Lucian, Volume 1
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 159 - On seeing two philosophers very ignorantly debating a given subject, one asking silly questions and the other giving answers that were not at all to the point, he said : " Doesn't it seem to you, friends, that one of these fellows is milking a he-goat and the other is holding a sieve for him ! " When Agathocles the Peripatetic was boasting VOVVTOS OTI fj,ovo<; avToi eariv KOI TT/XHTO?
Page 43 - ... you need not go back through the same rooms, but can go directly to the cold room through a slightly warmed chamber. Everywhere there is copious illumination and full indoor daylight. . . . Why should I go on to tell you of the exercising floor and of the cloak rooms?. . . Moreover, it is...
Page 65 - I will read you the riddle of the picture, stranger, as you seem to be very much disturbed about it. We Celts do not agree with you Greeks in thinking that Hermes is Eloquence: we identify Heracles with it, because he is far more powerful than Hermes. And don't be surprised that he is represented as an old man, for eloquence and eloquence alone is wont to show its full vigour in old age, if your poets are right in saying "A young man hath a wandering wit...
Page 315 - ... has seven gates, all of single planks of cinnamon. The foundations of the city and the ground within its walls are ivory. There are temples of all the gods, built of beryl, and in them great monolithic altars of amethyst, on which they make their great burnt-offerings. Around the city runs a river of the finest myrrh, a hundred royal cubits wide and five deep, so that one can swim in it comfortably. For baths they have large houses of glass, warmed by burning cinnamon; instead of water there...
Page 41 - Then near this is another hall, the most beautiful in the world, in which one can sit or stand with comfort, linger without danger and stroll about with profit. It also is refulgent with Phrygian marble clear to the roof. Next comes the hot corridor, faced with Numidian marble. The hall beyond it is very beautiful, full of abundant light and aglow with colour like that of purple hangings.
Page 67 - I call to mind a line or two of comedy which I learned in your country : the talkative Have, one and all, their tongues pierced at the tip.5 In general, we consider that the real Heracles was a wise man who achieved everything by eloquence and applied persuasion as his principal force.
Page 41 - The hall beyond it is very beautiful, full of abundant light and aglow with color like that of purple hangings. It contains three hot tubs. When you have bathed, you need not go back through the same rooms, but can go directly to the cold room through a slightly warmed chamber. Everywhere there is copious illumination and full indoor daylight. . . . Why should I go on to tell you of the exercising floor and of the cloak rooms?
Page 99 - Thucydides' saying1 that ignorance makes men bold, but discourse " cautious, for clearly this great hardihood of mine is not due to ignorance alone, but also to fondness for discourse ! Good health to you ' THE WISDOM OF NIGRINUS A. How very lordly and exalted you are since you came back ! Really, you don't deign to notice us any more, you don't associate with us, and you don't join in our conversations : you have changed 1 2, 40, 3. 2 To bring out the play on words, "discourse " is used here in...