Porphyry, On abstinence from animal food (1823) Book 3. pp.81-109.
[Translated by Thomas Taylor]
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 1, 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 |82 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 |83 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 2. 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 |84 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 redbreast, 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 lean 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 |85 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 3]. 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 |86 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 4. 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 co operating 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 endeavoured 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, |87 and in us a less accuracy, of the reasoning power 5. 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 rigour, 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. |88
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, colours by the sight, odours 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 δρακειν, 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 |89 do not fly, because hawks fly higher; nor that other hawks do not fly, because the bird called phassophonos 6 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 its 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 |90 perfection of it receive an increase, so far as we are naturally adapted to receive it. A divine nature, indeed, does not become rational 7 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 |91 other animals of the like kind. And who is ignorant of the chastity of female ringdoves 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 |92 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 favour 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,8 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. |93 Some persons, likewise, have not badly endeavoured 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 others 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 |94 honoured equally with sacred suppliants. Hence, the God 9 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 10. 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 honour 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 |95 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 11, 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 |96 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 labour themselves, the progeny of horses, and asses, and bulls, as Aeschylus 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 it not such an opinion most irrational and absurd? |97
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 balance, pistrices, and other species of whales, an infinite number of which, as Homer says 12, the loud-sounding Amphitrite nourishes, does not the Demiurgus teach us, that they were generated for the utility of the nature of things? 13 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 |98 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 theatres, 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 14. If, however, some one should think fit to assert that not nature in common, but the animated nature, is divided into that which possess 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 |99 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 animadvertise 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 labour, 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,
And all besides is deaf and blind. |100
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 ail 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,15 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 εννοιαι, notions; but when they are in motion [through a discursive energy] they denominate them διανοησεις, or 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 |101 denominate repentance. But the name of the pleasure which is received through the ears is κηλησις, i.e. an ear-alluring sweetness; and the delight which is received through the eyes is denominated γοητεια, i.e. enchantment. Each of these, however, is used towards brutes. Hence stags and horses are allured by the harmony produced from reeds and flutes; and the crabs, called παγουροι, 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 16. 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 |102 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 17? 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 connexion 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 |103 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 fall 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 |104 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 humours 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 |105 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 neighbours, 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 |106 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 |107 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.
26. 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 18, 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, |108 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. |109
The fertile earth for them spontaneous yields
Abundantly her fruits 19.
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].
[Footnotes moved to the end and numbered]
1. * This external reason (λογος προφορικος) is speech.
2. * Philostratus relates this of Apollonius, in his Life of him.
3. * The words within the brackets are added from the version of Felicianus. Hence it appears, that the words εκ των διαφορων μυκηματων are wanting in the original, after the word ζητει. But the defect is not noticed by any of the editors.
4. * Porphyry derived this from the treatise of Plutarch, in which it is investigated whether land are more sagacious than aquatic animals.
5. * This was the opinion of the Stoics; but is most erroneous. For the supreme divinity, being superessential, transcends even intellect itself, and much more reason, which is an evolved perception of things; and this is also the case with every other deity, according to the Platonic theology, when considered according to his hyparxis, or summit. See my translation of Proclus on the Theology of Plato.
6. * A musket, or male hawk of a small kind. This bird is mentioned by Homer, Iliad, XIV. v. 233.
7. * Reason in a divine intellect subsists causally, or in a way better than reason, and therefore is not a discursive energy (διεξοδικη ενεργεια), but an evolved cause of things. And though, in a divine soul, it is discursive, or transitive, yet it differs from our reason in this, that it perceives the whole of one form at once, and not by degrees, as we do when we reason.
8. * In the original, ουτω δ̕ εστι λογιστικα ων δρᾳ, κ.τ.λ. But for λογιστικα, Lipsius proposes to read, λογικα, and Meerman λογικη. There is, however, no occasion whatever to substitute any other word for λογιστικα, as, with Platonic writers, το λογιστικον is equivalent to to λογιζομενον.
9. * See the first book of Herodotus, chap. 159.
10. + The more mystical cause why the Egyptians worshipped animals, appears to me to be this, that they conceived a living to be preferable to an inanimate image of divinity. Hence, they reverenced animals as visible and living resemblances of certain invisible powers of the Gods. See Plutarch's Treatise on Isis and Osiris.
11. * See the Symposiacs of Plutarch, lib. ix. 8.
12. * Odyss. XII. v. 96.
13. + The latter part of this sentence, which in the original is τι ουκ εδιδαξεν μηας ο δημιουργος οπη χρησιμα τη φυσει γεγονε; Valentinus most erroneously translates, "quare nos rerum opifex non edocuit, quomodo a natura in nostros usus facta fuerint?"
14. * i.e. The discursive energy of reason.
15. * In the original, μυημην δε καταληψις αξιωματος παρεληλυθος, οὐ το παρον εξ αισθησεως κατεληφθη; but for αξιωματος, I read πραγματος. Felicianus also appears to have found this reading in his manuscript copy of the work; for his version of the passage is, "vel memoriam rei praeteriae comprehensionem, quem praesentem sensus perciperat."
16. * This doubt may, perhaps, be solved, by admitting that brutes have an imperfect rationality, or the very dregs of the rational faculty, by which they form a link between men and zoophytes, just as zoophytes are a link between brutes and merely vegetable substances. Brutes, therefore, having an imperfect reason, possess only the beginning of perfection.
17. * Plutarch has written a most ingenious treatise on this subject.
18. * In the original, οσῳ μειζον το γενος το των ζωων, τυο ουτῳ και ωρος το μερος και το οικειον ταυτην διασωσει. On this passage, Reisk observes, "Forte οσῳ μειζων ῃ οικειωσις ωρος το γενος το των ζωων, τοσουτῳ (scilicet μαλλον) και προς το μερός, κ.τ.λ." But, instead of η οικειωσις, it appears to me that η φιλια should be substituted.
19. * Porphyry here particularly alludes to Empedocles.
20. * Hesiod. Oper. v. 117.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2007. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using unicode.
|Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts|