Truer Today, But Already True Then

Dicaearchus, that great and prolific Peripatetic, wrote a work called On the Extinction of Human Life. Having assembled the other causes – floods, epidemics, ravages of nature, sudden invasions by hordes of wild beasts, the onset of which he demonstrates has caused the exstirpation of certain races – he then shows how many more men by contrast have been wiped out by attacks made by other men in wars or civil commotions, than by all other disasters.

(Cicero, De Officiis 2.16, tr. P. G. Walsh, Oxford, 2000)

The Latin:

Est Dicaearchi liber de interitu hominum, Peripatetici magni et copiosi, qui collectis ceteris causis eluvionis, pestilentiae, vastitatis, beluarum etiam repentinae multitudinis, quarum impetu docet quaedam hominum genera esse consumpta, deinde comparat, quanto plures deleti sint homines hominum impetu, id est bellis aut seditionibus, quam omni reliqua calamitate.

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One Response to Truer Today, But Already True Then

  1. John Cowan says:

    As it happens, I just reread L. Sprague de Camp’s historical novel The Bronze God of Rhodes, about the life of Chares of Lindos. Dikaiarchos figures as one of Chares’ companions on a trip to Egypt made in an attempt to persuade Ptolemy I to lift the siege, and mentions that he has written this book.

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