V. (40) I wish also to speak of their common assemblies, and their very cheerful meetings at convivial parties, setting them in opposition and contrast to the banquets of others, for others, when they drink strong wine, as if they had been drinking not wine but some agitating and maddening kind of liquor, or even the most formidable thing which can be imagined for driving a man out of his natural reason, rage about and tear things to pieces like so many ferocious dogs, and rise up and attack one another, biting and gnawing each other’s noses, and ears, and fingers, and other parts of their body, so as to give an accurate representation of the story related about the Cyclops and the companions of Ulysses, who ate, as the poet says, fragments of human flesh, {7}{odyssey 9:355.} and that more savagely than even he himself; (41) for he was only avenging himself on those whom he conceived to be his enemies, but they were ill-treating their companions and friends, and sometimes even their actual relations, while having the salt and dinner-table before them, at a time of peace perpetrating actions inconsistent with peace, like those which are done by men in gymnastic contests, debasing the proper exercises of the body as coiners debase good money, and instead of athletes (athleµtai) becoming miserable men (athlioi), for that is the name which properly belongs to them. (42) For that which those men who gain victories in the Olympic games, when perfectly sober in the arena, and having all the Greeks for spectators do by day, exerting all their skill for the purpose of gaining victory and the crown, these men with base designs do at convivial entertainments, getting drunk by night, in the hour of darkness, when soaked in wine, acting without either knowledge, or art, or skill, to the insult, and injury, and great disgrace of those who are subjected to their violence. (43) And if no one were to come like an umpire into the middle of them, and part the combatants, and reconcile them, they would continue the contest with unlimited licence, striving to kill and murder one another, and being killed and murdered on the spot; for they do not suffer less than they inflict, though out of the delirious state into which they have worked themselves they do not feel what is done to them, since they have filled themselves with wine, not, as the comic poet says, to the injury of their neighbour, but to their own. (44) Therefore those persons who a little while before came safe and sound to the banquet, and in friendship for one another, do presently afterwards depart in hostility and mutilated in their bodies. And some of these men stand in need of advocates and judges, and others require surgeons and physicians, and the help which may be received from them. (45) Others again who seem to be a more moderate kind of feasters when they have drunk unmixed wine as if it were mandragora, boil over as it were, and lean on their left elbow, and turn their heads on one side with their breath redolent of their wine, till at last they sink into profound slumber, neither seeing nor hearing anything, as if they had but one single sense, and that the most slavish of all, namely, taste. (46) And I know some persons who, when they are completely filled with wine, before they are wholly overpowered by it, begin to prepare a drinking party for the next day by a kind of subscription and picnic contribution, conceiving a great part of their present delight to consist in the hope of future drunkenness; (47) and in this manner they exist to the very end of their lives, without a house and without a home, the enemies of their parents, and of their wives, and of their children, and the enemies of their country, and the worst enemies of all to themselves. For a debauched and profligate life is apt to lay snares for every one.