Forget Aristotle, Julian Founds the Lice-eum

Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (XXII):

In a satirical performance, which was designed for the public eye, the emperor descants with pleasure, and even with pride, on the length of his nails, and the inky blackness of his hands; protests, that although the greatest part of his body was covered with hair, the use of the razor was confined to his head alone; and celebrates, with visible complacency, the shaggy and populous* beard, which he fondly cherished, after the example of the philosophers of Greece. Had Julian consulted the simple dictates of reason, the first magistrate of the Romans would have scorned the affectation of Diogenes, as well as that of Darius.

*[In a footnote, Gibbon hints at what he means by a ‘populous’ beard, but leaves the passage which he references in (as he would say) the decent obscurity of a learned language. Julian writes, in his Misopogon, Ταῦτά τοι διαθεόντων ἀνέχομαι τῶν φθειρῶν ὥσπερ ἐν λόχμῃ τῶν θηρίων. (“I put up with the lice running up and down my beard as though they were in a park for wild animals.”)]

Emperor Julian


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