Plutarch, Pericles (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plut. Per.].
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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
The Cheiron, as they say, who to Pericles gave his craft.
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:— His was a tongue that could argue both ways with a fury resistless,
Zeno's; assailer of all things.
Timon, unknown
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.

ch. 5 5.1

This man Pericles extravagantly admired, and being gradually filled full of the so-called higher philosophy and elevated speculation, he not only had, as it seems, a spirit that was solemn and a discourse that was lofty and free from plebeian and reckless effrontery, but also a composure of countenance that never relaxed into laughter, a gentleness of carriage and cast of attire that suffered no emotion to disturb it while he was speaking, a modulation of voice that was far from boisterous, and many similar characteristics which struck all his hearers with wondering amazement. 5.2It is, at any rate, a fact that, once on a time when he had been abused and insulted all day long by a certain lewd fellow of the baser sort, he endured it all quietly, though it was in the marketplace, where he had urgent business to transact, and towards evening went away homewards unruffled, the fellow following along and heaping all manner of contumely upon him. 5.3When he was about to go in doors, it being now dark, he ordered a servant to take a torch and escort the fellow in safety back to his own home.

The poet Ion, however, says that Pericles had a presumptuous and somewhat arrogant manner of address, and that into his haughtiness there entered a good deal of disdain and contempt for others; he praises, on the other hand, the tact, complaisance, and elegant address which Cimon showed in his social intercourse. [Note] 5.4But we must ignore Ion, with his demand that virtue, like a dramatic tetralogy, have some sort of a farcical appendage. Zeno, when men called the austerity of Pericles a mere thirst for reputation, and swollen conceit, urged them to have some such thirst for reputation themselves, with the idea that the very assumption of nobility might in time produce, all unconsciously, something like an eager and habitual practice of it.

ch. 6 6.1

These were not the only advantages Pericles had of his association with Anaxagoras. It appears that he was also lifted by him above superstition, that feeling which is produced by amazement at what happens in regions above us. It affects those who are ignorant of the causes of such things, and are crazed about divine intervention, and confounded through their inexperience in this domain; whereas the doctrines of natural philosophy remove such ignorance and inexperience, and substitute for timorous and inflamed superstition that unshaken reverence which is attended by a good hope. 6.2A story is told that once on a time the head of a one-horned ram was brought to Pericles from his country-place, and that Lampon the seer, when he saw how the horn grew strong and solid from the middle of the forehead, declared that, whereas there were two powerful parties in the city, that of Thucydides and that of Pericles, the mastery would finally devolve upon one man,—the man to whom this sign had been given. Anaxagoras, however, had the skull cut in two, and showed that the brain had not filled out its position, but had drawn together to a point, like an egg, at that particular spot in the entire cavity where the root of the horn began. 6.3At that time, the story says, it was Anaxagoras who won the plaudits of the bystanders; but a little while after it was Lampon, for Thucydides was overthrown, and Pericles was entrusted with the entire control of all the interests of the people.

Now there was nothing, in my opinion, to prevent both of them, the naturalist and the seer, from being in the right of the matter; the one correctly divined the cause, the other the object or purpose. It was the proper province of the one to observe why anything happens, and how it comes to be what it is; of the other to declare for what purpose anything happens, and what it means.



Plutarch, Pericles (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plut. Per.].
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