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The Gospel of Mark - Danny Piano & Sue Sax Chesnut
I have received through Mygdonius1 the books that you sent me, and besides, all the letters of recommendation2 that you forwarded to me throughout the festival. Every one of these gives me pleasure, but you may be sure that more pleasant than anything else is the news about your excellent self,3 that by the grace of the gods you are in good physical health, and are devoting yourself to the service of the gods more earnestly and energetically. As regards what you wrote to the philosopherMaximus, that my friend Seleucus4 is ill-disposed towards you, believe me that he neither does nor says in my presence anything that he could possibly intend asslandering. On the contrary, all that he tells me about you is favourable; and while I do not go so far as to say that he actually feels friendly to youonly he himself and the all-seeing gods can know the truth as to thatstill I can say with perfect sincerity that he does refrain from any such calumny in my presence. Therefore it seems absurd to scrutinise what is thus concealed rather than what he actually does, and to search for proof of actions of which I have no shred of evidence. But since you have made so many accusations against him, and have plainly revealed to me a definite cause for your own hostility towards him, I do say this much to you frankly; if you are showing favour to any person, man or woman, slave or free, who neither worships the gods as yet, nor inspires in you any hope that you may persuade him to do so, you are wrong. For do but consider first how you would feel about your own household. Suppose that some slave for whom you feel affection should conspire with those who slandered and spoke ill of you, and showed deference to them, but abhorred and detested us who are your friends, would you not wish for his speedy destruction, or rather would you not punish him yourself? 1 Well then, are the gods to be less honoured than our friends? You must use the same argument with reference to them, you must consider that they are our masters and we their slaves. It follows, does it not, that if one of us who call ourselves servants of the gods has a favourite slave who abominates the gods and turns from their worship, we must in justice either convert him and keep him, or dismiss him from the house and sell him, in case some one does notfind it easy to dispense with owning a slave? For my part I would not consent to be loved by those who do not love the gods; wherefore I now say plainly that you and all who aspire to priestly offices must bear this in mind, and engage with greater energy in the temple worship of the gods. And it is reasonable to expect that a priest should begin with his own household in showing reverence, and first of all prove that it is wholly and throughout pure of such grave distempers.
James Adair's 1775 "History of the American Indians"
I am informed that there is in your neighbourhood a granite obelisk1 which, when it stood erect,reached a considerable height, but has been thrown down and lies on the beach as though it were something entirely worthless. For this obelisk Constantius of blessed memory had a freight-boat built, because he intended to convey it to my native place, Constantinople. But since by the will of heaven he has departed from this life to the next on that journey to which we are fated,2 the city claims the monument from me because it is the place of my birth and more closely connected with me than with the late Emperor. For though he loved the place as a sister I love it as my mother. And I was in fact born there and brought up in the place, and I cannot ignore its claims. Well then, since I love you also, no less than my native city, I grant to you also permission to set up the bronze statue 3 in your city. A statue has lately been made of colossal size. If you set this up you will have, instead of a stone monument, a bronze statue of a man whom you say you love and long for, and a human shape instead of a quadrangular block of granite with Egyptian characters on it. Moreover the news has reached me that there are certainpersons who worship there and sleep1 at its very apex, and that convinces me beyond doubt that on account of these superstitious practices I ought to take it away. For men who see those persons sleeping there and so much filthy rubbish and careless and licentious behaviour in that place, not only do not believe that it2 is sacred, but by the influence of the superstition of those who dwell there come to have less faith in the gods. Therefore, for this very reason it is the more proper for you to assist in this business and to send it to my native city, which always receives you hospitably when you sail into the Pontus, and to contribute to its external adornment, even as you contribute to its sustenance. It cannot fail to give you pleasure to have something that has belonged to you standing in their city, and as you sail towards that city you will delight in gazing at it.