Against the Galileans – Fragment 22

It is obvious then, that human beings [1] nature has customized specific laws [to each nation] to itself, political [2] and human laws among those by whom love of mankind has been nourrished more than anything [3], wild and inhuman [laws] among those whose personality’s nature is, since their beginning and in their inner side, the opposite way. Indeed, through education, lawmakers have added few things to natures and tendencies. Scythians didn’t admit Anacharsis who celebrated Bacchic rituals [4]; and among the Western peoples [5], you wouldn’t find in a satisfying way, except few ones, having been strongly prepared to philosophize, to do geometry or some [science] of this kind, in spite of Roman domination which has been enforced [there] for so long. But the most developed ones [6] have joy only in debate and rhetoric, whereas they have affinity with no other study. Nature seems to be from this kind of strength. Why then this difference between nations, regarding customs and laws?

[1] τῶν ανθρώπων, of men as a species

[2] πολιτικοὺς, civilized

[3] επὶ πλεῖστον, more than most (of what is existing)

[4] βακχεύοντα, celebrating Bacchos

[5] τῶν Ͱεσπερίων εθνῶν, Hesperian peoples, peoples from the West (especially Hispania)

[6] ͱοι λίαν ευφυεῖς, those who have a very good nature, a good constitution

Notice on text and translation

Τοὺς μὲν γὰρ νόμους εύδηλον ͱως ͱη τῶν ανθρώπων έθετο φύσις οικείους ͱεαυτῇ, πολιτικοὺς μὲν καὶ φιλανθρώπους, ͱοῖς επὶ πλεῖστον εντέθραπτο τὸ φιλάνθρωπον, αγρίους δὲ καὶ απανθρώπους, ͱοῖς εναντία φύσις ͱυπῆρχε καὶ ενυπῆρχε τῶν ηθῶν. Ͱοι γὰρ νομοθέται μικρὰ ταῖς επιτηδειότησι διὰ τῆς αγωγῆς προσέθεσαν. Ούκουν Ανάχαρσιν ͱοι Σκύθαι βακχεύοντα παρεδέξαντο· ουδὲ τῶν Ͱεσπερίων εθνῶν ͱεύροις άν τινας ευκόλως πλὴν ολίγων σφόδρα επὶ τὸ φιλοσοφεῖν ὴ γεωμετρεῖν ή τι τῶν τοιούτων ηυτρεπισμένους, καίτοι κρατούσης επὶ τοσοῦτον ήδη τῆς Ρωμαϊκῆς ͱηγεμονίας. Αλλ’ απολαύουσι μόνον τῆς διαλέξεως καὶ τῆς ῥητορείας ͱοι λίαν ευφυεῖς, άλλου δὲ ουδενὸς μεταλαμβάνουσι μαθήματος. Ͱούτως ισχυρὸν έοικεν ͱη φύσις εῖναι. Τίς οῦν ͱη διαφορὰ τῶν εθνῶν εν τοῖς ήθεσι καὶ τοῖς νόμοις ;

Julian’s Against the Galileans, Fragment 22, translation by J-S Desnanot

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