Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2015 - Page 35

Anton Ivanov | 35

accord with justice and its power stood as a proof against any such thing as natural law.

Moved by his language, all the senators stood up to cheer once again, except for Cato the Elder, who had a reply. He recognized that the speeches of Carneades showed many flashes of genius, yet manifested great artifice. That while Carneades was certainly wrong in his arguments, he, Cato the Elder, would support the Athenian cause and vote to repeal the sanctions. That his intelligence would be of value to Rome if Carneades were to stay, but his impiety was dangerous and it was preferable for him to return home amongst the Greeks. Lastly, Cato stated, he would not be fooled by a skepticism that so thinly hid its pragmatic intent.

Thus Carneades was dismissed and a boat set sail that evening to escort him back to Athens. As the sky darkened Carneades thought to himself that even if there were no criteria for truth, and the gods were indifferent, with no way to discern what must be said, or how one should act, he would still remember his teacher Arcesilaus. He cherished the sweetness of the days they had spent together, like friends, in the garden of the Academia and remembered the absence to come and the withered foliage falling on rotting wood and sodden ropes washed ashore. He then sat on his bed and recited a poem, reminding himself that as his friend had passed, so too had that day, and every sun and night would pass as everything in its time must come to pass. The moon rested on a resonant sea. ♦