Philo Judaeus

From PreparingYou
Jump to: navigation, search
Philo Judaeus

Philo of Alexandria, also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt. Philo used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy.

Some scholars hold that his concept of the Logos as God's creative principle influenced early Christology. Other scholars, however, deny direct influence but say both Philo and Early Christianity borrow from a common source.

We find a brief reference to Philo by the 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus. In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus tells of Philo's selection by the Alexandrian Jewish community as their principal representative before the Roman emperor Gaius Caligula.

He says that Philo agreed to represent the Alexandrian Jews in regard to civil disorder that had developed between the Jews and the Greeks in Alexandria, Egypt. Josephus also tells us that Philo was skilled in philosophy, and that he was brother to an official called Alexander the alabarch.

"There was now a tumult arisen at Alexandria, between the Jewish inhabitants and the Greeks; and three ambassadors were chosen out of each party that were at variance, who came to Gaius. Now one of these ambassadors from the people of Alexandria was Apion, (29) who uttered many blasphemies against the Jews; and, among other things that he said, he charged them with neglecting the honors that belonged to Caesar; for that while all who were subject to the Roman empire built altars and temples to Gaius, and in other regards universally received him as they received the gods, these Jews alone thought it a dishonorable thing for them to erect statues in honor of him, as well as to swear by his name. Many of these severe things were said by Apion, by which he hoped to provoke Gaius to anger at the Jews, as he was likely to be. But Philo, the principal of the Jewish embassage, a man eminent on all accounts, brother to Alexander the Alabarch, (30) and one not unskillful in philosophy, was ready to betake himself to make his defense against those accusations; but Gaius prohibited him, and bid him begone; he was also in such a rage, that it openly appeared he was about to do them some very great mischief. So Philo being thus affronted, went out, and said to those Jews who were about him, that they should be of good courage, since Gaius's words indeed showed anger at them, but in reality had already set God against himself." Antiquities of the Jews, xviii.8, § 1, Whiston's translation

His ancestors and family had social ties and connections to the priesthood in Judea, the Hasmonean Dynasty, the Herodian Dynasty and the Julio-Claudian dynasty in Rome. Philo visited the Temple in Jerusalem at least once in his lifetime.

Philo would have been a contemporary to Jesus and his Apostles. Philo along with his brothers received a thorough education. They were educated in the Hellenistic culture of Alexandria and Roman culture, to a degree in Ancient Egyptian culture and particularly in the traditions of Judaism, in the study of Jewish traditional literature and in Greek philosophy.


From Eusebius, P.E. 8.5.11 ff.[1]

(5.11) And first of all I will adduce what Philo says respecting the journey of the Jews into Egypt, of which he has given an account, following that which is given by Moses in the first book of the Pentateuch, to which he has affixed the superscription, "hypothetically;" where, arguing in behalf of the Jews as if he were addressing himself to their accusers, he speaks in the following manner, affirming, --

(6.1) That their ancient ancestor, the original founder of their race, was a Chaldaean; and that this people emigrated from Egypt, after having in former times left its abode in Syria, being very numerous and consisting of countless myriads of people; and that when the land was no longer able to contain them, and moreover when a high spirit began to show itself in the dispositions of their young men, and when, besides this, God himself by visions and dreams began to show them that he willed that they should depart, and when, as the Deity brought it about, nothing was less an object of desire to them than their ancient native land; on that account this ancestor of theirs departed and journeyed into Egypt, whether in consequence of some express determination of God, or whether it was in consequence of some prophetic instinct of his own; so that from that time to the present the nation has had an existence and a durability, and has become so exceedingly populous, as it is at this moment. (6.2) And then, after a few more sentences, he says, --And they were led in this journey and emigration of theirs by a man who, if you will have it so, was in no respect superior to the generality of his fellow countrymen, so incessantly did they reproach him as a trickster and one who deceived them with words. An admirable amount and kind of trickery and deceit no doubt it was, by which he not only completely saved the whole people which was oppressed by want of water and hunger, and by ignorance of the way, and in a complete state of destitution of all things, and led them forward as if in all prosperity, and conducted them through all the nations lying around, and kept them without any quarrelling with one another, and in a state of complete subordination and obedience to himself. (6.3) And this too, not for a short time, but for a period of such length, that it is not likely that even a single family would continue in perfect unanimity and prosperity for such a time; for no thirst, no hunger, no decay of body, nor fear of the future, no ignorance of what was to befall them, ever excited that deceived people, who were being led, as some will have it, to their destruction, to rise against him who was deceiving them. Yet what would you have us say? (6.4) That he had such excessive art, or such great eloquence of speech, or such shrewdness, that he could triumph over so many difficulties of such a nature, which seemed likely to lead to the destruction of them all? Surely you must confess, either that the natures of the men under him were not utterly ignorant or obstinate, but were obedient and not inclined to neglect a prudent care of the future; or else that they were as wicked and perverse as possible, but that God softened their obstinacy, and was, as it were, a leader to them in respect both of the present and of the future. For that of these alternatives which appears to you to be the truest of the two, appears equally to contribute to the praise, and honour, and admiration of the whole nation. (6.5) These things, then, are what I have to say about this exodus. But when they came into this land, how they were settled here, and how they got possession of the country, they show in their sacred records. And I moreover do not think it necessary to describe it as by way of history, but rather to enter into some speculations concerning them as to what was their natural and likely course. (6.6) For which of these two alternatives will you embrace? That while they were still very numerous, although at last they were evilly afflicted, still, while they were powerful and had arms in their hands, they took the country by force, fighting with and defeating both the Syrians and Phoenicians who met them in that their land? Or shall we suppose that they were unwarlike, and destitute of manly courage, and altogether deficient in point of numbers, and destitute of any supplies for war; but that they met with respectful treatment from those nations, and obtained their land from them, who willingly surrendered it to them? and that then immediately, or at no distant period, they built a temple, and did everything else which has any bearing on religion and piety? (6.7) For these circumstances, as it seems, would prove them to have been a God-loving people, and beloved by God, and confessed to be such even by their enemies; for those people into whose territories they had suddenly come, as if to deprive them of them, were of necessity their enemies. (6.8) And if they met with respectful treatment and honour from them, how can we deny that they surpassed all other men in good fortune? And what shall we say after this in the second place, or in the third place? Shall we speak of their admirable code of laws, of their obedience, or of their devotion, and justice, and holiness, and piety? But in truth they looked upon that man, whoever he was, who gave them these laws, with such excessive admiration and veneration, that whatever he approved of they immediately thought best also. (6.9) Therefore, whether he spoke, being influenced by his own reason, or because he was inspired by the Deity, they referred every word of his to God. And though many years have passed, I cannot tell the exact number, but more than two thousand, still they have never altered one word of what was written by him, but would rather endure to die ten thousand times than to do any thing in opposition to his laws and to the customs which he established. (6.10) After Philo has said this, he proceeds to give an abridgment of the constitution established in the nation of the Jews by the laws of Moses, speaking thus:--

(7.1) Now, is there anything among that people resembling these circumstances, anything which appears to be of a mild and gentle character, and which admits of invocations of justice, and pleas, and delays, and of assessments of damages, and on the other hand of counter assessments? Not a word, but every thing is simple, plain, and straightforward. If you indulge in illicit connexions, if you commit adultery, if you do violence to a child (for do not speak of doing so to a boy, but even to a female child); and in like manner, if you prostitute yourself, if you suffer any thing disgraceful contrary to what becomes your age, or appear to do so, or are about to do so, death is the penalty for such wickedness. (7.2) Again, if you behave with insult towards a slave, or towards a free person, if you confine such an one in bonds, if you lead him away and sell him, if you steal any thing, whether common or sacred, if you commit acts of impiety, not only by your deeds but even by any chance word, I will not venture to say against God himself (may God be merciful to us, and of the same opinion about these matters), but against your father, or your mother, or your benefactor, death is equally the penalty. And that too, not a common, or ordinary, or natural death; but he who has merely uttered a single impious word must be stoned, as having committed no inferior impiety. (7.3) He also gives many other injunctions, such as these, that wives shall serve their husbands, not indeed in any particular so as to be insulted by them, but in the spirit of reasonable obedience in all things; that parents shall govern their children for their preservation and benefit; that every one shall be the lord of his own possessions, provided he has not dedicated them to God, nor spoken of God as their owner; but if he has vowed them only by a single word, then it is not lawful for him to lay hands upon or to touch them, but he must at once separate himself from them all. (7.4) May I never be guilty of plundering the things which belong to God, or of stealing what has been offered and dedicated to him by others. And even, as I have said before, if a single word to that effect has unintentionally fallen from a man, he must, instead of taking away from what is already dedicated, add some offering of his own; for if he has said the word, he, by so speaking, deprives himself of every thing. But if he repents, or wishes to recall and amend what he has said, he shall be deprived also of his very life. (7.5) And the same principle extends to other things, of which he is the owner. If a man by any words dedicates that which is requisite to support a wife, she shall be sacred and entitled to receive the support. If a father makes such a promise to his son, or a master to his servant, the rule is the same. And the way in which a man may be released from any promise or vow which he has made in such a manner can only be in the most perfect and complete way, when the high priest discharges him from it; for he is the person entitled to receive it in due subordination to God. And the next way is that which consists in propitiating the mercy of God in behalf of those who are the more immediate owners of the thing vowed, so that he may not accept of what is thus dedicated, since it is necessary to them. (7.6) There are, besides these rules, ten thousand other precepts, which refer to the unwritten customs and ordinances of the nation. Moreover, it is ordained in the laws themselves that no one shall do to his neighbour what he would be unwilling to have done to himself. That a man shall not take up what he has not put down, neither out of a garden, nor out of a wine-press, nor out of a threshing-floor; and that absolutely no one shall take anything, whether it be great or small, out of a heap. That no one shall refuse fire to one who begs it of him. That no one shall cut off a stream of water, but that everyone shall contribute food to beggars and cripples, and that such shall have favour with God. (7.7) That no one shall keep any one from performing funeral honours to the dead, but shall even throw upon them so much earth as if sufficient to protect them from impiety: that no one shall violate or move, in any manner or degree whatever, the graves, or tombs, or memorials of those who are dead. That no one shall add bonds, or any evil, or heap any additional suffering on him who is in trouble. That no one shall eradicate the generative powers of a man. That no one shall cause the offspring of women to be abortive by means of miscarriage, or by any other contrivance. That no one shall treat animals, in any respect, in a manner contrary to the injunctions imposed, whether by God or by a lawgiver. That no one shall cause his seed to disappear. That no one shall enslave his offspring. (7.8) That no one shall apply a false balance, or an inadequate measure, or bad money. That no one shall tell the secrets of his friends in a foreign land. Where, in God's name, are these yokes of oxen of ours gone? And look also at other commandments besides these. It is ordained, that no one shall fix the residence of the parents apart from that of the children, not even if they are prisoners of war; nor that of a wife from that of her husband, even though a man may be her master, having purchased her lawfully. (7.9) These commandments now are of a more solemn and important character, but there are others of apparently a trivial and ordinary kind. It is not lawful, says the lawgiver, to strip a nest wholly of its young; it is not lawful to reject the supplication of animals of any kind whatever, which flee to you for refuge, not even if any of them are very insignificant. You may say, perhaps, that these things are of no consequence whatever, but still, at least, the law which speaks of these particulars is of importance, and deserving of all imaginable care and attention; and the declarations are important, and so are the curses which threaten those who violate these laws with destruction; and God looks over all such matters, and is an avenger and punisher on every occasion and in every place. (7.10) And then after a few more sentences he adds, --And if it should happen that during a whole day, or I should rather say, not one day only but many, and those too not coming immediately one after another, but with intervals between them, even intervals of a week at a time, the custom, as is always natural, which is drawn from ordinary days prevails. Do you not wonder, that not a single one of all these commandments has been violated? (7.11) Is not this a mark of great temperance and self-restraint, derived to them from practice alone, so that they act towards one another with perfect equality, and are able to derive strength from those actions if it be necessary? Surely not so; but the lawgiver thought that it ought to be derived from some great and admirable circumstance, that they should not only be competent to do other things in the same manner, but should also be imbued with a thorough knowledge of their national laws and customs. (7.12) What then did he do on this sabbath day? he commanded all the people to assemble together in the same place, and sitting down with one another, to listen to the laws with order and reverence, in order that no one should be ignorant of anything that is contained in them; (7.13) and, in fact, they do constantly assemble together, and they do sit down one with another, the multitude in general in silence, except when it is customary to say any words of good omen, by way of assent to what is being read. And then some priest who is present, or some one of the elders, reads the sacred laws to them, and interprets each of them separately till eventide; and then when separate they depart, having gained some skill in the sacred laws, and having made great advancers towards piety. (7.14) Do not these objects appear to you to be of greater importance than any other pursuit can possibly be? Therefore they do not go to interpreters of laws to learn what they ought to do; and even without asking, they are in no ignorance respecting the laws, so as to be likely, through following their own inclinations, to do wrong; but if you violate or alter any one of the laws, or if you ask any one of them about their national laws or customs, they can all tell you at once, without any difficulty; and the husband appears to be a master, endowed with sufficient authority to explain these laws to his wife, a father to teach them to his children, and a master to his servants. (7.15) And again, it is easy to speak in the same manner with respect to the seventh year, though, perhaps, one is not to say exactly the same things, for they do not abstain from all work as they do on the sabbath days, only they leave their land fallow till the next year, in order that so it may become productive; for they think that thus it becomes much better after having had this rest, and then that it may be cultivated again, and not be dried up and exhausted by the uninterrupted continuance of cultivation; (7.16) and you may see that a similar practice conduces to strength of body, for not only do intervals of relaxation contribute to health, but you may see too that physicians also enjoin a degree of rest at times from work; for what is incessant, and uninterrupted, and always the same, is likely to be injurious, especially in the case of hard work, the cultivation of the land. (7.17) And a proof of this is, that if any one were to recommend the people to cultivate the land itself much more, and to add this seventh year also, and should promise them that the usual crops of fruit should reward their labours, they still would not adopt his advice, for they think that they are not alone entitled to rest from their labours, and yet even if they were to do so, it would be nothing strange; but they think that their land also deserves a certain degree of rest and exemption, in order again to receive a fresh beginning of care and cultivation; (7.18) since, in God's name, what could hinder them from letting it out during the year of jubilee thus proposed, and then receiving its annual produce once a year from those who rented and cultivated it? But as I said before, they will not admit of any such expedient in any manner or degree whatever, out of care, as it seems to me, for the welfare of the land; (7.19) and this is truly a very great proof of their humanity and moderation. For, since they themselves rest from their labours during that year, they think that it is not right either to collect the fruits or crops which are produced, nor to lay up any thing which has not accrued to them from their own labours; but, as if God provided for them while the land is thus enjoying rest and regulating itself according to its will, they think that any one who chooses or who is in want, any traveller or stranger, may gather the fruit that year with impunity. (7.20) However, this is enough to say to you on these matters; for, as to the fact of this law existing among them with regard to the seventh day and seventh year, you will not inquire of me, as you have perhaps heard it often from many persons, both physicians, and investigators of natural history, and philosophers, who discuss this law about the seventh year, as to the effect which it has on the nature of the universe, and especially on the nature of man. This is what he says about the seventh day ... I shall be contented with the testimony of Philo on the present occasion, which he has given about the matter which I am here explaining in many passages of his treatises. And now do you take that work which he has written in defence of the Jewish nation, and read the following sentences in it.

(11.1) But our lawgiver trained an innumerable body of his pupils to partake in those things, who are called Essenes, being, as I imagine, honoured with this appellation because of their exceeding holiness. And they dwell in many cities of Judaea, and in many villages, and in great and populous communities. (11.2) And this sect of them is not an hereditary of family connexion; for family ties are not spoken of with reference to acts voluntarily performed; but it is adopted because of their admiration for virtue and love of gentleness and humanity. (11.3) At all events, there are no children among the Essenes, no, nor any youths or persons only just entering upon manhood; since the dispositions of all such persons are unstable and liable to change, from the imperfections incident to their age, but they are all full-grown men, and even already declining towards old age, such as are no longer carried away by the impetuosity of their bodily passions, and are not under the influence of the appetites, but such as enjoy a genuine freedom, the only true and real liberty. (11.4) And a proof of this is to be found in their life of perfect freedom; no one among them ventures at all to acquire any property whatever of his own, neither house, nor slave, nor farm, nor flocks and herds, nor any thing of any sort which can be looked upon as the fountain or provision of riches; but they bring them together into the middle as a common stock, and enjoy one common general benefit from it all. (11.5) And they all dwell in the same place, making clubs, and societies, and combinations, and unions with one another, and doing every thing throughout their whole lives with reference to the general advantage; (11.6) but the different members of this body have different employments in which they occupy themselves, and labour without hesitation and without cessation, making no mention of either cold, or heat, or any changes of weather or temperature as an excuse for desisting from their tasks. But before the sun rises they betake themselves to their daily work, and they do not quit it till some time after it has set, when they return home rejoicing no less than those who have been exercising themselves in gymnastic contests; (11.7) for they imagine that whatever they devote themselves to as a practice is a sort of gymnastic exercise of more advantage to life, and more pleasant both to soul and body, and of more enduring benefit and equability, than mere athletic labours, inasmuch as such toil does not cease to be practised with delight when the age of vigour of body is passed; (11.8) for there are some of them who are devoted to the practice of agriculture, being skilful in such things as pertain to the sowing and cultivation of lands; others again are shepherds, or cowherds, and experienced in the management of every kind of animal; some are cunning in what relates to swarms of bees; (11.9) others again are artisans and handicraftsmen, in order to guard against suffering from the want of anything of which there is at times an actual need; and these men omit and delay nothing, which is requisite for the innocent supply of the necessaries of life. (11.10) Accordingly, each of these men, who differ so widely in their respective employments, when they have received their wages give them up to one person who is appointed as the universal steward and general manager; and he, when he has received the money, immediately goes and purchases what is necessary and furnishes them with food in abundance, and all other things of which the life of mankind stands in need. (11.11) And those who live together and eat at the same table are day after day contented with the same things, being lovers of frugality and moderation, and averse to all sumptuousness and extravagance as a disease of both mind and body. (11.12) And not only are their tables in common but also their dress; for in the winter there are thick cloaks found, and in the summer light cheap mantles, so that whoever wants one is at liberty without restraint to go and take whichever kind he chooses; since what belongs to one belongs to all, and on the other hand whatever belongs to the whole body belongs to each individual. (11.13) And again, if any one of them is sick he is cured from the common resources, being attended to by the general care and anxiety of the whole body. Accordingly the old men, even if they happen to be childless, as if they were not only the fathers of many children but were even also particularly happy in an affectionate offspring, are accustomed to end their lives in a most happy and prosperous and carefully attended old age, being looked upon by such a number of people as worthy of so much honour and provident regard that they think themselves bound to care for them even more from inclination than from any tie of natural affection. (11.14) Again, perceiving with more than ordinary acuteness and accuracy, what is alone or at least above all other things calculated to dissolve such associations, they repudiate marriage; and at the same time they practise continence in an eminent degree; for no one of the Essenes ever marries a wife, because woman is a selfish creature and one addicted to jealousy in an immoderate degree, and terribly calculated to agitate and overturn the natural inclinations of a man, and to mislead him by her continual tricks; (11.15) for as she is always studying deceitful speeches and all other kinds of hypocrisy, like an actress on the stage, when she is alluring the eyes and ears of her husband, she proceeds to cajole his predominant mind after the servants have been deceived. (11.16) And again, if there are children she becomes full of pride and all kinds of license in her speech, and all the obscure sayings which she previously meditated in irony in a disguised manner she now begins to utter with audacious confidence; and becoming utterly shameless she proceeds to acts of violence, and does numbers of actions of which every one is hostile to such associations; (11.17) for the man who is bound under the influence of the charms of a woman, or of children, by the necessary ties of nature, being overwhelmed by the impulses of affection, is no longer the same person towards others, but is entirely changed, having, without being aware of it, become a slave instead of a free man. (11.18) This now is the enviable system of life of these Essenes, so that not only private individuals but even mighty kings, admiring the men, venerate their sect, and increase their dignity and majesty in a still higher degree by their approbation and by the honours which they confer on them.


From Eusebius P. E. 7.21.336bÐ337a

But that you may not think that I am here arguing in a sophistical manner, I will produce a man who is a Hebrew as the interpreter for you of the meaning of the scripture; a man who inherited from his father a most accurate knowledge of his national customs and laws, and who had learnt the doctrines contained in them from learned teachers; for such a man was Philo. Listen then, to him, and hear how he interprets the words of God.

Why, then, does he use the expression, "In the image of God I made Man,"{1}{#ge 1:27.A.} as if he were speaking of that of some other God, and not of having made him in the likeness of himself? This expression is used with great beauty and wisdom. For it was impossible that anything mortal should be made in the likeness of the most high God the Father of the universe; but it could only be made in the likeness of the second God, who is the Word of the other; for it was fitting that the rational type in the soul of man should receive the impression of the Word of God, since the God below the Word is superior to all and every rational nature; and it is not lawful for any created thing to be made like the God who is above reason, and who is endowed with a most excellent and special form appropriated to himself alone.

This is what I wish to quote from the first book of the questions and answers of Philo.

And the Hebrew Philo, in his treatise on Providence, speaks in this way concerning matter.

But concerning the quantity of the essence, if indeed it really has any existence, we must also speak. God took care at the creation of the world that there should be an ample and most sufficient supply of matter, so exact that nothing might be wanting and nothing superfluous. For it would have been absurd in the case of particular artisans, for them, when they are occupied in making anything, and especially anything of much value, to calculate the exact quantity of materials which they require; but for that being who is the original inventor of numbers and measures, and the qualities which exist and are found in them, to omit to take care to have just what was proper. I will speak now with all freedom, and say that the world had need for its fabrication of some precise quantity of materials, neither more nor less; since otherwise it would not have been perfect, nor complete in all its parts, being thoroughly well made, nor would it have been made perfect of a perfect essence.

For it is an indispensable part of a workman who is thoroughly well skilled in his art, before he begins making any thing, to see that his materials are exactly sufficient; therefore a man, even if he were most eminently skilled in the knowledge of other things, still if he were not able altogether to avoid error, which is so natural to mortals, would be very likely to be deceived in respect of the quantity of materials which he required when he was about to proceed to the exercise of art; sometimes adding to it as too little, and sometimes taking away from it as too much. But that Being who is, as it were, a kind of fountain of all knowledge, was not likely to supply anything in deficient or in superfluous quantities, inasmuch as he employs measures elaborated in a most wonderful manner, so as to display perfect accuracy, and all of the most praiseworthy character. But he who is inclined to talk nonsense, at random, will easily do it, looking upon the different works of all artisans as causes, and as having been made in a more excellent manner, either by the addition or by the subtraction of some material or other. But it is the peculiar occupation of sophistry to quibble and cavil; while it is the task of wisdom to investigate accurately everything that exists in nature.


From Eusebius, P.E. 8.14.386Ð399

These things then are what may be said on the subject of the world having been created. And the same man also says a great number of very novel and bold things in his treatise on Providence, on the subject of the universe being governed by prudence; first of all putting forward the propositions of the atheists, and then proceeding to reply to each of them in regular order. And I will now proceed to extract some of the arguments which he adduces, even though they may appear somewhat prolix, because they are nevertheless necessary and important, abridging indeed the greater portion of them.

(1) Now he conducts his argument in this way; these are his words.

Do you say then that there is providence in such a vast confusion and disorder of affairs? For, in fact, which of the circumstances and occurrences of human life is regulated by any principle or order? which of them is not full of all kinds of irregularity and destruction? Are you the only person who is ignorant that blessings in complete abundance are heaped upon the most wicked and worthless of mankind? such, for instance, as wealth, a high reputation, honour in the eyes of the multitude, authority? moreover, health, a good condition of the outward senses, beauty, strength, and unimpeded enjoyment of all good things, by means of an abundance of supplies and resources and preparations of every kind, and in consequence of the peaceful good fortune and good condition of the body? But all the lovers and practisers of wisdom and prudence, and every kind of virtue, everyone of them I may almost say, are poor, unknown, inglorious, and in a mean condition.

(2) Having said thus much with respect to the outward circumstances of, and a vast number of other things affecting, these men, he then immediately proceeds to refute the objections of his adversaries by the following arguments.

God is not a tyrant who practises cruelty and violence and all the other acts of insolent authority like an inexorable master, but he is rather a sovereign invested with a humane and lawful authority, and as such he governs all the heaven and the whole world in accordance with justice. (3) And there is no form of address with which a king can more appropriately be saluted than the name of father; for what, in human relationships, parents are to their children, that also sovereigns are to their states, and God towards the world, having adapted these two most beautiful things by the unchangeable laws of nature, by an indissoluble union, namely the authority of the leader with the anxious care of a relation; (4) for as parents are not wholly indifferent to even ill-behaved children, but, having compassion on their unfortunate dispositions, they are careful and anxious for their welfare, looking upon it as an act of relentless and irreconcileable enemies to insult and increase their misfortunes, but as the part of friends and relations to lighten their disasters: (5) and indeed in the excess of their liberality they even give more to such children than to those who have always been well conducted, knowing well that to these last their own moderation is at all times an abundant resource and means of riches, but that the others have no other hope except in their parents, and that if they are disappointed in that they will be destitute of even the necessaries of life.

(6) So in the same manner, God, how is the father of all rational understanding, takes care of all those beings who are endowed with reason, and exercises a providential power for the protection even of those who are living in a blameable manner, giving them at the same time opportunity of correcting their errors, and nevertheless not violating the dictates of his own merciful nature, of which virtue and humanity are the regular attendants, being willing to have their dwelling in the God-created world; (7) this one argument now, do thou, O my soul, take to thyself, and store up within thyself as a sacred deposit, and this other also as consistent with and in perfect harmony with it. Do not ever be so deceived and wander from the truth to such a degree as to think any wicked man happy, even though he may be richer than Croesus, and more sharp-sighted than Lyceus, and more powerful than Milo of Crotena, and more beautiful than Ganymede,

"Whom the immortal gods, for beauty's sake,

Did raise up from the vile earth to heaven,

To be the cup-bearer of mighty Jove."{1}{homer's Iliad 20.234.}

(8) Accordingly, such a man, having shown his own daemon, I mean to say his own mind, to be the slave of ten thousand thousand different masters, such as love, appetite, pleasure, fear, pain, folly, intemperance, cowardice, injustice, he can never possibly be happy, even if the multitude, being utterly misled and deprived of their judgment, were to think him so, being corrupted by a double evil, pride and vain opinion, by which souls without ballast must infallibly be tossed about and driven out of their course; for these evils, above all others, injure the chief multitude of mankind.

(9) If, then, fixing the eyes of the mind steadily upon the truth, you should be inclined to contemplate the providence of God as far as the powers of human reason are capable of doing it, then, when you have attained to a closer conception of the true and only good, you will laugh at those things which belong to men which you for some time admired; for what is worse is always honoured in the absence of what is better, as it then usurps its place; but when that which is better appears, then that which is worse retires, and is contented with the second prize. (10) Therefore, admiring that godlike excellence and beauty, you will by all means perceive that none of the things previously mentioned were by themselves thought worthy of the better portion by God. On which account the mines of silver and gold are the most worthless portion of the earth, which is altogether and wholly unfit for the production of fruits and food; (11) for abundance of riches is not like food, a thing without which one cannot live. And the one great and manifest test of all these things is hunger, by which it is seen what is in truth really necessary and useful; for a person when oppressed by hunger would gladly give all the treasures in the whole world in exchange for a little food; (12) but when there is an abundance of necessary things poured out in a plentiful and unlimited supply, and flowing over all the cities of the land, then we, the citizens, indulging luxuriously in the good things provided by nature, are not contented to stop at them alone, but set up satiated insolence as the guide of our lives, and devoting ourselves to the acquisition of silver and gold, and of everything else by which we hope to acquire gain, proceed in everything like blind men, no longer exciting the eyes of our intellect by reason of our covetousness, so far as to see that riches are but the burden of the earth, and are the cause of continual and uninterrupted war instead of peace.

(13) Our garments are indeed, as some one of the poets says somewhere, "the flower of the sheep;" but with reference to the art displayed in their manufacture, they are the praise of the weavers. And if any one is proud of any glory which he may have acquired, being greatly delighted at his popularity among worthless people, he should know that he also is worthless, for he delights in them. (14) And let such a man pray to receive purification so as to have the disease of his ears healed, as it is through his ears that his soul is affected with great diseases. Again: let those men who are proud of their personal strength and activity learn not to be high-minded on such an account, looking at countless kinds of both domesticated and wild beasts, which are also endowed with great strength and power; for it is the most absurd thing imaginable for one who is a man to pride himself on the good qualities of beasts, and that too when the beasts themselves are thought of no importance whatever by him.

(15) Again: why should any man in his senses rejoice at beauty of person, which a short period must extinguish before it has flourished for any great length of time, since time always obscures its deceitful prime? and this too, when he sees that even in lifeless things there are objects of surpassing beauty, such as the works of painters, and sculptors, and other artists, displayed in paintings, and statues, and all kinds of embroidery, and weaving, which are held in the greatest honour in Greece and in the countries of the barbarians in every city. (16) Of these things, then, as I have said, not one is accounted by God worthy of the better portion.

And why should we wonder if they are not highly esteemed by God? for they are not even by those men who are very religious and devout, among whom those things which are really good and virtuous are held in honour, inasmuch as they have a good and well-disposed nature, and have improved their natural good qualities by study and practice, of which a genuine true philosophy is the maker. (17) But those who have devoted themselves to a bastard kind of philosophy have not even imitated physicians who give their attention to the body, the slave of the soul, though nevertheless they affirm that they are healing the mistress, that is to say, the soul itself; for then, when any such man is sick, even if he be the great king himself, passing over all the colonnades, and the men's chambers, and the women's chambers, and the pictures, and the silver and the gold, whether in money or in bullion, and the vast treasures of cups and works of embroidery, and all the rest of the celebrated ornaments of kings, and the multitude of his servants, and of his friends, or relatives, and subjects, and the chief officers who are about his person, and his body-guards, they come up to his bedside, paying no attention even to the decorations of his person, and not stopping to notice with admiration that his bed is inlaid with previous stones, or that his coverlet is of the finest workmanship and the most exquisite embroidery, nor that the fashion of his garments is of superlative beauty, but they even pull off the clothes in which he is wrapped, and lay hold of his hands, and press his veins, and feel his pulse, and note its beating accurately to see if it is in a healthy condition; very often too, they pull up his tunic and feel whether his stomach is too full, whether his chest is feverish, whether his heart beats irregularly. And then, when they have ascertained the symptoms, they apply the appropriate remedies.

(18) And in like manner, it would become philosophers who profess to be versed in the healing science as applicable to the soul, which is by nature the dominant part of the man, to despise all the things which erroneous opinion raises up as objects of pride, and to penetrate within, and to lay their hands upon the intellect itself, to see whether through passion its pulses are of an uneven rapidity and moving in an irregular and unnatural manner, and to touch the tongue, and see whether it is rough and devoted to evil-speaking, whether it is prostituted to evil purposes and unmanageable; also to touch the belly, and see whether it is swollen with the insatiable characteristics of desire, and, in short, of any other passions, and diseases, and infirmities, and to examine every one of those feelings, if they appear to be in a state of confusion, so that they may not be ignorant of what is proper to be applied to the soul with a reference to its cure.

(19) But now being lightened up all round by the brilliancy of external things, as being unable to see that light which is perceptible only by the intellect, they have passed their whole existence in a state of error, not being able to penetrate as far as royal thought, but being with difficulty able to reach the outer courts, and admiring those servants who stand at the gates of virtue, wealth, and glory, and health, and other kindred circumstances, they fall down in adoration before them. (20) But as it would be an extravagance of insanity to take blind men for judges of colour, or deaf men as judges of the sounds of music, so it is a most preposterous act to take wicked men as judges of real good. For these men are mutilated in the most important parts of themselves, namely, their intellect, over which folly has shed a deep darkness. (21) Do we then now wonder if Socrates, and such and such a virtuous man, has lived in purity? men who have never once studied any of the means of providing themselves with pecuniary resources, and who have never, even when it was in their power, condescended to accept great gifts which have been tendered to their acceptance by wealthy friends or mighty kings, because they looked upon the acquisition of virtue as the only good, the only beautiful thing, and have therefore laboured at that, and disregarded all other good things.

(22) And who is there who would not disregard spurious good things in comparison of genuine ones? But if while they received a mortal body, and were full of liability to all kinds of human disasters, and lived among such a number of unjust actions and unrighteous men, of which the very number is not easy to compute accurately, they were plotted against by their enemies, why do we blame nature when we ought rather to accuse the barbarity of those who thus set upon them? (23) For so in like manner, if they had been placed in a pestilential climate, they would inevitably have become sick; and wickedness is even more, or at all events not less, destructive than a pestilential state of the atmosphere. But as when there is rain the wise man, if he is in the open air, must inevitably get wet through, and if the cold north wind blows he must be oppressed by cold and shivering, and when summer is at its height he must feel the heat, for it is a law of nature that the bodies of men should be simultaneously affected by the changes of the seasons; so also in the same way a man who lives in such places,

"Where slaughters dire and famines might prevail,

And all the ills which thus mankind assail,"

must inevitably pay the penalty which such evils inflict upon him.

(24) Since in the case of Polycrates at least, in retaliation for the terrible acts of injustice and impiety which he committed, there fell upon him great misery in his subsequent life as a terrible requital for his previous good fortune. Add to this that he was chastised by a mighty sovereign, and was crucified by him, fulfilling the prediction of the oracle: "I knew," said he, "long before I took it into my head to go to consult the oracle, that I was anointed by the sun and washed by Jupiter," for these enigmatical assertions, expressed in symbolical language having been originally couched in unintelligible language, afterwards receive a most manifest confirmation by the events which followed them. (25) But it was not only at the end of his existence, but indeed during the whole period of his life from its earliest commencement that he was, though without being aware of it, making his soul to depend wholly on his body; for as he was always in a state of alarm and trepidation, he feared the multitude of enemies who might possibly attack him, being well assured that no one in the world was really well affected towards him, but that every one was hostile to him, and would turn out implacable enemies if he should be unfortunate.

(26) Again, if unsuccessful and yet of neverending precautions those writers who have written the history of Sicily are witnesses, for they say that the tyrant of Sicily suspected even his most affectionately loved wife; and a proof of this is that he ordered the entrance of his chamber by which she was about to have access to him to be strewed with planks, in order that she might never come upon him without being observed, but that the noise and tumult made by her stepping on these boards might indicate her approach beforehand; and besides this he compelled her to come not only without her robe, but even naked in every part, and even in those which ought not to be seen by men. And in addition to this he ordered the whole of the flooring along the road to be cut in width and depth like a trench made by farmers, out of fear lest anything should be secretly concealed so as to plot against him, which would inevitably be detected by the leaps and long steps which a person coming along this path would be compelled to take.

(27) Of how many miseries, then, was that man full who took all these precautions and practised all these contrivances against his own wife, whom he ought to have trusted above all other human beings? But he was like those men who scale precipices and climb over abrupt and steep mountains for the purpose of attaining to a more accurate comprehension of the natures of things in heaven, who at last after they have with great difficulty ascended to some overhanging ridge, find themselves unable to advance any further as they are too much exhausted to think of attempting the remaining portion of the mountain, and also want courage to descend, being giddy at the sight of the chasms and ravines below them; (28) for he, being in love with sovereign power as a godlike thing to be desired above all other objects, looked upon it as unsafe either to remain where he was or to retreat, for he considered that if he remained where he was innumerable other evils would come upon him in rapid and uninterrupted succession, while if he decided on retracing his steps his very life would be in danger, as there were enemies around, if not as to their bodies at all events in their minds, against him.

(29) And he also showed the truth of all this by the treatment to which he exposed a friend of his who spoke of the life of a tyrant as one of complete and absolute happiness; for, having invited him to a banquet which had been prepared in a most brilliant and costly manner, he ordered a sharp sword to be suspended over his head by a very fine thread, and when he, after he had sat down to the banquet, on a sudden perceived it, not daring to rise up and quit his place for fear of the tyrant, and not being able to enjoy any of the things which were prepared out of fear, he disregarded all the abundant and superb luxuries by which he was surrounded, and keeping his neck and his eyes turned upwards, sat in the expectation of instant Death.{2}{horace alludes to the story of Damocles, Od. III. 1.16 (which may be translated)--"Care murders sleep; the man who's learnt to dread / The sword unsafely trembling o'er his head, / In vain to court his sad distracted taste / The table groans beneath the varied feast. / Sad Philomel's untutored song is vain, / And vain the swelling flute's more laboured strain, / To close his eyes in sleep, the envied lot / Of weary peasant in his humbler cot."} (30) And when Dionysius perceived the state in which he as, he said to him, "Do you then at last begin to understand the true character of that illustrious and enviable life of ours, for this is what it really is if a man chooses to speak of it without flattery or disguise, since it contains indeed a great abundance of resources and supplies, but no enjoyment of any real blessing; and it causes its possessor incessant fears and irremediable and unavoidable dangers, and a disease worse than the most contagious or most fatal sickness, which is continually threatening inevitable death. (31) But the inconsiderate multitude, being deceived by the outward brilliancy and splendour of the position, are like people who are attracted by showy looking courtesans, who, concealing their real deformity under fine clothes and golden ornaments, and pencilling their eyes from want of any real beauty, manufacture a spurious beauty in order to lie in wait for and catch the beholders.

(32) Now men who are placed in situations of great prosperity are full of such unhappiness as this, of the greatness of which they themselves are fully aware, and they do not at all keep it to themselves, but like men who under compulsion divulge secret things, they often utter the truest possible expressions, which are extorted from them by suffering, living in the continual company of punishment both present and expected, just like cattle who are being fattened up for sacrifice, for they too are treated with the greatest possible attention in order to be fit to be sacrificed by reason of their fleshiness and good condition. (33) There are also some men who have suffered punishment, and that not concealed, but visible, and notorious for the impiety of the means by which they have acquired riches, the names and numbers of whom it would be superfluous to enumerate, but it will be sufficient to bring forward one instance as a specimen of the whole.

It is said, then, by those who have written the History of the Sacred War in Phocis that as there was a law established that any one who was guilty of sacrilege should be either thrown down a precipice, or drowned in the sea, or burnt alive, that those men who had pillaged the temple at Delphi, by name Philomelus, and Onomarchus, and Phayllus, divided these punishments among them, for that the first fell down a rugged and precipitous rock and was dashed to pieces on the stones, and that the second, when the horse which he was riding grew restive and plunged down towards the sea, was overwhelmed by the waves, and so fell alive into a devouring gulf; and Phayllus was wasted away by a consumptive disease (for the way in which the story is told about him is twofold), or else perished in the temple at Abae, being burnt in it when it was destroyed by fire. (34) For it must be the mere spirit of obstinacy and arguing to say that all these events took place by mere chance, for if indeed one or two of them had been punished at different periods or by some other mode of punishment, then it would have been reasonable to impute their fate to the uncertainty of fortune, but when they all died together and at one time, and by no other punishment but by that precise end which is appointed in the laws for the punishment of such crimes as those of which they had been guilty, it is surely fair to say that they perished by the direct condemnation of God.

(35) But if any of the violent men who are unmentioned, and who have at different times risen up against the people in their several states, and have enslaved not only other nations, but their own countries too, have still died without meeting with punishment, it is not to be wondered at, for in the first place man does not judge as God judges, because we investigate what is visible to ourselves, but he descends into the secret recesses of the soul without making any noise, and there contemplates the mind in the clear light, as if in the sun; for stripping off from it all the ornaments in which it is enveloped, and seeing its devices and intentions naked, he immediately distinguishes between the bad and the good.

(36) Let not us then, preferring our own judgment to that of God, assert that it is more unerring or more full of wisdom than his, for that is not consistent with holiness; for in the one there are many things which deceive it, such as the treacherous outward senses, the insidious character of the passions, the most terrible attacks of vice, but in the other there is nothing which can at all conduce to deceit or error, but justice and truth, by which each separate action is determined on, and in this way is naturally rectified in the most praiseworthy manner.

(37) Do not thou, then, my good friend, consider tyrannical power, that most unprofitable of all things, to be a seasonable possession; for neither is punishment disadvantageous, but it is either more beneficial, or at all events not injurious to the good to suffer due punishment, on which account it is expressly comprehended in all laws which are wisely enacted, and those who have established such laws are praised by every one; for what a tyrant is in a people, that is punishment in a law.

(38) When therefore a want and terrible scarcity of virtue seizes upon cities, and when a great abundance of folly overwhelms everything, then God, like the stream of an overflowing torrent, being desirous to wash away all the power and impetuosity of wickedness, in order to purify our race, gives vigour and power to those men who by their natures are fitted to exercise dominion, (39) for without a stern soul wickedness cannot be got rid of. And just as cities keep executioners for the punishment of murderers, and traitors, and sacrilegious persons, not because they approve of the dispositions of the men, but because they have need of the serviceable part of their ministrations; in the same manner the Ruler of this mighty city, the world, appoints tyrants, like ordinary executioners, to be over those cities in which he sees that violence, and injustice, and impiety prevail, and all other kinds of evils in abundance, that he may by these means put an end to their existence. (40) And then he thinks it right to pursue the guilty, as men who have been serving these vices from the impulses of an impure and pitiless soul, with every punishment imaginable, as the ringleaders; for as the power of fire when it has consumed the fuel which was given to it, at last consumes itself also, so also do those who have received supreme power over nations, when they have exhausted the cities and rendered them destitute of inhabitants, at last perish themselves among them, suffering due punishment for all that they have done.

(41) And why should we wonder if God employs the agency of tyrants to get rid of wickedness when widely diffused over cities, and countries, and nations? For he very often uses other ministers, and himself brings about the same end by his own resources, inflicting upon the nation famine, or pestilence, or earthquakes, or any other heaven-sent calamity, by which great and numerous multitudes perish every day, and by which a great portion of the habitable world is made desolate, on account of his care for the preservation of virtue.

(42) Therefore I have now, as I conceive, spoken at sufficient length on the present subject, namely, that no wicked man is happy, by which fact above all others it may be established that there is such a thing as providence; but if you are not thoroughly convinced, then tell me boldly what is the doubt which is still lurking in your mind, for then both of us by labouring together shall be able to see clearly what the real truth is. (43) And after some more arguments, he proceeds thus:--

God causes the violent storms of wind and rain which we see, not for the injury of those who traverse the sea, as you fancied, or of those who till the earth, but for the general benefit of the whole of the human race, for with his water he cleanses the earth, and with his breezes he purifies all the regions beneath the moon, and by the united influence of both he nourishes and promotes the growth and brings to perfection both animals and plants. (44) And if at times these things do injure those who put to sea or who till the land at unseasonable moments, it is not to be wondered at, for these men are but a small portion of the human race, and the care of God is exerted for the benefit of all mankind.

As, therefore, in a gymnastic school oil is placed there for the common benefit of every one, but still it often happens that the master of the school, by reason of some political necessity changes the arrangement of the usual hours of exercise, by which means some of those who wish to anoint themselves come too late; in like manner God, who takes care of the whole world as if it were a city committed to his charge, does sometimes cause the summer to resemble winter, and winter to assume the characteristics of spring, for the common benefit of the universe, even though some captains of ships, or some cultivators of the ground, may very likely be injured by this irregularity of the seasons. (45) Therefore He, being aware that the occasional interchanges of the elements with one another, out of which the world was made, and of which it consists, are a work of the greatest importance and necessity, supplies them without allowing anything to be an obstacle to them; and frost and snow-storms, and other things of that kind, follow the cooling of the air. And, again, lightnings and thunders arise from the collision and repercussion of the clouds, none of which things are perhaps effected by any immediate exertion of providence, but the rains and winds are the causes of existence, and nourishment, and growth to all things which are upon the earth, and these phenomena are the natural consequences of those others.

(46) For just as it often happens, when the master of a gymnastic school, out of rivalry, has gone to extravagant expense, then some of those who are ignorant of all that is becoming, having been bespattered with oil instead of water, let all the drops from them fall upon the boards, and then a most slippery mud is the result: nevertheless a man, whose appreciations were just would not say that the hard and the slippery state of the ground was caused by the intention of the master of the school, but that these things had resulted accidentally, in consequence of the abundant quantity of the things supplied. (47) Again, the rainbow, and the halo, and all other things of that kind, are natural consequences of those things becoming mingled with the clouds, not being occurrences which lead and influence nature, but being the results and consequences of the operations of nature.

Not but what these very things themselves do also afford some signs of great importance to wise men, for, guiding their conjectures by them, they predict calms and storms of wind, and fine weather, and tempests. (48) Do you not see that porticoes which embellish the cities? the greater part of these look towards the south, in order that those who walk under them may be warm in the winter, and may be cool in the summer.

There is also another thing which does not happen through the intention of Him who made it, and what is this? the shadows which fall from the feet indicate the hours to our experience. (49) And again, fire is a most important work of nature, but the consequence of fire is smoke, and nevertheless even this too at times is of some service. At all events in the heat, in the middle of the day, when the fire is rendered invisible by the brilliancy of the beams of the sun, the approach of enemies is indicated by the smoke, (50) and the principle which causes the rainbow is also the same which, in some degree, regulates eclipses.

For eclipses are a natural consequence of the rules which regulate the divine natures of the sun and moon; and they are indications either of the impending death of some king, or of the destruction of some city, as Pindar also has told us in enigmatical terms, alluding to such events as the consequences of the omens which I have now been Mentioning.{3}{this theory of the eclipses of the sun and other natural prodigies being prophetic of events on earth, is expressed by Virgil in a passage of the most exquisite beauty in reference to Caesar's death, Georg. 1.462 (as it is translated by Dryden)--"The unerring sun by certain signs declares / What the late eve or early morn prepares, / And when the south projects a stormy day, / And when the clearing north will puff the clouds away. / The sun reveals the secrets of the sky, / And who dares give the source of light the lie? / The change of empires often he declares, / Fierce tumults, hidden treasons, open wars. / He first the fate of Caesar did foretell, / And pitied Rome, when Rome in Caesar fell, / In iron clouds concealed the public light, / And impious mortals feared eternal night. / Nor was the fact foretold by him alone, / Nature herself stood forth and seconded the sun. / Earth, air, and seas with prodigies were signed, / And birds obscene and howling dogs divined; / What rocks did Aetna's bellowing mouth expire / From her torn entrails! and what floods of fire. / What clanks were heard in German skies afar / Of arms and armies rushing to the war. / Dire earthquakes rent the solid Alps below, / And from their summits shook the eternal snow. / Pale spectres in the close of night were seen, / And voices heard of more than mortal men. / In silent groves dumb sheep and oxen spoke, / And streams ran backward and their beds forsook; / The yawning earth disclosed the abyss of hell, / The weeping statues did the wars foretell, / And holy sweat from brazen idols fell. / Then rising in his might, the king of floods / Rushed through the forests, tore the lofty woods, / And rolling onwards, with a sweepy sway / Bore houses, lands, and labouring hinds away. / Blood sprang from wells, wolves howled in turns by night, / And boding victims did the priests affright. / Such peals of thunder never poured from high, / Nor forky lightnings flashed from such a sullen sky; / Red meteors ran across the ethereal space, / Stars disappeared and comets took their place. / For this the Emathian plains once more were strewed / With Roman bodies, and just heaven thought good / To fatten twice those fields with Roman blood."} (51) And the circle of the Milky Way partakes of the same natural essences with the other stars; but merely the fact that it is hard to account for, is no reason that those who are accustomed to investigate the principles of nature should shrink from examining into it; for the discovery of those things is most beneficial, and the investigation of them is intrinsically most delightful for its own sake, to those who are fond of learning.

(52) For as the sun and moon exist in consequence of Providence, so also do all things in heaven, even though we are unable to trace out accurately the respective natures and powers of each, and are, therefore, reduced to silence about them; (53) and earthquakes, and pestilences, and the fall of thunderbolts, and things of that kind, are said indeed to be sent by God, but, in reality, they are not so, for God is absolutely not the cause of any evil whatever of any kind, but the natural changes of the elements produce these effects, not as circumstances which guide nature, but as those which are followed by necessary results, and which do themselves follow naturally upon their antecedent causes. (54) And if some people, who think themselves entitled to immunity meet with some injury from these things, they are still not to find fault with their management and dispensation; for, in the first place, it does not follow, that if some persons are reckoned virtuous among men, they are so in real truth; since the criteria by which God judges are far more accurate than any of the tests by which the human mind is guided. And, in the second place, prophetic wisdom loves to contemplate those things in the world which are of the most comprehensive nature, as in the case of monarchies, and in the governments of armies, we see that it is not any obscure, ignoble, or chance person who is appointed to govern the cities or the armies.

(55) And some persons say that as on occasion of the slaying of tyrants, it is lawful that their relations also should be put to death, in order that transgressions may be checked by the terrible magnitude of the punishment inflicted: in like manner in pestilential diseases, it is necessary that some of those who are not guilty should be involved in the destruction, in order that others who are at a distance may learn moderation. Besides that, it is inevitable that those who are exposed to a pestilential atmosphere must become diseased just as all persons who are exposed to a storm on board a ship must be all exposed to equal danger. (56) But those wild beasts which are courageous have been created; for we must not suppress the truth (as if one were to anticipate the defence likely to be made by a man of powerful eloquence and tare it to pieces beforehand), in order that men may, by practising against them, acquire hardihood for the contests of war; for gymnastic exercises and continued hunting train men and inure their souls in a greater degree even than their bodies to rely upon their own courage, and energy, and strength, so as to disregard the sudden attacks of their enemies.

(57) But those men who are of peaceable character are at liberty to keep themselves not only within their walls, but also even within tents, and there to live in privacy, safe from the designs of any enemies, having vast and countless herds of domestic animals to help their enjoyment; since boars and lions, and animals of that kind, are by their own instinct driven to a distance from cities, not being inclined to expose themselves to danger in consequence of the devices of men. (58) And if any men, being influenced by a spirit of laziness and indolence, living without arms and without preparation, dwell fearlessly among the haunts of wild beasts, then if anything happens to them they must blame not nature but themselves, because when they might have guarded against any such disasters, they have neglected them. Accordingly, before now, I have seen at the horse-races some persons acting in a most careless manner, who, when they ought to have sat still and to have beheld the races in an orderly manner, standing in the middle have been knocked down by the horses' feet and by the wheels, and have met with a proper reward for their folly. (59) We have now, then, said enough on this subject.

But of reptiles, those which are venomous have not been called into existence by an immediate providence, but by the natural consequences of events, as I said before; for they are brought into life when the moisture which is in them changes to a more violent heat; and some are vivified by putrefaction, as, for instance, the putrefaction of meat produces maggots, and that which is caused by perspiration produces lice; but all those which are produced out of a kindred substance, and which have their generation in accordance with the usual spermatic principles which I have mentioned before, are very naturally ascribed to an immediate providence. (60) And I have also heard two accounts given of them as having been created for the advantage of mankind, which I should not think it well to conceal. Now one of them is the following.

Some persons have said that venomous animals contribute greatly to many of the objects of physicians, and that those who reduce that science to a regular system use them in a proper manner, and, acting with great wisdom and prudence, have discovered antidotes, so as to be able to contribute to the unexpected safety of those who were in the greatest possible danger; and even at the present time one may see those persons who apply themselves to the study of medicine, in a careful and diligent manner, using all these animals and plants in a most skilful manner in the composition of drugs.

(61) The other account has no reference to the practice of physicians, but only as it would seem to the studies of philosophers. For it says that all these things have been prepared by God as engines of punishment against offenders, just as generals and rulers prepare halters and chains. On which account, though they are quiet at other times, they are brought out with great power in the case of people who have been condemned, and whom nature in her incorruptible tribunal has sentenced to death; (62) for that they lurk in secret holes and in houses, is a falsehood; for it is seen that these creatures flee out of the cities into the fields and into desert places, to avoid man as their master. Not but what, if this is true, there is a certain sense and principle in it; for rubbish is heaped up in recesses: and quantities of sweepings, and refuse, and such things, are what venomous reptiles love to lurk in, besides the fact that their smell has an attractive power over them.

(63) Again, if swallows live among us, it is not at all strange, for we abstain from hunting them; and a desire of safety is implanted not only in the souls of rational creatures, but also in those of irrational animals.

But of those animals which tend to our enjoyment, there is not one which lives with us by reason of the designs which we form against them, except that some do live with those nations to whom the use of them is forbidden by the law. (64) There is a city of Syria, on the sea shore, Ascalon by name: when I was there, at the time when I was on my journey towards the temple of my native land for the purpose of offering up prayers and sacrifices therein, I saw a most incalculable number of pigeons on the roads and about every house; and when I inquired the cause of their being there in such numbers, they said that it was not lawful to catch them, for that the use of them had been prohibited to the inhabitants from the earliest ages; and so the bird had become so thoroughly tame through fearlessness, that it not only hovered about the roofs and came into the houses, but approached their tables also, and grew luxurious in the alliance which it had thus formed.

(65) And in Egypt we may see a still more marvellous thing; for the crocodile is the most odious of all animals, and one addicted to devour man; and it is born and brought up in the most sacred way, and although residing in the depths, it feels the benefits which it receives from mankind; for in those tribes, among which it is honoured, it multiplies in the greatest degree, but among those who injure it it never appears at all: so that there are places where even the most timid persons when sailing by leap out of their ships and swim about with their children.

(66) And in the country of the Cyclops, since the race of these men is a fabulous invention, there is no eatable fruit whatever produced except such as is raised from seed and cultivated by husbandmen, just as nothing is produced from that which does not exist; but we must not accuse Greece as being sterile and unproductive, for there is a great deal of deep and rich soil in it; and if the land of the barbarians is superior in fruitfulness, though it is superior in the food which it produces, it is inferior in the men who are nourished by the food, and for whose sake the food is produced.

For Greece is the only country which really produces man, that heavenly plant, that divine offshoot, producing that most accurately refined reason which is appropriated by and akin to knowledge; and the cause is this, it is the nature of the intellect to be rendered acute by the lightness of the air; (67) on which account Heraclitus said with great propriety, "Where the soil is dry, there the soul is most wise and most excellent;" and any one may conjecture this from the fact, that men who are sober and contented with a little are wise, and that those who are continually filling themselves with meat and drink are the least sensible, as if their reasoning faculties were drowned by the quantity which they swallow.

(68) And on this account we see, in the countries of the barbarians, trees and plants grow to the greatest possible size, by reason of the abundance of nourishment which they receive; and we see too, that the irrational animals which are found in these regions are the most prolific of any, but the mind is not so, or, at all events, it is so in a very slight degree, because it is elevated and raised out of the aether itself, while the incessant and uninterrupted evaporations of earth and water have freely boiled over it. (69) Again, the different kinds of fish, and birds, and terrestrial animals, are not grounds for accusing nature, which invites us to pleasure by those means, but are a terrible reproach to us for our intemperate use of them, for it was necessary, for the due completion of the universe, in order that there should be order and regularity in every portion of it, that there should be produced every possible species of animal. But it was not necessary that that animal, which of all others is most akin to wisdom, namely, man, should rush with such eagerness to the enjoyment of it, as to change his nature into something resembling the ferocity of wild beasts; (70) on which account, even up to the present time, those who have any regard for temperance entirely abstain from such things, eating only vegetables, and herbs, and the fruits of trees, as the most delicious and wholesome food.

And these men are instructors for those who look upon the practice of eating such animals to be in accordance with nature, and correct them, and are lawgivers to their respective cities, being men who take care to check the immoderate vehemence of the appetites, and who do not permit the unrestrained use of everything to everybody.

(71) Again, if roses, and crocuses, and all the other beautiful variety of flowers which we see, contribute to health, it would not follow that they all contribute to pleasure; for the indescribable variety of them makes the powers of some of them more conspicuous than those of others, just as there is a commingling of male and female, contributing to the generation of an animal; neither of them being calculated, by itself, to produce the effect which the two produce in combination.

(72) These things are said, in a most convincing manner, with reference to the rest of the questions raised by you, being quite sufficient to produce conviction in the minds of all who are not obstinately contentious on the subject of God taking great care of human Affairs.{4}{yonge's edition includes numerous miscellaneous fragments including From the Parallels of John of Damascus (which includes Greek fragments from Quaestiones in Genesis et Exodum, whose translation is generally based on Armenian), from An Anonymous Collection in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and from An Unpublished Manuscript in the Library of the French King. These have been relocated to an appendix in this volume.}


Charles Duke Yonge's title, A Treatise To Prove That Every Man Who is Virtuous is Also Free.

I. (1) My former treatise, O Theodotus, was intended to prove that every wicked man was a slave, and that proposition I fully established by many natural and unquestionable arguments; and this other treatise is akin to that one, being its full brother both by the father's and the mother's side, and being even, in some sort, a twin with it, since in it we will proceed to show that every virtuous man is free. (2) Now it is said, that the most sacred sect of the Pythagoreans, among many other excellent doctrines, taught this one also, that it was not well to proceed by the plain ordinary roads, not meaning to urge us to talk among precipices (for it was not their object to weary our feet with labour), but intimating, by a figurative mode of speech, that we ought not, either in respect of our words or actions, to use only such as are ordinary and unchanged; (3) and all men who have studied philosophy in a genuine spirit, showing themselves obedient to this injunction, have looked upon it as a sentence, or rather as a law of equal weight with a divine oracle; and, departing from the common opinions of men, they have cut out for themselves a new and hitherto untravelled path, inaccessible to such as have no experience of wise maxims and doctrines, building up systems of ideas, which no one who is not pure either may or can handle. (4) Now when I speak of men not being pure, I mean those who have either been utterly destitute of education, or else who have tasted of it obliquely, and not in a straight-forward manner, changing the stamp of the beauty of wisdom so as to give an impression of the unsightliness of sophistry. (5) These men, not being able to discern that light which is appreciable only by the intellect, by reason of the weakness of the eyes of their soul, which are by nature easily dazzled by too much brightness, like men living in night and darkness, do not believe those who live in the light of day, and regard everything which they speak of as having been them most distinctly through the beams of the sun shining powerfully upon them, as prodigious pictures, like so many visions or dreams, in no respect different from the exhibitions of jugglers; (6) for how can it be anything but a complete marvel and absurdity to call those men exiles, who do not only live in the middle of the city, but who even take a part in the councils, and courts of justice, and public assemblies, and who, at times, fulfil the duties of clerks of the market, and of superintendants of gymnastic games, and of other offices of different kinds; (7) and, on the other hand, to call those men citizens who have either never been enrolled as such at all, or else have had sentences of infamy or of banishment pronounced against them; men who have been driven beyond the boundaries of the land, and who are unable, not only to set foot upon the country, but even to behold their native soil from a distance, unless they are urged on by some insane frenzy to rush upon certain death; for there are innumerable persons to detect and to punish all those who return from banishment, being both sharpened by their own feelings, and acting in obedience to the commands of the laws.

II. (8) Again, how can it be anything but a most unreasonable assertion, one full of complete shamelessness of insanity, (or I really know not what to call it, for the preposterousness of such a saying is so great that it is not easy to find a proper name for it), to call those men rich who are in a state of complete indigence, and destitute of even necessaries, living hardly and miserably, scarcely procuring enough for their daily subsistence, exposed to famine, as their own peculiar lot among the general plenty and abundance of others, feeding only on the breath of virtue, as they say that grasshoppers feed on air; (9) and then, on the other hand, to call those men poor who are surrounded on all sides by silver and gold, and abundance of possessions and revenues, and an inexhaustible supply of endless good things of every sort, the wealth of which has not only advantaged all their relations and friends, but has even proceeded beyond the family, and been of benefit to great crowds of persons of the same borough, or of the same tribe as the owners; aye, and going further still, it even supplies the city itself with everything which is needful in either peace or war. (10) Moreover, those who speak thus have, in obedience to the same dream, ventured to speak of slavery as the real condition of men of the greatest importance and genuine nobility of birth, men who can refer not only to their immediate parents, but to their grandfathers and remote ancestors up to the very first founders of their race, as having been in the highest esteem both among men and women; while, on the other hand, they speak of men, whose last three generations have been branded as slaves, born of slaves, who have never been anything but slaves, as free. (11) But all these things are, as I have said before, the inventions of men whose intellects are obscured, and who are slaves to opinions utterly under the influence of the outward senses, whose judgment is continually corrupted by those who are brought before its tribunal, and as such is unstable. (12) But they ought, if they had really been at all anxious for the truth, not to show themselves, in respect of their minds, inferior to those who have been diseased in their bodies; for such invalids, out of their desire for good health, commit themselves to the physicians. But these other men hesitate to get rid of that disease of the soul, ignorance, by becoming the associates of wise men; from whom they might not only learn to escape ignorance, but they might also acquire that peculiar possession of man, namely, knowledge. (13) And since, as that sweetest of all writers, Plato, says, envy is removed far from the divine company, but wisdom, that most divine and communicative of all things, never closes its school, but is continually open to receive all who thirst for salutary doctrines, to whom she pours forth the inexhaustible stream of unalloyed instruction and wisdom, and persuades them to yield to the intoxication of the soberest of all drunkenness. (14) And her disciples, like persons who have been initiated into the sacred and holy mysteries, when they are at last entirely filled with the knowledge proffered to them, reproach themselves bitterly for their previous neglect, as not having taken proper care of their time, but having lived a life which was hardly deserving to be called life, in which they have been utterly destitute of wisdom. (15) Those men, therefore, act worthily who, in every case and everywhere, have resolved to dedicate the whole of their youth as the first fruits of their earliest vigour to nothing in preference to education, in which it is well for a man to spend both his youth and his age; for as they say that vessels even when empty do nevertheless retain the odour of whatever was originally poured into them, {1}{compare Moore--"You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will, / But the scent of the roses will hang round it still."} so also are the souls of the young deeply impressed with the indelible character of those conceptions which were the first to be offered to their minds, which cannot be at all washed away by the torrent of any ideas which flow over the mind afterwards, but they to the last show the character originally given to them.

III. However, we have said enough of these matters. (16) We must now examine with accuracy that which we have taken as the subject of our investigation, that we may not be led astray through being deceived by the indistinctness of words and expressions; but that, understanding accurately what it is of which we are speaking, we may frame our determinations felicitously. (17) Slavery, then, is of two kinds; slavery of the soul and slavery of the body. Now, of our bodies, men are masters; but over our souls, wickedness and the passions have the dominion. And we may speak of freedom in the same manner. For one kind of freedom gives fearlessness of body in respect of any dangers which can come upon it from men of still more powerful body; while the other produces peace to the mind, by putting a check upon the authority of the passions. (18) Now, about the former kind, scarcely any one ever raises any question; for the chances of fortune which happen to men are infinite in number, and it often happens that men of the highest virtue have fallen into unexpected misfortunes, and so have lost the freedom which belonged to them through their birth. But there is room for inquiry about those manners which neither desires, nor fears, nor pleasures, nor pains, have ever brought under the yoke, as if they had come forth out of confinement, and as if the chains by which they had been bound were now loosened. (19) Therefore, discarding all mention of those kinds of freedom which are only a pretence, and of all those names also which are quite unconnected with nature, but which owe their existence only to opinion, such as slaves born in the house, slaves purchased with money, slaves taken in war, let us now investigate the character of the man who is truly free, who is alone possessed of independence, even if ten thousand men set themselves down as his masters; for he will quote that line of Sophocles, which differs in no respect from the doctrines of the Pythagoreans--

"God is my ruler, and no mortal Man."{2}{it is not known from what play this line comes; it is placed among the Incerta Fragments, No. 89, by Brunck.}

(20) For, in real truth, that man alone is free who has God for his leader; indeed, in my opinion, that man is even the ruler of all others, and has all the affairs of the earth committed to him, being, as it were, the viceroy of a great king, the mortal lieutenant of an immortal sovereign. However, this assertion of the actual authority of the wise man may be postponed to a more suitable opportunity. We must at present examine minutely the question of his perfect freedom. (21) If now any one advancing deeply into the matter should choose to investigate it closely, he will see clearly that there is no one thing so nearly related to another as independence of action. On which account there are a great many things which stand in the way of the liberty of a wicked man; covetousness of money, the desire of glory, the love of pleasure, and so on. But the virtuous man has absolutely no obstacle at all since he rises up against, and resists, and overthrows, and tramples on love, and fear, and cowardice, and pain, and all things of that kind, as if they were rivals defeated by him in the public games. (22) For he has learnt to disregard all the commands which those most unlawful masters of the soul seek to imposed upon him, out of his admiration and desire for freedom, of which independence and spontaneousness of action are the most especial and inalienable inheritance; and by some persons the poet is praised who composed this iambic--

"No man's a slave who does not fear to Die,"{3}{this line is from an unknown tragedy by Euripides. Fragmenta Incerta, 348.}

as having had an accurate idea of the consequences of such courage; for he conceived that nothing is so calculated to enslave the mind as a fear of death, arising from an excessive desire of living.

IV. (23) But we must consider that not only is the man who feels no anxiety to avoid death incapable of being made a slave, but the same privilege belongs to those who are indifferent to poverty, and want of reputation, and pain, and all those other things which the generality of men look upon as evils, being themselves but evil judges of things, since they pronounce a man a slave from a computation of what things he has need of, looking at the duties which he is compelled to perform, when they ought to look rather at his free and indomitable disposition; (24) for the man who out of a lowly and slavish spirit submits himself to lowly and slavish actions in spite of his deliberate judgment, is really and truly a slave; but he who adapts his circumstances and actions to the present occasion, and who voluntarily and in an enduring spirit bears up against the events of fortune, not looking at any thing of human affairs as extraordinary, but having by diligent consideration fully assured himself that all divine things are honoured by eternal order and happiness; and that all mortal things are tossed about in an everlasting storm and fluctuation of affairs so as to be subject to the greatest variety of changes and vicissitudes, and who, from those considerations, bears all that can befall him with a noble courage, is at once both a philosopher and a free man. (25) On which account he will neither obey every one who imposes a command upon him, not even if he threatens him with insults, and tortures, and even still more formidable evils; but he will bear a gallant spirit, and will cry out in reply to such menaces--

"Yes, burn and scorch my flesh, and glut your hate,

Drinking my life-warm blood; for heaven's stars

Shall quit their place, and darken 'neath the earth,

And earth rise up and take the place of heaven,

Before you wring from me a word of Flattery."{4}{this is a fragment of Euripides from the Syleus. Fr. 2.}

V. (26) I have before now seen among the competitors in the pancratium, at the public games, one man inflicting all kinds of blows both with his hands and feet, all of them with great accuracy of aim and omitting nothing which could conduce to victory, and yet after at time fainting and desponding, and at last quitting the arena without the crown of victory; and the other who has received all his blows, being thoroughly hardened with great firmness of flesh, and being tough and unyielding, and filled with the true spirit of an athlete, and invigorated throughout his whole body, being like so much iron or stone, not at all yielding to the blows inflicted by the other, at last, by the endurance and resolution of his spirit, defeating the power of his adversary so as to obtain a complete victory. (27) And the condition of the virtuous man appears to me very much to resemble that of this person. For having thoroughly fortified his soul with strong and powerful reasoning, he so compels the man who is offering him violence to desist from weariness, before he himself can be compelled to do any thing contrary to his opinion of propriety. But perhaps this is incredible to those who do not know by experience that virtue is of the character that I have mentioned, just as that other case would be to those who have never seen the combatants in the pancratium; but nevertheless it is strictly true. (28) And it was from a regard to this fact that Antisthenes said that "the virtuous man was a burden hard to be borne." For as folly is a light thing easily tossed about in every direction, so, on the contrary, wisdom is a well established and immovable thing of a weight which is not easily agitated. (29) Accordingly the lawgiver of the Jews{5}{#ge 16:9.} represents the hands of the wise man as a heavy, intimating by this figurative expression the gravity of his actions, which are supported in no superficial but in a solid manner by his inflexible mind. (30) Therefore, he is not under the compulsion of any thing, as being one who despises pains, and who looks with contempt on death, and who, by the law of nature, has all foolish men for his subjects. For in the same manner as goatherds, and cowherds, and shepherds lead their respective flocks of goats, and cattle, and sheep, but shepherds cannot manage a drove of oxen, so in the same manner the generality of men, being like so many cattle, stand in need of a guide and governor. And their proper governors are virtuous men, being placed in the position of shepherds to the multitude; (31) for Homer is constantly in the habit of calling kings shepherds of their People.{6}{see Iliad 10:3.} But nature has appropriated this appellation as more peculiarly belonging to the good, since the wicked are rather tended by others than occupied in serving them; for they are led captive by strong wine, and by beauty, and by delicate eating, and sweetmeats, and by the arts of cooks and confectioners, to say nothing of the thirst of gold, and silver, and other things of a higher character. But men of the other class are not allured or led astray by any thing, but are rather inclined to admonish those whom they perceive to be caught in the toils of pleasure.

VI. (32) And of the assertion that the being compelled to perform services to others is not of itself an indication of slavery, there is a most clear proof in what occurs in war; for one can behold men engaged in military expeditions, all acting by their own means, and not only carrying complete armour, but being also loaded like beasts of burden with everything required for their necessary wants, and going out to fetch water, and fuel, and fodder for the cattle. (33) And why need I dwell at length on what is done against the enemy in such expeditions, in respect of their labours in cutting ditches, or erecting walls, or building ships, and doing with their hands and their whole bodies everything which relates to every kind of necessary employment or art. (34) Moreover, there is in peace also another kind of war not wholly dissimilar from that which is carried on under arms, which want or reputation, and poverty, and terrible want of necessary things excites, by which men are compelled and constrained to put their hands to the most ignominious and slavish tasks, digging and cultivating the ground and labouring at the employments of handicrafts-men, and serving without hesitation for the sake of procuring food to support life; very often even bearing burdens through the middle of the market-place, in the sight of those who are of their own age, and have grown up with them, and been their school-fellows and companions through life. (35) There are others also who are slaves by birth, and who have nevertheless been raised by the bounty of fortune to the condition of freemen; for they have become stewards of houses, and properties, and large possessions, and sometimes they are even appointed rulers of their fellow slaves. And many such have had committed to them the guardianship of the wives and orphan children of their masters, being preferred to the confidential offices which belong properly to friends and relations, but, nevertheless they are slaves, though employed in borrowing, in buying, in collecting revenues, and though they are themselves attended by other servants. What is there wonderful then if, on the contrary also, some persons, originally nobly born, by a sudden failure of good fortune, are subjected to such necessities as properly belong to slaves, (36) and by being compelled to obey others are deprived of their own freedom? Moreover, in some degree, children are forced to submit to the commands of their father or their mother; and pupils, also, submit to whatever their teachers enjoin; for no one is willingly a slave. Now, parents will never display such an extravagant and unnatural dislike to their children as to compel their own offspring to submit to such menial offices as are only a symbol of slavery. (37) And if any one beholding some persons who may have been bought and sold by traffickers in men, looks upon them at once as slaves, he is widely removed from the truth; for an act of selling does not make him who purchases the master, nor him who is sold the slave, since fathers at times have paid a price for their sons, and sons have often laid down a ransom for their fathers, in cases where they have been carried away as prisoners by some piratical sally, or have been taken captive in regular warfare, though still the laws of nature, which are more stable than those of men, describe them as free. (38) And, before now, some persons in the excess of their confidence have brought matters into so completely altered a condition that they have actually become masters instead of slaves, in spite of having been bought. At all events, I have often seen some young persons of great beauty, and of great wit in conversation, getting the complete mastery over those who had purchased them, by two great incentives, the exquisiteness of their beauty and the elegance of their language; for these are engines able to overthrow any soul which wants stability and a solid foundation, being the most powerful of all the contrivances which were ever invented for the overthrow of cities. (39) And a proof of this may easily be given; for we may see that those who have become the masters of such persons serve them, and address entreaties to them, and eagerly entreat their favour as they would that of fortune or of the good genius; and if they are neglected by them they are vexed, and if they only obtain a gentle or favourable look from them they dance for joy. (40) Unless, indeed, any one would say that a man who has bought a lion has become the master of the lion, when if he merely look with a threatening glance at him he will soon learn to his cost what kind of a master, what a savage and ferocious tyrant he has purchased. What shall we say then? Shall we not look upon a wise man as more difficult to enslave than a lion, when he in his freedom and invincible soul has much more courage than any creature can have which consists of a body which is by nature a slave, however great his strength may be by which he resists his masters.

VII. (41) And every one may learn to appreciate the true freedom of which the virtuous man is in the enjoyment from other circumstances.

"No slave can e'er true happiness Enjoy."{7}{some editions print this as a quotation, but Mangey does not. It is not known where it comes from if it is one.}

For what can be more miserable than to have no power over anything, not even over one's self? But then a man is happy, inasmuch as he bears within himself the foundation and complement of virtue and excellence, in which consists the supreme power over all things, [...]{8}{there is a considerable hiatus in the text here.} so that beyond all controversy and of necessity the virtuous man is free. (42) Besides all this, would not any one affirm that the friends of God are free? unless indeed one can think it consistent to attribute to the companions of kings, not only freedom but even at times a great degree of authority, when they commit magistracies to them, and when they, in consequence, fulfil the offices of subordinate rulers; and yet, at the same time, to speak of slavery in connection with the gods of heaven, when those men, on account of the love which they have shown to God, have also at once become beloved by God, being requited by him with good will equal to their own, truth being the judge, so that they as the poets say, are universal princes and kings of kings. (43) But the lawgiver of the Jews ventures upon a more bold assertion even than this, inasmuch as he was, as it is reported, a student and practiser of plain philosophy; and so he teaches that the man who is wholly possessed with the love of God and who serves the living God alone, is no longer man, but actually God, being indeed the God of men, but not of the parts of nature, in order to leave to the Father of the universe the attributes of being both and God. (44) Is it right, then, to think a man who is invested with such privileges as these a slave, or rather as the only one who is free? Who, even though he may not be thought worthy by himself of being classed as God, one nevertheless ought by all means to pronounce happy, by reason of his having God for his friend; for God is not a weak champion, nor regardless of the rights and claims of friendship, inasmuch as he is the God of companionship, and as he presides over everything that belongs to companions. (45) Moreover, as among cities, some being governed by an oligarchy or by tyrants, endure slavery, having those who have subdued them and made themselves masters of them for severe and cruel tyrants; while others, existing under the superintending care of the laws and under those good protectors, are free and happy. So also in the case of men; those who are under the dominion of anger, or appetite, or any other passion, or of treacherous wickedness, are in every respect slaves; and those who live in accordance with the law are free. (46) But the unerring law is right reason; not an ordinance made by this or that mortal, a corruptible and perishable law, a lifeless law written on lifeless parchment or engraved on lifeless columns; but one imperishable, and stamped by immortal nature on the immortal mind. (47) On which account any one may reasonably marvel at the dim-sightedness of those who do not see the particular characters of things which are so clear, and who say that for those mighty nations of the Athenians and Lacedaemonians, the laws of Solon and Lycurgus are quite sufficient to ensure the liberty of the people if they only have the mastery and dominion, and if the people who live in those cities do dutifully obey them, and who yet affirm that right reason, which is the fountain from which all other laws do spring, is not sufficient for wise men to enable them to arrive at a participation in freedom, even though they obey it in all the particulars as to what it commands and what it prohibits. (48) Moreover, in addition to what has been already said, there is one most undeniable proof of freedom, equality of speech, which all virtuous men use to one another; on which account they say that the following iambics are inspired with the true spirit of genuine philosophy:--

"For slaves no freedom have, not e'en in speech."

And again:--

"You're but a slave, and may not dare to speak."

(49) As, therefore, musical science gives to all those who have studied music an equal right to speak on matters connected with their art; and as a man who is learned in grammar or in geometry has a right to speak among grammarians and mathematicians, so also the law in life allows the same privilege to those who are learned in the way in which men ought to live. (50) But all virtuous men are skilful in all the affairs which belong to life, inasmuch as they also are so with respect to the things which belong to universal nature; and some of them are free; and so therefore are they who have the freedom of speaking to them on equal terms; therefore no virtuous man is a slave, but all are free.

VIII. (51) And from the same principle as a starting-point it will also be clearly shown that the foolish man is a slave; for as the laws which prevail with respect to music do not give those who are ignorant of it a right of speaking about it in terms of equality with those who are well versed in it; nor do the laws respecting grammar give those ignorant of that knowledge a right of speaking about it on terms of equality with those who are well skilled in it; nor, in short, does the law with respect to any art confer such a right on those who are ignorant of it towards those who are learned in it; so also the law which relates to the establishing proper principles of life does not give those who are strangers to any such true principles a right of speaking really on such topics to those who have studied and learnt them. (52) But to all free men, perfect equality of speech on all subjects is given by the law; and some virtuous men are free; and of the proper principles of life, the foolish are utterly ignorant, but the wise are most profoundly versed in them: therefore it is not the case that ever any foolish or wicked men are free, but they are all slaves. (53) And Zeno, as much as any one else, being under the influence of virtue, ventures boldly to assert that the wicked have not a right to any equality of speech towards the virtuous; for he says, "Shall not the wicked man suffer if he contradicts the virtuous man?" Therefore the wicked man has not a right to freedom of speech as respects the virtuous man. (54) I know that many persons will rail at this assertion as one which is dictated rather by self-conceit than by real wisdom. But if, after they have desisted from mocking and ridiculing it, they will condescend to investigate the matter and to examine clearly into what is really said, then, recognising and admiring its perfect truth, they will become aware that there is nothing for which a man will suffer more than for disregarding the words of a wise man. (55) For loss of money, and the brand of dishonour, and banishment, and insults by means of beating, and all other things of that sort, injure a man but little, or rather not at all, when compared with acts of wickedness and the things which are the results of acts of wickedness. But it happens that the generality of men, not being able to perceive the injuries of the soul by reason of the mutilated state of their reason, are grieved only at external calamities, being wholly deprived of the faculty of judging correctly, which is the only one by which they can comprehend the injury received by the intellect. (56) But if they were able to look up and see clearly, then, beholding the deceits which arise out of folly, and the perplexities which proceed from covetousness, and all the intoxicated folly to which intemperance gives rise, and all the transgressions of the law in which injustice indulges, they would be filled with interminable grief at the injuries sustained by the best portion of themselves, and would be incapable of receiving comfort by reason of the excessive greatness of the evil. (57) But Zeno appears to have drawn this maxim of his as it were from the fountain of the legislation of the Jews, {9}{#ge 28:1.} in the history of which it is recorded that in a case where there were two brothers, the one temperate and the other intemperate, the common father of them both, taking pity on the intemperate one who did not walk in the path of virtue, prays that he may serve his brother, conceiving that service which appears in general to be the greatest of evils is the most perfect good to a foolish man, in order that thus he may be deprived of his independence of action, so as to be prevented from misconducting himself with impunity, and that he may be improved in his disposition by the superintending management of him who is appointed to be his master.

IX. (58) What has now then been said with the view of establishing the truth in the matter inquired into is, in my opinion, sufficient. But since physicians are accustomed to cure various diseases with still more various remedies, it is necessary that we should bring a series of proofs, keeping close to the subject, in order to establish those propositions which appear paradoxical by reason of their unusual character. For some people, even if they are convicted by ever so close a series of proofs, can hardly be brought to see their error. (59) Therefore, it is not an incorrect assertion that the man who does everything wisely does everything well; and he who does everything well does everything correctly; and he who does everything correctly does everything also in an unerring, and blameless, and irreproachable, and faultless, and beneficial manner: so that he will have free permission to do everything, and to live as he pleases. And he who has this liberty must be free. But the virtuous man does do everything wisely; therefore he alone is free. (60) And indeed the man whom it is not possible either to compel to do anything, or to prevent from doing anything, cannot possibly be a slave; and one cannot compel or prevent the virtuous man. Therefore the virtuous man cannot be a slave; and that he is never under compulsion or under any restraint is quite plain; for that man is under restraint who does not obtain what he desires. But the wise man only desires such things as proceed from virtue, in which it is impossible for him to be disappointed. And again, if he is under compulsion, then it is plain that he does something against his will; but in all cases where there are actions, they are either good ones proceeding from virtue, or evil ones proceeding from wickedness, or else they are of an intermediate and indifferent character. (61) Now the actions which proceed from virtue, the creature man performs, not through compulsion but voluntarily, for everything which he does is the result of his deliberate choice; and the actions which proceed from wickedness, inasmuch as they ought to be avoided, he does not do even in dreams; nor again, is it likely that he would perform those actions which are of an indifferent character, between which the mind, as if in a scale, is equally balanced, not being induced to yield to them, as having any attractive power, nor, on the other hand, to regard them with any particular aversion as worthy of hatred; from all which it is plain, that the virtuous man does nothing against his will, and nothing under compulsion; and if he were a slave he would be acting under compulsion: so that the virtuous man must be free.

X. (62) But since some persons, who have paid but very little attention to literary pursuits, not understanding demonstrative arguments, which establish only general principles of action, are accustomed to ask us, "Who then are the men, whether previously existing or now alive, whom you thus represent to us?" it is well to make answer, that in former times there were some persons who surpassed all their contemporaries in virtue, taking God alone for their guide, and living in strict accordance with the law, that is to say, with the right reason of nature, and who were not only free themselves, but who also filled all who came near to them with a spirit of freedom. And now also, in our own time, there are some who are, as it were, images of them, bearing on themselves the stamp of the virtue of those wise men as their archetypal model; (63) for it does not follow, that although the souls of such as contradict those virtuous men are deprived of all liberty for having been completely led away and enslaved by folly and other vices, that on this account the whole human race is so too. But it is no wonder if we do not see numerous companies of those men advancing as it were in a solid body. In the first place, because whatever is exceedingly beautiful is rare; secondly, because men who are removed from the main crowd of inconsiderately judging persons, have abundant leisure for the contemplation of the things of nature, endeavouring, as far as it may be in their power, to correct life in general (for virtue is a thing of great benefit to the whole community); but when they are unable to succeed in their object, by reason of the numbers of absurdities which are continually impeding them in the different cities, which the different passions and vices of the soul have given strength to, they then retire into solitude, in order not to be carried away by the violence and rush of these absurdities, as by a wintry torrent. (64) But if there were any real anxiety for improvement in us, we ought carefully to trace out the hiding-places of these men, and to sit down before them as suppliants, and to entreat them to come forward to impart a tincture of civilization to life which was previously savage, by announcing, instead of inward slavery and innumerable evils, peace and an abundance of all other good things to flow over it continually. (65) But as things are, we do investigate all retreats only for the sake of money, and with this object we open the hard and rugged beings of the earth; and a great deal of the champaign country is opened in mines, and no small part of the mountainous district also, while we are seeking for gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and all kinds of materials. (66) But vain opinion, setting up pride as a god, has descended down to the very lowest depths of the sea in its researches to see whether there is any beautiful thing which might become an object of the outward senses lying covered anywhere; and finding many species of precious stones, some adhering closely to the rocks, and others lying concealed in oyster-shells, which are more valuable still, has thus shown a great desire to deceive the sight; (67) and for the sake of the requirements of wisdom, or temperance, or courage, or justice, even that portion of the earth which is naturally inaccessible is travelled over, and seas which are dangerous to navigate are sailed over at any season of the year by sailors. (68) And yet, what need is there, either of long journeys over the land, or of long voyages, for the sake of investigating the seeking out virtue, the roots of which the Creator has laid not at any great distance, but so near, as the wise lawgiver of the Jews says, {10}{#de 30:14.} "They are in thy mouth, and in thy heart, and in thy hands:" intimating by these figurative expressions the words, and actions, and designs of men; all of which stand in need of careful cultivation. (69) These men, therefore, who prefer idleness to industry, have not only hindered the shoots of virtue from thriving, but have even dried up all the roots, and withered and destroyed them; while those on the contrary, who look upon idleness as pernicious and who are willing to labour, cultivate it as husbandmen would cultivate flourishing shoots of good kinds of plants, with incessant care, and thus they raise the virtues to the height of heaven itself in ever-flourishing and undying branches, bearing a fruit of happiness which never ceases, or rather, as some say, not bearing happiness, but rather actually being happiness, which Moses was in the habit of calling by one compound name, holokarpoµmata (whole offerings of entire fruit). (70) For in respect of those things which grow out of the ground, the fruit is not trees, nor are the trees fruit. But with respect to those which grew in the soul, these their whole branches do entirely change into the nature of the fruit; for instance, into wisdom, and justice, and courage, and temperance.

XI. (71) Since, then, we have such great assistance towards arriving at virtue, must we not blush to assert that there is any necessary deficiency of wisdom in the human race, when we might, by following it up, like a spark smouldering among wood, kindle it into a flame? But the fact is, that we do display great hesitation and incessant slackness in the pursuit of those objects towards which we ought to hasten eagerly as most closely connected with and nearly akin to us, and by this hesitation and indolence the seeds of virtue are destroyed; while, on the contrary, those things which we ought to neglect we show an insatiable desire and longing for. (72) It is owing to this that the whole earth and sea are full of men who are rich and of high reputation, and who indulge in all kinds of pleasure; but that the number of those who are prudent, and just, and virtuous, is very small; but that of which the numbers are small, though it may be rare, is nevertheless not non-existent. (73) And all Greece and all the land of the barbarians is a witness of this; for in the one country flourished those who are truly called "the seven wise men," though others had flourished before them, and have also in all probability lived since their time. But their memory, though they are now very ancient, has nevertheless not been effaced by the lapse of ages, while of others who are more modern, the names have been lost through the neglect of their contemporaries. (74) And in the land of the barbarians, in which the same men are authorities both as to words and actions, there are very numerous companies of virtuous and honourable men celebrated. Among the Persians there is the body of the Magi, who, investigating the works of nature for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the truth, do at their leisure become initiated themselves and initiate others in the divine virtues by very clear explanations. And among the Indians there is the class of the gymnosophists, who, in addition to natural philosophy, take great pains in the study of moral science likewise, and thus make their whole existence a sort of lesson in virtue.

XII. (75) Moreover Palestine and Syria too are not barren of exemplary wisdom and virtue, which countries no slight portion of that most populous nation of the Jews inhabits. There is a portion of those people called Essenes, in number something more than four thousand in my opinion, who derive their name from their piety, though not according to any accurate form of the Grecian dialect, because they are above all men devoted to the service of God, not sacrificing living animals, but studying rather to preserve their own minds in a state of holiness and purity. (76) These men, in the first place, live in villages, avoiding all cities on account of the habitual lawlessness of those who inhabit them, well knowing that such a moral disease is contracted from associations with wicked men, just as a real disease might be from an impure atmosphere, and that this would stamp an incurable evil on their souls. Of these men, some cultivating the earth, and others devoting themselves to those arts which are the result of peace, benefit both themselves and all those who come in contact with them, not storing up treasures of silver and of gold, nor acquiring vast sections of the earth out of a desire for ample revenues, but providing all things which are requisite for the natural purposes of life; (77) for they alone of almost all men having been originally poor and destitute, and that too rather from their own habits and ways of life than from any real deficiency of good fortune, are nevertheless accounted very rich, judging contentment and frugality to be great abundance, as in truth they are. (78) Among those men you will find no makers of arrows, or javelins, or swords, or helmets, or breastplates, or shields; no makers of arms or of military engines; no one, in short, attending to any employment whatever connected with war, or even to any of those occupations even in peace which are easily perverted to wicked purposes; for they are utterly ignorant of all traffic, and of all commercial dealings, and of all navigation, but they repudiate and keep aloof from everything which can possibly afford any inducement to covetousness; (79) and there is not a single slave among them, but they are all free, aiding one another with a reciprocal interchange of good offices; and they condemn masters, not only as unjust, inasmuch as they corrupt the very principle of equality, but likewise as impious, because they destroy the ordinances of nature, which generated them all equally, and brought them up like a mother, as if they were all legitimate brethren, not in name only, but in reality and truth. But in their view this natural relationship of all men to one another has been thrown into disorder by designing covetousness, continually wishing to surpass others in good fortune, and which has therefore engendered alienation instead of affection, and hatred instead of friendship; (80) and leaving the logical part of philosophy, as in no respect necessary for the acquisition of virtue, to the word-catchers, and the natural part, as being too sublime for human nature to master, to those who love to converse about high objects (except indeed so far as such a study takes in the contemplation of the existence of God and of the creation of the universe), they devote all their attention to the moral part of philosophy, using as instructors the laws of their country which it would have been impossible for the human mind to devise without divine inspiration. (81) Now these laws they are taught at other times, indeed, but most especially on the seventh day, for the seventh day is accounted sacred, on which they abstain from all other employments, and frequent the sacred places which are called synagogues, and there they sit according to their age in classes, the younger sitting under the elder, and listening with eager attention in becoming order. (82) Then one, indeed, takes up the holy volume and reads it, and another of the men of the greatest experience comes forward and explains what is not very intelligible, for a great many precepts are delivered in enigmatical modes of expression, and allegorically, as the old fashion was; (83) and thus the people are taught piety, and holiness, and justice, and economy, and the science of regulating the state, and the knowledge of such things as are naturally good, or bad, or indifferent, and to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong, using a threefold variety of definitions, and rules, and criteria, namely, the love of God, and the love of virtue, and the love of mankind. (84) Accordingly, the sacred volumes present an infinite number of instances of the disposition devoted to the love of God, and of a continued and uninterrupted purity throughout the whole of life, of a careful avoidance of oaths and of falsehood, and of a strict adherence to the principle of looking on the Deity as the cause of everything which is good and of nothing which is evil. They also furnish us with many proofs of a love of virtue, such as abstinence from all covetousness of money, from ambition, from indulgence in pleasures, temperance, endurance, and also moderation, simplicity, good temper, the absence of pride, obedience to the laws, steadiness, and everything of that kind; and, lastly, they bring forward as proofs of the love of mankind, goodwill, equality beyond all power of description, and fellowship, about which it is not unreasonable to say a few words. (85) In the first place, then, there is no one who has a house so absolutely his own private property, that it does not in some sense also belong to every one: for besides that they all dwell together in companies, the house is open to all those of the same notions, who come to them from other quarters; (86) then there is one magazine among them all; their expenses are all in common; their garments belong to them all in common; their food is common, since they all eat in messes; for there is no other people among which you can find a common use of the same house, a common adoption of one mode of living, and a common use of the same table more thoroughly established in fact than among this tribe: and is not this very natural? For whatever they, after having been working during the day, receive for their wages, that they do not retain as their own, but bring it into the common stock, and give any advantage that is to be derived from it to all who desire to avail themselves of it; (87) and those who are sick are not neglected because they are unable to contribute to the common stock, inasmuch as the tribe have in their public stock a means of supplying their necessities and aiding their weakness, so that from their ample means they support them liberally and abundantly; and they cherish respect for their elders, and honour them and care for them, just as parents are honoured and cared for by their lawful children: being supported by them in all abundance both by their personal exertions, and by innumerable contrivances.

XIII. (88) Such diligent practisers of virtue does philosophy, unconnected with any superfluous care of examining into Greek names render men, proposing to them as necessary exercises to train them towards its attainment, all praiseworthy actions by which a freedom, which can never be enslaved, is firmly established. (89) And a proof of this is that, though at different times a great number of chiefs of every variety of disposition and character, have occupied their country, some of whom have endeavoured to surpass even ferocious wild beasts in cruelty, leaving no sort of inhumanity unpractised, and have never ceased to murder their subjects in whole troops, and have even torn them to pieces while living, like cooks cutting them limb from limb, till they themselves, being overtaken by the vengeance of divine justice, have at last experienced the same miseries in their turn: (90) others again having converted their barbarous frenzy into another kind of wickedness, practising an ineffable degree of savageness, talking with the people quietly, but through the hypocrisy of a more gentle voice, betraying the ferocity of their real disposition, fawning upon their victims like treacherous dogs, and becoming the causes of irremediable miseries to them, have left in all their cities monuments of their impiety, and hatred of all mankind, in the never to be forgotten miseries endured by those whom they oppressed: (91) and yet no one, not even of those immoderately cruel tyrants, nor of the more treacherous and hypocritical oppressors was ever able to bring any real accusation against the multitude of those called Essenes or Holy.{11}{the Greek is essaioµn eµ hosioµn, as if essaioµn was only a variety of the word hosioµn, "holy."} But everyone being subdued by the virtue of these men, looked up to them as free by nature, and not subject to the frown of any human being, and have celebrated their manner of messing together, and their fellowship with one another beyond all description in respect of its mutual good faith, which is an ample proof of a perfect and very happy life.

XIV. (92) But it is necessary for us (since some persons do not believe that there is any perfect virtue in the multitude, but that whatever in such persons appears like virtue only reaches a certain point of increase and growth), to bring forward as corroborative testimonies the lives of some particular good men who are the most undeniable evidences of freedom. (93) Calanus was an Indian by birth, one of the gymnosophists; he, being looked upon as the man who was possessed of the greatest fortitude of all his contemporaries, and that too, not only by his own countrymen, but also by foreigners, which is the rarest of all things, was greatly admired by some kings of hostile countries, because he had combined virtuous actions with praiseworthy language; (94) accordingly, Alexander, the king of the Macedonians, wishing to exhibit to Greece the wisdom that was to be found in the territories of the barbarians, as being a sort of faithful copy and representation of an archetypal model, in the first instance invited Calanus to quit his home, and come and take up his abode with him, by which means he said he would acquire the greatest imaginable glory throughout all Asia and all Europe; (95) and when he could not persuade him by fair means, he said to him, "You shall be compelled to follow me." And he replied with great felicity of expression and in a noble spirit; "What then shall I be worth, O Alexander, when you exhibit me to the Greeks, after I have been compelled to do what I do not like?" Now is not this speech, or rather is not this idea, full of real freedom? And moreover in his writings also, which are more durable than his expressions, he has erected, as if on a pillar, indelible signs of his indomitably free disposition; (96) and this is proved by the letter which he sent to the king.


"Your friends are endeavouring to persuade you to apply force and compulsion to the philosophers of the Indians, though not even in their sleep have they beheld our actions; for you will be able indeed to transport our bodies from place to place, but you will not be able to compel our souls to do what they do not like, any more than you would be able to make bricks or timber utter words; we can cause the greatest troubles and the greatest destruction to living bodies; now we are superior to this power; we are burnt even while living, there is no king nor ruler who will ever succeed in compelling us to do what we do not choose to do; and we are in no respect like unto the philosophers of the Greeks, who study speeches to deliver to a public assembly; but our actions do always correspond to our words, and our speeches which are short have a power different from that of our actions, and secure for us freedom and happiness." (97) At such positive refusals then, and at such brave sentiments, is it not natural for any one to quote that saying of Zeno that, "It would be easier to sink a bladder which was full of wind, than to compel any virtuous man whatever, against his will, to commit any action which he had never intended." For the soul of such a man will never submit, and can never be defeated, since it has been fortified by right reason with solid doctrines.

XV. (98) Moreover, both poets and historians are witnesses to the real freedom of virtuous men, in whose doctrines both Greeks and barbarians are equally bred up almost from their very cradles, and by which they are improved in their dispositions, changing everything in their souls which is adulterated by a blameable way of bringing up and of living, into good coinage; (99) accordingly just see what Hercules says in Euripides.{12}{see 100:4.}

"Yes, burn and scorch my flesh, and glut your hate,

Drinking my life-warm blood; for heaven's stars

Shall quit their place, and darken 'neath the earth,

And earth rise up and take the place of heaven,

Before you wring from me a word of flattery."

For in real truth flattery, and adulation, and hypocrisy, in which what is uttered is at variance with the sentiments which are really felt, are the most slavish of things. But without any disguise, and in a genuine honest spirit of truth to speak with freedom what is dictated by a clear conscience, is a line of conduct suited to those who are nobly born. (100) Again, do not you see this same virtuous man himself, that even when he is sold he does not appear to be a servant, but he strikes all who behold him with awe, as not being merely free, but as even being about to prove the master of him who has purchased him? (101) At all events, Mercury replies to a man who inquires whether he is worthless--

"By no means worthless, on the contrary,

In every part most venerable: never

Low, nor of no account, as though a slave.

But as to raiment brilliant to behold,

And with the club he bears most energetic.

But no one willingly becomes the buyer

Of one who soon the master will become

Of him and all his house. And every one

Who sees thee, fears thee, for your eye is fire

Like that of any bull prepared for war

Gainst Afric Lions."{13}{euripides Frag. Incert. 495.}

Then, again, he speaks in conclusion of his disposition--

"I now do blame you for your stubborn silence,

As if you were not subject to a master,

But sought to govern rather than be governed."

(102) But when, after Syleus had bought him, he was sent into the fields, he showed by his actions the indomitable freedom of his nature; for having sacrificed the choicest of the bulls which were there to Jupiter, he made a pretence of a feast, and having drunk a vast quantity of wine at one meal, he lay down very contentedly to digest it; (103) and when Syleus came, and got angry both at the loss and also at the easy indifference of his servant, and at his preposterous contempt for his master, he never changed colour, nor made any difference in his conduct, but said with the most perfect confidence--

"Sit down and drink, and thus you shall

At once appreciate my character,

And learn to be my master in reality."

(104) Shall we then say that he is the slave, or rather the master of his master, when he dares in this manner not only to accost him with such freedom, but even to impose injunctions on him who has purchased him, as if he would beat and insult him if he were to be stubborn and disobedient, and, if he introduced any one to assist him, as if he would destroy them all to a man? Therefore the writings which were delivered respecting this purchase must have been an utter absurdity and a mere joke, since they would be trampled upon by the more effectual power of the slave bought under them, being the less value than unwritten covenants, and being likely to be utterly destroyed by moths, or time, or mould and rust.

XVI. (105) But it is not right, some one will say, to bring forward the actions of heroes as proofs of the correctness of an argument, for that they were greater than the common run of human nature, and were more on a par with the heavenly beings themselves, as having been born of a sort of mixed generation, and having sprung from mortal and immortal seed at the same time, being correctly entitled demigods, the mortal part of their composition being tempered by the incorruptible part, so that there is nothing extraordinary in the fact of their having despised those mortals who designed to bring slavery upon them. (106) However, let it be so. Are then Anaxagoras and Zeno the Eleatic heroes, or descended from gods? And nevertheless they, when tortured with the most unprecedented devices of cruelty by savage tyrants, wholly pitiless by nature, and even more than usually exasperated against them, looking on their bodies as if they belonged to strangers, or even to enemies, disregarded and utterly disdained the formidable evils with which they were afflicted; (107) for through the love of knowledge having accustomed their souls from the very beginning to keep aloof from all participation with the passions, and to cling to education and wisdom, they easily endured the prospect of its emigrating from the body, and made it a dweller with prudence and courage, and other virtues. (108) Therefore, the one being hung up and violently stretched for the sake of making him divulge some secret, showed himself mightier than fire or iron, though they are the strongest things in nature, and biting off his tongue with his teeth, spit it at his torturer, that he might not involuntarily utter what he ought to bury in silence, under the influence of agony; (109) and the other said with great fortitude, "Beat Aristarchus's skin, for you cannot beat Aristarchus himself." These instances of brave fortitude, wholly full of daring, exceed in no slight degree the nobleness of those heroes, because the one class have a glory handed down to them by their ancestors without any actions of their own, while the fame of the others is founded on deeds of virtue deliberately performed, which very naturally make immortal those who practise them in a guileless spirit.

XVII. (110) I know also that combatants in the pancratium very often, out of the excess of their spirit of rivalry, and of their eagerness for victory, when their bodies are exhausted do you keep up their spirits, and strive with their soul alone, which they have accustomed to look contemptuously on danger, and thus they endure toil and pain to the very end of their life. (111) Shall we then fancy that those men who have practised themselves so as to arrive at vigour of body, have been able to trample on the fear of death, either through hope of victory or from the desire of escaping the sight of their own defeat; but those who train up in themselves the invisible mind, which is really and truly the man himself, bearing about him the appearance perceptible by the outward senses as his house, and who educate it by the principles and maxims of philosophy and the rules of virtue, will not be willing to die for the sake of freedom, in order to perform the journey appointed for them by fate with an indomitable and free spirit? (112) They say that on one occasion, at one of the sacred games, two athletes who were contending with one another with equally matched strength and courage, doing the same things to one another, and suffering the same things, did not desist from the contest till they both fell dead.

"My too brave son, thy courage will destroy Thee,"{14}{hom. Il. 6:409.}

some one may say with reference to such persons. (113) However is the death of such combatants glorious when it is encountered for the sake of some wild olives and parsley-leaves, and must it not be much more so when endured for the sake of freedom, the love of which, if one must tell the plain truth, is firmly established in the soul alone, as if it were some extraordinary portion of it firmly united with it, which if it were cut off the whole composition of the man must necessarily be destroyed? (114) The indomitable spirit of a Lacedaemonian boy, whether derived from his birth or from nature, is celebrated, in which nation they are accustomed to hunt carefully for the virtues; for when he had been carried off as a prisoner by some one of the soldiers of Antigonus, he submitted to whatever was put upon him which became a free man, but refused to submit to menial offices, saying that he was not going to be a slave; and yet by reason of his age he could not as yet have been thoroughly educated in the laws of Lycurgus, because he had only tasted them, but he judged a violent death preferable to the life which was before him, and, despairing of any deliverance, he cheerfully slew himself. (115) It is also related that some Dardanian women who had been taken prisoners by the Macedonians, looking upon slavery as the most disgraceful of all evils, threw their children, whom they were carrying in their bosoms, into the deepest part of the river, saying at the same time, "At all events you shall not be slaves, but, before you can begin to experience such a miserable life, you shall cut off all such necessity, and travel in freedom the inevitable and last road of human existence." (116) Again, the tragedian, Euripides, introduces Polyxena disregarding death, and thinking only of freedom, on which account she speaks in the following manner:

"Willingly now I die; and let no foe

Seize me with violent hands; for I myself

With cheerful courage will put forth my neck.

For God's sake touch me not; but leave me free,

That having lived in freedom, I may die

Unviolated by a master's Hand."{15}{euripides, Hecuba, 548.}

XVIII. (117) Do we then imagine that there can be such a profound love of freedom firmly fixed in women and children, one of which classes is by nature light-minded, and the other is of an age which is easily perverted and liable to stumble, so that they, for the sake of not being deprived of it, cheerfully proceed from death to immortality, but that those men who have tasted of unalloyed wisdom are not at once thoroughly free, bearing about in themselves, as they do, a sort of perpetual fountain of happiness, namely virtue, which no designing or hostile power has ever been able to dissolve, since it has the everlasting inheritance of authority and sovereign power? (118) But in truth we hear of whole nations also, who, for the sake of freedom and of good faith towards their deceased benefactors, have voluntarily encountered utter destruction, as they say that the Xanthians did no long time ago; for when Brutus, one of those men who attacked Julius Caesar, invaded their territory and made war upon them, they, fearing not so much the destruction of their city as slavery at the mercy of a murderer who had killed his king and his benefactor (for Caesar was both to him), resisted at first with great vigour to the very utmost extent of their power, (119) and though they were being gradually destroyed, they still held out; and when at last they had exhausted all their strength, they all collected their wives, and parents, and children into their houses, and there slew them separately, and then collecting the slaughtered bodies in a heap, they set fire to them, and slew themselves on the top of all, and so with a noble and free spirit encountered the fated end of all men. (120) But these men, wishing to escape the pitiless inhumanity of tyrannical enemies, preferred death with glory to an inglorious life; but those to whom the chances of fortune gave a longer life, have endured their dangers and afflictions with fortitude, imitating the courage and endurance of Hercules, for he also showed himself superior to the commands of Eurystheus. (121) Accordingly the Cynic philosopher, Diogenes, exhibited such a loftiness and greatness of spirit, that when he was taken prisoner by some robbers, and when they fed him very sparingly, and scarcely gave him even necessary food, he was not weighed down by the circumstances which surrounded him, and did not fear the inhumanity of the masters into whose power he had fallen, but said "that it was a most absurd thing for pigs or sheep, when they were going to be sold, to be carefully provided with abundant food, so as to be rendered fat and fleshy; but for the most excellent of all animals, man, to be reduced to a skeleton by bad food and continual scarcity, and so to be rendered of less value than before." (122) And then, when he had obtained sufficient food, and when he was about to be sold with the rest of the captives, he sat down first, and breakfasted with great cheerfulness and courage, giving some of his breakfast to his neighbours. And seeing one of them not merely sorrowful, but in a state of extreme despondency, he said, "Will you not give up being miserable? take what you can get."

"For the golden haired Niobe asked for her food,

Though her twelve noble children lay welt'ring in blood;

Six daughters, fair emblems of virtue and truth,

And six sons, the chief flower of the Lydian youth."

(123) And then, speaking boldly to some one who seemed inclined to become a purchaser, and who asked him the question, "What do you know?" he replied, "I know how to govern men:" his soul from within, as it appears, prompting his free, and noble, and naturally royal spirit. And then he at once, with his natural indifference and serenity, turned to facetious discourse, at which all the rest, who were all full of despondency were annoyed. (124) Accordingly it is said that, seeing one of the intended purchasers afflicted with the female disease, as he did not even look like a man, he went up to him, and said, "Do you buy me, for you appear to me to be in want of a husband;" so that he, being grieved and downcast by reason of the infirmities of which he was conscious, slunk away, while all the rest admired the ready wit and happy courage of the philosopher. Shall we then say that such a man as this was in a state of slavery, and not rather in a state of freedom, only without any irresponsible authority? (125) And there was also a man of the name of Choereas, a man of considerable education, who was a zealous imitator of Diogenes's freedom of speech; for he, being an inhabitant of Alexandria in Egypt, on one occasion, when Ptolemy was offended with him, and was uttering no slight threats against him, thinking that the freedom which was implanted in his nature was in no respect inferior to the royal authority of the other, replied--

"Rule your Egyptian slaves; but as for me,

I neither care for you, nor fear your wrath

And angry Threats."{16}{this is a parody on Hom. Il. 1.180, where Agamemnon speaks to Achilles.}

(126) For noble souls have something authoritative within them, and do not allow their brilliancy to be obscured by the injustice of fortune, but their spirit encourages them to contend on equal terms with those who are very high in rank and very proud, pitting their freedom of spirit against the insolence of the others. (127) It is said that Theodorus, who was surnamed the Atheist, when he was banished from Athens, and had come to the court of Lysimachus, when one of those in power there reproached him with his banishment, mentioning the cause of it too, namely, that he had been expelled because he had been condemned for atheism and for corrupting the youth, replied, "I have not been banished, but the same thing has befallen me which befell Hercules, the son of Jupiter; (128) for he also was put ashore by the Argonauts, without having done anything wrong, but only because as he himself was both crew and ballast enough for a vessel, so that he burdened the ship, and caused fear to his fellow voyagers lest the vessel should become water-logged; and I too have been driven from my country because the bulk of the citizens at Athens were unable to keep pace with the loftiness and greatness of my mind, and therefore I was envied by them." (129) And when, after this reply, Lysimachus asked him, "Were you also banished from your native land through envy?" he replied a second time, "Not indeed through envy, but because of the exceedingly high qualities of my nature, which my country could not contain; (130) for as when Semele, at the time that she was pregnant with Bacchus, was unable to bear her offspring until the appointed time for her delivery, Jupiter pitied her, and saved from the flames the offspring which she bore in her womb, being as yet imperfect, and granted it equal honours with the heavenly deities, so also some deity, or some god, has made me leave my country by reason of its being too narrow to contain the ample burden of a philosophic mind, and decided on transporting me to a place more fortunate than Athens, and settling me there."

XIX. (131) And moreover any one who considers the matter may find even among the brute beasts examples of the freedom which exists among men, as he may of all other human blessings. At all events, cocks are accustomed to contend with one another, and to display such an actual affection for danger, that in order to save themselves from yielding or submitting, even if they are inferior in power to their adversary they will not bear to be inferior in courage, for they endure even to death. (132) And Miltiades, the famous general of the Athenians, seeing this, when the king of the Persians having roused up all the might of Asia, was invading Europe with many myriads of soldiers, as if he were going to destroy all Greece with the mere shout of his army, having collected all the allies at the festival called the panathenaea, showed them a battle between these birds, thinking that the encouragement which they would derive from such a sight would be more powerful than any argument. (133) And he was not deceived, for when they had seen the patient enduring and honourable feeling of these irrational animals, which could not be subdued by any means short of death itself, they snatched up their arms and rushed eagerly to war, as resolving to fight against their enemies with their bodies, and being utterly indifferent to wounds and death, being willing to die for their freedom, so that at all events they might be buried in the still free soil of their native country; for there is nothing which acts so forcibly in the way of exhortation so as to improve the character, as an unhoped for success in the case of those whom men look upon as inferior to themselves. (134) Moreover the tragic writer, Ion, mentions the contentious spirit of those birds in the following lines:

"Nor though wounded in each limb,

Nor though his eyes with blows are dim,

Will he forget his might;

But still, though much fatigued, will crow,

Preferring death to undergo

Than slavery, or slight."

(135) And why, then, should we think that wise men will not cheerfully encounter death in preference to slavery? And is it not absurd to imagine that the souls of young and nobly born men will turn out inferior to those of game-cocks in the contest of virtue, and will be barely fit to stand in the second place? (136) And yet who is there who has even the least tincture of education who does not know this fact, that freedom is a noble thing and slavery a disgraceful one, and that what is honourable belongs to virtuous men, and what is disgraceful to worthless ones? From which it is seen most undeniably, that no virtuous man can ever be a slave, not if ten thousand persons, with all imaginable deeds to prove themselves masters, threaten them; and that no foolish or worthless man can ever be free, not even if he were Croesus, or Midas, or the great king of Persia himself. (137) But the beauty of freedom, which is much celebrated, and the deformity of slavery, which is accursed, are continually borne witness to as having that character by the more ancient cities and nations whose existence has been of long duration, being as it were immortal among mortal things, and their testimony cannot err; (138) for, for what other object are councils and assemblies convened nearly every day, rather than about freedom, with a view to the confirmation of it if it is present, and to the acquisition of it if it is absent? And what other object have Greece and the nations of the barbarians ever had in all the continual seditions and wars which have taken place among or between those peoples, except to avoid slavery, and to obtain liberty? (139) On which account in all battles the chief exhortation of all captains, and commanders, and generals is this, "O soldiers and allies, let us now repel that greatest of all evils, slavery, which the enemy is attempting to bring upon us; let us never endure the loss of that greatest of all human blessings, liberty. This is the beginning and fountain of all happiness, from which all particular blessings flow." (140) And it is for this reason that the most sharp-sighted of all the Greek nations, namely, the Athenians (for what the pupil is to the eye, or reasoning to the soul, that also is Athens to Greece), when they send out a solemn procession to the venerable goddesses, {17}{the Furies.} never allow any slave whatever to take any part in it, but perform everything concerning it by the agency of free men and women who are accustomed to such duties, even then not taking any chance persons, but only such as have cultivated a blameless innocence of life; since the most excellent of the youths prepare the cakes for the feast, looking upon that office as conducing (which indeed it does) to their credit and honour. (141) And it happened not long ago, when some actors were representing a tragedy, and repeating those iambics of Euripides:{18}{fragmenta Incerta, 495.}

"For e'en the name of freedom is a jewel

Of mighty value; and the man who has it

E'en in a small degree, has noble wealth;"

I myself saw all the spectators standing on tip-toe with excitement and delight, and with loud outcries and continual shouts combining their praise of the sentiments, and with praise also of the poet, as having not only honoured freedom by his actions, but having extolled its very name. (142) I also admire the Argonauts, who made the whole crew of their vessel to consist of the freemen, not allowing a single slave to embark even for the purpose of performing the most indispensable services, but at that period they chose to do everything for themselves, looking upon independent action as the brother of freedom; (143) and if it may be allowed me at all to attend to what is said by the poets (and why should we not do so, for they are the instructors of the lives of all mankind, and just as individual parents are the instructors of their children, so too do they become so to the whole body of a city, correcting the entire population?), then I say that the Argo herself, when Jason was her captain, as if she were at that time endowed with a soul and with reasoning powers, did not permit any slaves to embark on board of her, since her nature was that of one devoted to freedom, on which account Aeschylus, with reference to her, says--

"And tell me where's the sacred beam

That dared the dangerous Euxine Stream?"{19}{aesch. Fragm. 648.}

(144) And we must not pay the slightest attention to threats and menaces which some persons hold out over even wise men, but we must say as Antigonides the flute-player did; for it is related that he, when one of his rivals in art being angry with him, said to him, "I will buy you for a slave," said with very profound wit, "Then I will teach you to play the flute;" (145) and in the same way it would become the virtuous man to say to any one who appeared inclined to purchase him, "Therefore you will be able to learn wisdom." And if any one were to threaten him with banishment beyond the borders of the country, it would become him to reply, "Every land is my country;" (146) and if any one were to threaten him with loss of money, he might make answer, "A moderate means of subsistence are sufficient for me:" while if any one were to menace him with stripes or death, he would reply, "These things have no terrors for me, for am I inferior to a boxer or to a wrestler in the pancratium, who, seeing merely some indistinct images of virtue, because they have laboured merely at the one object of producing a good condition of body, endure both blows and death with fortitude; for in me the mind, which is the ruler of the body, has been invigorated by courage, and so completely fortified, that it is able to show itself superior to any kind of pain."

XXI. (147) We must take care, therefore, never to catch a beast of that character which, being formidable not only in respect of its strength but also in its appearance, displays an almost invincible power, which is far from deserving to be despised. (148) It often happens that places which serve as asylums for fugitives and slaves give them complete freedom from fear and perfect security, as if they were in possession of equal honours and privileges with their masters, and sometimes one may see those who are slaves of old standing, as descended from grandfathers, and even more remote ancestors still, who have all been slaves by a kind of hereditary succession, yet, when once they have taken refuge in temples as suppliants, speaking freely and fearlessly in perfect security. (149) There are some too, who even argue about their own rights and just claims with those who are their owners, not merely on equal terms, but actually as if they were far superior to them, replying to them with great energy and even contemptuously; for the one party is enslaved by the conviction which their consciences force upon them, however nobly born they may be; while the others feel in perfect security as to their persons, from the general recognition of the place in which they are as an asylum, and therefore they display the free and noble disposition of soul, which God has made of such a nature as never to be subdued by any external circumstances, (150) unless indeed any one is so utterly destitute of reason as to fancy that it is the place itself which is the cause of their confidence and freedom of speech, and that that most god-like of all things, virtue, has nothing to do with it, though it is owing to virtue alone that sanctity attaches either to the places or to anything which is endowed with sense. (151) And, indeed, in the case of those who take refuge in places which are looked upon as asylums, seeking security only in the places themselves, it constantly happens to such persons to be much influenced by a great variety of other circumstances, by the corruption of their wives, the loss of reputation by their children, and the deceitfulness of love, while those who take refuge in virtue, as in a strong and indestructible and invincible fortification, disregard all attacks which the treachery of the passions aims and directs against them. (152) Now any one who is defended by this power may naturally say with all freedom, that other persons indeed are taken captive by all kinds of accidental things, but, as the tragic poet has it,

"I am well skilled both to obey myself

And rule myself: well weighing all events

By virtue's Standard."{20}{this again is from the Syleus of Euripides.}

(153) Accordingly also Bias, of Priene, is said, when Croesus threatened him, to have threatened him in return, in a most contemptuous manner, bidding him eat onions, by which figurative expression he meant that he should weep, since the eating of onions excites tears. (154) Thus wise men, looking upon nothing as more royal than virtue, which is the regulator of the whole of their lives, do not fear the authority of other men, whom they look upon rather as subject to themselves; in reference to which idea, they are all accustomed to consider double-minded and treacherous people illiberal and slavish; (155) on which account also there is a good deal of propriety in the expression--

"Never was heard of slave uprightly held,

But stooping always with a downbent Neck."{21}{from Theognis Carm. 41.}

For a crooked, and wily, and deceitful disposition, is a most ignoble thing; just as an upright, and straightforward, and undisguised, and unsuspicious soul, betokens a most noble character, its words harmonising with its intentions, and its intentions with its words. (156) We may fairly enough laugh at those men who, when once they have got released from the actual possession of an owner, think themselves free from that moment; for these men, when emancipated, are perhaps no longer servants, just as before, but they are all slaves, deeply branded slaves, obeying not indeed men (for this would not be so terrible), but even the most dishonoured of even inanimate things, strong wine, vegetables, cheesecakes, and all the other things which the superfluous labours of bakers and confectioners invent, as enemies of the miserable belly. (157) Accordingly Diogenes, when he on one occasion saw one of those who are called illiberal and slavish persons giving himself airs, and a great many others sympathising in his pleasures, marvelling at their want of reason and judgment said, "It is just as if any one were to proclaim, that some one of his servants was, from this day forth, to be accounted a good grammarian, or geometrician, or musician, without his having the very slightest idea of the art; for just as the proclamation would not make men learned, so also it would not make them free (for then it would be a blessed thing), but all that it could do would be to make them no longer slaves.

XXII. (158) Therefore having put an end to empty opinion, on which the chief multitude of men depends, and being devoted to that most sacred possession, truth, let us not use incorrect terms so as to attribute to those who thus call themselves citizens any real share in a free constitution, or any real liberty; nor, on the other hand, let us reproach those who have been born in the house of a master, or who have been bought with money as slaves, but let us rather pass over all ideas of birth, all writings implying mastership, and, in short, everything relating to the body, and let us confine ourselves to investigating the nature of the soul. (159) For if it is driven to and fro by appetite, or if it is attracted by pleasure, or turned out of the way by fear, or contracted by grief, or tortured by want, it then makes itself a slave, and makes him who possesses such a soul the slave of ten thousand masters. But if it has resisted and subdued ignorance by prudence, and intemperance by temperance, and cowardice by bravery, and covetousness by justice; it then adds to its indomitable free spirit, power and authority. (160) And all the souls which are not as yet partakers of either of these two classes, neither of that which is enslaved, nor of that by which prudence is confirmed, but which are still naked like those of completely infant children; those we must nurse and cherish carefully, prescribing for them at first tender food instead of milk, namely, instruction in the encyclical sciences, and after that stronger food, such as is prepared by philosophy, by which they will be strengthened so as to become manly, and in good condition, and conducted on to a favourable end, not more that are recommended by you than enjoined by the oracle, "To live in conformity to nature."


Tilling of the Earth

Allegory | Metaphor | Sophistry | Strong delusion | Golden calf |
The Allegories of the Sacred Laws by Philo Judaeus
Altars | Clay and Stone | Red Heifer | Stones | Breeches | Trees |
One purse | Fathers | Peaceful invasion of Canaan | Stoning |

other books at
  1. Yonge has a section titled Fragments of Lost Works, which includes what is recognized as Philo's Hypothetica and On Providence (Fragments I and II). These fragments appear in Eusebius' Preparation of the Gospel (P.E.). Hypothetica and On Providence (Fragments I and II) appear out of sequence in Yonge's edition and have been reordered to conform to the Cohn-Wendland (Loeb) sequence. Yonge also includes some of Eusebius' prefatory material for On Providence (Fragments I and II) not included in Loeb.