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[404a] “Perhaps.” “Nay,” said I, “that is a drowsy habit and precarious for health. Don't you observe that they sleep away their lives,1 and that if they depart ever so little from their prescribed regimen these athletes are liable to great and violent diseases?” “I do.” “Then,” said I, “we need some more ingenious form of training for our athletes of war, since these must be as it were sleepless hounds, and have the keenest possible perceptions of sight and hearing, and in their campaigns undergo many changes2 [404b] in their drinking water, their food, and in exposure to the heat of the sun and to storms,3 without disturbance of their health.” “I think so.” “Would not, then, the best gymnastics be akin to the music that we were just now describing?” “What do you mean?” “It would be a simple and flexible4 gymnastic, and especially so in the training for war.” “In what way?” “One could learn that,” said I, “even from Homer.5 For you are aware that in the banqueting of the heroes on campaign he does not [404c] feast them on fish,6 nor on boiled meat, but only on roast, which is what soldiers could most easily procure. For everywhere, one may say, it is of easier provision to use the bare fire than to convey pots and pans7 along.” “Indeed it is.” “Neither, as I believe, does Homer ever make mention of sweet meats. Is not that something which all men in training understand—that if one is to keep his body in good condition he must abstain from such things altogether?” “They are right,” [404d] he said, “in that they know it and do abstain.” “Then, my friend, if you think this is the right way, you apparently do not approve of a Syracusan table8 and Sicilian variety of made dishes.” “I think not.” “You would frown, then, on a little Corinthian maid as the chère amie of men who were to keep themselves fit?” “Most certainly.” “And also on the seeming delights of Attic pastry?” “Inevitably.” “In general, I take it, if we likened that kind of food and regimen to music and song expressed in the pan-harmonic mode and [404e] in every variety of rhythm it would be a fair comparison.” “Quite so.” “And here variety engendered licentiousness, did it not, but here disease? While simplicity in music begets sobriety in the souls, and in gymnastic training it begets health in bodies.” “Most true,” he said. “And when licentiousness

1 Cf.Ἐράσται132 Cκαθεύδων πάντα τὸν βίον. Xenophanes, Euripides, Aristotle, and the medical writers, like Plato, protest against the exaggerated honor paid to athletes and the heavy sluggishness induced by overfeeeding and overtraining.

2 Laws 797 D. Cf. 380 E. Aristotle's comment on μεταβολή, Eth. Nic. 1154 b 28 ff., is curiously reminiscent of Plato, includiong the phrase ἁπλῆ οὐδ᾽ ἐπιεικής.

3 Perhaps in the context “cold.”

4 Literally “equitable,” if we translate ἐπιεικής by its later meaning, that is, not over-precise or rigid in conformity to rule. Adam is mistaken in saying that ἐπιεικής is practically synonymous with ἀγαθή. It sometimes is, but not here. Cf. Plutarch, De san. 13ἀκριβὴς . . . καὶ δι᾽ ὄνυχος.

5 So Laws 706 D. The καί is perhaps merely idiomatic in quotation.

6 Homer's ignoring of fish diet, except in stress of starvation, has been much and idly discussed both in antiquity and by modern scholars. Modern pseudo-science has even inferred from this passage that Plato placed a “taboo” on fish, though they are at the sea-side on the Hellespont, which Homer calls “fish-teeming,”Iliad ix. 360.

7 Cf. Green, History of English People, Book II. chap. ii., an old description of the Scotch army: “They have therefore no occasion for pots and pans, for they dress the flesh of the catlle in their skins after they have flayed them,” etc. But cf. Athenaeus, i. 8-9 (vol. i. p. 36 L.C.L.), Diogenes Laertius viii. 13ὥστε εὐπορίστους αὐτοῖς εἶναι τὰς τροφάς.

8 Proverbial, like the “Corinthian maid” and the “Attic pastry.” Cf. Otto, Sprichw. d. Rom. p. 321, Newman, Introduction to Aristotle's Politics, p. 302. Cf. also Phaedrus 240 B.

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