previous next
[13] 5. Why, then, have I said so much about [p. 23] Maximus? Because you surely realize now that it would be monstrous to call unhappy such an old age as his. And yet, not every one can be a Scipio or a Maximus and call to mind the cities he has taken, the battles he has fought on land and sea, the campaigns he has conducted, and the triumphs he has won. But there is also the tranquil and serene old age of a life spent quietly, amid pure and refining pursuits—such an old age, for example, as we are told was that of Plato, who died, pen in hand,1 in his eighty-first year; such as that of Isocrates, who, by his own statement, was ninety-four when he composed the work entitled Panathenaicus, and he lived five years after that. His teacher, Gorgias of Leontini, rounded out one hundred and seven years and never rested from his pursuits or his labours. When some one asked him why he chose to remain so long alive, he answered: “I have no reason to reproach old age.”

1 Not necessarily to be taken literally; but meaning that he had not abandoned the writing of books. Plato is said to have died at a marriage-feast (Diog. Laert. iii. 2).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
hide References (20 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: