Plutarch’s Moralia



1. Τῷ σφόδρα φιλεῖν ἑαυτόν, ὦ Ἀντίοχε Φιλόπαππε, φάσκοντι συγγνώμην μὲν ἅπαντας ὁ Πλάτων Fδιδόναι φησί, κακίαν δὲ σὺν πολλαῖς ἄλλαις ἐγγίγνεσθαι μεγίστην, ὑφ᾿ ἧς οὐκ ἔστιν αὑτοῦ κριτὴν δίκαιον οὐδ᾿ ἀδέκαστον εἶναι· “τυφλοῦται γὰρ τὸ φιλοῦν περὶ τὸ φιλούμενον,” ἂν μή τις μαθὼν ἐθισθῇ τὰ καλὰ τιμᾶν καὶ διώκειν μᾶλλον ἢ τὰ συγγενῆ καὶ οἰκεῖα. τοῦτο τῷ κόλακι πολλὴν μεταξὺ τῆς φιλίας εὐρυχωρίαν δίδωσιν, ὁρμητήριον ἐφ᾿ ἡμᾶς εὐφυὲς ἔχοντι τὴν φιλαυτίαν, δι᾿ ἣν αὐτὸς 49αὑτοῦ κόλαξ ἕκαστος ὢν πρῶτος καὶ μέγιστος οὐ χαλεπῶς προσίεται τὸν ἔξωθεν ὧν οἴεται καὶ βούλεται μάρτυν ἅμ᾿ αὐτῷ καὶ βεβαιωτὴν προσγιγνόμενον. ὁ γὰρ λοιδορούμενος φιλοκόλαξ σφόδρα φίλαυτός ἐστι, δι᾿ εὔνοιαν ἑαυτῷ πάντα μὲν ὑπάρχειν βουλόμενος πάντα δ᾿ οἰόμενος ὧν ἡ μὲν βούλησις οὐκ ἄτοπος ἡ δ᾿ οἴησις ἐπισφαλὴς καὶ δεομένη


How to Tell a Flatterer

How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend

1. Platoa says, my dear Antiochus Philopappus, that everyone grants forgiveness to the man who avows that he dearly loves himself, but he also says that along with many other faults which are engendered thereby the most serious is that which makes it impossible for such a man to be an honest and unbiased judge of himself. “For Love is blind as regards the beloved,”b unless one, through study, has acquired the habit of respecting and pursuing what is honourable rather than what is inbred and familiar. This fact affords to the flatterer a very wide field within the realm of friendship,c since in our love of self he has an excellent base of operations against us. It is because of this self-love that everybody is himself his own foremost and greatest flatterer, and hence finds no difficulty in admitting the outsider to witness with him and to confirm his own conceits and desires. For the man who is spoken of with opprobrium as a lover of flatterers is in high degree a lover of self, and, because of his kindly feeling toward himself, he desires and conceives himself to be endowed with all manner of good qualities; but although the desire for these is not unnatural, yet the conceit that one possesses them is dangerous and must be carefully avoided. Now

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-moralia_how_tell_flatterer_friend.1927