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Seneca, On Benefits 2.17

A certain Cynic [Thrasyllus] once asked Antigonus for a talent his reply was that this was more than a Cynic had a right to ask for. After this rebuff the cynic asked for a denarius; here the reply was that this was less than a king could becomingly give. “Such sophistry,” it may be said, “is most unseemly; the king found a way of not giving either. In the matter of the denarius he thought only of the king, in the matter of the talent only of the Cynic, although he might well have given the denarius on the score that the man was a Cynic, or the talent on the score that he himself was a king. Grant that there may be some gift that is too large for a Cynic to receive, none is too small for a king to bestow with honour if it is given out of kindness.” If you ask my opinion, I think the king was right; for the situation is intolerable that a man should ask for money when he despises it. Your Cynic has a declared hatred of money; he has published this sentiment, he has chosen this role - now he must play it. It is most unfair for him to obtain money while he boasts of poverty. It is, then, every man's duty to consider not less his own character than the character of the man to whom he is planning to give assistance.

cynics/thrasyllus.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:20 (external edit)