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Discourse 37

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 39

(Vol. IV) Dio Chrysostom

 p48  The Thirty-eighth Discourse:
To the Nicomedians on Concord with the Nicaeans

This is the first in a series of speeches by Dio dealing affairs in his native Bithynia, speeches which shed much light upon the troubles and problems referred to by Pliny the Younger in his correspondence while governor of that province. The administration of Bithynia was clearly no easy task. Besides the natural resentment of the provincial toward his Roman overlord, who in some instances seems to have been unworthy of the office, we learn of much social and economic distress and unrest, financial mismanagement, and civic bickerings. Still another source of trouble was the bitter rivalry between cities of the district such as forms the subject of the present Discourse.

1 Nicomedia and 2 Nicaea were near neighbours. While Nicomedia profited from its nearness to the sea and was the "metropolis" of the district, Nicaea lay on an important trade route and seems to have outstripped its neighbour in material prosperity. Under the Empire it appears to have enjoyed the special favour of Rome. As early as 29 B.C. Augustus established there the cults of Roma and of Julius Caesar, and at the time of our Discourse Nicaea was honoured with the title πρώτη. This title it continued to hold despite the counterclaims of Nicomedia, and that it was no empty honour seems to be attested both by coins and inscriptions and by Dio's own words (§ 26), which seem to negative the disparaging reference immediately preceding. His efforts to establish concord between these rivals seem not to have had lasting success, for as late as the Council of Chalcedon  p49 the bishops of these two cities presented counterclaims to the right of ordaining bishops in Bithynia.

Dio does not provide a clue as to the precise date of our Discourse, but both his choice of theme and the spirit in which he deals with it indicate with some clearness that it belongs to his philosophic period. With what appears to be false modesty, he professes not to know why he, a native of [a map marker] Prusa, some sixty miles distant, should have been honoured with citizen­ship in Nicomedia. Possibly it had been the first city of the province so to honour him. However that may be, in his address before the people of Apameia (Or. 41.2) he states in no uncertain terms that such marks of distinction had become for him a common experience "wherever I have been, not only cities in general, but even, I may say, most of those which are of standing equal to your own, have presented me with citizen­ship, with member­ship in the Council, and with their highest honours without my asking it, believing me to be not unserviceable to themselves or unworthy of being honoured." Although loyal to his birthplace and ambitious for its advancement, Dio's long exile had fostered in him wider sympathies, and he seems to have been sincerely concerned for the welfare of Bithynia at large. It was only to be expected that the cities of the province should welcome the opportunity to enlist in their support a man with such an outlook, to profit by his wisdom, and to shine by his reflected glory.

 p51  The Thirty-eighth Discourse:
To the Nicomedians on Concord with the Nicaeans

Men of Nicomedia, when I undertake to compute the reasons why you gave me citizen­ship, I am at a loss;​1 for I do not see that I have great wealth such as to warrant my believing that I have been sought after by you for mercenary reasons,​2 nor am I conscious of having an attitude for flattering the masses; so you do not seem to want me even for the purpose of readily serving your every whim. No, the fact is that I am not even good company at a banquet or a sociable person at gatherings of that sort, so as to be able at least to afford pleasure for the populace from that quality. However, if I do not wholly mistake your purpose regarding me, and also if I am cognizant of all the matters in which I am capable of serving you, the only thing left to account for my having been made a citizen by you is naught else than that, perhaps to a greater degree than others, I have both the desire and the ability to give advice on the interests of the commonwealth. 2 However, if such is not the case, then not only have you been misguided in your interest in me but I too, it would appear, was rash in heeding your call in the hope of proving useful to your city in the  p53 future, since you are not making that use of me for which alone I am adapted. If, on the other hand, all cities, or rather the great cities, need not only the men of wealth, both to finance the public spectacles and liberally to provide such customary expenses, and flatterers to afford pleasure by their demagogic clap-trap, but also counsellors to provide safety by their policies,​3 I myself shall not shrink from aiding the city to the best of my ability by giving advice on matters of greatest importance.

3 Well now, there are indeed some other things in your city which deserve correction, and one after the other I shall apply my treatment to them, provided I win your confidence by speaking the truth about the greater matters. But for what strange reason or with what purpose do I not first give advice about the smaller matters and in those matters test the willingness of the people to be persuaded, instead of choosing to jeopardize my reputation at the start by offering advice on the weightiest matter of all? It is because it seems to me far easier to persuade men concerning the weightiest matters than concerning those which are slighter or trivial. For while one may actually scorn the harm resulting from these minor matters, a man who, when it is a question of policies apart from which it is impossible for him to be saved, has refused to be persuaded regarding these things is clearly a man who will not even listen concerning the minor matters.

4 So then, if you will endure my advice with patience, I am indeed very confident you will be persuaded by me in the matters about which I am here to advise you. What then? It is a hard task to get you to  p55 view my remarks upon the subject which I have in mind as neither tiresome nor superfluous nor untimely. In order, therefore, that I may not at the outset encounter such objections on your part as: "But why do you offer advice in matters about which, to begin with, we are not even deliberating?" "But why do you accord yourself the privilege of the floor, when we have not bestowed it on you?" "But for what reason, when so many have been active in politics in our city, native-born and adopted, orators and philosophers, old and young, has no one ever presumed to give us this advice?" — to forestall all such objections, 5 I wish to make this very special request of you, men of Nicomedia — and do me the favour of being patient — that you listen to a speech which is superfluous and untimely and which may not convince you. Moreover, I do not consider it a great favour I am asking either; for if you are persuaded by my words, it is worth your while to have listened to one who tells you what is to your advantage; while, on the other hand, if you reserve your acquiescence, what is there unpleasant in having allowed a friend to take the floor who is willing to speak to no avail?"4

Very well, what is this subject on which I am about to offer advice, and yet am reluctant to name it? The word, men of Nicomedia, is not distasteful whether in the home or the clan or in friendly circles or cities or nations; 6 for concord is what I am going to talk about, a fine word and a fine thing; but if I proceed to add forthwith concord with whom, I fear lest, while you may be convinced that concord  p57 of and by itself is fine, you may believe that being concordant with those persons with whom I claim you should be concordant is impossible. For what till now has set you at your present enmity one toward another, and has prevented the establishment of friendship, is the unreasoning conviction that concord is impossible for your cities. Nay, don't raise an outcry when I make a fresh start but bear with me.

7 What I say, men of Nicomedia, is that you must achieve concord with the Nicaeans; but hear me out and don't get angry yet before I state my reasons. For neither is the sick man angry with his physician when he prescribes his treatment, but, though he dislikes to hear him say he must submit to surgery or cautery, still he obeys; for his life is at stake. And yet why have I said this? For my remedy, the one I offer your cities, is a most pleasant remedy, and one without which no man would wish to live, if he has good sense.

8 But I want to break up my address, and first of all to speak about concord itself in general, telling both whence it comes and what it achieves, and then over against that to set off strife and hatred in contradistinction to friendship. For when concord has been proved to be beneficial to all mankind, the proof will naturally follow that this particular concord between these particular cities is both quite indispensable for you and quite profitable as well. I shall not, however, refrain from telling also how concord may endure when once achieved; for that problem, indeed, I see is bothering many.​5 9 But I  p59 pray to all the gods, both yours and theirs,​6 that if what I now say is said because of goodwill to you alone and not in pursuit of any personal glory or advantage to be devoted from your reconciliation, and above all if it is destined to be of advantage to the state — if this is true, I pray that the gods may not only grant me such eloquence as is worthy of my cause, but that they may also make you willing to take my advice in the matters which are to your advantage.

10 Well then, concord has been lauded by all men always in both speech and writing. Not only are the works of poets and philosophers alike full of its praises, but also all who have published their histories to provide a pattern for practical application​7 have shown concord to be the greatest of human blessings, and, furthermore, although many of the sophists have in the past ventured to make paradoxical statements, this is the only one it has not occurred to them to publish — that concord is not a fine and salutary thing. Therefore, not only for those who now desire to sing its praises, but also for those who at any time would do so, the material for their use is abundant, and it will ever be possible to say more and finer things about it.

11 For example, if a man should wish to delve into its origin, he must trace its very beginning to the greatest of divine things. For the same manifestation is both friendship and reconciliation and kinship, and it embraces all these. Furthermore, what but  p61 concord unites the elements?​8 Again, that through which all the greatest things are preserved is concord, while that through which everything is destroyed is its opposite. If, then, we human beings were not by nature a race of mortals, and if the forces which destroy us were not bound to be numerous, there would not be strife even in human affairs, just as also still not in things divine.​9 However, the only respect in which we fall short of the blessedness of the gods and of their indestructible permanence is this — that we are not all sensitive to concord, but, on the contrary, there are those who actually love its opposite, strife, of which wars and battles constitute departments and subsidiary activities, and these things are continually at work in communities and in nations, just like the diseases in our bodies. 12 For in fact, though we know full well that health is the greatest of human blessings, still many times we ourselves plot against it to our own undoing, some yielding to the seduction of pleasures and some shirking labours which are healthful and habits which are prudent. On the other hand, if the greatest of our evils did not have for their support the pleasure of the moment, they would have no power at all to harm us; yet as it is, Nature has given that to them, and so they can deceive and delight their victims.

13 Moreover, what might actually make one most indignant toward mankind is this — that all the evils afflict them though knowing well their nature. At any rate, if one were to question a single person, or a company of persons, about the terms themselves, asking in what category are to be placed such terms as wars, factions, diseases, and the like, no one would  p63 hesitate a moment to reply that these are classed among the evils, and that they not only are so but have been so considered and are called evils. 14 And as for their opposites, peace and concord and health, no one would deny that they likewise both are and are called goods. But though the conflict between the evil things and the good is so manifest, yet there are some among us — or rather a good many — who delight in the things which are admittedly evil. And take, for example, a ship — though all on board are well aware that the one hope of reaching port in safety lies in having the sailors on good terms with one another and obedient to the skipper, but that when strife and mutiny arise in it, even the favourable winds often veer round to oppose the ship's course and they fail to make their harbours, even when close at hand,​10 still the sailors sometimes foolishly quarrel, and this works their ruin, though they know the cause of their destruction.

15 Again, take our households — although their safety depends not only on the like-mindedness of master and mistress but also on the obedience of the servants, yet both the bickering of master and mistress and the wickedness of the servants have wrecked many households. Why, what safety remains for the chariot, if the horses refuse to run as a team? For when they begin to separate and to pull one this way and one that, the driver is inevitably in danger. And the good marriage, what else is it save concord between man and wife? And the bad marriage, what  p65 is it save their discord? Moreover, what benefit are children to parents, when through folly they begin to rebel against them? And what is fraternity save concord of brothers? And what is friendship save concord among friends?

16 Besides, all these things are not only good and noble but also very pleasant, whereas their opposites are not only evil but also unpleasant; and yet we often prefer them instead of the most pleasant goods. For example, there have been times when people have chosen wars instead of peace, despite the great differences between the two, not under the delusion that fighting is better or more pleasant and more righteous than keeping the peace, but because some were striving for kingly power, some for liberty, some for territory they did not have, and some for control of the sea. And yet, though the prizes await the victor are so rich, many have laid war aside as an evil thing and not fit to be chosen by them in preference to the things of highest value. 17 But, the waging of war and fighting even without occasion, what is that but utter madness and a craving for evils which is occasioned by madness? Now the chief reason why we human beings hate wild beasts is that remorseless warfare exists between them and us for ever; yet many even of us treat human beings too as wild beasts and take pleasure in the conflict waged with those of our own kind.

18 What is more, we take no notice of the signs sent by the gods, all those signs and omens by which they try to teach us to live on good terms with one another.  p67 Indeed they are said to be, as it were, heralds sent by the gods, and for that reason among ourselves also, while peace is proclaimed by heralds, wars for the most part take place unheralded. Furthermore, men go unarmed into an armed camp as envoys to sue for peace and it is not permitted to wrong any of them, the belief that all messengers in behalf of friendship are servants of the gods. Again, whenever, as armies come together for battle, there suddenly appears an omen from heaven or there occurs a quaking of the earth, immediately the men wheel about and withdraw from one another, believing the gods do not wish them to fight; 19 but no divine portent is deemed a signal for war. And furthermore, when peace is brought about, we do all those things which are not only most pleasant for mortals but also tokens of happiness — we bedeck ourselves with garlands, offer sacrifice, and hold high festival; but we do quite the opposite in time of war, just as in time of mourning — we shut ourselves within the gates, live in dread of every thing, and abandon ourselves to despair. Moreover, at such times the women wail for their husbands and the children for their fathers, as they would over the greatest calamities.

20 Again, whenever there comes a pestilence or an earthquake, we blame the gods, in the belief that they cause misery for mankind, and we claim they are not righteous or benevolent, not even if they are punishing us justly for most grievous sins; so great is our hatred of those evils which occur through chance. Yet war, which is no less destructive than an earthquake, we choose of our own volition; and we do not blame at all the human beings who are  p69 responsible for these evils, as we blame the gods for earthquake or pestilence, but we even think them patriotic and we listen to them with delight when they speak, we follow their advice, and in payment for the evils they occasion we give them every kind of — I won't say return, for return would mean evil for evil — but rather thanks and honours and words of praise; and so they would be very witless indeed if they spared those who are even grateful for their evils.

21 First of all, then, men of Nicomedia, let us inspect the reasons for your strife. For if the issues are so great that it is fitting to wage a war that is no short one, such as could be waged by force of arms and have as its consolation the speed of its decision, but instead a long war without cessation, one to be handed on to our children and our children's children and never achieve the hope of settlement, then let us engage in the struggle, maintain the strife, and make all the trouble we can for one another, being vexed that our powers are not even greater. But if at best the prize for which this evil is endured is a mere nothing and the supposed issues are both small and trifling and it is not fitting even for private persons to squabble over them, much less cities of such importance, then let us not behave at all like foolish children who, ashamed lest they may seem to their fathers or their mothers to be enraged without a cause, do not wish to make it up with one another lightly.

22 Well now, surely we are not fighting for land or sea; on the contrary, the Nicaeans do not even present counterclaims against you for the sea, but they have gladly withdrawn from competition so as to  p71 afford no cause for conflict. And what is more, we are not contending for revenues either, but each side is content with what is its own; moreover, these matters, as it happens, have been clearly delimited — and so indeed is all else besides — just as if in peace and friendship. Furthermore, there is interchange of produce between the two cities, as well as intermarriage, and in consequence already there have come to be many family ties between us; yes, and we have proxenies​11 and ties of personal friendship to unite us. Besides, you worship the same gods as they do, and in most cases you conduct their festivals as they do. In fact you have no quarrel as to your customs either. Yet, though all these things afford no occasion for hostility, but rather for friendship and concord, still we fight. 23 And if some one comes up and asks you, "But how are the Nicaeans wronging you?" you will have nothing to reply. And if he asks them in turn, "But how are the men of Nicomedia wronging you?" they too will not have a single thing to say.

However, there is a prize at stake between you, one over which you are at odds. And what is this prize? It is none of those things which are fit to name or to acknowledge, and the competitors for which one might even pardon, nay, its constituent elements it is not well even to mention or acknowledge; they are of such a nature, so petty, so commonplace, things upon which fools perhaps might pride themselves, but not any man of good sense. 24 For those who summon you to the contest — but their motives it is perhaps not for me to scrutinize  p73 — however that may be, those who delight in it prate of naught but this: "We are contending for primacy." Very well, I will reply to these same persons with the query: "What primacy? And is it a primacy to be actually and in fact conceded to you, or is your battle for a name and nothing more?"

Yes, I hear that this is not the first time this same thing has served as the cause of strife among the Greeks — that the Athenians and the Spartans went to war for the primacy.​12 25 Moreover, that strife and warfare were not profitable in their case either, but in struggling with one another for the primacy they both lost it, you all know and I myself may possibly mention a bit later.​13 What then? In proposing this struggle of yours do they speak of it as similar to that of the Athenians and the Spartans? The Athenians waged war that they might continue to receive tribute from the islanders,​14 and they and their opponents fought each other over the right of every man to have his lawsuits tried in his own home city, and, broadly speaking, the war between those states was for the prize of empire.

26 But if we recover the primacy, the Nicaeans relinquishing it without a fight, shall we receive the tribute they get now? Shall we summon for trial here the cities which now are subject to their jurisdiction? Shall we send them military governors?​15 Shall we any the less permit them to have the tithes from Bithynia? Or what will be the  p75 situation? And what benefit will accrue to us? For I believe that in all their undertakings men do not exert themselves idly or at random, but that their struggle is always for some end. 27 For example, the man who goes to war fights either for liberty — in which case others are trying to enslave him — or for sovereignty — in which case he himself is trying to enslave the others. Similarly the man who goes to sea does not undertake an aimless roving, for surely the risks he takes are either for the purpose of reaching some destination or else for trafficking. But, not to present all the various illustrations, in a word we human beings not only do all we do because of an end that is good, but we also avoid the opposite activities because of an end that is evil. On the other hand, to exert oneself or toil without a reason 28 is appropriate for fools alone. If, for example, a man should entertain a serious purpose to be called King when he is merely a private citizen — and when, moreover, he knows that fact about himself perfectly well — quite contrary to his fond imagining, he would become a laughing-stock, inasmuch as he would be using a false title devoid of reality. And it is much the same in all the other matters too, whether a man wishes to be thought a flautist when he doesn't know how to blow the pipes, or musical when he knows nothing of the art of music, or a player of the cithara when he cannot even touch the harp intelligently. While, therefore, there will be nothing to prevent men like that from being deemed actually crazy, do we imagine that, provided we are somewhat registered as "first," we shall actually have the primacy? 29 What kind of primacy, men of Nicomedia? You see, I am going to ask  p77 you a second time,​16 and even a third time. A primacy whose utility is what? Whose function is what? One by reason of which we shall become wealthier or greater or more power­ful? Vainglory has come to be regarded as a foolish thing even in private individuals, and we ourselves deride and loathe, and end by pitying, those persons above all who do not know wherein false glory differs from the genuine; besides, no educated man has such a feeling about glory as to desire a foolish thing.

Shall we say, then, that all these things befit our cities as communities which do not befit even persons in private life who are men of breeding and cultivation? 30 But, speaking generally, if some one were to question you and say, "Men of Nicomedia, what do you want? To be first in very truth, or to be called first when you are not?" Surely you would admit that you prefer to be first rather than to be called first to no purpose. For names have not the force of facts; whereas things that are in very truth of a given nature must also of necessity be so named. 31 Try, therefore, to hold first place among our cities primarily on the strength of your solicitude for them — for since you are a metropolis,​17 such indeed is your special function — and then too by showing yourselves fair and moderate toward all, by not being grasping in any matter or trying to gain your end by force. For greed and violence necessarily stir up hatreds and disagreements, since it is natural that the weaker party should be disposed to look with suspicion on the stronger, believing they are due to  p79 be overreached in every matter, and when that does actually take place, their hostility is still more justly aroused.

32 On the other hand, you have it in your power to benefit the cities more fully and more effectively than the Nicaeans, first and foremost because of the sea, all the revenue of which the cities share even now, partly as a favour — though your city should grant favours officially and not to certain persons privately — partly also through their own smuggling operations, and partly on application in each separate case; and while you never refuse such applicants, still the very necessity of making application is irksome. If, however, you will actually allow the communities who day by day petition for what is urgent for their need the privilege in sharing in all these rights, is it not reasonable to suppose that you will stand higher in their estimation when you become their benefactors? And at the same time you will also increase the concord which will spread everywhere.

33 But you must also strive to give the provincial governors occasion to respect you, by continually making it manifest that you are not content with merely being well governed yourselves, but that you are concerned for the welfare of the whole Bithynian people, and that you are no less displeased over the wrongs inflicted upon the others than you are over those inflicted upon yourselves; moreover, that if any persons flee to you for succour, you aid them promptly and impartially. This line of conduct is what will yield you that primacy which is genuine, and not your squabble with Nicaeans over titles.

34 And I should like the Nicaeans also to pursue the same course, and they will do so if you come to  p81 terms with them, and the power of each will become greater through union. For by joining forces you will control all the cities, and, what is more, the provincial governors will feel greater reluctance and fear with regard to you, in case they wish to commit a wrong. But as things are now, the other cities are elated by the quarrel between you; for you seem to have need of their assistance, and in fact you do have need of it because of your struggle with each other, and you are in the predicament of two men, both equally distinguished, when they become rivals over politics — of necessity they court the favour of everybody, even of those who are ever so far beneath them. 35 And so while you are fighting for primacy, the chances are that the primacy really is in the hands of those who are courted by you. For it is impossible that people should not be thought to possess that which you expect to obtain from these same people. And so it is going to be absolutely necessary that the cities should resume their proper status, and, as is reasonable and right, that they should stand in need of you, not you of them. And applying this principle I shall expect you to behave toward them, not like tyrants, but with kindness and moderation, just as I suggested a little while ago,​18 to the end that your position as leaders may not be obnoxious to them, but that it may be not only leader­ship but a welcome thing as well.

36 Again, what need is there to discuss the present situation of your governors in the presence of you who are informed? Or is it possible you are not aware of the tyrannical power your own strife offers those who govern you? For at once whoever wishes to mistreat your people comes armed with the knowledge  p83 of what he must do to escape the penalty. For either he allies himself with the Nicaean party and has their group for his support, or else by choosing the party of Nicomedia he is protected by you. Moreover, while he has no love for either side, he appears to love one of the two; yet all the while he is wronging them all. Still, despite the wrongs he commits, he is protected by those who believe they alone are loved by him. 37 Yet by their public acts they​19 have branded you as a pack of fools, yes, they treat you just like children, for we often offer children the most trivial things in place of things of greatest worth; moreover, those children, in their ignorance of what is truly valuable and in their pleasure over what is of least account, delight in what is a mere nothing. So also in your case, in place of justice, in place of the freedom of the cities from spoliation or from the seizure of the private possessions of their inhabitants, in place of their refraining from insulting you, in place of their refraining from drunken violence, your governors hand you titles, and call you "first" either by word of mouth or in writing; that done, they may thenceforth with impunity treat you as being the very last!

38 In truth such marks of distinction, on which you plume yourselves, not only are objects of utter contempt in the eyes of all persons of discernment, but especially in Rome they excite laughter and, what is still more humiliating, are called "Greek failings!" And failings they are indeed, men of Nicomedia, though not Greek, unless some one will claim that in this special particular they are Greek, namely, that those Greeks of old, both Athenians and Spartans, once laid counterclaims to glory. However,  p85 I may have said already​20 that their doings were not mere vain conceit but a struggle for real empire — though nowadays you may fancy somehow that they were making a valiant struggle for the right to lead the procession, like persons in some mystic celebration putting up a sham battle over something not really theirs.

39 But if, while the title "metropolis" is your special prerogative, that of leader is shared with others, what do you lose thereby? For I would venture to assert that, even if you lose all your titles, you are losing nothing real. Or what do you expect to be the consequence of that?​21 That the sea will retreat from your shores, or your territory be smaller, or your revenues less? Have you ever yet been present at a play? More properly speaking, almost every day you behold not only tragic actors but the other sort too, the various actors who appear to come upon the scene to give pleasure and enjoyment, but who really benefit those who are sensitive to the action of the play. Well then, does any one in the cast appear to you to be really king or prince or god? 40 And yet they are called by all these titles, as well as by the names Menelaüs and Agamemnon, and they have not only names of gods and heroes, but their features and robes as well, and they issue many orders, just as would the characters they represent; however, when the play is over, they take their departure as mere nonentities. A person wishes to be dubbed "first"; very good. Some one really is first, and no matter if another wears the title, first he is. For titles are not guarantees of facts, but facts of titles.

41 Well, here is another outcome of concord for you  p87 to take into account. At present you two cities have each your own men; but if you come to terms, you will each have the other's too; and as for honours — for a city needs these too — set them down as doubled, and likewise the services. Some one in your city is gifted as a speaker; he will aid the Nicaeans too. There is a rich man in Nicaea: he will defray public expenses in your city too. And in general, neither will any man who is unworthy of first place in a city achieve fame with you by assailing the Nicaeans, or with the Nicaeans by assailing you; nor, in case a man is found to be a low fellow and deserving of punishment, will he escape his just deserts by migrating from Nicomedia to Nicaea or from Nicaea to Nicomedia. 42 Yet as things are now, you two cities, as it were, are lying in wait for each other at your moorings, and men who have wronged the one can find refuge with the other. But once concord is achieved, persons must be men of honour and justice or else get out of Bithynia. You are proud of your superiority in population; you will be still more populous. You think you have sufficient territory; you will have more than sufficient. In fine, when all resources have been united — crops, money, official dignities for men, and military forces — the resources of both cities are doubled.

43 Furthermore, that which is the aim of all human action, pleasure, becomes greater than tongue can tell. For to achieve, on the one hand, the elimination of the things which cause you pain — envy and rivalry and the strife which is their outcome, your plotting against one another, your gloating over the misfortunes of your neighbours, your vexation at their good fortune — and, on the other hand, the introduction  p89 into your cities of their opposites — sharing in things which are good, unity of heart and mind, rejoicing of both peoples in the same things — does not all this resemble a public festival? 44 But figure it this way. If some god, men of Nicomedia, had given you the option of having not merely your own city, but also that of the Nicaeans, would not that have seemed to you a boon of incredible magnitude, and would you not have made all sorts of vows in the hope of obtaining it? Well, this thing which seems incredible can take place at once — Nicaea can be yours and your possessions theirs. 45 Or, since we admire those brothers who share completely a common estate and have not because of stinginess divided their patrimony; whose wealth, moreover, is even more admired, since it is greater for the very reason that it has not been divided and half of everything is thought to belong to both; and whom, furthermore, all men regard as good and just and really brothers — since this is true, if this spirit of brotherhood is achieved in your cities, will it not be an even greater blessing, more beautiful and richer?

46 Moreover, it deserves to be achieved, not alone because of the ancestors which both cities have in common, but also because of the gods, whose rites are alike both in their city and in yours. For this is a fact which might cause one even greater sorrow, that though we have everything in common — ancestors, gods, customs, festivals, and, in the case of most of us, personal ties of blood and found, still we fight like Greeks against barbarians, or, what  p91 is still more like your conduct than that, like human beings against wild beasts! 47 Will you not look each other in the face? Will you not listen to each other? Will your two cities not clasp hands together, you being the first to extend your hand? Will you not by making peace acquire for yourselves all the good things both possess? Will you not enjoy them eagerly? Oh that it were possible for you to make even the Ephesians your brothers! Oh that the edifices of Smyrna too might have been shared by you! 48 But all these things, mighty blessings that they are — are you forfeiting them for lack of one single word, gains so rich, pleasure so great?

However, that the reconciliation will be profitable to you two cities when it is achieved, and that the strife still going on has not been profitable for you down to the present moment, that so many blessings will be yours as a result of concord, and that so many evils now are yours because of enmity — all this has been treated by me at sufficient length. 49 But it remains for me to add that these advantages will be permanent when you have made peace with one another. For already there are some who have fears on this score too, men whose reasons for fear I understand, at least if they give utterance to it from a genuine desire for concord and a fear that concord may be destroyed, and if they are not, instead, putting forth this idea for the very purpose of preventing any reconciliation at all.

Well, let the greatest and most trustworthy guarantee that your concord will be permanent by its expediency. For if the mere recital of the reasons which show that it will be advantageous apparently is already convincing you, why should not  p93 these reasons when supported by experience have a persuasiveness even more unshakable? 50 But what is more, I am hopeful also because of your being difficult to dislodge from accustomed habit. For instance, if strife, which is so great an evil, has remained among you so long merely through force of habit, why is it not reasonable to expect that your reconciliation, since it is more pleasant and more righteous, will make that habit also more potent? But you will need also to be watchful of little matters, and above all to be watchful of the men of no reputation, in case they ever malign you to each other — for you must not listen to them when they pursue some selfish purpose, in case they with again to secure for themselves a kind of pleasure — and you will need also to avoid becoming irritated for petty reasons. 51 A further reason for my optimism is that it is likely the gods will make it their prime concern that concord shall endure. In fact, I feel that even this beginning is due to them, and that otherwise it would not have occurred to me to dare to speak in your presence on so great a topic, a topic on which no one previously, whether old or young, has ever spoken.​22 And it is even fitting that I pray to them once more. You remember that in the beginning I prayed them to make you heed my words;​23 but now that you evidently are doing this already, it remains for me to pray that they may preserve for ever your admirable resolutions.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 "I am at a loss" has been supplied by the translator in lieu of what presumably was an eloquent gesture on the part of the speaker.

2 Cf. § 2.

3 Cf. Or. 34.1.

4 Dio makes an even more elaborate appeal for tolerance on the part of his audience in the exordium of Or. 32. Cf. also Or. 34.1‑6.

5 This analysis is adhered to faithfully and shows that the speaker has prepared his address with care.

6 Both cities worshipped, in general, the same deities. Cf. § 22.

7 This practical aim is easily discernible in the work of many of the Greek historians, notably in Herodotus.

8 I.e., water, fire, air, earth. Cf. Or. 40.35‑37.

9 Cf. Or. 40.38‑41.

10 Greek literature abounds in nautical allusions and similes, and such references must have been effective with the people of Nicomedia. Off-shore breezes often hinder small sailing ships on entering the harbour. For a similar allusion, cf. Or. 34.16.

11 The Greek proxenos was roughly comparable to the modern consul.

12 The rivalry between Athens and Sparta formed an apt text for Dio on other occasions. Cf. Or. 34.49‑51.

13 Dio makes passing allusion to this struggle in § 38, but he fails to include reference to their loss of the leader­ship.

14 The Athenian empire did not consist wholly of islanders, but "the islands" was a common phrase to denote the member states.

15 Seemingly an allusion to the "harmosts" Sparta sent out after the defeat of Athens to insure Spartan control of the Aegean.

16 Cf. § 24.

17 To the Greek the word metropolis meant primarily mother-city.

18 Cf. § 31.

19 I.e., the proconsuls of Bithynia, as becomes plain from the following sentence. Dio may have had in mind the case of Julius Bassus, proconsul in A.D. 98. However, no doubt others also were guilty of abuses.

20 Cf. § 25.

21 I.e., the loss of titles.

22 Cf. § 4.

23 Cf. § 9.

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