The Sickness of the Soul: Cicero on Irrational Hate

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.25-6

“Furthermore, for these things it is believed that their opposites are born from fear, just as in hatred of women as in the Misogunos of Atilius or that against the whole race of humankind which we have heard that Timon who is called the Misanthrope felt or even being inhospitable.

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 autem sunt his contraria, ea nasci putantur a metu, ut odium mulierum, quale in Μισογύνῳ Atilii1 est, ut in hominum universum genus, quod accepimus de Timone, qui μισάνθρωπος appellatur, ut inhospitalitas est: 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.

Royal 15 D V   f. 107v
2nd half of the 15th century, Royal MS 15 D V, f. 107v

Apion’s a Racist Buffoon, But People Listen to Him

Josephus, Against Apion 2

“I will turn now to refuting the remaining authors who have written against us. I really don’t know if it is worth my time to respond seriously to the attacks of Apion the grammarian. Some of what he has written is similar to what other people claim; things which he added are rather weak, and most of it is complete absurdity which, to speak truthfully, exposes the author for a scoundrel and a fraud right to the end of his life.

But since many people tend because of ignorance to be attracted by these kinds of arguments rather than those of a serious nature and they take pleasure in slander while finding praise annoying, I believe I am compelled to not to leave this person unexamined since he has composed an indictment of us direct enough for a courtroom.

This is because I have also noticed that people are especially pleased when someone who started to slander others first is refuted through his own vices. Now, Apion’s argument is not easy to sum up or to understand clearly what he wants to say. But—as far as is pack of disordered lies can be analyzed—some of his words are like those already examined, related to how our people departed from Egypt; another category is the accusation against the Jewish residents of Alexandria; and the third is mixed up among those with claims against our temple rites and general practices.”

ἄρξομαι δὲ νῦν τοὺς ὑπολειπομένους τῶν γεγραφότων τι καθ᾿ ἡμῶν ἐλέγχειν. καίτοι περὶ τῆς πρὸς Ἀπίωνα τὸν γραμματικὸν ἀντιρρήσεως ἐπῆλθέ μοι διαπορεῖν, εἰ χρὴ σπουδάσαι· τὰ μὲν γάρ ἐστι τῶν ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένων τοῖς ὑπ᾿ ἄλλων εἰρημένοις ὅμοια, τὰ δὲ λίαν ψυχρῶς προστέθεικεν, τὰ πλεῖστα δὲ βωμολοχίαν ἔχει καὶ πολλήν, εἰ δεῖ τἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν, ἀπαιδευσίαν, ὡς ἂν ὑπ᾿ ἀνθρώπου συγκείμενα καὶ φαύλου τὸν τρόπον καὶ παρὰ πάντα τὸν βίον ὀχλαγωγοῦ γεγονότος. ἐπεὶ δ᾿ οἱ πολλοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων διὰ τὴν αὐτῶν ἄνοιαν ὑπὸ τῶν τοιούτων ἁλίσκονται λόγων μᾶλλον ἢ τῶν μετά τινος σπουδῆς γεγραμμένων, καὶ χαίρουσι μὲν ταῖς λοιδορίαις, ἄχθονται δὲ τοῖς ἐπαίνοις, ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην εἶναι μηδὲ τοῦτον ἀνεξέταστον καταλιπεῖν, κατηγορίαν ἡμῶν ἄντικρυς ὡς ἐν δίκῃ γεγραφότα. καὶ γὰρ αὖ κἀκεῖνο τοῖς πολλοῖς ἀνθρώποις ὁρῶ παρακολουθοῦν, τὸ λίαν ἐφήδεσθαι ὅταν τις ἀρξάμενος βλασφημεῖν ἕτερον αὐτὸς ἐλέγχηται περὶ τῶν αὐτῷ προσόντων κακῶν. ἔστι μὲν οὖν οὐ ῥᾴδιον αὐτοῦ διελθεῖν τὸν λόγον οὐδὲ σαφῶς γνῶναι τί λέγειν βούλεται, σχεδὸν δ᾿, ὡς ἐν πολλῇ ταραχῇ καὶ ψευσμάτων συγχύσει, τὰ μὲν εἰς τὴν ὁμοίαν ἰδέαν πίπτει τοῖς προεξητασμένοις περὶ τῆς ἐξ Αἰγύπτου τῶν ἡμετέρων προγόνων μεταναστάσεως, τὰ δ᾿ ἐστὶ κατηγορία τῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ κατοικούντων Ἰουδαίων. τρίτον δ᾿ ἐπὶ τούτοις μέμικται περὶ τῆς ἁγιστείας τῆς κατὰ τὸ ἱερὸν ἡμῶν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων νομίμων κατηγορία.

Apion’s a Racist Buffoon, But People Listen to Him

Josephus, Against Apion 2

“I will turn now to refuting the remaining authors who have written against us. I really don’t know if it is worth my time to respond seriously to the attacks of Apion the grammarian. Some of what he has written is similar to what other people claim; things which he added are rather weak, and most of it is complete absurdity which, to speak truthfully, exposes the author for a scoundrel and a fraud right to the end of his life.

But since many people tend because of ignorance to be attracted by these kinds of arguments rather than those of a serious nature and they take pleasure in slander while finding praise annoying, I believe I am compelled to not to leave this person unexamined since he has composed an indictment of us direct enough for a courtroom.

This is because I have also noticed that people are especially pleased when someone who started to slander others first is refuted through his own vices. Now, Apion’s argument is not easy to sum up or to understand clearly what he wants to say. But—as far as is pack of disordered lies can be analyzed—some of his words are like those already examined, related to how our people departed from Egypt; another category is the accusation against the Jewish residents of Alexandria; and the third is mixed up among those with claims against our temple rites and general practices.”

ἄρξομαι δὲ νῦν τοὺς ὑπολειπομένους τῶν γεγραφότων τι καθ᾿ ἡμῶν ἐλέγχειν. καίτοι περὶ τῆς πρὸς Ἀπίωνα τὸν γραμματικὸν ἀντιρρήσεως ἐπῆλθέ μοι διαπορεῖν, εἰ χρὴ σπουδάσαι· τὰ μὲν γάρ ἐστι τῶν ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένων τοῖς ὑπ᾿ ἄλλων εἰρημένοις ὅμοια, τὰ δὲ λίαν ψυχρῶς προστέθεικεν, τὰ πλεῖστα δὲ βωμολοχίαν ἔχει καὶ πολλήν, εἰ δεῖ τἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν, ἀπαιδευσίαν, ὡς ἂν ὑπ᾿ ἀνθρώπου συγκείμενα καὶ φαύλου τὸν τρόπον καὶ παρὰ πάντα τὸν βίον ὀχλαγωγοῦ γεγονότος. ἐπεὶ δ᾿ οἱ πολλοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων διὰ τὴν αὐτῶν ἄνοιαν ὑπὸ τῶν τοιούτων ἁλίσκονται λόγων μᾶλλον ἢ τῶν μετά τινος σπουδῆς γεγραμμένων, καὶ χαίρουσι μὲν ταῖς λοιδορίαις, ἄχθονται δὲ τοῖς ἐπαίνοις, ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην εἶναι μηδὲ τοῦτον ἀνεξέταστον καταλιπεῖν, κατηγορίαν ἡμῶν ἄντικρυς ὡς ἐν δίκῃ γεγραφότα. καὶ γὰρ αὖ κἀκεῖνο τοῖς πολλοῖς ἀνθρώποις ὁρῶ παρακολουθοῦν, τὸ λίαν ἐφήδεσθαι ὅταν τις ἀρξάμενος βλασφημεῖν ἕτερον αὐτὸς ἐλέγχηται περὶ τῶν αὐτῷ προσόντων κακῶν. ἔστι μὲν οὖν οὐ ῥᾴδιον αὐτοῦ διελθεῖν τὸν λόγον οὐδὲ σαφῶς γνῶναι τί λέγειν βούλεται, σχεδὸν δ᾿, ὡς ἐν πολλῇ ταραχῇ καὶ ψευσμάτων συγχύσει, τὰ μὲν εἰς τὴν ὁμοίαν ἰδέαν πίπτει τοῖς προεξητασμένοις περὶ τῆς ἐξ Αἰγύπτου τῶν ἡμετέρων προγόνων μεταναστάσεως, τὰ δ᾿ ἐστὶ κατηγορία τῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ κατοικούντων Ἰουδαίων. τρίτον δ᾿ ἐπὶ τούτοις μέμικται περὶ τῆς ἁγιστείας τῆς κατὰ τὸ ἱερὸν ἡμῶν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων νομίμων κατηγορία.

The Sickness of the Soul: Cicero on Irrational Hate

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.25-6

“Furthermore, for these things it is believed that their opposites are born from fear, just as in hatred of women as in the Misogunos of Atilius or that against the whole race of humankind which we have heard that Timon who is called the Misanthrope felt or even being inhospitable. 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 autem sunt his contraria, ea nasci putantur a metu, ut odium mulierum, quale in Μισογύνῳ Atilii1 est, ut in hominum universum genus, quod accepimus de Timone, qui μισάνθρωπος appellatur, ut inhospitalitas est: 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.

Royal 15 D V   f. 107v
2nd half of the 15th century, Royal MS 15 D V, f. 107v

The Sickness of the Soul: Cicero on Irrational Hate

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.25-6

“Furthermore, for these things it is believed that their opposites are born from fear, just as in hatred of women as in the Misogunos of Atilius or that against the whole race of humankind which we have heard that Timon who is called the Misanthrope felt or even being inhospitable. 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 autem sunt his contraria, ea nasci putantur a metu, ut odium mulierum, quale in Μισογύνῳ Atilii1 est, ut in hominum universum genus, quod accepimus de Timone, qui μισάνθρωπος appellatur, ut inhospitalitas est: 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.

Royal 15 D V   f. 107v
2nd half of the 15th century, Royal MS 15 D V, f. 107v

Callimachus, Epigram 28: I Hate Cyclic Poetry, and Everything Else too…

“I hate the cyclic poem and I don’t enjoy
The road that goes too far this way and that.
I despise as well the loved one who wanders—I
Don’t drink from just any stream: I loathe all common things.
Yes, Lysanius, you are fine—but before I say that clearly
Some Echo says “he belongs to another”.

᾿Εχθαίρω τὸ ποίημα τὸ κυκλικόν, οὐδὲ κελεύθῳ
χαίρω, τίς πολλοὺς ὧδε καὶ ὧδε φέρει•
μισέω καὶ περίφοιτον ἐρώμενον, οὐδ’ ἀπὸ κρήνης
πίνω• σικχαίνω πάντα τὰ δημόσια.
Λυσανίη, σὺ δὲ ναίχι καλὸς καλός—ἀλλὰ πρὶν εἰπεῖν
τοῦτο σαφῶς, ᾿Ηχώ φησί τις• ‘ἄλλος ἔχει.’

This poem, with its original reference to what many scholars consider the poems of the epic cycle has furnished much ammunition to the same scholars who wish to argue that Callimachus (and others) looked down on these poems. To be fair, in this poem Callimachus seems to hate everything–he uses four different ways to express his disdain (and that variation is Hellenistic as anything else). But he seems to be so angry (if we can believe this isn’t just a conceit of a poem) because a pretty boy is already taken…

In the light of unrequited love, doesn’t everything look a bit dimmer and sordid?