English Translation by C. D. Yonge, who titles the work A Treatise To Prove That Every Man Who is Virtuous is Also Free; new verse divisions (in parentheses) added as in the updated republication by Hendrickson Publishers in 1993. Topical Headings, revised notes, and some minor adjustments in the translation by Robert Kraft [mostly in square brackets]. Some information from the Loeb edition by F. H. Colson (1941) has also been incorporated in the notes. The Greek term used in the title and in certain sections of the work (41-60, 97-100, 136-145) that is often rendered "good" or even "virtuous" is spoudaios (spoudaioV), which can also have the sense of "attentive, ernest, zealous, serious, active" (the root has to do with acting quickly, efficently) -- perhaps even "responsible" or "sincere" (i.e. "authentic"), even "commendable" and "heroic." It is not primarily a moral category (good/evil), although it sometimes is used in that context as well.
I. (1) My former treatise, O Theodotus, was intended to prove that every wicked man was a slave, and that proposition I fully established by many natural and unquestionable arguments; and this other treatise is akin to that one, being its full brother both by the father's and the mother's side, and being even, in some sort, a twin with it, since in it we will proceed to show that every virtuous man is free.
(2) Now it is said, that the most sacred sect of the Pythagoreans, among many other excellent doctrines, taught this one also, that it was not well to proceed by the plain ordinary roads, not meaning to urge us to talk among precipices (for it was not their object to weary our feet with labour), but intimating, by a figurative mode of speech, that we ought not, either in respect of our words or actions, to use only such as are ordinary and unchanged; (3) and all men who have studied philosophy in a genuine spirit, showing themselves obedient to this injunction, have looked upon it as a sentence, or rather as a law of equal weight with a divine oracle; and, departing from the common opinions of men, they have cut out for themselves a new and hitherto untravelled path, inaccessible to such as have no experience of wise maxims and doctrines, building up systems of ideas, which no one who is not pure either may or can handle.
(4) Now when I speak of men not being pure, I mean those who have either been utterly destitute of education, or else who have tasted of it obliquely, and not in a straight-forward manner, changing the stamp of the beauty of wisdom so as to give an impression of the unsightliness of sophistry. (5) These men, not being able to discern that light which is appreciable only by the intellect, by reason of the weakness of the eyes of their soul, which are by nature easily dazzled by too much brightness, like men living innight and darkness, do not believe those who live in the light of day, and regard everything which they speak of as having been them most distinctly through the beams of the sun shining powerfully upon them, as prodigious pictures, like so many visions or dreams, in no respect different from the exhibitions of jugglers; (6) for how can it be anything but a complete marvel and absurdity to call those men exiles, who do not only live in the middle of the city, but who even take a part in the councils, and courts of justice, and public assemblies, and who, at times, fulfil the duties of clerks of the market, and of superintendants of gymnastic games, and of other offices of different kinds; (7) and, on the other hand, to call those men citizens who have either never been enrolled as such at all, or else have had sentences of infamy or of banishment pronounced against them; men who have been driven beyond the boundaries of the land, and who are unable, not only to set foot upon the country, but even to behold their native soil from a distance, unless they are urged on by some insane frenzy to rush upon certain death; for there are innumerable persons to detect and to punish all those who return from banishment, being both sharpened by their own feelings, and acting in obedience to the commands of the laws.
II. (8) Again, how can it be anything but a most unreasonable assertion, one full of complete shamelessness of insanity, (or I really know not what to call it, for the preposterousness of such a saying is so great that it is not easy to find a proper name for it), to call those men rich who are in a state of complete indigence, and destitute of even necessaries, living hardly and miserably, scarcely procuring enough for their daily subsistence, exposed to famine, as their own peculiar lot amongthe general plenty and abundance of others, feeding only on the breath of virtue, as they say that grasshoppers feed on air; (9) and then, on the other hand, to call those men poor who are surrounded on all sides by silver and gold, and abundance of possessions and revenues, and an inexhaustible supply of endless good things of every sort, the wealth of which has not only advantaged all their relations and friends, but has even proceeded beyond the family, and been of benefit to great crowds of persons of the same borough, or of the same tribe as the owners; aye, and going further still, it even supplies the city itself with everything which is needful in either peace or war.
(10) Moreover, those who speak thus have, in obedience to the same dream, ventured to speak of slavery as the real condition of men of the greatest importance and genuine nobility of birth, men who can refer not only to their immediate parents, but to their grandfathers and remote ancestors up to the very first founders of their race, as having been in the highest esteem both among men and women; while, on the other hand, they speak of men, whose last three generations have been branded as slaves, born of slaves, who have never been anything but slaves, as free.
(11) But all these things are, as I have said before, the inventions of men whose intellects are obscured, and who are slaves to opinions utterly under the influence of the outward senses, whose judgment is continually corrupted by those who are brought before its tribunal, and as such is unstable. (12) But they ought, if they had really been at all anxious for the truth, not to show themselves, in respect of their minds, inferior to those who have been diseased in their bodies; for such invalids, out of their desire for good health, commit themselves to the physicians. But these other men hesitate to get rid of that disease of the soul, ignorance, by becoming the associates of wise men; from whom they might not only learn to escape ignorance, but they might also acquire that peculiar possession of man, namely, knowledge.
(13) And since, as that sweetest of all writers, Plato, says, envy is removed far from the divine company, but wisdom, that most divine and communicative of all things, never closes its school, but is continually open to receive all who thirst for salutary doctrines, to whom she pours forth the inexhaustible stream of unalloyed instruction and wisdom, and persuades them to yield to the intoxication of the soberest of all drunkenness. (14) And her disciples, like persons who have been initiated into the sacred and holy mysteries, when they are at last entirely filled with the knowledge proffered to them, reproach themselves bitterly for their previous neglect, as not having taken proper care of their time, but having lived a life which was hardly deserving to be called life, in which they have been utterly destitute of wisdom.
(15) Those men, therefore, act worthily who, in every case and everywhere, have resolved to dedicate the whole of their youth as the first fruits of their earliest vigour to nothing in preference to education, in which it is well for a man to spend both his youth and his age; for as they say that vessels even when empty do nevertheless retain the odour of whatever was originally poured into them,\1/ so also are the souls of the young deeply impressed with the indelible character of those conceptions which were the first to be offered to their minds, which cannot be at all washed away by the torrent of any ideas which flow over the mind afterwards, but they to the last show the character originally given to them.
\1/Yonge notes: Compare Moore --
"You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still."
III. However, we have said enough of these matters. (16) We must now examine with accuracy that which we have taken as the subject of our investigation, that we may not be led astray through being deceived by the indistinctness of words and expressions; but that, understanding accurately what it is of which we are speaking, we may frame our determinations felicitously.
[Definition of "Slavery"]
(17) Slavery, then, is of two kinds; slavery of the soul and slavery of the body.
Now, of our bodies, men are masters; but over our souls, wickedness and the passions have the dominion. And we may speak of freedom in the same manner. For one kind of freedom gives fearlessness of body in respect of any dangers which can come upon it from men of still more powerful body; while the other produces peace to the mind, by putting a check upon the authority of the passions. (18) Now, about the former kind, scarcely any one ever raises any question; for the chances of fortune which happen to men are infinite in number, and it often happens that men of the highest virtue have fallen into unexpected misfortunes, and so have lost the freedom which belonged to them through their birth. But there is room for inquiry about those manners which neither desires, nor fears, nor pleasures, nor pains, have ever brought under the yoke, as if they had come forth out of confinement, and as if the chains by which they had been bound were now loosened.[What is true "freedom," contrasted with "slavery"?]
(19) Therefore, discarding all mention of those kinds of freedom which are only a pretence, and of all those names also which are quite unconnected with nature, but which owe their existence only to opinion, such as slaves born in the house, slaves purchased with money, slaves taken in war, let us now investigate the character of the man who is truly free, who is alone possessed of independence, even if ten thousand men set themselves down as his masters; for he will quote that line of Sophocles, which differs in no respect from the doctrines of the Pythagoreans --
"God is my ruler, and no mortal man."\2/
\2/ Yonge notes: It is not known from what play this line comes; it is placed among the Incerta Fragments, No. 89, by Brunck. [See Aristotle, Eth. Eud. 1241.a37.]
(20) For, in real truth, that man alone is free who has God for his leader; indeed, in my opinion, that man is even the ruler of all others, and has all the affairs of the earth committed to him, being, as it were, the viceroy of a great king, the mortal lieutenant of an immortal sovereign. However, this assertion of the actual authority of the wise man may be postponed to a more suitable opportunity.
We must at present examine minutely the question of his perfect freedom. (21) If now any one advancing deeply into the matter should choose to investigate it closely, he will see clearly that there is no one thing so nearly related to another as independence of action. On which account thereare a great many things which stand in the way of the liberty of a wicked man; covetousness of money, the desire of glory, the love of pleasure, and so on. But the virtuous man has absolutely no obstacle at all since he rises up against, and resists, and overthrows, and tramples on love, and fear, and cowardice, and pain, and all things of that kind, as if they were rivals defeated by him the public games. (22) For he has learnt to disregard all the commands which those most unlawful masters of the soul seek to imposed upon him, out of his admiration and desire for freedom, of which independence and spontaneousness of action are the most especial and inalienable inheritance; and by some persons the poet is praised who composed this iambic --
"No man's a slave who does not fear to die,"\3/
\3/Yonge notes: This line is from an unknown tragedy by Euripides. Fragmenta Incerta, 348 (Brunck). [See also Plutarch, De Poet. Aud. 13.]
as having had an accurate idea of the consequences of such courage; for he conceived that nothing is so calculated to enslave the mind as a fear of death, arising from an excessive desire of living.
IV. (23) But we must consider that not only is the man who feels no anxiety to avoid death incapable of being made a slave, but the same privilege belongs to those who are indifferent to poverty, and want of reputation, and pain, and all those other things which the generality of men look upon as evils, being themselves but evil judges of things, since they pronounce a man a slave from a computation of what things he has need of, looking at the duties which he is compelled to perform, when they ought to look rather at his free and indomitable disposition; (24) for the man who out of a lowly and slavish spirit submits himself to lowly and slavish actions in spite of his deliberate judgment, is really and truly a slave; but he who adapts his circumstances and actions to the present occasion, and who voluntarily and in an enduring spirit bears up against the events of fortune, not looking at any thing of human affairs as extraordinary, but having by diligent consideration fully assured himself that all divine things are honoured by eternal order and happiness; and that all mortal things are tossed about in an everlasting storm and fluctuation of affairs so as to be subject to the greatest variety of changes and vicissitudes, and who, from those considerations, bears all that can befall him with a noble courage, is at once both a philosopher and a free man. (25) On which account he will neither obey every one who imposes a command upon him, not even if he threatens him with insults, and tortures, and even still more formidable evils; but he will bear a gallant spirit, and will cry out in reply to such menaces--
"Yes, burn and scorch my flesh, and glut your hate,
Drinking my life-warm blood; for heaven's stars
Shall quit their place, and darken 'neath the earth,
And earth rise up and take the place of heaven,
Before you wring from me a word of flattery."\4/
\4/Yonge thinks this is a fragment of Euripides from the Syleus, Fr. 2. [The same passage is cited also below, #99, and in LegAlleg 3.202, DeIos 78. Colson (Loeb) questions the attribution to Syleus.]
V. (26) I have before now seen among the competitors in the pancratium, at the public games, one man inflicting all kinds of blows both with his hands and feet, all of them with great accuracy of aim and omitting nothing which could conduce to victory, and yet after at time fainting and desponding, and at last quitting the arena without the crown of victory; and the other who has received all his blows, being thoroughly hardened with great firmness of flesh, and being tough and unyielding, and filled with the true spirit of an athlete, and invigorated throughout his whole body, being like so much iron or stone, not at all yielding to the blows inflicted by the other, at last, by the endurance and resolution of his spirit, defeating the power of his adversary so as to obtain a complete victory. (27) And the condition of the virtuous man appears to me very much to resemble that of this person. For having thoroughly fortified his soul with strong and powerful reasoning, he so compels the man who is offering him violence to desist from weariness, before he himself can be compelled to do any thing contrary to his opinion of propriety. But perhaps this is incredible to those who do not know by experience that virtue is of the character that I have mentioned, just as that other case would be to those who have never seen the combatants in the pancratium; but nevertheless it is strictly true. (28) And it was from a regard to this fact that Antisthenes said that "the virtuous man was a burden hard to be borne."
For as folly is a light thing easily tossed about in every direction, so, on the contrary, wisdom is a well established and immovable thing of a weight which is not easily agitated. (29) Accordingly the lawgiver of the Jews represents the hands of the wise man as heavy [see Exod 17.12 and LegAlleg 3.45] intimating by this figurative expression the gravity of his actions, which are supported in no superficial but in a solid manner by his inflexible mind. (30) Therefore, he is not under the compulsion of any thing, as being one who despises pains, and who looks with contempt on death, and who, by the law of nature, has all foolish men for his subjects. For in the same manner as goatherds, and cowherds, and shepherds lead their respective flocks of goats, and cattle, and sheep, but shepherds cannot manage a drove of oxen, so in the same manner the generality of men, being like so many cattle, stand in need of a guide and governor. And their proper governors are virtuous men, being placed in the position of shepherds to the multitude; (31) for Homer is constantly in the habit of calling kings "shepherds of their people" [e.g. Iliad 2.243, 10.3]. But nature has appropriated this appellation as more peculiarly belonging to the good, since the wicked are rather tended by others than occupied in serving them; for they are led captive by strong wine, and by beauty, and by delicate eating, and sweetmeats, and by the arts of cooks and confectioners, to say nothing of the thirst of gold, and silver, and other things of a higher character. But men of the other class are not allured or led astray by any thing, but are rather inclined to admonish those whom they perceive to be caught in the toils of pleasure.
VI. (32) And of the assertion that the being compelled to perform services to others is not of itself an indication of slavery, there is a most clear proof in what occurs in war; for one can behold men engaged in military expeditions, all acting by their own means, and not only carrying complete armour, but being also loaded like beasts of burden with everything required for their necessary wants, and going out to fetch water, and fuel, and fodder for the cattle. (33) And why need I dwell at length on what is done against the enemy in such expeditions, in respect of their labours in cutting ditches, or erecting walls, or building ships, and doing with their hands and their whole bodies everything which relates to every kind of necessary employment or art.
(34) Moreover, there is in peace also another kind of war not wholly dissimilar from that which is carried on under arms, which want or reputation, and poverty, and terrible want of necessary things excites, by which men are compelled and constrained to put their hands to the most ignominious and slavish tasks, digging and cultivating the ground and labouring at the employments of handicrafts-men, and serving without hesitation for the sake of procuring food to support life; very often even bearing burdens through the middle of the market-place, in the sight of those who are of their own age, and have grown up with them, and been their school-fellows and companions through life.
[Examples of Slaves by birth, and Children]
(35) There are others also who are slaves by birth, and who have nevertheless been raised by the bounty of fortune to the condition of freemen; for they have become stewards of houses, and properties, and large possessions, and sometimes they are even appointed rulers of their fellow slaves. And many such have had committed to them the guardianship of the wives and orphan children of their masters, being preferred to the confidential offices which belong properly to friends and relations, but, nevertheless they are slaves, though employed in borrowing, in buying, in collecting revenues, and though they are themselves attended by other servants. What is there wonderful then if, on the contrary also, some persons, originally nobly born, by a sudden failure of good fortune, are subjected to such necessities as properly belong to slaves, (36) and by being compelled to obey others are deprived of their own freedom?
Moreover, in some degree, children are forced to submit to the commands of their father or their mother; and pupils, also, submit to whatever their teachers enjoin; for no one is willingly a slave. Now, parents will never display such an extravagant and unnatural dislike to their children as to compel their own offspring to submit to such menial offices as are only a symbol of slavery.
(37) And if any one beholding some persons who may have been bought and sold by traffickers in men, looks upon them at once as slaves, he is widely removed from the truth; for an act of selling does not make him who purchases the master, nor him who is sold the slave, since fathers at times have paid a price for their sons, and sons have often laid down a ransom for their fathers, in cases where they have been carried away as prisoners by some piratical sally, or have been taken captive in regular warfare, though still the laws of nature, which are more stable than those of men, describe them as free. (38) And, before now, some persons in the excess of their confidence have brought matters into so completely altered a condition that they have actually become masters instead of slaves, in spite of having been bought. At all events, I have often seen some young persons of great beauty, and of great wit in conversation, getting the complete mastery over those who had purchased them, by two great incentives, the exquisiteness of their beauty and the elegance of their language; for these are engines able to overthrow any soul which wants stability and a solid foundation, being the most powerful of all the contrivances which were ever invented for the overthrow of cities.
(39) And a proof of this may easily be given; for we may see that those who have become the masters of such persons serve them, and address entreaties to them, and eagerly entreat their favour as they would that of fortune or of the good genius; and if they are neglected by them they are vexed, and if they only obtain a gentle or favourable look from them they dance for joy. (40) Unless, indeed, any one would say that a man who has bought a lion has become the master of the lion, when if he merely look with a threatening glance at him he will soon learn to his cost what kind of a master, what a savage and ferocious tyrant he has purchased. What shall we say then? Shall we not look upon a wise man as more difficult to enslave than a lion, when he in his freedom and invincible soul has much more courage than any creature can have which consists of a body which is by nature a slave, however great his strength may be by which he resists his masters.
[Freedom as a function of Virtue and Godliness]
VII. (41) And every one may learn to appreciate the true freedom of which the virtuous man is in the enjoyment from other circumstances.
"No slave can e'er true happiness enjoy." [source unknown, perhaps not a quotation]
For what can be more miserable than to have no power over anything, not even over one's self? But then a man is happy, inasmuch as he bears within himself the foundation and complement of virtue and excellence, in which consists the supreme power over all things, [something seems to be missing here] so that beyond all controversy and of necessity the virtuous man is free.
(42) Besides all this, would not any one affirm that the friends of God are free? unless indeed one can think it consistent to attribute to the companions of kings, not only freedom but even at times a great degree of authority, when they commit magistracies to them, and when they, in consequence, fulfil the offices of subordinate rulers; and yet, at the same time, to speak of slavery in connection with the gods of heaven, when those men, on account of the love which they have shown to God, have also at once become beloved by God, being requited by him with good will equal to their own, truth being the judge, so that they as the poets say, are universal princes and kings of kings.
[Moses on the divinization of the man who loves and serves God]
(43) But the lawgiver of the Jews ventures upon a more bold assertion even than this, inasmuch as he was, as it is reported, a student and practiser of plain philosophy; and so he teaches that the man who is wholly possessed with the love of God and who serves the living God alone, is no longer man, but actually God, being indeed the God of men, but not of the parts of nature, in order to leave to the Father of the universe the attributes of being both and God. (44) Is it right, then, to think a man who is invested with such privileges as these a slave, or rather as the only one who is free? Who, even though he may not be thought worthy by himself of being classed as God, one nevertheless ought by all means to pronounce happy, by reason of his having God for his friend; for God is not a weak champion, nor regardless of the rights and claims of friendship, inasmuch as he is the God of companionship, and as he presides over everything that belongs to companions.
[The freedom of living under law and "right reason (logoV)"]
(45) Moreover, as among cities, some being governed by an oligarchy or by tyrants, endure slavery, having those who have subdued them and made themselves masters of them for severe and cruel tyrants; while others, existing under the superintending care of the laws and under those good protectors, are free and happy. So also in the case of men; those who are under the dominion of anger, or appetite, or any other passion, or of treacherous wickedness, are in every respect slaves; and those who live in accordance with the law are free.
(46) But the unerring law is right reason; not an ordinance made by this or that mortal, a corruptible and perishable law, a lifeless law written on lifeless parchment or engraved on lifeless columns; but one imperishable, and stamped by immortal nature on the immortal mind. (47) On which account any one may reasonably marvel at the dim-sightedness of those who do not see the particular characters of things which are so clear, and who say that for those mighty nations of the Athenians and Lacedaemonians, the laws of Solon and Lycurgus are quite sufficient to ensure the liberty of the people if they only have the mastery and dominion, and if the people who live in those cities do dutifully obey them, and who yet affirm that right reason, which is the fountain from which all other laws do spring, is not sufficient for wise men to enable them to arrive at a participation in freedom, even though they obey it in all the particulars as to what it commands and what it prohibits.
[Freedom of speaking]
(48) Moreover, in addition to what has been already said, there is one most undeniable proof of freedom, equality of speech, which all virtuous men use to one another; on which account they say that the following iambics are inspired with the true spirit of genuine philosophy:--
"For slaves no freedom have, not e'en in speech."
"You're but a slave, and may not dare to speak."
(49) As, therefore, musical science gives to all those who have studied music an equal right to speak on matters connected with their art; and as a man who is learned in grammar or in geometry has a right to speak among grammarians and mathematicians, so also the law in life allows the same privilege to those who are learned in the way in which men ought to live. (50) But all virtuous men are skilful in all the affairs which belong to life, inasmuch as they also are so with respect to the things which belong to universal nature; and some of them are free; and so therefore are they who have the freedom of speaking to them on equal terms; therefore no virtuous man is a slave, but all are free.
[The fool (person without understanding) is a slave]
VIII. (51) And from the same principle as a starting-point it will also be clearly shown that the foolish man is a slave; for as the laws which prevail with respect to music do not give those who are ignorant of it a right of speaking about it in terms of equality with those who are well versed in it; nor do the laws respecting grammar give those ignorant of that knowledge a right of speaking about it on terms of equality with those who are well skilled in it; nor, in short, does the law with respect to any art confer such a right on those who are ignorant of it towards those who are learned in it; so also the law which relates to the establishing proper principles of life does not give those who are strangers to any such true principles a right of speaking really on such topics to those who have studied and learnt them. (52) But to all free men, perfect equality of speech on all subjects is given by the law; and some virtuous men are free; and of the proper principles of life, the foolish are utterly ignorant, but the wiseare most profoundly versed in them: therefore it is not the case that ever any foolish or wicked men are free, but they are all slaves.
(53) And Zeno [father of "Stoic" philosophy], as much as any one else, being under the influence of virtue, ventures boldly to assert that the wicked have not a right to any equality of speech towards the virtuous; for he says, "Shall not the wicked man suffer if he contradicts the virtuous man?" Therefore the wicked man has not a right to freedom of speech as respects the virtuous man. (54) I know that many persons will rail at this assertion as one which is dictated rather by self-conceit than by real wisdom. But if, after they have desisted from mocking and ridiculing it, they will condescend to investigate the matter and to examine clearly into what is really said, then, recognising and admiring its perfect truth, they will become aware that there is nothing for which a man will suffer more than for disregarding the words of a wise man. (55) For loss of money, and the brand of dishonour, and banishment, and insults by means of beating, and all other things of that sort, injure a man but little, or rather not at all, when compared with acts of wickedness and the things which are the results of acts of wickedness. But it happens that the generality of men, not being able to perceive the injuries of the soul by reason of the mutilated state of their reason, are grieved only at external calamities, being wholly deprived of the faculty of judging correctly, which is the only one by which they can comprehend the injury received by the intellect. (56) But if they were able to look up and see clearly, then, beholding the deceits which arise out of folly, and the perplexities which proceed from covetousness, and all the intoxicated folly to which intemperance gives rise, and all the transgressions of the law in which injustice indulges, they would be filled with interminable grief at the injuries sustained by the best portion of themselves, and would be incapable of receiving comfort by reason of the excessive greatness of the evil.
(57) But Zeno appears to have drawn this maxim of his as it were from the fountain of the legislation of the Jews, in the history of which it is recorded [see Genesis 27 and De Cong 176] that in a case where there were two brothers, the one temperate [Jacob] and the other intemperate [Esau], the common father of them both [Isaac], taking pity on the intemperate one who did not walk in the path of virtue, prays that he may serve his brother [Gen 27.40], conceiving that service which appears in general to be the greatest of evils is the most perfect good to a foolish man, in order that thus he may be deprived of his independence of action, so as to be prevented from misconducting himself with impunity, and that he may be improved in his disposition by the superintending management of him who is appointed to be his master.
[Additional arguments -- the freedom of living wisely]
IX. (58) What has now then been said with the view of establishing the truth in the matter inquired into is, in my opinion, sufficient. But since physicians are accustomed to cure various diseases with still more various remedies, it is necessary that we should bring a series of proofs, keeping close to the subject, in order to establish those propositions which appear paradoxical by reason of their unusual character. For some people, even if they are convicted by ever so close a series of proofs, can hardly be brought to see their error. (59) Therefore, it is not an incorrect assertion that the man who does everything wisely does everything well; and he who does everything well does everything correctly; and he who does everything correctly does everything also in an unerring, and blameless, and irreproachable, and faultless, and beneficial manner: so that he will have free permission to do everything, and to live as he pleases. And he who has this liberty must be free.
But the virtuous man does do everything wisely; therefore he alone is free. (60) And indeed the man whom it is not possible either to compel to do anything, or to prevent from doing anything, cannot possibly be a slave; and one cannot compel or prevent the virtuous man. Therefore the virtuous man cannot be a slave; and that he is never under compulsion or under any restraint is quite plain; for that man is under restraint who does not obtain what he desires. But the wise man only desires such things as proceed from virtue, in which it is impossible for him to be disappointed. And again, if he is under compulsion, then it is plain that he does something against his will; but in all cases where there are actions, they are either good ones proceeding from virtue, or evil ones proceeding from wickedness, or else they are of an intermediate and indifferent character. (61) Now the actions which proceed from virtue, the creature man performs, not through compulsion but voluntarily, for everything which he does is the result of his deliberate choice; and the actions which proceed from wickedness, inasmuch as they ought to be avoided, he does not do even in dreams; nor again, is it likely that he would perform those actions which are of an indifferent character, between which the mind, as if in a scale, is equally balanced, not being induced to yield to them, as having any attractive power, nor, on the other hand, to regard them with any particular aversion as worthy of hatred; from all which it is plain, that the virtuous man does nothing against his will, and nothing under compulsion; and if he were a slave he would be acting under compulsion: so that the virtuous man must be free.
[The Request for Examples]
X. (62) But since some persons, who have paid but very little attention to literary pursuits, not understanding demonstrative arguments, which establish only general principles of action, are accustomed to ask us, "Who then are the men, whether previously existing or now alive, whom you thus represent to us?" it is well to make answer, that in former times there were some persons who surpassed all their contemporaries in virtue, taking God alone for their guide, and living in strict accordance with the law, that is to say, with the right reason of nature, and who were not only free themselves, but who also filled all who came near to them with a spirit of freedom. And now also, in our own time, there are some who are, as it were, images of them, bearing on themselves the stamp of the virtue of those wise men as their archetypal model; (63) for it does not follow, that although the souls of such as contradict those virtuous men are deprived of all liberty for having been completely led away and enslaved by folly and other vices, that on this account the whole human race is so too.
But it is no wonder if we do not see numerous companies of those men advancing as it were in a solid body. In the first place, because whatever is exceedingly beautiful is rare; secondly, because men who are removed from the main crowd of inconsiderately judging persons, have abundant leisure for the contemplation of the things of nature, endeavouring, as far as it may be in their power, to correct life in general (for virtue is a thing of great benefit to the whole community); but when they are unable to succeed in their object, by reason of the numbers of absurdities which are continually impeding them in the different cities, which the different passions and vices of the soul have given strength to, they then retire into solitude, in order not to be carried away by the violence and rush of these absurdities, as by a wintry torrent.
(64) But if there were any real anxiety for improvement in us, we ought carefully to trace out the hiding-places of these men, and to sit down before them as suppliants, and to entreat them to come forward to impart a tincture of civilization to life which was previously savage, by announcing, instead of inward slavery and innumerable evils, peace and an abundance of all other good things to flow over it continually.
[Distractions of concern for money!]
(65) But as things are, we do investigate all retreats only for the sake of money, and with this object we open the hard and rugged beings of the earth; and a great deal of the champaign country is opened in mines, and no small part of the mountainous district also, while we are seeking for gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and all kinds of materials. (66) But vain opinion, setting up pride as a god, has descended down to the very lowest depths of the sea in its researches to see whether there is any beautiful thing which might become an object of the outward senses lying covered anywhere; and finding many species of precious stones, some adhering closely to the rocks, and others lying concealed in oyster-shells, which are more valuable still, has thus shown a great desire to deceive the sight; (67) and for the sake of the requirements of wisdom, or temperance, or courage, or justice, even that portion of the earth which is naturally inaccessible is travelled over, and seas which are dangerous to navigate are sailed over at any season of the year by sailors. (68) And yet, what need is there, either of long journeys over the land, or of long voyages, for the sake of investigating the seeking out virtue, the roots of which the Creator has laid not at any great distance, but so near, as the wise lawgiver of the Jews says, "They are in thy mouth, and in thy heart, and in thy hands" [Deut 30.14]: intimating by these figurative expressions the words, and actions, and designs of men; all of which stand in need of careful cultivation.
[Industriousness vs Idleness]
(69) These men, therefore, who prefer idleness to industry, have not only hindered the shoots of virtue from thriving, but have even dried up all the roots, and withered and destroyed them; while those on the contrary, who look upon idleness as pernicious and who are willing to labour, cultivate it as husbandmen would cultivate flourishing shoots of good kinds of plants, with incessant care, and thus they raise the virtues to the height of heaven itself in ever-flourishing and undying branches, bearing a fruit of happiness which never ceases, or rather, as some say, not bearing happiness, but rather actually being happiness, which Moses was in the habit of calling by one compound name, holokarpwmata (olokarpwmata whole offerings of entire fruit [see Gen 8.20 (and QuGen 2.52), Gen 22]). (70) For in respect of those things which grow out of the ground, the fruit is not trees, nor are the trees fruit. But with respect to those which grew in the soul, these their whole branches do entirely change into the nature of the fruit; for instance, into wisdom, and justice, and courage, and temperance.
XI. (71) Since, then, we have such great assistance towards arriving at virtue, must we not blush to assert that there is any necessary deficiency of wisdom in the human race, when we might, by following it up, like a spark smouldering among wood, kindle it into a flame? But the fact is, that we do display great hesitation and incessant slackness in the pursuit of those objects towards which we ought to hasten eagerly as most closely connected with and nearly akin to us, and by this hesitation and indolence the seeds of virtue are destroyed; while, on the contrary, those things which we ought to neglect we show an insatiable desire and longing for.
[Specific Examples: "Seven Sages" (Greece), Magi (Persia), Gymnosophists (India)]
(72) It is owing to this that the whole earth and sea are full of men who are rich and of high reputation, and who indulge in all kinds of pleasure; but that the number of those who are prudent, and just, and virtuous, is very small; but that of which the numbers are small, though it may be rare, is nevertheless not non-existent. (73) And all Greece and all the land of the barbarians is a witness of this; for in the one country flourished those who are truly called "the seven wise men," though others had flourished before them, and have also in all probability lived since their time. But their memory, though they are now very ancient, has nevertheless not been effaced by the lapse of ages, while of others who are more modern, the names have been lost through the neglect of their contemporaries. (74) And in the land of the barbarians, in which the same men are authorities both as to words and actions, there are very numerous companies of virtuous and honourable men celebrated. Among the Persians there is the body of the Magi, who, investigating the works of nature for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the truth, do at their leisure become initiated themselves and initiate others in the divine virtues by very clear explanations. And among the Indians there is the class of the gymnosophists, who, in addition to natural philosophy, take great pains in the study of moral science likewise, and thus make their whole existence a sort of lesson in virtue.
[Jewish "Essenes" of Palestine-Syria]
XII. (75) Moreover Palestine and Syria too are not barren of exemplary wisdom and virtue, which countries no slight portion of that most populous nation of the Jews inhabits. There is a portion of those people called Essenes, in number something more than four thousand in my opinion, who derive their name from their piety [see below, #91], though not according to any accurate form of the Grecian dialect, because they are above all men devoted to the service [therapeutai] of God, not sacrificing living animals, but studying rather to preserve their own minds in a state of holiness and purity.
[Located away from "cities" (contrast Hypothetica 11.1), frugal life-style]
(76) These men, in the first place, live in villages, avoiding all cities on account of the habitual lawlessness of those who inhabit them, well knowing that such amoral disease is contracted from associations with wicked men, just as a real disease might be from an impure atmosphere, and that this would stamp an incurable evil on their souls. Of these men, some cultivating the earth, and others devoting themselves to those arts which are the result of peace, benefit both themselves and all those who come in contact with them, not storing up treasures of silver and of gold, nor acquiring vast sections of the earth out of a desire for ample revenues, but providing all things which are requisite for the natural purposes of life; (77) for they alone of almost all men having been originally poor and destitute, and that too rather from their own habits and ways of life than from any real deficiency of good fortune, are nevertheless accounted very rich, judging contentment and frugality to be great abundance, as in truth they are.
[Avoid warfare, commerce, slaveholding]
(78) Among those men you will find no makers of arrows, or javelins, or swords, or helmets, or breastplates, or shields; no makers of arms or of military engines; no one, in short, attending to any employment whatever connected with war, or even to any of those occupations even in peace which are easily perverted to wicked purposes; for they are utterly ignorant of all traffic, and of all commercial dealings, and of all navigation, but they repudiate and keep aloof from everything which can possibly afford any inducement to covetousness;
(79) and there is not a single slave among them, but they are all free, aiding one another with a reciprocal interchange of good offices; and they condemn masters, not only as unjust, inasmuch as they corrupt the very principle of equality, but likewise as impious, because they destroy the ordinances of nature, which generated them all equally, and brought them up like a mother, as if they were all legitimate brethren, not in name only, but in reality and truth.
But in their view this natural relationship of all men to one another has been thrown into disorder by designing covetousness, continually wishing to surpass others in good fortune, and which has therefore engendered alienation instead of affection, and hatred instead of friendship; (80) and leaving the logical part of philosophy, as in no respect necessary for the acquisition of virtue, to the word-catchers, and the natural part, as being too sublime for human nature to master, to those who love to converse about high objects (except indeed so far as such a study takes in the contemplation of the existence of God and of the creation of the universe), they devote all their attention to the moral part of philosophy, using as instructors the laws of their country which it would have been impossible for the human mind to devise without divine inspiration.
[Instruction on Sabbaths, in Synagogues, reading certain Books]
(81) Now these laws they are taught at other times, indeed, but most especially on the seventh day, for the seventh day is accounted sacred, on which they abstain from all other employments, and frequent the sacred places which are called synagogues, and there they sit according to their age in classes, the younger sitting under the elder, and listening with eager attention in becoming order.
(82) Then one, indeed, takes up the books and reads, and another of the men of the greatest experience comes forward and explains what is not very intelligible, for a great many precepts are delivered in enigmatical modes of expression, and allegorically, as the old fashion was; (83) and thus the people are taught piety, and holiness, and justice, and economy, and the science of regulating the state, and the knowledge of such things as are naturally good, or bad, or indifferent, and to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong, using a threefold variety of definitions, and rules, and criteria, namely, the love of God, and the love of virtue, and the love of mankind.
[Love of God, of Virtue, of Humankind]
(84) Accordingly, they show an infinite number of instances of the disposition devoted to the love of God, and of a continued and uninterrupted purity throughout the whole of life, of a careful avoidance of oaths and of falsehood, and of a strict adherence to the principle of looking on the Deity as the cause of everything which is good and of nothing which is evil. They also furnish us with many proofs of a love of virtue, such as abstinence from all covetousness of money, from ambition, from indulgence in pleasures, temperance, endurance, and also moderation, simplicity, good temper, the absence of pride, obedience to the laws, steadiness, and everything of that kind; and, lastly, they bring forward as proofs of the love of mankind, goodwill, equality beyond all power of description, and fellowship, about which it is not unreasonable to say a few words.
[Communal Living -- no private property]
(85) In the first place, then, there is no one who has a house so absolutely his own private property, that it does not in some sense also belong to every one: for besides that they all dwell together in companies, the house is open to all those of the same notions, who come to them from other quarters; (86) then there is one treasury among them all; their expenses are all in common; their garments belong to them all in common; their food is common, since they all eat in messes; for there is no other people among which you can find a common use of the same house, a common adoption of one mode of living, and a common use of the same table more thoroughly established in fact than among this tribe: and is not this very natural? For whatever they, after having been working during the day, receive for their wages, that they do not retain as their own, but bring it into the common stock, and give any advantage that is to be derived from it to all who desire to avail themselves of it; (87) and those who are sick are not neglected because they are unable to contribute to the common stock, inasmuch as the tribe have in their public stock a means of supplying their necessities and aiding their weakness, so that from their ample means they support them liberally and abundantly; and they cherish respect for their elders, and honour them and care for them, just as parents are honoured and cared for by their lawful children: being supported by them in all abundance both by their personal exertions, and by innumerable contrivances.
XIII. (88) Such diligent practisers of virtue does philosophy, unconnected with any superfluous care of examining into Greek names render men, proposing to them as necessary exercises to train them towards its attainment, all praiseworthy actions by which a freedom, which can never be enslaved, is firmly established.
[Mistreatreatment by tyrannical (foreign) rulers]
(89) And a proof of this is that, though at different times a great number of chiefs of every variety of disposition and character, have occupied their country, some of whom have endeavoured to surpass even ferocious wild beasts in cruelty, leaving no sort of inhumanity unpractised, and have never ceased to murder their subjects in whole troops, and have even torn them to pieces while living, like cooks cutting them limb from limb, till they themselves, being overtaken by the vengeance of divine justice, have at last experienced the same miseries in their turn:
(90) others again having converted their barbarous frenzy into another kind of wickedness, practising an ineffable degree of savageness, talking with the people quietly, but through the hypocrisy of a more gentle voice, betraying the ferocity of their real disposition, fawning upon their victims like treacherous dogs, and becoming the causes of irremediable miseries to them, have left in all their cities monuments of their impiety, and hatred of all mankind, in the never to be forgotten miseries endured by those whom they oppressed:
(91) and yet no one, not even of those immoderately cruel tyrants, nor of the more treacherous and hypocritical oppressors was ever able to bring any real accusation against the multitude of those called Essenes or Holy [Greek "hosion" (osion)]. But everyone being subdued by the virtue of these men, looked up to them as free by nature, and not subject to the frown of any human being, and have celebrated their manner of messing together, and their fellowship with one another beyond all description in respect of its mutual good faith, which is an ample proof of a perfect and very happy life.
[Individual Examples: Calanus the gymnosophist (India)]
XIV. (92) But it is necessary for us (since some persons do not believe that there is any perfect virtue in the multitude, but that whatever in such persons appears like virtue only reaches a certain point of increase and growth), to bring forward as corroborative testimonies the lives of some particular good men who are the most undeniable evidences of freedom.
(93) Calanus was an Indian by birth, one of the gymnosophists; he, being looked upon as the man who was possessed of the greatest fortitude of all his contemporaries, and that too, not only by his own countrymen, but also by foreigners, which is the rarest of all things, was greatly admired by some kings of hostile countries, because he had combined virtuous actions with praiseworthy language; (94) accordingly, Alexander, the king of the Macedonians, wishing to exhibit to Greece the wisdom that was to be found in the territories of the barbarians, as being a sort of faithful copy and representation of an archetypal model, in the first instance invited Calanus to quit his home, and come and take up his abode with him, by which means he said he would acquire the greatest imaginable glory throughout all Asia and all Europe; (95) and when he could not persuade him by fair means, he said to him, "You shall be compelled to follow me." And he replied with great felicity of expression and in a noble spirit; "What then shall I be worth, O Alexander, when you exhibit me to the Greeks, after I have been compelled to do what I do not like?" Now is not this speech, or rather is not this idea, full of real freedom? And Moreover in his writings also, which are more durable than his expressions, he has erected, as if on a pillar, indelible signs of his indomitably free disposition; (96) and this is proved by the letter which he sent to the king.
CALANUS TO ALEXANDER, GREETING
"Your friends are endeavouring to persuade you to apply force and compulsion to the philosophers of the Indians, though not even in their sleep have they beheld our actions; for you will be able indeed to transport our bodies from place to place, but you will not be able to compelour souls to do what they do not like, any more than you would be able to make bricks or timber utter words; we can cause the greatest troubles and the greatest destruction to living bodies; now we are superior to this power; we are burnt even while living, there is no king nor ruler who will ever succeed in compelling us to do what we do not choose to do; and we are in no respect like unto the philosophers of the Greeks, who study speeches to deliver to a public assembly; but our actions do always correspond to our words, and our speeches which are short have a power different from that of our actions, and secure for us freedom and happiness."
(97) At such positive refusals then, and at such brave sentiments, is it not natural for any one to quote that saying of Zeno that, "It would be easier to sink a bladder which was full of wind, than to compel any virtuous man whatever, against his will, to commit any action which he had never intended." For the soul of such a man will never submit, and can never be defeated, since it has been fortified by right reason with solid doctrines.
XV. (98) Moreover, both poets and historians are witnesses to the real freedom of virtuous men, in whose doctrines both Greeks and barbarians are equally bred up almost from their very cradles, and by which they are improved in their dispositions, changing everything in their souls which is adulterated by a blameable way of bringing up and of living, into good coinage; (99) accordingly just see what Hercules says in Euripides.\12/
"Yes, burn and scorch my flesh, and glut your hate,
Drinking my life-warm blood; for heaven's stars
Shall quit their place, and darken 'neath the earth,
And earth rise up and take the place of heaven,
Before you wring from me a word of flattery." [exact source unclear; see below]
For in real truth flattery, and adulation, and hypocrisy, in which what is uttered is at variance with the sentiments which are really felt, are the most slavish of things. But without any disguise, and in a genuine honest spirit of truth to speak with freedom what is dictated by a clear conscience, is a line of conduct suited to those who are nobly born. (100) Again, do not you see this same virtuous man himself, that even when he is sold he does not appear to be a servant, but he strikes all who behold him with awe, as not being merely free, but as even being about to prove the master of him who has purchased him? (101) At all events, Mercury replies to a man who inquires whether he is worthless --
"By no means worthless, on the contrary,
In every part most venerable: never
Low, nor of no account, as though a slave.
But as to raiment brilliant to behold,
And with the club he bears most energetic.
But no one willingly becomes the buyer
Of one who soon the master will become
Of him and all his house. And every one
Who sees thee, fears thee, for your eye is fire
Like that of any bull prepared for war
Gainst Afric lions."
Then, again, he speaks in conclusion of his disposition--
"I now do blame you for your stubborn silence,
As if you were not subject to a master,
But sought to govern rather than be governed." [Euripides, Frag. Incert. 495 (Syleus?)]
(102) But when, after Syleus had bought him, he was sent into the fields, he showed by his actions the indomitable freedom of his nature; for having sacrificed the choicest of the bulls which were there to Jupiter, he made a pretence of a feast, and having drunk a vast quantity of wine at one meal, he lay down very contentedly to digest it; (103) and when Syleus came, and got angry both at the loss and also at the easy indifference of his servant, and at his preposterous contempt for his master, he never changed colour, nor made any difference in his conduct, but said with the most perfect confidence --
"Sit down and drink, and thus you shall
At once appreciate my character,
And learn to be my master in reality."
(104) Shall we then say that he is the slave, or rather the master of his master, when he dares in this manner not only to accost him with such freedom, but even to impose injunctions on him who has purchased him, as if he would beat and insult him if he were to be stubborn and disobedient, and, if he introduced any one to assist him, as if he would destroy them all to a man?
Therefore the writings which were delivered respecting this purchase must have been an utter absurdity and a mere joke, since they would be trampled upon by the more effectual power of the slave bought under them, being the less value than unwritten covenants, and being likely to be utterly destroyed by moths, or time, or mould and rust.
XVI. (105) But it is not right, some one will say, to bring forward the actions of heroes as proofs of the correctness of an argument, for that they were greater than the common run of human nature, and were more on a par with the heavenly beings themselves, as having been born of a sort of mixed generation, and having sprung from mortal and immortal seed at the same time, being correctly entitled demigods, the mortal part of their composition being tempered by the incorruptible part, so that there is nothing extraordinary in the fact of their having despised those mortals who designed to bring slavery upon them.
[Further Examples: Anaxagoras and Zeno the Eleatic]
(106) However, let it be so. Are then Anaxagoras and Zeno the Eleatic heroes, or descended from gods? And nevertheless they, when tortured with he most unprecedented devices of cruelty by savage tyrants, wholly pitiless by nature, and even more than usually exasperated against them, looking on their bodies as if they belonged to strangers, or even to enemies, disregarded and utterly disdained the formidable evils with which they were afflicted; (107) for through the love of knowledge having accustomed their souls from the very beginning to keep aloof from all participation with the passions, and to cling to education and wisdom, they easily endured the prospect of its emigrating
from the body, and made it a dweller with prudence and courage, and other virtues. (108) Therefore, the one being hung up and violently stretched for the sake of making him divulge some secret, showed himself mightier than fire or iron, though they are the strongest things in nature, and biting off his tongue with his teeth, spit it at his torturer, that he might not involuntarily utter what he ought to bury in silence, under the influence of agony; (109) and the other said with great fortitude, "Beat Aristarchus's skin, for you cannot beat Aristarchus himself." These instances of brave fortitude, wholly full of daring, exceed in no slight degree the nobleness of those heroes, because the one class have a glory handed down to them by their ancestors without any actions of their own, while the fame of the others is founded on deeds of virtue deliberately performed, which very naturally make immortal those who practise them in a guileless spirit.
[Athletic Contestants (Wrestlers)]
XVII. (110) I know also that combatants in the pancratium very often, out of the excess of their spirit of rivalry, and of their eagerness for victory, when their bodies are exhausted do you keep up their spirits, and strive with their soul alone, which they have accustomed to look contemptuously on danger, and thus they endure toil and pain to the very end of their life. (111) Shall we then fancy that those men who have practised themselves so as to arrive at vigour of body, have been able to trample on the fear of death, either through hope of victory or from the desire of escaping the sight of their own defeat; but those who train up in themselves the invisible mind, which is really and truly the man himself, bearing about him the appearance perceptible by the outward senses as his house, and who education it by the principles and maxims of philosophy and the rules of virtue, will not be willing to die for the sake of freedom, in order to perform the journey appointed for them by fate with an indomitable and free spirit?
(112) They say that on one occasion, at one of the sacred games, two athletes who were contending with one another with equally matched strength and courage, doing the same things to one another, and suffering the same things, did not desist from the contest till they both fell dead.
"My too brave son, thy courage will destroy thee," [Homer, Iliad 6.409]
some one may say with reference to such persons.
(113) However is the death of such combatants glorious when it is encountered for the sake of some wild olives and parsley-leaves, and must it not be much more so when endured for the sake of freedom, the love of which, if one must tell the plain truth, is firmly established in the soul alone, as if it were some extraordinary portion of it firmly united with it, which if it were cut off the whole composition of the man must necessarily be destroyed?
[Example of a Lacedemonian (Spartan) Boy, Dardanian Women, Polyxena]
(114) The indomitable spirit of a Lacedaemonian boy, whether derived from his birth or from nature, is celebrated, in which nation they are accustomed to hunt carefully for the virtues; for when he had been carried off as a prisoner by some one of the soldiers of Antigonus, he submitted to whatever was put upon him which became a free man, but refused to submit to menial offices, saying that he was not going to be a slave; and yet by reason of his age he could not as yet have been thoroughly educated in the laws of Lycurgus, because he had only tasted them, but he judged a violent death preferable to the life which was before him, and, despairing of any deliverance, he cheerfully slew himself.
(115) It is also related that some Dardanian women who had been taken prisoners by the Macedonians, looking upon slavery as the most dis-graceful of all evils, threw their children, whom they were carrying in their bosoms, into the deepest part of the river, saying at the same time, "At all events you shall not be slaves, but, before youcan begin to experience such a miserable life, you shall cut off all such necessity, and travel in freedom the inevitable and last road of human existence."
(116) Again, the tragedian, Euripides, introduces Polyxena disregarding death, and thinking only of freedom, on which account she speaks in the following manner:
"Willingly now I die; and let no foe
Seize me with violent hands; for I myself
With cheerful courage will put forth my neck.
For God's sake touch me not; but leave me free,
That having lived in freedom, I may die
Unviolated by a master's hand." [Hecuba 548ff]
XVIII. (117) Do we then imagine that there can be such a profound love of freedom firmly fixed in women and children, one of which classes is by nature light-minded, and the other is of an age which is easily perverted and liable to stumble, so that they, for the sake of not being deprived of it, cheerfully proceed from death to immortality, but that those men who have tasted of unalloyed wisdom are not at once thoroughly free, bearing about in themselves, as they do, a sort of perpetual fountain of happiness, namely virtue, which no designing or hostile power has ever been able to dissolve, since it has the everlasting inheritance of authority and sovereign power?
[Examples of entire Groups]
(118) But in truth we hear of whole nations also, who, for the sake of freedom and of good faith towards their deceased benefactors, have voluntarily encountered utter destruction, as they say that the Xanthians did no long time ago; for when Brutus, one of those men who attacked Julius Caesar, invaded their territory and made war upon them, they, fearing not so much the destruction of their city as slavery at the mercy of a murderer who had killed his king and his benefactor (for Caesar was both to him), resisted at first with great vigour to the very utmost extent of their power, (119) and though they were being gradually destroyed, they still held out; and when at last they had exhausted all their strength, they all collected their wives, and parents, and children into their houses, and there slew them separately, and then collecting the slaughtered bodies in a heap, they set fire to them, and slew themselves on the top of all, and so with a noble and free spirit encountered the fated end of all men.
(120) But these men, wishing to escape the pitiless inhumanity of tyrannical enemies, preferred death with glory to an inglorious life; but those to whom the chances of fortune gave a longer life, have endured their dangers and afflictions with fortitude, imitating the courage and endurance of Hercules, for he also showed himself superior to the commands of Eurystheus.
[Example of Diogenes the Cynic]
(121) Accordingly the Cynic philosopher, Diogenes, exhibited such a loftiness and greatness of spirit, that when he was taken prisoner by some robbers, and when they fed him very sparingly, and scarcely gave him even necessary food, he was not weighed down by the circumstances which surrounded him, and did not fear the inhumanity of the masters into whose power he had fallen, but said "that it was a most absurd thing for pigs or sheep, when they were going to be sold, to be carefully provided with abundant food, so as to be rendered fat and fleshy; but for the most excellent of all animals, man, to be reduced to a skeleton by bad food and continual scarcity, and so to be rendered of less value than before." (122) And then, when he had obtained sufficient food, and when he was about to be sold with the rest of the captives, he sat down first, and breakfasted with great cheerfulness and courage, giving some of his breakfast to his neighbours. And seeing one of them not merely sorrowful, but in a state of extreme despondency, he said, "Will you not give up being miserable? take what you can get."
"For the golden haired Niobe asked for her food,
Though her twelve noble children lay welt'ring in blood;
Six daughters, fair emblems of virtue and truth,
And six sons, the chief flower of the Lydian youth."
(123) And then, speaking boldly to some one who seemed inclined to become a purchaser, and who asked him the question, "What do you know?" he replied, "I know how to govern men:" his soul from within, as it appears, prompting his free, and noble, and naturally royal spirit. And then he at once, with his natural indifference and serenity, turned to facetious discourse, at which all the rest, who were all full of despondency were annoyed. (124) Accordingly it is said that, seeing one of the intended purchasers afflicted with the female disease, as he did not even look like a man, he went up to him, and said, "Do you buy me, for you appear to me to be in want of a husband;" so that he, being grieved and downcast by reason of the infirmities of which he was conscious, slunk away, while all the rest admired the ready wit and happy courage of the philosopher.
Shall we then say that such a man as this was in a state of slavery, and not rather in a state of freedom, only without any irresponsible authority?
[Examples of Choereas of Alexandria and Theodorus of Athens]
(125) And there was also a man of the name of Choereas, a man of considerable education, who was a zealous imitator of Diogenes's freedom of speech; for he, being an inhabitant of Alexandria in Egypt, on one occasion, when Ptolemy was offended with him, and was uttering no slight threats against him, thinking that the freedom which was implanted in his nature was in no respect inferior to the royal authority of the other, replied--
"Rule your Egyptian slaves; but as for me,
I neither care for you, nor fear your wrath
And angry threats." [see Homer, Iliad 1.180]
(126) For noble souls have something authoritative within them, and do not allow their brilliancy to be obscured by the injustice of fortune, but their spirit encourages them to contend on equal terms with those who are very high in rank and very proud, pitting their freedom of spirit against the insolence of the others.
(127) It is said that Theodorus, who was surnamed the Atheist, when he was banished from Athens, and had come to the court of Lysimachus, when one of those in power there reproached him with his banishment, mentioning the cause of it too, namely, that he had been expelled because he had been condemned for atheism and for corrupting the youth, replied, "I have not been banished, but the same thing has befallen me which befell Hercules, the son of Jupiter; (128) for he also was put ashore by the Argonauts, without having done anything wrong, but only because as he himself was both crew and ballast enough for a vessel, so that he burdened the ship, and cause fear to his fellow voyagers lest the vessel should become water-logged; and I too have been driven from my country because the bulk of the citizens at Athens were unable to keep pace with the loftiness and greatness of my mind, and therefore I was envied by them." (129) And when, after this reply, Lysimachus asked him, "Were you also banished from your native land through envy?" he replied a second time, "Not indeed through envy, but because of the exceedingly high qualities of my nature, which my country could not contain; (130) for as when Semele, at the time that she was pregnant [..] .heavenly deities, so also some deity, or some god, has made me leave my country by reason of its being too narrow to contain the ample burden of a philosophic mind, and decided on transporting me to a place more fortunate than Athens, and settling me there."
[Example of cock fighting!]
XIX. (131) And moreover any one who considers the matter may find even among the brute beasts examples of the freedom which exists among men, as he may of all other human blessings. At all events, cocks are accustomed to contend with one another, and to display such an actual affection for danger, that in order to save themselves from yielding or submitting, even if they are inferior in power to their adversary they will not bear to be inferior in courage, for they endure even to death. (132) And Miltiades, the famous general of the Athenians, seeing this, when the king of the Persians having roused up all the might of Asia, was invading Europe with many myriads of soldiers, as if he were going to destroy all Greece with the mere shout of his army, having collected all the allies at the festival called the panathenaea, showed them a battle between these birds, thinking that the encouragement which they would derive from such a sight would be more powerful than any argument. (133) And he was not deceived, for when they had seen the patient enduring and honourable feeling of these irrational animals, which could not be subdued by any means short of death itself, they snatched up their arms and rushed eagerly to war, as resolving to fight against their enemies with their bodies, and being utterly indifferent to wounds and death, being willing to die for their freedom, so that at all events they might be buried in the still free soil of their native country; for there is nothing which acts so forcibly in the way of exhortation so as to improve the character, as an unhoped for success in the case of those whom men look upon as inferior to themselves.
(134) Moreover the tragic writer, Ion, mentions the contentious spirit of those birds in the following lines:
"Nor though wounded in each limb,
Nor though his eyes with blows are dim,
Will he forget his might;
But still, though much fatigued, will crow,
Preferring death to undergo
Than slavery, or slight."
[Transition to concluding examples]
(135) And why, then, should we think that wise men will not cheerfully encounter death in preference to slavery? And is it not absurd to imagine that the souls of young and nobly born men will turn out inferior to those of game-cocks in the contest of virtue, and will be barely fit to stand in the second place? (136) And yet who is there who has even the least tincture of education who does not know this fact, that freedom is a noble thing and slavery a disgraceful one, and that what is honourable belongs to virtuous men, and what is disgraceful to worthless ones? From which it is seen most undeniably, that no virtuous man can ever be a slave, not if ten thousand persons, with all imaginable deeds to prove themselves masters, threaten them; and that no foolish or worthless man can ever be free, not even if he were Croesus, of Midas, or the great king of Persia himself.
(137) But the beauty of freedom, which is much celebrated, and the deformity of slavery, which is accursed, are continually borne witness to as having that character by the more ancient cities and nations whose existence has been of long duration, being as it were immortal among mortal things, and their testimony cannot err; (138) for, for what other object are councils and assemblies convened nearly every day, rather than about freedom, with a view to the confirmation of it if it is present, and to the acquisition of it if it is absent? And what other object have Greece and the nations of the barbarians ever had in all the continual seditions and wars which have taken place among or between those peoples, except to avoid slavery, and to obtain liberty? (139) On which account in all battles the chief exhortation of all captains, and commanders, and generals if this, "O soldiers and allies, let us now repel that greatest of all evils, slavery, which the enemy is attempting to bring upon us; let us never endure the loss that greatest of all human blessings, liberty. This is the beginning and fountain of all happiness, from which all particular blessings flow."
[Examle of Athenian celebration, of the Argonauts, and Antigonides]
(140) And it is for this reason that the most sharp-sighted of all the Greek nations, namely, the Athenians (for what the pupil is to the eye, or reasoning to the soul, that also is Athens to Greece), when they send out a solemn procession to the venerable goddesses [perhaps the Eumenides, or Persephone/Demeter], never allow any slave whatever to take any part in it, but perform everything concerning it by the agency of free men and women who are accustomed to such duties, even then to taking any chance persons, but only such as have cultivated a blameless innocence of life; since the most excellent of the youths prepare the cakes for the feast, looking upon that office as conducing (which indeed it does) to their credit and honour.
(141) And it happened not long ago, when some actors were representing a tragedy, and repeating those iambics of Euripides:
"For e'en the name of freedom is a jewel
Of mighty value; and the man who has it
E'en in a small degree, has noble wealth;" [Frag. Incert. 495]
I myself saw all the spectators standing on tip-toe with excitement and delight, and with loud outcries and continual shouts combining their praise of the sentiments, and with praise also of the poet, as having not only honoured freedom by his actions, but having extolled its very name.
(142) I also admire the Argonauts, who made the whole crew of their vessel to consist of the freemen, not allowing a single slave to embark even for the purpose of performing the most indispensable services, but at that period they chose to do everything for themselves, looking upon independent action as the brother of freedom; (143) and if it may be allowed me at all to attend to what is said by the poets (and why should we not do so, for they are the instructors of the lives of all mankind, and just as individual parents are the instructors of their children, so too do they become so [...] to the whole body of a city, correcting the entire population?), then I say that the Argo herself, when Jason was her captain, as if she were at that time endowed with a soul and with reasoning powers, did not permit any slaves to embark on board of her, since her nature was that of one devoted to freedom, on which account Aeschylus, with reference to her, says --
"And tell me where's the sacred beam
That dared the dangerous Euxine stream?" [Fragment 648]
(144) And we must not pay the slightest attention to threats and menaces which some persons hold out over even wise men, but we must say as Antigonides the flute-player did; for it is related that he, when one of his rivals in art being angry with him, said to him, "I will buy you for a slave," said with very profound wit, "Then I will teach you to play the flute;" (145) and in the same way it would become the virtuous man to say to any one who appeared inclined to purchase him, "Therefore you will be able to learn wisdom." And if any one were to threaten him with banishment beyond the borders of the country, it would become him to reply, "Every land is my country;" (146) and if any one were to threaten him with loss of money, he might make answer, "A moderate means of subsistence are sufficient for me:" while if any one were to menace him with stripes or death, he would reply, "These things have no terrors for me, for am I inferior to a boxer or to a wrestler in the pancratium, who, seeing merely some indistinct images of virtue, because they have laboured merely at the one object of producing a good condition of body, endure both blows and death with fortitude; for in me the mind, which is the ruler of the body, has been invigorated by courage, and so completely fortified, that it is able to show itself superior to any kind of pain."
[The freedom even of some slaves, especially in asylum]
XXI. (147) We must take care, therefore, never to catch a beast of that character which, being formidable not only in respect of its strength but also in its appearance, displays an almost invincible power, which is far from deserving to be despised. (148) It often happens that places which serve as asylums for fugitives and slaves give them complete freedom from fear and perfect security, as if they were in possession of equal honours and privileges with their masters, and sometimes one may see those who are slaves of old standing, as descended from grandfathers, and even more remote ancestors still, who have all been slaves by a kind of hereditary succession, yet, when once they have taken refuge in temples as suppliants, speaking freely and fearlessly in perfect security.
(149) There are some too, who even argue about their own rights and just claims with those who are their owners, not merely on equal terms, but actually as if they were far superior to them, replying to them with great energy and even contemptuously; for the one party is enslaved by the conviction which their consciences force upon them, however nobly born they may be; while the others feel in perfect security as to their persons, from the general recognition of the place in which they are as an asylum, and therefore they display the free and noble disposition of soul, which God has made of such a nature as never to be subdued by any external circumstances, (150) unless indeed any one is so utterly destitute of reason as to fancy that it is the place itself which is the cause of their confidence and freedom of speech, and that that most god-like of all things, virtue, has nothing to do with it, though it is owing to virtue alone that sanctity attaches either to the places or to anything which is endowed with sense.
(151) And, indeed, in the case of those who take refuge in places which are looked upon as asylums, seeking security only in the places themselves, it constantly happens to such persons to be much influenced by a great variety of other circumstances, by the corruption of their wives, the loss of reputation by their children, and the deceitfulness of love, while those who take refuge in virtue, as in a strong and indestructible and invincible fortification, disregard all attacks which the treachery of the passions aims and directs against them. (152) Now any one who is defended by this power may naturally say with all freedom, that other persons indeed are taken captive by all kinds of accidental things, but, as the tragic poet has it,
"I am well skilled both to obey myself
And ruler myself: well weighing all events
By virtue's standard." [Euripides?]
(153) Accordingly also Bias, of Priene, is said, when Croesus threatened him, to have threatened him in return, in a most contemptuous manner, bidding him eat onions, by which figurative expression he meant that he should weep, since the eating of onions excites tears.
(154) Thus wise men, looking upon nothing as more royal than virtue, which is the regulator of the whole of their lives, do not fear the authority of other men, whom they look upon rather as subject to themselves; in reference to which idea, they are all accustomed to consider double-minded and treacherous people illiberal and slavish; (155) on which account also there is a good deal of propriety in the expression --
"Never was heard of slave uprightly held,
But stooping always with a downbent neck." [Theognis, Carm. 41 (El. 5.535)]
For a crooked, and wily, and deceitful disposition, is a most ignoble thin; just as an upright, and straightforward, and undisguised, and unsuspicious soul, betokens a most noble character, its words harmonising with its intentions, and its intentions with its words.
(156) We may fairly enough laugh at those men who, when once they have got released from the actual possession of an owner, think themselves free from that moment; for these men, when emancipated, are perhaps no longer servants, just as before, but they are all slaves, deeply branded slaves, obeying not indeed men (for this would not be so terrible), but even the most dishonoured of even inanimate things, strong wine, vegetables, cheesecakes, and all the other things which the superfluous labours of bakers and confectioners invent, as enemies of the miserable belly. (157) Accordingly Diogenes, when he on one occasion saw one of those who are called illiberal and slavish persons giving himself airs, and a great many others sympathising in his pleasures, marvelling at their want of reason and judgment said, "It is just as if any one were to proclaim, that some one of his servants was, from this day forth, to be accounted a good grammarian, or geometrician, or musician, without his having the very slightest idea of the art; for just as the proclamation would not make men learned, so also it would not make them free (for then it would be a blessed thing), but all that it could do would be to make them no longer slaves.
XXII. (158) Therefore having put an end to empty opinion, on which the chief multitude of men depends, and being devoted to that most sacred possession, truth, let us not use incorrect terms so as to attribute to those who thus call themselves citizens any real share in a free constitution, or any real liberty; nor, on the other hand, let us reproach those who have been born in the house of a master, or who have been bought with money as slaves, but let us rather pass over all ideas of birth, all writings implying mastership, and, in short, everything relating to the body, and let us confine ourselves to investigating the nature of the soul.
(159) For if it is driven to and fro by appetite, or if it is attracted by pleasure, or turned out of the way by fear, or contracted by grief, or tortured by want, it then makes itself a slave, and makes him who possesses such a soul the slave of ten thousand masters. But if it has resisted and subdued ignorance by prudence, and intemperance by temperance, and cowardice by bravery, and covetousness by justice; it then adds to its indomitable free spirit, power and authority.
(160) And all the souls which are not as yet partakers of either of these two classes, neither of that which is enslaved, nor of that by which prudence is confirmed, but which are still naked like those of completely infant children; those we must nurse and cherish carefully, prescribing for them at first tender food instead of milk, namely, instruction in the encyclical sciences, and after that stronger food, such as is prepared by philosophy, by which they will be strengthened so as to become manly, and in good condition, and conducted on to a favourable end, not more that recommended by you than enjoined by the oracle, "To live in conformity to nature."