Wednesday, June 12, 2013

An Anecdote on Antiochene Superficiality

I was reading the note by Peter van Nuffelen and Lieve Van Hoof, No Stories for Old Men. Damophilos of Bithynia in Julian's Misopogon on and had to confess that the story in the first paragraph he relates a story from Julian's Misopogon that gave an amusing picture of the supposed superficiality of the Antiochene populace:

"According to an anecdote that could be found in a compilation of Damophilus of Bithynia but that was ultimately derived from the Life of Cato the Younger of Plutarch, Cato was once approaching Antioch when he saw the ephebes lined up outside the city. Ostensibly embarrassed as befits a philosopher's modesty, but also flattered, he reproached his friends for having secretly announced his arrival to the city and thus caused this formal welcome. Yet when he came close, the gymnasiarch ran up to him and asked ‘Stranger, where is Demetrius?’ The welcome was thus intended not for the modest and austere Cato but for a rich slave of Pompey. Cato could only utter ‘o unhappy city’ and turned his heels. For Julian, the Antiochene fervour for a rich slave is additional proof of the innate depravity of Antioch, which clearly predated his own presence in the city".

From what I gather the authors' paper is unpublished in the conventional sense and thus shows the evolution of into a forum for serious papers to get to the end users without having to pass the traditional gatekeepers. One of our recent frustrations has been that some conferences with Antioch themes held in 2010 and 2011, which we have tried to get the papers from, are advised as still being compiled by the academic publishing houses. This is ridiculous as the papers as presented are generally in publishable form when they are first presented. This is just an example of torpor. Fortunately some academics are forthcoming with their works and ideas before the dead hand of academic publishing has its way with their works. 

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