[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Clicca hic ad Latinam paginam legendam.]

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Book VI

This webpage reproduces a section of
Noctes Atticae (Attic Nights)

A. Cornelius Gellius

published in Vol. II
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1927

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]

(Vol. II) Gellius
Attic Nights

 p91  Book VII

1 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] How Chrysippus replied to those who denied the existence of Providence.

1 Those who do not believe that the world was created for God and mankind, or that human affairs are ruled by Providence, think that they are using a strong argument when they say: "If there were a Providence, there would be no evils." For they declare that nothing is less consistent with Providence than the existence of such a quantity of troubles and evils in a world which Heº is said to have made for the sake of man. 2 Chrysippus, arguing against such views in the fourth book of his treatise On Providence,​1 says: "There is absolutely nothing more foolish than those men 3 who think that good could exist, if there were at the same time no evil. For since good is the opposite of evil, it necessarily follows that both must exist in opposition to each other, supported as it were by mutual adverse forces; since as a matter of fact no opposite is conceivable without something to oppose it. 4 For how could there be an idea of justice if there were no acts of injustice? or what else is justice than the absence of injustice? How too can courage be understood except by contrast with cowardice? Or temperance except by contrast with intemperance? How also could there be wisdom, if folly did not exist as its opposite? 5 Therefore," said he, "why do not the  p93 fools also wish that there may be truth, but no falsehood? For it is in the same way that good and evil exist, happiness and unhappiness, pain and pleasure. 6 For, as Plato says,​2 they are bound one to the other by their opposing extremes; if you take away one, you will have removed both."

7 In the same book​3 Chrysippus also considers and discusses this question, which he thinks worth investigating: whether men's diseases come by nature; that is, whether nature herself, or Providence, if you will, which created this structure of the universe and the human race, also created the diseases, weakness, and bodily infirmities from which mankind suffers. 8 He, however, does not think that it was nature's original intention to make men subject to disease; for that would never have been consistent with nature as the source and mother of all things good. 9 "But," said he, "when she was creating and bringing forth many great things which were highly suitable and useful, there were also produced at the same time troubles closely connected with those good things that she was creating"; and he declared that these were not due to nature, but to certain inevitable consequences, a process that he himself calls κατὰ παρακολούθησιν. 10 "Exactly as," he says, "when nature fashioned men's bodies, a higher reason and the actual usefulness of what she was creating demanded that the head be made of very delicate and small bones. 11 But this greater usefulness of one part was attended with an external disadvantage; namely, that the head was but slightly protected and could be damaged by slight blows and shocks. 12 In the same way diseases too and illness were created at the same time with  p95 health. 13 Exactly, by Heaven!" said he, "as vices, through their relation­ship to the opposite quality, are produced at the same time that virtue is created for mankind by nature's design."

2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] How Chrysippus also maintained the power and inevitable nature of fate, but at the same time declared that we had control over our plans and decisions.

1 Chrysippus, the leader of the Stoic philosophy, defined fate, which the Greeks call εἱμαρμένη, in about the following terms:​4 "Fate," he says, "is an eternal and unalterable series of circumstances, and a chain rolling and entangling itself through an unbroken series of consequences, from which it is fashioned and made up." 2 But I have copied Chrysippus' very words, as exactly as I could recall them, in order that, if my interpretation should seem too obscure to anyone, he may turn his attention to the philosopher's own language. 3 For in the fourth book of his work On Providence, he says that εἱμαρμένη is "an orderly series, established by nature, of all events, following one another and joined together from eternity, and their unalterable interdependence."

4 But the authors of other views and of other schools of philosophy openly criticize this definition as follows: 5 "If Chrysippus," they say, "believes that all things are set in motion and directed by fate, and that the course of fate and its coils cannot be turned aside or evaded, then the sins and faults of men too ought not to cause anger or be attributed to  p97 themselves and their inclinations, but to a certain unavoidable impulse which arises from fate," which is the mistress and arbiter of all things, and through which everything that will happen must happen; and that therefore the establishing of penalties for the guilty by law is unjust, if men do not voluntarily commit crimes, but are led into them by fate.

6 Against these criticisms Chrysippus argues at length, subtilely and cleverly, but the purport of all that he has written on that subject is about this:​5 7 "Although it is a fact," he says, "that all things are subject to an inevitable and fundamental law and are closely linked to fate, yet the peculiar properties of our minds are subject to fate only according to their individuality and quality. 8 For if in the beginning they are fashioned by nature for health and usefulness, they will avoid with little opposition and little difficulty all that force with which fate threatens them from without. But if they are rough, ignorant, crude, and without any support from education, through their own perversity and voluntary impulse they plunge into continual faults and sin, even though the assault of some inconvenience due to fate be slight or non-existent. 9 And that this very thing should happen in this way is due to that natural and inevitable connection of events which is called 'fate.' 10 For it is in the nature of things, so to speak, fated and inevitable that evil characters should not be free from sins and faults."

11 A little later he uses an illustration of this statement of his, which is in truth quite neat and appropriate:​6 "For instance," he says, "if you roll a cylindrical stone over a sloping, steep piece of ground, you do indeed furnish the beginning and  p99 cause of its rapid descent, yet soon its speeds onward, not because you make it do so, but because of its peculiar form and natural tendency to roll; just so the order, the law, and the inevitable quality of fate set in motion the various classes of things and the beginnings of causes, but the carrying out of our designs and thoughts, and even our actions, are regulated by each individual's own will and the characteristics of his mind." 12 Then he adds these words, in harmony with what I have said:​7 "Therefore it is said by the Pythagoreans also:8

You'll learn that men have ills which they themselves

Bring on themselves,

for harm comes to each of them through themselves, and they go astray through their own impulse and are harmed by their own purpose and determination." 13 Therefore he says that wicked, slothful, sinful and reckless men ought not to be endured or listened to, who, when they are caught fast in guilt and sin, take refuge in the inevitable nature of fate, as if in the asylum of some shrine, declaring that their outrageous actions must be charged, not to their own heedlessness, but to fate.

14 The first to express this thought was the oldest and wisest of the poets, in these verses:9

Alas! how wrongly mortals blame the gods!

From us, they say, comes evil; they themselves

By their own folly woes unfated bear.

15 Therefore Marcus Cicero, in the book which he wrote On Fate10 after first remarking that this question is highly obscure and involved, declares that  p101 even the philosopher Chrysippus​11 was unable to extricate himself from its difficulties, using these words: "Chrysippus, in spite of all efforts and labor, is perplexed how to explain that everything is ruled by fate, but that we nevertheless have some control over our conduct."

3 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] An account, taken from the works of Tubero, of a serpent of unprecedented length.

1 Tubero in his Histories has recorded​12 that in the first Punic war the consul Atilius Regulus, when encamped at the Bagradas river in Africa,​13 fought a stubborn and fierce battle with a single serpent of extraordinary size, which had its lair in that region; that in a mighty struggle with the entire army the reptile was attacked for a long time with hurling engines and catapults; and that when it was finally killed, its skin, a hundred and twenty feet long, was sent to Rome.

4 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] A new account, written by the above-mentioned Tubero, of the capture of Regulus by the Carthaginians; and always what Tuditanus wrote about that same Regulus.

1 I recently read in the works of Tuditanus the well-known story about Atilius Regulus:​14 That  p103 Regulus, when a prisoner, in addition to the advice which he gave in the senate at Rome against making an exchange of prisoners with the Carthaginians, also declared that the Carthaginians had given him a poison, not of immediate effect, but such as to delay his death for a season; that their design was that he should live for a time, until the exchange was accomplished, but afterwards should waste away as the drug gradually took effect.

2 Tubero in his Histories says​15 that this Regulus returned to Carthage and was put to death by the Carthaginians with tortures of a novel kind: 3 "They confined him," he says, "in a dark and deep dungeon, and a long time afterwards suddenly brought him out, when the sun was shining most brightly, and exposed him to its direct rays, holding him and forcing him to fix his gaze upon the sky. They even drew his eyelids apart upward and downward and sewed them fast, so that he could not close his eyes." 4 Tuditanus, however, reports that Regulus was for a long time deprived of sleep and so killed, and that when this became known at Rome, Carthaginian captives of the highest rank were handed over by the senate to his sons, who shut them in a chest studded within with spikes;​16 and that they too were tortured to death by lack of sleep.

5 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] An error of the jurist Alfenus in the interpretation of early words.

1 The jurist Alfenus, a pupil of Servius Sulpicius and a man greatly interested in matters antiquarian,  p105 in the thirty-fourth book of his Digests and the second of his Miscellanies, says:​17 "In a treaty which was made between the Roman people and the Carthaginians the provision is found, that the Carthaginians should pay each year to the Roman people a certain weight of argenti puri puti, and the meaning of puri puti was asked. I replied," he says, "that putus meant 'very pure,' just as we say novicius for novus (new) and propicius for proprius (proper), when we wish to augment and amplify the meaning of novus and proprius."

2 Upon reading this, I was surprised that Alfenus should think that the relation of purus and putus was the same as that of novicius and novus; 3 for if the word were puricius, then it would indeed appear to be formed like novicius. 4 It was also surprising that he thought that novicius was used to imply amplification, since in fact novicius does not mean "more new," but is merely a derivative and variant of novus. 5 Accordingly I agree with those who think that putus is derived from puto and therefore pronounce the word with the first syllable short, not long as Alfenus seems to have thought it, since he wrote that putus came from purus. 6 Moreover, the earlier writers used putare of removing and pruning away from anything whatever was superfluous and unnecessary, or even injurious and foreign, leaving only what seemed useful and without blemish. 7 For that was the meaning of putare, "to prune," as applied to trees and vines, and so too as used of accounts.​18 8 The verb puto itself also, which we use for the purpose of stating our opinion, certainly means nothing else than that in an obscure and difficult matter we do our best, by cutting away and lopping  p107 off false views, to retain what seems true and pure and sound. 9 Therefore in the treaty which Carthage silver was called putum, as having been thoroughly purified and refined, as free from all foreign matter, and as spotless and whitened by the removal from it of all impurities.

10 But the expression purum putum occurs, not only in the treaty with Carthage, but also in many other early writings, including the tragedy of Quintus Ennius entitled Alexander,​19 and the satire of Marcus Varro called Δὶς Παῖδες οἱ Γέροντες,​20 or Old Men are Children for a Second Time.

6 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That Julius Hyginus was hasty and foolish in his criticism of Virgil for calling the wings of Daedalus praepetes; also a note on the meaning of aves praepetes and of those birds which Nigidius called inferae.

1 From Minos' realms in flight brave Daedalus

On pinion swift (praepetibus), 'tis said, did dare the sky.

2 In these lines of Virgil​21 Julius Hyginus​22 criticizes the use of pennis praepetibus as an improper and ignorant expression. 3 "For," says he, "those birds are called praepetes by the augurs which either fly onward auspiciously or alight in suitable places. 4 Therefore he thought it inappropriate in Virgil to use an augural term in speaking of the flight of Daedalus, which had nothing to do with the science of the augurs.

5 But of a truth it was Hyginus who was altogether foolish in supposing that the meaning of praepetes was known to him, but unknown to Virgil and to  p109 Gnaeus Matius, a learned man, who in the second book of his Iliad called winged Victory praepes in the following line:23

While Victory swift (praepes) the victor's palm bestows.

6 Furthermore, why does he not find fault also with Quintus Ennius, who in his Annals uses praepes, not of the wings of Daedalus, but of something very different, in the following line:24

Brundisium girt with fair, propitious (praepete) port?

7 But if Hyginus had regarded the force and origin of the word rather than merely noting the meaning given to it by the augurs, he would certainly pardon the poets for using words in a figurative and metaphorical sense rather than literally. 8 For since not only the birds themselves which fly auspiciously, but also the places which they take, since these are suitable and propitious, are called praepetes, therefore Virgil called the wings of Daedalus praepetes, since he had come from places in which he feared danger into safer regions. 9 Furthermore, the augurs call places praepetes, and Ennius in the first book of his Annals said:25

In fair, propitious (praepetibus) places they alight.

10 But birds that are the opposite of praepetes are called inferae, or "low,"​26 according to Nigidius Figulus, who says in the first book of his Private Augury:​27 "The right is opposed to the left, praepes to infera." 11 From this we may infer that birds were called praepetes which have a higher and loftier  p111 flight, since Nigidius said that the praepetes were contrasted with the inferae.

12 In my youth in Rome, when I was still in attendance on the grammarians, I gave special attention to Sulpicius Apollinaris. Once when there was a discussion about augural law and mention had been made of praepetes aves, I heard him say to Erucius Clarus, the city prefect, that in his opinion praepetes was equivalent to Homer's τανυπτέρυγες, or "wide-winged," since the augurs had special regard to those birds whose flight was broad and wide because of their great wings. And then he quoted these verses of Homer:28

You bid me trust the flight of wide-winged birds,

But I regard them not, nor think of them.

7 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] On Acca Laurentia and Gaia Taracia; and on the origin of the priesthood of the Arval Brethren.

1 The names of Acca Larentia and Gaia Taracia, or Fufetia as she is sometimes called, are frequent in the early annals. To the former of these after her death, but to Taracia while she still lived, the Roman people paid distinguished honours. 2 And that Taracia, at any rate, was a Vestal virgin is proved by the Horatian law which was laid before the people with regard to her. By this law very many honours are bestowed upon her and among them the right of giving testimony is granted her, and that privilege is given to no other woman in the State. The word testabilis is used in the Horatian law itself, 3 and its opposite occurs in the Twelve Tables:​29 "Let him be  p113 infamous and intestabilis, or 'forbidden to testify.' " 4 Besides, if at the age of forty she should wish to leave the priesthood and marry, the right and privilege of withdrawing from the order and marrying were allowed her, in gratitude for her generosity and kindness in presenting to the people the campus Tiberinus or Martius.

5 But Acca Larentia was a public prostitute and by that trade had earned a great deal of money. 6 In her will she made king Romulus heir to her property, according to Antias' History;​30 according to some others, the Roman people. 7 Because of that favour public sacrifice was offered to her by the priest of Quirinus and a day was consecrated to her memory in the Calendar. 8 But Masurius Sabinus, in the first book of his Memorialia, following certain historians, asserts that Acca Larentia was Romulus' nurse. His words are:​31 "This woman, who had twelve sons, lost one of them by death. In his place Romulus gave himself to Acca as a son, and called himself and her other sons 'Arval Brethren.' Since that time there has always been a college of Arval Brethren, twelve in number, and the insignia of the priesthood are a garland of wheat ears and white fillets."

8 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Some noteworthy anecdotes of King Alexander and of Publius Scipio.

1 Apion, a Greek, called Pleistoneices,​32 possessed a fluent and lively style. 2 Writing in praise of king  p115 Alexander, he says:​33 "He forbade the wife of his vanquished foe, a woman of surpassing loveliness, to be brought into his presence, in order that he might not touch her even with his eyes." 3 We have then the subject for a pleasant discussion — which of the two shall justly be considered the more continent: Publius Africanus the elder, who after he had stormed Carthage,​34 a powerful city in Spain, and a marriageable girl of wonderful beauty, the daughter of a noble Spaniard, had been taken prisoner and brought to him, restored her unharmed to her father; or king Alexander, who refused even to see the wife of king Darius, who was also his sister, when he had taken her captive in a great battle and had heard that she was of extreme beauty, but forbade her to be brought before him.

4 But those who have an abundance of talent, leisure and eloquence may use this material for a pair of little declamations on Alexander and Scipio; 5 I shall be satisfied with relating this, which is a matter of historical record: Whether it be false or true is uncertain, but at any rate the story goes that your Scipio in his youth did not have an unblemished reputation, and that it was all but generally believed that it was at him that the following verses were aimed by the poet Gnaeus Naevius:35

E'en he who oft times mighty deeds hath done,

Whose glory and exploits still live, to whom

The nations bow, his father once led home,

Clad in a single garment, from his love.

6 I think it was by these verses that Valerius Antius was led to hold an opinion opposed to that of all  p117 other writers about Scipio's character, and to write,​36 contrary to what I said above, that the captured maiden was not returned to her father, but was kept by Scipio and possessed by him in amorous dalliance.

9 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] A passage taken from the Annals of Lucius Piso, highly diverting in content and graceful in style.

1 Because the action of Gnaeus Flavius,​37 the curule aedile, son of Annius, which Lucius Piso described in the third book of his Annals, seemed worthy of record, and because the story is told by Piso in a very pure and charming style, I have quoted the entire passage from Piso's Annals:38

2 "Gnaeus Flavius, the son of a freedman," he says, "was a scribe by profession and was in the service of a curule aedile at the time of the election of the succeeding aediles. 3 The assembly of the tribes​39 named Flavius curule aedile, but the magistrate who presided at the election refused to accept him as an aedile, not thinking it right that one who followed the profession of scribe should be made an aedile. 4 Gnaeus Flavius, son of Annius, is said to have laid aside his tablets and resigned his clerkship, and he was then made a curule aedile.

5 "This same Gnaeus Flavius, son of Annius, is said to have come to call upon a sick colleague. When he arrived and entered the room, several young nobles were seated there. They treated Flavius with contempt and none of them was willing to  p119 rise in his presence. 6 Gnaeus Flavius, son of Annius, the aedile, laughed at this rudeness; then he ordered his curule chair to be brought and placed it on the threshold, in order that none of them might be able to go out, and that all of them against their will might see him sitting on his chair of state."

10 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] A story about Euclides, the Socratic, by whose example the philosopher Taurus used to urge his pupils to be diligent in the pursuit of philosophy.

1 The philosopher Taurus, a celebrated Platonist of my time, used to urge the study of philosophy by many other good and wholesome examples and in particular stimulated the minds of the young by what he said that Euclides the Socratic used to do. 2 "The Athenians," said he, "had provided in one of their decrees that any citizen of Megara who should be found to have set foot in Athens should for that suffer death; 3 so great," says he, "was the hatred of the neighbouring men of Megara with which the Athenians were inflamed. 4 Then Euclides, who was from that very town of Megara and before the passage of that decree had been accustomed to come to Athens and to listen to Socrates, after the enactment of that measure, at nightfall, as darkness was coming on, clad in a woman's long tunic, wrapped in a parti-coloured mantle, and with veiled head, used to walk from his home in Megara to Athens, to visit Socrates, in order that he might at least for some part of the night share in the master's teaching and discourse. And just before dawn he went back again, a distance of somewhat over twenty miles,  p121 disguised in that same garb. 5 But nowadays," said Taurus, "we may see the philosophers themselves running to the doors of rich young men, to give them instruction, and there they sit and wait until nearly noonday, for their pupils to sleep off all last night's wine."

11 1  [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] A passage from a speech of Quintus Metellus Numidicus, which it was my pleasure to recall, since it draws attention to the obligation of self-respect and dignity in the conduct of life.

1 One should not vie in abusive language with the basest of men or wrangle with foul words with the shameless and the wicked, since you because like them and their exact mate so long as you say things which match and are exactly like what you hear. This truth may be learned no less from an address of Quintus Metellus Numidicus, a man of wisdom, than from the books and the teachings of the philosophers. 2 These are the words of Metellus from his speech Against Gaius Manlius, Tribune of the Commons,​40 by whom he had been assailed and taunted in spiteful terms in a speech delivered before the people: 3 "Now, fellow citizens, so far as Manlius is concerned, since he thinks that he will appear a greater man, if he keeps calling me his enemy, who neither count him as my friend nor take account of him as an enemy, I do not propose to say another word. For I consider him not only wholly unworthy to be spoken of by good men, but unfit even to be reproached by the upright. For if you name an insignificant fellow of his kind at a time when you cannot punish him, you confer honour upon him rather than ignominy."

 p123  12 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That neither testamentum, as Servius Sulpicius thought, nor sacellum, as Gaius Trebatiusº believed, is a compound, but the former is an extended form of testatio, the latter a diminutive of sacrum.

1 I do not understand what reason led Servius Sulpicius the jurist, the most learned man of his time, to write in the second book of his work On the Annulling of Sacred Rites41 that testamentum is a compound word; 2 for he declared that it was made up of mentis contestatio, or "an attesting of the mind." 3 What then are we to say about calciamentum (shoe), paludamentum (cloak), pavimentum (pavement), vestimentum (clothing), and thousands of other words that have been extended by a suffix of that kind? 4 As a matter of fact, Servius, or whoever it was who first made the statement, was evidently misled by a notion of the presence of mens in testamentum, an idea that is to be sure false, but neither inappropriate nor unattractive, just as indeed Gaius Trebatius too was misled into a similar attractive combination. 5 For he says in the second book of his work On Religions:​42 "A sacellum, or 'shrine,' is a small place consecrated to a god and containing an altar." 6 Then he adds these words: "Sacellum, I think, is made up of the two words sacer and cella, as if it were sacra cella, or 'a sacred chamber.' " 6 This indeed is what Trebatius wrote, but who does not know both that sacellum is not a compound, and that it is not made up of sacer and cella, but is the diminutive of sacrum?

 p125  13 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] On the brief topics discussed at the table of the philosopher Taurus and called Sympoticae, or Table Talk.43

1 This custom was practised and observed at Athens by those who were on intimate terms with the philosopher Taurus; 2 when he invited us to his home, in order that we might not come wholly tax-free,​44 as the saying is, and without a contribution, we brought to the simple meal, not dainty foods, but ingenious topics for discussion. 3 Accordingly, each one of us came with a question which he had thought up and prepared, and when the eating ended, conversation began. 4 The questions, however, were neither weighty nor serious, but certain neat but trifling ἐνθυμημάτια, or problems, which would pique a mind enlivened with wine; for instance, the examples of a playful subtlety which I shall quote.

5 The question was asked, when a dying man died — when he was already in the grasp of death, or while he still lived? And when did a rising man rise — when he was already standing, or while he was still seated? And when did one who was learning an art become an artist — when he already was one, or when he was still learning? 6 For whichever answer you make, your statement will be absurd and laughable, and it will seem much more absurd, if you say that it is in either case, or in neither.

7 But when some declared that all these questions were pointless and idle sophisms, Taurus said: "Do not despise such problems, as if they were mere trifling  p127 amusements. 8 The most earnest of philosophers have seriously debated this question.​45 Some have thought that the term 'die' was properly used, and that the moment of death came, while life still remained; others have left no life in that moment, but have claimed for death all that period which is termed 'dying.' 9 Also in regard to other similar problems they have argued for different times and maintained opposite opinions. 10 But our master Plato,"​46 said he, "assigned that time neither to life nor to death, and took the same position in every discussion of similar questions. 11 For he saw that the alternatives were mutually contrary, that one of the two opposites could not be maintained while the other existed, and that the question arose from the juxtaposition of two opposing extremes, namely life and death. Therefore he himself devised, and gave a name to, a new period of time, lying on the boundary between the two, which he called in appropriate and exact language ἡ ἐξαίφνης φύσις, or 'the moment of sudden separation.' And this very term, as I have given it," said he, "you will find used by him in the dialogue entitled Parmenides."

12 Of such a kind were our "contributions"​47 at Taurus' house, and such were, as he himself used to put it, the τραγημάτια or "sweetmeats" of our desserts.

14 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] The three reasons given by the philosophers for punishing crimes; and why Plato mentions only two of these, and not three.

1 It has been thought that there should be three reasons for punishing crimes. 2 One of these, which  p129 the Greeks call either κόλασις or νουθεσία, is the infliction of punishment for the purpose of correction and reformation, in order that one who has done wrong thoughtlessly may become more careful and scrupulous. 3 The second is called τιμωρία by those who have made a more exact differentiation between terms of this kind. That reason for punishment exists when the dignity and the prestige of the one who is sinned against must be maintained, lest the omission of punishment bring him into contempt and diminish the esteem in which he is held; and therefore they think that it was given a name derived from the preservation of honour (τιμή). 4 A third reason for punishment is that which is called by the Greeks παράδειγμα, when punishment is necessary for the sake of example, in order that others through fear of a recognized penalty may be kept from similar sins, which it is to the common interest to prevent. Therefore our forefathers also used the word exempla, or "examples," for the severest and heaviest penalties. Accordingly, when there is either strong hope that the culprit will voluntarily correct himself without punishment, or on the other hand when there is no hope that he could be reformed and corrected; or when there is no need to fear loss of prestige in the one who has been sinned against; or if the sin is not of such a sort that punishment must be inflicted in order that it may inspire a necessary feeling of fear — then in the case of all such sins the desire to inflict punishment does not seem to be at all fitting.

5 Other philosophers have discussed these three reasons for punishment in various places, and so too had our countryman Taurus in the first book of the  p131 Commentaries when he wrote On the Gorgias of Plato. 6 But Plato himself says in plain terms that there are only two reasons for punishment: one being that which I put first — for the sake of correction; the second, that which I gave in the third place — as an example to inspire fear. 7 These are Plato's own words in the Gorgias:​48 "It is fitting that everyone who suffers punishment, when justly punished by another, either be made better and profit thereby, or serve as an example to others, in order that they, seeing his punishment, may be reformed through fear." 8 In these words you may readily understand that Plato used τιμωρία, not in the sense that I said above is given by some, but with the general meaning of any punishment. 9 But whether he omitted the maintenance of the prestige of an injured person as a reason for inflicting punishment, on the ground that it was altogether insignificant and worthy of contempt, or rather passed over it as something not germane to his subject, since he was writing about punishments to be inflicted after this life and not during life and among men, this question I leave undecided.

15 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] On the verb quiesco whether it should be pronounced with a long or a short e.

1 A friend of mine, a man of much learning and devoted to the liberal arts, pronounced the verb quiescit ("be quiet") in the usual manner, with a short e. 2 Another man, also a friend of mine, marvellous in the use of grammatical rules as jugglers' tricks, so to say, and excessively fastidious  p133 in rejecting common words, thought that the first man had been guilty of a barbarism, maintaining that he ought to have lengthened the e, rather than shortened it. 3 For he asserted that quiescit ought to be pronounced like calescit, nitescit, stupescit and many other words of that kind. 4 He also added the statement that quies (quiet) is pronounced with the e long, not short. 5 But my first-named friend, with the unassuming modesty which was characteristic of him in all matters, said that not even if the Aelii, the Cincii and the Santrae​49 had decided that the word ought to be so pronounced, would he follow their ruling against the universal usage of the Latin language, nor would he speak it such an eccentric fashion as to be discordant and strange in his diction. 6 Nevertheless he wrote a letter on the subject, among some exercises for his own amusement, in which he tried to prove that quiesco is not like those words which I have quoted above; that it is not derived from quies but rather quies from quiesco. He also maintained that quiesco has the form and derivation of a Greek word,​50 and he tried to show, by reasons that were by no means without force, that the word should not be pronounced with a long e.51

16 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] On a use by the poet Catullus of the word deprecor, which is unusual, it is true, but appropriate and correct; and on the origin of that word, with examples from early writers.

1 As we chanced to be strolling one evening in the  p135 Lyceum,​52 we were furnished with sport and amusement by a certain man, of the kind that lays claim to a reputation for eloquence by a superficial and ill-regulated use of language, without having learned any of the usages and principles of the Latin tongue. 2 For while Catullus in one of his poems had used the word deprecor rather cleverly, that fellow, unable to appreciate this, declared that the following verses which I have quoted were very flat, although in the judgment of all men they are most charming:53

My Lesbia constantly speaks ill of me

And cease not. By Jove! she cares for me!

How do I know? 'Tis just the same with me;

I rail at, but by Jove! I worship, her.

3 Our good man thought that deprecor in this passage was used in the sense that is commonly given the word by the vulgar; that is, "I pray earnestly," "I beseech," "I entreat," where the preposition de is used intensively and emphatically. 4 And if that were so, the verses would indeed be flat. 5 But as a matter of fact the sense is exactly the opposite; for the preposition de, since it has a double force, contains two meanings in one and the same word. For deprecor is used by Catullus in the sense of "denounce, execrate, drive away," or "avert by prayers"; 6 but it also has the opposite meaning, when Cicero In Defence of Publius Sulla speaks as follows:​54 "How many men's lives did he beg off (est deprecatus) from Sulla." 7 Similarly in his speech Against the Agrarian Law Cicero says:​55 "If I do any  p137 wrong, there are no masks of ancestors to intercede (deprecentur, "beg off") for me with you by their prayers."

8 But Catullus was not alone in using this word with that meaning. Indeed, the books are full of cases of its occurrence in the same sense, and of these I have quoted one or two which had come to mind. 9 Quintus Ennius in the Erectheus, not differing greatly from Catullus, says:56

Who now win freedom by my own distress

For those whose slavery I by woe avert (deprecor).

He means "I drive away" and "remove," either by resort to prayer or in some other way. 10 Similarly in the Chresphontes Ennius writes:57

When I my own life spare, may I avert (deprecer)

Death from mine enemy.

11 Cicero, in the sixth book of his Republic, wrote:​58 "Which indeed was so much the more remarkable, because, while the colleagues were in the same case, they not only did not incur the same hatred, but the affection felt for Gracchus even averted (deprecabatur) the unpopularity of Claudius." Here too the meaning is not "earnestly entreated," but "warded off" unpopularity, so to speak, and defended him against it, a meaning which the Greeks express by the parallel word παραιτεῖσθαι.

12 Cicero also uses the word in the same way in his Defence of Aulus Caecina, saying:​59 "What can you do for a man like this? Can you not sometimes permit one to avert (deprecetur) the odium of the greatest wickedness by the excuse of the most abysmal folly?" 13 Also in the first book of his second  p139 Arraignment of Verres:​60 "Now what can Hortensius do? Will he try to avert (deprecetur) the charge of avarice by the praise of economy? But he is defending a man who is utterly disgraced and sunk in lust and crime." So then Catullus means that he is doing the same as Lesbia, in publicly speaking ill of her, scorning and rejecting her, and constantly praying to be rid of her, and yet loving her to madness.

17 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Who was the first of all to establish a public library; and how many books there were in the public libraries at Athens before the Persian invasions.

1 The tyrant Pisistratus is said to have been the first to establish at Athens a public library of books relating to the liberal arts. Then the Athenians themselves added to this collection with considerable diligence and care; but later Xerxes, when he got possession of Athens and burned the entire city except the citadel,​61 removed that whole collection of books and carried them off to Persia. 2 Finally, a long time afterwards, king Seleucus, who was surnamed Nicator, had all those books taken back to Athens.

3 At a later time an enormous quantity of books, nearly seven hundred thousand volumes, was either acquired or written​62 in Egypt under the kings known as Ptolemies; but these were all burned during the sack of the city in our first war with Alexandria,​63 not intentionally or by anyone's order, but accidentally by the auxiliary soldiers.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Fr. II.1169, Arn.

2 Phaedo, 3, p60B.

3 Fr. II.1170, Arn.

4 Fr. II.1000, Arn.

5 Fr. II.1000, Arn.

6 Fr. II.1000, Arn.

7 Fr. II.1000, Arn.

8 Χρύσεα Ἔπη, 54.

9 Homer, Odyss. I.32.

10 Fr. 1, p582, Orelli2.

11 Fr. II.977, Arn.

12 Fr. 8, Peter2.

13 In 256 B.C.

14 Fr. 5, Peter2.

15 Fr. 9, Peter2.º

16 See McCartney, The Figurative Use of Animal Names (Univ. of Penna. diss.), Lancaster, Pa., 1912.

17 Fr. 1, Huschke; Resp. 14, Dig. 99, Bremer (I, pp287, 322, 330).

18 That is, to clear one's accounts.

19 62, Ribbeck3.

20 Fr. 91, Bücheler.

21 Aen. VI.14 f.

22 Fr. 6, Fun.

23 Fr. 3, Bährens (F.P.R.).

24 488, Vahlen2. Cf. Gell. IX.4.1.

25 94, Vahlen2.

26 That is, low-flying, as opposed to swift-, or high-, flying.

27 Fr. 80, Swoboda.

28 Iliad XII.237 f.

29 VIII.22; the date of this privilegium (see X.20.4) is uncertain.

30 Fr. 1, Peter2.

31 Fr. 14, Huschke; 1, Bremer (II, p368).

32 "Of many quarrels," a word coined in imitation of the epithet applied of the famous athletes: πλειστονίκης, "of many victories."

33 F. H. G. III.515.

34 Really New Carthage, captured in 210 B.C.; the story is told by Livy, XXVI.50.

35 II.108, Ribbeck3.

36 Fr. 25, Peter2.

37 He was the secretary of the censor Appius Claudius Caecus and became curule aedile in 303 B.C.

38 Fr. 27, Peter2.

39 The expression pro tribu is difficult, but appears in Livy IX.46.2 in the same connection, cum fieri se pro tribu aedilem videret. Gronovius believed that it referred to the tribus praerogativa, which voted first in order.

40 O.R.F. p274, Meyer2.

41 Fr. 3, Huschke; I, p225, Bremer.

42 Fr. 4, Huschke; 5, Bremer (I, p405).

43 Really, talk "over the wine," or after-dinner talk.

44 The reference is to a dinner to which each guest brought his contribution (symbolon); cf. Hor. Odes, IV.12.14 f., non ego te meis immunem meditor tinguere poculis; Catull. XIII.

45 See Pease, "Things without Honor," Class. Phil. XXI (1926), pp27º ff.

46 Parm. 21, p156D; cf. VI.21, above.

47 See note 2, p125.

48 81, p525A.

49 Mentioned as typical grammarians. The gens Aelia included several famous jurists and men of letters; the reference here is to Lucius Aelius Stilo, the teacher of Varro and Cicero. Santra was a grammarian of the first century B.C.; the Cincii were less well known.

50 A fanciful derivation from Ionic ἔχω, ἔσχω.

51 The e is however long; quiésco occurs in CIL VI.6250 and 25521.

52 A gymnasium at Athens, the favourite resort of Aristotle and his pupils.

53 xcii.

54 § 72.

55 II.100.

56 128, Ribbeck3.

57 121, Ribbeck3.

58 2.2.

59 § 30.

60 II.2.192.

61 In 480 B.C.

62 i.e. copied from other manuscripts.

63 In 48 B.C. By no means all of the Alexandrian Library was destroyed at that time, and the losses were made good, at least in part, by Antony in 41 B.C. A part of the library was burned under Aurelian, in A.D. 272, and the destruction seems to have been completed in 391.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 10 Feb 18