Aristotle on the Nature of Slavery

CW: Slavery, Nonsense

Aristole, Politics 1254a

“What is the nature and the ability of the slave becomes clear from these things. For a person who by nature is not his own but another’s is naturally a slave. A person is another’s if he is a possession even though a person. A possession is a tool which has a use and can be traded.

Whether anyone is this kind of person by nature or not and whether it is better and just for anyone to be a slave or not or whether instead all slavery is contrary to nature are questions which should be investigated second. It is not difficult to figure this out by theorizing logically or from empirical evidence. For ruling or submitting to rule are not only necessary realities but they are also advantageous.

Some things are well-suited straight from birth to be ruled and others are suited to ruling. There are also many types of rulers and subordinates. The rule of better subjects is always better, for example being master of a person is better being master of a beast since the work which is expected from higher order creatures is greater. So, when one rules and the other is ruled, there is some labor from them together.

However so many things are put together from multiple parts and are united in one common whole, whether from continuous or separate pieces, the ruling and the ruled are clear in all. And this trait is present in living things as a result of nature…”

Τίς μὲν οὖν ἡ φύσις τοῦ δούλου καὶ τίς ἡ δύναμις, ἐκ τούτων δῆλον· ὁ γὰρ μὴ αὑτοῦ φύσει ἀλλ᾿ ἄλλου ἄνθρωπος ὤν, οὗτος φύσει δοῦλός ἐστιν, ἄλλου δ᾿ ἐστὶν ἄνθρωπος ὃς ἂν κτῆμα ᾖ ἄνθρωπος ὤν, κτῆμα δὲ ὄργανον πρακτικὸν καὶ χωριστόν. πότερον δ᾿ ἐστί τις φύσει τοιοῦτος ἢ οὔ, καὶ πότερον βέλτιον καὶ δίκαιόν τινι δουλεύειν ἢ οὔ, ἀλλὰ πᾶσα δουλεία παρὰ φύσιν ἐστί, μετὰ ταῦτα σκεπτέον. οὐ χαλεπὸν δὲ καὶ τῷ λόγῳ θεωρῆσαι καὶ ἐκ τῶν γινομένων καταμαθεῖν. τὸ γὰρ ἄρχειν καὶ ἄρχεσθαι οὐ μόνον τῶν ἀναγκαίων ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν συμφερόντων ἐστί, καὶ εὐθὺς ἐκ γενετῆς ἔνια διέστηκε τὰ μὲν ἐπὶ τὸ ἄρχεσθαι τὰ δ᾿ ἐπὶ τὸ ἄρχειν. καὶ εἴδη πολλὰ καὶ ἀρχόντων καὶ ἀρχομένων ἐστίν (καὶ ἀεὶ βελτίων ἡ ἀρχὴ ἡ τῶν βελτιόνων ἀρχομένων, οἷον ἀνθρώπου ἢ θηρίου, τὸ γὰρ ἀποτελούμενον ἀπὸ τῶν βελτιόνων βέλτιον ἔργον, ὅπου δὲ τὸ μὲν ἄρχει τὸ δ᾿ ἄρχεται, ἐστί τι τούτων ἔργον)· ὅσα γὰρ ἐκ πλειόνων συνέστηκε καὶ γίνεται ἕν τι κοινόν, εἴτε ἐκ συνεχῶν εἴτ᾿ ἐκ διῃρημένων, ἐν ἅπασιν ἐμφαίνεται τὸ ἄρχον καὶ τὸ ἀρχόμενον, καὶ τοῦτο ἐκ τῆς ἁπάσης φύσεως ἐνυπάρχει τοῖς ἐμψύχοις· καὶ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς μὴ μετέχουσι ζωῆς ἐστί

Antikensammlung F 871, Potters Extracting clay. H/T to @CM_Whiting for correcting errors

Have You Tried Sending Out Your Resume? Xenophon on Job Hunting

Xenophon, Memorabilia 2.9.5

“Really, Euthêrus, it is not at all easy to find work where you won’t face some responsibility. It is hard to work at all without making some mistakes and hard still not to meet silly criticism even when you haven’t screwed up. I’d be surprised if you said that you end up complaint-free from those you work for currently.

Therefore, you should try to avoid complainers and cultivate people of good judgement.  Take on tasks you’re capable of doing and avoid those you’re not. Whatever you do, take care to do your best and do it willingly. I think you’ll find yourself least criticized this way and that you will find solution for your trouble, you will live in great east and safety, and save enough for retirement.

Καὶ μήν, ἔφη, Εὔθηρε, οὐ πάνυ γε ῥᾴδιόν ἐστιν εὑρεῖν ἔργον, ἐφ᾿ ᾧ οὐκ ἄν τις αἰτίαν ἔχοι. χαλεπὸν γὰρ οὕτω τι ποιῆσαι, ὥστε μηδὲν ἁμαρτεῖν, χαλεπὸν δὲ καὶ ἀναμαρτήτως τι ποιήσαντα μὴ ἀγνώμονι κριτῇ περιτυχεῖν· ἐπεὶ καὶ οἷς νῦν ἐργάζεσθαι φὴς θαυμάζω εἰ ῥᾴδιόν ἐστιν ἀνέγκλητον διαγίγνεσθαι. χρὴ οὖν πειρᾶσθαι τούς τε φιλαιτίους φεύγειν καὶ τοὺς εὐγνώμονας διώκειν καὶ τῶν πραγμάτων ὅσα μὲν δύνασαι ποιεῖν ὑπομένειν, ὅσα δὲ μὴ δύνασαι φυλλάττεσθαι, ὅ τι δ᾿ ἂν πράττῃς, τούτου ὡς κάλλιστα καὶ προθυμότατα ἐπιμελεῖσθαι. οὕτω γὰρ ἥκιστ᾿ ἂν μέν σε οἶμαι ἐν αἰτίᾳ εἶναι, μάλιστα δὲ τῇ ἀπορίᾳ βοήθειαν εὑρεῖν, ῥᾷστα δὲ καὶ ἀκινδυνότατα ζῆν καὶ εἰς τὸ γῆρας διαρκέστατα.

image from here: http://www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/sijpkes/abc-structures-2005/Lectures-2005/lecture-8/iron/Greek-iron.html

Justice and Hurting People

Homer, Od. 6.181-185

“May the gods grant as much as you desire in your thoughts,
A husband and home, and may they give you fine likemindness,
For nothing is better and stronger than this
When two people who are likeminded in their thoughts share a home,
A man and a wife—this brings many pains for their enemies
And joys to their friends. And the gods listen to them especially”

σοὶ δὲ θεοὶ τόσα δοῖεν, ὅσα φρεσὶ σῇσι μενοινᾷς,
ἄνδρα τε καὶ οἶκον, καὶ ὁμοφροσύνην ὀπάσειαν
ἐσθλήν· οὐ μὲν γὰρ τοῦ γε κρεῖσσον καὶ ἄρειον,
ἢ ὅθ’ ὁμοφρονέοντε νοήμασιν οἶκον ἔχητον
ἀνὴρ ἠδὲ γυνή· πόλλ’ ἄλγεα δυσμενέεσσι,
χάρματα δ’ εὐμενέτῃσι· μάλιστα δέ τ’ ἔκλυον αὐτοί.

Plato, Republic, 1. 333d

“So, [Simonides] means that justice is helping your friends and hurting your enemies?”

Τὸ τοὺς φίλους ἄρα εὖ ποιεῖν καὶ τοὺς ἐχθροὺς κακῶς δικαιοσύνην λέγει;

Plato, Republic, 4. 433b

“And, really, justice is each person taking care of his own business and not meddling in too many things. We have heard this from many others and said it ourselves many times”

“Yes, we have said this.”

Then, I said, “so, then, justice runs the risk in some way of just being taking care of your own business?”

Καὶ μὴν ὅτι γε τὸ τὰ αὑτοῦ πράττειν καὶ μὴ πολυπραγμονεῖν δικαιοσύνη ἐστί, καὶ τοῦτο ἄλλων τε πολλῶν ἀκηκόαμεν καὶ αὐτοὶ πολλάκις εἰρήκαμεν. Εἰρήκαμεν γάρ. Τοῦτο τοίνυν, ἦν δ’ ἐγώ, ὦ φίλε, κινδυνεύει τρόπον τινὰ γιγνόμενον ἡ δικαιοσύνη εἶναι, τὸ τὰ αὑτοῦ πράττειν.

Plato, Gorgias 473a5

“Committing harm is worse than suffering it”

τὸ ἀδικεῖν τοῦ ἀδικεῖσθαι κάκιον εἶναι

Thucydides, 3.82.7-8

“To exact vengeance from someone was thought to be more important than not suffering at all. If oaths were ever taken in turn, were strong because each person was at a loss and had no power at all. But as soon as one of them had the advantage, he attached if he saw anyone unguarded: it was sweeter to take vengeance despite a pledge than to do so openly. It was thought generally to be safe and to have won a prize for intelligence, prevailing by deceit. Many wicked people become famous for being clever than good people do for being ingenuous. Men are ashamed by the latter but delight in the former.

To blame for all of these things the love of power and a love of honor. From both, they fell into a voluntary love of conflict. For those who were in charge of the state each claimed identities for themselves, some the equal rights of the masses, the others the wisdom of the aristocrats; while guarding the common goods in word, they were making them the contest’s prize, competing with one another to be pre-eminent, they dared the most terrible things—and they surpassed them with greater acts of vengeance too. They did not regard either justice or advantage for the city…”

ἀντιτιμωρήσασθαί τέ τινα περὶ πλείονος ἦν ἢ αὐτὸν μὴ προπαθεῖν. καὶ ὅρκοι εἴ που ἄρα γένοιντο ξυναλλαγῆς, ἐν τῷ αὐτίκα πρὸς τὸ ἄπορον ἑκατέρῳ διδόμενοι ἴσχυον οὐκ ἐχόντων ἄλλοθεν δύναμιν· ἐν δὲ τῷ παρατυχόντι ὁ φθάσας θαρσῆσαι, εἰ ἴδοι ἄφαρκτον, ἥδιον διὰ τὴν πίστιν ἐτιμωρεῖτο ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ προφανοῦς, καὶ τό τε ἀσφαλὲς ἐλογίζετο καὶ ὅτι ἀπάτῃ περιγενόμενος ξυνέσεως ἀγώνισμα προσελάμβανεν. ῥᾷον δ’ οἱ πολλοὶ κακοῦργοι ὄντες δεξιοὶ κέκληνται ἢ ἀμαθεῖς ἀγαθοί, καὶ τῷ μὲν αἰσχύνονται, ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ ἀγάλλονται. πάντων δ’ αὐτῶν αἴτιον ἀρχὴ ἡ διὰ πλεονεξίαν καὶ φιλοτιμίαν· ἐκ δ’ αὐτῶν καὶ ἐς τὸ φιλονικεῖν καθισταμένων τὸ πρόθυμον. οἱ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι προστάντες μετὰ ὀνόματος ἑκάτεροι εὐπρεποῦς, πλήθους τε ἰσονομίας πολιτικῆς καὶ ἀριστοκρατίας σώφρονος προτιμήσει, τὰ μὲν κοινὰ λόγῳ θεραπεύοντες ἆθλα ἐποιοῦντο, παντὶ δὲ τρόπῳ ἀγωνιζόμενοι ἀλλήλων περιγίγνεσθαι ἐτόλμησάν τε τὰ δεινότατα ἐπεξῇσάν τε τὰς τιμωρίας ἔτι μείζους…

justice

A Recipe For Your, Um, Growing Problem

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists Book 7, 326f

“If you immerse a red mullet in wine while it is still alive and a man drinks this, he will be impotent, as Terpsikles records in his work On Sexual Matters. If a woman drinks the same mixture, she will not get pregnant. The same thing does not happen with a chicken.”

ἐὰν δ᾿ ἐναποπνιγῇ τρίγλη ζῶσα ἐν οἴνῳ καὶ τοῦτο ἀνὴρ πίῃ, ἀφροδισιάζειν οὐ δυνήσεται, ὡς Τερψικλῆς ἱστορεῖ ἐν τῷ Περὶ Ἀφροδισίων· κἂν γυνὴ δὲ πίῃ τοῦ αὐτοῦ οἴνου, οὐ κυΐσκεται. ὁμοίως δὲ οὐδὲ ὄρνις.

Image result for ancient mosaic red mullet
Spot the (extra)potence cure.

A Secret Messaging Strategy for the De-platformed

Aeneas Tacticus, Fragments LI: on the Sending of Messages”

“People who plan to work with traitors need to know how to send messages. Send them like this. Have a man be sent openly carrying some note about other matters. Have a different letter be secretly placed under the sole of the sandals of the person carrying the first message. Sew it between the layers and have it inscribed on tin to be safeguarded against mud and water.

Once the messenger has arrived to his destination and he has rested for the night, let the intended recipient remove the stitches from the sandals, take the message out, write a response secretly, and send the messenger back once he has written some public message to carry openly. In this way, not even the messenger will know what he carries.”

Τοῖς κεχρημένοις προδόταις ἀναγκαῖον εἰδέναι πῶς ἐπιστολὰς δεῖ αὐτοὺς εἰσπέμπειν. ἀπόστελλε γοῦν οὕτως. πεμπέσθω ἀνὴρ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ φέρων1 ἐπιστολήν τινα περὶ ἄλλων πραγμάτων. τοῦ δὲ πορεύεσθαι μέλλοντος κρυφαίως αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ τῶν ὑποδημάτων πέλμα ἐντεθήτω εἰς τὸ μεταξὺ βιβλίον καὶ καταραπτέσθω· πρὸς δὲ τοὺς πηλοὺς καὶ τὰ ὕδατα εἰς κασσίτερον ἐληλασμένον2 γραφέσθω πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἀφανίζεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ὑδάτων τὰ γράμματα. ἀφικομένου δὲ πρὸς ὃν δεῖ3 καὶ ἀναπαυομένου νυκτὸς ἀναλυέτω τὰς ῥαφὰς τῶν ὑποδημάτων καὶ ἐξελὼν ἀναγνούς τε καὶ4 ἄλλα γράψας λάθρᾳ ἀποστελλέτω τὸν ἄνδρα, ἀνταποστείλας καὶ δούς τι5 φέρειν φανερῶς· οὕτως γὰρ οὔτε ἄλλος οὔτε ὁ φέρων εἰδήσει.

Exhibit in the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greek_balsamaria_in_shape_of_lower_leg_with_open-toed_sandal,_6th_century_BC_-_Bata_Shoe_Museum_-_DSC00016.JPG

Will Eyewitnesses to Injustice Spare This Man?

Dinarchus, Against Philocles 110 14-15

“Citizens, you need to remember these things and not take lightly all the information made public by the council—act here as you have in cases judged before. It is shameful to tire of punishing people who have proved themselves traitors to the state and shameful that any insurrectionists and wicked people should be left out there when the gods have clearly shown their true nature and handed them over to you to be punished.

You have seen that the whole electorate accuses this man and now they have given him to you before all the others to get what he deserves.

Sweet Zeus, Savior! I am ashamed that you need us to force you, to push you on to bring punishment to this person who has already been judged. Aren’t you all eyewitnesses of the injustices he committed? Because all the people believe he is neither just nor safe to be trusted with children they rejected him as guardian of the youth. Will you very protectors of the democracy and the laws—those people chance and fortune have given the power of justice over our people—will you spare a man who has attempted these kinds of things?”

ὧν ἀναμιμνησκομένους ὑμᾶς, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, δεῖ μὴ παρέργως ἔχειν πρὸς τὰς ὑπὸ τῆς βουλῆς γεγενημένας ἀποφάσεις, ἀλλ᾿ ἀκολούθως ταῖς πρότερον κεκριμέναις· αἰσχρὸν γὰρ ἀπειπεῖν τιμωρουμένους ἐστὶ τοὺς προδότας τῆς πόλεως γεγενημένους, καὶ ὑπολείπεσθαί τινας τῶν ἀδίκων καὶ πονηρῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὅτε οἱ θεοὶ φανεροὺς ὑμῖν ποιήσαντες παρέδοσαν τιμωρήσασθαι, ἑορακότες τὸν δῆμον ἅπαντα κατήγορον τούτου γεγενημένον καὶ προκεχειρικότα πρῶτον τῶν ἄλλων ἐπὶ τὸ τὴν τιμωρίαν ἐν ὑμῖν δοῦναι.

Ἀλλ᾿ ἔγωγε, νὴ τὸν Δία τὸν σωτῆρα, αἰσχύνομαι, εἰ προτραπέντας ὑμᾶς δεῖ4 καὶ παροξυνθέντας ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ νῦν εἰσεληλυθότος τὴν κρίσιν τιμωρίαν ἐλθεῖν. [καὶ] οὐκ αὐτόπται ἐστὲ τῶν ὑπὸ τούτου γεγενημένων ἀδικημάτων; καὶ ὁ μὲν δῆμος ἅπας οὔτ᾿ ἀσφαλὲς οὔτε δίκαιον νομίζων εἶναι παρακαταθέσθαι τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ παῖδας ἀπεχειροτόνησεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν ἐφήβων ἐπιμελείας,  ὑμεῖς δ᾿ οἱ τῆς δημοκρατίας καὶ τῶν νόμων φύλακες, οἷς ἡ τύχη καὶ ὁ κλῆρος . . . ὑπὲρ τοῦ δήμου δικάσοντας ἐπέτρεψεν;

The Power of the Cold

Some sophistic considerations from Plutarch

On The Principle of Cold (Moralia 945)

“Is there truly some power of the cold, Favorinus, a principle and substantial thing, just as fire is the principle power of heat, by the presence of and through sharing of which each thing becomes cold? Or is coldness the subtraction of warmth just as people say that darkness is bereavement of life and stillness the absence of movement? Cold does seem to be still while warm has movement while the cooling of higher temperatures occurs by no presence of a force but instead thanks to the separation of heat. For heat appears to leave at the very same time that the rest of a substance cools. And steam, which water emits as it boils, escapes with the passing of the warmth. For this reason the larger amount loses mass when it cools as it loses the heat and nothing else replaces it.

As a starting point, shouldn’t someone be suspicious of this argument that it denies many types of forces by defining them not as characteristics or aspects but instead as the opposite of aspects and characteristics—for example, weight is the negation of lightness, hardness the absence of softness, black the opposite of whiteness, bitter of sweet, and of these rest of matters each develops an opposite force rather than mere negation….”

  1. Ἔστι τις ἄρα τοῦ ψυχροῦ δύναμις, ὦ Φαβωρῖνε, πρώτη καὶ οὐσία, καθάπερ τοῦ θερμοῦ τὸ πῦρ, ἧς παρουσίᾳ τινὶ καὶ μετοχῇ γίνεται τῶν ἄλλων ἕκαστον ψυχρόν· ἢ μᾶλλον ἡ ψυχρότης στέρησίς ἐστι θερμότητος, ὥσπερ τοῦ φωτὸς τὸ σκότος λέγουσι καὶ τῆς κινήσεως τὴν στάσιν; ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸ ψυχρὸν ἔοικε στάσιμον εἶναι, κινητικὸν δὲ τὸ θερμόν· αἵ τε τῶν θερμῶν καταψύξεις οὐδεμιᾶς παρουσίᾳ γίνονται δυνάμεως, ἀλλ᾿ ἐκστάσει θερμότητος· ἅμα γὰρ ἀπιοῦσ᾿ ὅλη2φαίνεται καὶ ψύχεται τὸ ὑπολειπόμενον· ὁ γὰρ ἀτμός, ὃν τὰ ζέοντα τῶν ὑδάτων μεθίησιν, ἀπιόντι τῷ θερμῷ συνεκπίπτει· διὸ καὶ μειοῖ τὸ πλῆθος ἡ περίψυξις ἐκκρίνουσα τὸ θερμόν, ἑτέρου μηδενὸς ἐπεισιόντος.
  2. Ἤ πρῶτον μὲν ἄν τις ὑπίδοιτο τοῦ λόγου τούτου τὸ πολλὰς τῶν ἐμφανῶν ἀναιρεῖν δυνάμεων, ὡς οὐ ποιότητας οὐδ᾿ ἕξεις, ἕξεων δὲ καὶ ποιοτήτων στερήσεις οὔσας,3βαρύτητα μὲν κουφότητος καὶ σκληρότητα μαλακότητος, τὸ μέλαν δὲ τοῦ λευκοῦ καὶ τὸ πικρὸν τοῦ γλυκέος, καὶ ὧν ἕκαστον ἑκάστῳ πέφυκεν ἀντικεῖσθαι κατὰ δύναμιν, οὐχ ὡς ἕξει στέρησις·

    Image result for ancient greek and roman cold
    Not dressed for this weather

Want to Make Friends at Holiday Parties? Plutarch on Why Drinking is Useful

Plutarch, Moralia 644e: Table-Talk, On the Usefulness of Drinking for Getting to Know People

“When the Poet Simonides, my Sossios Senecios, saw a stranger at a drinking party sitting there in silence and talking to no one he said “Man, if you are a fool, you are doing something wise; but if you are wise, you are doing a foolish thing.” For, as Heraclitus says, “it is better to hide ignorance” and it is really hard to do this while drinking “which makes even a very wise man sing / and causes him to laugh gently and dance /and then to speak whatever word which was unsaid” [Hom. Od. 14.464-6).

In this, it seems to me, the poet demonstrates the differences between being a little tipsy and drunkenness. For song, merriment, dancing and dancing are coming to those who have drunk moderately. But talking too much and saying what is better kept silent is the work of too much wine, of being drunk. For this reason also, Plato believes that we can see the character of most men while drinking, as Homer said, “those two did not learn one another’s nature even at the table”.

It is clear that Homer knows the talkativeness of wine and how it creates much conversation. For it is not possible to know people who sit eating and drinking in silence. Drinking leads to chatting, and by chatting someone emerges and much that is otherwise hidden is disclosed—drinking together provides some way of getting to know each other.

For this reason, it is not wrong to chastise Aesop, “Why are you searching out these gateways, sir, through which different people can gaze upon the mindset of one another? This lays waste our well made modes of behavior, from the most basic custom by which we were trained, as if by a teacher.” This is why drinking is useful to both Aesop and Plato, and for anyone else looking for a method of inquiry.

Image result for Ancient Greek drinking party

Σιμωνίδης ὁ ποιητής, ὦ Σόσσιε Σενεκίων, ἔν τινι πότῳ ξένον ἰδὼν κατακείμενον σιωπῇ καὶ μηδενὶ διαλεγόμενον, “ὦ ἄνθρωπ᾿,” εἶπεν, “εἰ μὲν ἠλίθιος εἶ, σοφὸν πρᾶγμα ποιεῖς· εἰ δὲ σοφός, ἠλίθιον.” “ἀμαθίην γὰρ ἄμεινον,” ὥς φησιν Ἡράκλειτος, “κρύπτειν,” ἔργον δ᾿ ἐν ἀνέσει καὶ παρ᾿ οἶνον

ὅστ᾿ ἐφέηκε πολύφρονά περ μάλ᾿ ἀεῖσαι,
καί θ᾿ ἁπαλὸν γελάσαι καί τ᾿ ὀρχήσασθαι ἀνῆκεν,
καί τι ἔπος προέηκεν, ὅπερ τ᾿ ἄρρητον ἄμεινον·

οἰνώσεως ἐνταῦθα τοῦ ποιητοῦ καὶ μέθης, ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ, διαφορὰν ὑποδεικνύντος. ᾠδὴ μὲν γὰρ καὶ γέλως καὶ ὄρχησις οἰνουμένοις μετρίως ἔπεισι· τὸ δὲ λαλεῖν καὶ λέγειν, ἃ βέλτιον ἦν σιωπᾶν, παροινίας ἤδη καὶ μέθης ἔργον ἐστίν. διὸ καὶ Πλάτων ἐν οἴνῳ μάλιστα καθορᾶσθαι τὰ ἤθη τῶν πολλῶν νομίζει, καὶ Ὅμηρος εἰπὼν

οὐδὲ τραπέζῃ / γνώτην ἀλλήλων

δῆλός ἐστιν εἰδὼς τὸ πολύφωνον τοῦ οἴνου καὶ λόγων πολλῶν γόνιμον. οὐ γὰρ ἔστι τρωγόντων σιωπῇ καὶ πινόντων γνῶσις· ἀλλ᾿ ὅτι τὸ πίνειν εἰς τὸ λαλεῖν προάγεται, τῷ δὲ λαλεῖν ἐμφαίνεται καὶ τὸ ἀπογυμνοῦσθαι πολλὰ τῶν ἄλλως λανθανόντων, παρέχει τινὰ τὸ συμπίνειν κατανόησιν ἀλλήλων· ὥστε μὴ φαύλως ἂν ἐπιτιμῆσαι τῷ Αἰσώπῳ· “τί τὰς θυρίδας, ὦ μακάριε, ζητεῖς ἐκείνας, δι᾿ ὧν ἄλλος ἄλλου κατόψεται τὴν διάνοιαν; ὁ γὰρ οἶνος ἡμᾶς ἀνοίγει καὶ δείκνυσιν οὐκ ἐῶν ἡσυχίαν ἄγειν, ἀλλ᾿ ἀφαιρῶν τὸ πλάσμα καὶ τὸν σχηματισμόν, ἀπωτάτω τοῦ νόμου καθάπερ παιδαγωγοῦ γεγονότων.” Αἰσώπῳ μὲν οὖν καὶ Πλάτωνι, καὶ εἴ τις ἄλλος ἐξετάσεως τρόπου δεῖται, πρὸς τοῦτο χρήσιμον ὁ ἄκρατος·

 

The Magi, Herod, and A Flight to Egypt

This is a continuation of the Christmas Story in the apocryphal Gospel of James [also sometimes called the “Infancy” Gospel” or the Protoevangelium of James].

The Gospel According to James 21–22.

22. “And, look, Joseph was prepared to leave to Judea and there was trouble in Bethlehem. For the Magi had come from the East in Persia, saying, “Where is the child born King of the Jews? For we saw his start in the East and we have come to bow before him. When Herod heard this, he was upset and he sent attendants to the Magi and he also summoned the high priests and asked them, “Where has this “Christ” been born?” and they answered, “In Bethlehem of Judea—for it was written thus.” And he let them go. Then he questioned the Magi, saying to them, “What sign did you see for a king who was born?” And the magi said to him, we say the greatest start blazing among the these stars and making them seem dull. We knew from this that a king had been born for Israel. For this reason we came to bow before him.” And Herod responded, “Go and seek out the child carefully. And when he is found, send me news of it so that I can go and bow to him too.

And so the Magi left and, look, the star which they saw in the east led them on until they came to that place where the cave protected the child’s head. And when they saw him with his mother Mary, they bowed and took from their strongboxes the gifts they brought: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Because they had been warned by a sacred angel not to enter Judea near Herod, they took another route to return to their country.

22 But once Herod figured out that he had been evaded by the Magi, he was enraged and he sent assassins whom he ordered to kill all infants under two years. Once Mary heard that the infants were being killed, she took her child in fear and left to Egypt with Joseph, just as was predicated to them. But when Elisabeth took John and went into the hills and looked around for a place to hide him, there was no safe sanctuary. Then, she said as she cried, “Mountain, mountain—take a mother with her child. For she was not able to leave. And then suddenly, the mountain split into two and welcomed her. The mountain itself was alight for them and there was an angel of the lord looking over them.”

21.1 Καὶ ἰδοὺ Ἰωσὴφ ἡτοιμάσθη ἐξελθεῖν εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν, καὶ θόρυβος ἐγένετο ἐν Βηθλεέμ. ἦλθαν γὰρ μάγοι ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν (ἐκ Περσίδος) λέγοντες: ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ καὶ ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτόν. 2 καὶ ἀκούσας Ἡρώδης ἐταράχθη καὶ ἔπεμψεν ὑπηρέτας πρὸ(ς) τοὺς μάγους, καὶ ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ ἀνέκρινεν αὐτοὺς λέγων: ποῦ ὁ χριστὸς γεννᾶται; οἱ δὲ εἶπον: ἐν Βηθλεὲμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας: οὕτως γὰρ γέγραπται. καὶ ἀπέλυσεν αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀνέκρινε τοὺς μάγους λέγων αὐτοῖς: τί εἴδετε σημεῖον ἐπὶ τὸν γεννηθέντα βασιλέα; καὶ εἶπον οἱ μάγοι: εἴδομεν ἀστέρα παμμεγέθη λάμψαντα ἐν τοῖς ἄστροις τούτοις καὶ ἀμβλύνοντα αὐτοὺς τοῦ (μὴ) φαίνειν καὶ ἔγνωμεν, ὅτι βασιλεὺς ἐγεννήθη τῷ Ἰσραήλ: καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτόν. καὶ εἶπεν Ἡρώδης: πορευθέντες ἀκριβῶς ἐκζητήσατε περὶ τοῦ παιδίου: καὶ ἐπὰν εὕρηται, ἀπαγγείλατέ μοι, ὅπως κἀγὼ ἐλθὼν προσκυνήσω αὐτόν. 3 καὶ ἐξῆλθον οἱ μάγοι, καὶ ἰδοὺ ὁ ἀστήρ, ὅν εἶδον ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ, προῆγεν αὐτῶν, ἕως οὗ ἐλθὼν ἔστη εἰς τὸ σπήλαιον ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς τοῦ παιδίου. καὶ ἰδόντες αὐτὸ οἱ μάγοι μετὰ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ Μαρίας προσεκύνησαν αὐτὸ καὶ ἀνοίξαντες τοὺς θησαυροὺς αὐτῶν προσήνεγκαν αὐτῶν δῶρα, χρυσὸν καὶ λίβανον καὶ σμύρναν. καὶ χρηματισθέντες ὑπὸ ἁγίου ἀγγέλου (μὴ εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν πρὸς Ἡρώδην) δι’ ἄλλης ὁδοῦ ἐπορεύθησαν εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτῶν.

22.1 Γνοὺς δὲ ὁ Ἡρώδης, ὅτι ἐνεπαίχθη ὑπὸ τῶν μάγων, ὀργισθεὶς ἔπεμψεν τοὺς φονευτὰς κελεύσας αὐτοῖς ἀνελεῖν τὰ βρέφη ἀπὸ διετοῦς καὶ κατωτέρω. 2 ἀκούσασα δὲ Μαριάμ, ὅτι τὰ βρέφη ἀναιροῦνται, φοβηθεῖσα ἔλαβεν τὸ παιδίον μετὰ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν εἰς Αἴγυπτον, καθὼς ἐχρηματίσθη αὐτοῖς. 3 ἡ δὲ Ἐλισάβετ λαβοῦσα τὸν Ἰωάννην ἀνέβη εἰς τὴν ὀρεινὴν καὶ περιεβλέπετο, ποῦ αὐτὸν ἀποκρύψει: καὶ οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἀποκρυβῆς. τότε στενάξασα λέγει: ὄρος, ὄρος, δέξαι μητέρα μετὰ τέκνου . οὐ γὰρ ἠδύνατο πορεύεσθαι. καὶ παραχρῆμα ἐδιχάσθη τὸ ὄρος καὶ ἐδέξατο αὐτήν. καὶ ἦν τὸ ὄρος ἐκεῖνο διαφαῖνον αὐτοῖς καὶ ἄγγελος κυρίου ὁδηγῶν αὐτούς.

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Virgin Birth in the Wilderness: The Apocryphal Gospel of James for Christmas Eve

This is a continuation of the Christmas Story in the apocryphal Gospel of James [also sometimes called the “Infancy” Gospel” or the Protoevangelium of James].

The Gospel According to James 19–20

19. And then I saw a woman walking from the hills and she said to me, “Man, where are you going? And I said to her, “I am looking for a midwife.” And she answered, “From Israel?” and I said to her, “Yes, mistress.” And She said to me, “Who is the woman who is giving birth in the cave?” and I said, “She is my betrothed.” And she responded, “She is not your wife?” and I said to her, “She is Mary and I drew her as my lot to be a wife, but she was raised in the Holiest of Holies. And she is not my wife, but she has become pregnant from the holy spirit. And she said, “Tell me the truth,” and I told her, “Come and see.” And she left with him.”

They stood were the cave was and there was a cloud shading over it. The midwife said, “My soul is ennobled this day because I recognize a new sight and a miracle—since a savior is born for Israel.” Then, immediately, the cloud withdrew from the cave and a great light appeared in it which our eyes could not bear. Soon, that light too receded until the infant appeared and took the breast of its mother Mary.

Then the midwife shouted out, “Today is a great day because I have seen a new wonder.” And then the midwife left the cave and met Salôme and said to her, “Salôme, Salôme, I have a new wonder to explain to you. A virgin gave birth, a thing which human nature does not allow.” And Salôme said, “As the Lord God lives, if I do not see this—if I do not put my hand into her—I will not believe that a virgin gave birth.”

And Salôme entered the cave and said, “Maria, prepare yourself, for no small test of you is at hand.” Then she examined her. And Salôme yelled out and cried, saying, “Oh, my lawlessness and lack of faith, that I tested the living God. And look, my hand is burning and falling away. Then Salôme bent her knees and said toward her Lord, “the God of our fathers, remember me, that I am the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jakob—do not make an example of me before the sons of Israel, but return my poverty to me. And, look, an angel of the Lord appeared saying to Salôme, “Salôme, Salôme, the Lord God heard your prayer. Come near the child and lift him up and he will be your safety.”

Then Salôme went to the child and lifted him up and said, “Truly, a great king has been born to Israel.” Then she was suddenly healed and she left the cave filled with justice. And, look, a voice sounded out and said, “Salôme, Salôme, do not spread the news of the miracles you have witness around until the child enters Jerusalem.”

19.1 Καὶ εἶδον γυναῖκα καταβαίνουσαν ἀπὸ τῆς ὀρεινῆς καὶ εἶπέν μοι: ἄνθρωπε, ποῦ πορεύῃ; καὶ εἶπον αὐτῇ: μαῖαν ζητῶ. καὶ ἀποκριθεῖσά μοι εἶπεν: ἐξ Ἰσραήλ; καὶ εἶπον αὐτῇ: ναί, κυρία. καὶ εἶπέν μοι: τίς ἐστιν ἡ γεννήσασα ἐν τῇ σπηλαίῳ; καὶ εἶπον ἐγώ: ἡ μεμνηστευμένη μοι. καὶ εἶπέν μοι: οὐκ ἔστι σου γυνή; καὶ εἶπον αὐτῇ: Μαριάμ ἐστιν καὶ ἐκληρωσάμην αὐτὴν εἰς γυναῖκα, ἥτις ἀνετράφη εἰς τὰ ἅγια τῶν ἁγίων: καὶ οὐκ ἔστι μου γυνή, ἀλλὰ σύλληψιν ἔχει ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου. καὶ εἶπεν: εἰπέ μοι τὸ ἀληθές. καὶ εἶπον αὐτῇ: ἐλθὲ καὶ ἴδε. καὶ ἀπῆλθεν μετ’ αὐτοῦ. 2 καὶ ἔστη ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τοῦ σπηλαίου, καὶ ἦν νεφέλη ἐπισκιάζουσα ἐπὶ τὸ σπήλαιον: καὶ εἶπεν ἡ μαῖα: ἐμεγαλύνθη ἡ ψυχή μου τῇ σήμερον ἡμέρᾳ, ὅτι εἶδον καινὸν θέαμα καὶ παράδοξον: ὅτι σωτηρίον τῷ Ἰσραὴλ ἐγενήθη. καὶ παραχρῆμα ἡ νεφέλη ὑπεστέλλετο ἐκ τοῦ σπηλαίου, καὶ ἐφάνη φῶς μέγα ἐν τῷ σπηλαίῳ, ὥστε τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἡμῶν μὴ φέρειν. καὶ πρὸς ὀλίγον τὸ φῶς ἐκεῖνο ὑπεστέλλετο, ἕως ἐφάνη τὸ βρέφος (καὶ ἦλθεν) καὶ ἔλαβεν μασθὸν ἐκ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ Μαρίας. (καὶ ἀνεβόησεν ἡ μαῖα: ὡς μεγάλη ἡ σήμερον ἡμέρα, ὅτι εἶδον τὸ καινὸν θέαμα τοῦτο.) 3 καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ τοῦ σπηλαίου ἡ μαῖα καὶ ἀπήντησεν Σαλώμην, καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ: Σαλώμη, Σαλώμη, καινόν σοι ἔχω διηγήσασθαι θέαμα: παρθένος ἐγέννησεν, ὅ οὐ χωρεῖ φύσις ἀνθρωπίνη. καὶ εἶπεν Σαλώμη: ζῇ κύριος ὁ θεός, ἐὰν μὴ κατανοήσω (ἐὰν μὴ βάλω τὴν χεῖρά μου εἰς αὐτήν), οὐ μὴ πιστεύσω, ὅτι παρθένος ἐγέννησεν.

20.1 Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν Σαλώμη καὶ εἶπεν: Μαρία, σχημάτισον σεαυτήν: οὐ γὰρ μικρὸς ἀγὼν περίκειται περὶ σοῦ. καὶ κατενόησεν αὐτήν. καὶ ἠλάλαξεν Σαλώμη καὶ ἐκραύγασε λέγουσα: οὐαὶ τῇ ἀνομίᾳ μου καὶ οὐαὶ τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ μου, ὅτι ἐξεπείρασα θεὸν ζῶντα: καὶ ἰδοὺ ἡ χείρ μου ἐν πυρὶ φλέγεται (ἀποπίπτει). 2 καὶ ἔκλινεν τὰ γόνατα αὐτῆς Σαλώμη πρὸς τὸν δεσπότην λέγουσα: ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων μου, μνήσθητί μου, ὅτι σπέρμα εἰμὶ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Ἰακώβ: μὴ παραδειγματίσῃς με τοῖς υἱοῖς Ἰσραήλ, ἀλλὰ ἀπόδος μοι ἐμὴν ὁλοκληρίαν. 3 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἔστη πρὸς Σαλώμην λέγων: Σαλώμη, Σαλώμη, ἐπήκουσε κύριος ὁ θεὸς τῆς δεήσεός σου: ἔγγισον πρὸς τὸ παιδίον καὶ βάστασον αὐτό, καὶ ἔσται σοι σωτηρία μεγάλη. 4 καὶ προσῆλθεν Σαλώμη καὶ ἐβάστασεν αὐτό, καὶ εἶπεν: ὄντως βασιλεὺς μέγας ἐγεννήθη τῷ Ἰσραήλ. καὶ εὐθέως ἰάθη Σαλώμη καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ τοῦ σπηλαίου δεδικαιωμένη, καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ λέγουσα αὐτῇ: Σαλώμη, Σαλώμη, μὴ ἀναγγείλῃς, ὅσα εἶδες παράδοξα (ἕως ἔλθῃ εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ).

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