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Diodorus Siculus, Library, Fragments of Book 9, Chapter 26 (search)
e in order to maintain their freedom." And Croesus, believing that he had erred in his reply, and that a second
time he would give an answer to please him, asked him, "Whom do you judge to be the most just
of living beings?" And Anacharsis again answered, "The wildest animals; for they alone live in
accordance with nature, not in accordance with laws; since nature is a work of God, while law
is an ordinance of man, and it is more just to follow the institutions of God than those of
men." Then Croesus, wishing to make Anacharsis appear
ridiculous, inquired of him, "And are the beasts, then, also the wisest?" And Anacharsis agreed
that they were, adding this explanation: "The peculiar characteristic of wisdom consists in
showing a greater respect to the truth which nature imparts than to the ordinance of the law."
And Croesus laughed at him and the answers he had given, as those of one coming from Scythia and from a bestial manner of living.