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[5]

And inasmuch as some desires and pleasures relate to things that are noble and good in kind (for some pleasant things are desirable by nature, others the opposite, while others again are neutral—compare the classification we gave above1) : for instance money, gain, victory, honor: and inasmuch as in relation to all these naturally desirable things, as well as to the neutral ones, men are not blamed merely for regarding or desiring or liking them, but for doing so in a certain way, namely to excess (hence those2 who yield to or pursue, contrary to principle, anything naturally noble and good, for example those who care too much for honor, or for their children and their parents—for parents and children are good things and people are praised who care for them, but nevertheless it is possible even in their case to go to excess, by vying even with the gods like Niobe,3 or as Satyrus did,4 who was nicknamed the filial for his devotion to his father, for he was thought to carry it to the point of infatuation—) : well then, there cannot be any actual Vice in relation to these things, because, as has been said, each of them is in itself desirable by nature, although excessive devotion to them is bad and to be avoided.

1 See 4.2: a third class is now added, pleasures bad in themselves and not only in excess; and the ‘necessary’ pleasures are now classed as ‘intermediate,’ neither good nor bad in themselves, though good as a means of life, and bad in excess.

2 This subject is left without its verb, which apparently would be ‘are not wicked, nor yet unrestrained in the proper sense.’ Though this clause here begins as a parenthesis, it is resumed below at ‘well then’ as a fresh sentence, which really, however, constitutes the apodosis of the protasis that began at the beginning of the section, ‘And inasmuch.’

3 Niobe vaunted her children as more beautiful than those of Leto.

4 The Greek commentators tell stories of a certain Satyrus who, when his father died, committed suicide for grief. But Heliodorus appears to have read ἐπικαλούμενος τὸν πατέρα without περί, ‘or like Satyrus the Filial invoking his father as a god’ : there were kings of Bosphorus named Satyrus in the 4th century, and one may have borne the surname Philopator.

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