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There can be little doubt that, whatever the cause,
Lucian is a writer who has fallen at the present day
almost wholly out of general reading. No great
number of his dialogues and pamphlets has met in
recent times with a translator, and it seems probable
that to the majority of English readers he is little
more than a name.

It is in the belief that this general neglect is wholly
undeserved that I have thought it worth while to add
a few more to the pieces translated in this country of
late years, with a view to bringing under the notice
of the English reader some specimens of Lucian's
work in various kinds which may afford some further
glimpses of the picture he has left us of the social
and intellectual life of his times — a picture wherein
the touch of the painter, no less than the subject
painted, goes to prove the entire justice with which
this writer of eighteen centuries ago has been called
'the first of the moderns.'

Of the seven pieces now translated, different
as they are in style and subject-matter, each deals in
a fashion of its own with one of the three subjects

1 n ^fM?


of religion, philosophy, and literature ; with the
character of their professors and their position in
the social system of the time, or with the attitude
towards these subjects of an age of decadence — of
reaction on the one hand and of fantastic innova-
tion on the other ; of unsparing scepticism matched
with rank superstition ; of artificial enthusiasms and
fashionable crazes.

The text followed in these translations is that of
Jacobitz in the Teubner series (Leipsic, 1896). No
alteration has been made beyond a few necessary
omissions and modifications.

London, January 1902.



I. The Sale of Philosophers, . . . . i

{Blwv wpdacs. Teubner Text, vol. i. p. 229.)

11. Concerning Paid Companions, . . .22

(Ilepi TU)j' eirl madi^ s Tpayqio6$, vol. ii. p. 348.)

VII. The Orator's Guide. ..... 240

(VriTopuv diSdoKaXos, vol. iii. p. 84.)


Zeus. Put the benches in order, you there, and get the
place ready for the customers ! You, bring in the goods
and set them in a row ; but brush them up a little first
to make them look their best, and attract as many buyers
as possible. Do you, Hermes, put up the lots, and bid
purchasers welcome to the saleroom. We beg to an-
nounce a sale of philosophic characters of every class
and variously assorted principles. Customers finding
it inconvenient to pay cash down may give security
for the amount of their purchase, and settle next

Hermes. They are coming in in crowJs. We had better
begin at once, so as not to keep them waiting.

Zeus. By all means let us do so.

Herm. Whom do you want brought out first?

Zeus. That long-haired fellow — the Ionian ; he looks rather
an imposing personage.

Herm. You there, Pythagoras, come down and let the
gentlemen have a look at you. Gentlemen, the article I
offer you is one of the best and most high-class character.
Who buys ? Who wants to soar above mere humanity ?
Who wants to understand the harmony of the universe,
and live again after death ?

Customer. He is rather grand to look at, certainly. But
what exactly is his specialty ?


Herm. Why, arithmetic, astronomy, necromancy, geo-
metry, music, magic — in short, I am offering you a
finished wizard.

CusT. May I ask him a few questions?

Herm. Pray do, by all means.

CusT. What is your country ?

Pythagoras. Samos.

CusT. Where were you educated ?

Pyth. In Egypt, by the wise men of the place.

CuST. Come now, suppose I buy you, what will you teach

Pyth. 1 shall not teach you anything : I shall only awaken
your memory.

CusT. How will you do that ?

Pyth. By first clearing out your mind, and washing away
all its defilements.

CusT. Well, imagine me already purified. Now, what is
your process for awaking memory ?

Pyth. The first thing is prolonged quiet and silence ; you
must never say a word for five whole years.

CusT. Why, my good man, you had better go and teach
the deaf and dumb — for my part, I like to talk, not to
be a graven image. However, what comes after the five
years' silence?

Pyth. You shall be put through a course of music and

CusT. A charming idea truly ! So I must first be a fiddler
before I can be a philosopher !

Pyth. Next after that you shall be taught how to count.

CusT. I know how to do that now.

Pyth. How do you do it, then ?

CusT. One, two, three, four.

Pyth. There ! do you see ? What you think four is really


ten, and the perfect triangle and the oath of our brother-

CusT. Now, by this most mighty oath of the number Four,
I swear I never heard words more wonderful or more

PvTH. Next, my good sir, you shall learn about the
elements — earth, air, water, and fire — what their forces
and their form and motion are.

CusT. What ! do you mean that fire and water are possessed
of form ?

Pyth. Most distinctly they are. How could what has
neither shape nor form have motion ? Then, when you
have mastered all this, you will learn that what is called
God really consists in Number, and Mind, and Harmony.

CusT. This is truly wonderful !

Pyth. Then, in addition to what I have mentioned, you
shall come to understand that you yourself, who think
you are a single individual, are one person in appearance
and another in reality.

CusT. What ! do you actually mean to say that I am
somebody else, and not the person who is talking to you

Pyth. Yes, just at the present moment you are that person ;
but at some former time you used to appear in another
body, and under another name, and, in course of time,
you will change into somebody else again.

CusT. Do you mean to say that I shall become immortal
by changing into other forms? However, we have had
enough about that. How about diet now ? What is
your system in that respect ?

Pyth. I eat the flesh of no living creature ; but I admit
everything else, except beans.

CusT. Why is that ? Do you dislike beans ?


Pyth. Not at all ; but they are sacred and of a marvellous
nature, for they are full of the principle of life. Besides,
and this is the most important reason, the law of Athens
enjoins that the magistrates there shall be elected by a
ballot of beans.

CusT. Well, all you have said is excellent and worthy of
the philosophic character. But now, strip, please, for
I wish to see you naked. Good gracious ! a\ hy, he has
got a golden thigh ! Surely he must be some god, and
not a mortal at all. I must certainly buy him. How
much do you ask for him ?

Herm. Ten minae.

CuST. I will take him at that.

Zeus. Write down the purchaser's name and address.

Herm. It seems he is from Italy — one of those Greeks
who live at Croton, or Tarentum, or some of the colonies
thereabouts. He is not the sole purchaser, it would
appear, but some three hundred others are partners in
the transaction.

Zeus. Well, let them take him. Now let us have another.

Herm. Shall we put up that unwashed-looking fellow from
Pontus next ?

Zeus. Yes, he '11 do.

Herm. You there — the bare-armed fellow with the wallet
— come and walk round the saleroom. A fine manly
character this, gentlemen, grand and noble and a true
freeman. Who buys?

CusT. How now, salesman, what 's this ? Selling a freeman,
are you ?
Hrm. Oh, by all means.

CusT, Are you not afraid he may bring an action for
kidnapping against you, and summon you before the
Areopagos ?


Herm. Oh, being sold is nothing to him : he thinks him-
self free under all circumstances whatsoever.

CusT. But what possible use could one make of such a
dirty, wretched-looking creature, unless, indeed, one
should set him to digging, or make a water-carrier of

Herm. That is not all he is fit for; if you were to mnke
a doorkeeper of him, for instance, you would find him
more trustworthy than any dog ; indeed. Dog is the
name he actually goes by.

CusT. Where does he come from ? What does he profess
to be his way of life ?

Herm. Ask him yourself — that will be the most satisfactory
thing to do.

CusT. But I don't like his surly hang-dog look. I 'm afraid
he may growl at me if I go near him ; indeed, upon my
word, he looks as though he might bite too. Don't you
see how he is fidgeting with that stick of his, and how
he scowls, and what angry threatening looks he casts at
us from under his brows ?

Herm. Don't be afraid ; he 's quite tame.

CusT. Well, in the first place, my good man, what country
do you belong to ?

Diogenes. Every country.

CusT. What do you mean by that ?

Dio. I mean I am a citizen of the universe.

CuST. Are you a follower of any master?

Dio. Yes, of Heracles.

CusT. Then why don't you also wear the lion's skin ? for
I see you have a club like his.

Dio. Here it is — my threadbare cloak is my lion's skin.
Like Heracles, I spend my life in warfare ; but it is
against pleasures that I contend, and that not at any


one's command, but of my own free will. The task to
which I have devoted myself is the thorough cleansing
of human life.

CusT. An excellent object, certainly. But what is your
particular branch of knowledge ? What is the art which
you profess ?

Dio. I am the liberator of mankind, and the healer of the
passions. In a word, I profess myself the apostle of
truth and plain speaking.

CusT. Well, apostle, if I buy you, what will be your method
of teaching me ?

Dio. First, I shall take you and strip off your habits of
luxury, and confine you straitly to poverty, and put
a ragged cloak upon you. Then I shall force you to
toil and labour, to sleep on the ground, to drink nothing
but water, and eat anything that comes to hand ; and if
you have any money, you shall throw it into the sea at
my bidding. You must care nothing for wife, or children,
or country ; all such things must be empty vanity in your
eyes ; you shall leave your father's house, and live in
some tomb or deserted tower, or even, perhaps, in a tub.
Your wallet shall be full of lupines, and parchments
covered with writing on both sides. In this condition
you shall declare that you live in more happiness and
enjoyment than any Eastern potentate ; and if any one
should scourge or torture you, you are not to look on
this as anything painful or distressing.

CusT. What do you mean ?— not feel pain if I am beaten !
My good man, do you think I have a shell like a tortoise
or a lobster?

Dio. You can alter that sentiment of Euripides, you know,
and make it your own.

CusT. What sentiment ?


Dio. You can say, ' My mind is pained — my tongue shall
own it not.' But the most necessary qualifications are
these : you must be headstrong and insolent, and
indulge in abuse of everybody indiscriminately — kings
and commons alike ; in this way you will make your-
self conspicuous, and be looked on as a fine manly
character. Your way of speaking must be uncouth, and
your voice discordant and disagreeable like a dog's ;
your face must look harsh and rigid, and your gait must
match it ; in short, your whole manner and appearance
must be brutelike and boorish. As for modesty, or
decency, or moderation — away with anything of the sort
— such a thing as a blush you must utterly banish from
your face. Then you must seek out the most frequented
places, and when you are there, make a point of being
solitary and unsociable ; you must let neither friend nor
stranger approach you, for that sort of thing is the
ruin of your dominion. Then you must boldly do in
public what most people would be ashamed to do in
private; your love affairs, again, must be of the most
ridiculous character ; and in the end you may die, if you
like, by choking yourself with a raw octopus or a squid.
This is the life of happiness to which I shall introduce

CusT. Be off with you ! this system of yours is absolutely
revolting and unnatural.

Dig. All the same, it is an easy one, my good man, and
anybody can easily shine in it. You see, you don't need
culture, or learning, or rubbish of that sort ; so it is a
fine short cut to distinction. Even supposing you are
absolutely without education — a tanner, say, or a salt-fish
huckster, or a carpenter, or a money-changer — there is
nothing to prevent your gaining fame and admiration, if


only you have shamelessness and brazen impudence, and
a happy knack of indiscriminate abuse.

CusT. Well, I 'm afraid I can make no use of you as an
instructor. But perhaps some day you would do as a
boatman or an under-gardener ; and if they will sell
you for two obols, I will give that for you, but no

Herm. Pray take him on any terms you like. We are
quite glad to get rid of him ; he is so troublesome, roar-
ing and shouting and insulting everybody all round, and
calling us all names.

Zeus. Now call up the next. Let us have the Cyrenean
there — the fellow with the purple cloak and the garland.

Herm. Now, gentlemen, pray give me your attention.
This is a most expensive and valuable article, and only
persons of large means need think of buying. I offer
you Joy and Pleasure — nothing less. Who buys luxury
and delicate living? What offers for my most dainty of
sages ?

CusT. Well, come here and tell me what your attainments
are. I will buy you if you seem likely to be of any use.

Herm. Don't bother him, my dear sir, nor ask him
questions. He has had a drop too much, as you see,
and can't answer you, for his tongue is not quite under

CusT. And who in his senses, do you think, would buy
such a spoilt and worthless scamp as that? Why, he
positively reeks of perfumes, and can't even walk straight.
But tell me yourself, Hermes, if you can, what are his
points, and whether he has any accomplishments?

Herm. Well, he is uncommonly pleasant in society, a first-
rate boon companion, and can sing and dance with the
flute girls — a perfect treasure, in short, to any master of


jovial tastes and not too strict in his life. Then, besides,
he is a great connoisseur in the matter of eating, and a
first-rate cook himself; in a word, he is a perfect master
of the whole art of good living. He was brought up at
Athens, and was in the service of the tyrants of Sicily,
who had the highest opinion of him. To put it shortly,
his system consists in despising everything, making use
of everything, and getting pleasure out of everything.

CusT. Well, you had better go and look out for some other
purchaser among these wealthy people here. I am not
the person to invest in so gay a character.

Herm. I do believe, Zeus, that he will remain on our hands
— he 's perfectly unsaleable.

Zeus. Make him stand down and put up another — or,
rather, put up these two together — the fellow from
Abdera, who is always laughing, and the Ephesian, who
is everlastingly crying. I want them sold as a pair.

Herm. Come forward there, you two. Gentlemen, here is
a pair of the finest characters possible ; we offer you the
two wisest of our whole stock.

CuST. Heavens! what a contrast! One never stops
laughing, and the other seems to be in mourning for
somebody, for he is quite dissolved in tears. How now,
you there, what are you laughing at ?

Democritus. Can you ask ? Why, because all your doings
seem to me intensely ridiculous, and you yourselves no
less so.

CusT. What ! do you mean to say you are laughing at us
all, and hold all human concerns in contempt?

Dem. Exactly. For, you see, there is nothing in the least
real or serious in any of them — all things are vain and
empty — the mere blind concourse of atoms in infinite


CusT. Not a bit of it ; you are an atom of infinite vacuity
yourself. Confound your impudence ; can't you stop
laughing? But tell me, my poor fellow, for I had rather
talk to you than to this mountebank, why do you weep
so incessantly?

Heraclitus. I weep because to me it seems that all things
in the life of man are pitiable, and call for tears, and there
is nothing among mankind that is not doomed to woe ;
wherefore I pity them and lament their lot. The
present ills, indeed, I count not so heavy ; it is for the
awful future that I mourn — I mean the final conflagra-
tion and the collapse of the universe. All this I bewail,
and this, too, that there is nothing abiding, but all things
are confounded together, as it were, in one cup of woe —
pleasure and misery, knowledge and ignorance, great
and small, high and low, each is the same as the other,
changing and interchanging with ceaseless flux in the
sport of the universe.

CusT. What, then, is the universe ?

Hera. 'Tis a child at his game, playing at draughts,

CuST. What, then, are men ?

Hera. Mortal gods.

CusT. What are the gods ?

Hera. Immortal men.

CusT. Are you propounding riddles, my good man, and
setting us puzzles to solve ? You speak exactly like the
Delphic oracle ; one is not a bit the wiser for all you say.

Hera. Very likely not. I trouble myself about you not
at all.

CusT. Then no one in his senses will buy you.

Hera. Woe to you all, man and boy, buyers alike and
those who do not buy !


CuST. This sort of thing is next door to melancholy mad-
ness. I shall not buy either the one or the other of

Herm. These two have not sold either.
1 Zeus. Well, put up another.

Herm. Shall we have the chattering Athenian now ?

Zeus. By all means.

Herm. Come here, you. The lot we now offer you,
gentlemen, is a character of high moral tone and great
intelligence. What offers for the most exalted of
philosophers ?

CuST. Tell me, what is your specialty ?

Socrates. I am very fond of children, and also a great
authority on the subject of love-making.

CusT. Dear me ! Then I am afraid I can hardly buy you
— what I wanted was a tutor for my handsome son.

Soc. No one could be a more discreet instructor for a
handsome youth than myself; it is the beauty of the
mind, not of the body, that I make my care.

CusT. Really ?

Soc. Yes, I assure you, by the Dog and the Plane Tree.

CusT. Dear me, what extraordinary gods to swear by !

Soc. What do you say? Do you think the Dog is not a
god? Don't you know the position that Anubis holds
in Egypt, Sirius in the skies, Cerberus in the world
below ?

CusT. You are right ; I was quite mistaken. But what is
your manner of life ?

Soc. I live in a city I have built for myself, under a
peculiar constitution, and I observe laws of my own

CusT. Indeed? I should like to hear one of these


Soc. I will tell you the one which seems to me the most

important — it is about women. In my state no woman

is to be the wife of any one man — they are to have wives

in common.
CusT. What ! do you mean to say you have done away

with all the marriage laws ?
Soc. Yes, certainly, and thereby with all the petty questions

which arise out of the subject.
CusT. Well, what are your views about those who are in

the flower of youth ?
Soc. These are to be given as a special reward to the

brave and valiant, who have performed some brilliant

and gallant exploit.
i CusT. Heavens ! what noble liberality, to be sure ! But,

tell me, what is the distinctive tenet of your system ?
Soc. It is the doctrine of Ideas, and of the divine examples

of all things visible, the earth and all that is upon it, the

heavens and the sea ; how that of all these things there

are invisible images or Ideas outside the universe.
CusT. Where are they then ?
Soc. They are nowhere; for if they were anywhere, they

would not exist at all.
CusT. These images of yours are quite invisible to me.
Soc. Of course they are; for your mind's eye is blind. But

I can see the images of all things ; your other self, for

instance, whom the eye cannot see, and mine as well.

In short, I see everything double.
CuST. I really think you are worth buying ; you are so

clever and clear-sighted. What is your price for him ?
Herm. Oh, I'll let you have him for two talents.
CusT. I'll take him at that, but you must let me pay

later on.
Herm. What is vour name ?


CusT. Dion of Syracuse.

^Herm. Well, take him away, and I wish you joy of him.
Now, Epicurus, I'll call you. Who'll buy this one?
He is a disciple of that laughing fellow there, and of the
toper that we put up a short time ago. His knowledge
is superior to theirs in one point however — he is more
of an unbeliever. As for his other qualities, I may say
he is a pleasant companion and a great lover of good

CuST. What is your price for him ?

Herm. Two minae.

CusT. There you are — but, by the way, you might let me
know what he likes best to eat?

Herm. Oh, anything sweet and tasting like honey — figs in

CusT. Well, there is no difficulty about that. I shall get
him slabs of those cheap pressed figs from Caria.

Zeus. Now call up another — that one with the cropped
head — I mean the disagreeable-looking fellow that came
from the Painted Porch, you know.

Herm. That is a good idea, for I think quite a number of
people have come here on purpose to buy him, and are
only waiting till we come to him. Now, gentlemen, here
is the choicest and most perfect let of all ; I offer you
Virtue itself for sale — nothing less. Who wants to have
all knowledge for his sole possession ?

Gust. What do you mean ?

Herm. I mean that you have before you the only wise
man ; he alone is handsome, just, or noble ; he is the
only true king, orator, rich man, lawgiver, or anything

CusT. Then am I to understand that he is also the only
true cook ? And, by Jove, perhaps he is also the one


currier, or carpenter — in short, the one tradesman of
any kind?

Herm. So it would seem.

CusT. Well, come now, my good man, since I propose to
buy you, tell me what sort of person you are, and in the
first place whether you do not bitterly resent being put
up for sale as a slave ?

Chrysippus. Not at all; these things are not in our
power; and if a thing is not in our power, it follows that
it is a matter of indifference.

CusT. I don't understand what you mean.

Chrys. What? don't you understand that of such things
some are relatively preferable, while others, again, are
the reverse?

CusT. I don't follow your meaning even now.

Chrys. Very likely you don't, because you are not ac-
customed to our phraseology, and, moreover, you are de-
void of the faculty of apprehension. But the virtuous
man, and he who has mastered the theory of logic, not
onlyknows all this, but can also tell the nature of symbama
and parasymbama, and how they differ from one another.

CusT. Dear me ! I beg you, in the name of philosophy
herself, do not refuse to tell me one thing more — what
exactly are symbama and parasymbama? Somehow I
find an extraordinary charm in the mere sound of these
two words.

Chrys. I will tell you with pleasure. Suppose a lame
man should strike his lame foot against a stone, and so
receive a wound ; then his lameness is a symbama, and
the wound he gets in addition is a parasymbama.

CusT. Heavens ! what extraordinary acuteness of mind !
And what other wonderful things do you know?

Chrys, I understand the art of weaving meshes of words


in which I entangle those who converse with me, and
hedge them in. I reduce them to silence, in fact, by
fairly muzzling them. And the means whereby I
accomplish this is the famous device of the Syllogism.

CusT. Good gracious, what an irresistible and powerful
instrument !

Chrys. Yes, indeed. Just see here. Have you a son ?

CusT. Why do you ask ?

Chrys. Suppose a crocodile were to catch him playing

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