1. Ἐπειδὴ καὶ σύ με πολλάκις, ὦ Ἱέρων2 φίλτατε, καὶ ἄλλοι τινὲς νῦν ἑταῖροι παρακαλοῦσι θεραπευτικὴν μέθοδον αὐτοῖς γράψαι, ἐγὼ δὲ μάλιστα μὲν καὶ ὑμῖν χαρίζεσθαι βουλόμενος, οὐχ ἥκιστα δὲ καὶ τοὺς μεθ᾿ ἡμᾶς ἀνθρώπους ὠφελῆσαι καθ᾿ ὅσον οἷός τέ εἰμι προαιρούμενος, ὅμως ὤκνουν τε καὶ ἀνεβαλλόμην ἑκάστοτε διὰ πολλὰς αἰτίας, ἄμεινον εἶναί μοι δοκεῖ καὶ νῦν αὐτὰς διελθεῖν, πρὶν ἄρξασθαι τῆς πραγματείας, ἔχουσι γάρ τι χρήσιμον εἰς τὰ μέλλοντα ῥηθήσεσθαι.
κεφάλαιον μὲν οὖν ἁπασῶν αὐτῶν ἐστι τὸ κινδυνεῦσαι 2K| μάτην γράψαι, μηδενὸς τῶν νῦν ἀνθρώπων ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀλήθειαν σπουδάζοντος, ἀλλὰ χρήματά τε καὶ δυνάμεις πολιτικὰς καὶ ἀπλήστους ἡδονῶν ἀπολαύσεις ἐζηλωκότων ἐς τοσοῦτον ὡς μαίνεσθαι νομίζειν εἴ τις ἄρα καὶ γένοιτο σοφίαν ἀσκῶν ἡντιναοῦν. αὐτὴν μὲν γὰρ τὴν πρώτην καὶ ὄντως σοφίαν, ἐπιστήμην οὖσαν θείων τε καὶ ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων, οὐδ᾿ εἶναι νομίζουσι τὸ παράπαν· ἰατρικὴν
1. Since you, my dearest Hiero,1 [have called upon me]1K many times, and now also certain other colleagues are calling upon me to write a method of medicine for them, and since I especially wished to oblige you [all], and no less also made a choice to help those who will come after us, as far as I am able, but have, however, been hesitating and delaying each time for many reasons, it seems to me better to go over these reasons now, before I begin the treatise, as they do have some relevance to what is going to be said.
The chief reason of all is the risk of writing in vain, as almost2K nobody nowadays is, one might say, eager for truth. Instead, people strive after money, political power, and an insatiable enjoyment of pleasures to such an extent that they would consider someone mad if he were to gain expertise in any area whatsoever. They think the truly primary form of wisdom, which is knowledge of matters divine and human, doesn’t exist at all. However, they do
- 1On Hiero, to whom the first six books are dedicated, V. Nutton, in F. Kudlien and R. J. Durling (1991), p. 5, writes: “[He] must then be assumed to have been an extremely competent medical practitioner, and we are told by Galen that he had a detailed knowledge of anatomy and a long-standing and intimate acquaintance with Galen and other doctors.”