Barren Philology

Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason:

“The apology that is sometimes made for continuing to teach the dead languages is, that they are taught at a time when a child is not capable of exerting any other mental faculty than that of memory. But this is altogether erroneous. The human mind has a natural disposition to scientific knowledge, and to the things connected with it. The first and favourite amusement of a child, even before it begins to play, is that of imitating the works of man. It builds houses with cards or sticks; it navigates the little ocean of a bowl of water with a paper boat; or dams the stream of a gutter, and contrives something which it calls a mill; and it interests itself in the fate of its works with a care that resembles affection. It afterwards goes to school, where its genius is killed by the barren study of a dead language, and the philosopher is lost in the linguist.

But the apology that is now made for continuing to teach the dead languages could not be the cause at first of cutting down learning to the narrow and humble sphere of linguistry; the cause, therefore, must be sought for elsewhere. In all researches of this kind, the best evidence that can be produced is the internal evidence the thing carries with itself, and the evidence of circumstances that unites with it, both of which, in this case, are not difficult to be discovered.”

Thomas Paine esqr. the spirit of the American Revolution

Better Not to Live Than See These Things!

This is a real passage from Cicero, unlike some others.

Cicero to Titus, 46 BCE Letters to Friends 5.16

“If your own sorrow moves you or if you are weeping at the thought of your own affairs, then I believe that you cannot easily use up all your pain. If, however, the greater spirit of love tortures who and you grieve over the loss of those who have died, I will not repeat those things which I have most frequently read and heard—that there is nothing bad in death since if any sense of it exists then it should not be considered death but some immortality, while if there is no sense of it at all than what cannot be felt should not be considered pitiable.

But I can still assert this without a second thought: whoever has departed from the current events which have been whipped up and prepared and are hanging over our country has been robbed of nothing. What room is there left any more for shame, honor, virtue, honest pursuits, the noble arts, any kind of liberty or even place of safety?”

Quod si tuum te desiderium movet aut si tuarum rerum cogitatione maeres, non facile exhauriri tibi istum dolorem posse universum puto; sin illa te res cruciat quae magis amoris est, ut eorum qui occiderunt miserias lugeas, ut ea non dicam quae saepissime et legi et audivi, nihil mali esse in morte, ex qua si resideat sensus immortalitas illa potius quam mors ducenda sit, sin sit amissus nulla videri miseria debeat quae non sentiatur, hoc tamen non dubitans confirmare possum, ea misceri, parari, impendere rei publicae quae qui reliquerit nullo modo mihi quidem deceptus esse videatur. quid est enim iam non modo pudori, probitati, virtuti, rectis studiis, bonis artibus sed omnino libertati ac saluti loci?

Death of Cicero

Latin vs. Philology, Part XIX:

Francesco Filelfo, Letter to Lorenzo Medici (Part 19)

“One who wishes to seem and to be an eloquent man whether among the Greeks or the Romans should study with all his care that he hold onto the language that is most elegant in either tongue.

In this matter, I may toot my own horn, because I employed the assistance of no Latin person, but learned by my own industry and diligence both Greek and Latin (first the simple language and then the language of literature), so that I see that I pursued a thing which happened to no one else from all of human memory up to this time, namely, that no less in verse than in prose, in both Greek and in Latin, in common and in literary speech (as they call it now), I labored over and published so many volumes that now it is easier in some way to write in Greek than in Latin or Italian.”

Image result for medieval manuscript arrogant
“Let me raise a glass to myself.”

Qui virum se eloquentem et haberi et esse voluerit, sive apud Graecos, sive apud Latinos, huic omni cura studendum est, ut in utrisque eam teneat linguam, quae sit elegantissima.

Quibus in rebus illud mihi gloriari licet, quod nullius latini hominis usus adminiculis, sed industria solum diligentiaque mea, ita et graecam et latinam tum linguam tum litteraturam didicerim, ut me videam consecutum quod nemini unquam ex omni hominum memoria in haec tempora contigerit, ut non minus versu quam soluta oratione, et graece et latine, tam vulgari quam litterali eloquio, quod hoc tempore appellant, quam plurima volumina elucubrarim atque aediderim, ut iam mihi facilius sit quodammodo graeco sermone scribere quam latino ac nostro.

Cosmopolitanism and Hate

Democritus, fr. 247

“The whole earth is open to the wise person, for the entire universe is the country of a good soul.”

ἀνδρὶ σοφῷ πᾶσα γῆ βατή, ψυχῆς γὰρ ἀγαθῆς πατρὶς ὁ ξύμπας κόσμος.

Philostratus, Heroicus 8

“Hate is fear’s kin.”

συγγενὲς γὰρ φόβῳ μῖσος

Dicta Catonis 21

“High things fall because of hate; but minor things are raised up by love.”

Alta cadunt odiis, parva extolluntur amore

Diogenes Laertius, 6.63, on Diogenes the Cynic (4th Century BCE)

“When asked where he was from, he said “I am a world-citizen.”

ἐρωτηθεὶς πόθεν εἴη, “κοσμοπολίτης,” ἔφη.

Tacitus, Agricola 42

“It is central to human nature to hate someone you have harmed.”

proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris

Epictetus, Dissertationes 1.9.1

“If what is said about the kinship of humans and god by the philosopher is true, what is left for all people other than that advice of Socrates never to say when someone asks where you are from that you are Athenian or Corinthian but that you are a citizen of the world?”

εἰ ταῦτά ἐστιν ἀληθῆ τὰ περὶ τῆς συγγενείας τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἀνθρώπων λεγόμενα ὑπὸ τῶν φιλοσόφων, τί ἄλλο ἀπολείπεται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἢ τὸ τοῦ Σωκράτους, μηδέποτε πρὸς τὸν πυθόμενον ποδαπός ἐστιν εἰπεῖν ὅτι Ἀθηναῖος ἢ Κορίνθιος, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι κόσμιος;

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.108

“Socrates, when he was asked what state was his, used to say “the world”. For he judged himself an inhabitant and citizen of the whole world.”

Socrates cum rogaretur, cuiatem se esse diceret, Mundanum, inquit. Totius enim mundi se incolam et civem arbitrabatur.”

Seneca, De vita beata, 20.5

“I know that my country is the world and that the gods are guardians, those judges of my deeds and words above and beyond me.”

Patriam meam esse mundum sciam et praesides deos, hos supra circaque me stare factorum dictorumque censores.

Plutarch, De Exilio 600e7-601b5

“This is the character of your current exile from your customary country. For we have no country by nature, just as we have neither home, nor field, nor blacksmith’s, nor doctor’s office, as Aristôn said. But each of these things develops or, rather, is named and called so by the man inhabiting or using it.

For a human being, as Plato says, “is not earthly born and immovable but comes from heaven” just as if the head raises the body up straight from its root stretching towards the sky. So Herakles said well “Am I Argive or Theban? I do not claim / one—every citadel in Greece is my homeland”. But Socrates put it better saying “I am neither Athenian nor Greek, but a citizen of the world,” as someone might claim to be Rhodian or Korinthian, because he did not lock himself within Sounion, Tainaros, or the Keraunian mountains.

As [Euripides] puts it: “Do you see the boundless light above / and the earth opening below with damp embrace?” These are the boundaries of our countries and no man is an exile, foreigner or stranger where there is fire, water, air; where we find the same rulers, overseers, and presidents: the same sun, moon, and star at day’s break; where the same laws exist for all under one order and single government: the summer and winter solstices, the Pleiades and Arcturus, the seasons of planting and harvesting that rise and set for us all; and where there is one king and ruler, god, who knows the beginning, middle and end of everything; who travels through all, guiding it with a straight force. Justice is his attendant as an avenger for those who transgress divine law. We all by nature follow this law in treating all people as our fellow citizens.

Οἷόν ἐστιν ἡ νῦν σοι παροῦσα μετάστασις ἐκ τῆς νομιζομένης πατρίδος. φύσει γὰρ οὐκ ἔστι πατρίς, ὥσπερ οὐδ’ οἶκος οὐδ’ ἀγρὸς οὐδὲ χαλκεῖον, ὡς ᾿Αρίστων (St. V.

Fr. I 371) ἔλεγεν, οὐδ’ ἰατρεῖον· ἀλλὰ γίνεται μᾶλλον δ’ ὀνομάζεται καὶ καλεῖται τούτων ἕκαστον ἀεὶ πρὸς τὸν οἰκοῦντα καὶ χρώμενον. ὁ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος, ᾗ φησιν ὁ

Πλάτων (Tim. 90a), ‘φυτὸν οὐκ ἔγγειον’ οὐδ’ ἀκίνητον  ‘ἀλλ’ οὐράνιόν’ ἐστιν, ὥσπερ ἐκ ῥίζης τὸ σῶμα τῆς κεφαλῆς ὀρθὸν ἱστάσης πρὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεστραμμένον. ὅθεν εὖ μὲν ὁ ῾Ηρακλῆς εἶπεν (Trag. adesp. 392)

‘᾿Αργεῖος ἢ Θηβαῖος· οὐ γὰρ εὔχομαι
μιᾶς· ἅπας μοι πύργος ῾Ελλήνων πατρίς.’

ὁ δὲ Σωκράτης βέλτιον, οὐκ ᾿Αθηναῖος οὐδ’ ῞Ελλην ἀλλὰ κόσμιος εἶναι φήσας, ὡς ἄν τις ῾Ρόδιος εἶπεν ἢ Κορίν-θιος, | ὅτι μηδὲ Σουνίῳ μηδὲ Ταινάρῳ μηδὲ τοῖς Κεραυνίοις ἐνέκλεισεν ἑαυτόν.

‘ὁρᾷς τὸν ὑψοῦ τόνδ’ ἄπειρον αἰθέρα,
καὶ γῆν πέριξ ἔχονθ’ ὑγραῖς <ἐν> ἀγκάλαις;’ (Eur. fr. 941, 1. 2)

οὗτοι τῆς πατρίδος ἡμῶν ὅροι [εἰσί], καὶ οὐδεὶς οὔτε φυγὰς ἐν τούτοις οὔτε ξένος οὔτ’ ἀλλοδαπός, ὅπου τὸ αὐτὸ πῦρ ὕδωρ ἀήρ, ἄρχοντες οἱ αὐτοὶ καὶ διοικηταὶ καὶπρυτάνεις ἥλιος σελήνη φωσφόρος· οἱ αὐτοὶ νόμοι πᾶσι, ὑφ’ ἑνὸς προστάγματος καὶ μιᾶς ἡγεμονίας τροπαὶ βόρειοι τροπαὶ νότιοι ἰσημερίαι Πλειὰς ᾿Αρκτοῦρος ὧραι σπόρων ὧραι φυτειῶν· εἷς δὲ βασιλεὺς καὶ ἄρχων· ‘θεὸς ἀρχήν τε καὶ μέσα καὶ τελευτὴν ἔχων τοῦ παντὸς εὐθείᾳ περαίνει κατὰ φύσιν περιπορευόμενος· τῷ δ’ ἕπεται Δίκη τῶν ἀπολειπομένων τοῦ θείου νόμου τιμωρός’ (Plat. Legg. 716a),ᾗ χρώμεθα πάντες ἄνθρωποι φύσει πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ὥσπερ πολίτας.

Proclus Life of Homer, 99.14

“Because of that, some people say Homer is from Kolophon, others say Smyrna, while there are those who say he is from Iêtê or Kumê. Generally, every city is fashioned as his, his is why he may be truly called a citizen of the world.”

μετὰ πολλῆς ἀδείας ἕκαστος οἷς ἠβούλετο ἐχαρίσατο. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οἱ μὲν Κολοφώνιον αὐτὸν ἀνηγόρευσαν, οἱ δὲ Χῖον, οἱ δὲ Σμυρναῖον, οἱ δὲ ᾿Ιήτην, ἄλλοι δὲ Κυμαῖον· καὶ καθόλου πᾶσα πόλις ἀντιποιεῖται τἀνδρός, ὅθεν εἰκότως ἂν κοσμοπολίτης λέγοιτο.

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.25-6

“All these diseases of the soul develop from a special fear of those things which people fear and then hate. They define a disease of the soul, moreover, as a vehement belief about a thing which is not desired even though it is anticipated powerfully, a belief which is constant and deeply held.”

quae omnes aegrotationes animi ex quodam metu nascuntur earum rerum, quas fugiunt et oderunt. Definiunt autem animi aegrotationem opinationem vehementem de re non expetenda, tamquam valde expetenda sit, inhaerentem et penitus insitam.

Velleius Paterculus, History of Rome 2.16.4

“Gradually, then, by granting citizenship to those who had not carried arms or had put them down rather late, the population was rebuilt as Pompeius, Sulla and Marius restored the flagging and sputtering power of the Roman people.”

Paulatim deinde recipiendo in civitatem, qui arma aut non ceperant aut deposuerant maturius, vires refectae sunt, Pompeio Sullaque et Mano fluentem procumbentemque rem populi Romani restituentibus.

Aristotle, Rhetoric 1395a 33

“[I do not] commend the saying “nothing in excess” because one must hate evil men to the extreme”

“οὐδὲ τὸ μηδὲν ἄγαν· δεῖ γὰρ τούς γε κακοὺς ἄγαν μισεῖν”.

μισητής: misêtês, “hater”

μισογυνής: misogunês, “woman-hating”

μισοβάβαρος: misobarbaros, “hatred of foreigners”

μισοβασιλεύς: misobasileus, “king-hating”

μισόκοσμος: misokosmos, “universe-hating”

μισόνυμφος: misonumphos, “marriage-hating”

μισόπαις: misopais, “child-hating”

μισοπόλεμος: misopolemos, “war-hating”

μισόπτωχος: misoptôkhos, “hating-the-poor”

μισόσοφος: misosophos, “wisdom-hating”

μισοσώματος: misosômatos, “body-hating”

μισόφιλος: misophilos, “friend-hating”

μισοφιλόλογος: misophilologos, “literature-hating”

μισοπώγων: misopôgôn, “beard-hating”

Hate

I Hate You for Hating Philology

John Adams, 

Letter to Benjamin Rush September 16th, 1810:

“I deceived you a little by an Inference of my own from what The Edinborough Reviewers had written. I know not that they have mentioned you by Name or your Works by their Titles: but I read in them “If every Thing which has ever been written in America (if you except perhaps the Works of Franklin) were annihilated the Sum total of human Knowledge would in no degree be lessened.” I draw the Inference, for Dr Rush’s Works have been written and printed in America. I have felt as well as you The Odium Theologicum; the Odium Politicum, and The Odium Mercatorium. Happily I have escaped as far as I know The Odium Philologium, The Odium Medicum and The Odium Sanguiphobium. I have escaped these Hatreds because I never knew enough about any of them to excite any other Mans Jealousy or Envy.

But now I must tell you a great and grave Truth. I am one among your most Serious haters of the Philological Species. I do most cordially hate you for writing against Latin Greek and Hebrew. I never will forgive you untill you repent, retract and reform. No Never! It is impossible.”

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Wandering Souls and Empty Bodies

These tales are popular among the paradoxographers. Apollonios also tells of Epimenides and Aristeas, and Hermotimus.

 Pliny the Elder 7. 174-5 

“This is the mortal condition—we are born to face these chance occurrences and others like them so that we ought not even trust death when it comes to a human. We find, among other examples, so soul of Hermotimos the Clazomenian which was in the habit of wandering with his body left behind and after a long journey to announce what they could not know unless they were present. Meanwhile, the body remained half-alive until it was cremated by some enemies called the Cantharidae who, ultimately, stole from the returning body as if taking away a sheath.

We also know of Aristeas of Procennesus whose soul was seen alighting from his mouth in the image of a crow—along with the excessive fiction that accompanies this tale. I also approach the story of Epimenides of Knossos in a similar way: when he was a boy and tired out by heat and a journey he went to sleep in a cave and slumbered for 57 years. Upon waking, he wondering and the shape of things and the change as if it were just the next day. Even though old age overcame him in the same number of days as years slept, he still lived to 157 years old.

The gender of women seems to be especially susceptible to this ill because of the disruption of the womb—which, if corrected can restore proper breathing. That work famous among the Greeks of Heraclides pertains to this subject as well—he tells the story of a woman returned to life after being dead for seven days.”

haec est conditio mortalium: ad has et eiusmodi occasiones fortunae gignimur, ut de homine ne morti quidem debeat credi. reperimus inter exempla Hermotimi Clazomenii animam relicto corpore errare solitam vagamque e longinquo multa adnuntiare quae nisi a praesente nosci non possent, corpore interim semianimi, donec cremato eo inimici qui Cantharidae vocabantur remeanti animae veluti vaginam ademerint; Aristeae etiam visam evolantem ex ore in Proconneso corvi effigie, cum magna quae sequitur hanc fabulositate. quam equidem et in Gnosio Epimenide simili modo accipio, puerum aestu et itinere fessum in specu septem et quinquaginta dormisse annis, rerum faciem mutationemque mirantem velut postero die experrectum, hinc pari numero dierum senio ingruente, ut tamen in septimum et quinquagesimum atque centesimum vitae duraret annum. feminarum sexus huic malo videtur maxime opportunus conversione volvae, quae si corrigatur, spiritus restituitur. huc pertinet nobile illud apud Graecos volumen Hexaclidis septem diebus feminae exanimis ad vitam revocatae.

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Latin vs. Philology, Part XVIII

Francesco Filelfo, Letter to Lorenzo Medici (Part 18)

“For there was at that time a huge mob of the citizens who were either new, or foreign arrivals – not native and original citizens. And they not able to speak without ineptitude or some element of the ridiculous.

Cicero jokes about the Oscans, who come from Beneventum, and are so named because they have an unclean and so to speak filthy mouth, and writes in a letter to Marcus Marius, ‘I don’t think that you desired to see Greek or Oscan games, especially since you could easily witness some Oscan games even here in our senate, but you love the Greeks so much that you won’t even go to your house along Greek Road.’ There were not many at all in the city of Rome who preserved that pure and sound Latin speech.

On that account, Quintilian rightly advises that parents should take care that the speech of the nurses whom they hire is not degraded, but that they speak correctly, since their child will try to form the first words which it hears from the nurses. Otherwise, there is a great labor ahead for the future orator, because he must unlearn the speech which he learned as an infant. Thus comes the tradition that Chrysippus made the wise choice. He laid it down that one should select nurses who were the best not only in respect to their characters, but also respecting the mode of their speech, since he claimed that children would retain those things in memory most tenaciously which they had learned in their formative years.”

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Erat enim ingens civium turba qui vel novi essent, vel adventicii, non prisci et origine cives. Et illi quidem non poterant non inepte loqui et cum ridiculo.

Quod de Oscis, qui Beneventani sunt, ita nominati, quoniam immundo forent et tanquam coenoso ore, iocatur Cicero, in epistolam ad M. Marium, cum ait: “Non enim te puto graecos aut oscos ludos desiderasse, praesertim cum oscos ludos vel in senatu nostro spectare possis, graecos vero ita ames, ut ne ad villam quidem tuam via graeca ire soleas”. Non erant admodum multi in urbe Roma qui meram illam atque sinceram servarent latinam locutionem.

Quapropter non imprudenter Quintilianus monet curandum esse parentibus ne vitiosus sit sermo nutricibus, sed loquantur recte, cum earum verba conetur puer effingere, quas primum audierit. Nam si secus fiat, eo maior est labor futuro oratori, quod ei sit dediscendus quem depravatum sermonem infans didicerit. Sapienter igitur Chrysippum optare solitum tradunt. Is enim eas nutrices iubebat eligi oportere, quae essent optimae, idque non solum quo ad morum, sed etiam quo ad sermonis rationem, cum pueros diceret ea tenacissime servare memoria, quae rudibus perceperint annis.