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Athenaeus of Naucratis / Volume III: Books XII-XV

Book XII,   pp. 818-888


Page 820

820               THE DLIPNOSOPHISTS.          [B. XU. 
against Troy  Sv'; but they would speak in that way much 
more of the men of the present time; and naturally enough. 
For the lives of those men were destitute of any luxurious 
preparation, and, as I- might almost say, had no seasoning to 
them, inasmuch as at that time there was no commercial in- 
tercourse between nations, nor were the arts of refinement 
carried to any degree of accuracy; but the life of men of the 
present day is planned with entire reference to laziness, and 
enjoyment, and to all sorts of pastimes. 
4. But Plato, in his Philebus, says- " Pleasure is the most 
insolent of all things; and, as it is reported, in amatory en- 
joyments, which are said to be the most powerful of all, even 
perjury has been pardoned by the Gods, as if pleasure.was 
like a child, incapable of distinguishing between right and 
wrong." And in the eighth book of his Polity, the same Plato 
has previously dilated upon the doctrine so much pressed by 
the Epicureans, that, of the desires, some are natural but not 
necessary, and others neither natural nor necessary, writing 
thus-" Is not the desire to eat enough for health and 
strength of body, and for bread and meat to that extent, a 
necessary desire ?-I think it is.-At all events, the desire 
for food for these two purposes is necessary, inasmuch as 
it is salutary, and inasmuch as it is able to remove hunger ? 
-No doubt.-And the desire for meat, too, is a necessary 
desire, if it at all contributes to a good habit of body- 
Most undoubtedly.-What, then, are we to say? Is no 
desire which goes beyond the appetite for this kind of food, 
and for other food similar to it, and which, if it is checked 
in young people, can be entirely stifled, and which is inju- 
*rious also to the body, and injurious also to the mind, both 
as far as its intellectual powers are concerned, and also as to 
*its temperance, entitled to be called a necessary one -Most 
certainly not.". 
5. But Heraclides of Pontus, in his treatise on Pleasure, 
speaks as follows-" Tyrants and kings, having all kinds of 
good things in their power, and having had experience of all 
thing place pleasure in the first rank, on the ground that 
pleasure makes the nature of man more magnanimous. 
Accordingly, all those who have honoured pleasure above 
everything, and who have deliberately chosen to live a life of 
luxury, have. been magnanimous and magnificent people, as, 


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