Plutarch's essays and miscellanies : comprising all his works collected under the title of Morals (Volume 3) online

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1890- 1967


Tiberiitg and Agrippina.
From the painting by Peter Paul Rubens,


Comprising all his Works Collected
under the Title of "Morals" • Trans-
lated from the Greek by Several Hands
Corrected and Revised by WILLIAM
W. GOODWIN, Ph.D., Professor of
Greek Literature in Harvard University
In Five Volumes • Volume Three


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870,

By Little, Brown, and Company,

In the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

Copyright, 1898, 1905,
By Little, Bbown, and Company.

8. J. Parkhiil a Co., Boston, U. S. A.




Br Chables Whitaker, Ebquibb, sometime Fellow of New Collbob ib


He who said this had no mind to live concealed, 8. Such men strive hard to be
known, 8. Even a bad man ought not to withdraw from the notice of others, 4.
It is a loss to the world, if virtuous men live concealed, 6. If brave and good
men become known, they are examples to others, 6. Virtue by use grows bright ;
but human abiUties, unemployed, go to decay, 7. Oiu" life and all our faculties
were given to be used, and to make us known, 8. Only a vicious, useless life
should be forgotten, 10.



Bt William Baxteb, Gent

Aristophanes suits low and vulgar persons ; Menander the men of culture ; the style
of Aristophanes lacks fitness and propriety ; it is harsh, coarse, and obscene ;
Menander charms us by his elegance and refinement, 11.


Bt John Patrick, of the Charterhouse.

Afflicted persons need to have their grief lightened, not increased, 16. Banishment
may not be an evil of itself, but only as the mind makes it such, 16. If it be an
evil, philosophy may help a man to bear it, 17. If it be an evil, let us consider
how much good remains to balance it, 18. By nature, we have no country, we
are citizens of the world, 18, 19. In whatever part of the world we are, we may
make ourselves at home, 20. It is folly to suppose that we cannot enjoy life but
where we were born, 20. A man of skill and ability can thrive anywhere, 21.
Custom makes every thijig and every place pleasant, 22. Change of scene may
afford relief, 23. Happiness is not limited to place, 24. The Cyclades are places
of exile, yet great men have lived there, 24. Homer commends islands as places
of abode, 25. An island may be a place of much quiet and enjoyment, 25, 26.
Few of the prTident and wise were buried in their own country, 27. Instances
of the fact, 28. Some of the finest human compositions were written in exile,
29. Instances of this. 29. It is not ignominious to be banished. 29. 80. In


stances produced, 30, 83. Banishment does not deprive us of our liberty,
81. We are ail strangers and pilgrims on earth; the soul being of heavenly
origin, 34.


Bt John Thomson, Peebendart op Hebbfobd.

Vddress to two brothers, 36. Nature, by forming some of our most useftd members
in pairs, gives a hint of the need of harmony between brothers, 37. Nature ad-
monishes us to prefer a brother to a stranger, 38. The author's experience at
Rome, 39. To our parents, next to the gods, is due the highest veneration, 40.
Parents are happy in the union of brothers, and sad at their disagreement, 41.
Love between brothers indicates love to parents, 42. Disaffection between
brothers indicates great wrong somewhere, 43. Brothers, once alienated, can
scarce become true friends again, 44. Brothers must bear with one another's
tailings ; tliey should not expect perfection, 46. If your brother has given offence
to your father, intercede in his behalf, 47. If the father be dead, let justice pre-
side in the division of his property, 48, 49. An imequal division produces lasting
hatred and envy among brothers, 60, 51. If one brother excel another in talent
or learning, let him treat the other with condescension and kindness, 62. And
let not the other indulge envy, 63. Be not jealous of a brother's prosperity, 53.
Brothers should assist one another, 64. The elder brother should lead, but not
be exacting and overbearing, 66. The younger should treat the elder with re-
spect and deference, 56, 57. Avoid disagreements about little things, 67. Yield
your wishes for peace* sake, 68. Beautiful instance of fraternal concord from the
history of Persia, 59. Another from the history of Syria, 60. When a brother
has wronged a brother, let him confess it, 61. Kindness of Attains to his brother
Eumenes, 62. If brothers disagree, let each avoid a correspondence with the
other's enemies, 63. Cherish your brother's friends, his wife and children,



Bt John Philips, Gent.

A walk in Delphi, 69. The statues there ; the color of the brass admired, 70. The
Corinthian brass, whence its extraordinary lustre and beauty, 70, 71. The at-
mosphere of Delphi, its effect on the brass of the statues, 72. The ancient
oracles of Delphi, whence their rudeness and coarseness, 73. Could verses so
devoid of neatness and elegance proceed from Apollo 1 73. The ideas were
supplied by Apollo : the words came from the priestess, 76. The statue of Hiero
at Delphi : prodigy connected with it, 76. Other similar prodigies, 76. But
these were mere accidents, 77. Strange and unlooked-for events may happen
from natural causes, 78. Even though predicted, it was not from any fore-
knowledge of the prophet but only from plausible conjecture, 78. Conjectures
are sometimes verified, 79. Yet there may be real predictions and actual pro-
phetic inspiration, 80. Instances given, 80. Frogs and water-snakes : what
relation have they to Apollo ? 80-82 ; and why are they represented in the
Corinthian Hall at Delphi ? 80-82. Why does the Corinthian Hall bear that


name ? 82. The statue of Phryne the courtesan, 83. It was no worse to place
such a statue in the temple of Apollo than to fill it with spoils taken in war, 84.
Yet statues and offerings are sometimes placed there in token of gratitude, 85.
But why does the Pythian priestess no longer deliver her oracles in verse f 86. In
ancient times philosophers sometimes spoke in verse, while oracles were some-
times deUvered in prose, 87, 88. Instances given, 88, 89. Some oracles are now
uttered in verse, 90. A singular anecdote, 90. As the soul acta tlirough the
body as its servant and instrument, so the Deity uses the soul, 91. As the moon
reflects the light of the sun, yet in diminiyhed force, so the Pythia imperfectly
yet really conveys the energy of the Deity, 92. The Deity uses men according
to tlieir ability, 93. The Pythian priestess, having had a slender education,
cannot speak the language of culture and refinement, 93, 94. The times are much
altered from what they once were. History and philosophy do not now take a
poetical form, 95, 96. Poetry has lost its ancient credit, 98. This may accoimt
for the disuse of verse in the Delphic utterances, 98. The ambiguity of the
ancient oracles accounted for, 99. In these times of pubHc tranquillity there is
no need of oracles, 100. Yet let us not blame the oracle, 103.


Bt John Dowel, Vicar of Melton Mowbray in Lbioestbrshirb.

Book I. A threefold division of Philosophy, 104 Natural Philosophy: what is
Nature f 105. Diflerence between a principle and an element 1 106. What are
principles 1 106. Opinions of Thales, Anaximander, Anaxagoras, Pythagoras,
Heraclitus, Epicurus, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, and others, con-
cerning the origin of things, 107-118. How was the world brought into its present
order and condition ? 113. Whether the universe is one f 114. Whence the knowl-
edge of a Deity ? 115. Different orders and classes of Deities, 117. What is God ?
is he perfect? is he eternal? does he interfere with human affairs ? Opinions of
Pythagoras, of Socrates, Aristotle, Epicurus, 118-122. Of geniuses and heroes, 122.
Of matter : different opinions, 123. Of ideas, 123. Of causes, 123. Of bodies,
124. Of least things m nature, 125. Of figures, 125. Of colors, 125. Of the
division of bodies, 126. Of the mixture of the elements, 126. Of a vacuum, 126.
Of place, 127. Of space, 127. Of time, 127. Of the essence and nature of
time, 128. Of motion, 128. Of generation and corruption, 128. Of necessity,
129. Of the nature of necessity, 129. Of destiny or fate, 130. Of the nature
of fate, 130. Of fortune, 131. Of nature, 131.

Book II. Of the world, Koafiof, 132. Of the figure of the world, 133. Whether
the world be an animal, 133. Whether the world be eternal and incorruptible,
133. Whence does the world receive nutriment ? 134. From what element did
God begin to raise the fabric of the world 1 134. In what form and order was
the world composed ? 135. What is the cause of the world's inclination ? 136
Of that thing which is beyond the world, and whether it be a vacuum or not,
136. What parts of the world are on the right hand and what parts are on the
left ? 137. Of heaven, its nature and essence, 137. Into how many circles is
the heaven distinguished ? the division of heaven, 137. What are the stars
made of? 138. Of what figure are the stars? 139. Of the order and place
of the stars, 139. Of tlie motion and circulation of the stars, 140. Whence
do the stars receive their light ? 140. What are the stars called Dioscuri, oi


Castor and Pollux ? 141 How stars prognosticate : what is the cause of winter
and summer'? 141. Of the essence of the sun, 141, 142. Of the magnitude
of the sun, 142. Of the figure or shape of the sun, 143. Of the turning and
returning of the sun, or the summer and winter solstice, 148. Of the eclipses of
the sun, 144. Of the essence of the moon, 146. Of the moon's magnitude and
figure, 146. Whence does the moon receive her Ught ? 146. Of eclipses of the
moon, 146. Of the phases or aspects of the moon, 147. Of the distance of
the moon from the sun, 147. Of the year and the length of the year in the
difierent planets ; of the great year, 147.

Book III. Of the galaxy, or milky way, 148. Of comets and shooting fires, 149.
Of lightning, thunder, hurricanes, and wliirlwinds, 150. Of clouds rain, snow,
and hail, 161. Of the rainbow, 152. Of meteors which resemble rods, 153. Of
winds, 164. Of winter and summer, 154. Of the earth, its natuie and magnitude,
164. Of the figure of the earth, 155. Of tlie site and position of the eartli, 155.
Of the inchnation of the earth, 165. Of the motion of the earth, 156. Of the
zones of the earth, 156. Of earthquakes and their cause, 157. Of the sea, of
what it is composed, and why it has a bitter taste, 158. Of the ebbing and flow-
ing of the sea, 159. Of the halo, or circle round a star, 160.

Book IV. Of the overflowing of the Nile, 160. Of the soul, 161. Whether the
soul be a body, and what is its nature and essence, 162. Of the parts of the soul,
162. Wliat is the principal part of the soul, and in what part of the body does it
reside t 163. Of the motion of the soul, 163. Of the soul's immortahty, 164.
Of the senses, and their objects, 164. Whether what appears to our senses and
imaginations be realities, 166. How many senses are there 1 165. How the con-
ceptions of the mind are received from the senses, 166. What is the diflerence
between imagination (<j>avTaaia), imaginable ((pavTaarov), fancy (pavTaanKdv), and
phantom ((pavraafxa) 1 167. Of our sight, and by what means we see, 168. Of
the images presented to the eye m mirrors, 169. Can darkness be visible to us "^
169. Of hearing, 170. Of smelUng, 170. Of taste, 170. Of the voice, 171.
Whether the voice is incorporeaH what is it that gives the echo? 172. By
what means the soul is sensible, 173. Of respiration or breathing, 173. Of the
passions of the body, and whether the soul sympathizes 1 176.

Book V. Of divination, 176. Whence do dreams arise? 176. Of the nature of
generative seed, 177. Whether the sperm be a body, 177. Whether women
give a spermatic emission, 177. How conception is efiected, 178. After what
manner males and females are generated, 178. Of the causes of monstrous
conceptions, 179. How it comes to pass that a woman's too frequent conver-
sation with a man hinders conception, 179. Whence it is that one birth may
give two or three children, 180. Whence arises the similitude of children
to their parents? 180. How it sometimes happens that children resemble
strangers and not tlieir parents, 181. Whence arises barrenness in women, and
impotency in men ? 181. Why mules are barren, 182. Whether an unborn
infant is an animal, 183. How the unborn child is nourished, 183. What part
of the body is first formed in the womb ? 184. Whence is it that infants born
in the seventh month are born alive? 184. Of the generation of animals, 186.
How many species of animals there are, and whether all animals have sense and
reason, 187. What time is required to shape the parts of animals in the womb?
188 Of what elements is each of our members composed ? 188. What causes
sleep and death ? 188. When is the perfection of a man dated ? 189. Does the
soul sleep or die with the body ' 189. How pliint.s grow, and wlietlier they .nrp
animals, 1 jU. Of nourishment and growth, 191. Whence is it that animals havo


appetites and pleasures ? 191. What is the cause of a fever ? 192 Of health,
sickness, and old age ? 192.


Bt William Baxter, Gent.

Their philosophy leads to greater delusions than the fictions of the poets ; it it more
inconsistent with real life and with possible events, 194-196.


Bt T. C.

Book I. Question 1. At a feast is it allowable to talk learnedly and philosophize t 198
Long and tedious discourses would be out of place : but there must be conversa-
tion : let it be on useful subjects, 198-200. There are topics fit to be discussed
at table, 200. Easy and pleasant discourse fits the occasion, 201. Disputation
aud pedantry are out of place, 202. 2. Whether the entertainer should seat the
guests, or let every man take his own place, 203. The order aud respect due to
age, station, and relationship, may be observed without offence to any . the best
man should have the best place, 204-206. Custom and decency should guide,
206-208. 3. Upon what account is the place at the table, called Consular, es-
teemed honorable ? 210-212. Tliree reasons assigned, 211. 4. What qualifica-
tions should the steward of a feast possess ? 212-216. He must be able to bear
wine, have good nature, and suit his ministrations to the wants and tastes of all,
213-216. He must keep the company in good humor, and exclude every thing
unpleasant, 216. 5. Why is it said that Love makes a man a poet"? 217, 218.
Poetry is the language of strong passion, 218. 6. Whether Alexander was a
great drinker, 219-221. 7. Why old men love pure wine, 221. 8. Why old men
read best at a distance, 222-224. 9. Why fi-esh water washes clothes better than
gait, 224-226. 10. Why, at Athens, was it the privilege of the tribe Aeantis,
that their chorus should never be determined to be the last f 226-228.

Book II. Question. 1. What are the most agreeable questions and most pleasant rail-
lery at an entertainment "? 229-240. Questions are agreeable when they give a man
opportunity to display his knowledge, to relate his own exploits, or to describe his
own prosperity, 230-232. Raillery is pleasant when it refers to laults of which we
are known to be innocent; wlien it implies gratitude for a favor bestowed ; and
when it proceeds from evident good humor, 283-240. 2. Why in autumn are
men's stomachs better than in other seasons of the year, 240, 241. 3. Which was
first, the bird or the egg ? 242-246. The perfect must come before the imperfect,
244. 4. Is wrestling the oldest exercise 1 246, 247. 6. Why, in reckoning up dif-
ferent kinds of exercises, does Homer put them in this order, — Cuffing, Wrest-
ling, Racing ? 248, 249. 6. Why cannot Fir-trees, Pine-trees, and the Uke be
grafted upon ? 260, 261. 7. About the fish called Remora or Echeneis, 262. Why
the horses called XvKoanadec are very mettlesome, 253. 9. Why the flesh of sheep
bitten by wolves is sweeter than that of others, and the wool more apt to breed
lice, 254. 10. Whether the ancients who provided for every one hl« mess did
better than we who set many to the same dish, 25&-268.


Book III. Wine reveals men's secret thoughts, 269. Question 1. Whether it is
becoming to wear chaplets of flowers at table, 260-265. Flowers were designed
for our pleasure, 262. They have a good medicinal effect, 264. 2. Whethei
Ivy is of a hot or cold nature, 265-267. 3. Why women are hardly, old
men easily, intoxicated, 268-270. 4. Whether the temper of women is colder
or hotter than that of men, 270-272. 5. Whether wine is potentially cold, 272-
274. 6. Which is the fittest time for a man to know his wife ? 274^279. In the
evening, not in the daytime, 276-278. 7. Why new wine does not intoxicate,
279, 280. & Wiiy persons thoroughly drunk appear better than those only half-
drunk, 281. 9. What means the saying, Drink either five or three, but not four'
282, 283. 10. Why flesh stinks sooner when exposed to the moon than to the
Bun, 284-287.

B<H>K IV. A feast should be used for the cultivation of friendship, 288. Question 1.
Whether different sorts of food or one single dish, fed upon at once, be more
easily digested, 289-295. 2. Why mushrooms are thought to be produced by
thunder, and why it is believed that men asleep are never thunderstruck, 296-
300. 3. Why men usually invite many guests to a wedding supper, 300, 301.
4. Wiiether sea or land affords better food, 302-306. 5. Whether the Jews abstain
from swine's flesh because they worship that creature, or because they have an
antipathy against it, 307-310. 6. What God is worshiped by the Jews ? Bacchus,

Book V. The soul has pleasures peculiar to itself and distinct from the body, 313.
Question 1. Why do we take pleasure in a representation of human suffermg,
while we are shocked at the reality ? 314-316. 2. That the prize for poets at the
games was ancient, 316-318. 3. Why was the Pine counted sacred to Neptune
and Bacchus, and why at first was the conqueror in the Isthmian Games crowned
with a garland of Pine, afterwards with Parsley, and now again with Pine ? 318-
821. 4. Meaning of that expression in Homer, ^updrepov 6i Kepaie, " mix the wine
stronger," 321, 322. 5. Concerning those that invite many to a supper, 323-326
6. Why does a room which at the beginning of a supper seems too narrow for the
guests appear wide enough afterwards 1 326. 7. Concerning those that are said
to bewitch, 327-332. 8. Why does Homer call the apple-tree ayTuioKapnov, and
Empedocles call the apples inrep(j>'X.0La ? 333, 334. 9. Why does the fig-tree, hav-
ing itself a sharp and bitter taste, bear sweet fruit ? 335. 10. What are those
that are said to be ■trepl oAa koX kv/xcvov, and whv does Homer call salt divine ? 336,

Book VI. The memory of a useful discourse gives pleasure long afterwards, 838,
339. Question 1. Why are those that are fasting more inclined to drink than to
eatl 839, 340. 2. Whether hunger and thirst are caused by want of nourish-
ment or by a change in the pores or passages of the body, 341-344. 3. Why is
hunger allayed by drinking, but thirst increased by eating 1 345, 346. 4. Why
is a bucket of water drawn out of a well, and left to stand all night in the air that
is in the well, colder next morning than the rest of tlie water? 347, 348. 6. Why
do pebble-stones and leaden bullets, thrown into the water, make it more cold ?
848, 349. 6. What is the reason that snow is preserved by covering it with chafiT
and cloths? 850, 351. 7. Ought wine to be strained? 351-364. 8. What is the
cause of Bulimy, or the greedy disease? 355-358. 9. Why does Homer appro-
priate to each particular liquid a special epithet, and use none when speaking of
oil ? 859, 360. 10. Why is the fiesh of sacrificed animalB, after being awhile upon
B fig-tree, more tender than before ? 361, 362.


Book "VTI. Question 1. Plato defended for saying that drink passeth throught the
lungs, 363-367. 2. What humored man is he whom Plato calls KEpaajiokoq, and
why do seeds that fall on oxen's horns become uTepafwva ? 368-870. 3. Why ia
the middle of wine, the top of oil, and the bottom of honey the best? 870, 871.
4. Why did the ancient Romans remove the table before all the meat was eaten,
and why not extinguish the lamp ? 372-375. To leave something for the ser-
vants, 374. " Leave something for the Medes " : a proverb in Boeotia, 376.
6. That we ought carefully to preserve ourselves from pleasures arising from bad
music ; and how it may be done, 376-380. Bad music, the loose ode, enervates
and debauches the mind. Have recourse to that which is pure and good, t&.
6. Concerning those guests that are called shadows, whether being invited by
some of the invited guests, but not by the entertainer, they ought to go to the
house ; and if so, in what cases ? 381-387. Such a person is placed at a disad-
vantage on joining the company, and why, 382. But an invited guest, who ha«
liberty to invite others may do so, yet with due caution and discretion ; and the
others may go, 885, 386. 7. Whether flute-girls may be admitted to a feast, 387,
388. 8. What sort of music is fittest for an entertainment ? 389-394. Not
tragedy, it is too grave and dignified, 390. But the New Comedy, as that of
Menander, or a song with pipe or harp, 391, 392. 9. That the Greeks, as well
as the Persians, were accustomed to debate state affairs at their entertainments,
394. 10. Was that a good custom ? 395-398. Are men wise over their wine 1
396. Men may drink freely, and yet not lose their wit, 897.

Book VIII. In our entertainments we may and should use learned and philosophical
discourse, 399 Question 1. On the birthdays of famous men, and the generation
of the Gods, 400, 401. 2. What is Plato's meaning when he says that God all
ways plays the geometer f 402-406. 3. Why sounds seem louder in the night
than in the day. 406-410. 4. In the Sacred Games one sort of garland wa«
given in one, and another in another : why was the Palm common to all ? and
why call the great dates NmoTkwi? 411-^14. 6. Why do those who sail upon the
Nile take up the water they are to use before day ? 415, 416 6. Concerning
those who come late to an entertainment, and the derivation of the words
oKpaTia/ia, apiarov, and delnvov, 417-419. The Latin terms compared, 418. 7.
Concerning the Symbols of Pythagoras : Receive not a swallow into your
house ; as soon as you are risen ruffle the bedclothes ; and some other precepts :
what is their meaning? 419-421. 8. Why the Pythagoreans do not eat fish,
422-426. 9. Whether there can be new diseases, and how caused, 426-432. On
the negative, it is said the course of Nature is invariable, 427. The affirmative
alleges that the causes of disease may vary, become intense and complicated,
430. Alterations in diet may raise new diseases, 432. 10, Why we give least
credit to dreams in Autumn, 432-435.

Book IX. Question 1. Concerning verses fitly applied, and the reverse, 436-488,
2, 8. Why is Alpha placed first in the alphabet ? and what is the proportion be-
tween the number of vowels and semi-vowels ? 438-441, 4. Which of the hands
of Venus did Diomedes wound? 441. 6. Why Plato says that the soul of Ajax
came to draw her lot in the twentieth place in hell, 442, 443. 6. What is meant
by the fable about the defeat of Neptune ? and why do the Athenians omit the
second day of the month Boedromion ? 444, 445. 12. Is it probable that the
number of the stars is even or odd ? 446. 13. A moot-point from the third book
of the Biad, 446-450. 14. Observations about the number of the Muses, and
their relation to human affiiirs, 450-456. 16, That there are three parts io


dancing, motion, gesture, and representation • what each part is, and what is com

Online LibraryPlutarchPlutarch's essays and miscellanies : comprising all his works collected under the title of Morals (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 40)