Self-Control in the Lecture Hall: Plutarch, On Curiosity 522d

I post this not only as an interesting anecdote, but as a remarkable contrast to the behavior of listeners in a modern classroom:

“Once, when I was lecturing in Rome, Rusticus (whom Domitian later killed out of spite for his fame) was in the audience. A soldier came through the middle and gave Rusticus a letter from the emperor. Everyone grew silent, and even I left off lecturing, so that he could read the letter. But he did not wish to, and did not even open it until I had finished my speech and the lecture hall was empty. On that account, everyone admired the weighty dignity of such a man.”

ἐμοῦ ποτ’ ἐν ῾Ρώμῃ διαλεγομένου ῾Ρουστικὸς ἐκεῖνος, ὃν ὕστερον ἀπέκτεινε Δομετιανὸς τῇ δόξῃ φθονήσας, ἠκροᾶτο, καὶ διὰ μέσου στρατιώτης παρελθὼν ἐπιστολὴν αὐτῷ Καίσαρος ἀπέδωκε· γενομένης δὲ σιωπῆς κἀμοῦ διαλιπόντος, ὅπως ἀναγνῷ τὴν ἐπιστολήν, οὐκ ἠθέλησεν οὐδ’ ἔλυσε πρότερον ἢ διεξελθεῖν ἐμὲ τὸν λόγον καὶ διαλυθῆναι τὸ ἀκροατήριον· ἐφ’ ᾧ πάντες ἐθαύμασαν τὸ βάρος τοῦ ἀνδρός.

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