Stoic or Christian?

The best thing I read today is from an author I’m going to be seeing a lot of for the next week or so: Salvian of Marseilles. He was a fifth century Gallo-Roman and I’ll just start things off with a nice little apothegm. I take the quotation from Migne’s Patrologia Latina edition. There’s a more recent one in the Sources Chrétiennes series, but it’s late and I don’t own it anyway. The translation, as usual, is mine.

“Superfluum autem est ut eos quispiam vel infirmitate vel paupertate vel aliis istiusmodi rebus existimet esse miseros, quibus se illi confidunt esse felices. Nemo enim aliorum sensu miser est, sed suo. Et ideo non possunt cujusquam falso judicio esse miseri, qui sunt vere sua conscientia beati. Nulli enim, ut opinor, beatiores sunt quam qui ex sententia sua atque ex voto agunt.

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“It is, moreover, beside the point for anyone to think that they are wretched either because of their weakness or their poverty or other things of this kind, as long as they themselves believe themselves to be happy. For no man is wretched because of the opinion of others, but because of his own. And therefore they are not able to be wretched because of the false judgment of someone (else), who are happy according to their own true self-knowledge. For none, as I think, are happier than those who live according to their own opinion and will.”

Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being the gadfly of my discipline.

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About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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