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Crates of Thebes | Lucian, The Runaways

The city swarms with these vermin, particularly with those who profess the tenets of Diogenes, Antisthenes, and Crates. Followers of the Dog, they care little to excel in the canine virtues; they are neither trusty guardians nor affectionate, faithful servants: but for noise and greed and thievery and wantonness, for cringing, fawning cupboard-love,–there, indeed, they are perfect. Before long you will see every trade at a standstill, the workmen all at large: for every man of them knows that, whilst he is bent over his work from morning to night, toiling and drudging for a starvation wage, idle impostors are living in the midst of plenty, commanding charity where they will, with no word of thanks to the giver, and a curse on him that withholds the gift. Surely (he will say to himself) the golden age is returned, and the heavens shall rain honey into my mouth.

They are sufficiently provided at last, and then off goes the hated uniform: lands and houses are bought, and soft raiment, and comely pages. Inquire of them now for Crates's wallet, Antisthenes's cloak, Diogenes's tub: they know nothing of the matter. When men see these things, they spit in the face of philosophy; they think that all philosophers are the same, and blame me their teacher. It is long since I have won over any to my side. I toil like Penelope at the loom, and one moment undoes all that I have done. Ignorance and Wickedness watch my unavailing labours, and smile.

The Works of Lucian of Samosata. Translated by Fowler, H W and F G. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. 1905.

crates_of_thebes/lucian_the_runaways.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:19 (external edit)