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I. | Ἄχρι τίνος ἡμεῖς οἱ γέροντες ἔτι παῖδές ἐσμεν, τὰ μὲν σώματα χρόνου μήκει πολιοί, τὰς δὲ ψυχὰς ὑπ᾿ ἀναισθησίας κομιδῇ νήπιοι, νομίζοντες τὸ μὲν ἀσταθμητότατον, τὴν τύχην, ἀκλινέστατον, τὸ δὲ παγιώτατον, τὴν φύσιν, ἀβεβαιότατον; ὑπαλλαττόμεθα γὰρ καθάπερ ἐν ταῖς πεττείαις τὰς πράξεις μετατιθέντες, οἰόμενοι τὰ μὲν τυχηρὰ μονιμώτερα εἶναι τῶν φύσει, τὰ δὲ 2κατὰ φύσιν ἀβεβαιότερα τῶν τυχηρῶν. αἴτιον δὲ τὸ τὰ παρόντα βραβεύειν1 ἀπροοράτως τῶν μελλόντων ἔχοντας, αἰσθήσει πεπλανημένῃ χρωμένους πρὸ διανοίας ἀπλανοῦς· ὀφθαλμοῖς μὲν γὰρ τὰ ἐν φανερῷ καὶ ἐν χερσὶ καταλαμβάνεται, λογισμὸς [546]δὲ φθάνει καὶ πρὸς τὰ | ἀόρατα καὶ μέλλοντα, οὗ τὴν ὄψιν ὀξυωπεστέραν οὖσαν τῆς δι᾿ ὀμμάτων σώματος ἀμαυροῦμεν, οἱ μὲν ἀκράτῳ καὶ πλησμοναῖς ὑποσυγχέοντες, οἱ δὲ τῷ μεγίστῳ τῶν 3κακῶν, ἀμαθίᾳ. | πλὴν ὁ παρὼν καιρὸς καὶ αἱ κατ᾿ αὐτὸν κριθεῖσαι πολλαὶ καὶ μεγάλαι ὑποθέσεις, κἂν εἰ ἄπιστοι γεγόνασί τινες τοῦ προνοεῖν


the Embassy to Gaius

On the Embassy to Gaius

(the first part of the treatise on virtues)

I. How long shall we the aged continue to be1 children grown grey in our bodies through length of years, but infants in our souls through want of sense, holding fortune, the most unstable of things, to be the most unchangeable, nature, the most constant, to be the most insecure? For we change our actions about from place to place as on a draught board, and fortune’s gifts seem to us more permanent than nature’s, nature’s more insecure than fortune’s. The reason is that, having no forethought for the2 future, we are ruleda by the present, following erratic sense-perception rather than unerring intelligence. For the eyes of the body discern what is manifest and close at hand, but reason reaches to the unseen and the future. Reason’s vision, which is keener than the vision of the bodily eyes, we bedim and confuse, some with strong drink and surfeiting, others with that worst of evils, ignorance. | And yet3 the present time and the many important questions decided in it are strong enough to carry conviction even if some have come to disbelieve that the Deity

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philo_judaeus-embassy_gaius_first_part_treatise_virtues.1962