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And Aristoxenus the musician, in his Life of Archytas, represents ambassadors as having been sent by Dionysius the younger to the city of the Tarentines, among whom was Polyarchus, who was surnamed the Luxurious, a man wholly devoted to sensual pleasures, not only in deed, but in word and profession also. And he was a friend of Archytas, and not wholly unversed in philosophy; and so he used to come with him into the sacred precincts, and to walk with him and with his friends, listening to his lectures and arguments: and once, when there was a long dispute and discussion about the passions, and altogether about sensual pleasures, Polyarchus said—“I, indeed, my friends, have often considered the matter, and it has seemed to me that this system of the virtues is altogether a long way removed from nature; for nature, when it utters its own voice, orders one to follow pleasure, and says that this is the conduct of a wise man: but that to oppose it, and to bring one's appetites into a state of slavery, is neither the part of a wise man, nor of a fortunate man, nor indeed of one who has any accurate understanding of what the constitution of human nature really is. And it is a strong proof of this, that all men, when they have acquired any power worth speaking of, betake themselves to sensual pleasures, and think the power of indulging them the principal advantage to be gained from the possession of power, and everything else, so to say, as unimportant and superfluous. And we may adduce the example of the Persian king at present, and every other tyrant possessed of any power worth speaking of,—and in former times, the sovereigns of the Lydians and of the Medes,—and even in earlier times still, the tyrants of the Syrians behaved in the same manner; for [p. 873] all these men left no kind of pleasure unexplored: and it is even said that rewards were offered by the Persians to any one who was able to invent a new pleasure. And it was a very wise offer to make; for the nature of man is soon satiated with long-continued pleasures, even if they be of very exquisite nature. So that, since novelty has a very great effect in making a pleasure appear greater, we must not despise it, but rather pay great attention to it. And on this account it is that many different kinds of dishes have been invented, and many sorts of sweetmeats; and many discoveries have been made in the articles of incenses and perfumes, and clothes, and beds, and, above all, of cups and other articles of furniture. For all these things contribute some amount of pleasure, when the material which is admired by human nature is properly employed: and this appears to be the case with gold and silver, and with most things which are pleasing to the eye and also rare, and with all things which are elaborated to a high degree of perfection by manual arts and skill.”
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