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But let us compare the actions of men who are admitted to be philosophers. Socrates forbore when Alcibiades1 spent the night with him. But when [p. 419] Philoxenus,2 the governor of the coast-lands of Asia Minor, wrote to Alexander that there was in Ionia a youth, the like of whom for bloom and beauty did not exist, and inquired in his letter whether he should send the boy on to him. Alexander wrote bitterly in reply, ‘Vilest of men, what deed of this sort have you ever been privy to in my past that now you would flatter me with the offer of such pleasures?’ We admire Xenocrates3 because he would not accept the gift of fifty talents which Alexander sent him. But shall we not admire the giving of it? Or do we think that he who does not welcome a gift and he who bestows it are not at one in their contempt for money? Because of philosophy Xenocrates had no need of wealth and because of philosophy Alexander had need of wealth that he might lavish it upon such men. How many times has Alexander said this when forcing an attack amid a shower of missiles?4 And yet we believe that all men are endowed with the capacity to form right judgements. For Nature of herself is prone to lead men toward the Good. But philosophers differ from common persons in having their powers of judgement strong and firm to face danger, since the common man is not fortified by conceptions such as these : ‘Best is one omen’ 5 and [p. 421] ‘Death is the end for all men’;6 but crises destroy all his calculations in the face of danger, and the fantastic imaginings of perils close at hand dispel his powers of judgement. For not only does ‘fear,’ as Thucydides7 says, ‘drive out memory,’ but it also drives out every purpose and ambition and impulse, unless philosophy has drawn her cords about them.
1 Cf. Plato, Symposium, 218 c; Diogenes Laertius, ii. 31.
2 Cf. Moralia, 1099 d; Life of Alexander, chap. xxii. (676 f).
3 Cf. 331 e, supra.
4 Alexander's remark that he needed money to give to others may be compared to the remark which Plutarch quotes in his Life of Alexander, chap. lx. (698 e), when Alexander was risking his life in crossing the swollen Hydaspes: ‘O Athenians, can you possibly believe what dangers I undergo, to win good repute among you?’ Others think that the remark has been lost from the mss.
6 Cf. Moralia, 166 f; Demosthenes, De Corona, 97. W. Crönert, in a review of Bell-Crum, A Greek-Coptic Glossary (Gnomon, ii. p. 657), reconstructs, from the words of the Testament of the High Priest Fl. Phoebammon, trimeters of an Euripidean flavour: More likely here, however, would be such a line as
7 Thucydides, ii. 87.