ON ABSTINENCE FROM ANIMAL FOOD
1. In the two preceding books, O Firmus Castricius, we have demonstrated that animal food does not contribute either to temperance and frugality, or to the piety which especially gives completion to the theoretic life, but is rather hostile to it. Since, however, the most beautiful part of justice consists in piety to the Gods, and this is principally acquired through abstinence, there is no occasion to fear that we shall violate justice towards men, while we preserve piety towards the Gods. Socrates therefore says, in opposition to those who contend that pleasure is the supreme good, that though all swine and goats should accord in this opinion, yet he should never be persuaded that our felicity was placed in the enjoyment of corporeal delight, as long as intellect has dominion over all things. And we also say, that though all wolves and vultures should praise the eating of flesh, we should not admit that they spoke justly, as long as man is by nature innoxious, and ought to abstain from procuring pleasure for himself by injuring others. We shall pass on, therefore, to the discussion of justice; and since our opponents say that this ought only to be extended to those of similar species, and on this account deny that irrational animals can be injured by men, let us exhibit the true, and at the same time Pythagoric opinion, and demonstrate that every soul which participates of sense and memory is rational. For this being demonstrated, we may extend, as our opponents will also admit, justice to every animal. But we shall epitomize what has been said by the ancients on this subject.
2. Since, however, with respect to reason, one kind, according to the doctrine of the Stoics, is internal, but the other external, and again, one kind being right, but the other erroneous, it is requisite to explain of which of these two, animals, according to them, are deprived. Are they therefore deprived of right reason alone? or are they entirely destitute both of internal and externally proceeding reason? They appear, indeed, to ascribe to brutes an entire privation of reason, and not a privation of right reason alone. For if they merely denied that brutes possess right reason, animals would not be irrational, but rational beings, in the same manner as nearly all men are according to them. For, according to their opinion, one or two wise men may be found in whom alone right reason prevails, but all the rest of mankind are depraved; though some of these make a certain proficiency, but others are profoundly depraved, and yet, at the same time, all of them are similarly rational. Through the influence, therefore, of self-love, they say, that all other animals are irrational; wishing to indicate by irrationality, an entire privation of reason. If, however, it be requisite to speak the truth, not only reason may plainly be perceived in all animals, but in many of them it is so great as to approximate to perfection.
3. Since, therefore, reason is two-fold, one kind consisting in external speech, but the other in the disposition of the soul, we shall begin from that which is external, and which is arranged according to the voice. But if external reason is voice, which through the tongue is significant of the internal passions of the soul (for this is the most common definition of it, and is not adopted by one sect [of philosophers] only, and if it is alone indicative of the conception of [internal] reason)—if this be the case, in what pertaining to this are such animals as have a voice deficient? Do they not discursively perceive the manner in which they are inwardly affected, before it is vocally enunciated by them? By a discursive perception, however, I mean the perception produced by the silent discourse which takes place in the soul. Since, therefore, that which is vocally expressed by the tongue is reason, in whatever manner it may be expressed, whether in a barbarous or a Grecian, a canine or a bovine mode, other animals also participate of it that are vocal; men, indeed, speaking conformably to the human laws [of speech], but other animals conformably to the laws which they received from the Gods and nature. But if we do not understand what they say, what is this to the purpose? For the Greeks do not understand what is said by the Indians, nor those who are educated in Attica the language of the Scythians, or Thracians, or Syrians; but the sound of the one falls on the ears of the other like the clangor of cranes, though by others their vocal sounds can be written and articulated, in the same manner as ours can by us. Nevertheless, the vocal sounds of the Syrians, for instance, or the Persians, are to us inarticulate, and cannot be expressed by writing, just as the speech of animals is unintelligible to all men. For as we, when we hear the Scythians speak, apprehend, by the auditory sense, a noise only and a sound, but are ignorant of the meaning of what they say, because their language appears to us to be nothing but a clangor, to have no articulation, and to employ only one sound either longer or shorter, the variety of which is not at all significant to us, but to them the vocal sounds are intelligible, and have a great difference, in the same manner as our language has to us; the like also takes place in the vocal sounds of other animals. For the several species of these understand the language which is adapted to them, but we only hear a sound, of the signification of which we are ignorant, because no one who has learnt our language, is able to teach us through ours the meaning of what is said by brutes. If, however, it is requisite to believe in the ancients, and also in those who have lived in our times, and the times of our fathers, there are some among these who are said to have heard and to have understood the speech of animals. Thus, for instance, this is narrated of Melampus and Tiresias, and others of the like kind; and the same thing, not much prior to our time, is related of Apollonius Tyanaeus. For it is narrated of him, that once, when he was with his associates, a swallow happening to be present, and twittering, he said, that the swallow indicated to other birds, that an ass laden with corn had fallen down before the city, and that in consequence of the fall of the ass, the corn was spread on the ground. An associate, also, of mine informed me, that he once had a boy for a servant, who understood the meaning of all the sounds of birds, and who said, that all of them were prophetic, and declarative of what would shortly happen. He added, that he was deprived of this knowledge through his mother, who, fearing that he would be sent to the Emperor as a gift, poured urine into his ear when he was asleep.
4. Omitting, however, these things, through the passion of incredulity, which is connascent with us, I think there is no one who is ignorant, that there are some nations even now who understand the sounds of certain animals, through an alliance to those animals. Thus, the Arabians understand the language of crows, and the Tyrrhenians of eagles. And, perhaps, all men would understand the language of all animals, if a dragon were to lick their ears. Indeed, the variety and difference in the vocal sounds of animals, indicate that they are significant. Hence, we hear one sound when they are terrified, but another, of a different kind, when they call their associates, another when they summon their young to food, another when they lovingly embrace each other, and another when they incite to battle. And so great is the difference in their vocal sounds, that, even by those who have spent their whole life in the observation of them, it is found to be extremely difficult to ascertain their meaning, on account of their multitude. Diviners, therefore, who predict from ravens and crows, when they have noted the difference of the sounds, as far as to a certain multitude, omit the rest, as not easily to be apprehended by man. But when animals speak to each other, these sounds are manifest and significant to them, though they are not known to all of us. If, however, it appears that they imitate us, that they learn the Greek tongue, and understand their keepers, what man is so impudent as not to grant that they are rational, because he does not understand what they say? Crows, therefore, and magpies, the robin red-breast, and the parrot, imitate men, recollect what they have heard, are obedient to their preceptor while he is teaching them; and many of them, through what they have learnt, point out those that have acted wrong in the house. But the Indian hyaena, which the natives call crocotta, speaks in a manner so human, and this without a teacher, as to go to houses, and call that person whom he knows he can easily vanquish. He also imitates the voice of him who is most dear, and would most readily attend to the person whom he calls; so that, though the Indians know this, yet being deceived through the similitude, and obeying the call, they come forth, and are destroyed. If, however, all animals do not imitate, and all of them are not adapted to learn our language, what is this to the purpose? For neither is every man docile or imitative, I will not say of the vocal sounds of animals, but of the five dialects of the Greek tongue. To which may be added, that some animals, perhaps, do not speak, because they have not been taught, or because they are impeded by the ill conformation of the instruments of speech. We, therefore, when we were at Carthage, nurtured a tame partridge, which we caught flying, and which, in process of time, and by associating with us, became so exceedingly mild, that it was not only sedulously attentive to us, caressed and sported with us, but uttered a sound corresponding to the sound of our voice, and, as far as it was capable, answered us; and this in a manner different from that by which partridges are accustomed to call each other. For it did not utter a corresponding sound when we were silent, but when we spoke to it.
5. It is also narrated, that some dumb animals obey their masters with more readiness than any domestic servants. Hence, a lamprey was so accustomed to the Roman Crassus, as to come to him when he called it by its name; on which account Crassus was so affectionately disposed towards it, that he exceedingly lamented its death, though, prior to this, he had borne the loss of three of his children with moderation. Many likewise relate that the eels in Arethusa, and the shell-fish denominated saperdae, about Maeander, are obedient to those that call them. Is not the imagination, therefore, of an animal that speaks, the same, whether it proceeds as far as to the tongue, or does not? And if this be the case, is it not absurd to call the voice of man alone [external] reason, but refuse thus to denominate the voice of other animals? For this is just as if crows should think that their voice alone is external reason, but that we are irrational animals, because the meaning of the sounds which we utter is not obvious to them; or as if the inhabitants of Attica should thus denominate their speech alone, and should think that those are irrational who are ignorant of the Attic tongue, though the inhabitants of Attica would sooner understand the croaking of a crow, than the language of a Syrian or a Persian. But is it not absurd to judge of rationality and irrationality from apprehending or not apprehending the meaning of vocal sounds, or from silence and speech? For thus some one might say, that the God who is above all things, and likewise the other Gods are not rational, because they do not speak. The Gods, however, silently indicate their will, and birds apprehend their will more rapidly than men, and when they have apprehended it, they narrate it to men as much as they are able and different birds are the messengers to men of different Gods. Thus, the eagle is the messenger of Jupiter, the hawk and the crow of Apollo, the stork of Juno, the crex and the bird of night of Minerva, the crane of Ceres, and some other bird is the messenger of some other deity. Moreover, those among us that observe animals, and are nurtured together with them, know the meaning of their vocal sounds. The hunter, therefore, from the barking of his dog, perceives at one time, indeed, that the dog explores a hare, but at another, that the dog has found it; at one time, that he pursues the game, at another that he has caught it, and at another that he is in the wrong track, through having lost the scent of it. Thus, too, the cowherd knows, at one time, indeed, that a cow is hungry, or thirsty, or weary, and at another, that she is incited to venery, or seeks her calf, [from her different lowings]. A lion also manifests by his roaring that he threatens, a wolf by his howling that he is in a bad condition, and shepherds, from the bleating of sheep, know what the sheep want.
6. Neither, therefore, are animals ignorant of the meaning of the voice of men, when they are angry, or speak kindly to, or call them, or pursue them, or ask them to do something, or give something to them; nor, in short, are they ignorant of any thing that is usually said to them, but are aptly obedient to it; which it would be impossible for them to do, unless that which is similar to intellection energized, in consequence of being excited by its similar. The immoderation of their passions, also, is suppressed by certain modulations, and stags, bulls, and other animals, from being wild become tame. Those, too, who are decidedly of opinion that brutes are deprived of reason, yet admit that dogs have a knowledge of dialectic, and make use of the syllogism which consists of many disjunctive propositions, when, in searching for their game, they happen to come to a place where there are three roads. For they thus reason, the beast has either fled through this road, or through that, or through the remaining road; but it has not fled either through this, or through that, and therefore it must have fled through the remaining third of these roads. After which syllogistic process, they resume their pursuit in that road. It may, however, be readily said, that animals do these things naturally, because they were not taught by any one to do them; as if we also were not allotted reason by nature, though we likewise give names to things, because we are naturally adapted to do so. Besides, if it be requisite to believe in Aristotle, animals are seen to teach their offspring, not only something pertaining to other things, but also to utter vocal sounds; as the nightingale, for instance, teaches her young to sing. And as he likewise says, animals learn many things from each other, and many from men; and the truth of what he asserts is testified by all the tamers of colts, by every jockey, horseman, and charioteer, and by all hunters, herdsmen, keepers of elephants, and masters of wild beasts and birds. He, therefore, who estimates things rightly, will be led, from these instances, to ascribe intelligence to brutes; but he who is inconsiderate, and is ignorant of these things, will be induced to act rashly, through his inexhaustible avidity cooperating with him against them. For how is it possible that he should not defame and calumniate animals, who has determined to cut them in pieces, as if they were stones? Aristotle, however, Plato, Empedocles, Pythagoras, Democritus, and all such as endeavored to discover the truth concerning animals, have acknowledged that they participate of reason.
7. But it is now requisite to show that brutes have internal reason. The difference, indeed, between our reason and theirs, appears to consist, as Aristotle somewhere says, not in essence, but in the more and the less; just as many are of opinion, that the difference between the Gods and us is not essential, but consists in this, that in them there is a greater, and in us a less accuracy, of the reasoning power. And, indeed, so far as pertains to sense and the remaining organization, according to the sensoria and the flesh, every one nearly will grant that these are similarly disposed in us, as they are in brutes. For they not only similarly participate with us of natural passions, and the motions produced through these, but we may also survey in them such affections as are preternatural and morbid. No one, however, of a sound mind, will say that brutes are unreceptive of the reasoning power, on account of the difference between their habit of body and ours, when he sees that there is a great variety of habit in men, according to their race, and the nations to which they belong and yet, at the same time, it is granted that all of them are rational. An ass, therefore, is afflicted with a catarrh, and if the disease flows to his lungs, he dies in the same manner as a man. A horse, too, is subject to purulence, and wastes away through it, like a man. He is likewise attacked with rigor, the gout, fever, and fury, in which case he is also said to have a depressed countenance. A mare, when pregnant, if she happens to smell a lamp when it is just extinguished, becomes abortive, in the same manner as a woman. An ox, and likewise a camel, are subject to fever and insanity; a raven becomes scabby, and has the leprosy; and also a dog, who, besides this, is afflicted with the gout, and madness: but a hog is subject to hoarseness, and in a still greater degree a dog; whence this disease in a man is denominated from the dog, cynanche. And these things are known to us, because we are familiar with these animals; but of the diseases of other animals, we are ignorant, because we do not associate with them. Castrated animals also became more effeminate. Hence cocks, when they are castrated, no longer crow; but their voice becomes effeminate, like that of men who lose their testicles. It is not possible, likewise, to distinguish the bellowing and horns of a bull, when he is castrated, from those of a cow. But stags, when they are castrated, no longer cast off their horns, but retain them in the same manner as eunuchs do their hairs; and if, when they are castrated, they are without horns, they do not afterwards produce them, just as it happens to those who, before they have a beard, are made eunuchs. So that nearly the bodies of all animals are similarly affected with ours, with respect to the bodily calamities to which they are subject.
8. See, however, whether all the passions of the soul in brutes, are not similar to ours; for it is not the province of man alone to apprehend juices by the taste, colors by the sight, odors by the smell, sounds by the hearing, cold or heat, or other tangible objects, by the touch; but the senses of brutes are capable of the same perceptions. Nor are brutes deprived of sense because they are not men, as neither are we to be deprived of reason, because the Gods, if they possess it, are rational beings. With respect to the senses, however, other animals appear greatly to surpass us; for what man can see so acutely as a dragon? (for this is not the fabulous Lynceus). And hence the poets denominate 'to see' drakein: but an eagle, from a great height, sees a hare. What man hears more acutely than cranes, who are able to hear from an interval so great, as to be beyond the reach of human sight? And as to smell, almost all animals so much surpass us in this sense, that things which fall on it, and are obvious to them, are concealed from us; so that they know and smell the several kinds of animals by their footsteps. Hence, men employ dogs as their leaders, for the purpose of discovering the retreat of a boar, or a stag. And we, indeed, are slowly sensible of the constitution of the air; but this is immediately perceived by other animals, so that from them we derive indications of the future state of the weather. With respect to juices also, they so accurately know the distinction between them, that their knowledge of what are morbific, salubrious, and deleterious among these, surpasses that of physicians. But Aristotle says, that animals whose sensitive powers are more exquisite, are more prudent. And the diversities, indeed, of bodies are capable of producing a facility or difficulty of being passively affected, and of having reason, more or less prompt in its energies; but they are not capable of changing the essence of the soul, since neither are they able to change the senses, nor to alter the passions, nor to make them entirely abandon their proper nature. It must be granted, therefore, that animals participate more or less of reason, but not that they are perfectly deprived of it; as neither must it be admitted that one animal has reason, but another not. As, however, in one and the same species of animals, one body is more, but another less healthy; and, in a similar manner, in diseases, in a naturally good, and a naturally bad, disposition, there is a great difference; thus also in souls, one is naturally good, but another depraved: and of souls that are depraved, one has more, but another less, of depravity. In good men, likewise, there is not the same equality; for Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, are not similarly good. Nor is there sameness in a concordance of opinions. Hence it does not follow, if we have more intelligence than other animals, that on this account they are to be deprived of intelligence; as neither must it be said, that partridges do not fly, because hawks fly higher; nor that other hawks do not fly, because the bird called phassophonos flies higher than these, and than all other birds. Some one, therefore, may admit that the soul is co-passive with the body, and that the former suffers something from the latter, when the latter is well or ill affected, but in this case it by no means changes it nature: but if the soul is only co-passive to, and uses the body as an instrument, she may be able to effect many things through it, which we cannot, even when it is organized differently from ours, and when it is affected in a certain manner, may sympathize with it, and yet may not change its proper nature.
9. It must be demonstrated, therefore, that there is a rational power in animals, and that they are not deprived of prudence. And in the first place, indeed, each of them knows whether it is imbecile or strong, and, in consequence of this, it defends some parts of itself, but attacks with others. Thus the panther uses its teeth, the lion its nails and teeth, the horse its hoofs, the ox its horns, the cock its spurs, and the scorpion its sting; but the serpents in Egypt use their spittle (whence also they are called ptuades, i.e. spitters,) and with this they blind the eyes of those that approach them: and thus a different animal uses a different part of itself for attack, in order to save itself. Again, some animals, viz. such as are robust, feed [and live] remote from men; but others, who are of an ignoble nature, live remote from stronger animals, and, on the contrary, dwell nearer men. And of these, some dwell at a greater distance from more robust animals, as sparrows and swallows, who build their nests in the roofs of houses; but others associate with men, as, for instance, dogs. They likewise change their places of abode at certain times, and know every thing which contributes to their advantage. In a similar manner, in fishes and in birds, a reasoning energy of this kind may be perceived; all which particulars are abundantly collected by the ancients, in their writings concerning the prudence of animals; and they are copiously discussed by Aristotle, who says, that by all animals an habitation subservient to their subsistence and their safety, is most exquisitely contrived.
10. But he who says that these things are naturally present with animals, is ignorant in asserting this, that they are by nature rational; or if this is not admitted, neither does reason subsist in us naturally, nor with the perfection of it receive an increase, so far as we are naturally adapted to receive it. A divine nature, indeed, does not become rational through learning, for there never was a time in which he was irrational; but rationality is consubsistent with his existence, and he is not prevented from being rational, because he did not receive reason through discipline: though, with respect to other animals, in the same manner as with respect to men, many things are taught them by nature, and some things are imparted by discipline. Brutes, however, learn some things from each other, but are taught others, as we have said, by men. They also have memory, which is a most principal thing in the resumption of reasoning and prudence. They likewise have vices, and are envious; though their bad qualities are not so widely extended as in men: for their vices are of a lighter nature than those of men: This, indeed, is evident; for the builder of a house will never be able to lay the foundation of it, unless he is sober; nor can a shipwright properly place the keel of a ship, unless he is in health; nor a husbandman plant a vine, unless he applies his mind to it; yet nearly all men, when they are intoxicated, can beget children. This, however, is not the case with other animals; for they propagate for the sake of offspring, and for the most part, when the males have made the female pregnant, they no longer attempt to be connected with her; nor, if they should attempt it, would the female permit them. But the magnitude of the lascivious insolence and intemperance of men in these things, is evident. In other animals, however, the male is conscious of the parturient throes of the female, and, for the most part, partakes of the same pains; as is evident in cocks. But others incubate together with the females; as the males of doves. They likewise provide a proper place for the delivery of their offspring; and after they have brought forth their offspring, they both purify them and themselves. And he who properly observes, will see that every thing proceeds with them in an orderly manner; that they fawn on him who nourishes them, and that they know their master, and give indications of him who acts insidiously.
11. Who likewise is ignorant how much gregarious animals preserve justice towards each other? for this is preserved by ants, by bees, and by other animals of the like kind. And who is ignorant of the chastity of female ring-doves towards the males with whom they associate? for they destroy those who are found by them to have committed adultery. Or who has not heard of the justice of storks towards their parents? For in the several species of animals, a peculiar virtue is eminent, to which each species is naturally adapted; nor because this virtue is natural and stable, is it fit to deny that they are rational? For it might be requisite to deprive them of rationality, if their works were not the proper effects of virtue and rational sagacity; but if we do not understand how these works are effected, because we are unable to penetrate into the reasoning which they use, we are not on this account to accuse them of irrationality; for neither is any one able to penetrate into the intellect of that divinity the sun, but from his works we assent to those who demonstrate him to be an intellectual and rational essence.
12. But some one may very properly wonder at those who admit that justice derives its subsistence from the rational part, and who call those animals that have no association with men, savage and unjust, and yet do not extend justice as far as to those that do associate with us; and which, in the same manner as men, would be deprived of life, if they were deprived of human society. Birds, therefore, and dogs, and many quadrupeds, such as goats, horses, sheep, asses, and mules, would perish, if deprived of an association with mankind. Nature, also, the fabricator of their frame, constituted them so as to be in want of men, and fashioned men so as to require their assistance; thus producing an innate justice in them towards us, and in us towards them. But it is not at all wonderful, if some of them are savage towards men; for what Aristotle says is true, that if all animals had an abundance of nutriment, they would not act ferociously, either towards each other, or towards men. For on account of food, though necessary and slender, enmities and friendships are produced among animals, and also on account of the places which they occupy; but if men were reduced to such straits as brutes are [with respect to food,] how much more savage would they become than those animals that appear to be wild? War and famine are indications of the truth of this; for then men do not abstain from eating each other; and even without war and famine, they eat animals that are nurtured with them, and are perfectly tame.
13. Some one, however, may say, that brutes are indeed rational animals, but have not a certain habitude, proximity, or alliance to us; but he who asserts this will, in the first place, make them to be irrational animals, in consequence of depriving them of an alliance to our nature. And, in the next place, he will make their association with us to depend on the utility which we derive from them, and not on the participation of reason. The thing proposed by us, however, is to show that brutes are rational animals, and not to inquire whether there is any compact between them and us. For, with respect to men, all of them do not league with us, and yet no one would say, that he who does not enter into a league with us is irrational. But many brutes are slaves to men, and, as someone rightly says, though they are in a state of servitude themselves, through the improbity of men, yet, at the same time, by wisdom and justice, they cause their masters to be their servants and curators. Moreover, the vices of brutes are manifest, from which especially their rationality is demonstrated. For they are envious, and the males are rivals of each other with respect to the favor of the females, and the females with respect to the regard of the males. There is one vice, however, which is not inherent in them, viz., acting insidiously towards their benefactors, but they are perfectly benevolent to those who are kind to them, and place so much confidence in them, as to follow wherever they may lead them, though it should even be to slaughter and manifest danger. And though some one should nourish them, not for their sake, but for his own, yet they will be benevolently disposed towards their possessor. But men [on the contrary] do not act with such hostility towards any one, as towards him who has nourished them; nor do they so much pray for the death of any one, as for his death.
14. Indeed, the operations of brutes are attended with so much consideration, that they frequently perceive, that the food which is placed for them is nothing else than a snare, though, either through intemperance or hunger, they approach to it. And some of them, indeed, do not approach to it immediately, but others slowly accede to it. They also try whether it is possible to take the food without falling into danger, and frequently in consequence of rationality vanquishing passion, they depart without being injured. Some of them too revile at, and discharge their urine on the stratagem of men; but others, through voracity, though they know that they shall be captured, yet no less than the associates of Ulysses, suffer themselves to die rather than not eat. Some persons, likewise, have not badly endeavored to show from the places which animals are allotted, that they are far more prudent than we are. For as those beings that dwell in aether are rational, so also, say they, are the animals which occupy the region proximate to aether, viz. the air; afterwards aquatic animals differ from these, and in the last place, the terrestrial differ from the aquatic [in degrees of rationality]. And we belong to the class of terrene animals dwelling in the sediment of the universe. For in the Gods, we must not infer that they possess a greater degree of excellence from the places [which they illuminate], though in mortal natures this may be admitted.
15. Since, also, brutes acquire a knowledge of the arts, and these such as are human, and learn to dance, to drive a chariot, to fight a duel, to walk on ropes, to write and read, to play on the pipe and the harp, to discharge arrows, and to ride,—this being the case, can you any longer doubt whether they possess that power which is receptive of art, since the recipient of these arts may be seen to exist in them? For where will they receive them, unless reason is inherent in them in which the arts subsist? For they do not hear our voice as if it was a mere sound only, but they also perceive the difference in the meaning of the words, which is the effect of rational intelligence. But our opponents say, that animals perform badly what is done by men. To this we reply, that neither do men perform all things well. For if this be not admitted, some men would be in vain victors in a contest, and other vanquished. They add, that brutes do not consult, nor form assemblies, nor act in a judicial capacity. But tell me whether all men do this? Do not actions in the multitude precede consultation? And whence can anyone demonstrate that brutes do not consult? For no one can adduce an argument sufficient to prove that they do not. For those show the contrary to this, who have written minutely about animals. As to other objections, which are adduced by our adversaries in a declamatory way, they are perfectly frivolous; such, for instance, as that brutes have no cities of their own. For neither have the Scythians, who live in carts, nor the Gods. Our opponents add, that neither have brutes any written laws. To this we reply, that neither had men while they were happy. For Apis is said to have been the first that promulgated laws for the Greeks, when they were in want of them.
16. To men, therefore, on account of their voracity, brutes do not appear to possess reason; but by the Gods and divine men, they are honored equally with sacred suppliants. Hence, the God said to Aristodicus, the Cumean, that sparrows were his suppliants. Socrates also, and prior to him, Rhadamanthus, swore by animals. But the Egyptians conceive them to be Gods, whether they, in reality, thought them to be so, or whether they intentionally represented the Gods in the forms of oxen, birds, and other animals, in order that these animals might be no less abstained from than from men, or whether they did this through other more mystical causes. Thus also the Greeks united a ram to the statue of Jupiter, but the horns of a bull to that of Bacchus. They likewise fashioned the statue of Pan from the form of a man and a goat; but they represented the Muses and the Sirens winged, and also Victory, Iris, Love, and Hermes. Pindar too, in his hymns, represents the Gods, when they were expelled by Typhon, not resembling men, but other animals. And Jupiter, when in love with Pasiphae, is said to have become a bull; but at another time, he is said to have been changed into an eagle and a swan; through all which the ancients indicated the honor which they paid to animals, and this in a still greater degree when they assert that Jupiter was nursed by a goat. The Cretans, from a law established by Rhadamanthus, swore by all animals. Nor was Socrates in jest when he swore by the dog and the goose; but in so doing, he swore conformably to the just son of Jupiter [Rhadamanthus] nor did he sportfully say that swans were his fellow-servants. But fables obscurely signify, that animals have souls similar to ours, when they say that the Gods in their anger changed men into brutes, and that, when they were so changed, they afterwards pitied and loved them. For things of this kind are asserted of Dolphins and halcyons, of nightingales and swallows.
17. Each of the ancients, likewise, who had been prosperously nursed by animals, boasted more of this than of their parents and educators. Thus, one boasted of having been nursed by a she-wolf, another by a hind, another by a she-goat, another by a bee. But Semiramis gloried in having been brought up by doves, Cyrus in being nursed by a dog, and a Thracian in having a swan for his nurse, who likewise bore the name of his nurse. Hence also, the Gods obtained their surnames, as Bacchus that of Hinnuleus, Apollo that of Lyceus, and, likewise, Delphinius, Neptune and Minerva that of Equestris. But Hecate, when invoked by the names of a bull, a dog, and a lioness, is more propitious. If, however, those who sacrifice animals and eat them, assert that they are irrational, in order that they may mitigate the crime of so doing, the Scythians also, who eat their parents, may in like manner say that their parents are destitute of reason.
18. Through these arguments, therefore, and others which we shall afterwards mention, in narrating the opinions of the ancients, it is demonstrated that brutes are rational animals, reason in most of them being indeed imperfect, of which, nevertheless, they are not entirely deprived. Since, however, justice pertains to rational beings, as our opponents say, how is it possible not to admit, that we should also act justly towards brutes? For we do not extend justice to plants, because there appears to be much in them which is unconnected with reason; though of these, we are accustomed to use the fruits, but not together with the fruits to cut off the trunks. We collect, however, corn and leguminous substances, when, being efflorescent, they have fallen on the earth, and are dead. But no one uses for food the flesh of dead animals, that of fish being excepted, unless they have been destroyed by violence. So that in these things there is much injustice. As Plutarch also says, it does not follow that because our nature is indigent of certain things, and we use these, we should therefore act unjustly towards all things. For we are allowed to injure other things to a certain extent, in order to procure the necessary means of subsistence (if to take any thing from plants, even while they are living, is an injury to them); but to destroy other things through luxury, and for the enjoyment of pleasure, is perfectly savage and unjust. And the abstinence from these neither diminishes our life nor our living happily. For if, indeed, the destruction of animals and the eating of flesh were as requisite as air and water, plants and fruits, without which it is impossible to live, this injustice would be necessarily connected with our nature. But if many priests of the Gods, and many kings of the barbarians, being attentive to purity, and if, likewise, infinite species of animals never taste food of this kind, yet live, and obtain their proper end according to nature, is not he absurd who orders us, because we are compelled to wage war with certain animals, not to live peaceably with those with whom it is possible to do so, but thinks, either that we ought to live without exercising justice towards any thing, or that, by exercising it towards all things, we should not continue in existence? As, therefore, among men, he who, for the sake of his own safety, or that of his children or country, either seizes the wealth of certain persons, or oppresses some region or city, has necessity for the pretext of his injustice; but he who acts in this manner through the acquisition of wealth, or through satiety or luxurious pleasure, and for the purpose of satisfying desires which are not necessary, appears to be inhospitable, intemperate, and depraved;—thus too, divinity pardons the injuries which are done to plants, the consumption of fire and water, the shearing of sheep, the milking of cows, and the taming of oxen, and subjugating them to the yoke, for the safety and continuance in life of those that use them. But to deliver animals to be slaughtered and cooked, and thus be filled with murder, not for the sake of nutriment and satisfying the wants of nature, but making pleasure and gluttony the end of such conduct, is transcendently iniquitous and dire. For it is sufficient that we use, for laborious purposes, though they have no occasion to labor themselves, the progeny of horses, and asses, and bulls, as AeschyIus says, as our substitutes, who, by being tamed and subjugated to the yoke, alleviate our toil.
19. But with respect to him who thinks that we should not use an ox for food, nor destroying and corrupting spirit and life, place things on the table which are only the allurements and elegances of satiety, of what does he deprive our life, which is either necessary to our safety, or subservient to virtue? To compare plants, however, with animals, is doing violence to the order of things. For the latter are naturally sensitive, and adapted to feel pain, to be terrified and hurt; on which account also they may be injured. But the former are entirely destitute of sensation, and in consequence of this, nothing foreign, or evil, or hurtful, or injurious, can befall them. For sensation is the principle of all alliance, and of every thing of a foreign nature. But Zeno and his followers assert, that alliance is the principle of justice. And is it not absurd, since we see that many of our own species live from sense alone, but do not possess intellect and reason, and since we also see, that many of them surpass the most terrible of wild beasts in cruelty, anger, and rapine, being murderous of their children and their parents, and also being tyrants, and the tools of kings [is it not, I say, absurd,] to fancy that we ought to act justly towards these, but that no justice is due from us to the ox that ploughs, the dog that is fed with us, and the animals that nourish us with their milk, and adorn our bodies with their wool? Is not such an opinion most irrational and absurd?
20. But, by Jupiter, the assertion of Chrysippus is considered by our opponents to be very probable, that the Gods made us for the sake of themselves, and for the sake of each other, and that they made animals for the sake of us; horses, indeed, in order that they might assist us in battle, dogs, that they might hunt with us, and leopards, bears, and lions, for the sake of exercising our fortitude. But the hog (for here the pleasantry of Chrysippus is most delightful) was not made for any other purpose than to be sacrificed; and God mingled soul, as if it were salt, with the flesh of this animal, that he might procure for us excellent food. In order, likewise, that we might have an abundance of broth, and luxurious suppers, divinity provided for us all-various kinds of shell-fish, the fishes called purples, sea-nettles, and the various kinds of winged animals; and this not from a certain other cause, but only that he might supply man with an exuberance of pleasure; in so doing, surpassing all nurses [in kindness], and thickly filling with pleasures and enjoyments the terrestrial place. Let him, however, to whom these assertions appear to possess a certain probability, and to participate of something worthy of deity, consider what he will reply to the saying of Carneades, that every thing which is produced by nature, is benefited when it obtains the end to which it is adapted, and for which it was generated. But benefit is to be understood in a more general way, as signifying what the Stoics call useful. The hog, however, [says he] was produced by nature for the purpose of being slaughtered and used for food; and when it suffers this, it obtains the end for which it is adapted, and is benefited. But if God fashioned animals for the use of men, in what do we use flies, lice, bats, beetles, scorpions, and vipers? of which some are odious to the sight, defile the touch, are intolerable to the smell, and in their voice dire and unpleasant; and others, on the contrary, are destructive to those that meet with them. And with respect to the balaenae, pistrices, and other species of whales, an infinite number of which, as Homer says, the loud-sounding Amphitrite nourishes, does not the Demiurgus teach us, that they were generated for the utility of the nature of things? And if our opponents should admit that all things were not generated for us, and with a view to our advantage, in addition to the distinction which they make being very confused and obscure, we shall not avoid acting unjustly, in attacking and noxiously using those animals which were not produced for our sake, but according to nature [i.e. for the sake of the universe], as we were. I omit to mention, that if we define, by utility, things which pertain to us, we shall not be prevented from admitting, that we were generated for the sake of the most destructive animals, such as crocodiles, balaenae, and dragons. For we are not in the least benefited by them; but they seize and destroy men that fall in their way, and use them for food; in so doing acting not at all more cruelly than we do, excepting that they commit this injustice through want and hunger, but we through insolent wantonness, and for the sake of luxury, frequently sporting in theaters, and in hunting slaughter the greater part of animals. And by thus acting, indeed, a murderous disposition and a brutal nature become strengthened in us, and render us insensible to pity: to which we may add, that those who first dared to do this, blunted the greatest part of lenity, and rendered it inefficacious. The Pythagoreans, however, made lenity towards beasts to be an exercise of philanthropy and commiseration. So that, how is it possible they should not in a greater degree excite us to justice, than those who assert that, by not slaughtering animals, the justice which is usually exercised towards men will be corrupted? For custom is most powerful in increasing those passions in man which were gradually introduced into his nature.
21. It is so, say our antagonists; but as the immortal is opposed to the mortal, the incorruptible to the corruptible, and the incorporeal to the corporeal, so to the rational essence which has an existence in the nature of things, the irrational essence must be opposed, which has a subsistence contrary to it; nor in so many conjugations of things, is this alone to be left imperfect and mutilated. [Our opponents, however, thus speak], as if we did not grant this, or as if we had not shown that there is much of the irrational among beings. For there is an abundance of it in all the natures that are destitute of soul, nor do we require any other opposition to that which is rational; but immediately every thing which is deprived of soul, being irrational and without intellect, is opposed to that which possesses reason and dianoia. If, however, some one should think fit to assert that not nature in common, but the animated nature, is divided into that which possesses and that which is without imagination, and into that which is sensitive, and that which is deprived of sensation, in order that these oppositions of habits and privations may subsist about the same genus, as being equiponderant;—he who says this speaks absurdly. For it would be absurd to investigate in the animated nature that which is sensitive, and that which is without sensation, that which employs, and that which is without imagination, because every thing animated is immediately adapted to be sensitive and imaginative. So that neither thus will he justly require, that one part of the animated nature should be rational, but another irrational, when he is speaking to men, who think that nothing participates of sense which does not also participate of intelligence, and that nothing is an animal in which opinion and reasoning are not inherent, in the same manner as with animals every sense and impulse are naturally present. For nature, which they rightly assert produced all things for the sake of a certain thing, and with reference to a certain end, did not make an animal sensitive merely that it might be passively affected, and possess sensible perception; but as there are many things which are allied and appropriate, and many which are foreign to it, it would not be able to exist for the shortest space of time, unless it learnt how to avoid some things, and to pursue others. The knowledge, therefore, of both these, sense similarly imparts to every animal; but the apprehension and pursuit of what is useful, and the depulsion and avoidance of what is destructive and painful, can by no possible contrivance be present with those animals that are incapable of reasoning, judging, and remembering, and that do not naturally possess an animadvertive power. For to those animals from whom you entirely take away expectation, memory, design, preparation, hope, fear, desire, and indignation, neither the eyes when present, nor the ears, nor sense, nor phantasy, will be beneficial, since they will be of no use; and it will be better to be deprived of them than to labor, be in pain, and be afflicted, without possessing the power of repelling these molestations. There is, however, a treatise of Strato, the physiologist, in which it is demonstrated, that it is not possible to have a sensible perception of anything without the energy of intellection. For frequently the letters of a book, which we cursorily consider by the sight, and words which fall on the auditory sense, are concealed from and escape us, when our intellect is attentive to other things; but afterwards, when it returns to the thing to which it was before inattentive, then, by recollection, it runs through and pursues each of the before-mentioned particulars. Hence also it is said [by Epicharmus],—
“‘Tis mind alone that sees and hears,
For the objects which fall on the eyes and the ears do not produce a sensible perception of themselves, unless that which is intellective is present. On which account, also, king Cleomenes, when something that was recited was applauded, being asked, if it did not also appear to him to be excellent, left this to the decision of those that asked him the question; for he said, that his intellect was at the time in Peloponnesus. Hence it is necessary that intellect should be present with all those with whom sensible perception is present.
22. Let us, however, admit that sense does not require intellect for the accomplishment of its proper work, yet, when energizing about what is appropriate and what is foreign, it discerns the difference between the two, it must then exercise the power of memory, and must dread that which will produce pain, desire that which will be beneficial, and contrive, if it is absent, how it may be present, and will procure methods of pursuing and investigating what is advantageous, and of avoiding and flying from hostile occurrences. Indeed, our opponents, in their Introductions, [as they call them], every where inculcate these things with a tedious prolixity, defining design to be an indication of perfection; the tendency of intellect to the object of its perception, an impulse prior to impulse; preparation, an action prior to action; and memory, the comprehension of some past thing, the perception of which, when present, was obtained through sense. For there is not any one of these which is not rational, and all of them are present with all animals. Thus, too, with respect to intellections, those which are reposited in the mind, are called by them notions; but when they are in motion [through a discursive energy] they denominate them, perceptions obtained by a reasoning process. But with respect to all the passions, as they are in common acknowledged to be depraved natures and opinions, it is wonderful that our opponents should overlook the operations and motions of brutes, many of which are the effects of anger, many of fear, and, by Jupiter, of envy also and emulation. Our opponents, too, themselves punish dogs and horses when they do wrong; and this not in vain, but in order to make them better, producing in them, through the pain, a sorrow which we denominate repentance. But the name of the pleasure which is received through the ears is an ear-alluring sweetness; and the delight which is received through the eyes is denominated enchantment. Each of these, however, is used towards brutes. Hence stags and homes are allured by the harmony produced from reeds and flutes; and the crabs, called paguri, are evocated from their caverns by the melody of reeds. The fish thrissa, likewise, is said through harmony to come forth from its retreats. Those, however, who speak stupidly about these things, assert that animals are neither delighted, nor enraged, nor terrified, nor make any provision for what is necessary, nor remember; but they say that the bee as it were remembers, that the swallow as it were, provides what is requisite, that the lion is as it were angry, and that the stag is as it were afraid. And I know not what answer to give to those who say that animals neither see nor hear, but see as it were, and as it were hear; that they do not utter vocal sounds, but as it were utter them; and that, in short, they do not live, but as it were live. For he who is truly intelligent, will readily admit that these assertions are no more sane than the former, and are similarly destitute of evidence. When, however, on comparing with human manners and lives, actions and modes of living, those of animals, I see much depravity in the latter, and no manifest tendency to virtue as to the principal end, nor any proficiency, or appetition of proficiency, I am dubious why nature gave the beginning of perfection to those that are never able to arrive at the end of it. But this to our opponents does not appear to be at all absurd. For as they admit that the love of parents towards their offspring is the principle in us of association and justice; yet, though they perceive that this affection is abundant and strong in animals, they nevertheless deny that they participate of justice; which assertion is similarly defective with the nature of mules, who, though they are not in want of any generative member, since they have a penis and vulva, and receive pleasure from employing these parts, yet they are not able to accomplish the end of generation. Consider the thing, too, in another way: Is it not ridiculous to say that such men as Socrates, Plato and Zeno, were not less vicious than any slave, but resembled slaves in stupidity, intemperance, and injustice, and afterwards blame the nature of brutes, as neither pure, nor formed with sufficient accuracy for the attainment of virtue; thus attributing to them a privation, and not a depravity and imbecility of reason? Especially since they acknowledge that there is a vice of the rational part of the soul, with which every brute is replete. For we may perceive that timidity, intemperance, injustice, and malevolence, are inherent in many brutes.
23. But he who thinks that the nature which is not adapted to receive rectitude of reason, does not at all receive reason, he, in the first place, does not differ from one who fancies that an ape does not naturally participate of deformity, nor a tortoise of tardity; because the former is not receptive of beauty, nor the latter of celerity. And, in the next place, this is the opinion of one who does not perceive the obvious difference of things. For reason, indeed, is ingenerated by nature; but right and perfect reason is acquired by study and discipline. Hence all animated beings participate of reason, but our opponents cannot mention any man who possesses rectitude of reason and wisdom [naturally], though the multitude of men is innumerable. But as the sight of one animal differs from that of another, and the flying of one bird from that of another, (for hawks and grasshoppers do not similarly see, nor eagles and partridges); thus, also, neither does every thing which participates of reason possess genius and acuteness in the highest perfection. Indeed there are many indications in brutes of association, fortitude, and craft, in procuring what is necessary, and in economical conduct; as, on the contrary, there are also indications in them of injustice, timidity, and fatuity. Hence it is a question with some, which are the more excellent, terrestrial or aquatic animals? And that there are these indications, is evident from comparing storks with river horses: for the former nourish, but the latter destroy their fathers, in order that they may have connection with their mothers. This is likewise seen on comparing doves with partridges: for the latter conceal and destroy their eggs, if the female, during her incubation, refuses to be connected with the male. But doves successively relieve each other in incubation, alternately cherishing the eggs; and first, indeed, they feed the young, and afterwards the male strikes the female with his beak, and drives her to the eggs and her young, if she has for a long time wandered from them. Antipater, however, when he blames asses and sheep for the neglect of purity, overlooks, I know not how, lynxes and swallows; of which, the former remove and entirely conceal and bury their excrement, but the latter teach their young to throw it out of their nest. Moreover, we do not say that one tree is more ignorant than another, as we say that a sheep is more stupid than a dog. Nor do we say that one herb is more timid than another, as we do that a stag is more timid than a lion. For, as in things which are immoveable, one is not slower than another, and in things which are not vocal, one is not less vocal than another: thus, too, in all things in which the power of intellection is wanting, one thing cannot be said to be more timid, more dull, or more intemperate than another. For, as these qualities are present differently in their different participants, they produce in animals the diversities which we perceive. Nor is it wonderful that man should so much excel other animals in docility, sagacity, justice and association. For many brutes surpass all men in magnitude of body, and celerity of foot, and likewise in strength of sight, and accuracy of hearing; yet man is not on this account either deaf, or blind, or powerless. But we run, though slower than stags, and we see, though not so accurately as hawks; and nature has not deprived us of strength and magnitude, though our possession of these is nothing, when compared with the strength and bulk of the elephant and the camel. Hence, in a similar manner, we must not say that brutes, because their intellection is more dull than ours, and because they reason worse than we do, neither energize discursively, nor, in short, possess intellection and reason; but it must be admitted that they possess these, though in an imbecile and turbid manner, just as a dull and disordered eye participates of sight.
24. Innumerable instances, however, might be adduced in proof of this natural sagacity of animals, if many things of this kind had not by many persons been collected and narrated. But this subject must be still further considered. For it appears that it belongs to the same thing, whether it be a part or a power, which is naturally adapted to receive a certain thing, to be also disposed to fall into a preternatural mode of subsistence, when it becomes mutilated or diseased. Thus, the eye is adapted to fail into blindness, the leg into lameness, and the tongue into stammering; but nothing else is subject to such defects. For blindness does not befall that which is not naturally adapted to see, nor lameness that which is not adapted to walk; nor is that which is deprived of a tongue fitted to stammer, or lisp, or be dumb. Hence, neither can that animal be delirious, or stupid, or insane, in which intellection, and the discursive energy of reason, are not naturally inherent. For it is not possible for any thing to be passively affected which does not possess the power, the passion of which is either privation, or mutilation, or some other deprivation. Moreover, I have met with mad dogs, and also rabid horses; and some persons assert that oxen and foxes become mad. The example of dogs, however, is sufficient for our purpose: for it is a thing indubitable, and testifies that the animal possesses no despicable portion of reason and discursive energy, the passion of which, when disturbed and confounded, is fury and madness. For, when they are thus affected, we do not see that there is any change in the quality of their sight or hearing. But as he is absurd who denies that a man is beside himself, and that his intellectual, reasoning, and recollective powers, are corrupted, when he is afflicted with melancholy or delirium, (for it is usually said of those that are insane, that they are not themselves, but have fallen off from reason): thus also, he who thinks that mad dogs suffer any thing else than that of having the power, which is naturally intellective, and is adapted to reason and recollect, full of tumult and distortion, so as to cause them to be ignorant of persons most dear to them, and abandon their accustomed mode of living; he—who thus thinks, appears either to overlook what is obvious; or, if he really perceives what takes place, voluntarily contends against the truth. And such are the arguments adduced by Plutarch in many of his treatises against the Stoics and Peripatetics.
25. But Theophrastus employs the following reasoning:— Those that are generated from the same sources, I mean from the same father and mother, are said by us to be naturally allied to each other. And moreover, we likewise conceive that those who derive their origin from the same ancestors that we do, are allied to us, and also that this is the case with our fellow-citizens, because they participate with us of the same land, and are united to us by the bonds of association. For we do not think that the latter are allied to each other, and to us, through deriving their origin from the same ancestors, unless it should so happen that the first progenitors of these were the sources of our race, or were derived from the same ancestors. Hence, I think we should say, that Greek is allied and has an affinity to Greek, and Barbarian to Barbarian, and all men to each other; for one of these two reasons, either because they originate from the same ancestors, or because they participate of the same food, manners and genus. Thus also we must admit that all men have an affinity, and are allied to each other. And, moreover, the principles of the bodies of all animals are naturally the same. I do not say this with reference to the first elements of their bodies; for plants also consist of these; but I mean the seed, the flesh, and the conascent genus of humors which is inherent in animals. But animals are much more allied to each other, through naturally possessing souls, which are not different from each other, I mean in desire and anger; and besides these, in the reasoning faculty, and, above all, in the senses. But as with respect to bodies, so likewise with respect to souls, some animals have them more, but others less perfect, yet all of them have naturally the same principles. And this is evident from the affinity of their passions. If, however, what we have said is true, viz. that such is the generation of the manners of animals, all the tribes of them are indeed intellective, but they differ in their modes of living, and in the temperature of the first elements of which they consist. And if this be admitted, the genus of other animals has an affinity, and is allied to us. For, as Euripides says, they have all of them the same food and the same spirit, the same purple streams; and they likewise demonstrate that the common parents of all of them are Heaven and Earth.
26. Hence, since animals are allied to us, if it should appear, according to Pythagoras, that they are allotted the same soul that we are, he may justly be considered as impious who does not abstain from acting unjustly towards his kindred. Nor because some animals are savage, is their alliance to us to be on this account abscinded. For some men may be found who are no less, and even more malefic than savage animals to their neighbors, and who are impelled to injure any one they may meet with, as if they were driven by a certain blast of their own nature and depravity. Hence, also, we destroy such men; yet we do not cut them off from an alliance to animals of a mild nature. Thus, therefore, if likewise some animals are savage, these, as such, are to be destroyed, in the same manner as men that are savage; but our habitude or alliance to other and wilder animals is not on this account to be abandoned. But neither tame nor savage animals are to be eaten; as neither are unjust men. Now, however, we act most unjustly, destroying, indeed tame animals, because some brutes are savage and unjust, and feeding on such as are tame. With respect to tame animals, however, we act with a twofold injustice, because though they are tame, we slay them, and also, because we eat them. And, in short, the death of these has a reference to the assumption of them for food.
To these, also, such arguments as the following may be added. For he who says that the man who extends the just as far as to brutes, corrupts the just, is ignorant that he does not himself preserve justice, but increases pleasure, which is hostile to justice. By admitting, therefore, that pleasure is the end [of our actions] justice is evidently destroyed. For to whom is it not manifest that justice is increased through abstinence? For he who abstains from every thing animated, though he may abstain from such animals as do not contribute to the benefit of society, will be much more careful not to injure those of his own species. For he who loves the genus, will not hate any species of animals; and by how much the greater his love of the genus is, by so much the more will he preserve justice towards a part of the genus, and that to which he is allied. He, therefore, who admits that he is allied to all animals, will not injure any animal. But he who confines justice to man alone, is prepared, like one enclosed in a narrow space, to hurl from him the prohibition of injustice. So that the Pythagorean is more pleasing than the Socratic banquet. For Socrates said, that hunger is the sauce of food; but Pythagoras said, that to injure no one, and to be exhilarated with justice, is the sweetest sauce; as the avoidance of animal food, will also be the avoidance of unjust conduct with respect to food. For God has not so constituted things, that we cannot preserve ourselves without injuring others; since, if this were the case, he would have connected us with a nature which is the principal of injustice. Do not they, however, appear to be ignorant of the peculiarity of justice, who think that it was introduced from the alliance of men to each other? For this will be nothing more than a certain philanthropy; but justice consists in abstaining from injuring any thing which is not noxious. And our conception of the just man must be formed according to the latter, and not according to the former mode. Hence, therefore, since justice consists in not injuring any thing, it must be extended as far as to every animated nature. On this account, also, the essence of justice consists in the rational ruling over the irrational, and in the irrational being obedient to the rational part. For when reason governs, and the irrational part is obedient to its mandates, it follows, by the greatest necessity, that man will be innoxious towards every thing. For the passions being restrained, and desire and anger wasting away, but reason possessing its proper empire, a similitude to a more excellent nature [and to deity] immediately follows. But the more excellent nature in the universe is entirely innoxious, and, through possessing a power which preserves and benefits all things, is itself not in want of any thing. We, however, through justice [when we exercise it], are innoxious towards all things, but, through being connected with mortality, are indigent of things of a necessary nature. But the assumption of what is necessary, does not injure even plants, when we take what they cast off; nor fruits, when we use such of them as are dead; nor sheep, when through shearing we rather benefit than injure them, and by partaking of their milk, we in return afford them every proper attention. Hence, the just man appears to be one who deprives himself of things pertaining to the body; yet he does not [in reality] injure himself. For, by this management of his body, and continence, he increases his inward good, i.e., his similitude to God.
27. By making pleasure, therefore, the end of life, that which is truly justice cannot be preserved; since neither such things as are primarily useful according to nature, nor all such as are easily attainable, give completion to felicity. For, in many instances, the motions of the irrational nature, and utility and indigence, have been, and still are the sources of injustice. For men became indigent [as they pretended] of animal food, in order that they might preserve, as they said, the corporeal frame free from molestation, and without being in want of those things after which the animal nature aspires. But if an assimilation to divinity is the end of life, an innoxious conduct towards all things will be in the most eminent degree preserved. As, therefore, he who is led by his passions is innoxious only towards his children and his wife, but despises and acts fraudulently towards other persons, since in consequence of the irrational part predominating in him, he is excited to, and astonished about mortal concerns; but he who is led by reason, preserves an innoxious conduct towards his fellow-citizens, and still more so towards strangers, and towards all men, through having the irrational part in subjection, and is therefore more rational and divine than the former character;—thus also, he who does not confine harmless conduct to men alone, but extends it to other animals, is more similar to divinity; and if it was possible to extend it even to plants, he would preserve this image in a still greater degree. As, however, this is not possible, we may in this respect lament, with the ancients, the defect of our nature, that we consist of such adverse and discordant principles, so that we are unable to preserve our divine part incorruptible, and in all respects innoxious. For we are not unindigent in all things: the cause of which is generation, and our becoming needy through the abundant corporeal efflux which we sustain. But want procures safety and ornament from things of a foreign nature, which are necessary to the existence of our mortal part. He, therefore, who is indigent of a greater number of externals, is in a greater degree agglutinated to penury; and by how much his wants increase, by so much is he destitute of divinity, and an associate of penury. For that which is similar to deity, through this assimilation immediately possesses true wealth. But no one who is [truly] rich and perfectly unindigent injures any thing. For as long as any one injures another, though he should possess the greatest wealth, and all the acres of land which the earth contains, he is still poor, and has want for his intimate associate. On this account, also, he is unjust, without God, and impious, and enslaved to every kind of depravity, which is produced by the lapse of the soul into matter, through the privation of good. Every thing, therefore, is nugatory to any one, as long as he wanders from the principle of the universe; and he is indigent of all things, while he does not direct his attention to Porus [or the source of true abundance]. He likewise yields to the mortal part of his nature, while he remains ignorant of his real self. But Injustice is powerful in persuading and corrupting those that belong to her empire, because she associates with her votaries in conjunction with Pleasure. As, however, in the choice of lives, he is the more accurate judge who has obtained an experience of both [the better and the worse kind of life], than he who has only experienced one of them; thus also, in the choice and avoidance of what is proper, he is a safer judge who, from that which is more, judges of that which is less excellent, than he who from the less, judges of the more excellent. Hence, he who lives according to intellect, will more accurately define what is eligible and what is not, than he who lives under the dominion of irrationality. For the former has passed through the irrational life, as having from the first associated with it; but the latter, having had no experience of an intellectual life, persuades those that resemble himself, and acts with nugacity, like a child among children. If, however, say our opponents, all men were persuaded by these arguments, what would become of us? Is it not evident that we should be happy, injustice, indeed, being exterminated from men, and justice being conversant with us, in the same manner as it is in the heavens? But now this question is just the same as if men should be dubious what the life of the Danaids would be, if they were liberated from the employment of drawing water in a sieve, and attempting to fill a perforated vessel. For they are dubious what would be the consequence if we should cease to replenish our passions and desires, the whole of which replenishing continually flows away through the want of real good; since this fills up the ruinous clefts of the soul more than the greatest of external necessaries. Do you therefore ask, O man, what we should do? We should imitate those that lived in the golden age, we should imitate those of that period who were [truly] free. For with them modesty, Nemesis, and Justice associated, because they were satisfied with the fruits of the earth.
“The fertile earth for them spontaneous yields
But those who are liberated from slavery, obtain for themselves what they before procured for their masters. In like manner, also, do you, when liberated from the servitude of the body, and a slavish attention to the passions produced through the body, as, prior to this, you nourished them in an all-various manner with externals, so now nourish yourself all-variously with internal good, justly assuming things which are [properly] your own, and no longer by violence taking away things which are foreign [to your true nature and real good].
1. In the preceding books, O Castricius, we have nearly answered all the arguments which in reality defend the feeding on flesh, for the sake of incontinence and intemperance, and which adduce impudent apologies for so doing by ascribing a greater indigence to our nature than is fit. Two particular inquiries, however, still remain; in one of which the promise of advantage especially deceives those who are corrupted by pleasure. And, moreover, we shall confute the assertion of our opponents, that no wise man, nor any nation, has rejected animal food, as it leads those that hear it to great injustice, through the ignorance of true history; and we shall also endeavor to give the solutions of the question concerning advantage, and to reply to other inquiries.
2. But we shall begin from the abstinence of certain nations, in the narration of which, what is asserted of the Greeks will first claim our attention, as being the most allied to us, and the most appropriate of all the witnesses that can be adduced. Among those, therefore, that have concisely, and at the same time accurately collected an account of the affairs of the Greeks, is the Peripatetic Dicaearchus, who, in narrating the pristine life of the Greeks, says, the ancients, being generated with an alliance to the Gods, were naturally most excellent, and led the best life; so that, when compared to us of the present day, who consist of an adulterated and most vile matter, they were thought to be a golden race; and they slew no animal whatever. The truth of this, he also says, is testified by the poets, who denominate these ancients the golden race, and assert that every good was present with them.
“The fertile earth for them spontaneous bore
Which assertions, indeed Dicaearchus explaining, says, that a life of this kind was under Saturn; if it is proper to consider it as a thing that once existed, and that it is a life which has not been celebrated in vain, and if, laying aside what is extremely fabulous, we may refer it to a physical narration. All things, therefore, are very properly said to have been then spontaneously produced; for men did not procure any thing by labor, because they were unacquainted with the agricultural art, and, in short, had no knowledge of any other art. This very thing, likewise, was the cause of their leading a life of leisure, free from labors and care; and if it is proper to assent to the decision of the most skillful and elegant of physicians, it was also the cause of their being liberated from disease. For there is not any precept of physicians which more contributes to health, than that which exhorts us not to make an abundance of excrement, from which those pristine Greeks always preserved their bodies pure. For they neither assumed such food as was stronger than the nature of the body could bear, but such as could be vanquished by the corporeal nature, nor more than was moderate, on account of the facility of procuring it, but for the most part less than was sufficient, on account of its paucity. Moreover, there were neither any wars among them, nor seditions with each other. For no reward of contention worth mentioning was proposed as an incentive, for the sake of which some one might be induced to engage in such dissensions. So that the principal thing in that life was leisure and rest from necessary occupations, together with health, peace, and friendship. But to those in after times, who, through aspiring after things which greatly exceeded mediocrity, fell into many evils, this pristine life became, as it was reasonable to suppose it would, desirable. The slender and extemporaneous food, however, of these first men, is manifested by the saying which was afterwards proverbially used, enough of the oak; this adage being probably introduced by him who first changed the ancient mode of living. A pastoral life succeeded to this, in which men procured for themselves superfluous possessions, and meddled with animals. For, perceiving that some of them were innoxious, but others malefic and savage, they tamed the former, but attacked the latter. At the same time, together with this life, war was introduced. And these things, say Dicaearchus, are not asserted by us, but by those who have historically discussed a multitude of particulars. For, as possessions were now of such a magnitude as to merit attention, some ambitiously endeavored to obtain them, by collecting them [for their own use], and calling on others to do the same, but others directed their attention to the preservation of them when collected. Time, therefore, thus gradually proceeding, and men always directing their attention to what appeared to be useful, they at length became conversant with the third, and agricultural form of life. And this is what is said by Dicaearchus, in his narration of the manners of the ancient Greeks, and the blessed life which they then led, to which abstinence from animal food contributed, no less than other things. Hence, at that period there was no war, because injustice was exterminated. But afterwards, together with injustice towards animals, war was introduced among men, and the endeavor to surpass each other in amplitude of possessions. On which account also, the audacity of those is wonderful, who say that abstinence from animals is the mother of injustice, since both history and experience testify, that together with the slaughter of animals, war and injustice were introduced.
3. Hence, this being afterwards perceived by the Lacedaemonian Lycurgus, though the eating of animals then prevailed, yet he so arranged his polity, as to render food of this kind requisite in the smallest degree. For the allotted property of each individual did not consist in herds of oxen, flocks of sheep, or an abundance of goats, horses, and money, but in the possession of land, which might produce for a man seventy medimni [medimnus=6 bushels] of barley, and for a woman twelve, and the quantity of liquid fruits in the same proportion. For he thought that this quantity of nutriment was sufficient to procure a good habit of body and health, nothing else to obtain these being requisite. Whence also it is said, that on returning to his country, after he had been for some time absent from it, and perceiving, as he passed through the fields, that the corn had just been reaped, and that the threshing-floors and the heaps were parallel and equable, he laughed, and said to those that were present, that all Laconia seemed to belong to many brothers, who had just divided the land among themselves. He added, that as he had therefore expelled luxury from Sparta, it would be requisite also to annul the use of money, both golden and silver, and to introduce iron alone, as its substitute, and this of a great bulk and weight, and of little value; so that as much of it as should be worth ten minae, should require a large receptacle to hold it, and a cart drawn by two oxen to carry it. But this being ordained, many species of injustice were exterminated from Lacedaemon. For who would attempt to thieve, or suffer himself to be corrupted by gifts, or defraud or plunder another, when it was not possible for him to conceal what he had taken, nor possess it so as to be envied by others, nor derive any advantage from coining it? Together with money also, the useless arts were expelled, the works of the Lacedaemonians not being saleable. For iron money could not be exported to the other Greeks, nor was it esteemed by them, but ridiculed. Hence, neither was it lawful to buy any thing foreign, and which was intrinsically of no worth, nor did ships laden with merchandise sail into their ports, nor was any verbal sophist, or futile diviner, or bawd, or artificer of golden and silver ornaments, permitted to come to Laconia, because there money was of no use. And thus luxury, being gradually deprived of its incitements and nourishment, wasted away of itself. Those likewise who possessed much derived no greater advantage from it, than those who did not, as no egress was afforded to abundance, since it was so obstructed by impediments, that it was forced to remain in indolent rest. Hence such household furniture as was in constant use, and was necessary, such as beds, chairs, and tables, these were made by them in the best manner; and the Laconic cup, which was called Cothon, was, as Critias says, especially celebrated in military expeditions. For in these expeditions, the water which they drank, and which was unpleasant to the sight, was concealed by the color of the cup; and the turbid part of the water falling against the lips, through their prominency, that part of it which was drank, was received in a purer condition by the mouth. As we are informed, however, by Plutarch, the legislator was the cause of these things. For the artificers being liberated from useless works, exhibited the beauty of art in things of a necessary nature.
4. That he might also in a still greater degree oppose luxury, and take away the ardent endeavor to obtain wealth, he introduced a third, and most beautiful political institution, viz. that of the citizens eating and drinking together publicly; so that they might partake of the same prescribed food in common, and might not be fed at home, reclining on sumptuous couches, and placed before elegant tables, through the hands of artificers and cooks, being fattened in darkness, like voracious animals, and corrupting their bodies, together with their morals, by falling into every kind of luxury and repletion; as such a mode of living would require much sleep, hot baths, and abundant quiet, and such attentions as are paid to the diseased. This indeed was a great thing; but still greater than this, that, as Theophrastus says, he caused wealth to be neglected, and to be of no value, through the citizens eating at common tables, and the frugality of their food. For there was no use, nor enjoyment of riches; nor, in short, was there any thing to gratify the sight, or any ostentatious display in the whole apparatus, because both the poor and the rich sat at the same table. Hence it was universally said, that in Sparta alone, Plutus was seen to be blind, and lying like an inanimate and immoveable picture. For it was not possible for the citizens, having previously feasted at home, to go to the common tables with appetites already satiated with food. For the rest carefully observed him who did not eat and drink with them, and reviled him, as an intemperate person, and as one who conducted himself effeminately with respect to the common food. Hence these common tables were called phiditia; either as being the causes of friendship and benevolence, as if they were philitia, or as accustoming men to frugality and a slender diet. But the number of those that assembled at the common table was fifteen, more or less. And each person brought every month, for the purpose of furnishing the table, a medimnus of flour, eight choas of wine, five pounds of cheese, two and a half pounds of figs, and, besides all these, a very little quantity of money.
5. Hence the children of those who ate thus sparingly and temperately, came to these common tables, as to schools of temperance, where they also heard political discourses, and were spectators of liberal sports. Here, likewise, they learnt to jest acrimoniously, without scurrility, and to receive, without being indignant, the biting jests of others. For this appeared to be extremely Laconic, to be able to endure acrimonious jests; though he who could not endure was permitted to refuse hearing them, and the scoffer was immediately silent. Such, therefore, was the frugality of the Lacedaemonians, with respect to diet, though it was legally instituted for the sake of the multitude. Hence those who came from this polity are said to have been more brave and temperate, and paid more attention to rectitude, than those who came from other communities, which are corrupted both in souls and bodies. And it is evident that perfect abstinence is adapted to such a polity as this, but to corrupt communities luxurious food. If, likewise, we direct our attention to such other nations as regarded equity, mildness and piety to the Gods, it will be evident that abstinence was ordained by them, with a view to the safety and advantage, if not of all, yet at least of some of the citizens, who, sacrificing to, and worshipping the Gods, on account of the city, might expiate the sins of the multitude. For, in the mysteries, what the boy who attends the altar accomplishes, by performing accurately what he is commanded to do, in order to render the Gods propitious to all those who have been initiated, as far as to muesis, that, in nations and cities, priests are able to effect, by sacrificing for all the people, and through piety inducing the Gods to be attentive to the welfare of those that belong to them. With respect to priests, therefore, the eating of all animals is prohibited to some, but of certain animals to others, whether you consider the customs of the Greeks or of the barbarians, which are different in different nations. So that all of them, collectively considered, or existing as one, being assumed, it will be found that they abstain from all animals. If, therefore, those who preside over the safety of cities, and to whose care piety to the Gods is committed, abstain from animals, how can any one dare to accuse this abstinence as disadvantageous to cities?
6. Chaeremon the Stoic, therefore, in his narration of the Egyptian priests, who, he says, were considered by the Egyptians as philosophers, informs us, that they chose temples, as the places in which they might philosophize. For to dwell with the statues of the Gods is a thing allied to the whole desire, by which the soul tends to the contemplation of their divinities. And from the divine veneration indeed, which was paid to them through dwelling in temples, they obtained security, all men honoring these philosophers, as if they were certain sacred animals. They also led a solitary life, as they only mingled with other men in solemn sacrifices and festivals. But at other times the priests were almost inaccessible to any one who wished to converse with them. For it was requisite that he who approached to them should be first purified, and abstain from many things; and this is as it were a common sacred law respecting the Egyptian priests. But these [philosophic priests], having relinquished every other employment, and human labors, gave up the whole of their life to the contemplation and worship of divine natures and to divine inspiration; through the latter, indeed, procuring for themselves, honor, security, and piety; but through contemplation, science; and through both, a certain occult exercise of manners, worthy of antiquity. For to be always conversant with divine knowledge and inspiration, removes those who are so from all avarice, suppresses the passions, and excites to an intellectual life. But they were studious of frugality in their diet and apparel, and also of continence and endurance, and in all things were attentive to justice and equity. They likewise were rendered venerable, through rarely mingling with other men. For during the time of what are called purifications, they scarcely mingled with their nearest kindred, and those of their own order, nor were they to be seen by anyone, unless it was requisite for the necessary purposes of purification. For the sanctuary was inaccessible to those who were not purified, and they dwelt in holy places for the purpose of performing divine works; but at all other times they associated more freely with those who lived like themselves. They did not, however, associate with any one who was not a religious character. But they were always seen near to the Gods, or the statues of the Gods, the latter of which they were beheld either carrying, or preceding in a sacred procession, or disposing in an orderly manner, with modesty and gravity; each of which operations was not the effect of pride, but an indication of some physical reason. Their venerable gravity also was apparent from their manners. For their walking was orderly, and their aspect sedate; and they were so studious of preserving this gravity of countenance, that they did not even wink, when at any time they were unwilling to do so; and they seldom laughed, and when they did, their laughter proceeded no farther than to a smile. But they always kept their hands within their garments. Each likewise bore about him a symbol indicative of the order which he was allotted in sacred concerns; for there were many orders of priests. Their diet also was slender and simple. For, with respect to wine, some of them did not at all drink it, but others drank very little of it, on account of its being injurious to the nerves, oppressive to the head, an impediment to invention, and an incentive to venereal desires. In many other things also they conducted themselves with caution; neither using bread at all in purifications, and at those times in which they were not employed in purifying themselves, they were accustomed to eat bread with hyssop, cut into small pieces. For it is said, that hyssop very much purifies the power of bread. But they, for the most part, abstained from oil, the greater number of them entirely; and if at any time they used it with pot-herbs, they took very little of it, and only as much as was sufficient to mitigate the taste of the herbs.
7. It was not lawful for them therefore to meddle with the esculent and potable substances, which were produced out of Egypt, and this contributed much to the exclusion of luxury from these priests. But they abstained from all the fish that was caught in Egypt, and from such quadrupeds as had solid, or many-fissured hoofs, and from such as were not horned; and likewise from all such birds as were carnivorous. Many of them, however, entirely abstained from all animals; and in purifications this abstinence was adopted by all of them, for then they did not even eat an egg. Moreover, they also rejected other things, without being calumniated for so doing. Thus, for instance, of oxen, they rejected the females, and also such of the males as were twins, or were speckled, or of a different color, or alternately varied in their form, or which were now tamed, as having been already consecrated to labors, and resembled animals that are honored, or which were the images of any thing [that is divine], or those that had but one eye, or those that verged to a similitude of the human form. There are also innumerable other observations pertaining to the art of those who stamp calves with a seal, and of which books have been composed. But these observations are still more curious respecting birds; as, for instance, that a turtle should not be eaten; for it is said that a hawk frequently dismisses this bird after he has seized it, and preserves its life, as a reward for having had connection with it. The Egyptian priests, therefore, that they might not ignorantly meddle with a turtle of this kind, avoided the whole species of those birds. And these indeed were certain common religious ceremonies; but there were different ceremonies, which varied according to the class of the priests that used them, and were adapted to the several divinities. But chastity and purifications were common to all the priests. When also the time arrived in which they were to perform something pertaining to the sacred rites of religion, they spent some days in preparatory ceremonies, some indeed forty-two, but others a greater, and others a less number of days; yet never less than seven days; and during this time they abstained from all animals, and likewise from all pot-herbs and leguminous substances, and, above all, from a venereal connection with women; for they never at any time had connection with males. They likewise washed themselves with cold water thrice every day; viz. when they rose from their bed, before dinner, and when they betook themselves to sleep. But if they happened to be polluted in their sleep by the emission of the seed, they immediately purified their body in a bath. They also used cold bathing at other times, but not so frequently as on the above occasion. Their bed was woven from the branches of the palm tree, which they call bais; and their bolster was a smooth semi-cylindric piece of wood. But they exercised themselves in the endurance of hunger and thirst, and were accustomed to paucity of food through the whole of their life.
8. This also is a testimony of their continence, that, though they neither exercised themselves in walking or riding, yet they lived free from disease, and were sufficiently strong for the endurance of modern labors. They bore therefore many burdens in the performance of sacred operations, and accomplished many ministrant works, which required more than common strength. But they divided the night into the observation of the celestial bodies, and sometimes devoted a part of it to offices of purification; and they distributed the day into the worship of the Gods, according to which they celebrated them with hymns thrice or four times, viz. in the morning and evening, when the sun is at his meridian altitude, and when he is declining to the west. The rest of their time they devoted to arithmetical and geometrical speculations, always laboring to effect something, and to make some new discovery, and, in short, continually exercising their skill. In winter nights also they were occupied in the same employments, being vigilantly engaged in literary pursuits, as paying no attention to the acquisition of externals, and being liberated from the servitude of that bad master, excessive expense. Hence their unwearied and incessant labor testifies their endurance, but their continence is manifested by their liberation from the desire of external good. To sail from Egypt likewise, [i.e. to quit Egypt,] was considered by them to be one of the most unholy things, in consequence of their being careful to avoid foreign luxury and pursuits; for this appeared to them to be alone lawful to those who were compelled to do so by regal necessities. Indeed, they were very anxious to continue in the observance of the institutes of their country, and those who were found to have violated them, though but in a small degree were expelled [from the college of the priests]. The true method of philosophizing, likewise, was preserved by the prophets, by the hierostolistae, and the sacred scribes, and also by the horologi, or calculators of nativities. But the rest of the priests, and of the pastophori, curators of temples, and ministers of the Gods, were similarly studious of purity, yet not so accurately, and with such great continence, as the priests of whom we have been speaking. And such are the particulars which are narrated of the Egyptians, by a man who was a lover of truth, and an accurate writer, and who among the Stoics strenuously and solidly philosophized.
9. But the Egyptian priests, through the proficiency which they made by this exercise, and similitude to divinity, knew that divinity does not pervade through man alone, and that soul is not enshrined in man alone on the earth, but that it nearly passes through all animals. On this account, in fashioning the images of the Gods, they assumed every animal, and for this purpose mixed together the human form and the forms of wild beasts, and again the bodies of birds with the body of a man. For a certain deity was represented by them in a human shape as far as to the neck, but the face was that of a bird, or a lion, or of some other animal. And again, another divine resemblance had a human head, but the other parts were those of certain other animals, some of which had an inferior, but others a superior position; through which they manifested, that these [i.e. brutes and men], through the decision of the Gods, communicated with each other, and that tame and savage animals are nurtured together with us, not without the concurrence of a certain divine will. Hence also, a lion is worshipped as a God, and a certain part of Egypt, which is called Nomos, has the surname of Leontopolis [or the city of the lion], and another is denominated Busiris [from an ox], and another Lycopolis [or the city of the wolf]. For they venerated the power of God which extends to all things through animals which are nurtured together, and which each of the Gods imparts. They also reverenced water and fire the most of all the elements, as being the principal causes of our safety. And these things are exhibited by them in temples; for even now, on opening the sanctuary of Serapis, the worship is performed through fire and water; he who sings the hymns making a libation with water, and exhibiting fire, when, standing on the threshold of the temple, he invokes the God in the language of the Egyptians. Venerating, therefore, these elements, they especially reverence those things which largely participate of them, as partaking more abundantly of what is sacred. But after these, they venerate all animals, and in the village Anubis they worship a man, in which place also they sacrifice to him, and victims are there burnt in honor of him on an altar; but he shortly after only eats that which was procured for him as a man. Hence, as it is requisite to abstain from man, so likewise, from other animals. And farther still, the Egyptian priests, from their transcendent wisdom and association with divinity, discovered what animals are more acceptable to the Gods [when dedicated to them] than man. Thus they found that a hawk is dear to the sun, since the whole of its nature consists of blood and spirit. It also commiserates man, and laments over his dead body, and scatters earth on his eyes, in which these priests believe a solar light is resident. They likewise discovered that a hawk lives many years, and that, after it leaves the present life, it possesses a divining power, is most rational and prescient when liberated from the body, and gives perfection to statues, and moves temples. A beetle will be detested by one who is ignorant of and unskilled in divine concerns, but the Egyptians venerate it, as an animated image of the sun. For every beetle is a male, and emitting its genital seed in a muddy place, and having made it spherical, it turns round the seminal sphere in a way similar to that of the sun in the heavens. It likewise receives a period of twenty-eight days, which is a lunar period. In a similar manner, the Egyptians philosophize about the ram, the crocodile, the vulture, and the ibis, and, in short, about every animal; so that, from their wisdom and transcendent knowledge of divine concerns, they came at length to venerate all animals. An unlearned man, however, does not even suspect that they, not being borne along with the stream of the vulgar who know nothing, and not walking in the path of ignorance, but passing beyond the illiterate multitude, and that want of knowledge which befalls every one at first, were led to reverence things which are thought by the vulgar to be of no worth.
10. This also, no less than the above-mentioned particulars, induced them to believe, that animals should be reverenced [as images of the Gods], viz. that the soul of every animal, when liberated from the body, was discovered by them to be rational, to be prescient of futurity, to possess an oracular power, and to be effective of every thing which man is capable of accomplishing when separated from the body. Hence they very properly honored them, and abstained from them as much as possible. Since, however, the cause through which the Egyptians venerated the Gods through animals requires a copious discussion, and which would exceed the limits of the present treatise, what has been unfolded respecting this particular is sufficient for our purpose. Nevertheless, this is not to be omitted, that the Egyptians, when they buried those that were of noble birth, privately took away the belly and placed it in a chest, and together with other things which they performed for the sake of the dead body, they elevated the chest towards the sun, whom they invoked as a witness; an oration for the deceased being at the same time made by one of those to whose care the funeral was committed. But the oration which Euphantus has interpreted from the Egyptian tongue was as follows: “O sovereign Sun, and all ye Gods who impart life to men, receive me, and deliver me to the eternal Gods as a cohabitant. For I have always piously worshipped those divinities which were pointed out to me by my parents as long as I lived in this age, and have likewise always honored those who procreated my body. And, with respect to other men, I have never slain any one, nor defrauded any one of what he deposited with me, nor have I committed any other atrocious deed. If, therefore, during my life I have acted erroneously, by eating or drinking things which it is unlawful to eat or drink, I have not erred through myself, but through these,” pointing to the chest in which the belly was contained. And having thus spoken, he threw the chest into the river [Nile]; but buried the rest of the body as being pure. After this manner, they thought an apology ought to be made to divinity for what they had eaten and drank, and for the insolent conduct which they had been led to through the belly.
11. But among those who are known by us, the Jews, before they first suffered the subversion of their legal institutes under Antiochus, and afterwards under the Romans, when also the temple in Jerusalem was captured, and became accessible to all men to whom, prior to this event, it was inaccessible, and the city itself was destroyed;—before this took place, the Jews always abstained from many animals, but peculiarly, which they even now do, from swine. At that period, therefore, there were three kinds of philosophers among them. And of one kind, indeed, the Pharisees were the leaders, but of another, the Sadducees, and of the third, which appears to have been the most venerable, the Essaeans. The mode of life, therefore, of these third was as follows, as Josephus frequently testifies in many of his writings. For in the second book of his Judaic History, which he has completed in seven books, and in the eighteenth of his Antiquities, which consists of twenty books, and likewise in the second of the two books which he wrote against the Greeks, he speaks of these Essaeans, and says, that they are of the race of the Jews, and are in a greater degree than others friendly to one another. They are averse to pleasures, conceiving them to be vicious, but they are of opinion that continence, and the not yielding to the passions, constitute virtue. And they despise, indeed, wedlock, but receiving the children of other persons, and instructing them in disciplines while they are yet of a tender age, they consider them as their kindred, and form them to their own manners. And they act in this manner, not for the purpose of subverting marriage, and the succession arising from it, but in order to avoid the lasciviousness of women. They are, likewise, despisers of wealth, and the participation of external possessions among them in common is wonderful; nor is any one to be found among them who is richer than the rest. For it is a law with them, that those who wish to belong to their sect, must give up their property to it in common; so that among all of them, there is not to be seen either the abjectness of poverty, or the insolence of wealth; but the possessions of each being mingled with those of the rest, there was one property with all of them, as if they had been brothers. They likewise conceived oil to be a stain to the body, and that if any one, though unwillingly, was anointed, he should [immediately] wipe his body. For it was considered by them as beautiful to be squalid, and to be always clothed in white garments. But curators of the common property were elected by votes, indistinctly for the use of all. They have not, however, one city, but in each city many of them dwell together, and those who come among them from other places, if they are of their sect, equally partake with them of their possessions, as if they were their own. Those, likewise, who first perceive these strangers, behave to them as if they were their intimate acquaintance. Hence, when they travel, they take nothing with them for the sake of expenditure. But they neither change their garments nor their shoes, till they are entirely torn, or destroyed by time. They neither buy nor sell anything, but each of them giving what he possesses to him that is in want, receives in return for it what will be useful to him. Nevertheless, each of them freely imparts to others of their sect what they may be in want of, without any remuneration.
12. Moreover, they are peculiarly pious to divinity. For before the sun rises they speak nothing profane, but they pour forth certain prayers to him which they had received from their ancestors, as if beseeching him to rise. Afterwards, they are sent by their curators to the exercise of the several arts in which they are skilled, and having till the fifth hour strenuously labored in these arts, they are afterwards collected together in one place; and there, being begirt with linen teguments, they wash their bodies with cold water. After this purification, they enter into their own proper habitation, into which no heterodox person is permitted to enter. But they being pure, betake themselves to the dining room, as into a certain sacred fane. In this place, when all of them are seated in silence, the baker places the bread in order, and the cook distributes to each of them one vessel containing one kind of eatables. Prior, however, to their taking the food which is pure and sacred, a priest prays, and it is unlawful for any one prior to the prayer to taste of the food. After dinner, likewise, the priest again prays; so that both when they begin, and when they cease to eat, they venerate divinity. Afterwards, divesting themselves of these garments as sacred, they again betake themselves to their work till the evening; and, returning from thence, they eat and drink in the same manner as before, strangers sitting with them, if they should happen at that time to be present. No clamor or tumult ever defiles the house in which they dwell; but their conversation with each other is performed in an orderly manner; and to those that are out of the house, the silence of those within it appears as if it was some terrific mystery. The cause, however, of this quietness is their constant sobriety, and that with them their meat and drink is measured by what is sufficient [to the wants of nature]. But those who are very desirous of belonging to their sect, are not immediately admitted into it, but they must remain out of it for a year, adopting the same diet, the Essaeans giving them a rake, a girdle, and a white garment. And if, during that time, they have given a sufficient proof of their continence, they proceed to a still greater conformity to the institutes of the sect, and use purer water for the purpose of sanctity; though they are not yet permitted to live with the Essaeans. For after this exhibition of endurance, their manners are tried for two years more, and he who after this period appears to deserve to associate with them, is admitted into their society.
13. Before, however, he who is admitted touches his common food, he takes a terrible oath, in the first place, that he will piously worship divinity; in the next place, that he will preserve justice towards men, and that he will neither designedly, nor when commanded, injure any one; in the third place, that he will always hate the unjust, but strenuously assist the just; and in the fourth place, that he will act faithfully towards all men, but especially towards the rulers of the land, since no one becomes a ruler without the permission of God; in the fifth place, that if he should be a ruler, he will never employ his power to insolently iniquitous purposes, nor will surpass those that are in subjection to him in his dress, or any other more splendid ornament; in the sixth place, that he will always love the truth, and be hostile to liars; in the seventh place, that he will preserve his hands from theft, and his soul pure from unholy gain; and, in the eighth place, that he will conceal nothing from those of his sect, nor divulge any thing to others pertaining to the sect, though some one, in order to compel him, should threaten him with death. In addition to these things, also, they swear, that they will not impart the dogmas of the sect to any one in any other way than that in which they received them; that they will likewise abstain from robbery, and preserve the books of their sect with the same care as the names of the angels. Such, therefore, are their oaths. But those among them that act criminally, and are ejected, perish by an evil destiny. For, being bound by their oaths and their customs, they are not capable of receiving food from others; but feeding on herbs, and having their body emaciated by hunger, they perish. Hence the Essaeans, commiserating many of these unfortunate men, receive them in their last extremities into their society, thinking that they have suffered sufficiently for their offenses in having been punished for them till they were on the brink of the grave. But they give a rake to those who intend to belong to their sect, in order that, when they sit for the purpose of exonerating the belly, they make a trench a foot in depth, and completely cover themselves by their garment, in order that they may not act contumeliously towards the sun by polluting the rays of the God. And so great, indeed, is their simplicity and frugality with respect to diet, that they do not require evacuation till the seventh day after the assumption of food, which day they spend in singing hymns to God, and in resting from labor. But from this exercise they acquire the power of such great endurance, that even when tortured and burnt, and suffering every kind of excruciating pain, they cannot be induced either to blaspheme their legislator, or to eat what they have not been accustomed to. And the truth of this was demonstrated in their war with the Romans. For then they neither flattered their tormentors, nor shed any tears, but smiled in the midst of their torments, and derided those that inflicted them, and cheerfully emitted their souls, as knowing that they should possess them again. For this opinion was firmly established among them, that their bodies were indeed corruptible, and that the matter of which they consisted was not stable, but that their souls were immortal, and would endure for ever, and that, proceeding from the most subtle ether, they were drawn down by a natural flux, and complicated with bodies; but that, when they are no longer detained by the bonds of the flesh, then, as if liberated from a long slavery, they will rejoice, and ascend to the celestial regions. But from this mode of living, and from being thus exercised in truth and piety, there were many among them, as it is reasonable to suppose there would be, who had aforeknowledge of future events, as being conversant from their youth with sacred books, different purifications, and the declarations of the prophets. And such is the order [or sect] of the Essaeans among the Jews.
14. All of them, however, were forbidden to eat the flesh of swine, or fish without scales, which the Greeks call cartilaginous; or to eat any animal that has solid hoofs. They were likewise forbidden not only to refrain from eating, but also from killing animals that fled to their houses as supplicants. Nor did the legislator permit them to slay such animals as were parents together with their young; but ordered them to spare, even in a hostile land, and not put to death brutes that assist us in our labors. Nor was the legislator afraid that the race of animals which are not sacrificed, would, through being spared from slaughter, be so increased in multitude as to produce famine among men; for he knew, in the first place, that multiparous animals live but for a short time; and in the next place, that many of them perish, unless attention is paid to them by men. Moreover, he likewise knew that other animals would attack those that increased excessively; of which this is an indication, that we abstain from many animals, such as lizards, worms, flies, serpents, and dogs, and yet, at the same time, we are not afraid of perishing through hunger by abstaining from them, though their increase is abundant. And in the next place, it is not the same thing to eat and to slay an animal. For we destroy many of the above-mentioned animals, but we do not eat any of them.
15. Farther still, it is likewise related that the Syrians formerly abstained from animals, and, on this account, did not sacrifice them to the Gods; but that afterwards they sacrificed them, for the purpose of averting certain evils; yet they did not at all admit of a fleshly diet. In process of time, however, as Neanthes the Cyzicenean and Asclepiades the Cyprian say, about the era of Pygmalion, who was by birth a Phoenician, but reigned over the Cyprians, the eating of flesh was admitted, from an illegality of the following kind, which Asclepiades, in his treatise concerning Cyprus and Phoenicia, relates as follows:—In the first place, they did not sacrifice anything animated to the Gods; but neither was there any law pertaining to a thing of this kind, because it was prohibited by natural law. They are said, however, on a certain occasion, in which one soul was required for another, to have, for the first time, sacrificed a victim; and this taking place, the whole of the victim was then consumed by fire. But afterwards, when the victim was burnt, a portion of the flesh fell on the earth, which was taken by the priest, who, in so doing, having burnt his fingers, involuntarily moved them to his mouth, as a remedy for the pain which the burning produced. Having, therefore, thus tasted of the roasted flesh, he also desired to eat abundantly of it, and could not refrain from giving some of it to his wife. Pygmalion, however, becoming acquainted with this circumstance, ordered both the priest and his wife to be hurled headlong from a steep rock, and gave the priesthood to another person, who not long after performing the same sacrifice and eating the flesh of the victim, fell into the same calamities as his predecessor. The thing, however, proceeding still farther, and men using the same kind of sacrifice, and through yielding to desire, not abstaining from, but feeding on flesh, the deed was no longer punished. Nevertheless abstinence from fish continued among the Syrians till the time of Menander: for he says,
“The Syrians for example take, since these
16. Among the Persians, indeed, those who are wise in divine concerns, and worship divinity, are called Magi; for this is the signification of Magus, in the Persian tongue. But so great and so venerable are these men thought to be by the Persians, that Darius, the son of Hystaspes, had among other things this engraved on his tomb, that he had been the master of the Magi. They are likewise divided into three genera, as we are informed by Eubulus, who wrote the history of Mithra, in a treatise consisting of many books. In this work he says, that the first and most learned class of the Magi neither eat nor slay any thing animated, but adhere to the ancient abstinence from animals. The second class use some animals indeed [for food], but do not slay any that are tame. Nor do those of the third class, similarly with other men, lay their hands on all animals. For the dogma with all of them which ranks as the first is this, that there is a transmigration of souls; and this they also appear to indicate in the mysteries of Mithra. For in these mysteries, obscurely signifying our having something in common with brutes, they are accustomed to call us by the names of different animals. Thus they denominate the males who participate in the same mysteries lions, but the females lionesses, and those who are ministrant to these rites crows. With respect to their fathers also, they adopt the same mode. For these are denominated by them eagles and hawks. And he who is initiated in the Leontic mysteries, is invested with all-various forms of animals; of which particulars, Pallas, in his treatise concerning Mithra, assigning the cause, says, that it is the common opinion that these things are to be referred to the circle of the zodiac, but that truly and accurately speaking, they obscurely signify something pertaining to human souls, which, according to the Persians, are invested with bodies of all-various forms. For the Latins also, says Eubulus, call some men, in their tongue, boars and scorpions, lizards, and blackbirds. After the same manner likewise the Persians denominate the Gods the demiurgic causes of these: for they call Diana a she-wolf; but the sun, a bull, a lion, a dragon, and a hawk; and Hecate, a horse, a bull, a lioness, and a dog. But most theologists say that the name of Proserpine is derived from nourishing a ring-dove; for the ring-dove is sacred to this Goddess. Hence, also the priests of Maia dedicate to her a ring-dove. And Maia is the same with Proserpine, as being obstetric, and a nurse. For this Goddess is terrestrial, and so likewise is Ceres. To this Goddess, also a cock is consecrated; and on this account those that are initiated in her mysteries abstain from domestic birds. In the Eleusian mysteries, likewise, the initiated are ordered to abstain from domestic birds, from fishes and beans, pomegranates and apples; which fruits are as equally defiling to the touch, as a woman recently delivered, and a dead body. But whoever is acquainted with the nature of divinely-luminous appearances knows also on what account it is requisite to abstain from all birds, and especially for him who hastens to be liberated from terrestrial concerns, and to be established with the celestial Gods. Vice, however, as we have frequently said, is sufficiently able to patronize itself, and especially when it pleads its cause among the ignorant. Hence, among those that are moderately vicious, some think that a dehortation of this kind is vain babbling, and, according to the proverb, the nugacity of old women; and others are of opinion that it is superstition. But those who have made greater advances in improbity, are prepared, not only to blaspheme those who exhort to, and demonstrate the propriety of this abstinence, but calumniate purity itself as enchantment and pride. They, however, suffering the punishment of their sins, both from Gods and men, are, in the first place, sufficiently punished by a disposition [i.e. by a depravity] of this kind. We shall, therefore, still farther make mention of another foreign nation, renowned and just, and believed to be pious in divine concerns, and then pass on to other particulars.
17. For the polity of the Indians being distributed into many parts, there is one tribe among them of men divinely wise, whom the Greeks are accustomed to call Gymnosophists. But of these there are two sects, over one of which the Bramins preside, but over the other the Samanaeans. The race of the Bramins, however, receive divine wisdom of this kind by succession, in the same manner as the priesthood. But the Samanaeans are elected, and consist of those who wish to possess divine knowledge. And the particulars respecting them are the following, as the Babylonian Bardesanes narrates, who lived in the times of our fathers, and was familiar with those Indians who, together with Damadamis, were sent to Caesar. All the Bramins originate from one stock; for all of them are derived from one father and one mother. But the Samanaeans are not the offspring of one family, being, as we have said, collected from every nation of Indians. A Bramin, however, is not a subject of any government, nor does he contribute any thing together with others to government. And with respect to those that are philosophers, among these some dwell on mountains, and others about the river Ganges. And those that live on mountains feed on autumnal fruits, and on cows’ milk coagulated with herbs. But those that reside near the Ganges, live also on autumnal fruits, which are produced in abundance about that river. The land likewise nearly always bears new fruit, together with much rice, which grows spontaneously, and which they use when there is a deficiency of autumnal fruits. But to taste of any other nutriment, or, in short, to touch animal food, is considered by them as equivalent to extreme impurity and impiety. And this is one of their dogmas. They also worship divinity with piety and purity. They spend the day, and the greater part of the night, in hymns and prayers to the Gods; each of them having a cottage to himself, and living, as much as possible, alone. For the Bramins cannot endure to remain with others, nor to speak much; but when this happens to take place, they afterwards withdraw themselves, and do not speak for many days. They likewise frequently fast. But the Samanaeans are, as we have said, elected. When, however, any one is desirous of being enrolled in their order, he proceeds to the rulers of the city; but abandons the city or village that he inhabited, and the wealth and all the other property that he possessed. Having likewise the superfluities of his body cut off, he receives a garment, and departs to the Samanaeans, but does not return either to his wife or children, if he happens to have any, nor does he pay any attention to them, or think that they at all pertain to him. And, with respect to his children indeed, the king provides what is necessary for them, and the relatives provide for the wife. And such is the life of the Samanaeans. But they live out of the city, and spend the whole day in conversation pertaining to divinity. They have also houses and temples, built by the king, in which they are stewards, who receive a certain emolument from the king, for the purpose of supplying those that dwell in them with nutriment. But their food consists of rice, bread, autumnal fruits, and pot-herbs. And when they enter into their house, the sound of a bell being the signal of their entrance, those that are not Samanaeans depart from it, and the Samanaeans begin immediately to pray. But having prayed, again, on the bell sounding as a signal, the servants give to each Samanaean a platter, (for two of them do not eat out of the same dish,) and feed them with rice. And to him who is in want of a variety of food, a pot-herb is added, or some autumnal fruit. But having eaten as much as is requisite, without any delay they proceed to their accustomed employments. All of them likewise are unmarried, and have no possessions: and so much are both these and the Bramins venerated by the other Indians, that the king also visits them, and requests them to pray to and supplicate the Gods, when any calamity befalls the country, or to advise him how to act.
18. But they are so disposed with respect to death, that they unwillingly endure the whole time of the present life, as a certain servitude to nature, and therefore they hasten to liberate their souls from the bodies [with which they are connected]. Hence, frequently, when they are seen to be well, and are neither oppressed, nor driven to desperation by any evil, they depart from life. And though they previously announce to others that it is their intention to commit suicide, yet no one impedes them; but, proclaiming all those to be happy who thus quit the present life, they enjoin certain things to the domestics and kindred of the dead: so stable and true do they, and also the multitude, believe the assertion to be, that souls [in another life] associate with each other. But as soon as those to whom they have proclaimed that this is their intention, have heard the mandates given to them, they deliver the body to fire, in order that they may separate the soul from the body in the purest manner, and thus they die celebrated by all the Samanaeans. For these men dismiss their dearest friends to death more easily than others part with their fellow-citizens when going the longest journeys. And they lament themselves, indeed, as still continuing in life; but they proclaim those that are dead to be blessed, in consequence of having now obtained an immortal allotment. Nor is there any sophist, such as there is now amongst the Greeks, either among these Samanaeans, or the above-mentioned Bramins, who would be seen to doubt and to say, if all men should imitate you [i.e. should imitate those Samanaeans who commit suicide] what would become of us? Nor through these are human affairs confused. For neither do all men imitate them, and those who have, may be said to have been rather the causes of equitable legislation, than of confusion to the different nations of men. Moreover, the law did not compel the Samanaeans and Bramins to eat animal food, but, permitting others to feed on flesh, it suffered these to be a law to themselves, and venerated them as being superior to law. Nor did the law subject these men to the punishment which it inflicts, as if they were the primary perpetrators of injustice, but it reserved this for others. Hence, to those who ask, what would be the consequence if all men imitated such characters as these, the saying of Pythagoras must be the answer; that if all men were kings, the passage through life would be difficult, yet regal government is not on this account to be avoided. And [we likewise say] that if all men were worthy, no administration of a polity would be found in which the dignity that probity merits would be preserved. Nevertheless, no one would be so insane as not to think that all men should earnestly endeavor to become worthy characters. Indeed, the law grants to the vulgar many other things [besides a fleshly diet], which, nevertheless, it does not grant to a philosopher, nor even to one who conducts the affairs of government in a proper manner. For it does not receive every artist into the administration, though it does not forbid the exercise of any art, nor yet men of every pursuit. But it excludes those who are occupied in vile and illiberal arts, and, in short, all those who are destitute of justice and the other virtues, from having any thing to do with the management of public affairs. Thus, likewise, the law does not forbid the vulgar from associating with harlots, on whom at the same time it imposes a fine; but thinks that it is disgraceful and base for men that are moderately good to have any connection with them. Moreover, the law does not prohibit a man from spending the whole of his life in a tavern, yet at the same time this is most disgraceful even to a man of moderate worth. It appears, therefore, that the same thing must also be said with respect to diet. For that which is permitted to the multitude, must not likewise be granted to the best of men. For the man who is a philosopher, should especially ordain for himself those sacred laws which the Gods, and men who are followers of the Gods, have instituted. But the sacred laws of nations and cities appear to have ordained for sacred men purity, and to have interdicted them animal food. They have also forbidden the multitude to eat certain animals, either from motives of piety, or on account of some injury which would be produced by the food. So that it is requisite either to imitate priests, or to be obedient to the mandates of all legislators; but, in either way, he who is perfectly legal and pious ought to abstain from all animals. For if some who are only partially pious abstain from certain animals, he who is in every respect pious will abstain from all animals.
19. I had almost, however, forgotten to adduce what is said by Euripides, who asserts, that the prophets of Jupiter in Crete abstained from animals. But what is said by the chorus to Minos on this subject, is as follows:
“Sprung from Phoenicia’s royal line,
20. For holy men were of opinion that purity consisted in a thing not being mingled with its contrary, and that mixture is defilement. Hence, they thought that nutriment should be assumed from fruits, and not from dead bodies, and that we should not, by introducing that which is animated to our nature, defile what is administered by nature. But they conceived, that the slaughter of animals, as they are sensitive, and the depriving them of their souls, is a defilement to the living; and that the pollution is much greater, to mingle a body which was once sensitive, but is now deprived of sense, with a sensitive and living being. Hence, universally, the purity pertaining to piety consists in rejecting and abstaining from many things, and in an abandonment of such as are of a contrary nature, and the assumption of such as are appropriate and concordant. On this account, venereal connections are attended with defilement. For in these, a conjunction takes place of the female with the male; and the seed, when retained by the woman, and causing her to be pregnant, defiles the soul, through its association with the body; but when it does not produce conception, it pollutes, in consequence of becoming a lifeless mass. The connection also of males with males defiles, because it is an emission of seed as it were into a dead body, and because it is contrary to nature. And, in short, all venery, and emissions of the seed in sleep, pollute, because the soul becomes mingled with the body, and is drawn down to pleasure. The passions of the soul likewise defile, through the complication of the irrational and effeminate part with reason, the internal masculine part. For, in a certain respect, defilement and pollution manifest the mixture of things of an heterogeneous nature, and especially when the abstersion of this mixture is attended with difficulty. Whence, also, in tinctures which are produced through mixture, one species being complicated with another, this mixture is denominated a defilement.
“As when some woman with a lively red
says Homer. And again painters call the mixtures of colors, corruptions. It is usual, likewise to denominate that which is unmingled and pure, incorruptible, and to call that which is genuine, unpolluted. For water, when mingled with earth, is corrupted, and is not genuine. But water, which is diffluent, and runs with tumultuous rapidity, leaves behind in its course the earth which it carries in its stream.
“When from a limpid and perennial fount
as Hesiod says. For such water is salubrious, because it is uncorrupted and unmixed. The female, likewise, that does not receive into herself the exhalation of seed, is said to be uncorrupted. So that the mixture of contraries is corruption and defilement. For the mixture of dead with living bodies, and the insertion of beings that were once living and sentient into animals, and of dead into living flesh, may be reasonably supposed to introduce defilement and stains to our nature; just, again, as the soul is polluted when it is invested with the body. Hence, he who is born, is polluted by the mixture of his soul with body; and he who dies, defiles his body, through leaving it a corpse, different and foreign from that which possesses life. The soul, likewise, is polluted by anger and desire, and the multitude of passions of which in a certain respect diet is a co-operating cause. But as water which flows through a rock is more uncorrupted than that which runs through marshes, because it does not bring with it much mud; thus, also, the soul which administers its own affairs in a body that is dry, and is not moistened by the juices of foreign flesh, is in a more excellent condition, is more uncorrupted, and is more prompt for intellectual energy. Thus too, it is said, that the thyme which is the driest and the sharpest to the taste, affords the best honey to bees. The dianoëtic, therefore, or discursive power of the soul, is polluted; or rather, he who energizes dianoëtically, when this energy is mingled with the energies of either the imaginative or doxastic power. But purification consists in a separation from all these, and the wisdom which is adapted to divine concerns, is a desertion of every thing of this kind. The proper nutriment likewise, of each thing, is that which essentially preserves it. Thus you may say, that the nutriment of a stone is the cause of its continuing to be a stone, and of firmly remaining in a lapideous form; but the nutriment of a plant is that which preserves it in increase and fructification; and of an animated body, that which preserves its composition. It is one thing, however, to nourish, and another to fatten; and one thing to impart what is necessary, and another to procure what is luxurious. Various, therefore, are the kinds of nutriment, and various also is the nature of the things that are nourished. And it is necessary, indeed, that all things should be nourished, but we should earnestly endeavor to fatten our most principal parts. Hence, the nutriment of the rational soul is that which preserves it in a rational state. But this is intellect; so that it is to be nourished by intellect; and we should earnestly endeavor that it may be fattened through this, rather than that the flesh may become pinguid through esculent substances. For intellect preserves for us eternal life, but the body when fattened causes the soul to be famished, through its hunger after a blessed life not being satisfied, increases our mortal part, since it is of itself insane, and impedes our attainment of an immortal condition of being. It likewise defiles by corporifying the soul, and drawing her down to that which is foreign to her nature. And the magnet, indeed, imparts, as it were, a soul to the iron which is placed near it; and the iron, though most heavy, is elevated, and runs to the spirit of the stone. Should he, therefore, who is suspended from incorporeal and intellectual deity, be anxiously busied in procuring food which fattens the body, that is an impediment to intellectual perception? Ought he not rather, by contracting what is necessary to the flesh into that which is little and easily procured, be himself nourished, by adhering to God more closely than the iron to the magnet? I wish, indeed, that our nature was not so corruptible, and that it were possible we could live free from molestation, even without the nutriment derived from fruits. O that, as Homer [Iliad v. 341] says, we were not in want either of meat or drink, that we might be truly immortal!—the poet in thus speaking beautifully signifying, that food is the auxiliary not only of life, but also of death. If therefore, we were not in want even of vegetable aliment, we should be by so much the more blessed, in proportion as we should be more immortal. But now, being in a mortal condition, we render ourselves, if it be proper so to speak, still more mortal, through becoming ignorant that, by the addition of this mortality, the soul, as Theophrastus says, does not only confer a great benefit on the body by being its inhabitant, but gives herself wholly to it. Hence, it is much to be wished that we could easily obtain the life celebrated in fables, in which hunger and thirst are unknown; so that, by stopping the every-way-flowing river of the body, we might in a very little time be present with the most excellent natures, to which he who accedes, since deity is there, is himself a God. But how is it possible not to lament the condition of the generality of mankind, who are so involved in darkness as to cherish their own evil, and who, in the first place, hate themselves, and him who truly begot them, and afterwards, those who admonish them, and call on them to return from ebriety to a sober condition of being? Hence, dismissing things of this kind, will it not be requisite to pass on to what remains to be discussed?
21. Those then who oppose the Nomads, or Troglodytes, or Ichthyophagi, to the legal institutes of the nations which we have adduced, are ignorant that these people were brought to the necessity of eating animals through the infecundity of the region they inhabit, which is so barren, that it does not even produce herbs, but only shores and sands. And this necessity is indicated by their not being able to make use of fire, through the want of combustible materials; but they dry their fish on rocks, or on the shore. And these indeed live after this manner from necessity. There are, however, certain nations whose manners are rustic, and who are naturally savage; but it is not fit that those who are equitable judges should, from such instances as these, calumniate human nature: For thus we should not only be dubious whether it is proper to eat animals, but also, whether we may not eat men, and adopt all other savage manners. It is related, therefore, that the Massagetae and the Derbices consider those of their kindred to be most miserable who die spontaneously. Hence, preventing their dearest friends from dying naturally, they slay them when they are old, and eat them. The Tibareni hurl from rocks their nearest relatives, even while living, when they are old. And with respect to the Hyrcani and Caspii, the one exposed the living, but the other the dead, to be devoured by birds and dogs. But the Scythians bury the living with the dead, and cut their throats on the pyres of the dead by whom they were especially beloved. The Bactrii likewise cast those among them that are old, even while living, to the dogs. And Stasanor, who was one of Alexander’s prefects, nearly lost his government through endeavoring to destroy this custom. As, however, we do not on account of these examples subvert mildness of conduct towards men, so neither should we imitate those nations that feed on flesh through necessity, but we should rather imitate the pious, and those who consecrate themselves to the Gods. For Democrates says, that to live badly, and not prudently, temperately, and piously, is not to live in reality, but to die for a long time.
22. It now remains that we should adduce a few examples of certain individuals, as testimonies in favor of abstinence from animal food. For the want of these was one of the accusations which were urged against us. We learn, therefore, that Triptolemus was the most ancient of the Athenian legislators; of whom Hermippus, in the second book of his treatise on Legislators, writes as follows: “It is said, that Triptolemus established laws for the Athenians. And the philosopher Xenocrates asserts, that three of his laws still remain in Eleusis, which are these, Honor your parents; Sacrifice to the Gods from the fruits of the earth; Injure not animals.” Two of these, therefore, he says, are properly instituted. For it is necessary that we should as much as possible recompense our parents for the benefits which they have conferred on us; and that we should offer to the Gods the first-fruits of the things useful to our life, which they have imparted to us. But with respect to the third law, he is dubious as to the intention of Triptolemus, in ordering the Athenians to abstain from animals. Was it, says he, because he thought it was a dire thing to slay kindred natures, or because he perceived it would happen, that the most useful animals would be destroyed by men for food? Wishing, therefore to make our life as mild as possible, he endeavored to preserve those animals that associate with men, and which are especially tame. Unless, indeed, because having ordained that men should honor the Gods by offering to them first-fruits, he therefore added this third law, conceiving that this mode of worship would continue for a longer time, if sacrifices through animals were not made to the Gods. But as many other causes, though not very accurate, of the promulgation of these laws, are assigned by Xenocrates, thus much from what has been said is sufficient for our purpose, that abstinence from animals was one of the legal institutes of Triptolemus. Hence, those who afterwards violated this law, being compelled by great necessity, and involuntary errors, fell, as we have shown, into this custom of slaughtering and eating animals. The following, also, is mentioned as a law of Draco: “Let this be an eternal sacred law to the inhabitants of Attica, and let its authority be predominant for ever; viz. that the Gods, and indigenous Heroes, be worshipped publicly, conformably to the laws of the country, delivered by our ancestors; and also, that they be worshipped privately, according to the ability of each individual, in conjunction with auspicious words, the firstlings of fruits, and annual cakes. So that this law ordains, that divinity should be venerated by the first offerings of fruit which are used by men, and cakes, made of the fine flour of wheat.”