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[41] for [p. 51] where lust holds despotic sway self-control has no place, and in pleasure's realm there is not a single spot where virtue can put her foot.

“Imagine,” he begged, to make his meaning clearer, “imagine a person enjoying the most exquisite bodily pleasure to be had. No one will doubt, I think, that such a man, while in the midst of this enjoyment, is incapable of any mental action, and can accomplish nothing requiring reason and reflection. Hence there is nothing so hateful and so pernicious as pleasure, since, if indulged in too much and too long, it turns the light of the soul into utter darkness.” My Tarentine host Nearchus, who remained steadfast in his friendship to the Roman people, told me that, according to tradition, Archytas uttered these words while conversing with Pontius the Samnite, father of the man who defeated the consuls Spurius Postumius and Titus Veturius at the Caudine Forks.1 Indeed he further told me that Plato the Athenian was present and heard Archytas deliver this discourse, and, upon investigation, I find that Plato did come to Tarentum in the consulship of Lucius Camillus and Appius Claudius.2

1 321 B.C.

2 That is, in 349 B.C. when Plato was 79 years old and too old, it is thought, to have visited Italy. The date of his last visit is usually given as 361.

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