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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
The Greeks Us / Greece in West  

Cervantes, What every schoolboy knows

From Scipio and Berganza

BERGANSA: But first tell me, I beseech you, if you can, what the word philosophy means? for though I name it so often, I know not what it is; I only imagine it is a good thing.

SCIPIO: I will tell you in a few words: This appellation is compounded of two Greek words, which are, Philos and Sophia; Philos signifies love, and Sophia knowledge; so that philosophy signifies love of knowledge; and a philosopher a lover of knowledge.

BERGANSA: You are extremely wise, Scipio, who the Devil taught you Greek?

SCIPIO: In good truth, Bergansa, you are very simple, in making so great account of this, for these are things which every schoolboy, even those in the lowest forms are acquainted with; and there are likewise some who pretend to talk Greek, as well as Latin, who know nothing of either.

BERGANSA: This is what I say, and I would have all such put into a press, and the juice of all their knowledge squeezed out of them by main force, that they might not go about deceiving people with the tinsel of their scraps of Greek and false Latin, as the Portuguese do with the negroes in Guinea.

SCIPIO: Bergansa, you ought to bite your tongue now, according to your agreement; for we have been doing nothing all this while, but censuring peoples actions.

Cf. Plato, Who is a philosopher?

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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