Epigram 11.354

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ἄλλον Ἀριστοτέλην, Νικόστρατον, ἰσοπλάτωνα,
σκινδαλαμοφράστην αἰπυτάτης σοφίης,
τοῖα περὶ ψυχῆς τις ἀνείρετο: πῶς θέμις εἰπεῖν
τὴν ψυχήν; θνητήν, ἢ πάλιν ἀθάνατον;
σῶμα δὲ δεῖ καλέειν, ἢ ἀσώματον; ἐν δὲ νοητοῖς
τακτέον, ἢ ληπτοῖς, ἢ τὸ συναμφότερον;
αὐτάρ ὃ τὰς βίβλους ἀνελέξατο τῶν μετεώρων,
καὶ τὸ περὶ ψυχῆς ἔργον Ἀριστοτέλους,
καὶ παρὰ τῷ Φαίδωνι Πλατωνικὸν ὕψος ἐπιγνούς,
πᾶσαν ἐνησκήθη πάντοθεν ἀτρεκίην.
εἶτα περιστέλλων τὸ τριβώνιον, εἶτα γενείου
ἄκρα καταψήχων, τὴν λύσιν ἐξέφερεν
εἴπερ ὅλως ἔστι ψυχῆς φύσις ῾οὐδὲ γὰρ οἶδἀ,
ἢ θνητὴ πάντως ἐστὶν ἢ ἀθάνατος,
στεγνοφυὴς ἢ ἄυλος: ὅταν δ᾽ Ἀχέροντα περήσῃς,
κεῖθι τὸ νημερτὲς γνώσεαι ὡς ὁ Πλάτων.
εἰ δ᾽ ἐθέλεις, τὸν παῖδα Κλεόμβροτον Ἀμβρακιώτην
μιμοῦ, καὶ τεγέων σὸν δέμας ἐκχάλασον
καί κεν ἐπιγνοίης δίχα σώματος αὐτίκα σαυτόν,
μοῦνον ὅπερ ζητεῖς τοῦθ᾽ ὑπολειπόμενος.

— Paton edition

One enquired as follows about the soul from
Nicostratus, that second Aristotle, that equal of
Plato, the straw-splitter of the loftiest philosophy.
“ How should we describe the soul, as mortal or
rather immortal? Must we call it a body or in-
corporeal? Is it to be classed among intelligible
or apprehensible things, or is it both ? ” But he
perused again his books of metaphysic and Aris-
totle’s work on the Soul, and having renewed his
acquaintance with Plato’s sublimity in the Phaedo,
armed himself from every source with the complete
truth. Then, wrapping his cloak about him and
stroking down the end of his beard, he gave utter-
ance to the solution : “ If the soul has in truth any
nature (for even that I don’t know) it is in any case
either mortal or immortal, either of a solid nature or
immaterial ; but when you have passed over Acheron,
there you shall learn the precise truth like Plato.
Or, if you will, imitate the boy Cleombrotus of Am-
bracia, and let your body drop from the roof. Then
you would at once recognise what you are, being
without a body, and with nothing left you but the
thing you are enquiring into.”

— Paton edition

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