, saying-
The leathern aid of wise Sannyrion.
And Sannyrion himself speaks of Melitus, in his play called Laughter, speaking as follows-
Melitus, that carcase from Lenaeum rising.
[76.] G And Cinesias was in reality an exceedingly tall and exceedingly thin man; on whom Strattis wrote an entire play, calling him the Phthian Achilles, because in his own poetry he was constantly using the word φθιῶτα. And accordingly, he, playing on his appearance, continually addresses him- Φθιῶτ' Ἀχιλλεῦ.
But others, as, for instance, Aristophanes [ Birds_1377 ], often call him φιλύρινος Κινησίας, because he took a plank of linden wood (φιλύρα), and fastened it to his waist under his girdle, in order to avoid stooping, because of his great height and extreme thinness. But that Cinesias was a man of delicate health, and badly off in other respects, we are told by Lysias the orator, in his oration inscribed For Phanias accused of illegal Practices, in which he says that [Cinesias], having abandoned his regular profession, had taken to trumping up false accusations against people, and to making money by such means. And that he means the poet here, and no one else, is plain from the fact that he shows also that he had been attacked by the comic poets for impiety. And he also, in the oration itself, shows that [Cinesias] was a person of that character. And the words of the orator are as follows:- "But I marvel that you are not indignant at such a man as Cinesias coming forward in aid of the laws, whom you all know to be the most impious of all men, and the greatest violator of the laws that has ever existed. Is not he the man who has committed such offences against the gods as all other men think it shameful even to speak of, though you hear the comic poets mention such actions of his every year? Did not Apollophanes, and Mystalides, and Lysitheus feast with him, selecting one of the days on which it was not lawful to hold a feast, giving themselves the name of Cacodaemonistae [Evil-Spiriters], instead of Numeniastae [New-Mooners], a name indeed appropriate enough to their fortunes? Nor, indeed, did it occur to them that they were really doing what that name denotes; but they acted in this manner to show their contempt for the gods and for our laws.  And accordingly, each of those men perished, as it was reasonable to expect that such men should. But this man, with whom you are all acquainted, the gods have treated in such a manner, that his very enemies would rather that he should live than die, as an example to all other men, that they may see that the immortal Gods do not postpone the punishment due to men who behave insolently towards their Deity, so as to reserve it for their children; but that they destroy the men themselves in a miserable manner, inflicting on them greater and more terrible calamities and diseases than on any other men whatever. For to die, or to be afflicted with sickness in an ordinary manner, is the common lot of all of us; but to be in such a condition as they are reduced to, and to remain a long time in such a state, and to be dying every day, and yet not be able to end one's life, is a punishment allotted to men who act as this man has acted, in defiance of all human and divine law." And this orator used this language respecting Cinesias.
[77.] G # Philetas also, the Coan poet, was a very thin man; so that, by reason of the leanness of his body, he used to wear balls made of lead fastened to his feet, to prevent himself from being blown over by the wind. And Polemon, surnamed Periegetes, in his treatise on Wonderful People and Things, says that Archestratus the soothsayer, being taken prisoner by the enemy, and being put into the scale, was found to weigh only one obol, so very thin was he. The same man also relates that Panaretus never had occasion to consult a doctor, but that he used to be a pupil of Arcesilaus the philosopher; and that he was a companion of Ptolemy Euergetes, receiving from him a salary of twelve talents every year. And he was the thinnest of men, though he never had any illness all his life.
But Metrodorus of Scepsis, in the second book of his treatise on the Art of Training, says that Hipponax the poet was not only very diminutive in person, but also very thin; and that he, nevertheless, was so strong in his sinews, that, among other feats of strength, he could throw an empty flask (lecythus) an extraordinary distance, although light bodies are not easy to be propelled violently, because they cannot cut the air so well. Philippides, also, was extremely thin, against whom there is an oration extant of Hypereides the orator, who says that he was one of those men who governed the state. And he was very insignificant in appearance by reason of his thinness, as Hypereides has related. And Alexis, in his
O Hermes, sent by the gods above,
You who've obtained Philippides by lot;
And you, too, eye of darkly-robed night.
And Aristophon, in his play called Plato, says-
(A) I will within these three days make this man
Thinner than even Philippides.
(B) How so!
Can you kill men in such a very short time!
And Menander, in his Passion, says-
If hunger should attack your well-shaped person,
It would make you thinner than Philippides.
And the word πεφιλιππιδῶσθαι was used for being extremely thin, as we find in Alexis; who, in his Women taking Belladonna, says-
(A) You must be ill. You are, by Zeus, the very
Leanest of sparrows- a complete Philippides (πεφιλιππίδωσαι).
(B) Don't tell me such strange things: I'm all but dead.
(A) I pity your sad case.
At all events, it is much better to look like that, than to be like the man of whom Antiphanes in his Aeolus says
This man then, because he is such a drunkard,
And so enormous is his size of body,
Is called by all his countrymen the Bladder.
And Heracleides of Pontus, in his treatise on Pleasure, says that Deinias the perfumer gave himself up to love because of his luxury, and spent a vast sum of money on it; and when, at last, he failed in his desires, out of grief he mutilated himself,  his unbridled luxury bringing him into this trouble.
[78.] G But it was the fashion at Athens to anoint even the feet of those men who were very luxurious with ointment, a custom which Cephisodorus alludes to in his Trophonius-
Then to anoint my body go and buy
Essence of lilies, and of roses too,
I beg you, Xanthias; and also buy
For my poor feet some baccaris.
And Eubulus, in his Sphinx-Carion, says-
. . . Lying full softly in a bed-chamber;
Around him were most delicate cloaks, well suited
For tender maidens, soft, voluptuous;
Such as those are, who well perfumed and fragrant
With oils of amaracus, do rub my feet.
But the author of the Procris gives an account of what care ought to be taken of Procris' dog, speaking of a dog as if he were a man-
(A) Strew, then, soft carpets underneath the dog,
And place beneath cloths of Milesian wool;
And put above them all a purple rug.
(B) Phoebus Apollo !
(A) Then in goose's milk
Soak him some groats.
(B) O mighty Heracles !
(A) And with Megallian oils anoint his feet.
And Antiphanes, in his Alcestis, represents some one as anointing his feet with oil; but in his Mendicant Priest of Cybele, he says-
He bade the girl take some choice perfumes
From the altar of the goddess, and then, first,
Anoint his feet with it, and then his knees:
But the first moment that the girl did touch
His feet, he leaped up.
And in his Zacynthus he says-
Have I not, then, a right to be fond of women,
And to regard them all with tender love,
For is it not a sweet and noble thing
To be treated just as you are; and to have
One's feet anointed by fair delicate hands?
And in his Thoricians he says-
He bathes completely- but what does he do?
He bathes his hands and feet, and well anoints them
With perfume from a gold and ample ewer.
And with a purple dye he smears his jaws
And bosom; and his arms with oil of thyme;
His eyebrows and his hair with marjoram;
His knees and neck with essence of wild ivy.
And Anaxandrides, in his Protesilaus, says-
Ointment from Peron, which this fellow sold
But yesterday to Melanopus here,
A costly bargain fresh from Egypt, which
Anoints today Callistratus' feet.
And Telecleides, in his Prytanes, alludes to the lives of the citizens, even in the time of Themistocles, as having been very much devoted to luxury. And Cratinus in his Cheirons, speaking of the luxury of the former generations, says-
There was a scent of delicate thyme besides,
And roses too, and lilies by my ear;
And in my hands I held an apple, and
A staff, and thus I did harangue the people.
[79.] G And Clearchus of Soli, in his treatise on Love Matters, says- "Why is it that we carry in our hands flowers, and apples, and things of that sort? Is it that by our delight in these things nature points out those of us who have a desire for all kinds of beauty? Is it, therefore, as a kind of specimen of beauty that men carry beautiful things in their hands, and take delight in them? Or do they carry them about for two reasons? For by these means the beginning of good fortune, and a sign of one's wishes, is to a certain extent secured; to those who are asked for them, by their being addressed, and to those who give them, because they give an indication beforehand, that they must give of their beauty in exchange.  For a request for beautiful flowers and fruits, suggests that those who receive them are prepared to give in return the beauty of their persons. Perhaps also people are fond of those things, and carry them about them in order to comfort and mitigate the vexation which arises from the neglect or absence of those whom they love. For by the presence of these agreeable objects, the desire for those persons whom we love is blunted; unless, indeed, we may rather say that it is for the sake of personal ornament that people carry those things, and take delight in them, just as they wear anything else which tends to ornament. For not only those people who are crowned with flowers, but those also who carry them in their hands, find their whole appearance is improved by them. Perhaps also, people carry them simply because of their love for any beautiful object. For the love of beautiful objects shows that we are inclined to be fond of the products of the seasons. For the face of spring and autumn is really beautiful, when looked at in their flowers and fruits. And all persons who are in love, being made, as it were, luxurious by their passion, and inclined to admire beauty, are softened by the sight of beauty of any sort. For it is something natural that people who fancy that they themselves are beautiful and elegant, should be fond of flowers; on which account the companions of Persephone are represented as gathering flowers. And Sappho says- 'I saw a lovely maiden gathering flowers.' "
| [80.] G But in former times men were so devoted to luxury, that they dedicated a temple to Aphrodite Callipygos ["of the Beautiful Buttocks"] on this account. A certain countryman had two beautiful daughters; and they once, contending with one another, went into the public roads, disputing as they went, which had the most beautiful buttocks. And as a young man was passing, who had an aged father, they showed themselves to him also. And he, when he had seen both, decided in favour of the elder; and falling in love with her, he returned into the city and fell ill, and took to his bed, and related what had happened to his brother, who was younger than he; and he also, going into the fields and seeing the girls himself, fell in love with the other. Accordingly, their father, when with all his exhortations he could not persuade his sons to think of a more respectable marriage, brought these girls to them out of the fields, having persuaded their father to give them to him, and married them to his sons. And they were always called the καλλίπυγοι; as Cercidas of Megalopolis says in his Iambics, in the following line-
There was a pair of καλλίπυγοι women
So they, having now become rich women, built a temple to Aphrodite, calling the goddess Callipygos, as Archelaus also relates in his Iambics.
And that madness can cause great luxury is very pleasantly argued by Heracleides of Pontus, in his treatise on Pleasure, where he says- "Thrasylaus of Aexone, the son of Pythodorus, was once afflicted with such violent madness, that he thought that all the ships which came to the Peiraeus belonged to him. And he entered them in his books as such; and sent them away, and regulated their affairs in his mind, and when they returned to port he received them with great joy, as a man might be expected to who was master of so much wealth. And when any were lost, he never inquired about them, but he rejoiced in all that arrived safe; and so he lived with great pleasure. But when his brother Criton returned from Sicily, and took him and put him into the hands of a doctor, who cured him of his madness, he himself often related his madness, and said that he had never been happier in his life; for that he never felt any grief, but that the quantity of pleasure which he experienced was something unspeakable."
↑ Athenaeus: list of contents
Attalus' home page | 18.03.19 | Any comments?