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Nov. 1st, 2008 @ 11:36 am (no subject)

... 'tis evident, beasts are, in their degree,
as wise at least, and better far than he!

Sometimes I really want to know who did this topos first.

This is what a friend asked me. Hm, something from a Cynic diatribe? Maybe even an Aesopian fable or an impatient misanthropic outburst by someone like Hesiod or Archilochus? Any ideas?

EDIT: The above quote is from a poem by John Wilmot. And there are similar thoughts to be found in Plutarch's Moralia (that dialogue between Ulysses and the Pig), but I'm sure the thought is even older than that. So the question is who was the first to come up with it.
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