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Flavius Josephus
Against Apion
Book 2, Whiston Chapter 1, Whiston Section 38
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2.145 - 2.286
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262 Ἐῶ περὶ Λακεδαιμονίων ἐπὶ πλείω λέγειν. οἱ δὲ κοινὴν εἶναι τὴν ἑαυτῶν δόξαντες πόλιν Ἀθηναῖοι πῶς περὶ τούτων εἶχον, Ἀπολλώνιος ἠγνόησεν, ὅτι καὶ τοὺς ῥῆμα μόνον παρὰ τοὺς ἐκείνων

263 νόμους φθεγξαμένους περὶ θεῶν ἀπαραιτήτως ἐκόλασαν. τίνος γὰρ ἑτέρου χάριν Σωκράτης ἀπέθανεν; οὐ γὰρ δὴ προεδίδου τὴν πόλιν τοῖς πολεμίοις οὐδὲ τῶν ἱερῶν ἐσύλησεν οὐδέν, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι καινοὺς ὅρκους ὤμνυεν καί τι δαιμόνιον αὐτῷ σημαίνειν ἔφασκεν διαπαίζων, ὡς ἔνιοι λέγουσι, διὰ ταῦτα κατεγνώσθη κώνειον πιὼν ἀποθανεῖν.

264 καὶ διαφθείρειν δὲ τοὺς νέους κατήγορος αὐτὸν ᾐτιᾶτο, τῆς πατρίου πολιτείας καὶ τῶν νόμων ὅτι προῆγεν αὐτοὺς καταφρονεῖν. Σωκράτης μὲν οὖν πολίτης Ἀθηναίων τοιαύτην ὑπέμεινε τιμωρίαν.

265 Ἀναξαγόρας δὲ Κλαζομένιος ἦν, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι νομιζόντων Ἀθηναίων τὸν ἥλιον εἶναι θεὸν ὅδ᾽ αὐτὸν ἔφη μύδρον εἶναι διάπυρον, θάνατον αὐτοῦ παρ᾽ ὀλίγας ψήφους κατέγνωσαν.

266 καὶ Διαγόρᾳ τῷ Μηλίῳ τάλαντον ἐπεκήρυξαν, εἴ τις αὐτὸν ἀνέλοι, ἐπεὶ τὰ παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς μυστήρια χλευάζειν ἐλέγετο. καὶ Πρωταγόρας εἰ μὴ θᾶττον ἔφυγε, συλληφθεὶς ἂν ἐτεθνήκει γράψαι τι δόξας

267 οὐχ ὁμολογούμενον τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις περὶ θεῶν. τί δὲ δεῖ θαυμάζειν, εἰ πρὸς ἄνδρας οὕτως ἀξιοπίστους διετέθησαν, οἵ γε μηδὲ γυναικῶν ἐφείσαντο; νῦν γὰρ τὴν ἱέρειαν ἀπέκτειναν, ἐπεί τις αὐτῆς κατηγόρησεν, ὅτι ξένους ἐμύει θεούς· νόμῳ δ᾽ ἦν τοῦτο παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς κεκωλυμένον καὶ τιμωρία κατὰ τῶν ξένον εἰσαγόντων

268 θεὸν ὥριστο θάνατος. οἱ δὲ τοιούτῳ νόμῳ χρώμενοι δῆλον ὅτι τοὺς τῶν ἄλλων οὐκ ἐνόμιζον εἶναι θεούς· οὐ γὰρ ἂν αὐτοῖς πλειόνων ἀπολαύειν ἐφθόνουν.

269 τὰ μὲν οὖν Ἀθηναίων ἐχέτω καλῶς. Σκύθαι δὲ φόνοις χαίροντες ἀνθρώπων καὶ βραχὺ τῶν θηρίων διαφέροντες, ὅμως τὰ παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς οἴονται δεῖν περιστέλλειν, καὶ τὸν ὑπὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἐπὶ σοφίᾳ θαυμασθέντα τὸν Ἀνάχαρσιν ἐπανελθόντα πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἀνεῖλον, ἐπεὶ τῶν Ἑλληνικῶν ἐθῶν ἔδοξεν ἥκειν ἀνάπλεως, πολλοὺς δὲ καὶ παρὰ Πέρσαις ἄν τις εὕροι

270 καὶ διὰ τὴν αὐτὴν αἰτίαν κεκολασμένους. ἀλλὰ δῆλον ὅτι τοῖς Περσῶν ἔχαιρε νόμοις Ἀπολλώνιος κἀκείνους ἐθαύμαζεν, ὅτι τῆς ἀνδρείας αὐτῶν ἀπέλαυσαν οἱ Ἕλληνες καὶ τῆς ὁμογνωμοσύνης ἧς εἶχον περὶ θεῶν, ταύτης μὲν [ οὖν] ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς οἷς κατέπρησαν, τῆς ἀνδρείας δὲ δουλεῦσαι παρὰ μικρὸν ἐλθόντες, ἁπάντων δὲ καὶ τῶν ἐπιτηδευμάτων μιμητὴς ἐγένετο τῶν Περσικῶν γυναῖκας ἀλλοτρίας

271 ὑβρίζων καὶ παῖδας ἐκτέμνων. παρ᾽ ἡμῖν δὲ θάνατος ὥρισται, κἂν ἄλογόν τις οὕτω ζῷον ἀδικῇ· καὶ τούτων ἡμᾶς τῶν νόμων ἀπαγαγεῖν οὔτε φόβος ἴσχυσεν τῶν κρατησάντων οὔτε ζῆλος τῶν

272 παρὰ τοῖς ἄλλοις τετιμημένων. οὐδὲ τὴν ἀνδρείαν ἠσκήσαμεν ἐπὶ τῷ πολέμους ἄρασθαι χάριν πλεονεξίας, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ τῷ τοὺς νόμους διαφυλάττειν. τὰς γοῦν ἄλλας ἐλαττώσεις πρᾴως ὑπομένοντες, ἐπειδάν τινες ἡμᾶς τὰ νόμιμα κινεῖν ἀναγκάζωσι, τότε καὶ παρὰ δύναμιν αἱρούμεθα πολέμους καὶ μέχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων ταῖς συμφοραῖς ἐγκαρτεροῦμεν.

273 διὰ τί γὰρ ἂν καὶ ζηλώσαιμεν τοὺς ἑτέρων νόμους ὁρῶντες μηδὲ παρὰ τοῖς θεμένοις αὐτοὺς τετηρημένους; πῶς γὰρ οὐκ ἔμελλον Λακεδαιμόνιοι μὲν τῆς ἀνεπιμίκτου καταγνώσεσθαι πολιτείας καὶ τῆς περὶ τοὺς γάμους ὀλιγωρίας, Ἠλεῖοι δὲ καὶ Θηβαῖοι τῆς παρὰ φύσιν καὶ [ ἄγαν] ἀνέδην πρὸς τοὺς ἄρρενας μίξεως;

274 γοῦν πάλαι κάλλιστα καὶ συμφορώτατα πράττειν ὑπελάμβανον, ταῦτ᾽ εἰ καὶ μὴ παντάπασι τοῖς ἔργοις πεφεύγασιν, οὐχ

275 ὁμολογοῦσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς περὶ αὐτῶν νόμους ἀπόμνυνται τοσοῦτόν ποτε παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἰσχύσαντας, ὥστε καὶ τοῖς θεοῖς τὰς τῶν ἀρρένων μίξεις ἐπεφήμισαν, κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ λόγον καὶ τοὺς τῶν γνησίων ἀδελφῶν γάμους, ταύτην ἀπολογίαν αὑτοῖς τῶν ἀτόπων καὶ παρὰ φύσιν ἡδονῶν συντιθέντες.

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by John Barclay by William Whiston
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262I refrain from saying more about the Lacedaemonians.531 But the Athenians, who considered their city common [to all],532 as to their attitude on these matters: Apollonius did not know533 that they imposed an inexorable punishment534 even on those who uttered a single word about the Gods in contravention of their laws.535

263For what other reason did Socrates die?536 He certainly did not try to betray the city to its enemies, nor did he rob any temple.537 Rather, because he used to swear by novel oaths538 and claimed that something supernatural gave him signs539 – a private joke, as some say540 – it was for these reasons that he was condemned to die by drinking hemlock.541

264Also, the prosecutor accused him of corrupting the young,542 on the grounds that he encouraged them to treat the ancestral constitution and the laws with contempt.543 Socrates underwent such punishment as an Athenian citizen.544

265Anaxagoras, on the other hand, was from Clazomenae,545 but because the Athenians thought that the sun was a God and he said it was a white-hot mass,546 they were only a few votes short of condemning him to death.547

266They offered a reward of a talent to anyone who would kill Diagoras of Melos, since he was said to have mocked their mysteries.548 And Protagoras, had he not swiftly fled, would have been arrested and put to death, since he was thought to have written something about the Gods that was unacceptable to the Athenians.549

267Why should we be surprised if they were disposed like this towards such influential men, when they did not spare even women?550 For they killed the priestess Ninos,551 when someone accused her of initiating people into the mysteries of foreign Gods;552 this was forbidden by their law and the penalty fixed for those who introduced a foreign God was death.553

268Those who made use of such a law evidently did not think that other peoples’ deities were Gods; for they would not have begrudged themselves the benefit of having more.554

269So much to the credit of the Athenians.555 As for the Scythians, although they take pleasure in murdering people and are little better than wild animals,556 they think nonetheless that they should protect their customs;557 and when Anacharsis, a man admired by the Greeks for his wisdom,558 returned home, they killed him, since he seemed to have come back infected with Greek customs.559 Among Persians also, one might find many people who were punished for the same reason.560

270But Apollonius evidently took pleasure in the Persians’ laws and admired them,561 since the Greeks benefited from their courage and their common mind concerning the Gods562 – the latter in relation to the temples that the Persians burned; their courage in coming close to being enslaved!563 He also imitated all the Persian habits, abusing other people’s wives and castrating children.564

271Among us, the death penalty is fixed for anyone who so mistreats even a brute animal;565 and neither fear of our conquerors nor emulation of the laws respected by other people has been powerful enough to draw us away from these laws.566

272We have trained our courage not for undertaking wars of self-aggrandizement but for preserving the laws.567 While meekly enduring defeat of other kinds,568 whenever people force us to alter our regulations then we undertake569 wars, even when it is beyond our capacity,570 and we hold out to the bitter end.571

273For why would we emulate other people’s laws when we see that they are not preserved even by those who laid them down?572 Was it not inevitable that the Lacedaemonians would condemn their antisocial constitution and their contempt for marriage,573 and the Eleans and Thebans their unnatural and extremely licentious intercourse between males?574

274In any case, even if they have not completely abandoned them in practice, they no longer admit to acts they once considered very fine and beneficial;575

275but they also renounce576 laws on these matters that were once so powerful among the Greeks that they even attributed to the Gods intercourse between males,577 and by the same principle also marriage between real siblings,578 concocting this defense for their own bizarre and unnatural pleasures.579

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