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Among voluntary tasks and exercises for strengthening his body for any chance demands upon its endurance we are told that Socrates habitually practised this one: he would stand, so the story goes, in one fixed position, all day and all night, from early dawn until the next sunrise, open-eyed, motionless, in his very tracks and with face and eyes riveted to the same spot in deep meditation, as if his mind and soul had been, as it were, withdrawn from his body. When Favorinus in his discussion of the man's fortitude and his many other virtues had reached this point, he said: “He often stood from sun to sun, more rigid than the tree trunks.” 1 His temperance also is said to have been so great, that he lived almost the whole period of his life with health unimpaired. Even amid the havoc of that plague which, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, devastated Athens with a deadly species of disease, by temperate and abstemious habits he is said to have avoided the ill-effects of indulgence and retained his physical vigour so completely, that he was not at all affected by the calamity common to all.
1 Fr. 66. Marres.
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