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Title: The Academic Questions, Treatise De Finibus, and Tusculan Disputations, of M.T. Cicero, With a Sketch of the Greek Philosophers Mentioned by Cicero

Author: Marcus Tullius Cicero

Translator: Charles Duke Yonge

Release date: June 26, 2009 [eBook #29247]

Language: English


The Academic Questions,

Treatise De Finibus.


Tusculan Disputations


M. T. Cicero


A Sketch of the Greek Philosophers Mentioned by Cicero.

Literally Translated by

C. D. Yonge, B.A.

London: George Bell and Sons

York Street

Covent Garden

Printed by William Clowes and Sons,

Stamford Street and Charing Cross.


[pg i]

A Sketch of the Greek Philosophers Mentioned by Cicero.

In the works translated in the present volume, Cicero makes such constant references to the doctrines and systems of the ancient Greek Philosophers, that it seems desirable to give a brief account of the most remarkable of those mentioned by him; not entering at length into the history of their lives, but indicating the principal theories which they maintained, and the main points in which they agreed with, or differed from, each other.

The earliest of them was Thales, who was born at Miletus, about 640 b.c. He was a man of great political sagacity and influence; but we have to consider him here as the earliest philosopher who appears to have been convinced of the necessity of scientific proof of whatever was put forward to be believed, and as the originator of mathematics and geometry. He was also a great astronomer; for we read in Herodotus (i. 74) that he predicted the eclipse of the sun which happened in the reign of Alyattes, king of Lydia, b.c. 609. He asserted that water is the origin of all things; that everything is produced out of it, and everything is resolved into it. He also asserted that it is the soul which originates all motion, so much so, that he attributes a soul to the magnet. Aristotle also represents him as saying that everything is full of Gods. He does not appear to have left any written treatises behind him: we are uncertain when or where he died, but he is said to have lived to a great age—to 78, or, according to some writers, to 90 years of age.

[pg ii]

Anaximander, a countryman of Thales, was also born at Miletus, about 30 years later; he is said to have been a pupil of the former, and deserves especial mention as the oldest philosophical writer among the Greeks. He did not devote himself to the mathematical studies of Thales, but rather to speculations concerning the generation and origin of the world; as to which his opinions are involved in some obscurity. He appears, however, to have considered that all things were formed of a sort of matter, which he called τὸ ἄπειρον, or The Infinite; which was something everlasting and divine, though not invested with any spiritual or intelligent nature. His own works have not come down to us; but, according to Aristotle, he considered this “Infinite” as consisting of a mixture of simple, unchangeable elements, from which all things were produced by the concurrence of homogeneous particles already existing in it,—a process which he attributed to the constant conflict between heat and cold, and to affinities of the particles: in this he was opposed to the doctrine of Thales, Anaximenes, and Diogenes of Apollonia, who agreed in deriving all things from a single, not changeable, principle.

Anaximander further held that the earth was of a cylindrical form, suspended in the middle of the universe, and surrounded by water, air, and fire, like the coats of an onion; but that the interior stratum of fire was broken up and collected into masses, from which originated the sun, moon, and stars; which he thought were carried round by the three spheres in which they were respectively fixed. He believed that the moon had a light of her own, not a borrowed light; that she was nineteen times as large as the earth, and the sun twenty-eight. He thought that all animals, including man, were originally produced in water, and proceeded gradually to become land animals. According to Diogenes Laertius, he was the inventor of the gnomon, and of geographical maps; at all events, he was the first person who introduced the use of the gnomon into Greece. He died about 547 b.c.

Anaximenes was also a Milesian, and a contemporary of Thales and Anaximander. We do not exactly know when he [pg iii] was born, or when he died; but he must have lived to a very great age, for he was in high repute as early as b.c. 544, and he was the tutor of Anaxagoras, b.c. 480. His theory was, that air was the first cause of all things, and that the other elements of the universe were resolvable into it. From this infinite air, he imagined that all finite things were formed by compression and rarefaction, produced by motion, which had existed from all eternity; so that the earth was generated out of condensed air, and the sun and other heavenly bodies from the earth. He thought also that heat and cold were produced by different degrees of density of this primal element, air; that the clouds were formed by the condensing of the air; and that it was the air which supported the earth, and kept it in its place. Even the human soul he believed to be, like the body, formed of air. He believed in the eternity of matter, and denied the existence of anything immaterial.

Anaxagoras, who, as has been already stated, was a pupil of Anaximenes, was born at Clazomenæ, in Ionia, about b.c. 499. He removed to Athens at the time of the Persian war, where he became intimate with Pericles, who defended him, though unsuccessfully, when he was prosecuted for impiety: he was fined five talents, and banished from the city; on which he retired to Lampsacus, where he died at the age of 72. He differed from his predecessors of the Ionic School, and sought for a higher cause of all things than matter: this cause he considered to be νοῦς, intelligence, or mind. Not that he thought this νοῦς to be the creator of the world, but only that principle which arranged it, and gave it motion; for his idea was, that matter had existed from all eternity, but that, before the νοῦς arranged it, it was all in a state of chaotic confusion, and full of an infinite number of homogeneous and heterogeneous parts; then the νοῦς separated the homogeneous parts from the heterogeneous, and in this manner the world was produced. This separation, however, he taught, was made in such a manner that everything contains in itself parts of other things, or heterogeneous elements; and is what it is only on account of certain homogeneous parts which constitute its predominant and real character.

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Pythagoras was earlier than Anaxagoras, though this latter has been mentioned before him to avoid breaking the continuity of the Ionic School. His father's name was Mnesarchus, and he was born at Samos about 570 b.c., though some accounts make him earlier. He is said by some writers to have been a pupil of Thales, by others of Anaximander, or of Pherecydes of Scyros. He was a man of great learning, as a geometrician, mathematician, astronomer, and musician; a great traveller, having visited Egypt and Babylon, and, according to some accounts, penetrated as far as India.

Many of his peculiar tenets are believed to have been derived from the Tyrrhenian Pelasgians, with whom he is said to have been connected. His contemporaries at Crotona in South Italy, where he lived, looked upon him as a man peculiarly connected with the gods; and some of them even identified him with the Hyperborean Apollo. He himself is said to have laid claim to the gifts of divination and prophecy. The religious element was clearly predominant in his character. Grote says of him, “In his prominent vocation, analogous to that of Epimenides, Orpheus, or Melampus, he appears as the revealer of a mode of life calculated to raise his disciples above the level of mankind, and to recommend them to the favour of the gods.” (Hist. of Greece, iv. p. 529.)

On his arrival at Crotona, he formed a school, consisting at first of three hundred of the richest of the citizens, who bound themselves by a sort of vow to himself and to each other, for the purpose of cultivating the ascetic observances which he enjoined, and of studying his religious and philosophical theories. All that took place in this school was kept a profound secret; and there were gradations among the pupils themselves, who were not all admitted, or at all events not at first, to a full acquaintance with their master's doctrines. They were also required to submit to a period of probation. The statement of his forbidding his pupils the use of animal food is denied by many of the best authorities, and that of his insisting on their maintaining an unbroken silence for five years, rests on no sufficient authority, and is incredible. It is beyond our purpose at present to enter into the question of how [pg v] far the views of Pythagoras in founding his school or club of three hundred, tended towards uniting in this body the idea of “at once a philosophical school, a religious brotherhood, and a political association,” all which characters the Bishop of St. David's (Hist. of Greece, vol. ii. p. 148) thinks were inseparably united in his mind; while Mr. Grote's view of his object (Hist. of Greece, vol. iv. p. 544) is very different. In a political riot at Crotona, a temple, in which many of his disciples were assembled, was burnt, and they perished, and some say that Pythagoras himself was among them; though according to other accounts he fled to Tarentum, and afterwards to Metapontum, where he starved himself to death. His tomb (see Cic. de Fin. v. 2) was shown at Metapontum down to Cicero's time. Soon after his death his school was suppressed, and did not revive, though the Pythagoreans continued to exist as a sect, the members of which kept up the religious and scientific pursuits of their founder.

Pythagoras is said to have been the first who assumed the title of φιλόσοφος; but there is great uncertainty as to the most material of his philosophical and religious opinions. It is believed that he wrote nothing himself, and that the earliest Pythagorean treatises were the work of Philolaus, a contemporary of Socrates. It appears, however, that he undertook to solve by reference to one single primary principle the problem of the origin and constitution of the universe. His predilection for mathematics led him to trace the origin of all things to number; for “in numbers he thought that they perceived many analogies of things that exist and are produced, more than in fire, earth, or water: as, for instance, they thought that a certain condition of numbers was justice; another, soul and intellect, ... And moreover, seeing the conditions and ratios of what pertains to harmony to consist in numbers, since other things seemed in their entire nature to be formed in the likeness of numbers, and in all nature numbers are the first, they supposed the elements of numbers to be the elements of all things.” (Arist. Met. i. 5.)

Music and harmony too, played almost as important a [pg vi] part in the Pythagorean system as mathematics, or numbers. His idea appears to be, that order or harmony of relation is the regulating principle of the whole universe. He drew out a list of ten pairs of antagonistic elements, and in the octave and its different harmonic relations, he believed that he found the ground of the connexion between them. In his system of the universe fire was the important element, occupying both the centre and the remotest point of it; and being the vivifying principle of the whole. Round the central fire the heavenly bodies he believed to move in a regular circle; furthest off were the fixed stars; and then, in order, the planets, the moon, the sun, the earth, and what he called ἀντίχθων, a sort of other half of the earth, which was a distinct body from it, but moving parallel to it.

The most distant region he called Olympus; the space between the fixed stars and the moon he called κόσμος; the space between the moon and the earth οὐρανός. He, or at least his disciples, taught that the earth revolved on its axis, (though Philolaus taught that its revolutions were not round its axis but round the central fire). The universe itself they considered as a large sphere, and the intervals between the heavenly bodies they thought were determined according to the laws and relations of musical harmony. And from this theory arose the doctrine of the Music of the Spheres; as the heavenly bodies in their motion occasioned a sort of sound depending on their distances and velocities; and as these were determined by the laws of harmonic intervals, the sounds, or notes, formed a regular musical scale.

The light and heat of the central fire he believed that we received through the sun, which he considered a kind of lens: and perfection, he conceived to exist in direct ratio to the distance from the central fire.

The universe, itself, they looked upon as having subsisted from all eternity, controlled by an eternal supreme Deity; who established both limits and infinity; and whom they often speak of as the absolute μονὰς, or unity. He pervaded (though he was distinct from) and presided over the universe. Sometimes, too, he is called the absolute Good,—while the origin of [pg vii] evil is attributed not to him, but to matter which prevented him from conducting everything to the best end.

With respect to man, the doctrine of Pythagoras was that known by the name of the Metempsychosis,—that the soul after death rested a certain time till it was purified, and had acquired a forgetfulness of what had previously happened to it; and then reanimated some other body. The ethics of the Pythagoreans consisted more in ascetic practice and maxims for the restraint of the passions, than in any scientific theories. Wisdom they considered as superior to virtue, as being connected with the contemplation of the upper and purer regions, while virtue was conversant only with the sublunary part of the world. Happiness, they thought, consisted in the science of the perfection of the soul; or in the perfect science of numbers; and the main object of all the endeavours of man was to be, to resemble the Deity as far as possible.

Alcmæon of Crotona was a pupil of Pythagoras; but that is all that is known of his history. He was a great natural philosopher; and is said to have been the first who introduced the practice of dissection. He is said, also, to have been the first who wrote on natural philosophy. Aristotle, however, distinguishes between the principles of Alcmæon and Pythagoras, though without explaining in what the difference consisted. He asserted the immortality of the soul, and said that it partook of the divine nature, because, like the heavenly bodies themselves, it contained in itself the principle of motion.

Xenophanes, the founder of the Eleatic school, was a native of Colophon; and flourished probably about the time of Pisistratus. Being banished from his own country, he fled to the Ionian colonies in Sicily, and at last settled in Elea, or Velia. His writings were chiefly poetical. He was universally regarded by the ancients as the originator of the doctrine of the oneness of the universe: he also maintained, it is said, the unity of the Deity; and also his immortality and eternity; denounced the transference of him into human form; and reproached Homer and Hesiod for attributing to him human weaknesses. [pg viii] He represented him as endowed with unwearied activity, and as the animating power of the universe.

Heraclitus was an Ephesian, and is said to have been a pupil of Xenophanes, though this statement is much doubted; others call him a pupil of Hippasus the Pythagorean. He wrote a treatise on Nature; declaring that the principle of all things was fire, from which he saw the world was evolved by a natural operation; he further said that this fire was the human life and soul, and therefore a rational intelligence guiding the whole universe. In this primary fire he considered that there was a perpetual longing to manifest itself in different forms: in its perfectly pure state it is in heaven; but in order to gratify this longing it descends, gradually losing the rapidity of its motion till it settles in the earth. The earth, however, is not immovable, but only the slowest of all moving bodies; while the soul of man, though dwelling in the lowest of all regions, namely, in the earth, he considered a migrated portion of fire in its pure state; which, in spite of its descent, had lost none of its original purity. The summum bonum he considered to be a contented acquiescence in the decrees of the Deity. None of his writings are extant; and he does not appear to have had many followers.

Diogenes of Apollonia, (who must not be confounded with his Stoic or Cynic namesake,) was a pupil of Anaximenes, and wrote a treatise on Nature, of which Diogenes Laertius gives the following account: “He maintained that air was the primary element of all things; that there was an infinite number of worlds and an infinite vacuum; that air condensed and rarefied produced the different members of the universe; that nothing was generated from nothing, or resolved into nothing; that the earth was round, supported in the centre, having received its shape from the whirling round it of warm vapours, and its concrete nature and hardness from cold.” He also imputed to air an intellectual energy, though he did not recognise any difference between mind and matter.

Parmenides was a native of Elea or Velia, and flourished about 460 b.c., soon after which time he came to Athens, and [pg ix] became acquainted with Socrates, who was then very young. Theophrastus and Aristotle speak doubtfully of his having been a pupil of Xenophanes. Some authors, however, reckon him as one of the Pythagorean school; Plato and Aristotle speak of him as the greatest of the Eleatics; and it is said that his fellow-countrymen bound their magistrates every year to abide by the laws which he had laid down. He, like Xenophanes, explained his philosophical tenets in a didactic poem, in which he speaks of two primary forms, one the fine uniform etherial fire of flame (φλόγος πῦρ), the other the cold body of night, out of the intermingling of which everything in the world is formed by the Deity who reigns in the midst. His cosmogony was carried into minute detail, of which we possess only a few obscure fragments; he somewhat resembled the Pythagoreans in believing in a spherical system of the world, surrounded by a circle of pure light; in the centre of which was the earth; and between the earth and the light was the circle of the Milky Way, of the morning and evening star, of the sun, the planets, and the moon. And the differences in perfection of organization, he attributed to the different proportions in which the primary principles were intermingled. The ultimate principle of the world was, in his view, necessity, in which Empedocles appears to have followed him; he seems to have been the only philosopher who recognised with distinctness and precision that the Existent, τὸ ὄν, as such, is unconnected with all separation or juxtaposition, as well as with all succession, all relation to space or time, all coming into existence, and all change. It is, however, a mistake to suppose that he recognised it as a Deity.

Democritus was born at Abdera, b.c. 460. His father Hegesistratus had been so rich as to be able to entertain Xerxes, when on his march against Greece. He spent his inheritance in travelling into distant countries, visiting the greater part of Asia, and, according to some authors, extending his travels as far as India and Æthiopia. Egypt he certainly was acquainted with. He lived to beyond the age of 100 years, and is said to have died b.c. 357.

[pg x]

He was a man of vast and varied learning, and a most voluminous author, though none of his works have come down to us;—in them he carried out the theory of atoms which he had derived from Leucippus; insisting on the reality of a vacuum and of motion, which he held was the eternal and necessary consequence of the original variety of atoms in this vacuum. These atoms, according to this theory, being in constant motion and impenetrable, offer resistance to one another, and so create a whirling motion which gives birth to worlds. Moreover, from this arise combinations of distinct atoms which become real things and beings. The first cause of all existence he called chance (τύχη), in opposition to the νοῦς of Anaxagoras. But Democritus went further; for he directed his investigations especially to the discovery of causes.

Besides the infinite number of atoms, he likewise supposed the existence of an infinite number of worlds, each being kept together by a sort of shell or skin. He derived the four elements from the form, quality, and proportionate magnitude of the atoms predominating in each; and in deriving individual things from atoms, he mainly considered the qualities of warm and cold; the soul he considered as derived from fire atoms; and he did not consider mind as anything peculiar, or as a power distinct from the soul or sensuous perception; but he considered knowledge derived from reason to be a sensuous perception.

In his ethical philosophy, he considered (as we may see from the de Finibus) the acquisition of peace of mind as the end and ultimate object of all our actions, and as the last and best fruit of philosophical inquiry. Temperance and moderation in prosperity and adversity were, in his eyes, the principal means of acquiring this peace of mind. And he called those men alone pious and beloved by the Gods who hate whatever is wrong.

Empedocles was a Sicilian, who flourished about the time when Thrasydæus, the son of Theron, was expelled from Agrigentum, to the tyranny of which he had succeeded; in which revolution he took an active part: it is even said that the [pg xi] sovereignty of his native city was offered to and declined by him.

He was a man of great genius and extensive learning; it is not known whose pupil he was, nor are any of his disciples mentioned except Gorgias. He was well versed in the tenets of the Eleatic and Pythagorean schools; but he did not adopt the fundamental principles of either; though he agreed with Pythagoras in his belief in the metempsychosis, in the influence of numbers, and in one or two other points; and with the Eleatics in disbelieving that anything could be generated out of nothing. Aristotle speaks of him as very much resembling in his opinions Democritus and Anaxagoras. He was the first who established the number of four elements, which had been previously pointed out one by one, partly as fundamental substances, and partly as transitive changes of things coming into existence. He first suggested the idea of two opposite directions of the moving power, an attractive and a repelling one: and he believed that originally these two coexisted in a state of repose and inactivity. He also assumed a periodical change of the formation of the world; or perhaps, like the philosophers of the pure Ionic school, a perpetual continuance of pure fundamental substances; to which the parts of the world that are tired of change return, and prepare the formation of the sphere for the next period of the world. Like the Eleatics, he strove to purify the notion of the Deity, saying that he, “being a holy infinite spirit, not encumbered with limbs, passes through the world with rapid thoughts.” At the same time he speaks of the eternal power of Necessity as an ancient decree of the Gods, though it is not quite clear what he understood by this term.

Diagoras was a native of Melos, and a pupil of Democritus, and flourished about b.c. 435. He is remarkable as having been regarded by all antiquity as an Atheist. In his youth he had some reputation as a lyric poet; so that he is sometimes classed with Pindar, Simonides, and Bacchylides. Aristophanes, in the Clouds, alludes to him where he calls Socrates “the Melian;” not that he was so, but he means to [pg xii] hint that Socrates was an atheist as well as the Melian Diagoras. He lived at Athens for many years till b.c. 411, when he fled from a prosecution instituted against him for impiety, according to Diodorus, but probably for some offence of a political nature; perhaps connected with the mutilation of the Hermæ.

That he was an atheist, however, appears to have been quite untrue. Like Socrates, he took new and peculiar views respecting the Gods and their worship; and seems to have ridiculed the honours paid to their statues, and the common notions which were entertained of their actions and conduct. (See De Nat. Deor. iii. 37.) He is said also to have attacked objects held in the greatest veneration at Athens, such as the Eleusinian Mysteries, and to have dissuaded people from being initiated into them. He appears also, in his theories on the divine nature, to have substituted in some degree the active powers of nature for the activity of the Gods. In his own conduct he was a man of strict morality and virtue. He died at Corinth before the end of the century.

Protagoras was a native of Abdera; the exact time of his birth is unknown, but he was a little older than Socrates. He was the first person who gave himself the title of σοφιστὴς, and taught for pay. He came to Athens early in life, and gave to the settlers who left it for Thurium, b.c. 445, a code of laws, or perhaps adapted the old laws of Charondas to their use. He was a friend of Pericles. After some time he was impeached for impiety in saying, That respecting the Gods he did not know whether they existed or not; and banished from Athens (see De Nat. Deor. i. 23). He was a very prolific author: his most peculiar doctrines excited Plato to write the Theætetus to oppose them.

His fundamental principle was, that everything is motion, and that that is the efficient cause of everything; that nothing exists, but that everything is continually coming into existence. He divided motion (besides numerous subordinate divisions) into active and passive; though he did not consider either of these characteristics as permanent. From the concurrence of two such motions he taught that sensations and perceptions [pg xiii] arose, according to the rapidity of the motion. Therefore he said that there is or exists for each individual, only that of which he has a sensation or perception; and that as sensation, like its objects, is engaged in a perpetual change of motion, opposite assertions might exist according to the difference of the perception respecting such object. Moral worth he attributed to taking pleasure in the beautiful; and virtue he referred to a certain sense of shame implanted in man by nature; and to a certain conscious feeling of justice, which secures the bonds of connexion in private and political life.

Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus, a statuary, and Phænarete, a midwife, was born b.c. 468. He lived all his life at Athens, serving indeed as a soldier at Potidæa, Amphipolis, and in the battle of Delium; but with these exceptions he never left the city; where he lived as a teacher of philosophy; not, however, founding a school or giving lectures, but frequenting the market-place and all other places of public resort, talking with every one who chose to address him, and putting questions to every one of every rank and profession, so that Grote calls him “a public talker for instruction.” He believed himself to have a special religious mission from the Gods to bring his countrymen to knowledge and virtue. He was at last impeached before the legal tribunals, on the ground of “corrupting the youth of the city, and not worshipping the Gods whom the city worshipped;” and disdaining to defend himself, or rather making a justificatory defence of such a character as to exasperate the judges, he was condemned to death, and executed by having hemlock administered to him, b.c. 399.

From his disciples Plato and Xenophon we have a very full account of his habits and doctrines; though it has been much disputed which of the two is to be considered as giving the most accurate description of his opinions. As a young man he had been to a certain extent a pupil of Archelaus (the disciple of Anaxagoras), and derived his fondness for the dialectic style of argument from Zeno the Eleatic, the favourite Pupil of Parmenides. He differed, however, from all preceding philosophers in discarding and excluding wholly from his [pg xiv] studies all the abstruse sciences, and limiting his philosophy to those practical points which could have influence on human conduct. “He himself was always conversing about the affairs of men,” is the description given of him by Xenophon. Astronomy he pronounced to be one of the divine mysteries which it was impossible to understand and madness to investigate; all that man wanted was to know enough of the heavenly bodies to serve as an index to the change of seasons and as guides for voyages, etc.; and that knowledge might, he said, easily be obtained from pilots and watchmen. Geometry he reduced to its literal meaning of land-measuring, useful to enable one to act with judgment in the purchase or sale of land; but he looked with great contempt on the study of complicated diagrams and mathematical problems. As to general natural philosophy, he wholly discarded it; asking whether those who professed to apply themselves to that study knew human affairs so well as to have time to spare for divine; was it that they thought that they could influence the winds, rain, and seasons, or did they desire nothing but the gratification of an idle curiosity? Men should recollect how much the wisest of them who have attempted to prosecute these investigations differ from one another, and how totally opposite and contradictory their opinions are.

Socrates, then, looked at all knowledge from the point of view of human practice. He first, as Cicero says, (Tusc. Dis. v. 4,) “called philosophy down from heaven and established it in the cities, introduced it even into private houses, and compelled it to investigate life, and manners, and what was good and evil among men.” He was the first man who turned his thoughts and discussions distinctly to the subject of Ethics. Deeply imbued with sincere religious feeling, and believing himself to be under the peculiar guidance of the Gods, who at all times admonished him by a divine warning voice when he was in danger of doing anything unwise, inexpedient, or improper, he believed that the Gods constantly manifested their love of and care for all men in the most essential manner, in replying through oracles, and sending them information by sacrificial signs or prodigies, in [pg xv] cases of great difficulty; and he had no doubt that if a man were diligent in learning all that the Gods permitted to be learnt, and if besides he was assiduous in paying pious court to them and in soliciting special information by way of prophecy, they would be gracious to him and signify their purposes to him.

Such then being the capacity of man for wisdom and virtue, his object was to impart that wisdom to them; and the first step necessary, he considered to be eradicating one great fault which was a barrier to all improvement. This fault he described as “the conceit of knowledge without the reality.” His friend and admirer Chærephon had consulted the oracle at Delphi as to whether any man was wiser than Socrates; to which the priestess replied that no other man was wiser. Socrates affirms that he was greatly disturbed at hearing this declaration from so infallible an authority; till after conversing with politicians, and orators, and poets, and men of all classes, he discovered not only that they were destitute of wisdom, but that they believed themselves to be possessed of it; so that he was wiser than they, though wholly ignorant, inasmuch as he was conscious of his own ignorance. He therefore considered his most important duty to be to convince men of their ignorance, and to excite them to remedy it, as the indispensable preliminary to virtue; for virtue he defined as doing a thing well, after having learnt it and practised it by the rational and proper means; and whoever performed his duties best, whether he was a ruler of a state or a husbandman, was the best and most useful man and the most beloved by the Gods.

And if his objects were new, his method was no less so. He was the parent of dialectics and logic. Aristotle says, “To Socrates we may unquestionably assign two novelties—inductive discourses, and the definitions of general terms.” Without any predecessor to copy, Socrates fell as it were instinctively into that which Aristotle describes as the double tract of the dialectic process, breaking up the one into the many, and recombining the many into the one; though the latter or synthetical process he did not often perform himself, but [pg xvi] strove to stimulate his hearer's mind so as to enable him to do it for himself.

The fault of the Socratic theory is well remarked by Grote to be, that while he resolved all virtue into knowledge or wisdom, and all vice into ignorance or folly, he omitted to notice what is not less essential to virtue, the proper condition of the passions, desires, &c., and limited his views too exclusively to the intellect; still while laying down a theory which is too narrow, he escaped the erroneous consequences of it by a partial inconsistency. For no one ever insisted more emphatically on the necessity of control over the passions and appetites, of enforcing good habits, and on the value of that state of the sentiments and emotions which such a course tended to form. He constantly pointed out that the chief pleasures were such as inevitably arise from the performance of one's duty, and that as to happiness, a very moderate degree of good fortune is sufficient as to external things, provided the internal man be properly disciplined.

Grote remarks further, (and this remark is particularly worth remembering in the reading of Cicero's philosophical works,) that “Arcesilaus and the New Academy thought that they were following the example of Socrates, (and Cicero appears to have thought so too,) when they reasoned against everything, and laid it down as a system, that against every affirmative position an equal force of negative argument could be brought as a counterpoise: now this view of Socrates is, in my judgment, not only partial, but incorrect. He entertained no such doubts of the powers of the mind to attain certainty. About physics he thought man could know nothing; but respecting the topics which concern man and society, this was the field which the Gods had expressly assigned, not merely to human practice, but to human study and knowledge; and he thought that every man, not only might know these things, but ought to know them; that he could not possibly act well unless he did know them; and that it was his imperative duty to learn them as he would learn a profession, otherwise he was nothing better than a slave, unfit to be trusted as a free and accountable being. He [pg xvii] was possessed by the truly Baconian idea, that the power of steady moral action depended upon, and was limited by, the rational comprehension of moral ends and means.”

The system, then, of Socrates was animated by the truest spirit of positive science, and formed an indispensable precursor to its attainment. And we may form some estimate of his worth and genius if we recollect, that while the systems and speculations of other ancient philosophers serve only as curiosities to make us wonder, or as beacons to warn us into what absurdities the ablest men may fall, the principles and the system of Socrates and his followers, and of that school alone, exercise to this day an important influence on all human argument and speculation.

Aristippus (whom we will consider before Plato, that Aristotle may follow Plato more immediately) came when a young man to Athens, for the express purpose of becoming acquainted with Socrates, with whom he remained almost till his death. He was, however, very different from his master, being a person of most luxurious and sensual habits. He was also the first of Socrates' disciples who took money for teaching. He was the founder of the Cyrenaic school of philosophy, which followed Socrates in limiting all philosophical inquiries to ethics; though under this name they comprehended a more varied range of subjects than Socrates did, inasmuch as one of the parts into which they divided philosophy, referred to the feelings; another to causes, which is rather a branch of physics; and a third to proofs, which is clearly connected with logic.

He pronounced pleasure to be the chief good, and pain the chief evil; but he denied that either of these was a mere negative inactive state, considering them, on the contrary, both to be motions of the soul,—pain a violent, and pleasure a moderate one.

As to actions, he asserted that they were all morally indifferent, that men should only look to their results, and that law and custom are the only authorities which make an action either good or bad. Whatever conduces to pleasure, [pg xviii] he thought virtue; in which he agreed with Socrates that the mind has the principal share.

Plato, the greatest of all the disciples of Socrates, was the son of Ariston and Perictione, and was born probably in the year b.c. 428, and descended, on the side of his father, from Codrus, and on his mother's side related to Solon. At the age of twenty, he became a constant attendant of Socrates, and lived at Athens till his death. After this event, in consequence of the unpopularity of the very name of his master, he retired to Megara, and subsequently to Sicily. He is said also to have been at some part of his life, after the death of Socrates, a great traveller. About twelve years after the death of Socrates he returned to Athens, and began to teach in the Academy, partly by dialogue, and partly, probably, by connected lectures. He taught gratuitously; and besides Speusippus, Xenocrates, Aristotle, Heraclides Ponticus, and others, who were devoted solely to philosophical studies, he is said to have occasionally numbered Chabrias, Iphicrates, Timotheus, Phocion, Isocrates, and (by some) Demosthenes among his hearers. He died at a great age, b.c. 347.

His works have come down to us in a more complete form than those of any other ancient author who was equally voluminous; and from them we get a clear idea of the principal doctrines which he inculcated on his followers.

Like Socrates, he was penetrated with the idea, that knowledge and wisdom were the things most necessary to man, and the greatest goods assigned to him by God. Wisdom he looked on as the great purifier of the soul; and as any approach to wisdom presupposes an original communion with Being, properly so called, this communion also presupposes the divine nature, and consequent immortality of the soul, his doctrine respecting which was of a much purer and loftier character than the usual theology of the ancients. Believing that the world also had a soul, he considered the human soul as similar to it in nature, and free from all liability to death, in spite of its being bound up with the appetites, in consequence of its connexion with the body, and as preserving [pg xix] power and consciousness after its separation from the body. What he believed, however, to be its condition after death is far less certain, as his ideas on this subject are expressed in a mythical form.

The chief point, however, to which Plato directed his attention, was ethics, which, especially in his system, are closely connected with politics. He devotes the Protagoras, and several shorter dialogues, to refute the sensual and selfish theories of some of his predecessors, in order to adopt a more scientific treatment of the subject; and in these dialogues he urges that neither happiness nor virtue are attainable by the indulgence of our desires, but that men must bring these into proper restraint, if they are desirous of either. He supposes an inward harmony, the preservation of which is pleasure, while its disturbance is pain; and as pleasure is always dependent on the activity from which it springs, the more this activity is elevated the purer the pleasure becomes.

Virtue he considered the fitness of the soul for the operations that are proper to it; and it manifests itself by means of its inward harmony, beauty, and health. Different phases of virtue are distinguishable so far as the soul is not pure spirit, but just as the spirit should rule both the other elements of the soul, so also should wisdom, as the inner development of the spirit, rule the other virtues.

Politics he considered an inseparable part of ethics, and the state as the copy of a well-regulated individual life: from the three different activities of the soul he deduced the three main elements of the state, likening the working class to the appetitive element of the soul, both of which equally require to be kept under control; the military order, which answered, in his idea, to the emotive element, ought to develop itself in thorough dependence on the reason; and from that the governing order, answering to the rational faculty, must proceed. The right of passing from a subordinate to a dominant position must depend on the individual capacity and ability for raising itself. But from the difficulties of realizing his theories, he renounces this absolute separation of ranks in his book on Laws, limits the power of the governors, attempts to [pg xx] reconcile freedom with unity and reason, and to mingle monarchy with democracy.

With respect to his theology, he appears to have agreed entirely with Socrates.

Aristotle was born at Stageira, b.c. 384. His father, Nicomachus, was physician to Amyntas II., king of Macedon. At the age of seventeen he went to Athens, in hopes to become a pupil of Plato; but Plato was in Sicily, and did not return for three years, which time Aristotle applied to severe study, and to cultivating the friendship of Heraclides Ponticus. When Plato returned, he soon distinguished him above all his other pupils. He remained at Athens twenty years, maintaining, however, his connexion with Macedonia; but on the death of Plato, b.c. 347, which happened while Aristotle was absent in Macedonia on an embassy, he quitted Athens, thinking, perhaps, that travelling was necessary to complete his education. After a short period, he accepted an invitation from Philip to superintend the education of Alexander. He remained in Macedonia till b.c. 335, when he returned to Athens, where he found Xenocrates had succeeded Speusippus as the head of the Academy. Here the Lyceum was appropriated to him, in the shady walks (περίπατοι) of which he delivered his lectures to a number of eminent scholars who flocked around him. From these walks the name of Peripatetic was given to the School which he subsequently established. Like several others of the Greek philosophers, he had a select body of pupils, to whom he delivered his esoteric doctrines; and a larger, more promiscuous, and less accomplished company, to whom he delivered his exoteric lectures on less abstruse subjects. When he had resided thirteen years at Athens, he found himself threatened with a prosecution for impiety, and fled to Chalcis, in Eubœa, and died soon after, b.c. 322.

His learning was immense, and his most voluminous writings embraced almost every subject conceivable; but only a very small portion of them has come down to us. Cicero, however, alludes to him only as a moral philosopher, and occasionally as a natural historian; so that it may be [pg xxi] sufficient here for us to confine our view of him to his teaching on the Practical Sciences; his Ethics, too, being one of his works which has come down to us entire.

God he considered to be the highest and purest energy of eternal intellect,—an absolute principle,—the highest reason, the object of whose thought is himself; expanding and declaring, in a more profound manner, the νοῦς of Anaxagoras. With respect to man, the object of all action, he taught, was happiness: and this happiness he defines to be an energy of the soul (or of life) according to virtue, existing by and for itself. Virtue, again, he subdivided into moral and intellectual, according to the distinction between the reasoning faculty and that quality in the soul which obeys reason. Again, moral virtue is the proper medium between excess and deficiency, and can only be acquired by practice; intellectual virtue can be taught; and by the constant practice of moral virtue a man becomes virtuous, but he can only practise it by a resolute determination to do so. Virtue, therefore, is defined further as a habit accompanied by, or arising out of, deliberate choice, and based upon free and conscious action. From these principles, Aristotle is led to take a wider view of virtue than other philosophers: he includes friendship under this head, as one of the very greatest virtues, and a principal means for a steady continuance in all virtue; and as the unrestricted exercise of each species of activity directed towards the good, produces a feeling of pleasure, he considers pleasure as a very powerful means of virtue.

Connected with Aristotle's system of ethics was his system of politics, the former being only a part, as it were, of the latter; the former aiming at the happiness of individuals, the latter at that of communities; so that the latter is the perfection and completion of the former. For Aristotle looked upon man as a “political animal”—as a being, that is, created by nature for the state, and for living in the state; which, as a totality consisting of organically connected members, is by nature prior to the individual or the family. The state he looked upon as a whole consisting of mutually dependent and [pg xxii] connected members, with reference as well to imaginary as to actually existing constitutions. The constitution is the arrangement of the powers in the state—the soul of the state, as it were,—according to which the sovereignty is determined. The laws are the determining principles, according to which the dominant body governs and restrains those who would, and punishes those who do, transgress them. He defines three kinds of constitutions, each of them having a corresponding perversion:—a republic, arising from the principle of equality; this at times degenerates into democracy; monarchy, and aristocracy, which arise from principles of inequality, founded on the preponderance of external or internal strength and wealth, and which are apt to degenerate into tyranny and oligarchy. The education of youth he considers as a principal concern of the state, in order that, all the individual citizens being trained to a virtuous life, virtue may become predominant in all the spheres of political life; and, accordingly, by means of politics the object is realized of which ethics are the groundwork, namely, human happiness, depending on a life in accordance with virtue.

Heraclides Ponticus, as he is usually called, was, as his name denotes, a native of Pontus. He migrated to Athens, where he became a disciple of Plato, who, while absent in Sicily, entrusted him with the care of his school.

Speusippus was the nephew of Plato, and succeeded him as President of the Academy; but he continued so but a short time, and, within eight years of the death of Plato, he died at Athens, b.c. 339. He refused to recognise the Good as the ultimate principle; but, going back to the older theologians, maintained that the origin of the universe was to be set down indeed as a cause of the Good and Perfect, but was not the Good and Perfect itself; for that was the result of generated existence or development, just as plants are of the seeds. When, with the Pythagoreans, he reckoned the One in the series of good things, he probably thought of it only in opposition to the Manifold, and wished to point out that it is from the One that the Good is to be derived. He appears, however, (see De Nat. Deor. i. 13,) to have attributed vital [pg xxiii] activity to the primordial unity, as inseparably belonging to it.

Theophrastus was a native of Eresus, from whence he migrated to Athens, where he became a follower of Plato, and afterwards of Aristotle, by whom, when he quitted Athens for Chalcis, he was designated as his successor in the presidency of the Lyceum; while in this position, he is said to have had two thousand disciples, and among them the comic poet Menander. When, b.c. 305, the philosophers were banished from Athens, he also left the city, but returned the next year on the repeal of the law. He lived to a great age, though the date of his birth is not certainly known.

He was a very voluminous writer on many subjects, but directed his chief attention to continuing the researches into natural history which had been begun by Aristotle. As, however, only a few fragments of his works have come down to us, and these in a very corrupt state, we know but little what peculiar views he entertained; though we learn from Cicero (De Inv. i. 42-50) that he departed a good deal from the doctrines of Aristotle in his principles of ethics, and also in his metaphysical and theological speculations; and Cicero (De Nat. Deor. i. 13) complains that he did not express himself with precision or with consistency about the Deity; and in other places (Acad. i. 10, Tusc. Quæst. v. 9), that he appeared unable to comprehend a happiness resting merely on virtue; so that he had attributed to virtue a rank very inferior to its deserts.

Xenocrates was a native of Chalcedon, born probably b.c. 396. He was a follower of Plato, and accompanied him to Sicily. After his death, he betook himself, with Aristotle, to the court of Hermias, tyrant of Ptarneus, but soon returned to Athens, and became president of the Academy when Speusippus, through ill health, was forced to abandon that post. He died b.c. 314.

He was not a man of great genius, but of unwearied industry and the purest virtue and integrity. None of his works have come down to us; but, from the notices of other writers, we are acquainted with some of his peculiar doctrines. [pg xxiv] He stood at the head of those who, regarding the universe as imperishable and existing from eternity, looked upon the chronic succession in the theory of Plato as a form in which to denote the relations of conceptual succession. He asserted that the soul was a self-moving member,—called Unity and Duality deities, considering the former as the first male existence, ruling in heaven, father and Jupiter; the latter as the female, as the mother of the Gods, and the soul of the universe, which reigns over the mutable world under heaven. He approximated to the Pythagoreans in considering Number as the principle of consciousness, and consequently of knowledge; supplying, however, what was deficient in the Pythagorean theory by the definition of Plato, that it is only in as far as number reconciles the opposition between the same and the different, and can raise itself to independent motion, that it is soul.

In his ethics he endeavoured to render the Platonic theory more complete, and to give it a more direct applicability to human life; admitting, besides the good and the bad, of something which is neither good nor bad, and some of these intermediate things, such as health, beauty, fame, good fortune, he would not admit to be absolutely worthless and indifferent. He maintained, however, in the most decided manner, that virtue is the only thing valuable in itself, and that the value of everything else is conditional, (see Cic. de Fin. iv. 18, de Leg. i. 21, Acad. i. 6, Tusc. Quæst. v. 10-18,) that happiness ought to coincide with the consciousness of virtue. He did not allow that mere intellectual scientific wisdom was the only true wisdom to be sought after as such by men: and in one point he came nearer the precepts of Christianity than any of the ancients, when he asserted the indispensableness of the morality of the thoughts to virtue, and declared it to be the same thing, whether a person cast longing eyes on the possessions of his neighbour, or attempted to possess himself of them by force.

Antisthenes was older than Plato; though the exact time of his birth is uncertain: but he fought at the battle of Tanagra, b.c. 420, though then very young. He became a [pg xxv] disciple of Gorgias, and afterwards of Socrates, at whose death he set up a school in the Cynosarges, a gymnasium for the use of Athenians born of foreign mothers, near the temple of Hercules, from which place of assembly his followers were called Cynics. He lived to a great age, though the year of his death is not known, but he certainly was alive after the battle of Leuctra, b.c. 371.

In his philosophical system, which was almost confined to ethics, he appears to have aimed at novelty rather than truth or common sense. He taught that in all that the wise man does he conforms to perfect virtue, and that pleasure is so far from being necessary to man, that it is a positive evil. He is reported also to have gone the length of pronouncing pain and infamy blessings rather than evils, though when he spoke of pleasure as worthless, he probably meant that pleasure which arises from the gratification of sensual or artificial desires; for he praised that which arises from the intellect, and from friendship. The summum bonum he placed in a life according to virtue.

In a treatise in which he discussed the nature of the Gods he contended for the unity of the Deity, and asserted that man is unable to know him by any sensible representation, since he is unlike any being on earth; and demonstrated the sufficiency of virtue for happiness, by the doctrine that outward events are regulated by God so as to benefit the wise and good.

Diogenes, a native of Sinope in Pontus, who was born b.c. 412, was one of his few disciples; he came at an early age to Athens, and became notorious for the most frantic excesses of moroseness and self-denial. On a voyage to Ægina he was taken by pirates and sold as a slave to Xeniades, a Corinthian, over whom he acquired great influence, and was made tutor to his children. His system consisted merely in teaching men to dispense with even the simplest necessaries of civilized life: and he is said to have taught that all minds are air, exactly alike, and composed of similar particles; but that in beasts and in idiots they are hindered from properly developing themselves by various humors and incapacities [pg xxvi] of their bodies. He died b.c. 323, the same year that Epicurus came to Athens.

Zeno was born at Citium, a city of Cyprus; but having been shipwrecked near Cyprus, he settled in that city, where he devoted himself to severe study for a great length of time, cultivating, it is said, the acquaintance of the philosophers of the Megaric school, Diodorus and Philo, and of the Academics, Xenocrates and Polemo. After he had completed his studies, he opened a school himself in the porch, adorned with the paintings of Polygnotus (Στοὰ ποικίλη), from which his followers were called Stoics. The times of his birth and of his death are not known with any exactness; but he is said to have reached a great age.

In speaking of the Stoic doctrines, it is not very clear how much of them proceeded from Zeno himself, and how much from Chrysippus and other eminent men of the school in subsequent years. In natural philosophy he considered that there was a primary matter which was never increased or diminished, and which was the foundation of everything which existed: and which was brought into existence by the operative power,—that is, by the Deity. He saw this operative power in fire and in æther as the basis of all vital activity, (see Cic. Acad. i. 11, ii. 41; de Nat. Deor. ii. 9, iii. 14,) and he taught that the universe comes into being when the primary substance passing from fire through the intermediate stage of air becomes liquefied, and then the thick portion becomes earth, the thinner portion air, which is again rarefied till it becomes fire. This fire he conceived to be identical with the Deity, (Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. 22,) and to be endowed with consciousness and foresight. At other times he defined the Deity as that law of nature which ever accomplishes what is right, and prevents the opposite, and identified it with unconditional necessity. The soul of man he considered as being of the nature of fire, or of a warm breath, (Cic. Tusc. Quæst. i. 9; de Nat. Deor. iii. 4,) and therefore as mortal.

In ethics he agreed with the Cynics in recognising the constitutional nature of moral obligations, though he differed from them with respect to things indifferent, and opposed their [pg xxvii] morose contempt for custom, though he did not allow that the gratification of mere external wants, or that external good fortune, had any intrinsic value. He comprised everything which could make life happy in virtue alone (Cic. Acad. i. 10), and called it the only good which deserved to be striven after and praised for its own sake (Cic. de Fin. iii. 6, 8), and taught that the attainment of it must inevitably produce happiness. But as virtue could, according to his system, only subsist in conjunction with the perfect dominion of reason, and vice only in the renunciation of the authority of reason, he inferred that one good action could not be more virtuous than another, and that a person who had one virtue had all, and that he who was destitute of one was destitute of all.

Cleanthes was born at Assos in the Troas, about 300 b.c.; he came to Athens at an early age, and became the pupil of Zeno, whom at his death he succeeded in his school. He differed from his master in regarding the soul as immortal, and approximated to the Cynics in denying that pleasure was agreeable to nature, or in any respect good. He died of voluntary starvation at the age of eighty.

Chrysippus was born b.c. 280, at Soli in Cilicia. He came at an early age to Athens, and became a pupil of Cleanthes; and among the later Stoics he was more regarded than either Zeno or Cleanthes. He died b.c. 207.

His doctrines do not appear to have differed from those of Zeno; only that, from feeling the dangerous influence of the Epicurean principles, he endeavoured to popularize the Stoic ethics.

Epicurus was an Athenian of the Attic demos Gargettus, whence he is sometimes simply called the Gargettian. He was, however, born at Samos, b.c. 342, and did not come to Athens till the age of eighteen, when he found Xenocrates at the head of the Academy, and by some authors is said to have become his pupil, though he himself would not admit it (Cic. de Nat. Deor. i. 26). At the outbreak of the Samian war he crossed over to Colophon, where he collected a school. It is said that the first thing that excited him to the study of [pg xxviii] philosophy was the perusal of the works of Democritus while he resided at Colophon. From thence he went to Mitylene and Lampsacus, and b.c. 306 he returned to Athens, and finally established himself as a teacher of philosophy. His own life was that of a man of simple, pure, and temperate habits. He died of the stone, b.c. 270, and left Hermarchus of Mitylene as his successor in the management of his school.

None of his works have come down to us. With regard to his philosophical system, in spite of his boast of being self-taught and having borrowed from no one, he clearly derived the chief part of his natural philosophy from Democritus, and of his moral philosophy from Aristippus and the Cyrenaics. He considered human happiness the end of all philosophy, and agreed with the Cyrenaics that pleasure constituted the greatest happiness; still this theory in his hands acquired a far loftier character; for pleasure, in his idea, was not a mere momentary and transitory sensation, but something lasting and imperishable, consisting in pure mental enjoyments, and in the freedom from pain and any other influence which could disturb man's peace of mind. And the summum bonum, according to him, consisted in this peace of mind; which was based upon correct wisdom (φρόνησις).

In his natural philosophy he embraced the atomic theories of Democritus and Diagoras, carrying them even further than they themselves had done, to such a degree that he drew upon himself the reproach of Atheism. He regarded the Gods themselves as consisting of atoms, and our notions of them as based upon the images (εἴδωλα) which are reflected from them, and so pass into our minds. And he believed that they exercised no influence whatever on the world, or on the actions or fortunes of man.

Theodorus was a native of Cyrene, who flourished about b.c. 320. He was of the Cyrenaic sect, and the founder of that branch of it which was called after him, the Theodorean; though we scarcely know in what his doctrines differed from those of Aristippus, unless they were, if possible, of a still more lax character. He taught, for instance, that there was nothing really wrong or disgraceful in theft, adultery, or [pg xxix] sacrilege; but that they were branded by public opinion to restrain fools. He is also reproved with utter atheism; and Cicero classes him with Diagoras, as a man who utterly denied the existence of any Gods at all.

Pyrrho was a contemporary of Alexander the Great, whose expedition into Asia he joined. He appears, as far as his philosophy went, to have been an universal sceptic. He impeached, however, none of the chief principles of morality, but, regarding Socrates as his model, directed all his endeavours towards the production in his pupils of a firm well-regulated moral character.

Crantor was a native of Soli in Cilicia; we do not know when he was born or when he died, but he came to Athens before b.c. 315. He was the first of Plato's followers who wrote commentaries on the works of his master. He died of dropsy, and left Arcesilaus his heir.

Arcesilaus, or Arcesilas, flourished about b.c. 280; he was born at Pitane, but came to Athens and became the pupil of Theophrastus and of Crantor, and afterwards of some of the more sceptical philosophers. On the death of Crantor he succeeded to the chair of the Academy, in the doctrines of which he made so many innovations that he is called the founder of the New Academy. What his peculiar views were is, however, a matter of great uncertainty. Some give him the credit of having restored the doctrines of Plato in an uncorrupted form; while, according to Cicero, on the other hand, (Acad. i. 12,) he summed up all his opinions in the statement that he knew nothing, not even his own ignorance. He, and the New Academy, do not, however, seem to have doubted the existence of truth in itself, but only the capacity of man for arriving at the knowledge of it.

Carneades was born at Cyrene about b.c. 213. He went early to Athens, and at first attended the lectures of the Stoics; but subsequently attached himself to the Academy, and succeeded to the chair on the death of Hegesinus. In the year b.c. 155, he came to Rome on an embassy, but so offended Cato by speaking one day in praise of justice as a virtue, and the next day, in answer to all his previous arguments, [pg xxx] that he made a motion in the senate, that he should be ordered to depart from Rome. He died b.c. 129.

Philo of Larissa, who is often mentioned by Cicero, was his own master, having removed to Rome after the conquest of Athens by Mithridates, where he settled as a teacher of philosophy and rhetoric. He would not admit that there was any difference between the Old and New Academy, in which he differed from his pupil Antiochus. The exact time of his birth or death is not known; but he was not living when Cicero composed his Academics. (ii. 6.)

Antiochus of Ascalon has been called by some writers the founder of the Fifth Academy; he also was a teacher of Cicero during the time he studied at Athens; he had also a school at Alexandria, and another in Syria, where he died. He studied under Philo, but was so far from agreeing with him that he wrote a treatise on purpose to refute what he considered as the scepticism of the Academics. And undoubtedly the later philosophers of that school had exaggerated the teaching of Plato, that the senses were not in all cases trustworthy organs of perception, so as to infer from it a denial of the certainty of any knowledge whatever. Antiochus professed that his object was to revive the real doctrines of Plato in opposition to the modern scepticism of Carneades and Philo. He appears to have considered himself as an eclectic philosopher, combining the best parts of the doctrines of the Academic, Peripatetic, and Stoic schools.

Diodorus of Tyre flourished about b.c. 110. He lived at Athens, where he succeeded Critolaus as the head of the Peripatetic school. Cicero, however, denies that he was a genuine Peripatetic, and says that his doctrine that the summum bonum consisted in a combination of virtue with the absence of pain was an attempt to reconcile the theory of the Stoics with that of the Epicureans.

Panætius was a native of Rhodes; his exact age is not known, but he was a contemporary of Scipio Æmilianus, who died b.c. 129. He went to Athens at an early age, where he is said to have been a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon and Antipater of Tarsus, and also of Polemo Periegetes. He [pg xxxi] became associated with P. Scipio Æmilianus, who valued him highly. The latter part of his life he spent at Athens, where he had succeeded Antipater as head of the Stoic school. He was the author of a treatise on “What is Becoming,” which Cicero professes to have imitated, though carried rather further, in his De Officiis. He softened down the harsher features of the Stoic doctrines, approximating them in some degree to the opinions of Xenocrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and made them attractive by the elegance of his style; indeed, he modified the principles of the school so much, that some writers called him a Platonist. In natural philosophy he abandoned the Stoic doctrine of the conflagration of the world; endeavoured to simplify the division of the faculties of the soul; and doubted the reality of the science of divination. In ethics he followed the method of Aristotle; and, in direct opposition to the earlier Stoics, vindicated the claim of certain pleasurable sensations to be regarded as in accordance with nature.

Polemo was a pupil of Xenocrates, and succeeded him as the head of his school. There is a story that he had been a very dissolute young man, and that one day, at the head of a band of revellers, he burst into the school of Xenocrates, when his attention was so arrested by the discourse of the philosopher, which happened to be on the subject of temperance, that he tore off his festive garland, remained till the end of the lecture, and devoted himself to philosophy all the rest of his life. He does not appear to have varied at all from the doctrines of his master. He died b.c. 273.

Archytas was a native of Tarentum: his age is not quite certain, but he is believed to have been a contemporary of Plato, and he is even said to have saved his life by his interest with the tyrant Dionysius. He was a great general and statesman, as well as a philosopher. In philosophy he was a Pythagorean; and, like most of that school, a great mathematician; and applied his favourite science not only to music, but also to metaphysics. Aristotle is believed to have borrowed from him his System of Categories.

[pg xxxii]

The limits of this volume forbid more than the preceding very brief sketch of the chiefs of the ancient philosophy. For a more detailed account the reader is referred to the Biographical Dictionary edited by Dr. Smith, from which valuable work much of this sketch has been derived. The account of Socrates has been principally derived from Mr. Grote's admirable history of Greece: in which attention has so successfully been devoted to the history of philosophy and the sophists, that a correct idea of the subject can hardly be acquired without a careful study of that work.

It was intended to subjoin a comparison of the systems of the different sects, but it would take more space than can be spared; and it is moreover unnecessary, as, the distinctive tenets of each having been explained, the reader is supplied with sufficient materials to institute such a comparison for himself. He will not wonder that men without the guidance of revelation should at times have lost their way in speculations beyond the reach of human faculties, but will the more admire that genius and virtue which manifested itself in such men as Socrates, Plato, and Cicero, for the perpetual enlightenment of the human race.

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The following account of the two Books of the Academics is extracted from the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, edited by Dr. W. Smith:—

“The history of this work, before it finally quitted the hands of its author, is exceedingly curious and somewhat obscure; but must be clearly understood before we can explain the relative position of those portions of it which have been transmitted to modern times. By comparing carefully a series of letters written to Atticus, in the course of b.c. 45 (Ep. ad Att. xiii. 32;1 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, [pg 002] 22, 23, 25, 35, 44), we find that Cicero had drawn up a treatise upon the Academic Philosophy, in the form of a dialogue between Catulus, Lucullus, and Hortensius; and [pg 003] that it was comprised in two books, the first bearing the name of Catulus, the second that of Lucullus. A copy was sent to Atticus; and, soon after it reached him, two new Introductions were composed, the one in praise of Catulus, the other in praise of Lucullus. Scarcely had this been done, when Cicero, from a conviction that Catulus, Lucullus, and Hortensius, although men of highly cultivated minds, and well acquainted with general literature, were known to have been little conversant with the subtle arguments of abstruse philosophy, determined to withdraw them altogether, and accordingly substituted Cato and Brutus in their place. Immediately after this change had been introduced, he received a communication from Atticus, representing that Varro was much offended by being passed over in the discussion of topics in which he was so deeply versed. Thereupon Cicero, catching eagerly at the idea thus suggested, resolved to recast the whole piece, and quickly produced, under the old title, a new and highly improved edition, divided into four books instead of two, dedicating the whole to Varro, to whom was assigned the task of defending the tenets of Antiochus; while Cicero himself undertook to support the views of Philo, Atticus also taking a share in the conversation.

“But, although these alterations had been effected with extreme rapidity, the copy originally sent to Atticus had in the meantime been repeatedly transcribed; hence both editions passed into circulation, and a part of each has been preserved. One section, containing twelve chapters, is a short fragment of the second or Varronian edition. The other, containing forty-nine chapters, is the entire second book of the first edition; to which is prefixed the new introduction, together with the proper title of Lucullus. The scene of the Catulus was the villa of that statesman, at Cumæ; while the Lucullus is supposed to have been held at the mansion of Hortensius, near Bauli.

“The object proposed was to give an account of the rise and progress of the Academic Philosophy, to point out the various modifications introduced by successive professors, and to demonstrate the superiority of the principles of the New Academy, as taught by Philo, over those of the old, as advocated by Antiochus.”

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First Book Of The Academic Questions.

I. When a short time ago my friend Atticus2 was with me at my villa in the district of Cumæ, news was sent us by Marcus3 Varro, that he had arrived in Rome the day before in the evening, and that if he had not found himself too tired after his journey he should have proceeded at once to see us. But when we heard this, we thought that we ought not to suffer anything to delay our seeing a man so intimately connected with us by an identity of studies, and by a very long standing intimacy and friendship. And so we set out at once to go to see him; and when we were no great distance from his villa we saw him coming towards us; and when we had embraced him, as the manner of friends is, after some time we accompanied him back to his villa. And as I was asking a few questions, and inquiring what was the news at Rome, Never mind those things, said Atticus, which we can neither inquire about nor hear of without vexation, but ask him rather whether he has written anything new; for the muse of Varro has been silent much longer than usual; though I rather suppose he is suppressing for a time what he has written, than that he has been really idle. You are quite wrong, said he; for I think it very foolish conduct in a man to write what he wishes to have concealed. But I have a [pg 005] great work on hand; for I have been a long time preparing a treatise which I have dedicated to my friend here, (he meant me,) which is of great importance, and is being polished up by me with a good deal of care.

I have been waiting to see it a long time, Varro, said I, but still I have not ventured to ask for it. For I heard from our friend Libo, with whose zeal you are well acquainted, (for I can never conceal anything of that kind,) that you have not been slackening in the business, but are expending a great deal of care on it, and in fact never put it out of your hands. But it has never hitherto come into my mind to ask you about it; however now, since I have begun to commit to a durable record those things which I learnt in your company, and to illustrate in the Latin language that ancient philosophy which originated with Socrates, I must ask you why it is that, while you write on so many subjects, you pass over this one, especially when you yourself are very eminent in it; and when that study, and indeed the whole subject, is far superior in importance to all other studies and arts.

II. You are asking me, he replied, about a matter on which I have often deliberated and frequently revolved in my mind. And, therefore, I will answer you without any hesitation; still, however, speaking quite off-hand, because I have, as I said just now, thought over the subject both deeply and frequently. For as I saw that philosophy had been explained with great care in the Greek language, I thought that if any of our countrymen were engrossed by the study of it, who were well versed in Greek literature, they would be more likely to read Greek treatises than Latin ones: but that those men who were averse to Greek science and to the schools of the Greek philosophers would not care the least for such matters as these, which could not be understood at all without some acquaintance with Greek literature. And, therefore, I did not choose to write treatises which unlearned men could not understand, and learned men would not be at the trouble of reading. And you yourself are aware of this. For you have learnt that we cannot resemble Amafanius4 or Rabirius,5 who without any art discuss matters which come before the eyes of every one in plain ordinary language, [pg 006] giving no accurate definitions, making no divisions, drawing no inferences by well-directed questions, and who appear to think that there is no such thing as any art of speaking or disputing. But we, in obedience to the precepts of the logicians and of orators also, as if they were positive laws, (since our countrymen consider skill in each of these branches to be a virtue,) are compelled to use words although they may be new ones; which learned men, as I have said before, will prefer taking from the Greeks, and which unlearned men will not receive even from us; so that all our labour may be undertaken in vain. But now, if I approved of the doctrines of Epicurus, that is to say, of Democritus, I could write of natural philosophy in as plain a style as Amafanius. For what is the great difficulty when you have put an end to all efficient causes, in speaking of the fortuitous concourse of corpuscules, for this is the name he gives to atoms. You know our system of natural philosophy, which depends upon the two principles, the efficient cause, and the subject matter out of which the efficient cause forms and produces what it does produce. For we must have recourse to geometry, since, if we do not, in what words will any one be able to enunciate the principles he wishes, or whom will he be able to cause to comprehend those assertions about life, and manners, and desiring and avoiding such and such things?

For those men are so simple as to think the good of a sheep and of a man the same thing. While you know the character and extent of the accuracy which philosophers of our school profess. Again, if you follow Zeno, it is a hard thing to make any one understand what that genuine and simple good is which cannot be separated from honesty; while Epicurus asserts that he is wholly unable to comprehend what the character of that good may be which is unconnected with pleasures which affect the senses. But if we follow the doctrines of the Old Academy which, as you know, we prefer, then with what accuracy must we apply ourselves to explain it; with what shrewdness and even with what obscurity must we argue against the Stoics! The whole, therefore, of that eagerness for philosophy I claim for myself, both for the purpose of strengthening my firmness of conduct as far as I can, and also for the delight of my mind. Nor do I think, as Plato says, that any more important or more valuable gift has been given to men by the gods. But I send all my friends who [pg 007] have any zeal for philosophy into Greece; that is to say, I bid them study the Greek writers, in order to draw their precepts from the fountain-head, rather than follow little streams. But those things which no one had previously taught, and which could not be learnt in any quarter by those who were eager on the subject, I have laboured as far as I could (for I have no great opinion of anything which I have done in this line) to explain to our fellow-countrymen. For this knowledge could not be sought for among the Greeks, nor, after the death of our friend Lucius Ælius,6 among the Latins either. And yet in those old works of ours which we composed in imitation of Menippus,7 not translating him, sprinkling a little mirth and sportiveness over the whole subject, there are many things mingled which are drawn from the most recondite philosophy, and many points argued according to the rules of strict logic; but I added these lighter matters in order to make the whole more easy for people of moderate learning to comprehend, if they were invited to read those essays by a pleasing style, displayed in panegyrics, and in the very prefaces of my books of antiquities. And this was my object in adopting this style, however I may have succeeded in it.

III. The fact, I replied, is just as you say, Varro. For while we were sojourners, as it were, in our own city, and wandering about like strangers, your books have conducted us, as it were, home again, so as to enable us at last to recognise who and where we were. You have discussed the antiquity of our country, and the variety of dates and chronology relating to it. You have explained the laws which regulate sacrifices and priests; you have unfolded the customs of the city both in war and peace; you have described the [pg 008] various quarters and districts; you have omitted mentioning none of the names, or kinds, or functions, or causes of divine or human things; you have thrown a great deal of light on our poets, and altogether on Latin literature and on Latin expressions; you have yourself composed a poem of varied beauties, and elegant in almost every point; and you have in many places touched upon philosophy in a manner sufficient to excite our curiosity, though inadequate to instruct us.

You allege, indeed, a very plausible reason for this. For, you say, those who are learned men will prefer reading philosophical treatises in Greek, and those who are ignorant of Greek will not read them even in Latin. However, tell me now, do you really agree with your own argument? I would rather say, those who are unable to read them in the one language will read them in the other; and even those who can read them in Greek will not despise their own language. For what reason can be imagined why men learned in Greek literature should read the Latin poets, and not read the Latin philosophers? Or again, if Ennius,8 Pacuvius, Accius, and many others who have given us, I will not say the exact expressions, but the meaning of the Greeks, delight their readers; how much more will the philosophers delight them, if, as the poets have imitated Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, they in like manner imitate Plato, Aristotle, and Theophrastus? I see, too, that any orators among us are praised who imitate Hyperides or Demosthenes.

But I, (for I will speak the plain truth,) as long as ambition and the pursuit of public honours and the pleading of causes, and not a mere regard for the republic, but even a [pg 009] certain degree of concern in its government, entangled me in and hampered me with the numerous duties in which those occupations involved me; I kept, I say, all these matters to myself, and brushed them up, when I could, by reading, to prevent their getting rusty. But now, having been stricken to the ground by a most severe blow of fortune, and being discharged from all concern in the republic, I seek a medicine for my sorrow in philosophy, and consider this study the most honourable pastime for my leisure. For I may look upon it as most suitable to my age, and most especially consistent with any memorable exploits which I may have performed, and inferior to no other occupation in its usefulness for the purpose of educating my fellow-countrymen. Or even if this be too high a view to take of it, at all events I see nothing else which I can do. My friend Brutus, indeed, a man eminent for every kind of virtue, has illustrated philosophy in the Latin language in such a way that he has left Greece nothing to wish for on those subjects. And he adopts the same opinions that you do. For he was for some time a pupil of Aristus, at Athens, whose brother Antiochus was your own preceptor. And therefore do you also, I entreat you, apply yourself to this kind of literature.

IV. Then he replied. I will indeed consider of these matters, but only in your company. But still, said he, what is this which I hear about you yourself? On what subject? said I. Why, that the old system is deserted by you, and that you have espoused the principles of the new school. What of that? said I. Why should Antiochus, my own intimate friend, be more at liberty to return back again from the new school to the old, than I myself to migrate to the new from the old? For certainly everything that is most recent is corrected and amended in the highest degree; although Philo, the master of Antiochus, a great man, as you yourself consider him, used to deny in his books that there were two Academies (and we ourselves have heard him assert the same things in his lectures); and he convicts those who say that there are, of palpable mistake. It is as you say, said he, but I do not imagine that you are ignorant of what Antiochus has written in reply to the arguments of Philo. Certainly, said I, I am not, and I should like to hear the whole cause of the Old Academy, from which I have been so long absent, [pg 010] recapitulated by you, if it is not giving you too much trouble; and let us sit down now, if you have no objection. That will suit me very well, said he, for I am not at all strong. But let us consider whether Atticus will be pleased with that compliance of mine, which I see that you yourself are desirous of. Indeed I shall, said he; for what could I prefer to being reminded of what I long ago heard from Antiochus, and seeing at the same time whether those ideas can be expressed with sufficient suitableness in Latin? So after this preface we all sat down looking at one another. And Varro began as follows:—

Socrates appears to me, and indeed it is the universal opinion, to have been the first person who drew philosophy away from matters of an abstruse character, which had been shrouded in mystery by nature herself, and in which all the philosophers before his time had been wholly occupied, and to have diverted it to the objects of ordinary life; directing its speculations to virtues and vices, and generally to whatever was good or bad. And he thought that the heavenly bodies were either far out of the reach of our knowledge, or that, even if we became ever so intimately acquainted with them, they had no influence on living well. In nearly all his discourses, which have been reported in great variety and very fully by those who were his pupils, he argues in such a manner that he affirms nothing himself, but refutes the assertions of others. He says that he knows nothing, except that one fact, that he is ignorant; and that he is superior to others in this particular, that they believe that they do know what they do not, while he knows this one thing alone, that he knows nothing. And it is on that account that he imagines he was pronounced by Apollo the wisest of all men, because this alone is the whole of wisdom, for a man not to think that he knows what he does not know. And as he was always saying this, and persisting in the maintenance of this opinion, his discourse was entirely devoted to the praise of virtue, and to encouraging all men to the study of virtue; as may be plainly seen in the books of the disciples of Socrates, and above all in those of Plato. But by the influence of Plato, a man of vast and varied and eloquent genius, a system of philosophy was established which was one and identical, though under two names; the system namely of the Academics and Peripatetics. For these two schools agreed in reality, and differed only in name. For when Plato had left Speusippus, his [pg 011] sister's son, the inheritor as it were of his philosophy, and also two pupils most eminent for industry and genius, Xenocrates of Chalcedon, and Aristotle the Stagirite; those who adhered to Aristotle were called Peripatetics, because they disputed while walking9 in the Lyceum. And the others, who according to the fashion of Plato himself were accustomed to hold their meetings and discussions in the Academy, which is a second Gymnasium, took their name from the place where they used to meet. But both these schools, being impregnated with the copiousness of Plato, arranged a certain definite system of doctrine, which was itself copious and luxuriant; but abandoned the Socratic plan of doubting on every subject, and of discussing everything without ever venturing on the assertion of a positive opinion. And thus there arose what Socrates would have been far from approving of, a certain art of philosophy, and methodical arrangement, and division of the school, which at first, as I have already said, was one under two names. For there was no real difference between the Peripatetics and the old Academy. Aristotle, at least such is my opinion, was superior in a certain luxuriance of genius; but both schools had the same source, and adopted the same division of things which were to be desired and avoided. But what am I about? said he, interrupting himself; am I in my senses while I am explaining these things to you? for although it may not be exactly a case of the pig teaching Minerva, still it is not very wise of any one to attempt to impart instruction to that goddess.

V. I entreat you however, said Atticus, I entreat you to go on, Varro. For I am greatly attached to my own countrymen and to their works; and those subjects delight me beyond measure when they are treated in Latin, and in such a manner as you treat them. And what, said I, do you think that I must feel, who have already engaged to display philosophy to our nation? Let us then, said he, continue the subject, since it is agreeable to you.

A threefold system of philosophising, then, was already received from Plato. One, on the subject of life and morals. A second, on nature and abstruse matters. The third, on discussion, and on what is true or false; what is right or wrong in a discourse; what is consistent or inconsistent in forming a decision.

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And that first division of the subject, that namely of living well, they sought in nature herself, and said that it was necessary to obey her; and that that chief good to which everything was referred was not to be sought in anything whatever except in nature. And they laid it down that the crowning point of all desirable things, and the chief good, was to have received from nature everything which is requisite for the mind, or the body, or for life. But of the goods of the body, they placed some in the whole, and others in the parts. Health, strength, and beauty in the whole. In the parts, soundness of the senses, and a certain excellence of the individual parts. As in the feet, swiftness; in the hands, strength; in the voice, clearness; in the tongue, a distinct articulation of words. The excellences of the mind they considered those which were suitable to the comprehension of virtue by the disposition. And those they divided under the separate heads of nature and morals. Quickness in learning and memory they attributed to nature; each of which was described as a property of the mind and genius. Under the head of “morals” they classed our studies, and, I may say, our habits, which they formed, partly by a continuity of practice, partly by reason. And in these two things was contained philosophy itself, in which that which is begun and not brought to its completion, is called a sort of advance towards virtue; but that which is brought to completion is virtue, being a sort of perfection of nature and of all things which they place in the mind; the one most excellent thing. These things then are qualities of the mind.

The third division was that of life. And they said that those things which had influence in facilitating the practice of virtue were connected with this division. For virtue is discerned in some good qualities of the mind and body, which are added not so much to nature as to a happy life. They thought that a man was as it were a certain part of the state, and of the whole human race, and that he was connected with other men by a sort of human society. And this is the way in which they deal with the chief and natural good. But they think that everything else is connected with it, either in the way of increasing or of maintaining it; as riches, power, glory, and influence. And thus a threefold division of goods is inferred by them.

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VI. And these are those three kinds which most people believe the Peripatetics speak of: and so far they are not wrong; for this division is the work of that school. But they are mistaken if they think that the Academicians—those at least who bore this name at that time—are different from the Peripatetics. The principle, and the chief good asserted by both appeared to be the same—namely, to attain those things which were in the first class by nature, and which were intrinsically desirable; the whole of them, if possible, or, at all events, the most important of them. But those are the most important which exist in the mind itself, and are conversant about virtue itself. Therefore, all that ancient philosophy perceived that a happy life was placed in virtue alone; and yet that it was not the happiest life possible, unless the good qualities of the body were added to it, and all the other things which have been already mentioned, which are serviceable towards acquiring a habit of virtue. From this definition of theirs, a certain principle of action in life, and of duty itself, was discovered, which consisted in the preservation of those things which nature might prescribe. Hence arose the avoidance of sloth, and contempt of pleasures; from which proceeded the willingness to encounter many and great labours and pains, for the sake of what was right and honourable, and of those things which are conformable to the objects of nature. Hence was generated friendship, and justice, and equity; and these things were preferred to pleasure and to many of the advantages of life. This was the system of morals recommended in their school, and the method and design of that division which I have placed first.

But concerning nature (for that came next), they spoke in such a manner that they divided it into two parts,—making one efficient, and the other lending itself, as it were, to the first, as subject matter to be worked upon. For that part which was efficient they thought there was power; and in that which was made something by it they thought there was some matter; and something of both in each. For they considered that matter itself could have no cohesion, unless it were held together by some power; and that power could have none without some matter to work upon; for that is nothing which is not necessarily somewhere. But [pg 014] that which exists from a combination of the two they called at once body, and a sort of quality, as it were. For you will give me leave, in speaking of subjects which have not previously been in fashion, to use at times words which have never been heard of (which, indeed, is no more than the Greeks themselves do, who have been long in the habit of discussing these subjects).

VII. To be sure we will, said Atticus. Moreover, you may even use Greek words when you wish, if by chance you should be at a loss for Latin ones. You are very kind; but I will endeavour to express myself in Latin, except in the case of such words as these—philosophia, rhetorica, physica, or dialectica, which, like many others, fashion already sanctions, as if they were Latin. I therefore have called those things qualitates (qualities), which the Greeks call ποιότητες—a word which, even among the Greeks, is not one in ordinary use, but is confined to philosophers. And the same rule applies to many other expressions. As for the Dialecticians, they have no terms in common use: they use technical terms entirely. And the case is the same with nearly every art; for men must either invent new names for new things, or else borrow them from other subjects. And if the Greeks do this, who have now been engaged in such matters for so many ages, how much more ought this licence to be allowed to us, who are now endeavouring to deal with these subjects for the first time? But, said I, O Varro, it appears to me that you will deserve well of your fellow-countrymen, if you enrich them, not only with an abundance of new things, as you have done, but also of words. We will venture, then, said he, to employ new terms, if it be necessary, armed with your authority and sanction.

Of these qualities, then, said he, some are principal ones, and others arise out of them. The principal ones are of one character and simple; but those which arise out of them are various, and, as it were, multiform. Therefore, air (we use the Greek word ἀὴρ as Latin), fire, water, and earth are principal ones; and out of them there arise the forms of living creatures, and of those things which are produced out of the earth. Therefore, those first are called principles and (to translate the Greek word) elements: from which air and fire have the power of movement and efficiency: the other divisions—I [pg 015] mean, water and the earth—have the power of receiving, and, as it were, of suffering. The fifth class, from which the stars and winds were formed, Aristotle considered to be a separate essence, and different from those four which I have mentioned above.

But they think that there is placed under all of these a certain matter without any form, and destitute of all quality (for we may as well, by constant use, make this word more usual and notorious), from which all things are sketched out and made; which can receive everything in its entirety, and can be changed in every manner and in every part. And also that it perishes, not so as to become nothing, but so as to be dissolved with its component parts, which again are able to be cut up and divided, ad infinitum; since there is absolutely nothing in the whole nature of things which cannot be divided: and those things which are moved, are all moved at intervals, which intervals again are capable of being infinitely divided. And, since that power which we have called quality is moved in this way, and is agitated in every direction, they think also that the whole of matter is itself entirely changed, and so that those things are produced which they call qualities, from which the world is made, in universal nature, cohering together and connected with all its divisions; and, out of the world, there is no such thing as any portion of matter or any body.

And they say that the parts of the world are all the things which exist in it, and which are maintained by sentient nature; in which perfect reason is placed, which is also everlasting: for that there is nothing more powerful which can be the cause of its dissolution. And this power they call the soul of the world, and also its intellect and perfect wisdom. And they call it God, a providence watching over everything subject to its dominion, and, above all, over the heavenly bodies; and, next to them, over those things on earth which concern men: which also they sometimes call necessity, because nothing can be done in a manner different from that in which it has been arranged by it in a destined (if I may so say) and inevitable continuation of eternal order. Sometimes, too, they call it fortune, because it brings about many unforeseen things, which have never been expected by us, on account of the obscurity of their causes, and our ignorance of them.

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VIII. The third part of philosophy, which is next in order, being conversant about reason and discussion, was thus handled by both schools. They said that, although it originated in the senses, still the power of judging of the truth was not in the senses. They insisted upon it that intellect was the judge of things. They thought that the only thing deserving of belief, because it alone discerned that which was always simple and uniform, and which perceived its real character. This they call idea, having already received this name from Plato; and we properly entitle it species.

But they thought that all the senses were dull and slow, and that they did not by any means perceive those things which appeared subjected to the senses; which were either so small as to be unable to come under the notice of sense, or so moveable and rapid that none of them was ever one consistent thing, nor even the same thing, because everything was in a continual state of transition and disappearance. And therefore they called all this division of things one resting wholly on opinion. But they thought that science had no existence anywhere except in the notions and reasonings of the mind; on which account they approved of the definitions of things, and employed them on everything which was brought under discussion. The explanation of words also was approved of—that is to say, the explanation of the cause why everything was named as it was; and that they called etymology. Afterwards they used arguments, and, as it were, marks of things, for the proof and conclusion of what they wished to have explained; in which the whole system of dialectics—that is to say, of an oration brought to its conclusion by ratiocination, was handed down. And to this there was added, as a kind of second part, the oratorical power of speaking, which consists in developing a continued discourse, composed in a manner adapted to produce conviction.

IX. This was the first philosophy handed down to them by Plato. And if you like I will explain to you those discussions which have originated in it. Indeed, said I, we shall be glad if you will; and I can answer for Atticus as well as for myself. You are quite right, said he; for the doctrine both of the Peripatetics and of the old Academy is most admirably explained.

Aristotle, then, was the first to undermine the doctrine of [pg 017] species, which I have just now mentioned, and which Plato had embraced in a wonderful manner; so that he even affirmed that there was something divine in it. But Theophrastus, a man of very delightful eloquence, and of such purity of morals that his probity and integrity were notorious to all men, broke down more vigorously still the authority of the old school; for he stripped virtue of its beauty, and made it powerless, by denying that to live happily depended solely on it. For Strato, his pupil, although a man of brilliant abilities, must still be excluded entirely from that school; for, having deserted that most indispensable part of philosophy which is placed in virtue and morals, and having devoted himself wholly to the investigation of nature, he by that very conduct departs as widely as possible from his companions. But Speusippus and Xenocrates, who were the earliest supporters of the system and authority of Plato,—and, after them, Polemo and Crates, and at the same time Crantor,—being all collected together in the Academy, diligently maintained those doctrines which they had received from their predecessors. Zeno and Arcesilas had been diligent attenders on Polemo; but Zeno, who preceded Arcesilas in point of time, and argued with more subtilty, and was a man of the greatest acuteness, attempted to correct the system of that school. And, if you like, I will explain to you the way in which he set about that correction, as Antiochus used to explain it. Indeed, said I, I shall be very glad to hear you do so; and you see that Pomponius intimates the same wish.

X. Zeno, then, was not at all a man like Theophrastus, to cut through the sinews of virtue; but, on the other hand, he was one who placed everything which could have any effect in producing a happy life in virtue alone, and who reckoned nothing else a good at all, and who called that honourable which was single in its nature, and the sole and only good. But as for all other things, although they were neither good nor bad, he divided them, calling some according to, and others contrary to nature. There were others which he looked upon as placed between these two classes, and which he called intermediate. Those which were according to nature, he taught his disciples, deserved to be taken, and to be considered worthy of a certain esteem. To those which were contrary to nature, he assigned a contrary character; and those of the [pg 018] intermediate class he left as neutrals, and attributed to them no importance whatever. But of those which he said ought to be taken, he considered some worthy of a higher estimation and others of a less. Those which were worthy of a higher esteem, he called preferred; those which were only worthy of a lower degree, he called rejected. And as he had altered all these things, not so much in fact as in name, so too he defined some actions as intermediate, lying between good deeds and sins, between duty and a violation of duty;—classing things done rightly as good actions, and things done wrongly (that is to say, sins) as bad actions. And several duties, whether discharged or neglected, he considered of an intermediate character, as I have already said. And whereas his predecessors had not placed every virtue in reason, but had said that some virtues were perfected by nature, or by habit, he placed them all in reason; and while they thought that those kinds of virtues which I have mentioned above could be separated, he asserted that that could not be done in any manner, and affirmed that not only the practice of virtue (which was the doctrine of his predecessors), but the very disposition to it, was intrinsically beautiful; and that virtue could not possibly be present to any one without his continually practising it.

And while they did not entirely remove all perturbation of mind from man, (for they admitted that man did by nature grieve, and desire, and fear, and become elated by joy,) but only contracted it, and reduced it to narrow bounds; he maintained that the wise man was wholly free from all these diseases as they might be called. And as the ancients said that those perturbations were natural, and devoid of reason, and placed desire in one part of the mind and reason in another, he did not agree with them either; for he thought that all perturbations were voluntary, and were admitted by the judgment of the opinion, and that a certain unrestrained intemperance was the mother of all of them. And this is nearly what he laid down about morals.

XI. But about natures he held these opinions. In the first place, he did not connect this fifth nature, out of which his predecessors thought that sense and intellect were produced, with those four principles of things. For he laid it down that fire is that nature which produces everything, and intellect, and sense. But he differed from them again, inasmuch [pg 019] as he thought it absolutely impossible for anything to be produced from that nature which was destitute of body; which was the character attributed by Xenocrates and his predecessors to the mind, and he would not allow that that which produced anything, or which was produced by anything, could possibly be anything except body.

But he made a great many alterations in that third part of his philosophy, in which, first of all, he said some new things of the senses themselves: which he considered to be united by some impulse as it were, acting upon them from without, which he called φαντασία, and which we may term perception. And let us recollect this word, for we shall have frequent occasion to employ it in the remainder of our discourse; but to these things which are perceived, and as it were accepted by the senses, he adds the assent of the mind, which he considers to be placed in ourselves and voluntary. He did not give credit to everything which is perceived, but only to those which contain some especial character of those things which are seen; but he pronounced what was seen, when it was discerned on account of its own power, comprehensible—will you allow me this word? Certainly, said Atticus, for how else are you to express καταληπτός? But after it had been received and approved, then he called it comprehension, resembling those things which are taken up (prehenduntur) in the hand; from which verb also he derived this noun, though no one else had ever used this verb with reference to such matters; and he also used many new words, for he was speaking of new things. But that which was comprehended by sense he called felt (sensum,) and if it was so comprehended that it could not be eradicated by reason, he called it knowledge; otherwise he called it ignorance: from which also was engendered opinion, which was weak, and compatible with what was false or unknown. But between knowledge and ignorance he placed that comprehension which I have spoken of, and reckoned it neither among what was right or what was wrong, but said that it alone deserved to be trusted.

And from this he attributed credit also to the senses, because, as I have said above, comprehension made by the senses appeared to him to be true and trustworthy. Not because it comprehended all that existed in a thing, but because it left out nothing which could affect it, and because [pg 020] nature had given it to us to be as it were a rule of knowledge, and a principle from which subsequently all notions of things might be impressed on our minds, from which not only principles, but some broader paths to the discovery of reason are found out. But error, and rashness, and ignorance, and opinion, and suspicion, and in a word everything which was inconsistent with a firm and consistent assent, he discarded from virtue and wisdom. And it is in these things that nearly all the disagreement between Zeno and his predecessors, and all his alteration of their system consists.

XII. And when he had spoken thus—You have, said I, O Varro, explained the principles both of the Old Academy and of the Stoics with brevity, but also with great clearness. But I think it to be true, as Antiochus, a great friend of mine, used to assert, that it is to be considered rather as a corrected edition of the Old Academy, than as any new sect. Then Varro replied—It is your part now, who revolt from the principles of the ancients, and who approve of the innovations which have been made by Arcesilas, to explain what that division of the two schools which he made was, and why he made it; so that we may see whether that revolt of his was justifiable. Then I replied—Arcesilas, as we understand, directed all his attacks against Zeno, not out of obstinacy or any desire of gaining the victory, as it appears to me, but by reason of the obscurity of those things which had brought Socrates to the confession of ignorance, and even before Socrates, Democritus, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, and nearly all the ancients; who asserted that nothing could be ascertained, or perceived, or known: that the senses of man were narrow, his mind feeble, the course of his life short, and that truth, as Democritus said, was sunk in the deep; that everything depended on opinions and established customs; that nothing was left to truth. They said in short, that everything was enveloped in darkness; therefore Arcesilas asserted that there was nothing which could be known, not even that very piece of knowledge which Socrates had left himself. Thus he thought that everything lay hid in secret, and that there was nothing which could be discerned or understood; for which reasons it was not right for any one to profess or affirm anything, or sanction anything by his assent, but men ought always to restrain their rashness and to keep it in check [pg 021] so as to guard it against every fall. For rashness would be very remarkable when anything unknown or false was approved of; and nothing could be more discreditable than for a man's assent and approbation to precede his knowledge and perception of a fact. And he used to act consistently with these principles, so as to pass most of his days in arguing against every one's opinion, in order that when equally important reasons were found for both sides of the same question, the judgment might more naturally be suspended, and prevented from giving assent to either.

This they call the New Academy, which however appears to me to be the old one, if, at least, we reckon Plato as one of that Old Academy. For in his books nothing is affirmed positively, and many arguments are allowed on both sides of a question; everything is investigated, and nothing positive affirmed. Still let the school whose principles I have explained, be called the Old Academy, and this other the New; which, having continued to the time of Carneades, who was the fourth in succession after Arcesilas, continued in the same principles and system as Arcesilas. But Carneades, being a man ignorant of no part of philosophy, and, as I have learnt from those who had been his pupils, and particularly from Zeno the Epicurean, who, though he greatly differed from him in opinion, still admired him above all other men, was also a person of incredible abilities...

The rest of this Book is lost.

Second Book Of The Academic Questions.

I. Lucius Lucullus was a man of great genius, and very much devoted to the study of the most important arts; every branch of liberal learning worthy of a man of high birth, was thoroughly understood by him; but at the time when he might have made the greatest figure in the forum, he was wholly removed from all participation in the business of the city. For while he was very young, he, uniting with his brother, a man of equal sense of duty and diligence with himself, [pg 022] followed up the quarrel10 bequeathed to him by his father to his own exceeding credit; afterwards having gone as quæstor into Asia, he there governed the province for many years with great reputation. Subsequently he was made ædile in his absence, and immediately after that he was elected prætor; for his services had been rewarded by an express law authorizing his election at a period earlier than usual. After that he was sent into Africa; from thence he proceeded to the consulship, the duties of which he discharged in such a manner, that every one admired his diligence, and recognised his genius. Afterwards he was sent by the Senate to conduct the war against Mithridates, and there he not only surpassed the universal expectation which every one had formed of his valour, but even the glory of his predecessors. And that was the more admirable in him, because great skill as a general was not very much looked for in one who had spent his youth in the occupations of the forum, and the duration of his quæstorship in peace in Asia, while Murena was carrying on the war in Pontus. But the incredible greatness of his genius did not require the aid of experience, which can never be taught by precepts. Therefore, having devoted the whole time occupied in his march and his voyage, partly [pg 023] to making inquiries of those who were skilful in such matters, and partly in reading the accounts of great achievements, he arrived in Asia a perfect general, though he had left Rome entirely ignorant of military affairs. For he had an almost divine memory for facts, though Hortensius had a better one for words. But as in performing great deeds, facts are of more consequence than words, this memory of his was the more serviceable of the two; and they say, that the same quality was conspicuous in Themistocles, whom we consider beyond all comparison the first man in Greece. And a story is told of him, that, when some one promised to teach him the art of memory, which was then beginning to be cultivated, he answered, that he should much prefer learning to forget; I suppose, because everything which he had either heard or seen stuck in his memory.

Lucullus having this great genius, added to it that study which Themistocles had despised: therefore, as we write down in letters what we wish to commit to monuments, he, in like manner, had the facts engraved in his mind. Therefore, he was a general of such perfect skill in every kind of war, in battles, and sieges, and naval fights, and in the whole equipment and management of war, that that king, the greatest that has ever lived since the time of Alexander, confessed, that he considered him a greater general than any one of whom he had ever read. He also displayed such great prudence in arranging and regulating the affairs of the different cities, and such great justice too, that to this very day, Asia is preserved by the careful maintenance of the regulations, and by following as it were in the footsteps of Lucullus. But although it was greatly to the advantage of the republic, still that great virtue and genius was kept abroad at a distance from the eyes both of the forum and the senate-house, for a longer time than I could have wished. Moreover, when he had returned victorious from the war against Mithridates, owing to the calumnies of his adversaries, he did not celebrate his triumph till three years later than he ought to have done. For I may almost say, that I myself when consul led into the city the chariot of that most illustrious man, and I might enlarge upon the great advantage that his counsel and authority were to me, in the most critical circumstances, if it were not that to do so would compel me to speak of myself, which at this [pg 024] moment is not necessary. Therefore, I will rather deprive him of the testimony due to him, than mix it up now with a commendation of myself.

II. But as for those exploits of Lucullus, which were entitled to be celebrated by the praises of the nation, they have been extolled both in Greek and Latin writings. For those outward exploits of his are known to us in common with the multitude; but his interior excellences (if I may so call them) we and a few of his friends have learnt from himself. For Lucullus used to apply himself to every kind of literature, and especially to philosophy, with greater eagerness than those who were not acquainted with him believed. And he did so, not only at his first entrance into life, but also when he was proquæstor, as he was for several years, and even during the time of war itself, a time when men are usually so fully occupied with their military business, that very little leisure is left to the general, even in his own tent. And as of all the philosophers of that day, Antiochus, who had been a pupil of Philo, was thought to excel in genius and learning, he kept him about him while he was quæstor, and some years afterwards when he was general. And as he had that extraordinary memory which I have mentioned already, by hearing frequently of things, he arrived at a thorough acquaintance with them; as he recollected everything that he had heard of only once. And he was wonderfully delighted in the reading books of which he heard any one speak.

And I sometimes fear lest I may even diminish the glory of such characters as his, even while wishing to enhance it; for there are many people who are altogether averse to Greek literature, still more who have a dislike to philosophy, and men in general, even though they do not positively disapprove of them, still think the discussion of such matters not altogether suitable for the chiefs of the state. But I, having heard that Marcus Cato learnt Greek in his old age, and learning from history that Panætius was above all other men the chosen companion of Publius Africanus, in that noble embassy which he was employed on before he entered on the censorship, think I have no need of any other instance to justify his study of Greek literature or of philosophy.

It remains for me to reply to those men who disapprove of such dignified characters being mixed up in discussions of this [pg 025] sort; as if the meetings of illustrious men were bound to be passed in silence, or their conversation to be confined to jesting, and all the topics to be drawn from trifling subjects. In truth, if in any one of my writings I have given philosophy its due praise, then surely its discussion is thoroughly worthy of every excellent and honourable man; nor is anything else necessary to be taken care of by us, whom the Roman people has placed in our present rank, except that we do not devote to our private pursuits, the time which ought to be bestowed on the affairs of the public. But if, while we are bound to discharge our duties, we still not only never omit to give our assistance in all public meetings, but never even write a single word unconnected with the forum, who then will blame our leisure, because even in that moment we are unwilling to allow ourselves to grow rusty and stupid, but take pains rather to benefit as many people as possible?

And I think, that not only is the glory of those men not diminished, but that it is even increased by our adding to their popular and notorious praises these also which are less known and less spoken of. Some people also deny that those men who are introduced in our writings as disputants had any knowledge of those affairs which are the subjects of discussion. But they appear to me to be showing their envy, not only of the living but also of the dead.

III. There remains one class of critics who disapprove of the general principles of the Academy. Which we should be more concerned at if any one approved of any school of philosophy except that which he himself followed. But we, since we are in the habit of arguing against every one who appears to himself to know anything, cannot object to others also dissenting from us. Although our side of the question is an easier one, since we wish to discover the truth without any dispute, and we seek for that with the greatest anxiety and diligence. For although all knowledge is beset with many difficulties, and there is that obscurity in the things themselves and that infirmity in our own judgment, that it is not without reason that the most learned and ancient philosophers have distrusted their power of discovering what they wished; yet they have not been deficient in any respect, nor do we allow ourselves to abandon the pursuit of truth through fatigue; nor have our discussions ever any other object except that of, [pg 026] by arguing on each side, eliciting, and as it were, squeezing out something which may either be the truth itself, or may at least come as near as possible to it. Nor is there any difference between us and those people who fancy that they know something, except that they do not doubt at all that those doctrines which they uphold are the truth, while we account many things as probable which we can adopt as our belief, but can hardly positively affirm.

And in this we are more free and unfettered than they are, because our power of judging is unimpeached, and because we are not compelled by any necessity to defend theories which are laid upon as injunctions, and, if I may say so, as commands. For in the first place, those of the other schools have been bound hand and foot before they were able to judge what was best; and, secondly, before their age or their understanding had come to maturity, they have either followed the opinion of some friend, or been charmed by the eloquence of some one who was the first arguer whom they ever heard, and so have been led to form a judgment on what they did not understand, and now they cling to whatever school they were, as it were, dashed against in a tempest, like sailors clinging to a rock. For as to their statement that they are wholly trusting to one whom they judge to have been a wise man, I should approve of that if that were a point which they, while ignorant and unlearned, were able to judge of, (for to decide who is a wise man appears to me most especially the task of one who is himself wise.) But they have either formed their opinion as well as they could from a hearing of all the circumstances, and also from a knowledge of the opinions of philosophers of all the other schools; or else, having heard the matter mentioned once, they have surrendered themselves to the guidance of some one individual. But, I know not how it is, most people prefer being in error, and defending with the utmost pugnacity that opinion which they have taken a fancy to, to inquiring without any obstinacy what is said with the greatest consistency.

And these subjects were very frequently and very copiously discussed by us at other times, and once also in the villa of Hortensius, which is at Bauli, when Catulus, and Lucullus, and I myself had arrived there the day after we had been staying with Catulus. And we had come thither rather early [pg 027] in the day, because we had intended, if the wind was fair, to set sail, Lucullus for his villa near Naples, and I myself towards mine, in the district of Pompeii. When, therefore, we had had a short conversation on the terrace, we sat down where we were.

IV. Then Catulus said,—Although what we were inquiring into yesterday was almost wholly explained in such a manner that nearly the whole question appears to have been discussed, still I long to hear what you promised to tell us, Lucullus, as being what you had learnt from Antiochus. I, indeed, said Hortensius, did more than I intended, for the whole matter ought to have been left untouched for Lucullus, and indeed, perhaps it was: for I only said such things as occurred to me at the moment; but I hope to hear something more recondite from Lucullus.

Lucullus rejoined, I am not much troubled, Hortensius, at your expectation, although there is nothing so unfavourable for those who wish to give pleasure; but still, as I am not very anxious about how far I can prove to your satisfaction the arguments which I advance, I am the less disturbed. For the arguments which I am going to repeat are not my own, nor such that, if they are incorrect, I should not prefer being defeated to gaining the victory; but, in truth, as the case stands at present, although the doctrines of my school were somewhat shaken in yesterday's discussion, still they do seem to me to be wholly true. I will therefore argue as Antiochus used to argue; for the subject is one with which I am well acquainted. For I used to listen to his lectures with a mind quite unengaged, and with great pleasure, and, moreover, he frequently discussed the same subject over again; so that you have some grounds for expecting more from me than you had from Hortensius a little while ago. When he had begun in this manner we prepared to listen with great attention.

And he spoke thus:—When I was at Alexandria, as proquæstor, Antiochus was with me, and before my arrival, Heraclitus, of Tyre, a friend of Antiochus, had already settled in Alexandria, a man who had been for many years a pupil of Clitomachus and of Philo, and who had a great and deserved reputation in that school, which having been almost utterly discarded, is now coming again into fashion; and I used often to hear Antiochus arguing with him; but they both conducted [pg 028] their discussions with great gentleness. And just at that time those two books of Philo which were yesterday mentioned by Catulus had been brought to Alexandria, and had for the first time come under the notice of Antiochus; and he, though naturally a man of the mildest disposition, (nor indeed was it possible for any one to be more peaceable than he was,) was nevertheless a little provoked. I was surprised, for I had never seen him so before: but he, appealing to the recollection of Heraclitus, began to inquire of him whether he had seen those works of Philo, or whether he had heard the doctrines contained in them, either from Philo or from any one else of the Academic school? And he said that he had not; however, he recognised the style of Philo, nor, indeed, could there be any doubt about it; for some friends of mine, men of great learning, Publius and Caius Setilius, and Tetrilius Rogus were present, who said that they heard Philo advance such operations at Rome; and who said that they had written out those two books from his dictation. Then Antiochus repeated what Catulus mentioned yesterday, as having been said to Philo by his father, and many other things besides; nor did he forbear even to publish a book against his own master, which is called “Sosus.”

I therefore, then, as I was much interested in hearing Heraclitus arguing against Antiochus, and Antiochus against the Academicians, paid great attention to Antiochus, in order to learn the whole matter from him. Accordingly, for many days, collecting together Heraclitus and several learned men, and among them Aristus, the brother of Antiochus, and also Ariston and Dion, men whom he considered only second to his brother in genius, we devoted a great deal of time to that single discussion.

But we must pass over that part of it which was bestowed on refuting the doctrines of Philo; for he is a less formidable adversary, who altogether denies that the Academicians advance those arguments which were maintained yesterday. For although he is quite wrong as to the fact, still he is a less invincible adversary. Let us speak of Arcesilas and Carneades.

V. And having said this, he began again:—You appear to me, in the first place, (and he addressed me by name,) when you speak of the old natural philosophers, to do the same [pg 029] thing that seditious citizens are in the habit of doing when they bring forward some illustrious men of the ancients, who they say were friends of the people, in the hope of being themselves considered like them. They go back to Publius Valerius, who was consul the first year after the expulsion of the kings. They enumerate all the other men who have passed laws for the advantage of the people concerning appeals when they were consuls; and then they come down to these better known men, Caius Flaminius, who, as tribune of the people, passed an Agrarian law some years before the second Punic war, against the will of the senate, and who was afterwards twice elected consul; to Lucius Cassius and Quintus Pompeius; they are also in the habit of classing Publius Africanus in the same list; and they assert that those two brothers of infinite wisdom and exceeding glory, Publius Crassus and Publius Scævola, were the advisers of Tiberius Gracchus, in the matter of the laws which he proposed; the one, indeed, as we see, openly; the other, as we suspect, in a more concealed manner. They add also Caius Marius; and with respect to him they speak truly enough: then, having recounted the names of so many illustrious men, they say that they are acting up to their principles.

In like manner, you, when you are seeking to overturn a well-established system of philosophy, in the same way as those men endeavoured to overturn the republic, bring forward the names of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Parmenides, Xenophanes, and even Plato and Socrates. But Saturninus, (that I may name my own enemy rather than any one else,) had nothing in him resembling those ancient men; nor are the ungrounded accusations of Arcesilas to be compared to the modesty of Democritus. And yet those natural philosophers, though very seldom, when they have any very great difficulty, make loud and violent outcries, as if under the influence of some great excitement, Empedocles, indeed, does so to such a degree, that he appears to me at times to be mad, crying out that all things are hidden, that we feel nothing, see nothing, and cannot find out the true character of anything whatever. But for the most part all those men appear to me to affirm some things rather too positively, and to profess that they know more than they really do know. But if they then hesitated while discussing new subjects, like children lately born, are we for that reason [pg 030] to think that nothing has been explained in so many ages by the greatest genius and the most untiring industry? May we not say that, after the establishment of some wise and important schools of philosophy, then, as Tiberius Gracchus arose in an excellent constitution, for the purpose of throwing everything into confusion, so Arcesilas rose up to overturn the established philosophy, and to shelter himself under the authority of those men who asserted that nothing could be known or perceived; in which number we ought not to include Plato or Socrates; the one because he left behind him a most perfect school, namely, the Peripatetics and Academics, differing in name, but agreeing in all substantial matters: and from whom the Stoics themselves differ in words rather than in opinions. But Socrates, who always disparaged himself in arguing, attributed more knowledge to those whom he wished to refute. So, as he was speaking differently from what he really thought, he was fond of using that kind of dissimulation which the Greeks call εἰρωνεία; which Fannius says Africanus also was in the habit of indulging in, and that that ought not be considered a bad habit in him, as it was a favourite practice of Socrates.

VI. But, however, we will allow, if you like, that all those things were unknown to the ancients:—was nothing effected then, by their being thoroughly investigated, after that Arcesilas, disparaging Zeno, (for that is supposed to have been his object,) as discovering nothing new, but only correcting previous changes of names, while seeking to upset his definitions, had attempted to envelop the clearest possible matters in darkness? And his system, which was at first not at all approved of, although it was illustrated both by acute genius and by an admirable wittiness of language, was in the next generation adopted by no one but Lacydes; but subsequently it was perfected by Carneades, who was the fourth in succession from Arcesilas; for he was the pupil of Hegesinus, who had been the pupil of Evander, the disciple of Lacydes, and Lacydes himself had been the pupil of Arcesilas; but Carneades maintained it for a long time, for he lived ninety years; and those who had been his pupils had a very high reputation, of whom Clitomachus displayed the most industry, as the number of books which he composed testifies; nor was there less brilliancy of genius in him than there was of eloquence in Charmadas, or of sweetness in Melanthius of Rhodes. [pg 031] But Metrodorus of Stratonice was thought to be the one who had the most thorough understanding of Carneades. And your friend Philo attended the lectures of Clitomachus for many years; but as long as Philo was alive the Academy was never in want of a head.

But the business that we now propose to ourselves, of arguing against the Academicians, appears to some philosophers, and those, too, men of no ordinary calibre, to be a thing that ought not to be done at all; and they think that there is no sense at all in, and no method of disputing with men who approve of nothing; and they blame Antipater, the Stoic, who was very fond of doing so, and say that there is no need of laying down exact definitions of what knowledge is, or perception, or, if we want to render word for word, comprehension, which they call κατάληψις; and they say that those who wish to persuade men that there is anything which can be comprehended and perceived, are acting ignorantly; because there is nothing clearer than ἐνάργεια, as the Greeks call it, and which we may call perspicuity, or evidentness if you like,—coining words, if you will permit us to do so, that this fellow (meaning me) may not think that he is the only person to whom such liberties are permitted. Still they thought that no discourse could be found which should be more intelligible than evidentness itself; and they thought that there was no need of defining things which were so clear.

But others declared that they would never be the first to speak in behalf of this evidentness; but they thought that a reply ought to be made to those arguments which were advanced against it, to prevent any one being deceived by them. There are also many men who do not disapprove of the definitions of the evident things themselves, and who think the subject one worthy of being inquired into, and the men worthy of being argued with.

But Philo, while he raises some new questions, because he was scarcely able to withstand the things which were said against the obstinacy of the Academicians, speaks falsely, without disguise, as he was reproached for doing by the elder Catulus; and also, as Antiochus told him, falls into the very trap of which he was afraid. For as he asserted that there was nothing which could be comprehended, (for that is what we conceive to be meant by ἀκατάληπτος,) if that was, as Zeno defined it, such a perception, (for we have already spent time [pg 032] enough yesterday in beating out a word for φαντασία,) then a perception was extracted and produced out of that from which it originated, such as could be produced from that from which it did not originate. And we say that this matter was most excellently defined by Zeno; for how can anything be comprehended, so that you may feel absolutely sure that it has been perceived and known, which is of such a character that it is even possible that it may be false? Now when Philo upsets and denies this, he takes away also all distinction between what is known and unknown; from which it follows that nothing can be comprehended; and so, without intending it, he is brought back to the point he least intended. Wherefore, all this discourse against the Academy is undertaken by us in order that we may retain that definition which Philo wished to overturn; and unless we succeed in that, we grant that nothing can be perceived.

VII. Let us begin then with the senses—the judgments of which are so clear and certain, that if an option were given to our nature, and if some god were to ask of it whether it is content with its own unimpaired and uncorrupted senses, or whether it desires something better, I do not see what more it could ask for. Nor while speaking on this topic need you wait while I reply to the illustration drawn from a bent oar, or the neck of a dove; for I am not a man to say that everything which seems is exactly of that character of which it seems to be. Epicurus may deal with this idea, and with many others; but in my opinion there is the very greatest truth in the senses, if they are in sound and healthy order, and if everything is removed which could impede or hinder them. Therefore we often wish the light to be changed, or the situation of those things which we are looking at; and we either narrow or enlarge distances; and we do many things until our sight causes us to feel confidence in our judgment. And the same thing takes place with respect to sounds, and smell, and taste, so that there is not one of us who, in each one of his senses, requires a more acute judgment as to each sort of thing.

But when practice and skill are added, so that one's eyes are charmed by a picture, and one's ears by songs, who is there who can fail to see what great power there is in the senses? How many things do painters see in shadows and in projections which we do not see? How many beauties which [pg 033] escape us in music are perceived by those who are practised in that kind of accomplishment? men who, at the first note of the flute-player, say,—That is the Antiope, or the Andromache, when we have not even a suspicion of it. There is no need for me to speak of the faculties of taste or smell; organs in which there is a degree of intelligence, however faulty it may be. Why should I speak of touch, and of that kind of touch which philosophers call the inner one, I mean the touch of pleasure or pain? in which alone the Cyrenaics think that there is any judgment of the truth, because pleasure or pain are felt. Can any one then say that there is no difference between a man who is in pain and a man who is in pleasure? or can any one think that a man who entertains this opinion is not flagrantly mad?

But such as those things are which we say are perceived by the senses, such also are those things which are said to be perceived, not by the senses themselves, but by the senses after a fashion; as these things—that is white, this is sweet, that is tuneful, this is fragrant, that is rough. We have these ideas already comprehended by the mind, not by the senses. Again, this is a house, that is a dog. Then the rest of the series follows, connecting the more important links; such as these, which embrace, as it were, the full comprehension of things;—If he is a man, he is a mortal animal partaking of reason:—from which class of arguments the notions of things are impressed upon us, without which nothing can be understood, nor inquired into, nor discussed. But if those notions were false, (for you seemed to me to translate ἔννοιαι notions,) if, I say, they were false, or impressed, or perceptions of such a kind as not to be able to be distinguished from false ones; then I should like to know how we were to use them? and how we were to see what was consistent with each thing and what was inconsistent with it? Certainly no room at all is here left for memory, which of all qualities is the one that most completely contains, not only philosophy, but the whole practice of life, and all the arts. For what memory can there be of what is false? or what does any one remember which he does not comprehend and hold in his mind? And what art can there be except that which consists not of one, nor of two, but of many perceptions of the mind? and if you take these away, how are you to distinguish the artist from the ignorant man? For we must not [pg 034] say at random that this man is an artist, and deny that that man is; but we must only do so when we see that the one retains the things which he has perceived and comprehended, and that the other does not. And as some arts are of that kind that one can only see the fact in one's mind, others such that one can design and effect something, how can a geometrician perceive those things which have no existence, or which cannot be distinguished from what is false? or how can he who plays on the lyre complete his rhythm, and finish verses? And the same will be the case with respect to similar arts, whose whole work consists in acting and in effecting something. For what is there that can be effected by art, unless the man who exercises the art has many perceptions?

VIII. And most especially does the knowledge of virtues confirm the assertion that many things can be perceived and comprehended. And in those things alone do we say that science exists; which we consider to be not a mere comprehension of things, but one that is firm and unchangeable; and we consider it also to be wisdom, the art of living which, by itself, derives consistency from itself. But if that consistency has no perception or knowledge about it, then I ask whence it has originated and how? I ask also, why that good man who has made up his mind to endure every kind of torture, to be torn by intolerable pain, rather than to betray his duty or his faith, has imposed on himself such bitter conditions, when he has nothing comprehended, perceived, known, or established, to lead him to think that he is bound to do so? It cannot, then, by any possibility be the case that any one should estimate equity and good faith so highly as to shrink from no punishment for the sake of preserving them, unless he has assented to those facts which cannot be false. But as to wisdom itself, if it be ignorant of its own character, and if it does not know whether it be wisdom or not, in the first place, how is it to obtain its name of wisdom? Secondly, how will it venture to undertake any exploit, or to perform it with confidence, when it has nothing certain to follow? But when it doubts what is the chief and highest good, being ignorant to what everything is referred, how can it be wisdom?

And that also is manifest, that it is necessary that there should be laid down in the first place a principle which wisdom may follow when it begins to act; and that principle must be [pg 035] adapted to nature. For otherwise, the desire, (for that is how I translate ὁρμὴ,) by which we are impelled to act, and by which we desire what has been seen, cannot be set in motion. But that which sets anything in motion must first be seen and trusted, which cannot be the case if that which is seen cannot be distinguished from what is false. But how can the mind be moved to desire anything, if it cannot be perceived whether that which is seen is adapted to nature or inconsistent with it?

And again, if it does not occur to a man's mind what his duty is, he will actually never do anything, he will never be excited to any action, he will never be moved. But if he ever is about to do anything, then it is necessary that that which occurs to him must appear to him to be true. What! But if those things are true, is the whole of reason, which is, as it were, the light and illumination of life, put an end to? And still will you persist in that wrong-headedness? For it is reason which has brought men the beginning of inquiry, which has perfected virtue, after reason herself had been confirmed by inquiry. But inquiry is the desire of knowledge; and the end of inquiry is discovery. But no one can discover what is false; nor can those things which continue uncertain be discovered. But when those things which have, as it were, been under a veil, are laid open, then they are said to be discovered; and so reason contains the beginning of inquiry, and the end of perceiving and comprehending. Therefore the conclusion of an argument, which in Greek is called ἀπόδειξις, is thus defined:—Reason, which leads one from facts which are perceived, to that which was not perceived.

IX. But if all things which are seen were of that sort that those men say they are, so that they either could possibly be false, or that no discernment could distinguish whether they were false or not, then how could we say that any one had either formed any conclusion, or discovered anything? Or what trust could be placed in an argument when brought to a conclusion? And what end will philosophy itself have, which is bound to proceed according to reason? And what will become of wisdom? which ought not to doubt about its own character, nor about its decrees, which philosophers call δόγματα; none of which can be betrayed without wickedness. For when a decree is betrayed, the law of truth [pg 036] and right is betrayed too. From which fault betrayals of friendships and of republics often originate. It cannot, therefore be doubted, that no rule of wisdom can possibly be false; and it ought not to be enough for the wise man that it is not false, but it ought also to be steady, durable, and lasting; such as no arguments can shake. But none can either be, or appear such, according to the principle of those men who deny that those perceptions in which all rules originate are in any respect different from false ones; and from this assertion arose the demand which was repeated by Hortensius, that you would at least allow that the fact that nothing can be perceived has been perceived by the wise man. But when Antipater made the same demand, and argued that it was unavoidable that the man who affirmed that nothing could be perceived should nevertheless admit that this one thing could be perceived,—namely, that nothing else could,—Carneades resisted him with great shrewdness. For he said that this admission was so far from being consistent with the doctrine asserted, that it was above all others incompatible with it: for that a man who denied that there was anything which could be perceived excepted nothing. And so it followed of necessity, that even that very thing which was not excepted, could not be comprehended and perceived in any possible manner.

Antiochus, on this topic, seems to press his antagonist more closely. For since the Academicians adopted that rule, (for you understand that I am translating by this word what they call δόγμα,) that nothing can be perceived, he urged that they ought not to waver in their rule as in other matters, especially as the whole of their philosophy consisted in it: for that the fixing of what is true and false, known and unknown, is the supreme law of all philosophy. And since they adopted this principle, and wished to teach what ought to be received by each individual, and what rejected, undoubtedly, said he, they ought to perceive this very thing from which the whole judgment of what is true and false arises. He urged, in short, that there were these two principal objects in philosophy, the knowledge of truth, and the attainment of the chief good; and that a man could not be wise who was ignorant of either the beginning of knowledge, or of the end of desire, so as not to know either where to start from, or [pg 037] whither to seek to arrive at. But that to feel in doubt on these points, and not to have such confidence respecting them as to be unable to be shaken, is utterly incompatible with wisdom.

In this manner, therefore, it was more fitting to demand of them that they should at least admit that this fact was perceived, namely, that nothing could be perceived. But enough, I imagine, has been said of the inconsistency of their whole opinion, if, indeed, you can say that a man who approves of nothing has any opinion at all.

X. The next point for discussion is one which is copious enough, but rather abstruse; for it touches in some points on natural philosophy, so that I am afraid that I may be giving the man who will reply to me too much liberty and licence. For what can I think that he will do about abstruse and obscure matters, who seeks to deprive us of all light? But one might argue with great refinement the question,—with how much artificial skill, as it were, nature has made, first of all, every animal; secondly, man most especially;—how great the power of the senses is; in what manner things seen first affect us; then, how the desires, moved by these things, followed; and, lastly, in what manner we direct our senses to the perception of things. For the mind itself, which is the source of the senses, and which itself is sense, has a natural power, which it directs towards those things by which it is moved. Therefore it seizes on other things which are seen in such a manner as to use them at once; others it stores up; and from these memory arises: but all other things it arranges by similitudes, from which notions of things are engendered; which the Greeks call, at one time ἔννοιαι, and at another προλήψεις. And when to this there is added reason and the conclusion of the argument, and a multitude of countless circumstances, then the perception of all those things is manifest, and the same reason, being made perfect by these steps, arrives at wisdom.

As, therefore, the mind of man is admirably calculated for the science of things and the consistency of life, it embraces knowledge most especially. And it loves that κατάληψις, (which we, as I have said, will call comprehension, translating the word literally,) for its own sake, (for there is nothing more sweet than the light of truth,) and also because of its use; on which account also it uses the senses, and creates [pg 038] arts, which are, as it were, second senses; and it strengthens philosophy itself to such a degree that it creates virtue, to which single thing all life is subordinate. Therefore, those men who affirm that nothing can be comprehended, take away by their assertion all these instruments or ornaments of life; or rather, I should say, utterly overturn the whole of life, and deprive the animal itself of mind (animo), so that it is difficult to speak of their rashness as the merits of the case require.

Nor can I sufficiently make out what their ideas or intentions really are. For sometimes, when we address them with this argument,—that if the doctrines which we are upholding are not true, then everything must be uncertain: they reply,—Well, what is that to us? is that our fault? blame nature, who, as Democritus says, has buried truth deep in the bottom of the sea.

But others defend themselves more elegantly, who complain also that we accuse them of calling everything uncertain; and they endeavour to explain how much difference there is between what is uncertain and what cannot be perceived, and to make a distinction between them. Let us, then, now deal with those who draw this distinction, and let us abandon, as incurable and desperate, those who say that everything is as uncertain as whether the number of the stars be odd or even. For they contend, (and I noticed that you were especially moved by this,) that there is something probable, and, as I may say, likely; and that they adopt that likelihood as a rule in steering their course of life, and in making inquiries and conducting discussions.

XI. But what rule can there be, if we have no notion whatever of true or false, because it is impossible to distinguish one from the other? For, if we have such a notion, then there must be a difference between what is true and what is false, as there is between what is right and what is wrong. If there is no difference, then there is no rule; nor can a man to whom what is true and what is false appear under one common aspect, have any means of judging of, or any mark at all by which he can know the truth. For when they say, that they take away nothing but the idea of anything being able to appear in such a manner that it cannot possibly appear false in the same manner but that they admit everything else, they are acting childishly. For though they have [pg 039] taken away that by which everything is judged of, they deny that they take away the rest; just as if a person were to deprive a man of his eyes, and then say that he has not taken away from him those things which can be seen. For just as those things are known by the eyes, so are the other things known by the perceptions; but by a mark belonging peculiarly to truth, and not common to what is true and false.

Wherefore, whether you bring forward a perception which is merely probable, or one which is at once probable and free from all hindrance, as Carneades contended, or anything else that you may follow, you will still have to return to that perception of which we are treating. But in it, if there be but one common characteristic of what is false and true, there will be no judgment possible, because nothing peculiar can be noted in one sign common to two things: but if there be no such community, then I have got what I want; for I am seeking what appears to me to be so true, that it cannot possibly appear false.

They are equally mistaken when, being convicted and overpowered by the force of truth, they wish to distinguish between what is evident and what is perceived, and endeavour to prove that there is something evident,—being a truth impressed on the mind and intellect,—and yet that it cannot be perceived and comprehended. For how can you say distinctly that anything is white, when it may happen that that which is black may appear white? Or how are we to call those things evident, or to say that they are impressed faithfully on the mind, when it is uncertain whether it is really moved or only in an illusory manner? And so there is neither colour, nor body, nor truth, nor argument, nor sense, nor anything certain left us. And, owing to this, it frequently happens that, whatever they say, they are asked by some people,—Do you, then, perceive that? But they who put this question to them are laughed at by them; for they do not press them hard enough so as to prove that no one can insist upon any point, or make any positive assertion, without some certain and peculiar mark to distinguish that thing which each individual says that he is persuaded of.

What, then, is this probability of yours? For if that which occurs to every one, and which, at its first look, as it were, appears probable, is asserted positively, what can be more [pg 040] trifling? But if your philosophers say that they, after a certain degree of circumspection and careful consideration, adopt what they have seen as such, still they will not be able to escape from us. First of all, because credit is equally taken from all these things which are seen, but between which there is no difference; secondly, when they say that it can happen to a wise man, that after he has done everything, and exercised the most diligent circumspection, there may still be something which appears probable, and which yet is very far removed from being true,—how can they then trust themselves, even if they (to use their own expression) approach truth for the most part, or even if they come as near to it as possible? For, in order to trust themselves, the distinctive mark of truth ought to be thoroughly known to them; and if that be obscure or concealed, what truth is there which they can seem to themselves to arrive at? And what can be so absurd a thing to say as,—This indeed is a sign of that thing, or a proof of it, and on that account I follow it; but it is possible that that which is indicated may either be false, or may actually have no existence at all?

XII. However, we have said enough about perception. For if any one wishes to invalidate what has been said, truth will easily defend itself, even if we are absent.

These things, then, which have now been explained, being sufficiently understood, we will proceed to say a little on the subject of assent and approbation, which the Greeks call συγκατάθεσις. Not that the subject itself is not an extensive one, but because the foundations have been already laid a little while ago. For when we were explaining what power there was in the senses, this point was at the same time established, that many things were comprehended and perceived by the senses, which is a thing which cannot take place without assent. Secondly, as this is the principal difference between an inanimate and an animated being, that the inanimate being does nothing, but the animated one does something (for it is impossible even to imagine what kind of animal that can be which does nothing)—either sense must be taken from it, or else assent (which is wholly in our own power) must be given. But mind is in some degree denied to those beings whom they will not allow either to feel or to assent. For as it is inevitable that one scale of a balance [pg 041] must be depressed when a weight is put in it, so the mind, too, must yield to what is evident; for just as it is impossible for any animal to forbear discerning what is manifestly suited to its nature (the Greeks call that οἰκεῖον), so it is equally impossible for it to withhold its assent to a manifest fact which is brought under its notice.

Although, if those principles which we have been maintaining are true, there is no advantage whatever in discussing assent. For he who perceives anything, assents immediately. But these inferences also follow,—that memory can have no existence without assent, no more can notions of things or arts. And what is most important of all is, that, although some things may be in our power, yet they will not be in the power of that man who assents to nothing. Where, then, is virtue, if nothing depends on ourselves? But it is above all things absurd that vices should be in the power of the agents, and that no one should do wrong except by deliberate consent to do so, and yet that this should not be the case with virtue; all the consistency and firmness of which depends on the things to which it has assented, and which it has approved. And altogether it is necessary that something should be perceived before we act, and before we assent to what is perceived; wherefore, he who denies the existence of perception or assent, puts an end to all action in life.

XIII. Now let us examine the arguments which are commonly advanced by this school in opposition to these principles. But, first of all, you have it in your power to become acquainted with what I may call the foundations of their system. They then, first of all, compound a sort of art of those things which we call perceptions, and define their power and kinds; and at the same time they explain what the character of that thing which can be perceived and comprehended is, in the very same words as the Stoics. In the next place, they explain those two principles, which contain, as it were, the whole of this question; and which appear in such a manner that even others may appear in the same, nor is there any difference between them, so that it is impossible that some of them should be perceived, and that others should not be perceived; but that it makes no difference, not only if they are in every part of the same character, but even if they cannot be distinguished.

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And when these principles are laid down, then these men comprehend the whole cause in the conclusion of one argument. But this conclusion, thus compounded, runs in this way: “Of the things which are seen, some are true and some are false; and what is false cannot be perceived, but that which appears to be true is all of such a character that a thing of the same sort may seem to be also false. And as to those things which are perceived being of such a sort that there is no difference between them, it cannot possibly happen that some of them can be perceived, and that others cannot; there is, then, nothing seen which can really be perceived.”

But of the axioms which they assume, in order to draw the conclusions which they desire, they think that two ought to be granted to them; for no one objects to them. They are these: “That those perceptions which are false, cannot really be perceived;” and the second is—“Of those perceptions between which there is no difference, it is impossible that some should be of such a character that they can be perceived, and others of such a character that they cannot.”

But their other propositions they defend by numerous and varied arguments, and they likewise are two in number. One is—“Of those things which appear, some are true and others false;” the other is—“Every perception which originates in the truth, is of such a character as it might be of, though originating in what is false.” And these two propositions they do not pass by, but they expand in such a manner as to show no slight degree of care and diligence. For they divide them into parts, and those also large parts; first of all into the senses, then into those things which are derived from the senses, and from universal custom, the authority of which they wish to invalidate. Then they come to the point of laying it down that nothing can be perceived even by reason and conjecture. And these universal propositions they cut up into more minute parts. For as in our yesterday's discussion you saw that they acted with respect to the senses, so do they also act with respect to everything else. And in each separate thing which they divide into the most minute parts, they wish to make out that all these true perceptions have often false ones added to them, which are in no respect different from the true ones; and that, as they are of such a character, nothing can be comprehended.

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XIV. Now all this subtlety I consider indeed thoroughly worthy of philosophy, but still wholly unconnected with the case which they advocate who argue thus. For definitions, and divisions, and a discourse which employs these ornaments, and also similarities and dissimilarities, and the subtle and fine-drawn distinctions between them, belong to men who are confident that those arguments which they are upholding are true, and firm, and certain; and not to men who assert loudly that those things are no more true than false. For what would they do if, after they had defined anything, some one were to ask them whether that definition could be transferred to something else? If they said it could, then what reason could they give why it should be a true definition? If they said no,—then it must be confessed, since that definition of what is true cannot be transferred to what is false, that that which is explained by that definition can be perceived; which is the last thing they mean.

The same thing may be said on every article of the division. For if they say that they see clearly the things about which they are arguing, and they cannot be hindered by any similarity of appearance, then they will confess that they are able to comprehend those things. But if they affirm that true perceptions cannot be distinguished from false ones, how can they go any further? For the same objections will be made to them which have been made already; for an argument cannot be concluded, unless the premises which are taken to deduce the conclusion from are so established that nothing of the same kind can be false.

Therefore, if reason, relying on things comprehended and perceived, and advancing in reliance on them, establishes the point that nothing can be comprehended, what can be found which can be more inconsistent with itself? And as the very nature of an accurate discourse professes that it will develop something which is not apparent, and that, in order the more easily to succeed in its object, it will employ the senses and those things which are evident, what sort of discourse is that which is uttered by those men who insist upon it that everything has not so much an existence as a mere appearance?

But they are convicted most of all when they assume, as consistent with each other, these two propositions which are [pg 044] so utterly incompatible: first of all,—That there are some false perceptions;—and in asserting this they declare also that there are some which are true: and secondly, they add at the same time,—That there is no difference between true perceptions and false ones. But you assumed the first proposition as if there were some difference; and so the latter proposition is inconsistent with the former, and the former with the latter.

But let us proceed further, and act so as in no respect to seem to be flattering ourselves; and let us follow up what is said by them, in such a manner as to allow nothing to be passed over.

In the first place, then, that evidentness which we have mentioned has sufficiently great power of itself to point out to us the things which are just as they are. But still, in order that we may remain with firmness and constancy in our trust in what is evident, we have need of a greater degree of either skill or diligence, in order not, by some sort of juggling or trick, to be driven away from those things which are clear of themselves. For Epicurus, who wished to remedy those errors, which seem to perplex one's knowledge of the truth, and who said that it was the duty of a wise man to separate opinion from evident knowledge, did no good at all; for he did not in the least remove the errors of opinion itself.

XV. Wherefore, as there are two causes which oppose what is manifest and evident, it is necessary also to provide oneself with an equal number of aids. For this is the first obstacle, that men do not sufficiently exert and fix their minds upon those things which are evident, so as to be able to understand how great the light is with which they are surrounded. The second is, that some men, being deluded and deceived by fallacious and captious interrogatories, when they cannot clear them up, abandon the truth. It is right, therefore, for us to have those answers ready which may be given in defence of the evidentness of a thing,—and we have already spoken of them,—and to be armed, in order to be able to encounter the questions of those people, and to scatter their captious objections to the winds: and this is what I propose to do next.

I will, therefore, explain their arguments one by one; since even they themselves are in the habit of speaking in a sufficiently lucid manner.

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In the first place, they endeavour to show that many things can appear to exist, which in reality have no existence; when minds are moved to no purpose by things which do not exist, in the same manner as by things that do. For when you say (say they) that some visions are sent by God, as those, for instance, which are seen during sleep, and those also which are revealed by oracles, and auspices, and the entrails of victims, (for they say that the Stoics, against whom they are arguing, admit all these things,) they ask how God can make those things probable which appear to be false; and how it is that He cannot make those appear so which plainly come as near as possible to truth? Or if He can likewise make those appear probable, why He cannot make the others appear so too, which are only with great difficulty distinguished from them? And if He can make these appear so, then why He cannot also make those things appear so which are absolutely different in no respect whatever?

In the next place, since the mind is moved by itself,—as those things which we picture to ourselves in thought, and those which present themselves to the sight of madmen or sleeping men declare,—is it not, say they, probable that the mind is also moved in such a manner, that not only it does not distinguish between the perceptions, as to whether they be true or false, but that there really is no difference between them? As, for instance, if any men of their own accord trembled and grew pale, on account of some agitation of mind, or because some terrible object came upon them from without, there would be no means of distinguishing one trembling and paleness from the other, nor indeed would there be any difference between the external and internal alarm which caused them.

Lastly, if no perceptions are probable which are false, then we must seek for other principles; but if they are probable, then why may not one say the same of such as are not easily distinguished from one another? Why not also of such as have actually no difference at all between them? Especially when you yourselves say that the wise man when enraged withholds himself from all assent, because there is no distinction between his perceptions which is visible to him.

XVI. Now on all these empty perceptions Antiochus brought forward a great many arguments, and one whole day was occupied in the discussion of this subject. But I do not [pg 046] think that I ought to adopt the same course, but merely to give the heads of what he said.

And in the first place, they are blameable in this, that they use a most captious kind of interrogation. And the system of adding or taking away, step by step, minute items from a proposition, is a kind of argument very little to be approved of in philosophy. They call it sorites,11 when they make up a heap by adding grain after grain; a very vicious and captious style of arguing. For you mount up in this way:—If a vision is brought by God before a man asleep of such a nature as to be probable (probabile), why may not one also be brought of such a nature as to be very like truth (verisimile)? If so, then why may not one be brought which can hardly be distinguished from truth? If so, then why may there not be one which cannot be distinguished at all? If so, then why may there not be such that there is actually no difference between them?—If you come to this point because I have granted you all the previous propositions, it will be my fault; but if you advance thither of your own accord, it will be yours. For who will grant to you either that God can do everything, or that even if He could He would act in that manner? And how do you assume that if one thing may be like another, it follows that it may also be difficult to distinguish between them? And then, that one cannot distinguish between them at all? And lastly, that they are identical? So that if wolves are like dogs, you will come at last to asserting that they are the same animals. And indeed there are some things not honourable, which are like things that are honourable; some things not good, like those that are good; some things proceeding on no system, like others which are regulated by system. Why then do we hesitate to affirm that there is no difference between all these things? Do we not even see that they are inconsistent? For there is nothing that can be transferred from its own genus to another. But if such a conclusion did follow, as that there was no difference between perceptions of different genera, but that some could be found which were both in their own genus and in one which did not belong to them, how could that be possible?

There is then one means of getting rid of all unreal perceptions, [pg 047] whether they be formed in the ideas, which we grant to be usually the case, or whether they be owing to idleness, or to wine, or to madness. For we say that clearness, which we ought to hold with the greatest tenacity, is absent from all visions of that kind. For who is there who, when he imagines something and pictures it to himself in his thoughts, does not, as soon as he has stirred up himself, and recovered himself, feel how much difference there is between what is evident and what is unreal? The case of dreams is the same. Do you think that Ennius, when he had been walking in his garden with Sergius Galba, his neighbour, said to himself,—I have seemed to myself to be walking with Galba? But when he had a dream, he related it in this way,—

The poet Homer seem'd to stand before me.

And again in his Epicharmus he says—

For I seem'd to be dreaming, and laid in the tomb.

Therefore, as soon as we are awakened, we despise those things which we have seen, and do not regard them as we do the things which we have done in the forum.

XVII. But while these visions are being beheld, they assume the same appearance as those things which we see while awake. There is a good deal of real difference between them; but we may pass over that. For what we assert is, that there is not the same power or soundness in people when asleep that there is in them while waking, either in intellect or in sensation. What even drunken men do, they do not do with the same deliberate approbation as sober men. They doubt, they hesitate, they check themselves at times, and give but a feeble assent to what they see or agree too. And when they have slept off their drunkenness, then they understand how unreal their perceptions were. And the same thing is the case with madmen; that when their madness is beginning, they both feel and say that something appears to them to exist that has no real existence. And when their frenzy abates, they feel and speak like Alcmæon;—

But now my heart does not agree
With that which with my eyes I see.

But even in madness the wise man puts restraint upon himself, so far as not to approve of what is false as if it were true. And he does so often at other times, if there is by [pg 048] chance any heaviness or slowness in his senses, or if those things which are seen by him are rather obscure, or if he is prevented from thoroughly examining them by the shortness of the time. Although the whole of this fact, that the wise man sometimes suspends his assent, makes against you. For if there were no difference between his perceptions, he would either suspend it always or never.

But from the whole character of this discussion we may see the worthless nature of the argument of those men who wish to throw everything into confusion. We want judgment, marked with gravity, consistency, firmness, and wisdom: and we use the examples of men dreaming, mad, or drunk. I press this point, that in all this discussion we are speaking with great inconsistency. For we should not bring forward men sunk in wine or sleep, or deprived of sense, in such an absurd manner as at one time to say there is a difference between the perceptions of men awake and sober and sensible, and those of men in a different condition, and at other times that there was no difference at all.

They do not even perceive that by this kind of argument they are making out everything to be uncertain, which they do not wish to do. I call that uncertain which the Greeks call ἄδηλον. For if the fact be that there is no difference between the appearance that a thing presents to a madman and to a person in his senses, then who can feel quite sure of his own sanity? And to wish to produce such an effect as that is a proof of no ordinary madness. But they follow up in a childish manner the likenesses of twins, or of impressions of rings. For who of us denies that there are such things as likenesses, when they are visible in numbers of things? But if the fact of many things being like many other things is sufficient to take away knowledge, why are you not content with that, especially as we admit it? And why do you rather insist upon that assertion which the nature of things will not suffer, that everything is not in its own kind of that character of which it really is? and that there is a conformity without any difference whatever in two or more things; so that eggs are entirely like eggs, and bees like bees? What then are you contending for? or what do you seek to gain by talking about twins? For it is granted that they are alike; and you might be content with that. But you try to make [pg 049] them out to be actually the same, and not merely alike; and that is quite impossible.

Then you have recourse to those natural philosophers who are so greatly ridiculed in the Academy, but whom you will not even now desist from quoting. And you tell us that Democritus says that there are a countless number of worlds, and that there are some which are not only so like one another, but so completely and absolutely equal in every point, that there is no difference whatever between them, and that they are quite innumerable; and so also are men. Then you require that, if the world be so entirely equal to another world that there is absolutely not the slightest difference between them, we should grant to you that in this world of ours also there must be something exactly equal to something else, so that there is no difference whatever or distinction between them. For why, you will say, since there not only can be, but actually are innumerable Quinti Lutatii Catuli formed out of those atoms, from which Democritus affirms that everything is produced, in all the other worlds, which are likewise innumerable,—why may not there be a second Catulus formed in this identical world of ours, since it is of such a size as we see it?

XVIII. First of all I reply, that you are bringing me to the arguments of Democritus, with whom I do not agree. And I will the more readily refute them, on account of that doctrine which is laid down very clearly by the more refined natural philosophers, that everything has its own separate property. For grant that those ancient Servilii who were twins were as much alike as they are said to have been, do you think that that would have made them the same? They were not distinguished from one another out of doors, but they were at home. They were not distinguished from one another by strangers, but they were by their own family. Do we not see that this is frequently the case, that those people whom we should never have expected to be able to know from one another, we do by practice distinguish so easily that they do not appear to be even in the least alike?

Here, however, you may struggle; I will not oppose you. Moreover, I will grant that that very wise man who is the subject of all this discussion, when things like one another come under his notice, in which he has not remarked any [pg 050] special character, will withhold his assent, and will never agree to any perception which is not of such a character as a false perception can never assume. But with respect to all other things he has a certain art by which he can distinguish what is true from what is false; and with respect to those similitudes he must apply the test of experience. As a mother distinguishes between twins by the constant practice of her eyes, so you too will distinguish when you have become accustomed to it. Do you not see that it has become a perfect proverb that one egg is like another? and yet we are told that at Delos (when it was a flourishing island) there were many people who used to keep large numbers of hens for the sake of profit; and that they, when they had looked upon an egg, could tell which hen had laid it. Nor does that fact make against our argument; for it is sufficient for us to be able to distinguish between the eggs. For it is impossible for one to assent to the proposition that this thing is that thing more, than by admitting that there is actually no difference at all between the two. For I have laid it down as a rule, to consider all perceptions true which are of such a character as those which are false cannot be. And from this I may not depart one finger's breadth, as they say, lest I should throw everything into confusion. For not only the knowledge of what is true and false, but their whole nature too, will be destroyed if there is no difference between one and the other. And that must be very absurd which you sometimes are in the habit of saying, when perceptions are imprinted on the mind, that what you say is, not that there is no difference between the impressions, but only that there is none between certain appearances and forms which they assume. As if perceptions were not judged of by their appearance, which can deserve or obtain no credit if the mark by which we are to distinguish truth from falsehood be taken away.

But that is a monstrous absurdity of yours, when you say that you follow what is probable when you are not hindered by anything from doing so. In the first place, how can you avoid being hindered, when what is false does not differ from what is true? Secondly, what judgment can be formed of what is true, when what is true is undistinguishable from what is false? From these facts there springs unavoidably ἐποχὴ, that is to say, a suspension of assent: for which [pg 051] Arcesilas is more consistent, if at least the opinions which some people entertain of Carneades are correct. For if nothing can be perceived, as they both agree in thinking, then all assent is taken away. For what is so childish as to talk of approving of what is not known? But even yesterday we heard that Carneades was in the habit, at times, of descending to say that a wise man would be guided by opinion, that is to say, would do wrong. To me, indeed, it is not so certain that there is anything which can be comprehended, a question which I have now spent too much time in discussing, as that a wise man is never guided by opinion, that is to say, never assents to anything which is either false or unknown.

There remains this other statement of theirs, that for the sake of discovering the truth, one ought to speak against every side, and in favour of every side. I wish then to see what they have discovered. We are not in the habit, says he, of showing that. What then is the object of all this mystery? or why do you conceal your opinion as something discreditable? In order, says he, that those who hear us may be influenced by reason rather than led by authority. What if they are influenced by both? would there be any harm in that? However, they do not conceal one of their theories, namely, that there is nothing which can be conceived. Is authority no hindrance to entertaining this opinion? It seems to me to be a great one. For who would ever have embraced so openly and undisguisedly such perverse and false principles, if there had not been such great richness of ideas and power of eloquence in Arcesilas, and, in a still greater degree, in Carneades?

XIX. These are nearly the arguments which Antiochus used to urge at Alexandria, and many years afterwards, with much more positiveness too, in Syria, when he was there with me, a little before he died. But, as my case is now established, I will not hesitate to warn you, as you are my dearest friend, (he was addressing me,) and one a good deal younger than myself.

Will you, then, after having extolled philosophy with such panegyrics, and provoked our friend Hortensius, who disagrees with us, now follow that philosophy which confounds what is true with what is false, deprives us of all judgment, strips us of the power of approval, and robs us of all [pg 052] our senses? Even the Cimmerians, to whom some god, or nature, or the foulness of the country that they inhabited, had denied the light of the sun, had still some fires which they were permitted to avail themselves of as if they were light. But those men whom you approve of, after having enveloped us in such darkness, have not left us a single spark to enable us to look around by. And if we follow them, we become bound with such chains that we cannot move. For when assent is taken away, they take away at the same time all motion of our minds, and all our power of action; which not only cannot be done rightly, but which cannot possibly be done at all. Beware, also, lest you become the only person who is not allowed to uphold that opinion. Will you, when you have explained the most secret matters and brought them to light, and said on your oath that you have discovered them, (which, indeed, I could swear to also, since I learnt them from you,)—will you, I say, assert that there is nothing which can be known, comprehended, or perceived? Beware, I entreat you, lest the authority of those most beautiful actions be diminished by your own conduct.

And having said this he stopped. But Hortensius, admiring all he said very greatly, (so much, indeed, that all the time that Lucullus was speaking he kept lifting up his hands; and it was no wonder, for I do not believe that an argument had ever been conducted against the Academy with more acuteness,) began to exhort me, either jestingly or seriously, (for that was a point that I was not quite sure about,) to abandon my opinions. Then, said Catulus, if the discourse of Lucullus has had such influence over you,—and it has been a wonderful exhibition of memory, accuracy, and ingenuity,—I have nothing to say; nor do I think it my duty to try and deter you from changing opinion if you choose. But I should not think it well for you to be influenced merely by his authority. For he was all but warning you, said he, jestingly, to take care that no worthless tribune of the people, of whom you know what a number there will always be, seize upon you, and ask of you in the public assembly how you are consistent with yourself, when at one time you assert that nothing certain can be discovered, and at another time affirm that you yourself have discovered something. I entreat you, do not let him terrify you. But I would rather have you disagree [pg 053] with him on the merits of the case itself. But if you give in to him, I shall not be greatly surprised; for I recollect that Antiochus himself, after he had entertained such opinions for many years, abandoned them as soon as he thought it desirable. When Catulus had said this, they all began to fix their eyes on me.

XX. Then I, being no less agitated than I usually am when pleading important causes, began to speak something after this fashion:—

The discourse of Lucullus, O Catulus, on the matter itself, moved me a good deal, being the discourse of a learned and ingenious and quick-witted man, and of one who passes over nothing which can be said for his side; but still I am not afraid but that I may be able to answer him. But no doubt such authority as his would have influenced me a good deal, if you had not opposed your own to it, which is of equal weight. I will endeavour, therefore, to reply to him after I have said a few words in defence of my own reputation, as it were.

If it is by any desire of display, or any zeal for contentious disputes, that I have been chiefly led to rank myself as an adherent of this school of philosophy, I should think not only my folly, but also my disposition and nature deserving of severe censure; for if obstinacy is found fault with in the most trifling matters, and if also calumny is repressed, should I choose to contend with others in a quarrelsome manner about the general condition and conduct of my whole life, or to deceive others and also my own self? Therefore, if I did not think it foolish in such a discussion to do what, when one is discussing affairs of state, is sometimes done, I would swear by Jupiter and my household gods, that I am inflamed with a desire of discovering the truth, and that I do truly feel what I say. For how can I avoid wishing to discover the truth, when I rejoice if I have discovered anything resembling the truth? But although I consider to see the truth a most beautiful thing, so also do I think it a most disgraceful one to approve of what is false as if it were true. Not, indeed, that I am myself a man who never approve of anything false, who never give assent to any such thing, and am never guided by opinion; but we are speaking of a wise man. But I myself am very apt to adopt opinions, for I am not a [pg 054] wise man, and I direct my thoughts, steering not to that little Cynosura,

The nightly star, which shining not in vain,
Guides the Phœnician sailor o'er the main,

as Aratus says;—and those mariners steer in a more direct course because they keep looking at the constellation,

Which in its inner course and orbit brief
Surely revolves;—

but looking rather towards Helice, and the bright north star, that is to say, to these reasons of a more expansive kind, not polished away to a point; and therefore I roam and wander about in a freer course. However, the question, as I said just now, is not about myself, but about a wise man. For when these perceptions have made a violent impression on the intellect and senses, I admit them, and sometimes I even assent to them, but still I do not perceive them: for I do not think that anything can be perceived. I am not a wise man, therefore I submit to perceptions and cannot resist them: but Arcesilas, being on this point in agreement with Zeno, thinks that this is the most important part of the power of a wise man, that he can guard against being entangled, and provide against being deceived. For there is nothing more incompatible with the idea which we have of the gravity of a wise man than error, levity, and temerity. Why, then, need I speak of the firmness of a wise man? whom even you too, Lucullus, admit to be never guided by mere opinion. And since this is sanctioned by you, (if I am dealing irregularly with you at this moment, I will soon return to the proper order of your arguments,) just consider what force this first conclusion has.

XXI. If the wise man ever assents to anything, he will likewise sometimes form opinions: but he never will form opinions: therefore he will never assent to anything. This conclusion was approved of by Arcesilas, for it confirmed both his first and second proposition. But Carneades sometimes granted that minor premiss, that the wise man did at times assent: then it followed that he also was at times guided by opinion; which you will not allow; and you are right, as it seems to me: but the first proposition, that the wise man, if he expresses assent, must also be guided by opinion, is denied by the Stoics and their follower on this point, Antiochus.

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For they say that they can distinguish what is false from what is true, and what cannot be perceived from what can. But, in the first place, even if anything can be perceived, still the very custom of expressing assent appears to us to be perilous and unsure. Wherefore, as it is plain that is so faulty a proceeding, to assent to anything that is either false or unknown, all assent must rather be removed, lest it should rush on into difficulties if it proceeds rashly. For what is false is so much akin to what is true, and the things which cannot be perceived to those which can, (if, indeed, there are any such, for we shall examine that point presently,) that a wise man ought not to trust himself in such a hazardous position.

But if I assume that there is actually nothing which can be perceived, and if I also take what you grant me, that a wise man is never guided by opinion, then the consequence will be that the wise man will restrain all assent on his part; so that you must consider whether you would rather have it so, or let the wise man sometimes form opinions. You do not approve of either, you will say. Let us, then, endeavour to prove that nothing can be perceived; for that is what the whole controversy turns upon.

XXII. But first I must say a few words to Antiochus; who under Philo learnt this very doctrine which I am now defending, for such a length of time, that it is certain that no one was ever longer studying it; and who wrote on these subjects with the greatest acuteness, and who yet attacked it in his old age with no less energy than he had defended it in his youth. Although therefore he may have been a shrewd arguer, as indeed he was, still his authority is diminished by his inconsistency. For what day, I should like to know, will ever dawn, which shall reveal to him that distinctive characteristic of what is true and what is false, of which for so many years he denied the existence? Has he devised anything new? He says the same that the Stoics say. Does he repent of having held such an opinion? Why did he not cross over to some other school, and especially to the Stoics? for this disagreement with the Academy was peculiarly theirs. What? did he repent of Mnesarchus or Dardanus, who at that time were the chiefs of the Stoics at Athens? He never deserted Philo till after the time when he himself began to have pupils.

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But from whence was the Old Academy on a sudden recalled? He appears to have wished to preserve the dignity of the name, after he had given up the reality; which however some people said, that he did from a view to his own glory, and that he even hoped that those who followed him might be called Antiochians. But to me it seems, that he could not stand that concourse of all the philosophers. In truth, there are among them all, some common principles on the other points; but this doctrine is peculiar to the Academicians, and not one of the other philosophers approves of it. Therefore, he quitted it; and, like those men who, where the new shops stand, cannot bear the sun, so he, when he was hot, took refuge under the shade of the Old Academicians, as those men do under the shade of the old shops near the pillar of Mænius. There was also an argument which he was in the habit of employing, when he used to maintain that nothing could be perceived; namely, asking whether Dionysius of Heraclea had comprehended the doctrine which he had espoused for many years, because he was guided by that certain characteristic, and whether he believed the doctrine of his master Zeno, that whatever was honourable was the only good; or, whether he adopted the assertion which he defended subsequently, that the name of honourableness is a mere phantom, and that pleasure is the chief good: for from this change of opinion on his part he wished to prove, that nothing can be so stamped on our minds by the truth, that it cannot also be impressed on them in the same manner by falsehood; and so he took care that others should derive from his own conduct the same argument which he himself had derived from Dionysius.

XXIII. But we will argue this point more at length another time; at present we will turn what has been said, Lucullus, to you. And in the first place, let us examine the assertion which you made at the beginning, and see what sort of assertion it is; namely, that we spoke of the ancient philosophers in a manner similar to that in which seditious men were in the habit of speaking of illustrious men, who were however friends of the people. These men do not indeed pursue good objects, but still wish to be considered to resemble good men; but we say that we hold those opinions, which you yourselves confess to have been entertained by the most illustrious philosophers. Anaxagoras said, that snow was [pg 057] black: would you endure me if I were to say the same? You would not bear even for me to express a doubt on the subject. But who is this man? is he a Sophist? for by that name were those men called, who used to philosophize for the sake of display or of profit. The glory of the gravity and genius of that man was great. Why should I speak of Democritus? Who is there whom we can compare with him for the greatness, not merely of his genius, but also of his spirit? a man who dared to begin thus: “I am going to speak of everything.” He excepts nothing, so as not to profess a knowledge of it. For indeed, what could there possibly be beyond everything? Who can avoid placing this philosopher before Cleanthes, or Chrysippus, or all the rest of his successors? men who, when compared with him, appear to me to be in the fifth class.

But he does not say this, which we, who do not deny that there is some truth, declare cannot be perceived: he absolutely denies that there is any truth. He says that the senses are not merely dim, but utterly dark; for that is what Metrodorus of Chios, who was one of his greatest admirers, says of them, at the beginning of his book on Nature. “I deny,” says he, “that we know whether we know anything or whether we know nothing; I say that we do not even know what is ignorance and knowledge; and that we have no knowledge whether anything exists or whether nothing does.”

Empedocles appears to you to be mad; but to me he seems to utter words very worthy of the subjects of which he speaks. Does he then blind us, or deprive us of our senses, if he thinks that there is but little power in them to judge of those things which are brought under their notice? Parmenides and Xenophanes blame, as if they were angry with them, though in no very poetical verses, the arrogance of those people who, though nothing can be known, venture to say that they know something. And you said that Socrates and Plato were distinct from these men. Why so? Are there any men of whom we can speak more certainly? I indeed seem to myself to have lived with these men; so many of their discourses have been reported, from which one cannot possibly doubt that Socrates thought that nothing could be known. He excepted one thing only, asserting that he did know that he knew nothing; but he made no other [pg 058] exception. What shall I say of Plato? who certainly would never have followed up these doctrines in so many books if he had not approved of them; for there was no object in going on with the irony of the other, especially when it was so unceasing.

XXIV. Do I not seem to you, not, like Saturninus, to be content with naming illustrious men, but also sometimes even to imitate them, though never unless they are really eminent and noble? And I might have opposed to you men who are annoying to you, but yet disputants of great accuracy; Stilpo, Diodorus, and Alexinus: men who indulged in far-fetched and pointed sophisms; for that was the name given usually to fallacious conclusions. But why need I enumerate them, when I have Chrysippus, who is considered to be the great support of the portico of the Stoics? How many of the arguments against the senses, how many against everything which is approved by ordinary practice, did he not refute! It is true that I do not think very much of his refutations; but still, let us grant that he did refute them. Certainly he would never have collected so many arguments to deceive us with their excessive probability, unless he saw that it was not easily possible to resist them.

What do you think of the Cyrenaic School? philosophers far from contemptible, who affirm that there is nothing which can be perceived externally; and that they perceive those things alone which they feel by their inmost touch, such as pain, or pleasure. And that they do not know what colour anything is of, or what sound it utters; but only feel that they themselves are affected in a certain manner.

We have said enough about authors: although you had asked me whether I did not think that since the time of those ancient philosophers, in so many ages, the truth might have been discovered, when so many men of genius and diligence were looking for it? What was discovered we will consider presently, and you yourself shall be the judge. But it is easily seen that Arcesilas did not contend with Zeno for the sake of disparaging him; but that he wished to discover the truth. No one, I say, of preceding philosophers had said positively, no one had even hinted that it was possible for man never to form opinions: and that for a wise man it was not only possible, but indispensable. The opinion of Arcesilas [pg 059] appeared not only true, but honourable and worthy of a wise man.

Perhaps he asked of Zeno what would happen if a wise man could not possibly perceive anything, and if to form mere opinion was unworthy of a wise man? He answered, I suppose, that the wise man never would form mere opinion, since there were things which admitted of being perceived. What then were they? Perceptions, I suppose. What sort of perceptions then? In reply to this he gave a definition, That it was such as is impressed and stamped upon and figured in us, according to and conformably to something which exists. Afterwards the question was asked, whether, if such a perception was true, it was of the same character as one that was false? Here Zeno saw clearly enough that there was no perception that could be perceived at all, if the perception derived from that which is, could possibly resemble that which is derived from that which is not.

Arcesilas was quite right in admitting this. An addition was made to the definition; namely, That nothing false could be perceived; nor anything true either, if it was of such a character as that which was false. But he applied himself diligently to these discussions, in order to prove that no perception originated in what was true of such a kind that there might not be a similar one originating in what was false. And this is the one subject of controversy which has lasted to this day. For the other doctrine, that the wise man would never assent to anything, had nothing to do with this question. For it was quite possible for a man to perceive nothing, and nevertheless to be guided at times by opinion; which is said to have been admitted by Carneades. I, indeed, trusting rather to Clitomachus than to Philo or Metrodorus, believe that he argued this point rather than that he admitted it.

XXV. However, let us say no more about this. Undoubtedly, when opinion and perception are put an end to, the retention of every kind of assent must follow; as, if I prove that nothing can be perceived, you would then grant that a philosopher would never assent to anything. What is there then that can be perceived, if even the senses do not warn us of the truth? But you, O Lucullus, defend them by a common topic; and to prevent you from being able to do so it was, that I yesterday, when it was not otherwise necessary, said so [pg 060] much against the senses. But you say that you are not at all moved by “the broken oar” or “the dove's neck.” In the first place, I will ask why?—for in the case of the oar, I feel that that which appears to be the case, is not really so; and that in the dove's neck there appear to be many colours, but are not in reality more than one. Have we, then, said nothing more than this? Let all our arguments stand: that man is tearing his cause to pieces; he says that his senses are voracious. Therefore you have always one backer who will plead the cause at his own risk: for Epicurus brings the matter down to this point, that if once in a man's life one of his senses has decided wrongly, none of them is ever to be trusted. This is what he calls being true, and confiding in his own witnesses, and urging his proofs to their just conclusion; therefore Timagoras the Epicurean declares, that when he had twisted his eye with his hand, he had never seen two flames appear out of one candle: for that the error was one of opinion, and not one of his eyes; just as if the question were what the fact is, and not what it appears to be. However, he is just like his predecessors. But as for you, who say that of the things perceived by your senses, some are true and some false, how do you distinguish between them? Cease, I beg of you, to employ common topics: we have plenty of them at home.

If any god were to ask you, while your senses are sound and unimpaired, whether you desire anything further, what would you answer? I wish, indeed, he would ask me! You should hear how ill he treats us: for how far are we to look in order to see the truth? I can see the Cumæan villa of Catulus from this place, but not his villa near Pompeii; not that there is any obstacle interposed, but my eyesight cannot extend so far. What a superb view! We see Puteoli, but we do not see our friend Avianus, though he may perhaps be walking in the portico of Neptune; there was, however, some one or other who is often spoken of in the Schools who could see things that were a thousand and eighty furlongs off; and some birds can see further still. I should therefore answer your god boldly, that I am not at all contented with these eyes of mine. He will tell me, perhaps, that I can see better than some fishes; which are not seen by us, and which even now are beneath our eyes, and yet they cannot look up far [pg 061] enough to see us: therefore, as water is shed around them, so a dense air is around us. But we desire nothing better. What? do you suppose that a mole longs for light?—nor would he complain to the god that he could not see far, but rather that he saw incorrectly. Do you see that ship? It appears to us to be standing still; but to those who are in that ship, this villa appears to be moving. Seek for the reason why it seems so, and if you discover it ever so much, and I do not know whether you may not be able to, still you will have proved, not that you have a trustworthy witness, but that he has not given false evidence without sufficient reason.

XXVI. What need had I to speak of the ship? for I saw that what I said about the oar was despised by you; perhaps you expect something more serious. What can be greater than the sun, which the mathematicians affirm to be more than eighteen times as large as the earth? How little does it appear to us! To me, indeed, it seems about a foot in diameter; but Epicurus thinks it possible that it may be even less than it seems, but not much; nor does he think that it is much greater, but that it is very near the size it seems to be: so that our eyes are either quite correct, or, at all events, not very incorrect. What becomes then of the exception, “If once...?” However, let us leave this credulous man, who does not believe that the senses are ever wrong,—not even now, when that sun, which is borne along with such rapidity that it is impossible even to conceive how great its velocity is, nevertheless seems to us to be standing still.

However, to abridge the controversy, consider, I pray you, within what narrow bounds you are confined. There are four principles which conduct you to the conclusion that there is nothing which can be known, or perceived, or comprehended;—and it is about this that the whole dispute is. The first principle is, that some perceptions are false; the second, that such cannot be perceived; the third, that of perceptions between which there is no difference, it is not possible that some of them can be perceived and that others cannot; the fourth, that there is no true perception proceeding from the senses, to which there is not some other perception opposed which in no respect differs from it, and which cannot be perceived. Now of these four principles, the second and third are admitted by every one. Epicurus does not admit the [pg 062] first, but you, with whom we are now arguing, admit that one too,—the whole contest is about the fourth.

The man, then, who saw Publius Servilius Geminus, if he thought that he saw Quintus, fell into a perception of that kind that could not be perceived; because what was true was distinguished by no characteristic mark from what was false: and if this distinctive mark were taken away, what characteristic of the same kind could he have by which to recognise Caius Cotta, who was twice consul with Geminus, which could not possibly be false? You say that such a likeness as that is not in the nature of things. You fight the question vigorously, but you are fighting a peaceably disposed adversary. Grant, then, that it is not; at all events, it is possible that it should seem to be so; therefore it will deceive the senses. And if one likeness deceives them, it will have made everything doubtful; for when that judgment is once taken away by which alone things can be known, then, even if the person whom you see, be really the person whom he appears to you to be, still you will not judge by that characteristic which you say you ought, being of such a character that one of the same kind cannot be false. If, therefore, it is possible that Publius Geminus may appear to you to be Quintus, what certainty have you that he may not appear to you to be Cotta though he is not, since some things do appear to you to be what they are not? You say that everything has its own peculiar genus; that there is nothing the same as something else. That is a stoic doctrine, and one not very credible, for they say that there is not a single hair or a single grain in every respect like another hair or grain. These things could all be refuted, but I do not wish to be contentious; for it has nothing in the world to do with the question whether the things which are seen do not differ at all in any part, or whether they cannot be distinguished from another even though they do differ. But, granting that there cannot be such a likeness between men, can there not be such between statues? Tell me, could not Lysippus, using the same brass, the same composition of metals, the same atmosphere, water, and all other appliances, have made a hundred Alexanders exactly alike? How then could you distinguish between them? Again; if I, with this ring, make a hundred impressions on the same piece of wax, is it possible that there [pg 063] should be any difference to enable you to distinguish one from the other?—or, shall you have to seek out some ring engraver, since you have already found us a Delian poulterer who could recognise his eggs?

XXVII. But you have recourse to art, which you call in to the aid of the senses. A painter sees what we do not see; and as soon as a flute-player plays a note the air is recognised by a musician. Well? Does not this argument seem to tell against you, if, without great skill, such as very few persons of our class attain to, we can neither see nor hear? Then you give an excellent description of the skill with which nature has manufactured our senses, and intellect, and the whole construction of man, in order to prevent my being alarmed at rashness of opinions. Can you also, Lucullus, affirm that there is any power united with wisdom and prudence which has made, or, to use your own expression, manufactured man? What sort of a manufacture is that? Where is it exercised? when? why? how? These points are all handled ingeniously, they are discussed even elegantly. Let it be said even that they appear likely; only let them not be affirmed positively. But we will discuss natural philosophy hereafter, and, indeed, we will do so that you, who said a little while ago that I should speak of it, may appear not to have spoken falsely.

However, to come to what is clearer, I shall now bring forward general facts on which whole volumes have been filled, not only by those of our own School, but also by Chrysippus. But the Stoics complain of him, that, while he studiously collected every argument which could be brought forward against the senses and clearness, and against all custom, and against reason, when he came to reply to himself, he was inferior to what he had been at first; and therefore that, in fact, he put arms into the hands of Carneades. Those arguments are such as have been ingeniously handled by you. You said that the perceptions of men asleep, or drunk, or mad, were less vigorous than those of men awake, sober, and sane. How do you prove that? because, when Ennius had awakened, he would not say that he had seen Homer, but only that Homer had seemed to be present. And Alcmæon says—

My heart distrusts the witness of my eyes.
[pg 064]

And one may say the same of men who are drunk. As if any one denied that when a man has awakened he ceases to think his dreams true; and that a man whose frenzy has passed away, no longer conceives those things to be real which appeared so to him during his madness. But that is not the question: the question is, how those things appear to us, at the time when they do appear. Unless, indeed, we suppose that Ennius heard the whole of that address—

O piety of the soul....

(if, indeed, he did dream it), just as he would have heard it if he had been awake. For when awake, he was able to think those things phantoms—as, in fact, they were—and dreams. But while he was asleep, he felt as sure of their reality as if he had been awake. Again, Iliona, in that dream of hers, where she hears—

Mother, I call on you....

does she not believe that her son has spoken, just as she would have believed it if she had been awake? On which account she adds—

Come now, stand here, remain, and hear my words,
And once again repeat those words to me.

Does she here seem to place less trust in what she has seen than people do when awake?

XXVIII. Why should I speak of madmen?—such as your relation Tuditanus was, Catulus. Does any man, who may be ever so much in his senses, think the things which he sees as certain as he used to think those that appeared to him? Again, the man who cries out—

I see you now, I see you now alive,
Ulysses, while such sight is still allow'd me;

does he not twice cry out that he is seeing what he never sees at all? Again, when Hercules, in Euripides, shot his own sons with his arrows, taking them for the sons of Eurystheus,—when he slew his wife,—when he endeavoured even to slay his father,—was he not worked upon by false ideas, just as he might have been by true ones? Again, does not your own Alcmæon, who says that his heart distrusts the witness of his eyes, say in the same place, while inflamed by frenzy—

Whence does this flame arise?
[pg 065]

And presently afterwards—

Come on; come on; they hasten, they approach;
They seek for me.

Listen, how he implores the good faith of the virgin:—

O bring me aid; O drive this pest away;
This fiery power which now doth torture me;
See, they advance, dark shades, with flames encircled,
And stand around me with their blazing torches.

Have you any doubt here that he appears to himself to see these things? And then the rest of his speech:—

See how Apollo, fair-hair'd God,
Draws in and bends his golden bow;
While on the left fair Dian waves her torch.

How could he have believed these things any more if they had really existed than he did when they only seemed to exist? For it is clear that at the moment his heart was not distrusting his eyes. But all these instances are cited in order to prove that than which nothing can be more certain, namely, that between true and false perceptions there is no difference at all, as far as the assent of the mind is concerned. But you prove nothing when you merely refute those false perceptions of men who are mad or dreaming, by their own recollection. For the question is not what sort of recollection those people usually have who have awakened, or those who have recovered from madness, but what sort of perception madmen or dreamers had at the moment when they were under the influence of their madness or their dream. However, we will say no more about the senses.

What is there that can be perceived by reason? You say that Dialectics have been discovered, and that that science is, as it were, an arbiter and judge of what is true and false. Of what true and false?—and of true and false on what subject? Will a dialectician be able to judge, in geometry, what is true and false, or in literature, or in music? He knows nothing about those things. In philosophy, then? What is it to him how large the sun is? or what means has he which may enable him to judge what the chief good is? What then will he judge of? Of what combination or disjunction of ideas is accurate,—of what is an ambiguous expression,—of what follows from each fact, or what is inconsistent with it? If the science of dialectics judges of these things, or things like [pg 066] them, it is judging of itself. But it professed more. For to judge of these matters is not sufficient for the resolving of the other numerous and important questions which arise in philosophy. But, since you place so much importance in that art, I would have you to consider whether it was not invented for the express purpose of being used against you. For, at its first opening, it gives an ingenious account of the elements of speaking, and of the manner in which one may come to an understanding of ambiguous expressions, and of the principles of reasoning: then, after a few more things, it comes to the sorites, a very slippery and hazardous topic, and a class of argument which you yourself pronounced to be a vicious one.

XXIX. What then, you will say; are we to be blamed for that viciousness? The nature of things has not given us any knowledge of ends, so as to enable us, in any subject whatever, to say how far we can go. Nor is this the case only in respect of the heap of wheat, from which the name is derived, but in no matter whatever where the argument is conducted by minute questions: for instance, if the question be whether a man is rich or poor, illustrious or obscure,—whether things be many or few, great or small, long or short, broad or narrow,—we have no certain answer to give, how much must be added or taken away to make the thing in question either one or the other.

But the sorites is a vicious sort of argument:—crush it, then, if you can, to prevent its being troublesome; for it will be so, if you do not guard against it. We have guarded against it, says he. For Chrysippus's plan is, when he is interrogated step by step (by way of giving an instance), whether there are three, or few, or many, to rest a little before he comes to the “many;” that is to say, to use their own language, ἡσυχάζειν. Rest and welcome, says Carneades; you may even snore, for all I care. But what good does he do? For one follows who will waken you from sleep, and question you in the same manner:—Take the number, after the mention of which you were silent, and if to that number I add one, will there be many? You will again go on, as long as you think fit. Why need I say more? for you admit this, that you cannot in your answers fix the last number which can be classed as “few,” nor the first, which amounts to [pg 067] “many.” And this kind of uncertainty extends so widely, that I do not see any bounds to its progress.

Nothing hurts me, says he; for I, like a skilful driver, will rein in my horses before I come to the end, and all the more if the ground which the horses are approaching is precipitous. And thus, too, says he, I will check myself, and not reply any more to one who addresses me with captious questions. If you have a clear answer to make, and refuse to make it, you are giving yourself airs; if you have not, even you yourself do not perceive it. If you stop, because the question is obscure, I admit that it is so; but you say that you do not proceed as far as what is obscure. You stop, then, where the case is still clear. If then all you do is to hold your tongue, you gain nothing by that. For what does it matter to the man who wishes to catch you, whether he entangles you owing to your silence or to your talking? Suppose, for instance, you were to say, without hesitation, that up to the number nine, is “few,” but were to pause at the tenth; then you would be refusing your assent to what is certain and evident, and yet you will not allow me to do the same with respect to subjects which are obscure.

That art, therefore, does not help you against the sorites; inasmuch as it does not teach a man, who is using either the increasing or diminishing scale, what is the first point, or the last. May I not say that that same art, like Penelope undoing her web, at last undoes all the arguments which have gone before? Is that your fault, or ours? In truth, it is the foundation of dialectics, that whatever is enunciated (and that is what they call ἀξίωμα, which answers to our word effatum,) is either true or false. What, then, is the case? Are these true or false? If you say that you are speaking falsely, and that that is true, you are speaking falsely and telling the truth at the same time. This, forsooth, you say is inexplicable; and that is more odious than our language, when we call things uncomprehended, and not perceived.

XXX. However, I will pass over all this. I ask, if those things cannot be explained, and if no means of judging of them is discovered, so that you can answer whether they are true or false, then what has become of that definition,—“That a proposition (effatum) is something which is either true or false?” After the facts are assumed I will add, that of them [pg 068] some are to be adopted, others impeached, because they are contrary to the first. What then do you think of this conclusion,—“If you say that the sun shines, and if you speak truth, therefore the sun does shine?” At all events you approve of the kind of argument, and you say that the conclusion has been most correctly inferred. Therefore, in teaching, you deliver that as the first mood in which to draw conclusions. Either, therefore, you will approve of every other conclusion in the same mood, or that art of yours is good for nothing. Consider, then, whether you are inclined to approve of this conclusion;—“If you say that you are a liar, and speak the truth, then you are a liar. But you do say that you are a liar, and you do speak the truth, therefore you are a liar.” How can you avoid approving of this conclusion, when you approved of the previous one of the same kind?

These are the arguments of Chrysippus, which even he himself did not refute. For what could he do with such a conclusion as this,—“If it shines, it shines: but it does shine, therefore it does shine?” He must give in; for the principle of the connexion compels you to grant the last proposition after you have once granted the first. And in what does this conclusion differ from the other,—“If you lie, you lie; but you do lie, therefore you do lie?” You assert that it is impossible for you either to approve or disapprove of this: if so, how can you any more approve or disapprove of the other? If the art, or the principle, or the method, or the force of the one conclusion avails, they exist in exactly the same degree in both.

This, however, is their last resource. They demand that one should make an exception with regard to these points which are inexplicable. I give my vote for their going to some tribune of the people; for they shall never obtain this exception from me. In truth, when they cannot prevail on Epicurus, who despises and ridicules the whole science of dialectics, to grant this proposition to be true, which we may express thus—“Hermachus will either be alive to-morrow or he will not;” when the dialecticians lay it down that every disjunctive proposition, such as “either yes or no” is not only true but necessary; you may see how cautious he is, whom they think slow. For, says he, if I should grant that [pg 069] one of the two alternatives is necessary, it will then be necessary either that Hermachus should be alive to-morrow, or not. But there is no such necessity in the nature of things. Let the dialecticians then, that is to say, Antiochus and the Stoics, contend with him, for he upsets the whole science of dialectics.

For if a disjunctive proposition made up of contraries, (I call those propositions contraries when one affirms and the other denies,) if, I say, such a disjunctive can be false, then no one is ever true. But what quarrel have they with me who am following their system? When anything of that kind happened, Carneades used to joke in this way:—“If I have drawn my conclusion correctly, I gain the cause: if incorrectly, Diogenes shall pay back a mina;” for he had learnt dialectics of that Stoic, and a mina was the pay of the dialecticians.

I, therefore, follow that system which I learnt from Antiochus; and I find no reason why I should judge “If it does shine, it does shine” to be true, because I have learnt that everything which is connected with itself is true; and yet not judge “If you lie, you lie,” to be connected with itself in the same manner. Either, therefore, I must judge both this and that to be true, or, if I may not judge this to be true, then I cannot judge that to be.

XXXI. However, to pass over all those prickles, and all that tortuous kind of discussion, and to show what we are:—after having explained the whole theory of Carneades, all the quibbles of Antiochus will necessarily fall to pieces. Nor will I say anything in such a way as to lead any one to suspect that anything is invented by me. I will take what I say from Clitomachus, who was with Carneades till his old age, a man of great shrewdness, (indeed, he was a Carthaginian,) and very studious and diligent. And he has written four books on the subject of withholding assent; but what I am going to say is taken out of the first.

Carneades asserts that there are two kinds of appearances; and that the first kind may be divided into those which can be perceived and those which cannot; and the other into those which are probable and those which are not. Therefore, those which are pronounced to be contrary to the senses and contrary to evidentness belong to the former division; [pg 070] but that nothing can be objected to those of the second kind. Wherefore his opinion is, that there is no appearance of such a character that perception will follow it, but many such as to draw after them probability. Indeed, it would be contrary to nature if nothing were probable; and that entire overturning of life, which you were speaking of, Lucullus, would ensue. Therefore there are many things which may be proved by the senses; only one must recollect that there is not in them anything of such a character that there may not also be something which is false, but which in no respect differs from it in appearance; and so, whatever happens which is probable in appearance, if nothing offers itself which is contrary to that probability, the wise man will use it; and in this way the whole course of life will be regulated.

And, in truth, that wise man whom you are bringing on the stage, is often guided by what is probable, not being comprehended, nor perceived, nor assented to, but only likely; and unless a man acts on such circumstances there is an end to the whole system of life. For what must happen? Has the wise man, when he embarks on board ship, a positive comprehension and perception in his mind that he will have a successful voyage? How can he? But suppose he goes from this place to Puteoli, thirty furlongs, in a seaworthy vessel, with a good pilot, and in fine weather like this, it appears probable that he will arrive there safe. According to appearances of this kind, then, he will make up his mind to act or not to act; and he will be more willing to find the snow white than Anaxagoras, who not only denied that fact, but who affirmed, because he knew that water, from which snow was congealed, was of a dark colour, that snow did not even look white. And he will be influenced by anything which affects him in such a way that the appearance is probable, and not interfered with by any obstacle. For such a man is not cut out of stone or hewn out of oak. He has a body, he has a mind, he is influenced by intellect, he is influenced by his senses, so that many things appear to him to be true, and yet not to have conspicuous and peculiar characteristics by which to be perceived. And therefore the wise man does not assent to them, because it is possible that something false may exist of the same kind as this true thing. Nor do we speak against the senses differently from the Stoics, who say that many things [pg 071] are false, and are very different from the appearance which they present to the senses.

XXXII. But if this is the case, that one false idea can be entertained by the senses, you will find some one in a moment who will deny that anything can be perceived by the senses. And so, while we are silent, all perception and comprehension is done away with by the two principles laid down, one by Epicurus and the other by you. What is Epicurus's maxim?—If anything that appears to the senses be false, then nothing can be perceived. What is yours?—The appearances presented to the senses are false.—What is the conclusion? Even if I hold my tongue, it speaks for itself, that nothing can be perceived. I do not grant that, says he, to Epicurus. Argue then with him, as he is wholly at variance with you, but leave me alone, who certainly agree with you so far, that the senses are liable to error. Although nothing appears so strange to me, as that such things should be said, especially by Antiochus, to whom the propositions which I have just mentioned were thoroughly known. For although, if he pleases, any one may find fault with this, namely with our denying that anything can be perceived; at all events it is not a very serious reproof that we can have to endure. But as for our statement that some things are probable, this does not seem to you to be sufficient. Grant that it is not. At least we ought to escape the reproaches which are incessantly bandied about by you, “Can you, then, see nothing? can you hear nothing? is nothing evident to you?”

I explained just now, on the testimony of Clitomachus, in what manner Carneades intended those statements to be taken. Hear now, how the same things are stated by Clitomachus in that book which he dedicated to Caius Lucilius, the poet, after he had written on the same subject to Lucius Censorinus, the one, I mean, who was consul with Marcus Manilius; he then used almost these very words; for I am well acquainted with them, because the first idea and arrangement of those very matters which we are now discussing is contained in that book. He then uses the following language—

“The philosophers of the Academy are of opinion that there are differences between things of such a kind that some appear probable, and others the contrary. But that it is not a sufficient reason for one's saying that some of these can be [pg 072] perceived and that others cannot, because many things which are false are probable; but nothing false can be perceived and known. Therefore, says he, those men are egregiously wrong who say that the Academics deny the existence of the senses; for they have never said that there is no such thing as colour, or taste, or sound; the only point they argue for is, that there is not in them that peculiar characteristic mark of truth and certainty which does not exist anywhere else.”

And after having explained this, he adds, that there are two senses in which the wise man may be said to suspend his assent: one, when it is understood that he, as a general rule, assents to nothing; the other, when he forbears answering, so as to say that he approves or disapproves of anything, or, so as to deny or affirm anything. This being the case, he approves of the one sense, so as never to assent to anything; and adheres to the other, so as to be able to answer yes, or no, following probability whenever it either occurs or is wanting. And that one may not be astonished at one, who in every matter withholds himself from expressing his assent, being nevertheless agitated and excited to action, he leaves us perceptions of the sort by which we are excited to action, and those owing to which we can, when questioned, answer either way, being guided only by appearances, as long as we avoid expressing a deliberate assent. And yet we must look upon all appearances of that kind as probable, but only those which have no obstacles to counteract them. If we do not induce you to approve of these ideas, they may perhaps be false, but they certainly do not deserve odium. For we are not depriving you of any light; but with reference to the things which you assert are perceived and comprehended, we say, that if they be only probable, they appear to be true.

XXXIII. Since, therefore, what is probable, is thus inferred and laid down, and at the same time disencumbered of all difficulties, set free and unrestrained, and disentangled from all extraneous circumstances; you see, Lucullus, that that defence of perspicuity which you took in hand is utterly overthrown. For this wise man of whom I am speaking will survey the heaven and earth and sea with the same eyes as your wise man; and will feel with the same senses all those other things which fall under each respective sense. That sea, which now, as the west wind is rising over it, appears [pg 073] purple to us, will appear so too to our wise man, but nevertheless he will not sanction the appearance by his assent; because, to us ourselves it appeared just now blue, and in the morning it appeared yellow; and now, too, because it sparkles in the sun, it is white and dimpled, and quite unlike the adjacent continent; so that, even if you could give an account why it is so, still you could not establish the truth of the appearance that is presented to the eyes.

Whence then,—for this was the question which you asked,—comes memory, if we perceive nothing, since we cannot recollect anything which we have seen unless we have comprehended it? What? Did Polyænus, who is said to have been a great mathematician, after he had been persuaded by Epicurus to believe all geometry to be false, forget all the knowledge which he had previously possessed? But that which is false cannot be comprehended as you yourselves assert. If, therefore, memory is conversant only with things which have been perceived and comprehended, then it retains as comprehended and perceived all that every one remembers. But nothing false can be comprehended; and Scyron recollects all the dogmas of Epicurus; therefore they are all true. For all I care, they may be; but you also must either admit that they are so, and that is the last thing in your thoughts, or else you must allow me memory, and grant that there is plenty of room for it, even if there be no comprehension or perception.

What then is to become of the arts? Of what arts? of those, which of their own accord confess that they proceed on conjecture more than on knowledge; or of those which only follow what appears to them, and are destitute of that art which you possess to enable them to distinguish between truth and falsehood?

But there are two lights which, more than any others, contain the whole case; for, in the first place, you deny the possibility of any man invariably withholding his assent from everything. But that is quite plain; since Panætius, almost the greatest man, in my opinion, of all the Stoics, says that he is in doubt as to that matter, which all the Stoics except him think absolutely certain, namely as to the truth of the auspices taken by soothsayers, and of oracles, and dreams, and prophecies; and forbears to express any assent respecting [pg 074] them. And why, if he may pursue this course concerning those matters, which the men of whom he himself learnt considered unquestionable, why may not a wise man do so too in all other cases? Is there any position which a man may either approve or disapprove of after it has been asserted, but yet may not doubt about? May you do so with respect to the sorites whenever you please, and may not he take his stand in the same manner in other cases, especially when without expressing his assent he may be able to follow a probability which is not embarrassed by anything?

The second point is that you declare that man incapable of action who withholds his assent from everything. For first of all we must see in what assent consists. For the Stoics say that the senses themselves are assents; that desire comes after them, and action after desire. But that every thing is at an end if we deny perception.

XXXIV. Now on this subject many things have been said and written on both sides, but the whole matter may be summed up in a few words. For although I think it a very great exploit to resist one's perceptions, to withstand one's vague opinions, to check one's propensity to give assent to propositions,—and though I quite agree with Clitomachus, when he writes that Carneades achieved a Herculean labour when, as if it had been a savage and formidable monster, he extracted assent, that is to say, vague opinion and rashness, from our minds,—yet, supposing that part of the defence is wholly omitted, what will hinder the action of that man who follows probability, without any obstacle arising to embarrass him? This thing of itself, says he, will embarrass him,—that he will lay it down, that even the thing he approves of cannot be perceived. And that will hinder you, also, in sailing, in planting, in marrying a wife, in becoming the parent of children, and in many things in which you follow nothing except what is probable.

And, nevertheless, you bring up again that old and often repudiated objection, to employ it not as Antipater did, but, as you say, in a closer manner. For you tell us that Antipater was blamed for saying, that it was consistent in a man who affirmed that nothing could be comprehended, to say that at least this fact of that impossibility could be comprehended; which appeared even to Antiochus to be a stupid kind of [pg 075] assertion, and contradictory to itself. For that it cannot be said with any consistency that nothing can be comprehended, if it is asserted at the same time that the fact of the impossibility can be comprehended. He thinks that Carneades ought rather to be pressed in this way:—As the wise man admits of no dogma except such as is comprehended, perceived, and known, he must therefore confess that this very dogma of the wise man, “that nothing can be perceived,” is perceived; as if the wise man had no other maxim whatever, and as if he could pass his life without any. But as he has others, which are probable, but not positively perceived, so also has he this one, that nothing can be perceived. For if he had on this point any characteristic of certain knowledge, he would also have it on all other points; but since he has it not, he employs probabilities. Therefore he is not afraid of appearing to be throwing everything into confusion, and making it uncertain. For it is not admissible for a person to say that he is ignorant about duty, and about many other things with which he is constantly mixed up and conversant; as he might say, if he were asked whether the number of the stars is odd or even. For in things uncertain, nothing is probable; but as to those matters in which there is probability, in those the wise man will not be at a loss what to do, or what answer to give.

Nor have you, O Lucullus, omitted that other objection of Antiochus (and, indeed, it is no wonder, for it is a very notorious one,) by which he used to say that Philo was above all things perplexed. For when one proposition was assumed, that some appearances were false, and a second one that there was no difference between them and true ones, he said that that school omitted to take notice that the former proposition had been granted by him, because there did appear to be some difference between appearances; but that that was put an end to by the second proposition, which asserted that there was no difference between false and true ones; for that no two assertions could be more contradictory. And this objection would be correct if we altogether put truth out of the question: but we do not; for we see both true appearances and false ones. But there is a show of probability in them, though of perception we have no sign whatever.

XXXV. And I seem to myself to be at this moment adopting too meagre an argument; for, when there is a wide plain, in which our discourse may rove at liberty, why should we [pg 076] confine it within such narrow straits, and drive it into the thickets of the Stoics? For if I were arguing with a Peripatetic, who said “that everything could be perceived which was an impression originating in the truth,” and who did not employ that additional clause,—“in such a way as it could not originate in what was false,” I should then deal plainly with a plain man, and should not be very disputatious. And even if, when I said that nothing could be comprehended, he was to say that a wise man was sometimes guided by opinion, I should not contradict him; especially as even Carneades is not very hostile to this idea. As it is, what can I do? For I am asking what there is that can be comprehended; and I am answered, not by Aristotle, or Theophrastus, or even Xenocrates or Polemo, but by one who is of much later date than they,—“A truth of such a nature as what is false cannot be.” I find nothing of the sort. Therefore I will, in truth, assent to what is unknown;—that is to say, I will be guided by opinion. This I am allowed to do both by the Peripatetics and by the Old Academy; but you refuse me such indulgence, and in this refusal Antiochus is the foremost, who has great weight with me, either because I loved the man, as he did me, or because I consider him the most refined and acute of all the philosophers of our age.

And, first of all, I will ask him how it is that he is a follower of that Academy to which he professes to belong? For, to pass over other points, who is there, either of the Old Academy or of the Peripatetics, who has ever made these two assertions which are the subject of discussion,—either that that alone could be perceived which was a truth of such a nature, as what was false could not be; or that a wise man was never guided by opinion? Certainly no one of them ever said so. Neither of these propositions was much maintained before Zeno's time. But I consider both of them true; and I do not say so just to serve the present turn, but it is my honest opinion.

XXXVI. This is what I cannot bear. When you forbid me to assent to what I do not know, and say such a proceeding is most discreditable, and full of rashness,—when you, at the same time, arrogate so much to yourself, as to take upon yourself to explain the whole system of wisdom, to unfold the nature of all things, to form men's manners, to fix the limits of good and evil, to describe men's duties, and also to undertake [pg 077] to teach a complete rule and system of disputing and understanding, will you be able to prevent me from never tripping while embracing all those multitudinous branches of knowledge? What, in short, is that school to which you would conduct me, after you have carried me away from this one? I fear you will be acting rather arrogantly if you say it is your own. Still you must inevitably say so. Nor, indeed, are you the only person who would say such a thing, but every one will try and tempt me to his own. Come; suppose I resist the Peripatetics, who say that they are closely connected with the orators, and that illustrious men who have been instructed by them have often governed the republic;—suppose that I withstand the Epicureans, so many of whom are friends of my own,—excellent, united, and affectionate men;—what am I to do with respect to Deodotus the Stoic, of whom I have been a pupil from my youth,—who has been living with me so many years,—who dwells in my house,—whom I admire and love, and who despises all those theories of Antiochus? Our principles, you will say, are the only true ones. Certainly the only true ones, if they are true at all; for there cannot be many true principles incompatible with one another. Are we then shameless who are unwilling to make mistakes; or they arrogant who have persuaded themselves that they are the only people who know everything? I do not, says he, assert that I, but that the wise man knows everything. Exactly so; that he knows those things which are the principles of your school. Now, in the first place, what an assertion it is that wisdom cannot be explained by a wise man.—But let us leave off speaking of ourselves; let us speak of the wise man, about whom, as I have often said before, the whole of this discussion is.

Wisdom, then, is distributed by most people, and indeed by us, into three parts. First therefore, if you please, let us consider the researches that have been made into the nature of things. Is there any one so puffed up with a false opinion of himself as to have persuaded himself that he knows those things? I am not asking about those reasons which depend on conjecture, which are dragged every way by discussions, and which do not admit any necessity of persuasion. Let the geometricians look to that, who profess not to persuade men to believe them, but to compel them to do so; and who prove to you everything that they describe. I am not asking these [pg 078] men for those principles of the mathematicians, which, if they be not granted, they cannot advance a single step; such as that a point is a thing which has no magnitude,—that an extremity or levelness, as it were, is a space which has no thickness,—that a line is length without breadth. Though I should grant that all these axioms are true, if I were to add an oath, do you think a wise man would swear that the sun is many degrees greater than the earth, before Archimedes had, before his eyes, made out all those calculations by which it is proved? If he does, then he will be despising the sun which he considers a god. But if he will not believe the mathematical calculations which employ a sort of constraint in teaching,—as you yourselves say,—surely he will be very far from believing the arguments of philosophers; or, if he does believe any such, which school will he believe? One may explain all the principles of natural philosophers, but it would take a long time: I ask, however, whom he will follow? Suppose for a moment that some one is now being made a wise man, but is not one yet,—what system and what school shall he select above all others? For, whatever one he selects, he will select while he is still unwise. But grant that he is a man of godlike genius, which of all the natural philosophers will he approve of above all others? For he cannot approve of more than one. I will not pursue an infinite number of questions; only let us see whom he will approve of with respect to the elements of things of which all things are composed; for there is a great disagreement among the greatest men on this subject.

XXXVII. First of all, Thales, one of the seven, to whom they say that the other six yielded the preeminence, said that everything originated out of water; but he failed to convince Anaximander, his countryman and companion, of this theory; for his idea was that there was an infinity of nature from which all things were produced. After him, his pupil, Anaximenes, said that the air was infinite, but that the things which were generated from it were finite; and that the earth, and water, and fire, were generated, and that from them was produced everything else. Anaxagoras said that matter was infinite; but that from it were produced minute particles resembling one another; that at first they were confused, but afterwards brought into order by divine intellect. Xenophanes, who was a little more ancient still, asserted that [pg 079] all things were only one single being, and that that being was immutable and a god, not born, but everlasting, of a globular form. Parmenides considered that it is fire that moves the earth, which is formed out of it. Leucippus thought that there was a plenum, and a vacuum; Democritus resembled him in this idea, but was more copious on other matters: Empedocles adopts the theory of the four ordinary and commonly known elements. Heraclitus refers everything to fire; Melissus thinks that what exists is infinite, immutable, always has existed, and always will. Plato thinks that the world was made by God, so as to be eternal, out of matter which collects everything to itself. The Pythagoreans affirm that everything proceeds from numbers, and from the principles of mathematicians.

Now of all these different teachers the wise man will, I imagine, select some one to follow; all the rest, numerous, and great men as they are, will be discarded by him and condemned; but whichever doctrine he approves of he will retain in his mind, being comprehended in the same manner as those things which he comprehends by means of the senses; nor will he feel any greater certainty of the fact of its now being day, than, since he is a Stoic, of this world being wise, being endowed with intellect, which has made both itself and the world, and which regulates, sets in motion, and governs everything. He will also be persuaded that the sun, and moon, and all the stars, and the earth, and sea, are gods, because a certain animal intelligence pervades and passes through them all: but nevertheless that it will happen some day or other that all this world will be burnt up with fire.

XXXVIII. Suppose that all this is true: (for you see already that I admit that something is true,) still I deny that these things are comprehended and perceived. For when that wise Stoic of yours has repeated all that to you, syllable by syllable, Aristotle will come forward pouring forth a golden stream of eloquence, and pronounce him a fool; and assert that the world has never had a beginning, because there never existed any beginning of so admirable a work from the adoption of a new plan: and that the world is so excellently made in every part that no power could be great enough to cause such motion, and such changes; nor could any time whatever be long enough to produce an old age capable of causing all this beauty to decay and perish. It will be indispensable for [pg 080] you to deny this, and to defend the former doctrine as you would your own life and reputation; may I not have even leave to entertain a doubt on the matter? To say nothing about the folly of people who assent to propositions rashly, what value am I to set upon a liberty which will not allow to me what is necessary for you? Why did God, when he was making everything for the sake of man, (for this is your doctrine,) make such a multitude of water-serpents and vipers? Why did he scatter so many pernicious and fatal things over the earth? You assert that all this universe could not have been made so beautifully and so ingeniously without some godlike wisdom; the majesty of which you trace down even to the perfection of bees and ants; so that it would seem that there must have been a Myrmecides12 among the gods; the maker of all animated things.

You say that nothing can have any power without God. Exactly opposite is the doctrine of Strato of Lampsacus, who gives that God of his exemption from all important business. But as the priests of the gods have a holiday, how much more reasonable is it that the gods should have one themselves? He then asserts that he has no need of the aid of the gods to account for the making of the world. Everything that exists, he says, was made by Nature: not agreeing with that other philosopher who teaches, that the universe is a concrete mass of rough and smooth, and hooked and crooked bodies, with the addition of a vacuum: this he calls a dream of Democritus, and says that he is here not teaching, but wishing;—but he himself, examining each separate part of the world, teaches that whatever exists, and whatever is done, is caused, or has been caused, by natural weights and motions. In this way he releases God from a great deal of hard work, and me from fear; for who is there who, (when he thinks that he is an object of divine care,) does not feel an awe of the divine power day and night? And who, whenever any misfortunes happen to him (and what man is there to whom none happen?) feels a dread lest they may have befallen him deservedly—not, indeed, that I agree with that; but neither do I with you: at one time I think one doctrine more probable, and at other times I incline to the other.

XXXIX. All these mysteries, O Lucullus, lie concealed and enveloped in darkness so thick that no human ingenuity [pg 081] has a sight sufficiently piercing to penetrate into heaven, and dive into the earth. We do not understand our own bodies: we do not know what is the situation of their different parts, or what power each part has: therefore, the physicians themselves, whose business it was to understand these things, have opened bodies in order to lay those parts open to view. And yet empirics say that they are not the better known for that; because it is possible that, by being laid open and uncovered, they may be changed. But is it possible for us, in the same manner, to anatomize, and open, and dissect the natures of things, so as to see whether the earth is firmly fixed on its foundations and sticks firm on its roots, if I may so say, or whether it hangs in the middle of a vacuum? Xenophanes says that the moon is inhabited, and that it is a country of many cities and mountains. These assertions seem strange, but the man who has made them could not take his oath that such is the case; nor could I take mine that it is not the case. You also say that, opposite to us, on the contrary side of the earth, there are people who stand with their feet opposite to our feet, and you call them Antipodes. Why are you more angry with me, who do not despise these theories, than with those who, when they hear them, think that you are beside yourselves?

Hiretas of Syracuse, as Theophrastus tells us, thinks that the sun, and moon, and stars, and all the heavenly bodies, in short, stand still; and that nothing in the world moves except the earth; and, as that turns and revolves on its own axis with the greatest rapidity, he thinks that everything is made to appear by it as if it were the heaven which is moved while the earth stands still. And, indeed, some people think that Plato, in the Timæus, asserts this, only rather obscurely. What is your opinion, Epicurus? Speak. Do you think that the sun is so small?—Do I? Do you yourselves think it so large? But all of you are ridiculed by him, and you in your turn mock him. Socrates, then, is free from this ridicule, and so is Ariston of Chios, who thinks that none of these matters can be known.

But I return to the mind and body. Is it sufficiently known by us what is the nature of the sinews and of the veins? Do we comprehend what the mind is?—where it is?—or, in short, whether it exists at all, or whether, as Dicæarchus [pg 082] thinks, there is no such thing whatever? If there is such a thing, do we know whether it has three divisions, as Plato thought; those of reason, anger, and desire?—or whether it is single and uniform? If it is single and uniform, do we know whether it is fire, or breath, or blood?—or, as Xenocrates says, number without a body?—though, what sort of thing that is, is not very easy to understand. And whatever it is, do we know whether it is mortal or eternal? For many arguments are alleged on both sides.

XL. Some of these theories seem certain to your wise man: but ours does not even see what is most probable; so nearly equal in weight are the opposite arguments in most cases. If you proceed more modestly, and reproach me, not because I do not assent to your reasoning, but because I do not assent to any, I will not resist any further: but I will select some one with whom I may agree. Whom shall I choose?—whom? Democritus? for, as you know, I have always been a favourer of noble birth. I shall be at once overwhelmed with the reproaches of your whole body. Can you think, they will say to me, that there is any vacuum, when everything is so filled and close packed that whenever any body leaves its place and moves, the place which it leaves is immediately occupied by some other body? Or can you believe that there are any atoms to which whatever is made by their combination is entirely unlike? or that any excellent thing can be made without intellect? And, since this admirable beauty is found in one world, do you think that there are also innumerable other worlds, above, below, on the right hand and on the left, before, and behind, some unlike this one, and some of the same kind? And, as we are now at Bauli, and are beholding Puteoli, do you think that there are in other places like these a countless host of men, of the same names and rank, and exploits, and talents, and appearances, and ages, arguing on the same subjects? And if at this moment, or when we are asleep, we seem to see anything in our mind, do you think that those images enter from without, penetrating into our minds through our bodies? You can never adopt such ideas as these, or give your assent to such preposterous notions. It is better to have no ideas at all than to have such erroneous ones as these.

Your object, then, is not to make me sanction anything by [pg 083] my assent. If it were, consider whether it would not be an impudent, not to say an arrogant demand, especially as these principles of yours do not seem to me to be even probable. For I do not believe that there is any such thing as divination, which you assent to; and I also despise fate, by which you say that everything is regulated. I do not even believe that this world was formed by divine wisdom; or, I should rather say, I do not know whether it was so formed or not.

XLI. But why should you seek to disparage me? May I not confess that I do not understand what I really do not? Or may the Stoics argue with one other, and may I not argue with them? Zeno, and nearly all the rest of the Stoics, consider Æther as the Supreme God, being endued with reason, by which everything is governed. Cleanthes, who we may call a Stoic, Majorum Gentium, the pupil of Zeno, thinks that the Sun has the supreme rule over and government of everything. We are compelled, therefore, by the dissensions of these wise men, to be ignorant of our own ruler, inasmuch as we do not know whether we are subjects of the Sun or of Æther. But the great size of the sun, (for this present radiance of his appears to be looking at me,) warns me to make frequent mention of him. Now you all speak of his magnitude as if you had measured it with a ten-foot rule, (though I refuse credit to your measurement, looking on you as but bad architects.) Is there then any room for doubt, which of us, to speak as gently as possible, is the more modest of the two? Not, however, that I think those questions of the natural philosophers deserving of being utterly banished from our consideration; for the consideration and contemplation of nature is a sort of natural food, if I may say so, for our minds and talents. We are elevated by it, we seem to be raised above the earth, we look down on human affairs; and by fixing our thoughts on high and heavenly things we despise the affairs of this life, as small and inconsiderable. The mere investigation of things of the greatest importance, which are at the same time very secret, has a certain pleasure in it. And when anything meets us which appears likely, our minds are filled with pleasure thoroughly worthy of a man. Both your wise man and ours, then, will inquire into these things; but yours will do so in order to assent, to feel belief, [pg 084] to express affirmation; ours, with such feelings that he will fear to yield rashly to opinion, and will think that he has succeeded admirably if in matters of this kind he has found out anything which is likely.

Let us now come to the question of the knowledge of good and evil. But we must say a few words by way of preface. It appears to me that they who speak so positively about those questions of natural philosophy, do not reflect that they are depriving themselves of the authority of those ideas which appear more clear. For they cannot give a clearer assent to, or a more positive approval of the fact that it is now daylight, than they do, when the crow croaks, to the idea that it is commanding or prohibiting something. Nor will they affirm that that statue is six feet high more positively after they have measured it, than that the sun, which they cannot measure, is more than eighteen times as large as the earth. From which this conclusion arises: if it cannot be perceived how large the sun is, he who assents to other things in the same manner as he does to the magnitude of the sun, does not perceive them. But the magnitude of the sun cannot be perceived. He, then, who assents to a statement about it, as if he perceived it, perceives nothing. Suppose they were to reply that it is possible to perceive how large the sun is; I will not object as long as they admit that other things too can be perceived and comprehended in the same manner. For they cannot affirm that one thing can be comprehended more or less than another, since there is only one definition of the comprehension of everything.

XLII. However, to go back to what I had begun to say—What have we in good and bad certainly ascertained? (we must, of course, fix boundaries to which the sum of good and evil is to be referred;) what subject, in fact, is there about which there is a greater disagreement between the most learned men? I say nothing about those points which seem now to be abandoned; or about Herillus, who places the chief good in knowledge and science: and though he had been a pupil of Zeno, you see how far he disagrees with him, and how very little he differs from Plato. The school of the Megaric philosophers was a very celebrated one; and its chief, as I see it stated in books, was Xenophanes, whom I mentioned just now. After him came Parmenides and Zeno; and from them [pg 085] the Eleatic philosophers get their name. Afterwards came Euclid of Megara, a pupil of Socrates, from whom that school got the name of Megaric. And they defined that as the only good which was always one, alike, and identical. They also borrowed a great deal from Plato. But the Eretrian philosophers, who were so called from Menedumus, because he was a native of Eretria, placed all good in the mind, and in that acuteness of the mind by which the truth is discerned. The Megarians say very nearly the same, only that they, I think, develop their theory with more elegance and richness of illustration. If we now despise these men, and think them worthless, at all events we ought to show more respect for Ariston, who, having been a pupil of Zeno, adopted in reality the principles which he had asserted in words; namely, that there was nothing good except virtue, and nothing evil except what was contrary to virtue; and who denied altogether the existence of those influences which Zeno contended for as being intermediate, and neither good nor evil. His idea of the chief good, is being affected in neither direction by these circumstances; and this state of mind he calls ἀδιαφορία; but Pyrrho asserts that the wise man does not even feel them; and that state is called ἀπάθεια.

To say nothing, then, of all these opinions, let us now examine those others which have been long and vigorously maintained. Some have accounted pleasure the chief good; the chief of whom was Aristippus, who had been a pupil of Socrates, and from whom the Cyrenaic school spring. After him came Epicurus, whose school is now better known, though he does not exactly agree with the Cyrenaics about pleasure itself. But Callipho thought that pleasure and honour combined made up the chief good. Hieronymus placed it in being free from all annoyance; Diodorus in this state when combined with honour. Both these last men were Peripatetics. To live honourably, enjoying those things which nature makes most dear to man, was the definition both of the Old Academy, (as we may learn from the writings of Polemo, who is highly approved of by Antiochus,) and of Aristotle, and it is the one to which his friends appear now to come nearest. Carneades also introduced a definition, (not because he approved of it himself, but for the sake of opposition to the Stoics,) that the chief good is to enjoy those [pg 086] things which nature has made man consider as most desirable. But Zeno laid it down that that honourableness which arises from conformity to nature is the chief good. And Zeno was the founder and chief of the Stoic school.

XLIII. This now is plain enough, that all these chief goods which I have mentioned have a chief evil corresponding to them, which is their exact opposite. I now put it to you, whom shall I follow? only do not let any one make me so ignorant and absurd a reply as, Any one, provided only that you follow some one or other. Nothing more inconsiderate can be said: I wish to follow the Stoics. Will Antiochus, (I do not say Aristotle, a man almost, in my opinion, unrivalled as a philosopher, but will Antiochus) give me leave? And he was called an Academic; but he would have been, with very little alteration, something very like a Stoic. The matter shall now be brought to a decision. For we must either give the wise man to the Stoics or to the Old Academy. He cannot belong to both; for the contention between them is not one about boundaries, but about the whole territory. For the whole system of life depends on the definition of the chief good; and those who differ on that point, differ about the whole system of life. It is impossible, therefore, that those of both these schools should be wise, since they differ so much from one another: but one of them only can be so. If it be the disciple of Polemo, then the Stoic is wrong, who assents to an error: and you say that nothing is so incompatible with the character of a wise man as that. But if the principles of Zeno be true, then we must say the same of the Old Academics and of the Peripatetics; and as I do not know which is the more wise of the two, I give my assent to neither. What? when Antiochus in some points disagrees with the Stoics whom he is so fond of, does he not show that these principles cannot be approved of by a wise man?

The Stoics assert that all offences are equal: but Antiochus energetically resists this doctrine. At least, let me consider before I decide which opinion I will embrace. Cut the matter short, says he, do at last decide on something. What? The reasons which are given appear to me to be both shrewd and nearly equal: may I not then be on my guard against committing a crime? for you called it a crime, Lucullus, to violate a principle; I, therefore, restrain myself, lest I should [pg 087] assent to what I do not understand; and this principle I have in common with you.

Here, however, is a much greater difference.—Zeno thinks that a happy life depends on virtue alone. What says Antiochus? He admits that this is true of a happy life, but not of the happiest possible life. The first is a god, who thinks that nothing can be wanting to virtue; the latter is a miserable man, who thinks that there are many things besides virtue, some of which are dear to a man, and some even necessary. But I am afraid that the former may be attributing to virtue more than nature can bear; especially since Theophrastus has said many things with eloquence and copiousness on this subject; and I fear that even he may not be quite consistent with himself. For though he admits that there are some evils both of body and fortune, he nevertheless thinks that a man may be happy who is afflicted by them all, provided he is wise. I am perplexed here; at one time the one opinion appears to me to be more probable, and at another time the other does. And yet, unless one or the other be true, I think virtue must be entirely trampled under foot.

XLIV. However, they differ as to this principle. What then? Can we approve, as true, of those maxims on which they agree; namely, that the mind of the wise man is never influenced by either desire or joy? Come, suppose this opinion is a probable one, is this other one so too; namely, that it never feels either alarm or grief? Cannot the wise fear? And if his country be destroyed, cannot he grieve? That seems harsh, but Zeno thinks it inevitable; for he considers nothing good except what is honourable. But you do not think it true in the least, Antiochus. For you admit that there are many good things besides honour, and many evils besides baseness; and it is inevitable that the wise man must fear such when coming, and grieve when they have come. But I ask when it was decided by the Old Academy that they were to deny that the mind of the wise man could be agitated or disturbed? They approved of intermediate states, and asserted that there was a kind of natural mean in every agitation. We have all read the treatise on Grief, by Crantor, a disciple of the Old Academy. It is not large, but it is a golden book, and one, as Panætius tells Tubero, worth learning by [pg 088] heart. And these men used to say that those agitations were very profitably given to our minds by nature; fear, in order that we may take care; pity and melancholy they called the whetstone of our clemency; and anger itself that of our courage. Whether they were right or wrong we may consider another time. How it was that those stern doctrines of yours forced their way into the Old Academy I do not know, but I cannot bear them; not because they have anything in them particularly disagreeable to me; for many of the marvellous doctrines of the Stoics, which men call παράδοξα, are derived from Socrates. But where has Xenocrates or where has Aristotle touched these points? For you try to make out the Stoics to be the same as these men. Would they ever say that wise men were the only kings, the only rich, the only handsome men? that everything everywhere belonged to the wise man? that no one was a consul, or prætor, or general, or even, for aught I know, a quinquevir, but the wise man? lastly, that he was the only citizen, the only free man? and that all who are destitute of wisdom are foreigners, exiles, slaves, or madmen? last of all, that the writings of Lycurgus and Solon and our Twelve Tables are not laws? that there are even no cities or states except those which are peopled by wise men? Now these maxims, O Lucullus, if you agree with Antiochus, your own friend, must be defended by you as zealously as the bulwarks of your city; but I am only bound to uphold them with moderation, just as much as I think fit.

XLV. I have read in Clitomachus, that when Carneades and Diogenes the Stoic were standing in the capitol before the senate, Aulus Albonus (who was prætor at the time, in the consulship of Publius Scipio and Marcus Marcellus, the same Albonus who was consul, Lucullus, with your own grandfather, a learned man, as his own history shows, which is written in Greek) said jestingly to Carneades—“I do not, O Carneades, seem to you to be prætor because I am not wise, nor does this seem to be a city, nor do the inhabitants seem to be citizens, for the same reason.” And he answered—“That is the Stoic doctrine.” Aristotle or Xenocrates, whom Antiochus wished to follow, would have had no doubt that he was prætor, and Rome a city, and that it was inhabited by citizens. But our friend is, as I said before, a manifest Stoic, though he talks a little nonsense.

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But you are all afraid for me, lest I should descend to opinions, and adopt and approve of something that I do not understand; which you would be very sorry for me to do. What advice do you give me? Chrysippus often testifies that there are three opinions only about the chief good which can be defended; he cuts off and discards all the rest. He says that either honour is the chief good, or pleasure, or both combined. For that those who say that the chief good is to be free from all annoyance, shun the unpopular name of pleasure, but hover about its neighbourhood. And those also do the same who combine that freedom from annoyance with honour. And those do not much differ from them who unite to honour the chief advantages of nature. So he leaves three opinions which he thinks may be maintained by probable arguments.

Be it so. Although I am not easily to be moved from the definition of Polemo and the Peripatetics, and Antiochus, nor have I anything more probable to bring forward. Still, I see how sweetly pleasure allures our senses. I am inclined to agree with Epicurus or Aristippus. But virtue recalls me, or rather leads me back with her hand; says that these are the feelings of cattle, and that man is akin to the Deity. I may take a middle course; so that, since Aristippus, as if we had no mind, defends nothing but the body, and Zeno espouses the cause of the mind alone, as if we were destitute of body, I may follow Callipho, whose opinion Carneades used to defend with such zeal, that he appeared wholly to approve of it; although Clitomachus affirmed that he never could understand what Carneades approved of. But if I were to choose to follow him, would not truth itself, and all sound and proper reason, oppose me? Will you, when honour consists in despising pleasure, unite honour to pleasure, joining, as it were, a man to a beast?

XLVI. There is now, then, only one pair of combatants left—pleasure and honour; between which Chrysippus, as far as I can see, was not long in perplexity how to decide. If you follow the one, many things are overthrown, especially the fellowship of the human race, affection, friendship, justice, and all other virtues, none of which can exist at all without disinterestedness: for the virtue which is impelled to action by pleasure, as by a sort of wages, is not really virtue, but only a deceitful imitation and pretence of virtue. Listen, on [pg 090] the contrary, to those men who say that they do not even understand the name of honour, unless we call that honourable which is accounted reputable by the multitude; that the source of all good is in the body; that this is the law, and rule, and command of nature; and that he who departs from it will never have any object in life to follow. Do you think, then, that I am not moved when I hear these and innumerable other statements of the same kind? I am moved as much as you are, Lucullus; and you need not think me less a man than yourself. The only difference is that you, when you are agitated, acquiesce, assent, and approve; you consider the impression which you have received true, certain, comprehended, perceived, established, firm, and unalterable; and you cannot be moved or driven from it by any means whatever. I think that there is nothing of such a kind that, if I assent to it, I shall not often be assenting to what is false; since there is no distinct line of demarcation between what is true and what is false, especially as the science of dialectics has no power of judging on this subject.

I come now to the third part of philosophy. There is an idea advanced by Protagoras, who thinks that that is true to each individual which seems so to him; and a completely different one put forward by the Cyrenaics, who think that there is no such thing as certain judgment about anything except the inner feelings: and a third, different from either, maintained by Epicurus, who places all judgment in the senses, and in our notions of things, and in pleasure. But Plato considered that the whole judgment of truth, and that truth itself, being abstracted from opinions and from the senses, belonged to the province of thought and of the intellect. Does our friend Antiochus approve of any of these principles? He does not even approve of those who may be called his own ancestors in philosophy: for where does he follow Xenocrates, who has written a great many books on the method of speaking, which are highly esteemed?—or Aristotle himself, than whom there is no more acute or elegant writer? He never goes one step without Chrysippus.

XLVII. Do we then, who are called Academics, misuse the glory of this name? or why are we to be compelled to follow those men who differ from one another? In this very thing, which the dialecticians teach among the elements of their art, [pg 091] how one ought to judge whether an argument be true or false which is connected in this manner, “If it is day, it shines,” how great a contest there is;—Diodorus has one opinion, Philo another, Chrysippus a third. Need I say more? In how many points does Chrysippus himself differ from Cleanthes, his own teacher? Again, do not two of the very princes of the dialecticians, Antipater and Archidemus, men most devoted to hypothesis, disagree in numbers of things? Why then, Lucullus, do you seek to bring me into odium, and drag me, as it were, before the assembly? And why, as seditious tribunes often do, do you order all the shops to be shut? For what is your object when you complain that all trades are being suppressed by us, if it be not to excite the artisans? But, if they all come together from all quarters, they will be easily excited against you; for, first of all, I will cite all those unpopular expressions of yours when you called all those, who will then be in the assembly, exiles, and slaves, and madmen: and then I will come to those arguments which touch not the multitude, but you yourselves who are here present. For Zeno and Antiochus both deny that any of you know anything. How so? you will say; for we allege, on the other hand, that even a man without wisdom comprehends many things. But you affirm that no one except a wise man knows one single thing. And Zeno professed to illustrate this by a piece of action; for when he stretched out his fingers, and showed the palm of his hand, “Perception,” said he, “is a thing like this.” Then, when he had a little closed his fingers, “Assent is like this.” Afterwards, when he had completely closed his hand, and held forth his fist, that, he said, was comprehension. From which simile he also gave that state a name which it had not before, and called it κατάληψις. But when he brought his left hand against his right, and with it took a firm and tight hold of his fist, knowledge, he said, was of that character; and that was what none but a wise man possessed. But even those who are themselves wise men do not venture to say so, nor any one who has ever lived and been a wise man. According to that theory, you, Catulus, do not know that it is daylight; and you, Hortensius, are ignorant that we are now in your villa.

Now, are these arguments less formidable than yours? They are not, perhaps, very refined; and those others show [pg 092] more acuteness. But, just as you said, that if nothing could be comprehended, all the arts were destroyed at once, and would not grant that mere probability was a sufficient foundation for art; so I now reply to you, that art cannot exist without knowledge. Would Zeuxis, or Phidias, or Polycletus allow that they knew nothing, when they were men of such marvellous skill? But if any one had explained to them how much power knowledge was said to have, they would cease to be angry; they would not even be offended with us, when they had learnt that we were only putting an end to what did not exist anywhere; but that we left them what was quite sufficient for them.

And this doctrine is confirmed also by the diligence of our ancestors, who ordained, in the first place, that every one should swear “according to the opinion of his own mind;” secondly, that he should be accounted guilty “if he knowingly swore falsely,” because there was a great deal of ignorance in life; thirdly, that the man who was giving his evidence should say that “he thought,” even in a case where he was speaking of what he had actually seen himself. And that when the judges were giving their decision on their evidence, they should say, not that such and such a thing had been done, but that such and such a thing appeared to them.

XLVIII. But since the sailor is making signals, and the west wind is showing us too, by its murmur, that it is time for us, Lucullus, to set sail, and since I have already said a great deal, I must now conclude. But hereafter, when we inquire into these subjects, we will discuss the great disagreements between the most eminent on the subject of the obscurity of nature, and the errors of so many philosophers who differ from one another about good and evil so widely, that, as more than one of their theories cannot be true, it is inevitable that many illustrious schools must fall to the ground, rather than the theories about the false impressions of the eyes and the other senses, and sorites, or false syllogism,—rods which the Stoics have made to beat themselves with.

Then Lucullus replied, I am not at all sorry that we have had this discussion; for often, when we meet again, especially in our Tusculan villas, we can examine other questions which seem worth investigation. Certainly, said I; but what does [pg 093] Catulus think? and Hortensius? I? said Catulus. I return to my father's opinion, which he used to say was derived from Carneades, and think that nothing can be perceived; but still I imagine that a wise man will assent to what is not actually perceived—that is to say, will form opinions: being, however, aware at the same time that they are only opinions, and knowing that there is nothing which can be comprehended and perceived. And, practising that ἐποχὴ so as to take probability for a guide in all things, I altogether assent to that other doctrine, that nothing can be perceived. I see your meaning, said I; and I do not very much object to it. But what is your opinion, Hortensius? He laughed, and said, I suspend my judgment. I understand, said I; for that is the peculiar principle of the Academy.

So, after we had finished our discourse, Catulus remained behind, and we went down to the shore to embark in our vessels.

A Treatise On The Chief Good And Evil.


The following treatise was composed by Cicero a little before the publication of his Tusculan Disputations. It consists of a series of Dialogues, in which the opinions of the different schools of Greek philosophy, especially the Epicureans, Stoics, and Peripatetics, on the Supreme Good, as the proper object or end (finis) of our thoughts and actions, are investigated and compared. It is usually reckoned one of the most highly finished and valuable of his philosophical works; though from the abstruse nature of some of the topics dwelt upon, and the subtlety of some of the arguments adduced, it is unquestionably the most difficult.

He gives an account himself of the work and of his design and plan in the following terms. (Epist. ad Att. xiii. 19.) “What I have lately written is in the manner of Aristotle, where the conversation is so managed that he himself has the principal part. I have finished the five books De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, so as to give the Epicurean doctrine [pg 094] to Lucius Torquatus, the Stoic to Marcus Cato, and the Peripatetic to Marcus Cato. For I considered that their being dead would preclude all jealousy.” He does not, however, maintain the unity of scene or character throughout the five books. In the first book he relates a discussion which is represented as having taken place in his villa near Cumæ, in the presence of Caius Valerius Triarius, between himself and Lucius Manlius Torquatus, who is spoken of as being just about to enter his office as prætor, a circumstance which fixes the date of this imaginary discussion to b.c. 50, a time agreeing with the allusion (B. ii. 18,) to the great power of Pompey. In the first book he attacks the doctrines of the Epicurean school, and Torquatus defends them, alleging that they had been generally misunderstood; and in the second book Cicero enumerates the chief arguments with which the Stoics assailed them.

In the third book the scene is laid in the library of Lucullus, where Cicero had accidentally met Cato; and from conversing on the books by which they were surrounded they proceeded to discuss the difference between the ethics of the Stoics, and those of the Old Academy and the Peripatetics; Cicero insisting that the disagreement was merely verbal and not real, and that Zeno was wrong in leaving Plato and Aristotle and establishing a new school; but Cato asserts, on the other hand, that the difference is a real one, and that the views held by the Stoics of the Supreme Good are of a much loftier and purer character than those which had been previously entertained. In the fourth book Cicero gives us the arguments with which the philosophers of the New Academy assailed the Stoics. And this conversation is supposed to have been held two years before that in the first book: for at the beginning of Book IV. there is a reference to the law for limiting the length of the speeches of counsel passed in the second consulship of Pompey, b.c. 55, as being only just passed.

In the fifth book we are carried back to b.c. 79, and the scene is laid at Athens, where Cicero was at that time under Antiochus and Demetrius. He and his brother Quintus, Lucius Cicero his cousin, Pomponius Atticus, and Marcus Pupius Piso are represented as meeting in the Academia; and Piso, at the request of his companions, lays open the [pg 095] precepts inculcated by Aristotle and his school on the subject of the Summum Bonum; after which Cicero states the objections of the Stoics to the Peripatetic system, and Piso replies. While giving the opinions of these above-named sects with great fairness and impartiality Cicero abstains throughout from pronouncing any judgment of his own.

First Book Of The Treatise On The Chief Good And Evil.

I. I was not ignorant, Brutus, when I was endeavouring to add to Latin literature the same things which philosophers of the most sublime genius and the most profound and accurate learning had previously handled in the Greek language, that my labours would be found fault with on various grounds. For some, and those too, far from unlearned men, are disinclined to philosophy altogether; some, on the other hand, do not blame a moderate degree of attention being given to it, but do not approve of so much study and labour being devoted to it. There will be others again, learned in Greek literature and despising Latin compositions, who will say that they would rather spend their time in reading Greek; and, lastly, I suspect that there will be some people who will insist upon it that I ought to apply myself to other studies, and will urge that, although this style of writing may be an elegant accomplishment, it is still beneath my character and dignity. And to all these objections I think I ought to make a brief reply; although, indeed, I have already given a sufficient answer to the enemies of philosophy in that book in which philosophy is defended and extolled by me after having been attacked and disparaged by Hortensius.13 And as both you and others whom I considered competent judges approved highly of that book, I have undertaken a larger work, fearing to appear able only to excite the desires of men, but incapable of retaining their attention. But those who, though they have a very good opinion of philosophy, still think it should be followed in a moderate degree only, require a temperance which is very difficult in a thing which, when once it has the reins given it, cannot be checked or repressed; so that I almost think those men more reasonable who altogether forbid us to apply ourselves to philosophy at all, than they who fix a limit to things which are in their [pg 096] nature boundless, and who require mediocrity in a thing which is excellent exactly in proportion to its intensity.

For, if it be possible that men should arrive at wisdom, then it must not only be acquired by us, but even enjoyed. Or if this be difficult, still there is no limit to the way in which one is to seek for truth except one has found it; and it is base to be wearied in seeking a thing, when what we do seek for is the most honourable thing possible. In truth, if we are amused when we are writing, who is so envious as to wish to deny us that pleasure? If it is a labour to us, who will fix a limit to another person's industry? For as the Chremes14 of Terence does not speak from a disregard of what is due to men when he does not wish his new neighbour

To dig, or plough, or any toil endure:

for he is not in this dissuading him from industry, but only from such labour as is beneath a gentleman; so, on the other hand those men are over scrupulous who are offended by my devoting myself to a labour which is far from irksome to myself.

II. It is more difficult to satisfy those men who allege that they despise Latin writings. But, first of all, I may express my wonder at their not being pleased with their native language in matters of the highest importance, when they are fond enough of reading fables in Latin, translated word for word from the Greek. For what man is such an enemy (as I may almost call it) to the Roman name, as to despise or reject the Medea of Ennius, or the Antiope of Pacuvius? and to express a dislike of Latin literature, while at the same time he speaks of being pleased with the plays of Euripides? “What,” says such an one, “shall I rather read the Synephebi of Cæcilius,15 or the Andria of Terence, than either of these plays in the original of Menander?” But I disagree with men of these opinions so entirely, that though [pg 097] Sophocles has composed an Electra in the most admirable manner possible, still I think the indifferent translation of it by Atilius16 worth reading too, though Licinius calls him an iron writer; with much truth in my opinion; still he is a writer whom it is worth while to read. For to be wholly unacquainted with our own poets is a proof either of the laziest indolence, or else of a very superfluous fastidiousness.

My own opinion is, that no one is sufficiently learned who is not well versed in the works written in our own language. Shall we not be as willing to read—

Would that the pine, the pride of Pelion's brow,

as the same idea when expressed in Greek? And is there any objection to having the discussions which have been set out by Plato, on the subject of living well and happily, arrayed in a Latin dress? And if we do not limit ourselves to the office of translators, but maintain those arguments which have been advanced by people with whom we argue, and add to them the exposition of our own sentiments, and clothe the whole in our own language, why then should people prefer the writings of the Greeks to those things which are written by us in an elegant style, without being translated from the works of Greek philosophers? For if they say that these matters have been discussed by those foreign writers, then there surely is no necessity for their reading such a number of those Greeks as they do. For what article of Stoic doctrine has been passed over by Chrysippus? And yet we read also Diogenes,17 Antipater,18 Mnesarchus,19 Panætius,20 and many others, and [pg 098] especially the works of my own personal friend Posidonius.21 What shall we say of Theophrastus? Is it but a moderate pleasure which he imparts to us while he is handling the topics which had been previously dilated on by Aristotle? What shall we say of the Epicureans? Do they pass over the subjects on which Epicurus himself and other ancient writers have previously written, and forbear to deliver their sentiments respecting them? But if Greek authors are read by the Greeks, though discussing the same subjects over and over again, because they deal with them in different manners, why should not the writings of Roman authors be also read by our own countrymen?

III. Although if I were to translate Plato or Aristotle in as bold a manner as our poets have translated the Greek plays, then, I suppose, I should not deserve well at the hands of my fellow-countrymen, for having brought those divine geniuses within their reach. However, that is not what I have hitherto done, though I do not consider myself interdicted from doing so. Some particular passages, if I think it desirable, I shall translate, especially from those authors whom I have just named, when there is an opportunity of doing so with propriety; just as Ennius often translates passages from Homer, and Afranius22 from Menander. Nor will I, like Lucilius, make any objection to everybody reading my writings. I should be glad to have that Persius23 for one of my readers; and still more to have Scipio and Rutilius; [pg 099] men whose criticism he professed to fear, saying that he wrote for the people of Tarentum, and Consentia, and Sicily. That was all very witty of him, and in his usual style; but still, people at that time were not so learned as to give him cause to labour much before he could encounter their judgment, and his writings are of a lightish character, showing indeed, a high degree of good breeding, but only a moderate quantity of learning. But whom can I fear to have read my works when I ventured to address a book to you, who are not inferior to the Greeks themselves in philosophical knowledge? Although I have this excuse for what I am doing, that I have been challenged by you, in that to me most acceptable book which you sent me “On Virtue.”

But I imagine that some people have become accustomed to feel a repugnance to Latin writing because they have fallen in with some unpolished and inelegant treatises translated from bad Greek into worse Latin. And with those men I agree, provided they will not think it worth while to read the Greek books written on the same subject. But who would object to read works on important subjects expressed in well-selected diction, with dignity and elegance; unless, indeed, he wishes to be taken absolutely for a Greek, as Albucius was saluted at Athens by Scævola, when he was prætor? And this topic has been handled by that same Lucilius with great elegance and abundant wit; where he represents Scævola as saying—

You have preferr'd, Albucius, to be call'd
A Greek much rather than a Roman citizen
Or Sabine, countryman of Pontius,
Tritannius, and the brave centurions
And standard-bearers of immortal fame.
So now at Athens, I, the prætor, thus
Salute you as you wish, whene'er I see you,
With Greek address, ὦ χαῖρε noble Titus,
Ye lictors, and attendants χαίρετε.
ὦ χαῖρε noble Titus. From this day
The great Albucius was my enemy.

But surely Scævola was right. However, I can never sufficiently express my wonder whence this arrogant disdain of everything national arose among us. This is not exactly the place for lecturing on the subject; but my own feelings are, and I have constantly urged them, that the Latin language is not only not deficient, so as to deserve to be generally [pg 100] disparaged; but that it is even more copious than the Greek. For when have either we ourselves, or when has any good orator or noble poet, at least after there was any one for him to imitate, found himself at a loss for any richness or ornament of diction with which to set off his sentiments?

IV. And I myself (as I do not think that I can be accused of having, in my forensic exertions, and labours, and dangers, deserted the post in which I was stationed by the Roman people,) am bound, forsooth, to exert myself as much as I can to render my fellow-countrymen more learned by my labours and studies and diligence, and not so much to contend with those men who prefer reading Greek works, provided that they really do read them, and do not only pretend to do so; and to fall in also with the wishes of those men who are desirous either to avail themselves of both languages, or who, as long as they have good works in their own, do not care very much about similar ones in a foreign tongue. But those men who would rather that I would write on other topics should be reasonable, because I have already composed so many works that no one of my countrymen has ever published more, and perhaps I shall write even more if my life is prolonged so as to allow me to do so. And yet, whoever accustoms himself to read with care these things which I am now writing on the subject of philosophy, will come to the conclusion that no works are better worth reading than these. For what is there in life which deserves to be investigated so diligently as every subject which belongs to philosophy, and especially that which is discussed in this treatise, namely, what is the end, the object, the standard to which all the ideas of living well and acting rightly are to be referred? What it is that nature follows as the chief of all desirable things? what she avoids as the principal of all evils?

And as on this subject there is great difference of opinion among the most learned men, who can think it inconsistent with that dignity which every one allows to belong to me, to examine what is in every situation in life the best and truest good? Shall the chief men of the city, Publius Scævola and Marcus Manilius argue whether the offspring of a female slave ought to be considered the gain of the master of the slave; and shall Marcus Brutus express his dissent from their opinion, (and this is a kind of discussion giving great room [pg 101] for the display of acuteness, and one too that is of importance as regards the citizens,) and do we read, and shall we continue to read, with pleasure their writings on this subject, and the others of the same sort, and at the same time neglect these subjects, which embrace the whole of human life? There may, perhaps, be more money affected by discussions on that legal point, but beyond all question, this of ours is the more important subject: that, however, is a point which the readers may be left to decide upon. But we now think that this whole question about the ends of good and evil is, I may almost say, thoroughly explained in this treatise, in which we have endeavoured to set forth as far as we could, not only what our own opinion was, but also everything which has been advanced by each separate school of philosophy.

V. To begin, however, with that which is easiest, we will first of all take the doctrine of Epicurus, which is well known to most people; and you shall see that it is laid down by us in such a way that it cannot be explained more accurately even by the adherents of that sect themselves. For we are desirous of ascertaining the truth; not of convicting some adversary.

But the opinion of Epicurus about pleasure was formerly defended with great precision by Lucius Torquatus, a man accomplished in every kind of learning; and I myself replied to him, while Caius Triarius, a most learned and worthy young man, was present at the discussion. For as it happened that both of them had come to my villa near Cumæ to pay me a visit, first of all we conversed a little about literature, to which they were both of them greatly devoted; and after a while Torquatus said—Since we have found you in some degree at leisure, I should like much to hear from you why it is that you, I will not say hate our master Epicurus—as most men do who differ from him in opinion—but still why you disagree with him whom I consider as the only man who has discerned the real truth, and who I think has delivered the minds of men from the greatest errors, and has handed down every precept which can have any influence on making men live well and happily. But I imagine that you, like my friend Triarius here, like him the less because he neglected the ornaments of diction in which Plato, and Aristotle, and Theophrastus indulged. For I can hardly be persuaded to [pg 102] believe that the opinions which he entertained do not appear to you to be correct. See now, said I, how far you are mistaken, Torquatus. I am not offended with the language of that philosopher; for he expresses his meaning openly and speaks in plain language, so that I can understand him. Not, however, that I should object to eloquence in a philosopher, if he were to think fit to employ it; though if he were not possessed of it I should not require it. But I am not so well satisfied with his matter, and that too on many topics. But there are as many different opinions as there are men; and therefore we may be in error ourselves. What is it, said he, in which you are dissatisfied with him? For I consider you a candid judge; provided only that you are accurately acquainted with what he has really said. Unless, said I, you think that Phædrus or Zeno have spoken falsely (and I have heard them both lecture, though they gave me a high opinion of nothing but their own diligence,) all the doctrines of Epicurus are quite sufficiently known to me. And I have repeatedly, in company with my friend Atticus, attended the lectures of those men whom I have named; as he had a great admiration for both of them, and an especial affection even for Phædrus. And every day we used to talk over what we heard, nor was there ever any dispute between us as to whether I understood the scope of their arguments; but only whether I approved of them.

VI. What is it, then, said he, which you do not approve of in them, for I am very anxious to hear? In the first place, said I, he is utterly wrong in natural philosophy, which is his principal boast. He only makes some additions to the doctrine of Democritus, altering very little, and that in such a way that he seems to me to make those points worse which he endeavours to correct. He believes that atoms, as he calls them, that is to say bodies which by reason of their solidity are indivisible, are borne about in an interminable vacuum, destitute of any highest, or lowest, or middle, or furthest, or nearest boundary, in such a manner that by their concourse they cohere together; by which cohesion everything which exists and which is seen is formed. And he thinks that motion of atoms should be understood never to have had a beginning, but to have subsisted from all eternity.

But in those matters in which Epicurus follows Democritus, he is usually not very wrong. Although there are many [pg 103] assertions of each with which I disagree, and especially with this—that as in the nature of things there are two points which must be inquired into,—one, what the material out of which everything is made, is; the other, what the power is which makes everything,—they discussed only the material, and omitted all consideration of the efficient power and cause. However, that is a fault common to both of them; but these blunders which I am going to mention are Epicurus's own.

For he thinks that those indivisible and solid bodies are borne downwards by their own weight in a straight line; and that this is the natural motion of all bodies. After this assertion, that shrewd man,—as it occurred to him, that if everything were borne downwards in a straight line, as I have just said, it would be quite impossible for one atom ever to touch another,—on this account he introduced another purely imaginary idea, and said that the atoms diverged a little from the straight line, which is the most impossible thing in the world. And he asserted that it is in this way that all those embraces, and conjunctions, and unions of the atoms with one another took place, by which the world was made, and all the parts of the world, and all that is in the world. And not only is all this idea perfectly childish, but it fails in effecting its object. For this very divergence is invented in a most capricious manner, (for he says that each atom diverges without any cause,) though nothing can be more discreditable to a natural philosopher than to say that anything takes place without a cause; and also, without any reason, he deprives atoms of that motion which is natural to every body of any weight (as he himself lays it down) which goes downwards from the upper regions; and at the same time he does not obtain the end for the sake of which he invented all these theories.

For if every atom diverges equally, still none will ever meet with one another so as to cohere; but if some diverge, and others are borne straight down by their natural inclination, in the first place this will be distributing provinces as it were among the atoms, and dividing them so that some are borne down straight, and others obliquely; and in the next place, this turbulent concourse of atoms, which is a blunder of Democritus also, will never be able to produce this beautifully ornamented world which we see around us. Even this, [pg 104] too, is inconsistent with the principles of natural philosophy, to believe that there is such a thing as a minimum; a thing which he indeed never would have fancied, if he had been willing to learn geometry from his friend Polyænus,24 instead of seeking to persuade him to give it up himself.

The sun appears to Democritus to be of vast size, as he is a man of learning and of a profound knowledge of geometry. Epicurus perhaps thinks that it is two feet across, for he thinks it of just that size which it appears to be, or perhaps a little larger or smaller. So what he changes he spoils; what he accepts comes entirely from Democritus,—the atoms, the vacuum, the appearances, which they call εἴδωλα, to the inroads of which it is owing not only that we see, but also that we think; and all that infiniteness, which they call ἀπειρία, is borrowed from Democritus; and also the innumerable worlds which are produced and perish every day. And although I cannot possibly agree myself with all those fancies, still I should not like to see Democritus, who is praised by every one else, blamed by this man who has followed him alone.

VII. And as for the second part of philosophy, which belongs to investigating and discussing, and which is called λογικὴ, there your master as it seems to me is wholly unarmed and defenceless. He abolishes definitions; he lays down no rules for division and partition; he gives no method for drawing conclusions or establishing principles; he does not point out how captious objections may be refuted, or ambiguous terms explained. He places all our judgments of things in our senses; and if they are once led to approve of anything false as if it were true, then he thinks that there is an end to all our power of distinguishing between truth and falsehood.

But in the third part, which relates to life and manners, with respect to establishing the end of our actions, he utters not one single generous or noble sentiment. He lays down above all others the principle, that nature has but two things as objects of adoption and aversion, namely, pleasure and pain: [pg 105] and he refers all our pursuits, and all our desires to avoid anything, to one of these two heads. And although this is the doctrine of Aristippus, and is maintained in a better manner and with more freedom by the Cyrenaics, still I think it a principle of such a kind that nothing can appear more unworthy of a man. For, in my opinion, nature has produced and formed us for greater and higher purposes. It is possible, indeed, that I may be mistaken; but my opinion is decided that that Torquatus, who first acquired that name, did not tear the chain from off his enemy for the purpose of procuring any corporeal pleasure to himself; and that he did not, in his third consulship, fight with the Latins at the foot of Mount Vesuvius for the sake of any personal pleasure. And when he caused his son to be executed, he appears to have even deprived himself of many pleasures, by thus preferring the claims of his dignity and command to nature herself and the dictates of fatherly affection. What need I say more? Take Titus Torquatus, him I mean who was consul with Cnæus Octavius; when he behaved with such severity towards that son whom he had allowed Decimus Silanus to adopt as his own, as to command him, when the ambassadors of the Macedonians accused him of having taken bribes in his province while he was prætor, to plead his cause before his tribunal: and, when he had heard the cause on both sides, to pronounce that he had not in his command behaved after the fashion of his forefathers, and to forbid him ever to appear in his sight again; does he seem to you to have given a thought to his own pleasure?

However, to say nothing of the dangers, and labours, and even of the pain which every virtuous man willingly encounters on behalf of his country, or of his family, to such a degree that he not only does not seek for, but even disregards all pleasures, and prefers even to endure any pain whatever rather than to forsake any part of his duty; let us come to those things which show this equally, but which appear of less importance. What pleasure do you, O Torquatus, what pleasure does this Triarius derive from literature, and history, and the knowledge of events, and the reading of poets, and his wonderful recollection of such numbers of verses? And do not say to me, Why all these things are a pleasure to me. So, too, were those noble actions to the Torquati. [pg 106] Epicurus never asserts this in this manner; nor would you, O Triarius, nor any man who had any wisdom, or who had ever imbibed those principles. And as to the question which is often asked, why there are so many Epicureans—there are several reasons; but this is the one which is most seductive to the multitude, namely, that people imagine that what he asserts is that those things which are right and honourable do of themselves produce joy, that is, pleasure. Those excellent men do not perceive that the whole system is overturned if that is the case. For if it were once granted, even although there were no reference whatever to the body, that these things were naturally and intrinsically pleasant; then virtue and knowledge would be intrinsically desirable. And this is the last thing which he would choose to admit.

These principles, then, of Epicurus, I say, I do not approve of. As for other matters, I wish either that he himself had been a greater master of learning, (for he is, as you yourself cannot help seeing, not sufficiently accomplished in those branches of knowledge which men possess who are accounted learned,) or at all events that he had not deterred others from the study of literature: although I see that you yourself have not been at all deterred from such pursuits by him.

VIII. And when I had said this, more for the purpose of exciting him than of speaking myself, Triarius, smiling gently, said,—You, indeed, have almost entirely expelled Epicurus from the number of philosophers. For what have you left him except the assertion that, whatever his language might he, you understood what he meant? He has in natural philosophy said nothing but what is borrowed from others, and even then nothing which you approved of. If he has tried to amend anything he has made it worse. He had no skill whatever in disputing. When he laid down the rule that pleasure was the chief good, in the first place he was very short-sighted in making such an assertion; and secondly, even this very doctrine was a borrowed one; for Aristippus had said the same thing before, and better too. You added, at last, that he was also destitute of learning.

It is quite impossible, O Triarius, I replied, for a person not to state what he disapproves of in the theory of a man with whom he disagrees. For what could hinder me from being an Epicurean if I approved of what Epicurus says? especially [pg 107] when it would be an amusement to learn his doctrines. Wherefore, a man is not to be blamed for reproving those who differ from one another; but evil speaking, contumely, ill-temper, contention, and pertinacious violence in disputing, generally appear to me quite unworthy of philosophy.

I quite agree with you, said Torquatus; for one cannot dispute at all without finding fault with your antagonist; but on the other hand you cannot dispute properly if you do so with ill-temper or with pertinacity. But, if you have no objection, I have an answer to make to these assertions of yours. Do you suppose, said I, that I should have said what I have said if I did not desire to hear what you had to say too? Would you like then, says he, that I should go through the whole theory of Epicurus, or that we should limit our present inquiry to pleasure by itself; which is what the whole of the present dispute relates to? We will do, said I, whichever you please. That then, said he, shall be my present course. I will explain one matter only, being the most important one. At another time I will discuss the question of natural philosophy; and I will prove to you the theory of the divergence of the atoms, and of the magnitude of the sun, and that Democritus committed many errors which were found fault with and corrected by Epicurus. At present, I will confine myself to pleasure; not that I am saying anything new, but still I will adduce arguments which I feel sure that even you yourself will approve of. Undoubtedly, said I, I will not be obstinate; and I will willingly agree with you if you will only prove your assertions to my satisfaction. I will prove them, said he, provided only that you are as impartial as you profess yourself: but I would rather employ a connected discourse than keep on asking or being asked questions. As you please, said I.

On this he began to speak;—

IX. First of all then, said he, I will proceed in the manner which is sanctioned by the founder of this school: I will lay down what that is which is the subject of our inquiry, and what its character is: not that I imagine that you do not know, but in order that my discourse may proceed in a systematic and orderly manner. We are inquiring, then, what is the end,—what is the extreme point of good, which, in the opinion of all philosophers, ought to be such that everything [pg 108] can be referred to it, but that it itself can be referred to nothing. This Epicurus places in pleasure, which he argues is the chief good, and that pain is the chief evil; and he proceeds to prove his assertion thus. He says that every animal the moment that it is born seeks for pleasure, and rejoices in it as the chief good; and rejects pain as the chief evil, and wards it off from itself as far as it can; and that it acts in this manner, without having been corrupted by anything, under the promptings of nature herself, who forms this uncorrupt and upright judgment. Therefore, he affirms that there is no need of argument or of discussion as to why pleasure is to be sought for, and pain to be avoided. This he thinks a matter of sense, just as much as that fire is hot, snow white, honey sweet; none of which propositions he thinks require to be confirmed by laboriously sought reasons, but that it is sufficient merely to state them. For that there is a difference between arguments and conclusions arrived at by ratiocination, and ordinary observations and statements:—by the first, secret and obscure principles are explained; by the second, matters which are plain and easy are brought to decision. For since, if you take away sense from a man, there is nothing left to him, it follows of necessity that what is contrary to nature, or what agrees with it, must be left to nature herself to decide. Now what does she perceive, or what does she determine on as her guide to seek or to avoid anything, except pleasure and pain? But there are some of our school who seek to carry out this doctrine with more acuteness, and who will not allow that it is sufficient that it should be decided by sense what is good and what is bad, but who assert that these points can be ascertained by intellect and reason also, and that pleasure is to be sought for on its own account, and that pain also is to be avoided for the same reason.

Therefore, they say that this notion is implanted in our minds naturally and instinctively, as it were; so that we feel that the one is to be sought for, and the other to be avoided. Others, however, (and this is my own opinion too,) assert that, as many reasons are alleged by many philosophers why pleasure ought not to be reckoned among goods, nor pain among evils, we ought not to rely too much on the goodness of our cause, but that we should use arguments, and discuss [pg 109] the point with precision, and argue, by the help of carefully collected reasons, about pleasure and about pain.

X. But that you may come to an accurate perception of the source whence all this error originated of those people who attack pleasure and extol pain, I will unfold the whole matter; and I will lay before you the very statements which have been made by that discoverer of the truth, and architect, as it were, of a happy life. For no one either despises, or hates, or avoids pleasure itself merely because it is pleasure, but because great pains overtake those men who do not understand how to pursue pleasure in a reasonable manner. Nor is there any one who loves, or pursues, or wishes to acquire pain because it is pain, but because sometimes such occasions arise that a man attains to some great pleasure through labour and pain. For, to descend to trifles, who of us ever undertakes any laborious exertion of body except in order to gain some advantage by so doing? and who is there who could fairly blame a man who should wish to be in that state of pleasure which no annoyance can interrupt, or one who shuns that pain by which no subsequent pleasure is procured? But we do accuse those men, and think them entirely worthy of the greatest hatred, who, being made effeminate and corrupted by the allurements of present pleasure, are so blinded by passion that they do not foresee what pains and annoyances they will hereafter be subject to; and who are equally guilty with those who, through weakness of mind, that is to say, from eagerness to avoid labour and pain, desert their duty.

And the distinction between these things is quick and easy. For at a time when we are free, when the option of choice is in our own power, and when there is nothing to prevent our being able to do whatever we choose, then every pleasure may be enjoyed, and every pain repelled. But on particular occasions it will often happen, owing either to the obligations of duty or the necessities of business, that pleasures must be declined and annoyances must not be shirked. Therefore the wise man holds to this principle of choice in those matters, that he rejects some pleasures, so as, by the rejection, to obtain others which are greater, and encounters some pains, so as by that means to escape others which are more formidable.

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Now, as these are my sentiments, what reason can I have for fearing that I may not be able to accommodate our Torquati to them—men whose examples you just now quoted from memory, with a kind and friendly feeling towards us? However, you have not bribed me by praising my ancestors, nor made me less prompt in replying to you. But I should like to know from you how you interpret their actions? Do you think that they attacked the enemy with such feelings, or that they were so severe to their children and to their own blood as to have no thought of their own advantage, or of what might be useful to themselves? But even wild beasts do not do that, and do not rush about and cause confusion in such a way that we cannot understand what is the object of their motions. And do you think that such illustrious men performed such great actions without a reason? What their reason was I will examine presently; in the meantime I will lay down this rule,—If there was any reason which instigated them to do those things which are undoubtedly splendid exploits, then virtue by herself was not the sole cause of their conduct. One man tore a chain from off his enemy, and at the same time he defended himself from being slain; but he encountered great danger. Yes, but it was before the eyes of the whole army. What did he get by that? Glory, and the affection of his countrymen, which are the surest bulwarks to enable a man to pass his life without fear. He put his son to death by the hand of the executioner. If he did so without any reason, then I should be sorry to be descended from so inhuman and merciless a man. But if his object was to establish military discipline and obedience to command, at the price of his own anguish, and at a time of a most formidable war to restrain his army by the fear of punishment, then he was providing for the safety of his fellow-citizens, which he was well aware embraced his own. And this principle is one of extensive application. For the very point respecting which your whole school, and yourself most especially, who are such a diligent investigator of ancient instances, are in the habit of vaunting yourself and using high-flown language, namely, the mention of brave and illustrious men, and the extolling of their actions, as proceeding not from any regard to advantage, but from pure principles of honour and a love of glory, is entirely upset, when once that [pg 111] rule in the choice of things is established which I mentioned just now,—namely, that pleasures are passed over for the sake of obtaining other greater pleasures, or that pains are encountered with a view to escape greater pains.

XI. But, however, for the present we have said enough about the illustrious and glorious actions of celebrated men; for there will be, hereafter, a very appropriate place for discussing the tendency of all the virtues to procure pleasure.

But, at present, I will explain what pleasure itself is, and what its character is; so as to do away with all the mistakes of ignorant people, and in order that it may be clearly understood how dignified, and temperate, and virtuous that system is, which is often accounted voluptuous, effeminate, and delicate. For we are not at present pursuing that pleasure alone which moves nature itself by a certain sweetness, and which is perceived by the senses with a certain pleasurable feeling; but we consider that the greatest of all pleasures which is felt when all pain is removed. For since, when we are free from pain, we rejoice in that very freedom itself, and in the absence of all annoyance,—but everything which is a cause of our rejoicing is pleasure, just as everything that gives us offence is pain,—accordingly, the absence of all pain is rightly denominated pleasure. For, as when hunger and thirst are driven away by meat and drink, the very removal of the annoyance brings with it the attainment of pleasure, so, in every case, the removal of pain produces the succession of pleasure. And therefore Epicurus would not admit that there was any intermediate state between pleasure and pain; for he insisted that that very state which seems to some people the intermediate one, when a man is free from every sort of pain, is not only pleasure, but the highest sort of pleasure. For whoever feels how he is affected must inevitably be either in a state of pleasure or in a state of pain. But Epicurus thinks that the highest pleasure consists in an absence of all pains; so that pleasure may afterwards be varied, and may be of different kinds, but cannot be increased or amplified.

And even at Athens, as I have heard my father say, when he was jesting in a good-humoured and facetious way upon the Stoics, there is a statue in the Ceramicus of Chrysippus, sitting down with his hand stretched out; and this attitude [pg 112] of the hand intimates that he is amusing himself with this brief question, “Does your hand, while in that condition in which it is at present, want anything?”—Nothing at all. But if pleasure were a good, would it want it? I suppose so. Pleasure, then, is not a good. And my father used to say that even a statue would not say this if it could speak. For the conclusion was drawn as against the Stoics with sufficient acuteness, but it did not concern Epicurus. For if that were the only pleasure which tickled the senses, as it were, if I may say so, and which overflowed and penetrated them with a certain agreeable feeling, then even a hand could not be content with freedom from pain without some pleasing motion of pleasure. But if the highest pleasure is, as Epicurus asserts, to be free from pain, then, O Chrysippus, the first admission was correctly made to you, that the hand, when it was in that condition, was in want of nothing; but the second admission was not equally correct, that if pleasure were a good it would wish for it. For it would not wish for it for this reason, inasmuch as whatever is free from pain is in pleasure.

XII. But that pleasure is the boundary of all good things may be easily seen from this consideration. Let us imagine a person enjoying pleasures great, numerous, and perpetual, both of mind and body, with no pain either interrupting him at present or impending over him; what condition can we call superior to or more desirable than this? For it is inevitable that there must be in a man who is in this condition a firmness of mind which fears neither death nor pain, because death is void of all sensation; and pain, if it is of long duration, is a trifle, while if severe it is usually of brief duration; so that its brevity is a consolation if it is violent, and its trifling nature if it is enduring. And when there is added to these circumstances that such a man has no fear of the deity of the gods, and does not suffer past pleasures to be entirely lost, but delights himself with the continued recollection of them, what can be added to this which will be any improvement to it?

Imagine, on the other hand, any one worn out with the greatest pains of mind and body which can possibly befal a man, without any hope being held out to him that they will hereafter be lighter, when, besides, he has no pleasure whatever [pg 113] either present or expected; what can be spoken of or imagined more miserable than this? But if a life entirely filled with pains is above all things to be avoided, then certainly that is the greatest of evils to live in pain. And akin to this sentiment is the other, that it is the most extreme good to live with pleasure. For our mind has no other point where it can stop as at a boundary; and all fears and distresses are referable to pain: nor is there anything whatever besides, which of its own intrinsic nature can make us anxious or grieve us. Moreover, the beginnings of desiring and avoiding, and indeed altogether of everything which we do, take their rise either in pleasure or pain. And as this is the case, it is plain that everything which is right and laudable has reference to this one object of living with pleasure. And since that is the highest, or extreme, or greatest good, which the Greeks call τέλος, because it is referred to nothing else itself, but everything is referred to it, we must confess that the highest good is to live agreeably.

XIII. And those who place this in virtue alone, and, being caught by the splendour of a name, do not understand what nature requires, will be delivered from the greatest blunder imaginable if they will listen to Epicurus. For unless those excellent and beautiful virtues which your school talks about produced pleasure, who would think them either praiseworthy or desirable? For as we esteem the skill of physicians not for the sake of the art itself, but from our desire for good health,—and as the skill of the pilot, who has the knowledge how to navigate a vessel well, is praised with reference to its utility, and not to his ability,—so wisdom, which should be considered the art of living, would not be sought after if it effected nothing; but at present it is sought after because it is, as it were, the efficient cause of pleasure, which is a legitimate object of desire and acquisition. And now you understand what pleasure I mean, so that what I say may not be brought into odium from my using an unpopular word. For as the chief annoyances to human life proceed from ignorance of what things are good and what bad, and as by reason of that mistake men are often deprived of the greatest pleasures, and tortured by the most bitter grief of mind, we have need to exercise wisdom, which, by removing groundless alarms and vain desires, and by banishing the rashness of all erroneous [pg 114] opinions, offers herself to us as the surest guide to pleasure. For it is wisdom alone which expels sorrow from our minds, and prevents our shuddering with fear: she is the instructress who enables us to live in tranquillity, by extinguishing in us all vehemence of desire. For desires are insatiable, and ruin not only individuals but entire families, and often overturn the whole state. From desires arise hatred, dissensions, quarrels, seditions, wars. Nor is it only out of doors that these passions vent themselves, nor is it only against others that they run with blind violence; but they are often shut up, as it were, in the mind, and throw that into confusion with their disagreements.

And the consequence of this is, to make life thoroughly wretched; so that the wise man is the only one who, having cut away all vanity and error, and removed it from him, can live contented within the boundaries of nature, without melancholy and without fear. For what diversion can be either more useful or more adapted for human life than that which Epicurus employed? For he laid it down that there were three kinds of desires; the first, such as were natural and necessary; the second, such as were natural but not necessary; the third, such as were neither natural nor necessary. And these are all such, that those which are necessary are satisfied without much trouble or expense: even those which are natural and not necessary, do not require a great deal, because nature itself makes the riches, which are sufficient to content it, easy of acquisition and of limited quantity: but as for vain desires, it is impossible to find any limit to, or any moderation in them.

XIV. But if we see that the whole life of man is thrown into disorder by error and ignorance; and that wisdom is the only thing which can relieve us from the sway of the passions and the fear of danger, and which can teach us to bear the injuries of fortune itself with moderation, and which shows us all the ways which lead to tranquillity and peace; what reason is there that we should hesitate to say that wisdom is to be sought for the sake of pleasure, and that folly is to be avoided on account of its annoyances? And on the same principle we shall say that even temperance is not to be sought for its own sake, but because it brings peace to the mind, and soothes and tranquillizes them by what I may call a kind of [pg 115] concord. For temperance is that which warns us to follow reason in desiring or avoiding anything. Nor is it sufficient to decide what ought to be done, and what ought not; but we must adhere to what has been decided. But many men, because they are enfeebled and subdued the moment pleasure comes in sight, and so are unable to keep and adhere to the determination they have formed, give themselves up to be bound hand and foot by their lusts, and do not foresee what will happen to them; and in that way, on account of some pleasure which is trivial and unnecessary, and which might be procured in some other manner, and which they could dispense with without annoyance, incur terrible diseases, and injuries, and disgrace, and are often even involved in the penalties of the legal tribunals of their country.

But these men who wish to enjoy pleasure in such a way that no grief shall ever overtake them in consequence, and who retain their judgment so as never to be overcome by pleasure as to do what they feel ought not to be done; these men, I say, obtain the greatest pleasure by passing pleasure by. They often even endure pain, in order to avoid encountering greater pain hereafter by their shunning it at present. From which consideration it is perceived that intemperance is not to be avoided for its own sake; and that temperance is to be sought for, not because it avoids pleasures, but because it attains to greater ones.

XV. The same principle will be found to hold good with respect to courage. For the discharge of labours and the endurance of pain are neither of them intrinsically tempting; nor is patience, nor diligence, nor watchfulness, nor industry which is so much extolled, nor even courage itself: but we cultivate these habits in order that we may live without care and fear, and may be able, as far as is in our power, to release our minds and bodies from annoyance. For as the whole condition of tranquil life is thrown into confusion by the fear of death, and as it is a miserable thing to yield to pain and to bear it with a humble and imbecile mind; and as on account of that weakness of mind many men have ruined their parents, many men their friends, some their country, and very many indeed have utterly undone themselves; so a vigorous and lofty mind is free from all care and pain, since it despises death, which only places those who encounter it in [pg 116] the same condition as that in which they were before they were born; and it is so prepared for pain that it recollects that the very greatest are terminated by death, and that slight pains have many intervals of rest, and that we can master moderate ones, so as to bear them if they are tolerable, and if not, we can depart with equanimity out of life, just as out of a theatre, when it no longer pleases us. By all which considerations it is understood that cowardice and idleness are not blamed, and that courage and patience are not praised, for their own sakes; but that the one line of conduct is rejected as the parent of pain, and the other desired as the author of pleasure.

XVI. Justice remains to be mentioned, that I may not omit any virtue whatever; but nearly the same things may be said respecting that. For, as I have already shown that wisdom, temperance, and fortitude are connected with pleasure in such a way that they cannot possibly be separated or divided from it, so also we must consider that it is the case with justice. Which not only never injures any one; but on the contrary always nourishes something which tranquillizes the mind, partly by its own power and nature, and partly by the hopes that nothing will be wanting of those things which a nature not depraved may fairly derive.

Since rashness and lust and idleness always torture the mind, always make it anxious, and are of a turbulent character, so too, wherever injustice settles in any man's mind, it is turbulent from the mere fact of its existence and presence there; and if it forms any plan, although it executes it ever so secretly, still it never believes that what has been done will be concealed for ever. For generally, when wicked men do anything, first of all suspicion overtakes their actions; then the common conversation and report of men; then the prosecutor and the judge; and many even, as was the case when you were consul, have given information against themselves. But if any men appear to themselves to be sufficiently fenced round and protected from the consciousness of men, still they dread the knowledge of the Gods, and think that those very anxieties by which their minds are eaten up night and day, are inflicted upon them by the immortal Gods for the sake of punishment. And how is it possible that wicked actions can ever have as much influence towards alleviating [pg 117] the annoyances of life, as they must have towards increasing them from the consciousness of our actions, and also from the punishments inflicted by the laws and the hatred of the citizens? And yet, in some people, there is no moderation in their passion for money and for honour and for command, or in their lusts and greediness and other desires, which acquisitions, however wickedly made, do not at all diminish, but rather inflame, so that it seems we ought rather to restrain such men than to think that we can teach them better. Therefore sound wisdom invites sensible men to justice, equity, and good faith. And unjust actions are not advantageous even to that man who has no abilities or resources; inasmuch as he cannot easily do what he endeavours to do, nor obtain his objects if he does succeed in his endeavours. And the gifts of fortune and of genius are better suited to liberality; and those who practise this virtue gain themselves goodwill, and affection, which is the most powerful of all things to enable a man to live with tranquillity; especially when he has absolutely no motive at all for doing wrong.

For those desires which proceed from nature are easily satisfied without any injustice; but those which are vain ought not to be complied with. For they desire nothing which is really desirable; and there is more disadvantage in the mere fact of injustice than there is advantage in what is acquired by the injustice. Therefore a person would not be right who should pronounce even justice intrinsically desirable for its own sake; but because it brings the greatest amount of what is agreeable. For to be loved and to be dear to others is agreeable because it makes life safer, and pleasure more abundant. Therefore we think dishonesty should be avoided, not only on account of those disadvantages which befal the wicked, but even much more because it never permits the man in whose mind it abides to breathe freely, and never lets him rest.

But if the praise of those identical virtues in which the discourse of all other philosophers so especially exults, cannot find any end unless it be directed towards pleasure, and if pleasure be the only thing which calls and allures us to itself by its own nature; then it cannot be doubtful that that is the highest and greatest of all goods, and that to live happily is nothing else except to live with pleasure.

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XVII. And I will now explain in a few words the things which are inseparably connected with this sure and solid opinion.

There is no mistake with respect to the ends themselves of good and evil, that is to say, with respect to pleasure and pain; but men err in these points when they do not know what they are caused by. But we admit that the pleasures and pains of the mind are caused by the pleasures and pains of the body. Therefore I grant what you were saying just now, that if any philosophers of our school think differently (and I see that many men do so, but they are ignorant people) they must be convicted of error. But although pleasure of mind brings us joy, and pain causes us grief, it is still true that each of these feelings originates in the body, and is referred to the body; and it does not follow on that account that both the pleasures and pains of the mind are not much more important than those of the body. For with the body we are unable to feel anything which is not actually existent and present; but with our mind we feel things past and things to come. For although when we are suffering bodily pain, we are equally in pain in our minds, still a very great addition may be made to that if we believe that any endless and boundless evil is impending over us. And we may transfer this assertion to pleasure, so that that will be greater if we have no such fear.

This now is entirely evident, that the very greatest pleasure or annoyance of the mind contributes more to making life happy or miserable than either of these feelings can do if it is in the body for an equal length of time. But we do not agree that, if pleasure be taken away, grief follows immediately, unless by chance it happens that pain has succeeded and taken the place of pleasure; but, on the other hand, we affirm that men do rejoice at getting rid of pain even if no pleasure which can affect the senses succeeds. And from this it may be understood how great a pleasure it is not to be in pain. But as we are roused by those good things which we are in expectation of, so we rejoice at those which we recollect. But foolish men are tortured by the recollection of past evils; wise men are delighted by the memory of past good things, which are thus renewed by the agreeable recollection. But there is a feeling implanted in us by which we [pg 119] bury adversity as it were in a perpetual oblivion, but dwell with pleasure and delight on the recollection of good fortune. But when with eager and attentive minds we dwell on what is past, the consequence is, that melancholy ensues, if the past has been unprosperous; but joy, if it has been fortunate.

XVIII. Oh what a splendid, and manifest, and simple, and plain way of living well! For as certainly nothing could be better for man than to be free from all pain and annoyance, and to enjoy the greatest pleasures of both mind and body, do you not see how nothing is omitted which can aid life, so as to enable men more easily to arrive at that chief good which is their object! Epicurus cries out—the very man whom you pronounce to be too devoted to pleasure—that man cannot live agreeably, unless he lives honourably, justly, and wisely; and that, if he lives wisely, honourably, and justly, it is impossible that he should not live agreeably. For a city in sedition cannot be happy, nor can a house in which the masters are quarrelling. So that a mind which disagrees and quarrels with itself, cannot taste any portion of clear and unrestrained pleasure. And a man who is always giving in to pursuits and plans which are inconsistent with and contrary to one another, can never know any quiet or tranquillity.

But if the pleasure of life is hindered by the graver diseases of the body, how much more must it be so by those of the mind? But the diseases of the mind are boundless and vain desires of riches, or glory, or domination, or even of lustful pleasures. Besides these there are melancholy, annoyance, sorrow, which eat up and destroy with anxiety the minds of those men who do not understand that the mind ought not to grieve about anything which is unconnected with some present or future pain of body. Nor is there any fool who does not suffer under some one of these diseases. Therefore there is no fool who is not miserable. Besides these things there is death, which is always hanging over us as his rock is over Tantalus; and superstition, a feeling which prevents any one who is imbued with it from ever enjoying tranquillity. Besides, such men as they do not recollect their past good fortune, do not enjoy what is present, but do nothing but expect what is to come; and as that cannot be certain, they wear themselves out with grief and apprehension, and are tormented most especially when they find out, after it is too [pg 120] late, that they have devoted themselves to the pursuit of money, or authority, or power, or glory, to no purpose. For they have acquired no pleasures, by the hope of enjoying which it was that they were inflamed to undertake so many great labours. There are others, of little and narrow minds, either always despairing of everything, or else malcontent, envious, ill-tempered, churlish, calumnious, and morose; others devoted to amatory pleasures, others petulant, others audacious, wanton, intemperate, or idle, never continuing in the same opinion; on which account there is never any interruption to the annoyances to which their life is exposed.

Therefore, there is no fool who is happy, and no wise man who is not. And we put this much more forcibly and truly than the Stoics: for they assert that there is no good whatever, but some imaginary shadow which they call τὸ καλὸν, a name showy rather than substantial; and they insist upon it, that virtue relying on this principle of honour stands in need of no pleasure, and is content with its own resources as adequate to secure a happy life.

XIX. However, these assertions may be to a certain extent made not only without our objecting to them, but even with our concurrence and agreement. For in this way the wise man is represented by Epicurus as always happy. He has limited desires; he disregards death; he has a true opinion concerning the immortal Gods without any fear; he does not hesitate, if it is better for him, to depart from life. Being prepared in this manner, and armed with these principles, he is always in the enjoyment of pleasure; nor is there any period when he does not feel more pleasure than pain. For he remembers the past with gratitude, and he enjoys the present so as to notice how important and how delightful the joys which it supplies are; nor does he depend on future good, but he waits for that and enjoys the present; and is as far removed as possible from those vices which I have enumerated; and when he compares the life of fools to his own he feels great pleasure. And pain, if any does attack him, has never such power that the wise man has not more to rejoice at than to be grieved at.

But Epicurus does admirably in saying that fortune has but little power over the wise man, and that the greatest and most important events of such a man's life are managed [pg 121] by his own wisdom and prudence; and that greater pleasure cannot be derived from an eternity of life than such a man enjoys from this life which we see to be limited.

But in your dialectics he thought that there was no power which could contribute either to enable men to live better, or argue more conveniently. To natural philosophy he attributed a great deal of importance. For by the one science it is only the meaning of words and the character of a speech, and the way in which arguments follow from or are inconsistent with one another, that can be seen; but if the nature of all things is known, we are by that knowledge relieved from superstition, released from the fear of death, exempted from being perplexed by our ignorance of things, from which ignorance horrible fears often arise. Lastly, we shall be improved in our morals when we have learnt what nature requires. Moreover, if we have an accurate knowledge of things, preserving that rule which has fallen from heaven as it were for the knowledge of all things, by which all our judgments of things are to be regulated, we shall never abandon our opinions because of being overcome by any one's eloquence.

For unless the nature of things is thoroughly known, we shall have no means by which we can defend the judgments formed by our senses. Moreover, whatever we discern by our intellect, all arises from the senses. And if our senses are all correct, as the theory of Epicurus affirms, then something may be discerned and understood accurately; but as to those men who deny the power of the senses, and say that nothing can be known by them, those very men, if the senses are discarded, will be unable to explain that very point which they are arguing about. Besides, if all knowledge and science is put out of the question, then there is an end also of all settled principles of living and of doing anything.

Thus, by means of natural philosophy, courage is desired to withstand the fear of death, and constancy to put aside the claims engendered by superstition; and by removing ignorance of all secret things, tranquillity of mind is produced; and by explaining the nature of desires and their different kinds, we get moderation: and (as I just now explained) by means of this rule of knowledge, and of the judgment which is established and corrected by it, the power of distinguishing truth from falsehood is put into man's hands.

[pg 122]

XX. There remains a topic necessary above all others to this discussion, that of friendship, namely: which you, if pleasure is the chief good, affirm to have no existence at all. Concerning which Epicurus speaks thus: "That of all the things which wisdom has collected to enable man to live happily, nothing is more important, more influential, or more delightful than friendship." Nor did he prove this assertion by words only, but still more by his life, and conduct, and actions. And how important a thing it is, the fables of the ancients abundantly intimate, in which, many and varied as they are, and traced back to the remotest antiquity, scarcely three pairs of friends are found, even if you begin as far back as Theseus, and come down to Orestes. But in one single house, and that a small one, what great crowds of friends did Epicurus collect, and how strong was the bond of affection that held them together! And this is the case even now among the Epicureans. However, let us return to our subject: it is not necessary for us to be discussing men.

I see, then, that the philosophers of our school have treated the question of friendship in three ways. Some, as they denied that those pleasures which concerned our friends were to be sought with as much eagerness for their own sake, as we display in seeking our own, (by pressing which topic some people think that the stability of friendship is endangered,) maintain that doctrine resolutely, and, as I think, easily explain it. For, as in the case of the virtues which I have already mentioned, so too they deny that friendship can ever be separated from pleasure. For, as a life which is solitary and destitute of friends is full of treachery and alarm, reason itself warns us to form friendships. And when such are formed, then our minds are strengthened, and cannot be drawn away from the hope of attaining pleasure. And as hatred, envy, and contempt are all opposed to pleasures, so friendships are not only the most faithful favourers, but also are the efficient causes of pleasures to one's friends as well as to oneself; and men not only enjoy those pleasures at the moment, but are also roused by hopes of subsequent and future time. And as we cannot possibly maintain a lasting and continued happiness of life without friendship, nor maintain friendship itself unless we love our friends and ourselves equally, therefore this very effect is produced in friendship, and friendship is combined with pleasure.

[pg 123]

For we rejoice in the joy of our friends as much as we do in our own, and we are equally grieved at their sorrows. Wherefore the wise man will feel towards his friend as he does towards himself, and whatever labour he would encounter with a view to his own pleasure, he will encounter also for the sake of that of his friend. And all that has been said of the virtues as to the way in which they are invariably combined with pleasure, should also be said of friendship. For admirably does Epicurus say, in almost these exact words: “The same science has strengthened the mind so that it should not fear any eternal or long lasting evil, inasmuch as in this very period of human life, it has clearly seen that the surest bulwark against evil is that of friendship.”

There are, however, some Epicureans who are rather intimidated by the reproaches of your school, but still men of sufficient acuteness, and they are afraid lest, if we think that friendship is only to be sought after with a view to our own pleasure, all friendships should, as it were, appear to be crippled. Therefore they admit that the first meetings, and unions, and desires to establish intimacy, do arise from a desire of pleasure; but, they say, that when progressive habit has engendered familiarity, then such great affection is ripened, that friends are loved by one another for their own sake, even without any idea of advantage intermingling with such love. In truth, if we are in the habit of feeling affection for places, and temples, and cities, and gymnasia, and the Campus Martius, and for dogs, and horses, and sports, in consequence of our habit of exercising ourselves, and hunting, and so on, how much more easily and reasonably may such a feeling be produced in us by our intimacy with men!

But some people say that there is a sort of agreement entered into by wise men not to love their friends less than themselves; which we both imagine to be possible, and indeed see to be often the case; and it is evident that nothing can be found having any influence on living agreeably, which is better suited to it than such a union. From all which considerations it may be inferred, not only that the principle of friendship is not hindered by our placing the chief good in pleasure, but that without such a principle it is quite impossible that any friendship should be established.

XXI. Wherefore, if the things which I have been saying [pg 124] are clearer and plainer than the sun itself; if all that I have said is derived from the fountain of nature; if the whole of my discourse forces assent to itself by its accordance with the senses, that is to say, with the most incorruptible and honest of all witnesses; if infant children, and even brute beasts, declare almost in words, under the teaching and guidance of nature, that nothing is prosperous but pleasure, nothing hateful but pain—a matter as to which their decision is neither erroneous nor corrupt—ought we not to feel the greatest gratitude to that man who, having heard this voice of nature, as I may call it, has embraced it with such firmness and steadiness, that he has led all sensible men into the path of a peaceful, tranquil, and happy life? And as for his appearing to you to be a man of but little learning, the reason of that is, that he thought no learning deserving of the name except such as assisted in the attainment of a happy life. Was he a man to waste his time in reading poets, as Triarius and I do at your instigation? men in whose works there is no solid utility, but only a childish sort of amusement; or to devote himself, like Plato, to music, geometry, arithmetic, and astronomy? studies which, starting from erroneous principles, cannot possibly be true; and which, if they were true, would constitute nothing to our living more agreeably, that is to say, better. Should he, then, pursue such occupations as those, and abandon the task of laying down principles of living, laborious, but, at the same time, useful as they are?

Epicurus, then, was not destitute of learning; but those persons are ignorant who think that those studies which it is discreditable for boys not to have learnt, are to be continued till old age.

And when he had spoken thus,—I have now, said he, explained my opinions, and have done so with the design of learning your judgment of them. But the opportunity of doing so, as I wished, has never been offered me before to-day.

[pg 125]

Second Book Of The Treatise On The Chief Good And Evil.

I. On this, when both of them fixed their eyes on me, and showed that they were ready to listen to me:—In the first place, said I, I intreat you not to fancy that I, like a professed philosopher, am going to explain to you the doctrines of some particular school; a course which I have never much approved of when adopted by philosophers themselves. For when did Socrates, who may fairly be called the parent of philosophy, ever do anything of the sort? That custom was patronized by those who at that time were called Sophists, of which number Georgias of Leontium was the first who ventured in an assembly to demand a question,—that is to say, to desire any one in the company to say what he wished to hear discussed. It was a bold proceeding; I should call it an impudent one, if this fashion had not subsequently been borrowed by our own philosophers. But we see that he whom I have just mentioned, and all the other Sophists, (as may be gathered from Plato,) were all turned into ridicule by Socrates; for he, by questioning and interrogating them, was in the habit of eliciting the opinions of those with whom he was arguing, and then, if he thought it necessary, of replying to the answers which they had given him. And as that custom had not been preserved by those who came after him, Arcesilaus re-introduced it, and established the custom, that those who wished to become his pupils were not to ask him questions, but themselves to state their opinions; and then, when they had stated them, he replied to what they had advanced; but those who came to him for instruction defended their own opinions as well as they could.

But with all the rest of the philosophers the man who asks the question says no more; and this practice prevails in the Academy to this day. For when he who wishes to receive instruction has spoken thus, “Pleasure appears to me to be the [pg 126] chief good,” they argue against this proposition in an uninterrupted discourse; so that it may be easily understood that they who say that they entertain such and such an opinion, do not of necessity really entertain it, but wish to hear the arguments which may be brought against it. We follow a more convenient method, for not only has Torquatus explained what his opinions are, but also why he entertains them: but I myself think, although I was exceedingly delighted with his uninterrupted discourse, that still, when you stop at each point that arises, and come to an understanding what each party grants, and what he denies, you draw the conclusion you desire from what is admitted with more convenience, and come to an end of the discussion more readily. For when a discourse is borne on uninterruptedly, like a torrent, although it hurries along in its course many things of every kind, you still can take hold of nothing, and put your hand on nothing, and can find no means of restraining that rapid discourse.

II. But every discourse which is concerned in the investigation of any matter, and which proceeds on any system and principle, ought first to establish the rule (as is done in lawsuits, where one proceeds according to set formulas), in order that it may be agreed between the parties to the discussion, what the subject of the discussion really is. This rule was approved by Epicurus, as it was laid down by Plato in his “Phædrus,” and he considered that it ought to be adopted in every controversy. But he did not perceive what was the necessary consequence of it, for he asserts that the subject ought not to be defined; but if this be not done, it is sometimes impossible that the disputants should agree what the matter is that is the subject of discussion, as in this very case which we are discussing now, for we are inquiring into the End of Good. How can we know what the character of this is, if, when we have used the expression the End of Good, we do not compare with one another our ideas of what is meant by the End, and of what the Good itself is?

And this laying open of things covered up, as it were, when it is once explained what each thing is, is the definition of it; which you sometimes used without being aware of it; for you defined this very thing, whether it is to be called the End, or the extremity, or the limit, to be that to which everything which was done rightly was referred, and which was itself [pg 127] never referred to anything. So far was very well said; and, perhaps, if it had been necessary, you would also have defined the Good itself, and told us what that was; making it to be that which is desirable by nature, or that which is profitable, or that which is useful, or that which is pleasant: and now, since you have no general objections to giving definitions, and do it when you please, if it is not too much trouble, I should be glad if you would define what is pleasure, for that is what all this discussion relates to.

As if, said he, there were any one who is ignorant what pleasure is, or who is in need of any definition to enable him to understand it better.

I should say, I replied, that I myself am such a man, if I did not seem to myself to have a thorough acquaintance with, and an accurate idea and notion of, pleasure firmly implanted in my mind. But, at present, I say that Epicurus himself does not know, and that he is greatly in error on this subject; and that he who mentions the subject so often ought to explain carefully what the meaning of the words he uses is, but that he sometimes does not understand what the meaning of this word pleasure is, that is to say, what the idea is which is contained under this word.

III. Then he laughed, and said,—This is a capital idea, indeed, that he who says that pleasure is the end of all things which are to be desired, the very extreme point and limit of Good, should be ignorant of what it is, and of what is its character. But, I replied, either Epicurus is ignorant of what pleasure is, or else all the rest of the world are. How so? said he.

Because all men feel that this is pleasure which moves the senses when they receive it, and which has a certain agreeableness pervading it throughout. What then, said he, is Epicurus ignorant of that kind of pleasure? Not always, I replied; for sometimes he is even too well acquainted with it, inasmuch as he declares that he is unable even to understand where it is, or what any good is, except that which is enjoyed by the instrumentality of meat or drink, or the pleasure of the ears, or sensual enjoyment: is not this what he says? As if, said he, I were ashamed of these things, or as if I were unable to explain in what sense these things are said. I do not doubt, I replied, that you can do so easily; nor is there any reason why you need be ashamed of arguing with a wise [pg 128] man, who is the only man, as far as I know, who has ever ventured to profess himself a wise man. For they do not think that Metrodorus himself professed this, but only that, when he was called wise by Epicurus, he was unwilling to reject such an expression of his goodwill. But the Seven had this name given to them, not by themselves, but by the universal suffrage of all nations. However, in this place, I will assume that Epicurus, by these expressions, certainly meant to intimate the same kind of pleasure that the rest do; for all men call that pleasing motion by which the senses are rendered cheerful, ἡδονὴ in Greek, and voluptas in Latin.

What is it, then, that you ask? I will tell you, said I, and that for the sake of learning rather than of finding fault with either you or Epicurus. I too, said he, should be more desirous to learn of you, if you can impart anything worth learning, than to find fault with you.

Well, then, said I, you are aware of what Hieronymus25 of Rhodes says is the chief good, to which he thinks that everything ought to be referred? I know, said he, that he thinks that the great end is freedom from pain. Well, what are his sentiments respecting pleasure? He affirms, he replied, that it is not to be sought for its own sake; for he thinks that rejoicing is one thing, and being free from pain another. And indeed, continued he, he is in this point greatly mistaken, for, as I proved a little while ago, the end of increasing pleasure is the removal of all pain. I will examine, said I, presently, what the meaning of the expression, freedom from pain, is; but unless you are very obstinate, you must admit that pleasure is a perfectly distinct thing from mere freedom from pain. You will, however, said he, find that I am obstinate in this; for nothing can be more real than the identity between the two. Is there, now, said I, any pleasure felt by a thirsty man in drinking? Who can deny it? said he. Is it, asked I, the same pleasure that he feels after his thirst is extinguished? It is, replied he, another kind of pleasure; for the state of extinguished thirst has in it a certain stability of pleasure, but the pleasure of extinguishing it is pleasure in motion. Why, then, said I, do you call things so unlike one another by the same name? Do not [pg 129] you recollect, he rejoined, what I said just now,—that when all pain is banished, pleasure is varied, not extinguished? I recollect, said I; but you spoke in admirable Latin, indeed, but yet not very intelligibly; for varietas is a Latin word, and properly applicable to a difference of colour, but it is applied metaphorically to many differences: we apply the adjective, varias, to poems, orations, manners, and changes of fortune; it is occasionally predicated also of pleasure, when it is derived from many things unlike one another, which cause pleasures which are similarly unlike. Now, if that is the variety you mean, I should understand you, as, in fact, I do understand you, without your saying so: but still, I do not see clearly what that variety is, because you say, that when we are free from pain we are then in the enjoyment of the greatest pleasure; but when we are eating those things which cause a pleasing motion to the senses, then there is a pleasure in the emotion which causes a variety in the pleasure; but still, that that pleasure which arises from the freedom from pain is not increased;—and why you call that pleasure I do not know.

IV. Is it possible, said he, for anything to be more delightful than freedom from pain? Well, said I, but grant that nothing is preferable to that, (for that is not the point which I am inquiring about at present,) does it follow on that account, that pleasure is identical with what I may call painlessness? Undoubtedly it is identical with it, said he; and that painlessness is the greatest of pleasures which no other can possibly exceed. Why, then, said I, do you hesitate, after you have defined the chief good in this manner, to uphold, and defend, and maintain the proposition, that the whole of pleasure consists in freedom from pain? For what necessity for your introducing pleasure among the council of the virtues, any more than for bringing in a courtezan to an assembly of matrons? The very name of pleasure is odious, infamous, and a just object of suspicion: therefore, you are all in the constant habit of saying that we do not understand what Epicurus means when he speaks of pleasure. And whenever such an assertion is made to me,—and I hear it advanced pretty often,—although I am usually a very peaceful arguer, still I do on such occasions get a little angry. Am I to be told that I do not know what that is which the Greeks [pg 130] call ἡδονὴ, and the Latins voluptas? Which language is it, then, that I do not understand? Then, too, how comes it about that I do not understand, though every one else does, who chooses to call himself an Epicurean? when the disciples of your school argue most excellently, that there is no need whatever for a man, who wishes to become a philosopher, to be acquainted with literature. Therefore, just as our ancestors tore Cincinnatus away from his plough to make him Dictator, in like manner you collect from among the Greeks all those men, who may in truth be respectable men enough, but who are certainly not over-learned.

Do they then understand what Epicurus means, and do I not understand it? However, that you may know that I do understand, first of all I tell you that voluptas is the same thing that he calls ἡδονὴ. And, indeed, we often have to seek for a Latin word equivalent to, and exactly equipollent to a Greek one; but here we had nothing to seek for: for no word can be found which will more exactly express in Latin what ἡδονὴ does in Greek, than voluptas. Now every man in the world who understands Latin, comprehends under this word two things,—joy in the mind, and an agreeable emotion of pleasantness in the body. For when the man in Trabea26 calls an excessive pleasure of the mind joy, (lætitia,) he says much the same as the other character in Cæcilius's play, who says that he is joyful with every sort of joy.

However, there is this difference, that pleasure is also spoken of as affecting the mind; which is wrong, as the Stoics think, who define it thus: “An elation of the mind without reason, when the mind has an idea that it is enjoying some great good.” But the words lætitia (gladness), and gaudium (joy), do not properly apply to the body. But the word voluptas (pleasure) is applied to the body by the usage of all people who speak Latin, whenever that pleasantness is felt which moves any one of the senses. Now transfer this pleasantness, if you please, to the mind; for the verb juvo (to please) is applied both to body and mind, and the word jucundus is derived from it; provided you understand that between the man who says,

I am transported with gladness now
That I am scarce myself....
[pg 131]

and him who says,

Now then at length my mind's on fire, ...

one of whom is beside himself with joy, and the other is being tormented with anguish, there is this intermediate person, whose language is,

Although this our acquaintance is so new,

who feels neither gladness nor anguish. And, in the same manner, between the man who is in the enjoyment of the pleasures of the body, which he has been wishing for, and him who is being tormented with extreme anguish, there is a third man, who is free alike from pleasure and from pain.

V. Do I not, then, seem to you sufficiently to understand the meaning of words, or must I at this time of life be taught how to speak Greek, and even Latin? And yet I would have you consider, whether if I, who, as I think, understand Greek very fairly, do still not understand what Epicurus means, it it may not be owing to some fault of his for speaking so as not to be intelligible. And this sometimes happens in two ways, without any blame; either if you do so on purpose, as Heraclitus did, who got the surname of σκοτεινὸς,27 because he spoke with too much obscurity about natural philosophy; or when the obscurity of the subject itself, not of the language, prevents what is said from being clearly understood, as is the case in the Timæus of Plato. But Epicurus, as I imagine, is both willing, if it is in his power, to speak intelligibly, and is also speaking, not of an obscure subject like the natural philosophers, nor of one depending on precise rules, as the mathematicians are, but he is discussing a plain and simple matter, which is a subject of common conversation among the common people. Although you do not deny that we understand the usual meaning of the word voluptas, but only what he means by it: from which it follows, not that we do not understand what is the meaning of that word, but that he follows his own fashion, and neglects our usual one; for if he means the same thing that Hieronymus does, who thinks that the chief good is to live without any annoyance, why does he prefer using the term “pleasure” rather than freedom from pain, as Hieronymus does, who is quite aware of the force of the words which he employs? But, if he thinks that he ought to add, that pleasure which consists in [pg 132] motion, (for this is the distinction he draws, that this agreeable pleasure is pleasure in motion, but the pleasure of him who is free from pain is a state of pleasure,) then why does he appear to aim at what is impossible, namely, to make any one who knows himself—that is to say, who has any proper comprehension of his own nature and sensations—think freedom from pain, and pleasure, the same thing?

This, O Torquatus, is doing violence to one's senses; it is wresting out of our minds the understanding of words with which we are imbued; for who can avoid seeing that these three states exist in the nature of things: first, the state of being in pleasure; secondly, that of being in pain; thirdly, that of being in such a condition as we are at this moment, and you too, I imagine, that is to say, neither in pleasure nor in pain; in such pleasure, I mean, as a man who is at a banquet, or in such pain as a man who is being tortured. What! do you not see a vast multitude of men who are neither rejoicing nor suffering, but in an intermediate state between these two conditions? No, indeed, said he; I say that all men who are free from pain are in pleasure, and in the greatest pleasure too. Do you, then, say that the man who, not being thirsty himself, mingles some wine for another, and the thirsty man who drinks it when mixed, are both enjoying the same pleasure?

VI. Then, said he, a truce, if you please, to all your questions; and, indeed, I said at the beginning that I would rather have none of them, for I had a provident dread of these captious dialectics. Would you rather, then, said I, that we should argue rhetorically than dialectically? As if, said he, a continuous discourse belonged solely to orators, and not to philosophers also! I will tell you, said I, what Zeno the Stoic said; he said, as Aristotle had said before him, that all speaking was divided into two kinds, and that rhetoric resembled the open palm, dialectics the closed fist, because orators usually spoke in a rather diffuse, and dialecticians in a somewhat compressed style. I will comply, then, with your desires, and will speak, if I can, in an oratorical style, but still with the oratory of the philosophers, and not that which we use in the forum; which is forced at times, when it is speaking so as to suit the multitude, to submit to a very ordinary style. But while Epicurus, O Torquatus, is [pg 133] expressing his contempt for dialectics, an art which by itself contains the whole science both of perceiving what the real subject is in every question, and also of judging what the character of each thing is, by its system and method of conducting the argument, he goes on too fast, as it seems to me, and does not distinguish with any skill at all the different points which he is intent upon proving, as in this very instance which we were just now speaking of.

Pleasure is pronounced to be the chief good. We must then open the question, What is pleasure? for otherwise, the thing which we are seeking for cannot be explained. But, if he had explained it, he would not hesitate; for either he would maintain that same definition of pleasure which Aristippus did, namely, that it is that feeling by which the senses are agreeably and pleasantly moved, which even cattle, if they could speak, would call pleasure; or else, if he chose rather to speak in his own style, than like

All the Greeks from high Mycenæ,
All Minerva's Attic youth,

and the rest of the Greeks who are spoken of in these anapæsts, then he would call this freedom from pain alone by the name of pleasure, and would despise the definition of Aristippus; or, if he thought both definitions good, as in fact he does, he would combine freedom from pain with pleasure, and would employ the two extremes in his own definition: for many, and they, too, great philosophers, have combined these extremities of goods, as, for instance, Aristotle, who united in his idea the practice of virtue with the prosperity of an entire life. Callipho28 added pleasure to what is honourable. Diodorus, in his definition, added to the same honourableness, freedom from pain. Epicurus would have done so too, if he had combined the opinion which was held by Hieronymus, with the ancient theory of Aristippus. For those two men disagree with one another, and on this account they employ separate definitions; and, while they both write the most beautiful Greek, still, neither does Aristippus, who calls pleasure the chief good, ever speak of freedom from pain as pleasure; nor does Hieronymus, who lays it down that freedom from pain is the chief good, ever use the word “pleasure” [pg 134] for that painlessness, inasmuch as he never even reckons pleasure at all among the things which are desirable.

VII. They are also two distinct things, that you may not think that the difference consists only in words and names. One is to be without pain, the other to be with pleasure. But your school not only attempt to make one name for these two things which are so exceedingly unlike, (for I would not mind that so much,) but you endeavour also to make one thing out of the two, which is utterly impossible. But Epicurus, who admits both things, ought to use both expressions, and in fact he does divide them in reality, but still he does not distinguish between them in words. For though he in many places praises that very pleasure which we all call by the same name, he ventures to say that he does not even suspect that there is any good whatever unconnected with that kind of pleasure which Aristippus means; and he makes this statement in the very place where his whole discourse is about the chief good. But in another book, in which he utters opinions of the greatest weight in a concise form of words, and in which he is said to have delivered oracles of wisdom, he writes in those words which you are well acquainted with, O Torquatus. For who is there of you who has not learnt the κύριαι δόξαι of Epicurus, that is to say, his fundamental maxims? because they are sentiments of the greatest gravity intended to guide men to a happy life, and enunciated with suitable brevity. Consider, therefore, whether I am not translating this maxim of his correctly. “If those things which are the efficient causes of pleasures to luxurious men were to release them from all fear of the gods, and of death, and of pain, and to show them what are the proper limits to their desires, we should have nothing to find fault with; as men would then be filled with pleasures from all quarters, and have on no side anything painful or melancholy, for all such things are evil.”

On this Triarius could restrain himself no longer. I beg of you, Torquatus, said he, to tell me, is this what Epicurus says?—because he appeared to me, although he knew it himself, still to wish to hear Torquatus admit it. But he was not at all put out, and said with great confidence, Indeed, he does, and in these identical words; but you do not perceive what he means. If, said I, he says one thing and means another, then I never shall understand what he means, but [pg 135] he speaks plainly enough for me to see what he says. And if what he says is that luxurious men are not to be blamed if they are wise men, he talks absurdly; just as if he were to say that parricides are not to be found fault with if they are not covetous, and if they fear neither gods, nor death, nor pain. And yet, what is the object of making any exception as to the luxurious, or of supposing any people, who, while living luxuriously, would not be reproved by that consummate philosopher, provided only they guard against all other vices. Still, would not you, Epicurus, blame luxurious men for the mere fact of their living in such a manner as to pursue every sort of pleasure; especially when, as you say, the chief pleasure of all is to be free from pain? But yet we find some debauched men so far from having any religious scruples, that they will eat even out of the sacred vessels; and so far from fearing death that they are constantly repeating that passage out of the Hymnis,29

Six months of life for me are quite sufficient,
The seventh may be for the shades below,—

and bringing up that Epicurean remedy for pain, as if they were taking it out of a medicine chest: “If it is bitter, it is of short duration; if it lasts a long time, it must be slight in degree.” There is one thing which I do not understand, namely, how a man who is devoted to luxury can possibly have his appetites under restraint.

VIII. What then is the use of saying, I should have nothing to reproach them with if they only set bounds to their appetites? This is the same as saying, I should not blame debauched men if they were not debauched men. In the same way one might say, I should not blame even wicked men if they were virtuous. This man of strict morality does not think luxury of itself a thing to be blamed. And, indeed, O Torquatus, to speak the truth, if pleasure is the chief good, he is quite right not to think so. For I should be sorry to picture to myself, (as you are in the habit of doing,) men so debauched as to vomit over the table and be carried away from banquets, and then the next day, while still suffering from indigestion, gorge themselves again; men who, as they say, have never in their lives seen the sun set or rise, and who, having devoured their patrimony, are reduced to indigence. [pg 136] None of us imagine that debauched men of that sort live pleasantly. You, however, rather mean to speak of refined and elegant bons vivans, men who, by the employment of the most skilful cooks and bakers, and by carefully culling the choicest products of fishermen, fowlers, and hunters, avoid all indigestion—

Men who draw richer wines from foaming casks.

As Lucilius says, men who

So strain, so cool the rosy wine with snow,
That all the flavour still remains uninjured—

and so on—men in the enjoyment of luxuries such that, if they are taken away, Epicurus says that he does not know what there is that can be called good. Let them also have beautiful boys to attend upon them; let their clothes, their plate, their articles of Corinthian vertu, the banqueting-room itself, all correspond, still I should never be induced to say that these men so devoted to luxury were living either well or happily. From which it follows, not indeed that pleasure is not pleasure, but that pleasure is not the chief good. Nor was Lælius, who, when a young man, was a pupil of Diogenes the Stoic, and afterwards of Panætius, called a wise man because he did not understand what was most pleasant to the taste, (for it does not follow that the man who has a discerning heart must necessarily have a palate destitute of discernment,) but because he thought it of but small importance.

O sorrel, how that man may boast himself,
By whom you're known and valued! Proud of you,
That wise man Lælius would loudly shout,
Addressing all our epicures in order.

And it was well said by Lælius, and he may be truly called a wise man,—

You Publius, Gallonius, you whirlpool,
You are a miserable man; you never
In all your life have really feasted well,
Though spending all your substance on those prawns,
And overgrown huge sturgeons.

The man who says this is one who, as he attributes no importance to pleasure himself, denies that the man feasts well who refers everything to pleasure. And yet he does not deny that Gallonius has at times feasted as he wished: for that would [pg 137] be speaking untruly: he only denies that he has ever feasted well. With such dignity and severe principle does he distinguish between pleasure and good. And the natural inference is, that all who feast well feast as they wish, but that it does not follow that all who feast as they wish do therefore feast well. Lælius always feasted well. How so? Lucilius shall tell you—

He feasted on well season'd, well arranged—

what? What was the chief part of his supper?

Converse of prudent men,—

Well, and what else?

with cheerful mind.

For he came to a banquet with a tranquil mind, desirous only of appeasing the wants of nature. Lælius then is quite right to deny that Gallonius had ever feasted well; he is quite right to call him miserable; especially as he devoted the whole of his attention to that point. And yet no one affirms that he did not sup as he wished. Why then did he not feast well? Because feasting well is feasting with propriety, frugality, and good order; but this man was in the habit of feasting badly, that is, in a dissolute, profligate, gluttonous, unseemly manner. Lælius, then, was not preferring the flavour of sorrel to Gallonius's sturgeon, but merely treating the taste of the sturgeon with indifference; which he would not have done if he had placed the chief good in pleasure.

IX. We must then discard pleasure, not only in order to follow what is right, but even to be able to talk becomingly. Can we then call that the chief good in life, which we see cannot possibly be so even in a banquet?

But how is it that this philosopher speaks of three kinds of appetites,—some natural and necessary, some natural but not necessary, and others neither natural nor necessary? In the first place, he has not made a neat division; for out of two kinds he has made three. Now this is not dividing, but breaking in pieces. If he had said that there are two kinds of appetites, natural and superfluous ones, and that the natural appetites might be also subdivided into two kinds, necessary and not necessary, he would have been all right. And those who have learnt what he despises do usually say so. For it is a vicious division to reckon a part as a genus. However, let us pass over this, for he despises elegance in arguing; he [pg 138] speaks confusedly. We must submit to this as long as his sentiments are right. I do not, however, approve, and it is as much as I can do to endure, a philosopher speaking of the necessity of setting bounds to the desires. Is it possible to set bounds to the desires? I say that they must be banished, eradicated by the roots. For what man is there in whom appetites30 dwell, who can deny that he may with propriety be called appetitive? If so, he will be avaricious, though to a limited extent; and an adulterer, but only in moderation; and he will be luxurious in the same manner. Now what sort of a philosophy is that which does not bring with it the destruction of depravity, but is content with a moderate degree of vice? Although in this division I am altogether on his side as to the facts, only I wish he would express himself better. Let him call these feelings the wishes of nature; and let him keep the name of desire for other objects, so as, when speaking of avarice, of intemperance, and of the greatest vices, to be able to indict it as it were on a capital charge. However, all this is said by him with a good deal of freedom, and is often repeated; and I do not blame him, for it is becoming in so great a philosopher, and one of such a great reputation, to defend his own degrees fearlessly.

But still, from the fact of his often appearing to embrace that pleasure, (I mean that which all nations call by this name,) with a good deal of eagerness, he is at times in great difficulties, so that, if he could only pass undetected, there is nothing so shameful that it does not seem likely that he would do it for the sake of pleasure. And then, when he has been put to the blush, (for the power of nature is very great,) he takes refuge in denying that any addition can possibly be made to the pleasure of the man who is free from pain. But that state of freedom from pain is not called pleasure. I do not care, says he, about the name. But what do you say about the thing being utterly different?—I will find you many men, or I may say an innumerable host, not so curious nor so embarrassing as you are, whom I can easily convince of whatever I choose. Why then do we hesitate to say that, [pg 139] if to be free from pain is the highest degree of pleasure, to be destitute of pleasure is the highest degree of pain? Because it is not pleasure which is the contrary to pain, but the absence of pain.

X. But this he does not see, that it is a great proof that at the very moment when he says that if pleasure be once taken away he has no idea at all what remaining thing can be called good, (and he follows up this assertion with the statement that he means such pleasure as is perceptible by the palate and by the ears, and adds other things which decency ought to forbid him to mention,) he is, like a strict and worthy philosopher, aware that this which he calls the chief good is not even a thing which is worth desiring for its own sake, that he himself informs us that we have no reason to wish for pleasure at all, if we are free from pain. How inconsistent are these statements! If he had learnt to make correct divisions or definitions of his subject, if he had a proper regard to the usages of speaking and the common meaning of words, he would never have fallen into such difficulties. But as it is, you see what it is he is doing. That which no one has ever called pleasure at all, and that also which is real active pleasure, which are two distinct things, he makes but one. For he calls them agreeable and, as I may say, sweet-tasted pleasures. At times he speaks so lightly of them that you might fancy you were listening to Marcus Curius. At times he extols them so highly that he says he cannot form even the slightest idea of what else is good—a sentiment which deserves not the reproof of a philosopher, but the brand of the censor. For vice does not confine itself to language, but penetrates also into the manners. He does not find fault with luxury provided it to be free from boundless desires and from fear. While speaking in this way he appears to be fishing for disciples, that men who wish to become debauchees may become philosophers first.

Now, in my opinion, the origin of the chief good is to be sought in the first origin of living animals. As soon as an animal is born it rejoices in pleasure, and seeks it as a good; it shuns pain as an evil. And Epicurus says that excellent decisions on the subject of the good and the evil are come to by those animals which are not yet depraved. You, too, have laid down the same position, and these are your own [pg 140] words. How many errors are there in them! For by reference to which kind of pleasure will a puling infant judge of the chief good; pleasure in stability or pleasure in motion?—since, if the gods so will, we are learning how to speak from Epicurus. If it is from pleasure as a state, then certainly nature desires to be exempt from evil herself; which we grant; if it is from pleasure in motion, which, however, is what you say, then there will be no pleasure so discreditable as to deserve to be passed over. And at the same time that just-born animal you are speaking of does not begin with the highest pleasure; which has been defined by you to consist in not being in pain.

However, Epicurus did not seek to derive this argument from infants, or even from beasts, which he looks upon as mirrors of nature as it were; so as to say that they, under the guidance of nature, seek only this pleasure of being free from pain. For this sort of pleasure cannot excite the desires of the mind; nor has this state of freedom from pain any impulse by which it can act upon the mind. Therefore Hieronymus blunders in this same thing. For that pleasure only acts upon the mind which has the power of alluring the senses. Therefore Epicurus always has recourse to this pleasure when wishing to prove that pleasure is sought for naturally; because that pleasure which consists in motion both allures infants to itself, and beasts; and this is not done by that pleasure which is a state in which there is no other ingredient but freedom from pain. How then can it be proper to say that nature begins with one kind of pleasure, and yet to put the chief good in another?

XI. But as for beasts, I do not consider that they can pronounce any judgment at all. For although they are not depraved, it is still possible for them to be wrong. Just as one stick may be bent and crooked by having been made so on purpose, and another may be so naturally; so the nature of beasts is not indeed depraved by evil education, but is wrong naturally. Nor is it correct to say that nature excites the infant to desire pleasure, but only to love itself and to desire to preserve itself safe and unhurt. For every animal the moment that it is born loves itself, and every part of itself, and above all does it love its two principal parts, namely its mind and body, and afterwards it proceeds to love the separate [pg 141] parts of each. For there are in the mind and also in the body some parts of especial consequence; and as soon as it has got a slight perception of this fact, it then begins to make distinctions, so as to desire those things which are by nature given to it as its principal goods, and to reject the contrary. Now it is a great question whether among these primary natural goods, pleasure has any place or not. But to think that there is nothing beyond pleasure, no limbs, no sensations, no emotions of the mind, no integrity of the body, no health, appears to me to be a token of the greatest ignorance. And on this the whole question of good and evil turns. Now Polemo and also Aristotle thought those things which I mentioned just now the greatest of goods. And from this originated that opinion of the Old Academy and of the Peripatetic School, which led them to say that the greatest good was to live in accordance with nature—that is to say, to enjoy the chief good things which are given by nature, with the accompaniment of virtue. Callipho added nothing to virtue except pleasure; Diodorus nothing except freedom from pain. And all these men attach the idea of the greatest good to some one of these things which I have mentioned. Aristippus thought it was simple pleasure. The Stoics defined it to be agreeing with nature, which they say can only be living virtuously, living honourably. And they interpret it further thus—to live with an understanding of those things which happen naturally, selecting those which are in accordance with nature, and rejecting the contrary. So there are three definitions, all of which exclude honesty:—one, that of Aristippus or Epicurus; the second, that of Hieronymus; the third, that of Carneades: three in which honesty is admitted with some qualifying additions; those, namely, of Polemo, Callipho, and Diodorus: one single one, of which Zeno is the author, which is wholly referred to what is becoming; that is to say, to honesty. For Pyrrho, Aristo, and Herillus, have long since sunk into oblivion. The rest have been consistent with themselves, so as to make their ends agree with their beginnings; so that Aristippus has defined it to be pleasure; Hieronymus, freedom from pain; and Carneades, the enjoyment of what are pointed out by nature as the principal goods.

XII. But when Epicurus had given pleasure the highest [pg 142] rank, if he meant the same pleasure that Aristippus did he ought to have adopted the same thing as the chief good that he did; if he meant the same that Hieronymus did, he would then have been assigning the first rank to Hieronymus's pleasure, and not to that of Aristippus.

For, as to what he says, that it is decided by the senses themselves that pleasure is a good and that pain is an evil, he has attributed more weight to the senses than the laws allow them. We are the judges of private actions, but we cannot decide anything which does not legally come under the cognisance of our tribunal; and, in such a case, it is to no purpose that judges are in the habit, when they pronounce sentence, of adding, “if the question belongs to my jurisdiction;” for, if the matter did not come under their jurisdiction, this additional form of words would not any the more give validity to their decision. Now, what is it that the senses are judges of? Whether a thing is sweet or bitter, soft or hard, near or far off; whether it is standing still or moving; whether it is square or round. What sentence, then, will reason pronounce, having first of all called in the aid of the knowledge of divine and human affairs, which is properly called wisdom; and having, after that, associated to itself the virtues which reason points out as the mistresses of all things, but which you make out to be only the satellites and handmaidens of pleasures? The sentence, however, of all these qualities, will pronounce first of all, respecting pleasure, that there is no room for it; not only no room for its being placed by itself in the rank of the chief good, which is what we are looking for, but no room even for its being placed in connexion even with what is honourable.

The same sentence will be passed upon freedom from pain; Carneades also will be disregarded; nor will any definition of the chief good be approved of, which has any close connexion with pleasure, or freedom from pain, or which is devoid of what is honourable. And so it will leave two, which it will consider over and over again; for it will either lay down the maxim, that nothing is good except what is honourable, nothing evil except what is disgraceful; that everything else is either of no consequence at all, or, at all events, of only so much, that it is neither to be sought after nor avoided, but only selected or rejected; or else, it will prefer that which it [pg 143] shall perceive to be the most richly endowed with what is honourable, and enriched, at the same time, with the primary good things of nature, and with the perfection of the whole life; and it will do so all the more clearly, if it comes to a right understanding whether the controversy between them is one of facts, or only of words.

XIII. I now, following the authority of this man, will do the same as he has done; for, as far as I can, I will diminish the disputes, and will regard all their simple opinions in which there is no association of virtue, as judgments which ought to be utterly removed to a distance from philosophy. First of all, I will discard the principles of Aristippus, and of all the Cyrenaics,—men who were not afraid to place the chief good in that pleasure which especially excited the senses with its sweetness, disregarding that freedom from pain. These men did not perceive that, as a horse is born for galloping, and an ox for ploughing, and a dog for hunting, so man, also, is born for two objects, as Aristotle says, namely, for understanding and for acting as if he were a kind of mortal god. But, on the other hand, as a slow moving and languid sheep is born to feed, and to take pleasure in propagating his species, they fancied also that this divine animal was born for the same purposes; than which nothing can appear to me more absurd; and all this is in opposition to Aristippus, who considers that pleasure not only the highest, but also the only one, which all the rest of us consider as only one of the pleasures.

You, however, think differently; but he, as I have already said, is egregiously wrong,—for neither does the figure of the human body, nor the admirable reasoning powers of the human mind, intimate that man was born for no other end than the mere enjoyment of pleasure; nor must we listen to Hieronymus, whose chief good is the same which you sometimes, or, I might say, too often call so, namely, freedom from pain; for it does not follow, because pain is an evil, that to be free from that evil is sufficient for living well. Ennius speaks more correctly, when he says,—

The man who feels no evil, does
Enjoy too great a good.

Let us define a happy life as consisting, not in the repelling of evil, but in the acquisition of good; and let us seek to procure it, not by doing nothing, whether one is feeling pleasure, [pg 144] as Aristippus says, or feeling no pain, as Hieronymus insists, but by doing something, and giving our mind to thought. And all these same things may be said against that chief good which Carneades calls such; which he, however, brought forward, not so much for the purpose of proving his position, as of contradicting the Stoics, with whom he was at variance: and this good of his is such, that, when added to virtue, it appears likely to have some authority, and to be able to perfect a happy life in a most complete manner, and it is this that the whole of this present discussion is about; for they who add to virtue pleasure, which is the thing which above all others virtue thinks of small importance, or freedom from pain, which, even if it be a freedom from evil, is nevertheless not the chief good, make use of an addition which is not very easily recommended to men in general, and yet I do not understand why they do it in such a niggardly and restricted manner: for, as if they had to bring something to add to virtue, first of all they add things of the least possible value; afterwards they add things one by one, instead of uniting everything which nature had approved of as the highest goods, to pleasure. And as all these things appeared to Aristo and to Pyrrho absolutely of no consequence at all, so that they said that there was literally no difference whatever between being in a most perfect state of health, and in a most terrible condition of disease, people rightly enough have long ago given up arguing against them; for, while they insisted upon it that everything was comprised in virtue alone, to such a degree as to deprive it of all power of making any selection of external circumstances, and while they gave it nothing from which it could originate, or on which it could rely, they in reality destroyed virtue itself, which they were professing to embrace. But Herillus, who sought to refer everything to knowledge, saw, indeed, that there was one good, but what he saw was not the greatest possible good, nor such an one that life could be regulated by it; therefore, he also has been discarded a long time ago, for, indeed, there has been no one who has argued against him since Chrysippus.

XIV. Your school, then, is now the only one remaining to be combated; for the contest with the Academicians is an uncertain one, for they affirm nothing, and, as if they despaired of arriving at any certain knowledge, wish to follow [pg 145] whatever is probable. But we have more trouble with Epicurus, because he combines two kinds of pleasure, and because he and his friends, and many others since, have been advocates of that opinion; and somehow or other, the people, who, though they have the least authority, have nevertheless the greatest power, are on his side; and, unless we refute them, all virtue, and all reputation, and all true glory, must be abandoned. And so, having put aside the opinions of all the rest, there remains a contest, not between Torquatus and me, but between virtue and pleasure; and this contest Chrysippus, a man of great acuteness and great industry, is far from despising; and he thinks that the whole question as to the chief good is at stake in this controversy: but I think, if I show the reality of what is honourable, and that it is a thing to be sought for by reason of its own intrinsic excellence, and for its own sake, that all your arguments are at once overthrown; therefore, when I have once established what its character is, speaking briefly, as the time requires, I shall approach all your arguments, O Torquatus, unless my memory fails me.

We understand, then, that to be honourable which is such that, leaving all advantage out of the question, it can be deservedly praised by itself, without thinking of any reward or profit derived from it. And what its character is may be understood, not so much by the definition which I have employed, (although that may help in some degree,) as by the common sentiments of all men, and by the zeal and conduct of every virtuous man; for such do many things for this sole reason, because they are becoming, because they are right, because they are honourable, even though they do not perceive any advantage likely to result from them: for men differ from beasts in many other things indeed, but especially in this one particular, that they have reason and intellect given to them by nature, and a mind, active, vigorous, revolving many things at the same time with the greatest rapidity, and, if I may so say, sagacious to perceive the causes of things, and their consequences and connexions, and to use metaphors, and to combine things which are unconnected, and to connect the future with the present, and to embrace in its view the whole course of a consistent life. The same reason has also made man desirous of the society of men, and inclined to agree with [pg 146] them by nature, and conversation, and custom; so that, setting out with affection for his friends and relations, he proceeds further, and unites himself in a society, first of all of his fellow-countrymen, and subsequently of all mortals; and as Plato wrote to Archytas, recollects that he has been born, not for himself alone, but for his country and his family; so that there is but a small portion of himself left for himself. And since the same nature has implanted in man a desire of ascertaining the truth, which is most easily visible when, being free from all cares, we wish to know what is taking place, even in the heavens; led on from these beginnings we love everything that is true, that is to say, that is faithful, simple, consistent, and we hate what is vain, false and deceitful, such as fraud, perjury, cunning and injustice.

The same reason has in itself something large and magnificent, suited for command rather than for obedience; thinking all events which can befal a man not only endurable, but insignificant; something lofty and sublime, fearing nothing, yielding to no one, always invincible. And, when these three kinds of the honourable have been noticed, a fourth follows, of the same beauty and suited to the other three, in which order and moderation exist; and when the likeness of it to the others is perceived in the beauty and dignity of all their separate forms, we are transported across to what is honourable in words and actions; for, in consequence of these three virtues which I have already mentioned, a man avoids rashness, and does not venture to injure any one by any wanton word or action, and is afraid either to do or to say anything which may appear at all unsuited to the dignity of a man.

XV. Here, now, O Torquatus, you have a picture of what is honourable completely filled in and finished; and it is contained wholly in these four virtues which you also mentioned. But your master Epicurus says that he knows nothing whatever of it, and does not understand what, or what sort of quality those people assert it to be, who profess to measure the chief good by the standard of what is honourable. For if everything is referred to that, and if they say that pleasure has no part in it, then he says that they are talking idly, (these are his very words,) and do not understand or see what real meaning ought to be conveyed under this word honourable; for, as custom has it, he says that that alone is honourable [pg 147] which is accounted glorious by common report; and that, says he, although it is often more pleasant than some pleasures, still is sought for the sake of pleasure. Do you not see how greatly these two parties differ? A noble philosopher, by whom not only Greece and Italy, but all the countries of the barbarians are influenced, says that he does not understand what honourableness is, if it be not in pleasure, unless, perchance, it is that thing which is praised by the common conversation of the populace. But my opinion is, that this is often even dishonourable, and that real honourableness is not called so from the circumstance of its being praised by the many, but because it is such a thing that even if men were unacquainted with it, or if they said nothing about it, it would still be praiseworthy by reason of its own intrinsic beauty and excellence.

And so he again, being forced to yield to the power of nature, which is always irresistible, says in another place what you also said a little while ago,—that a man cannot live pleasantly unless he also lives honourably. Now then, what is the meaning of honourably? does it mean the same as pleasantly? If so, this statement will come to this, that a man cannot live honourably unless he lives honourably. Is it honourably according to public report? Therefore he affirms that a man cannot live pleasantly without he has public report in his favour. What can be more shameful than for the life of a wise man to depend on the conversation of fools? What is it, then, that in this place he understands by the word honourable? Certainly nothing except what can be deservedly praised for its own sake; for if it be praised for the sake of pleasure, then what sort of praise, I should like to know, is that which can be sought for in the shambles? He is not a man, while he places honourableness in such a rank that he affirms it to be impossible to live pleasantly without it, to think that honourable which is popular, and to affirm that one cannot live pleasantly without popularity; or to understand by the word honourable anything except what is right, and deservedly to be praised by itself and for itself, from a regard to its own power and influence and intrinsic nature.

XVI. Therefore, Torquatus, when you said that Epicurus asserted loudly that a man could not live pleasantly if he did not also live honourably, and wisely, and justly, you [pg 148] appeared to me to be boasting yourself. There was such energy in your words, on account of the dignity of those things which were indicated by those words, that you became taller, that you rose up, and fixed your eyes upon us as if you were giving a solemn testimony that honourableness and justice are sometimes praised by Epicurus. How becoming was it to you to use that language, which is so necessary for philosophers, that if they did not use it we should have no great need of philosophy at all! For it is out of love for those words, which are very seldom employed by Epicurus—I mean wisdom, fortitude, justice, and temperance—that men of the most admirable powers of mind have betaken themselves to the study of philosophy.

“The sense of our eyes,” says Plato, “is most acute in us; but yet we do not see wisdom with them. What a vehement passion for itself would it excite if it could be beheld by the eyes!” Why so? Because it is so ingenious as to be able to devise pleasures in the most skilful manner. Why is justice extolled? or what is it that has given rise to that old and much-worn proverb, “He is a man with whom you may play31 in the dark.” This, though applied to only one thing, has a very extensive application; so that in every case we are influenced by the facts, and not by the witness.

For those things which you were saying were very weak and powerless arguments,—when you urged that the wicked were tormented by their own consciences, and also by fear of punishment, which is either inflicted on them, or keeps them in constant fear that it will be inflicted. One ought not to imagine a man timid, or weak in his mind, nor a good man, who, whatever he has done, keeps tormenting himself, and dreads everything; but rather let us fancy one, who with great shrewdness refers everything to usefulness—an acute, crafty, wary man, able with ease to devise plans for deceiving any one secretly, without any witness, or any one being privy to it. Do you think that I am speaking of Lucius Tubulus?—who, when as prætor he had been sitting as judge upon the [pg 149] trial of some assassins, took money to influence his decision so undisguisedly, that the next year Publius Scævola, being tribune of the people, made a motion before the people, that an inquiry should be made into the case. In accordance with which decree of the people, Cnæus Cæpio, the consul, was ordered by the senate to investigate the affair. Tubulus immediately went into banishment, and did not dare to make any reply to the charge, for the matter was notorious.

XVII. We are not, therefore, inquiring about a man who is merely wicked, but about one who mingles cunning with his wickedness, (as Quintus Pompeius32 did when he repudiated the treaty of Numantia,) and yet who is not afraid of everything, but who has rather no regard for the stings of conscience, which it costs him no trouble at all to stifle; for a man who is called close and secret is so far from informing against himself, that he will even pretend to grieve at what is done wrong by another; for what else is the meaning of the word crafty (versutus)? I recollect on one occasion being present at a consultation held by Publius Sextilius Rufus, when he reported the case on which he asked advice to his friends in this manner: That he had been left heir to Quintus Fadius Gallus; in whose will it had been written that he had entreated Sextilius to take care that what he left behind him should come to his daughter. Sextilius denied that he had done so. He could deny it with impunity, for who was there to convict him? None of us believed him; and it was more likely that he should tell a lie whose interest it was to do so, than he who had set down in his will that he had made the request which he ought to have made. He added, moreover, that having sworn to comply with the Voconian33 law, he did [pg 150] not dare to violate it, unless his friends were of a contrary opinion. I myself was very young when I was present on this occasion, but there were present also many men of the highest character, not one of whom thought that more ought to be given to Fadia than could come to her under the provisions of the Voconian law. Sextilius retained a very large inheritance; of which, if he had followed the opinion of those men who preferred what was right and honourable to all profit and advantage, he would never have touched a single penny. Do you think that he was afterwards anxious and uneasy in his mind on that account? Not a bit of it: on the contrary, he was a rich man, owing to that inheritance, and he rejoiced in his riches, for he set a great value on money which was acquired not only without violating the laws, but even by the law. And money is what you also think worth seeking for, even with great risk, for it is the efficient cause of many and great pleasures. As, therefore, every danger appears fit to be encountered for the sake of what is becoming and honourable, by those who decide that what is right and honourable is to be sought for its own sake; so the men of your school, who measure everything by pleasure, must encounter every danger in order to acquire great pleasures, if any great property or any important inheritance is at stake, since numerous pleasures are procured by money. And your master Epicurus must, if he wishes to pursue what he himself considers the chief of all good things, do the same that Scipio did, who had a prospect of great glory before him if he could compel Annibal to return into Africa. And with this view, what great dangers did he encounter! for he measured the whole of his enterprise by the standard of honour, not of pleasure. And in like manner, your wise man, being excited by the prospect of some advantage, will fight34 courageously, if it should be necessary. If his exploits [pg 151] are undiscovered, he will rejoice; if he is taken, he will despise every kind of punishment, for he will be thoroughly armed for a contempt of death, banishment, and even of pain, which you indeed represent as intolerable when you hold it out to wicked men as a punishment, but as endurable when you argue that a wise man has always more good than evil in his fortune.

XVIII. But picture to yourself a man not only cunning, so as to be prepared to act dishonestly in any circumstances that may arise, but also exceedingly powerful; as, for instance, Marcus Crassus was, who, however, always exercised his own natural good disposition; or as at this day our friend Pompeius is, to whom we ought to feel grateful for his virtuous conduct; for, although he is inclined to act justly, he could be unjust with perfect impunity. But how many unjust actions can be committed which nevertheless no one could find any ground for attacking! Suppose your friend, when dying, has entreated you to restore his inheritance to his daughter, and yet has never set it down in his will, as Fadius did, and has never mentioned to any one that he has done so, what will you do? You indeed will restore it. Perhaps Epicurus himself would have restored it; just as Sextus Peducæus the son of Sextus did; he who has left behind him a son, our intimate friend, a living image of his own virtue and honesty, a learned person, and the most virtuous and upright of all men; for he, though no one was aware that he had been entreated by Caius Plotius, a Roman knight of high character and great fortune, of the district of Nursia, to do so, came of his own accord to his widow, and, though she had no notion of the fact, detailed to her the commission which he had received from her husband, and made over the inheritance to her. But I ask you (since you would certainly have acted in the same manner yourself), do you not understand that the power of nature is all the greater, inasmuch as you yourselves, who refer everything to your own advantage, and, as you yourselves say, to pleasure, still perform actions from which it is evident that you are guided not by pleasure, but by principles of duty, and that your own upright nature has more influence over you than any vicious reasoning?

If you knew, says Carneades, that a snake was lying hid in any place, and that some one was going ignorantly to sit [pg 152] down upon it whose death would bring you some advantage, you would be acting wickedly if you did not warn him not to sit down there; and yet you could not be punished, for who could possibly convict you? However, I am dwelling too long on this point; for it is evident, unless equity, good faith and justice proceed from nature, and if all these things are referred to advantage, that a good man cannot possibly be found. But on this subject we have put a sufficient number of arguments into the mouth of Lælius, in our books on a Republic.

XIX. Now apply the same arguments to modesty, or temperance, which is a moderation of the appetites, in subordination to reason. Can we say that a man pays sufficient regard to the dictates of modesty, who indulges his lusts in such a manner as to have no witnesses of his conduct? or is there anything which is intrinsically flagitious, even if no loss of reputation ensues? What do brave men do? Do they enter into an exact calculation of pleasure, and so enter the battle, and shed their blood for their country? or are they excited rather by a certain ardour and impetuosity of courage? Do you think, O Torquatus, that that imperious ancestor of yours, if he could hear what we are now saying, would rather listen to your sentiments concerning him, or to mine, when I said that he had done nothing for his own sake, but everything for that of the republic; and you, on the contrary, affirm that he did nothing except with a view to his own advantage? But if you were to wish to explain yourself further, and were to say openly that he did nothing except for the sake of pleasure, how do you think that he would bear such an assertion?

Be it so. Let Torquatus, if you will, have acted solely with a view to his own advantage, for I would rather employ that expression than pleasure, especially when speaking of so eminent a man,—did his colleague too, Publius Decius, the first man who ever was consul in that family, did he, I say, when he was devoting himself, and rushing at the full speed of his horse into the middle of the army of the Latins, think at all of his own pleasures? For where or when was he to find any, when he knew that he should perish immediately, and when he was seeking that death with more eager zeal than Epicurus thinks even pleasure deserving to be sought [pg 153] with? And unless this exploit of his had been deservedly extolled, his son would not have imitated it in his fourth consulship; nor, again, would his son, when fighting against Pyrrhus, have fallen in battle when he was consul, and so offered himself up for the sake of the republic as a third victim in an uninterrupted succession from the same family. I will forbear giving any more examples. I might get a few from the Greeks, such as Leonidas, Epaminondas, and three or four more perhaps. And if I were to begin hunting up our own annals for such instances, I should soon establish my point, and compel Pleasure to give herself up, bound hand and foot, to virtue. But the day would be too short for me. And as Aulus Varius, who was considered a rather severe judge, was in the habit of saying to his colleague, when, after some witnesses had been produced, others were still being summoned, “Either we have had witnesses enough, or I do not know what is enough;” so I think that I have now brought forward witnesses enough.

For, what will you say? Was it pleasure that worked upon you, a man thoroughly worthy of your ancestors, while still a young man, to rob Publius Sylla of the consulship? And when you had succeeded in procuring it for your father, a most gallant man, what a consul did he prove, and what a citizen at all times, and most especially after his consulship! And, indeed, it was by his advice that we ourselves behaved in such a manner as to consult the advantage of the whole body of the citizens rather than our own.

But how admirably did you seem to speak, when on the one side you drew a picture of a man loaded with the most numerous and excessive pleasures, with no pain, either present or future; and on the other, of a man surrounded with the greatest torments affecting his whole body, with no pleasure, either present or hoped for; and asked who could be more miserable than the one, or more happy than the other? and then concluded, that pain was the greatest evil, and pleasure the greatest good.

XX. There was a man of Lanuvium, called Lucius Thorius Balbus, whom you cannot remember; he lived in such a way that no pleasure could be imagined so exquisite, that he had not a superfluity of it. He was greedy of pleasure, a critical judge of every species of it, and very rich. So far removed [pg 154] from all superstition, as to despise the numerous sacrifices which take place, and temples which exist in his country; so far from fearing death, that he was slain in battle fighting for the republic. He bounded his appetites, not according to the division of Epicurus, but by his own feelings of satiety. He took sufficient exercise always to come to supper both thirsty and hungry. He ate such food as was at the same time nicest in taste and most easy of digestion; and selected such wine as gave him pleasure, and was, at the same time, free from hurtful qualities. He had all those other means and appliances which Epicurus thinks so necessary, that he says that if they are denied, he cannot understand what is good. He was free from every sort of pain; and if he had felt any, he would not have borne it impatiently, though he would have been more inclined to consult a physician than a philosopher. He was a man of a beautiful complexion, of perfect health, of the greatest influence, in short, his whole life was one uninterrupted scene of every possible variety of pleasures. Now, you call this man happy. Your principles compel you to do so. But as for me, I will not, indeed, venture to name the man whom I prefer to him—Virtue herself shall speak for me, and she will not hesitate to rank Marcus Regulus before this happy man of yours. For Virtue asserts loudly that this man, when, of his own accord, under no compulsion, except that of the pledge which he had given to the enemy, he had returned to Carthage, was, at the very moment when he was being tortured with sleeplessness and hunger, more happy than Thorius while drinking on a bed of roses.

Regulus had had the conduct of great wars; he had been twice consul; he had had a triumph; and yet he did not think those previous exploits of his so great or so glorious as that last misfortune which he incurred, because of his own good faith and constancy; a misfortune which appears pitiable to us who hear of it, but was actually pleasant to him who endured it. For men are happy, not because of hilarity, or lasciviousness, or laughter, or jesting, the companion of levity, but often even through sorrow endured with firmness and constancy. Lucretia, having been ravished by force by the king's son, called her fellow-citizens to witness, and slew herself. This grief of hers, Brutus being the leader and mover of the Roman people, was the cause of liberty to the [pg 155] whole state. And out of regard for the memory of that woman, her husband and her father were made consuls35 the first year of the republic. Lucius Virginius, a man of small property and one of the people, sixty years after the reestablishment of liberty, slew his virgin daughter with his own hand, rather than allow her to be surrendered to the lust of Appius Claudius, who was at that time invested with the supreme power.

XXI. Now you, O Torquatus, must either blame all these actions, or else you must abandon the defence of pleasure. And what a cause is that, and what a task does the man undertake who comes forward as the advocate of pleasure, who is unable to call any one illustrious man as evidence in her favour or as a witness to her character? For as we have awakened those men from the records of our annals as witnesses, whose whole life has been consumed in glorious labours; men who cannot bear to hear the very name of pleasure: so on your side of the argument history is dumb. I have never heard of Lycurgus, or Solon, Miltiades, or Themistocles, or Epaminondas being mentioned in the school of Epicurus; men whose names are constantly in the mouth of all the other philosophers. But now, since we have begun to deal with this part of the question, our friend Atticus, out of his treasures, will supply us with the names of as many great men as may be sufficient for us to bring forward as witnesses. Is it not better to say a little of these men, than so many volumes about Themista?36 Let these things be confined to the Greeks: although we have derived philosophy and all the liberal sciences from them, still there are things which may be allowable for them to do, but not for us. The Stoics are at variance with the Peripatetics. One sect denies that anything is good which is not also honourable: the other asserts that it allows great weight, indeed, by far the most weight, to what is honourable, but still affirms that there are in the body also, and around the body, certain positive goods. It is an honourable contest and a splendid [pg 156] discussion. For the whole question is about the dignity of virtue.

But when one is arguing with philosophers of your school, one is forced to hear a great deal about even the obscure pleasures which Epicurus himself continually mentions. You cannot then, Torquatus, believe me, you cannot uphold those principles, if you examine into yourself, and your own thoughts and studies. You will, I say, be ashamed of that picture which Cleanthes was in the habit of drawing with such accuracy in his description. He used to desire those who came to him as his pupils, to think of Pleasure painted in a picture, clad in beautiful robes, with royal ornaments, and sitting on a throne. He represented all the Virtues around her, as her handmaidens, doing nothing else, and thinking nothing else their duty, but to minister to Pleasure, and only just to whisper in her ear (if, indeed, that could be made intelligible in a picture) a warning to be on her guard to do nothing imprudent, nothing to offend the minds of men, nothing from which any pain could ensue. We, indeed, they would say, we Virtues are only born to act as your slaves; we have no other business.

XXII. But Epicurus (for this is your great point) denies that any man who does not live honourably can live agreeably; as if I cared what he denies or what he affirms. What I inquire is, what it is consistent for that man to say who places the chief good in pleasure. What reason do you allege why Thorius, why Chius, why Postumius, why the master of all these men, Orata, did not live most agreeably? He himself, as I have already said, asserts that the life of men devoted to luxury is not deserving of blame, unless they are absolute fools, that is to say, unless they abandon themselves to become slaves to their desires or to their fears. And when he promises them a remedy for both these things, he, in so doing, offers them a licence for luxury. For if you take away these things, then he says that he cannot find anything in the life of debauched men which deserves blame. You then, who regulate everything by the standard of pleasure, cannot either defend or maintain virtue. For he does not deserve to be accounted a virtuous or a just man who abstains from injustice in order to avoid suffering evil. You know the line, I suppose—

[pg 157]
He's not a pious man whom fear constrains
To acts of piety ... a man—

And nothing can be more true. For a man is not just while he is in a state of alarm. And certainly when he ceases to be in fear, he will not be just. But he will not be afraid if he is able to conceal his actions, or if he is able, by means of his great riches and power, to support what he has done. And he will certainly prefer being regarded as a good man, though he is not one, to being a good man and not being thought one. And so, beyond all question, instead of genuine and active justice, you give us only an effigy of justice, and you teach us, as it were, to disregard our own unvarying conscience, and to go hunting after the fleeting vagabond opinions of others.

And the same may be said of the other virtues also; the foundation of all which you place in pleasure, which is like building on water. For what are we to say? Can we call that same Torquatus a brave man? For I am delighted, though I cannot, as you say, bribe you; I am delighted with your family and with your name. And, in truth, I have before my eyes Aulus Torquatus,37 a most excellent man, and one greatly attached to me; and both of you must certainly be aware how great and how eminent his zeal in my behalf was in those times which are well known to every one. And that conduct of his would not have been delightful to me, who wish both to be, and to be considered, grateful, if I did not see clearly that he was friendly to me for my own sake, not for his own; unless, indeed, you say, it was for his own sake, because it is for the interest of every one to act rightly. If you say that, we have gained our point. For what we are aiming at, what we are contending for, is, that duty itself is the reward of duty. But that master of yours will not admit this, and requires pleasure to result from every action as a sort of wages.

However, I return to him. If it was for the sake of pleasure that Torquatus, when challenged, fought with the Gaul on the Anio, and out of his spoils took his chain and earned his surname, or if it was for any other reason but that he thought such exploits worthy of a man, then I do not [pg 158] account him brave. And, indeed, if modesty, and decency, and chastity, and, in one word, temperance, is only upheld by the fear of punishment or infamy, and not out of regard to their own sanctity, then what lengths will adultery and debauchery and lust shrink from proceeding to, if there is a hope either of escaping detection, or of obtaining impunity or licence?

What shall I say more? What is your idea, O Torquatus, of this?—that you, a man of your name, of your abilities, of your high reputation, should not dare to allege in a public assembly what you do, what you think, what you contend for, the standard to which you refer everything, the object for the sake of which you wish to accomplish what you attempt, and what you think best in life. For what can you claim to deserve, when you have entered upon your magistracy, and come forward to the assembly, (for then you will have to announce what principles you intend to observe in administering the law, and perhaps, too, if you think fit, you will, as is the ancient custom, say something about your ancestors and yourself,)—what, I say, can you claim as your just desert, if you say that in that magistracy you will do everything for the sake of pleasure? and that you have never done anything all your life except with a view to pleasure? Do you think, say you, that I am so mad as to speak in that way before ignorant people? Well, say it then in the court of justice, or if you are afraid of the surrounding audience, say it in the senate: you will never do so. Why not, except that such language is disgraceful? Do you then think Triarius and me fit people for you to speak before in a disgraceful manner?

XXIII. However, be it so. The name of pleasure certainly has no dignity in it, and perhaps we do not exactly understand what is meant by it; for you are constantly saying that we do not understand what you mean by the word pleasure: no doubt it is a very difficult and obscure matter. When you speak of atoms, and spaces between worlds, things which do not exist, and which cannot possibly exist, then we understand you; and cannot we understand what pleasure is, a thing which is known to every sparrow? What will you say if I compel you to confess that I not only do know what pleasure is (for it is a pleasant emotion affecting the senses), but also what you mean by the word? For at one time you [pg 159] mean by the word the very same thing which I have just said, and you give it the description of consisting in motion, and of causing some variety: at another time you speak of some other highest pleasure, which is susceptible of no addition whatever, but that it is present when every sort of pain is absent, and you call it then a state, not a motion: let that, then, be pleasure. Say, in any assembly you please, that you do everything with a view to avoid suffering pain: if you do not think that even this language is sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently honourable, say that you will do everything during your year of office, and during your whole life, for the sake of your own advantage; that you will do nothing except what is profitable to yourself, nothing which is not prompted by a view to your own interest. What an uproar do you not suppose such a declaration would excite in the assembly, and what hope do you think you would have of the consulship which is ready for you? And can you follow these principles, which, when by yourself, or in conversation with your dearest friends, you do not dare to profess and avow openly? But you have those maxims constantly in your mouth which the Peripatetics and Stoics profess. In the courts of justice and in the senate you speak of duty, equity, dignity, good faith, uprightness, honourable actions, conduct worthy of power, worthy of the Roman people; you talk of encountering every imaginable danger in the cause of the republic—of dying for one's country. When you speak in this manner we are all amazed, like a pack of blockheads, and you are laughing in your sleeve: for, among all those high-sounding and admirable expressions, pleasure has no place, not only that pleasure which you say consists in motion, and which all men, whether living in cities or in the country, all men, in short, who speak Latin, call pleasure, but even that stationary pleasure, which no one but your sect calls pleasure at all.

XXIV. Take care lest you find yourselves obliged to use our language, though adhering to your own opinions. But if you were to put on a feigned countenance or gait, with the object of appearing more dignified, you would not then be like yourself; and yet are you to use fictitious language, and to say things which you do not think, or, as you have one dress to wear at home, and another in which you appear in court, [pg 160] are you to disguise your opinions in a similar manner, so as to make a parade with your countenance, while you are keeping the truth hidden within? Consider, I intreat you, whether this is proper. My opinion is that those are genuine sentiments which are honourable, which are praiseworthy, which are creditable; which a man is not ashamed to avow in the senate, before the people, in every company and every assembly, so that he will be ashamed to think what he is ashamed to say.

But what room can there be for friendship, or who can be a friend to any one whom he does not love for his own sake? And what is loving, from which verb (amo) the very name of friendship (amicitia) is derived, but wishing a certain person to enjoy the greatest possible good fortune, even if none of it accrues to oneself? Still, you say, it is a good thing for me to be of such a disposition. Perhaps it may be so; but you cannot be so if it is not really your disposition; and how can you be so unless love itself has seized hold of you? which is not usually generated by any accurate computation of advantage, but is self-produced, and born spontaneously from itself. But, you will say, I am guided by prospects of advantage. Friendship, then, will remain just as long as any advantage ensues from it; and if it be a principle of advantage which is the foundation of friendship, the same will be its destruction. But what will you do, if, as is often the case, advantage takes the opposite side to friendship? Will you abandon it? what sort of friendship is that? Will you preserve it? how will that be expedient for you? For you see what the rules are which you lay down respecting friendship which is desirable only for the sake of one's own advantage:—I must take care that I do not incur odium if I cease to uphold my friend. Now, in the first place, why should such conduct incur odium, except because it is disgraceful? But, if you will not desert your friend lest you should incur any disadvantage from so doing, still you will wish that he was dead, to release you from being bound to a man from whom you get no advantage. But suppose he not only brings you no advantage, but you even incur loss of property for his sake, and have to undertake labours, and to encounter danger of your life; will you not, even then, show some regard for yourself, and recollect that every one is born for himself and for his own pleasures? Will you go bail to a [pg 161] tyrant for your friend in a case which may affect your life, as that Pythagorean38 did when he became surety to the Tyrant of Sicily? or, when you are Pylades, will you affirm that you are Orestes, that you may die for your friend? or, if you were Orestes, would you contradict Pylades, and give yourself up? and, if you could not succeed then, would you intreat that you might be both put to death together?

XXV. You, indeed, O Torquatus, would do all these things. For I do not think that there is anything deserving of great praise, which you would be likely to shrink from out of fear of death or pain: nor is it the question what is consistent with your nature, but with the doctrines of your school—that philosophy which you defend, those precepts which you have learnt, and which you profess to approve of, utterly overthrow friendship—even though Epicurus should, as indeed he does, extol it to the skies. Oh, you will say, but he himself cultivated friendship. As if any one denied that he was a good, and courteous, and kind-hearted man; the question in these discussions turns on his genius, and not on his morals. Grant that there is such perversity in the levity of the Greeks, who attack those men with evil speaking with whom they disagree as to the truth of a proposition. But, although he may have been courteous in maintaining friendships, still, if all this is true, (for I do not affirm anything myself), he was not a very acute arguer. Oh, but he convinced many people. And perhaps it was quite right that he should; still, the testimony of the multitude is not of the greatest possible weight; for in every art, or study, or science, as in virtue itself, whatever is most excellent is also most rare. And to me, indeed, the very fact of he himself having been a good man, and of many Epicureans having also been such, and being to this day faithful in their friendships, and consistent throughout their whole lives, and men of dignified conduct, regulating their lives, not by pleasure, but by their duty, appears to show that the power of what is honourable is greater, and that of pleasure smaller. For some men live in such a manner that their language is refuted by their lives; and as others are considered [pg 162] to speak better than they act, so these men seem to me to act better than they speak.

XXVI. However, all this is nothing to the purpose. Let us just consider those things which have been said by you about friendship, and among them I fancied that I recognized one thing as having been said by Epicurus himself, namely, that friendship cannot be separated from pleasure, and that it ought on that account to be cultivated, because without it men could not live in safety, and without fear, nor even with any kind of pleasantness. Answer enough has been given to this argument. You also brought forward another more humane one, invented by these more modern philosophers, and never, as far as I know, advanced by the master himself, that at first, indeed, a friend is sought out with a view to one's own advantage, but that when intimacy has sprung up, then the man is loved for himself, all hope or idea of pleasure being put out of the question. Now, although this argument is open to attack on many accounts, still I will accept what they grant; for it is enough for me, though not enough for them: for they admit that it is possible for men to act rightly at times, without any expectation of, or desire to acquire pleasure.

You also affirmed that some people say that wise men make a kind of treaty among themselves, that they shall have the same feelings towards their friends that they entertain for themselves, and that that is possible, and is often the case, and that it has especial reference to the enjoyment of pleasures. If they could make this treaty, they at the same time make that other to love equity, moderation, and all the virtues for their own sake, without any consideration of advantage. But if we cultivate friendships for the sake of their profits, emoluments, and advantages which may be derived from them, if there is to be no affection which may make the friendship desirable for its own sake, on its own account, by its own influences, by itself and for itself, is there any doubt at all that in such a case we must prefer our farms and estates to our friends? And here you may again quote those panegyrics which have been uttered in most eloquent language by Epicurus himself, on the subject of friendship. I am not asking what he says, but what he can possibly say which shall be consistent with his own system and sentiments.

[pg 163]

Friendship has been sought for the sake of advantage; do you, then, think that my friend Triarius, here, will be more useful to you than your granaries at Puteol? Think of all the circumstances which you are in the habit of recollecting; the protection which friends are to a man. You have sufficient protection in yourself, sufficient in the laws, sufficient also in moderate friendships. As it is, you cannot be looked upon with contempt; but you will easily avoid odium and unpopularity, for precepts on that subject are given by Epicurus. And yet you, by employing such large revenues in purposes of liberality, even without any Pyladean friendship, will admirably defend and protect yourself by the goodwill of numbers. But with whom, then, is a man to share his jests, his serious thoughts, as people say, and all his secrets and hidden wishes? With you, above all men; but if that cannot be, why with some tolerably intimate friend. However, grant that all these circumstances are not unreasonable; what comparison can there be between them and the utility of such large sums of money? You see, then, if you measure friendship by the affection which it engenders, that nothing is more excellent; if by the advantage that is derived from it, then you see that the closest intimacies are surpassed by the value of a productive farm. You must therefore love me, myself, and not my circumstances, if we are to be real friends.

XXVII. But we are getting too prolix in the most self-evident matters; for, as it has been concluded and established that there is no room anywhere for either virtues or friendships if everything is referred to pleasure, there is nothing more which it is of any great importance should be said. And yet, that I may not appear to have passed over any topic without a reply, I will, even now, say a few words on the remainder of your argument.

Since, then, the whole sum of philosophy is directed to ensure living happily, and since men, from a desire of this one thing, have devoted themselves to this study; but different people make happiness of life to consist in different circumstances; you, for instance, place it in pleasure; and, in the same manner you, on the other hand, make all unhappiness to consist in pain: let us consider, in the first place, what sort of thing this happy life of yours is. But you will grant this, I think, that if there is really any such thing as happiness, [pg 164] it ought to be wholly in the power of a wise man to secure it; for, if a happy life can be lost, it cannot be happy. For who can feel confident that a thing will always remain firm and enduring in his case, which is in reality fleeting and perishable? But the man who distrusts the permanence of his good things, must necessarily fear that some day or other, when he has lost them, he will become miserable; and no man can be happy who is in fear about most important matters. No one, then, can be happy; for a happy life is usually called so, not in some part only, but in perpetuity of time; and, in fact, life is not said to be happy at all till it is completed and finished. Nor is it possible for any man to be sometimes happy and sometimes miserable; for he who thinks it possible that he may become miserable, is certainly not happy. For, when a happy life is once attained, it remains as long as the maker of the happy life herself, namely, wisdom; nor does it wait till the last period of a man's existence, as Herodotus says that Crœsus was warned by Solon.

But, as you yourself were saying, Epicurus denies that length of time has any influence on making life happy, and that no less pleasure can be felt in a short time than would be the case if the pleasure were everlasting. Now these statements are most inconsistent. For, when he places the chief good in pleasure, he denies that pleasure can be greater in infinite time, than it can in a finite and moderate period. The man who places all good in virtue, has it in his power to say that a happy life is made so by the perfection of virtue; for he consistently denies that time can bring any increase to his chief good. But he who thinks that life is made happy by pleasure, must surely be inconsistent with himself if he denies that pleasure is increased by length of time: if so, then pain is not either. Shall we, then, say that all pain is most miserable in proportion as it is most lasting, and yet that duration does not make pleasure more desirable? Why, then, is it that Epicurus always speaks of God as happy and eternal? For, if you only take away his eternity, Jupiter is in no respect more happy than Epicurus; for each of them is in the enjoyment of the chief good, namely, pleasure. Oh, but Epicurus is also liable to pain. That does not affect him at all; for he says that if he were being burnt, he would say, “How pleasant it is.” In what respect, then, is he surpassed [pg 165] by the God, if he is not surpassed by him because of his eternity? For what good has the God, except the highest degree of pleasure, and that, too, everlasting! What, then, is the good of speaking so pompously, if one does not speak consistently? Happiness of life is placed in pleasure of body, (I will add of mind also, if you please, as long as that pleasure of the mind is derived from the pleasure of the body.) What? who can secure this pleasure to a wise man in perpetuity? For the circumstances by which pleasures are generated are not in the power of a wise man; for happiness does not consist in wisdom itself, but in those things which wisdom provides for the production of pleasure. And all these circumstances are external; and what is external is liable to accident. And thus fortune is made the mistress of happiness in life,—Fortune, which, Epicurus says, has but little to do with a wise man.

XXVIII. But you will say, Come, these things are trifles. Nature by herself enriches the wise man; and, indeed, Epicurus has taught us that the riches of nature are such as can be acquired. This is well said, and I do not object to it; but still these same assertions are inconsistent with one another. For Epicurus denies there is less pleasure derived from the poorest food, from the most despised kinds of meat and drink, than from feasting on the most delicious dishes. Now if he were to assert that it makes no difference as to the happiness of life what food a man ate, I would grant it, I would even praise him for saying so; for he would be speaking the truth; and I know that Socrates, who ranked pleasure as nothing at all, said the same thing, namely, that hunger was the best seasoning for meat, and thirst for drink. But I do not comprehend how a man who refers everything to pleasure, lives like Gallonius, and yet talks like that great man Frugi Piso; nor, indeed, do I believe that what he says is his real opinion. He has said that natural riches can be acquired, because nature is contented with a little. Certainly, unless you estimate pleasure at a great value. No less pleasure, says he, is derived from the most ordinary things than from the most valuable. Now to say this, is not only not to have a heart, but not to have even a palate. For they who despise pleasure itself, may be allowed to say that they do not prefer a sturgeon to a herring. But the man who places his chief [pg 166] good in pleasure, must judge of everything by his sensations, not by his reason, and must pronounce those things best which are most pleasant.

However, be it so. Let him acquire the greatest possible pleasures, not only at a cheap rate, but, as far as I am concerned, for nothing at all, if he can manage it. Let there be no less pleasure in eating a nasturtium, which Xenophon tells us the Persians used to eat, than in those Syracusan banquets which are so severely blamed by Plato. Let, I say, the acquisition of pleasure be as easy as you say it is. What shall we say of pain? the torments of which are so great that, if at least pain is the greatest of evils, a happy life cannot possibly exist in company with it. For Metrodorus himself, who is almost a second Epicurus, describes a happy man in these words. When his body is in good order, and when he is quite certain that it it will be so for the future. Is it possible for any one to be certain in what condition his body will be, I do not say a year hence, but even this evening? Pain, therefore, which is the greatest of evils, will always be dreaded even if it is not present. For it will always be possible that it may be present. But how can any fear of the greatest possible evil exist in a happy life?

Oh, says he, Epicurus has handed down maxims according to which we may disregard pain. Surely, it is an absurdity to suppose that the greatest possible evil can be disregarded. However, what is the maxim? The greatest pain, says he, is short-lived. Now, first of all, what do you call short-lived? And, secondly, what do you call the greatest pain? For what do you mean? Cannot extreme pain last for many days? Aye, and for many months? Unless, indeed, you intend to assert that you mean such pain as kills a man the moment it seizes on him. Who is afraid of that pain? I would rather you would lessen that pain by which I have seen that most excellent and kind-hearted man, Cnæus Octavius, the son of Marcus Octavius, my own intimate friend, worn out, and that not once, or for a short time, but very often, and for a long period at once. What agonies, O ye immortal gods, did that man use to bear, when all his limbs seemed as if they were on fire. And yet he did not appear to be miserable, (because in truth pain was not the greatest of evils,) but only afflicted. But if he had been immersed in [pg 167] continued pleasure, passing at the same time a vicious and infamous life, then he would have been miserable.

XXIX. But when you say that great pains last but a short time, and that if they last long they are always light, I do not understand the meaning of your assertion. For I see that some pains are very great, and also very durable. And there is a better principle which may enable one to endure them, which however you cannot adopt, who do not love what is honourable for its own sake. There are some precepts for, and I may almost say laws of, fortitude, which forbid a man to behave effeminately in pain. Wherefore it should be accounted disgraceful, I do not say to grieve, (for that is at times unavoidable,) but to make those rocks of Lemnos melancholy with such outcries as those of Philoctetes—

Who utters many a tearful note aloud,
With ceaseless groaning, howling, and complaint.

Now let Epicurus, if he can, put himself in the place of that man—

Whose veins and entrails thus are racked with pain
And horrid agony, while the serpent's bite
Spreads its black venom through his shuddering frame.

Let Epicurus become Philoctetes. If his pain is sharp it is short. But in fact he has been lying in his cave for ten years. If it lasts long it is light, for it grants him intervals of relaxation. In the first place it does not do so often; and in the second place what sort of relaxation is it when the memory of past agony is still fresh, and the fear of further agony coming and impending is constantly tormenting him. Let him die, says he. Perhaps that would be the best thing for him; but then what becomes of the argument, that the wise man has always more pleasure than pain? For if that be the case I would have you think whether you are not recommending him a crime, when you advise him to die. Say to him rather, that it is a disgraceful thing for a man to allow his spirit to be crushed and broken by pain, that it is shameful to yield to it. For as for your maxim, if it is violent it is short, if it lasts long it is slight, that is mere empty verbiage. The only real way to mitigate pain is by the application of virtue, of magnanimity, of patience, of courage.

XXX. Listen, that I may not make too wide a digression, to the words of Epicurus when dying; and take notice how [pg 168] inconsistent his conduct is with his language. “Epicurus to Hermarchus greeting. I write this letter,” says he, “while passing a happy day, which is also the last day of my life. And the pains of my bladder and bowels are so intense that nothing can be added to them which can make them greater.” Here is a man miserable, if pain is the greatest possible evil. It cannot possibly be denied. However, let us see how he proceeds. “But still I have to balance this a joy in my mind, which I derive from the recollection of my philosophical principles and discoveries. But do you, as becomes the goodwill which from your youth upwards you have constantly discovered for me and for philosophy, protect the children of Metrodorus.” After reading this, I do not consider the death of Epaminondas or Leonidas preferable to his. One of whom defeated the Lacedæmonians at Mantinea,39 and finding that he had been rendered insensible by a mortal wound, when he first came to himself, asked whether his shield was safe? When his weeping friends had answered him that it was, he then asked whether the enemy was defeated? And when he received to this question also the answer which he wished, he then ordered the spear which was sticking in him to be pulled out. And so, losing quantities of blood, he died in the hour of joy and victory.

But Leonidas, the king of the Lacedæmonians, put himself and those three hundred men, whom he had led from Sparta, in the way of the enemy of Thermopylæ,40 when the alternative was a base flight, or a glorious death. The deaths of generals are glorious, but philosophers usually die in their beds. But still Epicurus here mentions what, when dying, he considered great credit to himself. “I have,” says he, “a joy to counterbalance these pains.” I recognise in these words, O Epicurus, the sentiments of a philosopher, but still you forgot what you ought to have said. For, in the first place, if those things be true, in the recollection of which you say you rejoice, that is to say, if your writings and discoveries are true, then you cannot rejoice. For you have no pleasure here which you can refer to the body. But you have constantly asserted that no one ever feels joy or pain except with reference to his body. “I rejoice,” says he, “in the past.” In what that is past? If you mean such past things as refer to [pg 169] the body, then I see that you are counterbalancing your agonies with your reason, and not with your recollection of pleasures which you have felt in the body. But if you are referring to your mind, then your denial of there being any joy of the mind which cannot be referred to some pleasure of the body, must be false. Why, then, do you recommend the children of Metrodorus to Hermarchus? In that admirable exercise of duty, in that excellent display of your good faith, for that is how I look upon it, what is there that you refer to the body?

XXXI. You may twist yourself about in every direction as you please, Torquatus, but you will not find in this excellent letter anything written by Epicurus which is in harmony and consistent with the rules he laid down. And so he is convicted by himself, and his writings are upset by his own virtue and goodness. For that recommendation of those children, that recollection of them, and affectionate friendship for them, that attention to the most important duties at the last gasp, indicates that honesty without any thought of personal advantage was innate in the man; that it did not require the invitation of pleasure, or the allurements of mercenary rewards. For what greater evidence can we require that those things which are honourable and right are desirable of themselves for their own sake, than the sight of a dying man so anxious in the discharge of such important duties? But, as I think that letter deserving of all commendation of which I have just given you a literal translation, (although it was in no respect consistent with the general system of that philosopher,) so also I think that his will is inconsistent not only with the dignity of a philosopher, but even with his own sentiments. For he wrote often, and at great length, and sometimes with brevity and suitable language, in that book which I have just named, that death had nothing to do with us; for that whatever was dissolved was void of sensation, and whatever was void of sensation had nothing whatever to do with us. Even this might have been expressed better and more elegantly. For when he lays down the position that what has been dissolved is void of sensation, that is such an expression that it is not very plain what he means by the word dissolved. However, I understand what he really does mean. But still I ask why, when every sensation is extinguished [pg 170] by dissolution, that is to say, by death, and when there is nothing else whatever that has any connexion with us, he should still take such minute and diligent care to enjoin Amynomachus and Timocrates, his heirs, to furnish every year what in the opinion of Hermarchus shall be enough to keep his birthday in the month Gamelion, with all proper solemnity. And also, shall every month, on the twentieth day of the month, supply money enough to furnish a banquet for those men who have studied philosophy with him, in order that his memory, and that of Metrodorus, may be duly honoured. Now I cannot deny that these injunctions are in keeping with the character of a thoroughly accomplished and amiable man; but still I utterly deny that it is inconsistent with the wisdom of a philosopher, especially of a natural philosopher, which is the character he claims for himself, to think that there is such a day as the birthday of any one. What? Can any day which has once passed recur over again frequently. Most indubitably not; or can any day like it recur? Even that is impossible, unless it may happen after an interval of many thousand years, that there may be a return of all the stars at the same moment to the point from which they set out. There is, therefore, no such thing as anybody's birthday. But still it is considered that there is. As if I did not know that. But even if there be, is it to be regarded after a man's death? And is a man to give injunctions in his will that it shall be so, after he has told you all, as if with the voice of an oracle, that there is nothing which concerns us at all after death? These things are very inconsistent in a man who, in his mind, had travelled over innumerable worlds and boundless regions, which were destitute of all limits and boundaries. Did Democritus ever say such a thing as this? I will pass over every one else, and call him only as a witness whom Epicurus himself followed to the exclusion of others.

But if a day did deserve to be kept, which was it more fitting to observe, the day on which a man was born, or that on which he became wise? A man, you will say, could not have become wise unless he had been born. And, on the same principle, he could not if his grandmother had never been born. The whole business, Torquatus, is quite out of character for a learned man to wish to have the recollection [pg 171] of his name celebrated with banquets after his death. I say nothing of the way in which you keep these days, and to how many jokes from witty men you expose yourselves. There is no need of quarrelling. I only say that it would have been more becoming in you to keep Epicurus's birthday, than in him to leave injunctions in his will that it should be kept.

XXXII. However, to return to our subject, (for while we were talking of pain we digressed to that letter of his,) we may now fairly come to this conclusion. The man who is in the greatest evil, while he is in it, is not happy. But the wise man is always happy, and is also occasionally in pain. Therefore, pain is not the greatest evil. What kind of doctrine, then, is this, that goods which are past are not lost to a wise man, but that he ought not to remember past evils. First of all, is it in our power to decide what we will remember. When Simonides, or some one else, offered to Themistocles to teach him the art of memory, “I would rather,” said he, “that you would teach me that of forgetfulness; for I even now recollect what I would rather not; but I cannot forget what I should like to.” This was a very sensible answer. But still the fact is that it is the act of a very arbitrary philosopher to forbid a man to recollect. It seems to me a command very much in the spirit of your ancestor, Manlius, or even worse, to command what it is impossible for me to do. What will you say if the recollection of past evils is even pleasant? For some proverbs are more true than your dogmas. Nor does Euripides speak all when he says, I will give it you in Latin, if I can, but you all know the Greek line—

Sweet is the memory of sorrows past.41
[pg 172]

However, let us return to the consideration of past goods. And if you were to utter such maxims as might be capable of consoling Caius Marius, and enabling him when banished, indigent, and up to his neck in a marsh, to relieve his anguish by the recollection of his past trophies, I would listen to you, and approve of all you could say. Nor, indeed, can the happiness of a philosopher be complete or continue to the end, if all the admirable discoveries which he has made, and all his virtuous actions, are to be lost by his own forgetfulness. But, in your case, you assert that the recollection of pleasures which have been felt makes life happy, and of such pleasures too, as affect the body. For if there are any other pleasures, then it is incorrect to say that all the pleasures of the mind originate in its connexion with the body.

But if pleasures felt by the body, even when they are past, can give pleasure, then I do not understand why Aristotle should turn the inscription on the tomb of Sardanapalus into so much ridicule; in which the king of Assyria boasts that he has taken with him all his lascivious pleasures. For, says Aristotle, how could those things which even while he was alive he could not feel a moment longer than while he was actually enjoying them, possibly remain to him after he was dead? The pleasure, then, of the body is lost, and flies away at the first moment, and oftener leaves behind reasons for repenting of it than for recollecting it. Therefore, Africanus is happier when addressing his country in this manner—

Cease, Rome, to dread your foes....

And in the rest of his admirable boast—

For you have trophies by my labour raised.

He is rejoicing here in his labours which are past. But you would bid him exult in past pleasures. He traces back his feelings to things which had never had any reference to his body. You cling to the body to the exclusion of everything else.

XXXIII. But how can that proposition possibly be maintained which you urge, namely, that all the pleasures and pains of the mind are connected inseparably with the pleasures and pains of the body? Is there, then, nothing which ever delights you, (I know whom I am addressing,) is there nothing, O Torquatus, which ever delights you for its own sake? I say nothing about dignity, honourableness, the beauty of virtue, which I have mentioned before. I will put [pg 173] all these things aside as of less consequence. But is there anything when you are writing, or reading a poem, or an oration, when you are investigating the history of exploits or countries, or anything in a statue, or picture, or pleasant place; in sports, in hunting, or in a villa of Lucullus, (for if I were to say of your own, you would have a loophole to escape through, saying that that had connexion with your body,) is there any of all these things, I say, which you can refer to your body, or do they not please you, if they please you at all, for their own sake?

You must either be the most obstinate of men, if you persist in referring these things, which I have just mentioned, to the body, or else you must abandon Epicurus's whole theory of pleasure, if you admit that they have no connexion with it.

But as for your argument, that the pleasures and pains of the mind are greater than those of the body, because the mind is a partaker of three times,42 but nothing but what is present is felt by the body; how can it possibly be allowed that a man who rejoices for my sake rejoices more than I do myself? The pleasure of the mind originates in the pleasure of the body, and the pleasure of the mind is greater than that of the body. The result, then, is, that the party who congratulates the other is more rejoiced than he whom he congratulates. But while you are trying to make out the wise man to be happy, because he is sensible of the greatest pleasures in his mind, and, indeed, of pleasures which are in all their parts greater than those which he is sensible of in his body, you do not see what really happens. For he will also feel the pains of the mind to be in every respect greater than those of the body. And so he must occasionally be miserable, whom you endeavour to represent as being always happy. Nor, indeed, will it be possible for you ever to fill up the idea of perfect and uninterrupted happiness while you refer everything to pleasure and pain.

On which account, O Torquatus, we must find out something else which is the chief good of man. Let us grant pleasure to the beasts, to whom you often appeal as witnesses on the subject of the chief good. What will you say, if even the beasts do many things under the guidance of their various [pg 174] natures, partly out of indulgence to other beasts, and at the cost of their own labour, as, for instance, it is very visible in bringing forth and rearing their young, that they have some other object in view besides their own pleasure? and partly, too, when they rejoice in running about and travelling; and some assemble in herds, in such a manner as to imitate in some degree a human state. In some species of birds we see certain indications of affection, knowledge, and memory; in many we see what even looks like a regular system of action. Shall there, then, be in beasts some images of human virtues, quite unconnected with pleasure, and shall there be no virtue in man except for the sake of pleasure? and though he is as superior as can be to all the other animals, shall we still affirm that he has no peculiar attributes given to him by nature?

XXXIV. But we, if indeed all things depend on pleasure, are greatly surpassed by beasts, for which the earth, of her own accord, produces various sorts of food, in every kind of abundance, without their taking any trouble about it; while the same necessaries are scarcely (sometimes I may even use stronger language still) supplied to us, when we seek them with great labour. Nor is it possible that I should ever think that the chief good was the same in the case of a beast and a man. For what can be the use of having so many means and appliances for the carrying out of the most excellent arts,—what can be the use of such an assemblage of most honourable pursuits, of such a crowd of virtues, if they are all got together for no other end but pleasure? As if, when Xerxes, with such vast fleets, such countless troops of both cavalry and infantry, had bridged over the Hellespont and dug through Mount Athos, had walked across the sea, and sailed43 over the land, if, when he had invaded Greece with such [pg 175] irresistible violence, any one had asked him for the cause of collecting so vast an army, and waging so formidable a war, and he had replied that he wished to get some honey from Hymettus, certainly he would have been thought to have undertaken such an enterprise for an insufficient cause. And in like manner, if we were to say that a wise man, furnished and provided with numerous and important virtues and accomplishments, not, indeed, travelling like him over sea on foot, and over mountains with his fleet, but embracing the whole heaven, all the earth, and the universal sea with his mind, had nothing in view but pleasure, we might say that he, too, was taking a great deal of trouble for a little honey.

Believe me, Torquatus, we were born for more lofty and noble ends; and you may see this, not only by considering the parts of the mind, in which there is the recollection of a countless number of things, (and from thence proceed infinite conjectures as to the consequences of them, not very far differing from divination; there is also in them shame, which is the regulator of desire, and the faithful guardianship of justice, so necessary to human society, and a firm enduring contempt for pain and death, shown in the enduring of labours and the encountering of dangers.) All these things, I say, are in the mind. But I would have you consider also the limbs and the senses, which, like the other parts of the body, will appear to you to be not only the companions of the virtues, but also their slaves. What will you say, if many things in the body itself appear to deserve to be preferred to pleasure? such as strength, health, activity, beauty? And if this is the case, how many qualities of the mind will likewise seem so? For in the mind, the old philosophers—those most learned men—thought that there was something heavenly and divine. But if the chief good consisted in pleasure, as you say, then it would be natural that we should wish to live day and night in the midst of pleasure, without any interval or interruption, while all our senses were, as it were, steeped in and influenced wholly by pleasure. But who is there, who is worthy of the name of a man, who would like to spend even the whole of one day in that kind of pleasure? The Cyrenaic philosophers, indeed, would not object. Your sect is more modest in this respect, though their's is perhaps the more sincere.

[pg 176]

However, let us contemplate with our minds, not, indeed, these most important arts, which are so valuable, that those who were ignorant of them were accounted useless by our ancestors; but I ask you whether you think that (I will not say Homer, or Archilochus, or Pindar, but) Phidias, or Polycletus, or Zeuxis directed the whole of their skill to cause more pleasure. Shall, then, an artist propose to himself a higher aim, with reference to the beauty of figures, than a virtuous citizen with reference to the nobleness of action? But what other cause can there be for such a blunder being so widely and extensively diffused, except that he who determines that pleasure is the chief good, deliberates not with that part of his mind in which reason and wisdom dwell, but with his desires, that is to say, with the most trifling portion of his mind. For I put the question to you yourself, if there are gods, as you think that there are, how have they the power of being happy, when they are not able to feel any pleasure in their bodies? or if they are happy, though destitute of that kind of pleasure, why do you refuse to recognize the possibility of a similar exertion of intellect on the part of a wise man?

XXXV. Read, O Torquatus, the panegyrics, not of those men who have been praised by Homer, not the encomiums passed on Cyrus, or Agesilaus, or Aristides, or Themistocles, or Philip, or Alexander; but read the praises of our own fellow-countrymen, of the heroes of your own family. You will not find any one praised on the ground of having been a cunning contriver, or procurer, of pleasure. The eulogies on their monuments signify no such thing; like this one which is at one of our gates, “In whose favour many nations unanimously agree that he was the noblest man of the nation.” Do we think that many nations judged of Calatinus, that he was the noblest man of the nation, because he was the most skilful in the devising of pleasures? Shall we, then, say that there is great hope and an excellent disposition in those young men whom we think likely to consult their own advantage, and to see what will be profitable to themselves? Do we not see what a great confusion of everything would ensue? what great disorder? Such a doctrine puts an end to all beneficence, to all gratitude, which are the great bonds of agreement. For if you do good to any one for your own sake, [pg 177] that is not to be considered a kindness, but only usury; nor does any gratitude appear due to the man who has benefited another for his own sake.

But if pleasure is the dominant power, it is inevitable that all the virtues must be trampled under foot. For there are many kinds of base conduct, which, unless honourableness is naturally to have the most influence, must, or at least it is not easy to explain why they should not, overcome a wise man; and, not to go hunting for too many instances, it is quite clear, that virtue deservedly praised, must cut off all the approaches of pleasure.

Do not, now, expect any more arguments from me. Look, Torquatus, yourself, into your own mind; turn the question over in all your thoughts; examine yourself, whether you would prefer to pass your life in the enjoyment of perpetual pleasure, in that tranquillity which you have often felt, free from all pain, with the addition also of that blessing which you often speak of as an addition, but which is, in fact, an impossible one, the absence of all fear; or, while deserving well of all nations, and bearing assistance and safety to all who are in need of it, to encounter even the distresses of Hercules. For so our ancestors, even in the case of a god, called labours which were unavoidable by the most melancholy name, distresses.44 I would require you, and compel you to answer me, if I were not afraid that you might say that Hercules himself performed those exploits, which he performed with the greatest labour for the safety of nations, for the sake of pleasure.

And when I had said this,—I know, said Torquatus, who it is that I have to thank for this; and although I might be able to do something myself, yet I am still more glad to find my friends better prepared than I am.

I suppose you mean Syro and Philodemus, excellent citizens and most learned men. You are right, said he. Come, then, said I. But it would be more fair for Triarius to give [pg 178] some opinion on this discussion of ours. Indeed, said he smiling, it would be very unfair, at least on this subject: for you manage the question more gently; but this man attacks us after the fashion of the Stoics. Then Triarius said, Hereafter I will speak more boldly still: for I shall have all these arguments which I have just heard ready to my hand; and I will not begin before I see you equipped by those philosophers whom you mention.

And when this had been said, we made an end both of our walk and of our discussion.

Third Book Of The Treatise On The Chief Good And Evil.

I. I think, Brutus, that Pleasure, if she were to speak for herself, and had not such pertinacious advocates, would yield to Virtue, as having been vanquished in the preceding book. In truth, she would be destitute of shame if she were to resist Virtue any longer, or persist in preferring what is pleasant to what is honourable, or were to contend that a tickling pleasure, as it were, of the body, and the joy arising out of it, is of more importance than dignity of mind and consistency. So that we may dismiss Pleasure, and desire her to confine herself within her own boundaries, so that the strictness of our discussions may not be hindered by her allurements and blandishments. For we have now to inquire what that chief good is which we are anxious to discover; since pleasure is quite unconnected with it, and since nearly the same arguments can be urged against those who have considered freedom from pain as the greatest of goods.

Nor, indeed, can anything be admitted to be the chief good which is destitute of virtue, to which nothing can be superior. Therefore, although in that discourse which was held with Torquatus we were not remiss, still we have now a much sharper contest before us with the Stoics. For the statements which are made about pleasure are not expressed with any great acuteness or refinement. For they who defend it are not skilful in arguing, nor have those who take the opposite side a very difficult cause to oppose. Even [pg 179] Epicurus himself says, that one ought not even to argue about pleasure, because the decision respecting it depends on the sensations, so that it is sufficient for us to be warned respecting it, and quite unnecessary for us to be instructed. And on this account, that previous discussion of ours was a simple one on both sides; for there was nothing involved or intricate in the discourse of Torquatus, and my own language, as it seems to me, was very clear. But you are not ignorant what a subtle, or I might rather say, thorny kind of arguing it is which is employed by the Stoics. And if it is so among the Greeks, much more so is it among us, who are forced even to invent words, and to give new names to new things. And this is what no one who is even moderately learned will wonder at, when he considers that in every art which is not in common and ordinary use, there is a great variety of new names, as appellations are forced to be given to everything about which each art is conversant. Therefore, both dialecticians and natural philosophers use those words which are not common in the ordinary conversation of the Greeks; and geometricians, musicians, and grammarians, all speak after a peculiar fashion of their own. And even the rhetoricians, whose art is a forensic one, and wholly directed to the people, still in giving their lessons use words which are, as it were, their peculiar private property.

II. And, without dwelling on the case of these liberal and gentlemanly professions, even artisans would not be capable of exercising their trades properly if they did not use technical words, which are not understood by us, though in common use among them. Agriculture, also, which is as distant as can be from all polite refinement, still marks those matters with which it is conversant by new names. And much more is this course allowable in a philosopher; for philosophy is the art of life, and a man who is discussing that cannot borrow his language from the forum,—although there is no school of philosophers which has made so many innovations as the Stoics. Zeno too, their chief, was not so much a discoverer of new things as of new words. But if, even in that language which most people consider richer than our own, Greece has permitted the most learned men to use words not in ordinary use about subjects which are equally unusual, how much more ought the same licence to be granted to us, [pg 180] who are now venturing to be the very first of our countrymen to touch on such matters? And though we have often said,—and that, too, in spite of some complaints not only of the Greeks, but of those men also who would prefer being accounted Greeks to being thought our own countrymen,—that we are so far from being surpassed by the Greeks in the richness and copiousness of our language, that we are even superior to them in that particular; we must labour to establish this point, not only in our own national arts, but in those too which we have derived from them. Although, since they have become established by habit, we may fairly consider those words as our own which, in accordance with ancient custom, we use as Latin words; such as philosophia itself, rhetorica, dialectica, grammatica, geometria, musica,—although they could, no doubt, be translated into more genuine Latin.

Enough, however, of the names of things. But with respect to the things themselves, I am often afraid, Brutus, that I may be blamed when I am writing to you, who have made so much progress, not only in philosophy, but in the most excellent kind of philosophy. And if I wrote as if I were giving you any instruction, I should deserve to be blamed; but such conceit is far from me. Nor do I send letters to you under the idea of making you acquainted with what is thoroughly known to you before; but because I am fond of supporting myself by your name, and because also I consider you the most candid critic and judge of those studies which both you and I apply ourselves to in common. I know, therefore, that you will pay careful attention to what I write, as is your wont, and that you will decide on the dispute which took place between your uncle—a most heavenly-minded and admirable man—and myself.

For when I was at my villa near Tusculum, and was desirous to make use of some books in the library of the young Lucullus, I went one day to his house, in order to take away (as I was in the habit of doing) the books which I wanted. And when I had arrived there, I found Marcus Cato, whom I did not know to be there, sitting in the library, surrounded by a number of the books of the Stoics. For he had, as you know, a boundless desire for reading, one which was quite insatiable,—so much so, indeed, that he was not [pg 181] afraid of the causeless reproaches of the common people, but was accustomed to continue reading even in the senate-house itself, while the senate was assembling, without, however, at all relaxing in his attention to the affairs of the republic. And now, being in the enjoyment of complete leisure, and being surrounded by a great abundance of such treasures, he appeared to be completely gorging himself with books, if I may use such an expression about so respectable a subject. And as it so happened that neither of us expected to see the other, he at once rose up on my entrance; and, after the first salutations which are usual at such a meeting, What object has brought you here? said he; for I presume you are come from your own villa, and if I had known that you had been there, I should have come myself to see you. I only, said I, left the city yesterday after the commencement of the games, and got home in the evening. But my object in coming here was to take some books away with me; and it will be a pity, Cato, if our friend Lucullus does not some day or other become acquainted with all these treasures; for I would rather have him take delight in these books than in all the rest of the furniture of the villa. For he is a youth I am very anxious about; although, indeed, it is more peculiarly your business to take care that he shall be so educated as to do credit to his father, and to our friend Cæpio, and to you who are such a near relation of his.45 But I myself have some right to feel an interest in him; for I am influenced by my recollection of his grandfather,—and you well know what a regard I had for Cæpio, who, in my opinion, would now be one of the first men of the city if he were alive; and I also have Lucullus himself always before my eyes,—a man not only excelling in every virtue, but connected with me both by friendship and a general resemblance of inclination and sentiment. You do well, said he, to retain a recollection of those persons, both of whom recommended their children to your care by their wills, and you are right too to be attached to this youth. And as for your calling it my peculiar [pg 182] business, I will not decline the office, but I claim you for my partner in the duty. I will say this also, that the boy has already shown me many indications both of modesty and of ability; but you see how young he is as yet. To be sure I do, said I; but even now he ought to receive a tincture of those accomplishments which, if he drinks of them now while he is young, will hereafter make him more ready for more important business. And so we will often talk over this matter anxiously together, and we will act in concert. However, let us sit down, says he, if you please. So we sat down.

III. Then Cato said: But now, what books in the world are they that you are looking for here, when you have such a library at home? I want, said I, some of the Aristotelian Commentaries, which I know are here; and I came to carry them off, to read when I have leisure, which is not, as you know, very often the case with me. How I wish, said he, that you had an inclination towards our Stoic sect; for certainly it is natural for you, if it ever was so for any one, to think nothing a good except virtue. May I not, I replied, rejoin that it would be natural for you, as your opinion in reality is the same as mine, to forbear giving new names to things? for our principles are the same,—it is only our language that is at variance. Indeed, said he, our principles are not the same at all; for I can never agree to your calling anything desirable except what is honourable, and to your reckoning such things among the goods,—and, by so doing, extinguishing honourableness, which is, as it were, the light of virtue, and utterly upsetting virtue herself. Those are all very fine words, said I, O Cato; but do you not see that all those pompous expressions are shared by you in common with Pyrrho and Aristo, who think all things equal? And I should like to know what your opinion of them is. Mine? said he; do you want to know what I think of them? I think that those men whom we have either heard of from our ancestors, or seen ourselves, to be good, brave, just, and moderate in the republic,—those who, following nature herself, without any particular learning or system, have done many praiseworthy actions, have been educated by nature herself better than they could have been educated by philosophy, if they had adopted any other philosophy except that which ranks nothing whatever among the goods except what [pg 183] is honourable, and nothing among the evils except what is disgraceful. As for all other systems of philosophy, they differ entirely in their estimate of good and evil; but still I consider no one of them which classes anything destitute of virtue among either the goods or the evils, as being of any use to men, or as uttering any sentiment by which we may become better; but I think that they all tend rather to deprave nature herself. For if this point be not conceded, that that alone is good which is honourable, it follows that it must be impossible to prove that life is made happy by virtue. And if that be the case, then I do not see why any attention should be bestowed on philosophy; for if a wise man can be miserable, then of a truth I do not consider that virtue, which is accounted so glorious and memorable a thing, of any great value.

IV. All that you have been saying, Cato, I replied, you might say if you agreed with Pyrrho or Aristo; for you are not ignorant that they consider that honourableness not only the chief good, but also (as you yourself maintain) the only good. And if this is the case, the consequence which I see you aim at follows necessarily, that all wise men are always happy. Do you then praise these men, and do you think that we ought to follow their opinion? By no means, said he; for as this is a peculiar attribute of virtue to make its selection of those things which are in accordance with nature, those who have made all things equal in such a manner as to consider all things on either side perfectly indifferent, so as to leave no room for any selection, have utterly put an end to virtue. You say right, said I; but I ask you whether you, too, must not do the same thing, when you say that there is nothing good which is not right and honourable, and so put an end to all the difference between other things? That would be the case, said he, if I did put an end to it; but I deny the fact—I leave it. How so, said I? If virtue alone,—if that thing alone which you call honourable, right, praiseworthy, and creditable, (for it will be more easily seen what is the character that you ascribe to it, if it be pointed out by many words tending to the same point,)—if, I say, that is the sole good, what else will there be for you to follow? And, on the other hand, if nothing is evil except what is disgraceful, dishonourable, unbecoming, wrong, flagitious, and base, (to make [pg 184] this also manifest by giving it many names,) what else will there be which you can say ought to be avoided?

I will not, said he, reply to each point of your question, as you are not, as I suspect, ignorant of what I am going to say, but seeking rather to find something to carp at in my brief answer: I will rather, since we have plenty of time, explain to you, unless you think it foreign to the subject, the whole opinion of Zeno and the Stoics on the matter. Very far from foreign to the subject, said I; indeed, your explanations will be of great service in elucidating to me the points about which I am inquiring. Let us try, then, said he, although this system of the Stoics has in it something rather difficult and obscure; for, as formerly, when these matters were discussed in the Greek language, the very names of things appeared strange which have now become sanctioned by daily use, what do you think will be the case when we are discussing them in Latin? Still, said I, we must do so; for if Zeno might take the liberty when he had discovered anything not previously common, to fix on it a name that was likewise unprecedented, why may not Cato take the same? Nor will it be necessary for you to render what he has said word for word, as translators are in the habit of doing who have no command of language of their own, whenever there is a word in more ordinary use which has the same meaning. I indeed myself am in the habit, if I cannot manage it any other way, of using many words to express what the Greeks have expressed in one; and yet I think that we ought to be allowed to use a Greek word on occasions when we cannot find a Latin one, and to employ such terms as proegmena and apoproegmena, just as freely as we say ephippia and acratophori, though it may be sufficient to translate these two particular words by preferred and rejected. I am much obliged to you, said he, for your hint; and I will in preference use those Latin terms which you have just mentioned; and in other cases, too, you shall come to my assistance if you see me in difficulties. I will do so, said I, with great goodwill; but fortune favours the bold. So make the attempt, I beg of you; for what more divine occupation can we have?

V. Those philosophers, said he, whose system I approve of, consider that as soon as an animal is born, (for this is where we must begin,) he is instinctively induced and excited to [pg 185] preserve himself and his existing condition, and to feel attachment to those things which have a tendency to preserve that condition; and to feel an abhorrence of dissolution, and of those circumstances which appear to be pregnant with dissolution. And they prove that this is the case, because, before either pleasure or pain has affected it, even while it is very little, it seeks what is salutary, and shuns the contrary: and this would not be the case if they were not fond of their condition, and afraid of dissolution; and it would not be possible for them to seek any particular thing if they had not some sense of themselves, and if that did not influence them to love themselves and what belongs to them. From which it ought to be understood that it is from the animal itself that the principle of self-love in it is derived. But among these natural principles of self-love most of the Stoics do not admit that pleasure ought to be classed; and I entirely agree with them, to avoid the many discreditable things which must ensue if nature should appear to have placed pleasure among those things which are the first objects of desire. But it appears to be proof enough why we naturally love those things which are by nature placed in the first rank, that there is no one, who, when either alternative is equally in his power, would not prefer to have all the parts of his body in a suitable and entire condition, rather than impaired by use, or in any particular distorted or depraved.

But as for the knowledge of things—or if you do not so much approve of this word cognitio, or find it less intelligible, we will call it κατάληψις—that we think is naturally to be acquired for its own sake, because it contains something which has, as it were, embraced and seized upon truth. And this is perceptible even in infants; whom we see amused if they have succeeded in finding out anything themselves by reason, even though it may be of no service whatever to them. And moreover, we consider arts worth attending to on their own account, both because there is in them something worth acceptance, and also because they depend upon knowledge, and contain in themselves something which proceeds on system and method. But I think that we are more averse to assent on false grounds than to anything else which is contrary to nature. Now of the limbs, that is to say, of the parts of the body, some appear to have been given to us [pg 186] by nature because of the use which, they are of to us, as, for instance, the hands, legs, and feet, and also those internal organs of the body, of which I may leave it to the physicians to explain the exceeding usefulness; but others with no view to utility, but for ornament as it were, as the tail is given to the peacock, plumage of many colours to the dove, breasts and a beard to man. Perhaps you will say this is but a dry enumeration; for these things are, as it were, the first elements of nature, which cannot well have any richness of language employed upon them; nor indeed am I thinking of displaying any; but when one is speaking of more important matters, then the subject itself hurries on the language: and then one's discourse is at the same time more impressive and more ornate. It is as you say, said I; but still everything which is said in a lucid manner about a good subject appears to me to be said well. And to wish to speak of subjects of that kind in a florid style is childish; but to be able to explain them with clearness and perspicuity, is a token of a learned and intelligent man.

VI. Let us then proceed, said he, since we have digressed from these first principles of nature, which everything which follows ought to be in harmony with. But this is the first division of the subject. A thing is said to be estimable: for so we may, I think, call that which is either itself in accordance with nature, or else which is the efficient cause of something of such a character that it is worthy of being selected because it has in it some weight worth appreciating, which he calls ἀχία; and, on the other hand, something not estimable, which is the contrary of the preceding. The first principles, therefore, being laid down, that those things which are according to nature are to be chosen for their own sakes, and those which are contrary to it are in like manner to be rejected; the first duty (for that is how I translate the word καθῆκον) is, for a man to preserve himself in his natural condition; next to that, to maintain those things which are in accordance with nature, and reject what is opposite to it; and when this principle of selection and rejection has been discovered, then follows selection in accordance with duty; and then that third kind, which is perpetual, and consistent to the end, and corresponding to nature, in which there first begins to be a proper understanding [pg 187] of what there is which can be truly called good. For the first attraction of man is to those things which are according to nature. But as soon as he has received that intelligence, or perhaps I should say, notion, which they call ἔννοια, and has seen the order and, if I may so say, the harmony in which things are to be done, he then estimates it at a higher value than all the things which he loved at first; and by this knowledge, and by reasoning, he comes to such a conclusion that he decides that the chief good of man, which deserves to be praised and desired for its own sake, is placed in what the Stoics call ὁμολογία, and we agreement, if you approve of this translation of the term; as therefore it is in this that that good is placed to which all things [which are done honourably] are to be referred, and honour itself, which is reckoned among the goods, although it is only produced subsequently, still this alone deserves to be sought for on account of its intrinsic power and worth; but of those things which are the principal natural goods there is not one which is to be sought for its own sake.

But as those things which I have called duties proceed from the first principles of nature, they must necessarily be referred to them; so that it may be fairly said that all duties are referred to this end, of arriving at the principles of nature; not, however, that this is the highest of all goods, because there is no such thing as honourable action in the first attractions of nature; for that is what follows, and arises subsequently, as I have said before. But still it is according to nature, and encourages us to desire itself much more than all those things which have been previously mentioned. But, first of all, we must remove a mistake, that no one may think that it follows that there are two supreme goods. For as, if it were the purpose of any one to direct an arrow or a spear straight at any object, just as we have said that there is an especial point to be aimed at in goods,—the archer ought to do all in his power to aim straight at the target, and the other man ought also to do his endeavour to hit the mark, and gain the end which he has proposed to himself: let this then which we call the chief good in life be, as it were, his mark; and his endeavour to hit it must be furthered by careful selection, not by mere desire.

VII. But as all duties proceed from the first principles of nature, it follows inevitably that wisdom itself must proceed [pg 188] from the same source. But as it often happens, that he who has been recommended to any one considers him to whom he has been recommended of more importance than him who recommended him; so it is not at all strange that in the first instance we are recommended to wisdom by the principles of nature, but that subsequently wisdom herself becomes dearer to us than the starting place from which we arrive at it. And as limbs have been given to us in such a way that it is plain they have been given for some purpose of life; so that appetite of the mind which in Greek is called ὁρμὴ, appears to have been given to us, not for any particular kind of life, but rather for some especial manner of living: and so too is system and perfect method. For as an actor employs gestures, and a dancer motions, not practising any random movement, but a regular systematic action; so life must be passed according to a certain fixed kind, and not any promiscuous way, and that certain kind we call a suitable and harmonious one. Nor do we think wisdom similar to the art of navigation or medicine, but rather to that kind of action which I have spoken of, and to dancing; I mean, inasmuch as the ultimate point, that is to say, the production of the art, lies in the art itself, and is not sought for from foreign sources. And yet there are other points in which there is a difference between wisdom and those arts; because in those arts those things which are done properly do nevertheless not comprise all the parts of the arts of which they consist. But the things which we call right, or rightly done, if you will allow the expression, and which they call κατορθώματα, contain in them the whole completeness of virtue. For wisdom is the only thing which is contained wholly in itself; and this is not the case with the other arts.

And it is only out of ignorance that the object of the art of medicine or navigation is compared with the object of wisdom; for wisdom embraces greatness of mind and justice, and judges all the accidents which befal mankind beneath itself: and this too is not the case in the other arts. But no one will be able to maintain those very virtues of which I have just made mention, unless he lays down a rule that there is nothing which is of any importance, nothing which differs from anything else, except what is honourable or disgraceful.

VIII. Let us see now how admirably these rules follow from [pg 189] those principles which I have already laid down. For as this is the ultimate (extremum) point, (for you have noticed, I dare say, that I translate what the Greek philosopher calls τέλος, sometimes by the word extremum, sometimes by ultimum, and sometimes by summum, and instead of extremum or ultimum, I may also use the word finis,)—as, then, this is the ultimate point, to live in a manner suitable to and harmonising with nature; it follows of necessity that all wise men do always live happily, perfectly, and fortunately; that they are hindered by nothing, embarrassed by nothing; that they are in want of nothing. And that which holds together not more that school of which I am speaking than our lives and fortunes, that is to say, the principle of accounting what is honourable to be the sole good, may indeed easily be embellished and enlarged upon at great length, with great richness of illustration, with great variety of carefully chosen expressions, and with the most pompous sentiments in a rhetorical manner; but I prefer the brief, acute, conclusive arguments of the Stoics. Now their conclusions are arrived at in this manner: “Everything which is good is praiseworthy; but everything which is praiseworthy is honourable;—therefore, everything which is good is honourable.” Does not this appear properly deduced? Undoubtedly;—for the result which was obtained from the two premises which were assumed, you see was contained in them. But of the two premises from which the conclusion was inferred it is only the major one which can be contradicted—if you say that it is not the case, that everything which is good is praiseworthy: for it is granted that whatever is praiseworthy is honourable. But it is utterly absurd to say, that there is anything good which is not to be sought for; or, that there is anything which ought to be sought for which is not pleasing; or, that if it is pleasing it ought not likewise to be loved. Then it ought also to be approved of. Then it is praiseworthy. But what is praiseworthy is honourable. And so the result is, that whatever is good is also honourable. In the next place, I ask, who can boast of a life which is miserable; or avoid boasting of one which is happy?—therefore men boast only of a life which is happy. From which the consequence follows, that a happy life deserves to be boasted of; but this cannot properly be predicated of any life which is not an honourable [pg 190] one. From this it follows, that a happy life must be an honourable one. And since the man to whom it happens to be deservedly praised has some eminent qualities tending to credit and glory, so that he may rightly be called happy on account of such important qualities; the same thing is properly predicated of the life of such a man. And so, if a happy life is discerned by its honourableness, then what is honourable ought to be considered the sole good. And, as this cannot possibly be denied, what man do we say can ever exist of a stable and firm and great mind,—whom, in fact, can we ever call brave,—unless the point is established, that pain is not an evil? For as it is impossible that the man who ranks death among evils should not fear it, so in every case it is impossible for a man to disregard what he judges to be an evil, and to despise it. And when this point has been laid down, and ratified by universal assent, this is assumed next, that the man who is of a brave and magnanimous spirit despises and utterly disregards every accident which can befal a man. And as this is the case, the consequence is, that there is nothing evil which is not disgraceful. And that man of lofty and excellent spirit,—that magnanimous and truly brave man, who considers all human accidents beneath his notice,—the man I mean whom we wish to make so, whom at all events we are looking for,—ought to confide in himself, and in his own life both past and to come, and to form a favourable judgment of himself, laying down as a principle, that no evil can happen to a wise man. From which again the same result follows, that the sole good is that which is honourable; and that to live happily is to live honourably, that is, virtuously.

IX. Not that I am ignorant that the opinions of philosophers have been various, of those I mean who have placed the chief good, that which I call the end, in the mind. And although some people have followed them very incorrectly, still I prefer their theory, not only to that of the three sects who have separated virtue from the chief good, while ranking either pleasure, or freedom from pain, or the original gifts of nature among goods, but also to the other three who have thought that virtue would be crippled without some reinforcement, and on that account have each added to it one of those other particulars which I have just enumerated. I, [pg 191] however, as I said, prefer to all these the men, whoever they may be, who have described the chief good as consisting in the mind and in virtue. But nevertheless, those also are extremely absurd who have said that to live with knowledge is the highest good, and who have asserted that there is no difference between things, and so, that a wise man will surely be a happy one, never at any moment of his life preferring one thing to another: as some of the Academics are said to have laid it down, that the highest good and the chief duty of a wise man is to resist appearances, and firmly to withhold his assent from them.

Now people often make very lengthy replies to each of these assertions; yet what is very clear ought not to be long. But what is more evident than, if there be no selection made, discarding those things which are contrary to nature, and selecting those which are according to nature, all that prudence which is so much sought after and extolled would be done away with? If, then, we discard those sentiments which I have mentioned, and all others which resemble them, it remains that the chief good must be to live, exercising a knowledge of those things which happen by nature, selecting what is according to nature, and rejecting any which are contrary to nature; that is to say, to live in a manner suitable and corresponding to nature.

But in other arts, when anything is said to have been done according to the rules of art, there is something to be considered which is subsequent and follows upon such compliance; which they call ἐπιγεννηματικόν. But when we say in any matter that a thing has been done wisely, that same thing is from the first said also to have been done most properly; for whatever proceeds from a wise man must at once be perfect in all its parts: for in him is placed that quality which we say is to be desired. For as it is a sin to betray one's country, to injure one's parents, to plunder temples, which are all sins of commission; so it is likewise a sin to be afraid, to grieve, to be under the dominion of lust, even if no overt act follows these feelings. But, as these are sins, not in their later periods and consequences, but at once from the first moment; so those actions which proceed from virtue are to be considered right at the first moment that they are undertaken, and not only when they are accomplished.

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X. But it may be as well to give an explanation and definition of the word good, which, has been so often employed in this discourse. But the definitions of those philosophers differ a good deal from one another, and yet have all reference to the same facts. I myself agree with Diogenes, who has defined good to be that which in its nature is perfect. But that which follows, that which is profitable (for so we may translate his ὼφέλημα), he considered to be a motion, or a state, arising out of the nature of the perfect. And as the notions of things arise in the mind, if anything has become known either by practice, or by combination, or by similitude, or by the comparison of reason; then by this fourth means, which I have placed last, the knowledge of good is arrived at. For when, by a comparison of the reason, the mind ascends from those things which are according to reason, then it arrives at a notion of good. And this good we are speaking of, we both feel to be and call good, not because of any addition made to it, nor from its growth, nor from comparing it with other things, but because of its own proper power. For as honey, although it is very sweet, is still perceived to be sweet by its own peculiar kind of taste, and not by comparison with other things; so this good, which we are now treating of, is indeed to be esteemed of great value; but that valuation depends on kind and not on magnitude. For as estimation, which is called ἀξί, is not reckoned among goods, nor, on the other hand, among evils, whatever you add to it will remain in its kind. There is, therefore, another kind of estimation proper to virtue, which is of weight from its character, and not because of its increasing. Nor, indeed, are the perturbations of the mind, which make the lives of the unwise bitter and miserable, and which the Greeks call πάθη, (I might translate the word itself by the Latin morbi, but it would not suit all the meanings of the Greek word; for who ever calls pity, or even anger, a disease—morbus)? but the Greeks do call such a feeling πάθος. Let us then translate it perturbation, which is by its very name pointed out to be something vicious. Nor are these perturbations, I say, excited by any natural force; and they are altogether in kind four, but as to their divisions they are more numerous. There is melancholy, fear, lust, and that feeling which the Stoics call by the common name which they apply to both mind and body, ἡδονὴ, and which I prefer translating [pg 193] joy (lætitia), rather than a pleasurable elation of an exulting mind. But perturbations are not excited by any force of nature; and all those feelings are judgments and opinions proceeding from light-mindedness; and, therefore, the wise man will always be free from them.

XI. But that everything which is honourable is to be sought for its own sake, is an opinion common to us with many other schools of philosophers. For, except the three sects which exclude virtue from the chief good, this opinion must be maintained by all philosophers, and above all by us, who do not rank anything whatever among goods except what is honourable. But the defence of this opinion is very easy and simple indeed; for who is there, or who ever was there, of such violent avarice, or of such unbridled desires as not infinitely to prefer that anything which he wishes to acquire, even at the expense of any conceivable wickedness, should come into his power without crime, (even though he had a prospect of perfect impunity,) than through crime? and what utility, or what personal advantage do we hope for, when we are anxious to know whether those bodies are moving whose movements are concealed from us, and owing to what causes they revolve through the heavens? And who is there that lives according to such clownish maxims, or who has so rigorously hardened himself against the study of nature, as to be averse to things worthy of being understood, and to be indifferent to and disregard such knowledge, merely because there is no exact usefulness or pleasure likely to result from it? or, who is there who—when he comes to know the exploits, and sayings, and wise counsels of our forefathers, of the Africani, or of that ancestor of mine whom you are always talking of, and of other brave men, and citizens of pre-eminent virtue—does not feel his mind affected with pleasure? and who that has been brought up in a respectable family, and educated as becomes a freeman, is not offended with baseness as such, though it may not be likely to injure him personally? Who can keep his equanimity while looking on a man who, he thinks, lives in an impure and wicked manner? Who does not hate sordid, fickle, unstable, worthless men? But what shall we be able to say, (if we do not lay it down that baseness is to be avoided for its own sake), is the reason why men do not seek darkness and solitude, and then give the rein [pg 194] to every possible infamy, except that baseness of itself detects them by reason of its own intrinsic foulness? Innumerable arguments may be brought forward to support this opinion; but it is needless, for there is nothing which can be less a matter of doubt than that what is honourable ought to be sought for its own sake; and, in the same manner, what is disgraceful ought to be avoided.

But after that point is established, which we have previously mentioned, that what is honourable is the sole good; it must unavoidably be understood that that which is honourable, is to be valued more highly than those intermediate goods which we derive from it. But when we say that folly, and rashness, and injustice, and intemperance are to be avoided on account of those things which result from them, we do not speak in such a manner that our language is at all inconsistent with the position which has been laid down, that that alone is evil which is dishonourable. Because those things are not referred to any inconvenience of the body, but to dishonourable actions, which arise out of vicious propensities (vitia). For what the Greeks call κακία I prefer translating by vitium rather than by malitia.

XII. Certainly; Cato, said I, you are employing very admirable language, and such as expresses clearly what you mean; and, therefore, you seem to me to be teaching philosophy in Latin, and, as it were, to be presenting it with the freedom of the city. For up to this time she has seemed like a stranger at Rome, and has not put herself in the way of our conversation; and that, too, chiefly because of a certain highly polished thinness of things and words. For I am aware that there are some men who are able to philosophise in any language, but who still employ no divisions and no definitions; and who say themselves that they approve of those things alone to which nature silently assents. Therefore, they discuss, without any great degree of labour, matters which are not very obscure. And, on this account, I am now prepared to listen eagerly to you, and to commit to memory all the names which you give to those matters to which this discussion refers. For, perhaps, I myself may some day have reason to employ them too.

You, then, appear to me to be perfectly right, and to be acting in strict accordance with our usual way of speaking, [pg 195] when you lay it down that there are vices the exact opposites of virtues; for that which is blameable (vituperabile) for its own sake, I think ought, from that very fact, to be called a vice; and perhaps this verb, vitupero, is derived from vitium. But if you had translated κακία by malitia,46 then the usage of the Latin language would have limited us to one particular vice; but, as it is, all vice is opposed to all virtue by one generic opposite name.

XIII. Then he proceeded:—After these things, therefore, are thus laid down, there follows a great contest, which has been handled by the Peripatetics somewhat too gently, (for their method of arguing is not sufficiently acute, owing to their ignorance of dialectics;) but your Carneades has pressed the matter with great vigour and effect, displaying in reference to it a most admirable skill in dialectics, and the most consummate eloquence; because he has never ceased to contend throughout the whole of this discussion, which turns upon what is good and what is bad, that the controversy between the Stoics and Peripatetics is not one of things, but only of names. But, to me, nothing appears so evident as that the opinions of these two schools differ from one another far more as to facts than to names; I mean to say, that there is much greater difference between the Stoics and Peripatetics in principle than in language. Forasmuch as the Peripatetics assert that everything which they themselves call good, has a reference to living happily; but our school does not think that a happy life necessarily embraces everything which is worthy of any esteem.

But can anything be more certain than that, according to the principles of those men who rank pain among the evils, a wise man cannot be happy when he is tormented on the rack? While the principles of those who do not consider pain among the evils, certainly compels us to allow that a happy life is preserved to a wise man among all torments. In truth, if those men endure pain with greater fortitude who suffer it in the cause of their country, than those who do so for any slighter object; then it is plain that it is opinion, and not nature, which makes the force of pain greater or less. Even that opinion of the Peripatetics is more than I can [pg 196] agree to, that, as there are three kinds of goods, as they say, each individual is the happier in proportion as he is richer in the goods of the body or external goods, so that we must be forced also to approve of this doctrine, that that man is happier who has a greater quantity of those things which are accounted of great value as affecting the body. For they think that a happy life is made complete by bodily advantages; but there is nothing which our philosophers can so little agree to. For, as our opinion is that life is not even made in the least more happy by an abundance of those goods which we call goods of nature, nor more desirable, nor deserving of being more highly valued, then certainly a multitude of bodily advantages can have still less effect on making life happy. In truth, if to be wise be a desirable thing, and to be well be so too, then both together must be more desirable than wisdom by itself; but it does not follow, if each quality deserves to be esteemed, that therefore, the two taken together deserve to be esteemed more highly than wisdom does by itself. For we who consider good health worthy of any esteem, and yet do not rank it among the goods, think, at the same time, that the esteem to which it is entitled is by no means such as that it ought to be preferred to virtue. But this is not the doctrine of the Peripatetics; and they ought to tell us, that that which is an honourable action and unaccompanied by pain, is more to be desired than the same action would be if it were attended with pain. We think not: whether we are right or wrong may be discussed hereafter; but can there possibly be a greater disagreement respecting facts and principles?

XIV. For as the light of a candle is obscured and put out by the light of the sun; and as a drop of brine is lost in the magnitude of the Ægæan sea; or an addition of a penny amid the riches of Crœsus; or as one step is of no account in a march from here to India; so, if that is the chief good which the Stoics affirm is so, then, all the goods which depend on the body must inevitably be obscured and overwhelmed by, and come to nothing when placed by the side of the splendour and importance of virtue. And since opportunity, (for that is how we may translate εὐκαιρία,) is not made greater by extending the time, (for whatever is said to be opportune has its own peculiar limit;) so a right action, (for [pg 197] that is how I translate κατόρθωσις, and a right deed I call κατόρθωμα,)—a right action, I say, and suitableness, and, in short, the good itself, which depends on the fact of its being in accordance with nature, has no possibility of receiving any addition or growth. For as that opportunity is not made greater by the extension of time, so neither are these things which I have mentioned. And, on that account, a happy life does not seem to the Stoics more desirable or more deserving of being sought after, if it is long than if it is short; and they prove this by a simile:—As the praise of a buskin is to fit the foot exactly, and as many buskins are not considered to fit better than few, and large ones are not thought better than small ones; so, in the case of those the whole good of which depends upon its suitableness and fitness; many are not preferred to few, nor what is durable to what is short-lived. Nor do they exhibit sufficient acuteness when they say, if good health is more to be esteemed when it lasts long than when it lasts only a short time, then the longest possible enjoyment of wisdom must clearly be of the greatest value. They do not understand that the estimate of good health is formed expressly with reference to its duration; of virtue with reference to its fitness of time; so that men who argue in this manner, seem as if they would speak of a good death, or a good labour, and call one which lasted long, better than a short one. They do not perceive that some things are reckoned of more value in proportion to their brevity; and some in proportion to their length. Therefore, it is quite consistent with what has been said, that according to the principles of those who think that that end of goods which we call the extreme or chief good, is susceptible of growth, they may also think that one man can be wiser than another; and, in like manner then, one man may sin more, or act more rightly than another. But such an assertion is not allowable to us, who do not think the end of goods susceptible of growth. For as men who have been submerged under the water, cannot breathe any more because they are at no great depth below the surface, (though they may on this account be able at times to emerge,) than if they were at the bottom, nor can the puppy who is nearly old enough to see, as yet see any more than one who is but this moment born; so the man who has made some progress towards the approach to virtue, [pg 198] is no less in a state of misery than he who has made no such advance at all.

XV. I am aware that all this seems very strange. But as unquestionably the previous propositions are true and uncontrovertible, and as these others are in harmony with, and are the direct consequences of them; we cannot question their truth also. But although some people deny that either virtues or vices are susceptible of growth, still they believe that each of them is in some degree diffused, and as it were extended. But Diogenes thinks that riches have not only such power, that they are, as it were, guides to pleasure and to good health, but that they even contain them: but that they have not the same power with regard to virtue, or to the other arts to which money may indeed be a guide, but which it cannot contain. Therefore, if pleasure or if good health be among the goods, riches also must be classed among the goods; but if wisdom be a good, it does not follow that we are also to call riches a good; nor can that which is classed among the goods be contained by anything which is not placed in the same classification. And on that account, because the knowledge and comprehension of those things by which arts are produced, excite a desire for them, as riches are not among the goods, therefore no art can be contained in riches.

But if we grant this to be true with respect to arts, still it is not to follow that the same rule holds good with respect to virtue; because virtue requires a great deal of meditation and practice, and this is not always the case with arts; and also because virtue embraces the stability, firmness, and consistency of the entire life; and we do not see that the same is the case with arts.

After this, we come to explain the differences between things. And if we were to say that there is none, then all life would be thrown into confusion, as it is by Aristo. Nor could any office or work be found for wisdom, if there were actually no difference between one thing and another, and if there were no power of selection at all requisite to be exerted. Therefore, after it had been sufficiently established that that alone was good which was honourable, and that alone evil which was disgraceful, they asserted that there were some particulars in which those things which had no influence on [pg 199] the misery or happiness of life, differed from one another, so that some of them deserved to be esteemed, some to be despised, and others were indifferent. But as to those things which deserved to be esteemed, some of them had in themselves sufficient reason for being preferred to others, as good health, soundness of the senses, freedom from pain, glory, riches, and similar things. But others were not of this kind. And in like manner, as to those things which were worthy of no esteem at all, some had cause enough in themselves why they should be rejected, such as pain, disease, loss of senses, poverty, ignominy, and things like them, and some had not. And thus, from this distinction, came what Zeno called προηγμένον, and on the other hand what he called ἀποπροηγμένον, as though writing in so copious a language, he chose to employ new terms of his own invention; a license which is not allowed to us in this barren language of ours; although you often insist that it is richer than the Greek. But it is not foreign to our present subject, in order that the meaning of the word may be more easily understood, to explain the principle on which Zeno invented these terms.

XVI. For as, says he, no one in a king's palace says that the king is, as it were, led forward towards his dignity (for that is the real meaning of the word προηγμένον, but the term is applied to those who are of some rank whose order comes next to his, so as to be second to the kingly dignity); so in life too, it is not those things which are in the first rank, but those which are in the second which are called προηγμένα, or led forward. And we may translate the Greek by productum (this will be a strictly literal translation), or we may call it and its opposite promotum and remotum, or as we have said before, we may call προηγμένον, præpositum or præcipuum, and its opposite rejectum. For when the thing is understood, we ought to be very ductile as to the words which we employ.

But since we say that everything which is good holds the first rank, it follows inevitably that this which we call præcipuum or præpositum, must be neither good nor bad. And therefore we define it as something indifferent, attended with a moderate esteem. For that which they call ἀδιάφορον, it occurs to me to translate indifferens. Nor, indeed, was it at all possible that there should be nothing left intermediate, [pg 200] which was either according to nature or contrary to it; nor, when that was left, that there should be nothing ranked in this class which was tolerably estimable; nor, if this position were once established, that there should not be some things which are preferred. This distinction, then, has been made with perfect propriety, and this simile is employed by them to make the truth more easily seen. For as, say they, if we were to suppose this to be, as it were, the end and greatest of goods, to throw a die in such a manner that it should stand upright, then the die which is thrown in such a manner as to fall upright, will have some particular thing preferred as its end, and vice versâ. And yet that preference of the die will have no reference to the end of which I have been speaking. So those things which have been preferred are referred indeed to the end, but have no reference at all to its force or nature.

Next comes that division, that of goods some have reference to that end (for so I express those which they call τελικὰ, for we must here, as we have said before, endure to express in many words, what we cannot express by one so as to be thoroughly intelligible,) some are efficient causes, and some are both together. But of those which have reference to that end, nothing is good except honourable actions; of those which are efficient causes, nothing is good except a friend. But they assert that wisdom is both a referential and an efficient good. For, because wisdom is suitable action, it is of that referential character which I have mentioned; but inasmuch as it brings and causes honourable actions, it may be so far called efficient.

XVII. Now these things which we have spoken of as preferred, are preferred some for their own sake, some because they effect something else, and some for both reasons. Some are preferred for their own sake, such as some particular appearance or expression of countenance, some particular kind of gait, or motion, in which there are some things which may well be preferred, and some which may be rejected. Others are said to be preferred because they produce something, as money; and others for a combination of both reasons, as soundness of the senses, or good health. But respecting good reputation, (for what they call εὐδοξία is more properly called, in this place, good reputation than glory,) [pg 201] Chrysippus and Diogenes denied its whole utility, and used to say that one ought not even to put forth a finger for the sake of it, with whom I entirely and heartily agree. But those who came after them, being unable to withstand the arguments of Carneades, said that this good reputation, as I call it, was preferred for its own sake, and ought to be chosen for its own sake, and that it was natural for a man of good family, who had been properly brought up, to wish to be praised by his parents, his relations, and by good men in general, and that too for the sake of the praise itself, and not of any advantage which might ensue from it. And they say, too, that as we wish to provide for our children, even for such as may be posthumous children, for their own sake, so we ought also to show a regard for posthumous fame after our death, for its own sake, without any thought of gain or advantage.

But as we assert that what is honourable is the only good, still it is consistent with this assertion to discharge one's duty, though we do not class duty among either the goods or the evils. For there is in these things some likelihood, and that of such a nature that reasons can be alleged for there being such; and therefore of such a nature, that probable reasons may be adduced for adopting such a line of conduct. From which it follows that duty is a sort of neutral thing, which is not to be classed either among the goods or among the opposites of goods. And since, in those things which are neither ranked among the virtues nor among the vices, there is still something which may be of use; that is not to be destroyed. For there is a certain action of that sort, and that too of such a character that reason requires one to do and perform it. But that which is done in obedience to reason we call duty; duty, then, is a thing of that sort, that it must not be ranked either among the goods or among the opposites of goods.

XVIII. And this also is evident, that in these natural things the wise man is not altogether inactive. He therefore, when he acts, judges that that is his duty; and because he is never deceived in forming his judgment, duty must be classed among neutral things; and this is proved also by this conclusion of reason. For since we see that there is something which we pronounce to have been rightly done (for that is duty when accomplished), there must also be something which is rightly begun: as, if to restore what has been justly [pg 202] deposited belongs to the class of right actions, then it must be classed among the duties to restore a deposit; and the addition of the word “justly” makes the duty to be rightly performed: but the mere fact of restoring is classed as a duty. And since it is not doubtful, that in those things which we call intermediate or neutral, some ought to be chosen and others rejected, whatever is done or said in this manner comes under the head of ordinary duty. And from this it is understood, since all men naturally love themselves, that a fool is as sure as a wise man to choose what is in accordance with nature, and to reject what is contrary to it; and so there is one duty in common both to wise men and to fools; from which it follows that duty is conversant about those things which we call neutral. But since all duties proceed from these things, it is not without reason that it is said that all our thoughts are referred to these things, and among them our departure from life, and our remaining in life.

For he in whom there are many things which are in accordance with nature, his duty it is to remain in life; but as to the man in whom there either is or appears likely to be a preponderance of things contrary to nature, that man's duty is to depart from life. From which consideration it is evident, that it is sometimes the duty of a wise man to depart from life when he is happy, and sometimes the duty of a fool to remain in life though he is miserable. For that good and that evil, as has been often said, comes afterwards. But those principal natural goods, and those which hold the second rank, and those things which are opposite to them, all come under the decision of, and are matters for the reflection of the wise man; and are, as it were, the subject matter of wisdom. Therefore the question of remaining in life, or of emigrating from it, is to be measured by all those circumstances which I have mentioned above; for death is not to be sought for by those men who are retained in life by virtue, nor by those who are destitute of virtue. But it is often the duty of a wise man to depart from life, when he is thoroughly happy, if it is in his power to do so opportunely; and that is living in a manner suitable to nature, for their maxim is, that living happily depends upon opportunity. Therefore a rule is laid down by wisdom, that if it be necessary a wise man is even to leave her herself.

[pg 203]

Wherefore, as vice has not such power as to afford a justifying cause for voluntary death, it is evident that it is the duty even of fools, and of those too who are miserable, to remain in life, if they are surrounded by a preponderance of those things which we call according to nature. And since such a man is equally miserable, whether departing from life, or abiding in it, and since the duration of misery is not any the more a cause for fleeing from life, therefore it is not a causeless assertion, that those men who have the power of enjoying the greatest number of natural goods, ought to abide in life.

XIX. But they think it is very important with reference to this subject, that it should be understood that it is the work of nature, that children are beloved by their parents; and that this is the first principle from which we may trace the whole progress of the common society of the human race. And that this may be inferred, in the first place, from the figure and members of the body, which of themselves declare that a due regard for everything connected with generation has been exhibited by nature; nor can these two things possibly be consistent with one another, that nature should desire that offspring should be propagated, and yet take no care that what is propagated should be loved. But even in beasts the power of nature may be discerned; for when we see such labour bestowed upon the bringing forth and bearing of their offspring, we seem to be hearing the voice of nature herself. Wherefore, as it is evident that we are by nature averse to pain; so also it is clear that we are impelled by nature herself to love those whose existence we have caused. And from this it arises that there is such a recommendation by nature of one man to another, that one man ought never to appear unfriendly to another, for the simple reason that he is a man.

For as among the limbs some appear to be created for themselves as it were, as the eyes and ears; others assist the rest of the limbs, as the legs and hands; so there are some monstrous beasts born for themselves alone: but that fish which floats in an open shell and is called the pinna, and that other which swims out of the shell, and, because it is a guard to the other, is called the pinnoteres, and when it has withdrawn within the shell again, is shut up in it, so that it [pg 204] appears that it has given it warning to be on its guard; and also ants, and bees, and storks, do something for the sake of others. Much more is this the case with reference to the union of men. And therefore we are by nature adapted for companionship, for taking counsel together, for forming states. But they think that this world is regulated by the wisdom of the gods, and that it is, as it were, a common city and state of men and gods, and that every individual of us is a part of the world. From which that appears to follow by nature, that we should prefer the general advantage to our own. For as the laws prefer the general safety to that of individuals, so a good and wise man, and one who obeys the laws and who is not ignorant of his duty as a citizen, consults the general advantage rather than that of any particular individual, or even than his own. Nor is a betrayer of his country more to be blamed, than one who deserts the general advantage or the general safety on account of his own private advantage or safety. From which it also follows, that that man deserves to be praised who encounters death voluntarily for the sake of the republic, because it is right that the republic should be dearer to us than ourselves. And since it is said to be a wicked thing, and contrary to human nature, for a man to say that he would not care if, after his own death, a general conflagration of the whole world were to happen, which is often uttered in a Greek47 verse; so it is certainly true that we ought to consult the interests of those who are to come after us, for the sake of the love which we bear them.

XX. It is in this disposition of mind that wills, and the recommendations of dying persons, have originated. And because no one would like to pass his life in solitude, not even if surrounded with an infinite abundance of pleasures, it is easily perceived that we are born for communion and fellowship with man, and for natural associations. But we are impelled by nature to wish to benefit as many persons as possible, especially by instructing them and delivering them precepts of prudence. Therefore, it is not easy to find a man who does not communicate to some other what he knows himself; so prone are we not only to learn, but also to teach. And as the principle is by nature implanted in bulls to fight [pg 205] in behalf of their calves with the greatest vigour and earnestness, even against lions; so those who are rich or powerful, and are able to do so, are excited by nature to preserve the race of mankind, as we have heard by tradition was the case with Hercules and Libera. And also when we call Jupiter all-powerful and all-good, and likewise when we speak of him as the salutary god, the hospitable god, or as Stator, we mean it to be understood that the safety of men is under his protection. But it is very inconsistent, when we are disregarded and despised by one another, to entreat, that we may be dear to and beloved by the immortal gods. As, therefore, we make use of our limbs before we have learnt the exact advantage with a view to which we are endowed with them, so also we are united and associated by nature in a community of fellow-citizens. And if this were not the case, there would be no room for either justice or benevolence.

And as men think that there are bonds of right which connect man with man, so also there is no law which connects man with the beasts. For well did Chrysippus say, that all other animals have been born for the sake of men and of the gods; but that men and gods have been born only for the sake of their own mutual communion and society, so that men might be able to use beasts for their own advantage without any violation of law or right. And since the nature of man is such that he has, as it were, a sort of right of citizenship connecting him with the whole human race, a man who maintains that right is just, and he who departs from it is unjust.

But as, although a theatre is publicly open, still it may be fairly said that the place which each individual has occupied belongs to him; so in a city, or in the world, which is likewise common to all, there is no principle of right which hinders each individual from having his own private property. But since we see that man has been born for the purpose of defending and preserving men, so it is consistent with this nature that a wise man should wish to manage and regulate the republic; and, in order to live in compliance with nature, to marry a wife and beget children. Nor do philosophers think virtuous love inconsistent with a wise man. But others say that the principles and life of the Cynics are more suited to a wise man; if, indeed, any chance should befal him which [pg 206] might compel him to act in such a manner; while others wholly deny it.

XXI. But in order that the society, and union, and affection between man and man may be completely preserved, they have laid it down that all benefits and injuries, which they call ὠφελήματα and βλάμματα, are likewise common; of which the former are advantageous, and the latter injurious. Nor have they been contented with calling them common, but they have also asserted their equality. But as for disadvantages and advantages, (by which words I translate εὐχρηστήματα and δυσχρηστήματα,) those they assert to be common, but they deny that they are equal. For those things which profit or which injure are either good or evil; and they must necessarily be equal. But advantages and disadvantages are of that kind which we have already called things preferred or rejected; and they cannot be equal. But advantages are said to be common; but things done rightly, and sins, are not considered common. But they think that friendship is to be cultivated because it is one of that class of things which is profitable. But although, in friendship, some people assert that the interest of a man's friend is as dear to him as his own; others, on the other hand, contend that every man has a greater regard for his own. Yet these latter confess that it is inconsistent with justice, for which we seem to be born, to take anything from another for the purpose of appropriating it to oneself. But philosophers of this school which I am speaking of, never approve of either friendship or justice being exercised or sanctioned for the sake of its usefulness: for they say that the same principles of usefulness may, at times, undermine or overturn them. In truth, neither justice nor friendship can have any existence at all, unless they be sought for their own sake. They contend also that all right, which has any pretence to the name and appellation, is so by nature; and that it is inconsistent with the character of a wise man, not only to do any injustice to any one, but even to do him any damage. Nor is it right to make such a league with one's friends as to share in all their good deeds, or to become a partner in every act of injustice; and they argue, with the greatest dignity and truth, that justice can never be separated from usefulness: and that whatever is just and equitable is also honourable; and, reciprocally, [pg 207] that whatever is honourable must be also just and equitable.

And to those virtues which we have discussed, they also add dialectics and natural philosophy; and they call both these sciences by the name of virtues: one, because it has reason, so as to prevent our assenting to any false proposition, or being even deceived by any plausible probability; and to enable us to maintain and defend what we were saying about good and evil. For without this act they think that any one may be led away from the truth and deceived; accordingly, if rashness and ignorance is in every case vicious, this power which removes them is properly named virtue.

XXII. The same honour is also attributed to natural philosophy, and not without reason, because the man who wishes to live in a manner suitable to nature, must begin by studying the universal world, and the laws which govern it. Nor can any one form a correct judgment of good and evil without being acquainted with the whole system of nature, and of the life of the gods also, and without knowing whether or not the nature of man agrees with universal nature. He must also have learnt the ancient rules of those wise men who bid men yield to the times, and obey God, and know oneself, and shun every kind of excess. Now, without a knowledge of natural philosophy, no man can see what great power these rules have; and it is as great as can be: and also this is the only knowledge which can teach a man how greatly nature assists in the cultivation of justice, in the maintenance of friendship and the rest of the affections. Nor can piety towards the Gods, nor the gratitude which is due to them, be properly understood and appreciated without a correct understanding of the laws of nature.

But I feel now that I have advanced further than I had intended, or than the subject before me required. But the admirable arrangement of the Stoic doctrine, and the incredible beauty of the system, drew me on. And, in the name of the immortal gods! can you forbear to admire it? For what is there in all nature—though nothing is better or more accurately adapted to its ends than that—or what can be found in any work made by the hand, so well arranged, and united, and put together? What is there which is posterior, which does not agree with what has preceded it? What is there [pg 208] which follows, and does not correspond to what has gone before? What is there which is not connected with something else in such a manner, that if you only move one letter the whole will fall to pieces? Nor, indeed, is there anything which can be moved.

But what a grand and magnificent and consistent character is that of the wise man which is drawn by them! For he, after reason has taught him that that which is honourable is alone good, must inevitably be always happy, and must have a genuine right to those names which are often ridiculed by the ignorant. For he will be more properly called king than Tarquin, who was able to govern neither himself nor his family; he will deserve to be called the master of the people more than Sylla, who was only the master of three pestiferous vices, luxury, avarice, and cruelty; he will be called rich more properly than Crassus, who would never have desired to cross the Euphrates without any legitimate cause for war, if he had not been in want of something. Everything will be properly said to belong to that man, who alone knows how to make use of everything. He will also rightly be called beautiful, for the features of the mind are more beautiful than those of the body: he will deservedly be called the only free man, who is neither subject to the domination of any one, nor subservient to his own passions. He will fairly be called invincible, on whose mind, even though his body be bound with chains, no fetters can ever be imposed. Nor will he wait till the last period of his life, so as to have it decided whether he has been happy or not, after he has come to the last day of life and closed his eyes in death, in the spirit of the warning which one of the wise men gave to Crœsus, without showing much wisdom in so doing. For if he had ever been happy, then he would have borne his happy life with him, even as far as the funeral pile built for him by Cyrus.

But if it be true that no one except a good man is happy, and that all good men are happy, then what deserves to be cultivated more than philosophy, or what is more divine than virtue?

[pg 209]

Fourth Book Of The Treatise On The Chief Good And Evil.

I. And when he had made an end of saying these things, I replied, Truly, O Cato, you have displayed a wonderful memory in explaining to us such a number of things, and in laying such obscure things so clearly before us. So that we must either give up having any meaning or wish contrary to what you have said, or else we must take time to deliberate: for it is not easy to learn thoroughly the principles of a school which has not only had its foundation laid, but which has even been built up with such diligence, although perhaps with some errors as to its truth, (which, however, I will not as yet dare to affirm,) but at all events with such care and accuracy. Then, said he, is that what you say, when I have seen you, in obedience to this new law, reply to the prosecutor on the same day on which he has brought forward his charge, and sum up for three hours; and then do you think that I am going to allow an adjournment in this cause? which, however, will not be conducted by you better than those which are at times entrusted to you. Wherefore, I desire that you will now apply yourself to this one, especially as it has been handled by others, and also by yourself several times; so that you cannot be at a loss for arguments or language.

I replied, I do not, in truth, venture to argue inconsiderately against the Stoics, not because I agree with them in any great degree, but I am hindered by shame; because they say so much that I hardly understand. I confess, said he, that some of our arguments are obscure; not that we make them so on purpose, but because there is some obscurity in the subjects themselves. Why, then, said I, when the Peripatetics discuss the same subjects, does not a single word occur which is not well understood? Do they discuss the same subjects? said he; or have I failed to prove to you that the Stoics differ from the Peripatetics, not in words only, but in the whole of the subject, and in every one of their opinions? But, said [pg 210] I, if, O Cato, you can establish that, I will allow you to carry me over, body and soul, to your school. I did think, said he, that I had said enough on that point; wherefore answer me on that head first, if you please; and afterwards you can advance what arguments you please. I do not think it too much, said I, if I claim to answer you on that topic as I myself please. As you will, said he; for although the other way would have been more common, yet it is only fair to allow every one to adopt his own method.

II. I think, then, said I, O Cato, that those ancient pupils of Plato, Speusippus, Aristotle and Xenocrates, and afterwards their pupils, Polemo and Theophrastus, had a system laid down with sufficient richness and eloquence of language; so that Zeno had no reason, after having been a pupil of Polemo, for deserting him and his predecessors who had established this school. And in this school I should like you to observe what you think ought to be changed, and not to wait while I am replying to everything which has been said by you. For I think that I must contend with the whole of their system, against the whole of yours.

And as these men said that we are born with the view of being generally well adapted to those virtues which are well known and conspicuous, I mean justice and temperance, and others of the same kind, all which resemble the other arts, and differ only for the better in their subject matter and way of handling;—and as they saw that we desired those very virtues in a somewhat magnificent and ardent spirit; and that we had also a certain instruction, or, I should rather say, innate desire of knowledge; and that we were born for companionship with men, and for society and communion with the human race, and that these qualities are most conspicuous in the greatest geniuses;—they divided all philosophy into three parts; and we see that this same division was retained by Zeno: and as one of these parts is that by which the manners are thought to be formed, I postpone the consideration of that part, which is, as it were, the foundation of this question. For what is the chief good I will discuss presently; but at this moment I only say that that topic which I think we shall be right in calling the civil one, and which the Greeks call πολιτικὸς, has been treated of in a dignified and copious manner by the ancient Peripatetics and Academicians [pg 211] who, agreeing in parts, differed from one another only in words.

III. How many books have these men written on the republic! how many on laws! How many precepts in art, and, more than that, how many instances of good speaking in orations have they bequeathed to us! For, in the first place, they said with the greatest degree of polish and fitness those very things which were to be argued in a subtle manner, laying down both definitions and divisions: as your friends have also done: but you have done it in a more shabby manner; while you see how brilliant their language is. In the second place, with what splendid language have they adorned that part of the subject which required ornate and impressive eloquence! how gloriously have they illustrated it! discussing justice, and fortitude, and friendship, and the method of passing life, and philosophy, and the government of the state, and temperance, not like men picking out thorns, like the Stoics, or laying bare the bones, but like men who knew how to handle great subjects elegantly, and lesser ones clearly. What, therefore, are their consolations? What are their exhortations? What also are their warnings and advice written to the most eminent men? For their practice in speaking was, like the nature of the things themselves, of a two-fold character. For whatever is made a question of, contains a controversy either as to the genus itself, without reference to persons or times; or else, with these additions, a dispute as to the fact, or the right, or the name. And therefore, they exercised themselves in both kinds; and that discipline it was which produced that great copiousness of eloquence among them in both kinds of argumentation. Now Zeno, and those who imitated him, were either unable to do much in this kind of argument, or else were unwilling, or at all events they did not do it. Although Cleanthes wrote a treatise on the art of rhetoric, and so too did Chrysippus, but still in such a manner, that if any one were to wish to be silent, he ought to read nothing else. Therefore you see how they speak. They invent new words—they abandon old established terms.

But what great attempts do they make? They say that this universal world is our town; accordingly, this excites those who hear such a statement. You see, now, how great [pg 212] a business you are undertaking; to make a man who lives at Circeii believe that this universal world is merely a town for himself to live in. What will be the end of this? Shall he set fire to it? He will rather extinguish it, if he has received it on fire. The next thing said is that list of titles which you briefly enumerated,—king, dictator, rich man, the only wise man; words poured out by you decorously and roundly: they well might be, for you have learnt them from the orators. But how vague and unsubstantial are those speeches about the power of virtue! which they make out to be so great that it can, by itself, secure the happiness of man. They prick us with narrow little bits of questions as with pins; and those who assent to them are not at all changed in their minds, and go away the same as they came: for matters which are perhaps true, and which certainly are important, are not handled as they ought to be, but in a more minute and petty manner.

IV. The next thing is the principle of arguing, and the knowledge of nature. For we will examine the chief good presently, as I said before, and apply the whole discussion to the explanation of it. There was, then, in those two parts nothing which Zeno wished to alter. For the whole thing, in both its divisions, is in an excellent state; for what has been omitted by the ancients in that kind of argument which is of influence in discussion? For they have both given many definitions, and have bequeathed to us titles for defining; and that important addition to definition, I mean the dividing of the subject into parts, is both done by them, and they have also left us rules to enable us to do so too; and I may say the same of contraries; from which they came to genera, and to the forms of genera. Now, they make those things which they call evident, the beginning of an argument concluded by reason: then they follow an orderly arrangement; and the conclusion at last shows what is true in the separate propositions. But what a great variety of arguments, which lead to conclusions according to reason, do they give us, and how dissimilar are they to captious questions! What shall we say of their denouncing, as it were, in many places, that we ought neither entirely to trust our senses when unsupported by reason, nor reason when unsupported by our senses; but that, at the same time, we ought to keep the line between [pg 213] the two clearly marked? What shall I say more? Were not all the precepts which the dialecticians now deliver and teach, originally discovered and established by them? And although they were very much elaborated by Chrysippus, still they were much less practised by Zeno than by the ancients. And there were several things in which he did not improve on the ancients; and some which he never touched at all. And as there are two arts by which reason and oratory are brought to complete perfection, one that of discovering, the other that of arguing,—both the Stoics and Peripatetics have handed us down this latter, but the Peripatetics alone have given us rules for the former, while the Stoics have altogether avoided it. For the men of your school never even suspected the places from which arguments might be drawn as out of magazines; but the Peripatetics taught a regular system and method.

And the consequence is, that it is not necessary for one now to be always repeating a sort of dictated lesson on the same subject, or to be afraid to go beyond one's note-books: for he who knows where everything is placed, and how he can arrive at it, even if anything be completely buried, will be able to dig it up, and will always have his wits about him in every discussion. And although men who are endowed with great abilities, attain to a certain copiousness of eloquence without any definite principles of oratory, still art is a surer guide than nature. For it is one thing to pour out words after the fashion of poets, and another to distinguish on settled principles and rules all that you say.

V. Similar things may be said about the explanation of natural philosophy, which both the Peripatetics and Stoics apply themselves to; and that not on two accounts only, as Epicurus thinks, namely, to get rid of the fears of death and of religion; but besides this, the knowledge of heavenly things imparts some degree of modesty to those who see what great moderation and what admirable order there is likewise among the gods: it inspires them also with magnanimity when they contemplate the arts and works of the gods; and justice, too, when they come to know how great is the power and wisdom, and what the will is also, of the supreme ruler and master of the world, whose reason, in accordance with nature, is called by philosophers the true and supreme law. There is in the same study of nature, an insatiable kind of [pg 214] pleasure derived from the knowledge of things; the only pleasure in which, when all our necessary actions are performed, and when we are free from business, we can live honourably, and as becomes free men. Therefore, in the whole of this ratiocination on subjects of the very highest importance, the Stoics have for the most part followed the Peripatetics; so far at all events as to admit that there are gods, and to assert that everything consists of one of four elements. But when an exceedingly difficult question was proposed, namely, whether there did not seem to be a sort of fifth nature from which reason and intelligence sprang; (in which question another was involved respecting the mind, as to what class that belonged to;) Zeno said that it was fire; and then he said a few more things—very few, in a novel manner; but concerning the most important point of all, he spoke in the same way, asserting that the universal world, and all its most important parts, were regulated by the divine intellect and nature of the gods. But as for the matter and richness of facts, we shall find the Stoics very poorly off, but the Peripatetics very rich.

What numbers of facts have been investigated and accumulated by them with respect to the genus, and birth, and limbs, and age of all kinds of animals! and in like manner with respect to those things which are produced out of the earth! How many causes have they developed, and in what numerous cases, why everything is done, and what numerous demonstrations have they laid open how everything is done! And from this copiousness of theirs most abundant and undeniable arguments are derived for the explanation of the nature of everything. Therefore, as far as I understand, there is no necessity at all for any change of name. For it does not follow that, though he may have differed from the Peripatetics in some points, he did not arise out of them. And I, indeed, consider Epicurus, as far as his natural philosophy is concerned, as only another Democritus: he alters very few of his doctrines; and I should think him so even if he had changed more: but in numerous instances, and certainly on all the most important points, he coincides with him exactly. And though the men of your school do this, they do not show sufficient gratitude to the original discoverers.

VI. But enough of this. Let us now, I beg, consider the [pg 215] chief good, which contains all philosophy, and see whether Zeno has brought forward any reason for dissenting from the original discoverers and parents of it, as I may call them. While speaking, then, on this topic—although, Cato, this summit of goods, which contains all philosophy, has been carefully explained by you, and though you have told us what is considered so by the Stoics, and in what sense it is called so—yet I also will give my explanation, in order that we may see clearly, if we can, what new doctrine has been introduced into the question by Zeno. For as preceding philosophers, and Polemo most explicitly of all, had said that the chief good was to live according to nature, the Stoics say that three things are signified by these words: one, that a man should live exercising a knowledge of those things which happen by nature; and they say that this is the chief good of Zeno, who declares, as has been said by you, that it consists in living in a manner suitable to nature: the second meaning is much the same as if it were said that a man ought to live attending to all, or nearly all, the natural and intermediate duties. But this, when explained in this manner, is different from the former. For the former is right, which you called κατόρθωμα, and it happens to the wise man alone; but this is only a duty which is begun and not perfected, and this may happen to some who are far from being wise: the third is that a man should live, enjoying all things, or at least all the most important things which are according to nature; but this does not always depend on ourselves, for it is perfected both out of that kind of life which is bounded by virtue, and out of those things which are according to nature, and which are not in our own power.

But this chief good, which is understood in the third signification of the definition, and that life which is passed in conformity with that good, can happen to the wise man alone, because virtue is connected with it. And that summit of good, as we see it expressed by the Stoics themselves, was laid down by Xenocrates and by Aristotle; and so that first arrangement of the principles of nature, with which you also began, is explained by them in almost these very words.

VII. All nature desires to be a preserver of itself, in order that it may be both safe itself, and that it may be preserved in its kind. They say that for this end arts have been invented [pg 216] to assist nature, among which that is accounted one of the most important which is the art of living so as to defend what has been given by nature, and to acquire what is wanting; and, at the same time, they have divided the nature of man into mind and body. And, as they said that each of these things was desirable for its own sake, so also they said that the virtues of each of them were desirable for their own sake. But when they extolled the mind with boundless praises, and preferred it to the body, they at the same time preferred the virtues of the mind to the goods of the body.

But, as they asserted that wisdom was the guardian and regulator of the entire man, being the companion and assistant of nature, they said that the especial office of wisdom was to defend the being who consisted of mind and body,—to assist him and support him in each particular. And so, the matter being first laid down simply, pursuing the rest of the argument with more subtlety, they thought that the goods of the body admitted of an easy explanation, but they inquired more accurately into those of the mind. And, first of all, they found out that they contained the seeds of justice; and they were the first of all philosophers to teach that the principle that those which were the offspring should be beloved by their parents, was implanted in all animals by nature; and they said, also, that that which precedes the birth of offspring, in point of time,—namely, the marriage of men and women,—was a bond of union suggested by nature, and that this was the root from which the friendships between relations sprang. And, beginning with these first principles, they proceeded to investigate the origin and progress of all the virtues; by which course a great magnanimity was engendered, enabling them easily to resist and withstand fortune, because the most important events were in the power of the wise man; and a life conducted according to the precepts of the ancient philosophers was easily superior to all the changes and injuries of fortune.

But when these foundations had been laid by nature, certain great increases of good were produced,—some arising from the contemplation of more secret things, because there is a love of knowledge innate in the mind, in which also the fondness for explaining principles and for discussing them originates; and because man is the only animal which has [pg 217] any share of shame or modesty; and because he also covets union and society with other men, and takes pains in everything which he does or says, that he may do nothing which is not honourable and becoming;—these foundations being, as I have said, implanted in us by nature like so many seeds, temperance, and modesty, and justice, and all virtue, was brought to complete perfection.

VIII. You here, O Cato, have a sketch of the philosophers of whom I am speaking; and, now that I have given you this, I wish to know what reason there is why Zeno departed from their established system; and which of all their doctrines it was that he disapproved of? Did he object to their calling all nature a preserver of itself?—or to their saying that every animal was naturally fond of itself, so as to wish to be safe and uninjured in its kind?—or, as the end of all arts is to arrive at what nature especially requires, did he think that the same principle ought to be laid down with respect to the art of the entire life?—or, since we consist of mind and body, did he think that these and their excellences ought to be chosen for their own sakes?—or was he displeased with the preeminence which is attributed by the Peripatetics to the virtue of the mind?—or did he object to what they said about prudence, and the knowledge of things, and the union of the human race, and temperance, and modesty, and magnanimity, and honourableness in general? The Stoics must confess that all these things were excellently explained by the others, and that they gave no reason to Zeno for deserting their school. They must allege some other excuse.

I suppose they will say that the errors of the ancients were very great, and that he, being desirous of investigating the truth, could by no means endure them. For what can be more perverse—what can be more intolerable, or more stupid, than to place good health, and freedom from all pain, and soundness of the eyes and the rest of the senses, among the goods, instead of saying that there is no difference at all between them and their contraries? For that all those things which the Peripatetics called goods, were only things preferable, not good. And also that the ancients had been very foolish when they said that these excellences of the body were desirable for their own sake: they were to be accepted, but not to be desired. And the same might be said of all the [pg 218] other circumstances of life, which consists of nothing but virtue alone,—that that life which is rich also in the other things which are according to nature is not more to be desired on that account, but only more to be accepted; and, though virtue itself makes life so happy that a man cannot be happier, still something is wanting to wise men, even when they are most completely happy; and that they labour to repel pain, disease, and debility.

IX. Oh, what a splendid force is there in such genius, and what an excellent reason is this for setting up a new school! Go on; for it will follow,—and, indeed, you have most learnedly adopted the principle,—that all folly, and all injustice, and all other vices are alike, and that all errors are equal; and that those who have made great progress, through natural philosophy and learning, towards virtue, if they have not arrived at absolute perfection in it, are completely miserable, and that there is no difference between their life and that of the most worthless of men,—as Plato, that greatest of men, if he was not thoroughly wise, lived no better, and in no respect more happily, than the most worthless of men. This is, forsooth, the Stoic correction and improvement of the old philosophy; but it can never find any entrance into the city, or the forum, or the senate-house. For who could endure to hear a man, who professed to be a teacher of how to pass life with dignity and wisdom, speaking in such a manner—altering the names of things; and though he was in reality of the same opinion as every one else, still giving new names to the things to which he attributed just the same force that others did, without proposing the least alteration in the ideas to be entertained of them? Would the advocate of a cause, when summing up for a defendant, deny that exile or the confiscation of his client's property was an evil?—that these things were to be rejected, though not to be fled from?—or would he say that a judge ought not to be merciful?

But if he were speaking in the public assembly,—if Hannibal had arrived at the gates and had driven his javelin into the wall, would he deny that it was an evil to be taken prisoner, to be sold, to be slain, to lose one's country? Or could the senate, when it was voting a triumph to Africanus, have expressed itself,—Because by his virtue and good fortune ... if there could not properly be said to be any virtue or any [pg 219] good fortune except in a wise man? What sort of a philosophy, then, is that which speaks in the ordinary manner in the forum, but in a peculiar style of its own in books? especially when, as they intimate themselves in all they say, no innovations are made by them in the facts,—none of the things themselves are changed, but they remain exactly the same, though in another manner. For what difference does it make whether you call riches, and power, and health goods, or only things preferred, as long as the man who calls them goods attributes no more to them than you do who call them things preferred? Therefore, Panætius—a noble and dignified man, worthy of the intimacy which he enjoyed with Scipio and Lælius—when he was writing to Quintus Tubero on the subject of bearing pain, never once asserted, what ought to have been his main argument, if it could have been proved, that pain was not an evil; but he explained what it was, and what its character was, and what amount of disagreeableness there was in it, and what was the proper method of enduring it; and (for he, too, was a Stoic) all that preposterous language of the school appears to me to be condemned by these sentiments of his.

X. But, however, to come, O Cato, more closely to what you have been saying, let us treat this question more narrowly, and compare what you have just said with those assertions which I prefer to yours. Now, those arguments which you employ in common with the ancients, we may make use of as admitted. But let us, if you please, confine our discussion to those which are disputed. I do please, said he: I am very glad to have the question argued with more subtlety, and, as you call it, more closely; for what you have hitherto advanced are mere popular assertions, but from you I expect something more elegant. From me? said I. However, I will try; and, if I cannot find arguments enough, I will not be above having recourse to those which you call popular.

But let me first lay down this position, that we are so recommended to ourselves by nature, and that we have this principal desire implanted in us by nature, that our first wish is to preserve ourselves. This is agreed. It follows, that we must take notice what we are, that so we may preserve ourselves in that character of which we ought to be. We are, therefore, men: we consist of mind and body,—which are [pg 220] things of a particular description,—and we ought, as our first natural desire requires, to love these parts of ourselves, and from them to establish this summit of the chief and highest good, which, if our first principles are true, must be established in such a way as to acquire as many as possible of those things which are in accordance with nature, and especially all the most important of them. This, then, is the chief good which they aimed at. I have expressed it more diffusely,—they call it briefly, living according to nature. This is what appears to them to be the chief good.

XI. Come, now let them teach us, or rather do so yourself, (for who is better able?) in what way you proceed from these principles, and prove that to live honourably (for that is the meaning of living according to virtue, or in a manner suitable to nature) is the chief good; and in what manner, or in what place, you on a sudden get rid of the body, and leave all those things which, as they are according to nature, are out of our own power; and, lastly, how you get rid of duty itself.

I ask, therefore, how it is that all these recommendations, having proceeded from nature, are suddenly abandoned by wisdom? But if it were not the chief good of man that we were inquiring into, but only that of some animal, and if he were nothing except mind (for we may make such a supposition as that, in order more easily to discover the truth), still this chief good of yours would not belong to that mind. For it would wish for good health, for freedom from pain; it would also desire the preservation of itself, and the guardianship of these qualities, and it would appoint as its own end to live according to nature, which is, as I have said, to have those things which are according to nature, either all of them, or most of them, and all the most important ones. For whatever kind of animal you make him out, it is necessary, even though he be incorporeal, as we are supposing him, still that there must be in the mind something like those qualities which exist in the body; so that the chief good cannot possibly be defined in any other manner but that which I have mentioned.

But Chrysippus, when explaining the differences between living creatures, says, that some excel in their bodies, others in their minds, some in both. And then he argues that [pg 221] there ought to be a separate chief good for each description of creature. But as he had placed man in such a class that he attributed to him excellence of mind, he determined that his chief good was not that he appeared to excel in mind, but that he appeared to be nothing else but mind.

XII. But in one case the chief good might rightly be placed in virtue alone, if there were any animal which consisted wholly of mind; and that, too, in such a manner that that mind had in itself nothing that was according to nature, as health is. But it cannot even be imagined what kind of thing that is, so as not to be inconsistent with itself. But if he says that some things are obscure, and are not visible because they are very small, we also admit that; as Epicurus says of pleasure, that those pleasures which are very small are often obscured and overwhelmed. But that kind has not so many advantages of body, nor any which last so long, or are so great. Therefore, in those in which obscuration follows because of their littleness, it often happens that we confess that it makes no difference to us whether they exist at all or not; just as when the sun is out, as you yourself said, it is of no consequence to add the light of a candle, or to add a penny to the riches of Crœsus. But in those matters in which so great an obscuration does not take place, it may still be the case, that the matter which makes a difference is of no great consequence. As if, when a man had lived ten years agreeably, an additional month's life of equal pleasantness were given to him, it would be good, because any addition has some power to produce what is agreeable; but if that is not admitted, it does not follow that a happiness of life is at once put an end to.

But the goods of the body are more like this instance which I have just mentioned. For they admit of additions worthy of having pains taken about them; so that on this point the Stoics appear to me sometimes to be joking, when they say that, if a bottle or a comb were given as an addition to a life which is being passed with virtue, a wise man would rather choose that life, because these additions were given to it, but yet that he would not be happier on that account. Now, is not this simile to be upset by ridicule rather than by serious discourse? For who would not be deservedly ridiculed, if he were anxious whether he had another bottle or [pg 222] not? But if any one relieves a person from any affection of the limbs, or from the pain of any disease, he will receive great gratitude. And if that wise man of yours is put on the rack of torture by a tyrant, he will not display the same countenance as if he had lost his bottle; but, as entering upon a serious and difficult contest, seeing that he will have to fight with a capital enemy, namely, pain, he will summon up all his principles of fortitude and patience, by whose assistance he will proceed to face that difficult and important battle, as I have called it.

We will not inquire, then, what is obscured, or what is destroyed, because it is something very small; but what is of such a character as to complete the whole sum of happiness. One pleasure out of many may be obscured in that life of pleasure; but still, however small an one it may be, it is a part of that life which consists wholly of pleasure. One coin is lost of the riches of Crœsus, still it is a part of his riches. Wherefore those things, too, which we say are according to nature, may be obscured in a happy life, still they must be parts of the happy life.

XIII. But if, as we ought to agree, there is a certain natural desire which longs for those things which are according to nature, then, when taken altogether, they must be considerable in amount. And if this point is established, then we may be allowed to inquire about those things at our leisure, and to investigate the greatness of them, and their excellence, and to examine what influence each has on living happily, and also to consider the very obscurations themselves, which, on account of their smallness, are scarcely ever, or I may say never, visible.

What should I say about that as to which there is no dispute? For there is no one who denies that that which is the standard to which everything is referred resembles every nature, and that is the chief thing which is to be desired. For every nature is attached to itself. For what nature is there which ever deserts itself, or any portion of itself, or any one of its parts or faculties, or, in short, any one of those things, or motions, or states which are in accordance with nature? And what nature has ever been forgetful of its original purpose and establishment? There has never been one which does not observe this law from first to last. How, [pg 223] then, does it happen that the nature of man is the only one which ever abandons man, which forgets the body, which places the chief good, not in the whole man, but in a part of man? And how, as they themselves admit, and as is agreed upon by all, will it be preserved, so that that ultimate good of nature, which is the subject of our inquiry, shall resemble every nature? For it would resemble them, if in other natures also there were some ultimate point of excellence. For then that would seem to be the chief good of the Stoics. Why, then, do you hesitate to alter the principles of nature? For why do you say that every animal, the moment that it is born, is prone to feel love for itself, and is occupied in its own preservation? Why do you not rather say that every animal is inclined to that which is most excellent in itself, and is occupied in the guardianship of that one thing, and that the other natures do nothing else but preserve that quality which is the best in each of them? But how can it be the best, if there is nothing at all good besides? But if the other things are to be desired, why, then, is not that which is the chief of all desirable things inferred from the desire of all those things, or of the most numerous and important of them? as Phidias can either begin a statue from the beginning, and finish it, or he can take one which has been begun by another, and complete that.

Now wisdom is like this: for wisdom is not herself the parent of man, but she has received him after he has been commenced by nature. And without regard to her, she ought to complete that work of her's, as an artist would complete a statue. What kind of man, then, is it that nature has commenced? and what is the office and task of wisdom? What is it that ought to be finished and completed by her? If there is nothing to be made further in man, except some kind of motion of the mind, that is to say, reason, then it follows, that the ultimate object is to mould the life according to virtue. For the perfection of reason is virtue. If there is nothing but body, then the chief goods must be good health, freedom from pain, beauty, and so on. The question at this moment is about the chief good of man.

XIV. Why do we hesitate, then, to inquire as to his whole nature, what has been done? For as it is agreed by all, that the whole duty and office of wisdom is to be occupied about [pg 224] the cultivation of man, some (that you may not think that I am arguing against none but the Stoics) bring forward opinions in which they place the chief good among things of a kind which are wholly out of our own power, just as if they were speaking of one of the brute beasts; others, on the contrary, as if man had no body at all, so entirely exclude everything from their consideration except the mind, (and this, too, while the mind itself, in their philosophy, is not some unintelligible kind of vacuum, but something which exists in some particular species of body,) that even that is not content with virtue alone, but requires freedom from pain. So that both these classes do the same thing, as if they neglected the left side of a man, and took care only of the right; or as if they (as Herillus did) attended only to the knowledge of the mind itself, and passed over all action. For it is but a crippled system which all those men set up who pass over many things, and select some one in particular to adhere to. But that is a perfect and full system which those adopt who, while inquiring about the chief good of man, pass over in their inquiry no part either of his mind or body, so as to leave it unprotected. But your school, O Cato, because virtue holds, as we all admit, the highest and most excellent place in man, and because we think those who are wise men, perfect and admirable men, seeks entirely to dazzle the eyes of our minds with the splendour of virtue. For in every living creature there is some one principal and most excellent thing, as, for instance, in horses and dogs; but those must be free from pain and in good health. Therefore, you do not seem to me to pay sufficient attention to what the general path and progress of nature is. For it does not pursue the same course in man that it does in corn, (which, when it has advanced it from the blade to the ear, it leaves and considers the stubble as nothing,) and leave him as soon as it has conducted him to a state of reason. For it is always taking something additional, without ever abandoning what it has previously given. Therefore, it has added reason to the senses; and when it has perfected his reason, it still does not abandon the senses.

As if the culture of the vine, the object of which is to cause the vine, with all its parts, to be in the best possible condition, (however that is what we understand it to be, for [pg 225] one may, as you often do yourselves, suppose anything for the purpose of illustration,) if, then, that culture of the vine be in the vine itself, it would, I presume, desire everything else which concerns the cultivation of the vine, to be as it has been before. But it would prefer itself to every separate part of the vine, and it would feel sure that nothing in the vine was better than itself. In like manner sense, when it has been added to nature, protects it indeed, but it also protects itself. But when reason is also added, then it is placed in a position of such predominant power, that all those first principles of nature are put under its guardianship. Therefore it does not abandon the care of those things over which it is so set, that its duty is to regulate the entire life: so that we cannot sufficiently marvel at their inconsistency. For they assert that the natural appetite, which they call ὁρμὴ, and also duty, and even virtue herself, are all protectors of those things which are according to nature. But when they wish to arrive at the chief good, they overleap everything, and leave us two tasks instead of one—namely, to choose some things and desire others, instead of including both under one head.

XV. But now you say that virtue cannot properly be established, if those things which are external to virtue have any influence on living happily. But the exact contrary is the case. For virtue cannot possibly be introduced, unless everything which it chooses and which it neglects is all referred to one general end. For if we entirely neglect ourselves, we then fall into the vices and errors of Ariston, and shall forget the principles which we have attributed to virtue itself. But if we do not neglect those things, and yet do not refer them to the chief good, we shall not be very far removed from the trivialities of Herillus. For we shall have to adopt two different plans of conduct in life: for he makes out that there are two chief goods unconnected with each other; but if they were real goods, they ought to be united; but at present they are separated, so that they never can be united. But nothing can be more perverse than this. Therefore, the fact is exactly contrary to your assertion: for virtue cannot possibly be established firmly, unless it maintains those things which are the principles of nature as having an influence on the object. For we have been looking [pg 226] for a virtue which should preserve nature, not for one which should abandon it. But that of yours, as you represent it, preserves only one part, and abandons the rest.

And, indeed, if the custom of man could speak, this would be its language. That its first beginnings were, as it were, beginnings of desire that it might preserve itself in that nature in which it had been born. For it had not yet been sufficiently explained what nature desired above all things. Let it therefore be explained. What else then will be understood but that no part of nature is to be neglected? And if there is nothing in it besides reason, then the chief good must be in virtue alone. But if there is also body, then will that explanation of nature have caused us to abandon the belief which we held before the explanation. Is it, then, being in a manner suitable to nature to abandon nature? As some philosophers do, when having begun with the senses they have seen something more important and divine, and then abandoned the senses; so, too, these men, when they had beheld the beauty of virtue developed in its desire for particular things, abandoned everything which they had seen for the sake of virtue herself, forgetting that the whole nature of desirable things was so extensive that it remained from beginning to end; and they do not understand that they are taking away the very foundations of these beautiful and admirable things.

XVI. Therefore, all those men appear to me to have made a blunder who have pronounced the chief good to be to live honourably. But some have erred more than others,—Pyrrho above all, who, having fixed on virtue as the chief good, refuses to allow that there is anything else in the world deserving of being desired; and, next to him, Aristo, who did not, indeed, venture to leave nothing else to be desired, but who introduced influence, by which a wise man might be excited, and desire whatever occurred to his mind, and whatever even appeared so to occur. He was more right than Pyrrho, inasmuch as he left man some kind of desire; but worse than the rest, inasmuch as he departed wholly from nature: but the Stoics, because they place the chief good in virtue alone, resemble these men: but inasmuch as they seek for a principle of duty, they are superior to Pyrrho; and as they do not admit the desire of those objects which offer [pg 227] themselves to the imagination, they are more correct than Aristo; but, inasmuch as they do not add the things which they admit to be adopted by nature, and to be worthy of being chosen for their own sakes, to the chief good, they here desert nature, and are in some degree not different from Aristo: for he invented some strange kinds of occurrences; but these men recognise, indeed, the principles of nature, but still they disconnect them from the perfect and chief good; and when they put them forward, so that there may be some selection of things, they appear to follow nature; but when they deny that they have any influence in making life happy, they again abandon nature.

And hitherto I have been showing how destitute Zeno was of any good reason for abandoning the authority of previous philosophers: now let us consider the rest of his arguments; unless, indeed, O Cato, you wish to make any reply to what I have been saying, or unless we are getting tedious. Neither, said he; for I wish this side of the question to be completely argued by you; nor does your discourse seem to me to be at all tedious. I am glad to hear it, I replied; for what can be more desirable for me than to discuss the subject of virtue with Cato, who is the most virtuous of men in every point? But, first of all, remark that that imposing sentiment of yours, which brings a whole family after it, namely, that what is honourable is the only good, and that to live honourably is the chief good, will be shared in common with you by all who define the chief good as consisting in virtue alone; and, as to what you say, that virtue cannot be formed if anything except what is honourable is included in the account, the same statement will be made by those whom I have just named. But it appeared to me to be fairer, advancing from one common beginning, to see where Zeno, while disputing with Polemo, from whom he had learnt what the principles of nature were, first took his stand, and what the original cause of the controversy was; and not to stand on their side, who did not even allow that their own chief good was derived from nature, and to employ the same arguments which they did, and to maintain the same sentiments.

XVII. But I am very far from approving this conduct of yours, that when you have proved, as you imagine, that that [pg 228] alone is good which is honourable, then say again that it is necessary that beginnings should be put forward which are suitable and adapted to nature; by a selection from which virtue might be called into existence. For virtue ought not to have been stated to consist in selection, so that that very thing which was itself the chief good, was to acquire something besides itself; for all things which are to be taken, or chosen, or desired, ought to exist in the chief good, so that he who has attained that may want nothing more. Do you not see how evident it is to those men whose chief good consists in pleasure, what they ought to do and what they ought not? so that no one of them doubts what all their duties ought to regard, what they ought to pursue, or avoid. Let this, then, be the chief good which is now defended by me; it will be evident in a moment what are the necessary duties and actions. But you, who set before yourselves another end except what is right and honourable, will not be able to find out where your principle of duty and action is to originate.

Therefore you are all of you seeking for this, and so are those who say that they pursue whatever comes into their mind and occurs to them; and you return to nature. But nature will fairly reply to you, that it is not true that the chief happiness of life is to be sought in another quarter, but the principles of action in herself: for that there is one system only, in which both the principles of action and the chief good too is contained; and that, as the opinion of Aristo is exploded, when he says that one thing does not differ from another, and that there is nothing except virtue and vice in which there was any difference whatever; so, too, Zeno was in the wrong, who affirmed that there was no influence in anything, except virtue or vice, of the very least power to assist in the attainment of the chief good: and as that had no influence on making life happy, but only in creating a desire for things, he said that there was some power of attraction in them: just as if this desire had no reference to the acquisition of the chief good. But what can be less consistent than what they say, namely, that when they have obtained the knowledge of the chief good they then return to nature, in order to seek in it the principle of action, that is to say, of duty? For it is not the principle of action or duty which impels them to desire those things which are [pg 229] according to nature; but desire and action are both set in motion by those things.

XVIII. Now I come to those brief statements of yours which you call conclusions; and first of all to that—than which, certainly, nothing can be more brief—that "everything good is praiseworthy; but everything praiseworthy is honourable; therefore everything good is honourable." Oh, what a leaden dagger!—for who will grant you your first premises? And if it should be granted to you, then you have no need of the second: for if everything good is praiseworthy, so is everything honourable; who, then, will grant you this, except Pyrrho, Aristo, and men like them?—whom you do not approve of. Aristotle, Xenocrates, and all that school, will not grant it; inasmuch as they call health, strength, riches, glory, and many other things good, but not praiseworthy; and they therefore do not think that the chief good is contained in virtue alone, though still they do prefer virtue to everything else. What do you think that those men will do who have utterly separated virtue from the chief good, Epicurus, Hieronymus, and those too, if indeed there are any such, who wish to defend the definition of the chief good given by Carneades? And how will Callipho and Diodorus be able to grant you what you ask, men who join to honourableness something else which is not of the same genus?—Do you, then, think it proper, Cato, after you have assumed premises which no one will grant to you, to derive whatever conclusion you please from them? Take this sorites, than which you think nothing can be more faulty: “That which is good is desirable; that which is desirable ought to be sought for; that which ought to be sought for is praiseworthy,” and so on through all the steps. But I will stop here, for in the same manner no one will grant to you that whatever ought to be sought is therefore praiseworthy; and that other argument of theirs is far from a legitimate conclusion, but a most stupid assertion, “that a happy life is one worthy of being boasted of.” For it can never happen that a person may reasonably boast, without something honourable in the circumstances. Polemo will grant this to Zeno; and so will his master, and the whole of that school, and all the rest who, preferring virtue by far to everything else, still add something besides to it in their definition of the chief good. For, [pg 230] if virtue be a thing worthy of being boasted of, as it is, and if it is so far superior to all other things that it can scarcely be expressed how much better it is; then a man may, possibly, be happy if endowed with virtue alone, and destitute of everything else; and yet he will never grant to you that nothing whatever is to be classed among goods, except virtue.

But those men whose chief good has no virtue in it, will perhaps not grant to you that a happy life has anything in it of which a man can rightly boast, although they also, at times, represent virtues as subjects for boasting. You see, therefore, that you are either assuming propositions which are not admitted, or else such as, even if they are granted, will do you no good.

XIX. In truth, in all these conclusions, I should think this worthy both of philosophy and of ourselves,—and that, too, most especially so when we were inquiring into the chief good,—that our lives, and designs, and wishes should be corrected, and not our expressions. For who, when he has heard those brief and acute arguments of yours which, as you say, give you so much pleasure, can ever have his opinion changed by them? For when men fix their attention on them, and wish to hear why pain is not an evil, they tell him that to be in pain is a bitter, annoying, odious, unnatural condition, and one difficult to be borne; but, because there is in pain no fraud, or dishonesty, or malice, or fault, or baseness, therefore it is not an evil. Now, the man who hears this said, even if he does not care to laugh, will still depart without being a bit more courageous as to bearing pain than he was when he came. But you affirm that no one can be courageous who thinks pain an evil. Why should he be more courageous if he thinks it—what you yourself admit it to be—bitter and scarcely endurable? For timidity is generated by things, and not by words. And you say, that if one letter is moved, the whole system of the school will be undermined. Do I seem, then, to you to be moving a letter, or rather whole pages? For although the order of things, which is what you so especially extol, may be preserved among them, and although everything may be well joined and connected together, (for that is what you said,) still we ought not to follow them too far, if arguments, having set out from false principles, are consistent with themselves, and do not wander from the end they propose to themselves.

[pg 231]

Accordingly, in his first establishment of his system, your master, Zeno, departed from nature; and as he had placed the chief good on that superiority of disposition which we call virtue, and had affirmed that there was nothing whatever good which was not honourable, and that virtue could have no real existence if in other things there were things of which one was better or worse than another; having laid down these premises, he naturally maintained the conclusions. You say truly; for I cannot deny it. But the conclusions which follow from his premises are so false that the premises from which they are deduced cannot be true. For the dialecticians, you know, teach us that if the conclusions which follow from any premises are false, the premises from which they follow cannot be true. And so that conclusion is not only true, but so evident that even the dialecticians do not think it necessary that any reasons should be given for it—“If that is the case, this is; but this is not; therefore that is not.” And so, by denying your consequence, your premise is contradicted. What follows, then?—“All who are not wise are equally miserable; all wise men are perfectly happy: all actions done rightly are equal to one another; all offences are equal.” But, though all these propositions at first appear to be admirably laid down, after a little consideration they are not so much approved of. For every man's own senses, and the nature of things, and truth itself, cried out, after a fashion, that they could never be induced to believe that there was no difference between those things which Zeno asserted to be equal.

XX. Afterwards that little Phœnician of yours (for you know that the people of Citium, your clients, came from Phœnicia), a shrewd man, as he was not succeeding in his case, since nature herself contradicted him, began to withdraw his words; and first of all he granted in favour of those things which we consider good, that they might be considered fit, and useful, and adapted to nature; and he began to confess that it was more advantageous for a wise—that is to say for a perfectly happy—man, to have those things which he does not venture indeed to call goods, but yet allows to be well adapted to nature. And he denies that Plato, if he were not a wise man, would be in the same circumstances as the tyrant Dionysius; for that to die was better for the one, [pg 232] because he despaired of attaining wisdom, but to live was better for the other, because of his hope of doing so. And he asserts that of offences some are tolerable, and some by no means so, because many men passed by some offences, and there are others which very few people pass by, on account of the number of duties violated. Again, he said that some men are so foolish as to be utterly unable ever to arrive at wisdom; but that there are others who, if they had taken pains, might have attained to it. Now, in this he expressed himself differently from any one else, but he thought just the same as all the rest. Nor did he think those things deserving of being valued less which he himself denied to be goods, than they did who considered them as goods. What, then, did he wish to effect by having altered these names? At least he would have taken something from their weight, and would have valued them at rather less than the Peripatetics, in order to appear to think in some respects differently from them, and not merely to speak so.

What more need I say? What do you say about the happy life to which everything is referred? You affirm that it is not that life which is filled with everything which nature requires; and you place it entirely in virtue alone. And as every controversy is usually either about a fact or a name, both kinds of dispute arise if either the fact is not understood or if a mistake is made as to the name; and if neither of these is the case, we must take care to use the most ordinary language possible, and words as suitable as can be,—that is, such as make the subject plain. Is it, then, doubtful that if the former philosophers have not erred at all as to the fact itself, they certainly express themselves more conveniently? Let us, then, examine their opinions, and then return to the question of names.

XXI. They say that the desire of the mind is excited when anything appears to it to be according to nature; and that all things which are according to nature are worthy of some esteem; and that they deserve to be esteemed in proportion to the weight that there is in each of them: and that of those things which are according to nature, some have in themselves nothing of that appetite of which we have already frequently spoken, being neither called honourable nor praiseworthy; and some, again, are accompanied by pleasure in the [pg 233] case of every animal, and in the case of man also with reason. And those of them which are suitable are honourable, beautiful, and praiseworthy; but the others, mentioned before, are natural, and, when combined with those which are honourable, make up and complete a perfectly happy life. But they say, too, that of all these advantages—to which those people do not attribute more importance who say that they are goods, than Zeno does, who denies it—by far the most excellent is that which is honourable and praiseworthy; but that if two honourable things are both set before one, one accompanied with good health and the other with sickness, it is not doubtful to which of them nature herself will conduct us: but, nevertheless, that the power of honourableness is so great, and that it is so far better than, and superior to, everything else, that it can never be moved by any punishments or by any bribes from that which it has decided to be right; and that everything which appears hard, difficult, or unfortunate, can be dissipated by those virtues with which we have been adorned by nature; not because they are trivial or contemptible—or else where would be the merit of the virtues?—but that we might infer from such an event, that it was not in them that the main question of living happily or unhappily depended.

In short, the things which Zeno has called estimable, and worth choosing, and suitable to nature, they call goods; but they call that a happy life which consists of those things which I have mentioned, or, if not of all, at least of the greatest number of them, and of the most important. But Zeno calls that the only good which has some peculiar beauty of its own to make it desirable; and he calls that life alone happy which is passed with virtue.

XXII. If we are to discuss the reality of the case, then there cannot possibly, Cato, be any disagreement between you and me: for there is nothing on which you and I have different opinions; let us only compare the real circumstances, after changing the names. Nor, indeed, did he fail to see this; but he was delighted with the magnificence and splendour of the language: and if he really felt what he said, and what his words intimate, then what would be the difference between him and Pyrrho or Aristo? But if he did not approve of them, then what was his object in differing in language with those men with whom he agreed in reality?

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What would you do if these Platonic philosophers, and those, too, who were their pupils, were to come to life again, and address you thus:—“As, O Marcus Cato, we heard that you were a man exceedingly devoted to philosophy, a most just citizen, an excellent judge, and a most conscientious witness, we marvelled what the reason was why you preferred the Stoics to us; for they, on the subject of good and evil things, entertain those opinions which Zeno learnt from Polemo; and use those names which, when they are first heard, excite wonder, but when they are explained, move only ridicule. But if you approved those doctrines so much, why did you not maintain them in their own proper language? If authority had influence with you, how was it that you preferred some stranger to all of us and to Plato himself? especially while you were desirous to be a chief man in the republic, and might have been accomplished and equipped by us in a way to enable you to defend it to your own great increase of dignity. For the means to such an end have been investigated, described, marked down, and enjoined by us; and we have written detailed accounts of the government of all republics, and their descriptions, and constitutions, and changes,—and even of the laws, and customs, and manners of all states. Moreover, how much eloquence, which is the greatest ornament to leading men,—in which, indeed, we have heard that you are very eminent,—might you have learnt, in addition to that which is natural to you, from our records!” When they had said this, what answer could you have made to such men? I would have entreated you, said he, who had dictated their speech to them, to speak likewise for me, or else rather to give me a little room to answer them myself, only that now I prefer listening to you; and yet at another time I should be likely to reply to them at the same time that I answer you.

XXIII. But if you were to answer truly, Cato, you would be forced to say this—That you do not approve of those men, men of great genius and great authority as they are. But that you have noticed that the things which, by reason of their antiquity they have failed to see, have been thoroughly comprehended by the Stoics, and that these latter have discussed the same matters with more acuteness, and have also entertained more dignified and courageous sentiments, [pg 235] inasmuch as, in the first place, they deny that good health is to be desired, though they admit that it may be chosen; not because to be well is a good, but because it is not to be utterly disregarded, and yet that it does not appear to them of more value that it does to those who do not hesitate to call it a good. And that you could not endure that those ancients, those bearded men (as we are in the habit of calling our own ancestors), should believe that the life of that man who lived honourably, if he had also good health and a good reputation, and was rich, was more desirable, better, and more to be sought for, than that of him who was equally a good man in many respects, like the Alcmæon of Ennius—

Surrounded by disease, and exile sad,
And cruel want.

Those ancients, then, must have been far from clever, to think that life more desirable, better, and happier. But the Stoics think it only to be preferred if one has a choice; not because this life is happier, but because it is better adapted to nature; and they think that all who are not wise are equally miserable. The Stoics, forsooth, thought this; but it had entirely escaped the perception of those philosophers who preceded them, for they thought that men stained with all sorts of parricide and wickedness were not at all more miserable than those who, though they lived purely and uprightly, had not yet attained complete wisdom.

And while on this topic, you brought forth those similes which they are in the habit of employing, which are, in truth, no similes at all. For who is ignorant that, if many men should choose to emerge from the deep, those would be nearer breathing who came close to the surface, but still would not be actually able to breathe any more than those who are at the bottom? Therefore, on your principles, it is of no avail to make progress and advancement in virtue, in order to be less utterly miserable before you have actually arrived at it, since it is of no use in the case of men in the water. And since puppies who are on the point of opening their eyes, are just as blind as those that are but this moment born; it is plain also that Plato, as he had not yet seen wisdom, was as blind in his intellect as Phalaris.

XXIV. These cases are not alike, Cato. For in these [pg 236] instances, though you may have made a good deal of progress, still you are in exactly the same evil from which you wish to be free, till you have entirely escaped. For a man does not breathe till he has entirely emerged, and puppies are just as blind till they have opened their eyes, as if they were never going to open them. I will give you some instances that really are like. One man's eyes are bad, another is weak in his body; these men are both gradually relieved by the daily application of remedies. The one gets better every day, and the other sees better. Now these men resemble all those who study virtue. They are relieved of their vices; they are relieved of their errors. Unless, perchance, you think that Tiberius Gracchus, the father, was not happier than his son, when the one laboured to establish the republic, and the other to subvert it. And yet he was not a wise man. For who taught him wisdom? or when? or where? or whence did he learn it? Still, because he consulted his twin glory and dignity, he had made great progress in virtue.

But I will compare your grandfather, Drusus, with Caius Gracchus, who was nearly his contemporary. He healed the wounds which the other inflicted on the republic. But there is nothing which makes men so miserable as impiety and wickedness. Grant that all those who are unwise are miserable, as, in fact, they are; still he is not equally miserable who consults the interest of his country with him who wishes for its destruction. Therefore, those men are already a great deal relieved from their vices who have made any considerable advance towards virtue. But the men of your school admit that advance towards virtue can be made, but yet assert that no relief from vices takes place in consequence.

But it is worth while to consider on what arguments acute men rely for proving this point. Those arts, say they, of which the perfection can be increased, show that the completeness of their contraries can likewise be increased. But no addition can be made to the perfection of virtue. Therefore, also, vices will not be susceptible of any increase, for they are the contraries of virtues. Shall we say, then, that things which are doubtful are made plain by things which are evident, or that things which are evident are obscured by things that are doubtful? But this is evident, that different vices are greater in different people. This is doubtful, whether [pg 237] any addition can be made to that which you call the chief good. But you, while what you ought to do is to try and illustrate what is doubtful by what is evident, endeavour to get rid of what is evident by what is doubtful. And, therefore, you will find yourself hampered by the same reasoning which I used just now. For if it follows that some vices are not greater than others, because no addition can be made to that chief good which you describe, since it is quite evident that the vices of all men are not equal, you must change your definition of the chief good. For we must inevitably maintain this rule, that when a consequence is false, the premises from which the consequence proceeds cannot be true.

XXV. What, then, is the cause of these difficulties? A vain-glorious parade in defining the chief good. For when it is positively asserted that what is honourable is the sole good, all care for one's health, all attention to one's estate, all regard for the government of the republic, all regularity in transacting business, all the duties of life, in short, are put an end to. Even that very honourableness, in which alone you assert that everything is comprised, must be abandoned. All which arguments are carefully urged against Ariston by Chrysippus. And from that embarrassment it is that all those fallaciously speaking wiles, as Attius calls them, have arisen. For because wisdom had no ground on which to rest her foot, when all the duties were taken away, (and duties were taken away when all power of selection and discrimination was denied; for what choice, or what discrimination could there be when all things were so completely equal that there was no difference whatever between them?) from these difficulties there arose worse errors than even those of Aristo. For his arguments were at all events simple; those of your school are full of craft.

For suppose you were to ask Aristo whether these things, freedom from pain, riches, and good health, appear to him to be goods? He would deny it. What next? Suppose you ask him whether the contraries of these things are bad? He would deny that equally. Suppose you were to ask Zeno the same question? He would give you the same answer, word for word. Suppose further, that we, being full of astonishment, were to ask them both how it will be possible for us to live, if we think that it makes not the least difference to [pg 238] us whether we are well or sick; whether we are free from pain or tormented by it; whether we are able or unable to endure cold and hunger? You will live, says Aristo, magnificently and excellently, doing whatever seems good to you. You will never be vexed, you will never desire anything, you will never fear anything. What will Zeno say? He says that all these ideas are monstrous, and that it is totally impossible for any one to live on these principles; but that there is some extravagant, some immense difference between what is honourable and what is base; that between other things, indeed, there is no difference at all. He will also say—(listen to what follows, and do not laugh, if you can help it)—all those intermediate things, between which there is no difference, are nevertheless such that some of them are to be chosen, others rejected, and others utterly disregarded; that is to say, that you may wish for some, wish to avoid others, and be totally indifferent about others. But you said just now, O Zeno, that there was no difference whatever between these things. And now I say the same, he replies; and that there is no difference whatever as respects virtues and vices. Well, I should like to know who did not know that?

XXVI. However, let us hear a little more. Those things, says he, which you have mentioned, to be well, to be rich, to be free from pain, I do not call goods; but I will call them in Greek προηγμένα (which you may translate by the Latin producta, though I prefer præposita or præcipua, for they are more easily comprehended and more applicable terms). And again, the contraries, want, sickness, and pain, I do not call evils, though I have no objection to styling them (if you wish) things to be rejected. And, therefore, I do not say that I seek for them first, but that I choose them; not that I wish for them, but that I accept them. And so, too, I do not say that I flee from the contraries; but that I, as it were, keep aloof from them. What says Aristotle and the rest of the disciples of Plato? Why, that they call everything good which is according to nature; and that whatever is contrary to nature they call evil.

Do you not see, then, that your master Zeno agrees with Aristo in words, but differs from him as to facts; but that he agrees with Aristotle and those other philosophers as to facts, but differs from them only in words? Why, then, when we [pg 239] are agreed as to facts, do we not prefer speaking in the ordinary manner? Let him teach me either that I shall be more prepared to despise money, if I reckon it only among things preferred, than if I count it among goods; and that I shall have more fortitude to endure pain if I call it bitter, and difficult to bear, and contrary to nature, than if I pronounce it an evil. Marcus Piso, my intimate, also was a very witty man, and used to ridicule the Stoics for their language on this topic: for what was he used to say? “You deny that riches are a good, but call them something to be preferred. What good do you do by that? do you diminish avarice? But if we mind words, then, in the first place, your expression, to be preferred, is longer than good.” “That has nothing to do with the matter.” “I dare say it has not, but still it is a more difficult expression. For I do not know what the word good is derived from; but the word preferred I suppose means that it is preferred to other things. That appears to me to be important.” Therefore, he insisted upon it, that more consequence was attributed to riches by Zeno, who placed them among things preferred, than by Aristotle, who admitted that they were a good. Still he did not say that they were a great good, but rather such an one as was to be despised and scorned in comparison of what was right and honourable, and never one to be greatly sought after. And altogether, he argued in this way, about all those expressions which had been altered by Zeno, both as to what he denied to be goods, and as to those things to which he referred the name of evil; saying that the first received from him a more joyful title than they did from us; and the latter a more gloomy one.

XXVII. Piso, then—a most excellent man, and, as you well know, a great friend of yours—used to argue in this manner. And now let us make an end of this, after we have just said a few additional words. For it would take a long time to reply to all your assertions.

For from the same tricks with words, originate all those kingdoms, and commands, and riches, and universal dominion which you say belong to the wise man. You say besides, that he alone is handsome, he alone is free, he alone is a citizen; and that everything which is the contrary of all these things belongs to the foolish man, who is also insane, as you assert [pg 240] they call these assertions παράδοξα; we may call them marvellous. And yet what marvel is there in them when you come nearer to them? I will just examine the matter with you, and see what meaning you affix to each word; there shall be no dispute between us. You say that all offences are equal. I will not speak to you now, as I spoke on the same subject when I was defending Lucius Murena, whom you prosecuted; then I was addressing an unphilosophical audience; something too was to be directed to the bystanders in court; at present, we must proceed more precisely. In what way can all offences be called equal? Because nothing is more honourable than what is honourable; nothing more base than what is base. Go on a little further, for there is a great dispute as to this point; let us examine those arguments, which are especially your own, why all offences are equal. As, says he, in many lyres, if not one of them is so well in tune as to be able to preserve the harmony, all are equally out of tune; so because offences differ from what is right, they will differ equally; therefore they are equal: now here we are being mocked with an ambiguous expression. For it equally happens to all the lyres to be out of tune, but not to them all to be equally out of tune. Therefore, that comparison does not help you at all. For it would not follow if we were to say that every avarice is equally avarice, that therefore every case of avarice was equal. Here is another simile which is no simile; for as, says he, a pilot blunders equally if he wrecks a ship loaded with straw, as if he wrecks one loaded with gold; so, too, he sins equally who beats his parent, with him who beats a slave unjustly. This is not seeing that it has no connexion with the art of the pilot what cargo the ship carries: and therefore that it makes no difference with respect to his steering well or ill, whether his freight is straw or gold. But it can and ought to be understood what the difference is between a parent and a slave; therefore it makes no difference with respect to navigation, but a great deal with respect to duty, what the description of thing may be which is affected by the blunder. And if, in navigation, a ship has been wrecked through carelessness, the offence then becomes more serious if gold is lost, than if it is only straw. For in all arts we insist upon the exercise of what is called common prudence; which all men who have the management of any [pg 241] business entrusted to them are bound to possess. And so even in this instance offences are not equal.

XXVIII. However, they press on, and relax nothing. Since, say they, every offence is one of imbecility and inconsistency, and since these vices are equally great in all fools, it follows necessarily that offences are equal: as if it were admitted that vices are equally great in all fools, and that Lucius Tubulus was a man of the same imbecility and inconsistency as Publius Scævola, on whose motion he was condemned; and as if there were no difference at all between the things themselves which are the subject of the offences; so that, in proportion as they are more or less important, the offences committed in respect of them are so too.

Therefore, for I may now bring this discourse to an end, your Stoics seem to me to be most especially open to this charge, that they fancy they can support two opposite propositions. For what is so inconsistent as for the same person to say that what is honourable is the only good, and also that the desire of things adapted for human life proceeds from nature? But when they wish to maintain the arguments which are suitable for the former propositions, they agree with Aristo; when they avoid that, they in reality are upholding the same doctrines as the Peripatetics; they cling to words with great tenacity; and as they cannot bear to have them taken from them one after another, they become more fierce, and rough, and harsher both in their language and manners. But Panætius, wishing to avoid their moroseness and asperity, would not approve of either the bitterness of their sentiments, or their captious way of arguing: and so in one respect he was more gentle, and in the other more intelligible. And he was always quoting Plato, and Aristotle, and Xenocrates, and Theophrastus, and Dicæarchus, as his own writings show. And indeed, I feel very sure that it would do you a great deal of good if you too were to study those authors with care and diligence.

But since it is getting towards evening, and I must return to my villa, we will stop this discussion at this point, but we will often return to it on other occasions. Indeed we will, said he, for what can we do better? And indeed I shall require of you to give me a hearing while I refute what you have said; but recollect that you approve of all our opinions, [pg 242] charging us only with using words incorrectly; but that we do not approve of one single one of your ideas. You are throwing a stone at me as I depart, said I; however, we shall see. And when we had thus spoken we separated.

Fifth Book Of The Treatise On The Chief Good And Evil.

I. One day when I had been hearing Antiochus lecture, as I was in the habit of doing, O Brutus, in company with Marcus Piso, in that gymnasium which is called Ptolemy's, my brother Quintus being with me, and Titus Pomponius, and Lucius Cicero, our cousin on the father's side as to relationship, but our own brother as to affection, we determined to take our afternoon's walk in the Academy, principally because at that time of day that place was free from any crowd. Accordingly, at the appointed time we all met at Piso's house, and from thence we walked half-a-dozen furlongs from the Dipylus to the Academy, beguiling the road with discourse on various subjects; and when we had arrived at the deservedly celebrated space of the Academy, we there found the solitude which we desired. Then said Piso—Shall I say that this is implanted in us by nature, or by some mistake, that when we see those places which we have heard that men who deserve to be had in recollection have much frequented, we are more moved than when we hear even of their actual deeds, or than when we read some one of their writings?—just as I am affected now. For the remembrance of Plato comes into my mind, whom we understand to have been the first person who was accustomed to dispute in this place; and whose neighbouring gardens not only recal him vividly to my recollection, but seem even to place the man himself before my eyes. Here Speusippus, here Xenocrates, here his pupil Polemo used to walk; and the latter used to sit in the very spot which is now before us. There is our senate-house (I mean the Curia [pg 243] Hostilia,48 not this new one, which always seems to me smaller, though in fact it is larger): whenever I have looked upon that I have always thought of Scipio, and Cato, and Lælius, and more especially of my own grandfather. So great a power of reminding one of circumstances exists in the places themselves, that it is not without reason that some people have built up a system of memory in them. Then Quintus said—It is just as you say, Piso: for as I was coming here just now, that district of Colonos drew my attention to itself, whose inhabitant, Sophocles, was brought at once before my eyes: for you know how I admire, and how I delight in him: and accordingly a sort of appearance moved me, an unsubstantial one indeed, but still it did move me to a more vivid recollection of Œdipus coming hither, and asking in most melodious verse what all these places were. Then Pomponius said—I whom you all are always attacking as devoted to Epicurus, am often with Phædrus, who is a particular friend of mine, as you know, in the gardens of Epicurus, which we passed by just this moment; but, according to the warning of the old proverb, I remember the living; still I may not forget Epicurus, even if were to wish to do so, whose likeness our friends have not only in pictures, but even on their goblets and rings.

II. On this I chimed in:—Our friend Pomponius, said I, appears to be joking, and perhaps he has a right to do so; for he has established himself at Athens in such a way that he has almost become an Athenian, and indeed so as to seem likely to earn such a surname. But I, Piso, agree with you that we do get into a habit of thinking a good deal more earnestly and deeply on illustrious men in consequence of the warnings of place. For you know that once I went with you to Metapontum, and did not turn into the house of my entertainer until I had seen the very place where Pythagoras passed his life, and his house; and at this present time, although all over Athens there are many traces of eminent men in the places themselves, still I am greatly affected by this seat which is before me. For here Charmadas lately sat,—a man [pg 244] whom I seem to see, for his likeness is well known to me, and I can fancy that his voice is regretted by the very seat itself, deprived as it is now of such a brilliant genius. Then Piso said—Since, now, we have all said something, what does our friend Lucius think? is he glad to visit that spot where Demosthenes and Æschines used to contend together? for every one is chiefly attracted by his own particular study. And he blushed, and answered—Do not ask me, who went down even to the harbour of Phalerum, where they say that Demosthenes used to declaim to the waves, in order to accustom himself to outvoice the roaring of the sea. I turned aside also out of the road, a little to the right, to approach the tomb of Pericles; although, indeed, such records are countless in this city, for wherever we step we place our foot on some history.

Then Piso continued:—But, Cicero, said he, those inclinations are the inclinations of clever men, if they lead to the imitation of great men; but if they only tend to bringing up again the traces of ancient recollections, that is mere curiosity. But we all exhort you,—though you of your own accord, as I hope, are running that way,—to imitate those men whom you wish that you had known. Although, I replied, our friend Piso here does, as you see, what you recommended, still your exhortation is pleasing to me. Then said he, in a most friendly manner, as was his wont,—Let all of us, then, contribute every assistance to his youth, especially urging him to devote some of his studies to philosophy, either for the sake of imitating you whom he loves, or else of being able to do what he is desirous to do with more elegance. But do you, O Lucius, said he, require to be exhorted by us, or are you inclined that way of your own accord? You appear, indeed, to me to be very assiduous in your attendance on Antiochus, whose pupil you are. Then replied he, timidly,—or, I ought rather to say, modestly,—I am indeed; but did you not just now hear Charmadas's name mentioned? I am attracted in that direction, but Antiochus drags me back again; nor is there any one else whose lectures it would be possible to attend.

III. Piso replied—Although, while our friend here (meaning me) is present, this matter will perhaps not be quite so easy; yet I will endeavour to call you back from this New [pg 245] Academy to that ancient one, in which (as you used to hear Antiochus say) those men are not alone reckoned who are called Academics,—Speusippus, Xenocrates, Polemo, Crantor, and the rest; but the old Peripatetics also, the chief of whom was Aristotle, whom, next to Plato, I think I may fairly call the prince of philosophers. Turn yourself, therefore, I entreat you, to those men; for from their writings and systems all liberal learning, all history, all elegance of language, may be derived; and also, so great is the variety of arts of which they were masters, that no one can come properly armed for any business of importance and credit without being tolerably versed in their writings. It is owing to them that men have turned out orators, generals, and statesmen; and, to descend to less important matters, it is from this Academy, as from a regular magazine of all the arts, that mathematicians, poets, musicians, aye, and physicians too, have proceeded.

I replied—You know well, O Piso, that my opinion is the same: but still the mention of it by you was very seasonable; for my relation Cicero is anxious to hear what was the doctrine of that Old Academy which you have been speaking of, and of the Peripatetics, about the chief good; and we think that you can very easily explain it to us, because you entertained Staseas the Neapolitan in your house for many years, and because, too, we are aware that you have been many months at Athens, investigating these very things, as a pupil of Antiochus. And he said, with a laugh, Come, come,—for you have very cleverly drawn me in to begin the discussion,—let us explain it to the young man if we can; for this solitude gives us the opportunity: but, even if a god had told me so, I would never have believed that I should be disputing in the Academy, like a philosopher. However, I hope I shall not annoy the rest of you while complying with his request. Annoy me, said I, who asked you? Quintus and Pomponius also said that they entertained the same wish; so he began. And I beg of you, Brutus, to consider whether what he said appears to you to sufficiently embrace the doctrines of Antiochus, which I know you, who were a constant attendant on the lectures of his brother Aristus, approve of highly. Thus he spoke:—

IV. What great elegance there is in the Peripatetic system I have explained a little time ago, as briefly as I could. But [pg 246] the form of the system, as is the case with most of the other schools, is threefold: one division being that of nature; the second, that of arguing; the third, that of living. Nature has been investigated by them so thoroughly that there is no part of heaven, or earth, or sea (to speak like a poet), which they have passed over. Moreover, after having treated of the origin of things, and of the universal world, so as to prove many points not only by probable arguments, but even by the inscrutable demonstrations of mathematicians, they brought from the subjects which they had investigated abundant materials to assist in attaining to the knowledge of secret things. Aristotle investigated the birth, and way of living, and figure of every animal; Theophrastus examined the causes, and principles, and natures of plants, and of almost everything which is produced out of the earth; by which knowledge the investigation of the most secret things is rendered easier. Also, they have given rules for arguing, not only logically, but oratorically; and a system of speaking in both these manners, on every subject, has been laid down by Aristotle, their chief; so that he did not always argue against everything, as Arcesilas did; and yet he furnished one on every subject with arguments to be used on both sides of it.

But, as the third division was occupied about the rules of living well, it was also brought back by those same people, not only to the system of private life, but also to the direction of affairs of state. For from Aristotle we have acquired a knowledge of the manners, and customs, and institutions of almost every state, not of Greece only, but also of the Barbarians; and from Theophrastus we have learnt even their laws: and each of them taught what sort of man a leader in a state ought to be, and also wrote at great length to explain what was the best constitution for a state. But Theophrastus also detailed very copiously what were the natural inclinations of affairs, and what the influences of opportunities which required regulating as occasion might demand. And as for living, a quiet method of life appeared to them to be the best, passed in the contemplation and knowledge of things; which, inasmuch as it had the greatest resemblance to the life of the gods, appeared to them to be most worthy of a wise man; and on these subjects they held very lofty and dignified language.

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V. But respecting the chief good, because there are two kinds of books,—one addressed to the people, which they used to call ἐξωτερικὸν, the other written in a more polished style, which they left behind in commentaries,—they appear not always to say the same thing; and yet in their ultimate conclusion there is no variety in the language of the men whom I have named, nor is there any disagreement between them. But, as a happy life is the object of search, and as that is the only thing which philosophy ought to pursue and regard, there never appears to be the least difference or doubt in their writings, as to whether happiness is wholly in the power of the wise man, or whether it can be undermined or taken from him by adversity. And this point is the especial subject of the book of Theophrastus, on a Happy Life; in which a great deal is attributed to fortune: and if that theory is correct, then wisdom cannot make life happy. Now, this seems to me rather too tender (if I may say so) and delicate a doctrine, more so than the power and importance of virtue can sanction. Wherefore let us rather hold with Aristotle, and his son Nicomachus,—whose admirably written books on Morals are said, indeed, to be Aristotle's; but I do not see why the son may not have been like his father; but, in most cases, let us apply to Theophrastus, as long as we attribute a little more firmness and strength to virtue than he did.

Let us, then, be content with these guides; for their successors are wiser men, indeed, in my opinion, than the philosophers of other schools: but still they degenerate so from these great men, that they seem to me rather to have arisen from themselves than from them. In the first place, Strato, the pupil of Theophrastus, called himself a natural philosopher: and though, in truth, he is an eminent man in that line, still most of what he said was novel; and he said very little about morals. His pupil Lyco was rich in eloquence, but very meagre in matter. Then his pupil Aristo was a neat and elegant writer, but still he had not that dignity which we look for in a great philosopher: he wrote a great deal, certainly, and in a polished style; but, somehow or other, his writings do not carry any weight. I pass over several, and among them that learned man and pleasant writer, Hieronymus; and I do not know why I should call him a Peripatetic, for he defined the chief good to be freedom from pain: and [pg 248] he who disagrees with me about the chief good, disagrees with me about the whole principle of philosophy. Critolaus wished to copy the ancients; and, indeed, he comes nearest to them in dignity, and his eloquence is preeminent: still he adheres to the ancient doctrine. Diodorus, his pupil, adds to honourableness freedom from pain: he, too, clings to a theory of his own; and, as he disagrees from them about the chief good, he is hardly entitled to be called a Peripatetic. But my friend Antiochus seems to me to pursue the opinions of the ancients with the greatest care; and he shows that they coincided with the doctrines of Aristotle and Polemo.

VI. My young friend Lucius, therefore, acts prudently when he wishes chiefly to be instructed about the chief good; for when this point is once settled in philosophy, everything is settled. For in other matters, if anything is passed over, or if we are ignorant of anything, the inconvenience thus produced is no greater than the importance the matter is of in which the omission has taken place; but if one is ignorant of what is the chief good, one must necessarily be ignorant of the true principles of life; and from this ignorance such great errors ensue that they cannot tell to what port to betake themselves. But when one has acquired a knowledge of the chief ends,—when one knows what is the chief good and the chief evil,—then a proper path of life, and a proper regulation of all the duties of life, is found out.

There is, therefore, an object to which everything may be referred; from which a system of living happily, which is what every one desires, may be discovered and adopted. But since there is a great division of opinion as to what that consists in, we had better employ the division of Carneades, which our friend Antiochus prefers, and usually adopts. He therefore saw not only how many different opinions of philosophers on the subject of the chief good there were, but how many there could be. Accordingly, he asserted that there was no art which proceeded from itself; for, in truth, that which is comprehended by an art is always exterior to the art. There is no need of prolonging this argument by adducing instances; for it is evident that no art is conversant about itself, but that the art itself is one thing, and the object which is proposed to be attained by the art another. Since, therefore, prudence is the art of living, just as medicine is of health, or [pg 249] steering of navigation, it follows unavoidably that that also must have been established by, and must proceed from, something else. But it is agreed among almost all people, that that object with which prudence is conversant, and which it wishes to arrive at, ought to be fitted and suited to nature, and to be of such a character as by itself to invite and attract that desire of the mind which the Greeks call ὁρμή. But as to what it is which causes this excitement, and which is so greatly desired by nature from its first existence, it is not agreed; and, indeed, there is a great dissension on the subject among philosophers whenever the chief good is the subject of investigation: for the source of this whole question which is agitated as to the chief good and evil, when men inquire what is the extreme and highest point of either, must be traced back, and in that will be found the primitive inducements of nature; and when it is found, then the whole discussion about the chief good and evil proceeds from it as from a spring.

VII. Some people consider the first desire to be a desire of pleasure, and the first thing which men seek to ward off to be pain: others think that the first thing wished for is freedom from pain, and the first thing shunned, pain; and from these men others proceed, who call the first goods natural ones; among which they reckon the safety and integrity of all one's parts, good health, the senses unimpaired, freedom from pain, strength, beauty, and other things of the same sort, the images of which are the first things in the mind, like the sparks and seeds of the virtues. And of these three, as there is some one thing by which nature is originally moved to feel desire, or to repel something, and as it is impossible that there should be anything except these three things, it follows unavoidably that every duty, whether of avoiding or of pursuing anything, is referred to some one of these things; so that that prudence, which we have called the art of life, is always conversant about some one of these three things from which it derives the beginning of the whole life: and from that which it has pronounced to be the original cause by which nature is excited, the principle of what is right and honourable arises; which can agree with some one of these three divisions; so that it is honourable to do everything for the sake of pleasure, even if you do not obtain it; or else for the [pg 250] sake of avoiding pain, though you may not be able to compass that; or else of getting some one of those things which are according to nature. And thus it comes about that there is as much difference between the chief good and the chief evil as there is in their natural principles. Others again, starting from the same beginning, refer everything either to pleasure or to freedom from pain, or else to the attainment of those primary goods which are according to nature.

Now then that we have detailed six opinions about the chief good, these are the chief advocates of the three last-mentioned opinions,—Aristippus, the advocate of pleasure; Hieronymus, of freedom from pain; and Carneades, of the enjoyment of those things which we have called the principal things in accordance with nature (though he, indeed, was not the author of this theory, but only its advocate, for the sake of maintaining a debate). Now, the three former were such as might possibly be true, though only one of them was defended, and that was vehemently maintained. For no one says, that to do everything for the sake of pleasure, or that, even though we obtain nothing, still the very design of acting so is of itself desirable, and honourable, and the only good; no one ever even placed the avoidance of pain (not even if it could be avoided) among things intrinsically desirable; but to do everything with a view to obtain the things which are according to nature, even though we do not succeed in obtaining them, the Stoics do affirm to be honourable, and the only thing to be desired for its own sake, and the only good.

VIII. These, then, are six plain opinions about the chief good and the chief evil,—two having no advocate, but four being defended. But of united and twofold explanations of the chief good there were in all three; nor could there be more if you examine the nature of things thoroughly. For either pleasure can be added to honourableness, as Callipho and Dinomachus thought; or freedom from pain, as Diodorus asserted; or the first gifts of nature, as the ancients said, whom we call at the same time Academics and Peripatetics. But, since everything cannot be said at once, at present these things ought to be known, that pleasure ought to be excluded; since, as it will presently appear, we have been born for higher purposes; and nearly the same may be said of freedom from [pg 251] pain as of pleasure. Since then we have discussed pleasure with Torquatus, and honourableness (in which alone every good was to consist) with Cato; in the first place, the arguments which were urged against pleasure are nearly equally applicable to freedom from pain. Nor, indeed, need we seek for any others to reply to that opinion of Carneades; for in whatever manner the chief good is explained, so as to be unconnected with honourableness, in that system duty, and virtue, and friendship, can have no place. But the union of either pleasure or freedom from pain with honourableness, makes that very honourableness which it wishes to embrace dishonourable; for to refer what you do to those things, one of which asserts the man who is free from evil to be in the enjoyment of the chief good, while the other is conversant with the most trifling part of our nature, is rather the conduct of a man who would obscure the whole brilliancy of honourableness—I might almost say, who would pollute it.

The Stoics remain, who after they had borrowed everything from the Peripatetics and Academics, pursued the same objects under different names. It is better to reply to them all separately. But let us stick to our present subject; we can deal with those men at a more convenient season. But the “security” of Democritus, which is as it were a sort of tranquillity of the mind which they all εὐθυμία, deserved to be separated from this discussion, because that tranquillity of the mind is of itself a happy life. What we are inquiring, however, is not what it is, but whence it is derived. The opinions of Pyrrho, Aristo, and Herillus, have long ago been exploded and discarded, as what can never be applicable to this circle of discussion to which we limit ourselves, and which had no need to have been ever mentioned; for as the whole of this inquiry is about the chief, and what I may call the highest good and evil, it ought to start from that point which we call suitable and adapted to nature, and which is sought of itself for itself. Now this is wholly put out of the question by those who deny that in those things in which there is nothing either honourable or dishonourable, there is any reason why one thing should be preferred to another, and who think that there is actually no difference whatever between those things. And Herillus, if he thought that nothing was good except knowledge, put an end to all reason for taking counsel, and to [pg 252] all inquiry about duty. Thus, after we have got rid of the opinions of the rest, as there can be no other, this doctrine of the ancients must inevitably prevail.

IX. Therefore, after the fashion of the ancients, which the Stoics also adopt, let us make this beginning:—Every animal loves itself, and as soon as it is born labours to preserve itself, because this is the first desire given to it by nature, to regulate its whole life, to preserve itself, and to be so disposed as it best may in accordance with nature. At the beginning it has such a confused and uncertain kind of organization that it can only just take care of itself, whatever it is; but it does not understand either what it is, or what its powers are, or what its nature is. But when it has advanced a little, and begins to perceive how far anything touches it, or has reference to it, then it begins gradually to improve, and to comprehend itself, and to understand for what cause it has that appetite of the mind which I have spoken of; and begins also to desire those things which it feels to be suited to its nature, and to keep off the contrary. Therefore, in the case of every animal, what it wishes is placed in that thing which is adapted to its nature. And so the chief good is to live according to nature, with the best disposition and the most suitable to nature that can be engendered.

But since every animal has his own peculiar nature, it is plain that the object of each must be to have his nature satisfied. For there is no hindrance to there being some things in common to all other animals, and some common both to men and beasts, since the nature of all is common. But that highest and chief good and evil which we are in search of, is distributed and divided among the different kinds of animals, each having its own peculiar good and evil, adapted to that end which the nature of each class of animal requires. Wherefore, when we say that the chief good to all animals is to live according to nature, this must be understood as if we said that they had all the same chief good. But as it may truly be said to be common to all arts to be conversant about some science, and that there is a separate science belonging to each art, so we may say that it is common to all animals to live according to nature, but that there are different natures; so that the horse has by nature one chief good, the ox another, man another; and yet in all there is one common end; and [pg 253] that is the case too, not only in animals, but also in all those things which nature nourishes, causes to grow, and protects; in which we see that those things which are produced out of the earth, somehow or other by their own energy create many things for themselves which have influence on their life and growth, and so each in their own kind they arrive at the chief good. So that we may now embrace all such in one comprehensive statement; and I need not hesitate to say, that every nature is its own preserver; and has for its object, as its end and chief good, to protect itself in the best possible condition that its kind admits of; so that it follows inevitably that all things which flourish by nature have a similar but still not the same end. And from this it should be understood, that the chief and highest good to man is to live according to nature which we may interpret thus,—to live according to that nature of a man which is made perfect on all sides, and is in need of nothing. These things then we must explain; and if our explanation is rather minute, you will excuse it; for we are bound to consider the youth of our hearer, and the fact that he is now perhaps listening to such a discourse for the first time. Certainly, said I; although what you have said hitherto might be very properly addressed to hearers of any age.

X. Since then, said he, we have explained the limit of those things which are to be desired, we must next show why the facts are as I have stated them. Wherefore, let us set out from the position which I first laid down, which is also in reality the first, so that we may understand that every animal loves itself. And though there is no doubt of this, (for it is a principle fixed deep in nature itself, and is comprehended by the sense of every one, in such a degree that if any one wished to argue against it, he would not be listened to,) yet, that I may not pass over anything, I think it as well to adduce some reasons why this is the case. Although, how can any one either understand or fancy that there is any animal which hates itself? It would be a contradiction of facts; for when that appetite of the mind has begun designedly to attract anything to itself which is an hindrance to it, because it is an enemy to itself,—when it does that for its own sake, it will both hate itself and love itself, which is impossible. It is unavoidable that, if any one is an enemy to himself, he must [pg 254] think those things bad which are good, and, on the other hand, those things good which are bad; that he must avoid those things which he ought to seek, and seek what he ought to avoid; all which habits are indubitably the overturning of life. For even if some people are found who seek for halters or other modes of destruction, or, like the man in Terence, who determined “for such a length of time to do less injury to his son,” (as he says himself,) “until he becomes miserable,” it does not follow that they are to be thought enemies to themselves. But some are influenced by pain, others by desire; many again are carried away by passion, and while they knowingly run into evils, still fancy that they are consulting their own interests most excellently; and, therefore, they unhesitatingly say—

That is my way; do you whate'er you must—

like men who have declared war against themselves, who like to be tortured all day and tormented all night, and who yet do not accuse themselves of having omitted to consult their own interests; for this is a complaint made by those men who are dear to and who love themselves.

Wherefore, whenever a man is said to be but little obliged to himself, to be a foe and enemy to himself, and in short to flee from life, it should be understood that there is some cause of that kind lying beneath the surface; so that it may be understood from that very instance that every one is dear to himself. Nor is it sufficient that there has never been any one who hated himself; but we must understand also that there is no one who thinks that it is a matter of indifference to him in what condition he is; for all desire of the mind will be put an end to if, as in those things between which there is no difference we are not more inclined to either side, so also, in the case of our own selves, we think it makes no difference to us in what way we are affected.

XI. And this also would be a very absurd thing if any one were to say it, namely, that a man is loved by himself in such a manner that that vehement love is referred to some other thing, and not to that very man who loves himself. Now when this is said in the case of friendship, of duty, or of virtue, however it is said, it is still intelligible what is meant by it; but in regard to our own selves, it cannot even be understood that we should love ourselves for the sake of [pg 255] something else, or in a word, for the sake of pleasure. For it is for our sakes that we love pleasure, and not for the sake of pleasure that we love ourselves; although what can be more evident than that every one is not only dear, but excessively dear to himself? For who is there, or at all events how few are there, who when death approaches, does not find

His heart's blood chill'd with sudden fear,
His cheek grow pale?

and if it is a vice to dread the dissolution of nature so excessively, (and the same thing on the same principle may be asserted of our aversion to pain,) still the fact that nearly every one is affected in this manner, is a sufficient proof that nature abhors destruction. And though some men show this dread or aversion to such a degree that they are deservedly blamed for it, still this may show us that such feelings would not be so excessive in some people, if a moderate degree of them were not implanted in mankind by nature.

Nor, indeed, do I mean that fear of death which is shown by those men who, because they think that they are being deprived of the goods of life, or because they fear some terrible events after death, or who, because they are afraid of dying in pain, therefore shun death; for in the case of children, who can have no such ideas or apprehensions, they often show fear if, when playing with them, we threaten to throw them down from any place; and even beasts, as Pacuvius says,

Who have no cunning, or prophetic craft
To ward off danger ere it come,

shudder when the fear of death comes before them. And, indeed, who entertains a different opinion of the wise man himself? who, even when he has decided that he must die, still is affected by the departure from his family, and by the fact that he must leave the light of day. And above all is the power of nature visible in the human race, since many endure beggary to preserve life, and men worn out with old age are tortured with the idea of the approach of death, and endure such things as we see Philoctetes in the play suffer, who, while he was kept in torture by intolerable pains, nevertheless preserved his life by the game which he could kill with his arrows.

He, though slow, o'ertook the swift,
He stood and slew the flying—
[pg 256]

as Attius says, and made himself coverings for his body by plaiting the feathers together. I am speaking of mankind, and, indeed, generally of all animals, though plants and trees have nearly the same nature, whether, as is the opinion of some most learned men, because some predominant and divine cause has implanted this power in them, or whether it is accidental. We see those things which the earth produces preserved in vigour by their bark and roots, which happens to animals by the arrangement of their senses, and a certain compact conformation of limb. And with reference to this subject, although I agree with those men who think that all these things are regulated by nature, and that if nature neglected to regulate them, the animals themselves could not exist, still I grant that those who differ on this subject may think what they please, and may either understand that when I say the nature of man I mean man (for it makes no difference); for a man will be able to depart from himself sooner than he can lose the desire of those things which are advantageous to him. Rightly, therefore, have the most learned philosophers sought the principle of the chief good in nature, and thought that that appetite for things adapted to nature is implanted in all men, for they are kept together by that recommendation of nature in obedience to which they love themselves.

XII. The next thing which we must examine is, what is the nature of man, since it is sufficiently evident that every one is dear to himself by nature; for that is the thing which we are really inquiring about. But it is evident that man consists of mind and body, and that the first rank belongs to the mind, and the second to the body. In the next place we see, also, that his body is so formed as to excel that of other animals, and that his mind is so constituted as to be furnished with senses, and to have excellence of intellect which the whole nature of man obeys, in which there is a certain admirable force of reason, and knowledge, and science, and all kinds of virtues; for the things which are parts of the body have no authority to be compared with that possessed by the parts of the mind; and they are more easily known. Therefore, let us begin with them.

It is evident, now, how suitable to nature are the parts of our body, and the whole general figure, form, and stature of [pg 257] it; nor is there any doubt what kind of face, eyes, ears and other features are peculiar to man. But certainly it is necessary for them to be in good health and vigorous, and to have all their natural movements and uses; so that no part of them shall be absent, or disordered, or enfeebled; for nature requires soundness. For there is a certain action of the body which has all its motions and its general condition in a state of harmony with nature, in which if anything goes wrong through any distortion or depravity, either by any irregular motion or disordered condition,—as if, for instance, a person were to walk on his hands, or to walk not forwards but backwards,—then he would evidently appear to be flying from himself, and to be putting off his manhood, and to hate his own nature. On which account, also, some ways of sitting down, and some contorted and abrupt movements, such as wanton or effeminate men at times indulge in, are contrary to nature. So that even if that should happen through any fault of the mind, still the nature of the man would seem to be changed in his body. Therefore, on the contrary, moderate and equal conditions, and affections, and habits of the body, seem to be suitable to nature. But now the mind must not only exist, but must exist in a peculiar manner, so as to have all its parts sound, and to have no virtue wanting: but each sense has its own peculiar virtue, so that nothing may hinder each sense from performing its office in the quick and ready perception of those things which come under the senses.

XIII. But there are many virtues of the mind, and of that part of the mind which is the chief, and which is called the intellect; but these virtues are divided into two principal classes: one, consisting of those which are implanted by nature, and are called involuntary; the other, of those which depend on the will, and are more often spoken of by their proper name of virtues; whose great excellence is attributed to the mind as a subject of praise. Now in the former class are docility, memory, and others, nearly all of which are called by the one name of ingenium, and those who possess them are called ingeniosi. The other class consists of those which are great and real virtues; which we call voluntary, such as prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice, and others of the same kind. And this was what might be said briefly of both mind and body; and this statement supplies a sort of sketch of what the [pg 258] nature of man requires:—and from this it is evident, since we are beloved by ourselves, and since we wish everything both in our minds and bodies to be perfect, that those qualities are dear to us for their own sakes, and that they are of the greatest influence towards our living well. For he to whom self-preservation is proposed as an object, must necessarily feel an affection for all the separate parts of himself; and a greater affection in proportion as they are more perfect and more praiseworthy in their separate kinds. For that kind of life is desired which is full of the virtues of the mind and body; and in that the chief good must unavoidably be placed, since it ought to be of such a character as to be the highest of all desirable things. And when we have ascertained that, there ought to be no doubt entertained, that as men are dear to themselves for their own sake, and of their own accord, so, also, the parts of the body and mind, and of those things which are in the motion and condition of each, are cultivated with a deserved regard, and are sought for their own sakes. And when this principle has been laid down, it is easy to conjecture that those parts of us are most desirable which have the most dignity; so that the virtue of each most excellent part which is sought for its own sake, is also deserving of being principally sought after. And the consequence will be, that the virtue of the mind is preferred to the virtue of the body, and that the voluntary virtues of the mind are superior to the involuntary; for it is the voluntary ones which are properly called virtues, and which are much superior to the others, as being the offspring of reason; than which there is nothing more divine in man. In truth, the chief good of all those qualities which nature creates and maintains, and which are either unconnected or nearly so with the body, is placed in the mind; so that it appears to have been a tolerably acute observation which was made respecting the sow, that that animal had a soul given it instead of salt to keep it from getting rotten.

XIV. But there are some beasts in which there is something resembling virtue, such as lions, dogs, and horses; in which we see movements not of the body only, as we do in pigs, but to a certain extent we may discern some movements of mind. But in man the whole dominant power lies in the mind; and the dominant power of the mind is reason: [pg 259] and from this proceeds virtue, which is defined as the perfection of reason: which they think is to be gradually developed day by day. Those things, too, which the earth produces have a sort of gradual growth towards perfection, not very unlike what we see in animals. Therefore we say that a vine lives, and dies; we speak of a tree as young, or old; being in its prime, or growing old. And it is therefore not inconsistent to speak, as in the case of animals, of some things in plants, too, being conformable to nature, and some not: and to say that there is a certain cultivation of them, nourishing, and causing them to grow, which is the science and art of the farmer, which prunes them, cuts them in, raises them, trains them, props them, so that they may be able to extend themselves in the direction which nature points out; in such a manner that the vines themselves, if they could speak, would confess that they ought to be managed and protected in the way they are. And now indeed that which protects it (that I may continue to speak chiefly of the vine) is external to the vine: for it has but very little power in itself to keep itself in the best possible condition, unless cultivation is applied to it. But if sense were added to the vine, so that it could feel desire and be moved by itself, what do you think it would do? Would it do those things which were formerly done to it by the vine-dresser, and of itself attend to itself? Do you not see that it would also have the additional care of preserving its senses, and its desire for all those things, and its limbs, if any were added to it? And so too, to all that it had before, it will unite those things which have been added to it since: nor will it have the same object that its dresser had, but it will desire to live according to that nature which has been subsequently added to it: and so its chief good will resemble that which it had before, but will not be identical with it; for it will be no longer seeking the good of a plant, but that of an animal. And suppose that not only the senses are given it, but also the mind of a man, does it not follow inevitably that those former things will remain and require to be protected, and that among them these additions will be far more dear to it than its original qualities? and that each portion of the mind which is best is also the dearest? and that its chief good must now consist in satisfying its nature, since intellect and reason are by far the most excellent parts [pg 260] of it? And so the chief of all the things which it has to desire, and that which is derived from the original recommendation of nature, ascends by several steps, so as at last to reach the summit; because it is made up of the integrity of the body, and the perfect reason of the intellect.

XV. As, therefore, the form of nature is such as I have described it, if, as I said at the beginning, each individual as soon as he is born could know himself, and form a correct estimate of what is the power both of his entire nature and of its separate parts, he would see immediately what this was which we are in search of, namely, the highest and best of all the things which we desire: nor would it be possible for him to make a mistake in anything. But now nature is from the very beginning concealed in a wonderful manner, nor can it be perceived nor comprehended. But as our age advances, we gradually, or I should rather say slowly, come to a kind of knowledge of ourselves. Therefore, that original recommendation which is given to us by our nature, is obscure and uncertain; and that first appetite of the mind only goes the length of wishing to secure our own safety and soundness. But when we begin to look around us, and to feel what we are, and in what we differ from all the other animals, then we begin to pursue the objects for which we were born. And we see a similar thing take place in beasts, who at first do not move from the place in which they were born; but afterwards all move, influenced by some desire of their own. And so we see snakes crawl, ducks swim, blackbirds fly, oxen use their horns, scorpions their stings; and we see nature a guide to each animal in its path of life.

And the case is similar with the human race. For infants at their first birth lie as if they were utterly devoid of mind; but when a little strength has been added to them, they use both their mind and their senses, and endeavour to raise themselves up and to use their hands; and they recognise those by whom they are being brought up; and afterwards they are amused with those of their own age, and gladly associate with them, and give themselves up to play, and are attracted by hearing stories, and are fond of pleasing others with their own superfluities; and take curious notice of what is done at home, and begin to make remarks, and to learn; and do not like to be ignorant of the names of those whom [pg 261] they see; and in their sports and contests with their fellows, they are delighted if they win, and if they are beaten they are dejected and lose their spirits. And we must not think that any of these things happen without reason; for the power of man is produced in such a way by nature, that it seems made for a perception of all excellence: and on that account children, even without being taught, are influenced by likeness of those virtues of which they have the seeds in themselves; for they are the original elements of nature: and when they have acquired growth, then the whole work of nature is accomplished. For as we have been born and created so as to contain in ourselves the principles of doing something, and of loving somebody, and of liberality, and of gratitude; and so as to have minds adapted for knowledge, prudence, and fortitude, and averse to their opposites; it is not without cause that we see in children those sparks, as it were, of virtue which I have mentioned, by which the reason of a philosopher ought to be kindled to follow that guide as if it were a god, and so to arrive at the knowledge of the object of nature.

For, as I have often said already, the power of nature is discerned through a cloud while we are of a weak age and feeble intellect; but when our mind has made progress and acquired strength, then it recognises the power of nature, but still in such a way that it can make more progress still, and that it must derive the beginning of that progress from itself.

XVI. We must therefore enter into the nature of things, and see thoroughly what it demands; for otherwise we cannot arrive at the knowledge of ourselves. And because this precept was too important an one to be discerned by a man, it has on that account been attributed to God. The Pythian Apollo, then, enjoins us to know ourselves: but this knowledge is to know the power of our mind and body, and to follow that course of life which enjoys the circumstances in which it is placed. And since that desire of the mind to have all the things which I have mentioned in the most perfect manner in which nature could provide them, existed from the beginning, we must admit, when we have obtained what we desired, that nature consists in that as its extreme point, and that that is the chief good: which certainly must in every case be sought for spontaneously for its own sake, since it has already been proved, that even all its separate parts [pg 262] are to be desired for their own sake. But if, in enumerating the advantages of the body, any one should think that we have passed over pleasure, that question may be postponed till another opportunity; for it makes no difference with regard to the present subject of our discussion, whether pleasure consists in those things which we have called the chief things in accordance with nature, or whether it does not. For if, as I indeed think, pleasure is not the crowning good of nature, it has been properly passed over: but if that crowning good does exist in pleasure, as some assert, then the fact does not at all hinder this idea of ours of the chief good from being the right one. For, if to those things which are the principal goods of nature, pleasure is added, then there will have been added just one advantage of the body; but no change will have been made in the original definition of the chief good which was laid down at first.

XVII. And hitherto, indeed, reason has advanced with us in such a way as to be wholly derived from the original recommendation of nature. But now we must pursue another kind of argument, namely, that we are moved in these matters of our own exceeding goodwill, not only because we love ourselves, but because there is both in the body and in the mind a peculiar power belonging to each part of nature. And, (to begin with the body,) do you not see that if there is anything in their limbs deformed, or weak, or deficient, men conceal it? and take pains, and labour earnestly, if they can possibly contrive it, to prevent that defect of the body from being visible, or else to render it as little visible as possible? and that they submit to great pain for the sake of curing any such defect? in order that, even though the actual use of the limb, after the application of the remedy, be likely to be not greater, but even less, still the appearance of the limb may be restored to the ordinary course of nature. In truth, as all men fancy that they are altogether desirable by nature, and that too, not on any other account, but for their own sakes, it follows inevitably that each part of them should be desired for its own sake, because the whole body is sought for its own sake. What more need I say? Is there nothing in the motion and condition of the body which nature herself decides ought to be noticed? for instance, how a person walks or sits, what the expression of his countenance is, what [pg 263] his features are; is there nothing in all these things which we think worthy or unworthy of a free man, as the case may be? Do we not think many men deserving of hatred, who appear by some motion or condition to have despised the laws and moderation of nature? And since these things are derived from the body, what is the reason why beauty also may not fairly be said to be a thing to be desired for its own sake?

For if we consider distortion or disfigurement of the body a thing to be avoided for its own sake, why should we not also, and perhaps still more, cultivate dignity of form for its own sake? And if we avoid what is unseemly, both in the condition and motion of the body, why may we not on the other hand pursue beauty? And we also desire health, strength, and freedom from pain, not merely because of their utility, but also for their own sakes. For since nature wishes to be made complete in all her parts, she desires this condition of the body, which is most according to nature, for its own sake: but nature is put into complete confusion if the body is either sick, or in pain, or destitute of strength.

XVIII. Let us consider the parts of the mind, the appearance of which is more noble; for in proportion as they are more sublime, they give a more clear indication of their nature. So vehement a love, then, of knowledge and science is innate in us, that no one can doubt that the nature of man is drawn to them without being attracted by any external gain. Do we not see how boys cannot be deterred even by stripes from the consideration and investigation of such and such things? how, though they may be beaten, they still pursue their inquiries, and rejoice in having acquired some knowledge? how they delight in telling others what they have learnt? how they are attracted by processions, and games, and spectacles of that kind, and will endure even hunger and thirst for such an object? Can I say no more? Do we not see those who are fond of liberal studies and arts regard neither their health nor their estate? and endure everything because they are charmed with the intrinsic beauty of knowledge and science? and that they put the pleasures which they derive from learning in the scale against the greatest care and labour? And Homer himself appears to me to have had some such feeling as this, which he has developed in what he has said about the songs of the Sirens: for they do [pg 264] not seem to have been accustomed to attract those who were sailing by with the sweetness of their voices, or with any novelty or variety in their song, but the profession which they made of possessing great knowledge; so that men clung to their rocks from a desire of learning. For thus they invite Ulysses, (for I have translated several passages of Homer, and this among them)—

Oh stay, O pride of Greece! Ulysses, stay!
Oh, cease thy course, and listen to our lay!
Blest is the man ordain'd our voice to hear:
Our song instructs the soul and charms the ear.
Approach, thy soul shall into raptures rise;
Approach, and learn new wisdom from the wise.
We know whate'er the kings of mighty name
Achieved at Ilium in the field of fame;
Whate'er beneath the sun's bright journey lies—
Oh stay, and learn new wisdom from the wise.49

Homer saw that the story would not be probable if he represented so great a man as caught by mere songs; so they promise him knowledge, which it was not strange that a man desirous of wisdom should consider dearer than his country. And, indeed, to wish to know everything of every kind, is natural to the curious; but, to be attracted by the contemplation of greater objects, to entertain a general desire for knowledge, ought to be considered a proof of a great man.

XIX. What ardour for study do you not suppose there must have been in Archimedes, who was so occupied in drawing some mathematical figures in the sand, that he was not aware that his city was taken? And what a mighty genius was that of Aristoxenus which, we see, was devoted to music? What fondness, too, for study, must have inspired Aristophanes, to dedicate his whole life to literature! What shall we say of Pythagoras? Why should I speak of Plato and of Democritus, by whom, we see, that the most distant countries were travelled over, on account of their desire for learning? And those who are blind to this have never loved anything very worthy of being known. And here I may say, that those who say that those studies which I have mentioned are cultivated for the sake of the pleasures of the mind, do not understand that they are desirable for their own sakes, because the mind is delighted by them, without the interruption of any ideas of utility, and rejoices in the mere fact of [pg 265] knowledge, even though it may possibly produce inconvenience. But why need we seek for more instances to prove what is so evident? For let us examine our own selves, and inquire how the motions of the stars, and the contemplation of the heavenly bodies, and the knowledge of all those things which are hidden from us by the obscurity of nature, affect us; and why history, which we are accustomed to trace back as far as possible, delights us; in the investigation of which we go over again all that has been omitted, and follow up all that we have begun. Nor, indeed, am I ignorant that there is a use, and not merely pleasure, in history. What, however, will be said, with reference to our reading with pleasure imaginary fables, from which no utility can possibly be derived? Or to our wishing that the names of those who have performed any great exploits, and their family, and their country, and many circumstances besides, which are not at all necessary, should be known to us? How shall we explain the fact, that men of the lowest rank, who have no hope of ever performing great deeds themselves, artisans in short, are fond of history; and that we may see that those persons also are especially fond of hearing and reading of great achievements, who are removed from all hope of ever performing any, being worn out with old age?

It must, therefore, be understood, that the allurements are in the things themselves which are learnt and known, and that it is they themselves which excite us to learning and to the acquisition of information. And, indeed, the old philosophers, in their fictitious descriptions of the islands of the blessed, intimate the kind of life which the wise pass, whom they imagine to be free from all care, requiring no cultivation or appointments of life as necessary, and doing, and about to do nothing else but devote their whole time to inquiring and learning and arriving at a knowledge of nature. But we see that that is not only the delight of a happy life, but also a relief from misery. Therefore, many men while in the power of enemies or tyrants, many while in prison or in exile, have relieved their sorrow by the study of literature. A great man of this city, Demetrius Phalereus, when he had been unjustly banished from his country, fled to Alexandria, to king Ptolemy; and, as he was very eminent for his knowledge of this philosophy to which we are exhorting you, and had been [pg 266] a pupil of Theophrastus, he wrote many admirable treatises during the time of that unfortunate leisure of his, not, indeed, for any utility to himself, for that was out of his reach, but the cultivation of his mind was to him a sort of sustenance for his human nature.

I, indeed, have often heard Cnæus Aufidius, a man of prætorian rank, of great learning, but blind, say that he was affected more by a regret for the loss of light, than of any actual benefit which he derived from his eyes. Lastly, if sleep did not bring us rest to our bodies, and a sort of medicine after labour, we should think it contrary to nature, for it deprives us of our senses, and takes away our power of action. Therefore, if either nature were in no need of rest, or if it could obtain it by any other means, we should be glad, since even now we are in the habit of doing without sleep, in a manner almost contrary to nature, when we want to do or to learn something.

XX. But there are tokens supplied by nature, still clearer, or, I may say, entirely evident and indubitable,—more especially, indeed, in man, but also in every animal,—that the mind is always desirous to be doing something, and can in no condition endure perpetual rest. It is easy to see this in the earliest age of children; for although I fear that I may appear prolix on this subject, still all the ancient philosophers, and especially those of our own country, have recourse to the cradle for illustrations, because they think that in childhood they can most easily detect the will of nature. We see, then, that even infants cannot rest; but, when they have advanced a little, then they are delighted with even laborious sports, so that they cannot be deterred from them even by beating: and that desire for action grows with their growth. Therefore, we should not like to have the slumber of Endymion given to us, not even if we expected to enjoy the most delicious dreams; and if it were, we should think it like death. Moreover, we see that even the most indolent men, men of a singular worthlessness, are still always in motion both in mind and body; and when they are not hindered by some unavoidable circumstance, that they demand a dice-box or some game of some kind, or conversation; and, as they have none of the liberal delights of learning, seek circles and assemblies. Even beasts, which we shut up for our own [pg 267] amusement, though they are better fed than if they were free, still do not willingly endure being imprisoned, but pine for the free and unrestrained movements given to them by nature. Therefore, in proportion as every one is born and prepared for the best objects, he would be unwilling to live at all if, being excluded from action, he were able only to enjoy the most abundant pleasures.

For men wish either to do something as individuals, or those who have loftier souls undertake the affairs of the state, and devote themselves to the attainment of honours and commands, or else wholly addict themselves to the study of learning; in which path of life they are so far from getting pleasures, that they even endure care, anxiety and sleeplessness, enjoying only that most excellent portion of man which may be accounted divine in us, I mean the acuteness of the genius and intellect, and they neither seek for pleasure nor shun labour. Nor do they intermit either their admiration of the discoveries of the ancients, or their search after new ones; and, as they are insatiable in their pursuit of such, they forget everything else, and admit no low or grovelling thoughts; and such great power is there in those studies, that we see even those who have proposed to themselves other chief goods, which they measure by advantage or pleasure, still devote their lives to the investigation of things, and to the explanation of the mysteries of nature.

XXI. This, then, is evident, that we were born for action. But there are several kinds of action, so that the lesser are thrown into the shade by those more important. But those of most consequence are, first of all, as it appears to me, and to those philosophers whose system we are at present discussing, the consideration and knowledge of the heavens, and of those things which are hidden and concealed by nature, but into which reason can still penetrate. And, next to them, the management of state affairs, or a prudent, temperate, courageous principle of government and knowledge, and the other virtues, and such actions as are in harmony with those virtues, which we, embracing them all in one word, call honourable; to the knowledge and practice of which we are led by nature herself, who goes before us as our guide, we having been already encouraged to pursue it. For the beginnings of all things are small, but, as they proceed, they [pg 268] increase in magnitude, and that naturally: for, at their first birth, there is in them a certain tenderness and softness, so that they cannot see or do what is best. For the light of virtue and of a happy life, which are the two principal things to be desired, appears rather later; and much later still in such a way that it can be plainly perceived of what character they are.

For, admirably does Plato say, “That man is happy to whom, even in his old age, it is allowed to arrive at wisdom and correctness of judgment.” Wherefore, since we have said enough of the first advantages of nature, we will now examine those which are more important, and which are later in point of time.

Nature, then, has made and fashioned the body of man in such a manner, that it makes some parts of him perfect at his first birth, and forms others as he advances in age; and, at the same time, does not employ many external or adventitious aids. But she has filled up the perfection of the mind in the same way as that of the body; for she has adorned it with senses suitable for the effecting of its purposes, so that it is not in the least, or not much, in want of any assistance for strengthening itself. But that which is most excellent and important in man it has abandoned: although it has given him an intellect able to receive every kind of virtue, and has implanted in him, even without instruction, a slight knowledge of the most important things, and has begun, as it were, to teach him, and has led him on to those elements as I may call them, of virtue which existed in him. But it has only begun virtue itself, nothing more. Therefore it belongs to us,—when I say to us, I mean to our art,—to trace back the consequences to those principles which we have received, until we have accomplished our object, which is indeed of a good deal more consequence, and a good deal more to be desired for its own sake, than either the senses, or those parts of the body which we have mentioned; which the excellent perfection of the mind is so far superior to, that it can scarcely be imagined how great the difference is. Therefore, all honour, all admiration, all study is referred to virtue, and to those actions which are consistent with virtue; and all those things which are either in our minds in that state, or are done in that manner, are called by one common name—honourable. And we shall presently see what knowledge we [pg 269] have of all these things, and what is meant by the different names, and what the power and nature of each is.

XXII. But at present we need only explain that these things which I call honourable, (besides the fact of our living ourselves on their account,) are also by their own nature deserving of being sought for their own sake. Children show this, in whom nature is perceived as in a mirror. What eagerness is there in them when contending together! how vigorous are their contests! how elated are those who win! how ashamed those who are beaten! how unwilling are they to be blamed! how eager to be praised! what labours will they not endure to surpass their fellows! what a recollection have they of those who are kind to them! how anxious are they to prove their gratitude! and these qualities are most visible in the best dispositions; in which all these honourable qualities which we appreciate are filled up as it were by nature. But in children they are only sketched.

Again, in more mature age, who is so unlike a man as not to be moved to a dislike of baseness and approval of what is honourable? Who is there who does not loathe a libidinous and licentious youth? who, on the contrary, does not love modesty and constancy in that age, even though his own interest is not at all concerned? Who does not detest Pullus Numitorius, of Fregellæ, the traitor, although he was of use to our own republic? who does not praise Codrus, the saviour of his city, and the daughters of Erectheus? Who does not detest the name of Tubulus? and love the dead Aristides? Do we forget how much we are affected at hearing or reading when we are brought to the knowledge of anything which has been done in a pious, or friendly, or magnanimous spirit? Why should I speak of men like ourselves, who have been born and brought up and trained to praise and glory? What shouts of the common people and of the unlettered crowd are excited in the theatres when this sentence is uttered—

I am Orestes:

and when, on the other hand, the other actor says—

No; it is I, 'tis I who am Orestes.

But when one of them is allowed to depart by the perplexed and bewildered king, and they demand to die together, is this [pg 270] scene ever acted without being accompanied by the most violent expressions of admiration? There is no one, then, who does not approve of and praise this disposition of mind; by which not only no advantage is sought, but good faith is preserved even at the expense of one's advantage. And not only are imaginary fables, but true histories also, and especially those of our country, full of such instances: for we selected our most virtuous citizen to receive the Idæan sacred vessels; we have sent guardians to kings; our generals have devoted their lives for the safety of the republic; our consuls have warned a king who was our greatest enemy, when he was actually approaching our walls, to beware of poison. In our republic, a woman has been found to expiate, by a voluntary death, a violation which was inflicted on her by force; and a man to kill his daughter to save her from being ravished. All which instances, and a countless host of others, prove to the comprehension of every one that those who performed those deeds were induced to do so by the brilliancy of virtue, forgetful of their own advantage, and that we, when we praise those actions, are influenced by nothing but their honourable character.

XXIII. And having briefly explained these matters, (for I have not sought to adduce the number of examples which I might have done, because there was no doubt on the subject,) it is shown sufficiently by these facts that all the virtues, and that honourableness which arises from these virtues, and clings to them, are worthy to be sought for their own sake. But in the whole of this honourableness of which we are speaking, there is nothing so eminent, nor so extensive in its operation, as the union of man with man, and a certain partnership in and communication of advantages, and the affection itself of the human race; which originating in that first feeling according to which the offspring is loved by the parent, and the whole house united by the bonds of wedlock and descent, creeps gradually out of doors, first of all to one's relations, then to one's connexions, then to one's friends and neighbours, then to one's fellow-countrymen, and to the public friends and allies of one's country; then it embraces the whole human race: and this disposition of mind, giving every one his due, and protecting with liberality and equity this union of human society which I have spoken of, is called [pg 271] justice, akin to which are piety, kindness, liberality, benevolence, courtesy, and all other qualities of the same kind. But these, though peculiarly belonging to justice, are also common to the other virtues.

For as the nature of man has been created such that it has a sort of innate principle of society and citizenship, which the Greeks call πολιτικὸν, whatever each virtue does will not be inconsistent with that principle of common union, and that human affection and society which I have spoken of; and justice, as she founds herself in practice on the other virtues, will also require them, for justice cannot be maintained except by a courageous and wise man. Honourableness itself, then, is a thing of the same character as all this conspiracy and agreement of the virtues which I have been speaking of; since it is either virtue itself, or an action virtuously performed. And a life acting in harmony and consistency with this system, and with virtue, may fairly be thought upright and honourable, and consistent, and natural. And this union and combination of virtues is nevertheless divided by philosophers on some principle of their own. For though they are so joined and connected as to be all partners with one another, and to be unable to be separated from one another, yet each has its peculiar sphere of duty; as, for instance, fortitude is discerned in labour and danger; temperance, in the disregard of pleasures; prudence, in the choice of good and evil; justice, in giving every one his due. Since, then, there is in every virtue a certain care which turns its eyes abroad, as it were, and which is anxious about and embraces others, the conclusion is, that friends, and brothers, and relations, and connexions, and fellow-countrymen, and in short everybody, since we wish the society of all mankind to be one, are to be sought after for their own sakes. But still, of all these things and people there is nothing of such a kind that it can be accounted the chief good. And from this it follows, that there are found to be two kinds of goods which are to be sought for their own sake. One kind which exists in those things in which that chief good is brought to perfection: and they are qualities of either the mind or body. But these things which are external, that is to say, which are in neither mind nor body, such as friends, parents, children, relations, or one's country, are indeed dear to me for their [pg 272] own sake, but still are not of the same class as the other kind. Nor, indeed, could any one ever arrive at the chief good, if all those things which are external, although desirable, were contained in the chief good.

XXIV. How then, you will say, can it be true that everything is referred to the chief good, if friendship, and relationship, and all other external things are not contained in the chief good? Why, on this principle,—because we protect those things which are external with those duties which arise from their respective kinds of virtue. For the cultivation of the regard of a friend or a parent, which is the discharge of a duty, is advantageous in the actual fact of its being such, inasmuch as to discharge a duty is a good action; and good actions spring from virtues; and wise men attend to them, using nature as a kind of guide.

But men who are not perfect, though endued with admirable talents and dispositions, are often excited by glory, which has the form and likeness of honourableness. But if they were to be thoroughly acquainted with the nature of that honourableness which is wholly complete and perfect, that one thing which is the most admirable of all things, and the most praiseworthy, with what joy would they be filled, when they are so greatly delighted at its outline and bare idea! For who that is given up to pleasure, and inflamed with the conflagration of desire in the enjoyment of those things which he has most eagerly wished for, can we imagine to be full of such joy as the elder Africanus after he had conquered Hannibal, or the younger one after he had destroyed Carthage? What man was there who was so much elated with the way in which all the people flocked to the Tiber on that day of festivity as Lucius Paullus, when he was leading in triumph king Perses as his prisoner, who was conveyed down on the same river?

Come now, my friend Lucius, build up in your mind the lofty excellence of virtue, and you will not doubt that the men who are possessed of it, and who live with a magnanimous and upright spirit, are always happy; men who are aware that all the movements of fortune, all the changes of affairs and circumstances, must be insignificant and powerless if ever they come to a contest with virtue. For those things which are considered by us as goods of the body, do indeed [pg 273] make up a happy life, but still not without leaving it possible for a life to be happy without them. For so slight and inconsiderable are those additions of goods, that as stars in the orbit of the sun are not seen, so neither are those qualities, but they are lost in the brilliancy of virtue. And as it is said with truth that the influence of the advantages of the body have but little weight in making life happy, so on the other hand it is too strong an assertion to say that they have no weight at all: for those who argue thus appear to me to forget the principles of nature which they themselves have contended for.

We must, therefore, allow these things some influence: provided only that we understand how much we ought to allow them. It is, however, the part of a philosopher, who seeks not so much for what is specious as for what is true, neither utterly to disregard those things which those very boastful men used to admit to be in accordance with nature; and at the same time to see that the power of virtue, and the authority, if I may say so, of honourableness, is so great that all those other things appear to be, I will not say nothing, but so trivial as to be little better than nothing. This is the language natural to a man who, on the one hand, does not despise everything except virtue, and who, at the same time, honours virtue with the praises which it deserves. This, in short, is a full and perfect explanation of the chief good; and as the others have attempted to detach different portions from the main body of it, each individual among them has wished to appear to have established his own theory as the victorious one.

XXV. The knowledge of things has been often extolled in a wonderful manner by Aristotle and Theophrastus for its own sake. And Herillus, being allured by this single fact, maintained that knowledge was the chief good, and that there was no other thing whatever that deserved to be sought for its own sake. Many things have been said by the ancients on the subject of despising and contemning all human affairs. This was the one principle of Aristo; he declared that there was nothing which ought to be avoided or desired except vice and virtue. And our school has placed freedom from pain among those things which are in accordance with nature. Hieronymus has said that this is the chief good: but Callipho, [pg 274] and Diodorus after him, one of whom was devoted to pleasure, and the other to freedom from pain, could neither of them allow honourableness to be left out, which has been especially praised by our countrymen. Moreover, even the advocates of pleasure seek for subterfuges, and are talking of virtue whole days together; and say that pleasure is at first only wished for; that afterwards it, through custom, becomes a second nature, by which men are excited to do many things without at all seeking pleasure.

The Stoics remain to be mentioned. They, indeed, have borrowed not one idea or another from us, but have appropriated our whole system of philosophy. And as other thieves alter the marks on the things which they have stolen, so they, in order to be able to use our opinions as their own, have changed the names which are like the private marks on things. And so this school alone remains worthy of those men who study the liberal arts, worthy of the learned, worthy of eminent men, worthy of princes, worthy of kings.

And when he had said this, and then stopped to take breath for a while; What is the matter? said he; do I not seem to have said enough in your presence for my own defence? I replied,—Indeed, O Piso, as has often been the case before, you have seemed to-day to have so thorough an acquaintance with all these things, that, if we could always have the advantage of your company, I should not think that we had much reason to have recourse to the Greeks. Which, indeed, I have been the more pleased with, because I recollect that Staseas, the Neapolitan, your preceptor, a very illustrious Peripatetic, was at times accustomed to discuss these points differently, agreeing with those men who attributed a great deal of weight to prosperity and adversity, and to the good or evil qualities of the body. It is as you say, he replied: but these points are argued with much more accuracy and impressiveness by my friend Antiochus than they used to be by Staseas. Although I do not ask what I have proved to your satisfaction, but what I have proved to the satisfaction of this friend of mine, the young Cicero, a pupil whom I wish to seduce from you.

XXVI. Then Lucius said,—Indeed, I quite agree with what you have said, and I think my brother does too. Then said Piso to me: Is it so? Do you pardon the youth? or would [pg 275] you rather that he should learn these things which, when he has learnt thoroughly, he will know nothing at all? I give him leave, said I. But do not you recollect that I am allowed to express my approval or disapproval of what has been said by you? For who can avoid approving of what appears to him to be probable? Can any, we said, approve of anything of which he has not a thorough perception, comprehension, and knowledge? There is, said I, no great dispute between us, Piso; for there is no other reason why it appears to me that nothing can be perceived except that the faculty of perceiving is defined in such a manner by the Stoics that they affirm that nothing can be perceived except what is so true that it cannot possibly be false. Therefore there is a dispute between us and the Stoics, but none between us and the Peripatetics. However, we may pass over this, for it would open the door to a long and sufficiently bitter dispute.

It seemed to me that it was too hasty an assertion of yours that all wise men were always happy. I know not how such a sentence escaped you; but unless it is proved, I fear that the assertion which Theophrastus made with respect to fortune, and pain, and bodily torture be true, with which he did not consider that a happy life could possibly be joined, must be true. For it is exceedingly inconsistent that the same person should be happy, and afflicted with many misfortunes; and how these things can be reconciled, I do not at all understand. Which assertion then, said he, is it that you object to? Do you deny that the power of virtue is so great that she can by herself be sufficient for happiness? or, if you admit that, do you think it impossible that those persons who are possessed of virtue may be happy, even if they are afflicted with some evils? I, indeed, I replied, wish to attribute as much power as possible to virtue; however, we may discuss at another time how great her power is; at present the only question is, whether she has so much power as this, if anything external to virtue is reckoned among the goods. But, said he, if you grant to the Stoics that virtue alone, if it be present, makes life happy, you grant it also to the Peripatetics; for those things which they do not venture to call evils, but which they admit to be unpleasant and inconvenient, and to be rejected, and odious to nature [pg 276] we call evils, but slight, and, indeed, exceedingly trifling ones. Wherefore, if that man can be happy who is among disagreeable things which ought to be rejected, he also may be so who is among slight evils. And I say, O Piso, if there is any one who in causes is used to have a clear insight into what the real question is, you are the man: wherefore I beg of you to take notice; for, hitherto, owing perhaps to my fault, you do not perceive what it is that I am seeking. I am attending, said he; and I am waiting to see what answer you will make to the questions that I ask.

XXVII. I will answer, said I, that I am not inquiring at present what virtue can effect, but what is said consistently on the subject, and why the assertions are at variance with one another. How so? said he. Because, said I, when this pompous assertion is uttered by Zeno, as if he were an oracle,—“Virtue requires nothing beyond herself to enable a man to live happily”—why? said he—“Because there is no other good except what is honourable.” I do not ask now whether that is true; I only say that what he says is admirably consistent. Epicurus will say the same thing—“that the wise man is always happy;” which, indeed, he is in the habit of spouting out sometimes. And he says that this wise man, when he is being torn to pieces with the most exquisite pains, will say, “How pleasant it is! how I disregard it!” I will not argue with the man as to why there is so much power in nature; I will only urge that he does not understand what he ought to say, after he has said that pain is the greatest evil.

Now I will address the same language to you. You say that all the goods and evils are the same that those men pronounce them to be who have never even seen a philosopher in a picture, as the saying is—namely, health, strength, stature, beauty, the soundness of all a man's nails, you call good—deformity, disease, weakness you call evils. These are all externals; do not go on any more; but at all events you will reckon these things among the goods, as the goods of the body which help to compose them, namely, friends, children, relations, riches, honour, power. Take notice that I say nothing against this. If those are evils into which a wise man can fall, then it follows that to be a wise man is not sufficient to secure a happy life. Indeed, said he, it is very [pg 277] little towards securing a perfectly happy one, but enough for securing a tolerably happy one.

I have noticed, said he, that you made this distinction a little while ago, and I know that our friend Antiochus used to speak in this manner. But what can be less approved of than the idea of a person being happy, and yet not happy enough? For when anything is enough, then whatever is added to that is excess: and no one is too happy: and no one is happier than a happy man. Therefore, said he, was not Quintus Metellus, who saw three of his sons consuls, one of whom was also censor and celebrated a triumph, and a fourth prætor; and who left them all in safety behind him, and who saw his three daughters married, having been himself consul, censor and augur, and having celebrated a triumph; was he not, I say, in your opinion, (supposing him to have been a wise man,) happier than Regulus, who being in the power of the enemy, was put to death by sleeplessness and hunger, though he may have been equally wise?

XXVIII. Why do you ask me that? said I; ask the Stoics. What answer, then, said he, do you suppose they will make? They will say that Metellus was in no respect more happy than Regulus. Let us, then, said he, hear what they have got to say. But, said I, we are wandering from our subject; for I am not asking what is true, but what each person ought to say. I wish, indeed, that they would say that one man is happier than another: you should see the ruin I would make of them. For, as the chief good consists in virtue alone, and in honourableness; and as neither virtue, as they say, nor honourableness is capable of growth, and as that alone is good which makes him who enjoys it necessarily happy, as that in which alone happiness is placed cannot be increased, how is it possible that one person can be happier than another? Do you not see how all these things agree together? And, in truth, (for I must avow what I feel,) the mutual dependence of all these things on one another is marvellous: the last part corresponds to the first, the middle to each extremity, and each extremity to the other. They see all that follows from, or is inconsistent with them. In geometry, if you grant the premises the conclusion follows. Grant that there is nothing good except what is honourable, and you must grant that happiness is placed in virtue alone. Try it the other [pg 278] way. If you grant this conclusion, you must grant the premises; but this is not the case with the arguments of your school. There are three kinds of goods. The assertions go trippingly on: he comes to the conclusion: he sticks fast: he is in a difficulty; for he wishes to say, that nothing can be wanting to a wise man to complete his happiness—a very honourable sentiment, one worthy of Socrates, or even of Plato. Well, I do venture to assert that, says he. It is impossible, unless you remodel your premises: if poverty is an evil, no beggar can be happy be he ever so wise. But Zeno ventured to call such a man not only happy, but also rich.

To be in pain is an evil; the man who is fastened to a cross cannot be happy. Children are a good; childlessness is an evil. One's country is a good; exile is an evil. Health is a good; disease is an evil. Vigour of body is a good; feebleness is an evil. Clear sight is a good; blindness is an evil. But, though a man may be able to alleviate any single one of these evils by consolation, how will he be able to endure them all? For, suppose one person were blind, feeble, afflicted with grievous sickness, banished, childless, in indigence, and put to the torture; what will you call him, Zeno? Happy, says he. Will you call him most perfectly happy? To be sure I will, says he, when I have taught him that happiness does not admit of degrees any more than virtue, the mere possession of which makes him happy. This seems to you incredible that he can call him perfectly happy. What is your own doctrine? is that credible? For if you appeal to the people, you will never convince them that a man in such a condition is happy. If you appeal to prudent men, perhaps they will doubt as to one point, namely, whether there is so much force in virtue that men endued with that can be happy, even in Phalaris's bull; but they will not doubt at all that the Stoic language is consistent with itself and that yours is not.

Do you then, says he, approve of the book of Theophrastus on a happy life? We are wandering from our subject; and that I may not be too tedious—if, said I, Piso, those things are evils, I wholly approve of it. Do not they then, said he, seem to you to be evils? Do you ask that? said I; whatever answer I give you, you will find yourself in embarrassment. How so? said he. Because, if they are evils, a man [pg 279] who is affected with them cannot be happy. If they are not evils, there is an end to the whole system of the Peripatetics. And he laughing replied, I see what you are at; you are afraid I shall carry off your pupil. You may carry him off, said I, if he likes to follow you; for he will still be with me if he is with you.

XXIX. Listen then, said he, O Lucius; for, as Theophrastus says, I must direct my discourse to you,—the whole authority of philosophy consists in making life happy; for we are all inflamed with a desire of living happily. This, both your brother and I agree upon. Wherefore we must see whether the system of the philosophers can give us this. It promises to do so certainly: for, unless it made that promise, why did Plato travel over Egypt, to learn numbers and knowledge of the heavenly mysteries from barbarian priests? Why afterwards did he go to Tarentum to Archytas; and to the other Pythagoreans of Locri, Echecrates, Timæus, and Acrion; in order, after he had drained Socrates to the dregs, to add the doctrine of the Pythagoreans to his, and to learn in addition those things which Socrates rejected? Why did Pythagoras himself travel over Egypt, and visit the Persian Magi; why did he go on foot over so many countries of the barbarians, and make so many voyages? Why did Democritus do the same? who, (whether it is true or false, we will not stop to inquire,) is said to have put out his own eyes; certainly, in order that his mind might be abstracted from contemplation as little as possible; he neglected his patrimony, and left his lands uncultivated, and what other object could he have had except a happy life? And if he placed that in the knowledge of things, still from that investigation of natural philosophy he sought to acquire equanimity; for he called the summum bonum εὐθυμία, and very often ἀθαμβία, that is to say, a mind free from alarm. But, although this was well said, it was not very elegantly expressed; for he said very little about virtue, and even what he did say, he did not express very clearly. For it was not till after his death that these subjects were discussed in this city, first by Socrates, and from Socrates they got entrance into the Academy. Nor was there any doubt that all hope of living well and also happily was placed in virtue: and when Zeno had learnt this from our school, he began to express himself on the same [pg 280] subject in another manner, as lawyers do on trials. And now you approve of this conduct in him. Will you then say that he by changing the names of things escaped the charge of inconsistency, and yet not allow us to do so too?

He asserts that the life of Metellus was not happier than that of Regulus, but admits that it was preferable to it; he says it was not more to be sought after, but still to be taken in preference; and that if one had a choice, one would choose the life of Metellus, and reject that of Regulus. What then he calls preferable, and worthy to be chosen in preference, I call happier; and yet I do not attribute more importance to that sort of life than the Stoics do. For what difference is there between us, except that I call well-known things by well-known names, and that they seek for new terms to express the same ideas? And so, as there is always some one in the senate who wants an interpreter, we, too, must listen to them with an interpreter. I call that good which is in accordance with nature; and whatever is contrary to nature I call evil. Nor do I alone use the definition; you do also, O Chrysippus, in the forum and at home; but in the school you discard it. What then? Do you think that men in general ought to speak in one way, and philosophers in another, as to the importance of which everything is? that learned men should hold one language, and unlearned ones another? But as learned men are agreed of how much importance everything is, (if they were men, they would speak in the usual fashion,) why, as long as they leave the facts alone, they are welcome to mould the names according to their fancy.

XXX. But I come now to the charge of inconsistency, that you may not repeat that I am making digressions; which you think exist only in language, but which I used to consider depended on the subject of which one was speaking. If it is sufficiently perceived (and here we have most excellent assistance from the Stoics), that the power of virtue is so great, that if everything else were put on the opposite side, it would not be even visible, when all things which they admit at least to be advantages, and to deserve to be taken, and chosen, and preferred, and which they define as worthy of being highly estimated; when, I say, I call these things goods which have so many names given them by the Stoics, [pg 281] some of which are new, and invented expressly for them, such as producta and reducta, and some of which are merely synonymous; (for what difference can it make whether you wish for a thing or choose it? that which is chosen, and on which deliberate choice is exercised, appears to me to be the better) still, when I have called all these things goods, the question is merely how great goods I call them; when I say they deserved to be wished for, the question is,—how eagerly?

But, if I do not attribute more importance to them when I say that they deserve to be wished for, than you do who say they only deserve to be chosen, and if I do not value them more highly when I call them bona, than you, when you speak of them as producta; then all these things must inevitably be involved in obscurity, and put out of sight, and lost amid the rays of virtue like stars in the sunbeams. But that life in which there is any evil cannot be happy. Then a corn-field full of thick and heavy ears of corn is not a corn-field if you see any tares anywhere; nor is traffic gainful if, amid the greatest gains, you incur the most trifling loss. Do we ever act on different principles in any circumstances of life; and will you not judge of the whole from its greatest part? or is there any doubt that virtue is so much the most important thing in all human affairs, that it throws all the rest into the shade?

I will venture, then, to call the rest of the things which are in accordance with nature, goods, and not to cheat them of their ancient title, rather than go and hunt for some new name for them; and the dignity of virtue I will put, as it were, in the other scale of the balance. Believe me, that scale will outweigh both earth and sea; for the whole always has its name from that which embraces its largest part, and is the most widely diffused. We say that one man lives merrily. Is there, then, an end of this merry life of his if he is for a moment a little poor?

But, in the case of that Marcus Crassus, who, Lucilius says, laughed once in his life, the fact of his having done so did not deliver him from being called ἀγέλαστος. They call Polycrates of Samos happy. Nothing had ever happened to him which he did not like, except that he had thrown into the sea a ring which he valued greatly; therefore he was unhappy as to that one annoyance; but subsequently he was [pg 282] happy again when that same ring was found in the belly of a fish. But he, if he was unwise (which he certainly was, since he was a tyrant), was never happy; if he was wise he was not miserable, even at the time when he was crucified by Orœtes, the lieutenant of Darius. But he had great evils inflicted on him. Who denies that?—but those evils were overcome by the greatness of his virtue.

XXXI. Do you not grant even this to the Peripatetics, that they may say that the life of all good, that is, of all wise men, and of men adorned with every virtue, has in all its parts more good than evil? Who says this? The Stoics may say so. By no means. But do not those very men who measure everything by pleasure and pain, say loudly that the wise man has always more things which he likes than dislikes? When, then, these men attribute so much to virtue, who confess that they would not even lift a finger for the sake of virtue, if it did not bring pleasure with it, what ought we to do, who say that ever so inconsiderable an excellence of mind is so superior to all the goods of the body, that they are put wholly out of sight by it? For who is there who can venture to say, that it can happen to a wise man (even if such a thing were possible) to discard virtue for ever, with a view of being released from all pain? Who of our school, who are not ashamed to call those things evils which the Stoics call only bitter, would say that it was better to do anything dishonourably with pleasure than honourably with pain? To us, indeed, Dionysius of Heraclea appears to have deserted the Stoics in a shameful manner, on account of the pain of his eyes; as if he had learnt from Zeno not to be in pain when he was in pain. He had heard, but he had not learnt, that it was not an evil, because it was not dishonourable, and because it might be borne by a man. If he had been a Peripatetic he would, I suppose, have adhered to his opinion, since they say that pain is an evil. And with respect to bearing its bitterness, they give the same precepts as the Stoics; and, indeed, your friend Arcesilas, although he was a rather pertinacious arguer, was still on our side; for he was a pupil of Polemo; and when he was suffering under the pain of the gout, and Carneades, a most intimate friend of Epicurus, had come to see him, and was going away very melancholy, said, “Stay awhile, I entreat you, friend [pg 283] Carneades; for the pain does not reach here,” showing his feet and his breast. Still he would have preferred being out of pain.

XXXII. This, then, is our doctrine, which appears to you to be inconsistent, since, by reason of a certain heavenly, divine, and inexpressible excellence of virtue, so great, that wherever virtue and great, desirable, and praiseworthy exploits done by virtue are, there misery and grief cannot be, but nevertheless labour and annoyance can be, I do not hesitate to affirm that all wise men are always happy, but still, that it is possible that one man may be more happy than another.

But this is exactly the assertion, Piso, said I, which you are bound to prove over and over again; and if you establish it, then you may take with you not only my young Cicero here, but me too. Then, said Quintus, it appears to me that this has been sufficiently proved. I am glad, indeed, that philosophy, the treasures of which I have been used to value above the possession of everything else (so rich did it appear to me, that I could ask of it whatever I desired to know in our studies),—I rejoice, therefore, that it has been found more acute than all other arts, for it was in acuteness that some people asserted that it was deficient. Not a mite more so than ours, surely, said Pomponius, jestingly. But, seriously, I have been very much pleased with what you have said; for what I did not think could be expressed in Latin has been expressed by you, and that no less clearly than by the Greeks, and in not less well adapted language. But it is time to depart, if you please; and let us go to my house.

And when he had said this, as it appeared that we had discussed the subject sufficiently, we all went into the town to the house of Pomponius.

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The Tusculan Disputations.


In the year a.u.c. 708, and the 62d year of Cicero's age, his daughter, Tullia, died in childbed; and her loss afflicted Cicero to such a degree that he abandoned all public business, and, leaving the city, retired to Asterra, which was a country house that he had near Antium; where, after a while, he devoted himself to philosophical studies, and, besides other works, he published his Treatise de Finibus, and also this Treatise called the Tusculan Disputations, of which Middleton gives this concise description:—

“The first book teaches us how to contemn the terrors of death, and to look upon it as a blessing rather than an evil;

“The second, to support pain and affliction with a manly fortitude;

“The third, to appease all our complaints and uneasinesses under the accidents of life;

“The fourth, to moderate all our other passions;

“And the fifth explains the sufficiency of virtue to make men happy.”

It was his custom in the opportunities of his leisure to take some friends with him into the country, where, instead of amusing themselves with idle sports or feasts, their diversions were wholly speculative, tending to improve the mind and enlarge the understanding. In this manner he now spent five days at his Tusculan villa in discussing with his friends the several questions just mentioned. For, after employing the mornings in declaiming and rhetorical exercises, they used to retire in the afternoon into a gallery, called the Academy, which he had built for the purpose of philosophical conferences, where, after the manner of the Greeks, he held a school as they called it, and invited the company to call for any subject that they desired to hear explained, which being proposed accordingly by some of the audience became immediately [pg 285] the argument of that day's debate. These five conferences or dialogues he collected afterwards into writing in the very words and manner in which they really passed; and published them under the title of his Tusculan Disputations, from the name of the villa in which they were held.

Book I. On The Contempt Of Death.

I. At a time when I had entirely, or to a great degree, released myself from my labours as an advocate, and from my duties as a senator, I had recourse again, Brutus, principally by your advice, to those studies which never had been out of my mind, although neglected at times, and which after a long interval I resumed: and now since the principles and rules of all arts which relate to living well depend on the study of wisdom, which is called philosophy, I have thought it an employment worthy of me to illustrate them in the Latin tongue: not because philosophy could not be understood in the Greek language, or by the teaching of Greek masters; but it has always been my opinion, that our countrymen have, in some instances, made wiser discoveries than the Greeks, with reference to those subjects which they have considered worthy of devoting their attention to, and in others have improved upon their discoveries, so that in one way or other we surpass them on every point: for, with regard to the manners and habits of private life, and family and domestic affairs, we certainly manage them with more elegance, and better than they did; and as to our republic, that our ancestors have, beyond all dispute, formed on better customs and laws. What shall I say of our military affairs; in which our ancestors have been most eminent in valour, and still more so in discipline? As to those things which are attained not by study, but nature, neither Greece, nor any nation, is comparable to us: for what people has displayed such gravity, such steadiness, such greatness of soul, probity, faith—such distinguished virtue of every kind, as to be equal to our ancestors. In learning, indeed, and all kinds of literature, Greece did excel us, and it was [pg 286] easy to do so where there was no competition; for while amongst the Greeks the poets were the most ancient species of learned men,—since Homer and Hesiod lived before the foundation of Rome, and Archilochus50 was a contemporary of Romulus,—we received poetry much later. For it was about five hundred and ten years after the building of Rome before Livius51 published a play in the consulship of C. Claudius, the son of Cæcus, and M. Tuditanus, a year before the birth of Ennius, who was older than Plautus and Nævius.

II. It was, therefore, late before poets were either known or received amongst us; though we find in Cato de Originibus that the guests used, at their entertainments, to sing the praises of famous men to the sound of the flute; but a speech of Cato's shows this kind of poetry to have been in no great esteem, as he censures Marcus Nobilior, for carrying poets with him into his province: for that consul, as we know, carried Ennius with him into Ætolia. Therefore the less esteem poets were in, the less were those studies pursued: though even then those who did display the greatest abilities that way, were not very inferior to the Greeks. Do we imagine that if it had been considered commendable in Fabius,52 a man of the highest rank, to paint, we should not have had many [pg 287] Polycleti and Parrbasii. Honour nourishes art, and glory is the spur with all to studies; while those studies are always neglected in every nation, which are looked upon disparagingly. The Greeks held skill in vocal and instrumental music as a very important accomplishment, and therefore it is recorded of Epaminondas, who, in my opinion, was the greatest man amongst the Greeks, that he played excellently on the flute; and Themistocles some years before was deemed ignorant because at an entertainment he declined the lyre when it was offered to him. For this reason musicians flourished in Greece; music was a general study; and whoever was unacquainted with it, was not considered as fully instructed in learning. Geometry was in high esteem with them, therefore none were more honourable than mathematicians; but we have confined this art to bare measuring and calculating.

III. But on the contrary, we early entertained an esteem for the orator; though he was not at first a man of learning, but only quick at speaking; in subsequent times he became learned; for it is reported that Galba, Africanus, and Lælius, were men of learning; and that even Cato, who preceded them in point of time, was a studious man: then succeeded the Lepidi, Carbo, and Gracchi, and so many great orators after them, down to our own times, that we were very little, if at all, inferior to the Greeks. Philosophy has been at a low ebb even to this present time, and has had no assistance from our own language, and so now I have undertaken to raise and illustrate it, in order that, as I have been of service to my countrymen, when employed on public affairs, I may, if possible, be so likewise in my retirement; and in this I must take the more pains, because there are already many books in the Latin language which are said to be written inaccurately, having been composed by excellent men, only not of sufficient learning: for indeed it is possible that a man may think well, and yet not be able to express his thoughts elegantly; but for any one to publish thoughts which he can neither arrange skilfully nor illustrate so as to entertain his reader, is an unpardonable abuse of letters and retirement: they, therefore, read their books to one another, and no one ever takes them up but those who wish to have the same licence for careless writing allowed to themselves. Wherefore, [pg 288] if oratory has acquired any reputation from my industry, I shall take the more pains to open the fountains of philosophy, from which all my eloquence has taken its rise.

IV. But, as Aristotle,53 a man of the greatest genius, and of the most various knowledge, being excited by the glory of the rhetorician Isocrates,54 commenced teaching young men to speak, and joined philosophy with eloquence: so it is my design not to lay aside my former study of oratory, and yet to employ myself at the same time in this greater and more fruitful art; for I have always thought, that to be able to speak copiously and elegantly on the most important questions, was the most perfect philosophy. And I have so diligently applied myself to this pursuit that I have already ventured to have a school like the Greeks. And lately when you left us, having many of my friends about me, I attempted at my Tusculan villa what I could do in that way; for as I formerly used to practise declaiming, which nobody continued longer than myself, so this is now to be the declamation of my old age. I desired any one to propose a question which he wished to have discussed: and then I argued that point either sitting or walking, and so I have compiled the scholæ, as the Greeks call them, of five days, in as many books. We proceeded in this manner: when he who had proposed the subject for discussion had said what he thought proper, I spoke against him; for this is, you know, the old and Socratic method of arguing against another's opinion; for Socrates thought that thus the truth would more easily be arrived at. But to give you a better notion of our disputations, I will not barely send you an account of them, but represent them to you as they were carried on; therefore let the introduction be thus:—

V. A. To me death seems to be an evil.

M. What to those who are already dead? or to those who must die?

A. To both.

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M. It is a misery then, because an evil?

A. Certainly.

M. Then those who have already died, and those who have still got to die, are both miserable?

A. So it appears to me.

M. Then all are miserable?

A. Every one.

M. And, indeed, if you wish to be consistent, all that are already born, or ever shall be, are not only miserable, but always will be so; for should you maintain those only to be miserable, you would not except any one living, for all must die; but there should be an end of misery in death. But seeing that the dead are miserable, we are born to eternal misery, for they must of consequence be miserable who died a hundred thousand years ago; or rather, all that have ever been born.

A. So, indeed, I think.

M. Tell me, I beseech you, are you afraid of the three-headed Cerberus in the shades below, and the roaring waves of Cocytus, and the passage over Acheron, and Tantalus expiring with thirst, while the water touches his chin; and Sisyphus,

Who sweats with arduous toil in vain
The steepy summit of the mount to gain?

Perhaps, too, you dread the inexorable judges, Minos and Rhadamanthus; before whom neither L. Crassus, nor M. Antonius can defend you; and where, since the cause lies before Grecian judges, you will not even be able to employ Demosthenes: but you must plead for yourself before a very great assembly. These things perhaps you dread, and therefore look on death as an eternal evil.

VI. A. Do you take me to be so imbecile as to give credit to such things?

M. What? do you not believe them?

A. Not in the least.

M. I am sorry to hear that.

A. Why, I beg?

M. Because I could have been very eloquent in speaking against them.

A. And who could not on such a subject? or, what trouble [pg 290] is it to refute these monstrous inventions of the poets and painters?55

M. And yet you have books of philosophers full of arguments against these.

A. A great waste of time, truly! for, who is so weak as to be concerned about them?

M. If, then, there is no one miserable in the infernal regions, there can be no one there at all.

A. I am altogether of that opinion.

M. Where, then, are those you call miserable? or what place do they inhabit? for, if they exist at all, they must be somewhere?

A. I, indeed, am of opinion that they are nowhere.

M. Then they have no existence at all.

A. Even so, and yet they are miserable for this very reason, that they have no existence.

M. I had rather now have you afraid of Cerberus, than speak thus inaccurately.

A. In what respect?

M. Because you admit him to exist whose existence you deny with the same breath. Where now is your sagacity? when you say any one is miserable, you say that he who does not exist, does exist.

A. I am not so absurd as to say that.

M. What is it that you do say, then?

A. I say, for instance, that Marcus Crassus is miserable in being deprived of such great riches as his by death; that Cn. Pompey is miserable, in being taken from such glory and honour; and in short, that all are miserable who are deprived of this light of life.

M. You have returned to the same point, for to be miserable implies an existence; but you just now denied that the dead had any existence; if, then, they have not, they can be nothing; and if so, they are not even miserable.

[pg 291]

A. Perhaps I do not express what I mean, for I look upon this very circumstance, not to exist after having existed, to be very miserable.

M. What, more so than not to have existed at all? therefore, those who are not yet born, are miserable because they are not; and we ourselves, if we are to be miserable after death, were miserable before we were born: but I do not remember that I was miserable before I was born; and I should be glad to know, if your memory is better, what you recollect of yourself before you were born.

VII. A. You are pleasant; as if I had said that those men are miserable who are not born, and not that they are so who are dead.

M. You say, then, that they are so?

A. Yes, I say that because they no longer exist after having existed, they are miserable.

M. You do not perceive, that you are asserting contradictions; for what is a greater contradiction, than that they should be not only miserable, but should have any existence at all, which does not exist? When you go out at the Capene gate and see the tombs of the Calatini, the Scipios, Servilii, and Metelli, do you look on them as miserable?

A. Because you press me with a word, henceforward I will not say they are miserable absolutely, but miserable on this account, because they have no existence.

M. You do not say, then, “M. Crassus is miserable,” but only “Miserable M. Crassus.”

A. Exactly so.

M. As if it did not follow, that whatever you speak of in that manner, either is or is not. Are you not acquainted with the first principles of logic? for this is the first thing they lay down, Whatever is asserted, (for that is the best way that occurs to me, at the moment, of rendering the Greek term, ἀξίομα, if I can think of a more accurate expression hereafter I will use it,) is asserted as being either true or false. When, therefore, you say, “Miserable M. Crassus,” you either say this, “M. Crassus is miserable,” so that some judgment may be made whether it is true or false, or you say nothing at all.

A. Well, then, I now own that the dead are not miserable, since you have drawn from me a concession, that they who do not exist at all, cannot be miserable. What then? we that [pg 292] are alive, are we not wretched, seeing we must die? for what is there agreeable in life, when we must night and day reflect that, at some time or other, we must die?

VIII. M. Do you not, then, perceive how great is the evil from which you have delivered human nature?

A. By what means?

M. Because, if to die were miserable to the dead, to live would be a kind of infinite and eternal misery: now, however, I see a goal, and when I have reached it, there is nothing more to be feared; but you seem to me to follow the opinion of Epicharmus,56 a man of some discernment, and sharp enough for a Sicilian.

A. What opinion? for I do not recollect it.

M. I will tell you if I can in Latin, for you know I am no more used to bring in Latin sentences in a Greek discourse, than Greek in a Latin one.

A. And that is right enough: but what is that opinion of Epicharmus?


I would not die, but yet
Am not concerned that I shall be dead.

A. I now recollect the Greek, but since you have obliged me to grant that the dead are not miserable, proceed to convince me that it is not miserable to be under a necessity of dying.

M. That is easy enough, but I have greater things in hand.

A. How comes that to be so easy? and what are those things of more consequence?

M. Thus: because, if there is no evil after death, then even death itself can be none; for that which immediately succeeds that is a state where you grant that there is no evil; so that even to be obliged to die can be no evil; for that is only the being obliged to arrive at a place where we allow that no evil is.

A. I beg you will be more explicit on this point, for these subtle arguments force me sooner to admissions than to conviction. But what are those more important things about which you say that you are occupied?

[pg 293]

M. To teach you, if I can, that death is not only no evil, but a good.

A. I do not insist on that, but should be glad to hear you argue it, for even though you should not prove your point, yet you will prove that death is no evil: but I will not interrupt you, I would rather hear a continued discourse.

M. What, if I should ask you a question, would you not answer?

A. That would look like pride; but I would rather you should not ask but where necessity requires.

IX. M. I will comply with your wishes, and explain as well as I can, what you require; but not with any idea that, like the Pythian Apollo, what I say must needs be certain and indisputable; but as a mere man, endeavouring to arrive at probabilities by conjecture, for I have no ground to proceed further on than probability. Those men may call their statements indisputable who assert that what they say can be perceived by the senses, and who proclaim themselves philosophers by profession.

A. Do as you please, we are ready to hear you.

M. The first thing, then, is to inquire what death, which seems to be so well understood, really is; for some imagine death to be the departure of the soul from the body; others think that there is no such departure, but that soul and body perish together, and that, the soul is extinguished with the body. Of those who think that the soul does depart from the body, some believe in its immediate dissolution; others fancy that it continues to exist for a time; and others believe that it lasts for ever. There is great dispute even what the soul is, where it is, and whence it is derived: with some, the heart itself (cor) seems to be the soul, hence the expressions, excordes, vecordes, concordes; and that prudent Nasica, who was twice consul, was called Corculus, i.e. wise-heart; and Ælius Sextus is described as Egregie cordatus homo, catus Æliu' Sextus—that great wise-hearted man, sage Ælius. Empedocles imagines the blood, which is suffused over the heart, to be the soul; to others, a certain part of the brain seems to be the throne of the soul; others neither allow the heart itself, nor any portion of the brain, to be the soul; but think either that the heart is the seat and abode of the soul; or else that the brain is so. Some would have the soul, or [pg 294] spirit, to be the anima, as our schools generally agree; and indeed the name signifies as much, for we use the expressions animam agere, to live; animam efflare, to expire; animosi, men of spirit; bene animati, men of right feeling; exanimi sententia, according to our real opinion—and the very word animus is derived from anima. Again, the soul seems to Zeno the Stoic to be fire.

X. But what I have said as to the heart, the blood, the brain, air, or fire being the soul, are common opinions: the others are only entertained by individuals; and indeed there were many amongst the ancients who held singular opinions on this subject, of whom the latest was Aristoxenus, a man who was both a musician and a philosopher; he maintained a certain straining of the body, like what is called harmony in music, to be the soul; and believed that, from the figure and nature of the whole body, various motions are excited, as sounds are from an instrument. He adhered steadily to his system, and yet he said something, the nature of which, whatever it was, had been detailed and explained a great while before by Plato. Xenocrates denied that the soul had any figure, or anything like a body; but said it was a number, the power of which, as Pythagoras had fancied, some ages before, was the greatest in nature: his master, Plato, imagined a three-fold soul; a dominant portion of which, that is to say, reason, he had lodged in the head, as in a tower; and the other two parts, namely, anger and desire, he made subservient to this one, and allotted them distinct abodes, placing anger in the breast, and desire under the præcordia. But Dicæarchus, in that discourse of some learned disputants, held at Corinth, which he details to us in three books; in the first book introduces many speakers; and in the other two he introduces a certain Pherecrates, an old man of Phthia, who, as he said, was descended from Deucalion; asserting, that there is in fact no such thing at all as a soul; but that it is a name, without a meaning; and that it is idle to use the expression, “animals,” or “animated beings;” that neither men nor beasts have minds or souls; but that all that power, by which we act or perceive, is equally infused into every living creature, and is inseparable from the body, for if it were not, it would be nothing; nor is there anything whatever really existing except body, which is a single and simple [pg 295] thing, so fashioned, as to live and have its sensations in consequence of the regulations of nature. Aristotle, a man superior to all others, both in genius and industry (I always except Plato), after having embraced these four known sorts of principles, from which all things deduce their origin, imagines that there is a certain fifth nature, from whence comes the soul; for to think, to foresee, to learn, to teach, to invent anything, and many other attributes of the same kind, such as, to remember, to love, to hate, to desire, to fear, to be pleased or displeased; these, and others like them, exist, he thinks, in none of those first four kinds: on such account he adds a fifth kind, which has no name, and so by a new name he calls the soul ἐνδελέχια, as if it were a certain continued and perpetual motion.

XI. If I have not forgotten anything unintentionally, these are the principal opinions concerning the soul. I have omitted Democritus, a very great man indeed, but one who deduces the soul from the fortuitous concourse of small, light, and round substances; for, if you believe men of his school, there is nothing which a crowd of atoms cannot effect. Which of these opinions is true, some god must determine. It is an important question for us, which has the most appearance of truth. Shall we, then, prefer determining between them, or shall we return to our subject?

A. I could wish both, if possible; but it is difficult to mix them; therefore, if without a discussion of them we can get rid of the fears of death, let us proceed to do so; but if this is not to be done without explaining the question about souls, let us have that now, and the other at another time.

M. I take that plan to be the best, which I perceive you are inclined to; for reason will demonstrate that, whichever of the opinions which I have stated is true, it must follow, then, that death cannot be an evil; or that it must rather be something desirable, for if either the heart, or the blood, or the brain, is the soul, then certainly the soul, being corporeal, must perish with the rest of the body; if it is air, it will perhaps be dissolved; if it is fire, it will be extinguished; if it is Aristoxenus's harmony, it will be put out of tune. What shall I say of Dicæarchus, who denies that there is any soul? In all these opinions, there is nothing to affect any one after death; for all feeling is lost with life, and where there is no [pg 296] sensation, nothing can interfere to affect us. The opinions of others do indeed bring us hope; if it is any pleasure to you to think that souls, after they leave the body, may go to heaven as to a permanent home.

A. I have great pleasure in that thought, and it is what I most desire; and even if it should not be so, I should still be very willing to believe it.

M. What occasion have you, then, for my assistance? am I superior to Plato in eloquence? Turn over carefully his book that treats of the soul, you will have there all that you can want.

A. I have, indeed, done that, and often; but, I know not how it comes to pass, I agree with it whilst I am reading it, but when I have laid down the book, and begin to reflect with myself on the immortality of the soul, all that agreement vanishes.

M. How comes that? do you admit this, that souls either exist after death, or else that they also perish at the moment of death?

A. I agree to that. And if they do exist, I admit that they are happy; but if they perish, I cannot suppose them to be unhappy, because, in fact, they have no existence at all. You drove me to that concession but just now.

M. How, then, can you, or why do you, assert that you think that death is an evil, when it either makes us happy, in the case of the soul continuing to exist, or, at all events, not unhappy, in the case of our becoming destitute of all sensation.

XII. A. Explain, therefore, if it is not troublesome to you, first, if you can, that souls do exist after death; secondly, should you fail in that, (and it is a very difficult thing to establish,) that death is free from all evil; for I am not without my fears that this itself is an evil; I do not mean the immediate deprivation of sense, but the fact that we shall hereafter suffer deprivation.

M. I have the best authority in support of the opinion you desire to have established, which ought, and generally has, great weight in all cases. And first, I have all antiquity on that side, which the more near it is to its origin and divine descent, the more clearly, perhaps, on that account did it discern the truth in these matters. This very doctrine, then, was adopted by all those ancients, whom Ennius calls in the Sabine tongue, Casci, namely, that in death there was a sensation, and [pg 297] that, when men departed this life, they were not so entirely destroyed as to perish absolutely. And this may appear from many other circumstances, and especially from the pontifical rites and funeral obsequies, which men of the greatest genius would not have been so solicitous about, and would not have guarded from any injury by such severe laws, but from a firm persuasion that death was not so entire a destruction as wholly to abolish and destroy everything, but rather a kind of transmigration, as it were, and change of life, which was, in the case of illustrious men and women, usually a guide to heaven, while in that of others, it was still confined to the earth, but in such a manner as still to exist. From this, and the sentiments of the Romans,

In heaven Romulus with Gods now lives;

as Ennius saith, agreeing with the common belief; hence, too Hercules is considered so great and propitious a god amongst the Greeks, and from them he was introduced among us, and his worship has extended even to the very ocean itself. This is how it was that Bacchus was deified, the offspring of Semele; and from the same illustrious fame we receive Castor and Pollux as gods, who are reported not only to have helped the Romans to victory in their battles, but to have been the messengers of their success. What shall we say of Ino, the daughter of Cadmus? is she not called Leucothea by the Greeks, and Matuta by us? Nay more; is not the whole of heaven (not to dwell on particulars) almost filled with the offspring of men?

Should I attempt to search into antiquity, and produce from thence what the Greek writers have asserted, it would appear that even those who are called their principal gods, were taken from among men up into heaven.

XIII. Examine the sepulchres of those which are shown in Greece; recollect, for you have been initiated, what lessons are taught in the mysteries; then will you perceive how extensive this doctrine is. But they who were not acquainted with natural philosophy, (for it did not begin to be in vogue till many years later,) had no higher belief than what natural reason could give them; they were not acquainted with the principles and causes of things; they were often induced by certain visions, and those generally in the night, to think that those men, who had departed from this life, were [pg 298] still alive. And this may further be brought as an irrefragable argument for us to believe that there are gods,—that there never was any nation so barbarous, nor any people in the world so savage, as to be without some notion of gods: many have wrong notions of the gods, for that is the nature and ordinary consequence of bad customs, yet all allow that there is a certain divine nature and energy. Nor does this proceed from the conversation of men, or the agreement of philosophers; it is not an opinion established by institutions or by laws; but, no doubt, in every case the consent of all nations is to be looked on as a law of nature. Who is there, then, that does not lament the loss of his friends, principally from imagining them deprived of the conveniences of life? Take away this opinion, and you remove with it all grief; for no one is afflicted merely on account of a loss sustained by himself. Perhaps we may be sorry, and grieve a little; but that bitter lamentation, and those mournful tears, have their origin in our apprehensions that he whom we loved is deprived of all the advantages of life, and is sensible of his loss. And we are led to this opinion by nature, without any arguments or any instruction.

XIV. But the greatest proof of all is, that nature herself gives a silent judgment in favour of the immortality of the soul, inasmuch as all are anxious, and that to a great degree, about the things which concern futurity;—

One plants what future ages shall enjoy,

as Statius saith in his Synephebi. What is his object in doing so, except that he is interested in posterity? Shall the industrious husbandman, then, plant trees the fruit of which he shall never see? and shall not the great man found laws, institutions, and a republic? What does the procreation of children imply—and our care to continue our names—and our adoptions—and our scrupulous exactness in drawing up wills—and the inscriptions on monuments, and panegyrics, but that our thoughts run on futurity? There is no doubt but a judgment may be formed of nature in general, from looking at each nature in its most perfect specimens; and what is a more perfect specimen of a man, than those are who look on themselves as born for the assistance, the protection, and the preservation of others? Hercules has gone to heaven; he never would have gone thither, had he not, whilst amongst [pg 299] men, made that road for himself. These things are of old date, and have, besides, the sanction of universal religion.

XV. What will you say? what do you imagine that so many and such great men of our republic, who have sacrificed their lives for its good, expected? Do you believe that they thought that their names should not continue beyond their lives? None ever encountered death for their country, but under a firm persuasion of immortality! Themistocles might have lived at his ease; so might Epaminondas; and, not to look abroad and amongst the ancients for instances, so might I myself. But, somehow or other, there clings to our minds a certain presage of future ages; and this both exists most firmly and appears most clearly, in men of the loftiest genius and greatest souls. Take away this, and who would be so mad as to spend his life amidst toils and dangers? I speak of those in power. What are the poet's views but to be ennobled after death? What else is the object of these lines—

Behold old Ennius here, who erst
Thy fathers' great exploits rehearsed?

He is challenging the reward of glory from those men whose ancestors he himself had ennobled by his poetry. And in the same spirit he says in another passage—

Let none with tears my funeral grace, for I
Claim from my works an immortality.

Why do I mention poets? the very mechanics are desirous of fame after death. Why did Phidias include a likeness of himself in the shield of Minerva, when he was not allowed to inscribe his name on it? What do our philosophers think on the subject? do not they put their names to those very books which they write on the contempt of glory? If, then, universal consent is the voice of nature, and if it is the general opinion everywhere, that those who have quitted this life are still interested in something; we also must subscribe to that opinion. And if we think that men of the greatest abilities and virtue see most clearly into the power of nature, because they themselves are her most perfect work; it is very probable that, as every great man is especially anxious to benefit posterity, there is something of which he himself will be sensible after death.

XVI. But as we are led by nature to think there are gods, [pg 300] and as we discover, by reason, of what description they are, so, by the consent of all nations, we are induced to believe that our souls survive; but where their habitation is, and of what character they eventually are, must be learned from reason. The want of any certain reason on which to argue has given rise to the idea of the shades below, and to those fears, which you seem, not without reason, to despise: for as our bodies fall to the ground, and are covered with earth (humus), from whence we derive the expression to be interred (humari), that has occasioned men to imagine that the dead continue, during the remainder of their existence, under ground; which opinion has drawn after it many errors, which the poets have increased; for the theatre, being frequented by a large crowd, among which are women and children, is wont to be greatly affected on hearing such pompous verses as these—

Lo! here I am, who scarce could gain this place,
Through stony mountains and a dreary waste;
Through cliffs, whose sharpen'd stones tremendous hung,
Where dreadful darkness spread itself around:

and the error prevailed so much, though indeed at present it seems to me to be removed, that although men knew that the bodies of the dead had been burned, yet they conceived such things to be done in the infernal regions as could not be executed or imagined without a body; for they could not conceive how disembodied souls could exist; and, therefore, they looked out for some shape or figure. This was the origin of all that account of the dead in Homer. This was the idea that caused my friend Appius to frame his Necromancy; and this is how there got about that idea of the lake of Avernus, in my neighbourhood,—

From whence the souls of undistinguish'd shape,
Clad in thick shade, rush from the open gate
Of Acheron, vain phantoms of the dead.

And they must needs have these appearances speak, which is not possible without a tongue, and a palate, and jaws, and without the help of lungs and sides, and without some shape or figure; for they could see nothing by their mind alone, they referred all to their eyes. To withdraw the mind from sensual objects, and abstract our thoughts from what we are accustomed to, is an attribute of great genius: I am persuaded, indeed, that there were many such men in former [pg 301] ages: but Pherecydes57 the Syrian is the first on record who said that the souls of men were immortal; and he was a philosopher of great antiquity in the reign of my namesake Tullus. His disciple Pythagoras greatly confirmed this opinion, who came into Italy in the reign of Tarquin the Proud: and all that country which is called Great Greece was occupied by his school, and he himself was held in high honour, and had the greatest authority: and the Pythagorean sect was for many ages after in such great credit, that all learning was believed to be confined to that name.

XVII. But I return to the ancients. They scarcely ever gave any reason for their opinion but what could be explained by numbers or definitions. It is reported of Plato, that he came into Italy to make himself acquainted with the Pythagoreans; and that when there, amongst others, he made an acquaintance with Archytas58 and Timæus,59 and learned from them all the tenets of the Pythagoreans; and that he not only was of the same opinion with Pythagoras concerning the immortality of the soul, but that he also brought reasons in support of it; which, if you have nothing to say against it, I will pass over, and say no more at present about all this hope of immortality.

A. What, will you leave me when you have raised my expectations so high? I had rather, so help me Hercules! be mistaken with Plato, whom I know how much you esteem, [pg 302] and whom I admire myself from what you say of him, than be in the right with those others.

M. I commend you; for, indeed, I could myself willingly be mistaken in his company. Do we, then, doubt, as we do in other cases, (though I think here is very little room for doubt in this case, for the mathematicians prove the facts to us,) that the earth is placed in the midst of the world, being as it were a sort of point, which they call a κέντρον, surrounded by the whole heavens; and that such is the nature of the four principles, which are the generating causes of all things, that they have equally divided amongst them the constituents of all bodies; moreover that earthy and humid bodies are carried at equal angles, by their own weight and ponderosity, into the earth and sea; that the other two parts consist one of fire and the other of air? As the two former are carried by their gravity and weight into the middle region of the world; so these, on the other hand, ascend by right lines into the celestial regions; either because, owing to their intrinsic nature, they are always endeavouring to reach the highest place, or else because lighter bodies are naturally repelled by heavier; and as this is notoriously the case, it must evidently follow, that souls, when once they have departed from the body, whether they are animal, (by which term I mean capable of breathing,) or of the nature of fire, must mount upwards: but if the soul is some number, as some people assert, speaking with more subtlety than clearness, or if it is that fifth nature, for which it would be more correct to say that we have not given a name to, than that we do not correctly understand it—still it is too pure and perfect, not to go to a great distance from the earth. Something of this sort, then, we must believe the soul to be, that we may not commit the folly of thinking that so active a principle lies immerged in the heart or brain; or, as Empedocles would have it, in the blood.

XVIII. We will pass over Dicæarchus,60 with his contemporary and fellow-disciple Aristoxenus,61 both indeed men of [pg 303] learning. One of them seems never even to have been affected with grief, as he could not perceive that he had a soul; while the other is so pleased with his musical compositions, that he endeavours to show an analogy betwixt them and souls. Now, we may understand harmony to arise from the intervals of sounds, whose various compositions occasion many harmonies; but I do not see how a disposition of members, and the figure of a body without a soul, can occasion harmony; he had better, learned as he is, leave these speculations to his master Aristotle, and follow his own trade, as a musician; good advice is given him in that Greek proverb,—

Apply your talents where you best are skill'd.

I will have nothing at all to do with that fortuitous concourse of individual light and round bodies, notwithstanding Democritus insists on their being warm, and having breath, that is to say, life. But this soul, which is compounded of either of the four principles from which we assert that all things are derived, is of inflamed air, as seems particularly to have been the opinion of Panætius, and must necessarily mount upwards; for air and fire have no tendency downwards, but always ascend; so should they be dissipated, that must be at some distance from the earth; but should they remain, and preserve their original state, it is clearer still that they must be carried heavenward; and this gross and concrete air, which is nearest the earth, must be divided and broken by them; for the soul is warmer, or rather hotter than that air, which I just now called gross and concrete; and this may be made evident from this consideration,—that our bodies, being compounded of the earthy class of principles, grow warm by the heat of the soul.

XIX. We may add, that the soul can the more easily escape from this air, which I have often named, and break through it; because nothing is swifter than the soul; no swiftness is comparable to the swiftness of the soul; which, should it remain uncorrupt and without alteration, must necessarily be carried on with such velocity as to penetrate [pg 304] and divide all this atmosphere, where clouds, and rain, and winds are formed; which, in consequence of the exhalations from the earth, is moist and dark; but, when the soul has once got above this region, and falls in with, and recognises a nature like its own, it then rests upon fires composed of a combination of thin air and a moderate solar heat, and does not aim at any higher flight. For then, after it has attained a lightness and heat resembling its own, it moves no more, but remains steady, being balanced, as it were, between two equal weights. That, then, is its natural seat where it has penetrated to something like itself; and where, wanting nothing further, it may be supported and maintained by the same aliment which nourishes and maintains the stars.

Now, as we are usually incited to all sorts of desires by the stimulus of the body, and the more so, as we endeavour to rival those who are in possession of what we long for, we shall certainly be happy when, being emancipated from that body, we at the same time get rid of these desires and this rivalry: and, that which we do at present, when, dismissing all other cares, we curiously examine and look into anything, we shall then do with greater freedom; and we shall employ ourselves entirely in the contemplation and examination of things; because there is naturally in our minds a certain insatiable desire to know the truth; and the very region itself where we shall arrive, as it gives us a more intuitive and easy knowledge of celestial things, will raise our desires after knowledge. For it was this beauty of the heavens, as seen even here upon earth, which gave birth to that national and hereditary philosophy, (as Theophrastus calls it,) which was thus excited to a desire of knowledge. But those persons will in a most especial degree enjoy this philosophy, who, while they were only inhabitants of this world and enveloped in darkness, were still desirous of looking into these things with the eye of their mind.

XX. For, if those men now think that they have attained something who have seen the mouth of the Pontus, and those straits which were passed by the ship called Argo, because,

From Argos she did chosen men convey,
Bound to fetch back the golden fleece, their prey;

or those who have seen the straits of the ocean,

[pg 305]
Where the swift waves divide the neighbouring shores
Of Europe, and of Afric.

What kind of sight do you imagine that will be, when the whole earth is laid open to our view? and that, too, not only in its position, form, and boundaries, nor those parts of it only which are habitable, but those also that lie uncultivated, through the extremities of heat and cold to which they are exposed; for not even now is it with our eyes that we view what we see, for the body itself has no senses; but (as the naturalists, aye, and even the physicians assure us, who have opened our bodies, and examined them), there are certain perforated channels from the seat of the soul to the eyes, ears, and nose; so that frequently, when either prevented by meditation, or the force of some bodily disorder, we neither hear nor see, though our eyes and ears are open, and in good condition; so that we may easily apprehend that it is the soul itself which sees and hears, and not those parts which are, as it were, but windows to the soul; by means of which, however, she can perceive nothing, unless she is on the spot, and exerts herself. How shall we account for the fact, that by the same power of thinking we comprehend the most different things; as colour, taste, heat, smell, and sound? which the soul could never know by her five messengers, unless everything was referred to her, and she were the sole judge of all. And we shall certainly discover these things in a more clear and perfect degree when the soul is disengaged from the body, and has arrived at that goal to which nature leads her; for at present, notwithstanding nature has contrived, with the greatest skill, those channels which lead from the body to the soul, yet are they, in some way or other, stopped up with earthy and concrete bodies; but when we shall be nothing but soul, then nothing will interfere to prevent our seeing everything in its real substance, and in its true character.

XXI. It is true, I might expatiate, did the subject require it, on the many and various objects with which the soul will be entertained in those heavenly regions; when I reflect on which, I am apt to wonder at the boldness of some philosophers, who are so struck with admiration at the knowledge of nature, as to thank, in an exulting manner, the first inventor and teacher of natural philosophy, and to reverence him as a God: for they declare that they have been delivered by his [pg 306] means from the greatest tyrants, a perpetual terror, and a fear that molested them by night and day. What is this dread—this fear? what old woman is there so weak as to fear these things, which you, forsooth, had you not been acquainted with natural philosophy, would stand in awe of?

The hallow'd roofs of Acheron, the dread
Of Orcus, the pale regions of the dead.

And does it become a philosopher to boast that he is not afraid of these things, and that he has discovered them to be false? And from this we may perceive how acute these men were by nature, who, if they had been left without any instruction would have believed in these things. But now they have certainly made a very fine acquisition in learning that when the day of their death arrives they will perish entirely; and, if that really is the case, for I say nothing either way, what is there agreeable or glorious in it? Not that I see any reason why the opinion of Pythagoras and Plato may not be true: but even although Plato were to have assigned no reason for his opinion (observe how much I esteem the man), the weight of his authority would have borne me down; but he has brought so many reasons, that he appears to me to have endeavoured to convince others, and certainly to have convinced himself.

XXII. But there are many who labour on the other side of the question, and condemn souls to death, as if they were criminals capitally convicted; nor have they any other reason to allege why the immortality of the soul appears to them to be incredible, except that they are not able to conceive what sort of thing the soul can be when disentangled from the body; just as if they could really form a correct idea as to what sort of thing it is, even when it is in the body; what its form, and size, and abode are; so that were they able to have a full view of all that is now hidden from them in a living body, they have no idea whether the soul would be discernible by them, or whether it is of so fine a texture that it would escape their sight. Let those consider this, who say that they are unable to form any idea of the soul without the body, and then they will see whether they can form any adequate idea of what it is when it is in the body. For my own part, when I reflect on the nature of the [pg 307] soul, it appears to me a far more perplexing and obscure question to determine what is its character while it is in the body, a place which, as it were, does not belong to it, than to imagine what it is when it leaves it, and has arrived at the free æther, which is, if I may so say, its proper, its own habitation. For unless we are to say that we cannot apprehend the character or nature of anything which we have never seen, we certainly may be able to form some notion of God, and of the divine soul when released from the body. Dicæarchus, indeed, and Aristoxenus, because it was hard to understand the existence, and substance, and nature of the soul, asserted that there was no such thing as a soul at all. It is, indeed, the most difficult thing imaginable, to discern the soul by the soul. And this, doubtless, is the meaning of the precept of Apollo, which advises every one to know himself. For I do not apprehend the meaning of the god to have been, that we should understand our members, our stature, and form; for we are not merely bodies; nor, when I say these things to you, am I addressing myself to your body: when, therefore, he says, “Know yourself,” he says this, “Inform yourself of the nature of your soul;” for the body is but a kind of vessel, or receptacle of the soul, and whatever your soul does is your own act. To know the soul, then, unless it had been divine, would not have been a precept of such excellent wisdom, as to be attributed to a god; but even though the soul should not know of what nature itself is, will you say that it does not even perceive that it exists at all, or that it has motion? on which is founded that reason of Plato's, which is explained by Socrates in the Phædrus, and inserted by me, in my sixth book of the Republic.

XXIII. “That which is always moved is eternal; but that which gives motion to something else, and is moved itself by some external cause, when that motion ceases, must necessarily cease to exist. That, therefore, alone, which is self-moved, because it is never forsaken by itself, can never cease to be moved. Besides, it is the beginning and principle of motion to everything else; but whatever is a principle has no beginning, for all things arise from that principle, and it cannot itself owe its rise to anything else; for then it would not be a principle did it proceed from anything else. But if it has no beginning, it never will have any end; for a principle [pg 308] which is once extinguished, cannot itself be restored by anything else, nor can it produce anything else from itself; inasmuch as all things must necessarily arise from some first cause. And thus it comes about, that the first principle of motion must arise from that thing which is itself moved by itself; and that can neither have a beginning nor an end of its existence, for otherwise the whole heaven and earth would be overset, and all nature would stand still, and not be able to acquire any force, by the impulse of which it might be first set in motion. Seeing, then, that it is clear, that whatever moves itself is eternal, can there be any doubt that the soul is so? For everything is inanimate which is moved by an external force; but everything which is animate is moved by an interior force, which also belongs to itself. For this is the peculiar nature and power of the soul; and if the soul be the only thing in the whole world which has the power of self-motion, then certainly it never had a beginning, and therefore it is eternal.”

Now, should all the lower order of philosophers, (for so I think they may be called, who dissent from Plato and Socrates and that school,) unite their force, they never would be able to explain anything so elegantly as this, nor even to understand how ingeniously this conclusion is drawn. The soul, then, perceives itself to have motion, and at the same time that it gets that perception, it is sensible that it derives that motion from its own power, and not from the agency of another; and it is impossible that it should ever forsake itself; and these premises compel you to allow its eternity, unless you have something to say against them.

A. I should myself be very well pleased not to have even a thought arise in my mind against them, so much am I inclined to that opinion.

XXIV. M. Well then, I appeal to you, if the arguments which prove that there is something divine in the souls of men are not equally strong? but if I could account for the origin of these divine properties, then I might also be able to explain how they might cease to exist; for I think I can account for the manner in which the blood, and bile, and phlegm, and bones, and nerves, and veins, and all the limbs, and the shape of the whole body, were put together and made; aye, and even as to the soul itself, were there nothing [pg 309] more in it than a principle of life, then the life of a man might be put upon the same footing as that of a vine or any other tree, and accounted for as caused by nature; for these things, as we say, live. Besides, if desires and aversions were all that belonged to the soul, it would have them only in common with the beasts; but it has, in the first place, memory, and that, too, so infinite, as to recollect an absolute countless number of circumstances, which Plato will have to be a recollection of a former life; for in that book which is inscribed Menon, Socrates asks a child some questions in geometry, with reference to measuring a square; his answers are such as a child would make, and yet the questions are so easy, that while answering them, one by one, he comes to the same point as if he had learned geometry. From whence Socrates would infer, that learning is nothing more than recollection; and this topic he explains more accurately, in the discourse which he held the very day he died; for he there asserts that any one who seeming to be entirely illiterate, is yet able to answer a question well that is proposed to him, does in so doing manifestly show that he is not learning it then, but recollecting it by his memory. Nor is it to be accounted for in any other way, how children come to have notions of so many and such important things, as are implanted, and as it were sealed up in their minds, (which the Greeks call ἔννοιαι,) unless the soul before it entered the body had been well stored with knowledge. And as it had no existence at all, (for this is the invariable doctrine of Plato, who will not admit anything to have a real existence which has a beginning and an end; and who thinks that that alone does really exist which is of such a character as what he calls εἴδεα, and we species,) therefore, being shut up in the body, it could not while in the body discover what it knows: but it knew it before, and brought the knowledge with it, so that we are no longer surprised at its extensive and multifarious knowledge: nor does the soul clearly discover its ideas at its first resort to this abode to which it is so unaccustomed, and which is in so disturbed a state; but after having refreshed and recollected itself, it then by its memory recovers them; and, therefore, to learn implies nothing more than to recollect. But I am in a particular manner surprised at memory; for what is that faculty by which we remember? what is its force? what its nature? [pg 310] I am not inquiring how great a memory Simonides62 may be said to have had, or Theodectes,63 or that Cineas,64 who was sent to Rome as ambassador from Pyrrhus, or in more modern times Charmadas;65 or very lately, Metrodorus,66 the Scepsian, or our own contemporary Hortensius:67 I am speaking of ordinary memory, and especially of those men who are employed in any important study or art, the great capacity of whose minds it is hard to estimate, such numbers of things do they remember.

XXV. Should you ask what this leads to, I think we may understand what that power is, and whence we have it. It certainly proceeds neither from the heart, nor from the blood, nor from the brain, nor from atoms; whether it be air or fire, I know not, nor am I, as those men are, ashamed in cases where I am ignorant, to own that I am so. If in any other obscure matter I were able to assert anything positively, then I would swear that the soul, be it air or fire, is divine. Just think, I beseech you,—can you imagine this wonderful power of memory to be sown in, or to be a part of the composition [pg 311] of the earth, or of this dark and gloomy atmosphere? Though you cannot apprehend what it is, yet you see what kind of thing it is, or if you do not quite see that, yet you certainly see how great it is. What then? shall we imagine that there is a kind of measure in the soul, into which, as into a vessel, all that we remember is poured? that indeed is absurd; for how shall we form any idea of the bottom, or of the shape or fashion of such a soul as that? and again how are we to conceive how much it is able to contain? Shall we imagine the soul to receive impressions like wax, and memory to be marks of the impressions made on the soul? What are the characters of the words, what of the facts themselves? and what again is that prodigious greatness which can give rise to impressions of so many things? What, lastly, is that power which investigates secret things, and is called invention and contrivance? Does that man seem to be compounded of this earthly, mortal, and perishing nature, who first invented names for everything, which, if you will believe Pythagoras, is the highest pitch of wisdom? or he, who collected the dispersed inhabitants of the world, and united them, in the bonds of social life? or he, who confined the sounds of the voice, which used to seem infinite, to the marks of a few letters? or he who first observed the courses of the planets, their progressive motions, their laws? These were all great men; but they were greater still, who invented food, and raiment, and houses; who introduced civilization amongst us, and armed us against the wild beasts; by whom we were made sociable and polished, and so proceeded from the necessaries of life to its embellishments. For we have provided great entertainments for the ears, by inventing and modulating the variety and nature of sounds; we have learnt to survey the stars, not only those that are fixed, but also those which are improperly called wandering; and the man who has acquainted himself with all their revolutions and motions, is fairly considered to have a soul resembling the soul of that Being who has created those stars in the heavens: for when Archimedes described in a sphere the motions of the moon, sun, and five planets, he did the very same thing as Plato's God, in his Timæus, who made the world; causing one revolution to adjust motions differing as much as possible in their slowness and velocity. Now, allowing that what we [pg 312] see in the world could not be effected without a God, Archimedes could not have imitated the same motions in his sphere without a divine soul.

XXVI. To me, indeed, it appears that even those studies which are more common and in greater esteem are not without some divine energy: so that I do not consider that a poet can produce a serious and sublime poem, without some divine impulse working on his mind; nor do I think that eloquence, abounding with sonorous words and fruitful sentences, can flow thus, without something beyond mere human power. But as to philosophy, that is the parent of all the arts, what can we call that but, as Plato says, a gift, or as I express it, an invention of the Gods? This it was which first taught us the worship of the Gods; and then led us on to justice, which arises from the human race being formed into society: and after that it imbued us with modesty, and elevation of soul. This it was which dispersed darkness from our souls, as it is dispelled from our eyes, enabling us to see all things that are above or below, the beginning, end, and middle of every thing. I am convinced entirely, that that which could effect so many and such great things must be a divine power. For what is memory of words and circumstances? what, too, is invention? Surely they are things than which nothing greater can be conceived in a God! for I do not imagine the Gods to be delighted with nectar and ambrosia, or with Juventas presenting them with a cup; nor do I put any faith in Homer, who says that Ganymede was carried away by the Gods, on account of his beauty, in order to give Jupiter his wine. Too weak reasons for doing Laomedon such injury! These were mere inventions of Homer, who gave his Gods the imperfections of men. I would rather that he had given men the perfections of the Gods! those perfections, I mean, of uninterrupted health, wisdom, invention, memory. Therefore the soul (which is, as I say, divine,) is, as Euripides more boldly expresses it, a God. And thus, if the divinity be air or fire, the soul of man is the same: for as that celestial nature has nothing earthly or humid about it, in like manner the soul of man is also free from both these qualities: but if it is of that fifth kind of nature, first introduced by Aristotle, then both Gods and souls are of the same.

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XXVII. As this is my opinion, I have explained it in these very words, in my book on Consolation.68 The origin of the soul of man is not to be found upon earth, for there is nothing in the soul of a mixed or concrete nature, or that has any appearance of being formed or made out of the earth; nothing even humid, or airy, or fiery: for what is there in natures of that kind which has the power of memory, understanding, or thought? which can recollect the past; foresee the future; and comprehend the present? for these capabilities are confined to divine beings; nor can we discover any source from which men could derive them, but from God. There is therefore a peculiar nature and power in the soul, distinct from those natures which are more known and familiar to us. Whatever, then, that is which thinks, and which has understanding, and volition, and a principle of life, is heavenly and divine, and on that account must necessarily be eternal: nor can God himself, who is known to us, be conceived to be anything else except a soul free and unembarrassed, distinct from all mortal concretion, acquainted with everything, and giving motion to everything, and itself endued with perpetual motion.

XXVIII. Of this kind and nature is the intellect of man. Where, then, is this intellect seated, and of what character is it? where is your own, and what is its character? are you able to tell? If I have not faculties for knowing all that I could desire to know, will you not even allow me to make use of those which I have? The soul has not sufficient capacity to comprehend itself; yet, the soul, like the eye, though it has no distinct view of itself, sees other things: it does not see (which is of least consequence) its own shape; perhaps not, though it possibly may; but we will pass that by: but it certainly sees that it has vigour, sagacity, memory, motion, and velocity; these are all great, divine, eternal properties. What its appearance is, or where it dwells, it is not necessary even to inquire. As when we behold, first of all, the beauty and brilliant appearance of the heavens; secondly, the vast velocity of its revolutions, beyond power of our imagination to conceive; then the vicissitudes of nights and days; the [pg 314] four-fold division of the seasons, so well adapted to the ripening of the fruits of the earth, and the temperature of our bodies; and after that we look up to the sun, the moderator and governor of all these things; and view the moon, by the increase and decrease of its light, marking, as it were, and appointing our holy days; and see the five planets, borne on in the same circle, divided into twelve parts, preserving the same course with the greatest regularity, but with utterly dissimilar motions amongst themselves; and the nightly appearance of the heaven, adorned on all sides with stars; then, the globe of the earth, raised above the sea, and placed in the centre of the universe, inhabited and cultivated in its two opposite extremities; one of which, the place of our habitation, is situated towards the north pole, under the seven stars:—

Where the cold northern blasts, with horrid sound,
Harden to ice the snowy cover'd ground,—

the other, towards the south pole, is unknown to us; but is called by the Greeks ἀντίχθονα: the other parts are uncultivated, because they are either frozen with cold, or burnt up with heat; but where we dwell, it never fails in its season,

To yield a placid sky, to bid the trees
Assume the lively verdure of their leaves:
The vine to bud, and, joyful in its shoots,
Foretell the approaching vintage of its fruits:
The ripen'd corn to sing, whilst all around
Full riv'lets glide; and flowers deck the ground:—

then the multitude of cattle, fit part for food, part for tilling the ground, others for carrying us, or for clothing us; and man himself, made as it were on purpose to contemplate the heavens and the Gods, and to pay adoration to them; lastly, the whole earth, and wide extending seas, given to man's use. When we view these, and numberless other things, can we doubt that they have some being who presides over them, or has made them (if, indeed, they have been made, as is the opinion of Plato, or if, as Aristotle thinks, they are eternal), or who at all events is the regulator of so immense a fabric and so great a blessing to men? Thus, though you see not the soul of man, as you see not the Deity, yet, as by the contemplation of his works you are led to acknowledge a God, so you must own the divine power of the soul, from its [pg 315] remembering things, from its invention, from the quickness of its motion, and from all the beauty of virtue. Where, then, is it seated, you will say?

XXIX. In my opinion it is seated in the head, and I can bring you reasons for my adopting that opinion. At present, let the soul reside where it will, you certainly have one in you. Should you ask what its nature is? It has one peculiarly its own; but admitting it to consist of fire, or air, it does not affect the present question; only observe this, that as you are convinced there is a God, though you are ignorant where he resides, and what shape he is of; in like manner you ought to feel assured that you have a soul, though you cannot satisfy yourself of the place of its residence, nor its form. In our knowledge of the soul, unless we are grossly ignorant of natural philosophy, we cannot but be satisfied that it has nothing but what is simple, unmixed, uncompounded, and single; and if this is admitted, then it cannot be separated, nor divided, nor dispersed, nor parted, and therefore it cannot perish; for to perish implies a parting asunder, a division, a disunion of those parts which, whilst it subsisted, were held together by some band; and it was because he was influenced by these and similar reasons that Socrates neither looked out for anybody to plead for him when he was accused, nor begged any favour from his judges, but maintained a manly freedom, which was the effect not of pride, but of the true greatness of his soul: and on the last day of his life, he held a long discourse on this subject; and a few days before, when he might have been easily freed from his confinement, he refused to be so, and when he had almost actually hold of that deadly cup, he spoke with the air of a man not forced to die, but ascending into heaven.

XXX. For so indeed he thought himself, and thus he spoke:—“That there were two ways, and that the souls of men, at their departure from the body, took different roads, for those which were polluted with vices, that are common to men, and which had given themselves up entirely to unclean desires, and had become so blinded by them as to have habituated themselves to all manner of debauchery and profligacy, or to have laid detestable schemes for the ruin of their country, took a road wide of that which led to the assembly of the Gods: but they who had preserved themselves [pg 316] upright and chaste, and free from the slightest contagion of the body, and had always kept themselves as far as possible at a distance from it, and whilst on earth, had proposed to themselves as a model the life of the Gods, found the return to those beings from whom they had come an easy one.” Therefore he argues, that all good and wise men should take example from the swans, who are considered sacred to Apollo, not without reason, but particularly because they seem to have received the gift of divination from him, by which, foreseeing how happy it is to die, they leave this world with singing and joy. Nor can any one doubt of this, unless it happens to us who think with care and anxiety about the soul, (as is often the case with those who look earnestly at the setting sun,) to lose the sight of it entirely: and so the mind's eye viewing itself, sometimes grows dull, and for that reason we become remiss in our contemplation. Thus our reasoning is borne about, harassed with doubts and anxieties, not knowing how to proceed, but measuring back again those dangerous tracts which it has passed, like a boat tossed about on the boundless ocean. But these reflections are of long standing, and borrowed from the Greeks. But Cato left this world in such a manner, as if he were delighted that he had found an opportunity of dying; for that God who presides in us, forbids our departure hence without his leave. But when God himself has given us a just cause, as formerly he did to Socrates, and lately to Cato, and often to many others,—in such a case, certainly every man of sense would gladly exchange this darkness, for that light: not that he would forcibly break from the chains that held him, for that would be against the law; but like a man released from prison by a magistrate, or some lawful authority, so he too would walk away, being released and discharged by God. For the whole life of a philosopher is, as the same philosopher says, a meditation on death.

XXXI. For what else is it that we do, when we call off our minds from pleasure, that is to say, from our attention to the body, from the managing our domestic estate, which is a sort of handmaid and servant of the body, or from duties of a public nature, or from all other serious business whatever? What else is it, I say, that we do, but invite the soul to reflect on itself? oblige it to converse with itself, and, as far as possible, [pg 317] break off its acquaintance with the body? Now to separate the soul from the body, is to learn to die, and nothing else whatever. Wherefore take my advice; and let us meditate on this, and separate ourselves as far as possible from the body, that is to say, let us accustom ourselves to die. This will be enjoying a life like that of heaven even while we remain on earth; and when we are carried thither and released from these bonds, our souls will make their progress with more rapidity: for the spirit which has always been fettered by the bonds of the body, even when it is disengaged, advances more slowly, just as those do who have worn actual fetters for many years: but when we have arrived at this emancipation from the bonds of the body, then indeed we shall begin to live, for this present life is really death, which I could say a good deal in lamentation for if I chose.

A. You have lamented it sufficiently in your book on Consolation; and when I read that, there is nothing which I desire more than to leave these things: but that desire is increased a great deal by what I have just heard.

M. The time will come, and that soon, and with equal certainty whether you hang back or press forward; for time flies. But death is so far from being an evil, as it lately appeared to you, that I am inclined to suspect, not that there is no other thing which is an evil to man, but rather that there is nothing else which is a real good to him; if, at least, it is true, that we become thereby either Gods ourselves, or companions of the Gods. However, this is not of so much consequence, as there are some of us here who will not allow this. But I will not leave off discussing this point till I have convinced you that death can, upon no consideration whatever, be an evil.

A. How can it, after what I now know?

M. Do you ask how it can? There are crowds of arguers who contradict this; and those not only Epicureans, whom I regard very little, but, some how or other, almost every man of letters; and, above all, my favourite Dicæarchus is very strenuous in opposing the immortality of the soul: for he has written three books, which are entitled Lesbiacs, because the discourse was held at Mitylene, in which he seeks to prove that souls are mortal. The Stoics, on the other hand, allow us as long a time for enjoyment as the life [pg 318] of a raven; they allow the soul to exist a great while, but are against its eternity.

XXXII. Are you willing to hear then why, even allowing this, death cannot be an evil?

A. As you please; but no one shall drive me from my belief in mortality.

M. I commend you indeed, for that; though we should not be too confident in our belief of anything; for we are frequently disturbed by some subtle conclusion; we give way and change our opinions even in things that are more evident than this; for in this there certainly is some obscurity. Therefore, should anything of this kind happen, it is well to be on our guard.

A. You are right in that, but I will provide against any accident.

M. Have you any objection to our dismissing our friends the Stoics? those, I mean, who allow that the souls exist after they have left the body, but yet deny that they exist for ever.

A. We certainly may dismiss the consideration of those men who admit that which is the most difficult point in the whole question, namely, that a soul can exist independently of the body, and yet refuse to grant that, which is not only very easy to believe, but which is even the natural consequence of the concession which they have made, that if they can exist for a length of time, they most likely do so for ever.

M. You take it right; that is the very thing: shall we give, therefore, any credit to Panætius, when he dissents from his master, Plato? whom he everywhere calls divine, the wisest, the holiest of men, the Homer of philosophers; and whom he opposes in nothing except this single opinion of the soul's immortality: for he maintains what nobody denies, that everything which has been generated will perish; and that even souls are generated, which he thinks appears from their resemblance to those of the men who begot them; for that likeness is as apparent in the turn of their minds as in their bodies. But he brings another reason; that there is nothing which is sensible of pain which is not also liable to disease; but whatever is liable to disease must be liable to death; the soul is sensible of pain, therefore it is liable to perish.

XXXIII. These arguments may be refuted; for they proceed [pg 319] from his not knowing that while discussing the subject of the immortality of the soul, he is speaking of the intellect, which is free from all turbid motion; but not of those parts of the mind in which those disorders, anger and lust, have their seat, and which he whom he is opposing, when he argues thus, imagines to be distinct and separate from the mind. Now this resemblance is more remarkable in beasts, whose souls are void of reason. But the likeness in men consists more in the configuration of the bodies; and it is of no little consequence in what bodies the soul is lodged; for there are many things which depend on the body that give an edge to the soul, many which blunt it. Aristotle indeed, says, that all men of great genius are melancholy; so that I should not have been displeased to have been somewhat duller than I am. He instances many, and, as if it were matter of fact, brings his reasons for it: but if the power of those things that proceed from the body be so great as to influence the mind, (for they are the things, whatever they are, that occasion this likeness,) still that does not necessarily prove why a similitude of souls should be generated. I say nothing about cases of unlikeness. I wish Panætius could be here; he lived with Africanus; I would inquire of him which of his family the nephew of Africanus's brother was like? Possibly he may in person have resembled his father; but in his manners, he was so like every profligate abandoned man, that it was impossible to be more so. Who did the grandson of P. Crassus, that wise, and eloquent, and most distinguished man resemble? Or the relations and sons of many other excellent men, whose names there is no occasion to mention? But what are we doing? Have we forgotten that our purpose was, when we had sufficiently spoken on the subject of the immortality of the soul, to prove that, even if the soul did perish, there would be, even then, no evil in death?

A. I remembered it very well; but I had no dislike to your digressing a little from your original design, whilst you were talking of the soul's immortality.

M. I perceive you have sublime thoughts, and are eager to mount up to heaven.

XXXIV. I am not without hopes myself that such may be our fate. But admit what they assert; that the soul does not continue to exist after death.

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A. Should it be so, I see that we are then deprived of the hopes of a happier life.

M. But what is there of evil in that opinion? For let the soul perish as the body: is there any pain, or indeed any feeling at all in the body after death? No one, indeed, asserts that; though Epicurus charges Democritus with saying so; but the disciples of Democritus deny it. No sense, therefore, remains in the soul; for the soul is nowhere; where, then, is the evil? for there is nothing but these two things. Is it because the mere separation of the soul and body cannot be effected without pain? but even should that be granted, how small a pain must that be! Yet I think that it is false; and that it is very often unaccompanied by any sensation at all, and sometimes even attended with pleasure: but certainly the whole must be very trifling, whatever it is, for it is instantaneous. What makes us uneasy, or rather gives us pain, is the leaving all the good things of life. But just consider, if I might not more properly say, leaving the evils of life; only there is no reason for my now occupying myself in bewailing the life of man, and yet I might, with very good reason; but what occasion is there, when what I am labouring to prove is that no one is miserable after death, to make life more miserable by lamenting over it? I have done that in the book which I wrote, in order to comfort myself as well as I could. If, then, our inquiry is after truth, death withdraws us from evil, not from good. This subject is indeed so copiously handled by Hegesias, the Cyrenaic philosopher, that he is said to have been forbid by Ptolemy from delivering his lectures in the schools, because some who heard him made away with themselves. There is too, an epigram of Callimachus,69 on Cleombrotus of Ambracia; who, without any misfortune having befallen him, as he says, threw himself [pg 321] from a wall into the sea, after he had read a boot of Plato's. The book I mentioned of that Hegesias, is called Ἀποκαρτερῶν, or “A Man who starves himself,” in which a man is represented as killing himself by starvation, till he is prevented by his friends, in reply to whom he reckons up all the miseries of human life: I might do the same, though not so fully as he, who thinks it not worth any man's while to live. I pass over others. Was it even worth my while to live, for, had I died before I was deprived of the comforts of my own family, and of the honours which I received for my public services, would not death have taken me from the evils of life, rather than from its blessings?

XXXV. Mention, therefore, some one, who never knew distress; who never received any blow from fortune. The great Metellus had four distinguished sons; but Priam had fifty, seventeen of which were born to him by his lawful wife: Fortune had the same power over both, though she exercised it but on one: for Metellus was laid on his funeral pile by a great company of sons and daughters, grandsons, and grandaughters; but Priam fell by the hand of an enemy, after having fled to the altar, and having seen himself deprived of all his numerous progeny. Had he died before the death of his sons and the ruin of his kingdom,

With all his mighty wealth elate,
Under rich canopies of state;

would he then have been taken from good or from evil? It would indeed, at that time, have appeared that he was being taken away from good; yet surely, it would have turned out advantageous for him; nor should we have had these mournful verses,—

Lo! these all perish'd in one flaming pile;
The foe old Priam did of life beguile,
And with his blood, thy altar, Jove, defile.

As if anything better could have happened to him at that time, than to lose his life in that manner; but yet, if it had befallen him sooner, it would have prevented all those consequences; but even as it was it released him from any further sense of them. The case of our friend Pompey70 was something [pg 322] better: once, when he had been very ill at Naples, the Neapolitans on his recovery put crowns on their heads, as did those of Puteoli; the people flocked from the country to congratulate him;—it is a Grecian custom, and a foolish one; still it is a sign of good fortune. But the question is, had he died, would he have been taken from good, or from evil? Certainly from evil. He would not have been engaged in a war with his father-in-law;71 he would not have taken up arms before he was prepared; he would not have left his own house, nor fled from Italy; he would not, after the loss of his army, have fallen unarmed into the hands of slaves, and been put to death by them; his children would not have been destroyed; nor would his whole fortune have come into the possession of the conquerors. Did not he, then, who, if he had died at that time would have died in all his glory, owe all the great and terrible misfortunes into which he subsequently fell to the prolongation of his life at that time?

XXXVI. These calamities are avoided by death, for even though they should never happen, there is a possibility that they may; but it never occurs to a man, that such a disaster may befal him himself. Every one hopes to be as happy as Metellus: as if the number of the happy exceeded that of the miserable; or as if there were any certainty in human affairs; or again, as if there were more rational foundation for hope than fear. But should we grant them even this, that men are by death deprived of good things, would it follow that the dead are therefore in need of the good things of life, and are miserable on that account? Certainly they must necessarily say so. Can he who does not exist, be in need of anything? To be in need of, has a melancholy sound, because it in effect amounts to this,—he had, but he has not; he regrets, he looks back upon, he wants. Such are, I suppose, the distresses of one who is in need of. Is he deprived of eyes? to be blind is misery. Is he destitute of children? not to have them is misery. These considerations apply to the living, but the dead are neither in need of the blessings of [pg 323] life, nor of life itself. But when I am speaking of the dead I am speaking of those who have no existence. But would any one say of us, who do exist, that we want horns or wings? Certainly not. Should it be asked, why not? the answer would be, that not to have what neither custom nor nature has fitted you for, would not imply a want of them, even though you were sensible that you had them not. This argument should be pressed over and over again, after that point has once been established, which if souls are mortal there can be no dispute about—I mean, that the destruction of them by death is so entire, as to remove even the least suspicion of any sense remaining. When, therefore, this point is once well grounded and established, we must correctly define what the term, to want, means; that there may be no mistake in the word. To want, then, signifies this; to be without that which you would be glad to have: for inclination for a thing is implied in the word want; excepting when we use the word in an entirely different sense, as we do when we say that a fever is wanting to any one. For it admits of a different interpretation, when you are without a certain thing, and are sensible that you are without it, but yet can easily dispense with having it. “To want,” then, is an expression which you cannot apply to the dead, nor is the mere fact of wanting something necessarily lamentable. The proper expression ought to be, “that they want a good,” and that is an evil.

But a living man does not want a good, unless he is distressed without it; and yet, we can easily understand how any man alive can be without a kingdom. But this cannot be predicated of you with any accuracy: it might have been asserted of Tarquin, when he was driven from his kingdom: but when such an expression is used respecting the dead it is absolutely unintelligible. For to want, implies to be sensible; but the dead are insensible; therefore the dead can be in no want.

XXXVII. But what occasion is there to philosophize here, in a matter with which we see that philosophy is but little concerned? How often have not only our generals, but whole armies, rushed on certain death! but if it had been a thing to be feared, L. Brutus would never have fallen in fight, to prevent the return of that tyrant whom he had expelled; nor would Decius the father have been slain in fighting with [pg 324] the Latins; nor would his son, when engaged with the Etruscans, nor his grandson with Pyrrhus, have exposed themselves to the enemy's darts. Spain would never have seen, in one campaign, the Scipios fall fighting for their country; nor would the plains of Cannæ have witnessed the death of Paulus and Geminus; or Venusia, that of Marcellus: nor would the Latins have beheld the death of Albinus; nor the Lucanians, that of Gracchus. But are any of these miserable now? nay, they were not so even at the first moment after they had breathed their last: nor can any one be miserable after he has lost all sensation. Oh, but the mere circumstance of being without sensation is miserable. It might be so if being without sensation were the same thing as wanting it; but as it is evident there can be nothing of any kind in that which has no existence, what can there be afflicting to that which can neither feel want, nor be sensible of anything? We might be said to have repeated this over too often, only that here lies all that the soul shudders at, from the fear of death. For whoever can clearly apprehend that which is as manifest as the light, that when both soul and body are consumed, and there is a total destruction, then that which was an animal, becomes nothing; will clearly see, that there is no difference between a Hippocentaur, which never had existence, and king Agamemnon; and that M. Camillus is no more concerned about this present civil war, than I was at the sacking of Rome, when he was living.

XXXVIII. Why, then, should Camillus be affected with the thoughts of these things happening three hundred and fifty years after his time? And why should I be uneasy if I were to expect that some nation might possess itself of this city, ten thousand years hence? Because so great is our regard for our country, as not to be measured by our own feeling, but by its own actual safety.

Death, then, which threatens us daily from a thousand accidents, and which, by reason of the shortness of life, can never be far off, does not deter a wise man from making such provision for his country and his family, as he hopes may last for ever; and from regarding posterity, of which he can never have any real perception, as belonging to himself. Wherefore a man may act for eternity, even though he be persuaded that his soul is mortal; not, indeed, from a desire of glory, [pg 325] which he will be insensible of, but from a principle of virtue, which glory will inevitably attend, though that is not his object. The process, indeed, of nature is this; that just in the same manner as our birth was the beginning of things with us, so death will be the end; and as we were no ways concerned with anything before we were born, so neither shall we be after we are dead; and in this state of things where can the evil be? since death has no connexion with either the living or the dead; the one have no existence at all, the other are not yet affected by it. They who make the least of death consider it as having a great resemblance to sleep; as if any one would choose to live ninety years on condition that, at the expiration of sixty, he should sleep out the remainder. The very swine would not accept of life on those terms, much less I: Endymion, indeed, if you listen to fables, slept once on a time, on Latmus, a mountain of Caria, and for such a length of time that I imagine he is not as yet awake. Do you think that he is concerned at the Moon's being in difficulties, though it was by her that he was thrown into that sleep, in order that she might kiss him while sleeping; for what should he be concerned for who has not even any sensation? You look on sleep as an image of death, and you take that on you daily; and have you, then, any doubt that there is no sensation in death, when you see there is none in sleep, which is its near resemblance?

XXXIX. Away, then, with those follies which are little better than the old women's dreams, such as that it is miserable to die before our time. What time do you mean? That of nature? But she has only lent you life, as she might lend you money, without fixing any certain time for its repayment. Have you any grounds of complaint, then, that she recals it at her pleasure? for you received it on these terms. They that complain thus, allow, that if a young child dies the survivors ought to bear his loss with equanimity; that if an infant in the cradle dies, they ought not even to utter a complaint; and yet nature has been more severe with them in demanding back what she gave. They answer by saying, that such have not tasted the sweets of life; while the other had begun to conceive hopes of great happiness, and indeed had begun to realize them. Men judge better in other things, and allow a part to be preferable to none; why do they not admit the same estimate in life? Though [pg 326] Callimachus does not speak amiss in saying, that more tears had flowed from Priam than his son; yet they are thought happier who die after they have reached old age. It would be hard to say why; for I do not apprehend that any one, if a longer life were granted to him, would find it happier. There is nothing more agreeable to a man than prudence, which old age most certainly bestows on a man, though it may strip him of everything else; but what age is long? or what is there at all long to a man? Does not

Old age, though unregarded, still attend
On childhood's pastimes, as the cares of men?

But because there is nothing beyond old age, we call that long; all these things are said to be long or short, according to the proportion of time they were given us for. Aristotle saith, there is a kind of insect near the river Hypanis, which runs from a certain part of Europe into the Pontus, whose life consists but of one day; those that die at the eighth hour, die in full age; those who die when the sun sets are very old, especially when the days are at the longest. Compare our longest life with eternity and we shall be found almost as short-lived as those little animals.

XL. Let us, then, despise all these follies—for what softer name can I give to such levities?—and let us lay the foundation of our happiness in the strength and greatness of our minds, in a contempt and disregard of all earthly things, and in the practice of every virtue. For at present we are enervated by the softness of our imaginations, so that, should we leave this world before the promises of our fortune-tellers are made good to us, we should think ourselves deprived of some great advantages, and seem disappointed and forlorn. But if, through life, we are in continual suspense, still expecting, still desiring, and are in continual pain and torture, good Gods! how pleasant must that journey be which ends in security and ease! How pleased am I with Theramenes! of how exalted a soul does he appear! For, although we never read of him without tears, yet that illustrious man is not to be lamented in his death, who, when he had been imprisoned by the command of the thirty tyrants, drank off, at one draught, as if he had been thirsty, the poisoned cup, and threw the remainder out of it with such force, that it sounded as it fell; and then, on hearing the sound of the drops, he said, with a smile, “I drink this to the most excellent [pg 327] Critias,” who had been his most bitter enemy; for it is customary among the Greeks, at their banquets, to name the person to whom they intend to deliver the cup. This celebrated man was pleasant to the last, even when he had received the poison into his bowels, and truly foretold the death of that man whom he named when he drank the poison, and that death soon followed. Who that thinks death an evil, could approve of the evenness of temper in this great man at the instant of dying? Socrates came, a few years after, to the same prison and the same cup, by as great iniquity on the part of his judges as the tyrants displayed when they executed Theramenes. What a speech is that which Plato makes him deliver before his judges, after they had condemned him to death!

XLI. “I am not without hopes, O judges, that it is a favourable circumstance for me that I am condemned to die; for one of these two things must necessarily happen, either that death will deprive me entirely of all sense, or else, that by dying I shall go from hence into some other place; wherefore, if all sense is utterly extinguished, and if death is like that sleep which sometimes is so undisturbed as to be even without the visions of dreams—in that case, O ye good Gods! what gain is it to die! or what length of days can be imagined which would be preferable to such a night? And if the constant course of future time is to resemble that night, who is happier than I am? But if, on the other hand, what is said be true, namely, that death is but a removal to those regions where the souls of the departed dwell, then that state must be more happy still, to have escaped from those who call themselves judges, and to appear before such as are truly so, Minos, Rhadamanthus, Æacus, Triptolemus, and to meet with those who have lived with justice and probity!72 Can this [pg 328] change of abode appear otherwise than great to you? What bounds can you set to the value of conversing with Orpheus, and Musæus, and Homer, and Hesiod? I would even, were it possible, willingly die often, in order to prove the certainty of what I speak of. What delight must it be to meet with Palamedes, and Ajax, and others, who have been betrayed by the iniquity of their judges! Then, also, should I experience the wisdom of even that king of kings, who led his vast troops to Troy, and the prudence of Ulysses and Sisyphus: nor should I then be condemned for prosecuting my inquiries on such subjects in the same way in which I have done here on earth. And even you, my judges, you, I mean, who have voted for my acquittal, do not you fear death, for nothing bad can befal a good man, whether he be alive or dead; nor are his concerns ever overlooked by the Gods, nor in my case either has this befallen me by chance; and I have nothing to charge those men with who accused or condemned me, but the fact that they believed that they were doing me harm.” In this manner he proceeded: there is no part of his speech which I admire more than his last words: “But it is time,” says he, “for me now to go hence, that I may die; and for you, that you may continue to live. Which condition of the two is the best, the immortal Gods know; but I do not believe that any mortal man does.”

XLII. Surely I would rather have had this man's soul, than all the fortunes of those who sat in judgment on him; although that very thing which he says no one except the Gods knows, namely, whether life or death is most preferable, he knows himself, for he had previously stated his opinion on it; but he maintained to the last that favourite maxim of his, of affirming nothing. And let us, too, adhere to this rule of not thinking anything an evil, which is a general provision of nature: and let us assure ourselves, that if death is an evil, it is an eternal evil, for death seems to be the end of a miserable life; but if death is a misery, there can be no end of that. But why do I mention Socrates, or Theramenes, men distinguished by the glory of virtue and wisdom? when a certain Lacedæmonian, whose name is not so much as known, held death in such contempt, that, when led to it by the ephori, he bore a cheerful and pleasant countenance; and, when he was asked by one of his enemies whether he despised [pg 329] the laws of Lycurgus? “On the contrary,” answered he, “I am greatly obliged to him, for he has amerced me in a fine which I can pay without borrowing, or taking up money at interest.” This was a man worthy of Sparta! and I am almost persuaded of his innocence because of the greatness of his soul. Our own city has produced many such. But why should I name generals, and other men of high rank, when Cato could write, that legions have marched with alacrity to that place from whence they never expected to return? With no less greatness of soul fell the Lacedæmonians at Thermopylæ, on whom Simonides wrote the following epitaph:—

Go, stranger, tell the Spartans, here we lie,
Who to support their laws durst boldly die.73

What was it that Leonidas, their general, said to them? “March on with courage, my Lacedæmonians; to-night, perhaps, we shall sup in the regions below.” This was a brave nation whilst the laws of Lycurgus were in force. One of them, when a Persian had said to him in conversation, “We shall hide the sun from your sight by the number of our arrows and darts;” replied, “We shall fight then in the shade.” Do I talk of their men? how great was that Lacedæmonian woman, who had sent her son to battle, and when she heard that he was slain, said, “I bore him for that purpose, that you might have a man who durst die for his country.” However, it is a matter of notoriety that the Spartans were bold and hardy, for the discipline of a republic has great influence.

XLIII. What, then, have we not reason to admire Theodorus the Cyrenean, a philosopher of no small distinction? who, when Lysimachus threatened to crucify him, bade him keep those menaces for his courtiers: “to Theodorus it makes no difference whether he rot in the air or under ground.” By which saying of the philosopher I am reminded to say something of the custom of funerals and sepulture, and of funeral ceremonies, which is, indeed, not a difficult subject, especially if we recollect what has been before said about insensibility. The opinion of Socrates respecting this matter is clearly stated in the book which treats of his death; or [pg 330] which we have already said so much; for when he had discussed the immortality of the soul, and when the time of his dying was approaching rapidly, being asked by Criton how he would be buried, “I have taken a great deal of pains," saith he, "my friends, to no purpose, for I have not convinced our Criton, that I shall fly from hence, and leave no part of me behind: notwithstanding, Criton, if you can overtake me, wheresoever you get hold of me, bury me as you please: but believe me, none of you will be able to catch me when I have flown away from hence.” That was excellently said, inasmuch as he allows his friend to do as he pleased, and yet shows his indifference about anything of this kind. Diogenes was rougher, though of the same opinion, but in his character of a Cynic, he expressed himself in a somewhat harsher manner; he ordered himself to be thrown anywhere without being buried. And when his friends replied, “What, to the birds and beasts?” “By no means,” saith he; “place my staff near me, that I may drive them away.” “How can you do that,” they answer, “for you will not perceive them?” “How am I then injured by being torn by those animals, if I have no sensation?” Anaxagoras, when he was at the point of death, at Lampsacus, and was asked by his friends, whether, if anything should happen to him, he would not choose to be carried to Clazomenæ, his country, made this excellent answer,—“There is,” says he, “no occasion for that, for all places are at an equal distance from the infernal regions.” There is one thing to be observed with respect to the whole subject of burial, that it relates to the body, whether the soul live or die. Now with regard to the body, it is clear that whether the soul live or die, that has no sensation.

XLIV. But all things are full of errors. Achilles drags Hector, tied to his chariot; he thinks, I suppose, he tears his flesh, and that Hector feels the pain of it; therefore, he avenges himself on him, as he imagines; but Hecuba bewails this as a sore misfortune—

I saw (a dreadful sight!) great Hector slain,
Dragg'd at Achilles' car along the plain.

What Hector? or how long will he be Hector? Accius is better in this, and Achilles, too, is sometimes reasonable—

I Hector's body to his sire convey'd,
Hector I sent to the infernal shade.
[pg 331]

It was not Hector that you dragged along, but a body that had been Hector's. Here another starts from underground, and will not suffer his mother to sleep—

To thee I call, my once loved parent, hear,
Nor longer with thy sleep relieve thy care;
Thine eye which pities not is closed—arise,
Ling'ring I wait the unpaid obsequies.

When these verses are sung with a slow and melancholy tune, so as to affect the whole theatre with sadness, one can scarce help thinking those unhappy that are unburied—

Ere the devouring dogs and hungry vultures ...

He is afraid he shall not have the use of his limbs so well if they are torn to pieces, but is under no such apprehensions if they are burned—

Nor leave my naked bones, my poor remains,
To shameful violence, and bloody stains.

I do not understand what he could fear who could pour forth such excellent verses to the sound of the flute. We must, therefore, adhere to this, that nothing is to be regarded after we are dead, though many people revenge themselves on their dead enemies. Thyestes pours forth several curses in some good lines of Ennius, praying, first of all, that Atreus may perish by a shipwreck, which is certainly a very terrible thing, for such a death is not free from very grievous sensations. Then follow these unmeaning expressions:—

On the sharp rock his mangled carcase lie,
His entrails torn, to hungry birds a prey;
May he convulsive writhe his bleeding side,
And with his clotted gore the stones be dyed.

The rocks themselves were not more destitute of feeling than he who was hanging to them by his side; though Thyestes imagines he is wishing him the greatest torture. It would be torture indeed, if he were sensible; but as he is not, it can be none; then how very unmeaning is this!

Let him, still hovering o'er the Stygian wave,
Ne'er reach the body's peaceful port, the grave.

You see under what mistaken notions all this is said. He imagines the body has its haven, and that the dead are at rest in their graves. Pelops was greatly to blame in not having informed and taught his son what regard was due to everything.

[pg 332]

XLV. But what occasion is there to animadvert on the opinions of individuals, when we may observe whole nations to fall into all sorts of errors? The Egyptians embalm their dead, and keep them in their houses; the Persians dress them over with wax, and then bury them, that they may preserve their bodies as long as possible. It is customary with the Magi, to bury none of their order, unless they have been first torn by wild beasts. In Hyrcania, the people maintain dogs for the public use, the nobles have their own; and we know that they have a good breed of dogs; but every one, according to his ability, provides himself with some, in order to be torn by them; and they hold that to be the best kind of interment. Chrysippus, who is curious in all kinds of historical facts, has collected many other things of this kind, but some of them are so offensive as not to admit of being related. All that has been said of burying, is not worth our regard with respect to ourselves, though it is not to be neglected as to our friends, provided we are thoroughly aware that the dead are insensible; but the living, indeed, should consider what is due to custom and opinion, only they should at the same time consider that the dead are no ways interested in it. But death truly is then met with the greatest tranquillity, when the dying man can comfort himself with his own praise. No one dies too soon who has finished the course of perfect virtue. I myself have known many occasions when I have seemed in danger of immediate death; oh! how I wish it had come to me, for I have gained nothing by the delay. I had gone over and over again the duties of life; nothing remained but to contend with fortune. If reason, then, cannot sufficiently fortify us to enable us to feel a contempt for death, at all events, let our past life prove that we have lived long enough, and even longer than was necessary; for notwithstanding the deprivation of sense, the dead are not without that good which peculiarly belongs to them, namely, the praise and glory which they have acquired, even though they are not sensible of it. For although there be nothing in glory to make it desirable, yet it follows virtue as its shadow. And the genuine judgment of the multitude on good men, if ever they form any, is more to their own praise, than of any real advantage to the dead; yet I cannot say, however it may be received, that Lycurgus and [pg 333] Solon have no glory from their laws, and from the political constitution which they established in their country; or that Themistocles and Epaminondas have not glory from their martial virtue.

XLVI. For Neptune shall sooner bury Salamis itself with his waters, than the memory of the trophies gained there; and the Bœotian Leuetra shall perish, sooner than the glory of that great battle. And longer still shall fame be before it deserts Curius, and Fabricius, and Calatinus, and the two Scipios, and the two Africani, and Maximus, and Marcellus, and Paulus, and Cato, and Lælius, and numberless other heroes; and whoever has caught any resemblance of them, not estimating it by common fame, but by the real applause of good men, may with confidence, when the occasion requires, approach death, on which we are sure that even if the chief good is not continued, at least no evil is. Such a man would even wish to die, whilst in prosperity; for all the favours that could be heaped on him, would not be so agreeable to him, as the loss of them would be painful. That speech of the Lacedæmonian seems to have the same meaning, who, when Diagoras the Rhodian, who had himself been a conqueror at the Olympic games, saw two of his own sons conquerors there on the same day, approached the old man, and congratulating him, said, “You should die now, Diagoras, for no greater happiness can possibly await you.” The Greeks look on these as great things; perhaps they think too highly of them, or rather they did so then. And so he who said this to Diagoras, looking on it as something very glorious, that three men out of one family should have been conquerors there, thought it could answer no purpose to him, to continue any longer in life, where he could only be exposed to a reverse of fortune.

I might have given you a sufficient answer, as it seems to me, on this point, in a few words, as you had allowed the dead were not exposed to any positive evil; but I have spoken at greater length on the subject for this reason, because this is our greatest consolation in the losing and bewailing of our friends. For we ought to bear with moderation any grief which arises from ourselves, or is endured on our own account, lest we should seem to be too much influenced by self-love. But should we suspect our departed friends to be under those evils, which they are generally imagined to be [pg 334] and to be sensible of them, then such a suspicion would give us intolerable pain; and accordingly I wished, for my own sake, to pluck up this opinion by the roots, and on that account I have been perhaps somewhat more prolix than was necessary.

XLVII. A. More prolix than was necessary? certainly not, in my opinion. For I was induced by the former part of your speech, to wish to die; but, by the latter, sometimes not to be unwilling, and at others to be wholly indifferent about it. But the effect of your whole argument is, that I am convinced that death ought not to be classed among the evils.

M. Do you, then, expect that I am to give you a regular peroration, like the rhetoricians, or shall I forego that art?

A. I would not have you give over an art which you have set off to such advantage; and you were in the right to do so, for, to speak the truth, it also has set you off. But what is that peroration? for I should be glad to hear it, whatever it is.

M. It is customary in the schools, to produce the opinions of the immortal gods on death; nor are these opinions the fruits of the imagination alone of the lecturers, but they have the authority of Herodotus and many others. Cleobis and Biton are the first they mention, sons of the Argive priestess; the story is a well-known one. As it was necessary that she should be drawn in a chariot to a certain annual sacrifice, which was solemnized at a temple some considerable distance from the town, and the cattle that were to draw the chariot had not arrived, those two young men whom I have just mentioned, pulling off their garments, and anointing their bodies with oil, harnessed themselves to the yoke. And in this manner the priestess was conveyed to the temple; and when the chariot had arrived at the proper place, she is said to have entreated the goddess to bestow on them, as a reward for their piety, the greatest gift that a God could confer on man. And the young men, after having feasted with their mother, fell asleep; and in the morning they were found dead. Trophonius and Agamedes are said to have put up the same petition, for they having built a temple to Apollo at Delphi, offered supplications to the god, and desired of him some extraordinary reward for their care and labour, particularizing nothing, but asking for whatever was best for [pg 335] men. Accordingly, Apollo signified to them that he would bestow it on them in three days, and on the third day at daybreak they were found dead. And so they say that this was a formal decision pronounced by that god, to whom the rest of the deities have assigned the province of divining with an accuracy superior to that of all the rest.

XLVIII. There is also a story told of Silenus, who, when taken prisoner by Midas, is said to have made him this present for his ransom; namely, that he informed him74 that never to have been born, was by far the greatest blessing that could happen to man; and that the next best thing was, to die very soon; which very opinion Euripides makes use of in his Cresphontes, saying,—

When man is born, 'tis fit, with solemn show,
We speak our sense of his approaching woe,
With other gestures, and a different eye,
Proclaim our pleasure when he's bid to die.75

There is something like this in Crantor's Consolation; for he says, that Terinæus of Elysia, when he was bitterly lamenting the loss of his son, came to a place of divination to be informed why he was visited with so great affliction, and received in his tablet these three verses,—

Thou fool, to murmur at Euthynous' death
The blooming youth to fate resigns his breath:
The fate, whereon your happiness depends,
At once the parent and the son befriends.76

On these and similar authorities they affirm that the question has been determined by the Gods. Nay more; Alcidamas, an ancient rhetorician of the very highest reputation, wrote [pg 336] even in praise of death, which he endeavoured to establish by an enumeration of the evils of life; and his Dissertation has a great deal of eloquence in it, but he was unacquainted with the more refined arguments of the philosophers. By the orators, indeed, to die for our country is always considered not only as glorious, but even as happy; they go back as far as Erechtheus,77 whose very daughters underwent death, for the safety of their fellow-citizens: they instance Codrus, who threw himself into the midst of his enemies, dressed like a common man, that his royal robes might not betray him; because the oracle had declared the Athenians conquerors, if their king was slain. Menœceus78 is not overlooked by them, who, in compliance with the injunctions of an oracle, freely shed his blood for his country. Iphigenia ordered herself to be conveyed to Aulis, to be sacrificed, that her blood might be the cause of spilling that of her enemies.

XLIX. From hence they proceed to instances of a fresher date. Harmodius and Aristogiton are in everybody's mouth; the memory of Leonidas the Lacedæmonian, and Epaminondas the Theban, is as fresh as ever. Those philosophers were not acquainted with the many instances in our country—to give a list of whom would take up too much time—who, we see, considered death desirable as long as it was accompanied with honour. But, notwithstanding this is the correct view of the case, we must use much persuasion, speak as if we were endued with some higher authority, in order to bring men to begin to wish to die, or cease to be afraid of death. For if that last day does not occasion an entire extinction, but a change of abode only, what can be more desirable? and if it on the other hand destroys, and absolutely puts an end to us, what can be preferable to the having a deep sleep fall on us, in the midst of the fatigues of life, and being thus overtaken, to sleep to eternity? And, should this [pg 337] really be the case, then Ennius's language is more consistent with wisdom than Solon's; for our Ennius says—

Let none bestow upon my passing bier
One needless sigh or unavailing tear.

But the wise Solon says—

Let me not unlamented die, but o'er my bier
Burst forth the tender sigh, the friendly tear.79

But let us, if indeed it should be our fate to know the time which is appointed by the Gods for us to die, prepare ourselves for it, with a cheerful and grateful mind, thinking ourselves like men who are delivered from a jail, and released from their fetters, for the purpose of going back to our eternal habitation, which may be more emphatically called our own; or else to be divested of all sense and trouble. If, on the other hand, we should have no notice given us of this decree, yet let us cultivate such a disposition as to look on that formidable hour of death as happy for us, though shocking to our friends; and let us never imagine anything to be an evil, which is an appointment of the immortal Gods, or of nature, the common parent of all. For it is not by hazard or without design that we have been born and situated as we have. On the contrary, beyond all doubt there is a certain power, which consults the happiness of human nature; and this would neither have produced nor provided for a being, which after having gone through the labours of life was to fall into eternal misery by death. Let us rather infer, that we have a retreat and haven prepared for us, which I wish we could crowd all sail and arrive at; but though the winds should not serve, and we should be driven back, yet we shall to a certainty arrive at that point eventually, though somewhat later. But how can that be miserable for one which all must of necessity undergo? I have given you a peroration, that you might not think I had overlooked or neglected anything.

A. I am persuaded you have not; and, indeed, that peroration has confirmed me.

M. I am glad it has had that effect; but it is now time to consult our health; to-morrow, and all the time we continue [pg 338] in this Tusculan villa, let us consider this subject; and especially those portions of it which may ease our pain, alleviate our fears, and lessen our desires, which is the greatest advantage we can reap from the whole of philosophy.

Book II. On Bearing Pain.

I. Neoptolemus, in Ennius, indeed, says, that the study of philosophy was expedient for him; but that it required limiting to a few subjects, for that to give himself up entirely to it, was what he did not approve of. And for my part, Brutus, I am perfectly persuaded that it is expedient for me to philosophize; for what can I do better, especially as I have no regular occupation? but I am not for limiting my philosophy to a few subjects, as he does; for philosophy is a matter in which it is difficult to acquire a little knowledge without acquainting yourself with many, or all its branches, nor can you well take a few subjects without selecting them out of a great number; nor can any one, who has acquired the knowledge of a few points, avoid endeavouring with the same eagerness to understand more. But still, in a busy life, and in one mainly occupied with military matters, such as that of Neoptolemus was at that time, even that limited degree of acquaintance with philosophy may be of great use, and may yield fruit, not perhaps so plentiful as a thorough knowledge of the whole of philosophy, but yet such as in some degree may at times deliver us from the dominion of our desires, our sorrows, and our fears; just as the effect of that discussion which we lately maintained in my Tusculan villa seemed to be, that a great contempt of death was engendered; which contempt is of no small efficacy towards delivering the mind from fear; for whoever dreads what cannot be avoided, can by no means live with a quiet and tranquil mind. But he who is under no fear of death, not only because it is a thing absolutely inevitable, but also because he is persuaded that death itself hath nothing terrible in it, provides himself with a very great resource towards a happy life. However, I am not ignorant, that many will argue strenuously [pg 339] against us; and, indeed, that is a thing which can never be avoided, except by abstaining from writing at all. For if my Orations, which were addressed to the judgment and approbation of the people, (for that is a popular art, and the object of oratory is popular applause,) have been criticised by some people who are inclined to withhold their praise from every thing but what they are persuaded they can attain to themselves, and who limit their ideas of good speaking by the hopes which they conceive of what they themselves may attain to, and who declare, when they are overwhelmed with a flow of words and sentences, that they prefer the utmost poverty of thought and expression to that plenty and copiousness; (from which arose the Attic kind of oratory, which they who professed it were strangers to, though they have now been some time silenced, and laughed out of the very courts of justice;) what may I not expect, when at present I cannot have the least countenance from the people, by whom I used to be upheld before? For philosophy is satisfied with a few judges, and of her own accord industriously avoids the multitude, who are jealous of it, and utterly displeased with it; so that, should any one undertake to cry down the whole of it, he would have the people on his side; while, if he should attack that school which I particularly profess, he would have great assistance from those of the other philosophers.

II. But I have answered the detractors of philosophy in general, in my Hortensius. And what I had to say in favour of the Academics, is, I think, explained with sufficient accuracy in my four books of the Academic Question.

But yet I am so far from desiring that no one should write against me, that it is what I most earnestly wish; for philosophy would never have been in such esteem in Greece itself, if it had not been for the strength which it acquired from the contentions and disputations of the most learned men; and therefore I recommend all men who have abilities to follow my advice, to snatch this art also from declining Greece, and to transport it to this city; as our ancestors by their study and industry have imported all their other arts, which were worth having. Thus the praise of oratory, raised from a low degree, is arrived at such perfection, that it must now decline, and, as is the nature of all things, verge to its dissolution in a very short time. Let philosophy then derive its birth in [pg 340] Latin language from this time, and let us lend it our assistance, and bear patiently to be contradicted and refuted; and although those men may dislike such treatment who are bound and devoted to certain predetermined opinions, and are under such obligations to maintain them that they are forced, for the sake of consistency, to adhere to them even though they do not themselves wholly approve of them; we, on the other hand, who pursue only probabilities, and who cannot go beyond that which seems really likely, can confute others without obstinacy, and are prepared to be confuted ourselves without resentment. Besides, if these studies are ever brought home to us, we shall not want even Greek libraries, in which there is an infinite number of books, by reason of the multitude of authors among them;—for it is a common practice with many to repeat the same things which have been written by others, which serves no purpose, but to stuff their shelves: and this will be our case, too, if many apply themselves to this study.

III. But let us excite those, if possible, who have had a liberal education, and are masters of an elegant style, and who philosophize with reason and method.

For there is a certain class of them who would willingly be called philosophers, whose books in our language are said to be numerous, and which I do not despise, for indeed I never read them: but still because the authors themselves declare that they write without any regularity, or method, or elegance, or ornament, I do not care to read what must be so void of entertainment. There is no one in the least acquainted with literature, who does not know the style and sentiments of that school; wherefore, since they are at no pains to express themselves well, I do not see why they should be read by anybody except by one another: let them read them, if they please, who are of the same opinions: for in the same manner as all men read Plato, and the other Socratics, with those who sprung from them, even those who do not agree with their opinions, or are very indifferent about them; but scarcely any one except their own disciples, take Epicurus, or Metrodorus, into their hands; so they alone read these Latin books, who think that the arguments contained in them are sound. But, in my opinion, whatever is published, should be recommended to the reading of every man of learning; and though we may not succeed in [pg 341] this ourselves, yet nevertheless we must be sensible that this ought to be the aim of every writer. And on this account I have always been pleased with the custom of the Peripatetics, and Academics, of disputing on both sides of the question; not solely from its being the only method of discovering what is probable on every subject, but also because it affords the greatest scope for practising eloquence; a method that Aristotle first made use of, and afterward all the Aristotelians; and in our own memory Philo, whom we have often heard, appointed one time to treat of the precepts of the rhetoricians, and another for philosophical discussion, to which custom I was brought to conform by my friends at my Tusculum; and accordingly our leisure time was spent in this manner. And therefore, as yesterday before noon, we applied ourselves to speaking; and in the afternoon went down into the Academy: the discussions which were held there I have acquainted you with, not in the manner of a narration, but in almost the very same words which were employed in the debate.

IV. The discourse, then, was introduced in this manner, whilst we were walking, and it was commenced by some such an opening as this.

A. It is not to be expressed how much I was delighted, or rather edified, by your discourse of yesterday. For although I am conscious to myself that I have never been too fond of life, yet at times, when I have considered that there would be an end to this life, and that I must some time or other part with all its good things, a certain dread and uneasiness used to intrude itself on my thoughts; but now, believe me, I am so freed from that kind of uneasiness, that there is nothing that I think less worth any regard.

M. I am not at all surprised at that, for it is the effect of philosophy, which is the medicine of our souls; it banishes all groundless apprehensions, frees us from desires, and drives away fears: but it has not the same influence over all men; it is of very great influence when it falls in with a disposition well adapted to it. For not only does Fortune, as the old proverb says, assist the bold, but reason does so in a still greater degree; for it, by certain precepts, as it were, strengthens even courage itself. You were born naturally great and soaring, and with a contempt for all things which [pg 342] pertain to man alone; therefore a discourse against death took easy possession of a brave soul. But do you imagine that these same arguments have any force with those very persons who have invented, and canvassed, and published them, excepting indeed some very few particular persons? For how few philosophers will you meet with, whose life and manners are conformable to the dictates of reason! who look on their profession, not as a means of displaying their learning, but as a rule for their own practice! who follow their own precepts, and comply with, their own decrees! You may see some of such levity, and such vanity, that it would have been better for them to have been ignorant; some covetous of money, some others eager for glory, many slaves to their lusts; so that their discourses and their actions are most strangely at variance; than which nothing in my opinion can be more unbecoming: for just as if one who professed to teach grammar, should speak with impropriety; or a master of music sing out of tune; such conduct has the worse appearance in these men, because they blunder in the very particular with which they profess that they are well acquainted: so a philosopher, who errs in the conduct of his life, is the more infamous, because he is erring in the very thing which he pretends to teach, and whilst he lays down rules to regulate life by, is irregular in his own life.

V. A. Should this be the case, is it not to be feared that you are dressing up philosophy in false colours? for what stronger argument can there be that it is of little use, than that some very profound philosophers live in a discreditable manner?

M. That, indeed, is no argument at all, for as all the fields which are cultivated are not fruitful, (and this sentiment of Accius is false, and asserted without any foundation,

The ground you sow on, is of small avail;
To yield a crop good seed can never fail:)

it is not every mind which has been properly cultivated that produces fruit;—and to go on with the comparison, as a field, although it may be naturally fruitful cannot produce a crop, without dressing, so neither can the mind, without education; such is the weakness of either without the other. Whereas philosophy is the culture of the mind: this it is which plucks up vices by the roots; prepares the mind for the receiving of [pg 343] seeds, commits them to it, or, as I may say, sows them, in the hope that, when come to maturity, they may produce a plentiful harvest. Let us proceed, then, as we begun; say, if you please, what shall be the subject of our disputation.

A. I look on pain to be the greatest of all evils.

M. What, even greater than infamy?

A. I dare not indeed assert that, and I blush to think I am so soon driven from my ground.

M. You would have had greater reason for blushing had you persevered in it; for what is so unbecoming—what can appear worse to you, than disgrace, wickedness, immorality? To avoid which, what pain is there which we ought not (I will not say to avoid shirking, but even) of our own accord to encounter, and undergo, and even to court?

A. I am entirely of that opinion; but notwithstanding that pain is not the greatest evil, yet surely it is an evil.

M. Do you perceive, then, how much of the terror of pain you have given up on a small hint?

A. I see that plainly; but I should be glad to give up more of it.

M. I will endeavour to make you do so, but it is a great undertaking, and I must have a disposition on your part, which is not inclined to offer any obstacles.

A. You shall have such: for as I behaved yesterday, so now I will follow reason wherever she leads.

VI. M. First, then, I will speak of the weakness of many philosophers, and those too of various sects; the head of whom, both in authority and antiquity, was Aristippus, the pupil of Socrates, who hesitated not to say, that pain was the greatest of all evils. And after him Epicurus easily gave into this effeminate and enervated doctrine. After him Hieronymus, the Rhodian, said, that to be without pain was the chief good, so great an evil did pain appear to him to be. The rest, with the exceptions of Zeno, Aristo, Pyrrho, were pretty much of the same opinion that you were of just now, that it was indeed an evil, but that there were many worse. When then nature herself and a certain generous feeling of virtue at once prevents you from persisting in the assertion that pain is the chief evil, and when you were driven from such an opinion when disgrace was contrasted with pain, shall philosophy, the preceptress of life, cling to this idea [pg 344] for so many ages? What duty of life, what praise, what reputation would be of such consequence that a man should be desirous of gaining it at the expense of submitting to bodily pain, when he has persuaded himself that pain is the greatest evil? On the other side, what disgrace, what ignominy, would he not submit to, that he might avoid pain, when persuaded that it was the greatest of evils? Besides, what person, if it be only true that pain is the greatest of evils, is not miserable, not only when he actually feels pain, but also whenever he is aware that it may befal him? And who is there whom pain may not befal? so that it is clear that there is absolutely no one who can possibly be happy. Metrodorus, indeed, thinks that man perfectly happy, whose body is free from all disorders, and who has an assurance that it will always continue so; but who is there who can be assured of that?

VII. But Epicurus, indeed, says such things that it should seem that his design was only to make people laugh; for he affirms somewhere, that if a wise man were to be burned, or put to the torture,—you expect, perhaps, that he is going to say he would bear it, he would support himself under it with resolution! he would not yield to it, and that, by Hercules! would he very commendable, and worthy of that very Hercules whom I have just invoked: but even this will not satisfy Epicurus, that robust and hardy man! No; his wise man, even if he were in Phalaris's bull, would say, How sweet it is! how little do I regard it! What sweet? is it not sufficient, if it is not disagreeable? But those very men who deny pain to be an evil, are not in the habit of saying that it is agreeable to any one to be tormented; they rather say, that it is cruel, or hard to bear, afflicting, unnatural, but still not an evil: while this man who says that it is the only evil, and the very worst of all evils, yet thinks that a wise man would pronounce it sweet. I do not require of you to speak of pain in the same words which Epicurus uses—a man, as you know, devoted to pleasure: he may make no difference, if he pleases, between Phalaris's bull, and his own bed: but I cannot allow the wise man to be so indifferent about pain. If he bears it with courage, it is sufficient; that he should rejoice in it, I do not expect; for pain is, beyond all question, sharp, bitter, against nature, hard to submit to, and to bear. Observe Philoctetes: We may allow [pg 345] him to lament, for he saw Hercules himself groaning loudly through extremity of pain on mount Œta: the arrows with which Hercules presented him, were then no consolation to him, when