Seneca Moral Essays Volume Iii


Seneca's Essays Volume III


Source: Lucius Annasus Seneca. Moral Essays. Translated by John W. Basore. The Loeb Classical Library. London: W. Heinemann,1928-1935. 3 vols.: Volume III. Before using any portion of this text in any theme, essay, research paper, thesis, or dissertation, please read the disclaimer.

Transcription conventions: Page numbers in Angle brackets refer to the edition cited as the source. The Latin text, which appears on even-numbered pages, is not included here. Words or phrases singled out for indexing are marked by plus signs. In the index, numbers in parentheses indicate how many times the item appears. A slash followed by a small letter or a number indicates a footnote at the bottom of the page. Only notes of historical, philosophical, or literary interest to a general reader have been included. I have allowed Greek passages to stand as the scanner read them, in unintelligible strings of characters.



Table of Contents: De Beneficiis
Index:   Aeneid+(1) | Akumal+(1) Antonio+(1) | Antony+(2) | Bassanio+(2) | benefits+(1) | Best_of_all_possible+(1) | boast+(1) | motives_list+(1) | business+(1) | Castiglione+(1) | charisma+(1) | Civic_Duty+(1) | common_bond+(2) | Common_Humanity+(1) | common_property+(1) | Coriolanus?+(1) | Divine_Right+(1) | duty+(2) | Epicureans+(1) | Essay_on_Man_I+(1) | evil_as_good+(1) | faith+(1) | flattery+(1) | fool+(1) |  Foresight+(1) | forgive+(1) | freedom+(1) | Freedom+(2) | Friend+(1) | Gift+(1) | GIFT+(1) | gift_as_link+(1) | Gift_spirit+(1) | gifts+(1) | give_freely+(1) | given+(1) | giving_motive+(1) | onourable+(1) | God+(1) | goodwill+(1) | Granville+(1) | Graces+(1) | gratia+(1) | gratum+(1) | great_soul+(1) | haero_stick+(1) | Hal+(1) | honestum+(2) | hopes+(1) | Hotspur+(1) | Iago+(2) | integrum+(1) | judge_not+(2) | Kent+(3) | law+(1) | Lear+(2) | Lear_disgust+(1) | Lear_whole_plot+(1) | magnitudo_animi+(1) | memorem+(1) | Nature+(2) | no_strings+(1) | nobody's_perfect+(1) | Ode_to_Duty+(1) | Paris+(1) | PlainDealer+(1) | Plutarch's_Fortune+(1) | Polonius+(1) | poor_is_rich+(1) | Pope+(1) | promise+(2) | promises+(1) | Prospero+(1) | Reason+(1) | Satan+(1) | Shylock+(3) | simplicem+(1) | social_animal+(1) | social_glue+(1) | Stoicism_basic+(1) | Swift+(1) | Timon+(3) | 11trustee+(1) | virtue_in_peasants+(1) | Wdswth+(1) | Wordsworth+(2) | Wyf_of_Bath+(3) | 

UCIUS ANNAEUS SENECA TO AEBUTIUS LIBERALIS
 

 ON BENEFITS
BOOK I

AMONG the many and diverse errors of those who live reckless and thoughtless lives, almost nothing that I can mention, excellent Liberalis, is more disgraceful than the fact that we do not know how either to give or to receive benefits.  For it follows that, if they are ill placed, they are ill acknowledged, and, when we complain of their not being returned, it is too late for they were lost at the time they were given.  Nor is it surprising that among all our many and great vices, none is so common as ingratitude. This I observe results from several causes.
     The first is, that we do not pick out those who are worthy of receiving our gifts.  Yet when we are about to open an account with anyone, we are careful to inquire into the means and manner of life of our debtor; we do not sow seed in worn-out and unproductive soil; but our benefits we give, or rather throw, away without any discrimination.
     Nor would it be easy to say whether it is more shameful to repudiate a benefit, or to ask the repayment of it; for from the nature of such a trust, we
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ON BENEFITS, I. 1. 3-8

have a right to receive back only what is voluntarily returned.  To plead bankruptcy is, surely, most disgraceful, just for the reason that, in order to perform the promised payment, what is needed is, not wealth, but the desire; for, if a benefit is acknowledged, it is returned.  But, while those who do not even profess to be grateful are blameworthy, so also are we. Many men we find ungrateful, but more we make so, because at one time we are harsh in our reproaches and demands, at another, are fickle and repent of our gift as soon as we have made it, at another, are fault - finding and misrepresent the importance of trifles.  Thus we destroy all sense of gratitude, not only after we have given our benefits, but even while we are in the act of giving them.  Who of us has been content to have a request made lightly, or but once?  Who, when he suspected that something was being sought from him, has not knit his brows, turned away his face, pretended to be busy, by long-drawn conversation, which he purposely kept from ending, deprived another of the opportunity of making a request, and by various tricks baffled his pressing needs?  Who, when actually caught in a corner, has not either deferred the favor, that is, been too cowardly to refuse it, or promised it with ungraciousness, with frowning brows, and with grudging words that were scarcely audible?  Yet no one is glad to be indebted for what he had, not received, but extorted.  Can anyone be grateful to another for a benefit that has been haughtily flung to him, or thrust at him in anger, or given out of sheer weariness in order to save further trouble? Whoever expects that a man whom he has wearied by delay and tortured by hope will feel any indebtedness
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ON BENEFITS, I. i. 8-10

deceives himself.  A benefit is acknowledged in the same spirit in which it is bestowed, and for that reason it ought not to be bestowed carelessly; for a man thanks only himself for what he receives from an unwitting giver. Nor should it be given tardily, since, seeing that in every service the willingness of the giver counts for much, he who acts tardily has for a long time been unwilling.  And, above all, it should not be given insultingly; for, since human nature is so constituted that injuries sink deeper than kindnesses, and that, while the latter pass quickly from the mind, the former are kept persistently in memory, what can he expect who, while doing a favor, offers an affront?  If you pardon such a man for giving a benefit, you show gratitude enough, There is no reason, however, why the multitude of ingrates should make us more reluctant to be generous.  For, in the first place, as I have said, we ourselves increase their number; and, in the second place, not even the mortal gods are deterred from showing lavish and unceasing kindness to those who are sacrilegious and indifferent to them.  For they follow their own nature, and in their universal bounty {great_soul+} include even those who are ill interpreters of their gifts.  Let us follow these as our guides in so far as human weakness permits; let us make our benefits, not investments, but gifts+.  The man who, when he gives, has any thought of repayment deserves to be deceived.  But suppose it has turned out ill.  Both children and wives have disappointed our hopes, yet we marry and rear children, and so persistent are we in the face of experience that, after being conquered, we go back to war and, after being shipwrecked, we go back to sea.  How much more fitting
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ON BENEFITS, I.

to persevere in bestowing benefits!  For if a man stops giving them because they were not returned, his purpose in giving them was to have them returned, and he supplies a just excuse to the in ingrate, whose disgrace lies in not making a return, it is permissible. {GIFT+} How many are unworthy of seeing the light!  Yet the day dawns.  How many complain because they have been born!  Yet Nature begets new progeny, and even those who would rather not have been, she suffers to be.  To seek, not the fruit of benefits, but the mere doing of them, and to search for a good man even after the discovery of bad men - this is the mark of a soul that is truly great and good.  What glory would there be in doing good to many if none ever deceived you?  But as it is, it is a virtue to give benefits that have no surety of being returned, whose fruit is at once enjoyed by the noble mind.  So true is it that we ought not to allow such a consideration to rout us from our purpose and make us less prone to do a very beautiful thing, that, even were I deprived of the hope of finding a grateful man, I should prefer not recovering benefits to not giving them, because he who does not give them merely forestalls the fault of the ungrateful man.  I will explain what I mean.  He who does not return a benefit, sins more, he who does not give one, sins earlier.

 To shower bounties on the mob should you delight, xxx Full many must you lose, for one you place aright./a
In the first verse two points are open to criticism for, on the one hand, benefits ought not to be showered upon the mob, and, on the other, it is not right to be wasteful of any thing, least of all of benefits; for, if you eliminate discernment in giving them, they cease
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ON BENEFITS, I.

to be benefits, and will fall under any other name you please.  The sentiment of the second is admirable, for it allows a solitary benefit that is well placed to compensate for the loss of many that have been wasted.  But consider, I beg of you, whether it may not be truer doctrine and more in accord with the generous spirit of the benefactor to urge him to give even though not one of his benefits is likely to be well placed.  For "many must you lose" is a false sentiment; not one is lost, because a loser is one who had kept an account.  In benefits the book- keeping is simple - so much is paid out; if anything comes back, it is gain, if nothing comes back, there is no loss.  I made the gift for the sake of giving.  No one enters his benefactions in his account-book, or like a greedy tax-collector calls for payment upon a set day, at a set hour.  The good man never thinks of them unless he is reminded of them by having them returned; otherwise, they transform themselves into a loan.  To regard a benefit as an amount advanced is putting it out at shameful interest.  No matter what the issue of former benefits has been, still persist in conferring them upon others; this will be better even if they fall unheeded into the hands of the ungrateful, for it may be that either shame or opportunity or example will some day make these grateful. Do not falter, finish your task, and complete the role of the good man. Help one man with money, another with credit, another with influence, another with advice, another with sound precepts.  Even wild beasts are sensible of good offices, and no creature is so savage that it will not be softened by kindness and made to love the hand that gives it.  The lion will let a keeper handle his mouth with impunity,
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ON BENEFITS, I. ii. 5-iii. 4

the elephant, for all his fierceness, is reduced to the docility of a slave by food; so true is it that even creatures whose condition excludes the comprehension and appraisement of a benefit, are nevertheless won over by persistent and steadfast kindness.  Is a man ungrateful for one benefit? Perhaps he will not be so for a second.  Has he forgotten two benefits? Perhaps a third will recall to memory the others also that have dropped from his mind.  That man will waste his benefits who is quick to believe that he has wasted them; but he who presses on, and heaps new benefits upon the old, draws forth gratitude even from a heart that is hard and unmindful.  In the presence of multiplied benefits the ingrate will not dare to lift his eyes; wherever he turns, fleeing his memory of them, there let him see you - encircle him with your benefits.
     Of the nature and property of these I shall speak later if you will permit me first to digress upon questions that are foreign to the subject - why the Graces+/a {gratia+} are three in number and why they are sisters, why they have their hands interlocked, and why they are smiling and youthful and virginal, and are clad in loose and transparent garb.  Some would have it appear that there is one for bestowing a benefit, another for receiving it, and a third for returning it; others hold that there are three classes of benefactors - those who earn benefits,/b those who return them, those who receive and return them at the same time.  But of the two explanations do you accept as true whichever you like; yet what profit is there in such knowledge?  Why do the sisters hand in hand dance in a ring which returns upon itself?  For the reason that a benefit passing
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ON BENEFITS, I. iii 4-7

in its course from hand to hand returns nevertheless to the giver; the beauty of the whole is destroyed if the course is anywhere broken, and it has most beauty if it is continuous and maintains an uninterrupted succession.{gift_as_link+} In the dance, nevertheless, an older sister has especial honour, as do those who earn benefits.  Their faces are cheerful, as are ordinarily the faces of those who bestow or receive benefits.  They are young because the memory of benefits ought not to grow old.  They are maidens because benefits are pure and undefiled and holy in the eyes of all; and it is fitting that there should be nothing to bind or restrict them, and so the maidens wear flowing robes, and these, too, are transparent because benefits desire to be seen.
     There may be someone who follows the Greeks so slavishly as to say that considerations of this sort are necessary; but surely no one will believe; also that the names which Hesiod assigned to the Graces have any bearing upon the subject.  He called the eldest Aglaia, the next younger Euphrosyne, the third Thalia.  Each one twists the significance of these names to suit himself, and tries to make them fit some theory although Hesiod simply bestowed on the maidens the name that suited his fancy.  And so Homer changed the name of one of them, calling her Pasithea, and promised her in marriage in order that it might be dear that, if they were maidens, they were not Vestals./a I could find another poet in whose writings they are girdled and appear in robes of thick texture or of Phryxian wool./b And the reason that Mercury stands with them is, not that argument or eloquence commends benefits, but simply that the painter chose to picture them so.
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ON BENEFITS, I. iii. 8-iv. 1
 

       Chrysippus, too, whose famous acumen is so keen and pierces to the very core of truth, who speaks in order to accomplish results, and uses no more words than are necessary to make himself intelligible - he fills the whole of his book with these puerilities, insomuch that he has very little to say about the duty itself of giving, receiving, and returning a benefit; and his fictions are not grafted upon his teachings, but his teachings upon his fictions.  For, not to mention what Hecaton copies from him, Chrysippus says that the three Graces are daughters of Jupiter and Eurynome, also that, while they are younger than the Hours, they are somewhat more beautiful, and therefore have been assigned as companions to Venus.  In his opinion, too, the name of their mother has some significance, for he says that she was called Eurynome/a <daughter of Ocean, "wide spreading"> because the distribution of benefits is the mark of an extensive fortune; just as if a mother usually received her name after her daughters, or as if the names that poets bestow were genuine!  As a nomenclator lets audacity supply the place of memory, and every time that he is unable to call anyone by his true name, he invents one, so poets do not think that it is of any importance to speak the truth, but, either forced by necessity or beguiled by beauty.  They impose upon each person the name that works neatly into the verse.  Nor is it counted against them if they introduce a new name into the list; for the next poet orders the maidens to take the name that he devises.  And to prove to you that this is so, observe that Thalia, with whom we are especially concerned, appears in Hesiod as Charis,/b {charisma+} in Homer as a Muse.
     But for fear that I shall be guilty of the fault that
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ON BENEFITS, I. iv. 1-5

I am criticizing, I shall abandon all these questions, which are so remote that they do not even touch the subject.  Only do you defend me if anyone shall blame me for having put Chrysippus in his place - a great man, no doubt, but yet a Greek, one whose acumen is so finely pointed that it gets blunted and often folds back upon itself; even when it seems to be accomplishing something, it does not pierce, but only pricks.  But what has acumen to do here?  What we need is a discussion of benefits and the rules for a practice that constitutes the chief bond of human society;{Granville+} we need to be given a law of conduct in order that we may not be inclined to the thoughtless indulgence that masquerades as generosity, in order, too, that this very vigilance, while it tempers, may not check our liberality, of which there ought to be neither any lack nor any excess; we need to be taught to give willingly, to receive willingly, to return willingly, and to set before us the high aim of striving, not merely to equal, but to surpass in deed and spirit those who have placed us under obligation, for he who has a debt of gratitude to pay never catches up with the favor unless he outstrips it; the one should be taught to make no record of the amount, the other to feel indebted for more than the amount. To this most honourable rivalry in outdoing benefits by benefits Chrysippus urges us by saying that, in view of the fact that the Graces are the daughters of Jupiter, we should fear that by showing a lack of gratitude we might become guilty of sacrilege and do an injustice to such beautiful maidens! But teach thou me the secret of becoming more beneficent and more grateful to those who do me a service, the secret of the rivalry that is born in the hearts of the obligers
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ON BENEFITS, I. iv. 5-v. 3

and the obliged so that those who have bestowed forget, those who owe persistently remember.  As for those absurdities, let them be left to the poets, whose purpose it is to charm the car and to weave a pleasing tale. But those who wish to heal the human soul, to maintain faith in the dealings of men, and to engrave upon their minds the memory of services let these speak with earnestness and plead with all their power; unless, perchance, you think that by light talk and fables and old wives' reasonings it is possible to prevent a most disastrous thing - the abolishment of benefits.
     But, just as I am forced to touch lightly upon irrelevant questions, so I must now explain that the first thing we have to learn is what it is that we owe when a benefit has been received. For one man says that he owes the money which he has received, another the consulship, another the priesthood, another the administration of a province.  But these things are the marks of services rendered, not the services themselves.  A benefit cannot possibly be touched by the hand; its province is the mind.  There is a great difference between the matter of a benefit and the benefit itself; and so it is neither gold nor silver nor any of the gifts which are held to be most valuable that constitutes a benefit, but merely the goodwill+ of him who bestows it.  But the ignorant regard only that which meets the eye, that which passes from hand to hand and is laid hold of, while they attach little value to that which is really rare and precious.  The gifts that we take in our hands, that we gaze upon, that in our covetousness we cling to, are perishable; for fortune or injustice may take them from us.  But a benefit endures even after that through which it
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ON BENEFITS, I. v. 3-vi. 2

was manifested has been lost; for it is a virtuous act, and no power can undo it.
     If I have rescued a friend from pirates, and afterwards a different enemy seized him and shut him up in prison, he has been robbed, not of my benefit, but of the enjoyment of my benefit.  If I have saved a man's children from shipwreck or a fire and restored them to him, and afterwards they were snatched from him either by sickness or some injustice of fortune, yet, even when they are no more, the benefit that was manifested in their persons endures.  All those things, therefore, which falsely assume the name of benefits, are but the services through which the goodwill of a friend reveals itself.  The same thing is true also of other bestowals - the form of the bestowal is one thing, the bestowal itself another.  The general presents a soldier with a breast-chain or with a mural and civic crown.  But what value has the crown in itself?  What the purple-bordered robe?  What the fasces?  What the tribunal and the chariot? No one of these things is an honour, they are the badges of honour.  In like manner that which falls beneath the eye is not a benefit - it is but the trace and mark of a benefit.
     What then is a benefit?  It is the act of a wellwisher who bestows joy and derives joy from the bestowal of it, and is inclined to do what he does from the prompting of his own will.  And so what counts is, not what is done or what is given, but the spirit of the action, because a benefit consists, not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.  The great distinction that exists between these things, moreover, may be grasped from the simple statement that a benefit is un-
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ON BENEFITS, I. vi. 2-vii. 2

doubtedly a good, while what is done or given is neither a good nor an evil.  It is the intention that exalts small gifts, gives lustre to those that are mean, and discredits those that are great and considered of value; the things themselves that men desire have a neutral nature, which is neither good nor evil/a; all depends upon the end toward which these are directed by the Ruling Principle/b {God+} that gives to things their form.  The benefit itself is not something that is counted out and handed over, just as, likewise, the honour that is paid to the gods lies, not in the victims for sacrifice, though they be fat and glitter with gold, but in the upright and holy desire of the worshippers.  Good men, therefore, are pleasing to the gods with an offering of meal and gruel; the bad, on the other hand, do not escape impiety although they dye the altars with streams of blood.
     If benefits consisted, not in the very desire to benefit, but in things, then the greater the gifts are which we have received, the greater would be the benefits.  But this is not true; for sometimes we feel under greater obligations to one who has given small gifts out of a great heart, who "by his spirit matched the wealth of kings,"/c who bestowed his little, but gave it gladly, who beholding my poverty forgot his own, who had, not merely the willingness, but a desire to help, who counted a benefit given as a benefit received, who gave it with no thought of having it returned, who, when it was returned, had no thought of having given it, who not only sought, but seized, the opportunity of being useful. On the other hand, as I have said before, those benefits win no thanks, which, though they seem great
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ON BENEFITS, I. vii. 2-ix. 1

from their substance and show, are either forced from the giver or are carelessly dropped, and that comes much more gratefully which is given by a willing rather than by a full hand.  The benefit which one man bestowed upon me is small, but he was not able to give more; that which another gave me is great, but he hesitated, he put it off, he grumbled when he gave it, he gave it haughtily, he, published it abroad, and the person he tried to please was not the one on whom he bestowed his gift - he made an offering, not to me, but to his pride.
     Once when many gifts were being presented to Socrates by his pupils, each one bringing according to his means, Aeschines, who was poor, said to him:  "Nothing that I am able to give to you do I find worthy of you, and only in this way do I discover that am a poor man. And so I give to you the only thing that I possess - myself.  This gift, such as it is, I beg you to take in good part, and bear in mind that the others, though they gave to you much, have left more for themselves." "And how," said Socrates, "could it have been anything but a great gift - unless maybe you set small value upon yourself?  And so I shall make it my care to return you to yourself a better man than when I received you." By this present Aeschines surpassed Alcibiades, whose heart matched his riches,/a and the wealthy youths with all their splendid gifts.  You see how even in pinching poverty the heart finds the means for generosity.  These, it seems to me, were the words of Aeschines:  "You, O Fortune, have accomplished nothing by wishing to make me poor; I shall none the less find for this great man a
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ON BENEFITS, I. ix. 1-4

gift that is worthy of him, and, since I cannot give to him from your store, I shall give from my own." Nor is there any reason for you to supposethat he counted himself cheap: the value he set upon himself was himself.  And so clever a young man was he that he discovered a way of giving to himself -Socrates!  It is not the size of our respective benefits, but the character of the one from whom they come that should be our concern.
     a/A man is shrewd if he does not make himself difficult of access to those who come with immoderate desires, and encourages their wild expectations by his words although in reality he intends to give them no help; but his reputation suffers if he is sharp of tongue, stern in countenance, and arouses their jealousy by flaunting his own good fortune.  For they court, and yet loathe, the prosperous man, and they hate him for doing the same things that they would do if they could.
     They make a laughing-stock of other men's wives, not even secretly, but openly, and then surrender their own wives to others.  If a man forbids his wife to appear in public in a sedan-chair and to ride exposed on every side to the view of observers who everywhere approach her, he is boorish and unmannerly and guilty of bad form, and the married women count his demands detestable.  If a man makes himself conspicuous by not having a mistress, and does not supply an allowance to another man's wife, the married women say that he is a poor sort and is addicted to low pleasures and affairs with maidservants.  The result of this is that adultery has become the most seemly sort of betrothal, and the bachelor is in accord with the widower, since
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ON BENEFITS, I. ix. 5-x. 2

the only man who takes a wife is one who takes away a wife.  Now men vie in squandering what they have stolen and then in regaining by fierce and sharp greed what they have squandered; they have no scruples; they esteem lightly the poverty of others and fear poverty for themselves more than any other evil; they upset peace with their injustices, and hard press the weaker with violence and fear.  That the provinces are plundered, that the judgement-seat is for sale, and, when two bids have been made, is knocked down to one of the bidders is of course not surprising, since it is the law of nations that you can sell what you have bought!
     But, because the subject is alluring, my ardour has carried me too far; and so let me close by showing that it is not our generation only that is beset by this fault.  The complaint our ancestors made, the complaint we make, the complaint our posterity will make, is that morality is overturned, that wickedness holds sway, and that human affairs and every sin are tending toward the worse.  Yet these things remain and will continue to remain in the same position, with only a slight movement now in this direction, now in that, like that of the waves, which a rising tide carries far inland, and a receding tide restrains within the limits of the shoreline.  Now adultery will be more common than other sins, and chastity will tear off its reins; now a furore for feasting and the most shameful scourge that assails fortunes, the kitchen, will prevail, and now excessive adornment of the body and the concern for its beauty that displays an unbeauteous mind; now ill-controlled liberty will burst forth into wantonness and presumption; and now the progress will be toward
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ON BENEFITS, I. x. 2-5

cruelty, on the part both of the state and of the individual, and to the insanity of civil war, which desecrates all that is holy and sacred; sometimes it will be drunkenness on which honour is bestowed, and he who can hold the most wine will be a hero.
     Vices do not wait expectantly in just one spot, but are always in movement and, being at variance with each other, are in constant turmoil, they rout and in turn are routed; but the verdict we are obliged to pronounce upon ourselves will always be the same: wicked we are, wicked we have been, and, I regret to add, always shall be.  Homicides, tyrants, thieves, adulterers, robbers, sacrilegious men, and traitors there always will be; but worse than all these is the crime of ingratitude, unless it be that all these spring from ingratitude, without which hardly any sin has grown to great size.
     Do you beware of committing this crime as being the greatest there is; if another commits it, pardon it as being the most trivial.  For the sum of your injury is this - you have wasted a benefit.  For you have the best part of it still unharmed - the fact that you gave it.  But, although we ought to be careful to confer benefits by preference upon those who will be likely to respond with gratitude, yet there are some that we shall do even if we expect from them poor results, and we shall bestow benefits upon those who, we not only think will be, but we know have been, ungrateful.  For example, if I shall be able to restore to someone his sons by rescuing them from great danger without any risk to myself, I shall not hesitate to do so.  If a man is a worthy one, I shall defend him even at the cost of my own blood, and share his peril; if he is unworthy, and I shall be able
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ON BENEFITS, I. x. 5-xi. 4

to rescue him from robbers by raising an outcry, I shall not be slow to utter the cry that will save a human being.
     I pass next to the discussion of what benefits ought to be given and the manner of their bestowal.  Let us give what is necessary first, then what is useful, then what is pleasurable, particularly things that will endure.  But we should begin with necessities; for that which supports life impresses the mind in one way, that which adorns or equips life, in quite another.  It is possible for a man to be scornful in his estimate of a gift which he can easily do without, of which he may say:  "Take it back, I do not want it; I am content with what I have." Sometimes it is a pleasure, not merely to give back, but to hurl from you, what you have received.
     Of the benefits that are necessary, some, those without which we are not able to live, have the first place, others, those without which we ought not to live, the second, and still others, those without which we are not willing to live, the third.  The first are of this stamp - to be snatched from the hands of the enemy, from the wrath of a tyrant, from proscription, and the other perils which in diverse and uncertain forms beset human life.  The greater and the more formidable the danger from any one of these, the greater will be the gratitude that we shall receive when we have banishes it; for the thought of the greatness of the ills from which they have been freed will linger in men's minds, and their earlier fear will enhance the value of our service.  And yet we ought not to be slower in saving a man than we might be, solely in order that his fear may add weight to our service.  Next to these come the blessings without
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ON BENEFITS, I. xi. 4-6

which, indeed, we are able to live, yet death becomes preferable, such as liberty and chastity and a good conscience.  After these will be the objects that we hold dear by reason of kinship and blood and experience and long habit, such as children, wives, household gods, and all the other things to which the mind becomes so attached that to be robbed of them seems to it more serious than to be robbed of life.
     Next in order are the useful benefits, the matter of which is wide and varied; here will be money, not in excess, but enough to provide for a reasonable standard of living; here will be public office and advancement for those who are striving for the higher positions, for nothing is more useful than to be made useful to oneself.
     All benefits beyond these come as superfluities and tend to pamper a man.  In the case of these, our aim shall he to make them acceptable by reason of their timeliness, to keep them from being commonplace, and to give the sort of things that either few or few in our own time or in this fashion, have possessed, the sort of things that, even if they are not intrinsically valuable, may become valuable by reason of the time and place.  Let us consider what will be likely to give the greatest pleasure after it has been bestowed, what is likely to meet the eyes of the owner ov.y case we shall be careful not to send gifts that are superfluous, for example, the arms of the chase to a woman or to an old man, books to a bumpkin, or nets/a to one who is devoted to study and letters.  On, the other hand we shall be equally careful, while wishing to
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ON BENEFITS, I. xi. 6-xii. 3

send what will be acceptable, not to send gifts that will reproach a man with his weakness, as for example wines to a drunkard and medicines to a valetudinarian.  For a gift that recognizes a vice of the recipient tends to be, not a boon, but a bane.
     If the choice of what is to be given is in our own hands, we shall seek especially for things that will last, in order that our gift may be as imperishable as possible.  For they are few indeed who are so grateful that they think of what they have received even if they do not see it.  Yet even the ungrateful have their memory aroused when they encounter the gift itself, when it is actually before their eyes and does not let them forget it, but instead brings up the thought of its giver and impresses it upon their mind.  And let us all the more seek to make gifts that will endure because we ought never to remind anyone of them; let the object itself revive the memory that is fading.  I shall be more willing to give wrought than coined silver; more willing to give statues than clothing or something that will wear out after brief usage.  Few there are whose gratitude survives longer than the object given; there are more who keep gifts in mind only so long as they are in use.  For my part, if it is possible, I do not want my gift to perish; let it survive, let it cling fast to my friend, let it live with him.
     No one is so stupid as to need the warning that he should not send gladiators or wild beasts to a man who has just given a public spectacle, or send a present of summer clothing in midwinter and winter clothing in midsummer.  Common sense should be used in bestowing a benefit; there must be regard
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ON BENEFITS, I. xii. 3-xiii. 2

for time, place, and the person, for some gifts are acceptable or unacceptable according to circumstances.  How much more welcome the gift will be if we give something that a man does not have, rather than something with which he is abundantly supplied, something that he has long searched for and has not yet found, rather than something which he is likely to see everywhere! Presents should be, not so much costly, as rare and choice - the sort which even a rich man will make a place for; just as the common fruits, of which we shall grow tired after a few days, give us pleasure if they have ripened out of season.  And, too, people will not fail to appreciate the gifts which either no one else has given to them, or which we have given to no one else.
     When Alexander of Macedonia, being victorious over the East, was puffed up with more than human pride, the Corinthians sent their congratulations by an embassy, and bestowed upon him the right of citizenship in their state.  This sort of courtesy made Alexander smile, whereupon one of the ambassadors said to him:  "To no one besides Hercules and yourself have we ever given the right of citizenship." Alexander gladly accepted so marked an honour, and bestowed hospitality and other courtesy upon the ambassadors, reflecting, not who they were who had given him the privilege of citizenship, but to whom they had given it; and, slave as he was to glory, {Hotspur+} of which he knew neither the true nature nor the limitations, following the footsteps of Hercules and of Bacchus, and not even halting his course where they ceased, he turned his eyes from the givers of the honour to his partner in it, just as if heaven, to which in supreme vanity he aspired, were now his because
<Ess3-41>



     ON BENEFITS, I. xiii. 3-xiv. 2

he was put on a level with Hercules!  Yet what resemblance to him had that mad youth who instead of virtue showed fortunate/a {Plutarch's_Fortune+} rashness?  Hercules conquered nothing for himself; he traversed the world, not in coveting, but in deciding what to conquer, a foe of the wicked, a defender of the good, a peacemaker on land and sea.  But this other was from his boyhood a robber and a plunderer of nations, a scourge alike to his friends and to his foes, one who found his highest happiness in terrorizing all mortals, forgetting that it is not merely the fiercest creatures, but also the most cowardly, that are feared on account of their deadly venom. {Iago+}
     But let me return now to my subject.  Whoever gives a benefit to anyone you please, gives acceptably to no one; in an inn or a hotel no one regards himself as the guest of the landlord, or at a public feast as the intimate friend of the man who is giving it, for one may well say:  "What favor, pray, has he conferred upon me?  The same, to be sure, that he has conferred onhat other fellow, whom he scarcely knows, and on that one over there, who is his enemy and a most disreputable man.  Did he consider that I was worthy of it?  He merely indulged a personal weakness/b!" If you want to give what will be acceptable, make the gift a rare one - anyone can endure being indebted for that!  Let no one gather from my words that I desire to restrain liberality, to bridle it in with tighter reins; let it indeed go forth as far as it likes, but let it go by a path, and not wander.  It is possible to distribute bounty in such a way that each person, even if he has received his gift in company with others, will
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ON BENEFITS, I. xiv. 3-xv. 2

think that he is simply one of a crowd.  Let everyone have some mark of intimacy which permits him to hope that he has been admitted to greater favor than others.  He may say:  "I received the same thing that So-and-so did, but without asking for it.  I received the same thing that So-and-so did, but at the end of a short time, whereas he had long since earned it. There are those who have the same thing, but it was not given to them with the same words, with the same, friendliness, on the part of the bestower. So-and-so received his gift after he had asked for it; I did not ask for mine.  So-and-so received a gift, but he could easily make return, but his old age and his irresponsible childlessness/a afforded great expectation, to me more was given although the same thing was given, because it was given without expectation of any return." A courtesan will distribute her favours among her many lovers in such a way that each one of them will get some sign of her intimate regard; just so the man who wishes his benefactions to be appreciated should contrive both to place many under obligation, and yet to see that each one of them gets something that will make him think he is preferred above all the others.
     In truth, I place no obstacles in the way of benefits; the more there are and the greater they are, the more honour will they have.  But let judgement be used; for what is given in a haphazard and thoughtless manner will be prized by no one.  Wherefore, if anyone supposes that in laying down these rules we mean to narrow the bounds of liberality, and to open to it a less extensive field, he really has heard my admonitions incorrectly.  For what virtue do we
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ON BENEFITS, I. xv, 2-6

Stoics venerate more?  What virtue do we try more to encourage?  Who are so fitted to give such admonition as ourselves - we who would establish the fellowship of the whole human race?  What, then, is the case?  Since no effort of the mind is praiseworthy even if it springs from right desire, unless moderation turns it into some virtue, I protest against the squandering of liberality.  The benefit that it is a delight to have received, yea, with outstretched hands, is the one that reason delivers to those who are worthy, not the one that chance and irrational impulse carry no matter where - one that it is a pleasure to display and to claim as one's own. Do you give the name of benefits to the gifts whose author you are ashamed to admit?  But how much more acceptable are benefits, how much deeper do they sink into the mind, never to leave it, when the pleasure of them comes from thinking, not so much of what has been received, as of him from whom it was received!
     Crispus Passienus used often to say that from some men he would rather have their esteem than their bounty, and that from others he would rather have their bounty than their esteem; and he would add examples.  "In the case of the deified Augustus," he would say, "I prefer his esteem, in the case of Claudius, his bounty." I, for my part, think that we should never seek a benefit from a man whose esteem is not valued.  What, then, is the case?  Should not the gift that was offered by Claudius have been accepted?  It should, but as it would have been accepted from Fortune, who you were well aware might the next moment become unkind. And why do we differentiate the two cases that thus have
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ON BENEFITS, I. xv. 6

merged?  A gift is not a benefit if the best part of it is lacking - the fact that it was given as a mark of esteem.  Moreover the gift of a huge sum of money, if neither reason nor rightness of choice has prompted it, is no more a benefit than is a treasure trove.  There are many gifts that ought to be accepted, and yet impose no obligation.
 
 
 

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BOOK II

Now let us examine, most excellent Liberalis, what still remains from the first part of the subject - the question of the way in which a benefit should be given.  And in this matter I think that I can point out a very easy course - let us give in the manner that would have been acceptable if we were receiving.  Above all let us give willingly, promptly, and without hesitation.  No gratitude is felt for a, benefit when it has lingered long {haero_stick+} in the hands of him who gives it, or when the giver has seemed sorry to let it go, and has given it with the air of one who was robbing himself.  Even though some delay should intervene, let us avoid in every way the appearance of having deliberately delayed; hesitation is the next thing to refusing, and gains no gratitude.  For, since in the case of a benefit the chief pleasure of it comes from the intention of the bestower, he who by his very hesitation has shown that he made his bestowal unwillingly has not "given," but has failed to withstand the effort to extract it; there are many indeed who become generous only from a lack of courage.  The benefits that stir most gratitude are those which are readily and easily obtainable and rush to our hands, where, if there is any delay, it has come only from the delicacy of the
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ON BENEFITS, II. 1. 3-ii. 2

recipient.  The best course is to anticipate each one's desire; the next best, to indulge it.  The first is the better - to forestall the request before it is put; for, since a respectable man seals his lips and is covered with blushes if he has to beg, he who spares him this torture multiplies the value of his gift.  The man who receives a benefit because he asked for it, does not get it for nothing, since in truth, as our forefathers, those most venerable men, discerned, no other thing costs so dear as the one that entreaty buys.  If men had to make their vows to the gods openly, they would be more sparing of them; so true is it that even to the gods, to whom we most rightly make supplication, we would rather pray in silence and in the secrecy of our hearts. xxxIt is unpleasant and burdensome to have to say, "I ask," and as a man utters the words he is forced to lower his eyes. {Bassanio+} A friend and every one whom you hope to make a friend by doing him a service must be excused from saying them; though a man gives promptly, his benefit has been given too late if it has been given upon request.  Therefore we ought to divine each man's desire, and, when we have discovered it, he ought to be freed from the grievous necessity of making a request; the benefit that takes the initiative, you may be sure, will be one that is agreeable and destined to live in the heart.  If we are not so fortunate as to anticipate the asker, let us cut him off from using many words; {Antonio+} in order that we may appear to have been, not asked, but merely informed, let us promise at once and prove by our very haste that we were about to act even before we were solicited.  Just as in the case of the sick suitability of food aids recovery, and plain water given at the
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ON BENEFITS, II. ii. 2-iii. 3

right time serves as a remedy, so a benefit, no matter how trivial and commonplace it may be, if it has been, given promptly, if not an hour has been wasted, gains much in value and wins more gratitude than a gift that, though costly, has been laggard and long considered.  One who acts thus readily leaves no doubt that he acts willingly; and so he acts gladly, and his face is clothed with the joy he feels.
     Some who bestow immense benefits spoil them by their silence or reluctant words, which give the impression of austerity and sternness, and, though they promise a gift, have the air of refusing it.  How much better to add kindly words to kindly actions, and grace the gifts you bestow with humane and generous speech!  In order that the recipient may reproach himself because he was slow to ask, you might add the familiar rebuke I am angry with you because, when you needed something, you were not willing to let me know long ago, because you took so much pains in putting your request, because you invited a witness to the transaction. Truly I congratulate myself because you were moved to put my friendliness to the test; next time you will demand by your own right whatever need - this once I pardon your bashfulness.  The result of this will be that he will value your friendliness more than your gift, no matter what it was that he had come to seek.  The bestower attains the highest degree of merit, the highest degree of generosity, only when it will be possible for the man who has left him to say:  "Great is the gain that I have made today; but I would rather have found the giver to be the sort of man he was than to have had many times the amount that
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ON BENEFITS, II. iii. 3-v. i

we were talking about come to me in some other way; for the spirit he has shown I can never return enough gratitude.
     Yet there are very many who by the harshness of their words and by their arrogance make their benefits hateful, so that, after being subjected to such language and such disdain, we regret that we have obtained them.  And then, after the matter has been promised, a series of delays ensues; but nothing is more painful than when you have to beg even for what you have been promised.  Benefits should be bestowed on the spot, but there are some from whom it is more difficult to get them than to get the promise of them.  You have to beg one man to act as a reminder, another to finish the transaction; so a single gift is worn down by passing through many men s hands, and as a result very little gratitude is left for the giver of the promise, for every later person whose help must be asked reduces the sum due to him.  And so, if you wish the benefactions that you bestow to be rewarded with gratitude, you will be concerned to have them come undiminished to those to whom they were promised, to have them come entire and, as the saying is, "without deduction." Let no one intercept them, let no one retard them; for in the case of a benefit that you are going to give, no one can appropriate gratitude to himself without reducing what is due to you.
     Nothing is so bitter as long suspense; some can endure more calmly to have their expectation cut off than deferred. Yet very many are led into this fault of postponing promised benefits by a perverted ambition to keep the crowd of their petitioners from becoming smaller; such are the tools of royal power,
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ON BENEFITS, II.  V. 1-4

who delight in prolonging a display of arrogance, and deem themselves to be robbed of power unless they show long and often, to one after another, how, much power they have.  They do nothing promptly, nothing once for all; their injuries are swift, their benefits slow.  And therefore the words of the comic poet, you are to believe, are absolutely true,

 Know you not this - the more delay you make,
     The less of gratitude from me you take?/a
And so a man cries out in an outburst of noble anger:  "If you are going to do anything, do it;" and:  "Nothing is worth such a price; I would rather have you say no at once." When the mind has been, reduced to a state of weariness, and, while waiting for a benefit, begins loathe it, can one possibly feel grateful for it?  Just as the sharpest cruelty is that which prolongs punishment, and there is a sort of mercy in killing swiftly because the supreme torture brings with it its own end, whereas the worst part of the execution that is sure to come is the interval that precedes it, so, in the case of a gift, gratitude for it will be the greater, the less long it has hung in the balance.  For it is disquieting to have to wait even for blessings, and, since most benefits afford relief from some trouble, if a man leaves another to long torture when he might release him at once, or to tardy rejoicing, he has done violence to the benefit he confers. All generosity moves swiftly. and he who acts willingly is prone to act quickly; if a man gives help tardily, deferring it from day to day, he has not given it heartily.  Thus he has lost two valuable things - time and the proof of his friendly intent; tardy goodwill smacks of ill-will.
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ON BENEFITS, II. vi. 1-vii. 2
       In every transaction, Liberalis, not the least important part is the manner in which things are either said or done.  Much is gained by swiftness, much is lost by delay.  Just as, in the case of javelins, while all may have the same weight of iron, it makes an infinite difference whether they are hurled with a swing of the arm, or slip from a slackened hand, and just as the same sword will both scratch and deeply wound - the tightness of the grasp which directs it makes the difference - so, while the thing that is given may be just the same, the manner of the giving is all important.  How sweet, how precious is a gift, for which the giver will not suffer us to pay even our thanks, which he forgot that he had given even while he was giving it!  For to reprimand a man at the very moment that you are bestowing something upon him is madness, it is grafting insult upon an act of kindness.  Benefits, therefore, must not be made irritating, they must not be accompanied by anything that is unpleasant, even if there should be something upon which you would like to offer advice, choose a different time.
     Fabius Verrucosus used to say that a benefit rudely given by a hard-hearted man is like a loaf of gritty bread, which a starving man needs must accept, but which is bitter to eat.
     When Marius Nepos, a praetorian, being in debt, asked Tiberius Caesar to come to his rescue, Tiberius ordered him to supply him with the names of his creditors; but this is really, not making a gift, but assembling creditors.  When the names had been supplied, he wrote to Nepos that he had ordered the money to be paid, adding at the same time some offensive admonition.  The result was that Nepos had
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ON BENEFITS, 11. vii. 2-ix. 2

neither a debt nor, a true benefit; Tiberius freed him from his creditors, but failed to attach him to himself.  Yet Tiberius had his purpose; he wished to prevent others, I suppose, from rushing to him in order to make the same request.  That, perhaps, may have been an effective way to check, through a sense of shame, the extravagant desires of men, but a wholly different method must be followed by one who is giving a benefit.  In order that what you give may become the more acceptable, you should enhance its value by every. possible means.  Tiberius was really not giving a benefit - he was finding fault.  And - to say in passing what I think about this other point - it is not quite proper even for a prince to bestow a gift in order to humiliate.  "Yet," it may be said, "Tiberius was not able even in this way to escape what he was trying to avoid; for after this a goodly number were found to make the same request, and he ordered them all to explain to the senate why they were in debt, and under this condition he granted to them specific sums." But liberality that is not, it is censorship; I get succour, I get a subsidy from the prince - that is no benefit which I am not able to think of without a blush.  It was a judge before whom I was summoned; I had to plead a case in order to obtain my request.  And so all moralists are united upon the principle that it is necessary to give certain benefits openly, others without witnesses - openly, those that it is glorious to obtain, such as military decorations or official honours and any other distinction that becomes more attractive by reason of publicity; on the other hand, those that do not give promotion or prestige, yet come to the rescue of bodily infirmity,
<Ess3-63>


ON BENEFITS, II. ix. 2-x. a

of poverty, of disgrace - these should be given quietly, so that they will be known only to those who receive the benefit.
     Sometimes, too, the very man who is helped must even be deceived in order that he may have assistance, and yet not know from whom he has received it.  There is a story that Arcesilaus had a friend who, though he was poor, concealed his poverty; when, however, the man fell ill and, being unwilling to reveal even this, lacked money for the necessities of life, Arcesilaus decided that he must assist him in secret; and so, without the other's knowledge, he slipped a purse under his pillow in order that the fellow who was so uselessly reserved might find, rather than receive, what he needed.  "What, then? - shall a man not know from whom he has received?" In the first place, he must not know, if an element of the benefit is just that fact; then, again, I shall do much else for him I shall bestow upon him many gifts, and from these he may guess the author of the first one; lastly, while he will not know that he has received a gift, I shall know that I have given one.  "That is not enough," you say.  That is not enough if you are thinking of making an investment; but if a gift, you will give in the manner that will bring most advantage to the recipient.  You will be content to have yourself your witness; otherwise your pleasure comes, not from doing a favour, but from being seen to do a favour.  "I want the man at least to know!" Then it is a debtor that you are looking for.  " I want the man at least to know!" What? if it is more to his advantage, more to his honour, more to his pleasure not to know, will you not shift your position?  "I want him to know!" So, then,
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ON BENEFITS, II.  X. 4-xi. 2

you will not save a man's life in the dark?  I do not deny that, whenever circumstances permit, we should have regard for the pleasure we get from the willingness of the recipient; but, if he needs, and yet is ashamed, to be helped, if what we bestow gives offence unless it is concealed - then I do not put my good deed into the gazette/a!  Of course I am careful not to reveal to him that the gift came from me, since it is a first and indispensable requirement, never to reproach a man with a benefit, nay, even to remind him of it.  For, in the case of a benefit, this is a binding rule for the two who are concerned - the one should straightway forget that it was given, the other should never forget that it was received.
     Repeated reference to our services wounds and crushes the spirit of the other.  He wants to cry out like the man who, after being saved from the proscription of the triumvirs by one of Caesar's friends, because he could not endure his benefactor's arrogance, cried "Give me back to Caesar!" How long will you keep repeating:  "It is I who saved you, it is I who snatched you from death"?  Your service, if I remember it of my own will, is truly life; if I remember it at yours, it is death. I owe nothing to you if you saved me in order that you might have someone to exhibit.  How long will you parade me?  How long will you refuse to let me forget my misfortune?  In a triumph, I should have had to march but once! No mention should be made of what we have bestowed; to remind a man of it is to ask him to return it.  It must not be dwelt upon, it must not be recalled to memory - the only way to remind a man of an carlier gift is to give him another.
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ON BENEFITS, II. xi. 2-5

 And we must not tell others of it, either.  Let the giver of a benefit hold his tongue; let the recipient talk.  For the same thing that was said to another man when he was boasting of a benefit he had conferred will be said to you.  "You will not deny," said the beneficiary, "that you have had full return." "When?" inquired the other.  "Many times," was the reply, "and in many places -that is, every time and in every where that you have told of it!" But what need is there to speak of a benefit, what need to preempt the right that belongs to another?  There is someone else who can do more creditably what you are doing, someone who in telling of your deed will laud even your part in not telling of it.  You must adjudge me ungrateful if you suppose that no one will know of your deed if you yourself are silent!  But so far from its being permissible for us to speak of it, even if anyone tells of our benefits in our presence, it is our duty to reply:  "While this man is in the highest degree worthy to receive even greater benefits, yet I am more conscious of being willing to bestow all possible benefits upon him than of having actually bestowed them hitherto." And in saying even this there must be no show of currying favour, nor of that air with which some reject the compliments that they would rather appropriate.  Besides, we must add to generosity every possible kindness. The farmer will lose all that he has sown if he ends his labours with putting in the seed; it is only after much care that crops are brought to their yield; nothing that is not encouraged by constant cultivation from the first day to the last ever reaches the stage of fruit.  In the case of benefits the same rule holds.  Can there possibly be any greater
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ON BENEFITS, II. xi. 5-xii. 2

benefits than those that a father bestows upon his children?  Yet they are all in vain if they are discontinued in the child's infancy - unless longlasting devotion nurses its first gift.  And the same rule holds for all other benefits - you will lose them unless you assist them; it is not enough that they were given, they must be tended.  If you wish to have gratitude from those whom you lay under an obligation, you must, not merely give, but love, your benefits.  Above all, as I have said, let us spare the ears; a reminder stirs annoyance, a reproach hatred.  In giving a benefit nothing ought to be avoided so much as haughtiness.  Why need your face show disdain, your words assumption?  The act itself exalts you.  Empty boasting must be banished; our deeds will speak even if we are silent.  The benefit that is haughtily bestowed wins, not only ingratitude, but ill-will.
     Gaius Caesar granted life to Pompeius Pennus, that is, if failure to take it away is granting it; then, when Pompeius after his acquittal was expressing his thanks, Caesar extended his left foot to be kissed.  Those who excuse the action, and say that it was not meant to be insolent, declare that he wanted to display his gilded, - no, his golden - slipper studded with pearls./a Yes, precisely - what insult to the consular if he kissed gold and pearls, since otherwise he could have found no spot on Caesar's person that would be less defiling to kiss? But this creature, born for the express purpose of changing the manners of a free state into a servitude like Persia's, thought it was not enough if a senator, an old man, a man who had held the highest public offices, bent the knee and prostrated himself before brim in full sight of the
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ON BENEFITS, II. xii. 2-xiii. 3

nobles, just as the conquered prostrate themselves before their conquerors; he found a way of thrusting Liberty down even lower than the knees!  Is not this a trampling upon the commonwealth, and too although the detail may not seem to some of any importance - with the left foot?  For he would have made too little display of shameful and crazy insolence in wearing slippers a when he was trying a consular for his life unless he had thrust his imperial hobnails/b in the face of a senator!
     O Pride, the bane of great fortune and its highest folly!  How glad we are to receive nothing from thee!  How thou dost turn every sort of benefit into an injury!  How will all thy acts become thee!  The higher thou hast lifted thyself, the lower thou dost sink, and provest that thou hast no right to lay claim to those blessings that cause thee to be so greatly puffed up; thou dost spoil all that thou givest. And so I like to ask her why she is so fond of swelling out her chest, of marring her expression and the appearance of her face to the extent of actually preferring to wear a mask instead of human visage.  The gifts that please are those that are bestowed by one who wears the countenance of a human being, all gentle and kindly, by one who, though he was my superior when he gave them, did not exalt himself above me, but, with all the generosity in his power, descended to my own level, and banished all display from his giving, who thus watched for the suitable moment for the purpose of coming to my rescue with timely, rather than with necessary, aid.  The only way in which we shall ever convince these arrogant creatures that they are ruining their benefits by their insolence is to show them that benefits do not appear more important
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ON BENEFITS, II. xiii. 3-xiv. 3

simply because they were given with much noise; and, too, that they themselves do not appear more important in anyone's eyes because of that; that the importance of pride is an illusion, and tends to cause hatred for actions that ought to be loved.
     There are certain gifts that are likely to harm those who obtain them, and, in the case of these, the benefit consists, not in giving, but in withholding, them; we shall therefore consider the advantage rather than the desire of the petitioner.  For we often crave things that are harmful, and we are not able to discern how destructive they are because our judgement is hampered by passion; but, when the desire has subsided, when that frenzied impulse, which puts prudence to rout, has passed, we loathe the givers of the evil gifts for the destruction they have wrought.  As we withhold cold water from the sick, and the sword from those who are stricken with grief and the rage of self- destruction, as we withhold from the insane everything that they could use against themselves in a fit of frenzy, so, in general, to those who petition for gifts that will be harmful we shall persistently refuse them although they make earnest and humble, sometimes even piteous, request.  It is right to keep in view, not merely the first effects, but the outcome, of our benefits, and to give those that it is a pleasure, not merely to receive, but to have received. For there are many who say, "I know that this will not be to his advantage, but what can I do?  He begs for it, and I cannot resist his entreaties. It is his own look- out - he will blame himself, not me." No, you are wrong - you are the one he will blame, and rightly so.  When he comes to his right mind, when the frenzy that inflamed his soul has subsided,
<Ess3-75>


ON BENEFITS, II. xiv. 3-xv. 1

how can he help hating the one who helped to put him in the way of harm and danger?  It is cruel kindness to yield to requests that work the destruction of those who make them.  Just as it is a very noble act to save the life of a man, even against his will and desire, so to lavish upon him what is harmful, even though he begs for it, is but hatred cloaked by courtesy and civility.  Let the benefit that we give be one that will become more and more satisfying by use, one that will never change into an evil.  I will not give a man money if I know that it will be handed over to an adulteress, nor will I allow myself to become a partner in dishonour, actual or planned; if I can, I will restrain crime, if not, I will not aid it.  Whether a man is being driven by anger in a direction that he ought not to take, or is being turned from the safe course by a burning ambition, I shall not permit him to draw from me myself the power to work any harm, nor allow it to be possible for him to act at any future time:  "That man has ruined me by his love." Often there is no difference between the favours of our friends and the prayers of our enemies; into the ills that the latter desire may befall us, the former by their inopportune kindness drive us, and provide the means.  Yet, often as it happens, what can be more disgraceful than that there should be no difference between benificence and hatred?  Let us never bestow benefits that can redound to our shame.  Since the sum total of friendship consists in putting a friend on an equality with ourselves, consideration must be given at the same time to the interests of both. I shall give to him if he is in need, yet not to the extent of bringing need upon myself; I shall come to his aid if he is at the point of ruin, yet
<Ess3-77>


ON BENEFITS, II. xv. i-xvi. 1

not to the extent of bringing ruin upon my self, unless by so doing I shall purchase the safety of a great man or a great cause.  I shall never give a benefit which I should be ashamed to ask for.  I shall neither magnify the value of a small service, nor allow a great service to pass as a small one; for, just as he who takes credit for what he gives destroys all feeling of gratitude, so he who makes clear the value of what he gives recommends his gift, does not make it a reproach.  Each one of us should consider his own means and resources in order that we may not bestow either a larger or a smaller amount than we are able to give.  We should take into account, too, the character of the person to whom we are giving; for some gifts are too small to come fittingly from the hands of a great man, and some are too. large for the other to take.  Do you therefore compare the characters of the two concerned, and over against these weigh the gift itself in order to determine whether, in the case of the giver, it will be either too onerous or too small, and whether, on the other hand, the one who is going to receive it will either disdain it or find it too large.  Alexander - madman that he was, and incapable of conceiving any plan that was not grandiose - once presented somebody with a whole city.  When the man to whom he was presenting it had taken his own measure, and shrank from incurring the jealousy that so great a gift would arouse, Alexander's reply was:  "I am concerned, not in what is becoming for you to receive, but in what is becoming for me to give." This seems a spirited and regal speech, but in reality it is most stupid.  No, nothing, in itself, makes a becoming gift for any man; it all depends upon who gives it and who receives it - the when, wherefore,
<Ess3-79>


ON BENEFITS, II. xvi. 2-xvii. 2

and where of the gift, and all the other items without which there can be no true reckoning of the value of the deed.  You puffed-up creature! If it is not becoming fox the man to accept the gift, neither is it becoming for you to give it; the relation of the two in point of character and rank is taken into account, and, since virtue is everywhere a mean,/a excess and defect are equally an error.  Granted that you have such power, and that Fortune has lifted you to such a height that you can fling whole cities as largesses (but how much more magnanimous it would have been not to take, than to squander, them!), yet it is possible that there is someone who is too small to put a whole city in his pocket!
     A certain Cynic once asked Antigonus for a talent his reply was that this was more than a Cynic had a right to ask for.  After this rebuff the cynic asked for a denarius; here the reply was that this was less than a king could becomingly give.  "Such sophistry," it may be said, "is most unseemly; the king found a way of not giving either. In the matter of the denarius he thought only of the king, in the matter of the talent only of the Cynic, although he might well have given the denarius on the score that the man was a Cynic, or the talent on the score that he himself was a king.  Grant that there may be some gift that is too large for a Cynic to receive, none is too small for a king to bestow with honour if it is given out of kindness." If you ask my opinion, I think the king was right; for the situation is intolerable that a man should ask for money when he despises it.  Your Cynic has a declared hatred of money; he has published this sentiment, he has chosen this role - now he must play it.  It is most unfair for him to obtain money while he
<Ess3-81>


ON BENEFITS, II. xvii. 2-5) |

boasts of poverty.  It is, then, every man's duty to consider not less his own character than the character of the man to whom he is planning to give assistance.
     I wish to make use of an illustration that our Chrysippus once drew from the playing of ball.  If the ball falls to the ground, it is undoubtedly the fault either of the thrower or the catcher; it maintains its course only so long as it does not escape from the hands of the two players by reason of their skill in catching and throwing it. The good player, however, must of necessity use one method of hurling the ball to a partner who is a long way off, and another to one who is near at hand.  The same condition applies to a benefit.  Unless this is suited to the character of both, the one who gives and the one who receives, it will neither leave the hands of the one, nor reach the hands of the other in the proper manner.  If we are playing with a practised and skilled partner, we shall be bolder in throwing the ball, for no matter how it comes his ready and quick hand will promptly drive it back; if with an unskilled novice, we shall not throw it with so much tension and so much violence, but play more gently, and run slowly forward guiding the ball into his very hand.  The same course must be followed in the case of benefits; some men need to be taught, and we should show that we are satisfied if they try, if they dare, if they are willing.  But we ourselves are most often the cause of ingratitude in others, and we encourage them, to be ungrateful, just as if our benefits could be great only when it was impossible to return gratitude for them!  It is as if some spiteful player should purposely try to discomfit his fellow-player, to the detriment of the game, of course, which can be carried on only in a
<Ess3-83>


ON BENEFITS, II. xvii. 6-xviii. 2

spirit of cooperation. {Gift_spirit+} There are many, too, who are naturally so perverse that they would rather lose what they have bestowed than appear to have had any return - arrogant, purse-proud men.  But how much better, how much more kindly would it be to aim at having the recipients also do regularly their part, to encourage a belief in the possibility of repaying with gratitude, to put a kindly interpretation upon all that they do, to listen to words of thanks as if they were an actual return, to show oneself complaisant to the extent of wishing that the one upon whom the obligation was laid should also be freed from it.  A money-lender usually gets a bad name if he is harsh in his demands, likewise too, if he is reluctant to accept payment, and obstinately seeks to defer it.  But in the ease of a benefit it is as right to accept a return as it is wrong to demand it. The best man is he who gives readily, never demands any return, rejoices if a return is made, who in all sincerity forgets what he has bestowed, and accepts a return in the spirit of one accepting a benefit.  Some men are arrogant, not only in giving, but even in receiving, benefits, a mistake which is never excusable.  For let me now pass to the other side of the subject in order to consider how men ought to conduct themselves in accepting a benefit.  Every obligation that involves two people makes an equal demand upon both.  When you have considered the sort of person a father ought to be, you will find that there remains the not less great task of discovering the sort that a son should be; it is true that a husband has certain duties, yet those of the wife are not less great.  In the exchange of
<Ess3-85>


ON BENEFITS, II. xviii, 2-4

obligations each in turn renders to the other the service that he requires, and they desire that the same rule of action should apply to both, but this rule, as Hecaton says, is a difficult matter; for it is always hard to attain to Virtue, even to approach Virtue; for there must be, not merely achievement, but achievement through reason.  Along the whole path of life Reason+ must be our guide, all our acts, from the smallest to the greatest, must follow her counsel; as she prompts, so also must we give.
     Now her first precept will be that it is not necessary for us to receive from everybody.  From whom, then, shall we receive? To answer you briefly, from those to whom we could have given.  Let us see, in fact, whether it does not require even greater discernment to find a man to whom we ought to owe, than one on whom we ought to bestow, a benefit. For, even though there should be no unfortunate consequences (and there are very many of them), yet it is grievous torture to he under obligation to someone whom you object to; on the other hand, it is a very great pleasure to have received a benefit from one whom you could love even after an injury, when his action has shown a friendship that was in any case agreeable to be also justified.  Surely, an unassuming and honest man will be in a most unhappy plight if it becomes his duty to love someone when it gives him no pleasure.  But I must remind you, again and again, that I am not speaking of the ideal wise man to whom every duty is also a pleasure, who rules over his own spirit, and imposes upon himself any law that he pleases, and always observes any that he has imposed, but of the man who with all his imperfections desires to follow the perfect path, yet has passions
<Ess3-87>


ON BENEFITS, II. xviii. 5-7

that often are reluctant to obey.  And so it is necessary for me to choose the person from whom I wish to receive a benefit; and, in truth, I must be far more careful in selecting my creditor for a benefit than a creditor for a loan.  For to the latter I shall have to return the same amount that I have received, and, when I have returned it, I have paid all my debt and am free; but to the other I must make an additional payment, and, even after I have paid my debt of gratitude, the bond between us still holds; for, just when I have finished paying it, I am obliged to begin again, and friendship endures/a; and, as I would not admit an unworthy man to my friendship, so neither would I admit one who is unworthy to the most sacred privilege of benefits, from which friendship springs.  "But," you reply, "I am not always permitted to say, 'I refuse'; sometimes I must accept a benefit even against my wish.  If the giver is a cruel and hot-tempered tyrant, who will deem the spurning of his gift an affront, shall I not accept it?  Imagine in a like situation a brigand or a pirate or a king with the temper of a brigand or a pirate.  What shall I do?  Is such a man altogether unworthy of my being indebted to him?" When I say that you must choose the person to whom you would become indebted, I except the contingency of superior force or of fear, for, when these are applied, all choice is destroyed.  But, if you are free, if it is for you to decide whether you are willing or not, you will weigh the matter thoroughly in your mind; if necessity removes any possibility of choice, you will realize that it is for you, not to accept, but to obey.  No man contracts an obligation by accepting something that he had no power to reject; if you wish to
<Ess3-89>


ON BENEFITS, II, xviii. 7-xix. 2

discover whether I am willing, make it possible for me to be unwilling. "Yet suppose it was life that he gave you!" It makes no difference what the gift is if it is not given willingly to one who accepts willingly; though you have saved my life, you are not for that reason my saviour. Poison at times serves as a remedy, but it is not for that reason counted as a wholesome medicine.  Some things are beneficial, and yet impose no obligation.  A man, who had approached a tyrant for the purpose of killing him, lanced a tumour for him by the blow of his sword; he did not, however, for that reason receive the thanks of the tyrant, though by doing him injury he cured him of the disorder to which the surgeons had not had the courage to apply the knife.
     You see that the act itself is of no great consequence, since it appears that the man who from evil intent actually renders a service has not given a benefit; for chance designs the benefit, the man designs injury.  We have seen in the amphitheatre a lion, who, having recognized one of the beast- fighters as the man who had formerly been his keeper, protected him from the attack of the other beasts.  Is, then, the assistance of the wild beast to be counted a benefit?  By no means, for it neither willed to do one, nor actually did one with the purpose of doing it.  In the same category, in which I have placed the wild beast, do you place your tyrant - the one as well as the other has given life, neither the one or the other a benefit.  For, since that which I am forced to receive is not a benefit, that also which puts me under obligation to someone against my will is not a benefit.  You ought to give me first the right to choose for myself, then the benefit.
<Ess3-91>


ON BENEFITS, II. xx.  I-xxi. 1

   It is an oft-debated question whether Marcus Brutus ought to have received his life from the hands of the deified Julius when in his opinion it was his duty to kill him.  The reason that led him to kill Caesar I shall discuss elsewhere, for, although in other respects he was a great man in this particular he seems to me to have acted very wrongly, and to have failed to conduct himself in accordance with Stoic teaching. Either he was frightened by the name of king, though a state reaches its best condition under the rule of a just king, or he still hoped that liberty could exist where the rewards both of supreme power and of servitude were so great, or that the earlier constitution of the state could be restored after the ancient manners had all been lost, that equality of civil rights might still exist and laws maintain their rightful place there where he had seen so many thousands of men fighting to decided, not whether, but to which of the two masters, they would be slaves!  How forgetful, in truth, he was, either of the law of nature or of the history of his own city, in supposing that, after one man had been murdered, no other would be found who would have the same aims - although a Tarquin had been discovered after so many of the kings had been slain by the sword or lightning!  But Brutus ought to have received his life, yet without regarding Caesar in the light of a father, for the good reason that Caesar had gained the right to give a benefit by doing violence to right; for he who has not killed has not given life, and has given, not a benefit, but quarter.
     A question that offers more opportunity for debate is what should be the course of a captive if the price of his ransom is offered to him by a man who prostitutes his body and dishonours his mouth.  Shall I permit a
<Ess3-93>


ON BENEFITS, II. xxi. 1-5

filthy wretch to save me?  Then, if I have been saved, how shall I return my gratitude?  Shall I live with a lewd fellow?  Shall I not live with my deliverer?  I shall tell you what in that case would be my course.  Even from such a man I shall receive the money that will buy my freedom.  I shall, however, receive it, not as a benefit, but as a loan; then I shall repay the money to him, and, if I ever have an opportunity to save him from a perilous situation, I shall save him as for friendship, which is a bond between equals, I shall not condescend to that, and I shall regard him, not as a preserver, but as a banker, to whom I am well aware that I must return the amount that I have received.
     It is possible that, while a man may be a worthy person for me to receive a benefit from, it will injure him to give it; this I shall not accept for the very reason that he is ready to do me a service with inconvenience, or even with risk, to himself.  Suppose that he is willing to defend me in a trial, but by his defence of me will make an enemy of the king; I am his enemy if, since he is willing to run a risk for my sake, I do not do the easier thing - run my risk without him.
     A foolish and silly example of this is a case that Hecaton cites.  Arcesilaus, he says, refused to accept a sum of money that was offered to him by a man who was not yet his own master a for fear that the giver might offend his miserly father.  But what was praiseworthy in his act of refusing to come into possession of stolen property, of preferring not to receive it than to restore it?  For what self-restraint is there in refusing to accept the gift of another man's property?
     If there is need of an example of a noble spirit, let
<Ess3-95>


ON BENEFITS, II. xxi. 5-xxiii, i

The Loeb Classical Library (LCL; named after James Loeb) is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each left-hand page, and a fairly literal translation on the facing page. The General Editor is Jeffrey Henderson, holder of the William Goodwin Aurelio Professorship of Greek Language and Literature at Boston University.

History[edit]

The Loeb Classical Library was conceived and initially funded by the Jewish-German-American banker and philanthropist James Loeb (1867–1933). The first volumes were edited by T. E. Page, W. H. D. Rouse, and Edward Capps, and published by William Heinemann, Ltd. in 1912, already in their distinctive green (for Greek text) and red (for Latin) hardcover bindings. Since then scores of new titles have been added, and the earliest translations have been revised several times. In recent years, this has included the removal of earlier editions' bowdlerization, which habitually extended to reversal of gender to disguise homosexual references or (in the case of early editions of Longus' Daphnis and Chloe) translated sexually explicit passages into Latin, rather than English.[citation needed]

Profit from the editions continues to fund graduate student fellowships at Harvard University.

The Loebs have only a minimal critical apparatus, when compared to other publications of the text. They are intended for the amateur reader of Greek or Latin, and are so nearly ubiquitous as to be instantly recognizable.

In 1917 Virginia Woolf wrote (in The Times Literary Supplement):

The Loeb Library, with its Greek or Latin on one side of the page and its English on the other, came as a gift of freedom. ... The existence of the amateur was recognised by the publication of this Library, and to a great extent made respectable. ... The difficulty of Greek is not sufficiently dwelt upon, chiefly perhaps because the sirens who lure us to these perilous waters are generally scholars [who] have forgotten ... what those difficulties are. But for the ordinary amateur they are very real and very great; and we shall do well to recognise the fact and to make up our minds that we shall never be independent of our Loeb.

Harvard University assumed complete responsibility for the series in 1989 and in recent years four or five new or re-edited volumes have been published annually.

In 2001, Harvard University Press began issuing a second series of books with a similar format. The I Tatti Renaissance Library presents key Renaissance works in Latin with a facing English translation; it is bound similarly to the Loeb Classics, but in a larger format and with blue covers. A third series, the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, was introduced in 2010 covering works in Byzantine Greek, Medieval Latin, and Old English. Volumes have the same format as the I Tatti series, but with a brown cover. The Clay Sanskrit Library, bound in teal cloth, was also modeled on the Loeb Classical Library.

As the command of Latin among generalist historians and archaeologists shrank in the course of the 20th century, professionals came increasingly to rely on these texts designed for amateurs. As Birgitta Hoffmann remarked in 2001 of Tacitus' Agricola, "Unfortunately the first thing that happens in bilingual versions like the Loebs is that most of this apparatus vanishes and, if you use a translation, there is usually no way of knowing that there were problems with the text in the first place."[1]

In 2014, the Loeb Classical Library Foundation and Harvard University Press launched the digital Loeb Classical Library, described as "an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing, virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature."[2][3]

Volumes[edit]

The listings of Loeb volumes at online bookstores and library catalogues vary considerably and are often best navigated via ISBN numbers.

Greek[edit]

Poetry[edit]

Homer[edit]
  • L170N) Iliad, Second Edition: Volume I. Books 1–12
  • L171N) Iliad: Volume II. Books 13–24
  • L104) Odyssey: Volume I. Books 1–12
  • L105) Odyssey: Volume II. Books 13–24
Hesiod[edit]
Nonnus[edit]
  • L344) Dionysiaca: Volume I. Books 1–15
  • L354) Dionysiaca: Volume II. Books 16–35
  • L356) Dionysiaca: Volume III. Books 36–48
Other Epic Poetry[edit]
Lyric, Iambic and Elegiac Poetry[edit]
  • L142) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume I. Sappho and Alcaeus
  • L143) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume II. Anacreon, Anacreontea, Choral Lyric from Olympus to Alcman
  • L476) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume III. Stesichorus, Ibycus, Simonides, and Others
  • L461) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume IV. Bacchylides, Corinna, and Others
  • L144) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume V. The New School of Poetry and Anonymous Songs and Hymns
  • L258N) Greek Elegiac Poetry: From the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries BC. Tyrtaeus, Solon, Theognis, and Others
  • L259N) Greek Iambic Poetry: From the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries BC. Archilochus, Semonides, Hipponax, and Others
  • L056) Pindar: Volume I. Olympian Odes. Pythian Odes
  • L485) Pindar: Volume II. Nemean Odes. Isthmian Odes. Fragments
Other Hellenistic poetry[edit]
Greek Anthology[edit]
  • L067) Volume I. Book 1: Christian Epigrams. Book 2: Christodorus of Thebes in Egypt. Book 3: The Cyzicene Epigrams. Book 4: The Proems of the Different Anthologies. Book 5: The Amatory Epigrams. Book 6: The Dedicatory Epigrams
  • L068) Volume II. Book 7: Sepulchral Epigrams. Book 8: The Epigrams of St. Gregory the Theologian
  • L084) Volume III. Book 9: The Declamatory Epigrams
  • L085) Volume IV. Book 10: The Hortatory and Admonitory Epigrams. Book 11: The Convivial and Satirical Epigrams. Book 12: Strato's Musa Puerilis
  • L086) Volume V. Book 13: Epigrams in Various Metres. Book 14: Arithmetical Problems, Riddles, Oracles. Book 15: Miscellanea. Book 16: Epigrams of the Planudean Anthology Not in the Palatine Manuscript

Drama[edit]

Aeschylus[edit]
Sophocles[edit]
Euripides[edit]
Aristophanes[edit]
Fragments of Old Comedy[edit]
  • L513) Volume I. Alcaeus to Diocles
  • L514) Volume II. Diopeithes to Pherecrates
  • L515) Volume III. Philonicus to Xenophon. Adespota
Menander[edit]

Philosophers[edit]

Early Greek Philosophy[edit]
  • L524) Volume I. Introductory and Reference Materials
  • L525) Volume II. Beginnings and Early Ionian Thinkers, Part 1
  • L526) Volume III. Early Ionian Thinkers, Part 2
  • L527) Volume IV. Western Greek Thinkers, Part 1
  • L528) Volume V. Western Greek Thinkers, Part 2
  • L529) Volume VI. Later Ionian and Athenian Thinkers, Part 1
  • L530) Volume VII. Later Ionian and Athenian Thinkers, Part 2
  • L531) Volume VIII. Sophists, Part 1
  • L532) Volume IX. Sophists, Part 2
Aristotle[edit]
  • L325) Volume I. Categories. On Interpretation. Prior AnalyticsISBN 0-674-99359-4
  • L391) Volume II. Posterior Analytics. TopicaISBN 0-674-99430-2
  • L400) Volume III. On Sophistical Refutations. On Coming-to-be and Passing Away. On the CosmosISBN 0-674-99441-8
  • L228) Volume IV. Physics, Books 1–4 ISBN 0-674-99251-2
  • L255) Volume V. Physics, Books 5–8 ISBN 0-674-99281-4
  • L338) Volume VI. On the HeavensISBN 0-674-99372-1
  • L397) Volume VII. MeteorologicaISBN 0-674-99436-1
  • L288) Volume VIII. On the Soul. Parva Naturalia. On BreathISBN 0-674-99318-7
  • L437) Volume IX. History of Animals, Books 1–3 ISBN 0-674-99481-7
  • L438) Volume X. History of Animals, Books 4–6 ISBN 0-674-99482-5
  • L439) Volume XI. History of Animals, Books 7–10 ISBN 0-674-99483-3
  • L323) Volume XII. Parts of Animals. Movement of Animals. Progression of AnimalsISBN 0-674-99357-8
  • L366) Volume XIII. Generation of AnimalsISBN 0-674-99403-5
  • L307) Volume XIV. Minor Works: On Colours. On Things Heard. Physiognomics. On Plants. On Marvellous Things Heard. Mechanical Problems. On Indivisible Lines. The Situations and Names of Winds. On Melissus, Xenophanes, GorgiasISBN 0-674-99338-1
  • L316) Volume XV. Problems, Books 1–21 ISBN 0-674-99349-7
  • L317) Volume XVI. Problems, Books 22–38. Rhetorica ad Alexandrum ISBN 0-674-99350-0
  • L271) Volume XVII. Metaphysics, Books 1–9 ISBN 0-674-99299-7
  • L287) Volume XVIII. Metaphysics, Books 10–14. Oeconomica. Magna MoraliaISBN 0-674-99317-9
  • L073) Volume XIX. Nicomachean EthicsISBN 0-674-99081-1
  • L285) Volume XX. Athenian Constitution. Eudemian Ethics. Virtues and VicesISBN 0-674-99315-2
  • L264) Volume XXI. PoliticsISBN 0-674-99291-1
  • L193) Volume XXII. The Art of RhetoricISBN 0-674-99212-1
  • L199) Volume XXIII. Poetics. Longinus, On the Sublime. Demetrius, On StyleISBN 0-674-99563-5
Athenaeus[edit]
  • L204) The Deipnosophists: Volume I. Books 1–3.106e
  • L208) The Deipnosophists: Volume II. Books 3.106e-5
  • L224) The Deipnosophists: Volume III. Books 6–7
  • L235) The Deipnosophists: Volume IV. Books 8–10
  • L274) The Deipnosophists: Volume V. Books 11–12
  • L327) The Deipnosophists: Volume VI. Books 13–14.653b
  • L345) The Deipnosophists: Volume VII. Books 14.653b-15
  • L519) The Deipnosophists: Volume VIII. Book 15
Epictetus[edit]
Marcus Aurelius[edit]
Philo[edit]
  • L226) Volume I. On the Creation. Allegorical Interpretation of Genesis 2 and 3
  • L227) Volume II. On the Cherubim. The Sacrifices of Abel and Cain. The Worse Attacks the Better. On the Posterity and Exile of Cain. On the Giants
  • L247) Volume III. On the Unchangeableness of God. On Husbandry. Concerning Noah's Work As a Planter. On Drunkenness. On Sobriety
  • L261) Volume IV. On the Confusion of Tongues. On the Migration of Abraham. Who Is the Heir of Divine Things? On Mating with the Preliminary Studies
  • L275) Volume V. On Flight and Finding. On the Change of Names. On Dreams
  • L289) Volume VI. On Abraham. On Joseph. On Moses
  • L320) Volume VII. On the Decalogue. On the Special Laws, Books 1–3
  • L341) Volume VIII. On the Special Laws, Book 4. On the Virtues. On Rewards and Punishments
  • L363) Volume IX. Every Good Man is Free. On the Contemplative Life. On the Eternity of the World. Against Flaccus. Apology for the Jews. On Providence
  • L379) Volume X. On the Embassy to Gaius. General Indexes
  • L380) Supplement I: Questions and Answers on Genesis
  • L401) Supplement II: Questions and Answers on Exodus
Plato[edit]
Plotinus[edit]
  • L440) Volume I. Porphyry's Life of Plotinus. Ennead 1
  • L441) Volume II. Ennead 2
  • L442) Volume III. Ennead 3
  • L443) Volume IV. Ennead 4
  • L444) Volume V. Ennead 5
  • L445) Volume VI. Ennead 6.1–5
  • L468) Volume VII. Ennead 6.6–9
Plutarch[edit]
  • L197) Moralia: Volume I. The Education of Children. How the Young Man Should Study Poetry. On Listening to Lectures. How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend. How a Man May Become Aware of His Progress in Virtue
  • L222) Moralia: Volume II. How to Profit by One's Enemies. On Having Many Friends. Chance. Virtue and Vice. Letter of Condolence to Apollonius. Advice About Keeping Well. Advice to Bride and Groom. The Dinner of the Seven Wise Men. Superstition
  • L245) Moralia: Volume III. Sayings of Kings and Commanders. Sayings of Romans. Sayings of Spartans. The Ancient Customs of the Spartans. Sayings of Spartan Women. Bravery of Women
  • L305) Moralia: Volume IV. Roman Questions. Greek Questions. Greek and Roman Parallel Stories. On the Fortune of the Romans. On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander. Were the Athenians More Famous in War or in Wisdom?
  • L306) Moralia: Volume V. Isis and Osiris. The E at Delphi. The Oracles at Delphi No Longer Given in Verse. The Obsolescence of Oracles
  • L337) Moralia: Volume VI. Can Virtue Be Taught? On Moral Virtue. On the Control of Anger. On Tranquility of Mind. On Brotherly Love. On Affection for Offspring. Whether Vice Be Sufficient to Cause Unhappiness. Whether the Affections of the Soul are Worse Than Those of the Body. Concerning Talkativeness. On Being a Busybody
  • L405) Moralia: Volume VII. On Love of Wealth. On Compliancy. On Envy and Hate. On Praising Oneself Inoffensively. On the Delays of the Divine Vengeance. On Fate. On the Sign of Socrates. On Exile. Consolation to His Wife
  • L424) Moralia: Volume VIII. Table-talk, Books 1–6
  • L425) Moralia: Volume IX. Table-Talk, Books 7–9. Dialogue on Love
  • L321) Moralia: Volume X. Love Stories. That a Philosopher Ought to Converse Especially With Men in Power. To an Uneducated Ruler. Whether an Old Man Should Engage in Public Affairs. Precepts of Statecraft. On Monarchy, Democracy, and Oligarchy. That We Ought Not To Borrow. Lives of the Ten Orators. Summary of a Comparison Between Aristophanes and Menander
  • L426) Moralia: Volume XI. On the Malice of Herodotus. Causes of Natural Phenomena
  • L406) Moralia: Volume XII. Concerning the Face Which Appears in the Orb of the Moon. On the Principle of Cold. Whether Fire or Water Is More Useful. Whether Land or Sea Animals Are Cleverer. Beasts Are Rational. On the Eating of Flesh
  • L427) Moralia: Volume XIII. Part 1. Platonic Essays
  • L470) Moralia: Volume XIII. Part 2. Stoic Essays
  • L428) Moralia: Volume XIV. That Epicurus Actually Makes a Pleasant Life Impossible. Reply to Colotes in Defence of the Other Philosophers. Is "Live Unknown" a Wise Precept? On Music
  • L429) Moralia: Volume XV. Fragments
  • L499) Moralia: Volume XVI. Index
Ptolemy[edit]
Sextus Empiricus[edit]
Theophrastus[edit]
[edit]

Historians[edit]

Appian[edit]
  • L002) Roman History: Volume I. Books 1–8.1
  • L003) Roman History: Volume II. Books 8.2–12
  • L004) Roman History: Volume III. The Civil Wars, Books 1–3.26
  • L005) Roman History: Volume IV. The Civil Wars, Books 3.27–5
Arrian[edit]
  • L236) Volume I. Anabasis of Alexander, Books 1–4
  • L269) Volume II. Anabasis of Alexander, Books 5–7. Indica
Dio Cassius[edit]
  • L032) Roman History: Volume I. Fragments of Books 1–11
  • L037) Roman History: Volume II. Fragments of Books 12–35 and of Uncertain Reference
  • L053) Roman History: Volume III. Books 36–40
  • L066) Roman History: Volume IV. Books 41–45
  • L082) Roman History: Volume V. Books 46–50
  • L083) Roman History: Volume VI. Books 51–55
  • L175) Roman History: Volume VII. Books 56–60
  • L176) Roman History: Volume VIII. Books 61–70
  • L177) Roman History: Volume IX. Books 71–80
Diodorus Siculus[edit]
  • L279) Volume I. Library of History, Books 1–2.34
  • L303) Volume II. Library of History, Books 2.35–4.58
  • L340) Volume III. Library of History, Books 4.59–8
  • L375) Volume IV. Library of History, Books 9–12.40
  • L384) Volume V. Library of History, Books 12.41–13
  • L399) Volume VI. Library of History, Books 14–15.19
  • L389) Volume VII. Library of History, Books 15.20–16.65
  • L422) Volume VIII. Library of History, Books 16.66–17
  • L377) Volume IX. Library of History, Books 18–19.65
  • L390) Volume X. Library of History, Books 19.66–20
  • L409) Volume XI. Library of History, Fragments of Books 21–32
  • L423) Volume XII. Library of History, Fragments of Books 33–40
Herodian[edit]
Herodotus[edit]
Josephus[edit]
  • L186) Volume I. The Life of Flavius Josephus. Against Apion
  • L203) Volume II. The Jewish War, Books 1–2
  • L487) Volume III. The Jewish War, Books 3–4
  • L210) Volume IV. The Jewish War, Books 5–7:
  • L242) Volume V. Jewish Antiquities, Books 1–3
  • L490) Volume VI. Jewish Antiquities, Books 4–6
  • L281) Volume VII. Jewish Antiquities, Books 7–8
  • L326) Volume VIII. Jewish Antiquities, Books 9–11
  • L365) Volume IX. Jewish Antiquities, Books 12–13
  • L489) Volume X. Jewish Antiquities, Books 14–15
  • L410) Volume XI. Jewish Antiquities, Books 16–17
  • L433) Volume XII. Jewish Antiquities, Books 18–19
  • L456) Volume XIII. Jewish Antiquities, Book 20
Manetho[edit]
Polybius[edit]
  • L128) Histories: Volume I. Books 1–2
  • L137) Histories: Volume II. Books 3–4
  • L138) Histories: Volume III. Books 5–8
  • L159) Histories: Volume IV. Books 9–15
  • L160) Histories: Volume V. Books 16–27
  • L161) Histories: Volume VI. Books 28–39
Procopius[edit]
  • L048) Volume I. History of the Wars, Books 1–2. (Persian War)
  • L081) Volume II. History of the Wars, Books 3–4. (Vandalic War)
  • L107) Volume III. History of the Wars, Books 5–6.15. (Gothic War)
  • L173) Volume IV. History of the Wars, Books 6.16–7.35. (Gothic War)
  • L217) Volume V. History of the Wars, Books 7.36–8. (Gothic War)
  • L290) Volume VI. The Anecdota or Secret History
  • L343) Volume VII. On Buildings. General Index
Thucydides[edit]
  • L108) History of the Peloponnesian War: Volume I. Books 1–2
  • L109) History of the Peloponnesian War: Volume II. Books 3–4
  • L110) History of the Peloponnesian War: Volume III. Books 5–6
  • L169) History of the Peloponnesian War: Volume IV. Books 7–8. General Index
Xenophon[edit]

Attic orators[edit]

Aeschines[edit]
Demosthenes[edit]
Isaeus[edit]
Isocrates[edit]
Volume 170N of the Greek collection in the Loeb Classical Library, revised edition
Volume 6 of the Latin collection in the Loeb Classical Library, second edition 1988

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