We find also whole schools of philosophers which have openly professed to have made choice of pleasure. And there is the school called the Cyrenaic, which derives its origin from Aristippus the pupil of Socrates: and he devoted himself to pleasure in such a way, that he said that it was the main end of life; and that happiness was founded on it, and that happiness was at best but short-lived. And he, like the most debauched of men, thought that he had nothing to do either with the recollection of past enjoyments, or with the hope of future ones; but he judged of all good by the present alone, and thought that having enjoyed, and being about to enjoy, did not at all concern him; since the one case had no longer any existence, and the other did not yet exist and was necessarily uncertain: acting in this respect like thoroughly [p. 871] dissolute men, who are content with being prosperous at the present moment. And his life was quite consistent with his theory; for he spent the whole of it in all kinds of luxury and extravagance, both in perfumes, and dress, and women. Accordingly, he openly kept Lais as his mistress; and he delighted in all the extravagance of Dionysius, although he was often treated insultingly by him. Accordingly, Hegesander says that once, when he was assigned a very mean place at a banquet by Dionysius, he endured it patiently; and when Dionysius asked him what he thought of his present place, in comparison of his yesterday's seat, he said, “That the one was much the same as the other; for that one,” says he, “is a mean seat to-day, because it is deprived of me; but it was yesterday the most respectable seat in the room, owing to me: and this one to-day has become respectable, because of my presence in it; but yesterday it was an inglorious seat, as I was not present in it.” And in another place Hegesander says—“Aristippus, being ducked with water by Dionysius's servants, and being ridiculed by Antiphon for bearing it patiently, said, 'But suppose I had been out fishing, and got wet, was I to have left my employment, and come away? '” And Aristippus sojourned a considerable time in Aegina, indulging in every kind of luxury; on which account Xenophon says in his Memorabilia, that Socrates often reproved him, and invented the apologue of Virtue and Pleasure to apply it to him. And Aristippus said, respecting Lais, “I have her, and I am not possessed by her.” And when he was at the court of Diony- sius, he once had a quarrel with some people about a choice of three women. And he used to wash with perfumes, and to say that—
E'en in the midst of Bacchanalian revelsAnd Alexis, turning him into ridicule in his Galatea, represents one of the slaves as speaking in the following banner of one of his disciples:—
A modest woman will not be corrupted.
For this my master once did turn his thoughtsAnd Antiphanes, in his Antæus, speaking of the luxurious habits of the philosophers, says—
To study, when he was a stripling young,
And set his mind to learn philosophy.
And then a Cyrenean, as he calls himself,
Named Aristippus, an ingenious sophist,
And far the first of all the men of his time,
[p. 872] But also far the most intemperate,
Was in the city. Him my master sought,
Giving a talent to become his pupil:
He did not learn, indeed, much skill or wisdom,
But got instead a sad complaint on his chest.
My friend, now do you know who this old man
Is called By his look he seems to be a Greek.
His cloak is white, his tunic fawn-colour'd,
His hat is soft, his stick of moderate size,
His table scanty. Why need I say more,
I seem to see the genuine Academy.