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Quote of the day: The Britons themselves bear cheerfully t
Notes
Mispogon (beard-haters) by Julian
Translated by Wilmer Cave Wright
Chapter 13
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But now I [Note 1] come to ponder the matter I find that I have committed yet other terrible sins. For though I was coming to a free city which cannot tolerate unkempt hair, I entered it unshaven and with a long beard, like men who are at a loss for a barber. One would have thought it was some Smicrines he saw, or some Thrasyleon, some ill-tempered old man or crazy soldier, when by beautifying myself I might have appeared as a blooming boy and transformed myself into a youth, if not in years, at any rate in manners and effeminacy of features. "You do not know," you answer, "how to mix with people, and you cannot approve of the maxim of Theognis, for you do not imitate the polypus which takes on the colours of the rocks. Nay rather you behave to all men with the proverbial Myconian boorishness and ignorance and stupidity. Are you not aware that we here are far from being Celts or Thracians or Illyrians? Do you not see what a number of shops there are in this city? But you are hated by the shopkeepers because you do not allow them to sell provisions to the common people and those who are visiting the city at a price as high as they please. The shopkeepers blame the landowners for the high prices; but you make these men also your enemies, by compelling them to do what is just. Again, those who hold office in the city are subject to both penalties; I mean that just as, before you came, they obviously used to enjoy profits from both sources, both as landowners and as shopkeepers, so naturally they are now aggrieved on both accounts, since they have been robbed of their profits from both sources. Then the whole body of Syrian citizens are discontented because they cannot get drunk and dance the cordax. You, however, think that you are feeding them well enough if you provide them with plenty of corn. Another charming thing about you is that you do not even take care that the city shall have shell-fish. Nay more, when someone complained the other day that neither shell-fish nor much poultry could be found in the market, you laughed very maliciously and said that a well- conducted city needs bread, wine and olive oil, but meat only when it is growing luxurious. For you said that even to speak of fish and poultry is the extreme of luxury and of profligacy such as was beyond the reach of even the suitors in Ithaca; and that anyone who did not enjoy eating pork and mutton would fare very well if he took to vegetables. You must have thought that you were laying down these rules for Thracians, your own fellow citizens, or for the uncultured people of Gaul who -- so much the worse for us! -- trained you to be 'a heart of maple, a heart of oak,' though not indeed 'one who fought at Marathon' also, but rather to be half of you an Acharnian and altogether an unpleasant person and an ungracious fellow. Would it not be better that the market-place should be fragrant with myrrh when you walk there and that you should be followed by a troop of handsome boys at whom the citizens could stare, and by choruses of women like those that exhibit themselves every day in our city?"

Note 1: I = Julian