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When Pontianus had delivered his opinion in these [p. 370] terms, and while most of the guests were endeavouring to solve the questions proposed by Ulpian, Plutarch, being one of those who was attending to the other subjects of discussion, said,—The name parasite was in former days a respectable and a holy name. At all events, Polemo (whether he was a Samian or a Sicyonian, or whether he prefers the name of an Athenian, which Heraclides the Mopseatian gives him, who also speaks of him as being claimed by other cities; and he was also called Stelocopas, as Herodicus the Cratetian has told us,) writing about parasites, speaks as follows—“The name of parasite is now a disreputable one; but among the ancients we find the word parasite used as something sacred, and nearly equivalent to the title Messmate. Accordingly, at Cynosarges, in the temple of Hercules, there is a pillar on which is engraven a decree of Alcibiades; the clerk who drew it up being Stephanus the son of Thucydides; and in it mention is made of this name in the following terms—' Let the priest perform the monthly sacrifices with the parasites; and let the parasites select one bastard, and one of the sons of the same, according to the usual national customs; and whoever is unwilling to take the place of a parasite, let the priest report him to the tribunal.' And in the tables of the laws concerning the Deliastæ it is written—' And let two heralds, of the family of the heralds, of that branch of it which is occupied about the sacred mysteries, be chosen; and let them be parasites in the temple of Delos for a year.' And in Pallenis this inscription is engraved on the offerings there found—' The Archons and parasites made these offerings, who, in the archonship of Pythodorus, were crowned with a golden crown;1 and the parasites were, in the archonship of Lycostratus, Gargettius; in the archonship of Pericletus, Pericles Pitheus; in that of Demochares, Charinus.' And in the laws of the king, we find the following words—' That the parasites of the Acharnensians shall sacrifice to Apollo.' But Clearchus the Solensian, and he was one of the disciples of Aristotle, in the first book of his Lives, writes thus-'But now they call a parasite. a man who is ready for anything; but in former times he was a man picked out as a companion.'” Accordingly, in the ancient laws, most cities mention parasites among the most honourable of their [p. 371] officers; and, indeed, they do so to this day. And Clidemus says in his Attic Women—
And then they chose some parasites for Hercules.
And Themiso, in his Pallenis, says—“That the king, who from time to time fills that office, and the parasites, whom they appoint from the main body of the people, and the old men, and the women who still have their first husbands, shall take care of such and such things.”

1 The text is supposed to be corrupt here.

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