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Athenaeus of Naucratis / Volume III: Books XII-XV

Book XII,   pp. 818-888

Page 887

certain extent secured; to those who are asked for them, by 
their being addressed, and to those who give them, because 
they give an intimation beforehand, that they must give of 
their beauty in exchange. For a request for beautiful flowers 
and fruits, intimates that those who receive them are prepared 
to give in return the beauty of their persons. Perhaps also 
people are fond of those things, and carry them about them 
in order to comfort and mitigate the vexation which arises 
from the neglect or absence of those whom they love. For 
by the presence of these agreeable objects, the desire for those 
persons whom we love is blunted; unless, indeed, we may 
rather say that it is for the sake of personal ornament that 
people carry those things, and take delight in them, just as 
they wear anything else which tends to ornament. For not 
only those people who are crowned with flowers, but those 
also who carry them in their hands, -find their whole appear- 
ance is improved by them. Perhaps also, people carry them 
simply because of their love for any beautiful object. For 
the love of beautiful objects shows that we are inclined to 
be fond of the productions of the seasons. 
For the face of spring and autumn is really beautiful, when 
looked at in their flowers and fruits. And all persons who 
are in love, being made, as it were, luxurious by their passion, 
and inclined to admire beauty, are softened by the sight of 
beauty of any sort. For it is something natural that people who 
fancy that they themselves are beautiful and elegant, should be 
fond of flowers; on which account the companions of Proser- 
pine are represented as gathering flowers. And Sappho says- 
I saw a lovely maiden gathering flowers. 
80. But in former times men were so devoted to luxury, 
that they dedicated a temple to Venus Callipyge on this 
account. A certain countryman had two beautiful daughters; 
and they once, contending with one another, went into the 
public roads, disputing as they went, which had the most 
beautiful buttocks. And as a young man was passing, who 
had an aged father, they showed themselves to him also. And 
he, when he had seen both, decided in favour of the elder; and 
falling in love with her, he returned into the city and fell ill, 
and took to his bed, and related what had happened to his 
brother, who was younger than he; and he also, going into the 
fields and seeing the damsels himself, fell in love with the 
a. 80.] 

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