And the tenth to madness extreme enough to make people throw stones

From Apuleius’ Florida (20.1-2 in the Loeb edition):

There is a famous saying of a wise man over dinner: “The first bowl,” said he, “is for thirst, the second for cheer, the third for pleasure, the fourth for delirium.” Not so the Muses’ bowl: the more often drunk and the more strongly mixed, the more it promotes the health of the mind.

Sapientis viri super mensam celebre dictum est: “Prima,” inquit, “creterra ad sitim pertinet, secunda ad hilaritatem, tertia ad voluptatem, quarta ad insaniam.” Verum enimvero Musarum creterra versa vice quanto crebrior quantoque meracior, tanto propior ad animi sanitatem.

The footnote compares this to a saying of Anarcharsis reported by Diogenes Laertius (1.103):

It was a saying of his that the vine bore three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the next of intoxication, and the third of disgust.

Οὗτος τὴν ἄμπελον εἶπε τρεῖς φέρειν βότρυς· τὸν πρῶτον ἡδονῆς· τὸν δεύτερον μέθης· τὸν τρίτον ἀηδίας.

But there is a more extensive and more amusing version by Eubulus quoted in Athenaeus (2.36.c). Dionysus is speaking:

Because I mix up only three bowls of wine for
sensible people. One is dedicated to good health,
and they drink it first. The second is dedicated
to love and pleasure, and the third to sleep;
wise guests finish it up
and go home. The fourth bowl no longer
belongs to me but to outrage.
The fifth belongs to arguments;
the sixth to wandering drunk through the streets; the seventh to black eyes;
the eighth to the bailiff; the ninth to an ugly black humor;
and the tenth to madness extreme enough to make people throw stones.

τρεῖς γὰρ μόνους κρατῆρας ἐγκεραννύω
τοῖς εὖ φρονοῦσι· τὸν μὲν ὑγιείας ἕνα,
ὃν πρῶτον ἐκπίνουσι, τὸν δὲ δεύτερον |
ἔρωτος ἡδονῆς τε, τὸν τρίτον δ᾿ ὕπνου,
ὃν ἐκπιόντες οἱ σοφοὶ κεκλημένοι
οἴκαδε βαδίζουσ᾿. ὁ δὲ τέταρτος οὐκέτι ἡμέτερός ἐστ᾿, ἀλλ᾿
ὕβρεος· ὁ δὲ πέμπτος βοῆς·
ἕκτος δὲ κώμων· ἕβδομος δ᾿ ὑπωπίων·
<ὁ δ᾿> ὄγδοος κλητῆρος· ὁ δ᾿ ἔνατος χολῆς·
δέκατος δὲ μανίας, ὥστε καὶ βάλλειν ποεῖ

Somewhere in my head there’s a related French proverb or quote but all I can conjure right now is Après bon vin, bon coussin (after good wine, a good pillow).

And there is nothing about them that I praise so much as their abhorrence of a dull, vacant mind


From Apuleius’ Florida (6.6-12). Classical authors of course often treat the ‘gymnosophists’ – like Tactitus’ Germani – as a means of indirectly criticizing their own culture but that shouldn’t devalue the sentiment.

Sunt apud illos et varia colentium genera … Est praeterea genus apud illos praestabile, gymnosophistae vocantur. Hos ego maxime admiror, quod homines sunt periti non propagandae vitis nec inoculandae arboris nec proscindendi soli; non illi norunt arvum colere vel aurum colare vel equum domare vel taurum subigere vel ovem vel capram tondere vel pascere. Quid igitur est? Unum pro his omnibus norunt: sapientiam percolunt tam magistri senes quam discipuli iuniores. Nec quicquam aeque penes illos audo, quam quod torporem animi et otium oderunt. Igitur ubi mensa posita, priusquam edulia apponantur, omnes adulescentes ex diversis locis et officiis ad dapem conveniunt; magistri perrogant, quod factum a lucis ortu ad illud diei bonum fecerint. Hic alius se commemorat inter duos arbitrum delectum, sanata simultate, reconciliata gratia, purgata suspicione amicos ex infensis reddidisse; itidem alius sese parentibus quaepiam imperantibus oboedisse, et alius aliquid meditatione sua repperisse vel alterius demonstratione didicisse, denique <cetera> ceteri commemorant. Qui nihil habet afferre cur prandeat, impransus ad opus foras extruditur.

Among the Indians there are various classes of inhabitant … They also have a preeminent class of so-called “gymnosophists.” These I admire most of all, because they are men with no skill to train a vine, graft a branch or plow the earth; they have no idea how to till a field, sieve gold, break a horse, tame a bull, or shear or pasture a sheep or a goat. What then is the reason? They know one thing worth all the rest: they study philosophy, both the old men as teachers and the young as pupils. And there is nothing about them that I praise so much as their abhorrence of a dull, vacant mind. Consequently, when the table is laid and the food not yet served, all the young men gather from their different places and occupations to dine, and their teachers ask what good deed they have done from early dawn until that hour of the day.  At this, one reports that he was chosen to arbitrate between two people, and has turned enemies into friends by patching up their quarrel, restoring their goodwill, and allaying their suspicions. Similarly, another reports that he has obeyed certain orders of his parents, and another that he has made some discovery from his own meditation or from another’s explanation, and after that the others mention other matters. If anyone cannot produce a reason why he should dine, he is driven outdoors to work without his dinner.

Meditari condiscere, loquitari dediscere

Found in a footnote to Christopher Celenza’s edition of Angelo Poliziano’s Lamia but originally from Apuleius’ Florida (15.22-25).  Poliziano – see bottom for the full passage –  had echoed and tweaked the phrase rudimentum sapientiae.

Tot ille [Pythagoras] doctoribus eruditus, tot tamque multiiugis calicibus disciplinarum toto orbe haustis, vir praesertim ingenio ingenti ac profecto super captum hominis animi augustior, primus philosophiae nuncupator et conditor, nihil prius discipulos suos docuit quam tacere, primaque apud eum meditatio sapienti futuro linguam omnem coercere, verbaque, quae volantia poetae appellant, ea verba detractis pinnis intra murum candentium dentium premere. Prorsus, inquam, hoc erat primum sapientiae rudimentum: meditari condiscere, loquitari dediscere

Educated by so many masters, and after draining so many cups of knowledge of such different kinds throughout the world, that master of truly great genius [Pythagoras], more venerable than the human mind can encompass, the first to give a name and foundation to philosophy, made silence the first lesson he taught his students, and the first exercise of the would-be philosopher in his school was to suppress all speech and, stripping the feathers from those words that poets call “winged,” to imprison them within “the wall of shining teeth.” This, I repeat, was absolutely their first exercise in philosophy—to learn meditation and to unlearn chatter.

And Poliziano’s modified reference in the opening of Lamia:

Fabulari paulisper lubet, sed ex re, ut Flaccus ait; nam fabellai, etiam quae aniles putantur, non rudimentum modo sed et instrumentum quandoque phiosophiae sunt.

Le’ts tell stories for a while, if you please, but let’s make them relevant, as Horace says.  For stories, even those that are considered the kinds of things that foolish old women discuss, are not only the first beginnings of philosophy.  Stories are also – and just as often – philosophy’s instrument.