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Discourse 36

This webpage reproduces one of the
Discourses

by
Dio Chrysostom

published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1946

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 38

(Vol. IV) Dio Chrysostom
Discourses

p1 The Thirty-seventh Discourse:
The Corinthian Oration

This Discourse is plainly not the work of Dio. It is inferior in style, replete with allusions, and often out of harmony with accepted tradition as to matters of history. Moreover, the speaker calls himself a Roman (§§ 25 and 26). Emperius long ago named Favorinus as the author, and that identification has met with general approval.

The most detailed information regarding Favorinus is provided by Philostratus, Vitae Sophistarum 1.8, though Aulus Gellius, who had studied under Favorinus, often praises his learning. Favorinus was a native of Arelatêº (Arles). He may have obtained his early education at Marseilles, where he could have acquired that facility with the Greek language of which he was so proud (§§ 25, 26, 33). According to Philostratus, he was said to have listened to Dio, but to have been "as far removed from him as those who hadn't." He created a great stir in Rome, even among those who knew no Greek but were "charmed by the sound of his voice, the significance of his glance, and the rhythm of his tongue."

Favorinus at first enjoyed the favour of Hadrian, but he lost it, at least for a time, when accused of adultery with the wife of a consul. In consequence, the Athenians threw down the bronze statue with which they had honoured him. It is perhaps that incident to which he makes veiled allusion in § 35. One infers from §§ 32‑36 that Corinth had taken similar p2action for the same reason, but the peroration, in which the speaker seems to be apostrophizing the missing statue, is very mystifying. A literal reading of the passage would lead to the supposition that there is some hocus pocus by means of which the statue is suddenly placed on view, a prearranged unveiling, as it were. However, Edmonds may be right (Lyra Graeca, I p237, L. C. L.) in identifying the σιγηλὸν εἴδωλον of § 46 with the oration then being delivered rather than with any statue, real or imaginary. In that case Favorinus might be regarded as dedicating his address to posterity. That he had escaped punishment at the hands of Hadrian might be inferred from the confident tone of §§ 34 and 35, even if we lacked the express testimony of Philostratus. That he should have travelled widely was to be expected in the case of a man of his calling and reputation, and he refers to his travels with much pride in §§ 26 and 27. His most famous pupil was doubtless Herodes Atticus, whom he made his heir.

This Discourse may have been included among the works of Dio because of its superficial likeness to Or. 31 in subject matter, since both dealt with the popular custom of erecting statues and with the strange fate that sometimes overtook such marks of esteem.

p5 The Thirty-seventh Discourse:
The Corinthian Oration

When I visited your city the first time, nearly ten years ago, and gave your people and magistrates a sample of my eloquence, I seemed to be on friendly, yes intimate, terms with you to a degree not equalled even by Arion of Methymnê.1 At any rate you did not have a statue made of Arion. Of course when I say you, I am speaking of your forebears and of Periander the sage,2 son of Cypselus, in whose day Arion flourished, being the first not only to compose a dithyramb3 but also to call it by that name and to present a dithyrambic chorus in Corinth.

2 Now Arion was so dear to the gods that, when on his voyage back to Corinth, bringing great riches which he had had the good fortune to win by his labours in the neighbourhood of Tarentum and among the Greeks of that region, as he was about to be cast into the sea by the sailors — no doubt because of that very wealth of his — he besought them ere they threw him overboard to let him sing, just as men say that p7swans about to die and foreseeing their death are wont, as it were, to put their soul on board "the bark of song."4 3 So then he sang — calm and silence brooded on the deep — and dolphins heard his song, and as they heard it they rushed about the ship. And when Arion ceased and the sailors showed no relenting, he leaped into the sea; but a dolphin rose beneath him and carried the singer in safety to Taenarum5 just as he was, gear and all. So then Arion, saved in this manner and having outstripped the sailors, was in Corinth narrating these very happenings to Periander. 4 And when the sailors later entered port and the matter was brought to trial, the sailors were put to death, but Arion — not Periander, mark you, but Arion — ordering a bronze likeness of no great size, set it up at Taenarum, a likeness of himself astride the back of his benefactor.6

And about this same time Solon too came to Corinth, fleeing from the tyranny of Peisistratus,7 but not from that of Periander. 5 No, for that was a different matter — while Peisistratus was tyrant of Athens through having destroyed the democracy, Periander was tyrant through having received the royal power by inheritance from his father, whom the p9Greeks were wont to call tyrant, though the gods called him king.8 For is not this the way the oracle has it?

A happy man is he who to my fane

Doth come, Eëtion's Cypselus, the king

Of famous Corinth, he and his children too.9

6 One of these children was Periander himself, who succeeded his father. So then Periander, called king by the god, was proclaimed a sage by the Greeks. No better title did any king or tyrant ever gain, no, not even Antiochus, surnamed Divine,10 nor Mithridates, surnamed Dionysus.11 And even Pittacus of Mitylenê might have been proud to be called at one and the same time both tyrant and sage; but, as a matter of fact, in clinging to the second title he stripped himself of his tyranny.12 Yet as for Periander, while he shared the name of sage with a few and that of tyrant with many, as both tyrant and sage he stood alone. 7 Well then, when Solon visited Periander and received a share of their common possessions — for the possessions of friends are held in common13 — still he received no statue, though surely he did not disdain a statue, no, he esteemed highly the honour of having had a bronze likeness of himself set up at Salamis;14 then why not so at Corinth, the promenade of Hellas? Again, Herodotus the historian also paid you a visit, bringing tales of Greece, p11and in particular tales of Corinth — not yet fallacious tales — in return for which he expected to receive pay from the city. But failing of obtaining even that — for your forebears did not deem it fitting to traffic in renown — he devised those tales we all know so well, the tales about Salamis and Adeimantus.15

8 However, in my own case, upon my second visit to Corinth you were so glad to see me that you did your best to get me to stay with you, but seeing that to be impossible, you did have a likeness made of me, and you took this and set it up in your Library, a front-row seat as it were,16 where you felt it would most effectively stimulate the youth to persevere in the same pursuits as myself. For you accorded me this honour, not as to one of the many who each year put in at Cenchreae17 as traders or pilgrims or envoys or passing travellers, but as to a cherished friend, who at last, after a long absence, puts in an appearance.

9 Yet Honour, dreamlike, takes wing and flies away.18

Therefore I have come to be perplexed, not only as to my own case, but now, by Heaven, as to that of some one else19 as well, wondering whether I did not truly see, and what took place was not the happenings of my waking moments but merely a dream, or whether the events were really so in all detail, both the enthusiasm of the populace and the decision of the Council, and yet, as luck would have it, the statue p13was one of the works of Daedalus and slipped away without our notice.20 10 However, not since the death of Daedalus down to the present day has any one made such progress in the art of sculpture as to impart to bronze the power of flight; nay, though they make statues of men with a fine and noble stride, and sometimes even riding on horseback, still these all maintain their pose and station and, unless some one moves them, so far as they are concerned bronze has no power to flee, not even if the statue has wings, like the Perseus of Pythagoras.21

11 But supposing my statue to be actually of the ancient craftsmanship of Daedalus, for what strange reason would it have taken leave of your city, the city for which they say the two gods, Poseidon and Helius, vied with one another, the one being lord of fire, the other lord of water? And after the twain had striven and had entrusted the decision to a third god who was their elder,

Whose heads were many, many too his arms,22

having, as I say, left to him the decision, they both have held this city and district ever since,23 surely no slight or obscure sign of its superiority over all other cities. 12 For while the others are portion and property of the gods individually — Argos of Hera and Athens of Athena — and while, with reference to these very gods of whom I speak, Rhodes belongs to p15Helius and Onchestus to Poseidon,24 Corinth belongs to each of the two. You might imagine, since the myth suggests it, that the strip of land between two seas was an exceptional grant made by Helius because Poseidon wished it so.

13 Now then, both myth and history, while singing in fair harmony on this theme, invite the Sibyl of prophetic song as a third for their trio of praise; and she, having obtained as her prerogative the voice of a god, sings aloud:

What place to thee so happy as the blest

Isthmus of Ephyrê,25 Ocean's child, whereon

Poseidon, sire of Lamia,26 mother mine,

Did first with Helius appoint the games,27

Though his alone the honours there received?

14 For the fact is, you know, men say not only that the contest was first established there by the two gods, but also that Castor won the single course and Calaïs the double — for we are told that Calaïs ran, refraining from flying.28 But now that we have broached the subject, the others too who were prize-winners and victors should be named. Orpheus was victorious with the lyre, Heracles in the rough-and-tumble, in boxing Polydeuces, in wrestling Peleus, in the discus p17Telamon, in the contest in armour Theseus. And there had been instituted also a contest for horses, and Phaëthon won with a courser, and Neleus with a team of four. 15 And there was also a boatrace, in which Argo was the winner, and after that she sailed no more, but Jason dedicated her there to Poseidon, and he carved on her a couplet, which men say is the work of Orpheus:

I am the good ship Argo, to God by Jason devoted,

Victor in Isthmian Games, crownèd with Nemean pine.29

But a place where gods control the games, and heroes the victors and the vanquished, and Argo lies at rest — what lovelier place than this could Daedalus himself discover as he flew with wings — to say nothing, of course, of that statue made by Daedalus?30 16 Nay, that statue of mine neither ran away nor tried to do so nor had any such intention at all; therefore we are left to conclude that the Corinthians themselves banished it, not only without holding any trial, but also without having any charge at all to bring against it. And would any one have believed this to the discredit of the Corinthians, whose forefathers were pre-eminent among the Greeks for cultivating justice? For, I ask you, was it not they who put an end to the tyrannies in the cities and established the democracies and freed Athens from her tyrants — first from Hippias and later from Cleomenes3117 and who after that, when Athenians themselves undertook to play the rôle of Hippias and p19Isagoras32 and to set up a tyranny over Hellas, being the first to sense what was going on and being especially pained thereat, led the way to freedom for the others and maintained that purpose, not only in the case of the Athenians, but also in that of the Spartans? For example, in company with the states of Thebes and Elis they opposed the Spartans in defence of the common rights of Hellas;33 and by this act they also showed that they were not mere lovers of honour, but rather lovers of Hellas, of justice, of freedom, and haters of villainy and tyranny. 18 Yes, and they were such haters of barbarians that they dispatched to Thermopylae four hundred of their own troops on the same occasion on which the Spartans sent three hundred.34 And at Salamis they won the prize for valour and became responsible for the victory. For I pay no heed to Herodotus35 but rather to the funeral monument and to Simonides, who composed the following epitaph for the Corinthian dead who were buried in Salamis:

O stranger, once we dwelt in Corinth blest

With fountains; now the isle of Ajax holds

Our bones. With ease we took Phoenician ships,

Vanquished alike the Persians and the Medes,

And saved our sacred Hellas from the foe.36

p21 19 And Simonides also has another epitaph referring particularly to the commander himself:

Here lies that Adeimantus by whose designs

Greece bound about her brows fair freedom's crown.37

And what is more, the Corinthians also freed Sicily from the foreigner and Syracuse too from her tyrants.38 And Dionysius was then to be seen in Corinth — a most glorious spectacle! — shorn of all his power; and yet no one wronged even him or tried to banish him or to deprive him of the wealth he brought with him from Sicily.39

20 But who overturned the statue dedicated by the city? Of course, if it was a whirlwind or a hurricane or a thunderbolt that struck it, causing it to totter and darting lightning at it! — But if it is a question of some trial of a statue, such as they say took place in Syracuse — but how it took place I shall not shrink from telling by way of parenthesis. The Syracusans, your colonists, in the course of their many wars against the Carthaginians and the other aliens who dwelt in Sicily and Italy, had run short of bronze and currency; 21 so they voted that the statues of their tyrants — most of the statues in their city were made of bronze — should be broken up, that is, after the people had held a trial to determine which of the statues deserved to be melted down and which did p23not; and — for you must hear this too — Gelon40 son of Deinomenes survived the trial. As for the others, they all were broken up, except of course the statue of Dionysius,41 the elder of the pair portrayed wearing the attributes of Dionysus.

22 Then supposing some such decree were to be passed in Corinth too, prescribing that statues should be subjected to an accounting — or rather, if you please, supposing this to have been already decreed and a trial to have been instituted — permit me, pray permit me, to make my plea before you in my own behalf as if in court.

Gentlemen of the jury, it is said that anything may be expected in the course of time; but he who stands before you is in jeopardy of first being set up as the noblest among the Greeks and then being cast out as the worst, all in a brief span of time. 23 Now then, to prove that I was set up fairly and justly and to the good of your city and of all the Greeks, I could speak at length, but there is one thing I do want to tell you which took place in that same Syracuse. For indeed the illustration is germane, and there may be justice in it too — just as the people of Syracuse honour their mother-city, so also it is well that you should follow the example of your colony.

24 Very well, in those early days, because a certain Lucanian spoke Doric in reporting some mission p25before the Assembly, those Syracusans were so pleased by his dialect that they not only sent him home successful in the general purposes of his mission but also presented him with a talent and set up a likeness of him,42 and on that account the Syracusans won much commendation from the neighbouring cities and from the Dorians of that region, especially from those who dwelt in Italy,43 who felt that they had requited the man in fine and elegant fashion in behalf of the Dorian race, whose dialect he had cultivated to the point of being actually eloquent in it.

25 Well, if some one who is not a Lucanian but a Roman,44 not one of the masses but of the equestrian order, one who has affected, not merely the language, but also the thought and manners and dress of the Greeks, and that too with such mastery and manifest success as no one among the Romans of early days or the Greeks of his own time, I must say, has achieved — for while the best of the Greeks over there45 may be seen inclining toward Roman ways, he inclines toward the Greek and to that end is sacrificing both his property and his political standing and absolutely everything, aiming to achieve one thing at the cost of all else, namely, not only to seem Greek but to be Greek too — taking all this into consideration, ought he not to have a bronze statue here in Corinth? 26 Yes, and in every city — in yours because, though Roman, he has become thoroughly p27hellenized, even as your own city has;46 in Athens because he is Athenian in his speech; in Sparta because he is devoted to athletics; in all cities everywhere because he pursues the study of wisdom and already has not only roused many of the Greek to follow that pursuit with him but also attracted even many of the barbarians. 27 Indeed it seems that he has been equipped by the gods for this express purpose — for the Greeks, so that the natives of that land may have an example before them to show that culture is no whit inferior to birth with respect to renown; for Romans, so that not even those who are wrapped up in their own self-esteem may disregard culture with respect to real esteem; for Celts,47 so that no one even of the barbarians may despair of attaining the culture of Greece when he looks upon this man.

Well then, it is for some such reasons as these that I have been erected — not to expose myself to opprobrium by naming more. 28 But in truth planning for the erection of a statue is not like planning for its tearing down. Why? Because each one of these statues which have been erected by your city — be its subject better, be it worse — is at once invested with the attributes of sanctity, and the city should defend it as a votive offering. One might urge many reasons in support of the claim that Gorgias the sophist should not have a statue at Delphi, and what is more, a statue on a lofty base and made of gold.48 p29Why do I name Gorgias, when you may see there even Phrynê of Thespiae, perched on a pillar like Gorgias?49a

29 However that may be, while it is possibly legitimate and within the right of citizens to object at the outset, later on to go and try to cancel the resolution authorizing the erection of a statue is, by Apollo, a grievous wrong; and none of the Amphictyons would have permitted it.50 For indeed if statues were erected wrongfully, once they have gained the advantage of having been erected they hold their position rightfully from the moment they gained that advantage. For just as with the officials who are elected for a year, even if one of them is unworthy of holding office, he continues in office at least for the year for which he was elected, so also with statues that term should be valid for which they were erected; and this term is all time to come. 30 Otherwise how will you differ from the men who fashion their images of clay? And what fine answer will you have to offer those who demand of you the reason why the honours in your city are mortal but the dishonours immortal? If, then, this practice is in no wise disgraceful — as it certainly is shocking — what an absolutely crazy government it is whose statues are annuals, like their crops! For men whom you honour with statues of bronze, not to have them desert you immediately, but to have them remain with you as long as possible, you show to be of softer stuff than even the images of wax.

31 Or, by Heaven, will the excuse be that men thus honoured were later on, as it happened, seen to be p31rogues? If they have turned rogues subsequently, that does not free the city of its guilt; for it is not because of what is to be but rather because of what has been that you confer your honours. If, on the other hand, a man who previously was a scoundrel was only subsequently discovered to be so, by which course of action do you suppose you would be more likely to win esteem among the Greeks, and by which course would you more effectively appeal to those who wish to do you favours — by undoing your decision, or by abiding by what has been decided once for all? As for myself, I believe it is by the second course of action. For the one course is that of men who have missed their aim, the other that of men of steady purpose.

32 I have not yet mentioned the most important consideration, which is that so signal an honour should be upset, if at all, not in consequence of slander, but by due process of law; and not for some casual fault, but only for the greatest. For so far as slander is concerned, even Socrates might be a corrupter of youth and a subverter of all the cherished beliefs of men, beginning with the gods. For whom have these men failed to slander who slander any one at all? Have they not slandered Socrates, Pythagoras,51 Plato?52 Have they not slandered Zeus himself, Poseidon, Apollo, and all the other gods?53 33 And they lay impious hands even upon the female deities, p33for whom they might be expected to feel even more reverence than for the male.54 Aye, by Heaven, for you hear what they say of Demeter55 and Aphroditê56 and Eos;57 and they do not keep their hands off even Athena or Artemis; on the contrary, they strip Artemis58 naked for Actaeon, and they unite Athena with Hephaestus and almost make a mother of the Virgin.59 Therefore, knowing all this as you do, are you surprised if there has been spread abroad against this man too some censure,60 a thing which absolutely none of those who have lived distinguished lives has had the power to escape, but which in his case is based upon the charm of his eloquence, or whatever one should call that gift to which you yourselves, along with women and children, give approval?

34 Will you not consider the matter? Will you not test your memory to see whether any such thing has been done by him in Corinth? Although you live in a city favoured by Aphroditê61 beyond all that are or ever have been, nevertheless you have heard nothing of the sort regarding him, and, I venture to assert, no other Greek has either. Then do you believe that the man who has lived a decent life in Greece, in the midst of greater licence and indulgence, has suffered transformation in Rome, in the p35presence of the Emperor himself and the laws? Why, there is very much as if one were to say of the athlete that, though privately he keeps the rules, in the stadium and in the presence of the Master of the Games he violates the code!

35 However, I hold freedom of speech to be a two-sided matter — one side is that of the man who has knowledge of some misdeed, the other is that of the Master of the Games.62 If the latter has given credence to an accusation he will exact full satisfaction from the wrongdoer, but a man who has heard a report of it will turn informer, which is precisely what the man in question63 did. But when you followed the lead of persons who64 — however, I shall say nothing of them by way of retaliation, save only that it would have been more proper for them to follow your lead than for you to follow theirs. 36 For you are now, as the saying goes, both prow and stern of Hellas, having been called prosperous and wealthy and the like by poets and gods from olden days, days when some of the others too had wealth and might; but now, since wealth has deserted both Orchomenos and Delphi,65 though they may surpass you in exciting pity, none can do so in exciting envy.

37 Now these remarks have been offered in the interest of the city, which must not suffer disgrace in the eyes of the Greeks, seeing that all men not merely welcome with delight him whom you have banished, but even send for him and dispatch him on missions here and there and, among other things, p37show him honour by actually erecting statues of him. On the other hand, I shall now in my own behalf and in behalf of my statue use a phrase which Anaxagoras used when he had lost a son: "I knew I had begotten a mortal."66 However, I did not know that my progeny was as mortal as that; for though each statue is erected as if were to last for ever, still they perish by this fate or by that, the most common and most fitting fate and the one ordained for all things being the fate of time; 38 and the poet was idly boasting who composed this epitaph, which they say has been inscribed on the funeral mound of Midas:

A maid of bronze am I. I mark the grave

Of Midas. While water flows and trees grow tall,

Here will I bide by the tear-drenched tomb and tell

The passers-by that Midas lies here.67

39 Well, my self-announcing maiden, we hear indeed the poet's words, but, though we sought, we found not thee nor yet the tomb of Midas. And though those waters still flow and those trees still thrive, in time even they are likely to vanish with the rest, like Midas, like maiden.

Hippaemon the man was called, Podargus his horse,

Lethargus his hound, and Babês his serving-man68

Well now, who of the Greek race knows, I won't say the horse, but Hippaemon himself? None, I fancy, even at Magnesia, whence Hippaemon came. He, then, has vanished from the sight of men, Babês, Podargus and all.

p39 40 However, the statues of other men still stand and are known, though they wear the label of others,69 and what is going on is like an antispast70 in poetry, and, as one might say, the authors71 give counter information — Greek character, but Roman fortune. I have seen even Alcibiades, the handsome son of Cleinias — I know not where, but I saw him in a commanding site in Greece — wearing the label Chalcopogon,72 and also another likeness of him with both arms lopped off, a likeness said to have been the work of Polycles73 — ye gods, a fearsome spectacle, Alcibiades a cripple! 41 And I know that Harmodius and Aristogeiton have served as slaves in Persia,74 and that fifteen hundred statues of Demetrius of Phalerum have all been pulled down by the Athenians on one and the same day.75 Aye, they have even dared to empty chamber-pots on King Philip.76 Yes, the Athenians poured urine on his statue — but he poured on their city blood and ashes and dust.77 In fact it was enough to arouse p41righteous indignation that they should class the same man now among the gods and now not even among human beings.

42 Then, knowing as I do that men spare not even the gods, should I imagine you to have been concerned for the statue of a mere mortal? Furthermore, while I think I shall say nothing of the others, at any rate the Isthmian,78 your own Master of the Games, Mummius tore from his base and dedicated to Zeus — disgusting ignorance! — illiterate creature that he was, totally unfamiliar with the proprieties,79 treating the brother as a votive offering! It was he who took the Philip son of Amyntas, which he got from Thespiae, and labelled it Zeus, and also the lads from Pheneüs80 he labelled Nestor and Priam respectively! But the Roman mob, as might have been expected, imagined they were beholding those very heroes, and not mere Arcadians from Pheneüs.

43 Indeed you may well laugh at these doings; but in all seriousness, it has occurred to me to congratulate Agesilaüs, king of Sparta, on the stand he took, for he never thought it fitting to have either a statue or a portrait made of himself, not because he was deformed, as people say, and short81 — for what was to hinder the statue's being tall, or having shapely legs, like Euphranor's Hephaestus?82 — but rather because he saw clearly that one should not try to prolong the allotted span of human life or expose the p43body to the vicissitudes of stone or bronze. Would that it might be possible to take leave even of the body which we have!

44 But farewell to Daedalus and to the imitative devices of that artist; enough of Prometheus, enough of clay.83 In fact it is said that even the body of noble souls is foreign substance,

For very many things do lie between84

body and soul. For the soul is not present when the body is outworn nor is it concerned for it.85 Cambyses was mad when, as if it were Amasis, the king of the Egyptians, he stabbed and flogged his dead body.86 To be sure, the Egyptians say that Amasis, having long viewed with distrust the cruelty of Cambyses, caused his own body to be hid away and another to be substituted for it, and that this was the corpse which fell in the way of Cambyses. 45 However, O ye Egyptians and Cambyses too, no matter whether it was some one else who suffered this treatment or Amasis himself, at all events it was a form sans blood, sans flesh, sans soul. This, so please you, you may drag, you may rend, you may stab, yet real Amasis you have failed to catch. Again, another man who was endowed with life and breath and feeling exclaimed, "Grind, grind the sack of Anaxarchus; for the real Anaxarchus you do not grind!"87 You see, this man, p45having been thrown into a mortar and being pounded by the pestles, declared that he himself was not being ground, but only that thing of his in which, as it chanced, he had been enclosed — just as we are told that the peers of the realm in Persia are beaten — their cloak instead of their body.88

46 Well then, though Persians may resent so slight a chastisement, a Greek allowed his body to be pounded as if it were a cloak; and shall not I allow my statue to go to the melting-pot, even supposing it to have sensation? But as matters stand, while Anaxarchus was superior to sensation, I, in the language of Euripides' Laodameia,

Would not desert a friend, though void of life.89

Accordingly I wish to speak words of comfort to my friend, my statue, as to one possessing sensation: O thou mute semblance of my eloquence, art thou not visible? No more was Aristeas visible, who lived before thee. For he too had this experience, as I conjecture, the experience of being raised up by the men of Proconnesus90 and then being spirited away by his foes, and of having a tale disseminated by these same men to the effect that Aristeas was not to be seen, either living or dead.91 However, Aristeas was alive then, lives now, and will live always.

47 Some one, I ween, will yet remember me,92

p47 as Sappho very beautifully says; and far more beautifully Hesiod:

But fame is never utterly destroyed

Which many people voice; a goddess she.93

I myself will raise thee up and place thee in the precinct of the goddess,94 whence naught shall tear thee down — not earthquake or wind or snow or rain or jealousy or foe;95 but lo! e'en now I find thee in thy station! Aye, ere now forgetfulness hath tripped and cheated sundry others too, but judgement plays no tricks on any man of worth,96 and 'tis because of this that thou standest upright for me like a man.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 On the north coast of Lesbos.

2 Periander was generally included among the Seven Sages. He was tyrant of Corinth toward the end of the 7th century B.C.

3 The dithyramb was a choral song in honour of Dionysus. Aristotle, Poetics 1449A, finds in it the germ of tragedy.

4 Possibly a reminiscence of Pindar, frag. 89: ὄχημα ἀοιδᾶν.

5 Southernmost cape of Laconia, mod. Cape Matapan.

6 We meet this famous tale first in Herodotus (1.23‑24), who, however, does not tell of the execution of the pirates or who ordered the statue. Pausanias says the quaint monument was still at Taenarum in his day. Aelian, H. A. 12.45, preserves the dedicatory inscription:

ἀθανάτων πομπαῖσιν Ἀρίονα Κυκλέος υἱὸν

ἐκ Σικελοῦ πελάγους σῶσεν ὄχημα τόδε.

7 This visit of Solon is nowhere else recorded.

8 Tyrant at first meant merely absolute ruler. Homer records several instances in which divine names were different from human names, e.g.Iliad 1.403‑404 and 2.813‑814.

9 Cf. Herodotus 5.92.

10 I.e., Antiochus II (286‑246 B.C.).

11 Mithridates Eupator (132‑63 B.C.). Appian and Plutarch attest the surname.

12 Elected aesymnetes in 589 B.C., he resigned ten years later.

13 A familiar proverb; cf. Euripides, Orestes 735.

14 Aeschines, in Timarchum 25, says the statue stood in the market-place of Salamis.

15 Herodotus (8.94) reports the Athenian claim that at the beginning of the battle Adeimantus, the Corinthian commander, fled with his contingent. Meeting with an unknown vessel whose crew taunted the Corinthians with cowardice and announced the victory of the Greek forces, he turned back and reached the scene of battle when the action was already decided. Plutarch, de Herod. malig. 39, charges Herodotus with unfairness toward Corinth and Adeimantus, but he does not impute to him a mercenary motive.

16 The privilege of προεδρία was highly prized at Athens.

17 Port of Corinth on the eastern side of the Isthmus.

18 Odyssey 11.222. Favorinus substitutes τιμὴ for ψυχὴ.

19 I.e., some one else may have had a similar experience.

20 On the miraculous powers of Daedalus, see Plato, Euthyphro 11C.

21 This sculptor, like his contemporary Myron, was skilled in depicting movement. The close association of Perseus with Corinth suggests that the statue in question may have been set up there.

22 Author unknown. The allusion is to Briareüs.

23 Pausanias (2.1.6) reports as a Corinthian tradition that Poseidon and Helius strove with each other for possession of Corinth, and that Briareüs awarded the Isthmus to Poseidon and to Helius "the height which dominates the city," i.e., Acrocorinth.

24 Onchestus, in Boeotia, though in ruins in the time of Pausanias, had been prominent in the worship of Poseidon. Cf. Iliad 2.506 and Homeric Hymn to Apollo 229‑238.

25 An ancient name for Corinth. Cf. Iliad 6.152.

26 Not the vampire with which nurses frightened unruly children. Plutarch (de Pyth. Or. 9) and Pausanias (10.12.1) refer to our Lamia, daughter of Poseidon, as mother of the earliest Sibyl, whose rocky seat may still be seen at Delphi.

27 Pausanias (2.16) gives Helius a share in the founding of the Isthmian Games; others ascribe the foundation either to Poseidon alone or to Sisyphus or Glaucus or Theseus.

28 Calaïs was a winged son of Oreithyia and Boreas. Like most of the heroes here mentioned, he took part in the Argonautic Expedition.

29 Doubtless composed by our author himself.

30 Cf. § 9, where it is jokingly suggested that Daedalus made the statue which has so mysteriously disappeared.

31 Herodotus allows Corinth no part in the expulsion of either Hippias or Cleomenes, and Cleomenes was not a tyrant but a Spartan king who seized the Acropolis!

32 Isagoras yielded the Acropolis to Cleomenes. He was the chief opponent of Cleisthenes after the expulsion of Hippias.

33 Corinth, Thebes, and Elis took common action for a brief moment after the Peace of Nicias, though presumably for selfish reasons.

34 Cf. Herodotus 7.202.

35 Cf. § 7.

36 Plutarch, de Herod. malig. 39E, gives the epitaph but not the poet's name.

37 Cited by Plutarch, op. cit. 39F, but without naming the poet.

38 Timoleon the Liberator in the years 344‑338 B.C. twice defeated the Carthaginians and drove them into western Sicily. He also suppressed most of the Sicilian tyrannies.

39 Plutarch, Timoleon 14, says Dionysius was allowed to take with him a small amount of money, and that he became an object of much interest to both the Corinthians and the Greeks in general.

Thayer's Note: The money, actually, is mentioned in section 13 — and nothing is said as to whether the amount was large or small: αὐτὸς δὲ χρήματα λαβὼν.

40 Tyrant of Syracuse 485‑478 B.C. His statue's immunity from destruction was doubtless due to his being both the first and the mildest tyrant of that city.

41 Dionysius the Elder ruled Syracuse from 405 to 367 B.C. Scipio is said to have classed him with Agathocles as typifying daring and sagacity. We are led to infer that both the elder and the younger Dionysius had statues so made as to suggest the god from whom their name was derived.

42 The eastern shore of Lucania faced Doric Tarentum (mod. Taranto), so that the incident is not surprising. Syracuse of course was Doric.

43 I.e., the people of Tarentum.

44 I.e., the speaker. See Introduction.

45 I.e., in Rome.

46 Destroyed by Mummius in 146 B.C., Corinth was refounded by Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. as a Roman colony. In the century and a half that followed it seems to have been hellenized pretty thoroughly. The speaker is evidently playing upon the Greek sentiment of his hearers.

47 By "Celts" the speaker may mean the people of Arelatê.º See Introduction.

48 This statue of the famous Sicilian orator is noted by many ancient writers, but no one else refers to the pedestal.

49 Phrynê was a famous hetaera of the 4th century B.C. Pausanias (10.15.1) attributes her statue at Delphi to Praxiteles, "one of her lovers."

50 Amphictyonies were religious leagues for the protection of some cult centre. The oath by Apollo shows that the speaker has in mind the Delphic Amphictyony; he is still thinking of Gorgias and Phrynê.

51 Pythagoras was ridiculed for certain peculiar beliefs and practices, but apparently not on the score of morals.

52 Diogenes Laertius, Vitae Philos. 3.26‑33, assembles various jokes and gibes at the expense of Plato.

53 Greek mythology naturally afforded abundant material for the irreverent treatment of many of the gods. Scandalous tales were most common in connexion with Zeus.

54 With the notable exception of Aphroditê, the Greeks do seem in general to have dealt more kindly with their goddesses than with their gods.

55 Save for the obscure amour with Poseidon reported by Pausanias (8.25.4), and that with Iasion (Hom. Od. 125‑128), Demeter's reputation seems to have been spared.

56 Aphroditê was fair sport for Greeks from Homer on.

57 Presumably a reference to her affair with Tithonus, first recorded in the Homeric Hymn to Aphroditê 218‑238.

58 Actaeon encountered her at the bath and was torn to pieces by his own hounds. Cf. Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.30‑31.º

59 Cf. Apollodorus, op. cit. 3.188‑190.º

60 For the charge of immorality in question, see Introduction.

61 It seems highly probable that the speaker is punning on the word ἐπαφροδιτοτάτην, the cult of Aphroditê at Corinth being notorious. Though possibly in bad taste, the pun would be understandable in connexion with the charge against him.

62 No doubt a figurative allusion to Hadrian. See Introduction.

63 The unknown informer against Favorinus.

64 He seems to say that Corinth is aping Athens in its treatment of the statue. See Introduction.

65 Both were synonymous with wealth in the time of Homer (Iliad 9.379‑382 and 404‑405). Pausanias says (8.33.2) that Orchomenos had become in his day "less opulent than a private man of modest means." Despite repeated pillaging, Delphi had hardly fallen so low.

66 Cf. Diogenes Laertius 2.13.

67 Quoted also by Plato, Phaedrus 264D.

68 Cf. Anthol. Pal. 7.304.

69 This vicious practice of altering labels forms the theme of Or. 31.

70 The antispast, as the name implies, is a metrical foot which seems to tend in opposite directions (
[image ALT: a macron-sign]
	
[image ALT: a breve-sign]
	
[image ALT: a breve-sign]
	
[image ALT: a macron-sign]
	).

71 I.e., "authors" respectively of statue and of dedicatory inscription. The word ποιητής, though usually applied to "makers" of verse, was applicable also to makes of other things as well.

72 Chalcopogon is the Greek translation of Ahenobarbus (Bronzebeard), a name used by Nero in his earlier career. Some servile Greek may have rededicated to him the statue in question.

73 Polycles was a sculptor of the second century B.C. It is noteworthy that Alcibiades should have served as subject for sculpture at that late date.

74 The statues of the famous Tyrannicides were carried to Persia in 480 B.C.

75 Both Diogenes Laertius and Pliny the Elder give 360 as the number erected. Diogenes says they were completed in fewer than 300 days. Only Pliny speaks of their destruction: quas mox laceravere.

Thayer's Note: For once, there's an easy explanation. At some point during the transmission of the text, a manuscript must have given 360 in numerals (′ΙΕ), which the next copyist read as ΤΞ, or 1500.

76 The incident seems apocryphal.

77 A most surprising statement, for, contrary to the prediction of Demosthenes, Philip proved notably indulgent toward Athens.

78 I.e., Poseidon. Mummius made Poseidon a votive offering to Zeus.

79 Velleius (1.13.4) recounts that Mummius ordered that works of art lost en route to Rome must be replaced!

80 Pheneüs was a city in Arcadia. Nothing is known of the statues in question.

81 On his physical appearance, see Plutarch, Agesilaüs 2.

82 Euphranor was a Corinthian sculptor of the fourth century, famous for the grace of his statues. Hephaestus, of course, was lame.

83 Prometheus is said to have created the race of men out of clay. Cf. Pausanias 10.4.4 and Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1.45.º

84 Spoken by Achilles of the distance between Troy and his home (Iliad 1.156).

85 Post compares this utterance with the words of Socrates (Phaedo 115E and Axiochus 365E).

86 This incident is recorded by Herodotus (3.16).

87 According to Diogenes Laertius (9.58 ff.), Anaxarchus, a philosopher of Abdera (c. 350 B.C.), had offended Nicocreon the satrap of Cyprus, who had him thrown into the mortar to be ground to death.

88 Apparently the peers were spared the indignity of being stripped for flogging. The long-sleeved κάνδυς is here viewed as shielding the body from the pain.

89 Spoken with reference to her husband. Cf. Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. p565.

90 An island in the Propontis, birthplace of Aristeas.

91 For the weird story of the repeated disappearance and reappearance of Aristeas, see Herodotus 4.13‑15.

92 Cf. Edmonds, Lyra Graeca, I p236, L. C. L.

93 Works and Days 763‑764.

94 The goddess Fame?

95 Seemingly an echo of the famous tribute paid by Herodotus (8.98) to the Persian courier service: τοὺς οὔτε νιφετός, οὐκ ὄμβρος, οὐ καῦμα, οὐ νὺξ ἔργει μὴ οὐ κατανύσαι τὸν προκείμενον αὐτῷ δρόμον τὴν ταχίστην.

96 Edmonds, loc. cit., regards λάθα μὲν . . . οὐδένα as a paraphrase of lines from the same poem of Sappho, a theory to which the form λάθα lends some colour. See Introduction for a possible interpretation of this highly imaginative peroration.


Thayer's Note:

a The American reader, especially if from the South, will get the idea immediately by thinking of the statue of Arthur Ashe on Monument Avenue in Richmond. A good and decent man, and well deserving of a statue: but an odd idea to put a tennis player in the company of Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart, and Matthew Fontaine Maury.


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