06 February 2012

Scholiastae: a little Lucian, a little Alciphron

Two new texts today for Scholiastae. First, I took the wiki version of Dialog of the Dead 13 by Lucian, tidied up some of the comments and amplified a few others. I'm not entirely certain I'm going to keep this style for giving character names, but it's less fussy than some formats I've seen: Lucian's Dialog of the Dead 13: Diogenes and Alexander.

The other text is one of Alciphron's letters, from Thaïs to Euthydemos. Thaïs, a courtesan, is trying to get Euthydemos to stop hanging out with philosophers.

This letter drew me first because of the pot shot it takes at Socrates near the end:

ἐπεὶ σύγκρινον, εἰ βούλει, Ἀσπασίαν τὴν ἑταίραν καὶ Σωκράτην τὸν σοφιστήν, καὶ πότερος ἀμείνους αὐτῶν ἐπαίδευσεν ἄνδρας λόγισαι· τῆς μὲν γὰρ ὄψει μαθητὴν Περικλέα, τοῦ δὲ Κριτίαν.

But compare, if you will, Aspasia the courtesan and Socrates the sophist, and decide which of them better instructs men. For you will see that Pericles was her student and Critias was his.

A more puzzling argument Thaïs makes earlier is, οὐ λέγομεν θεοὺς οὐκ εἶναι, ἀλλὰ πιστεύομεν ὀμνύουσι τοῖς ἐρασταῖς ὅτι φιλοῦσιν ἡμᾶς we do not say that the gods don't exist, but we believe our lovers when they swear that they love us. The line of reasoning in this escapes me.

Some of Alciphron's letters are frankly a bit tedious, but they have been widely regarded as models of Attic style. I'll be doing a few more of them, at least.

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