Crassus and Lucius Philippus had a large fund of
wit; Gaius Caesar, Lucius's son, had a still richer
fund and employed it with more studied purpose.
Contemporary with them, Marcus Scaurus and
Marcus Drusus, the younger, were examples of
unusual seriousness; Gaius Laelius, of unbounded
jollity; while his intimate friend, Scipio, cherished
more serious ideals and lived a more austere life.
Among the Greeks, history tells us, Socrates was
fascinating and witty, a genial conversationalist;
he was what the Greeks call εἴρων
—in every conversation, pretending to need information and professing admiration for the wisdom of his companion.
Pythagoras and Pericles, on the other hand, reached
the heights of influence and power without any
seasoning of mirthfulness. We read that Hannibal,
among the Carthaginian generals, and Quintus
Maximus, among our own, were shrewd and ready
at concealing their plans, covering up their tracks,
disguising their movements, laying stratagems, forestalling the enemy's designs. In these qualities the
Greeks rank Themistocles and Jason of Pherae
above all others. Especially crafty and shrewd was
the device of Solon, who, to make his own life safer
and at the same time to do a considerably larger service for his country, feigned insanity.