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why he has been so long absent from Constantinople. Timarion replies that he has been dead and come to life again. How? What is this? Cydion presses him to be more explicit. At first Timarion refuses, at last he yields to his friend's entreaty. He tells him how he had undertaken a journey to Thessalonica about the time when the festival of St. Demetrius, the patron saint of that city, was celebrated. Since the seventh century this saint has enjoyed a great veneration in Greece, and especially in Thessalonica where he was buried, and as his festival fell in October, it is even possible to fix with precision the date when Timarion undertook his journey. The festival drew a great concourse of people to the city, and a great fair was always held outside the walls on this occasion, commerce being thus happily blended with religious duties, much in the same mode as at the Panathenaica of Athens and the Panionium of Miletus. Timarion arrived in time to witness all the festivities. He visited the fair and saw spread out all the natural products and handiworks of a great part of the world. All that Boeotia and the Peloponnesus could produce or merchant vessels import from Italy came hither. Even Phoenicia and Egypt, nay, even Spain and the Pillars of Hercules, sent their wares. There was Black Sea produce (probably Russian furs, caviare, and salt fish); there were the weaving and spinning produce of men and women. Many of these went first to Byzantium, and passed thence to Thessalonica per mule or horse, these cavalcades forming a gay and splendid addition to the spectacle. Together with the fair the religious ceremony was also held. This lasted three whole nights; on the morning of the fourth day there was a solemn procession through the city, when the whole population turned out to do honour to the saint. Timarion was struck by the brilliancy of the cortège, the wealth of the appointments, the military bearing of the soldiery. His admiration was enhanced at the sight of the governor of the city, and by his condescension and grace of address. Timarion joined the crowd and also offered up his prayers at the shrine of the saint. Unhappily, however, his pleasures were cut short that same evening by an attack of fever. Disregarding it, he set out next day to return to Constantinople, but soon more alarming symptoms set in, and he had not gone far before he succumbed to his malady. He fell asleep, and from that he presumed into death. He only remembered with horror that two demons, terrible to behold, swooped down upon his body.

'This,' said one of them is he who through losing all his bile has lost a fourth part of the composition of his being, and may not live any longer with the three fourths remaining to him.'

For, as Timarion goes on to explain, this was in accordance with a notice posted up in Hades by Eskulapius and Hippokrates, that any human being who had thus lost a fourth part of himself could live no longer, even if his body might otherwise be in good condition. Timarion was therefore forced to follow these genii and obey the orders which they gave him in tones and words that were far from conciliatory. They first bore him through the air, then across a bog, and

finally forced him to descend into a yawning gulf, closed at the bottom by the heavy iron gates of Hades. As Timarion passed in, the guardians eyed him sharply.

'Aha! there he is,' they said, 'he of whom Eakus and Minos spoke yesterday; he who, it is said, desired to live on although he had parted with a fourth part of his bodily substance, in opposition to the decrees of Eskulapius, Hippokrates, and, the whole medical senate. Bring in the luckless wight who dared to hold his own views on the composition of his body. For how should it be that a man could continue to live among mortals in the upper world without the four elementary substances?'

Once within the precincts of Hades, Timarion's guides, Oxylus and Nyction, proceed more slowly, and he has time to look about him. They pass the houses of the dead, which are lighted up according to the means of the inhabitants, some poorly, some with wood and coals, some with torches. Those who have been rich have lamps and live in great luxury. But all, whether rich or poor, rose up as the death guides passed, and greeted them with marked deference. The first person Timarion observed was an old man greedily devouring a meal of salted pork and Phrygian cabbage. In vain he tried to get some information concerning him. His questions were answered by dubious utterances. Probably these were understood at the time this satire was written and referred to the gourmandise of some great personage. Timarion's guides now became engrossed in conversation with a friend, so that they paid less attention to hurrying him on. He had therefore time to observe, lying on the ground in his tent, weeping bitterly and refusing to be comforted, another person, who, he was told, was the Emperor Romanos IV., Diogenes, who was here expiating the cruelties he had perpetrated in his lifetime. While gazing with awe upon this spectacle, Timarion was accosted by a spare old man. He at once recognised the new arrival, for the newly departed it seems still kept some of the rosy hue of life, which they lost after they had been some while in Hades.

'Welcome, you newcomer!' he cried. Pray tell me how do matters stand above? How much tunny fish can one buy now for an obolus? What is the price of salmon, anchovies, and flounders ? What do oil, wine, and wheat cost? Was there a good catch of sardines this year?'

When Timarion had replied to these and other greedy questions, he questioned in his turn concerning the inmate of the tent into which he had peeped, and asked why he was suffering such misery. The gourmand then told him the history of Diogenes of Cappadocia. Scarcely had he finished his recital than the genii too had ended their discourse. They turned fiercely upon Timarion with—

'Hasten your steps. You are to be brought into the Court of Justice, and will therefore soon part from us.'

'What!' exclaimed Timarion, are there also courts of justice, lawsuits, and verdicts here as in life?'


'Here, above all,' answered his guides, a man's whole life is examined to the minutest detail, and the verdict of each is spoken according to his deserts. And there is no appeal from the decision of this tribunal.'

So they walked on, and soon encountered a tall spare man who greeted Timarion by name, calling him one of his first scholars in the Aula at Byzantium. Timarion tried in vain to recognise his master. In this hale upright ghost he little guessed his gouty crippled teacher, Theodorus of Smyrna. He eagerly questioned him how it came that he was better off in Hades than on earth. The sophist explains. Above, he says, gold flowed to him too easily; he eat and lived well, and led an existence of sybaritic ease. Hence came gout, chalkstones, and such like ills. Here below all was changed. Here he had to keep a truly philosophical diet, a moderate table, and lead a quiet life almost exempt from care.

'In brief' he added,' what I practised above was sophistry. It consisted of idle words, of dainty phrases that pleased the common herd. Here, on the other hand, true wisdom and spiritual discipline are to be met with, that have nothing to do with words or grasping after the approval of the multitude. And now you are instructed,' concluded Theodorus. Then, in true ghostly fashion, he began to question Timarion as to what death he had died, and what was the cause of his advent in Hades.

This, replies Timarion, he hardly knows himself, but he puts it down to the importunity of the genii; for after narrating to Theodorus in great detail the minutiae of his illness, he feels assured that it was not sufficient to account for death. He repeats what he had overheard the genii saying regarding the edict of the medical senate, but he contends that, if the ancient sophists have not lied, he had not yet run his appointed length of days. Therefore he holds his case to be a hard one and of great injustice. This narration of his own grievances melted Timarion to tears. He implores his old master, for the love he bears him, to assist him in his grievous straits and to side with him when he shall come to accuse these miscreant genii before a court of law. This Theodorus promises, and further assures him that life will be given to him a second time, that he shall not plead in vain for resurrection. He only hopes that in that event Timarion will remember him and send him the customary victuals. To this Timarion assents most readily, and then questions Theodorus. as to how he proposes to carry out his design, especially as he fears that the judges, being pagans, will be prejudiced against them both as Galileans. Theodorus explains that he builds his anticipated success upon various things, above all upon his powers of speech, ready repartee, and sure tact to say the correct thing. Then, last but not least, on his competent knowledge of medicine. Thus he hopes to overcome the stately Collegium Medicum that presides over the court of law. He proceeds to speak of these ancient physicians with scant respect. Æskulapius with his empty glory has not opened his mouth

in speech for years, he feels himself so left behind. When he cannot avoid giving some manner of reply, his comrades couch their questions in such fashion that he need only nod in assent or shake his head in dissent. So much for him. Hippokrates, whenever he speaks, utters such crabbed and abstruse verbiage as does not fit into a court of law. The others are still more worthless, and Galen, the only one for whom Theodorus has some respect, happens fortunately to be absent at present from the council, as he is busy writing his book on different forms of fever. With regard to their paganism, Timarion need have no fears. Strict justice lies in the essence of their being, neither do they concern themselves with the different religions of those whom they have to judge. Moreover, having regard to the fact that the faith of the Galilean is spread over all Europe and a part of Asia, it has been deemed fitting to choose a judge also from their midst. Theophilus, the late Emperor of Constantinople, has been selected for this post, and his justice is well known. Theodorus only adds one piece of advice to Timarion: Do you not speak, pleading is not your forte; give me unlimited authority to speak for you.'

Theodorus then turns to the guides, and tells them that he is about to accuse them of having unjustly deprived Timarion of life. They all proceed onwards, walking over some fifteen stadia, till they reach a charming grove, where lovely flowers blossom, where the ground is covered with green grass, and birds sing sweetly. This, Theodorus explains, are the Elysian Fields, and soon after they approach the precincts of the court. Theodorus again bids Timarion, who is uneasy about the issue of his suit, be without fear. As they enter, they learn that a knotty case has just been decided concerning the incriminated death of Cæsar by the hands of Cassius and Brutus (a curious anachronism this, that Cæsar's murderers should be judged by a tribunal presided over by Theophilus who died nearly 900 years later). The constables now cite Timarion before the tribunal. Theodorus at once takes up the word and begs that he and his client may be led before the judges, as they have a matter of supreme importance to try before them, namely, to accuse Oxylus and Nyction of injustice; for since when, he would like to know, is it customary in Hades to part the soul from the body while full powers of life still exist in the latter? Theodorus so imposes on these functionaries by the pomposity of his address and his rhodomontade, that they obey him obsequiously, and lead him into the inner court where Æakus, Minos, and the Christian Theophilus are seated at a tribunal. Puffing out his cheeks, after the manner of the sophists, and speaking in inflated language, Theodorus pleads Timarion's cause as warmly as in 1082 he defended the cause of the Christians at the Synod held in Constantinople by Alexius Comnenus. He shows how Oxylus and Nyction had parted Timarion's soul forcibly from his body, and therefore claims for him a right to return to life. Minos summons the genii to defend themselves. They do so, upholding the theory that Timarion had lost all his bile during his illness, and had consequently

parted with a fourth part of his composition. On hearing this the judges resolve to adjourn their sitting until Eskulapius and Hippokrates can be present to decide this important point.


This adjournment lasted three days, but Timarion does not tell his friend what passed in their course. At their expiration he is once more formally cited before the tribunal, and an animated medical discussion ensues as to whether he has or has not parted with essentials. Theodorus' readiness of speech overcomes all obstacles, for he proves medically that Timarion's body was not sufficiently exhausted to justify its being parted from its soul. The verdict is at last given in Timarion's favour, and he is bade farewell until the time be up and he again appears here. Oxylus and Nyction are degraded from their office. This is the result in brief: the matter had required much talking to and fro, and it was evening before judgment was passed in this intricate case.

As it was getting late, Theodorus proposed that Timarion should come with him and spend the night in the abode of the wise. This clearly corresponds to Dante's Limbo glorioso, which Voltaire very properly preferred to all the nine spheres of Paradise. In this region lived all the philosophers and sophists, and so anxious was Timarion to see what he could of them, that he never closed his eyes all night. He saw Parmenides, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Thales, and all the other chiefs of all the philosophical sects, as they sat cheerfully together, conversing peaceably and discussing their various doctrines. Only Diogenes was excluded with contempt from their circle. Timarion reports to his friend the conversations that passed, which give him an opportunity of lauding his friends and vilifying his enemies.

Next morning Theodorus bade Timarion depart, telling him that it was long since matters had gone so well with any dead man. He wishes him farewell and instructs him to hurry, lest the news of his death should reach Constantinople and distress his many friends. So they part, and Timarion continues his journey without stopping, till he finds himself in the open air.

Tanto ch'io vidi delle cose belle,

Che porta il ciel, per un pertugio tondo;

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.

The Pleiades and the Great Bear were shining down upon him, and he greeted them with joy. At once he hastened to seek out his corpse. Descending by the chimney into the hut where he had left it, he entered his body by the mouth and nostrils. Resting a few hours, he next day continued his journey to Byzantium. Arrived there, his first endeavour was to find some one newly dead who would

1 Hase thinks that in the description of the tribunal, and the mode in which justice is administered, is a very evident imitation of the Attic orators. He further thinks that in these genii the growing Mahometan influence of the time is to be traced, for they recall the angels of Death, Mounker and Nekir, who play so great a part in Mahometan traditions.

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