2.3The good things of Fortune we love to possess and enjoy; those of Virtue we love to perform. The former we are willing should be ours at the hands of others; the latter we wish that others rather should have at our hands. The Good creates a stir of activity towards itself, and implants at once in the spectator an active impulse; it does not form his character by ideal representation alone, but through the investigation of its work it furnishes him with a dominant purpose.
2.4For such reasons I have decided to persevere in my writing of Lives, and so have composed this tenth book, containing the life of Pericles, and that of Fabius Maximus, who waged such lengthy war with Hannibal. The men were alike in their virtues, and more especially in their gentleness and rectitude, and by their ability to endure the follies of their peoples and of their colleagues in office, they proved of the greatest service to their countries. But whether I aim correctly at the proper mark must be decided from what I have written.
Pericles was of the tribe Acamantis, of the deme Cholargus, and of the foremost family and lineage on both sides. His father, Xanthippus, who conquered the generals of the King at Mycale, [Note] married Agariste, granddaughter [Note] of that Cleisthenes who, in such noble fashion, expelled the Peisistratidae and destroyed their tyranny, instituted laws, and established a constitution best tempered for the promotion of harmony and safety.
3.2She, in her dreams, once fancied that she had given birth to a lion, and a few days thereafter bore Pericles. [Note]
His personal appearance was unimpeachable, except that his head was rather long and out of due proportion. For this reason the images of him, almost all of them, wear helmets, because the artists, as it would seem, were not willing to reproach him with deformity. The comic poets of Attica used to call him “Schinocephalus,” or Squill-head (the squill is sometimes called “schinus”)
3.3So the comic poet Cratinus, in his “Cheirons,” says: “Faction and Saturn, that ancient of days, were united in wedlock; their offspring was of all tyrants the greatest, and lo! he is called by the gods the head-compeller.” And again in his “Nemesis”: “Come, Zeus! of guests and heads the Lord!”
3.4And Telecleides speaks of him as sitting on the acropolis in the greatest perplexity, “now heavy of head, and now alone, from the eleven-couched chamber of his head, causing vast uproar to arise.” And Eupolis, in his “Demes,” having inquiries made about each one of the demagogues as they come up from Hades, says, when Pericles is called out last:—
The very head of those below hast thou now brought.
Eupolis, Demes; Kock, Com. Att. Frag. i. p. 280
His teacher in music, most writers state, was Damon (whose name, they say, should be pronounced with the first syllable short); but Aristotle [Note] says he had a thorough musical training at the hands of Pythocleides. Now Damon seems to have been a consummate sophist, but to have taken refuge behind the name of music in order to conceal from the multitude his real power, and he associated with Pericles, that political athlete, as it were, in the capacity of rubber and trainer.
4.2However, Damon was not left unmolested in this use of his lyre as a screen, but was ostracized for being a great schemer and a friend of tyranny, and became a butt of the comic poets. At all events, Plato [Note] represented some one as inquiring of him thus:—
In the first place tell me then, I beseech thee, thou who art
Plato comicus; Kock, Com. Att. Frag. i. p. 655
4.3Pericles was also a pupil of Zeno the Eleatic, who discoursed on the natural world, like Parmenides, and perfected a species of refutative catch which was sure to bring an opponent to grief; as Timon of Phlius expressed it:—
The Cheiron, as they say, who to Pericles gave his craft.
His was a tongue that could argue both ways with a fury resistless,
4.4But the man who most consorted with Pericles, and did most to clothe him with a majestic demeanor that had more weight than any demagogue's appeals, yes, and who lifted on high and exalted the dignity of his character, was Anaxagoras the Clazomenian, whom men of that day used to call “Nous,” either because they admired that comprehension of his, which proved of such surpassing greatness in the investigation of nature; or because he was the first to enthrone in the universe, not Chance, nor yet Necessity, as the source of its orderly arrangement, but Mind (Nous) pure and simple, which distinguishes and sets apart, in the midst of an otherwise chaotic mass, the substances which have like elements.
Zeno's; assailer of all things.