Too Busy Writing to Fear Ghosts

Lucian, The Lover of Lies, 32 (Full text on the Scaife Viewer)

“He was completely convinced that nothing like this can possibly exist, so much so that, once he closed himself in a funerary monument outside the city gates, he was spending all day and night writing and editing.

Then some of the young men who wanted to annoy or frighten him dressed like corpses in black robes and masks that were imitations of skulls stood around him and were danced, leaping to the air in a quick step. He did not fear their mimicry nor even look at them, but kept writing and said, “Stop playing around.” That’s how certainly he was that souls do not exist once they have left their bodies.”

ὕτως ἄρα ἐπέπειστο μηδὲν οἷόν τε εἶναι συστῆναι τοιοῦτον ὥστε, ἐπειδὴ καθείρξας ἑαυτὸν εἰς μνῆμα ἔξω πυλῶν ἐνταῦθα διετέλει γράφων καὶ συντάττων καὶ νύκτωρ καὶ μεθ᾿ ἡμέραν, καί τινες τῶν νεανίσκων ἐρεσχελεῖν αὐτὸν βουλόμενοι καὶ δειματοῦν στειλάμενοι νεκρικῶς ἐσθῆτι μελαίνῃ καὶ προσωπείοις εἰς τὰ κρανία μεμιμημένοις περιστάντες αὐτὸν περιεχόρευον ὑπὸ πυκνῇ τῇ βάσει ἀναπηδῶντες, ὁ δὲ οὔτε ἔδεισεν τὴν προσποίησιν αὐτῶν οὔτε ὅλως ἀνέβλεψεν πρὸς αὐτούς, ἀλλὰ μεταξὺ γράφων, ‘Παύσασθε,’ ἔφη, ‘παίζοντες·’ οὕτω βεβαίως ἐπίστευε μηδὲν εἶναι τὰς ψυχὰς ἔτι ἔξω γενομένας τῶν σωμάτων.”

Antakya Archaeology Mosaic

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