You will have to bring out against him all the battery of your
wit, it you desire to beat him and not to be laughed out of court.
At last! I was choking with impatience, I was burning to upset his
arguments! If I am called the Weaker Reasoning in the schools, it is
just because I was the first to discover the means to confute the laws
and the decrees of justice. To invoke solely the weaker arguments
and yet triumph is an art worth more than a hundred thousand drachmae.
But see how I shall batter down the sort of education of which he is
so proud. Firstly, he forbids you to bathe in hot water. What
grounds have you for condemning hot baths?
Because they are baneful and enervate men.
Enough said! Oh! you poor wrestler! From the very outset I have
seized you and hold you round the middle; you cannot escape me. Tell
me, of all the sons of Zeus, who had the stoutest heart, who performed
the most doughty deeds?
None, in my opinion, surpassed Heracles.
Where have you ever seen cold baths called 'Bath of Heracles'? And
yet who was braver than he?
It is because of such quibbles, that the baths are seen crowded
with young folk, who chatter there the livelong day while the gymnasia
Next you condemn the habit of frequenting the market-place,
while I approve this. If it were wrong Homer would never have made
Nestor speak in public as well as all his wise heroes. As for the
art of speaking, he tells you, young men should not practise it; I
hold the contrary. Furthermore he preaches chastity to them. Both
precepts are equally harmful. Have you ever seen chastity of any use
to anyone? Answer and try to confute me.
To many; for instance, Peleus won a sword thereby.
A sword! Ah! what a fine present to make him! Poor wretch!
Hyperbolus, the lamp-seller, thanks to his villainy, has gained more
than....do not know how many talents, but certainly no sword.
Peleus owed it to his chastity that he became the husband of
.... who left him in the lurch, for he was not the most ardent; in
those nocturnal sports between the sheets, which so please women, he
possessed but little merit. Get you gone, you are but an old fool. But
you, young man, just consider a little what this temperance means
and the delights of which it deprives you-young fellows, women,
play, dainty dishes, wine, boisterous laughter. And what is life worth
without these? Then, if you happen to commit one of these faults
inherent in human weakness, some seduction or adultery, and you are
caught in the act, you are lost, if you cannot speak. But follow my
teaching and you will be able to satisfy your passions, to dance, to
laugh, to blush at nothing. Suppose you are caught in the act of
adultery. Then up and tell the husband you are not guilty, and
recall to him the example of Zeus, who allowed himself to be conquered
by love and by women. Being but a mortal, can you be stronger than a
Suppose your pupil, following your advice, gets the radish
rammed up his arse and then is depilated with a hot coal; how are
you going to prove to him that he is not a broad-arse?