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Discourse 29

This webpage reproduces one of the
Discourses

by
Dio Chrysostom

published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1939

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!


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Discourse 31

(Vol. II) Dio Chrysostom
Discourses

p395 The Thirtieth Discourse:
Charidemus

At the beginning Dio is speaking with a certain Timarchus and the younger of his two sons, also named Timarchus, about the death of the older son, Charidemus, who had had a great love and admiration for Dio. From the father Dio learns that Charidemus shortly before his death had dictated an address for the consolation of his father, brother, and friends. On learning this Dio at once urges the father to read the address to him and the father complies.

In this address three possible explanations of the life of man are offered. According to the first one, §§ 10‑24, this world is a prison in which men are punished by the gods, who hate them because they are of the blood of the Titans. When any man's punishment is completed, or he has left a son to suffer punishment in his stead, he is allowed to escape by death. According to the second explanation, §§ 26‑27, this world is a colony founded by the gods for men, their descendants, whom at first they kept under their protection, but afterwards allowed to shift for themselves. The third explanation represents this world as a beautiful palace where men are entertained at a banquet from which God summons to himself those who have comported themselves best.

After hearing this address Dio commends it highly and attempts to console the bereaved father and the younger son.

In form this Discourse is a dialogue, reported directly, which contains a verbatim report of Charidemus' address, which, in its turn, is made up almost entirely of indirect reports of what certain men, not definitely indicated, have said in explanation of man's life in this world. The important part of the Discourse is, of course, Charidemus's address, which gives these three explanations, while the conversation between Dio and the two bereaved ones is merely a framework to hold it. In p396Plato's Phaedo also, which according to Philostratus (Lives of Sophists, 8.1 f. K.) was Dio's favourite book on philosophy, the important part consists of the last words of Socrates as reported by Phaedo to his friend Echecrates. Corresponding to these last words of Socrates we have here the deathbed message of Charidemus. And further, Charidemus shows in the face of death the same fortitude and resignation that Socrates did.

But did such a person as Charidemus, Dio's ideal of a young religious philosopher, ever have an existence, as Socrates did; or have we merely a product of the imagination? von Arnim feels sure that he is a real character, while others are not so certain. On this point there is the same difference of opinion as there is regarding the actuality of Melancomas, Dio's ideal young athlete. All, however, seem agreed that the conversation between Dio and the two bereaved is fictitious. But those who believe that Charidemus is a real character have next to consider whether the address on the life of man is really his work, modified perhaps by Dio, or whether it is altogether Dio's. von Arnim thinks that the address is not at all like any of Dio's work, but Friedrich Wilhelm (Philologus, vol. 75, 1918, pp364‑365) has pointed out enough idea of Dio's in it that are found in other Discourses of his, and also enough of his familiar words and phrases, to refute this view.

In the next place, can we identify the man who, Charidemus says, offered him the explanation that this world is a prison? Dümmler (Academica, p90 f.) and Hagen (Questiones Dioneae, p21) suggest that he is the Cynic philosopher Antisthenes, while Friedrich Wilhelm (loc. cit., p367, footnote) maintains that he is a fictitious character. But we note that, although Charidemus begins with giving this explanation with § 10, he gives no hint of its source until he reaches the end of § 19, where, as if forgetting himself for the moment, he speaks as if it were his own. Then, at the beginning of § 20, he credits a wandering philosopher with giving him when a child some details about the chain to which all men are bound. After giving these details and therewith finishing the first explanation of man's life, Charidemus says in § 25 that he believes this explanation comes from 'some morose man who had suffered a great deal in his life and only late had gained true education' (just like the two dogs in Discourse 7.17). — It is this description of the man which makes Dümmler, Hagen, and Sonny p397think of Antisthenes. Now is Charidemus crediting this 'morose man' with the first explanation as a whole, or only with the part beginning with § 20? If the latter is the case, and the 'wandering philosopher' is identical with the 'morose man,' then Dio himself answers fairly well to this description. For Dio became a wandering philosopher during his exile and only then, as he believed, got true education, when he was 42 years of age or older. This would be 'late in life' for getting an education; or does he mean that this 'morose man' learned later not to regard this world as a prison? And it may well be that he was made 'morose' for the time being from having 'suffered a great deal in his life.' Is Dio thinking of himself when he uses these words, just as he is in Discourse 12.51, where he speaks of a 'sore distressed soul, having in the course of life drained the cup of many misfortunes and griefs, nor ever winning sweet sleep'? And besides, would not the injustice of his exile and the hardships which he endured tend to make him have a gloomy outlook on life and accept the opinions of those who regarded this world as a prison?

Of course, when we identify the 'morose' man with the 'wandering philosopher' the first part of the explanation, where the world is spoken of as a prison, is not really credited to any one person, but it would seem reasonable to suppose that the man believing the second part of the first explain would accept the first part also, especially as the idea of men being bound to a chain is common to both. On the other hand, if we think of the 'morose man' as not identical with the 'wandering philosopher,' then in this morose man with his many sufferings in life we still have a fairly good description of the exiled Dio with only the one detail of his wandering life lacking, and the first explanation as a whole is definitely ascribed to him.

Once more, who is the 'peasant,' also mentioned in § 25, 'who spoke with a very rustic drawl and accent,' the one from whom Charidemus says he heard the second and third explanations? Dümmler believes that it was one of the later Cynics, possibly Bion; but Sonny, while agreeing in the main, thinks that this later Cynic was more likely Cleanthes, because the man is described as a peasant. For Diogenes Laertius (7.2, pp168‑171) says that Cleanthes made his living by watering a garden and digging earth. And further, the words 'in praise of Zeus and the other gods' may refer to Cleanthes' p398Hymn to Zeus. Friedrich Wilhelm, on the other hand, thinks that this peasant is a purely imaginary character.

But no matter how we identify the 'morose man' and the 'peasant,' it seems reasonable to suppose that the three explanations of life represent three stages in Dio's own belief. After returning from exile he naturally acquired a more cheerful outlook on life and came to think of the gods as merely having become indifferent to men, and then later the prison has become a beautiful palace in which the king of the gods gives royal entertainment to men and rewards the best. Yet some parts of Dio's belief did not change. He believed throughout that the gods exist, that they have something to do with man, and that man may overcome evil and receive his reward.

And finally, there is the question as to the immediate and the ultimate sources of these three explanations of life and this world. Of course, if we believe that Antisthenes, the founder of the Cynic sect, offered the first and Cleanthes the second and third, for us a good deal of the question is settled. If we do not, then there is a great uncertainty. However, it has been shown that the idea of the world as a prison is Pythagorean and Orphic in origin,1 while Friedrich Wilhelm has offered a good many reasons for believing that Dio drew upon Posidonius for parts of all three explanations, although he with others thinks that there is a large Cynic element in the third. And since there are some thoughts that can be paralleled in Xenophon and Plato, it is reasonable to suppose that Dio drew to some extent also from these, his favourite authors.

p401 The Thirtieth Discourse:
Charidemus

Dio. I had heard about the death of Charidemus some time ago, even before I saw you;2 for when I landed here, I straightway made inquiries about certain other persons and most especially about these two, wishing to learn where they were and how they were getting on. Then I chanced upon a man who did not know them very well, but had merely heard their names,3 who asked me if I meant the sons of Timarchus; and when I replied in the affirmative, he told me that this one, meaning the younger, was still in Messenia with you on account of his mourning for his brother; for, he said, the elder of the two had died. 2 So it was clear that he was reporting the death of Charidemus. Yet even then there appeared to be some uncertainty, although the man had spoken clearly enough; but afterwards we came to know with more certainty. Now I believe that I myself was almost as deeply pained as you men were; for to say 'more pained' would not be right nor proper for me, even if it were indeed true that one had loved him more than you, his father and his brother, did. 3 And yet the strength of natural affection does seem to be not very great in persons of the common sort. Something like this happened, I hear, in the case of our Opuntian4 p403friend here after he had lost a son, an agreeable and clever young man, who was also our companion; but nevertheless they tell me that he grieved less over his death than if he had lost anything else out of his house. You two, however, seem to be very much distressed by your affliction, and no wonder; for such a man as Charidemus certainly would speedily have turned out to be, would have been useful, not only to your city, but to all Hellas, if he had lived. I, for my part, never knew any young lad of higher spirit than he nor of better natural parts.

4 Timarchus. Yes, and if you knew how he felt towards you, your praise would be much warmer. It seemed to me that he held you in more honour than he did even me, his father, not to mention other people, since in his illness and even when he was practically at death's door, and we were at his bedside along with other relatives, fellow citizens and acquaintances, he kept mentioning you by name, although by then he could scarcely speak at all, and bade us say when we met you that he was thinking of you when he died. For he retained consciousness and the power to speak up to the very last. Furthermore, even when he was alive and well, he was so attached to you that he imitated you in his taciturnity,5 his gait, and in all other respects, as people who knew used to say.

5 Dio. Oh no, he was not imitating in those matters either me or anybody else; but they were natural with him. Perhaps you did not notice it at first when he was still a child; then as he grew older, it became more marked. For a manly and dignified p405bearing came much more naturally to him than to anybody else. But I wonder if he pained you at all by these characteristics or appeared to you to be somewhat gloomy of countenance.

Tim. No, on the contrary, I thought that he was more cheerful than many and ready to play such games as were proper for free-born children, and always somehow ready to give a smile to people whom he knew; but I did not often see him laughing without restraint. So he caused us no worry; and what is more, he won the commendation of many people, and our fellow citizens had more respect for him, although he was only twenty-two years old — for that was his age when he died — than they had for those who were older and in the public eye.

6 Dio. But did he give you any other commission or say anything else on his death-bed?

Tim. Yes, many remarkable things — at least, so I, his father, think. For, although he was departing from life at such an early age, so far was he from lamenting his fate or showing any grief that on the contrary he tried to comfort us. Then finally, he called the servant and dictated to him, like one inspired, an address for our consolation, so that I began to suspect that perhaps it was because his mind was now wandering on account of the nearness of death that he was doing this. Those who were at his bedside, though, praised it highly.

Dio. Pray, have you what he wrote?

7 Tim. Yes, indeed.

Dio. Then are you willing to repeat it?

Tim. O yes, only ashamed for fear that it is not in proper shape, because it was spoken by a comparatively young man and at such a time. For I p407really thought that he would have been more careful in what he said, had you been the only one present, than he was with all the rest there.

Dio. It is no outsider that you will be reading to, my good friend; and, at the same time, it is not the style that I am anxious to observe so much as what his state of mind was as revealed by what he said, whether he was really of good cheer and courageous on his deathbed.

8 Tim. Well, here it is:6

The Dying Words of Charidemus

"What has happened to me has happened in accordance with God's will; and we should not consider anything that he brings to pass as harsh, nor bear it with repining: so wise men advise us,7 and Homer not least when he says that the gifts of the gods to man should not be spurned by man8 — rightly calling the acts of the gods 'gifts,' as being all good and done for a good purpose.9 9 As for me, this is my feeling, and I accept the decree of fate calmly, saying this, not at any ordinary time, but when that fate itself is present, and I see my end so near at hand. And do you, I pray, believe me, since I have had even greater concern for the truth than for you, and, so far as in you lies, do not give way to your grief, knowing that nothing terrible has befallen me; no, not even if one offers the explanation of death which is the most difficult to accept.

p409 10 This explanation I will now give to you, although it is very likely not at all cheering, nor pleasing — for I imagine it was not devised to please us — and it has something of the marvellous about it perhaps. It is to the effect that all we human beings are of the blood of the Titans.10 Then, because they were hateful to the gods and had waged war on them, we are not dear to them either, but are punished by them and have been born for chastisement, being, in truth, imprisoned in life for as long a time as we each live. And when any of us die, it means that we, having already been sufficiently chastised,11 are released and go our way.

11 This place which we call the universe, they tell us, is a prison prepared by the gods,12 a grievous and ill-ventilated one, which never keeps the same temperature and condition of its air, but at one time is cold and frosty, and infected with wind, mud, snow, and water, and at another time is hot and stifling; for just a very little time of the year it is endurable; it is visited by cyclones, typhoons occur, and sometimes the whole of it quakes to the very bottom. Now all these are terrible punishments. 12 For men are invariably dismayed and terrified by them whenever they occur. Then in addition p411to all this, because men cannot endure the bad air and changes of temperature, they devise for themselves other small prisons, namely, their houses and cities, which they construct of timber and stone, just as if a person should build other smaller enclosures inside of a large one.

And the plants which grow all about us and the fruits of the earth are created, they assure us, simply in order that we may serve out our time here. They are just like the unappetizing and wretched food which is given to prisoners, but we nevertheless put up with it on account of the necessity which is upon us and our helplessness. 13 For in the case of men who are being punished by us, whatever is furnished appears appetizing because they are hungry and used to it. These foods are in reality bad and spoiled, and that they are spoiled is shown by the frailty of our bodies. And, further, it is not even furnished us ready at hand, nor yet supplied in abundance to everyone, but must be won with intolerable toil and hardships.13

"Also, we are composed of the very things which torture us, namely, soul and body. 14 For the one has within it desires, pains, angers, fear, worries, and countless such feelings; and by day and by night it is ever racked and wrenched by them.14 Even the man who is of a better bodily condition than most, is free from none whatever of these troubles, but has them shut up within him just like wild animals compelled to keep quiet by force and persuasion alike; but if he stops singing charms to them and watching them, for even a short time, they instantly become very active. 15 Our body too is subject to vertigo, convulsions, epilepsy, and other diseases, so numerous p413that it is not even possible to enumerate them, since it is full of blood and air, and, further, is composed of flesh and sinews and bones, of both soft and hard things, of moist and dry things, complete opposites. Then our foods, as I said, being bad and the weather variable, aggravate some of our diseases and bring us others, which, though they do not seem to be there at first, yet are actually inherent in the nature of our bodies. These are the evils which lie within our own selves. 16 The other chastisements, which come from without, are lighter in comparison with those that come from our own nature. For the effect of fire or steel, of blows, or of other things is sharp and quickly passes from consciousness even if it becomes at any time a little excessive. But in the case of diseases sometimes the effects last for a very long time.15

17 "Such, then, are the tortures, and so numerous, by which men are afflicted while they remain in this prison and dungeon, each for his appointed time; and the majority do not get out until they produce another person from their own loins and leave him to succeed to the punishment in their stead, some leaving one and others even more. They do not stay voluntarily, but are all bound fast by one chain, body and soul, just as you may see many persons bound by us by one chain in a row, some of them small, some large, some ugly and some good looking; but none the less all of them are held on equal terms in the same constraint.16

p415 18 "And, likewise, men are superior one to the other in their fortunes, reputations, and honours, just as they are in their bodies. Some of them are kings, others are in private station, some are wealthy, and others are without means. Yet no whit less on this account do the fortunate, as they are called, suffer and are held fast in the same bondage, than do the poor and unknown, nay, they suffer more than the others.17 19 For since the poor are leaner, the bond which lies about each of them is looser and easier. But as for kings and tyrants, just because they are puffed up in soul and are in exceedingly good bodily condition, so the chains lie heavier upon them and gall them the more; exactly as in the case of persons whose bodies are bound, the fetter pinches the stout and bulky more than it does the thin and under-nourished. However, a very few enjoy some relief by the kindness of God; and while they are indeed bound, yet the bond is very light on account of their goodness — a class of men concerning whom we shall speak again.18

20 "But first it is right to say that once when a child I heard a wandering philosopher explain what the nature of the chain is, that it is not at all like such chains as we have, made of iron or bronze as our chains are, but much stronger, and yet similar in form and construction. For just as our chains are forged out of a number of links that are interlocked with one another, and that from one end to the other; p417so too is that other one by which we asserted that men are bound by the gods. 21 This chain, he said, is composed entirely of both pleasure and pain, and these things are intertwined, the pleasant and the painful, and the one always of necessity follows the other, just as, I suppose, are the links of a chain.19 Great pleasures are followed by great pains, the small pleasures by smaller pains, and very greatest pleasure at the end is death. This is the reason that the pain which comes before death is the greatest; for it is clear that man has no greater pain and suffering than this which ends in death.

22 "He said, further, that for each man there are other bonds, in some cases lighter, in other cases heavier, which lie upon him just like fetters: they are called hopes by us.20 Now just as the fetters are at the lower part of the body and around our extremities, so the hopes too are at the very bottom and surround the final part of our life. They most of all hold men in their thrall and compel them to endure even though they suffer all tortures. In the case of the senseless and the foolish, these fetters are massive and exceedingly thick, but for the more intelligent, the shackles that surround them are loose and light.

23 "And, mark you, he also compared something to a file, very manfully sticking to his parable. This, he said, is found only by the intelligent and shrewd; for it is locked away very carefully, just as a person might hide a file in a prison in order that none of the prisoners might get hold of it and then free p419himself. Now the ambitious and industrious have trouble in finding it, but still they do find it. And the name they give to it is 'Reason.' Then, as soon as they find it, they use it to file the fetters and make the part of the chain that binds themselves21 as thin and weak as possible, until they overcome the pleasures and pains so far as one may. 24 But this is slow work. Only with difficulty does their 'reason' affect the chains because they are of adamantine hardness,22 and it wears them away only gradually, but is not able to wear them entirely through and tear them asunder. And when a man does get hold of this remedy, and uses it industriously by day and night to the best of his ability, he now endures his confinement cheerfully, walks around past the others as if he were a free man, and when his fated time comes, he goes his way without hindrance, as though no longer restrained by force or clamped to the chain.23 Of such men the gods at times make some their coadjutors on account of their virtue and wisdom, after completely freeing them from their punishment.24

25 "Now this explanation was given, in my opinion, by a certain morose man who had suffered a great deal in his life and only late had gained true education;25 but it is not the right explanation, nor one that befits the gods. There is another one better than that, which I am much more eager to give. I heard it from a peasant who spoke with a very rustic drawl p421and accent. However, perhaps there is no need for us to imitate this, and we shall attempt merely to record his thought.

26 "He said, in reciting the praises of Zeus and the other gods,26 that they are good and love us27 as being of kin28 to them. For it is from the gods, he declared, that the race of men is sprung and not from Titans or from Giants. For when they got the universe into their power, they established mankind upon the earth, which was hitherto uninhabited, as a sort of colony made up of their own people, on the basis of inferior honours and felicity, but with the same righteous laws as their own; precisely after the fashion in which great and prosperous cities found the small communities.29 And I thought that he meant, without expressly adding the proper names, just as Athens colonized Cythnos and Seriphos, or Sparta founded Cythera in ancient times, giving them the same laws as they themselves had. And in these various colonies you may behold copies of the customs and the form of government which their founders enjoy, but all are weak and inferior. 27 However, the superiority of the colonizers over their colonies not as great; for in the one case it is the superiority of men over men, whereas the greater excellence of the gods as compared with ourselves is an infinite one. Now, as long as life was but newly established, the gods both visited us in person and p423sent harmosts,30 as it were, from their own number at first to look after us, such as Heracles, for example,31 Dionysus, Perseus, and the others, who, we are told, were the children of the gods, and that the descendants of these were born among us.32 Afterwards they permitted us to manage for ourselves as best we could. And then it was that sin and injustice began.

28 "The peasant also chanted a second monody,33 telling how the universe is a house very beautiful and divine, constructed by the gods; that just as we see houses built by men who are called prosperous and wealthy, with portals and columns, and the roof, walls, and doors adorned with gold and with paintings, in the same way the universe has been made to give entertainment and good cheer to mankind, beauteous and bespangled with stars, sun, moon, land, sea, and plants,34 all these being, indeed, portions of the wealth of the gods and specimens of their handiwork.35

29 "Into this universe comes mankind to hold high festival, having been invited by the king of the gods to a most splendid feast and banquet that they may enjoy all blessings.36 They recline in different places, just as at a dinner, some getting better and others inferior positions, and everything resembles what takes place among us at our entertainments, except that we are comparing the p425divine and great with the small and mean. For the gods furnish us with light of two kinds by means of lamps as it were, at one time a brighter and at another a dimmer light, the one at night and the other by day;37 30 and tables are set beside us, loaded with everything, with bread and fruit, some of it wild and some cultivated, and with meats too, some from domestic animals, some from wild, and fish also from the sea. And these tables, the peasant said, speaking like a true rustic, are the meadows, plains, vales, and coast-land, on which some things grow, others pasture, and yet others are hunted. And different persons have different things in greater abundance according to the tables at which they have severally reclined. For some happen to have settled by the sea, others on the plains, and yet others in the mountains. 31 And the waiters are the Seasons,38 as being the youngest of the gods, beautifully dressed and fair to behold, and they are adorned, not, methinks, with gold, but with garlands of all manner of flowers. And some of the flowers themselves they distribute and also attend to the viands of the banquet in general, serving some and removing others at the right time. And there is dancing and every other sort of merrymaking. 32 Furthermore, that labour which we think we undergo in farming and hunting and the care of the vines, is no more than it is for those at a table to reach out for a thing and take it in their hand. To return now to my statement that different persons reclined in different places, the reason for p427that is the differences in the climate. For those at the head of the tables and those at the foot, more than of the others, are either in the cold or in the heat, because they are either near the light or far from it.

33 "Now all, so the man continued, do not enjoy the merrymaking and banqueting in the same way, but each according to his own nature.39 The dissolute and intemperate neither see nor hear anything, but bend over and eat, like pigs in a sty, and then nod in sleep. Again, some of them are not satisfied with what is near, but reach out their hands for the things that are farther away, as, for example, people living inland want fish and take trouble to get it; 34 while others, who are insatiable and wretched, fearing that food will fail them, collect and pile up for themselves as much as they can, and after this, when they have to go, they depart without having a share of anything, but utterly destitute, and leave these things to others; for they cannot take them with them. Now these persons are a laughing-stock and disgrace. 35 Others play at draughts and yet others with dice; but the draughts and dice are not like those to which we give these names, but are made some of gold and some of silver — we call them coins — and over them they quarrel and each seeks to get the greater share. It is these last-named men who cause the greatest uproar and disorder — I mean those who play at dice — and they appear to be the most disagreeable of the revellers. Sometimes, too, they fight and come to blows and wound one another. 36 But it is the drunken who are most inclined to act this way. p429However, it is not wine that makes them drunk, as it is with us, but pleasure. For this is the beverage that the gods furnish at this banquet to which all mankind is invited, so that the character of each man may be revealed. And two cup-bearers stand at their elbows, one male, the other female; the one of them is called Intelligence and the other Intemperance. Now those banqueters who are sensible have the male cup-bearer and from him alone they accept the drink sparingly, in small cups, and only when it has been so mixed that it is quite harmless; 37 for there is only one bowl,40 that of Sobriety, has been placed before them, nevertheless there are many bowls available for all and differing in taste, as though filled with many kinds of wine, and they are of silver and of gold; and besides, they have figures of animals encircling them on the outside and certain scrolls and reliefs. But the bowl of Sobriety is smooth, not large, and of bronze, to judge by its appearance. So from this bowl they must take many times as large a portion and mix with it a little of the pleasure and drink. 38 Now for those whose cup-bearer he is, Intelligence pours out the wine just so, fearing and giving close heed lest in some way he should fail to get the right mixture and cause the banqueter to stumble and fall. But Intemperance pours out a neat draught of pleasure for the great majority without mixing even a little of sobriety with it, though for some she puts in just a very little for the name of it; still this little straightway disappears and is nowhere to be seen. And p431the drinkers do not take intervals of rest, but hurry her on and bid her come faster to them, and each one of them grabs first at what she brings. But she hurries and runs about panting and dripping with sweat. 39 Some of her guests dance and lurch, falling prostrate in the sight of all, and fight and shout, just as men do who are drunken with wine. However, these do so only for a little while and moderately; for they are content to sleep a little while, and after that they feel better than ever, since their intoxication was slight. But those who have become stupefied by pleasure, being affected by a stronger potion, act this way all through life; and it is impossible for them to get free while they live but only when dead. For death is the only sleep for people intoxicated in this way and it alone helps them. 40 Many too vomit from surfeit, and it is accompanied by retching and the severest pain — this casting out of the pleasure. But whoever persists is relieved and gets on better for the future. Yet it rarely happens that a person wishes to vomit; much rather do they wish to keep on drinking. For their thirst does not cease, but ever becomes more intense, just as with people who use untempered wine.

41 "Such, then, is the character of these people, and they disgrace and insult the bounty of the gods; whereas the temperate and reasonable enjoy pleasure in moderation and at intervals, owing to their fear; and just as a gentleman who has been invited by some superior, such as a king or a prince, neglects the food and drink, except in so far as he cannot avoid eating and drinking, and pays attention p433to what is in the palace and enjoys this; so the reasonable neglect the drinking and draughts and dice and look at the state of things within, admire the banqueting-hall in which they are reclining, try to learn how it was made, and observe everything that is in it, just as they would some fair and beautiful paintings; and they notice the management also and its orderly system, and the Seasons too, observing how well and intelligently they do everything;41 they observe attentively all these things and alone perceive their beauty. 42 They are anxious also not to appear to take part in all this like persons who are blind and deaf, but they wish to have something to tell about it when they leave, if anyone should ask them about what they saw and observed. And throughout the banquet they continue to take thought for these things and to enjoy the pleasure intelligently and moderately, while they debate man to man, or in congenial groups of two or three.42 Sometimes, however, when a great noise and disturbance is caused by those who are drunk, they look in their direction and then straightway again give attention to their own concerns.

43 "And when they have to depart, the dissolute and intemperate are pulled and dragged away by their slave attendants with discomforts and spells of sickness, shouting and groaning all the while, and having no knowledge whatever where they have been or how they have feasted, even if one or another of them remains a very long time. But the others depart erect and standing securely upon their own feet after bidding farewell to their friends, joyous and happy because they have done nothing unseemly.43 44 God, therefore, looking upon these things p435and observing all the banqueters, as if he were in his own house, how each person has comported himself at the banquet, ever calls the best to himself; and if he happens to be especially pleased with any one, he bids him remain there and makes him his boon companion;44 and thenceforth this man regales himself with nectar. This resembles the beverage of Sobriety, but is clearer by far than the other and purer because, as I think, it belongs to divine and true sobriety."

45 Dio. Alas, Charidemus, what a man has been lost to us in your death! How far you would have surpassed the men of your generation, and what a splendid revelation of your character you have given to your father and your fellow citizens, a display, not of words assuredly, but of great and true manliness. For my part, I know not how to console you of his family, bereft of such a man, by exhorting you not to sorrow too deeply, for I am not able adequately to console even myself for the purpose. 46 You alone, Timarchus, are able to lighten this father's grief and to bring healing to his misfortune, by making it your concern not to be found much inferior to the departed. For it would be strange indeed if, while you have already received part of his property, great as it was, and will receive the other part in the future when your father here dies, yet you should forsake sobriety, courage, and a love for all that is most beautiful, as if in these matters you were of no kin at all to Charidemus.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 See K. Meiser in Sitzungsberichte der Königlichen Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philos.-phil. und hist. Kl., München 1912, 3. Abh.

2 He is addressing Timarchus the father.

3 A slight exaggeration, as we see from the next words.

4 That is, from Opus, a town of Locris.

5 Dio says at the beginning of Discourse 7 that he is garrulous in his old age after returning from exile; and this present Discourse evidently belongs to this same post-exilic period.

6 Hagen points out that there are certain places where Dio puts his own ideas into the mouth of some else. See, e.g. Discourse 1.56 ff.; 11.37 ff.; 36.39 ff.

7 See Theognis 1001; Euripides, Hypsipyle, Frag. 757 Nauck2.

8 See Iliad 3.65.

9 Cf. Discourse 23.10; 32.14; Plato, Republic 380C.

10 After warring against the gods for ten years they were defeated and hurled into a cavity below Tartarus. Cf. Lobeck, Aglaophon p565, where it is said that the bodies of the Titans were burned with fire from heaven and reduced to ashes and "that from these ashes of the Titans ancient readers of Orphic hymns assert that the human race sprang" — "Ex hoc Titanio cinere genus humanum ortum praedicant Orphicorum carminum lectores antiqui."

11 Cf. Plato, Cratylus 400C, where Orpheus and his followers are credited with the doctrine that the soul is punished in the body, its tomb.

12 Cf. Plato, Phaedo 62B: "The statement found in esoteric doctrines that we human beings are in a sort of prison" — ὁ . . . ἐν ἀπορρήτοις λεγόμενος . . . λόγος ὡς ἔν τινι φρουρᾷ ἐσμεν οἱ ἄνθρωποι, and Gorgias 493A, where some Sicilian or Italian (Pythagoras presumably) is referred to in connection with the idea that the body is a tomb.

13 Cf. Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, 1.206‑217.

14 Cf. Plato, Gorgias 493‑494 about the desires within us.

15 Dio is speaking from personal experience.

16 Cf. Discourse 80.7.

17 Cf. Discourse 80.11 ff. and Seneca, De Tranquillitate Animi 10.3: "We are all bound to fortune: the chain of some is golden, of others loose, of yet others tight and foul. But what difference does it make? The same custody surrounds all without exception. . . . One man public office binds, another wealth. Some men bear the weight of high station, others of low" — cum fortuna copulati sumus: aliorum aurea catena est, aliorum laxa, aliorum arta et sordida, sed quid refert? eadem custodia universos circumdedit . . . alium honores, alium opes vinciunt. quosdam nobilitas, quosdam humilitas premit.

18 He does so in § 24.

19 For this idea of opposites see Plato, Phaedo 60B‑C.

20 Cf. Pindar, Nemean Odes 11.46 f.: "For his limbs are bound by greedy hopes" — δέδεται γὰρ ἀναιδεῖ ἐλπίδι γυῖα. Note the paronomasia in πέδας, έλπίδας (hoops, hopes).

21 As contrasted with that part of the chain which holds the other prisoners.

22 Cf. Discourse 80.8.

23 Cf. § 43 of this Discourse and the pseudo-Platonic Axiochus 365B: "Men should go to meet their fate cheerfully and almost singing in triumph" (just like the swan in Discourse 12.4) — δεῖ . . . εὐθύμως, μόνον οὐχὶ παιανίζοντας, εἰς τὸ χρεὼν ἀπιέναι.

24 Cf. Plato, Phaedo 114B‑C.

25 See p396 at bottom.

26 Cf. Discourse 36.39.

27 Cf. Plato, Phaedo 62B: "that those who care for us are gods" — τὸ θεοὺς εἶναι ἡμῶν τοὺς ἐπιμελουμένους.

28 Cf. Discourse 12.32; Aratus, Phaenomena 5; Cleanthes Hymn to Zeus 5; Acts of the Apostles 17.28: "For we are really his offspring" — τοῦ γὰρ καὶ γένος ἐσμέν.

29 Cf. Plato, Critias 109B; Maximus Tyrius 1C‑F; Euryphamus in Stobaeus' Florilegium 4.39.27, p915, 9 f.: "The divinity settled man, the most thoughtful animal, in the world" — τὸ θῇον ἄνθρωπον, πολυφρονέστατον ζῷον ἐς τὸν κόσμον κατῷκισεν; Cicero, De Legibus 1.7.23: "This whole universe should be considered as one common state of gods and of men" — Universus hic mundus una civitas . . . communis deorum atque hominum existimanda; Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2.62.154.

30 The governors which the Spartans sent out after the Peloponnesian War to keep in order the cities which they had conquered were so called.

31 Cf. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 1.12.28; Plato, Laws 4.713D.

32 Cf. Discourse 36.23; Plato, Laws 713D and Timaeus 40D, and following.

33 Cf. 26. The first is in §§ 26, 27.

34 Cf. Discourse 12.28 f.; Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2.39.98.

35 Cf. pseudo-Aristotle Περὶ κόσμου c. 5, p396B, 27 f. and c. 6, p400A, 2 f.

36 Cf. Discourse 12.30 f. and Plato, Politicus 272A.

37 Cf. Discourse 12.29; Genesis 1.16.

38 Daughters of Zeus and Themis. Cf. what is said about them in § 41º and see pseudo-Aristotle, Περὶ κόσμου c. 5, 397A, 12 f.

39 Cf. Discourse 27.1; 32.53; 33.14 f.

40 As appears from what follows, this is not the bowl in which the wine of pleasure is mixed with the water of sobriety, but a receptacle for the undiluted wine.

41 Cf. § 31.

42 Cf. Discourse 13.31.

43 Cf. § 24.

44 Cf. Epictetus, Enchiridion c.15: "Then you will be not only a boon companion of the gods, but will also assist them in governing" — τότε οὐ μόνον συμπότης τῶν θεῶν ἔσῃ ἀλλὰ καὶ συνάρχων.


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