Plutarch's Moralia



1. Ἀλλὰ σὺ μὲν ἐρωτᾷς τίνι λόγῳ Πυθαγόρας ἀπείχετο σαρκοφαγίας; ἐγὼ δὲ θαυμάζω καὶ τίνι Bπάθει καὶ ποίᾳ ψυχῇ ἢ λόγῳ ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ἥψατο φόνου στόματι καὶ τεθνηκότος ζῴου χείλεσι προσήψατο σαρκὸς καὶ νεκρῶν σωμάτων καὶ ἑώλων1 προθέμενος τραπέζας ὄψα καὶ τροφὰς2 προσεῖπεν3 τὰ μικρὸν ἔμπροσθεν βρυχώμενα μέρη καὶ φθεγγόμενα καὶ κινούμενα καὶ βλέποντα. πῶς ἡ ὄψις ὑπέμεινε τὸν φόνον σφαζομένων δερομένων διαμελιζομένων, πῶς ἡ ὄσφρησις ἤνεγκε τὴν ἀποφοράν, πῶς τὴν γεῦσιν οὐκ ἀπέτρεψεν ὁ μολυσμὸς ἑλκῶν ψαύουσαν ἀλλοτρίων καὶ τραυμάτων θανασίμων χυμοὺς καὶ ἰχῶρας ἀπολαμβάνουσαν;4

Cεἷρπον μὲν ῥινοί, κρέα δ᾿ ἀμφ᾿ ὀβελοῖς ἐμεμύκει ὀπταλέα τε καὶ ὠμά, βοῶν δ᾿ ὣς γίγνετο φωνή·

τοῦτο μὲν5 πλάσμα καὶ μῦθός ἐστι, τὸ δέ γε δεῖπνον ἀληθῶς τερατῶδες, πεινῆν τινα τῶν μυκωμένων


The Eating of Flesh I

On the Eating of Flesh


1. Can you really ask what reason Pythagorasa had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first manb who did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stalec bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?

The skins shivered; and upon the spits the flesh bellowed, Both cooked and raw; the voice of kine was heard.d

Though this is an invention and a myth, yet that sort of dinner is really portentous—when a man craves the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-eating_flesh.1957