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Discourse 40

This webpage reproduces one of the

Dio Chrysostom

published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1946

The text is in the public domain.

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Discourse 42

(Vol. IV) Dio Chrysostom

 p149  The Forty-first Discourse:
To the Apameians on Concord

This short address constitutes the sequel to Or. 40, which it must have followed closely in point of time. Dio is speaking before the Council of Apameia as a member of the official delegation from Prusa sent to conclude the reconciliation which forms the theme of both speeches. That the question was of widespread interest is shown by the presence in the audience of others than members of the Council (§ 1).

The first half of the address is aimed at dispelling the distrust and hostility toward Dio occasioned by his seeming indifference to the Apameians in the past. This he attempts to bring about by recalling the ties which bound him and his family to that city and by explaining the delicacy of his situation as a member of both communities. The remainder of the speech is devoted to praising the blessings of concord and stressing the peculiarly intimate nature of the ties existing between the two cities. Here there are many echoes of Or. 40.

The abruptness of the close might suggest that the speech is incomplete. However, such a supposition is not unavoidable. Dio has presumably achieved his immediate purpose — to restore himself to good favour at Apameia and, as a delegate from Prusa, to make his voice heard in support of concord. It is not as if he were the only delegate to be heard.

 p151  The Forty-first Discourse:
To the Apameians on Concord

Members of the Council and you other most fair-minded gentlemen here present, I believe I know for a fact that you are kindly and amiably disposed toward me. For I am sure I myself esteem highly your favourable regard and have never said or done anything against you, and besides, immediately on my reaching home1 you honoured me officially with a resolution which you sent me, expressing your joy over my return and inviting me to pay you a visit. 2 And perhaps there was nothing remarkable in what you did; for wherever I have been, not only cities in general, but even, I may say, most of those which are of equal rank with yourselves, have presented me with citizenship, with membership in the Council, and with highest honours without my asking it, believing me to be not unserviceable to themselves or unworthy of being honoured. And your action is not that of strangers but rather, as it were, of a fatherland honouring its own son2 in token of goodwill and of gratitude. Yet that there should be some here — as is natural in a democracy — who, if I may say so, are not too pleased with me3 would not surprise me, because of the rivalry between our two  p153 cities. Though I am aware that I cannot please even all the citizens of Prusa, but, on the contrary, that some of them are vexed with me for the very reason that I seem to be too patriotic and enthusiastic.4 3 However, a man who is reasonable and fair-minded must allow his fellow citizens this licence too. For it is not to be expected of democracies, nor is it reasonable, that they should not allow anyone in a city either to raise his voice against a single person or to find fault with him, even when that person shows himself to be behaving well in all respects, but such immunity from criticism is more likely to be accorded to dictators than to benefactors. Therefore, if there are some who are ill disposed toward me, it is they in whom I have the most confidence. For it is clear that they feel as they do because they believe I love my fatherland and try to foster it in every way. Therefore, if they become convinced that I regard this city too as my fatherland and am eager to do in its behalf all in my power, they will readily change and come to love me as the others do.

4 Now love of native land is a thing which, above all, I do not disclaim. But I ask them5 whether they regard this as the mark of an unjust man and one who is base, and whether they would not care to have that kind of citizen in their state. Well then, you have the opportunity to have as a citizen above suspicion not only me but the best of the other Prusans as well. And furthermore, you might more justly feel confidence in me for this very reason; for whoever is inconsiderate toward his natural parents would never be a dutiful son to his parents by adoption; 5 whereas he who cherishes those to whom he owes his being would never neglect those who have  p155 become parents as an act of grace. For Nature operates without our choice, whereas grace is an act of freewill. Now then, I am a citizen of each of our two cities; but while I need not feel grateful to the men of Prusa in that connexion, it is only fair that I should requite you as benefactors. For it is through your kindness and generosity that I am a member of your city.

However, for all who have gained citizenship by themselves there is only the benevolence inspired by the grant, and the compulsion which Nature imposes is not attached to it. 6 But as for me, I partake of both; for my grandfather, along with my mother, acquired from the emperor of that day, who was his friend, not only Roman citizenship, but along with it citizenship in Apameia too,6 while my father got citizenship here from you; consequently I am your fellow townsman by both grace and birth. Again, to my children at least this is fatherland rather than Prusa.7 While, therefore, necessity dictates that the children follow the father, it is much more pleasant for this father to follow his children.

7 These, then, are the reasons why I happen to be well disposed toward you and have a citizen's state of mind; and, moreover, I have shown it openly too. For when strife had broken out between our cities and the city of my birth very considerately disliked to trouble me against my wishes,8 though it was  p157 very eager to take up the problem, often inviting my support by the honours it bestowed upon me, I did not give heed to this inducement alone — not that I should have had any reluctance about acting in behalf of Prusa, since I might possibly have accomplished as much as any one and had not a few friends, and friends, too, not lacking in influence,9 not to say anything invidious or likely to hurt some persons' feelings; furthermore, it was not because I shrank from the journey, since I had to go abroad in any case. 8 Well then, in spite of these considerations I held off from the affair,10 not as a traitor to the men of Prusa, but out of consideration for you, and because I believed I should be more serviceable to both sides if I could make the cities friends, not alone by ridding them of their past subjects of dispute, but also by turning them toward friendship and concord for the future.11 For this is the best course of all and the most expedient, not only in dealings between equals, but also in dealings between superiors and inferiors.

9 Now I understand how difficult it is to eradicate strife from human beings, especially when it has been nurtured for a fairly long period of time, just as it is not easy to rid the body of a disease that has long since become a part of it, especially in case one should wish to effect a painless cure. But still I have confidence in the character of your city, believing it to be, not rough and boorish, but in very truth the genuine character of those distinguished men and that blessed city by which you were sent  p159 here as friends indeed to dwell with friends.12 That city, while so superior to the rest of mankind in good fortune and power, has proved to be even more superior in fairness and benevolence, bestowing ungrudgingly both citizenship and legal rights and offices, believing no man of worth to be an alien, and at the same time safeguarding justice for all alike.

10 In emulation of that city it is fitting that you should show yourselves gentle and magnanimous toward men who are so close to you, virtually housemates, not harsh and arrogant neighbours, since they are men with whom you have common ties of wedlock, offspring, civic institutions, sacrifices to the gods, festive assemblies, and spectacles; moreover, you are educated together with them individually, you feast with them, you entertain each other, you spend the greater portion of your time together, you are almost one community, one city only slightly divided.13 Besides, several citizens of Prusa you have even made citizens of Apameia, you have made them members of the Council, you have deemed them not unworthy of becoming magistrates among you, and you admitted them to partnership in these august privileges which pertain to Roman citizenship.14 11 How, then, is it reasonable to regard individuals singly as friends and to show them honour, and then as a community to view their city as a foe, as Apameia and Prusa both are doing? For when men love the inhabitants of a city and  p161 mingle with them and welcome them to citizenship, what explanation remains except that they do not like each other's climate and the position of each other's city, or else — an unholy thing even to suggest — that they detest each other's gods? Furthermore, any enmity towards any people is an irksome, grievous thing. For there is no enemy so weak as not on occasion to hurt even the man who appears to be very strong, or to display his hatred by either saying some painful word or doing some injurious act.

12 For the fruit of hatred is never, so to speak, sweet or beneficial, but of all things most unpleasant and bitter, nor is any burden so hard to bear or so fatiguing as enmity. For example, while it always interferes with strokes of good fortune, it increases disasters, and while for him who suffers from something else it doubles the pain, it does not permit those who are enjoying good fortune to rejoice in fitting measure.15 For it is inevitable, I suppose, that the masses should be harmed by one another, and, on the other hand, be despised and held in low esteem by the others, not only as having antagonists to begin with, but also as being themselves foolish and contentious. 13 However, there is nothing finer or more godlike than friendship and concord, whether between man and man or between city and city. For who are they who acquire the good things of life more becomingly, when it is their friends who assist in supplying them? Who escape the bad things more easily than those who have friends as allies? Who are less affected by distress than those who have persons to share their suffering and to  p163 help them bear it? To whom is good fortune sweeter than to those who gladden by their success not only themselves but others too? For I would not count that man fortunate who has no one to share his pleasure. 14 Again, what helper, what counsellor, is more welcome to behold than a friend met unexpectedly? In fact one might almost say that he is also an augury, not only most auspicious, but even most helpful, and to whomever he may meet a loyal friend.16 But the works of hatred, indeed, and of enmity are painful and grievous everywhere. The presence of an enemy is a grievous thing, whether in a serious business or in the midst of good cheer, a painful thing to behold and painful to recall, but beyond all things most baneful to experience.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Dio means his return from exile. Cf. Or. 40.16.

2 Though a native of Prusa, he was an adoptive citizen of Apameia.

3 Cf. Or. 40.16.

4 Cf. Or. 40.8‑9.

5 I.e., those who feel hostile toward him.

6 That his maternal grandfather was a man of cultivation and influence is stressed in Or. 46.3. Arnim suggests that Claudius may have been the emperor whose favour he enjoyed.

7 It has been thought that his family made their home in Apameia during his exile. His children may actually have been born there, for, as we have seen, Dio's connexion with the city was very close.

8 Cf. Or. 40.25.

9 He probably has Trajan in mind, but he avoids direct reference as being more politic.

10 For his reluctance to answer the call of Prusa, cf. Or. 40.17‑18.

11 Dio hopes that this explanation will dispel the suspicion and irritation on the part of the Apameians because of his seeming coldness, to which he alludes in Or. 40.16.

12 Apameia, originally Myrlaea, had been refounded as a colony of Rome. The eulogy of Rome which follows is notable, but deserved.

13 Prusa and Apameia were separated by not more than twelve miles at most.

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14 On this summary of the ties that bound the two cities, cf. Or. 40.22 and 27‑29.

15 In §§ 11‑12 there is the closest resemblance to Or. 40.20‑21.

16 Dio seems to be punning on σύμβολος and σύμβουλος. On the chance meeting as a ξύμβολον, cf. Aristophanes, Birds 719‑721.

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