Conversations in the Realm of the Dead - Lucian (approx. 120 - approx. 180)

Literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages - Summary - 2019

Conversations in the Realm of the Dead
Lucian (approx. 120 - approx. 180)

I. Diogen and Polidevk I

assembled once again to return to the land Polidevka Diogenes gives instructions. He must hand over to Ciinet Menippus (ridiculing all the idle philosophers of the controversy) that in the realm of the dead he will have even more reasons for fun and ridicule, for here the tyrants, the rich and the satraps are extremely miserable and powerless. And to all philosophers, he advises to stop meaningless controversy. The wealthy Diogenes tells us that we do not need to buy jewels, collecting talan for a talent, for they will soon go underground, where they will need only one shell to pay Charon for transportation.

But the poor should not be grumbling for fate: in the realm of the dead all are equal - both rich and poor. Polidevk promises to fulfill these and other orders of Diogenes.

II. Pluto, or Against Menippa

Cresus complains to Pluto: the restless Menippus, the philosopher-cunning, continues to mock at the rich and the lords in the underground kingdom: "We all weep, recalling our earthly fate: this one, Midas, is gold, Sardanapal is a great luxury, I, Cres, - his innumerable treasures, and he laughs at us and curses, calling us slaves and scum ..."

Menipp admits to Pluto that this is the case: it gives him pleasure to ridicule those who mourn for the lost benefits of the earthly. Pluto urges everyone to stop the discontent. But Menipp thinks: the former satraps and the rich are merely worthy of ridicule: "That's fine, so it's necessary. Cry, and I'll sing to you, repeating: "Know yourself!" Is a very good chorus to your groans."

III. Menippe, Amphiloch and Trophony

Menippe is indignant: ordinary Amphilos and Trophony have been awarded temples after death, and people consider them to be prophets. But the heroes of Trofony and Amphioloh respond modestly to the fact that honorable people give them voluntarily. As for the prophetic gift, the future Trophony is ready to predict to anyone who descends into his Lebate cave. And to the question of Menippa, who is such a hero, Trofony replies: "This is a being made up of God and man." "I do not understand, Trophony, what do you say; one thing I see is clear: you are a dead man, and nothing else", - concludes the Menipop dialogue.

IV. Hermes and Charon

Hermes reminds Charon that he owed him a great deal: five drachmas for anchor, and even for a wax to make holes in a boat, for nails, for a rope with which the ridge is attached to the mast, and for much more. Charon responds with a sigh that he can not calculate until now: "Now I can not do it, Hermes, but if the plague is somehow or war sends us a lot of people, then you can earn something by counting the dead at the transfer fee" . But Hermes does not want such a sad way to return the spent. He agrees to wait. It is only observing with a sigh that if earlier the courageous people, mostly those who died from the wounds received in the war, had fallen into the underground kingdom, then now it is not at all: one was poisoned by a wife, the other died from obesity, and most die because of money spit. And Charon agrees with him.

V. Pluto and Hermes

Pluton asks Hermes to extend life to the ninety-year-old childless rich Yevkraat. But they are chasing for his money, wishing to receive the inheritance of Kharin, Damon, and others in order to bring the kingdom of the dead to the kingdom. Hermes is surprised: he believes that this is unfair. But Pluto says that those who are hungry for the sudden death of their neighbor, who seem to be friends with him, are worthy of death. And Hermes agrees: to throw such a joke with the villains will only be fair. But hard-working Eucryth, let him, like Iolaus, throw off the burden of old age and rejuvenate, while the young villains awaiting his death will die like bad men in the prime of hope.

VI. Terpsion and Pluto

Terpsion complains to Pluto: he died at the thirtieth year of his life, and the ninety-year-old Fukrit is still alive! But Pluto finds it fair: Fukritus did not want death to anyone, but Terpsion and his like-minded young people are flattering for the elders, lend themselves to them in order to obtain an inheritance. Is this kind of caricature not worthy of punishment?!

Terpsion is saddened that he did not sleep for many nights, he carefully calculated the possible term of Fukrit's death and the sum of the alleged inheritance. As a result, he was tired and died the first. Pluto vigorously promises that other selfish servicemen will soon come to his kingdom. And Fukrita should live even further until he bury all the flatterers who want to another's goodness.

VII. Zenofant and Callidemid

Callidemid tells Zenofant how he died due to the fatal mistake of the slave. Wishing to send to that light the old man Pteiodor, he spoke to the wine-maker to give the owner a bowl of poisoned wine. But he confused the vessels (accidentally or not - it is unknown) and eventually the bowl with poison was drained by the young poisoner himself. But the old Ptoodor, having realized what happened, laughed laughing at the mistake of the winemaker.

VIII. Knemon and Damnip

Knemon tells Damnippus how fate has fooled him. He vigorously cared for the childless rich Germolaam in the hope of inheriting the latter. And to guarantee the favor of the old man, he made a will, where he declared Hermolai his successor (so that he did the same from the sense of gratitude). But on Knemn's barely collapsed, and the old Hermolai got all his possessions. So Knemon got into his own trap.

IX. Simil and Polistrat

The Nine-hundred-year-old Polistrate finally fell into the realm of the dead and told Simil that the last two decades had lived particularly well. Locations of a childless old man were looking for the best men of the city, hoping to become his heirs. Without giving up their courtesy (and promising to make him the heir), the Polistrate deceived them all: he made the heiress of a recently-bought freeman, phrygian, slave and his pet.

And as he suddenly became a rich man, now he is looking for the most distinguished of his location.

X. Charon, Hermes and various dead

Charon is going to take the next batch of the dead and draws their attention to the plight of their boat. He offers passengers to get rid of excess cargo and asks Hermes to follow it. The messenger of the gods takes care of the matter. According to him, the philosopher-cunningman Menipp willingly throws his miserable bag and stick. And Hermes puts it at the honorable place near the steering wheel. Hermelai Hermes gives the beauty Hermes orders to remove long hair from her, blush and, in general, the entire skin. Tirana ordered Lampihu to leave all the riches on the shore, and at the same time, he was alert and haughty. The commander has to give up arms and trophies. The demagogue's philosopher is forced to part not only with lies, ignorance and hunting for empty disputes, but also with a shaggy beard and eyebrows. And when a frightened philosopher demands that Menipp leave his freedom, frankness, nobility and laughter, Hermes vigorously objects: it's all - things are light, they can not be transported easily, and they will even help in a sad way. And the roar of Charon is off the coast.

XI. Kratte and Diogenes Kratte

with irony tell Diogenes that the rich cousins of Merich and Aristay, being peers, cared for each other in a different way, and each declared heir to another in the hope of surviving him. As a result, both died at the same time during the shipwreck.

But Kratet and Diogenes did not wish each other death, for they did not claim the scant possessions of their fellow, completely satisfied with the mutual exchange of wise thoughts - the best of the inherited wealth.

XII. Alexander, Hannibal, Minos and Scipio

Alexander and Hannibal dispute the primacy in the kingdom of the dead. Minos invites everyone to talk about his actions. The great commanders list their well-known victories and conquests, while trying to humiliate their opponents in every possible way. But when Minos is about to make a decision, Scipio suddenly gives voice and reminds him that he has defeated Hannibal. As a result, the championship Minos is awarded to Alexander, the second place - Scipio, and Hannibal turns out to be third.

XIII. Diogenes and Alexander

Diogene remarked mockingly: Alexander, however, was in the realm of the dead, despite his supposedly divine origin. A great commander is compelled to agree. For thirty days now, his body is in Babylon, waiting for a magnificent burial in Egypt, so that he thus becomes one of the Egyptian gods. Diogene sarcastically remarks that Alexander did not understand after death: he believes in such a stupidity. And in addition, he also cries, recalling earthly honors and delights. Is not his educator philosopher Aristotle teaching his disciple: wealth, honor, and other gifts of fate are not eternal. Alexander is annoyed to admit that his mentor was a lucrative flatterer. He argued that wealth was also a benefit: in this way, it was not ashamed to accept gifts. In conclusion, Diogenes advises Alexander to regularly drink throats of water from the Lethe: this will help him to forget and stop grieving for Aristotelian benefits.

XIV. Philip and Alexander

Alexander, meeting in that light with his father, are forced to admit their terrestrial origin. Yes, he knew this before, and supported the version of his divine genealogy in order to make it easier to conquer the world: most subjugated peoples did not dare to resist gods.

Philip remarked mockingly that almost everyone whom his son conquered was not worthy of adversity, both in courage and in military training. It's not that the Greeks, whom he won, Philip ... Alexander reminds us that he also defeated the Scythians, and even the Indian elephants. Did not he destroy the Greek Thebes?!

Yes, Philip heard about it. But it is funny and sad to him that Alexander absorbed the customs of the same conquered peoples. And his courageous courage was not always reasonable. And now, when people saw his dead body, they finally realized: Alexander is not God at all. And Philip advises his son to part with the pompous conceit, to know herself and to understand that he is a simple dead man.

XV. Achilles and Antiochus

Antiochus reproach Achilles in the fact that he is ill-fated and unreasonable : he declared that it would be better to serve as a liveliest as a warder from a poor plowman than to reign over all the dead. So do not speak to the most glorious of the heroes. Moreover, Achilles voluntarily chose death in the halo of glory.

Achilles are justified: the posthumous glory on earth to him nothing, but among the dead is full equality. He lost everything here: the dead Trojans are no longer afraid of Achilles, and the Greeks are not respectful.

Antiloh comforts him: this is the law of nature. And he advises Achilles not to grumble to fate, so that he will not confuse others.

XVI. Diogenes and Heracles

Diogon in his usual ironic manner asks Hercules: how is it that he, the son of Zeus, also died ?! The big athlete objects: "Real Hercules dwells in heaven, and I am only his ghost." But Diogenes doubts whether it turned out to be the opposite: Hercules himself was in the kingdom of the dead, and in heaven only his ghost.

Hercules are angry with such audacity and are ready to punish a scoffer. But Diogenes reasonably remarks: "I have died once, so I have nothing to fear you." Then Hercules annoys annoyingly: what was in him from the earthly father of Amphitrion, then he died (and this is he who is underground), but that from Zeus - he lives in heaven with the gods. And it's not two Hercules, but one in two ways. But Diogenes is not absent: he already sees not two but three Hercules. True Hercules lives in heaven, his ghost is in the realm of the dead, and the body is turned into dust. Even more perturbed by this sophistry, Heracles asks: "Who are you?" And he hears: "Diogene is a Sinop ghost, and he himself lives with the best among the dead and laughs over Homer and all that great-haired chatter."

XVII. Menippe and Tantalum

Tantalum is dying of thirst, standing on the shore of a lake: water flows through his fingers, and he can not even wet his lips. At the question of Menippus, how he, long dead, may feel thirst, Tantal explains: this is what is happening to his punishment: the soul feels thirst, as if it is a body.

XVIII. Menippus and Hermes.

Menippus, who came to the kingdom of the dead, asked Hermes to show him the glorious beauties and beauties, and was surprised to learn that both Narcissus and Hyacinth, and Achilles, and Elena, and Leda were now monotonous skulls and skeletons, no more. And the fact that Elena was so beautiful at life, that for her sake a thousand ships and Hellenes drove to the Three, only a mocking surprise causes Menippus: it was true that the Achaeans did not understand: they are fighting for what so short-lived and will soon bloom!

But Hermes offers him to cease to philosophize and quickly choose a place among the other dead.

XIX. Aac, Protesailai, Menelaus and Paris

The leader of the Thessalians Protesailai, the first of the Greeks who died at the siege of Troy from Hector's hand, wants to strangle Elena (although in the kingdom of shadows, this is impractical and meaningless). He explains to Eac, that he died just because of Helen. But immediately he agrees that, in all probability, the Menelaus, guilty of the Hellenes under Troy, is guilty. And Menelaus (he, of course, here too) drops all to Paris - a visitor who has cunningly abducted the master's wife. Paris also asks Protesilaya to recall that both of them were passionately in love during their lifetime and therefore should understand each other. And Protesailai is ready to punish Erota, guilty of everything. But Eac reminds you: "You forgot about your young wife, and when you drove to the shores of Troas, he jumped out of the ship earlier than others, recklessly exposing yourself to the dangers of just thirst for glory, and therefore died first." And Protesilaus comes to the conclusion: it is not Helen and not other mortals who are guilty of his premature death, but the goddesses of fate of Moira.

XX. Menipp and Eac Menipp

asks Eac to show the sights of the underworld: he wants to see the most famous her inhabitants.

The philosopher is amazed: all the glorious heroes of the poems of Homer have turned into dust - and Achilles, and Agamemnon, and Odysseus, and Diomed, and many others. But most of all, his sages are attracted - Pythagoras, Socrates, Solon, Thales, Pittak ... Only among the dead they are not sad: they always have something to talk about.

Having negotiated with them, Menipp does not refrain from reproaching Empedocles in that he seems to have thrown into the crater of Etna from the empty thirst for glory and a lot of stupidity. But he tells Socrates that on earth everyone is considered to be worthy of amazement and revered in every way. And then goes to Sardanapula and Cresu to laugh, listening to their woeful screams. Eac returns to his duties at the gatekeeper.

XXI. Menippe and Kerber

Menippe asks Kerber to tell how he went into the underworld Socrates. And the three-headed dog remembers: decent Socrates behaved only at the beginning of the journey, but looking into the crevice and seeing the darkness, he began to weep like a baby and began to grieve for his children. And all the sophistic principles were forgotten here ...

Only Diogenes and he, Menippus, behaved worthily: they entered the kingdom of the dead on their own accord and even with laughter. Yet the other philosophers were not at the height.

XXII. Charon and Menippe The

lame carrier Charon demands from Menippa the usual charge for delivery on that light - one shell. But he does not want to pay. For, among other things, it does not have a single coin. And he proposes to pay Hermes - who delivered him to the limits of the kingdom of the dead ...

"By the Zeus, I would have been better off if I had to pay for the dead!" And to the rebuke of Charon, that he - the only one who has sailed to the kingdom of the dead by the gift, Menippus calmly objects: no, not for nothing. After all, he drew water from a hole boat, helped roar and did not cry the only one out of all. But Charon does not calm down. And Menippe suggests: "Then take me back to life!" "So that Eac punched me for this?" - Horon is horrified. And on his question, who is sitting in it in a boat, Hermes says: he transmits free of charge an unlimited free man, who is not considered to be with anyone or anything! This is Menippo!

XXIII. Protesailai, Pluto and Persephone

Protesailai, the first of the Greeks who died under Troy, pleaded with Pluto to let him go to earth for only one day: even the flying waters did not help him to forget his wonderful wife. But, for the same reason, they gave Ordibe to Eurydice, and they let Alchemist out of mercy to Hercules. And besides, Protesailai hopes to persuade his wife to leave the world alive and, with her husband, go down into the underworld: then Pluto will have two dead ones instead of one!

In the end, Pluto and Persephone agree. Hermes returns Protesailai to a former flowering species and leads her to the eternally in love with the earth. Pluto reminds him of the following: "Do not forget that I have released You only for one day!"

XXIV. Diogenes and Mausoleum

The Caribbean Mausoleum, a Galician squadron, and in that light is proud of its conquests, the beauty and magnitude of the tomb (one of the seven wonders of the world: the name of the "mausoleum" came from it). But Diogenes reminds the king: now he is deprived of the conquered lands and influences. As for beauty, now his naked skull is difficult to distinguish from the skull of Diogenes. And should it be proud that you are lying under a heavier stone community than others?!

"So, all this for nothing? The mausoleum will be equal to Diogenes?! "exclaims the tyrant. "No, not equal, respectable, not at all. The mausoleum will cry, recalling the earthly good that he thought to enjoy, and Diogenes - laugh at him. For after him he left among the best people the glory of a man living a life higher than the Mausoleum tomb, and based on a harder soil."

XXV Nirei, Tersit and Menippo.

Spoiled by Homer, the handsome Nirei and the freak, the hard-horned hunchback Tersit (derided in "Iliad") appeared before Menip in the kingdom of shadows. The philosopher admits that now they are equaled externally: their skulls and bones are quite similar. "So, I'm not Terksita here at all?" Nirey asked hurtfully. Menipp replies: "And you are not beautiful, and no one at all: in the underworld, equality is reigning, and here all are similar to each other."

XXVI. Menippe and Chiron

The wise centaur Chiron, the caregiver of Asclepius, Achilles, Theseus, Jason and the other great, refused immortality in favor of Prometheus. He explains Menippo that he chose to die even because he was tired of the monotony of earthly life: one and the same sun, moon, food, constant change of the seasons ... Happiness is not that we have always, but that we unavailable. In the underworld, Chiron is pleased with universal equality and that nobody feels hunger and thirst.

But Menipp warns Chiron that he can fall into a contradiction with himself: in the realm of shadows, monotony reigns. But looking for an exit to the third life is already meaningless. Menipup, who thought and even became obsessed with the centaur, reminded me: the clever is content with the present, is glad of what he has, and nothing seems to him unbearable.

XXVII. Diogene, Antisphen and Kratet

Three philosophers - Diogenes, Antisphenes and Kratte - go to the entrance to the underworld to look at the "new replenishment." On the way, they tell each other about those who came here with them: everyone, regardless of the situation in society and prosperity, behaved unworthily - weeping, complaining, and some even trying to resist. Hermes hugged herself on his back and carried a force. But all three philosophers behaved worthy ...

Here they are at the entrance. Diogenes turns to the ninety-year-old elder: "Why are you crying if you died at such an advanced age?" It turns out that this half-blind and lame childless fisherman, almost a beggar, does not bathe in luxury. Nevertheless, he is convinced that even a poor life is better than death. And Diogenes advises him to consider death as the best medicine against adversity and old age.

XXVIII. Menippus and Trescia

Menippus asks the forerunner of Tirezia, whether in the course of his life he was not only a man, but also a woman. Having received the affirmative answer, he inquires into the state of Tearia's feel better. And when he heard that in women, he immediately cites the words of Medea about the painful weight of women's share. And on pathetic reminders of Tirezia about the transformation of beautiful women into birds and trees (Aedon, Daphne, and others), Menippe skeptically notices that he will believe it only by himself having heard the stories of the transformed ones. And even the well-known prophetic gift of Tirezia, the restless skeptic Menipp questioned, "You only act like all the diviners: the custom of you - nothing to say clear and sound."

XXIX. Ayant and Agamemnon

Agamemnon reproaches Ayantha: he killed himself, accusing him of this Odyssey, who claimed to be the armor of Achilles. But Ayant persists: other leaders refused this reward, but Odysseus considered himself the most worthy. This was the cause of Ayant's mad insanity: "The Odyssey can not stop hating, Agamemnon, even if Athens himself ordered me!"

XXX. Minos and Sostrates

The judge of the underground kingdom Minos distributes punishments and rewards. He tells the robber Sostrates to throw himself into the flood stream - the Pyraflegeton. But Sostrat asks to hear him: after all, everything that he did was predetermined by Moira. And Minos agrees with this. And having heard some more examples given by Sostrat, with annoyance in the soul comes to the conclusion: Sostrat not only a robber, but also a sophist! And he reluctantly orders Hermes: "Free him: the punishment is removed from him." And already referring to Sostrat: "Just see, do not teach other dead to ask such questions!"