Apuleius, Florida

LCL 534: 248-249

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considerandos. 3Nec ista re cum Plautino milite congruebat, qui ita ait:

“Pluris est oculatus testis unus quam auriti decem.”

4Immo enimvero hunc versum ille ad examinandos homines converterat:

“Pluris est auritus testis unus quam oculati decem.”

5Ceterum si magis pollerent oculorum quam animi iudicia, profecto de sapientia foret aquilae concedendum. 6Homines enim neque longule dissita neque proxime assita possumus cernere, verum omnes quodam modo caecutimus: 7ac si ad oculos et obtutum istum terrenum redigas et hebetem, profecto verissime poeta egregius dixit velut nebulam nobis ob oculos offusam, nec cernere nos nisi intra lapidis iactum valere. 8Aquila enimvero cum se nubium tenus altissime sublimavit, evecta alis totum istud spatium, qua pluitur et ninguitur, ultra quod cacumen nec fulmini nec fulguri locus est, in ipso, ut ita dixerim, solo aetheris et fastigio hiemis—9cum igitur eo sese aquila extulit, nutu clementi laevorsum vel dextrorsum tanta mole corporis labitur, velificatas alas quo libuit advertens modico caudae gubernaculo; 10inde cuncta despiciens, ibidem pinnarum remittens indefessa remigia, ac paulisper cunctabundo volatu paene eodem loco pendula circumtuetur, et quaerit quorsus potissimum in praedam superne sese ruat fulminis vicem; 11de caelo improvisa, simul campis pecua, simul montibus feras, simul homines urbibus uno



and the mind’s eye, to observe humanity. 3On that point he differed from the soldier in Plautus who says,3

“One witness with eyes is better than ten with ears.”

4No, in order to examine human beings, Socrates had reversed this line:

“One witness with ears is better than ten with eyes.”

5Besides, if visual judgment were superior to intellectual, no doubt we would have to yield the primacy for wisdom to the eagle. 6We humans cannot make out things placed far off or brought very close, but all of us are to some extent blind. 7When it comes down to the eyes and our dull, earth-bound vision, what the great poet said is surely very true—that a kind of fog is spread before our eyes, and we do not have the capacity to see beyond a stone’s throw.4 8An eagle, by contrast, when he has risen high, high up to the clouds, soaring on his wings above this space where rain and snow fall, up to a height beyond which there is no room for thunderbolt or lightning flash, to the very floor of heaven and the roof of the storm cloud, so to speak—9well, when the eagle climbs that far, by a gentle inclination he glides left or right with the great mass of his body, and turns his wings like sails in any direction he chooses, his tail serving as a small rudder; 10from there he looks down on everything, tirelessly plying his outspread wings and, briefly suspended with a lazy motion in almost the same place, he gazes around and wonders where best to swoop down from above on his prey like a thunderbolt; 11unnoticed from above, he simultaneously observes cattle in the fields, wild beasts on the mountains, human beings in the cities, in one sweep of a single glance

  • 3Truculentus 489.
  • 4Il. 3.10–12.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.apuleius-florida.2017