A Boastful Young Moron Pretends to Stoicism: Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 1.2.6

“When he was bursting out these empty claims to fame and everyone present had been worn out by his words was wishing for an end because they were completely disgusted, then Herodes spoke in Greek—his usual oratorical flourish—and said: “Most magnificent philosophers, since we who are called commoners by you cannot give answer, let me instead recite from a book what Epictetus, the greatest of the Stoics, believed and said about conversation as bombastic as yours.” He ordered them to bring the first book of the Discourses of Epictetus edited by Arrian in which the honored old man railed upon youths—who call themselves Stoics—with righteous criticism because they had neither thrift nor honest hard-work but instead were blathering on with delicate theories and with arguments barely worthy as subjects for children.”

Has ille inanes glorias cum flaret iamque omnes finem cuperent verbisque eius defetigati pertaeduissent, tum Herodes Graeca, uti plurimus ei mos fuit, oratione utens “permitte,” inquit “philosophorum amplissime, quoniam respondere nos tibi, quos vocas idiotas, non quimus, recitari ex libro, quid de huiuscemodi magniloquentia vestra senserit dixeritque Epictetus, Stoicorum maximus”, iussitque proferri dissertationum Epicteti digestarum ab Arriano primum librum, in quo ille venerandus senex iuvenes, qui se Stoicos appellabant, neque frugis neque operae probae, sed theorematis tantum nugalibus et puerilium isagogarum commentationibus deblaterantes obiurgatione iusta incessivit.

Leave a Reply