Lucian, Volume 1

Front Cover
LUCIAN (c. 120-190 A.D.) the satirist from Samosata on the Euphrates, started as an apprentice sculptor, turned to rhetoric and visited Italy and Gaul as a successful travelling lecturer, before settling in Athens and developing his original brand of satire. Late in life he fell on hard times and accepted an official post in Egypt. Although notable for the Attic purity and elegance of his Greek and his literary versatility, Lucian is chiefly famed for the dialogues in which he satirises human folly, superstition and hypocrisy. His aim was to amuse rather than to instruct. Among his best works are A True Story (the tallest of tall stories about a voyage to the moon), Dialogues of the Gods (a 'reductio ad absurdum' of traditional mythology), Dialogues of the Dead (on the vanity of human wishes), Philosophies for Sale (great philosophers of the past are auctioned off as slaves), The Fisherman (the degeneracy of modern philosophers), The Carousal (philosophers misbehave at a party), Timon (the problems of being rich), Twice accused (Lucian's defence of his literary career) and (if by Lucian) The ass (the amusing adventures of a man who turned into an ass).

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Page 79 - I thought, unless they dreamed those actions right, and the law-givers would not recommend the opposite course unless they supposed it to be advantageous. Since I was in a dilemma, I resolved to go to the men whom they call philosophers and put myself into their hands, begging them to deal with me as they would, and to show me a plain solid path of life.
Page 97 - I looked at them [ie, the dead] it seemed to me that human life is like a long pageant, and that all its trappings are supplied and distributed by Fortune, who arrays the participants in various costumes of many colours. Taking one person, it may be, she attires him royally, placing a tiara upon his head, giving him body-guards, and encircling his brow with the diadem; but upon another she puts the costume of a slave. Again, she makes up one person so that he is handsome, but causes another to be...
Page 97 - So as I looked at them it seemed to me that human life is like a long pageant, and that all its trappings are supplied and distributed by Fortune, who arrays the participants in various costumes of many colours.
Page 117 - They get their nourishment, naturally, from the libations that are poured in our world and the burnt-offerings at the tomb; so that if anyone has not left a friend or kinsman behind him on earth, he goes about his business there as an unfed corpse, in a state of famine.
Page 135 - ... Pollux — and hence written after 179 AD — Lucian satirizes the meretricious methods of acquiring quickly a full measure of skill in speaking. At this time, many speakers felt the need for a short cut to oratorical skill, and it is that idea which Lucian attacks. The essay opens with a promise : "Do not be daunted, however, and do not be dismayed at the greatness of your expectations, thinking to undergo untold labours before you achieve them. I shall not conduct you by a rough road, or a...
Page 1 - ANACHARSIS AND why are your young men doing all this, Solon ? Some of them, locked in each other's arms, are tripping one another up, while others are choking and twisting each other and grovelling together in the mud, wallowing like swine. Yet, in the beginning, as soon as they had taken their clothes off, they put oil on themselves and took turns at rubbing each other down very peacefully — I saw it. Since then, I do not know what has got into them that they push one another about with lowered...
Page 99 - Agamemnons ; the very one, it may be, who a short time ago assumed with great dignity the part of Cecrops or of Erectheus soon appears as a servant at the bidding of the poet. And when at length the play comes to an end, each of them strips off his gold-bespangled robe, lays aside his mask, steps out of his buskins, and goes about in poverty and humility, no longer styled Agamemnon, son of Atreus, or Creon, son of Menoeceus, but Polus...
Page 267 - Sosandra and Calamis shall adorn her with modesty and her smile shall be grave and faint like that of Sosandra, from whom shall come also the simplicity and seemliness of her drapery, except that she shall have her head uncovered. In the measure of her years, whatever it may be, she shall agree most closely with the Cnidan Aphrodite; that, too, Praxiteles may determine.
Page 105 - Be it resolved by the senate and people, that when they die their bodies be punished like those of other malefactors, but their souls be sent back up into life and enter into donkeys until they shall have passed two hundred and fifty thousand years in the said condition, transmigrating from donkey to donkey, bearing burdens, and being driven by the poor; and that thereafter it be permitted them to die.