What are you reading?

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by drmoss_ca » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:52 pm

A small deception - I'm not reading this, and it may not have been "in print" for a thousand years before the printing press was invented. Long time members will be familiar with the word "pogonotomy" as referring to shaving, but may not have heard of the treatise written by the Emperor Julian (yes, that Julian, whom we know of from Gore Vidal's splendid 1964 novel) called Misopogon - The Beard Hater.

In 1913, someone made a translation, and it includes such gems as:
For though nature did not make this any too handsome or well-favoured or give it the bloom of youth, I myself out of sheer perversity and ill-temper have added to it this long beard of mine, to punish it, as it would seem, for this very crime of not being handsome by nature. For the same reason I put up with the lice that scamper about in it as though it were a thicket for wild beasts.
And yet for this as for other purposes a beard is evidently troublesome, since it does not allow me to press shaven "lips to other lips more sweetly" -- because they are smooth, I suppose -- as has been said already by one of those who with the aid of Pan and Calliope composed poems in honour of Daphnis.
But as though the mere length of my beard were not enough, my head is dishevelled besides, and I seldom have my hair cut or my nails, while my fingers are nearly always black from using a pen. And if you would like to learn something that is usually a secret, my breast is shaggy, and covered with hair, like the breasts of lions who among wild beasts are monarchs like me, and I have never in my life made it smooth, so ill-conditioned and shabby am I, nor have I made any other part of my body smooth or soft.
But now I 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.
Throughout the whole city, then, you both uttered and listened to all the jests that were made about this miserable beard of mine, and about one who has never displayed to you nor ever will display among you the sort of life that you always live and desire to see also among those who govern you.
At least, as far as we know, his beard was not orange. Poor bugger managed to be emperor for three years, and is remembered for trying to get the old Roman pantheon of gods honoured again rather than the new death cult from Judea. Not such a great success there. Undoubtedly, he should have shaved.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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