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In clasping Sorcanus to your bosom, in prizing, pursuing, welcoming, and cultivating his friendship - a friendship which will prove useful and fruitful to many in private and to many in public life - you are acting like a man who loves what is noble, who is public-spirited and is a friend of mankind, not, as some people say, like one who is merely ambitious for himself. No, on the contrary, the man who is ambitious for himself and afraid of every whisper is just the one who avoids and fears being called a persistent and servile attendant on those in power. For what does a man say who is an attendant upon philosophy and stands in need of it ? ‘Let me change from Pericles or Cato and become Simo the cobbler or Dionysius the schoolmaster, in order that the philosopher may converse with me and sit beside me as Socrates did with Pericles.’ And while it is true that Ariston of Chios, when the sophists spoke ill of him for talking with all who wished it, said, ‘I wish even the beasts could understand words which incite to virtue,’ yet as for us, shall we avoid becoming intimate with [p. 31] powerful men and rulers, as if they were wild and savage ?

The teaching of philosophy is not, if I may use the words of Pindar,1 ‘a sculptor to carve statues doomed to stand idly on their pedestals and no more’; no, it strives to make everything that it touches active and efficient and alive, it inspires men with impulses which urge to action, with judgements that lead them towards what is useful, with preferences for things that are honourable, with wisdom and greatness of mind joined to gentleness and conservatism, and because they possess these qualities, men of public spirit are more eager to converse with the prominent and powerful. Certainly if a physician is a man of high ideals, he will be better pleased to cure the eye which sees for many and watches over many, and a philosopher will be more eager to attend upon a soul which he sees is solicitous for many and is under obligation to be wise and self-restrained and just in behalf of many. For surely, if he were skilled in discovering and collecting water, as they say Heracles and many of the ancients were, he would not delight in digging the swineherd's fount of Arethusa2 in a most distant spot ‘by the Crow's Rock,’ but in uncovering the unfailing sources of some river for cities and camps and the plantations of kings and sacred groves. So we hear Homer3 calling Minos ‘the great god's oaristes,’ which [p. 33] means, according to Plato,4 ‘familiar friend and pupil.’ For they did not think that pupils of the gods should be plain citizens or stay-at-homes or idlers, but kings, from whose good counsel, justice, goodness, and high-mindedness, if those qualities were implanted in them, all who had to do with them would receive benefit and profit. Of the plant eryngium they say that if one goat take it in its mouth, first that goat itself and then the entire herd stands still until the herdsman comes and takes the plant out, such pungency, like a fire which spreads over everything near it and scatters itself abroad, is possessed by the emanations of its potency. Certainly the teachings of the philosopher, if they take hold of one person in private station who enjoys abstention from affairs and circumscribes himself by his bodily comforts, as by a circle drawn with geometrical compasses, do not spread out to others, but merely create calmness and quiet in that one man, then dry up and disappear. But if these teachings take possession of a ruler, a statesman, and a man of action and fill him with love of honour, through one he benefits many, as Anaxagoras did by associating with Pericles, Plato with Dion, and Pythagoras with the chief men of the Italiote Greeks. Cato himself sailed from his army to visit Athenodorus ; and Scipio sent for Panaetius when he himself was sent out by the senate

to view the violence and lawfulness of men,
[p. 35] as Poseidonius says.5 Now what should Panaetius have said ? ‘If you were Bato or Polydeuces or some other person in private station who wished to run away from the midst of cities and quietly in some comer solve or quibble6 over the syllogisms of philosophers, I would gladly welcome you and consort with you ; but since you are the son of Aemilius Paulus, who was twice consul, and the grandson of Scipio Africanus who overcame Hannibal the Carthaginian, shall I, therefore, not converse with you ?’

1 Pindar, Nem. v. 1 οὐκ ἀνδριαντοποιός εἰμ᾽, ὥστ᾽ ἐλινύσοντα ἐργάζεσθαι ἀγάλματ᾽ ἐπ᾽ αὐτᾶς βαθμίδος, loosely quoted. The translation is adapted from that of Sir John Sandys (in L.C.L.).

2 Homer, Od. xiii. 404-410. The allusion is to the feeding-place of the swine tended by Eumaeus.

3 Od. xix. 179.

4 Minos, 319 d. Generally regarded as spurious.

5 Homer, Od. xvii. 487.

6 περιέλκειν, literally ‘pull about.’ Plato (Republic, 539 b) says that the young, when new to argument, find pleasure ὥσπερ σκυλάκια τῷ ἕλκειν τε καὶ σπαράττειν τῷ λόγῳ τοὺς πλησίον ἀεί, ‘like little dogs, in pulling and tearing apart by argument those who happen to be near them.’

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