Prejudice and Truth

Plato, Republic 6. 499e-500a

“Look, buddy,” I said, “Don’t accuse the majority so completely like this. They will have a different opinion if instead of being offensive, you show them the value of abandoning their prejudice against loving learning and make it clear what you mean when you mention philosophers, defining what they do and what there are like as we just did, so they they won’t believe you are talking about the people they suspect.”

Ὦ μακάριε, ἦν δ’ ἐγώ, μὴ πάνυ οὕτω τῶν πολλῶν κατηγόρει. ἀλλοίαν τοι δόξαν ἕξουσιν, ἐὰν αὐτοῖς μὴ φιλονικῶν ἀλλὰ παραμυθούμενος καὶ ἀπολυόμενος τὴν τῆς φιλομαθίας διαβολὴν ἐνδεικνύῃ οὓς λέγεις τοὺς φιλοσόφους, καὶ διορίζῃ ὥσπερ ἄρτι τήν τε φύσιν αὐτῶν καὶ τὴν ἐπιτήδευσιν, ἵνα μὴ ἡγῶνταί σε λέγειν οὓς αὐτοὶ οἴονται.

Cicero, Pro Cluentio 202

“Mob-rallies are the place for prejudice, the courts are the place for truth.”

…in contionibus esse invidiae locum, in iudiciis veritati

Plato, Apology, 19

“I must try to free you of the prejudice you have believed for a long time in so short a period.”

καὶ ἐπιχειρητέον ὑμῶν ἐξελέσθαι τὴν διαβολὴν ἣν ὑμεῖς ἐν πολλῷ χρόνῳ ἔσχετε ταύτην ἐν οὕτως ὀλίγῳ χρόνῳ.

Isocrates, On the Peace 142

“If we really want to get rid of the prejudices we have at this present time, we need to stop the pointless conflicts…”

δεῖ γὰρ ἡμᾶς, εἴπερ βουλόμεθα διαλύσασθαι μὲν τὰς διαβολὰς ἃς ἔχομεν ἐν τῷ παρόντι, παύσασθαι δὲ τῶν πολέμων τῶν μάτην γιγνομένων

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers: Epicurus 131

“When we say that pleasure is the goal, we are not talking about he pleasures of the insatiable or those sensuous ones, as those who are ignorant or disagree with us or are prejudiced against us believe; but instead we mean not feeling pain in the body nor trouble in the soul.”

“Ὅταν οὖν λέγωμεν ἡδονὴν τέλος ὑπάρχειν, οὐ τὰς τῶν ἀσώτων ἡδονὰς καὶ τὰς ἐν ἀπολαύσει κειμένας λέγομεν, ὥς τινες ἀγνοοῦντες καὶ οὐχ ὁμολογοῦντες ἢ κακῶς ἐκδεχόμενοι νομίζουσιν, ἀλλὰ τὸ μήτε ἀλγεῖν κατὰ σῶμα μήτε ταράττεσθαι κατὰ ψυχήν.

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On Using “Leftover Time” for Writing Projects

Cicero, Laws 1.8-10

M. I do understand that I have been promising this work for a long time now, Atticus. It is something I would not refuse if any bit of open and free time were allotted to me. A work as momentous as this cannot be taken up when one’s efforts are occupied and his mind is elsewhere. It is really necessary to be free from worry and business.

A. What about the other things you have written more of than any of our people? What free time did you have set aside then?

M. These ‘leftover moments’ occur and I will not suffer wasting them—as when there are some days set aside for going to the country, I write something equal to what the number of days allow. But a history cannot be begun unless there is dedicated time and it can’t be completed in a short time. I habitually weigh down my thought when, once I have started, I am distracted by something else. And once a project is interrupted, I do not finish what was started easily.”

M. Intellego equidem a me istum laborem iam diu postulari, Attice; quem non recusarem, si mihi ullum tribueretur vacuum tempus et liberum; neque enim occupata opera neque inpedito animo res tanta suscipi potest; utrumque opus est, et cura vacare et negotio.

A. Quid ad cetera. quae scripsisti plura quam quisquam e nostris? quod tibi tandem tempus vacuum fuit concessum?

M. Subsiciva quaedam tempora incurrunt, quae ego perire non patior, ut, si qui dies ad rusticandum dati sint, ad eorum numerum adcommodentur quae scribimus. historia vero nec institui potest nisi praeparato otio nec exiguo tempore absolvi, et ego animi pendere soleo, cum semel quid orsus sum,1 si traducor alio, neque tam facile interrupta contexo quam absolvo instituta.

I encourage everyone to copy “Intellego equidem a me istum laborem iam diu postulari” and paste it liberally into emails explaining why you have yet to complete that review, abstract, etc. etc. Take a break for a day or a nap for an hour. Let Cicero speak for you!

 

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Image taken from this blog

The Jealousy and Play of Alexander the Great

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 7.4.277a

“Chares the Mytilenaian claims that when Alexander found the most beautiful apples in the land of Babylon, he had his ships filled with them and put on an “apple war” from the ships that was a great delight to see.”

Χάρης δ᾽ ὁ Μυτιληναῖος ἱστορεῖ ὡς κάλλιστα μῆλα εὑρὼν ὁ ᾽Αλέξανδρος περὶ τὴν Βαβυλωνίαν χώραν τούτων τε πληρώσας τὰ σκάφη μηλομαχίαν ἀπὸ τῶν νεῶν ἐποιήσατο, ὡς τὴν θέαν ἡδίστην γενέσθαι.

Gnomologium Vaticanum, 78; 10, p. 3

“Alexander, after he arrived at Troy and looked upon the tomb of Achilles, said as he stood there: “Achilles, you obtained the magnificent herald, Homer, because you were so great.” Anaximenes, who was nearby, responded, “King, I too will make you famous”. And Alexander responded, “By the gods, I would prefer to be Homer’s Thersites instead of an Achilles for you.”

ὁ αὐτὸς (sc. ᾽Αλέξανδρος) ἐλθὼν εἰς ῎Ιλιον καὶ θεασάμενος τὸν ᾽Αχιλλέως τάφον στὰς εἶπεν· «ὦ ᾽Αχιλλεῦ, ὡς σὺ μέγας ὢν μεγάλου κήρυκος ἔτυχες ῾Ομήρου». παρόντος δὲ ᾽Αναξιμένους καὶ εἰπόντος· «καὶ ἡμεῖς σε, ὦ βασιλεῦ, ἔνδοξον ποιήσομεν», «ἀλλὰ νὴ τοὺς θεούς», ἔφη, «παρ᾽ ῾Ομήρωι ἐβουλόμην ἂν εἴναι Θερσίτης ἢ παρὰ σοὶ ᾽Αχιλλεύς».

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The Curriculum Vitae of Telephos of Pergamon

Suda, s.v. Τήλεφος

Telephos the Pergamêne, a scholar. He also wrote […] in which he specifies all the things a scholar needs to know. In addition: On Homeric Figures of Speech (two books); On Attic Syntax (five books); On Rhetoric in Homer; On Agreement of Homer and Plato; On A Varied Love of Knowledge; The Lives of Tragic and Comic Poets; On Expert Knowledge of Books, three books in which he lists the books which are worth having. Only Homer of the Ancient Poets Speaks Greek, A Description of Pergamon; On the Sebasteion in Pergamon (two books); On the Courts of Athens; On Athenian Laws and Customs; On the Kings of Pergamon (five books); Concerning the Names or Use of Clothing and Other Items which We Use (an alphabetical catalogue); On the Wandering of Odysseus; Swift-Born (a collection of epithets prepared for use in the same situation as a treasure-trove for description), ten books.”

Περγαμηνός, γραμματικός. ἔγραψε καὶ αὐτὸς ** ἐν οἷς παρατίθεται πόσα χρὴ εἰδέναι τὸν γραμματικόν· Περὶ τῶν παρ᾽ ῾Ομήρωι σχημάτων ῥητορικῶν βιβλία β̄· Περὶ συντάξεως λόγου᾽Αττικοῦ βιβλία ε̄· Περὶ τῆς καθ᾽ ῞Ομηρον ῥητορικῆς· Περὶ τῆς ῾Ομήρου καὶ Πλάτωνος συμφωνίας· Ποικίλης φιλομαθείας βιβλία β̄· βίους τραγικῶν καὶ κωμικῶν· βιβλιακῆς ἐμπειρίας βιβλία γ̄, ἐν οἷς διδάσκει τὰ κτήσεως ἄξια βιβλία· ῞Οτι μόνος ῞Ομηρος τῶν ἀρχαίων ἑλληνίζει· Περιήγησιν Περγάμου· Περὶ τοῦ ἐν Περγάμωι Σεβαστίου βιβλία β̄· Περὶ τῶν᾽Αθήνησι δικαστηρίων· Περὶ τῶν᾽Αθήνησι νόμων καὶ ἐθῶν· Περὶ τῶν Περγάμου Βασιλέων βιβλία ε̄· Περὶ χρήσεως ἤτοι ὀνομάτων ἐσθῆτος καὶ τῶν ἄλλων οἷς χρώμεθα (ἔστι δὲ κατὰ στοιχεῖον)· Περὶ τῆς᾽Οδυσσέως πλάνης· ᾽Ωκυτόκιον (ἔστι δὲ συναγωγὴ ἐπιθέτων εἰς τὸ αὐτὸ πρᾶγμα ἁρμοζόντων πρὸς ἕτοιμον εὐπορίαν φράσεως) βιβλία ῑ.

byzantium libraries
From Medievalists.net

Screaming and Intemperance of Words: A Cruel Reign

Seneca, De Clementia, 7

“A cruel reign is churning and dark with shadows; meanwhile, people shudder and grow pale at the surprising sound, even as the one who causes the confusion trembles too. Someone is forgiven more easily in private affairs for seeking vengeance for themselves. For they can be wounded and the sorrow comes from the injury and they fear being scorned. It seems that it is weakness for the wounded not to return the favor rather than mercy.

But the one for whom vengeance is easy earns certain praise for clemency once vengeance is dismissed. It is for people in a humble place to use force, to feud, to rush into a battle and to give a free rein to wrath. When blows fall among equals, they are light; but for a king, screaming and intemperance of words are ill-fit to his majesty.”

Crudele regnum turbidum tenebrisque obscurum est, inter trementes et ad repentinum sonitum expavescentes ne eo quidem, qui omnia perturbat, inconcusso. Facilius privatis ignoscitur pertinaciter se vindicantibus; possunt enim laedi, dolorque eorum ab iniuria venit; timent praeterea contemptum, et non rettulisse laedentibus gratiam infirmitas videtur, non clementia; at cui ultio in facili est, is omissa ea certam laudem mansuetudinis consequitur. Humili loco positis exercere manum, litigare, in rixam procurrere ac morem irae suae gerere liberius est; leves inter paria ictus sunt; regi vociferatio quoque verborumque intemperantia non ex maiestate est.

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Liber Floridus

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

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”

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