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 Nevertheless it would perhaps be superfluous to change the text [of Homer], which has stood the test of so many years. For it appears more probable to suppose that the people were anciently called Mysians, but that their name is now altered. Further, any one would suppose that the Abii1 were no more so named from being unmarried than from their being houseless,2 or their dwelling in waggons. In fact, as injustice is ordinarily committed in matters relative to bonds for money and the acquisition of wealth, it would be natural that the people living so frugally on such small property should be called [by Homer] the justest of mankind: and the more so as the philosophers who place justice next to moderation, aim at independence of others and frugality as amongst the most desirable objects of attainment; from which however some, having passed the bounds of moderation, have wandered into a cynical mode of life.3 But [the words of the poet] sanction no such assertion of the Thracians, and the Getæ in particular, that they live without wives. But see what Menander says of these people, not out of his own imagination, as it should seem, but deriving it from history. “‘All the Thracians truly, and especially above all others we Getæ, (for I myself glory in being descended from this race,) are not very chaste.’” And a little after he gives examples of their rage for women. “‘For there is no one among us who marries fewer than ten or eleven wives, and some have twelve, or even more.4 If any one loses his life who has only married four or five wives, he is lamented by us as unfortunate, and one deprived of the pleasures of Hymen.’” Such a one would be accounted as unmarried amongst them. These things are likewise confirmed by the evidence of other historians. And it is not likely that the same people should regard as an unhappy life that which is passed without the enjoyment of many women, and at the same time regard as a dignified and holy life that which is passed in celibacy without any women. But that those living without wives should be considered holy, and termed Capnobatæ, is entirely opposed to our received opinions; for all agree in regarding women as the authors of devotion to the gods, and it is they who induce the men by their example to a more attentive worship of the gods, and to the observance of feast-days and supplications; for scarcely is there found a man living by himself who pays any regard to such matters. And again attend to the words of the same poet when he speaks in one of his characters, bringing in a man disgusted with the expenses5 of the sacrifices of the women. “‘The gods weary us indeed, but especially our married men, who are always obliged to celebrate some feast.’” And his Misogynes, complaining of the same things, exclaims, “‘We sacrificed five times a day, while seven female slaves ranged in a circle played on the cymbals, and others raised their suppliant cries.’” It would therefore seem absurd to suppose that only those among the Getæ who remained without wives were considered pious, but that the care of worshipping the Supreme Being is great among this nation is not to be doubted, after what Posidonius has related, ‘and they even abstain from animal food from religious motives,’ as likewise on account of the testimony of other historians.
1 People without life.
3 Strabo does not intend by the word κυνισμὸς which he here uses, the profession of a Cynic philosopher, which some of the Stoics affected in consequence of their not thoroughly understanding the dogmas of Zeno, the founder of their sect. It was to these ultra-Stoics that the name of Stoaces [στόακες] was given by way of ridicule. Athenæus, book xiii. chap. 2, remarks that a like propensity to overdo the precept of the teacher led the disciples of Aristippus, who recommended rational pleasures, to become mere libertines.
4 Heraclides of Pontus, page 215, gives them even as many as thirty wives.
5 Kramer reads δαπάναις, which we have rendered by ‘expenses,’ but all manuscripts have ἀπάταις. The French translation gives a note with Koray's conjecture of δαπάναις, which is supported by a very similar passage respecting Alcibiades, where Isocrates (P. I. page 354, ed. Coray) says, ‘He was so lavish in the sacrifices and other expenses for the feast.’ Both the French and German translations adopt the emendation.
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