The Wakeful Mind and Happiness

Cicero, De Finibus 5. 87

“For this reason we must examine whether or not it is possible for the study of the philosophers to bring us [happiness].”

Quare hoc videndum est, possitne nobis hoc ratio philosophorum dare.


Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, 2.1 (1219a25)

“Let the work of the mind be the performance of life—and what this means is using life and being awake (for sleep is some kind of a rest and cessation of life). As a result, since the work of the mind and its virtue are identical, then the work of virtue is an earnest life.

This, then, is the complete good, which is itself happiness. For it is clear from what we have argued—as we said that happiness was the best thing; the goals and the greatest of the goods are in the mind, but aspects of the mind are either a state of being or an action—it is clear that, since an action is better than a state and the best action is better than the best state, that the performance of virtue is the greatest good of the mind. Happiness, then, is the action of a good mind.”

Ἔτι ἔστω ψυχῆς ἔργον τὸ ζῆν ποιεῖν, τοῦτοχρῆσις καὶ ἐγρήγορσις (ὁ γὰρ ὕπνος ἀργία τις καὶ ἡσυχία)· ὥστ᾿ ἐπεὶ τὸ ἔργον ἀνάγκη ἓν καὶ ταὐτὸ εἶναι τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς, ἔργον ἂν εἴη τῆς ἀρετῆς ζωὴ σπουδαία.

τοῦτ᾿ ἄρ᾿ ἐστὶ τὸ τέλεον ἀγαθόν, ὅπερ ἦν ἡ εὐδαιμονία. δῆλον δὲ ἐκ τῶν ὑποκειμένων (ἦν μὲν γὰρ ἡ εὐδαιμονία τὸ ἄριστον, τὰ δὲ τέλη ἐν ψυχῇ καὶ τὰ ἄριστα τῶν ἀγαθῶν, τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ δὲ ἢ ἕξις ἢ ἐνέργεια), ἐπεὶ βέλτιον ἡ ἐνέργεια τῆς διαθέσεως καὶ τῆς βελτίστης ἕξεως ἡ βελτίστη ἐνέργεια ἡ δ᾿ ἀρετὴ βελτίστη ἕξις, τὴν τῆς ἀρετῆς ἐνέργειαν τῆς ψυχῆς ἄριστον εἶναι. ἦν δὲ καὶ ἡ εὐδαιμονία τὸ ἄριστον· ἔστιν ἄρα ἡ εὐδαιμονία ψυχῆς ἀγαθῆς ἐνέργεια.

ψυχή: can be translated into English as “spirit” or “soul” instead of “mind”. I avoided the former to sidestep the implication that Aristotle is making some kind of a mystical argument; I avoided the latter because it has such strong religious associations in English.

Seneca De Beneficiis 22

“A just reason for happiness is seeing that a friend is happy—even better, is to make a friend happy.”

iusta enim causa laetitiae est laetum amicum videre, iustior fecisse

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Ms 3045 fol.22v Boethius with the Wheel of Fortune, from ‘De Consolatione Philosophiae’, translated by Jean de Meung

Biting the Snake that Bites You: Pythagoras as Prophet

Apollonios Paradoxographer, Wonder 6

“Pythagoras the son of Mnêsarkhos was present among these men, and first he was toiling over learning and arithmetic and later he did not condemn the omen reading of Pherecydes.

For also in Metapontios when a ship was approaching carrying a cargo and there were people nearby praying for it to arrive safe because of its cargo, he stood and said this, “this ship will appear to you, like a corpse carrying a body”

And again in Kaulônia, as Aristotle says when he is writing about this, he says many other things, and in Turrênia, he says he bit the deadly snake who was biting him and killed him. He also foretold the strife that occurred among the Pythagoreans. For this reason he went to Metapontios and was seen by no one.

And after crossing the river near Kosa with others he heard a great voice beyond human ability: “Hello, Pythagoras.” And those present became very frightened. He also once appeared both in Kroton and Metapontios in the same day and hour.

While he was seated once in the theater, he stretched out and showed to those who were seated that his own thigh was gold. There are other impossible stories about him too. But we should stop the account about him because we don’t want to write only about him.”

6 Τούτοις δὲ ἐπιγενόμενος Πυθαγόρας, Μνησάρχου υἱός, τὸ μὲν πρῶτον διεπονεῖτο περὶ τὰ μαθήματα καὶ τοὺς ἀριθμούς, ὕστερον δέ ποτε καὶ τῆς Φερεκύδου τερατοποιίας οὐκ ἀπέστη.

 καὶ γὰρ ἐν Μεταποντίῳ πλοίου εἰσερχομένου φορτίον ἔχοντος καὶ τῶν παρατυχόντων εὐχομένων σωστὸν ἐκεῖνο κατελθεῖν διὰ τὸν φόρτον, ἑστῶτα τοῦτον εἰπεῖν «νεκρὸν τοίνυν φανήσεται ὑμῖν σῶμα ἄγον τὸ πλοῖον τοῦτο.»

πάλιν δ’ ἐν Καυλωνίᾳ, ὥς φησιν ᾿Αριστοτέλης <…..> γράφων περὶ αὐτοῦ πολλὰ μὲν καὶ ἄλλα λέγει, καὶ τὸν ἐν Τυρρηνίᾳ, φησίν, δάκνοντα θανάσιμον ὄφιν αὐτὸς δάκνων ἀπέκτεινεν. καὶ τὴν γινομένην δὲ στάσιν τοῖς Πυθαγορείοις προειπεῖν. διὸ καὶ εἰς Μεταπόντιον ἀπῇρεν ὑπὸ μηδενὸς θεωρηθείς.

καὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ κατὰ Κόσαν ποταμοῦ διαβαίνων σὺν ἄλλοις ἤκουσε φωνὴν μεγάλην ὑπὲρ ἄνθρωπον «Πυθαγόρα, χαῖρε.» τοὺς δὲ παρόντας περιδεεῖς γενέσθαι.  ἐφάνη δέ ποτε καὶ ἐν Κρότωνι καὶ ἐν Μεταποντίῳ τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ὥρᾳ.

ἐν θεάτρῳ δὲ καθήμενός ποτε ἐξανίστατο, ὥς φησιν ᾿Αριστοτέλης, καὶ τὸν ἴδιον μηρὸν παρέφηνε τοῖς καθημένοις ὡς χρυσοῦν. λέγεται δὲ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἄλλα τινὰ παράδοξα. ἡμεῖς δὲ μὴ βουλόμενοι μεταγραφέων ἔργον ποιεῖν αὐτοῦ τὸν λόγον καταπαύσομεν.


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Life’s Purpose, The Pursuit of Knowledge?

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 7.2

“Hêrillos the Karthaginian said that our purpose was knowledge: we should live by adducing the life of knowledge to everything and surrendering nothing to ignorance. He believed that knowledge was a practice of the imagination, imperturbable by argument. He used to say that there was no single end, but that it changed depending on events and situations, just as a bronze figure could be made into either Alexander or Socrates.”

Ἥριλλος δ᾿ ὁ Καρχηδόνιος τέλος εἶπε τὴν ἐπιστήμην, ὅπερ ἐστὶ ζῆν ἀεὶ πάντ᾿ ἀναφέροντα πρὸς τὸ μετ᾿ ἐπιστήμης ζῆν καὶ μὴ τῇ ἀγνοίᾳ διαβεβλημένον. εἶναι δὲ τὴν ἐπιστήμην ἕξιν ἐν φαντασιῶν προσδέξει ἀνυπόπτωτον ὑπὸ λόγου. ποτὲ δ᾿ ἔλεγε μηδὲν εἶναι τέλος, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὰς περιστάσεις καὶ τὰ πράγματ᾿ ἀλλάττεσθαι αὐτό, ὡς καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν χαλκὸν ἢ Ἀλεξάνδρου γινόμενον ἀνδριάντα ἢ Σωκράτους.”

Lactantius, Inst. Div. 3.7

“The highest good according to Herillus is knowledge; according to Zeno, to live congruously with nature, and according to some Stoics, to pursue virtue.”

Herilli summum bonum est scientia, Zenonis cum natura congruenter vivere, quorundam Stoicorum virtutem sequi.

Cicero, De Finibus 2.14

“Erillus, moreover, since he refers everything back to knowledge, imagines one certain good, but it is not the greatest good by which you could steer a life. For this reason, Erillus has been dismissed for a long time. No one has directly disputed him since Chrysippus.”

Erillus autem ad scientiam omnia revocans unum quoddam bonum vidit, sed nec optimum nec quo vita gubernari possit. Itaque hic ipse iam pridem est reiectus; post enim Chrysippum non sane est disputatum.

Cicero, Academica  2.42

“I am not including the philosophies which now seem abandoned, for example Erillus who positioned the highest good in thinking and knowledge. Although he was a pupil of Zeno, you can see how much he disagreed with him and how little with Plato.”

Omitto illa quae relicta iam videntur—ut Erillum, qui in cognitione et scientia summum bonum ponit; qui cum Zenonis auditor esset, vides quantum ab eo dissenserit et quam non multum a Platone.

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A School of Madness and the Cynic’s Life

Empedocles, R88 : (Ps.-?) Hipp. Haer. 7.29.1–3 et 31.2–4

“Markiôn of Pontos was much crazier than these people: after dismissing many of the notions of the majority of people and moving into even more shame, he proposed that there were two principles of everything, claiming there was one good deity and one bad one. Because he thought that he had invented something new, he created his own school filled with madness and a cynic life, since he was something of a bellicose person.

This guy, somehow believing that he would evade most people in failing to be a follower of Christ but really of Empedocles who happened to come from a much earlier period and laid out the belief that there were two causes of the universe, Strife and Attraction…”

[29.1–3] Μαρκίων δὲ ὁ Ποντικὸς πολὺ τούτων μανικώτερος, τὰ πολλὰ τῶν πλειόνων παραπεμψάμενος ἐπὶ τὸ ἀναιδέστερον ὁρμήσας δύο ἀρχὰς τοῦ παντὸς ὑπέθετο, ἀγαθόν <θεόν>1 τινα λέγων καὶ τὸν ἕτερον πονηρόν· καὶ αὐτὸς δὲ νομίζων καινόν τι παρεισαγαγεῖν σχολὴν ἐσκεύασεν ἀπονοίας γέμουσαν καὶ κυνικοῦ βίου, ὤν τις μάχιμος· οὗτος νομίζων λήσεσθαι τοὺς πολλούς ὅτι μὴ Χριστοῦ τυγχάνοι μαθητὴς ἀλλ’ Ἐμπεδοκλέους πολὺ αὐτοῦ προγενεστέρου τυγχάνοντος, ταὐτὰ ὁρίσας ἐδογμάτισε δύο εἶναι τὰ τοῦ παντὸς αἴτια, Νεῖκος καὶ Φιλίαν. [. . .]

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Diogenes the Cynic in his Barrel

Souls of (in)Equal Worth?

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers 2.8 Aristippos 71

“Once, when [Aristippos] was sailing to Corinth and there was a storm, he got pretty upset. When someone said to him, “We simple people are not afraid, but you philosophers are cowards now?”, he responded, “We are not each worrying about souls of equal worth.”

When someone else thought highly of himself for his great learning, Aristippos said, “Just as those who eat the most and exercise the most are not healthier than those who take what they need, so too the serious people are not those who read many books but useful ones.”

Εἰς Κόρινθον αὐτῷ πλέοντί ποτε καὶ χειμαζομένῳ συνέβη ταραχθῆναι. πρὸς οὖν τὸν εἰπόντα, “ἡμεῖς μὲν οἱ ἰδιῶται οὐ δεδοίκαμεν, ὑμεῖς δ᾿ οἱ φιλόσοφοι δειλιᾶτε,” “οὐ γὰρ περὶ ὁμοίας,” ἔφη, “ψυχῆς ἀγωνιῶμεν ἑκάτεροι.” σεμνυνομένου τινὸς ἐπὶ πολυμαθείᾳ ἔφη, “ὥσπερ οὐχ οἱ τὰ πλεῖστα ἐσθίοντες [καὶ γυμναζόμενοι] ὑγιαίνουσι μᾶλλον τῶν τὰ δέοντα προσφερομένων, οὕτως οὐδὲ οἱ πολλὰ ἀλλ᾿ οἱ χρήσιμα ἀναγινώσκοντές εἰσι σπουδαῖοι.”

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How A Woman Should Dress (And Sacrifice)

Phintys, fr. 2, On a Woman’s Prudence by the Spartan Phintys, the daughter of Kallikrates the Pythagorean (=Stob. 4.23.61)

“It is also necessary for a woman to take to heart that she will find no kind of purifying remedy for this mistake [adultery], something that would allow her to approach the temples and altars of the gods as a chaste and god-loved woman. This is because in this crime especially the divine spirit is most unforgiving. The most beautiful achievement of a free woman and the foremost glory is to provide as testimony to her prudence toward her husband her children, if they do in fact bear the imprint of similarity to the father who sowed them. That seems to me to be enough regarding marriage.

The following seems to be right to me when it comes to the management of the body. A woman should wear white, but be dressed simply and without decoration. This style of dressing is achieved without transparent or decorated robes or robes which are made from silk; instead a woman should wear modest and white clothing. She preferably also avoids luxury and ostentation and will not cause vile jealousy in other women. She should also not put on gold or emeralds at all—this behavior would make her seem wealthy and haughty to common women.

It is necessary that the well-governed city which is ordered completely with a view to its whole should be one of common experiences and likemindedness. And it should keep out the craftspeople who create these sorts of baubles from its territory. A prudent woman should not embellish her appearance with foreign decoration and makeup but should use the native beauty of the body—she should decorate her body by washing it in water rather than bringing it shame. For this brings honor to herself and the man she lives with.

Women need to make processions from their homes to make sacrifices to the leading-god of the city for themselves, their husbands, and their households. They must make their expedition to the theater or to the market for household goods, however, not when the evening star is rising nor when it is dark but whenever it is still light, accompanied by a single servant or, at most, two as is proper.

In addition, a prudent woman must also perform sacrificial rites for the gods as is permitted to her, but must abstain from the occult rites and rituals of the Great Mother at home. For the common law prohibits women from performing these rituals, since, in addition to other things, these practices make them drunk and insane. The woman of the home needs to be temperate and uncontaminated by everything, even when she is governing the home.”


     Κἀκεῖνο δὲ χρὴ διαλογίζεσθαι, ὡς οὐδὲν καθάρσιον εὑρήσει τᾶς ἀμπλακίας ταύτας ἄκος, ὥστε ὡς ἱερὰ θεῶν καὶ βωμὼς ποτερχομέναν ἦμεν ἁγνὰν καὶ θεοφιλάταν· ἐπὶ γὰρ ταύτᾳ τᾷ ἀδικίᾳ μάλιστα καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον ἀσυγγνωμόνητον γίνεται. κάλλιστος δὲ κόσμος γυναικὸς ἐλευθέρας πρᾶτόν τε κῦδος τὸ διὰ τῶν αὑτᾶς τέκνων ἐπιμαρτύρασθαι τὰν σωφροσύναν τὰν ποτὶ τὸν ἄνδρα, αἴκα τὸν τύπον τᾶς ὁμοιότατος ἐπιφέρωντι τῶ κατασπείραντος αὐτὼς πατρός. καὶ περὶ μὲν εὐνᾶς οὕτως ἔχει· περὶ δὲ τῶ κόσμω τῶ περὶ τὸ σῶμα δοκεῖ μοι οὕτως.

δεῖ λευχείμονα ἦμεν καὶ ἁπλοϊκὰν καὶ ἀπερίσσευτον. ἐσσεῖται  δὲ τοῦτο, αἴκα μὴ διαφανέεσσι μηδὲ διαποικίλοις μηδὲ ἀπὸ βόμβυκος ὑφασμένοις χρᾶται τοῖς περὶ τὸ σῶμα, ἀλλὰ μετρίοις καὶ λευκοχρωμάτοις· οὕτω γὰρ τὸ μᾶλλον κοσμεῖσθαι καὶ τρυφὰν καὶ καλλωπισμὸν φεύξεται, καὶ ζᾶλον οὐκ ἐμποιήσει μοχθηρὸν ταῖς ἄλλαις. χρυσὸν δὲ καὶ σμάραγδον ἁπλῶς μὴ περιτίθεσθαι· καὶ γὰρ πολυχρήματον καὶ ὑπεραφανίαν ἐμφαῖνον ποττὰς δαμοτικάς.

δεῖ δὲ τὰν εὐνομουμέναν πόλιν, ὅλαν αὐτὰν δι’ ὅλας τεταγμέναν, συμπαθέα τε καὶ ὁμοιόνομον ἦμεν, ἀπερύκεν δὲ καὶ δαμιοεργὼς ἐκ τᾶς πόλιος τὼς ἐργαζομένως τὰ τοιαῦτα. χρώματι δὲ φαιδρύνεσθαι τὰν ποτῶπα μὴ ἐπακτῷ καὶ ἀλλοτρίῳ, τῷ δ’ οἰκῄῳ τῶ σώματος δι’ αὐτῶ τῶ ὕδατος ἀπολουομέναν, κοσμὲν δὲ μᾶλλον αὑτὰν αἰσχύνᾳ·

καὶ γὰρ τὸν συμβιῶντα καὶ αὑτὰν ἔντιμον παρέξεται. τὰς δὲ ἐξόδως ἐκ τᾶς οἰκίας ποιεῖσθαι † τὰς γυναῖκας τὰς δαμοτελέας θυηπολούσας τῷ ἀρχαγέτᾳ θεῷ τᾶς πόλιος ὑπὲρ αὑτᾶς καὶ τῶ ἀνδρὸς καὶ τῶ παντὸς οἴκω· ἔπειτα  μήτε ὄρφνας ἐνισταμένας μήτε ἑσπέρας ἀλλὰ πλαθυούσας ἀγορᾶς καταφανέα γινομέναν τὰν ἔξοδον ποιεῖσθαι θεωρίας ἕνεκά τινος ἢ ἀγορασμῶ οἰκῄω μετὰ θεραπαίνας μιᾶς ἢ καττὸ πλεῖστον δύο εὐκόσμως χειραγωγουμέναν.

τὰς δὲ θυσίας λιτὰς παριστάμεν τοῖς θεοῖς καὶ καττὰν δύναμιν, ὀργιασμῶν δὲ καὶ ματρῳασμῶν τῶν κατ’ οἶκον  ἀπέχεσθαι. καὶ γὰρ ὁ κοινὸς νόμος τᾶς πόλιος ἀπερύκει ταῦ<τα> τὰς γυναῖκας ἐπιτελέν, καὶ ἄλλως καὶ ὅτι μέθας καὶ ἐκστάσιας ψυχᾶς ἐπάγοντι ταὶ θρησκεύσιες αὗται· τὰν δ’ οἰκοδέσποιναν καὶ προκαθεζομέναν οἴκω δεῖ σώφρονα καὶ ἀνέπαφον ποτὶ πάντα ἦμεν.


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Image from Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History 4th Century BCE Marble Statue

Introspection and Perception: Ptolemais of Cyrene

Ptolemais of Cyrene [Porph. in Ptol. harm. p. 25 Düring ] consulted french translation

“Ptolemais of Cyrene wrote about these things briefly in her investigation and Didymos the musician addressed it as well among many other this in his work On the Difference Between Aristoksenians and Pythagoreians… Ptolemais wrote this:

What is the difference in those who are exceptional at music? Some put reason forward as the matter, but others offer sensation, while there are those who posit both. The Pythagoreans offer reason as the issue, those of them who challenge musiciians to abandon perception and instead to accept reason itself as a sufficient criterion. Musicians are refuted when they start by taking up perception in the beginning only to forget it. Instrumentalists tend to emphasize perception because the contemplation of theory is useless to them or in some way weak.

What is the difference of those who believe that both reason and perception are important criteria? Some propose that both perception and reason have similar power, while others position one in front of the other. Aristoxenos of Tarantum thinks that they matter equally. He believes that perception cannot sustain itself apart from reason and that reason is not powerful enough alone to persist without the basic foundations of perception and that it eventually returns the product of introspection back to perception.”

Why does he want to set perception before reasons? It is because of order not power. For, he says, whenever what is sensed in any way takes root then we need to privilege reason in any theory about it. Who else values both principles similarly? Pythagoras and his followers. For they want perception, as a kind of guide, to start by taking the inspirations which they pass on to reason and for reason then to move on from receiving these sensations and to adapt them on its own in moving away from perception. For this reason, if a system of thought founded upon reason seems no longer perfectly fit to perception, they do not undermine it, but instead reproach the sensation for departing from its meaning since reason discovers what is correct through itself and refutes perception.

Who is in opposition to them? Some of the musicians from the school of Aristoxenos, especially those who have assumed a theoretical mindset but have also adding to it from instrumental practice. These people believe that perception is the greater power and that reason is second only because it is useful.”

Περὶ τούτων συντόμως μὲν καὶ ἡ Κυρηναία Πτολεμαῒς ἔγραψεν ἐν τῇ εἰσαγωγῇ, ἐπῆλθε δὲ καὶ Δίδυμος ὁ μουσικὸς διὰ πλειόνων ἐν τῷ Περὶ τῆς διαφορᾶς τῶν ᾿Αριστοξενείων τε καὶ Πυθαγορείων. … γράφει δὴ ἡ μὲν Πτολεμαῒς τάδε· «Τῶν ἐν τῇ μουσικῇ διαπρεψάντων τίς ἡ διαφορά; οἱ μὲν γὰρ τὸν λόγον προέκριναν αὐτόν, οἱ δὲ τὴν αἴσθησιν, οἱ δὲ τὸ συναμφότερον. τὸν μὲν λόγον προέκρινον αὐτὸν τῶν Πυθαγορείων ὅσοι μᾶλλον ἐφιλονείκησαν πρὸς τοὺς μουσικοὺς τελέως τὴν αἴσθησιν ἐκβάλλειν, τὸν δὲ λόγον ὡς αὔταρκες κριτήριον καθ’ ἑαυτὸν εἰσφέρειν. ἐλέγχονται δ’ οὗτοι πάντως τι αἰσθητὸν παραλαμβάνοντες ἐν ἀρχῇ καὶ ἐπιλανθανόμενοι. τὴν δ’ αἴσθησιν προέκριναν οἱ ὀργανικοί, οἷς ἢ οὐδαμῶς ἔννοια θεωρίας ἐγένετο ἢ ἀσθενής. τῶν δὲ τὸ συναμφότερον προκρινάντων τίς ἡ διαφορά; οἱ μὲν ὁμοίως ἀμφότερα ἰσοδυναμοῦντα παρέλαβον τήν τ’ αἴσθησιν καὶ τὸν λόγον, οἱ δὲ τὸ ἕτερον προηγούμενον, τὸ δ’ ἕτερον ἑπόμενον. ὁμοίως μὲν ἀμφότερα ᾿Αριστόξενος ὁ Ταραντῖνος. οὔτε γὰρ αἰσθητὸν δύναται συστῆναι καθ’ αὑτὸ δίχα λόγου, οὔτε λόγος ἰσχυρότερός ἐστι παραστῆσαί τι μὴ τὰς ἀρχὰς λαβὼν παρὰ τῆς αἰσθήσεως, καὶ τὸ τέλος τοῦ θεωρήματος ὁμολογούμενον πάλιν τῇ αἰσθήσει ἀποδιδούς.

τί δὲ μᾶλλον βούλεται προηγεῖσθαι τὴν αἴσθησιν τοῦ λόγου; τῇ τάξει, οὐ τῇ δυνάμει. ὅταν γάρ, φησι, ταύτῃ τὸ αἰσθητὸν συναφθῇ ὁποῖόν ποτέ ἐστι, τότε δεῖν ἡμᾶς καὶ τὸν λόγον προάγειν εἰς τὴν τούτου θεωρίαν. τίνες τὸ συναμφότερον ὁμοίως; Πυθαγόρας καὶ οἱ διαδεξάμενοι. βούλονται γὰρ αὐτοὶ τὴν μὲν αἴσθησιν ὡς ὁδηγὸν τοῦ λόγου ἐν ἀρχῇ παραλαμβάνειν πρὸς τὸ οἱονεὶ ζώπυρά τινα παραδιδόναι αὐτῷ, τὸν δὲ λόγον ἐκ τούτων ὁρμηθέντα καθ’ ἑαυτὸν πραγματεύεσθαι ἀποστάντα τῆς αἰσθήσεως, ὅθεν κἂν τὸ σύστημα τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ λόγου εὑρηθὲν τῆς πραγματείας μηκέτι συνᾴδῃ τῇ αἰσθήσει, οὐκ ἐπιστρέφονται, ἀλλ’ ἐπεγκαλοῦσι λέγοντες τὴν μὲν αἴσθησιν πλανᾶσθαι, τὸν δὲ λόγον εὑρηκέναι τὸ ὀρθὸν καθ’ ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀπελέγχειν τὴν αἴσθησιν. τίνες ἐναντίως τούτοις; ἔνιοι τῶν ἀπ’ ᾿Αριστοξένου μουσικῶν, ὅσοι κατὰ μὲν τὴν ἔννοιαν θεωρίαν ἔλαβον, ἀπὸ δ’ ὀργανικῆς ἕξεως προκόψαντες. οὗτοι γὰρ τὴν μὲν αἴσθησιν ὡς κυρίαν ἔθεσαν, τὸν δὲ λόγον ὡς παρεπόμενον πρὸς μόνον τὸ χρειῶδες.

Allegory of Visual Perception

Tracking Inside the Self: Aesara the Pythagorean

Aesara [consulted this spanish translation by J. P. Bermúdez]

The work of Aisara of Sparta the Pythagorean about the nature of human kind

“Human nature seems to me to be a model for law and justice for home and the city alike. For one who searches the tracks inside themselves might discover and interpret this within: for law and justice, which is the guiding principle of the soul, are inside us. Because our nature is threefold, it supports three types of operations: our intelligence [noos] guides judgment and wisdom; our passion [thumôsis] directs bravery and impulse; and our desire shapes our attractions and affection. These forces are situated in relation to each other in such a way that the most powerful controls them, and the weakest is controlled. The intermediate power has a middle position, to exercise control and to be controlled in turn.

God shaped these traits in such a way and distributed them too along the model of the human body because he believes that the human alone—and none of the other mortal animals—is amenable to law and justice. For the state of any community could not even develop from one thing only, much less many, and those similar to each other—since it is necessary, when materials are different, for the parts of our souls to be different too, just as in the parts of the body when it comes to the instruments of touch, sight, taste, smell, they do not have the same harmony in respect to all things—nor could a common state come from multiple things which are unrelated but just happen to come into contact, but instead [it comes] from parts which have obtained some completeness in their whole arrangement, their composition, and their harmony together. Not only do multiple unrelated things happen to find a whole and complete form but these elements also may brought together in a random way however they happened to come together, and yet are still governed by some law and a kind of wisdom.

If each of the elements takes the same part of power and honor, even though they are unlike and one is worse and one is better and one is in the middle, they are not able of bringing the parts of the soul into harmony. If they are unequal, and the best does not control the greater portion of the soul, but the worse does, then there is great imprudence and disorder in the mind. If the better takes the greater portion and the worse takes the less, but they are not each distributed according to a logical balance, then harmony and love and justice are not able to exist in the mind, since when each one of them is distributed according to a proportional order, that’s the structure I think is most just.

A certain kind of unanimity and similarity of outlook accompanies this kind of composition. This would be rightly said to be a good government of the soul which brings the strength of virtue from the better ruling and the worse being ruled. Friendship and attraction and affection for one’s own kind and family also grow from these parts. For the mind persuades, since it can see consequences; desire longs for things; and passion, when full of energy, seethes with hate and becomes dear to desire. The mind, because it can harmonize pleasure and pain, also balances out the tense and eager portion of the soul with the light and dissolute part.

Each part is apportioned according to the family and state of each trait. The mind sees consequences and keeps track of affairs while the passion provides impulse and courage for what has been anticipated and desire, which is related to tender affection, harmonizes with the mind, taking what is pleasurable and providing a reflection on it to the reflective portion of the mind. Human life seems to me to be best with a mixture of these things, when the pleasurable is mixed with the serious and pleasure is mixed with virtue. The mind is able to harmonize these things, once it has come to love learning and virtue.”

Αἰσάρας Πυθαγορείου Λευκανᾶς ἐκ τοῦ Περὶ ἀνθρώπω φύσιος (Fr. phil. Gr. II p. 51 Mull.) :

Φύσις ἀνθρώπω κανών μοι δοκέει νόμω τε καὶ δίκας ἦμεν καὶ οἴκω τε καὶ πόλιος. Ἴχνια γὰρ ἐν αὑτῷ στιβαζόμενος εὕροιτό κά τις καὶ μαστευόμενος· νόμος γὰρ ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ δίκα ἁ τᾶς ψυχᾶς ἐστι διακόσμασις. Τριχθαδία γὰρ ὑπάρχοισα ἐπὶ τριχθαδίοις ἔργοις συνέστακε· γνώμαν καὶ φρόνασιν ἐργαζόμενος <ὁ νόος> καὶ ἀλκὰν καὶ <ὁρμὰν ἁ> θύμωσις καὶ ἔρωτα καὶ φιλοφροσύναν ἁ ἐπιθυμία. Καὶ οὕτω συντέτακται ταῦτα ποτ’ ἄλλαλα πάντα, ὥστε αὐτᾶς τὸ μὲν κράτιστον ἀγέεσθαι, τὸ δὲ χέρειον ἄρχεσθαι, τὸ δὲ μέσον μέσαν ἐπέχεν τάξιν, καὶ ἄρχεν καὶ ἄρχεσθαι.

Ταῦτα δ’ οὕτως ἐμάσατο κατὰ λόγον ὁ θεὸς ἔν τε ἐκτυπώσι καὶ ἐξεργασίᾳ τῶ ἀνθρωπίνω σκάνεος, ὅτι μόνον ἄνθρωπον ἐνοάσατο νόμω τε καὶ δίκας ἐπιδέκτορα γενέσθαι καὶ οὐδὲν ἄλλο τῶν θνατῶν ζῴων. Οὔτε <γὰρ> ἐξ ἑνὸς σύσταμα κοινανίας γένοιτό κα, οὔτε μὰν ἐκ πλειόνων, ὁμοίων δὲ τούτων (ἀνάγκα γάρ, ἐπεὶ τὰ πράγματα διαφέροντά ἐντι, καὶ τὰς ἐν ἁμῖν μοίρας τᾶς ψυχᾶς διαφόρως ἦμεν, ὥσπερ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶ σώματος <ἅψιος ὄργανα καὶ> ὁράσιος καὶ ἀκοᾶς καὶ γεύσιος καὶ ὀσφράσιος, οὐ γὰρ πάντα ποτὶ πάντα τὰν αὐτὰν ἔχει συναρμογάν), οὔτε μὰν ἐκ πλειόνων μὲν καὶ ἀνομοίων, τῶν τυχόντων μέντοι γε, ἀλλὰ τῶν ποττὰν τῶ ὅλω συστάματος ἐκπλάρωσιν καὶ σύνταξιν καὶ συναρμογὰν τευχθέντων· οὐ μόνον δὲ ἐκ πλειόνων καὶ ἀνομοίων καὶ τῶν ἐς τὸ ὅλον καὶ τέλεον τευχθέντων, ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτῶν τούτων οὐκ εἰκαίως καὶ ὡς ἔτυχε συνταχθέντων, ἀλλὰ μετά τινος νόμω καὶ ἔμφρονος ἐπιστασίας.

Αἴ τε γὰρ τὰν ἴσαν ἐφέρετο μοῖραν καὶ δυνάμιος καὶ τιμᾶς, ἀνόμοια ἐόντα καὶ τὰ μὲν χερείονα τὰ δὲ κάρρονα τὰ δὲ μέσα, οὔ κα ἐδύνατο ἁ κατὰ ψυχὰν τῶν μερέων κοινανία συναρμοσθῆμεν· αἴ τε ἀνίσας, μὴ τὰ κάρρονα δὲ τὰν μείζονα μοῖραν ἐφέρετο, ἀλλὰ τὰ χερείονα, πολλά <κα> ἀφροσύνα καὶ ἀταξία περὶ τὰν ψυχὰν ὑπᾶρχεν· αἴ τε τὰ κάρρονα μὲν τὰν μείζονα, τὰ χερείονα δὲ τὰν μείονα, μὴ ποτὶ λόγον δὲ ἕκαστον τούτων, οὔ κα ἐδύνατο ὁμόνοια καὶ φιλία καὶ δικαιότας ἦμεν περὶ τὰν ψυχάν, ἐπεὶ ὧ ἕκαστον ἓν ποτὶ λόγον συντέτακται τὸν ἁρμόσδοντα, τὸ τοιοῦτον φαμὶ ἐγὼ δικαιότατα ἦμεν.

Καὶ μὰν ὁμόνοιά τις καὶ ὁμοφροσύνα ὀπαδέει τᾷ τοιαύτᾳ διατάξι. Τὸ δὲ τοιοῦτον δικαίως κα λέγοιτο εὐνομία ἦμεν τᾶς ψυχᾶς, ἅτις ἐκ τῶ ἄρχεν μὲν τὸ κάρρον, ἄρχεσθαι δὲ τὸ χέρειον κράτος ἐπιφέροιτο τᾶς ἀρετᾶς. Καὶ φιλία δὲ καὶ ἔρως καὶ φιλοφροσύνα σύμφυλος καὶ συγγενὴς ἐκ τούτων ἐξεβλάστασε τῶν μερέων. Συμπείθει μὲν γὰρ ὁ νόος ὁραυγούμενος, ἔραται δὲ ἁ ἐπιθυμία, ἁ δὲ θύμωσις ἐμπιπλαμένα μένεος, ἔχθρᾳ ζέοισα φίλα γίνεται τᾷ ἐπιθυμίᾳ. Ἁρμόξας γὰρ ὁ νόος τὸ ἁδὺ τῷ λυπηρῷ συγκατακρεόμενος καὶ τὸ σύντονον καὶ σφοδρὸν τῷ κούφῳ μέρει τᾶς ψυχᾶς καὶ διαχυτικῷ· ἕκαστόν τε ἑκάστω πράγματος τὰν σύμφυλον καὶ συγγενέα προμάθειαν διαμεμέρισται, ὁ μὲν νόος ὁραυγούμενος καὶ στιβαζόμενος τὰ πράγματα, ἁ δὲ θύμωσις ὁρμὰν καὶ ἀλκὰν ποτιφερομένα τοῖς ὁραυγαθεῖσιν· ἁ δὲ ἐπιθυμία φιλοστοργίᾳ συγγενὴς ἐᾶσα ἐφαρμόσδει τῷ νόῳ ἴδιον περιποιουμένα τὸ ἁδὺ καὶ τὸ σύννοον ἀποδιδοῖσα τῷ συννόῳ μέρει τᾶς ψυχᾶς. Ὧνπερ ἕκατι δοκέει μοι καὶ ὁ βίος ὁ κατ’ ἀνθρώπως ἄριστος ἦμεν, ὅκκα τὸ ἁδὺ τῷ σπουδαίῳ συγκατακραθῇ καὶ <ἁ> ἁδονὰ τᾷ ἀρετᾷ. Ποθαρμόξασθαι δ’ αὐτὰ ὁ νόος δύναται, παιδεύσιος καὶ ἀρετᾶς ἐπήρατος γενόμενος.

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From the Allegory of Good Government in Siena by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

A Woman’s Prudence? Letting her Body Serve the Needs of the State

The more things change…

Phintys, fr. 1, On a Woman’s Prudence by the Spartan Phintys, the daughter of Kallikrates the Pythagorean (=Stob. 4.23.61)

“It is necessary that a woman be completely good and well-ordered. Someone could never be like this without virtue. For the virtue which is proper to each thing causes the object which welcomes it to be more serious. The excellence of the eyes improves the eyes; that of hearing improves the ears; the horse’s virtue betters the horse and a man’s virtue improves the man. In the same way, a woman’s virtue ennobles a woman.

The virtue most appropriate to a woman is prudence. For through prudence a woman will be able to honor and take delight in her own husband. Many may in fact think that it is not fitting for a woman to practice philosophy, just as she should not ride a horse or speak in public. But I believe that while some things are particular to a man and others to a woman, there are some that are shared by both man and woman, even though some are more appropriate to a man than a woman and those better for a woman than a man.

For example, serving in an army or working in politics and speaking in public are proper for a man. For a woman, it is running the household, staying at home, and welcoming and serving her husband. In common I place bravery, an understanding of justice, and wisdom. For It is right that virtues of the body are proper for both a man and woman along with the virtues of the soul. And, just as having a healthy body is useful for both, so too is the health of the soul.

The virtues of the body are health, strength, good perception, and beauty. Some of these are better for a man to nourish and keep; and others are more appropriate for a woman. Courage and wisdom are certainly more proper for a man both die to the nature of his body and the power of his mind. But prudence is proper for a woman.

For this reason it is important to recognize what a woman trained in prudence is like, in particular from what number and kinds of traits this possession graces a woman. I propose that this comes from five things. The first is from respecting the sanctity and reverence of her marriage bed; the second is a sense of propriety for her body; the third is concerning the actions of those from her own household; the fourth is from not practicing the occult rites and the celebrations of the Great Mother; the fifth is in proper and moderate sacrifices to the divine.

Of these traits, the most important and vital for prudence in terms of her marriage bed is staying uncontaminated and fully separate from some other man. For, to start with, a woman who breaks this law does wrong against her ancestral gods, because she provides for her home and her family not true born allies but bastards.

The one who does this transgresses against the natural gods whose oath she took, following the practice of her forebears and relatives, “to participate in the common life and to produce offspring according to the law.” She also commits injustice against her country, because she does not stay with those who were assigned to her. Then she acts even beyond those for whom the greatest of penalties is assigned because of the excess of this injustice: this is because to commit an error or an outrage for the sake of pleasure is unlawful and the most unforgivable. Ruin is the outcome of all outrage.”

Φιντύος τᾶς Καλλικράτεος θυγατρὸς Πυθαγορείας

ἐκ τοῦ Περὶ γυναικὸς σωφροσύνας.

Τὸ μὲν ὅλον ἀγαθὰν δεῖ ἦμεν καὶ κοσμίαν· ἄνευ δ’ ἀρετᾶς οὐδέποκα γένοιτό τις τοιαύτα. ἑκάστα γὰρ ἀρετὰ περὶ ἕκαστον γινομένα τὸ αὐτᾶς δεκτικὸν ἀποδίδωτι σπουδαῖον· ἁ μὲν τῶν ὀπτίλων τὼς ὀπτίλως, ἁ δὲ τᾶς ἀκοᾶς τὰν ἀκοάν, καὶ ἁ μὲν ἵππω τὸν ἵππον, ἁ δ’ ἀνδρὸς τὸν  ἄνδρα· οὕτω δὲ καὶ <ἁ> γυναικὸς τὰν γυναῖκα. γυναικὸς δὲ μάλιστα ἀρετὰ σωφροσύνα· διὰ γὰρ ταύτας τὸν ἴδιον ἄνδρα καὶ τιμῆν καὶ ἀγαπῆν δυνασεῖται. πολλοὶ μὲν ἴσως δοξάζοντι, ὅτι οὐκ εὐάρμοστον γυναικὶ φιλοσοφέν, ὥσπερ οὐδ’ ἱππεύεν οὐδὲ δαμαγορέν· ἐγὼ δὲ τὰ μέν τινα νομίζω ἀνδρὸς ἦμεν ἴδια, τὰ δὲ γυναικός, τὰ δὲ κοινὰ ἀνδρὸς καὶ γυναικός, τὰ δὲ μᾶλλον ἀνδρὸς ἢ γυναικός, τὰ δὲ μᾶλλον γυναικὸς ἢ ἀνδρός. ἴδια μὲν ἀνδρὸς τὸ στραταγὲν καὶ πολιτεύεσθαι καὶ δαμαγορέν, ἴδια δὲ γυναικὸς τὸ οἰκουρὲν καὶ ἔνδον μένεν καὶ ἐκδέχεσθαι καὶ θεραπεύεν τὸν ἄνδρα. κοινὰ δὲ φαμὶ ἀνδρείαν καὶ δικαιοσύναν καὶ φρόνασιν· καὶ γὰρ τὰς τῶ σώματος ἀρετὰς ἔχεν πρέπον καὶ ἀνδρὶ καὶ γυναικὶ καὶ τᾶς ψυχᾶς ὁμοίως· καὶ ὡς ὑγιαίνεν τῷ σώματι ἀμφοτέροις ὠφέλιμον, οὕτως ὑγιαίνεν τᾷ ψυχᾷ· σώματος δὲ ἦμεν ἀρετὰς ὑγείαν ἰσχὺν εὐαισθησίαν κάλλος. τὰ δὲ μᾶλλον ἀνδρὶ καὶ ἀσκὲν καὶ ἔχεν οἰκῇόν ἐντι, τὰ δὲ μᾶλλον γυναικί.

ἀνδρότατα μὲν γὰρ καὶ φρόνασιν μᾶλλον ἀνδρὶ καὶ διὰ τὰν ἕξιν τῶ σώματος καὶ διὰ τὰν δύναμιν τᾶς ψυχᾶς,  σωφροσύναν δὲ γυναικί. διὸ δεῖ περὶ σωφροσύνας παιδευομέναν γνωρίζεν, ἐκ πόσων τινῶν καὶ ποίων τοῦτο τἀγαθὸν τᾷ γυναικὶ περιγίνεται. φαμὶ δὴ ἐκ πέντε τούτων· πρᾶτον μὲν ἐκ τᾶς περὶ τὰν εὐνὰν ὁσιότατός τε καὶ εὐσε-βείας· δεύτερον δὲ ἐκ τῶ κόσμω τῶ περὶ τὸ σῶμα· τρίτον <δ’> ἐκ τᾶν ἐξόδων τᾶν ἐκ τᾶς ἰδίας οἰκίας· τέταρ-τον δ’ ἐκ τῶ μὴ χρέεσθαι τοῖς ὀργιασμοῖς καὶ ματρῳασμοῖς· πέμπτον δ’ ἐν τᾷ θυσίᾳ τᾷ πρὸς τὸ θεῖον εὐλαβέα ἦμεν καὶ μετρίαν.

τούτων δὲ μέγιστον αἴτιον καὶ συνεκτικώτατον τᾶς σωφροσύνας τὸ περὶ τὰν εὐνὰν ἦμεν ἀδιάφθορον καὶ ἄμικτον θυραίω ἀνδρός. πρᾶτον μὲν γὰρ εἰς τοῦτο παρανομοῦσα ἀδικεῖ γενεθλίως θεώς, οἴκῳ καὶ συγγενείᾳ οὐ γνασίως ἐπικούρως ἀλλὰ νόθως παρεχομένα· ἀδικεῖ δὲ τὼς φύσει θεώς, ὥσπερ ἐπομόσασα μετὰ τῶν αὑτᾶς πατέρων τε καὶ συγγενῶν … συνελεύσεσθαι ἐπὶ κοινωνίᾳ βίω καὶ τέκνων γενέσει τᾷ κατὰ νόμον· ἀδικεῖ δὲ καὶ τὰν αὑτᾶς πατρίδα, μὴ ἐμμένουσα τοῖς ἐνδιατεταγμένοις. ἔπειτα ἐπὶ τούτοις ἀμβλακίσκεν, ἐφ’ οἷς τὸ μέγιστον τῶν προστίμων ὥρισται θάνατος διὰ τὰν ὑπερβολὰν τῶ ἀδικήματος, ἔκθεσμον καὶ ἀσυγγνωμονέστατον ἦμεν ἁδονᾶς ἕνεκεν ἁμαρτάνεν καὶ ὑβρίζεν· ὕβριος δὲ πάσας πέρας ὄλεθρος.

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Ruins of Sparta

Hipparchia and His Wealth

Diogenes Laertes 6. 96-98 Hipparkhia

“Hipparkhia, Metrokles’s sister, was also attracted to their theories. They were both from Marôneia. She fell in love with Kratês’s words and his life and paid no attention to any of her suitors, ignoring their wealth, nobility, and beauty. No, Kratês was everything to her. She even used to threatened her parents, in fact, that she would kill herself if she were not married to him.

So, when Kratês was summoned her her parents to discourage the girl, he was trying everything and when he finally could not persuade her, he stood up and stripped off his clothes and said, “Look, this is the bridegroom; this is his wealth; you are choosing these things. You will not be my partner unless you share these practices.”

The girl made the choice and once she took up the same dress she used to travel with her husband and appeared in public and went to meals with him. Once when she went to Lysimakhos’ home for a symposium, she insulted Theodoros, nicknamed the Atheist, by applying the following witticism: “If whatever Theodoros does is not called unjust then it would not be unjust if Hipparkhia did it. But if Theodoros hit himself, it would not be called wrong, nor would it be wrong if Hipparkhia hit him.”

He had nothing to say in response to this, but he started to take away Hipparkhia’s cloak. But Hipparkhia was neither surprised nor troubled in the way a woman typically is. Instead, when he said, ““Who is this who is abandoning the shuttle at the loom?” She replied, “It’s me, Theodorus—do I seem to have made a mess of my life if, instead of wasting the time to come at the loom, I have used it for education?” There are tons of other tales like this about the lady-philosopher.

Ἐθηράθη δὲ τοῖς λόγοις καὶ ἡ ἀδελφὴ τοῦ Μητροκλέους Ἱππαρχία. Μαρωνεῖται δ’ ἦσαν ἀμφότεροι.

Καὶ ἤρα τοῦ Κράτητος καὶ τῶν λόγων καὶ τοῦ βίου, οὐδενὸς τῶν μνηστευομένων ἐπιστρεφομένη, οὐ πλούτου, οὐκ εὐγενείας, οὐ κάλλους· ἀλλὰ πάντ’ ἦν Κράτης αὐτῇ. καὶ δὴ καὶ ἠπείλει τοῖς γονεῦσιν ἀναιρήσειν αὑτήν, εἰ μὴ τούτῳ δοθείη. Κράτης μὲν οὖν παρακαλούμενος ὑπὸ τῶν γονέων αὐτῆς ἀποτρέψαι τὴν παῖδα, πάντ’ ἐποίει, καὶ τέλος μὴ πείθων, ἀναστὰς καὶ ἀποθέμενος τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σκευὴν ἀντικρὺ αὐτῆς ἔφη, “ὁ μὲν νυμφίος οὗτος, ἡ δὲ κτῆσις αὕτη, πρὸς ταῦτα βουλεύου· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἔσεσθαι κοινωνός, εἰ μὴ καὶ τῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιτηδευμάτων γενηθείης.”

Εἵλετο ἡ παῖς καὶ ταὐτὸν ἀναλαβοῦσα σχῆμα συμπεριῄει τἀνδρὶ καὶ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ συνεγίνετο καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ δεῖπνα ἀπῄει. ὅτε καὶ πρὸς Λυσίμαχον εἰς τὸ συμπόσιον ἦλθεν, ἔνθα Θεόδωρον τὸν ἐπίκλην Ἄθεον ἐπήλεγξε, σόφισμα προτείνασα τοιοῦτον· ὃ ποιῶν Θεόδωρος οὐκ ἂν ἀδικεῖν λέγοιτο, οὐδ’ Ἱππαρχία ποιοῦσα τοῦτο ἀδικεῖν λέγοιτ’ ἄν· Θεόδωρος δὲ τύπτων ἑαυτὸν οὐκ ἀδικεῖ, οὐδ’ ἄρα Ἱππαρχία Θεόδωρον τύπτουσα ἀδικεῖ. ὁ δὲ πρὸς μὲν τὸ λεχθὲν οὐδὲν ἀπήντησεν, ἀνέσυρε δ’ αὐτῆς θοἰμάτιον· ἀλλ’ οὔτε κατεπλάγη Ἱππαρχία οὔτε διεταράχθη ὡς γυνή. ἀλλὰ καὶ εἰπόντος αὐτῇ,

“αὕτη ἐστὶν / ἡ τὰς παρ’ ἱστοῖς ἐκλιποῦσα κερκίδας;”, “ἐγώ,” φησίν, “εἰμί, Θεόδωρε· ἀλλὰ μὴ κακῶς σοι δοκῶ βεβουλεῦσθαι περὶ αὑτῆς, εἰ, τὸν χρόνον ὃν ἔμελλον ἱστοῖς προσαναλώσειν, τοῦτον εἰς παιδείαν κατεχρησάμην;” καὶ ταῦτα μὲν καὶ ἄλλα μυρία τῆς φιλοσόφου.

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Crates and Hipparchia at the Villa Farnesina