(65) And in Egypt we may see a still more marvellous thing; for the crocodile is the most odious of all animals, and one addicted to devour man; and it is born and brought up in the most sacred way, and although residing in the depths, it feels the benefits which it receives from mankind; for in those tribes, among which it is honoured, it multiplies in the greatest degree, but among those who injure it it never appears at all: so that there are places where even the most timid persons when sailing by leap out of their ships and swim about with their children.
(66) And in the country of the Cyclops, since the race of these men is a fabulous invention, there is no eatable fruit whatever produced except such as is raised from seed and cultivated by husbandmen, just as nothing is produced from that which does not exist; but we must not accuse Greece as being sterile and unproductive, for there is a great deal of deep and rich soil in it; and if the land of the barbarians is superior in fruitfulness, though it is superior in the food which it produces, it is inferior in the men who are nourished by the food, and for whose sake the food is produced.
For Greece is the only country which really produces man, that heavenly plant, that divine offshoot, producing that most accurately refined reason which is appropriated by and akin to knowledge; and the cause is this, it is the nature of the intellect to be rendered acute by the lightness of the air; (67) on which account Heraclitus said with great propriety, “Where the soil is dry, there the soul is most wise and most excellent;” and any one may conjecture this from the fact, that men who are sober and contented with a little are wise, and that those who are continually filling themselves with meat and drink are the least sensible, as if their reasoning faculties were drowned by the quantity which they swallow.
(68) And on this account we see, in the countries of the barbarians, trees and plants grow to the greatest possible size, by reason of the abundance of nourishment which they receive; and we see too, that the irrational animals which are found in these regions are the most prolific of any, but the mind is not so, or, at all events, it is so in a very slight degree, because it is elevated and raised out of the aether itself, while the incessant and uninterrupted evaporations of earth and water have freely boiled over it. (69) Again, the different kinds of fish, and birds, and terrestrial animals, are not grounds for accusing nature, which invites us to pleasure by those means, but are a terrible reproach to us for our intemperate use of them, for it was necessary, for the due completion of the universe, in order that there should be order and regularity in every portion of it, that there should be produced every possible species of animal. But it was not necessary that that animal, which of all others is most akin to wisdom, namely, man, should rush with such eagerness to the enjoyment of it, as to change his nature into something resembling the ferocity of wild beasts; (70) on which account, even up to the present time, those who have any regard for temperance entirely abstain from such things, eating only vegetables, and herbs, and the fruits of trees, as the most delicious and wholesome food.