Oration On The Dignity Of Man Summary | SuperSummary

Pico della Mirandola and Renaissance Humanism – O …

There is indeed abundant evidence of other kinds that you have attained to the first rank in the art of medicine and that your morals, uprightness and temperate life are in harmony with your professional skill But now has been added the crowning evidence. Though absent, you are winning to your cause the whole city of Alexandria. So keen a sting, like a bee's, have you left in her.2 This is natural; for I think that Homer was right when he said "One physician is worth many other men." 3 And you are not simply a physician, but also a teacher of that art for those who desire to learn, so that I might almost say that what physicians are as compared with the mass of men, you are, compared with other physicians. This is the reason for putting an end to your exile, and with very great distinction for yourself. For if it was owing to George that you were removedfrom Alexandria, you were removed unjustly, and it would be most just that you should return from exile. Do you, therefore, return in allhonour, and in possession of your former dignity. And let the favour that I bestow be credited to me by both parties in common, since it restores Zeno to the Alexandrians and Alexandria to you.

Pico's "Oration on the Dignity of Man" | HubPages

But in the choice of his words (in which he had more regard to their weight than their brilliance) and likewise in the structure of his language, and the compass of his periods, conformed himself to the dictates of reason, and, in a great measure, to the nicer rules of art: though his chief excellence was a judicious management of the figures and decorations of sentiment.

His hands, his shoulders, the turn of his body, the stamp of his foot, his posture, his air, and, in short, his every motion, was adapted to his language and sentiments: and his voice was strong and firm, though naturally hoarse;- a defect which he alone was capable of improving to his advantage; for in capital causes, it had a mournful dignity of accent, which was exceedingly proper, both to win the assent of the judges, and excite their compassion for a suffering client: so that in him the observation of Demosthenes was eminently verified, who being asked what was the quality of a good orator, what the , and what the , constantly replied, A good enunciation.


Oration on the Dignity of Man (So-Called)

Cotta likewise, a man of rank, was esteemed a tolerable orator; but he never made any great progress; on the contrary, he purposely endeavoured, both in the choice of his words, and the rusticity of his pronunciation, to imitate the manner of the ancients.

Cicero: Brutus - translation (2)

were likewise indifferent orators, and distinguished by the bitterness and asperity of their accusations: for they prosecuted many, but seldom spoke for the defendant.

Cicero: Brutus, translated by Edward Jones, sections 97-180

In our youth, we both of us followed the same liberal exercises; and he afterwards accompanied me to , to pursue those studies which might equally improve him as a man and a scholar; but when he returned from thence, he appears to me to have been rather ambitious to be the foremost man in a secondary profession, than the second in that which claims the highest dignity.

Libanius, "Julian the Emperor" (1888)

After having made these regulations about the first and most important affairs, on looking into the state of the imperial court, and seeing a useless multitude kept for no purpose, a thousand cooks, and hairdressers no fewer, cup-bearers yet more numerous, swarms of waiters, eunuchs in number beyond the flies around the flocks in spring, and of all other descriptions an indescribable lot of drones, ----for the grand resource for the lazy and clever at eating, was to get themselves called and enrolled of the imperial household; and the piece of gold quickly produced the enrolment----these persons, then, whom the imperial treasury maintained to no purpose, he looked upon as an injury and not as servants----he expelled them forthwith. He also expelled along with them those numerous secretaries, who though holding the rank of domestic servants, yet pretended to make the prefects their subordinates; and it was not possible to live near them, nor to salute them at meeting, but they cheated, they robbed, they forced people to sell; some paying no price at all, others not the fair one; whilst some put off paying; some reckoned to orphans the fact of not hurting them for an equivalent of the money due to them; and they went about like the common enemies of all possessing anything fine, such as a horse, a slave, a tree, a piece of land, or a garden; for they considered that these things were rather their own property than that of the owners. And he that gave up his paternal inheritance to the stronger party, was an excellent fellow, and went off bearing this title in return for his property; whereas he who thought it hard to be thus treated was a murderer, a cheat, loaded with crimes, liable to punishment on many accounts. Thus making other men poor from rich, and themselves rich from poor, and growing wealthy through the poverty of those before opulent, and stretching forth their greediness to thefurthest limits of the world: they promised whatever they pleased on the part of the sovereign, and it was impossible to say them nay; but ancient cities were plundered, and beautiful things that had vanquished Time were brought across the seas, in order to make the houses of fullers' sons more gay than the imperial palace. And whilst these creatures were thus intolerable, there were many followers in each case, like lap-dogs, as the saying is, mimicking their mistresses, for there was not a servant of theirs that was not insolent, imprisoning people, pulling down, and embezzling, beating, ejecting, driving off, requiring forced labour on his land, to drive a pair of horses in his chariot, to be a master, nay, as great a one as his own lord----persons that were not satisfied with being rich, but were indignant if they did not participate in their master's dignity, as though by this means they could cloak, forsooth, their servile condition; and they, in league with their owners, had a purse that forced to tremble both street, prison, and city. These Cerberi, these many-headed monsters, he reduced to a private station, telling them to consider it clear gain that they were not put to death. A third band of rascals, officers that filched and picked pockets, and said and did everything with a view to gain, and who had defrauded their native countries of all due service from themselves, and had run away to wait upon the councils and law-courts, and culminating into imperial messenger, had bought for themselves the appointment of AGENTES IN REBUS, and their pretence was of being in order that the emperor might be apprised of whatever was plotted against him, bat in reality they were For just as these open their doors of a morning, and look out for custom, so did they talk about jobs to the brokers of such matters, whoused to bring the working-men, although silent, on the pretence of speaking ill of the government, under the lash of those fellows----not in order that they might be lacerated, but that they should pay for the not-suffering such treatment. And no one was beyond their range; neither citizen, nor sojourner, nor foreigner, but even he that did no harm was destroyed if he did not pay; whereas the very great culprit, by sacrificing something, got off clear. Now their greatest resource for getting money was any offence against the government; for instead of giving up the person convicted to the fury of those that were aggrieved, they took the part of the conspirators, instead of those who had put them in places of trust, for the sake of a bribe. Furthermore, by sending youthful beauties to visit persons that made profession of chastity, and thereby bringing them under the apprehension of loss of character, they stuck upon people entirely guiltless the evidence of liars; and had these two plans for very great sources of profit. And yet again, a third----more lucrative than both put together: by giving to such as had the audacity to do so----out of the caves where that business was carried on, they drew goodmoney in return for the forged, and revelled in luxury. In short, of the two sources of profit, the one lay in the unseen and clandestine; the other in what was public and open, and which received the colour of legality----being not much less productive than the first; so that on mentioning any province, they at once added the amount of money it was possible to draw from thence. These "Eyes," therefore, of the emperor, that pretended to bring all to light, and to make the bad virtuous through the impossibility of concealment, opened every road to villainy, and all but made proclamation of impunity, inasmuch as the preventers of crime, themselves sheltered the offenders ----like dogs turning confederates with the wolves. For this reason, it was as good as finding a treasure to have a share in these mines; for he that came an Irus, in a short time became a Callias. When, therefore, one "pumped away" after another, and the cities grew poorer, and those who carried on the trade grew richer, our emperor was long indignant at it, and declared he would stop it when he had the power, and having attained to power he stop it; by dispersing the whole of that fraternity and abolishing the title and office in virtue of which they wasted and pulled down everything, employing his own men for the conveyance of letters, and not giving them authority to do things of the kind. This was, in fact, making the cities free in the strictest sense of the word ();for so long as the man stood by, that had the power to do these things, it was impossible to breathe freely. One person was hit, another was on the point of it, and even to him that suffered no hurt, the expectation of being struck became equivalent to suffering the blow. Again, because the post-mules were worn out by unremitting employment, and because the lately mentioned persons killed them by starvation, whilst they provided themselves with a Sybaris through their starvation (for what made the work excessive, and as it were hamstrung the beasts, was the fact that it was in the power of anyone that pleased to yoke a pair and drive off, and that the order of the emperor and of the imperial visitor (), were of equal force in this particular; so that the animals were never allowed to halt, or enjoy a feed; whilst the whip was never lifted off their backs to make them run, and twenty or even more were required for a single carriage; whilst as to most of them, some as soon as unyoked, dropped down dead; and others in the harness even before they were unfastened). From such a state of things, business that required despatch was impeded; and further, the cities incurred loss as far as money is concerned. That this department was in a miserable condition, the winter season particularly proved, the service of the post-mules being then interrupted in many places; so that the muleteers ran off and kept in the mountain fastnesses, whilst the hurrying travellers had no remedy save crying out and smiting upon the thigh; and not a few opportunities for business over-slipped their execution through the delays thus occasioned. I omit mentioning the horses that suffered the same treatment, and the asses still worse; the result being that the persons who carried on these services were completely ruined. This disorder, also, Julian put a stop to, by prohibiting all posting that was not absolutely necessary, and by declaring licences of this kind equally dangerous to grant and to receive; as well as by instructing his officers, some to keep beasts of their own, others to hire them when wanted. And a thing not to be believed was to be seen, that is, car-drivers exercising mules, and grooms horses; for, just as previously the animals had been spoilt by over-work, so now it was to be feared they would come to the same state through the long continuance of want of work.