Plutarch’s Moralia


1. ΑΥΤΟΒΟΥΛΟΣ. Τὸν Τυρταῖον ὁ Λεωνίδας ἐρωτηθεὶς Bποῖόν τινα νομίζοι, “ἀγαθὸν ποιητὴν” ἔφη “νέων ψυχὰς κακκονῆν”1· ὡς τοῖς νέοις διὰ τῶν ἐπῶν ὁρμὴν ἐμποιοῦντα μετὰ θυμοῦ καὶ φιλοτιμίας ἐν ταῖς μάχαις ἀφειδοῦσιν2 αὑτῶν. δέδια δή, ὦ φίλοι, μὴ καὶ τὸ τῆς κυνηγεσίας ἐγκώμιον ἐχθὲς ἀνεγνωσμένον ἐπάρῃ τοῦ μετρίου πέρα τοὺς φιλοθήρους ἡμῖν νεανίσκους, ὥστε τἄλλα πάρεργα καὶ τὸ μηδὲν ἡγεῖσθαι, πρὸς τοῦτο παντάπασι ῥυέντας· ὅπου δοκῶ μοι καὶ αὐτὸς ἐκ νέας αὖθις ἀρχῆς παρ᾿


The Cleverness of Animals,

Whether Land or Sea Animals are Cleverer

(The speakers in the dialogue are Autobulus,a Soclarus,b Optatus, Aristotimus, Phaedimus, and Heracleon.c)

1. autobulus. When Leonidas was asked what sort of a person he considered Tyrtaeus to be, he replied, “A good poet to whet the souls of young men,”d on the ground that by means of verses the poet inspired in young men keenness, accompanied by ardour and ambition whereby they sacrificed themselves freely in battle. And I am very much afraid, my friends, that the Praise of Huntinge which was read aloud to us yesterday may so immoderately inflame our young men who like the sport that they will come to consider all other occupations as of minor, or of no, importance and concentrate on this.f As a matter of fact, I myself caught the old fever all over again

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-whether_land_sea_animals_are_cleverer.1957