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|1 Panegyric in honour of Constantius
I have long desired, most mighty Emperor, to sing the praises of your valour and achievements, to recount your campaigns, and to tell how you suppressed the tyrannies; how your persuasive eloquence drew away one usurper's bodyguard; how you overcame another by force of arms. But the vast scale of your exploits deterred me, because what I had to dread was not that my words would fall somewhat short of your achievements, but that I should prove wholly unequal to my theme. That men versed in political debate, or poets, should find it easy to compose a panegyric on your career is not at all surprising. Their practice in speaking, their habit of declaiming in public supplies them abundantly with a well-warranted confidence. But those who have neglected this field and chosen another branch of literary study which devotes itself to a form of composition little adapted to win popular favour and that has not the hardihood to exhibit itself in its nakedness in every theatre, no matter what, would naturally hesitate to make speeches of the epideictic sort. As for the poets, their Muse, and the general belief that it is she who inspires their verse, obviously gives them unlimited license to invent. To rhetoricians the art of rhetoric allows just as much freedom; fiction is denied them, but flattery is by no means forbidden, nor is it counted a disgrace to the orator that the object of his panegyric should not deserve it. Poets who compose and publish some legend that no one had thought of before increase their reputation, because an audience is entertained by the mere fact of novelty. Orators, again, assert that the advantage of their art is that it can treat a slight theme in the grand manner, and again, by the use of mere words, strip the greatness from deeds, and, in short, marshall the power of words against that of facts.
If, however, I had seen that on this occasion I should need their art, I should have maintained the silence that befits those who have had no practice in such forms of composition, and should leave your praises to be told by those whom I just now mentioned. Since, on the contrary, the speech I am to make calls for a plain narrative of the facts and needs no adventitious ornament, I thought that even I was not unfit, seeing that my predecessors had already shown that it was beyond them to produce a record worthy of your achievements. For almost all who devote themselves to literature attempt to sing your praises in verse or prose; some of them venture to cover your whole career in a brief narrative, while others devote themselves to a part only, and think that if they succeed in doing justice to that part they have proved themselves equal to the task.
Yet one can but admire the zeal of all who have made you the theme of a panegyric. Some did not shrink from the tremendous effort to secure every one of your achievements from the withering touch of time; others, because they foresaw that they could not compass the whole, expressed themselves only in part, and chose to consecrate to you their individual work so far as they were able. Better this, they thought, than "the reward of silence that runs no risk."
Now if I were one of those whose favourite pursuit is epideictic oratory, I should have to begin my speech by asking from you no less goodwill than I now feel towards yourself, and should beg you graciously to incline your ear to my words and not play the part of a severe and inexorable critic. But since, bred as I have been and educated in other studies, other pursuits, other conventions, I am criticised for venturing rashly into fields that belong to others, I feel that I ought to explain myself briefly on this head and begin my speech more after my own fashion.
There is an ancient maxim taught by him who first introduced philosophy to mankind, and it is as follows. All who aspire to virtue and the beautiful must study in their words, deeds, conversation, in short, in all the affairs of life, great and small, to aim in every way at beauty. Now what sensible man would deny that virtue is of all things the most beautiful? Wherefore those are bidden to lay firm hold on her who do not seek to blazon abroad her name in vain, appropriating that which in no way belongs to them. Now in giving this counsel, the maxim does not prescribe any single type of discourse, nor does it proclaim to its readers, like a god from the machine in tragedy, "Ye must aspire to virtue and eschew evil." Many are the paths that it allows a man to follow to this goal, if he desire to imitate the nature of the beautiful. For example, he may give good advice, or use hortatory discourse, or he may rebuke error without malice, or applaud what is well done, or condemn, on occasion, what is ill done. It permits men also to use other types of oratory, if they please, so as to attain the best end of speech, but it enjoins on them to take thought in every word and act how they shall give account of all they utter, and to speak no word that cannot be referred to the standard of virtue and philosophy. That and more to the same effect is the tenour of that precept.
And now, what am I to do? What embarrasses me is the fact that, if I praise you, I shall be thought simply to curry favour, and in fact, the department of panegyric has come to incur a grave suspicion due to its misuse, and is now held to be base flattery rather than trustworthy testimony to heroic deeds. Is it not obvious that I must put my faith in the merit of him whom I undertake to praise, and with full confidence devote my energies to this panegyric? What then shall be the prelude of my speech and the most suitable arrangement? Assuredly I must begin with the virtues of your ancestors through which it was possible for you to come to be what you are. Next I think it will be proper to describe your upbringing and education, since these contributed very much to the noble qualities that you possess, and when I have dealt with all these, I must recount your achievements, the signs and tokens, as it were, of the nobility of your soul, and finally, as the crown and consummation of my discourse, I shall set forth those personal qualities from which was evolved all that was noble in your projects and their execution. It is in this respect that I think my speech will surpass those of all the others. For some limit themselves to your exploits, with the idea that a description of these suffices for a perfect panegyric, but for my part I think one ought to devote the greater part of one's speech to the virtues that were the stepping-stones by which you reached the height of your achievements. Military exploits in most cases, nay in almost all, are achieved with the help of fortune, the body-guard, heavy infantry and cavalry regiments. But virtuous actions belong to the doer alone, and the praise that they inspire, if it be sincere, belongs only to the possessor of such virtue. Now, having made this distinction clear, I will begin my speech.
The rules of panegyric require that I should mention your native land no less than your ancestors. But I am at a loss what country I ought to consider peculiarly yours. For countless nations have long asserted their claim to be your country. The city that rules over them all was your mother and nurse, and in an auspicious hour delivered to you the imperial sceptre, and therefore asserts her sole title to the honour, and that not merely by resorting to the plea that has prevailed under all the emperors.
I mean that, even if men are born elsewhere, they all adopt her constitution and use the laws and customs that she has promulgated, and by that fact become Roman citizens. But her claim is different, namely that she gave your mother birth, rearing her royally and as befitted the offspring who were to be born to her. Then again, the city on the Bosporus which is named after the family of the Constantii, though she does not assert that she is your native place, but acknowledges that she became your adopted land by your father's act, will think she is cheated of her rights if any orator should try to deprive her of at least this claim to kinship. Thirdly, the Illyrians, on whose soil you were born, will not tolerate it if anyone assign you a different fatherland and rob them of the fairest gift of fortune. And now I hear some even of the Eastern provinces protest that it is unjust of me to rob them of the lustre they derive from you. For they say that they sent forth your grandmother to be the consort of your grandfather on the mother's side. Almost all the rest have hit on some pretension of more or less weight, and are determined, on one ground or another, to adopt you for their own. Therefore let that country have the prize which you yourself prefer and have so often praised as the mother and teacher of the virtues; as for the rest, let each one according to her deserts obtain her due. I should be glad to praise them all, worthy as they are of glory and honour, but I am afraid that my compliments, however germane they may seem to my subject, might, on account of their length, be thought inappropriate to the present occasion. For this reason, then, I think it better to omit a eulogy of the others, but as for Rome, your imperial Majesty summed up her praises in two words when you called her the teacher of virtue, and, by bestowing on her the fairest of all encomiums, you have forestalled all that others might say. What praise of mine would come up to that? What indeed is left for anyone to say? So I feel that I, who naturally hold that city in reverence, shall pay her a higher honour if I leave her praise in your hands.
Now perhaps I ought at this point to say a few words about your noble ancestors. Only that here too I am at a loss where to begin. For all your ancestors, grandfathers, parents, brothers, cousins and kinsfolk were emperors, who had either acquired their power by lawful means or were adopted by the reigning house. Why should I recall ancient history or hark back to Claudius and produce proofs of his merit, which are manifest and known to all? To what end recount his campaigns against the barbarians across the Danube or how righteously and justly he won the empire? How plainly he lived while on the throne! How simple was his dress, as may be seen to this day in his statues! What I might say about your grandparents is comparatively recent, but equally remarkable. Both of them acquired the imperial sceptre as the reward of conspicuous merit, and having assumed the command, they were on such good terms with each other and displayed such filial piety to him who had granted them a share in the empire, that he used to say that of all the safeguards designed by him for the realm, and they were many, this was his master-stroke. They, meanwhile, valued their mutual understanding more than undivided empire, supposing that it could have been bestowed on either of them separately. This was the temper of their souls, and nobly they played their part in action, while next to the Supreme Being they reverenced him who had placed authority in their hands. With their subjects they dealt righteously and humanely, and expelled the barbarians who had for years settled in our territory and had occupied it with impunity as though it were their own, and they built forts to hinder encroachment, which procured for those subjects such peaceful relations with the barbarians as, at that period, seemed to be beyond their dreams. This, however, is a subject that deserves more than a passing mention. Yet it would be wrong to omit the strongest proof of their unanimity, especially as it is related to my subject. Since they desired the most perfect harmony for their children, they arranged the marriage of your father and mother. On this point also I think I must say a few words to show that virtue was bequeathed to you as well as a throne. But why waste time in telling how your father, on his father's death, became emperor both by the choice Of the deceased monarch and by the vote of all the armies? His military genius was made evident by his achievements and needs no words of mine. He traversed the whole civilised world suppressing tyrants, but never those who ruled by right. His subjects he inspired with such affection that his veterans still remember how generous he was with largess and other rewards, and to this day worship him as though he were a god. As for the mass of the people, in town and country alike, they prayed that your father might be victorious over the tyrants, not so much because they would be delivered from that oppression as because they would then be governed by him. But when he had made his power supreme, he found that the tyrant's greed had worked like a drought, with the result that money was very scarce, while there were great hoards of treasure in the recesses of the palace; so he unlocked its doors and on the instant flooded the whole country with wealth, and then, in less than ten years, he founded and gave his name to a city that as far surpasses all others as it is itself inferior to Rome; and to come second to Rome seems to me a much greater honour than to be counted first and foremost of all cities beside. Here it may be proper to mention Athens "the illustrious," seeing that during his whole life he honoured her in word and deed. He who was emperor and lord of all did not disdain the title of General of the Athenians, and when they gave him a statue with an inscription to that effect he felt more pride than if he had been awarded the highest honours. To repay Athens for this compliment he bestowed on her annually a gift of many tens of thousands of bushels of wheat, so that while she enjoyed plenty, he won applause and reverence from the best of men.
Your father's achievements were many and brilliant. Some I have just mentioned, and others I must omit for the sake of brevity. But the most notable of all, as I make bold to say and I think all will agree, was that he begat, reared and educated you. This secured to the rest of the world the advantages of good government, and that not for a limited time but for a period beyond his own lifetime, as far as this is possible. At any rate your father seems still to be on the throne. This is more than Cyrus himself could achieve. When he died his son proved far inferior, so that while men called Cyrus "father," his successor was called "master." But you are even less stern than your father, and surpass him in many respects, as I well know and will demonstrate in my speech as occasion shall arise. Yet, in my opinion, he should have the credit of this as well, since it was he who gave you that admirable training concerning which I shall presently speak, but not till I have described your mother and brothers.
Your mother's ancestry was so distinguished, her personal beauty and nobility of character were such that it would be hard to find her match among women. I have heard that saying of the Persians about Parysatis, that no other woman had been the sister, mother, wife, and daughter of kings. Parysatis, however, was own sister of her husband, since their law does not forbid a Persian to marry his sister. But your mother, while in accordance with our laws she kept pure and unsullied those ties of kinship, was actually the daughter of one emperor, the wife of another, the sister of a third, and the mother not of one emperor but of several. Of these one aided your father in his war against the tyrants; another conquered the Getae and secured for us a lasting peace with them; the third kept our frontiers safe from the enemy's incursions, and often led his forces against them in person, so long at least as he was permitted by those who were so soon punished for their crimes against him. Though by the number and brilliance of their achievements they have indeed earned our homage, and though all the blessings of fortune were theirs in abundance, yet in the whole tale of their felicity one could pay them no greater compliment than merely to name their sires and grandsires. But I must not make my account of them too long, lest I should spend time that I ought to devote to your own panegyric. So in what follows I will, as indeed I ought, endeavour — or rather, since affectation is out of place, let me say I will demonstrate—that you are far more august than your ancestors.
Now as for heavenly voices and prophecies and visions in dreams and all such portents as are common gossip when men like yourself have achieved brilliant and conspicuous success, Cyrus, for instance, and the founder of our capital, and Alexander, Philip's son, and the like, I purposely ignore them. Indeed I feel that poetic license accounts for them all. And it is foolish even to state that at the hour of your birth all the circumstances were brilliant and suited to a prince. And now the time has come for me to speak of your education as a boy. You were of course bound to have the princely nurture that should train your body to be strong, muscular, healthy, and handsome, and at the same time duly equip your soul with courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom. But this cannot result from that loose indulgence which naturally pampers body and soul, weakening men's wills for facing danger and their bodies for work. Therefore your body required training by suitable gymnastics, while you adorned your mind by literary studies. But I must speak at greater length about both branches of your education, since it laid the foundation of your later career. In your physical training you did not pursue those exercises that fit one merely for public display. What professional athletes love to call the pink of condition you thought unsuitable for a king who must enter for contests that are not make-believe. Such a one must put up with very little sleep and scanty food, and that of no precise quantity or quality or served at regular hours, but such as can be had when the stress of work allows. And so you thought you ought to train yourself in athletics with a view to this, and that your exercises must be military and of many kinds, dancing and running in heavy armour, and riding. All these you have continued from early youth to practise at the right time, and in every exercise you have attained to greater perfection than any other hoplite. Usually a hoplite who is a good infantryman cannot ride, or, if he is an expert horseman, he shirks marching on foot to battle. But of you alone it can be said that you can put on the cavalry uniform and be a match for the best of them, and when changed into a hoplite show yourself stronger, swifter, and lighter on your feet than all the rest. Then you practised shooting at a mark, that even your hours of leisure might not be hours of ease or be found without the exercise of arms. So by work that was voluntary you trained your body to stand the exertions that you would be compelled to undertake.
Your mind, meanwhile, was trained by practice in public speaking and other studies suitable to your years. But it was not to be wholly without the discipline of experience, nor was it for you to listen merely to lectures on the virtues as though they were ballads or saga stories, and so wait all that time without actual acquaintance with brave works and undertakings. Plato, that noble philosopher, advised that boys should be furnished as it were with wings for flight by being mounted on horseback, and should then be taken into battle so that they may be spectators of the warfare in which they must soon be combatants. This, I make bold to say, was in your father's mind when he made you governor and king of the Celtic tribes while you were still a youth, or rather a mere boy in point of years, though in intelligence and endurance you could already hold your own with men of parts. Your father wisely provided that your experience of war should be free from risks, having arranged that the barbarians should maintain peace with his subjects. But he instigated them to internal feuds and civil war, and so taught you strategy at the expense of their lives and fortunes. This was a safer policy than the wise Plato's. For, by his scheme, if the invading army were composed of infantry, the boys could indeed be spectators of their fathers' prowess, or, if need arose, could even take part. But supposing that the enemy won in a cavalry engagement, then, on the instant, one would have to devise some means to save the boys, which would be difficult indeed. But to inure the boys to face the enemy, while the hazard belongs to others, is to take counsel that both suffices for their need and also secures their safety.
It was in this way then that you were first trained in manliness. But as regards wisdom, that nature with which you were endowed was your self-sufficing guide. But also, I think, the wisest citizens were at your disposal and gave you lessons in statecraft. Moreover, your intercourse with the barbarian leaders in that region gave you an acquaintance at first hand with the manners, laws, and usages of foreigners. Indeed, when Homer set out to prove the consummate wisdom of Odysseus, he called him "much-travelled," and said that he had come to know the minds of many peoples and visited their cities, so that he might choose what was best in every one and be able to mix with all sorts and conditions of men. Yes, even Odysseus, who never ruled an empire, needed experience of the many and divers minds of men. How much more necessary that one who was being brought up to guide an empire like this should not fit himself for the task in some modest dwelling apart; neither should he, like young Cyrus in his games, play at being emperor, nor give audiences to his playmates, as they say Cyrus did. Rather he ought to mix with nations and peoples, and give orders to his troops definitely indicating what is to be done, and generally he should be found wanting in none of those things which, when he comes to manhood, he must perform without fear.
Accordingly, when you had gained a thorough knowledge of the Celts, you crossed to the other continent and were given sole command against the Parthians and Medes. There were already signs that a war was smouldering and would soon burst into flame. You therefore quickly learned how to deal with it, and, as though you took as model the hardness of your weapons, steeled yourself to bear the heat of the summer season. I have heard say that Alcibiades alone, among all the Greeks, was naturally so versatile that when he cast in his lot with the Spartans he copied the self-restraint of the Lacedaemonians, then in turn Theban and Thracian manners, and finally adopted Persian luxury. But Alcibiades, when he changed his country changed his character too, and became so tainted with perversity and so ill-conditioned that he was likely to lose utterly all that he was born to. You, however, thought it your duty to maintain your severity of life wherever you might be, and by hard work inuring your constitution to change, you easily bore the march inland from Galatia to Parthia, more easily in fact than a rich man who lives now here, now there, according to the season, would bear it if he were forced to encounter unseasonable weather. I think Heaven smiled on you and willed that you should govern the whole world, and so from the first trained you in virtue, and was your guide when you journeyed to all points, and showed you the bounds and limits of the whole empire, the character of each region, the vastness of your territory, the power of every race, the number of the cities, the characteristics of the masses, and above all the vast number of things that one who is bred to so great a kingship cannot afford to neglect. But I nearly forgot to mention the most important thing of all. From a boy you were taught to govern this great empire, but a better thing you learned, to be governed, submitting, yourself to the authority that is the best in the world and the most just, that is to say nature and law. I mean that both as son and subject you obeyed your father. Indeed, had he been only your father or only your king, obedience was his due.
Now what rearing and education for a king could one find in history better than this? Consider the Greeks. Not thus did the Spartans train the Heracleidae, though they are thought to have enjoyed the best form of government, that of their kings. As for the barbarians, not even the Carthaginians, though they were particularly well-governed by their kings, chose the best method of training their future rulers. The moral discipline and the studies prescribed by their laws were pursued by all alike, as though the citizens were brothers, all destined both to govern and be governed, and in the matter of education they made no difference between their princes and the rest of the citizens. Yet surely it is foolish to demand superlative excellence from one's rulers when one takes no pains to make them better than other men. Among the barbarians, indeed, no man is debarred from winning the throne, so one can excuse them for giving the same moral training to all. But that Lycurgus, who tried to make the dynasty of the Heracleidae proof against all shocks, should not have arranged for them a special education better than that of other Spartan youths is an omission for which he may well be criticised. He may have thought that all the Lacedaemonians ought to enter the race for virtue, and foster it, but for all that it was wrong to provide the same nurture and education for private citizens as for those who were to govern. The inevitable familiarity little by little steals into men's souls and breeds contempt for their betters. Though, for that matter, they are not in any sense one's betters unless it was their own merit that earned them the right to rule. This, in my opinion, is the reason why the Spartan kings often found their subjects hard to govern. In proof of what I say one might quote the rivalry of Lysander and Agesilaus, and many other instances, if one should review the history of the Spartan kings
The Spartan polity, however, by securing a satisfactory development of the moral qualities in their kings, even if it gave them a training in no way different from that of the crowd, at least endowed them with the attributes of well-bred men. But as for the Carthaginians, there was nothing to admire even in the discipline that they all shared. The parents turned their sons out of doors and bade them win the necessaries of life by their own efforts, with the injunction to do nothing that is considered disgraceful. The effect of this was not to uproot the evil inclinations of the young, but to require them to take pains not to be caught in wrong-doing. For it is not self-indulgence only that ruins character, but the lack of mere necessaries may produce the same result. This is true at any rate in the case of those whose reason has not yet assumed the power to decide, being swayed by physical needs and persuaded by desire. It is especially true when one fails to control the passion for money-getting, if from boyhood one is accustomed to it and to the trading and bartering of the market-places. This business, unfit for a youth of gentle birth to mention, or so much as hear spoken of, whether the youth finds it out for himself or learns it from those of greater experience, leaves many scars on the soul; and even a respectable citizen ought to be free from all this, not a king or general alone.
But it is not for me to criticise the Carthaginians in this place. I will only point out how different was your education, and how you profited by it and have come to excel in looks, strength, justice, and temperance. By your active life you achieved perfect health; your temperance was the result of obedience to the laws; you enjoy a body of unusual strength by reason of your self-control, and a soul of unusual rectitude because of your physical powers of endurance. You left nothing undone to improve your natural talents, but ever acquired new talents by new studies. You needed nothing yourself but gave assistance to others, and lavished such generous gifts that the recipients seemed as rich as the monarch of the Lydians. Though you indulged yourself less in the good things that were yours than the most austere of the Spartans, you gave others the means of luxury in abundance, while those who preferred temperance could imitate your example. As a ruler you were mild and humane; as your father's subject you were ever as modest as any one of his people. All this was true of you in boyhood and youth, and much more about which there is now no time to speak at length.
When you had come to man's estate, and after fate had decreed the ending of your father's life and Heaven had granted that his last hours should be peculiarly blest; you adorned his tomb not only by lavishing on it splendid decorations and so paying the debt of gratitude for your birth and education, but still more by the fact that you alone of his sons hastened to him when he was still alive and stricken by illness, and paid him the highest possible honours after his death. But all this I need only mention in passing. For now it is your exploits that cry aloud for notice and remind me of your energy, courage, good judgment, and justice. In these qualities you are unsurpassed, unrivalled. In your dealings with your brothers, your subjects, your father's friends, and your armies you displayed justice and moderation; except that, in some cases, forced as you were by the critical state of affairs, you could not, in spite of your own wishes, prevent others from going astray. Towards the enemy your demeanour was brave, generous, and worthy of the previous reputation of your house. While you maintained the friendly relations that already existed, kept the capital free from civil discord, and continued to cherish your brothers who were your partners in empire, you granted to your friends, among other benefits, the privilege of addressing you as an equal and full freedom of speech without stint, and perfect frankness. Not only did you share with them all whatever you possessed, but you gave to each what he seemed most to need. Anyone who wants testimony to all this might reasonably call your friends to witness, but if he does not know your friends, the facts themselves are sufficient to demonstrate the policy of your whole life.
But I must postpone the description of your personal qualities and go on to speak of your achievements. The Persians in the past conquered the whole of Asia, subjugated a great part of Europe, and had embraced in their hopes I may almost say the whole inhabited world, when the Macedonians deprived them of their supremacy, and they provided Alexander's generalship with a task, or rather with a toy. But they could not endure the yoke of slavery, and no sooner was Alexander dead, than they revolted from his successors and once more opposed their power to the Macedonians, and so successfully that, when we took over what was left of the Macedonian empire, we counted them to the end as foes with whom we must reckon. I need not now remind you of ancient history, of Antony and Crassus, who were generals with the fullest powers, or tell how after long-continued dangers we succeeded in wiping out the disgrace they incurred, and how many a prudent general retrieved their blunders. Nor need I recall the second chapter of our misfortunes and the exploits of Carus that followed, when after those failures he was appointed general. Among those who sat on the throne before your father's time and imposed on the Persians conditions of peace admired and welcomed by all, did not the Caesar incur a disgraceful defeat when he attacked them on his own account? It was not till the ruler of the whole world turned his attention to them, directing thither all the forces of the empire, occupying all the passes with his troops and levies of hoplites, both veterans and new recruits, and employing every sort of military equipments, that fear drove them to accept terms of peace. That peace they somehow contrived to disturb and break during your father's lifetime, but they escaped punishment at his hands because he died in the midst of preparations for a campaign. It was left for you later on to punish them for their audacity. I shall often have to speak of your campaigns against them, but this one thing I ask my hearers to observe. You became master of a third of the empire, that part in fact which seemed by no means strong enough to carry on a war, since it had neither arms nor troops in the field, nor any of those military resources which ought to flow in abundantly in preparation for so important a war. Then, too, your brothers, for whatever reason, did nothing to make the war easier for you. And yet there is no sycophant so shameless and so envious as not to admit that the harmony existing between you was mainly due to you. The war in itself presented peculiar difficulties, in my opinion, and the troops were disaffected owing to the change of government; they raised the cry that they missed their old leader and they wished to control your actions. Nay, more; a thousand strange and perplexing circumstances arose on every hand to render your hopes regarding the war more difficult to realise. The Armenians, our ancient allies, revolted, and no small part of them went over to the Persians and overran and raided the country on their borders. In this crisis there seemed to be but one hope of safety, that you should take charge of affairs and plan the campaign, but at the moment this was impossible, because you were in Paeonia making treaties with your brothers. Thither you went in person, and so managed that you gave them no opening for criticism. Indeed, I almost forgot to mention the very first of your achievements, the noblest of all, or at any rate equal to the noblest. For there is no greater proof of your prudence and magnanimity than the fact that, in planning for interests of such importance, you thought it no disadvantage if you should, of your own free will, concede the lion's share to your brothers. Imagine, for instance, a man dividing among his brothers their father's estate of a hundred talents, or, if you prefer, twice as much. Then suppose him to have been content with fifty minae less than the others, and to raise no objection, because he secured their goodwill in exchange for that trifling sum. You would think he deserved all praise and respect as one who had a soul above money, as far-sighted, in short as a man of honour. But here is one whose policy with regard to the empire of the world seems to have been so high minded, so prudent, that, without increasing the burdens of administration, he willingly gave up some of the imperial revenues in order to secure harmony and peace among all Roman citizens. What praise such a one deserves! And certainly one cannot, in this connection, quote the saying, "Well done, but a bad bargain." Nothing, in my opinion, can be called a good bargain if it be not honourable as well. In general, if anyone wish to apply the test of expediency alone, he ought not to make money his criterion or reckon up his revenues from estates, like those old misers whom writers of comedy bring on to the stage, but he should take into account the vastness of the empire and the point of honour involved. If the Emperor had disputed about the boundaries and taken a hostile attitude, he might have obtained more than he did, but he would have governed only his allotted share. But he scorned and despised such trifles, and the result was that he really governed the whole world in partnership with his brothers, but had the care of his own portion only, and, while he kept his dignity unimpaired, he had less than his share of the toil and trouble that go with such a position.
On that subject, however, I shall have a chance later to speak in more detail. This is perhaps the right moment to describe how you controlled the situation, encompassed as you were, after your father's death, by so many perils and difficulties of all sorts—confusion, an unavoidable war, numerous hostile raids, allies in revolt, lack of discipline in the garrisons, and all the other harassing conditions of the hour. You concluded in perfect harmony the negotiations with your brothers, and when the time had arrived that demanded your aid for the dangerous crisis of affairs, you made forced marches, and immediately after leaving Paeonia appeared in Syria, But to relate how you did this would tax my powers of description, and indeed for those who know the facts their own experience is enough. But who in the world could describe adequately how, at the prospect of your arrival, everything was changed and improved all at once, so that we were set free from the fears that hung over us and could entertain brighter hopes than ever for the future? Even before you were actually on the spot the mutiny among the garrisons ceased and order was restored. The Armenians who had gone over to the enemy at once changed sides again, for you ejected from the country and sent to Rome those who were responsible for the governor's exile, and you secured for the exiles a safe return to their own country. You were so merciful to those who now came to Rome as exiles, and so kind in your dealings with those who returned from exile with the governor, that the former did, indeed, bewail their misfortune in having revolted, but still were better pleased with their present condition than with their previous usurpation; while the latter, who were formerly in exile, declared that the experience had been a lesson in prudence, but that now they were receiving a worthy reward for their loyalty. On the returned exiles you lavished such magnificent presents and rewards that they could not even resent the good fortune of their bitterest enemies, nor begrudge their being duly honoured. All these difficulties you quickly settled, and then by means of embassies you turned the marauding Arabs against our enemies. Then you began preparations for the war, about which I may as well say a few words.
The previous period of peace had relaxed the labours of the troops, and lightened the burdens of those who had to perform public services. But the war called for money, provisions, and supplies on a vast scale, and even more it demanded endurance, energy, and military experience on the part of the troops. In the almost entire absence of all these, you personally provided and organised everything, drilled those who had reached the age for military service, got together a force of cavalry to match the enemy's, and issued orders for the infantry to persevere in their training. Nor did you confine yourself to speeches and giving orders, but yourself trained and drilled with the troops, showed them their duty by actual example, and straightway made them experts in the art of war. Then you discovered ways and means, not by increasing the tribute or the extraordinary contributions, as the Athenians did in their day, when they raised these to double or even more. You were content, I understand, with the original revenues, except in cases where, for a short time, and to meet an emergency, it was necessary that the people should find their services to the state more expensive. The troops under your leadership were abundantly supplied, yet not so as to cause the satiety that leads to insolence, nor, on the other hand, were they driven to insubordination from lack of necessaries.
I shall say nothing about your great array of arms, horses, and river-boats, engines of war and the like. But when all was ready and the time had come to make appropriate use of all that I have mentioned, the Tigris was bridged by rafts at many points and forts were built to guard the river. Meanwhile the enemy never once ventured to defend their country from plunder, and every useful thing that they possessed was brought in to us. This was partly because they were afraid to offer battle, partly because those who were rash enough to do so were punished on the spot. This is a mere summary of your invasions of the enemy's country. Who, indeed, in a short speech could do justice to every event, or reckon up the enemy's disasters and our successes? But this at least I have space to tell. You often crossed the Tigris with your army and spent a long time in the enemy's country, but you always returned crowned with the laurels of victory. Then you visited the cities you had freed, and bestowed on them peace and plenty, all possible blessings and all at once. Thus at your hands they received what they had so long desired, the defeat of the barbarians and the erection of trophies of victory over the treachery and cowardice of the Parthians. Treachery they had displayed when they violated the treaties and broke the peace, cowardice when they lacked the courage to fight for their country and all that they held dear.
But lest anyone should suppose that, while I delight in recalling exploits like these, I avoid mentioning occasions when luck gave the enemy the advantage—or rather it was the nature of the ground combined with opportunity that turned the scale—and that I do so because they brought us no honour or glory but only disgrace, I will try to give a brief account of those incidents also, not adapting my narrative with an eye to my own interests, but preferring the truth in every case. For when a man deliberately sins against the truth he cannot escape the reproach of flattery, and moreover he inflicts on the object of his panegyric the appearance of not deserving the praise that he receives on other accounts. This is a mistake of which I shall beware. Indeed my speech will make it clear that in no case has fiction been preferred to the truth. Now I am well aware that all would say that the battle we fought before Singara was a most important victory for the barbarians. But I should answer and with justice that this battle inflicted equal loss on both armies, but proved also that your valour could accomplish more than their luck; and that although the legions under you were violent and reckless men, and were not accustomed, like the enemy, to the climate and the stifling heat. I will relate exactly what took place.
It was still the height of summer, and the legions mustered long before noon. Since the enemy were awestruck by the discipline, accoutrements and calm bearing of our troops, while to us they seemed amazing in numbers, neither side began the battle; for they shrank from coming to close quarters with forces so well equipped, while we waited for them to begin, so that in all respects we might seem to be acting rather in self-defence, and not to be responsible for beginning hostilities after the peace. But at last the leader of the barbarian army, raised high on their shields, perceived the magnitude of our forces drawn up in line. What a change came over him! What exclamations he uttered! He cried out that he had been betrayed, that it was the fault of those who had persuaded him to go to war, and decided that the only thing to be done was to flee with all speed, and that one course alone would secure his safety, namely to cross, before we could reach it, the river, which is the ancient boundary-line between that country and ours. With this purpose he first gave the signal for a retreat in good order, then gradually increasing his pace he finally took to headlong flight, with only a small following of cavalry, and left his whole army to the leadership of his son and the friend in whom he had most confidence. When our men saw this they were enraged that the barbarians should escape all punishment for their audacious conduct, and clamoured to be led in pursuit, chafed at your order to halt, and ran after the enemy in full armour with their utmost energy and speed. For of your generalship they had had no experience so far, and they could not believe that you were a better judge than they of what was expedient. Moreover, under your father they had fought many battles and had always been victorious, a fact that tended to make them think themselves invincible. But they were most of all elated by the terror that the Parthians now shewed, when they thought how they had fought, not only against the enemy, but against the very nature of the ground, and if any greater obstacle met them from some fresh quarter, they felt that they would overcome it as well. Accordingly they ran at full speed for about one hundred stades, and only halted when they came up with the Parthians, who had fled for shelter into a fort that they had lately built to serve as a camp. It was, by this time, evening, and they engaged battle forthwith. Our men at once took the fort and slew its defenders. Once inside the fortifications they displayed great bravery for a long time, but they were by this time fainting with thirst, and when they found cisterns of water inside, they spoiled a glorious victory and gave the enemy a chance to retrieve their defeat. This then was the issue of that battle, which caused us the loss of only three or four of our men, whilst the Parthians lost the heir to the throne who had previously been taken prisoner, together with all his escort. While all this was going on, of the leader of the barbarians not even the ghost was to be seen, nor did he stay his flight till he had put the river behind him. You, on the other hand, did not take off your armour for a whole day and all the night, now sharing the struggles of those who were getting the upper hand, now giving prompt and efficient aid to those who were hard-pressed. And by your bravery and fortitude you so changed the face of the battle that at break of day the enemy were glad to beat a safe retreat to their own territory, and even the wounded, escorted by you, could retire from the battle. Thus did you relieve them all from the risks of flight. Now what fort was taken by the enemy? What city did they besiege? What military supplies did they capture that should give them something to boast about after the war?
But perhaps some one will say that never to come off worse than the enemy must indeed be considered good fortune and felicity, but to make a stand against fortune calls for greater vigour and is a proof of greater valour.
Is a man a skilful pilot because he can steer his ship in fair weather when the sea is absolutely calm? Would you call a charioteer an expert driver who on smooth and level ground has in harness horses that are gentle, quiet and swift, and under such conditions gives a display of his art? How much more skilful is the pilot who marks and perceives beforehand the coming storm and tries to avoid its path, and then, if for any reason he must face it, brings off his ship safe and sound, cargo and all? Just so, the skilful charioteer is he who can contend against the unevenness of the ground, and guide his horses and control them at the same time, if they grow restive. In short, it is not fair to judge of skill of any sort when it is aided by fortune, but one must examine it independently. Cleon was not a better general than Nicias because he was fortunate in the affair of Pylos, and the same may be said of all whose success is due to luck rather than to good judgment. But if I did not claim that your fortune was both better and better deserved than that of your opponents, or rather of all men, I should with reason be thought to do it an injustice, since it prevented the enemy from even perceiving their advantage. For, in my opinion, an impartial judge of my narrative ought to ascribe our reverse to the extreme and insupportable heat, and the fact that you inflicted loss on the enemy equal to ours he would regard as achieved by your valour, but that, though they were aware of their losses, they took no account of their success, he would regard as brought about by your good fortune.
That I may not, however, by saying more on this subject, spend time that belongs to more important affairs, I will try to describe next the multitude of difficulties that beset us, the magnitude of our perils, and how you faced them all, and not only routed the numerous following of the usurpers, but the barbarian forces as well.
About six years had passed since the war I have just described, and the winter was nearly over, when a messenger arrived with the news that Galatia had gone over to the usurper, that a plot had been made to assassinate your brother and had been carried out, also that Italy and Sicily had been occupied, lastly that the Illyrian garrisons were in revolt and had proclaimed their general emperor, though for a time he had been inclined to resist what seemed to be the irresistible onset of the usurpers. Indeed, he himself kept imploring you to send money and men to his aid, as though he were terribly afraid on his own account of being overpowered by them. And for a while he kept protesting that he would do his duty, that for his part he had no pretensions to the throne, but would faithfully guard and protect it for you. Such were his assertions, but it was not long before his treachery came to light and he received his punishment, tempered though it was with mercy. On learning these facts you thought you ought not to waste your time in idleness to no purpose. The cities of Syria you stocked with engines of war, garrisons, food supplies, and equipment of other kinds, considering that, by these measures, you would, though absent, sufficiently protect the inhabitants, while you were planning to set out in person against the usurpers.
But the Persians ever since the last campaign had been watching for just such an opportunity, and had planned to conquer Syria by a single invasion. So they mustered all forces, every age, sex, and condition, and marched against us, men and mere boys, old men and crowds of women and slaves, who followed not merely to assist in the war, but in vast numbers beyond what was needed. For it was their intention to reduce the cities, and once masters of the country, to bring in colonists in spite of us. But the magnitude of your preparations made it manifest that their expectations were but vanity. They began the siege and completely surrounded the city with dykes, and then the river Mygdonius flowed in and flooded the ground about the walls, as they say the Nile floods Egypt. The siege-engines were brought up against the ramparts on boats, and their plan was that one force should sail to attack the walls while the other kept shooting on the city's defenders from the mounds. But the garrison made a stout defence of the city from the walls. The whole place was filled with corpses, wreckage, armour, and missiles, of which some were just sinking, while others, after sinking from the violence of the first shock, floated on the waters. A vast number of barbarian shields and also ship's benches, as a result of the collisions of the siege-engines on the ships, drifted on the surface. The mass of floating weapons almost covered the whole surface between the wall and the mounds. The lake was turned to gore, and all about the walls echoed the groans of the barbarians, slaying not, but being slain in manifold ways and by all manner of wounds.
Who could find suitable words to describe all that was done there? They hurled fire down on to the shields, and many of the hoplites fell half-burned, while others who fled from the flames could not escape the danger from the missiles. But some while still swimming were wounded in the back and sank to the bottom, while others who jumped from the siege-engines were hit before they touched the water, and so found not safety indeed but an easier death. As for those who knew not how to swim, and perished more obscurely than those just mentioned, who would attempt to name or number them? Time would fail me did I desire to recount all this in detail. It is enough that you should hear the sum of the matter. On that day the sun beheld a battle the like of which no man had ever known before. These events exposed the historic boastings of the Medes as only empty conceit. Till then men had hardly believed that Xerxes could have had so huge an armament, seeing that for all its size its fate was so shameful and ignominious; but these events made the fact clearer to us than things long familiar and obvious. Xerxes tried to sail and to march by fighting against the laws of nature, and, as he thought, overcame the nature of the sea and of the dry land, but he proved to be no match for the wisdom and endurance of a Greek whose soldiers had not been bred in the school of luxury, nor learned to be slaves, but knew how to obey and to use their energies like free-born men. That man, however, though he had no such vast armament as Xerxes, was even more insensate, and outdid the Aloadae in his infatuation, as if almost he had conceived the idea of overwhelming the city with the mountain that was hard by. Then he turned the currents of rivers against its walls and undermined them, but even when the city had lost its walls he could not succeed in taking it, so that he had not even that triumph to boast of, as Xerxes had when he set fire to Athens. So, after spending four months, he retreated with an army that had lost many thousands, and he who had always seemed to be irresistible was glad to keep the peace, and to use as a bulwark for his own safety the fact that you had no time to spare and that our own affairs were in confusion.
Such were the trophies and victories that you left behind you in Asia, and you led your troops to Europe in perfect condition, determined to fill the whole world with the monuments of your victories. Even if I had nothing more wonderful to relate about you, what I have said is enough to demonstrate that in good sense and energy you surpass all those in the past whose fortune was the same as yours. Indeed to have repulsed the whole strength of Persia and remain unscathed, not to have lost so much as a soldier from the ranks, much less a town or fort, and finally to have brought the siege to so brilliant and unprecedented a conclusion,—what achievement I ask in the past could one compare with this? The Carthaginians were famous for their daring in the face of danger, but they ended in disaster. The siege of Plataea shed lustre on its citizens, but all that their valour could do for those unhappy men was to make their misfortunes more widely known. What need to quote Messene or Pylos, since there the defeated did not make a brave defence nor was a vigorous assault necessary to subdue them? As for the Syracusans, they had their famous man of science to aid them against the armaments of Rome and our illustrious general, but what did he avail them in the end? Did they not fall more ignominiously than the rest, and were only spared to be a glorious monument of their conqueror's clemency? But if I wished to reckon up all the states that could not withstand armaments inferior to their own, how many volumes do you think would suffice? Rome, however, I ought perhaps to mention, because long ago she had just such a fortune, I mean when the Galatians and Celts conspired together, and without warning poured down on the city like a winter torrent. The citizens occupied the famous hill on which stands the statue of Jupiter. There they intrenched themselves with wicker barricades and such like defences, as though with a wall, while the enemy offered no hindrance nor ventured to approach to attack at close quarters, and so they won the day.
It is with this siege that the recent one may well be compared, at least in the issue of its fortunes; for the actual occurrences could not be paralleled in all history. For who ever heard of surrounding a city with water, and from without throwing hills about it like nets, then hurling at it, like a siege-engine, a river that flowed in a steady stream and broke against its walls, or of fighting like that which took place in the water and about the wall where it had fallen in? For my purpose, this is, as I said, evidence enough. But what remains to tell is far more awe-inspiring. And perhaps, since I have undertaken to record, as far as possible, all that you accomplished, it is not fair to break off my narrative at the point where you were at the very height of your activity. For even while you were occupied by the interests I have just described, you arranged your affairs in Europe, despatching embassies, spending money, and sending out the legions that were garrisoning Paeonia against the Scythians, all of which was with the intention of preventing that feeble old man from being overpowered by the usurper. But how could one, with the best will in the world, present all this in a short speech?
No sooner had you set out for the seat of war, than this very man, who had all along protested that he would loyally continue to guard your interests, though you had reinforced him with money, troops, and everything of the sort, was driven to folly and madness by I know not what evil spirit, and came to terms with the most execrable of mankind, the common enemy of all who care for peace and cherish harmony above all things, and more particularly your enemy for personal reasons. But you were undismayed by the magnitude of his preparations, nor would you admit that a conspiracy of traitors could overreach your own wise purpose. One of the pair you justly accused of treason, the other of infamous crimes besides, and deeds of lawless violence, and you summoned the former to trial and judgment before the legions, the latter you decided to leave to the arbitrament of war. Then he met you face to face, that honourable and prudent old man, who used to change his opinions more easily than any child, and, though he had begged for them, forgot all your favours as soon as the need had passed. He arrived with his phalanxes of hoplites and squadrons of cavalry, intending to compel, if he could not persuade you, to take no action and return the way you came. When, then, you saw this man, who had protested that he would continue to be your ally and general, playing an enemy's part and claiming an equal share of your empire, you were not at all dismayed, though his troops outnumbered yours. For you had not brought your whole force with you, since you decided that to fight it out with such odds against you might be courageous but was in every way hazardous, even if you won the battle, because of that other savage usurper who was lying in wait for a favourable opportunity when you should be in difficulties. You therefore made a wise resolve in preferring to achieve success single-handed, and you mounted the platform with him who for the moment was your colleague in empire. He was escorted by a whole host of hoplites with glittering weapons, presenting drawn swords and spears, a sight to make a coward shake with fear, though it inspired and supported one so brave and gallant as yourself. Now when first you began to speak, silence fell on the whole army and every man strained his ears to hear. Many shed tears and raised their hands to heaven, though even this they did in silence, so as to be unobserved. Some again showed their affection in their faces, but all showed it by their intense eagerness to hear your words. When your speech reached its climax, they were carried away by enthusiasm and burst into applause, then eager to miss no word they became quiet again. Finally, won by your arguments, they hailed you as their only Emperor, demanded that you alone should rule the whole empire, and bade you lead them against your adversary, promising to follow you and begging you to take back the imperial insignia. You, however, thought it beneath you to stretch out your hand for them or to take them by force. Then against his will and with reluctance, but yielding at last to what is called Thessalian persuasion, he took off the purple robe and offered it to you. What a heroic figure yours was then, when, in a single day, you became master of all those races, those legions, all that wealth, when you stripped of his power and took prisoner one who, if not in fact yet in intention, had shown that he was your enemy!
Did you not behave more nobly and more generously to him than Cyrus did to his own grandfather? For you deprived your enemy's followers of nothing, but protected their privileges and, I understand, gave many of them presents besides. Who saw you despondent before your triumph or unduly elated after it? Orator, general, virtuous emperor, distinguished soldier, though men give you all these titles, how can any praise of ours be adequate? Long had the orator's platform been wholly disconnected from the general's functions; and it was reserved for you to combine them once more in your person, in this surely following the example of Odysseus and Nestor and the Roman generals who sacked Carthage; for these men were always even more formidable to wrong-doers whom they attacked from the platform than to the enemy in the field of battle. Indeed I pay all the homage due to the forcible eloquence of Demosthenes and his imitators, but when I consider the conditions of your harangue I can never admit that there is any comparison between your theatre and theirs. For they never had to address an audience of hoplites nor had they such great interests at stake, but only money, or honour, or reputation, or friends whom they had undertaken to assist, yet when the citizens clamoured in dissent, they often, I believe, left the platform pale and trembling, like generals who prove to be cowards when they have to face the enemy in battle-line. Indeed from all history it would be impossible to cite an achievement as great as yours when you acquired control of all those races by judicial pleading alone; and moreover you had to make out your case against a man not by any means to be despised, as many people think, but one who had won distinction in many campaigns, who was full of years, who had the reputation of experience gained in a long career, and had for a considerable period been in command of the legions there present. What overwhelming eloquence that must have been! How truly did "persuasion sit on your lips" and had the power to "leave a sting" in the souls of that motley crowd of men, and to win you a victory that in importance rivals any that were ever achieved by force of arms, only that yours was stainless and unalloyed, and was more like the act of a priest going to the temple of his god than of an emperor going to war. It is true indeed that the Persians have a similar instance to quote, but it falls far short of what you did, I mean that on their father's death the sons of Darius quarrelled about the succession to the throne and appealed to justice rather than to arms to arbitrate their case. But between you and your brothers there never arose any dispute, either in word or deed, nay not one, for it was in fact more agreeable to you to share the responsibility with them than to be the sole ruler of the world. But your quarrel was with one who, though his actions had not so far been impious or criminal, was shown to have a treasonable purpose, and you brought proofs to make that treason manifest.
After your harangue there followed a brilliant campaign and a war truly sacred, though it was not on behalf of sacred territory, like the Phocian war, which we are told was waged in the days of our ancestors, but was to avenge the laws and the constitution and the slaughter of countless citizens, some of whom the usurper had put to death, while others he was just about to kill or was trying to arrest. It was really as though he was afraid that otherwise he might be considered, for all his vices, a Roman citizen instead of' a genuine barbarian. As for his crimes against your house, though they were quite as flagrant as his outrages against the state, you thought it became you to devote less attention to them. So true it is, that, then as now, you rated the common weal higher than your private interests.
I need not mention all the usurper's offences against the community and against individuals. He assassinated his own master. For he had actually been the slave of the murdered emperor's ancestors, a miserable remnant saved from the spoils of Germany. And then he aimed at ruling over us, he who had not even the right to call himself free, had you not granted him the privilege. Those in command of the legions he imprisoned and put to death, while to the common soldiers he behaved with such abject servility and deference that he ruined their discipline. Then he enacted those fine laws of his, a property tax of fifty per cent., and threatened the disobedient with death, while any slave who pleased might inform against his master. Then he compelled those who did not want it to purchase the imperial property. But time would fail me were I to tell of all his crimes and of the vast proportions that his tyranny had assumed. As for the armament which he had collected to use against the barbarians but actually employed against us, who could give you an adequate report of its strength? There were Celts and Galatians who had seemed invincible even to our ancestors, and who had so often like a winter torrent that sweeps all before it, poured down on the Italians and Illyrians, and, following up their repeated victories on the field of battle, had even invaded Asia, and then became our subjects because they had no choice. They had been enrolled in the ranks of our armies and furnished levies that won a brilliant reputation, being enlisted by your ancestors, and, later, by your father. Then, since they enjoyed the blessings of long-continued peace, and their country increased in wealth and population, they furnished your brothers with considerable levies, and finally, by compulsion, not choice, they all in a body took part in the usurper's campaign. The most enthusiastic of his followers were, in virtue of their ties of kinship, the Franks and Saxons, the most warlike of the tribes who live beyond the Rhine and on the shores of the western sea. And since every city and every fortified place on the banks of the Rhine was shorn of its garrison, that whole region was left with no defence against the barbarians, and all that splendidly organised army was despatched against us. Every town in Galatia was like a camp preparing for war. Nothing was to be seen but weapons of war and forces of cavalry, infantry, archers, and javelin men. When these allies of the usurper began to pour into Italy from all quarters and there joined the troops who had been enrolled long before, there was no one so bold as not to feel terror and dismay at the tempest that threatened. It seemed to all as though a thunderbolt had fallen from the Alps, a bolt that no action could avert, no words describe. It struck terror into the Illyrians, the Paeonians, the Thracians, the Scythians; the dwellers in Asia believed it was directed entirely against themselves, and even the Persians began to get ready to oppose it in their country's defence. But the usurper thought his task was easy, and that he would have little difficulty in baffling your wisdom and energy, and already fixed his covetous gaze on the wealth of India and the magnificence of Persia. To such an excess of folly and rashness had he come, and after a success wholly insignificant, I mean the affair of the scouts whom, while they were unprotected by the main army, he ambushed and cut in pieces. So true it is that when fools meet with undeserved success they often find it is but the prelude to greater misfortunes. And so, elated by this stroke of luck, he left the fortified posts that protected the Italian frontier, and marched towards the Norici and the Paeonians, taking no precautions, because he thought that speed would serve him better than force of arms or courage.
The moment that you learned this, you led your army out of the narrow and dangerous passes, and he followed in pursuit, as he thought, unaware that he was being outgeneralled, until you both reached open country. When the plains before Myrsa were in sight, the cavalry of both armies were drawn up on the wings, while the infantry formed the centre. Then your Majesty kept the river on your right, and, outflanking the enemy with your left, you at once turned and broke his phalanx, which indeed had from the first the wrong formation, since it had been drawn up by one who knew nothing of war or strategy. Then he who so far had thought he was the pursuer did not even join battle, but took to headlong flight, dismayed by the clash of weapons; he could not even listen without trembling when the legions shouted their battle-song. His ranks had been thrown into disorder, but the soldiers formed into companies and renewed the battle. For they disdained to be seen in flight, and to give an example in their own persons of what had hitherto been inconceivable to all men, I mean a Celtic or Galatian soldier turning his back to the enemy. The barbarians too, who, if defeated, could not hope to make good their retreat, were resolved either to conquer, or not to perish till they had severely punished their opponents. Just see the extraordinary daring of the usurper's troops in the face of dangers and their great eagerness to come to close quarters!
Our men, on the other hand, had so far carried all before them and were anxious to retain the good opinion of their comrades and of the Emperor, and were moreover stimulated by their successes in the past and by the almost incredible brilliance of their exploits in this very engagement, and, ambitious as they were to end the day as gloriously as they had begun it, cheerfully encountered toil and danger. So they charged again as though the battle had only just begun, and gave a wonderful display of daring and heroism. For some hurled themselves full on the enemy's swords, or seized the enemy's shields, others, when their horses were wounded and the riders thrown, at once transformed themselves into hoplites. The usurper's army meanwhile did the same and pressed our infantry hard. Neither side gained the advantage, till the cuirassiers by their archery, aided by the remaining force of cavalry, who spurred on their horses to the charge, had begun to. inflict great loss on the enemy, and by main force to drive the whole army before them. Some directed their flight to the plain, and of these a few were saved just in time by the approach of night. The rest were flung into the river, crowded together like a herd of oxen or brute beasts. Thus did the usurper's army reap the fruits of his cowardice, while their valour availed him nothing.
The trophy that you set up for that victory was far more brilliant than your father's. He led an army that had always proved itself invincible, and with it conquered a miserable old man. But the tyranny that you suppressed was flourishing and had reached its height, partly through the crimes that had been committed, but still more because so many of the youth were on that side, and you took the field against it with legions that had been trained by yourself. What emperor can one cite in the past who first planned and then reproduced so admirable a type of cavalry, and such accoutrements? First you trained yourself to wear them, and then you taught others how to use such weapons so that none could withstand them. This is a subject on which many have ventured to speak, but they have failed to do it justice, so much so that those who heard their description, and later had the good fortune to see for themselves, decided that their eyes must accept what their ears had refused to credit. Your cavalry was almost unlimited in numbers and they all sat their horses like statues, while their limbs were fitted with armour that followed closely the outline of the human form. It covers the arms from wrist to elbow and thence to the shoulder, while a coat of mail protects the shoulders, back and breast. The head and face are covered by a metal mask which makes its wearer look like a glittering statue, for not even the thighs and legs and the very ends of the feet lack this armour. It is attached to the cuirass by fine chain-armour like a web, so that no part of the body is visible and uncovered, for this woven covering protects the hands as well, and is so flexible that the wearers can bend even their fingers. All this I desire to represent in words as vividly as I can, but it is beyond my powers, and I can only ask those who wish to know more about this armour to see it with their own eyes, and not merely to listen to my description.
Now that I have told the story of this first campaign, which was fought at the end of the autumn, shall I here break off my narrative? Or is it altogether unfair to withhold the end and issue of your achievements from those who are eager to hear? Winter overtook us and gave the usurper a chance to escape punishment. Then followed a splendid proclamation worthy of your imperial generosity. An amnesty was granted to those who had taken sides with the usurper, except when they bad shared the guilt of those infamous murders. Thus they who had never hoped even to see again anything that they held dear, recovered their houses, money, and native land. Then you welcomed the fleet which arrived from Italy bringing thence many citizens who, no doubt, had fled from the usurper's savage cruelty. Then when the occasion demanded that you should take the field, you again menaced the usurper. He however took cover in the fastnesses of Italy and hid his army away there in the mountains, wild-beast fashion, and never even dared to carry on the war beneath the open heavens. But he betook himself to the neighbouring town which is devoted to pleasure and high living, and spent his time in public shows and sensual pleasures, believing that the impassable mountains alone would suffice for his safety. Moreover, intemperate as he was by nature, he thought it clear gain to be able to indulge his appetites at so dangerous a crisis, and he evidently placed too much confidence in the safety of his position, because the town is cut off from that part of Italy by a natural rampart of mountains, except the half that is bounded by a shoaling sea, which resembles the marshes of Egypt and makes that part of the country inaccessible even to an invading fleet. It seems however as though nature herself will not devise any safeguard for the sensual and cowardly against the temperate and brave, for when prudence and courage advance hand in hand she makes everything give way before them. Long since she revealed to us those arts through which we have attained an abundance of what was once thought to be unattainable, and in the field of individual effort we see that what seemed impossible for many working together to achieve can be accomplished by a prudent man. And since by your own actions you demonstrated this fact it is only fair, Ο my Emperor, that you should accept my words to that effect.
For you conducted the campaign under the open skies, and that though there was a city of some importance near at hand, and moreover you encouraged your men to work hard and to take risks, not merely by giving orders, but by your own personal example. You discovered a path hitherto unknown to all, and you sent forward a strong detachment of hoplites chosen from your whole army; then when you had ascertained that they had come up with the enemy, you led forward your army in person, surrounded them, and defeated his whole force. This happened before dawn, and before noon the news was brought to the usurper. He was attending a horse-race at a festival, and was expecting nothing of what took place. How his attitude changed, what was his decision about the crisis, how he abandoned the town and in fact all Italy, and fled, thus beginning to expiate his murders and all his earlier crimes, it is not for this speech to relate. Yet though the respite he gained was so brief, he proceeded to act no less wickedly than in the past. So true is it that by the sufferings of the body alone it is impossible for the wicked to cleanse their souls of evil. For when he reached Galatia, this ruler who was so righteous and law-abiding, so far surpassed his own former cruelty that he now bethought himself of all the ruthless and brutal modes of punishment that he had then overlooked, and derived the most exquisite pleasure from the spectacle of the sufferings of the wretched citizens. He would bind them alive to chariots and, letting the teams gallop, would order the drivers to drag them along while he stood by and gazed at their sufferings. In fact he spent his whole time in amusements of this sort, until, like an Olympic victor, you threw him in the third encounter and forced him to pay a fitting penalty for his infamous career, namely to thrust into his own breast that very sword which he had stained with the slaughter of so many citizens. Never, in my opinion, was there a punishment more suitable or more just than this, nor one that gave greater satisfaction to the whole human race, which was now really liberated from such cruelty and harshness, and at once began to exult in the good government that we enjoy to this day. Long may we continue to enjoy it, Ο all-merciful Providence!
I would fain recite every single one of your achievements, but you will with reason pardon me, most mighty Emperor, if I fall short of that ambition and omit to mention the naval armament against Carthage which was equipped in Egypt and set sail from Italy to attack her, and also your conquest of the Pyrenees, against which you sent an army by sea, and your successes against the barbarians, which of late have been so frequent, and all such successes in the past as have not become a matter of common knowledge. For example, I often hear that even Antioch now calls herself by your name. Her existence she does indeed owe to her founder, but her present wealth and increase in every sort of abundance she owes to you, since you provided her with harbours that offer good anchorage for those who put in there For till then it was considered a dangerous risk even to sail past Antioch; so full were all the waters of that coast, up to the very shores, of rocks and sunken reefs. I need not stop to mention the porticoes, fountains, and other things of the kind that you caused to be bestowed on Antioch by her governors. As to your benefactions to the city of your ancestors, you built round it a wall that was then only begun, and all buildings that seemed to be unsound you restored and made safe for all time. But how could one reckon up all these things? Time will fail me if I try to tell everything separately.
The time has now come when it is proper to consider whether your career, so far as I have described it, is at every point in harmony with virtue and the promptings of a noble disposition. For to this, as I said at the beginning of my speech, I think it right to pay special attention. Let me therefore mention once more what I said some time ago, that to your father you were dutiful and affectionate, and that you constantly maintained friendly relations with your brothers, for your father you were ever willing to obey, and as the colleague of your brothers in the empire you always displayed moderation. And if anyone thinks this a trifling proof of merit, let him consider the case of Alexander the son of Philip, and Cyrus the son of Cambyses, and then let him applaud your conduct. For Alexander, while still a mere boy, showed clearly that he would no longer brook his father's control, while Cyrus dethroned his grandfather. Yet no one is so foolish as to suppose that, since you displayed such modesty and self-control towards your father and brothers, you were not fully equal to Alexander and Cyrus in greatness of soul and ambition for glory. For when fortune offered you the opportunity to claim as your right the empire of the world, you were the first to make the essay, though there were many who advised otherwise . and tried to persuade you to the contrary course. Accordingly, when you had carried through the war that you had in hand, and that with the utmost ease and so as to ensure safety for the future, you resolved to liberate that part of the empire which had been occupied by the enemy, and the reason that you assigned for going to war was most just and such as had never before arisen, namely your detestation of those infamous men. Civil war one could not call it, for its leader was a barbarian who had proclaimed himself emperor and elected himself general. I dislike to speak too often of his evil deeds and the crimes that he committed against your house. But could anything be more heroic than your line of action? For should you fail in your undertaking the risk involved was obvious. But you faced it, and you were not bidding for gain, nay nor for undying renown, for whose sake brave men so often dare even to die, selling their lives for glory as though it were gold, nor was it from desire of wider or more brilliant empire, for not even in your youth were you ambitious of that, but it was because you were in love with the abstract beauty of such an achievement, and thought it your duty to endure anything rather than see a barbarian ruling over Roman citizens, making himself master of the laws and constitution and offering public prayers for the common weal, guilty as he was of so many impious crimes and murders. Who could fail to be dazzled by the splendour of your armament and the vast scale of your expenditure? And yet I am told that Xerxes, when he mustered all Asia against the Greeks, spent no less than ten years in preparing for that war. Then he set out with twelve hundred triremes, from the very spot, as I understand, where you gathered your fleet together, having built it in rather less than ten months, and yet you had more ships than Xerxes. But neither his fortune nor his achievements can properly be compared with yours.
I fear that it is beyond my powers to describe the magnificence of your outlay for other purposes, nor will I risk being tedious by staying now to count up the sums you bestowed on cities that had long been destitute. For whereas, in the time of your predecessors, they lacked the necessaries of life, they have all become rich through you, and the general prosperity of each city increases the welfare of every private household in it. But it is proper that I should mention your gifts to private persons, and give you the title of a generous and open-handed Emperor; for since there were many who long ago had lost their property, because, in some cases justly, in others unjustly, their ancestral estates had suffered loss, you had no sooner come into power, than like a just judge you set right in the latter cases the errors committed by men in the past, and restored them to the control of their property, while in the former cases you were a kindly arbiter, and granted that they should recover what they had lost, thinking that to have suffered so long was punishment enough. Then you lavished large sums from your privy purse, and increased the reputation for wealth of many who even in the past had prided themselves on their large incomes. But why should I remind you of all this and seem to waste time over trifles? Especially as it must be obvious to all that no king except Alexander the son of Philip was ever known to bestow such splendid presents on his friends. Indeed some kings have thought that the wealth of their friends gave more grounds for suspicion and alarm than did the resources of their enemies, while others were jealous of the aristocrats among their subjects, and therefore persecuted the well-born in every possible way, or even exterminated their houses, and thus were responsible for the public disasters of their cities and, in private life, for the most infamous crimes. There were some who went so far as to envy mere physical advantages, such as health or good looks, or good condition. And as for a virtuous character among their subjects, they could not bear even to hear of it, but counted it a crime like murder or theft or treason to appear to lay claim to virtue. But perhaps someone will say, and with truth, that these were the actions and practices not of genuine kings but of base and contemptible tyrants. Nay, but that other malady which has been known to attack not only those who were irrational, but some even who were just and mild, I mean the tendency to quarrel with friends who were too prosperous and to wish to humble them and deprive them of their rightful possessions, who I ask has ever dared so much as to mention such conduct in your case? Yet such, they say, was the treatment that Cyrus the Persian, the king's son-in-law, received from his kinsman, who could not brook the honour in which Cyrus was held by the common people, and Agesilaus also is well known to have resented the honours paid to Lysander by the Ionians.
All these, then, you have surpassed in merit, for you have made their wealth more secure for the rich than a father would for his own children, and you take thought that your subjects shall be well-born, as though you were the founder and lawgiver of every single city. Those to whom fortune has been generous you still further enrich, and in many cases men owe all their wealth to your generosity, so that in amount your gifts clearly surpass those of other princes, while, in security of ownership of what has once been given, you cast into the shade any favours bestowed by democracies. And this is, I think, very natural. For when men are conscious that they lack certain advantages, they envy those who do possess them, but when a man is more brilliantly endowed by fortune than any of his fellows, and by his own initiative has won even higher dignities than fate had assigned him, he lacks nothing, and there is none whom he need envy. And since you realise that in your case this is especially true, you rejoice at the good fortune of others and take pleasure in the successes of your subjects. You have already bestowed on them certain honours, and other honours you are on the point of bestowing, and you are making plans for the benefit of yet other persons. Nor are you content to award to your friends the government of a single city or nation, or even of many such, with the honours attaching thereto. But unless you chose a colleague to share that empire on whose behalf you had spared no pains to exterminate the brood of usurpers, you thought that no act of yours could be worthy of your former achievements. That you reached this decision not so much because it was necessary as because you take pleasure in giving all that you have to give, is, I suppose, well known to all. For you chose no colleague to aid you in your contests with the usurpers, but you thought it right that one who had not shared in the toil should share in the honour and glory, and that only when all danger seemed to be over. And it is well known that from that honour you subtract not even a trifling part, though you do not demand that he should share the danger even in some small degree, except indeed when it was necessary for a short time that he should accompany you on your campaign. Does my account of this call for any further witnesses or proofs? Surely it is obvious that he who tells the tale would not be the one to introduce a fictitious account. But on this part of my subject I must not spend any more time.
A few words about your temperance, your wisdom, and the affection that you inspired in your subjects, will not, I think, be out of place. For who is there among them all who does not know that from boyhood you cultivated the virtue of temperance as no one had ever done before you? That in your youth you possessed that virtue your father is a trustworthy witness, for he entrusted to you alone the management of affairs of state and all that related to your brothers, although you were not even the eldest of his sons. And that you still display it, now that you are a man, Ave are all well aware, since you ever behave towards the people and the magistrates like a citizen who obeys the laws, not like a king who is above the laws. For who ever saw you made arrogant by prosperity? Who ever saw you uplifted by those successes, so numerous and so splendid, and so quickly achieved? They say that Alexander, Philip's son, when he had broken the power of Persia, not only adopted a more ostentatious mode of life and an insolence of manner obnoxious to all, but went so far as to despise the father that begat him, and indeed the whole human race. For he claimed to be regarded as the son of Ammon instead of the son of Philip, and when some of those who had taken part in his campaigns could not learn to flatter him or to be servile, he punished them more harshly than the prisoners of war. But the honour that you paid to your father need 1 speak of in this place? Not only did you revere him in private life, but constantly, where men were gathered together in public, you sang his praises as though he were a beneficent hero-god. And as for your friends, you grant them that honour not merely in name, but by your actions you make their title sure. Can any one of them, I ask, lay to your charge the loss of any right, or any penalty or injury suffered, or any overbearing act either serious or trifling? Nay there is not one who could bring any such accusation. For your friends who were far advanced in years remained in office till the appointed end of their lives, and only laid down with life itself their control of public business, and then they handed on their possessions to their children or friends or some member of their family. Others again, when their strength failed for work or military service, received an honourable discharge, and are now spending their last days in prosperity; yet others have departed this life, and the people call them blessed. In short there is no man who having once been, held worthy of the honour of your friendship, ever suffered any punishment great or small, even though later he proved to be vicious. For them all that he had to do was to depart and give no further trouble.
While this has been your character from first to last in all these relations, you always kept your soul pure of every indulgence to which the least reproach is attached. In fact I should say that you alone, of all the emperors that ever were, nay of all mankind almost, with very few exceptions, are the fairest example of modesty, not to men only but to women also in their association with men. For all that is forbidden to women by the laws that safeguard the legitimacy of offspring, your reason ever denies to your passions. But though I could say still more on this subject, I refrain.
Your wisdom it is by no means easy to praise as it deserves, but I must say a few words about it. Your actions, however, are more convincing, I think, than my words. For it is not likely that this great and mighty empire would have attained such dimensions or achieved such splendid results, had it not been directed and governed by an intelligence to match. Indeed, when it is entrusted to luck alone, unaided by wisdom, we may be thankful if it last for any length of time. It is easy by depending on luck to flourish for a brief space, but without the aid of wisdom it is very hard, or rather I might say impossible, to preserve the blessings that have been bestowed. And, in short, if we need cite a convincing proof of this, we do not lack many notable instances. For by wise counsel we mean the ability to discover most successfully the measures that will be good and expedient when put into practice. It is therefore proper to consider in every case whether this wise counsel may not be counted as one of the things you have achieved. Certainly when there was need of harmony you gladly gave way, and when it was your duty to aid the community as a whole you declared for war with the utmost readiness. And when you had defeated the forces of Persia without losing a single hoplite, you made two separate campaigns against the usurpers, and after overcoming one of them by your public harangue, you added to your army his forces, which were fresh and had suffered no losses, and finally, by intelligence rather than by brute force, you completely subdued the other usurper who had inflicted so many sufferings on the community. I now desire to speak more clearly on this subject and to demonstrate to all what it was that you chiefly relied on and that secured you from failure in every one of those great enterprises to which you devoted yourself. It is your conviction that the affection of his subjects is the surest defence of an emperor. Now it is the height of absurdity to try to win that affection by giving orders, and levying it as though it were a tax or tribute. The only alternative is the policy that you have yourself pursued, I mean of doing good to all men and imitating the divine nature on earth. To show mercy even in anger, to take away their harshness from acts of vengeance, to display kindness and toleration to your fallen enemies, this was your practice, this you always commended and enjoined on others to imitate, and thus, even while the usurper still controlled Italy, you transferred Rome to Paeonia by means of the Senate and inspired the cities with zeal for undertaking public services.
As for the affection of your armies, what description could do it justice? Even before the battle at Myrsa, a division of cavalry came over to your side, and when you had conquered Italy bodies of infantry and distinguished legions did the same. But what happened in Galatia shortly after the usurper's miserable end demonstrated the universal loyalty of the garrisons to you; for when, emboldened by his isolated position, another dared to assume the effeminate purple, they suddenly set on him as though he were a wolf and tore him limb from limb. Your behaviour after that deed, your merciful and humane treatment of all those of his friends who were not convicted of having shared his crimes, and that in spite of all the sycophants who came forward with accusations and warned you to show only suspicion against friends of his, this I count as the culmination of all virtue. What is more, I maintain that your conduct was not only humane and just, but prudent in a still higher degree. He who thinks otherwise falls short of a true understanding of both the circumstances and your policy. For that those who had not been proved guilty should be protected was of course just, and you thought you ought by no means to make friendship a reason for suspicion and so cause it to be shunned, seeing that it was due to the loyal affection of your own subjects that you had attained to such power and accomplished so much. But the son of that rash usurper, who was a mere child, you did not allow to share his father's punishment. To such a degree does every act of yours incline towards clemency and is stamped with the mint-mark of perfect virtue * * * * *
|2 Heroic deeds of Constantius
Achilles, as the poet tells us, when his wrath was kindled and he quarrelled with the king, let fall from his hands his spear and shield; then he strung his harp and lyre and sang and chanted the deeds of the demi-gods, making this the pastime of his idle hours, and in this at least he chose wisely. For to fall out with the king and affront him was excessively rash and violent. But perhaps the son of Thetis is not free from this criticism either, that he spent in song and music the hours that called for deeds, though at such a time he might have retained his arms and not laid them aside, but later, at his leisure, he could have sung the praises of the king and chanted his victories. Though indeed the author of that tale tells us that Agamemnon also did not behave to his general either temperately or with tact, but first used threats and proceeded to insolent acts, when he robbed Achilles of his prize of valour. Then Homer brings them, penitent now, face to face in the assembly, and makes the son of Thetis exclaim
"Son of Atreus, verily it had been better on this wise for both thee and me!"
Later on he makes him curse the cause of their quarrel, and recount the disasters due to his own wrath, and we see the king blaming Zeus and Fate and Erinys. And here, I think, he is pointing a moral, using those heroes whom he sets before us, like types in a tragedy, and the moral is that kings ought never to behave insolently, nor use their power without reserve, nor be carried away by their anger like a spirited horse that runs away for lack of the bit and the driver; and then again he is warning generals not to resent the insolence of kings but to endure their censure with self-control and serenely, so that their whole life may not be filled with remorse.
When I reflect on this, my beloved Emperor, and behold you displaying in all that you do the result of your study of Homer, and see you so eager to benefit every citizen in the community in every way, and devising for me individually such honours and privileges one after another, then I think that you desire to be nobler than the king of the Greeks, to such a degree, that, whereas he insulted his bravest men, you, I believe, grant forgiveness to many even of the undeserving, since you approve the maxim of Pittacus which set mercy before vengeance. And so I should be ashamed not to appear more reasonable than the son of Peleus, or to fail to praise, as far as in me lies, what appertains to you, I do not mean gold, or a robe of purple, nay by Zeus, nor raiment embroidered all over, the work of Sidonian women, nor beautiful Nisaean horses, nor the gleam and glitter of gold-mounted chariots, nor the precious stone of India, so beautiful and lovely to look upon. And yet if one should choose to devote his attention to these and think fit to describe every one of them, he would have to draw on almost the whole stream of Homer's poetry and still he would be short of words, and the panegyrics that have been composed for all the demi-gods would be inadequate for your sole praise. First, then, let me begin, if you please, with your sceptre and your sovereignty itself. For what does the poet say when he wishes to praise the antiquity of the house of the Pelopids and to exhibit the greatness of their sovereignty?
"Then uprose their lord Agamemnon and in his hand was the sceptre that Hephaistos made and fashioned."
and gave to Zeus; then Zeus gave it to his own and Maia's son, and Hermes the prince gave it to Pelops, and Pelops
"Gave it to Atreus, shepherd of the host, and Atreus at his death left it to Thyestes, rich in flocks; and he in turn gave it into the hands of Agamemnon, so that he should rule over many islands and all Argos."
Here then you have the genealogy of the house of Pelops, which endured for barely three generations. But the story of our family began with Claudius; then its supremacy ceased for a short time, till your two grandfathers succeded to the throne. And your mother's father governed Rome and Italy and Libya besides, and Sardinia and Sicily, an empire not inferior certainly to Argos and Mycenae. Your father's father ruled the most warlike of all the tribes of Galatia, the Western Iberians and the islands that lie in the Ocean, which are as much larger than those that are to be seen in our seas as the sea that rolls beyond the pillars of Heracles is larger than the inner sea. These countries your grandfathers entirely cleared of our foes, now joining forces for a campaign, when occasion demanded, now making separate expeditions on their own account, and so they annihilated the insolent and lawless barbarians on their frontiers. These, then, are the distinctions that they won. Your father inherited his proper share of the Empire with all piety and due observance, waiting till his father reached his appointed end. Then he freed from intolerable slavery the remainder, which had sunk from empire to tyranny, and so governed the whole, appointing you and your brothers, his three sons, as his colleagues. Now can I fairly compare your house with the Pelopids in the extent of their power, the length of their dynasty, or the number of those who sat on the throne? Or is that really foolish, and must I instead go on to describe your wealth, and admire your cloak and the brooch that fastens it, the sort of thing on which even Homer loved to linger? Or must I describe at length the mares of Tros that numbered three thousand, and "pastured in the marsh-meadow" and the theft that followed? Or shall I pay my respects to your Thracian horses, whiter than snow and faster than the storm winds, and your Thracian chariots? For in your case also we can extol all these, and as for the palace of Alcinous and those halls that dazzled even the son of prudent Odysseus and moved him to such foolish expressions of wonder, shall I think it worth while to compare them with yours, for fear that men should one day think that you were worse off than he in these respects, or shall I not rather reject such trifling? Nay, I must be on my guard lest someone accuse and convict me of using frivolous speech and ignoring what is really admirable. So I had better leave it to the Homerids to spend their energies on such themes, and proceed boldly to what is more closely allied to virtue, and things to which you yourself pay more attention, I mean bodily strength and experience in the use of arms.
And now which one of those heroes to whom Homer devotes his enchanting strains shall I admit to be superior to you? There is the archer Pandaros in Homer, but he is treacherous and yields to bribes; moreover his arm was weak and he was an inferior hoplite: then there are besides, Teucer and Meriones. The latter employs his bow against a pigeon while Teucer, though he distinguished himself in battle, always needed a sort of bulwark or wall. Accordingly he keeps a shield in front of him, and that not his own but his brother's, and aims at the enemy at his ease, cutting an absurd figure as a soldier, seeing that he needed a protector taller than himself and that it was not in his weapons that he placed his hopes of safety. But I have seen you many a time, my beloved Emperor, bringing down bears and panthers and lions with the weapons hurled by your hand, and using your bow both for hunting and for pastime, and on the field of battle you have your own shield and cuirass and helmet. And I should not be afraid to match you with Achilles when he was exulting in the armour that Hephaistos made, and testing himself and that armour to see
"Whether it fitted him and whether his glorious limbs ran free therein;"
for your successes proclaim to all men your proficiency.
As for your horsemanship and your agility in running, would it be fair to compare with you any of those heroes of old who won a name and great reputation? Is it not a fact that horsemanship had not yet been invented? For as yet they used only chariots and not riding-horses. And as for their fastest runner, it is an open question how he compares with you. But in drawing up troops and forming a phalanx skilfully Menestheus seems to have excelled, and on account of his greater age the Pylian is his equal in proficiency. But the enemy often threw their line into disorder, and not even at the wall could they hold their ground when they encountered the foe. You, however, engaged in countless battles, not only with hostile barbarians in great numbers, but with just as many of your own subjects, who had revolted and were fighting on the side of one who was ambitious of grasping the imperial power; yet your phalanx remained unbroken and never wavered or yielded an inch. That this is not an idle boast and that I do not make a pretension in words that goes beyond the actual facts, I will demonstrate to my hearers. For I think it would be absurd to relate to you your own achievements. I should be like a stupid and tasteless person who, on seeing the works of Pheidias should attempt to discuss with Pheidias himself the Maiden Goddess on the Acropolis, or the statue of Zeus at Pisa. But if I publish to the rest of the world your most distinguished achievements, I shall perhaps avoid that blunder and not lay myself open to criticism. So I will hesitate no more but proceed with my discourse.
I hope no one will object if, when I attempt to deal with exploits that are so important, my speech should become proportionately long, and that though I desire to limit and restrain it lest my feeble words overwhelm and mar the greatness of your deeds; like the gold which when it was laid over the wings of the Eros at Thespiae took something, so they say, from the delicacy of its workmanship. For your triumphs really call for the trumpet of Homer himself, far more than did the achievements of the Macedonian. This will be evident as I go on to use the same method of argument which I adopted when I began. It then became evident that there is a strong affinity between the Emperor's exploits and those of the heroes, and I claimed that while one hero excelled the others in one accomplishment only, the Emperor excels them all in all those accomplishments. That he is more kingly than the king himself I proved, if you remember, in what I said in my introduction, and again and again it will be evident. But now let us, if you please, consider his battles and campaigns. What Greeks and barbarians did Homer praise above their fellows? I will read you those of his verses that are most to the point.
"Tell me, Muse, who was foremost of those warriors and horses that followed the sons of Atreus. Of warriors far the best was Ajax, son of Telamon, so long as the wrath of Achilles endured. For he was far the foremost."
And again he says of the son of Telamon:
"Ajax who in beauty and in the deeds he wrought was of a mould above all the other Danaans, except only the blameless son of Peleus."
These two, he says, were the bravest of the Greeks who came to the war, and of the Trojan army Hector and Sarpedon. Do you wish, then, that I should choose out their most brilliant feats and consider what they amounted to? And, in fact, the fighting of Achilles at the river resembles in some respects certain of the Emperor's achievements, and so does the battle of the Achaeans about the wall. Or Ajax again, when, in his struggle to defend the ships, he goes up on to their decks, might be allowed some just resemblance to him. But now I wish to describe to you the battle by the river which the Emperor fought not long ago. You know the causes of the outbreak of the war, and that he carried it through, not from desire of gain, but with justice on his side. There is no reason why I should not briefly remind you of the facts.
A rash and traitorous man tried to grasp at power to which he had no right, and assassinated the Emperor's brother and partner in empire. Then he began to be uplifted and dazzled by his hopes, as though he was about to imitate Poseidon and to prove that Homer's story was not mere fiction but absolutely true, where he says about the god
"Three strides did he make, and with the fourth came to his goal, even to Aegae,"
and how he took thence all his armour and harnessed his horses and drove through the waves:
"And with gladness the sea parted before him, and the horses fared very swiftly, and the bronze axle was not wetted beneath,"
for nothing stood in his way, but all things stood aside and made a path for him in their joy. Even so the usurper thought that he had left behind him nothing hostile or opposed to him, and that there was nothing at all to hinder him from taking up a position at the mouth of the Tigris. And there followed him a large force of heavy infantry and as many cavalry, yes, and good fighters they were, Celts, Iberians and Germans from the banks of the Rhine and from the coasts of the western sea. Whether I ought to call that sea the Ocean or the Atlantic, or whether it is proper to use some other name for it, I am not sure. I only know that its coasts are peopled by tribes of barbarians who are not easy to subdue and are far more energetic than any other race, and I know it not merely from hearsay, on which it is never safe to rely, but I have learned it from personal experience. From these tribes, then, he mustered an army as large as that which marched with him from home, or rather many followed him because they were his own people, allied to him by the ties of race, but our subjects — for so we must call them — I mean all his Roman troops followed from compulsion and not from choice, like mercenary allies, and their position and role was like that of the proverbial Carian, since they were naturally ill-disposed to a barbarian and a stranger who had conceived the idea of ruling and embarked on the enterprise at the time of a drunken debauch, and was the sort of leader that one might expect from such a preface and prelude as that. He led them in person, not indeed like Typho, who, as the poet tells us, in his wonder tale, was brought forth by the earth in her anger against Zeus, nor was he like the strongest of the Giants, but he was like that Vice incarnate which the wise Prodicus created in his fable, making her compete with Virtue and attempt to win over the son of Zeus, contending that he would do well to prize her above all else. And as he led them to battle he outdid the behaviour of Capaneus, like the barbarian that he was, in his insensate folly, though he did not, like Capaneus, trust to the energy of his soul or his physical strength, but to the numbers of his barbarian followers; and he boasted that he would lay everything at their feet to plunder, that every general and captain and common soldier of his should despoil an enemy of corresponding rank of his baggage and belongings, and that he would enslave the owners as well. He was confirmed in this attitude by the Emperor's clever strategy, and led his army out from the narrow passes to the plains in high spirits and little knowing the truth, since he decided that the Emperor's march was merely flight and not a manoeuvre. Thus he was taken unawares, like a bird or fish in the net. For when he reached the open country and the plains of Paeonia, and it seemed advantageous to fight it out there, then and not before the Emperor drew up his cavalry separately on both wings.
Of these troops some carry lances and are protected by cuirasses and helmets of wrought iron mail. They wear greaves that fit the legs closely, and knee-caps, and on their thighs the same sort of iron covering. They ride their horses exactly like statues, and need no shield. In the rear of these was posted a large body of the rest of the cavalry, who carried shields, while others fought on horseback with bows and arrows. Of the infantry the hoplites occupied the centre and supported the cavalry on either wing. In their rear were the slingers and archers and all troops that shoot their missiles from the hand and have neither shield nor cuirass. This, then, was the disposition of our phalanx. The left wing slightly outflanked the enemy, whose whole force was thereby thrown into confusion, and their line broke. When our cavalry made a charge and maintained it stubbornly, he who had so shamefully usurped the imperial power disgraced himself by flight, and left there his cavalry commander and his numerous chiliarchs and taxiarchs, who continued to fight bravely, and in command of all these the real author of that monstrous and unholy drama, who had been the first to suggest to him that he should pretend to the imperial power and rob us of our royal privilege.
For a time indeed he enjoyed success, and at his first attempt met with no repulse or failure, but on that day he provoked the punishment that justice had in store for his misdeeds, and had to pay a penalty that is hardly credible. For all the others who abetted the usurper in that war met death openly or their flight was evident to all, as was the repentance of others. For many came as suppliants, and all obtained forgiveness, since the Emperor surpassed the son of Thetis in generosity. For Achilles, after Patroclus fell, refused any longer even to sell those whom he took captive, but slew them as they clasped his knees and begged for mercy. But the Emperor proclaimed an amnesty for those who should renounce the conspiracy, and so not only freed them from the fear of death or exile or some other punishment, but, as though their association with the usurper had been due to some misadventure or unhappy error, he deigned to reinstate them and completely cancel the past. I shall have occasion to refer to this again.
But what I must now state is that the man who had trained and tutored the usurper was neither among the fallen nor the fugitives. It was indeed natural that he should not even hope for pardon, since his schemes had been so wicked, his actions so infamous, and he had been responsible for the slaughter of so many innocent men and women, of whom many were private citizens, and of almost all who were connected with the imperial family. And he had done this not with shrinking nor with the sentiments of one who sheds the blood of his own people, and because of that stain of guilt fears and is on the watch for the avenger and those who will exact a bloody reckoning, but, with a kind of purification that was new and unheard of, he would wash his hands of the blood of his first victims, and then go on to murder man after man, and then, after those whom they held dear, he slew the women as well. So he naturally abandoned the idea of appealing for mercy. But likely as it is that he should think thus, yet it may well be otherwise. For the fact is that we do not know what he did or suffered before he vanished out of sight, out of our ken. Whether some avenging deity snatched him away, as Homer says of the daughters of Pandareos, and even now is carrying him to the very verge of the world to punish him for his evil designs, or whether the river has received him and bids him feed the fishes, has not yet been revealed. For till the battle actually began, and while the troops were forming the phalanx, he was full of confidence and went to and fro in the centre of their line. But when the battle was ended as was fitting, he vanished completely, taken from our sight by I know not what god or supernatural agency, only it is quite certain that the fate in store for him was far from enviable. At any rate he was not destined to appear again, and, after insulting us with impunity, live prosperous and secure as he thought he should; but he was doomed to be completely blotted out and to suffer a punishment that for him indeed was fatal, but to many was beneficial and gave them a chance of recovery.
Now though it would be well worth while to devote more of my speech to this man who was the author of that whole enterprise, yet it breaks the thread of my narrative, which had reached the thick of the action. So I must leave that subject for the present, and going back to the point where I digressed, describe how the battle ended. For though their generals showed such cowardice, the courage of the soldiers was by no means abated. When their line was broken, which was due not to their cowardice but to the ignorance and inexperience of their leader, they formed into companies and kept up the fight. And what happened then was beyond all expectation; for the enemy refused altogether to yield to those who were defeating them, while our men did their utmost to achieve a signal victory, and so there arose the wildest confusion, loud shouts mingled with the din of weapons, as swords were shattered against helmets and shields against spears. It was a hand to hand fight, in which they discarded their shields and attacked with swords only, while, indifferent to their own fate, and devoting the utmost ardour to inflicting severe loss on the foe, they were ready to meet even death if only they could make our victory seem doubtful and dearly bought. It was not only the infantry who behaved thus to their pursuers, but even the cavalry, whose spears were broken and were now entirely useless. Their shafts are long and polished, and when they had broken them they dismounted and transformed themselves into hoplites. So for some time they held their own against the greatest odds. But since our cavalry kept shooting their arrows from a distance as they rode after them, while the cuirassiers made frequent charges, as was easy on that unobstructed and level plain, and moreover night overtook them, the enemy were glad at last to take to flight, while our men kept up a vigorous pursuit as far as the camp and took it by assault, together with the baggage and slaves and baggage animals. Directly the rout of the enemy had begun, as I have described, and while we kept up a hot pursuit, they were driven towards the left, where the river was on the right of the victors. And there the greatest slaughter took place, and the river was choked with the bodies of men and horses, indiscriminately. For the Drave was not like the Scamander, nor so kind to the fugitives; it did not put ashore and cast forth from its waters the dead in their armour, nor cover up and hide securely in its eddies those who escaped alive. For that is what the Trojan river did, perhaps out of kindness, perhaps it was only that it was so small that it offered an easy crossing to one who tried to swim or walk. In fact, when a single poplar was thrown into it, it formed a bridge, and the whole river roared with foam and blood and beat upon the shoulders of Achilles, if indeed we may believe even this, but it never did anything more violent. When a slight fire scorched it, it gave up fighting at once and swore not to play the part of ally. However this, too, was probably a jest on Homer's part, when he invented that strange and unnatural sort of duel. For in the rest of the poem also he evidently favours Achilles, and he sets the army there as mere spectators while he brings Achilles on to the field as the only invincible and resistless warrior, and makes him slay all whom he encounters and put every one of the foe to flight, simply by his voice and bearing and the glance of his eyes, both when the battle begins and on the banks of the Scamander, till the fugitives were glad to gather within the wall of the city. Many verses he devotes to relating this, and then he invents the battles of the gods, and by embellishing his poem with such tales he corrupts his critics and prevents us from giving a fair and honest vote. But if there be any one who refuses to be beguiled by the beauty of the words and the fictions that are imported into the poem . . . ), then, though he is as strict as a member of the Areopagus, I shall not dread his decision. For we are convinced by the poem that the son of Peleus is a brave soldier. He slays twenty men; then
"He chose twelve youths alive out of the river and led them forth amazed like fawns to atone for the death of Patroclus, son of Menoitius."
But his victory, though it had some influence on the fortunes of the Achaeans, was not enough to inspire any great fear in the enemy, nor did it make them wholly despair of their cause. On this point shall we set Homer aside and demand some other witness? Or is it not enough to recall the verses in which he describes how Priam came to the ships bringing his son's ransom? For after he had made the truce for which he had come, and the son of Thetis asked:
"For how many days dost thou desire to make a funeral for noble Hector?"
He told him not only that, but concerning the war he said:
"And on the twelfth day we will fight again, if fight we must."
You see he does not hesitate to announce that war will be resumed after the armistice. But the unmanly and cowardly usurper sheltered his flight behind lofty mountains and built forts on them; nor did he trust even to the strength of the position, but begged for forgiveness. And he would have obtained it had he deserved it, and not proved himself on many occasions both treacherous and insolent, by heaping one crime on another.
And now with regard to the battle, if there be anyone who declines to heed either the opinion expressed in my narrative or those admirably written verses, but prefers to consider the actual facts, let him judge from those. Accordingly we will next, if you please, compare the fighting of Ajax in defence of the ships and of the Achaeans at the wall with the Emperor's achievements at that famous city. I mean the city to which the Mygdonius, fairest of rivers, gives its name, though it has also been named after King Antiochus. Then, too, it has another, a barbarian name which is familiar to many of you from your intercourse with the barbarians of those parts. This city was besieged by an overwhelming number of Parthians with their Indian allies, at the very time when the Emperor was prepared to march against the usurper. And like the sea crab which they say engaged Heracles in battle when he sallied forth to attack the Lernaean monster, the King of the Parthians, crossing the Tigris from the mainland, encircled the city with dykes. Then he let the Mygdonius flow into these, and transformed all the space about the city into a lake, and completely hemmed it in as though it were an island, so that only the ramparts stood out and showed a little above the water. Then he besieged it by bringing up ships with siege-engines on board. This was not the work of a day, but I believe of almost four months. But the defenders within the wall continually repulsed the barbarians by burning the siege-engines with their fire-darts. And from the wall they hauled up many of the ships, while others were shattered by the force of the engines when discharged and the weight of the missiles. For some of the stones that were hurled on to them weighed as much as seven Attic talents. When this had been going on for many days in succession, part of the dyke gave way and the water flowed in in full tide, carrying with it a portion of the wall as much as a hundred cubits long.
Thereupon he arrayed the besieging army in the Persian fashion. For they keep up and imitate Persian customs, I suppose, because they do not wish to be considered Parthians, and so pretend to be Persians. That is surely the reason why they prefer the Persian manner of dress. And when they march to battle they look like them, and take pride in wearing the same armour, and raiment adorned with gold and purple. By this means they try to evade the truth and to make it appear that they have not revolted from Macedon, but are merely resuming the empire that was theirs of old. Their king, therefore, imitating Xerxes, sat on a sort of hill that had been artificially made, and his army advanced accompanied by their beasts. These came from India and carried iron towers full of archers. First came the cavalry who wore cuirasses, and the archers, and then the rest of the cavalry in huge numbers. For infantry they find useless for their sort of fighting and it is not highly regarded by them. Nor, in fact, is it necessary to them, since the whole of the country that they inhabit is flat and bare. For a military force is naturally valued or slighted in proportion to its actual usefulness in war. Accordingly, since infantry is, from the nature of the country, of little use to them, it is granted no great consideration in their laws. This happened in the case of Crete and Caria as well, and countless nations have a military equipment like theirs. For instance the plains of Thessaly have proved suitable for cavalry engagements and drill. Our state, on the other hand, since it has had to encounter adversaries of all sorts, and has won its pre-eminence by good judgment combined with good luck, has naturally adapted itself to every kind of armour, and to a varying equipment.
But perhaps those who watch over the rules for writing panegyric as though they were laws, may say that all this is irrelevant to my speech. Now whether what I have been saying partly concerns you I shall consider at the proper time. But at any rate I can easily clear myself from the accusation of such persons. For I declare that I make no claim to be an expert in their art, and one who has not agreed to abide by certain rules has the right to neglect them. And it may be that I shall prove to have other convincing excuses besides. But it is not worth while to interrupt my speech and digress from my theme any longer when there is no need. Let me, then, retrace my steps to the point at which I digressed.
Now when the Parthians advanced to attack the wall in their splendid accoutrements, men and horses, supported by the Indian elephants, it was with the utmost confidence that they would at once take it by assault. And at the signal to charge they all pressed forward, since every man of them was eager to be the first to scale the wall and win the glory of that exploit. They did not imagine that there was anything to fear, nor did they believe that the besieged would resist their assault. Such was the exaggerated confidence of the Parthians. The besieged, however, kept their phalanx unbroken at the gap in the wall, and on the portion of the wall that was still intact they posted all the non-combatants in the city, and distributed among them an equal number of soldiers. But when the enemy rode up and not a single missile was hurled at them from the wall, their confidence that they would completely reduce the city was strengthened, and they whipped and spurred on their horses so that their flanks were covered with blood, until they had left the dykes behind them. These dykes they had made earlier to dam the mouth of the Mygdonius, and the mud thereabouts was very deep, †in fact there was hardly any ground at all because of the wood,† and because the soil was so rich, and of the sort that conceals springs under its surface Moreover there was in that place a wide moat that had been made long ago to protect the town, and had become filled up with a bog of considerable depth. Now when the enemy had already reached this moat and were trying to cross it, a large lorce of the besieged made a sally, while many others hurled stones from the walls. Then many of the besiegers were slain, and all with one accord turned their horses in flight, though only from their gestures could it be seen that flight was what they desired and intended. For, as they were in the act of wheeling them about, their horses fell and bore down the riders with them. Weighed down as they were by their armour, they floundered still deeper in the bog, and the carnage that ensued has never yet been paralleled in any siege of the same kind.
Since this fate had overtaken the cavalry, they tried the elephants, thinking that they would be more likely to overawe us by that novel sort of fighting. For surely they had not been stricken so blind as not to see that an elephant is heavier than a horse, since it carries the load, not of two horses or several, but what would, I suppose, require many waggons, I mean archers and javelin men and the iron tower besides. All this was a serious hindrance, considering that the ground was artificially made and had been converted into a bog. And this the event made plain. Hence it is probable that they were not advancing to give battle, but rather were arrayed to overawe the besieged. They came on in battle line at equal distances from one another, in fact the phalanx of the Parthians resembled a wall, with the elephants carrying the towers, and hoplites filling up the spaces between. But drawn up as these were they were of no great use to the barbarian. It was, however, a spectacle which gave the defenders on the wall great pleasure and entertainment, and when they had gazed their fill at what resembled a splendid and costly pageant in procession, they hurled stones from their engines, and, shooting their arrows, challenged the barbarians to fight for the wall. Now the Parthians are naturally quick-tempered, and they could not endure to incur ridicule and lead back this imposing force without striking a blow; so by the king's express command they charged at the wall and received a continuous fire of stones and arrows, while some of the elephants were wounded, and perished by sinking into the mud. Thereupon, in fear for the others also, they led them back to the camp.
Having failed in this second attempt as well, the Parthian king divided his archers into companies and ordered them to relieve one another and to keep shooting at the breach in the wall, so that the beseiged could not rebuild it and thus ensure the safety of the town. For he hoped by this means either to take it by surprise, or by mere numbers to overwhelm the garrison. But the preparations that had been made by the Emperor made it clear that the barbarian's plan was futile. For in the rear of the hoplites a second wall was being built, and while he thought they were using the old line of the wall for the foundations and that the work was not yet in hand, they had laboured continuously for a whole day and night till the wall had risen to a height of four cubits. And at daybreak it became visible, a new and conspicuous piece of work. Moreover the besieged did not for a moment yield their ground, but kept relieving one another and shooting their javelins at those who were attacking the fallen wall, and all this terribly dismayed the barbarian. Nevertheless he did not at once lead off his army but employed the same efforts over again. But when he had done as before, and as before suffered repulse, he did lead his army back, having lost many whole tribes through famine, and squandered many lives over the dykes and in the siege. He had also put to death many satraps one after another, on various charges, blaming one of them because the dykes had not been made strong enough, but gave way and were flooded by the waters of the river, another because when fighting under the walls he had not distinguished himself; and others he executed for one offence or another. This is in fact the regular custom among the barbarians in Asia, to shift the blame of their ill-success on to their subjects. Thus then the king acted on that occasion, and afterwards took himself off. And from that time he has kept the peace with us and has never asked for any covenant or treaty, but he stays at home and is thankful if only the Emperor does not march against him and exact vengeance for his audacity and folly.
And now am I justified in comparing this battle with those that were fought in defence of the Greek ships and the wall? Observe the following points of similarity, and note also the difference. Of the Greeks the two Ajaxes, the Lapithae and Menestheus fell back from the wall and looked on helplessly while the gates were battered down by Hector, and Sarpedon scaled the battlements. But our garrison did not give way even when the wall fell in of itself, but they fought and won, and repulsed the Parthians, aided though these were by their Indian allies. Then again Hector went up on to the ships and fought from their decks on foot, and as though from behind a rampart, whereas our garrison first had to fight a naval battle from the walls, and finally, while Hector and Sarpedon had to retreat from the battlements and the ships, the garrison routed not only the forces that brought ships to the attack but the land force as well. Now it is appropriate that by some happy chance my speech should have alluded to Hector and Sarpedon, and to what I may call the very crown of their achievements, I mean the destruction of that wall which Homer tells us the Achaeans built only the day before, on the advice of the princely orator of Pylos "to be an impregnable bulwark for the ships and the army."
For that I think was almost the proudest of Hector's achievements, and he did not need the craft of Glaucus to help him, or any wiser plan, for Homer says plainly that the moment Achilles appeared
"He shrank back into the crowd of men."
Again, when Agamemnon attacked the Trojans and pursued them to the wall, Zeus stole away Hector so that he might escape at his leisure. And the poet is mocking him and ridiculing his cowardice when he says that as he was sitting under the oak-tree, being already near the gate, Iris came to him with this message from Zeus:
"So long as thou seest Agamemnon, shepherd of the host, raging among the foremost fighters and cutting down the ranks of men, so long do thou keep back from the fight."
For is it likely that Zeus would give such base and cowardly advice, especially to one who was not even fighting, but was standing there very much at his ease? And while the son of Tydeus, on whose head Athene kindled a mighty flame, was slaying many and forcing to flight all who stayed to encounter him, Hector stood far away from the battle. Though he had to endure many taunts, he despaired of making a stand against the Achaeans, but made a specious excuse for going to the city to advise his mother to propitiate Athene in company with the Trojan women. And yet if in person he had besought the goddess before the temple, with the elders, he would have had good reason for that, for it is only proper, in my opinion, that a general or king should always serve the god with the appointed ritual, like a priest or prophet, and not neglect this duty nor think it more fitting for another, and depute it as though he thought such a service beneath his own dignity.
For here I think I may without offence adapt slightly Plato's language where he says that the man, and especially the king, best equipped for this life is he who depends on God for all that relates to happiness, and does not hang in suspense on other men, whose actions, whether good or bad, are liable to force him and his affairs out of the straight path. And though no one should allow me to paraphrase or change that passage or alter that word, and though I should be told that I must leave it undisturbed like something holy and consecrated by time, even in that case I shall maintain that this is what that wise man meant. For when he says "depends on himself," assuredly he does not refer to a man's body or his property, or long descent, or distinguished ancestors. For these are indeed his belongings, but they are not the man himself; his real self is his mind, his intelligence, and, in a word, the god that is in us. As to which, Plato elsewhere calls it "the supreme form of the soul that is within us," and says that "God has given it to each one of us as a guiding genius, even that which we say dwells in the summit of our body and raises us from earth towards our celestial affinity." It is on this that he plainly says every man ought to depend, and not on other men, who have so often succeeded when they wish to harm and hinder us in other respects. Indeed it has happened before now that even without such a desire men have deprived us of certain of our possessions. But this alone cannot be hindered or harmed, since "Heaven does not permit the bad to injure what is better than itself." This saying also is from Plato. But it may be that I am wearying you with these doctrines of his with which I sprinkle my own utterances in small quantities, as with salt or gold dust. For salt makes our food more agreeable, and gold enhances an effect to the eye. But Plato's doctrines produce both effects. For as we listen to them they give more pleasure than salt to the sense, and they have a wonderful power of sweetly nourishing and cleansing the soul. So that I must not hesitate or be cautious of criticism if someone reproaches me with being insatiable and grasping at everything, like persons at a banquet who, in their greed to taste every dish, cannot keep their hands from what is set before them. For something of this sort seems to happen in my case when, in the same breath, I utter panegyric and philosophic theories, and, before I have done justice to my original theme, break off in the middle to expound the sayings of philosophers. I have had occasion before now to reply to those who make such criticisms as these, and perhaps I shall have to do so again.
I will now, however, resume the thread of my discourse and go back to my starting-point, like those who, when a race is being started, run ahead out of the line. Well, I was saying, a moment ago, that Plato declares that a man's real self is his mind and soul, whereas his body and his estate are but his possessions. This is the distinction made in that marvellous work, the Laws. And so if one were to go back to the beginning and say "That man is best equipped for life who makes everything that relates to happiness depend on his mind and intelligence and not on those outside himself who, by doing or faring well or ill force him out of the straight path," he is not changing or perverting the sense of the words, but expounds and interprets them correctly. And if for Plato's word "genius" he substitutes the word "God" he has a perfect right to do so. For if Plato gives the control of our whole life to the presiding "genius" within us which is by nature unaffected by sensation and akin to God, but must endure and suffer much because of its association with the body, and therefore gives the impression to the crowd that it also is subject to sensation and death; and if he says that this is true of every man who wishes to be happy, what must we suppose is his opinion about pure intelligence unmixed with earthly substance, which is indeed synonymous with God? To this I say every man, whether he be a private citizen or a king, ought to entrust the reins of his life, and by a king I mean one who is really worthy of the name, and not counterfeit or falsely so called, but one who is aware of God and discerns his. nature because of his affinity with him, and being truly wise bows to the divine authority and yields the supremacy to God. For it is senseless and arrogant indeed for those who cultivate virtue not to submit to God once and for all, as far as possible. For we must believe that this above all else is what God approves. Again, no man must neglect the traditional form of worship or lightly regard this method of paying honour to the higher power, but rather consider that to be virtuous is to be scrupulously devout. For Piety is the child of Justice, and that justice is a characteristic of the more divine type of soul is obvious to all who discuss such matters.
For this reason, then, while I applaud Hector for refusing to make a libation because of the bloodstains on his hands, he had, as I said, no right to go back to the city or forsake the battle, seeing that the task he was about to perform was not that of a general or of a king, but of a messenger and underling, and that he was ready to take on himself the office of an Idaeus or Talthybius. However, as I said at first, this seems to have been simply a specious excuse for flight. And indeed when he obeyed the bidding of the seer and fought a duel with the son of Telamon, he was very ready to make terms and to give presents, and rejoiced to have escaped death. In short, as a rule, he is brave when in pursuit of the retreating foe, but in no case has he the credit of a victory or of turning the tide of battle, except when
"He was the first to leap within the wall of the Achaeans"
together with Sarpedon. Shall I therefore shrink from competition as though I could not cite on behalf of the Emperor any such exploit, and must therefore avoid seeming to compare the trivial with the important and things of little account with what deserves more serious consideration, or shall I venture to enter the lists even against an achievement so famous? Now that wall was to protect the beach, and was a palisade such as we are wont to construct, and was completed in less than a morning. But the wall that was on the Alps was an ancient fort, and the usurper used it after his flight, converting it into a defence as strong as though it had been newly built, and he left there an ample garrison of seasoned troops. But he did not himself march all the way there, but remained in the neighbouring city. This is a trading centre of the Italians on the coast, very prosperous and teeming with wealth, since the Mysians and Paeonians and all the Italian inhabitants of the interior procure their merchandise thence. These last used, I think, to be called Heneti in the past, but now that the Romans are in possession of these cities they preserve the original name, but make the trifling addition of one letter at the beginning of the word. Its sign is a single character and they call it "oo," and they often use it instead of "b," to serve, I suppose, as a sort of breathing, and to represent some peculiarity of their pronunciation. The nation as a whole is called by this name, but at the time of the founding of the city an eagle from Zeus flew past on the right, and so bestowed on the place the omen derived from the bird. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, which are very high mountains with precipices in them, and they hardly allow room for those who are trying to force their way over the passes to use even a single waggon and a pair of mules. They begin at the sea which we call Ionian, and form a barrier between what is now Italy and the Illyrians and Galatians, and extend as far as the Etruscan sea. For when the Romans conquered the whole of this country, which includes the tribe of the Heneti and some of the Ligurians and a considerable number of Galatians besides, they did not hinder them from retaining their ancient names, but compelled them to acknowledge the dominion of the Italian republic. And, in our day, all the territory that lies within the Alps and is bounded by the Ionian and the Etruscan seas has the honour of being called Italy. On the other side of the Alps, on the west, dwell the Galatians, and the Rhaetians to the north where the Rhine and the Danube have their sources hard by in the neighbouring country of the barbarians. And on the east, as I said, the Alps fortify the district where the usurper stationed his garrison. In this way, then, Italy is contained on all sides, partly by mountains that are very hard to cross, partly by a shallow sea into which countless streams empty and form a morass like the marshlands of Egypt. But the Emperor by his skill gained control of the whole of that boundary of the sea, and forced his way inland.
I will now relate how the city was actually taken, lest you should think I am wasting time by describing once more the difficulties of the ground, and how it was impossible to plant a camp or even a palisade near the city or to bring up siege-engines or devices for storming it, because the country all about was terribly short of water, and there were not even small pools. And if you wish to grasp the main point of my narrative in a few words, remember the Macedonian's expedition against those Indians who lived on the famous rock up to which not even the lightest birds could wing their flight, and how he took it by storm, and you will be content to hear no more from me. However I will add this merely, that Alexander in storming the rock lost many of his Macedonians, whereas our ruler and general lost not a single chiliarch or a captain, nay not even a legionary from the muster-roll, but achieved an unsullied and "tearless" victory. Now Hector and Sarpedon, no doubt, hurled down many men from the w'all, but when they encountered Patroclus in all his glory Sarpedon was slain near the ships, while Hector, to his shame, fled without even recovering the body of his friend. Thus without intelligence and emboldened by mere physical strength they ventured to attack the wall. But the Emperor, when strength and daring are required, employs force of arms and good counsel together, and so wins the day, but where good judgment alone is necessary it is by this that he steers his course, and thus achieves triumphs such, as not even iron could ever avail to erase.
But since my speech has of its own accord reached this point in its course and has long been eager to praise the Emperor's wisdom and wise counsel, I allow it to do so. And in fact I spoke briefly on this subject some time ago, and all the cases where there seemed to me to be any affinity between the heroes of Homer and the Emperor, I described because of that resemblance, comparing great things with small. And indeed if one considers the size of their armaments, the superiority of his forces also becomes evident. For in those days all Greece was set in motion, and part of Thrace and Paeonia, and all the subject allies of Priam,
"All that Lesbos, the seat of Makar, contains within, and Phrygia on the north and the boundless Hellespont."
But to try to count up the nations who lately marched with the Emperor and fought on his side in the war, would be idle talk, superfluous verbiage, and absurd simplicity. And it is natural that, in proportion as the armies are larger, their achievements are more important. So it follows of necessity that, in this respect as well, the Emperor's army surpassed Homer's heroes. In mere numbers, at any rate, at what point, I ask, could one justly compare them? For the Greeks fought all along for a single city, and the Trojans when they prevailed were not able to drive away the Greeks, nor were the Greeks strong enough, when they won a victory, to destroy and overthrow the power and the royal sway of the house of Priam, and yet the time they spent over it was ten years long. But the Emperor's wars and undertakings have been numerous. He has been described as waging war against the Germans across the Rhine, and then there was his bridge of boats over the Tigris, and his exposure of the power and arrogance of the Parthians was no trivial thing, on that occasion when they did not venture to defend their country while he was laying it waste, but had to look on while the whole of it was devastated between the Tigris and the Lycus. Then, when the war against the usurper was concluded, there followed the expeditions to Sicily and Carthage, and that stratagem of occupying beforehand the mouth of the Po, which deprived the usurper of all his forces in Italy, and finally that third and last fall at the Cottian Alps, which secured for the Emperor the pleasure of a victory that was sure, and carried with it no fears for the future, while it compelled the defeated man to inflict on himself a just penalty wholly worthy of his misdeeds.
I have given this brief account of the Emperor's achievements, not adding anything in flattery and trying to exaggerate things that are perhaps of no special importance, nor dragging in what is farfetched and unduly pressing points of resemblance with those achievements, like those who interpret the myths of the poets and analyse them into plausible versions which allow them to introduce fictions of their own, though they start out from very slight analogies, and having recourse to a very shadowy basis, try to convince us that this is the very thing that the poets intended to' say. But in this case if anyone should take out of Homer's poems merely the names of the heroes, and insert and fit in the Emperor's, the epic of the Iliad would be seen to have been composed quite as much in his honour as in theirs.
But that you may not think, if you hear only about his achievements and successes in war, that the Emperor is less well endowed for pursuits that are loftier and rightly considered of more importance, I mean public speaking and deliberations and all those affairs in which judgment combined with intelligence and prudence* take the helm, consider the case of Odysseus and Nestor, who are so highly praised in the poem; and if you find that the Emperor is inferior to them in any respect, put that down to his panegyrists, but we should rather in fairness concede that he is far superior. Nestor, for instance, when they began to disagree and quarrel about the captive damsel, tried to address them, and he did persuade the king and the son of Thetis, but only to this extent that Achilles broke up the assembly in disorder, while Agamemnon did not even wait to complete his expiation to the god, but while he was still performing the rite and the sacred ship was in view, he sent heralds to the tent of Achilles, just as though, it seems to me, he were afraid that he would forget his anger, and, once free from that passion, would repent and avoid his error. Again, the far-travelled orator from Ithaca, when he tried to persuade Achilles to make peace, and offered him many gifts and promised him countless others, so provoked the young warrior that, though he had not before planned to sail home, he now began to make preparations. Then there are those wonderful proofs of their intelligence, their exhortations to battle and Nestor's building of the wall, a cowardly notion and worthy indeed of an old man. Nor in truth did the Achaeans benefit much from that device. For it was after they had finished the wall that they were worsted by the Trojans, and naturally enough. For before that, they thought that they were themselves protecting the ships, like a noble bulwark. But when they realised that a wall lay in front of them, built with a deep moat and set at intervals with sharp stakes, they grew careless and slackened their valour, because they trusted to the fortification. Yet it is not anyone who blames them and shows that they were in the wrong who is therefore a fit and proper person to praise the Emperor. But he who, in a worthy manner, recounts the Emperor's deeds, which were done not idly or automatically, or from an irrational impulse, but were skilfully planned beforehand and carried through, he alone praises adequately the Emperor's keen intelligence.
But to report to you those speeches which he made at every public gathering to the armies and the common people and the councils, demands too long a narrative, though it is perhaps not too much to ask you to hear about one of these. Pray then think once more of the son of Laertes when the Greeks were rushing to set sail and he checked the rush and diverted their zeal back to the war, and then of the Emperor's assembly in Illyria, when that old man, persuaded by mere youths to think childish thoughts, forgot his treaties and obligations and proved to be the enemy of his preserver and benefactor, and came to terms with one against whom the Emperor was waging a war that allowed no truce nor herald of a truce, and who was not only getting an army together, but came to meet the Emperor on the border of the country, because he was anxious to hinder him from advancing further. And when those two armies met, and it was necessary to hold an assembly in the presence of the hoplites, a high platform was set up and it was surrounded by a crowd of hoplites, javelin-men and archers and cavalry equipped with their horses and the standards of the divisions. Then the Emperor, accompanied by him who for the moment was his colleague, mounted the platform, carrying no sword or shield or helmet, but wearing his usual dress. And not even one of his bodyguard followed him, but there he stood alone on the platform, trusting to that speech which was so impressively appropriate. For of speeches too he is a good craftsman, though he does not plane down and polish his phrases nor elaborate his periods like the ingenious rhetoricians, but is at once dignified and simple, and uses the right words on every occasion, so that they sink into the souls not only of those who claim to be cultured and intelligent, but many unlearned persons too understand and give hearing to his words. And so he won over many tens of thousands of hoplites and twenty thousand cavalry and most warlike nations, and at the same time a country that is extremely fertile, not seizing it by force, or carrying off captives, but by winning over men who obeyed him of their own free will and were eager to carry out his orders. This victory I judge to be far more splendid than that for which Sparta is famous. For that was "tearless" for the victors only, but the Emperor's did not cause even the defeated to shed tears, but he who was masquerading as Emperor came down from the platform when he had pleaded his cause, and handed over to the Emperor the imperial purple as though it were an ancestral debt. And all else the Emperor gave him in abundance, more than they say Cyrus gave to his grandfather, and arranged that he should live and be maintained in the manner that Homer recommends for men who are past their prime: —
"For it is fitting that such a one, when he has bathed and fed, should sleep soft, for that is the manner of the aged."
Now for my part I should have been glad to repeat to you the words that the Emperor used, and no fear would overtake me when handling words so noble. But modesty restrains me and does not permit me to change or interpret his words to you. For it would be wrong of me to tamper with them, and I should blush to have my ignorance exposed, if someone who had read the Emperor's composition or heard it at the time should remember it by heart, and demand from me not only the ideas in it but all the excellences with which they are adorned, though they are composed in the language of our ancestors. Now this at any rate Homer had not to fear when, many generations later, he reported his speeches, since his speakers left no record of what they said in their assemblies, and I think he was clearly confident that he was able to relate and report what they said in a better style. But to make an inferior copy is absurd and unworthy of a generous and noble soul. Now as to the marvellous portion of his achievements and those of which the great multitude was spectator and hence preserves their memory and commends them, since it looks to the result and is there to judge whether they turn out well or ill, and eulogises them in language that is certainly not elegant, — as to all this I say you have often heard from the ingenious sophists, and from the race of poets inspired by the Muses themselves, so that, as far as these are concerned, I must have wearied you by speaking about them at too great length. For you are already surfeited with them, your ears are filled with them, and there will always be a supply of composers of such discourses to sing of battles and proclaim victories with a loud clear voice, after the manner of the heralds at the Olympic games. For you yourselves, since you delight to listen to them, have produced an abundance of these men. And no wonder. For their conceptions of what is good and bad are akin to your own, and they do but report to you your own opinions and depict them in fine phrases, like a dress of many colours, and cast them into the mould of agreeable rhythms and forms, and bring them forth for you as though they had invented something new. And you welcome them eagerly, and think that this is the correct way to eulogise, and you say that these deeds have received their due. And this is perhaps true, but it may well be otherwise, since you do not really know what the correct way should be.
For I have observed that Socrates the Athenian — you know the man by hearsay and that his reputation for wisdom was proclaimed aloud by the Pythian oracle — I say I have observed that he did not praise that sort of thing, nor would he admit that they are happy and fortunate who are masters of a great territory and many nations, with many Greeks too among them, and still more numerous and powerful barbarians, such men as are able to cut a canal through Athos and join continents by a bridge of boats whenever they please, and who subdue nations and reduce islands by sweeping the inhabitants into a net, and make offerings of a thousand talents' worth of frankincense. Therefore he never praised Xerxes or any other king of Persia or Lydia or Macedonia, and not even a Greek general, save only a very few, whomsoever he knew to delight in virtue and to cherish courage with temperance and to love wisdom with justice. But those whom he saw to be cunning, or merely clever, or generals and nothing more, or ingenious, or able, though each one could lay claim to only one small fraction of virtue, to impose on the masses, these too he would not praise without reserve. And his judgment is followed by a host of wise men who reverence virtue, but as for all those wonders and marvels that I have described, some say of them that they are worth little, others that they are worth nothing.
Now if you also are of their opinion, I feel no inconsiderable alarm for what I said earlier, and for myself, lest possibly you should declare that my words are mere childishness, and that I am an absurd and ignorant sophist and make pretensions to an art in which I confess that I have no skill, as indeed I must confess to you when I recite eulogies that are really deserved, and such as you think it worth while to listen to, even though they should seem to most of you somewhat uncouth and far inferior to what has been already uttered. But if, as I said before, you accept the authors of those other eulogies, then my fear is altogether allayed. For then I shall not seem wholly out of place, but though, as I admit, inferior to many others, yet judged by my own standard, not wholly unprofitable nor attempting what is out of place. And indeed it is probably not easy for you to disbelieve wise and inspired men who have much to say, each in his own manner, though the sum and substance of all their speeches is the praise of virtue. And virtue they say is implanted in the soul and makes it happy and kingly, yes, by Zeus, and statesmanlike and gifted with true generalship, and generous and truly wealthy, not because it possesses the Colophonian treasures of gold,
"Nor all that the stone threshold of the Far-Darter contained within,"
"in the old days, in times of peace," when the fortunes of Greece had not yet fallen; nay nor costly clothing and precious stones from India and many tens of thousands of acres of land, but that which is superior to all these things together and more pleasing to the gods; which can keep us safe even in shipwreck, in the market-place, in the crowd, in the house, in the desert, in the midst of robbers, and from the violence of tyrants.
For there is nothing at all superior to it, nothing that can constrain and control it, or take it from him who has once possessed it. Indeed it seems to me that this possession bears the same relation to the soul as its light to the sun. For often men have stolen the votive offerings of the Sun and destroyed his temples and gone their way, and some have been punished, and others let alone as not worthy of the punishment that leads to amendment. But his light no one ever takes from the sun, not even the moon when in their conjunctions she oversteps his disc, or when she takes his rays to herself, and often, as the saying is, turns midday into night. Nor is he deprived of his light when he illumines the moon in her station opposite to himself and shares with her his own nature, nor when he fills with light and day this great and wonderful universe. Just so no good man who imparts his goodness to another was ever thought to have less virtue by as much as he had bestowed. So divine and excellent is that possession, and most true is the saying of the Athenian stranger, whoever that inspired man may have been: "All the gold beneath the earth and above ground is too little to give in exchange for virtue." Let us therefore now boldly call its possessor wealthy, yes and I should say well-born also, and the only king among them all, if anyone agree to this. For as noble birth is better than a lowly pedigree, so virtue is better than a character not in all respects admirable. And let no one say that this statement is contentious and too strong, judging by the ordinary use of words. For the multitude are wont to say that the sons of those who have long been rich are well-born. And yet is it not extraordinary that a cook or cobbler, yes, by Zeus, or some potter who has got money together by his craft, or by some other means, is not considered well-born nor is given that title by the many, whereas if this man's son inherit his estate and hand it on to his sons, they begin to give themselves airs and compete on the score of noble birth with the Pelopids and the Heraclids? Nay, even a man who is born of noble ancestors, but himself sinks down in the opposite scale of life, could not justly claim kinship with those ancestors, seeing that no one could be enrolled among the Pelopids who had not on his shoulder the birth-mark of that family. And in Boeotia it was said that there was the impression of a spear on the Sown-men from the clod of earth that bore and reared them, and that hence the race long preserved that distinguishing mark. And can we suppose that on men's souls no mark of that sort is engraved, which shall tell us accurately who their fathers were and vindicate their birth as legitimate? They say that the Celts also have a river which is an incorruptible judge of offspring, and neither can the mothers persuade that river by their laments to hide and conceal their fault for. them, nor the fathers who are afraid for their wives and sons in this trial, but it is an arbiter that never swerves or gives a false verdict. But we are corrupted by riches, by physical strength in its prime, by powerful ancestors, an influence from without that overshadows and does not permit us to see clearly or discern the soul; for we are unlike all other living things in this, that by the soul and by nothing else, we should with reason make our decision about noble birth. And it seems to me that the ancients, employing a wondrous sagacity of nature, since their wisdom was not like ours a thing acquired, but they were philosophers by nature, not manufactured, perceived the truth of this, and so they called Heracles the son of Zeus, and Leda's two sons also, and Minos the law-giver, and Rhadamanthus of Cnossus they deemed worthy of the same distinction. And many others they proclaimed to be the children of other gods, because they so surpassed their mortal parents. For they looked at the soul alone and their actual deeds, and not at wealth piled high and hoary with age, nor at the power that had come down to them from some grandfather or great-grandfather. And yet some of them were the sons of fathers not wholly inglorious. But because of the superabundance in them of that virtue which men honoured and cherished., they were held to be the sons of the gods themselves. This is clear from the following fact. In the case of certain others, though they did not know those who were by nature their sires, they ascribed that title to a divinity, to recompense the virtue of those men. And we ought not to say that they were deceived, and that in ignorance they told lies about the gods. For even if in the case of other gods or deities it was natural that they should be so deceived, when they clothed them in human forms and human shapes, though those deities possess a nature not to be perceived or attained by the senses, but barely recognisable by means of pure intelligence, by reason of their kinship with it; nevertheless in the case of the visible gods it is not probable that they were deceived, for instance, when they entitled Aeetes "son of Helios" and another "son of the Dawn," and so on with others. But, as I said, we must in these cases believe them, and make our enquiry about noble birth accordingly. And when a man has virtuous parents and himself resembles them, we may with confidence call him nobly born. But when, though his parents lack virtue, he himself can claim to possess it, we must suppose that the father who begat him is Zeus, and we must not pay less respect to him than to those who are the sons of virtuous fathers and emulate their parents. But when a bad man comes of good parents, we ought to enrol him among the bastards, while as for those who come of a bad stock and resemble their parents, never must we call them well-born, not even though their wealth amounts to ten thousand talents, not though they reckon among their ancestors twenty rulers, or, by Zeus, twenty tyrants, not though they can prove that the victories they won at Olympia or Pytho or in the encounters of war — which are in every way more brilliant than victories in the games — were more than the first Caesar's, or can point to excavations in Assyria or to the walls of Babylon and the Egyptian pyramids besides, and to all else that is a proof of wealth and great possessions and luxury and a soul that is inflamed by ambition and, being at a loss how to use money, lavishes on things of that sort all those abundant supplies of wealth. For you are well aware that it is not wealth, either ancestral or newly acquired and pouring in from some source or other, that makes a king, nor his purple cloak nor his tiara and sceptre and diadem and ancestral throne, nay nor numerous hoplites and ten thousand cavalry; not though all men should gather together and acknowledge him for their king, because virtue they cannot bestow on him, but only power, ill-omened indeed for him that receives it, but still more for those that bestow it. For once he has received such power, a man of that sort is altogether raised aloft in the clouds, and in nowise differs from the legend of Phaethon and his fate. And there is no need of other instances to make us believe this saying, for the whole of life is full of such disasters and tales about them. And if it seems surprising to you that the title of king, so honourable, so favoured by the gods, cannot justly be claimed by men who, though they rule over a vast territory and nations without number, nevertheless settle questions that arise by an autocratic decision, without intelligence or wisdom or the virtues that go with wisdom, believe me they are not even free men; I do not mean if they merely possess what they have with none to hinder them and have their fill of power, but even though they conquer all who make war against them, and, when they lead an invading army, appear invincible and irresistible. And if any of you doubt this statement, I have no lack of notable witnesses, Greek and barbarian, who fought and won many mighty battles, and became the masters of whole nations and compelled them to pay tribute, and yet were themselves slaves in a still more shameful degree of pleasure, money and wantonness, insolence and injustice. And no man of sense would call them even powerful, not though greatness should shine upon and illumine all that they achieved. For he alone is strong whose virtue aids him to be brave and magnanimous. But he who is the slave of pleasure and cannot control his temper and appetites of all sorts, but is compelled to succumb to trivial things, is neither brave himself nor strong with a man's strength, though we may perhaps allow him to exult like a bull or lion or leopard in his brute 'force, if indeed he do not lose even this and, like a drone, merely superintend the labours of others, himself a "feeble warrior," and cowardly and dissolute. And if that be his character, he is lacking not only in true riches, but in that wealth also which men so highly honour and reverence and desire, on which hang the souls of men of all sorts, so that they undergo countless toils and labours for the sake of daily gain, and endure to sail the sea and to trade and rob and grasp at tyrannies. For they live ever acquiring but ever in want, though I do not say of necessary food and drink and clothes; for the limit of this sort of property has been clearly denned by nature, and none can be deprived of it, neither birds nor fish nor wild beasts, much less prudent men. But those who are tortured by the desire and fatal passion for money must suffer a lifelong hunger, and depart from life more miserably than those who lack daily food. For these, once they have filled their bellies, enjoy perfect peace and respite from their torment, but for those others no day is sweet that does not bring them gain, nor does night with her gift of sleep that relaxes the limbs and frees men from care bring for them any remission of their raging madness, but distracts and agitates their souls as they reckon and count up their money. And not even the wealth of Tantalus and Midas, should they possess it, frees those men from their desire and their hard toil therewith, nay nor to gain "the most great and grievous tyranny of heaven," should they become possessed of this also. For have you not heard that Darius, the ruler of Persia, a man not wholly base, but insatiably and shamefully covetous of money, dug up in his greed even the tombs of the dead and exacted the most costly tribute? And hence he acquired the title that is famous among all mankind. For the notables of Persia called him by the name that the Athenians gave to Sarambos.
But it seems that my argument, as though it had reached some steep descent, is glutting itself with unsparing abuse, and is chastising the manners of these men beyond what is fitting, so that I must not allow it to travel further. But now I must demand from it an account, as far as is possible, of the man who is good and kingly and great-souled. In the first place, then, he is devout and does not neglect the worship of the gods, and secondly he is pious and ministers to his parents, both when they are alive and after their death, and he is friendly to his brothers, and reverences the gods who protect the family, while to suppliants and strangers he is mild and gentle; and he is anxious to gratify good citizens, and governs the masses with justice and for their benefit. And wealth he loves, but not that which fs heavy with gold and silver, but that which is full of the true good-will of his friends, and service without flattery. Though by nature he is brave and gallant, he takes no pleasure in war, and detests civil discord, though when men do attack him, whether from some chance, or by reason of their own wickedness, he resists them bravely and defends himself with energy, and carries through his enterprises to the end, not desisting till he has destroyed the power of the foe and made it subject to himself. But after he has conquered by force of arms, he makes his sword cease from slaughter, because he thinks that for one who is no longer defending himself to go on killing and laying waste is to incur pollution. And being by nature fond of work, and great of soul, he shares in the labours of all; and claims the lion's share of those labours, then divides with the others the rewards for the risks which he has run, and is glad and rejoices, not because he has more gold and silver treasure than other men, and palaces adorned with costly furniture, but because he is able to do good to many, and to bestow on all men whatever they may chance to lack. This is what he who is truly a king claims for himself. And since he loves both the city and the soldiers, he cares for the citizens as a shepherd for his flock, planning how their young may flourish and thrive, eating their full of abundant and undisturbed pasture; and his soldiers he oversees and keeps together, training them in courage, strength and mercy, like well-bred dogs, noble guardians of the flock, regarding them both as the partners of his exploits and the protectors of the masses, and not as spoilers and pillagers of the flock, like wolves and mongrel dogs which, forgetting their own nature and nuture, turn out to be marauders instead of preservers and defenders. Yet on the other hand, he will not suffer them to be sluggish, slothful and unwarlike, lest the guardians should themselves need others to watch them, nor disobedient to their officers, because he knows that obedience above all else, and sometimes alone, is the saving discipline in war. And he will train them to be hardy and not afraid of any labour, and never indolent, for he knows that there is not much use in a guardian who shirks his task and cannot hold out or endure fatigue. And not only by exhorting, or by his readiness to praise the deserving or by rewarding and punishing severely and inexorably, does he win them over to this and coerce them; but far rather does he show that he is himself what he would have them be, since he refrains from all pleasure, and as for money desires it not at all, much or little, nor robs his subjects of it; and since he abhors indolence he allows little time for sleep, For in truth no one who is asleep is good for anything, nor if, when awake he resembles those who are asleep. And he will, I think, succeed in keeping them wonderfully obedient to himself and to their officers, since he himself will be seen to obey the wisest laws and to live in accordance with right precepts, and in short to be under the guidance of that part of the soul which is naturally kingly and worthy to take the lead, and not of the emotional or undisciplined part. For how could one better persuade men to endue and undergo fatigue, not only in a campaign and under arms, but also in all those exercises that have been invented in times of peace to give men practice for conflicts abroad, than by being clearly seen to be oneself strong as adamant? For in truth the most agreeable sight for a soldier, when he is fighting hard, is a prudent commander who takes an active part in the work in hand, himself zealous while exhorting his men, who is cheerful and calm in what seems to be a dangerous situation, but on occasion stem and severe whenever they are over confident. For in the matter of caution or boldness the subordinate naturally imitates his leader. And he must plan as well, no less than for what I have mentioned, that they may have abundant provisions and run short of none of the necessaries of life. For often the most loyal guardians and protectors of the flock are driven by want to become fierce towards the shepherds, and when they see them from afar they bark at them and do not even spare the sheep. Such then is the good king at the head of his legions, but to his city he is a saviour and protector, not only when he is warding off dangers from without or repelling barbarian neighbours or invading them; but also by putting down civil discord, vicious morals, luxury and profligacy, he will procure relief from the greatest evils. And by excluding insolence, lawlessness, injustice and greed for boundless wealth, he will not permit the feuds that arise from these causes and the dissensions that end in disaster to show even the first sign of growth, and if they do arise he will abolish them as quickly as possible and expel them from his city. And no one who transgresses and violates the law will escape his notice, no more than would an enemy in the act of scaling his defences. But though he is a good guardian of the laws, he will be still better at framing them, if ever occasion and chance call on him to do so. And no device can persuade one of his character to add to the statutes a false and spurious and bastard law, any more than he would introduce among his own sons a servile and vulgar strain. For he cares for justice and the right, and neither parents nor kinsfolk nor friends can persuade him to do them a favour and betray the cause of justice. For he looks upon his fatherland as the common hearth and mother of all, older and more reverend than his parents, and more precious than brothers or friends or comrades; and to defraud or do violence to her laws he regards as a greater impiety than sacrilegious robbery of the money that belongs to the gods. For law is the child of justice, the sacred and truly divine adjunct of the most mighty god, and never will the man who is wise make light of it or set it at naught. But since all that he does will have justice in view, he will be eager to honour the good, and the vicious he will, like a good physician, make every effort to cure. But there are two kinds of error, for in one type of sinner may dimly be discerned a hope of improvement, nor do they wholly reject a cure, while the vices of others are incurable. And for the latter the laws have contrived the penalty of death as a release from evil, and this not only for the benefit of the criminal, but quite as much in the interest of others. Accordingly there must needs be two kinds of trials. For when men are not incurable the king will hold it to be his duty to investigate and to cure. But with the others he will firmly refuse to interfere, and will never willingly have anything to do with a trial when death is the penalty that has been ordained by the laws for the guilty. However, in making laws for such offences, lie will do away with violence and harshness and cruelty of punishment, and will elect by lot, to judge them, a court of staid and sober men who throughout their lives have admitted the most rigid scrutiny of their own virtue, men who will not rashly, or led by some wholly irrational impulse, after deliberating for only a small part of the day, or it may be without even debating, cast the black voting-tablet in the case of a fellow-citizen. But in his own hand no sword should lie ready to slay a citizen, even though he has committed the blackest crimes, nor should a sting lurk in his soul, considering that, as we see, nature has made even the queen-bee free from a sting. However it is not to bees that we must look for our analogy, but in my opinion to the king of the gods himself, whose prophet and vice-regent the genuine ruler ought to be. For wherever good exists wholly untainted by its opposite, and for the benefit of mankind in common and the whole universe, of this good God was and is the only creator .? But evil he neither created nor ordered to be, but he banished it from heaven, and as it moves upon earth and has chosen for its abode our souls, that colony which was sent down from heaven, he has enjoined on his sons and descendants to judge and cleanse men from it. Now of these some are the friends and protectors of the human race, but others are inexorable judges who inflict on men harsh and terrible punishment for their misdeeds, both while they are alive and after they are set free from their bodies, and others again are as it were executioners and avengers who carry out the sentence, a different race of inferior and unintelligent demons. Now the king who is good and a favourite of the gods must imitate this example, and share his own excellence with many of his subjects, whom, because of his regard for them, he admits into this partnership; and he must entrust them with offices suited to the character and principles of each; military command for him who is brave and daring and high-spirited, but discreet as well, so that when he has need he may use his spirit and energy; and for him who is just and kind and humane and easily prone to pity, that office in the service of the state that relates to contracts, devising this means of protection for the weaker and more simple citizens and for the poor against the powerful, fraudulent and wicked and those who are so buoyed up by their riches that they try to violate and despise justice; but to the man who combines both these temperaments he must assign still greater honour and power in the state, and if he entrust to him the trials of offences for which are enacted just pains and penalties with a view to recompensing the injured, that would be a fair and wise measure. For a man of this sort, together with his colleagues, will give an impartial decision, and then hand over to the public official the carrying out of the verdict, nor will he through excess of anger or tender-heartedness fall short of what is essentially just. Now the ruler in our state will be somewhat like this, possessing only what is good in both those qualities and in every quality that I mentioned earlier avoiding a fatal excess. And though he will in person oversee and direct and govern the whole, he will see to it that those of his officials who are in charge of the most important works and management and who share his councils for the general good, are virtuous men and as far as possible like himself. And he will choose them, not carelessly or at random, nor will he consent to be a less rigorous judge than a lapidary or one who tests gold plate or purple dye. For such men are not satisfied with one method of testing, but since they know, I suppose, that the wickedness and devices of those who are trying to cheat them are various and manifold, they try to meet all these as far as possible, and they oppose to them the tests derived from their art. So too our ruler apprehends that evil changes its face and is apt to deceive, and that the cruellest thing that it does is that it often takes men in by putting on the garb of virtue, and hoodwinks those who are not keen sighted enough, or who in course of time grow weary of the length of the investigation, and therefore he will rightly be on his guard against any such deception. But when once he has chosen them, and has about him the worthiest men, he will entrust to them the choice of the minor officials.
Such is his policy with regard to the laws and magistrates. As for the common people, those who live in the towns he will not allow to be idle or impudent, but neither will he permit them to be without the necessaries of life. And the farming class who live in the country, ploughing and sowing to furnish food for their protectors and guardians, will receive in return payment in money, and the clothes that they need. But as for Assyrian palaces and costly and extravagant public services, they will have nothing to do with them, and will end their lives in the utmost peace as regards enemies at home and abroad, and will adore the cause of their good fortune as though he were a kindly deity, and praise God for him when they pray, not hypocritically or with the lips only, but invoking blessings on him from the bottom of their hearts. But the gods do not wait for their prayers, and unasked they give him celestial rewards, but they do not let him lack human blessings either; and if fate should compel him to fall into any misfortune, I mean one of those incurable calamities that people are always talking about, then the gods make him their follower and associate, and exalt his fame among all mankind. All this I have often heard from the wise, and in their account of it I have the firmest faith. And so I have repeated it to you, perhaps making a longer speech than the occasion called for, but too short in my opinion for the theme. And he to whom it has been given to hear such arguments and reflect on them, knows well that I speak the truth. But there is another reason for the length of my speech, less forcible, but I think more akin to the present argument. And perhaps you ought not to miss hearing this also.
In the first place, then, let me remind you briefly of what I said before, when I broke off my discourse for the sake of this digression. What I said was that, when serious-minded people listen to sincere panegyrics, they ought not to look to those things of which fortune often grants a share even to the wicked, but to the character of the man and his virtues, which belong only to those who are good and by nature estimable; and, taking up my tale at that point, I pursued the arguments that followed, guiding myself as it were by the rule and measure to which one ought to adjust the eulogies of good men and good kings. And when one of them harmonises exactly and without variation with this model, he is himself happy and truly fortunate, and happy are those who have a share in such a government as his. And he who comes near to being like him is better and more fortunate than those who fall further short of him. But those who fail altogether to resemble him, or who follow an opposite course, are ill-fated, senseless and wicked, and cause the greatest disasters to themselves and others.
And now if you are in any way of my opinion, it is time to proceed to those achievements that we have so admired. And lest any should think that my argument is running alone, like a horse in a race that has lost its competitor and for that reason wins and carries off the prizes, I will try to show in what way my encomium differs from that of clever rhetoricians. For they greatly admire the fact that a man is born of ancestors who had power or were kings, since they hold that the sons of the prosperous and fortunate are themselves blest. But the question that next arises they neither think of nor investigate, I mean how they employed their advantages throughout their lives. And yet, after all, this is the chief cause of that happiness, and of almost all external goods. Unless indeed someone objects to this statement that it is only by wise use of it that property becomes a good, and that it is harmful when the opposite use is made. So that it is not a great thing, as they think, to be descended from a king who was wealthy and "rich in gold," but it is truly great, while surpassing the virtue of one's ancestors, to behave to one's parents in a manner beyond reproach in all respects.
Do you wish to learn whether this is true of the Emperor? I will offer you trustworthy evidence, and I know well that you will not convict me of false witness. For I shall but remind you of what you know already. And perhaps you understand even now what I mean, but if it is not yet evident you very soon will, when you call to mind that the Emperor's father loved him more than the others, though he was by no means over-indulgent to his children, for it was character that he favoured rather than the ties of blood; but he was, I suppose, won over by the Emperor's dutiful service to him, and as he had nothing to reproach him with, he made his affection for him evident. And a proof of his feeling is, first, that he chose for Constantius that portion of the empire which he had formerly thought best suited to himself, and, secondly, that when he was at the point of death he passed over his eldest and youngest sons, though they were at leisure, and summoned Constantius, who was not at leisure, and entrusted him with the whole government. And when he had become master of the whole, he behaved to his brothers at once so justly and with such moderation, that, while they who had neither been summoned nor had come of themselves quarrelled and fought with one another, they showed no resentment against Constantius, nor ever reproached him. And when their feud reached its fatal issue, though he might have laid claim to a greater share of empire, he renounced it of his own free will, because he thought that many nations or few called for the exercise of the same virtues, and also, perhaps, that the more a man has to look after and care for the greater are the anxieties beset him. For he does not think that the imperial power is a means of procuring luxury, nor that, as certain men who have wealth and misapply it for drink and other pleasures set their hearts on lavish and ever-increasing revenues, this ought to be an emperor's policy, nor that he ought ever to embark on a war except only for the benefit of his subjects. And so he allowed his brother to have the lion's share, and thought that if he himself possessed the smaller share with honour, he had the advantage in what was most worth having. And that it was not rather from fear of his brother's resources that he preferred peace, you may consider clearly proved by the war that broke out later. For he had recourse to arms later on against his brother's forces, but it was to avenge him. And here again there are perhaps some who have admired him merely for having won the victory. But I admire far more the fact that it was with justice that he undertook the war, and that he carried it through with great courage and skill, and, when fortune gave him a favourable issue, used his victory with moderation and in imperial fashion, and showed himself entirely worthy to overcome.
Now do you wish that, as though I were in a law-court, I should summon before you by name witnesses of this also? But it is plain even to a child that no war ever yet arose that had so good an excuse, not even of the Greeks against Troy or of the Macedonians against the Persians, though these wars, at any rate, are thought to have been justified, since the latter was to exact vengeance in more recent times for very ancient offences, and that not on sons or grandsons, but on him who had robbed and deprived of their sovereignty the descendants of those very offenders. And Agamemnon set forth
"To avenge the strivings and groans of Helen,"
for it was because he desired to avenge one woman that he went to war with the Trojans. But the wrongs done to Constantius were still fresh, and he who was in power was not, like Darius or Priam, a man of royal birth who, it may be, laid claim to an empire that belonged to him by reason of his birth or his family, but a shameless and savage barbarian who not long before had been among the captives of war. But all that he did and how he governed is neither agreeable for me to tell nor would it be well-timed. And that the Emperor was justified in making war on him you have heard, and of his skill and courage what I said earlier is proof enough, but deeds are, I think, more convincing than words. But what happened after the victory, and how he no longer made use of the sword, not even against those who were under suspicion of serious crimes, or who had been familiar friends of the usurper, nay not even against anyone who, to curry favour with the latter, had stooped to win a tale-bearer's fee by slandering the Emperor, consider, in the name of Zeus the god of friendship, that not even these paid the penalty of their audacity, except when they were guilty of other crimes. And yet what a terrible thing is slander! How truly does it devour the heart and wound the soul as iron cannot wound the body! This it was that goaded Odysseus to defend himself by word and deed. At any rate it was for this reason that he quarrelled with his host when he was himself a wanderer and a guest, and though he knew that
"Foolish and of nothing worth is that man who provokes a violent quarrel with his host."
And so it was with Alexander, Philip's son, and Achilles, son of Thetis, and others who were not worthless or ignoble men. But only to Socrates, I think, and a few others who emulated him, men who were truly fortunate and happy, was it given to put off the last garment that man discards — the love of glory. For resentment of calumny is due to the passion for glory, and for this reason it is implanted most deeply in the noblest souls. For they resent it as their deadliest foe, and those who hurl at them slanderous language they hate more than men who attack them with the sword or plot their destruction; and they regard them as differing from themselves, not merely in their acquired habits, but in their essential nature, seeing that they love praise and honour, and the slanderer not only robs them of these, but also manufactures false accusations against them. They say that even Heracles and certain other heroes were swayed by these emotions. But for my part I do not believe this account of them, and as for the Emperor I have seen him repelling calumny with great self-restraint, which in my judgment is no slighter achievement than "to take Troy" or rout a powerful phalanx. And if anyone does not believe me, and thinks it no great achievement nor worth all these praises, let him observe himself when a misfortune of this sort happens to him, and then let him decide; and I am convinced that he will not think that I am talking with exceeding folly.
Now since this was and is the Emperor's behaviour after the war, he is naturally loved and "longed for by his friends," since he has admitted many of them to honour and power and freedom of speech, and has bestowed on them as well vast sums of money, and permits them to use their wealth as they please; but even to his enemies he is the same. The following may serve as a clear proof of this. Those members of the Senate who were of any account and surpassed the rest in reputation and wealth and wisdom, fled to the shelter of his right hand as though to a harbour, and, leaving behind their hearths and homes and children, preferred Paeonia to Rome, and to be with him rather than with their dearest. Again, a division of the choicest of the cavalry together with their standards, and bringing their general with them, chose to share danger with him rather than success with the usurper. And all this took place before the battle on the banks of the Drave, which the earlier part of my speech described to you. For after that they began to feel perfect confidence, though before that it looked as though the usurper's cause was getting the upper hand, when he gained some slight advantage in the affair of the Emperor's scouts, which indeed made the usurper beside himself with joy and greatly agitated those who were incapable of grasping or estimating generalship. But the Emperor was unperturbed and heroic, like a good pilot when a tempest has suddenly burst from the clouds, and next moment, the god shakes the depths and the shores. Then a terrible and dreadful panic seizes on those who are inexperienced, but the pilot begins to rejoice, and is glad, because he can now hope for a perfect and windless calm. For it is said that Poseidon, when he makes the earth quake, calms the waves. And just so fortune deceives the foolish and deludes them about more important things by allowing them some small advantage, but in the wise she inspires unshaken confidence about more serious affairs even when she disconcerts them in the case of those that are less serious. This was what happened to the Lacedaemonians at Pylae, but they did not despair nor fear the onset of the Mede because they had lost three hundred Spartans and their king at the entrance into Greece. This often happened to the Romans, but they achieved more important successes later on . Wherefore, since the Emperor knew this and counted on it, he in no way wavered in his purpose. But seeing that my argument has, of its own accord, once reached this point and is describing the affection that the Emperor inspires in the common people, the magistrates, and the garrisons who aid him to protect the empire and repulse its enemies, are you willing that I should relate to you a signal proof of this, which happened, one may say, yesterday or the day before? A certain man who had been given the command of the garrisons in Galatia — you probably know his name and character — left his son behind him as a hostage for his friendship and loyalty to the Emperor, though not at the Emperor's request. Then he proved to be more treacherous than "lions who have no faithful covenants with man," as the poet says, and plundered the cities of their wealth and distributed it among the invading barbarians, paying it down as a sort of ransom, though he was well able to take measures to win security by the sword rather than by money. But he tried to win them over to friendliness by means of money. And finally he took from the women's apartments a purple dress, and showed himself truly a tyrant and tragical indeed. Then the soldiers, resenting his treachery, would not tolerate the sight of him thus dressed up in women's garb, and they set on the miserable wretch and tore him limb from limb, nor would they endure either that the crescent moon should rule over them. Now it was the affection of his garrison that gave the Emperor this guerdon, a wonderful recompense for his just and blameless rule. But you are eager to hear how he behaved after this. This too, however, you cannot fail to know, that he chose neither to be harsh towards that man's son nor suspicious and formidable to his friends, but in the highest possible degree he was merciful and kindly to them all, though many desired to bring false accusations and had raised their stings to strike the innocent. But though many were perhaps really involved in the crimes of which they were suspected, he was merciful to all alike, provided they had not been convicted or proved to be partners in the usurper's monstrous and abominable schemes. And shall we not declare that the forbearance shown by him towards the son of one who had broken the laws and trampled on loyalty and sworn covenants was truly royal and godlike; or shall we rather approve Agamemnon, who vented his rage and cruelty not only on those Trojans who had accompanied Paris and had outraged the hearth of Menelaus, but even on those who were yet unborn, and whose mothers even were perhaps not yet born when Paris plotted the rape? Anyone therefore who thinks that cruelty and harshness and inhumanity ill become a king, and that mercy and goodness and human kindness befit one who takes no pleasure in acts of vengeance, but grieves at the misfortunes of his subjects, however they may arise, whether from their own wickedness and ignorance or aimed at them from without by fate, will, it is evident, award to the Emperor the palm of victory. For bear in mind that he was kinder and more just to the boy than his own father, and to the usurper's friends he was more loyal than he who acknowledged the tie of friendship. For the usurper forsook them all, but the Emperor saved them all. And if the usurper, knowing all this about the Emperor's character, since he had for a long time been able to observe it, was entirely confident that his son was safely at anchor and his friends securely also, then he did indeed understand him aright, but he was many times over criminal and base and accursed for desiring to be at enmity with such a man, and for hating one whom he knew to be so excellent and so surpassingly mild, and for plotting against him and trying to rob him of what it was a shame to take from him. But if, on the other hand, his son's safety was something that he had never hoped for, and the safety of his friends and kinsfolk he had thought difficult or impossible, and he nevertheless chose to be disloyal, this is yet another proof that he was wicked and infatuated and fiercer than a wild beast, and that the Emperor was gentle and mild and magnanimous, since he took pity on the youth of the helpless child, and was merciful to those who were not proved guilty, and ignored and despised the crimes of the usurper. For he who grants what not one of his enemies expects, because the guilt that is on their conscience is so great, beyond a doubt carries off the prize for virtue; for while he tempers justice with what is nobler and more merciful, in self-restraint he surpasses those who are merely moderate in their vengeance; and in courage he excels because he thinks no enemy worthy of notice; and his wisdom he displays by suppressing enmities and by not handing them down to his sons and descendants on the pretext of strict justice, or of wishing, and very reasonably too, to blot out the seed of the wicked like the seed of a pine-tree. For this is the way of those trees, and in consequence an ancient tale gave rise to this simile. But the good Emperor, closely imitating God, knows that even from rocks swarms of bees fly forth, and that sweet fruits grow even from the bitterest wood, pleasant figs, for instance, and from thorns the pomegranate, and there are other instances where things are produced entirely unlike the parents that begat them and brought them forth. Therefore he thinks that we ought not to destroy these before they have reached maturity, but to wait for time to pass, and to trust them to cast off the folly and madness of their fathers and become good and temperate, but that, if they should turn out to emulate their fathers' practices, they will in good time suffer punishment, but they will not have been uselessly sacrificed because of the deeds and misfortunes of others.
Now do you think I have made my sincere panegyric sufficiently thorough and complete? Or are you anxious to hear also about the Emperor's powers of endurance and his august bearing, and that not only is he unconquerable by the enemy, but has never yet succumbed to any disgraceful appetite, and never coveted a fine house or a costly palace or a necklace of emeralds, and then robbed their owners of them either by violence or persuasion; and that he has never coveted any free-born woman or handmaid or pursued any dishonourable passion; and that he does not even desire an immoderate surfeit of the good things that the seasons produce, or care for ice in summer, or change his residence with the time of year; but is ever at hand to aid those portions of the empire that are in trouble, enduring both frost and extreme heat? But if you should bid me bring before you plain proofs of this, I shall merely say what is familiar to all, and I shall not lack evidence, but the account would be long, a monstrous speech, nor indeed have I leisure to cultivate the Muses to such an extent, for it is now time for me to turn to my work.
|3 Panegyric in honour of Eusebia
What, pray, ought we to think of those who owe things of price and beyond price — I do not mean gold or silver, but simply any benefit one may happen to receive from one's neighbour — suppose that they neither try nor intend to repay that kindness, but are indolent and do not trouble themselves to do what they can and try to discharge the debt? Is it not evident that we must think them mean and base? Far more I think than any other crime do we hate ingratitude, and we blame those persons who have received benefits and are ungrateful to their benefactors. And the ungrateful man is not only he who repays a kindness with evil deeds or words, but also he who is silent and conceals a kindness and tries to consign it to oblivion and abolish gratitude. Now of such brutal and inhuman baseness as the repayment with evil the instances are few and easily reckoned; but there are many who try to conceal the appearance of having received benefits, though with what purpose I know not. They assert, however, that it is because they are trying to avoid a reputation for a sort of servility and for base flattery. But though I know well enough that what they say is all insincere, nevertheless I let that pass, and suppose we assume that they, as they think, do escape an undeserved reputation for flattery, still they at the same time appear to be guilty of many weaknesses and defects of character that are in the highest degree base and illiberal. For either they are too dense to perceive what no one should fail to perceive, or they are not dense but forgetful of what they ought to remember for all time. Or again, they do remember, and yet shirk their duty for some reason or other, being cowards and grudging by nature, and their hand is against every man without exception, seeing that not even to their benefactors do they consent to be gentle and amiable; and then if there be any opening to slander and bite, they look angry and fierce like wild beasts. Genuine praise they somehow or other avoid giving, as though it were a costly extravagance, and they, censure the applause given to noble actions, when the only thing that they need enquire into is whether the eulogists respect truth and rate her higher than the reputation of showing their gratitude by eulogy. For this at any rate they cannot assert, that praise is a useless thing, either to those who receive it or to others besides, who, though they have been assigned the same rank in life as the objects of their praise, have fallen short of their merit in what they have accomplished. To the former it is not only agreeable to hear, but makes them zealous to aim at a still higher level of conduct, while the latter it stimulates both by persuasion and compulsion to imitate that noble conduct, because they see that none of those who have anticipated them have been deprived of that which alone it is honourable to give and receive publicly. For to give money openly, and to look anxiously round that as many as possible may know of the gift, is characteristic of a vulgar person. Nay no one would even stretch out his hands to receive it in the sight of all men, unless he had first cast off all propriety of manner and sense of shame. Arcesilaus indeed, when offering a gift, used to try to hide his identity even from the recipient. But in his case the manner of the deed always made known the doer. For a eulogy, however, one is ambitious to obtain as many hearers as possible, and even a small audience is, I think, not to be despised. Socrates, for instance, spoke in praise of many, as did Plato also and Aristotle. Xenophon, too, eulogised King Agesilaus and Cyrus the Persian, not only the elder Cyrus, but him whom he accompanied on his campaign against the Great King, nor did he hide away his eulogies, but put them into his history. Now I should think it strange indeed if we shall be eager to applaud men of high character, and not think fit to give our tribute of praise to a noble woman, believing as we do that excellence is the attribute of women no less than of men. Or shall we who think that such a one ought to be modest and wise and competent to assign to every man his due, and brave in danger, high-minded and generous, and that in a word all such qualities as these should be hers, — shall we, I say, then rob her of the encomium due to her good deeds, from any fear of the charge of appearing to flatter? But Homer was not ashamed to praise Penelope and the consort of Alcinous and other women of exceptional goodness, or even those whose claim to virtue was slight. Nay nor did Penelope fail to obtain her share of praise for this very thing. But besides these reasons for praise, shall we consent to accept kind treatment from a woman no less than from a man, and to obtain some boon whether small or great, and then hesitate to pay the thanks due therefor? But perhaps people will say that the very act of making a request to a woman is despicable and unworthy of an honourable and high-spirited man, and that even the wise Odysseus was spiritless and cowardly because he was a suppliant to the king's daughter as she played with her maiden companions by the banks of the river. Perhaps they will not spare even Athene the daughter of Zeus, of whom Homer says that she put on the likeness of a fair and noble maiden and guided him along the road that led to the palace, and was his adviser and instructed him what he must do and say when he had entered within; and that, like some orator perfect in the art of rhetoric, she sang an encomium of the queen, and for a prelude told the tale of her lineage from of old. Homer's verses about this are as follows:
"The queen thou shalt find first in the halls. Arete is the name she is called by, and of the same parents is she as those who begat king Alcinous."
Then he goes back and begins with Poseidon and tells of the origin of that family and all that they did and suffered, and how when her father perished, still young and newly-wed, her uncle married her, and honoured her
"As no other woman in the world is honoured,"
and he tells of all the honour she receives
"From her dear children and from Alcinous himself,"
and from the council of elders also, I think, and from the people who look upon her as a goddess as she goes through the city; and on all his praises he sets this crown, one that man and woman alike may well envy, when he says
"For indeed she too has no lack of excellent understanding,"
and that she knows well how to judge between men, and, for those citizens to whom she is kindly disposed, how to reconcile with justice the grievances that arise among them. Now if, when you entreat her, the goddess says to him, you find her well disposed,
"Then is there hope that you will see your friends and come to your high-roofed house."
And he was persuaded by her counsel. Shall I then need yet greater instances and clearer proofs, so that I may escape the suspicion of seeming to natter? Shall I not forthwith imitate that wise and inspired poet and go on to praise the noble Eusebia, eager as I am to compose an encomium worthy of her, though I shall be thankful if, even in a moderate degree, I succeed in describing accomplishments so many and so admirable? And I shall be thankful if I succeed in describing also those noble qualities of hers, her temperance, justice, mildness and goodness, or her affection for her husband, or her generosity about money, or the honour that she pays to her own people and her kinsfolk. It is proper for me, I think, to follow in the track as it were of what I have already said, and, as I pursue my panegyric, so arrange it as to give the same order as Athene, making mention, as is natural, of her native land, her ancestors, how she married and whom, and all the rest in the same fashion as Homer.
Now though I have much that is highly honourable to say about her native land, I think it well to omit part, because of its antiquity. For it seems to be not far removed from myth. For instance, the sort of story that is told about the Muses, that they actually came from Pieria and that it was not from Helicon that they came to Olympus, when summoned to their father's side. This then, and all else of the same sort, since it is better suited to a fable than to my narrative, must be omitted. But perhaps it is not out of the way nor alien from my present theme to tell some of the facts that are not familiar to all. They say that Macedonia was colonised by the descendants of Heracles, the sons of Temenus, who had been awarded Argos as their portion, then quarrelled, and to make an end of their strife and jealousy led out a colony. Then they seized Macedonia, and leaving a prosperous family behind them, they succeeded to the throne, king after king, as though the privilege were an inheritance. Now to praise all these would be neither truthful, nor in my opinion easy. But though many of them were brave men and left behind them very glorious monuments of the Hellenic character, Philip and his son surpassed in valour all who of old ruled over Macedonia and Thrace, yes and I should say all who governed the Lydians as well, or the Medes and Persians and Assyrians, except only the son of Cambyses, who transferred the sovereignty from the Medes to the Persians. For Philip was the first to try to increase the power of the Macedonians, and when he had subdued the greater part of Europe, he made the sea his frontier limit on the east and south, and on the north I think the Danube, and on the west the people of Oricus. And after him, his son, who was bred up at the feet of the wise Stagyrite, so far excelled all the rest in greatness of soul, and besides, surpassed his own father in generalship and courage and the other virtues, that he thought that life for him was not worth living unless he could subdue all men and all nations. And so he traversed the whole of Asia, conquering as he went, and he was the first of men to adore the rising sun; but as he was setting out for Europe in order to gain control of the remainder and so become master of the whole earth and sea, he paid the debt of nature in Babylon. Then Macedonians became the rulers of all the cities and nations that they had acquired under his leadership. And now is it still necessary to show by stronger proofs that Macedonia was famous and great of old? And the most important place in Macedonia is that city which they restored, after, I think, the fall of the Thessalians, and which is called after their victory over them. But concerning all this I need not speak at greater length.
And of her noble birth why should I take any further trouble to seek for clearer or more manifest proof than this? I mean that she is the daughter of a man who was considered worthy to hold the office that gives its name to the year, an office that in the past was powerful and actually called royal, but lost that title because of those who abused their power. But now that in these days its power has waned, since the government has changed to a monarchy, the bare honour, though robbed of all the rest, is held to counterbalance all power, and for private citizens is set up as a sort of prize and a reward of virtue, or loyalty, or of some favour done to the ruler of the empire, or for some brilliant exploit, while for the emperors, it is added to the advantages they already possess as the crowning glory and adornment. For all the other titles and functions that still retain some feeble and shadowy resemblance to the ancient constitution they either altogether despised and rejected, because of their absolute power, or they attached them to themselves and enjoy the titles for life. But this office alone, I think, they from the first did not despise, and it still gratifies them when they obtain it for the year. Indeed there is no private citizen or emperor, nor has ever been, who did not think it an enviable distinction to be entitled consul. And if there be anyone who thinks that, because he I spoke of was the first of his line to win that title and to lay the foundations of distinction for his family, he is therefore inferior to the others, he fails to understand that he is deceived exceedingly. For it is, in my opinion, altogether nobler and more honourable to lay the foundations of such great distinction for one's descendants than to receive it from one's ancestors. For indeed it is a nobler thing to be the founder of a mighty city than a mere citizen and to receive any good thing is altogether less dignified than to give. Indeed it is evident that sons receive from their fathers, and citizens from their cities, a start, as it were, on the path of glory. But he who by his own effort pays back to his ancestors and his native land that honour on a higher scale, and makes his country show more brilliant and more distinguished, and his ancestors more illustrious, clearly yields the prize to no man on the score of native nobility. Nor is there any man who can claim to be superior to him I speak of. For the good must needs be born of good parents. But when the son of illustrious parents himself becomes more illustrious, and fortune blows the same way as his merit, he causes no one to feel doubt, if he lays claim, as is reasonable, to be of native nobility.
Now Eusebia, the subject of my speech, was the daughter of a consul, and is the consort of an Emperor who is brave, temperate, wise, just, virtuous, mild and high-souled, who, when he acquired the throne that had belonged to his ancestors, and had won it back from him who had usurped it by violence, and desired to wed that he might beget sons to inherit his honour and power, deemed this lady worthy of his alliance, when he had already become master of almost the whole world. And indeed why should one search for stronger evidence than this? Evidence, I mean, not only of her native nobility, but of all those combined gifts which she who is united to so great an Emperor ought to bring with her from her home as a dowry, wit and wisdom, a body in the flower of youth, and beauty so conspicuous as to throw into the shade all other maidens beside, even as, I believe, the radiant stars about the moon at the full are outshone and hide their shape. For no single one of these endowments is thought to suffice for an alliance with an Emperor, but all together, as though some god were fashioning for a virtuous Emperor a fair and modest bride, were united in her single person and, attracting not his eyes alone, brought from afar that bridegroom blest of heaven. For beauty alone, if it lacks the support of birth and the other advantages I have mentioned, is not enough to induce even a licentious man, a mere citizen, tc kindle the marriage torch, though both combineo have brought about many a match, but when they occur without sweetness and charm of character they are seen to be far from desirable.
I have good reason to say that the Emperor in his prudence understood this clearly, and that it was only after long deliberation that he chose this marriage, partly making enquiries about all that was needful to learn about her by hearsay, but judging also from her mother of the daughter's noble disposition. Of that mother why should I take time to say more, as though I had not to recite a special encomium on her who is the theme of my speech? But so much perhaps I may say briefly and you may hear without weariness, that her family is entirely Greek, yes Greek of the purest stock, and her native city was the metropolis of Macedonia, and she was more self-controlled than Evadne the wife of Capaneus, and the famous Laodameia of Thessaly. For these two, when they had lost their husbands, who were young, handsome and still newly-wed, whether by the constraint of some envious powers, or because the threads of the fates were so woven, threw away their lives for love. But the mother of the Empress, when his fate had come upon her wedded lord, devoted herself to her children, and won a great reputation for prudence, so great indeed, that whereas Penelope, while her husband was still on his travels and wanderings, was beset by those young suitors who came to woo her from Ithaca and Samos and Dulichium, that lady no man however fair and tall or powerful and wealthy ever ventured to approach with any such proposals. And her daughter the Emperor deemed worthy to live by his side, and after setting up the trophies of his victories, he celebrated the marriage with great splendour, feasting nations and cities and peoples.
But should any haply desire to hear of such things as how the bride was bidden to come from Macedonia with her mother, and what was the manner of the cavalcade, of the chariots and horses and carriages of all sorts, decorated with gold and silver and copper of the finest workmanship, let me tell him that it is extremely childish of him to wish to hear such things. It is like the case of some player on the cithara who is an accomplished artist — let us say if you please Terpander or he of Methymna of whom the story goes that he enjoyed a divine escort and found that the dolphin cared more for music than did his fellow-voyagers, and was thus conveyed safely to the Laconian promontory. For though he did indeed charm those miserable sailors by his skilful performance, yet they despised his art and paid no heed to his music. Now, as I was going to say, if some one were to choose the best of those two musicians, and were to clothe him in the raiment suited to his art, and were then to bring him into a theatre full of men, women and children of all sorts, varying in temperament and age and habits besides, do you not suppose that the children and those of the men and women who had childish tastes would gaze at his dress and his lyre, and be marvellously smitten with his appearance, while the more ignorant of the men, and the whole crowd of women, except a very few, would judge his playing simply by the criterion of pleasure or the reverse; whereas a musical man who understood the rules of the art would not endure that the melodies should be wrongly mixed for the sake of giving pleasure, but would resent it if the player did not preserve the modes of the music and did not use the harmonies properly, and conformably to the laws of genuine and inspired music? But if he saw that he was faithful to the principles of his art and produced in the audience a pleasure that was not spurious but pure and uncontaminated, he would go home praising the musician, and filled with admiration because his performance in the theatre was artistic and did the Muses no wrong. But such a man thinks that anyone who praises the purple raiment and the lyre is foolish and out of his mind, while, if he goes on to give full details about such outward things, adorning them with an agreeable style and smoothing away all that is worthless and vulgar in the tale, then the critic thinks him more ridiculous than those who try to carve cherry-stones, as I believe is related of Myrmecides who thus sought to rival the art of Pheidias. And so neither will I, if I can help it, lay myself open to this charge by reciting the long list of costly robes and gifts of all kinds and necklaces and garlands that were sent by the Emperor, nor how the folk in each place came to meet her with welcome and rejoicing, nor all the glorious and auspicious incidents that occurred on that journey, and were reported. But when she entered the palace and was honoured with her imperial title, what was the first thing she did and then the second and the third and the many actions that followed? For however much I might wish to tell of them and to compose lengthy volumes about them, I think that, for the majority, those of her deeds will be sufficient that more conspicuously witnessed to her wisdom and clemency and modesty and benevolence and goodness and generosity and her other virtues, than does now the present account of her, which tries to enlighten and instruct those who have long known it all from personal experience. For it would not be at all proper, merely because the task has proved to be difficult or rather impossible, to keep silence about the whole, but one should rather try, as far as one can, to tell about those deeds, and to bring forward as a proof of her wisdom and of all her other virtues the fact that she made her husband regard her as it is fitting that he should regard a beautiful and noble wife.
Therefore, though I think that many of the other qualities of Penelope are worthy of praise, this I admire beyond all, that she so entirely persuaded her husband to love and cherish her, that he despised, we are told, unions with goddesses, and equally rejected an alliance with the Phaeacians. And yet they were all in love with him, Calypso, Circe, Nausicaa. And they had very beautiful palaces and gardens and parks withal, planted with wide-spreading and shady trees, and meadows gay with flowers, in which soft grass grew deep: "And four fountains in a row flowed with shining water." And a lusty wild vine bloomed about her dwelling, with bunches of excellent grapes, laden with clusters. And at the Phaeacian court there were the same things, except that they were more costly, seeing that, as I suppose, they were made by art, and hence had less charm and seemed less lovely than those that were of natural growth. Now to ail that luxury and wealth, and moreover to the peace and quiet that surrounded those islands, who do you think would not have succumbed, especially one who had endured so great toils and dangers and expected that he would have to suffer still more terrible hardships, partly by sea and partly in his own house, since he had to fight all alone against a hundred youths in their prime, a thing which had never happened to him even in the land of Troy? Now if someone in jest were to question Odysseus somewhat in this fashion: "Why, O most wise orator or general, or whatever one must call you, did you endure so many toils, when you might have been prosperous and happy and perhaps even immortal, if one may at all believe the promises of Calypso? But you chose the worse instead of the better, and imposed on yourself all those hardships and refused to remain even in Scheria, though you might surely have rested there from your wandering and been delivered from your perils; but behold you resolved to carry on the war in your own house and to perform feats of valour and to accomplish a second journey, not less toilsome, as seemed likely, nor easier than the first!" What answer then do you think he would give to this? Would he not answer that he longed always to be with Penelope, and that those contests and campaigns he purposed to take back to her as a pleasant tale to tell? For this reason, then, he makes his mother exhort him to remember everything, all the sights he saw and all the things he heard, and then she says: "So that in the days to come thou mayst tell it to thy wife." And indeed he forgot nothing, and no sooner had he come home and vanquished, as was just, the youths who caroused in the palace, than he related all to her without pause, all that he had achieved and endured, and all else that, obeying the oracles, he purposed still to accomplish. And from her he kept nothing secret, but chose that she should be the partner of his counsels and should help him to plan and contrive what he must do. And do you think this a trifling tribute to Penelope, or is there not now found to be yet another woman whose virtue surpasses hers, and who, as the consort of a brave, magnanimous and prudent Emperor, has won as great affection from her husband, since she has mingled with the tenderness that is inspired by love that other which good and noble souls derive from their own virtue, whence it flows like a sacred fount? For there are two jars, so to speak, of these two kinds of human affection, and Eusebia drew in equal measure from both, and so has come to be the partner of her husband's counsels, and though the Emperor is by nature merciful, good and wise, she encourages him to follow yet more becomingly his natural bent, and ever turns justice to mercy. So that no one could ever cite a case in which this Empress, whether with justice, as might happen, or unjustly, has ever been the cause of punishment or chastisement either great or small. Now we are told that at Athens, in the days when they employed their ancestral customs and lived in obedience to their own laws, as the inhabitants of a great and humane city, whenever the votes of the. jurymen were cast evenly for defendant and plaintiff, the vote of Athene was awarded to him who would have incurred the penalty, and thus both were acquitted of guilt, he who had brought the accusation, of the reputation of sycophant, and the defendant, naturally, of the guilt of the crime. Now this humane and gracious custom is kept up in the suits which the Emperor judges, but Eusebia's mercy goes further. For whenever the defendant comes near to obtaining an equal number of votes, she persuades the Emperor, adding her request and entreaty on his behalf, to acquit the man entirely of the charge. And of free will with willing heart he grants the boon, and does not give it as Homer says Zeus, constrained by his wife, agreed as to what he should concede to her "of free will but with soul unwilling." And perhaps it is not strange that he should concede this pardon reluctantly and under protest in the case of the violent and depraved. But not even when men richly deserve to suffer and be punished ought they to be utterly ruined. Now since the Empress recognises this, she has never bidden him inflict any injury of any kind, or any punishment or chastisement even on a single household of the citizens, much less on a whole kingdom or city. And I might add, with the utmost confidence that I am speaking the absolute truth, that in the case of no man or woman is it possible to charge her with any misfortune that has happened, but all the benefits that she confers and has conferred, and on whom, I would gladly recount in as many cases as possible, and report them one by one, how for instance this man, thanks to her, enjoys his ancestral estate, and that man has been saved from punishment, though he was guilty in the eyes of the law, how a third escaped a malicious prosecution, though he came within an ace of the danger, how countless persons have received honour and office at her hands. And on this subject there is no one of them all who will assert that I speak falsely, even though I should not give a list of those persons by name. But this I hesitate to do, lest I should seem to some to be reproaching them with their sufferings, and to be composing not so much an encomium of her good deeds as a catalogue of the misfortunes of others. And yet, not to cite any of these acts of hers, and to bring no proof of them before the public seems perhaps to imply that they are lacking, and brings discredit on my encomium. Accordingly, to deprecate that charge, I shall relate so much as it is not invidious for me to speak or for her to hear.
When she had, in the beginning, secured her husband's good-will for her actions like a "frontage shining from afar," to use the words of the great poet Pindar, she forthwith showered honours on all her family and kinsfolk, appointing to more important functions those who had already been tested and were of mature age, and making them seem fortunate and enviable, and she won for them the Emperor's friendship and laid the foundation of their present prosperity. And if anyone thinks, what is in fact true, that on their own account they are worthy of honour, he will applaud her all the more. For it is evident that it was their merit, far more than the ties of kinship, that she rewarded; and one could hardly pay her a higher compliment than that. Such then was her treatment of these. And to all who, since they were still obscure on account of their youth, needed recognition of any sort, she awarded lesser honours. In fact she left nothing undone to help one and all. And not only on her kinsfolk has she conferred such benefits, but whenever she learned that ties of friendship used to exist with her ancestors, she has not allowed it to be unprofitable to those who owned such ties, but she honours them, I understand, no less than her own kinsfolk, and to all whom she regards as her father's friends she dispensed wonderful rewards for their friendship.
But since I see that my account is in need of proofs, just as in a law-court, I will offer myself to bear witness on its behalf to these actions and to applaud them. But lest you should mistrust my evidence and cause a disturbance before you have heard what I have to say, I swear that I will tell you no falsehood or fiction; although you would have believed, even without an oath, that I am saying all this without intent to flatter. For I already possess, by the grace of God and the Emperor, and because the Empress too was zealous in my behalf, all those blessings to gain which a flatterer would leave nothing unsaid, so that, if I were speaking before obtaining these, perhaps I should have to dread that unjust suspicion. But as it is, since this is the state of my fortunes, I will recall her conduct to me, and at the same time give you a proof of my own right-mindedness and truthful evidence of her good deeds. I have heard that Darius, while he was still in the bodyguard of the Persian monarch, met, in Egypt, a Samian stranger who was an exile from his own country, and accepted from him the gift of a scarlet cloak to which Darius had taken a great fancy, and that later on, in the days when, I understand, he had become the master of all Asia, he gave him in return the tyranny of Samos. And now suppose that I acknowledge that, though I received many kindnesses at Eusebia's hands, at a time when I was still permitted to live in peaceful obscurity, and many also, by her intercession, from our noble and magnanimous Emperor, I must needs fall short of making an equal return; for as I know, she possesses everything already, as the gift of him who was so generous to myself; yet since I desire that the memory of her good deeds should be immortal, and since I am relating them to you, perhaps I shall not be thought less mindful of my debt than the Persian, seeing that in forming a judgment it is to the intention that one must look, and not to an instance in which fortune granted a man the power to repay his obligation many times over.
Why, then, I say that I have been so kindly treated, and in return for what I acknowledge that I am her debtor for all time, that is what you are eager to hear. Nor shall I conceal the facts. The Emperor was kind to me almost from my infancy, and he surpassed all generosity, for he snatched me from dangers so great that not even "a man in the strength of his youth" could easily have escaped them, unless he obtained some means of safety sent by heaven and not attainable by human means, and after my house had been seized by one of those in power, as though there were none to defend it, he recovered it for me, as was just, and made it wealthy once more. And I could tell you of still other kindnesses on his part towards myself, that deserve all gratitude, in return for which I ever showed myself loyal and faithful to him; but nevertheless of late I perceived that, I know not why, he was somewhat harsh towards me. Now the Empress no sooner heard a bare mention, not of any actual wrong-doing but of mere idle suspicion, than she deigned to investigate it, and before doing so would not admit or listen to any falsehood or unjust slander, but persisted in her request until she brought me into the Emperor's presence and procured me speech with him. And she rejoiced when I was acquitted of every unjust charge, and when I wished to return home, she first persuaded the Emperor to give his permission, and then furnished me with a safe escort. Then when some deity, the one I think who devised my former troubles, or perhaps some unfriendly chance, cut short this journey, she sent me to visit Greece, having asked this favour on my behalf from the Emperor, when I had already left the country. This was because she had learned that I delighted in literature, and she knew that that place is the home of culture. Then indeed I prayed first, as is meet, for the Emperor, and next for Eusebia, that God would grant them many blessings, because when I longed and desired to behold my true fatherland, they made it possible. For we who dwell in Thrace and Ionia are the sons of Hellas, and all of us who are not devoid of feeling long to greet our ancestors and to embrace the very soil of Hellas. So this had long been, as was natural, my dearest wish, and I desired it more than to possess treasures of gold and silver. For I consider that intercourse with distinguished men, when weighed in the balance with any amount whatever of gold, drags down the beam, and does not permit a prudent judge even to hesitate over a slight turn of the scale.
Now, as regards learning and philosophy, the condition of Greece in our day reminds one somewhat of the tales and traditions of the Egyptians. For the Egyptians say that the Nile in their country is not only the saviour and benefactor of the land, but also wards off destruction by fire, when the sun, throughout long periods, in conjunction or combination with fiery constellations, fills the atmosphere with heat and scorches everything. For it has not power enough, so they say, to evaporate or exhaust the fountains of the Nile. And so too neither from the Greeks has philosophy altogether departed, nor has she forsaken Athens or Sparta or Corinth. And, as regards these fountains, Argos can by no means be called "thirsty," for there are many in the city itself and many also south of the city, round about Mases, famous of old. Yet Sicyon, not Corinth, possesses Peirene itself. And Athens has many such streams, pure and springing from the soil, and many flow into the city from abroad, but no less precious than those that are native. And her people love and cherish them and desire to be rich in that which alone makes wealth enviable.
But as for me, what has come over me? And what speech do I intend to achieve if not a panegyric of my beloved Hellas, of which one cannot make mention without admiring everything? But perhaps someone, remembering what I said earlier, will say that this is not what I intended to discuss when I began, and that, just as Corybants when excited by the flute dance and leap without method, so I, spurred on by the mention of my beloved city, am chanting the praises of that country and her people. To him I must make excuse somewhat as follows: Good sir, you who are the guide to an art that is genuinely noble, that is a wise notion of yours, for you do not permit or grant one to let go even for a moment the theme of a panegyric, seeing that you yourself maintain your theme with skill. Yet in my case, since there has come over me this impulse of affection which you say is to blame for the lack of order in my arguments, you really urge me, I think, not to be too much afraid of it or to take precautions against criticism. For I am not embarking on irreyelant themes if I wish to show how great were the blessings that Eusebia procured for me because she honoured the name of philosophy. And yet the name of philosopher which has been, I know not why, applied to myself, is really in my case nothing but a name and lacks reality, for though I love the reality and am terribly enamoured of the thing itself, yet for some reason I have fallen short of it. But Eusebia honoured even the name. For no other reason can I discover, nor learn from anyone else, why she became so zealous an ally of mine, and an averter of evil and my preserver, and took such trouble and pains in order that I might retain unaltered and unaffected our noble Emperor's goodwill; and I have never been convicted of thinking that there is any greater blessing in this world than that good-will, since all the gold above the earth or beneath the earth is not worth so much, nor all the mass of silver that is now beneath the sun's rays or may be added thereto, not though the loftiest mountains, let us suppose, stones and trees and all were to change to that substance, nor the greatest sovereignty there is, nor anything else in the whole world. And I do indeed owe it to her that these blessings are mine, so many and greater than anyone could have hoped for, for in truth I did not ask for much, nor did I nourish myself with any such hopes.
But genuine kindness one cannot obtain in exchange for money, nor could anyone purchase it by such means, but it exists only when men of noble character work in harmony with a sort of divine and higher providence. And this the Emperor bestowed on me even as a child, and when it had almost vanished it was restored again to me because the Empress defended me and warded off those false and monstrous suspicions. And when, using the evidence of my life as plain proof, she had completely cleared me of them, and I obeyed once more the Emperor's summons from Greece, did she ever forsake me, as though, now that all enmity and suspicion had been removed, I no longer needed much assistance? Would my conduct be pious if I kept silence and concealed actions so manifest and so honourable? For when a good opinion of me was established in the Emperor's mind, she rejoiced exceedingly, and echoed him harmoniously, bidding me take courage and neither refuse out of awe to accept the greatness of what was offered to me, nor, by employing a boorish and arrogant frankness, unworthily slight the urgent request of him who had shown me such favour. And so I obeyed, though it was by no means agreeable to me to support this burden, and besides I knew well that to refuse was altogether impracticable. For when those who have the power to exact by force what they wish condescend to entreat, naturally they put one out of countenance and there is nothing left but to obey. Now when I consented, I had to change my mode of dress, and my attendants, and my habitual pursuits, and my very house and way of life for what seemed full of pomp and ceremony to one whose past had naturally been so modest and humble, and my mind was confused by the strangeness, though it was certainly not dazzled by the magnitude of the favours that were now mine. For in my ignorance I hardly regarded them as great blessings, but rather as powers of the greatest benefit, certainly, to those who use them aright, but, when mistakes are made in their use, as being harmful to many houses and cities and the cause of countless disasters. So I felt like a man who is altogether unskilled in driving a chariot, and is not at all inclined to acquire the art, and then is compelled to manage a car that belongs to a noble and talented charioteer, one who keeps many pairs and many four-in-hands too, let us suppose, and has mounted behind them all, and because of his natural talent and uncommon strength has a strong grip on the reins of all of them, even though he is mounted on one chariot; yet he does not always remain on it, but often moves to this side or that and changes from car to car, whenever he perceives that his horses are distressed or are getting out of hand; and among these chariots he has a team of four that become restive from ignorance and high spirit, and are oppressed by continuous hard work, but none the less are mindful of that high spirit, and ever grow more unruly and are irritated by their distress, so that they grow more restive and disobedient and pull against the driver and refuse to go in a certain direction, and unless they see the charioteer himself or at least some man wearing the dress of a charioteer, end by becoming violent, so unreasoning are they by nature. But when the charioteer encourages some unskilful man, and sets him over them, and allows him to wear the same dress as his own, and invests him with the outward seeming of a splendid and skilful charioteer, then if he be altogether foolish and witless, he rejoices and is glad and is buoyed up and exalted by those robes, as though by wings, but, if he has even a small share of common sense and prudent understanding, he is very much alarmed "Lest he both injure himself and shatter his chariot withal," and so cause loss to the charioteer and bring on himself shameful and inglorious disaster. On all this, then, I reflected, taking counsel with myself in the night season, and in the daytime pondering it with myself, and I was continually thoughtful and gloomy. Then the noble and truly godlike Emperor lessened my torment in every way, and showed me honour and favour both in deed and word. And at last he bade me address myself to the Empress, inspiring me with courage and giving me a very generous indication that I might trust her completely. Now when first I came into her presence it seemed to me as though I beheld a statue of Modesty set up in some temple. Then reverence filled my soul, and my eyes were fixed upon the ground for some considerable time, till she bade me take courage. Then she said: "Certain favours you have already received from us and yet others you shall receive, if God will, if only you prove to be loyal and honest towards us." This was almost as much as I heard. For she herself did not say more, and that though she knew how to utter speeches not a whit inferior to those of the most gifted orators. And I, when I had departed from this interview, felt the deepest admiration and awe, and was clearly convinced that it was Modesty herself I had heard speaking. So gentle and comforting was her utterance, and it is ever firmly settled in my ears.
Do you wish then that I should report to you what she did after this, and all the blessings she conferred on me, and that I should give precise details one by one? Or shall I take up my tale concisely as she did herself, and sum up the whole? Shall I tell how many of my friends she benefited, and how with the Emperor's help she arranged my marriage? But perhaps you wish to hear also the list of her presents to me: "Seven tripods untouched by fire and ten talents of gold," and twenty caldrons. But I have no time to gossip about such subjects. Nevertheless one of those gifts of hers it would perhaps not be ungraceful to mention to you, for it was one with which I was myself especially delighted. For she gave me the best books on philosophy and history, and many of the orators and poets, since I had brought hardly any with me from home, deluding myself with the hope and longing to return home again, and gave them in such numbers, and all at once, that even my desire for them was satisfied, though I am altogether insatiable of converse with literature; and, so far as books went, she made Galatia and the country of the Celts resemble a Greek temple of the Muses. And to these gifts I applied myself incessantly whenever I had leisure, so that I can never be unmindful of the gracious giver. Yes, even when 1 take the field one thing above all else goes with me as a necessary provision for the campaign, some one narrative of a campaign composed long ago by an eye-witness. For many of those records of the experience of men of old, written as they are with the greatest skill, furnish to those who, by reason of their youth, have missed seeing such a spectacle, a clear and brilliant picture of those ancient exploits, and by this means many a tiro has acquired a more mature understanding and judgment than belongs to very many older men; and that advantage which people think old age alone can give to mankind, I mean experience (for experience it is that enables an old man "to talk more wisely than the young"), even this the study of history can give to the young if only they are diligent. Moreover, in my opinion, there is in such books a means of liberal education for the character, supposing that one understands how, like a craftsman, setting before himself as patterns the noblest men and words and deeds, to mould his own character to match them, and make his words resemble theirs. And if he should not wholly fall short of them, but should achieve even some slight resemblance, believe me that would be for him the greatest good fortune. And it is with this idea constantly before me that not only do I give myself a literary education by means of books, but even on my campaigns I never fail to carry them like necessary provisions. The number that I take with me is limited only by particular circumstances.
But perhaps I ought not now to be writing a panegyric on books, nor to describe all the benefits that we might derive from them, but since I recognise how much that gift was worth, I ought to pay back to the gracious giver thanks not perhaps altogether different in kind from what she gave. For it is only just that one who has accepted clever discourses of all sorts laid up as treasure in books, should sound a strain of eulogy if only in slight and unskilful phrases, composed in an unlearned and rustic fashion. For you would not say that a farmer showed proper feeling who, when starting to plant his vineyard, begs for cuttings from his neighbours, and presently, when he cultivates his vines, asks for a mattock and then for a hoe, and finally for a stake to which the vine must be tied and which it must lean against, so that it may itself be supported, and the bunches of grapes as they hang may nowhere touch the soil; and then, after obtaining all he asked for, drinks his fill of the pleasant gift of Dionysus, but does not share either the grapes or the must with those whom he found so willing to help him in his husbandry. Just so one would not say that a shepherd or neatherd or even a goatherd was honest and good and right-minded, who in winter, when his flocks need shelter and fodder, met with the utmost consideration from his friends, who helped him to procure many things, and gave him food in abundance, and lodging, and presently when spring and summer appeared, forgot in lordly fashion all those kindnesses, and shared neither his milk nor cheeses nor anything else with those who had saved his beasts for him when they would otherwise have perished.
And now take the case of one who cultivates literature of any sort, and is himself young and therefore needs numerous guides and the abundant food and pure nourishment that is to be obtained from ancient writings, and then suppose that be should be deprived of allthese all at once, is it, think you, slight assistance that he is asking? And is it slight payment that he deserves who comes to his aid? But perhaps he ought not even to attempt to make him any return for his zeal and kind actions? Perhaps he ought to imitate the famous Thales, that consummate philosopher, and that answer which we have all heard and which is so much admired? For when someone asked what fee he ought to pay him for knowledge he had acquired, Thales replied "If you let it be known that it was I who taught you, you will amply repay me." Just so one who has not himself been the teacher, but has helped another in any way to gain knowledge, would indeed be wronged if he did not obtain gratitude and that acknowledgement of the gift which even the philosopher seems to have demanded. Well and good. But this gift of hers was both welcome and magnificent. And as for gold and silver I neither asked for them nor, were they in question, should I be willing thus to wear out your patience.
But I wish to tell you a story very well worth your hearing, unless indeed you are already wearied by the length of this garrulous speech. Indeed it may be that you have listened without enjoyment to what has been said so far, seeing that the speaker is a layman and entirely ignorant of rhetoric, and knows neither how to invent nor how to use the writer's craft, but speaks the truth as it occurs to him. And my story is about something almost of the present time. Now many will say, I suppose, persuaded by the accomplished sophists, that I have collected what is trivial and worthless, and relate it to you as though it were of serious import. And probably they will say this, not because they are jealous of my speeches, or because they wish to rob me of the reputation that they may bring. For they well know that I do not desire to be their rival in the art by setting my own speeches against theirs, nor in any other way do I wish to quarrel with them. But since, for some reason or other, they are ambitious of speaking on lofty themes at any cost, they will not tolerate those who have not their ambition, and they reproach them with weakening the power of rhetoric. For they say that only those deeds are to be admired and are worthy of serious treatment and repeated praise which, because of their magnitude, have been thought by some to be incredible, those stories for instance about that famous woman of Assyria who turned aside as though it were an insignificant brook the river that flows through Babylon, and built a gorgeous palace underground, and then turned the stream back again beyond the dykes that she had made. For of her many a tale is told, how she fought a naval battle with three thousand ships, and on land she led into the field of battle three million hoplites, and in Babylon she built a wall very nearly five hundred stades in length, and the moat that surrounds the city and other very costly and expensive edifices were, they tell us, her work. And Nitocris who came later than she, and Rhodogyne and Tomyris, aye and a crowd of women beyond number who played men's parts in no very seemly fashion occur to my mind. And some of them were conspicuous for their beauty and so became notorious, though it brought them no happiness, but since they were the causes of dissension and long wars among countless nations and as many men as could reasonably be collected from a country of that size, they are celebrated by the orators as having given rise to mighty deeds. And a speaker who has nothing of this sort to relate seems ridiculous because he makes no great effort to astonish his hearers or to introduce the marvellous into his speeches. Now shall we put this question to these orators, whether any one of them would wish to have a wife or daughter of that sort, rather than like Penelope? And yet in her case Homer had no more to tell than of her discretion and her love for her husband and the good care she took of her father-in-law and her son. Evidently she did not concern herself with the fields or the flocks, and as for leading an army or speaking in public, of course she never even dreamed of such a thing. But even when it was necessary for her to speak to the young suitors, "Holding up before her face her shining veil" it was in mild accents that she expressed herself. And it was not because he was short of such great deeds, or of women famous for them, that he sang the praises of Penelope rather than the others. For instance, he could have made it his ambition to tell the story of the Amazon's campaign and have filled all his poetry with tales of that sort, which certainly have a wonderful power to delight and charm. For as to the taking of the wall and the siege, and that battle near the ships which in some respects seems to have resembled a sea-fight, and then the fight of the hero and the river, he did not bring them into his poem with the desire to relate something new and strange of his own invention. And even though this fight was, as they say, most marvellous, he neglected and passed over the marvellous as we see. What reason then can anyone give for his praising Penelope so enthusiastically and making not the slightest allusion to those famous women? Because by reason of her virtue and discretion many blessings have been gained for mankind, both for individuals and for the common weal, whereas from the ambition of those others there has arisen no benefit whatever, but incurable calamities. And so, as he was, I think, a wise and inspired poet, he decided that to praise Penelope was better and more just. And since I adopt so great a guide, is it fitting that I should be afraid lest some person think me trivial or inferior?
But it is indeed a noble witness that I shall now bring forward, that splendid orator Pericles, the renowned, the Olympian. It is said that once a crowd of flatterers surrounded him and were distributing his praises among them, one telling how he had reduced Samos, another how he had recovered Euboea, some how he had sailed round the Peloponnesus, while others spoke of his enactments, or of his rivalry with Cimon, who was reputed to be a most excellent citizen and a distinguished general. But Pericles gave no sign either of annoyance or exultation, and there was but one thing in all his political career for which he claimed to deserve praise, that, though he had governed the Athenian people for so long, he had been responsible for no man's death, and no citizen when he put on black clothes had ever said that Pericles was the cause of his misfortune. Now, by Zeus the god of friendship, do you think I need any further witness to testify that the greatest proof of virtue and one better worth praise than all the rest put together is not to have caused the death of any citizen, or to have taken his money from him, or involved him in unjust exile? But he who like a good physician tries to ward off such calamities as these,, and by no means thinks that it is enough for him not to cause anyone to contract a disease, but unless he cures and cares for everyone as far as he can, considers that his work is unworthy of his skill, do you think that in justice such a one ought to receive no higher praise than Pericles? And shall we not hold in higher honour her character and that authority which enables her to do what she will, since what she wills is the good of all? For this I make the sum and substance of my whole encomium, though I do not lack other narratives such as are commonly held to be marvellous and splendid.
For if anyone should suspect that my silence about the rest is vain affectation and empty and insolent pretension, this at least he will not suspect, that the visit which she lately made to Rome, when the Emperor was on his campaign and had crossed the Rhine by bridges of boats near the frontiers of Galatia, is a false and vain invention. I could indeed very properly have given an account of this visit, and described how the people and the senate welcomed her with rejoicings and went to meet her with enthusiasm, and received her as is their custom to receive an Empress, and told the amount of the expenditure, how generous and splendid it was, and the costliness of the preparations, and reckoned up the sums she distributed to the presidents of the tribes and the centurions of the people. But nothing of that sort has ever seemed to me worth while, nor do I wish to praise wealth before virtue. And yet I am aware that the generous spending of money implies a sort of virtue. Nevertheless I rate more highly goodness and temperance and wisdom and all those other qualities of hers that I have described, bringing before you as witnesses not only many others but myself as well and all that she did for me. Now if only others also try to emulate my proper feeling, there are and there will be many to sing her praises.
|4 Hymn to King Helios
What I am now about to say I consider to be of the greatest importance for all things "That breathe and move upon the earth" and have a share in existence and a reasoning soul and intelligence, but above all others it is of importance to myself. For I am a follower of King Helios. And of this fact I possess within me, known to myself alone, proofs more certain than I can give. But this at least I am permitted to say without sacrilege, that from my childhood an extraordinary longing for the rays of the god penetrated deep into my soul; and from my earliest years my mind was so completely swayed by the light that illumines the heavens that not only did I desire to gaze intently at the sun, but whenever I walked abroad in the night season, when the firmament was clear and cloudless, I abandoned all else without exception and gave myself up to the beauties of the heavens; nor did I understand what anyone might say to me, nor heed what I was doing myself. I was considered to be over-curious about these matters and to pay too much attention to them, and people went so far as to regard me as an astrologer when my beard had only just begun to grow. And yet, I call heaven to witness, never had a book on this subject come into my hands; nor did I as yet even know what that science was. But why do I mention this, when I have more important things to tell, if I should relate how, in those days, I thought about the gods? However let that darkness be buried in oblivion. But let what I have said bear witness to this fact, that the heavenly light shone all about me, and that it roused and urged me on to its contemplation, so that even then I recognised of myself that the movement of the moon was in the opposite direction to the universe, though as yet I had met no one of those who are wise in these matters. Now for my part I envy the good fortune of any man to whom the god has granted to inherit a body built of the seed of holy and inspired ancestors, so that he can unlock the treasures of wisdom; nor do I despise that lot with which I was myself endowed by the god Helios, that I should be born of a house that rules and governs the world in my time; but further, I regard this god, if we may believe the wise, as the common father of all mankind. For it is said with truth that man and the sun together beget man, and that the god sows this earth with souls which proceed not from himself alone but from the other gods also; and for what purpose, the souls reveal by the kind of lives that they select. Now far the best thing is when anyone has the fortune to have inherited the service of the god, even before the third generation, from a long and unbroken line of ancestors; yet it is not a thing to be disparaged when anyone, recognising that he is by nature intended to be the servant of Helios, either alone of all men, or in company with but few, devotes himself to the service of his master.
Come then, let me celebrate, as best I may, his festival which the Imperial city adorns with annual sacrifices. Now it is hard, as I well know, merely to comprehend how great is the Invisible, if one judge by his visible self, and to tell it is perhaps impossible, even though one should consent to fall short of what is his due. For well I know that no one in the world could attain to a description that would be worthy of him, and not to fail of a certain measure of success in his praises is the greatest height to which human beings can attain in the power of utterance. But as for me, may Hermes, the god of eloquence, stand by my side to aid me, and the Muses also and Apollo, the leader of the Muses, since he too has oratory for his province, and may they grant that I utter only what the gods approve that men should say and believe about them What, then, shall be the manner of my praise? Or is it not evident that if I describe his substance and his origin, and his powers and energies, both visible and invisible, and the gift of blessings which he bestows throughout all the worlds, I shall compose an encomium not wholly displeasing to the god? With these, then, let me begin.
This divine and wholly beautiful universe, from the highest vault of heaven to the lowest limit of the earth, is held together by the continuous providence of the god, has existed from eternity ungenerated, is imperishable for all time to come, and is guarded immediately by nothing else than the Fifth Substance whose culmination is the beams of the sun; and in the second and higher degree, so to speak, by the intelligible world; but in a still loftier sense it is guarded by the King of the whole universe, who is the centre of all things that exist. He, therefore, whether it is right to call him the Supra-Intelligible, or the Idea of Being, and by Being I mean the whole intelligible region, or the One, since the One seems somehow to be prior to all the rest, or, to use Plato's name for him, the Good; at any rate this uncompounded cause of the whole reveals to all existence beauty, and perfection, and oneness, and irresistible power; and in virtue of the primal creative substance that abides in it, produced, as middle among the middle and intellectual, creative causes, Helios the most mighty god, proceeding from itself and in all things like unto itself. Even so the divine Plato believed, when he writes, "Therefore (said I) when I spoke of this, understand that I meant the offspring of the Good which the Good begat in his own likeness, and that what the Good is in relation to pure reason and its objects in the intelligible world, such is the sun in the visible world in relation to sight and its objects." Accordingly his light has the same relation to the visible world as truth has to the intelligible world. And he himself as a whole, since he is the son of what is first and greatest, namely, the Idea of the Good, and subsists from eternity in the region of its abiding substance, has received also the dominion among the intellectual gods, and himself dispenses to the intellectual gods those things of which the Good is the cause for the intelligible gods. Now the Good is, I suppose, the cause for the intelligible gods of beauty, existence, perfection, and oneness, connecting these and illuminating them with a power that works for good. These accordingly Helios bestows on the intellectual gods also, since he has been appointed by the Good to rule and govern them, even though they came forth and came into being together with him, and this was, I suppose, in order that the cause which resembles the Good may guide the intellectual gods to blessings for them all, and may regulate all things according to pure reason.
But this visible disc also, third in rank, is clearly, for the objects of sense-perception the cause of preservation, and this visible Helios is the cause for the visible gods of just as many blessings as we said mighty Helios bestows on the intellectual gods. And of this there are clear proofs for one who studies the unseen world in the light of things seen. For in the first place, is not light itself a sort of incorporeal and divine form of the transparent in a state of activity? And as for the transparent itself, whatever it is, since it is the underlying basis, so to speak, of all the elements, and is a form peculiarly belonging to them, it is not like the corporeal or compounded, nor does it admit qualities peculiar to corporeal substance. You will not therefore say that heat is a property of the transparent, or its opposite cold, nor will you assign to it hardness or softness or any other of the various, attributes connected with touch or taste or smell; but a nature of this sort is obvious to sight alone, since it is brought into activity by light. And light is a form of this substance, so to speak, which is the substratum of and coextensive with the heavenly bodies. And of light, itself incorporeal, the culmination and flower, so to speak, is the sun's rays. Now the doctrine of the Phoenicians, who were wise and learned in sacred lore, declared that the rays of light everywhere diffused are the undefiled incarnation of pure mind. And in harmony with this is our theory, seeing that light itself is incorporeal, if one should regard its fountainhead, not as corporeal, but as the undefiled activity of mind pouring light into its own abode: and this is assigned to the middle of the whole firmament, whence it sheds its rays and fills the heavenly spheres with vigour of every kind and illumines all things with light divine and undefiled. Now the activities proceeding from it and exercised among the gods have been, in some measure at least, described by me a little earlier and will shortly be further spoken of. But all that we see merely with the sight at first is a name only, deprived of activity, unless we add thereto the guidance and aid of light. For what, speaking generally, could be seen, were it not first brought into touch with light in order that, I suppose, it may receive a form, as matter is brought under the hand of a craftsman? And indeed molten gold in the rough is simply gold, and not yet a statue or an image, until the craftsman give it its proper shape. So too all the objects of sight, unless they are brought under the eyes of the beholder together with light, are altogether deprived of visibility. Accordingly by giving the power of sight to those who see, and the power of being seen to the objects of sight, it brings to perfection, by means of a single activity, two faculties, namely vision and visibility. And in forms and substance are expressed its perfecting powers.
However, this is perhaps somewhat subtle; but as for that guide whom we all follow, ignorant and unlearned, philosophers and rhetoricians, what power in the universe has this god when he rises and sets? Night and day he creates, and before our eyes changes and sways the universe. But to which of the other heavenly bodies does this power belong? How then can we now fail to believe, in view of this, in respect also to things more divine, that the invisible and divine tribes of intellectual gods above the heavens are filled with power that works for good by him, even by him to whom the whole band of the heavenly bodies yields place, and whom all generated things follow, piloted by his providence? For that the planets dance about him as their king, in certain intervals, fixed in relation to him, and revolve in a circle with perfect accord, making certain halts, and pursuing to and fro their orbit, as those who are learned in the study of the spheres call their visible motions; and that the light of the moon waxes and wanes varying in proportion to its distance from the sun, is, I think, clear to all. Then is it not natural that we should suppose that the more venerable ordering of bodies among the intellectual gods corresponds to this arrangement?
Let us therefore comprehend, out of all his functions, first his power to perfect, from the fact that he makes visible the objects of sight in the universe, for through his light he perfects them; secondly, his creative and generative power from the changes wrought by him in the universe; thirdly, his power to link together all things into one whole, from the harmony of his motions towards one and the same goal; fourthly, his middle station we can comprehend from himself, who is midmost; and fifthly, the fact that he is established as king among the intellectual gods, from his middle station among the planets. Now if we see that these powers, or powers of similar importance, belong to any one of the other visible deities, let us not assign to Helios leadership among the gods. But if he has nothing in common with those other gods except his beneficent energy, and of this too he gives them all a share, then let us call to witness the priests of Cyprus who set up common altars to Helios and Zeus; but even before them let us summon as witness Apollo, who sits in council with our god. For this god declares: "Zeus, Hades, Helios Serapis, three gods in one godhead!" Let us then assume that, among the intellectual gods, Helios and Zeus have a joint or rather a single sovereignty. Hence I think that with reason Plato called Hades a wise god. And we call this same god Hades Serapis also, namely the Unseen and Intellectual, to whom Plato says the souls of those who have lived most righteously and justly mount upwards. For let no one conceive of him as the god whom the legends teach us to shudder at, but as the mild and placable, since he completely frees our souls from generation: and the souls that he has thus freed he does not nail to other bodies, punishing them and exacting penalties, but he carries aloft and lifts up our souls to the intelligible world. And that this doctrine is not wholly new, but that Homer and Hesiod the most venerable of the poets held it before us, whether this was their own view or, like seers, they were divinely inspired with a sacred frenzy for the truth, is evident from the following. Hesiod, in tracing his genealogy, said that Helios is the son of Hyperion and Thea, intimating thereby that lie is the true son of him who is above all things. For who else could Hyperion be? And is not Thea herself, in another fashion, said to be most divine of beings? But as for a union or marriage, let us not conceive of such a thing, since that is the incredible and paradoxical trifling of the poetic Muse. But let us believe that his father and sire was the most divine and supreme being; and who else could have this nature save him who transcends all things, the central point and goal of all things that exist? And Homer calls him Hyperion after his father and shows his unconditioned nature, superior to all constraint. For Zeus, as Homer says, since he is lord of all constrains the other gods. And when, in the course of the myth, Helios says that on account of the impiety of the comrades of Odysseus he will forsake Olympus, Zeus no longer says, "Then with very earth would I draw you up and the sea withal," nor does he threaten him with fetters or violence, but he says that he will inflict punishment on the guilty and bids Helios go on shining among the gods. Does he not thereby declare that besides being unconditioned, Helios has also the power to perfect? For why do the gods need him unless by sending his light, himself invisible, on their substance and existence, he fulfils for them the blessings' of which I spoke? For when Homer says that "Ox-eyed Hera, the queen, sent unwearied Helios to go, all unwilling, to the streams of Oceanus," he means that, by reason of a heavy mist, it was thought to be night before the proper time. And this mist is surely the goddess herself, and in another place also in the poem he says, "Hera spread before them a thick mist." But let us leave the stories of the poets alone. For along with what is inspired they contain much also that is merely human. And let me now relate what the god himself seems to teach us, both about himself and the other gods.
The region of the earth contains being in a state of becoming. Then who endows it with imperishability? Is it not he who keeps all together by means of definite limits? For that the nature of being should be unlimited was not possible, since it is neither uncreated nor self-subsistent. And if from being something were generated absolutely without ceasing and nothing were resolved back into it, the substance of things generated would fail. Accordingly this god, moving in due measure, raises up and stimulates this substance when he approaches it, and when he departs to a distance he diminishes and destroys it; or rather he himself continually revivifies it by giving it movement and flooding it with life. And his departure and turning in the her direction is the cause of decay for things that perish. Ever does his gift of blessings descend evenly upon the earth. For now one country now another receives them, to the end that becoming may not cease nor the god ever benefit less or more than is his custom this changeful world. For sameness, as of being so also of activity, exists among the gods, and above all the others in the case of the King of the All, Helios; and he also makes the simplest movement of all the heavenly bodies that travel in a direction opposite to the whole. In fact this is the very thing that the celebrated Aristotle makes a proof of his superiority, compared with the others. Nevertheless from the other intellectual gods also, forces clearly discernible descend to this world. And now what does this mean? Are we not excluding the others when we assert that the leadership has been assigned to Helios? Nay, far rather do I think it right from the visible to have faith about the invisible. For even as this god is seen to complete and to adapt to himself and to the universe the powers that are bestowed on the earth from the other gods for all things, after the same fashion we must believe that among the invisible gods also there is intercourse with one another; his mode of intercourse being that of a leader, while the modes of intercourse of the others are at the same time in harmony with his. For since we said that the god is established midmost among the midmost intellectual gods, may King Helios himself grant to us to tell what is the nature of that middleness among things of which we must regard him as the middle.
Now "middleness" we define not as that mean which in opposites is seen to be equally remote from the extremes, as, for instance, in colours, tawny or dusky, and warm in the case of hot and cold, and the like, but that which unifies and links together what is separate; for instance the sort of thing that Empedocles means by Harmony when from it he altogether eliminates Strife. And now what does Helios link together, and of what is he the middle? I assert then that he is midway between the visible gods who surround the universe and the immaterial and intelligible gods who surround the Good – for the intelligible and divine substance is as it were multiplied without external influence and without addition. For that the intellectual and wholly beautiful substance of King Helios is middle in the sense of being unmixed with extremes, complete in itself, and distinct from the whole number of the gods, visible and invisible, both those perceptible by sense and those which are intelligible only, I have already declared, and also in what sense we must conceive of his middleness. But if I must also describe these things one by one, in order that we may discern with our intelligence how his intermediary nature, in its various forms, is related both to the highest and the lowest, even though it is not easy to recount it all, yet let me try to say what can be said.
Wholly one is the intelligible world, pre-existent from all time, and it combines all things together in the One. Again is not our whole world also one complete living organism, wholly throughout the whole of it full of soul and intelligence, "perfect, with all its parts perfect"? Midway then between this uniform two-fold perfection — I mean that one kind of unity holds together in one all that exists in the intelligible world, while the other kind of unity unites in the visible world all things into one and the same perfect nature — between these, I say, is the uniform perfection of King Helios, established among the intellectual gods There is, however, next in order, a sort of binding force in the intelligible world of the gods, which orders all things into one. Again is there not visible in the heavens also, travelling in its orbit, the nature of the Fifth Substance, which links and compresses together all the parts, holding together things that by nature are prone to scatter and to fall away from one another? These existences, therefore, which are two causes of connection, one in the intelligible world, while the other appears in the world of sense-perception, King Helios combines into one, imitating the synthetic power of the former among the intellectual gods, seeing that he proceeds from it, and subsisting prior to the latter which is seen in the visible world. Then must not the unconditioned also, which exists primarily in the intelligible world, and finally among the visible bodies in the heavens, possess midway between these two the unconditioned substance of King Helios, and from that primary creative substance do not the rays of his light, illumining all things, descend to the visible world? Again, to take another point of view, the creator of the whole is one, but many are the creative gods who revolve in the heavens. Midmost therefore of these also we must place the creative activity which descends into the world from Helios. But also the power of generating life is abundant and overflowing in the intelligible world; and our world also appears to be full of generative life. It is therefore evident that the life-generating power of King Helios also is midway between both the worlds: and the phenomena of our world also bear witness to this. For some forms he perfects, others he makes, or adorns, or wakes to life, and there is no single thing which, apart from the creative power derived from Helios, can come to light and to birth. And further, besides this, if we should comprehend the pure and undefiled and immaterial substance among the intelligible gods — to which nothing external is added, nor has any alien thing a place therein, but it is filled with its own unstained purity — and if we should comprehend also the pure and unmixed nature of unstained and divine substance, whose elements are wholly unmixed, and which, in the visible universe, surrounds the substance that revolves, here also we should discover the radiant and stainless substance of King Helios, midway between the two; that is to say, midway between the immaterial purity that exists among the intelligible gods, and that perfect purity, unstained and free from birth and death, that exists in the world which we can perceive. And the greatest proof of this is that not even the light which comes down nearest to the earth from the sun is mixed with anything, nor does it admit dirt and defilement, but remains wholly pure and without stain and free from external influences among all existing things.
But we must go on to consider the immaterial and intelligible forms, and also those visible forms which are united with matter or the substratum. Here again, the intellectual will be found to be midmost among the forms that surround mighty Helios, by which forms in their turn the material forms are aided; for they never could have existed or been preserved, had they not been brought, by his aid, into connection with being. For consider: is not he the cause of the separation of the forms, and of the combination of matter, in that he not only permits us to comprehend his very self, but also to behold him with our eyes? For the distribution of his rays over the whole universe, and the unifying power of his light, prove him to be the master workman who gives an individual existence to everything that is created.
Now though there are many more blessings connected with the substance of the god and apparent to us, which show that he is midway between the intelligible and the mundane gods let us proceed to his last visible province. His first province then in the last of the worlds is, as though by way of a pattern, to give form and personality to the sun's angels. Next is his province of generating the world of sense-perception, of which the more honourable part contains the cause of the heavens and the heavenly bodies, while the inferior part guides this our world of becoming, and from eternity contains in itself the uncreated cause of that world. Now to describe all the properties of the substance of this god, even though the god himself should grant one to comprehend them, is impossible, seeing that even to grasp them all with the mind is, in my opinion, beyond our power.
But since I have already described many of them, I must set a seal, as it were, on this discourse, now that I am about to pass to other subjects that demand no less investigation. What then that seal is, and what is the knowledge of the god's substance that embraces all these questions, and as it were sums them up under one head, may he himself suggest to my mind, since I desire to describe in a brief summary both the cause from which he proceeded, and his own nature, and those blessings with which he fills the visible world. This then we must declare, that King Helios is One and proceeds from one god, even from the intelligible world which is itself One; and that he is midmost of the intellectual gods, stationed in their midst by every kind of mediateness that is harmonious and friendly, and that joins what is sundered; and that he brings together into one the last and the first, having in his own person the means of completeness, of connection, of generative life and of uniform being: and that for the world which we can perceive he initiates blessings of all sorts, not only by means of the light with which he illumines it, adorning it and giving it its splendour, but also because he calls into existence, along with himself, the substance of the Sun's angels; and that finally in himself he comprehends the ungenerated cause of things generated, and further, and prior to this, the ageless and abiding cause of the life of the imperishable bodies.
Now as for what it was right to say about the substance of this god, though the greater part has been omitted, nevertheless much has been said. But since the multitude of his powers and the beauty of his activities is so great that we shall now exceed the limit of what we observed about his substance, — for it is natural that when divine things come forth into the region of the visible they should be multiplied, in virtue of the superabundance of life and life-generating power in them, — consider what I have to do. For now I must strip for a plunge into this fathomless sea, though I have barely, and as best I might, taken breath, after the first part of this discourse. Venture I must, nevertheless, and putting my trust in the god endeavour to handle the theme.
We must assume that what has just been said about his substance applies equally to his powers. For it cannot be that a god's substance is one thing, and his power another, and his activity, by Zeus, a third thing besides these. For all that he wills he is, and can do, and puts into action. For he does not will what is not, nor does he lack power to do what he wills, nor does he desire to put into action what he cannot. In the case of a human being, however, this is otherwise. For his is a two-fold contending nature of soul and body compounded into one, the former divine, the latter dark and clouded. Naturally, therefore, there is a battle and a feud between them. And Aristotle also says that this is why neither the pleasures nor the pains in us harmonise with one another. For he says that what is pleasant to one of the natures within us is painful to the nature which is its opposite. But among the gods there is nothing of this sort. For from their very nature what is good belongs to them, and perpetually, not intermittently. In the first place, then, all that I said when I tried to show forth his substance, I must be considered to have said about his powers and activities also. And since in such cases the argument is naturally convertible, all that I observe next in order concerning his powers and activities must be considered to apply not to his activities only, but to his substance also. For verily there are gods related to Helios and of like substance who sum up the stainless nature of this god, and though in the visible world they are plural, in him they are one. And now listen first to what they assert who look at the heavens, not like horses and cattle, or some other unreasoning and ignorant animal, but from it draw their conclusions about the unseen world. But even before this, if you please, consider his supra-mundane powers and activities, and out of a countless number, observe but a few.
First, then, of his powers is that through which he reveals the whole intellectual substance throughout as one, since he brings together its extremes. For even as in the world of sense-perception we can clearly discern air and water set between fire and earth, as the link that binds together the extremes, would one not reasonably suppose that, in the case of the cause which is separate from elements and prior to them — and though it is the principle of generation, is not itself generation — it is so ordered that, in that world also, the extreme causes which are wholly separate from elements are bound together into one through certain modes of mediation, by King Helios, and are united about him as their centre? And the creative power of Zeus also coincides with him, by reason of which in Cyprus, as I said earlier, shrines are founded and assigned to them in common. And Apollo himself also we called to witness to our statements, since it is certainly likely that he knows better than we about his own nature. For he too abides with Helios and is his colleague by reason of the singleness of his thoughts and the stability of his substance and the consistency of his activity.
But Apollo too in no case appears to separate the dividing creative function of Dionysus from Helios. And since he always subordinates it to Helios and so indicates that Dionysus is his partner on the throne, Apollo is the interpreter for us of the fairest purposes that are to be found with our god. Further Helios, since he comprehends in himself all the principles of the fairest intellectual synthesis, is himself Apollo the leader of the Muses. And since he fills the whole of our life with fair order, he begat Asclepios in the world, though even before the beginning of the world he had him by his side.
But though one should survey many other powers that belong to this god, never could one investigate them all. It is enough to have observed the following: That there is an equal and identical dominion of 1 Helios and Zeus over the separate creation which is prior to substances, in the region, that is to say, of the absolute causes which, separated from visible creation, existed prior to it; secondly we observed the singleness of his thoughts which is bound up with the imperishableness and abiding sameness that he shares with Apollo; thirdly, the dividing part of his creative function which he shares with Dionysus who controls divided substance; fourthly; we have observed the power of the leader ot the Muses, revealed in fairest symmetry and blending of the intellectual; finally we comprehended that Helios, with Asclepios, fulfils the fair order of the whole of life.
So much then in respect to those powers of his that existed before the beginning of the world; and co-ordinate with these are his works over the whole visible world, in that he fills it with good gifts. For since he is the genuine son of the Good and from it has received his blessed lot in fulness of perfection, he himself distributes that blessedness to the intellectual gods, bestowing on them a beneficent and perfect nature. This then is one of his works. And a second work of the god is his most perfect distribution of intelligible beauty among the intellectual and immaterial forms. For when the generative substance which is visible in our world desires to beget in the Beautiful and to bring forth offspring, it is further necessary that it should be guided by the substance that, in the region of intelligible beauty, does this very thing eternally and always and not intermittently, now fruitful now barren. For all that is beautiful in our world only at times, is beautiful always in the intelligible world. We must therefore assert that the ungenerated offspring, in beauty intelligible and eternal, guides the generative cause in the visible world; which offspring this god called into existence and keeps at his side, and to it he assigns also perfect reason. For just as through his light he gives sight to our eyes, so also among the intelligible gods through his intellectual counterpart — which he causes to shine far more brightly than his rays in our upper air — he bestows, as I believe, on all the intellectual gods the faculty of thought and of being comprehended by thought. Besides these, another marvellous activity of Helios the King of the All is that by which he endows with superior lot the nobler races — I mean angels, daemons, heroes, and those divided souls which remain in the category of model and archetype and never give themselves over to bodies. I have now described the substance of our god that is prior to the world and his powers and activities, celebrating Helios the King of the All in so far as it was possible for me to compass his praise. But since eyes, as the saying goes, are more trustworthy than hearing — although they are of course less trustworthy and weaker than the intelligence — come, let me endeavour to tell also of his visible creative function; but let first me entreat him to grant that I speak with some measure of success.
From eternity there subsisted, surrounding Helios, the visible world, and from eternity the light that encompasses the world has its fixed station, not shining intermittently, nor in different ways at different times, but always in the same manner. And if one desired to comprehend, as far as the mind may, this eternal nature from the point of view of time, one would understand most easily of how many blessings for the world throughout eternity he is the cause, even Helios he King of the All who shines without cessation. Now I am aware that the great philosopher Plato, and after him a man who, though he is later in time, is by no means inferior to him in genius — I mean Iamblichus of Chalcis, who through his writings initiated me not only into other philosophic doctrines but these also — I am aware, I say, that they employed as a hypothesis the conception of a generated world, and assumed for it, so to speak, a creation in time in order that the magnitude of the works that arise from Helios might be recognised. But apart from the fact that I fall short altogether of their ability, I must by no means be so rash; especially since the glorious hero Iamblichus thought it was not without risk to assume, even as a bare hypothesis, a temporal limit for the creation of the world. Nay rather, the god came forth from an eternal cause, or rather brought forth all things from everlasting, engendering by his divine will and with untold speed and unsurpassed power, from the invisible all things now visible in present time. And then he assigned as his own station the mid-heavens, in order that from all sides he may bestow equal blessings on the gods who came forth by his agency and in company with him; and that he may guide the seven spheres in the heavens and the eighth sphere also, yes and as I believe the ninth creation too, namely our world which revolves for ever in a continuous cycle of birth and death. For it is evident that the planets, as they dance in a circle about him, preserve as the measure of their motion a harmony between this god and their own movements such as I shall now describe; and that the whole heaven also, which adapts itself to him in all its parts, is full of gods who proceed from Helios. For this god is lord of five zones in the heavens; and when he traverses three of these he begets in those three the three Graces. And the remaining zones are the scales of mighty Necessity. To the Greeks what I say is perhaps incomprehensible — as though one were obliged to say to them only what is known and familiar. Yet not even is this altogether strange to them as one might suppose. For who, then, in your opinion, are the Dioscuri, O ye most wise, ye who accept without question so many of your traditions? Do you not call them "alternate of days," because they may not both be seen on the same day? It is obvious that by this you mean "yesterday" and "to-day." But what does this mean, in the name of those same Dioscuri? Let me apply it to some natural object, so that I may not say anything empty and senseless. But no such object could one find, however carefully one might search for it. For the theory that some have supposed to be held by the theogonists, that the two hemispheres of the universe are meant, has no meaning. For how one could call each one of the hemispheres "alternate of days" is not easy to imagine, since the increase of their light in each separate day is imperceptible. But now let us consider a question on which some may think that I am innovating. We say correctly that those persons for whom the time of the sun's course above the earth is the same in one and the same month share the same day. Consider therefore whether the expression "alternate of days " cannot be applied both to the tropics and the other, the polar, circles. But some one will object that it does not apply equally to both. For though the former are always visible, and both of them are visible at once to those who inhabit that part of the earth where shadows are cast in an opposite direction, yet in the case of the latter those who see the one do not see the other.
However, not to dwell too long on the same subject; since he causes the winter and summer solstice, Helios is, as we know, the father of the seasons; and since he never forsakes the poles, he is Oceanus, the lord of two-fold substance. My meaning here is not obscure, is it, seeing that before my time Homer said the same thing? "Oceanus who is the father of all things": yes, for mortals and for the blessed gods too, as he himself would say; and what he says is true. For there is no single thing in the whole of existence that is not the offspring of the substance of Oceanus. But what has that to do with the poles? Shall I tell you? It were better indeed to keep silence; but for all that I will speak.
Some say then, even though all men are not ready to believe it, that the sun travels in the starless heavens far above the region of the fixed stars. And on this theory he will not be stationed midmost among the planets but midway between the three worlds: that is, according to the hypothesis of the mysteries, if indeed one ought to use the word "hypothesis" and not rather say "established truths," using the word "hypothesis" for the study of the heavenly bodies. For the priests of the mysteries tell us what they have been taught by the gods or mighty daemons, whereas the astronomers make plausible hypotheses from the harmony that they observe in the visible spheres. It is proper, no doubt, to approve the astronomers as well, but where any man thinks it better to believe the priests of the mysteries, him I admire and revere, both in jest and earnest. And so much for that, as the saying is.
Now besides those whom I have mentioned, there is in the heavens a great multitude of gods who have been recognised as such by those who survey the heavens, not casually, nor like cattle. For as he divides the three spheres by four through the zodiac, which is associated with every one of the three, so he divides the zodiac also into twelve divine powers; and again he divides every one of these twelve by three, so as to make thirty-six gods in all. Hence, as I believe, there descends from above, from the heavens to us, a three-fold gift of the Graces: I mean from the spheres, for this god, by thus dividing them by four, sends to us the fourfold glory of the seasons, which express the changes of time. And indeed on our earth the Graces imitate a circle in their statues. And it is Dionysus who is the giver of the Graces, and in this very connection he is said to reign with Helios. Why should I go on to speak to you of Horus and of the other names of gods, which all belong to Helios? For from his works men have learned to know this god, who makes the whole heavens perfect through the gift of intellectual blessings, and gives it a share of intelligible beauty; and taking the heavens as their starting-point, they have learned to know him both as a whole and his parts also, from his abundant bestowal of good gifts. For he exercises control over all movement, even to the lowest plane of the universe. And everywhere he makes all things perfect, nature and soul and everything that exists. And marshalling together this great army of the gods into a single commanding unity, he handed it over to Athene Pronoia who, as the legend says, sprang from the head of Zeus, but I say that she was sent forth from Helios whole from the whole of him, being contained within him; though 1 disagree with the legend only so far as I assert that she came forth not from his highest part, but whole from the whole of him. For in other respects, since I believe that Zeus is in no wise different from Helios, I agree with that ancient tradition. And in using this very phrase Athene Pronoia, I am not innovating, if I rightly understand the words: "He came to Pytho and to grey-eyed Pronoia." This proves that the ancients also thought that Athene Pronoia shared the throne of Apollo, who, as we believe, differs in no way from Helios. Indeed, did not Homer by divine inspiration — for he was, we may suppose, possessed by a god — reveal this truth, when he says often in his poems: "May I be honoured even as Athene and Apollo were honoured" — by Zeus, that is to say, who is identical with Helios? And just as King Apollo, through the singleness of his thoughts, is associated with Helios, so also we must believe that Athene has received her nature from Helios, and that she is his intelligence in perfect form: and so she binds together the gods who are assembled about Helios and brings them without confusion into unity with Helios, the King of the All: and she distributes and is the channel for stainless and pure life throughout the seven spheres, from the highest vault of the heavens as far as Selene the Moon: for Selene is the last of the heavenly spheres which Athene fills with wisdom: and by her aid Selene beholds the intelligible which is higher than the heavens, and adorns with its forms the realm of matter that lies below her, and thus she does away with its savagery and confusion and disorder. Moreover to mankind Athene gives the blessings of wisdom and intelligence and the creative arts. And surely she dwells in the capitols of cities because, through her wisdom, she has established the community of the state. I have still to say a few words about Aphrodite, who, as the wise men among the Phoenicians affirm, and as I believe, assists Helios in his creative function. She is, in very truth, a synthesis of the heavenly gods, and in their harmony she is the spirit of love and unity. For she is very near to Helios, and when she pursues the same course as he and approaches him, she fills the skies with fair weather and gives generative power to the earth: for she herself takes thought for the continuous birth of living things. And though of that continuous birth King Helios is the primary creative cause, yet Aphrodite is the joint cause with him, she who enchants our souls with her charm and sends down to earth from the upper air rays of light most sweet and stainless, aye, more lustrous than gold itself. I desire to mete out to you still more of the theology of the Phoenicians, and whether it be to some purpose my argument as it proceeds will show. The inhabitants of Emesa, a place from time immemorial sacred to Helios, associate with Helios in their temples Monimos and Azizos. Iamblichus, from whom I have taken this and all besides, a little from a great store, says that the secret meaning to be interpreted is that Monimos is Hermes and Azizos Ares, the assessors of Helios, who are the channel for many blessings to the region of our earth.
Such then are the works of Helios in the heavens, and, when completed by means of the gods whom I have named, they reach even unto the furthest bounds of the earth. But to tell the number of all his works in the region below the moon would take too long. Nevertheless I must describe them also in a brief summary. Now I am aware that I mentioned them earlier when I claimed that from things visible we could observe the invisible properties of the god's substance, but the argument demands that I should expound them now also, in their proper order.
I said then that Helios holds sway among the intellectual gods in that he unites into one, about his own undivided substance, a great multitude of the gods: and further, I demonstrated that among the gods whom we can perceive, who revolve eternally in their most blessed path, he is leader and lord; since he bestows on their nature its generative power, and fills the whole heavens not only with visible rays of light but with countless other blessings that are invisible; and, further, that the blessings which are abundantly supplied by the other visible gods are made perfect by him, and that even prior to this the visible gods themselves are made perfect by his unspeakable and divine activity. In the same manner we must believe that on this our world of generation certain gods have alighted who are linked together with Helios: and these gods guide the four-fold nature of the elements, and inhabit, together with the three higher races, those souls which are upborne by the elements. But for the divided souls also, of how many blessings is he the cause! For he extends to them the faculty of judging, and guides them with justice, and purifies them by his brilliant light. Again, does he not set . in motion the whole of nature and kindle life therein, by bestowing on it generative power from on high? But for the divided natures also, is not he the cause that they journey to their appointed end? For Aristotle says that man is begotten by man and the sun together. Accordingly the same theory about King Helios must surely apply to all the other activities of the divided souls. Again, does he not produce for us rain and wind and the clouds in the skies, by employing, as though it were matter, the two kinds of vapour? For when he heats the earth he draws up steam and smoke, and from these there arise not only the clouds but also all the physical changes on our earth, both great and small.
But why do I deal with the same questions at such length, when I am free at last to come to my goal, though not till I have first celebrated all the blessings that Helios has given to mankind? For from him are we born, and by him are we nourished. But his more divine gifts, and all that he bestows on our souls when he frees them from the body and then lifts them up on high to the region of those substances that are akin to the god; and the fineness and vigour of his divine rays, which are assigned as a sort of vehicle for the safe descent of our souls into this world of generation; all this, I say, let others celebrate in fitting strains, but let me believe it rather than demonstrate its truth. However, I need not hesitate to discuss so much as is known to all. Plato says that the sky is our instructor in wisdom. For from its contemplation we have learned to know the nature of number, whose distinguishing characteristics we know only from the course of the sun. Plato himself says that day and night were created first. And next, from observing the moon's light, which was bestowed on the goddess by Helios, we later progressed still further in the understanding of these matters: in every case conjecturing the harmony of all things with this god. For Plato himself says somewhere that our race was by nature doomed to toil, and so the gods pitied us and gave us Dionysus and the Muses as playfellows. And we recognised that Helios is their common lord, since he is celebrated as the father of Dionysus and the leader of the Muses. And has not Apollo, who is his colleague in empire, set up oracles in every part of the earth, and given to men inspired wisdom, and regulated their cities by means of religious and political ordinances? And he has civilised the greater part of the world by means of Greek colonies, and so made it easier for the world to be governed by the Romans. For the Romans themselves not only belong to the Greek race, but also the sacred ordinances and the pious belief in the gods which they have established and maintain are, from beginning to end, Greek. And beside this they have established a constitution not inferior to that of any one of the best governed states, if indeed it be not superior to all others that have ever been put into practice. For which reason I myself recognise that our city is Greek, both in descent and as to its constitution.
Shall I now go on to tell you how Helios took thought for the health and safety of all men by begetting Asclepios to be the saviour of the whole world? and how he bestowed on us every kind of excellence by sending down to us Aphrodite together with Athene, and thus laid down for our protection what is almost a law, that we should only unite to beget our kind? Surely it is for this reason that, in agreement with the course of the sun, all plants and all the tribes of living things are aroused to bring forth their kind. What need is there for me to glorify his beams and his light? For surely everyone knows how terrible is night without a moon or stars, so that from this he can calculate how great a boon for us is the light of the sun? And this very light he supplies at night, without ceasing, and directly, from the moon in those upper spaces where it is needed, while he grants us through the night a truce from toil. But there would be no limit to the account if one should endeavour to describe all his gifts of this sort. For there is no single blessing in our lives which we do not receive as a gift from this god, either perfect from him alone, or, through the other gods, perfected by him.
Moreover he is the founder of our city. For not only does Zeus, who is glorified as the father of all things, inhabit its citadel together with Athene and Aphrodite, but Apollo also dwells on the Palatine Hill, and Helios himself under this name of his which is commonly known to all and familiar to all. And I could say much to prove that we, the sons of Romulus and Aeneas, are in every way and in all respects connected with him, but I will mention briefly only what is most familiar. According to the legend, Aeneas is the son of Aphrodite, who is subordinate to Helios and is his kinswoman. And the tradition has been handed down that the founder of our city was the son of Ares, and the paradoxical element in the tale has been believed because of the portents which later appeared to support it. For a she-wolf, they say, gave him suck. Now I am aware that Ares, who is called Azizos by the Syrians who inhabit Emesa, precedes Helios in the sacred procession, but I mentioned it before, so I think I may let that pass. But why is the wolf sacred only to Ares and not to Helios? Yet men call the period of a year "lycabas," which is derived from "wolf." And not only Homer and the famous men of Greece call it by this name, but also the god himself, when he says: "With dancing does he bring to a close his journey of twelve months, even the lycabas." Now do you wish me to bring forward a still greater proof that the founder of our city was sent down to earth, not by Ares alone, though perhaps some noble daemon with the character of Ares did take part in the fashioning of his mortal body, even he who is said to have visited Silvia when she was carrying water for the bath of the goddess, but the whole truth is that the soul of the god Quirinus came down to earth from Helios; for we must, I think, believe the sacred tradition. And the close conjunction of Helios and Selene, who share the empire over the visible world, even as it had caused his soul to descend to earth, in like manner caused to mount upwards him whom it received back from the earth, after blotting out with fire from a thunderbolt the mortal part of his body. So clearly did she who creates earthly matter, she whose place is at the furthest point below the sun, receive Quirinus when he was sent down to earth by Athene, goddess of Forethought; and when he took flight again from earth she led him back straightway to Helios, the King of the All.
Do you wish me to mention yet another proof of this, I mean the work of King Numa? In Rome maiden priestesses guard the undying flame of the sun at different hours in turn; they guard the fire that is produced on earth by the agency of the god. And I can tell you a still greater proof of the power of this god, which is the work of that most divine king himself. The months are reckoned from the moon by, one may say, all other peoples; but we and the Egyptians alone reckon the days of every year according to the movements of the sun. If after this I should say that we also worship Mithras, and celebrate games in honour of Helios every four years, I shall be speaking of customs that are somewhat recent. But perhaps it is better to cite a proof from the remote past. The beginning of the cycle of the year is placed at different times by different peoples. Some place it at the spring equinox, others at the height of summer, and many in the late autumn; but they each and all sing the praises of the most visible gifts of Helios. One nation celebrates the season best adapted for work in the fields, when the earth bursts into bloom and exults, when all the crops are just beginning to sprout, and the sea begins to be safe for sailing, and the disagreeable, gloomy winter puts on a more cheerful aspect; others again award the crown to the summer season, since at that time they can safely feel confidence about the yield of the fruits, when the grains have already been harvested and midsummer is now at its height, and the fruits on the trees are ripening. Others again, with still more subtlety, regard as the close of the year the time when all the fruits are in their perfect prime and decay has already set in. For this reason they celebrate the annual festival of the New Year in late autumn. But our forefathers, from the time of the most divine king Numa, paid still greater reverence to the god Helios. They ignored the question of mere utility, I think, because they were naturally religious and endowed with unusual intelligence; but they saw that he is the cause of all that is useful, and so they ordered the observance of the New Year to correspond with the present season; that is to say when King Helios returns to us again, and leaving the region furthest south and, rounding Capricorn as though it were a goal-post, advances from the south to the north to give us our share of the blessings of the year. And that our forefathers, because they comprehended this correctly, thus established the beginning of the year, one may perceive from the following. For it was not, I think, the time when the god turns, but the time when he becomes visible to all men, as he travels from south to north, that they appointed for the festival. For still unknown to them was the nicety of those laws which the Chaldaeans and Egyptians discovered, and which Hipparchus and Ptolemy perfected: but they judged simply by sense-perception, and were limited to what they could actually see.
But the truth of these facts was recognised, as I said, by a later generation. Before the beginning of the year, at the end of the month which is called after Kronos, we celebrate in honour of Helios the most splendid games, and we dedicate the festival to the Invincible Sun. And after this it is not lawful to perform any of the shows that belong to the last month, gloomy as they are, though necessary. But, in the cycle, immediately after the end of the Kronia follow the Heliaia. That festival may the ruling gods grant me to praise and to celebrate with sacrifice! And above all the others may Helios himself, the King of the All, grant me this, even he who from eternity has proceeded from the generative substance of the Good: even he who is midmost of the midmost intellectual gods; who fills them with continuity and endless beauty and superabundance of generative power and perfect reason, yea with all blessings at once, and independently of time! And now he illumines his own visible abode, which from eternity moves as the centre of the whole heavens, and bestows a share of intelligible beauty on the whole visible world, and fills the whole heavens with the same number of gods as he contains in himself in intellectual form. And without division they reveal themselves in manifold form surrounding him, but they are attached to him to form a unity. Aye, but also, through his perpetual generation and the blessings that he bestows from the heavenly bodies, he holds together the region beneath the moon. For he cares for the whole human race in common, but especially for my own city, even as also he brought into being my soul from eternity, and made it his follower. All this, therefore, that I prayed for a moment ago, may he grant, and further may he, of his grace, endow my city as a whole with eternal existence, so far as is possible, and protect her; and for myself personally, may he grant that, so long as I am permitted to live, I may prosper in my affairs both human and divine; finally may he grant me to live and serve the state with my life, so long as is pleasing to himself and well for me and expedient for the Roman Empire!
This discourse, friend Sallust, I composed in three nights at most, in harmony with the three-fold creative power of the god, as far as possible just as it occurred to my memory: and I have ventured to write it down and to dedicate it to you because you thought my earlier work on the Kronia was not wholly worthless. But if you wish to meet with a more complete and more mystical treatment of the same theme, then read the writings of the inspired Iamblichus on this subject, and you will find there the most consummate wisdom which man can achieve. And may mighty Helios grant that I too may attain to no less perfect knowledge of himself, and that I may instruct all men, speaking generally, but especially those who are worthy to learn. And so long as Helios grants let us all in common revere Iamblichus, the beloved of the gods. For he is the source for what I have here set down, a few thoughts from many, as they occurred to my mind. However I know well that no one can utter anything more perfect than he, nay not though he should labour long at the task and say very much that is new. For he will naturally diverge thereby from the truest knowledge of the god. Therefore it would probably have been a vain undertaking to compose anything after Iamblichus on the same subject if I had written this discourse for the sake of giving instruction. But since I wished to compose a hymn to express my gratitude to the god, I thought that this was the best place in which to tell, to the best of my power, of his essential nature. And so I think that not in vain has this discourse been composed. For the saying "To the extent of your powers offer sacrifice to the immortal gods," I apply not to sacrifice only, but also to the praises that we offer to the gods. For the third time, therefore, I pray that Helios, the King of the All, may be gracious to me in recompense for this my zeal; and may he grant me a virtuous life and more perfect wisdom and inspired intelligence, and, when fate wills, the gentlest exit that may be from life, at a fitting hour; and that I may ascend to him thereafter and abide with him, for ever if possible, but if that be more than the actions of my life deserve, for many periods of many years!
|5 Hymn to the mother of the gods
Ought I to say something on this subject also? And shall I write about things not to be spoken of and divulge what ought not to be divulged? Shall I utter the unutterable? Who is Attis or Gallus, who is the Mother of the Gods, and what is the manner of their ritual of purification? And further why was it introduced in the beginning among us Romans? It was handed down by the Phrygians in very ancient times, and was first taken over by the Greeks, and not by any ordinary Greeks but by Athenians who had learned by experience that they did wrong to jeer at one who was celebrating the Mysteries of the Mother. For it is said that they wantonly insulted and drove out Gallus, on the ground that he was introducing a new cult, because they did not understand what sort of goddess they had to do with, and that she was that very Deo whom they worship, and Rhea and Demeter too. Then followed the wrath of the goddess and the propitiation of her wrath. For the priestess of the Pythian god who guided the Greeks in all noble conduct, bade them propitiate the wrath of the Mother of the Gods. And so, we are told, the Metroum was built, where the Athenians used to keep all their state records. After the Greeks the Romans took over the cult, when the Pythian god had advised them in their turn to bring the goddess from Phrygia as an ally for their war against the Carthaginians. And perhaps there is no reason why I should not insert here a brief account of what happened. When they learned the response of the oracle, the inhabitants of Rome, that city beloved of the gods, sent an embassy to ask from the kings of Pergamon who then ruled over Phrygia and from the Phrygians themselves the most holy statue of the goddess. And when they had received it they brought back their most sacred freight, putting it on a broad cargo-boat which could sail smoothly over those wide seas. Thus she crossed the Aegean and Ionian Seas, and sailed round Sicily and over the Etruscan Sea, and so entered the mouth of the Tiber. And the people and the Senate with them poured out of the city, and in front of all the others there came to meet her all the priests and priestesses in suitable attire according to their ancestral custom. And in excited suspense they gazed at the ship as she ran before a fair wind, and about her keel they could discern the foaming wake as she cleft the waves. And they greeted the ship as she sailed in and adored her from afar, everyone where he happened to be standing. But the goddess, as though she desired to show the Roman people that they were not bringing a lifeless image from Phrygia, but that what they had received from the Phrygians and were now bringing home possessed greater and more divine powers than an image, stayed the ship directly she touched the Tiber, and she was suddenly as though rooted in mid-stream, So they tried to tow her against the current, but she did not follow. Then they tried to push her off, thinking they had grounded on a shoal, but for all their efforts she did not move. Next every possible device was brought to bear, but in spite of all she remained immovable. Thereupon a terrible and unjust suspicion fell on the maiden who had been consecrated to the most sacred office of priestess, and they began to accuse Claudia — for that was the name of that noble maiden — of not having kept herself stainless and pure for the goddess; wherefore they said that the goddess was angry and was plainly declaring her wrath. For by this time the thing seemed to all to be supernatural. Now at first she was filled with shame at the mere name of the thing and the suspicion; so very far was she from such shameless and lawless behaviour. But when she saw that the charge against her was gaining strength, she took off her girdle and fastened it about the prow of the ship, and, like one divinely inspired, bade all stand aside: and then she besought the goddess not to suffer her to be thus implicated in unjust slanders. Next, as the story goes, she cried aloud as though it were some nautical word of command, "O Goddess Mother, if I am pure follow me!" And lo, she not only made the ship move, but even towed her for some distance up stream. Two things, I think, the goddess showed the Romans on that day: first that the freight they were bringing from Phrygia had no small value, but was priceless, and that this was no work of men's hands but truly divine, not lifeless clay but a thing possessed of life and divine powers. This, I say, was one thing that the goddess showed them. And the other was that no one of the citizens could be good or bad and she not know thereof. Moreover the war of the Romans against the Carthaginians forthwith took a favourable turn, so that the third war was waged only for the walls of Carthage itself.
As for this narrative, though some will think it incredible and wholly unworthy of a philosopher or a theologian, nevertheless let it here be related. For besides the fact that it is commonly recorded by most historians, it has been preserved too on bronze statues in mighty Rome, beloved of the gods. And yet I am well aware that some over-wise persons will call it an old wives' tale, not to be credited. But for my part I would rather trust the traditions of cities than those too clever people, whose puny souls are keen-sighted enough, but never do they see aught that is sound.
I am told that on this same subject of which I am impelled to speak at the very season of these sacred rites, Porphyry too has written a philosophic treatise. But since I have never met with it I do not know whether at any point it may chance to agree with my discourse. But him whom I call Gallus or Attis I discern of my own knowledge to be the substance of generative and creative Mind which engenders all things down to the lowest plane of matter, and comprehends in itself all the concepts and causes of the forms that are embodied in matter. For truly the forms of all things are not in all things, and in the highest and first causes we do not find the forms of the lowest and last, after which there is nothing save privation coupled with a dim idea. Now there are many substances and very many creative gods, but the nature of the third creator, who contains in himself the separate concepts of the forms that are embodied in matter and also the connected chain of causes, I mean that nature which is last in order, and through its superabundance of generative power descends even unto our earth through the upper region from the stars, — this is he whom we seek, even Attis. But perhaps 1 ought to distinguish more clearly what I mean. We assert that matter exists and also form embodied in matter. But if no cause be assigned prior to these two, we should be introducing, unconsciously, the Epicurean doctrine. For if there be nothing of higher order than these two principles, then a spontaneous motion and chance brought them together. "But," says some acute Peripatetic like Xenarchus, "we see that the cause of these is the fifth or cyclic substance. Aristotle is absurd when he investigates and discusses these matters, and Theophrastus likewise. At any rate he overlooked the implications of a well-known utterance of his. For just as when he came to incorporeal and intelligible substance he stopped short and did not inquire into its cause, and merely asserted that this is what it is by nature; surely in the case of the fifth substance also he ought to have assumed that its nature is to be thus; and he ought not to have gone on to search for causes, but should have stopped at these, and not fallen back on the intelligible, which has no independent existence by itself, and in any case represents a bare supposition." This is the sort of thing that Xenarchus says, as I remember to have heard. Now whether what he says is correct or not, let us leave to the extreme Peripatetics to refine upon. But that his view is not agreeable to me is, I think, clear to everyone. For I hold that the theories of Aristotle himself are incomplete unless they are brought into harmony with those of Plato; or rather we must make these also agree with the oracles that have been vouchsafed to us by the gods.
But this it is perhaps worth while to inquire, how the cyclic substance can contain the incorporeal causes of the forms that are embodied in matter. For that, apart from these causes, it is not possible for generation to take place is, I think, clear and manifest. For why are there so many kinds of generated things? Whence arise masculine and feminine? Whence the distinguishing characteristics of things according to their species in well-defined types, if there are not pre-existing and pre-established concepts, and causes which existed beforehand to serve as a pattern? And if we discern these causes but dimly, let us still further purify the eyes of the soul. And the right kind of purification is to turn our gaze inwards and to observe how the soul and embodied Mind are a sort of mould and likeness of the forms that are embodied in matter. For in the case of the corporeal, or of things that though incorporeal come into being and are to be studied in connection with the corporeal, there is no single thing whose mental image the mind cannot grasp independently of the corporeal. But this it could not have done if it did not possess something naturally akin to the incorporeal forms. Indeed it is for this reason that Aristotle himself called the soul the "place of the forms," only he said that the forms are there not actually but potentially. Now a soul of this sort, that is allied with matter, must needs possess these forms potentially only, but a soul that should be independent and unmixed in this way we must believe would contain all the concepts, not potentially but actually. Let us make this clearer by means of the example which Plato himself employed in the Sophist, with reference certainly to another theory, but still he did employ it. And I bring forward the illustration, not to prove my argument; for one must not try to grasp it by demonstration, but only by apprehension. For it deals with the first causes, or at least those that rank with the first, if indeed, as it is right to believe, we must regard Attis also as a god. What then, and of what sort is this illustration? Plato says that, if any man whose profession is imitation desire to imitate in such a way that the original is exactly reproduced, this method of imitation is troublesome and difficult, and, by Zeus, borders on the impossible; but pleasant and easy and quite possible is the method which only seems to imitate real things. For instance, when we take up a mirror and turn it round we easily get an impression of all objects, and show the general outline of every single thing. From this example let us go back to the analogy I spoke of, and let the mirror stand for what Aristotle calls the "place of the forms" potentially.
Now the forms themselves must certainly subsist actually before they subsist potentially. If, therefore, the soul in us, as Aristotle himself believed, contains potentially the forms of existing things, where shall we place the forms in that previous state of actuality? Shall it be in material things? No, for the forms that are in them are evidently the last and lowest. Therefore it only remains to search for immaterial causes which exist in actuality prior to and of a higher order than the causes that, are embodied in matter. And our souls must subsist in dependence on these and come forth together with them, and so receive from them the concepts of the forms, as mirrors show the reflections of things; and then with the aid of nature it bestows them on matter and on these material bodies of our world. For we know that nature is the creator of bodies, universal nature in some sort of the All; while that the individual nature of each is the creator of particulars is plainly evident. But nature exists in us in actuality without a mental image, whereas the soul, which is superior to nature, possesses a mental image besides. If therefore we admit that nature contains in herself the cause of things of which she has however no mental image, why, in heaven's name, are we not to assign to the soul these same forms, only in a still higher degree, and with priority over nature, seeing that it is in the soul that we recognise the forms by means of mental images, and comprehend them by means of the concept? Who then is so contentious as to admit on the one hand that the concepts embodied in matter exist in nature — even though not all and equally in actuality, yet all potentially — while on the other hand he refuses to recognise that the same is true of the soul? If therefore the forms exist in nature potentially, but not actually, and if also they exist potentially in the soul, only in a still purer sense and more completely separated, so that they can be comprehended and recognised; but yet exist in actuality nowhere at all; to what, I ask, shall we hang the chain of perpetual generation, and on what shall we base our theories of the imperishability of the universe? For the cyclic substance itself is composed of matter and form. It must therefore follow that, even though in actuality these two, matter and form, are never separate from one another, yet for our intelligence the forms must have prior existence and be regarded as of a higher order. Accordingly, since for the forms embodied in matter a wholly immaterial cause has been assigned, which leads these forms under the hand of the third creator — who for us is the lord and father not only of these forms but also of the visible fifth substance — from that creator we distinguish Attis, the cause which descends even unto matter, and we believe that Attis or Gallus is a god of generative powers. Of him the myth relates that, after being exposed at birth near the eddying stream of the river Gallus, he grew up like a flower, and when he had grown to be fair and tall, he was beloved by the Mother of the Gods. And she entrusted all things to him, and moreover set on his head the starry cap. But if our visible sky covers the crown of Attis, must one not interpret the river Gallus as the Milky Way? For it is there, they say, that the substance which is subject to change mingles with the passionless revolving sphere of the fifth substance. Only as far as this did the Mother of the Gods permit this fair intellectual god Attis, who resembles the sun's rays, to leap and dance. But when he passed beyond this limit and came even to the lowest region, the myth said that he had descended into the cave, and had' wedded the nymph. And the nymph is to be interpreted as the dampness of matter; though the myth does not here mean matter itself, but the lowest immaterial cause which subsists prior to matter. indeed Heracleitus also says: "It is death to souls to become wet." We mean therefore that this Gallus, the intellectual god, the connecting link between forms embodied in matter beneath the region of the moon, is united with the cause that is set over matter, but not in the sense that one sex is united with another, but like an element that is gathered to itself.
Who then is the Mother of the Gods? She is the source of the intellectual and creative gods, who in their turn guide the visible gods: she is both the mother and the spouse of mighty Zeus; she came into being next to and together with the great creator; she is in control of every form of life, and the cause of all generation; she easily brings to perfection all things that are made; without pain she brings to birth, and with the father's aid creates all things that are; she is the motherless maiden, enthroned at the side of Zeus, and in very truth is the Mother of all the Gods. For having received into herself the causes of all the gods, both intelligible and supra-mundane, she became the source of the intellectual gods. Now this goddess, who is also Forethought, was inspired with a passionless love for Attis. For not only the forms embodied in matter, but to a still greater degree the causes of those forms, voluntarily serve her and obey her will. Accordingly the myth relates the following: that she who is the Providence who preserves all that is subject to generation and decay, loved their creative and generative cause, and commanded that cause to beget offspring rather in the intelligible region; and she desired that it should turn towards herself and dwell with her, but condemned it to dwell with no other thing. For only thus would that creative cause strive towards the uniformity that preserves it, and at the same time would avoid that which inclines towards matter. And she bade that cause look towards her, who is the source of the creative gods, and not be dragged down or allured into generation. For in this way was mighty Attis destined to be an even mightier creation, seeing that in all things the conversion to what is higher produces more power to effect than the inclination to what is lower. And the fifth substance itself is more creative and more divine than the elements of our earth, for this reason, that it is more nearly connected with the gods. Not that anyone, surely, would venture to assert that any substance, even if it be composed of the purest aether, is superior to soul undefiled and pure, that of Heracles for instance, as it was when the creator sent it to earth. For that soul of his both seemed to be and was more effective than after it had bestowed itself on a body. Since even Heracles, now that he has returned, one and indivisible, to his father one and indivisible, more easily controls his own province than formerly when he wore the garment of flesh and walked among men. And this shows that in all things the conversion to the higher is more effective than the propensity to the lower. This is what the myth aims to teach us when it says that the Mother of the Gods exhorted Attis not to leave her or to love another. But he went further, and descended even to the lowest limits of matter. Since, however, it was necessary that his limitless course should cease and halt at last, mighty Helios the Corybant, who shares the Mother's throne and with her creates all things, with her has providence for all things, and apart from her does nothing, persuaded the Lion to reveal the matter. And who is the Lion? Verily we are told that he is flame-coloured. He is, therefore, the cause that subsists prior to the hot and fiery, and it was his task to contend against the nymph and to be jealous of her union with Attis. (And who the nymph is, I have said.) And the myth says that the Lion serves the creative Providence of the world, which evidently means the Mother of the Gods. Then it says that by detecting and revealing the truths he caused the youth's castration. What is the meaning of this castration? It is the checking of the unlimited. For now was generation confined within definite forms checked by creative Providence. And this would not have happened without the so-called madness of Attis, which overstepped and transgressed due measure, and thereby made him become weak so that he had no control over himself. And it is not surprising that this should come to pass, when we have to do with the cause that ranks lowest among the gods. For consider the fifth substance, which is subject to no change of any sort, in the region of the light of the moon: I mean where our world of continuous generation and decay borders on the fifth substance. We perceive that in the region of her light it seems to undergo certain alterations and to be affected by external influences. Therefore it is not contradictory to suppose that our Attis also is a sort of demigod — for that is actually the meaning of the myth — or rather for the universe he is wholly god, for he proceeds from the third creator, and after his castration is led upwards again to the Mother of the Gods. But though he seems to lean and incline towards matter, one would not be mistaken in supposing that, though he is the lowest in order of the gods, nevertheless he is the leader of all the tribes of divine beings. But the myth calls him a demigod to indicate the difference between him and the unchanging gods. He is attended by the Corybants who are assigned to him by the Mother; they are the three leading personalities of the higher races that are next in order to the gods. Also Attis rules over the lions, who together with the Lion, who is their leader, have chosen for themselves hot and fiery substance, and so are, first and foremost, the cause of fire. And through the heat derived from fire they are the causes of motive force and of preservation for all other things that exist. And Attis encircles the heavens like a tiara, and thence sets out as though to descend to earthy
This, then, is our mighty god Attis. This explains his once lamented flight and concealment and disappearance and descent into the cave. In proof of this let me cite the time of year at which it happens. For we are told that the sacred tree is felled on the day when the sun reaches the height of the equinox. Thereupon the trumpets are sounded. And on the third day the sacred and unspeakable member of the god Gallus is severed. Next comes, they say, the Hilaria and the festival. And that this castration, so much discussed by the crowd, is really the halting of his unlimited course, is evident from what happens directly mighty Helios touches the cycle of the equinox, where the bounds are most clearly defined. (For the even is bounded, but the uneven is without bounds, and there is no way through or out of it.) At that time then, precisely, according to the account we have, the sacred tree is felled. Thereupon, in their proper order, all the other ceremonies take place. Some of them are celebrated with the secret ritual of the Mysteries, but others by a ritual that can be told to all. For instance, the cutting of the tree belongs to the story of Gallus and not to the Mysteries at all, but it has been taken over by them, I think because the gods wished to teach us, in symbolic fashion, that we must pluck the fairest fruits from the earth, namely, virtue and piety, and offer them to the goddess to be the symbol of our well-ordered constitution here on earth. For the tree grows from the soil, but it strives upwards as though to reach the upper air, and it is fair to behold and gives us shade in the heat, and casts before us and bestows on us its fruits as a boon; such is its superabundance of generative life. Accordingly the ritual enjoins on us, who by nature belong to the heavens but have fallen to earth, to reap the harvest of our constitution here on earth, namely, virtue and piety, and then strive upwards to the goddess of our forefathers, to her who is the principle of all life.
Therefore, immediately after the castration, the trumpet sounds the recall for Attis and for all of us who once flew down from heaven and fell to earth. And after this signal, when King Attis stays his limitless course by his castration, the god bids us also root out the unlimited in ourselves and imitate the gods our leaders and hasten back to the defined and uniform, and, if it be possible, to the One itself. After this, the Hilaria must by all means follow. For what could be more blessed, what more joyful than a soul which has escaped from limitlessness and generation and inward Storm, and has been translated up to the very gods? And Attis himself was such a one, and the Mother of the Gods by no means allowed him to advance unregarded further than was permitted: nay, she made him turn towards herself, and commanded him to set a limit to his limitless course.
But let no one suppose my meaning to be that this was ever done or happened in a way that implies that the gods themselves are ignorant of what they intend to do, or that they have to correct their own errors. But our ancestors in every case tried to trace the original meanings of things, whether with the guidance of the gods or independently — though perhaps it would be better to say that they sought for them under the leadership of the gods — then when they had discovered those meanings they clothed them in paradoxical myths. This was in order that, by means of the paradox and the incongruity, the fiction might be detected and we might be induced to search out the truth. Now I think ordinary men derive benefit enough from the irrational myth which instructs them through symbols alone. But those who are more highly endowed with wisdom will find the truth about the gods helpful; though only on condition that such a man examine and discover and comprehend it under the leadership of the gods, and if by such riddles as these he is reminded that he must search out their meaning, and so attains to the goal and summit of his quest through his own researches; he must not be modest and put faith in the opinions of others rather than in his own mental powers.
What shall I say now by way of summary? Because men observed that, as far as the fifth substance, not only the intelligible world but also the visible bodies of our world must be classed as unaffected by externals and divine, they believed that, as far as the fifth substance, the gods are uncompounded. And when by means of that generative substance the visible gods came into being, and, from everlasting, matter was produced along with those gods, from them and through their agency, by reason of the superabundance in them of the generative and creative principle; then the Providence of the world, she who from everlasting is of the same essential nature as the gods, she who is enthroned by the side of King Zeus, and moreover is the source of the intellectual gods, set in order and corrected and changed for the better all that seemed lifeless and barren, the refuse and so to speak offscourings of things, their dregs and sediment: and this she did by means of the last cause derived from the gods, in which the substances of all the gods come to an end.
For it is evident that Attis of whom I speak, who wears the tiara set with stars, took for the foundation of his own dominion the functions of every god as we see them applied to the visible world. And in his case all is undefiled and pure as far as the Milky Way. But, at this very point, that which is troubled by passion begins to mingle with the passionless, and from that union matter begins to subsist. And so the association of Attis with matter is the descent into the cave, nor did this take place against the will of the gods and the Mother of the Gods, though the myth says that it was against their will. For by their nature the gods dwell in a higher world, and the higher powers do not desire to drag them hence down to our world: rather through the condescension of the higher they desire to lead the things of our earth upwards to a higher plane more favoured by the gods. And in fact the myth does not say that the Mother of the Gods was hostile to Attis after his castration: but it says that though she is no longer angry, she was angry at the time on account of his condescension, in that he who was a higher being and a god had given himself to that which was inferior. But when, after staying his limitless progress, he has set in order the chaos of our world through his sympathy with the cycle of the equinox, where mighty Helios controls the most perfect symmetry of his motion within due limits, then the goddess gladly leads him upwards to herself, or rather keeps him by her side. And never did this happen save in the manner that it happens now; but forever is Attis the servant and charioteer of the Mother; forever he yearns passionately towards generation; and forever he cuts short his unlimited course through the cause whose limits are fixed, even the cause of the forms. In like manner the myth says that he is led upwards as though from our earth, and again resumes his ancient sceptre and dominion: not that he ever lost it, or ever loses it now, but the myth says that he lost it on account of his union with that which is subject to passion and change.
But perhaps it is worth while to raise the following question also. There are two equinoxes, but men pay more honour to the equinox in the sign of Capricorn than to that in the sign of Cancer. Surely the reason for this is evident. Since the sun begins to approach us immediately after the spring equinox, — for I need not say that then the days begin to lengthen, — this seemed the more agreeable season. For apart from the explanation which says that light accompanies the gods, we must believe that the uplifting rays of the sun are nearly akin to those who yearn to be set free from generation. Consider it clearly: the sun, by his vivifying and marvellous heat, draws up all things from the earth and calls them forth and makes them grow; and he separates, I think, all corporeal things to the utmost degree of tenuity, and makes things weigh light that naturally have a tendency to sink. We ought then to make these visible things proofs of his unseen powers. For if among corporeal things he can bring this about through his material heat, how should he not draw and lead upwards the souls of the blessed by the agency of the invisible, wholly immaterial, divine and pure substance which resides in his rays? We have seen then that this light is nearly akin to the god, and to those who yearn to mount upwards, and moreover, that this light increases in our world, so that when Helios begins to enter the sign of Capricorn the day becomes longer than the night. It has also been demonstrated that the god's rays are by nature uplifting; and this is due to his energy, both visible and invisible, by which very many souls have been lifted up out of the region of the senses, because they were guided by that sense which is clearest of all and most nearly like the sun. For when with our eyes we perceive the sun's light, not only is it welcome and useful for our lives, but also, as the divine Plato said when he sang its praises, it is our guide to wisdom. And if I should also touch on the secret teaching of the Mysteries in which the Chaldean, divinely frenzied, celebrated the God of the Seven Rays, that god through whom he lifts up the souls of men, I should be saying what is unintelligible, yea wholly unintelligible to the common herd, but familiar to the happy theurgists. And so I will for the present be silent on that subject.
I was saying that we ought not to suppose that the ancients appointed the season of the rites irrationally, but rather as far as possible with plausible and true grounds of reason; and indeed a proof of this is that the goddess herself chose as her province the cycle of the equinox. For the most holy and secret Mysteries of Deo and the Maiden are celebrated when the sun is in the sign of Libra, and this is quite natural. For when the gods depart we must consecrate ourselves afresh, so that we may suffer no harm from the godless power of darkness that now begins to get the upper hand. At any rate the Athenians celebrate the Mysteries of Deo twice in the year, the Lesser Mysteries as they call them in the sign of Capricorn, and the Great Mysteries when the sun is in the sign of Cancer, and this for the reason that I have just mentioned. And I think that these Mysteries are called Great and Lesser for several reasons, but especially, as is natural, they are called great when the god departs rather than when he approaches; and so the Lesser are celebrated only by way of reminder. I mean that when the saving and uplifting god approaches, the preliminary rites of the Mysteries take place. Then a little later follow the rites of purification, one after another, and the consecration of the priests. Then when the god departs to the antipodes, the most important ceremonies of the Mysteries are performed, for our protection and salvation. And observe the following: As in the festival of the Mother the instrument of generation is severed, so too with the Athenians, those who take part in the secret rites are wholly chaste and their leader the hierophant forswears generation; because he must not have aught to do with the progress to the unlimited, but only with the substance whose bounds are fixed, so that it abides for ever and is contained in the One, stainless and pure. On this subject I have said enough.
It only remains now to speak, as is fitting, about the sacred rite itself, and the purification, so that from these also I may borrow whatever contributes to my argument. For example, everyone thinks that the following is ridiculous. The sacred ordinance allows men to eat meat, but it forbids them to eat grains and fruits. What, say they, are not the latter lifeless, whereas the former was once possessed of life? Are not fruits pure, whereas meat is full of blood and of much else that offends eye and ear? But most important of all is it not the case that, when one eats fruit nothing is hurt, while the eating of meat involves the sacrifice and slaughter of animals who naturally suffer pain and torment? So would say many even of the wisest. But the following ordinance is ridiculed by the most impious of mankind also. They observe that whereas vegetables that grow upwards can be eaten, roots are forbidden, turnips, for instance; and they point out that figs are allowed, but not pomegranates or apples either. I have often heard many men saying this in whispers, and I too in former days have said the same, but now it seems that I alone of all men am bound to be deeply grateful to the ruling gods, to all of them, surely, but above all the rest to the Mother of the Gods. For all things am I grateful to her, and for this among the rest, that she did not disregard me when I wandered as it were in darkness. For first she bade me cut off no part indeed of my body, but by the aid of the intelligible cause that subsists prior to our souls, all that was superfluous and vain in the impulses and motions of my own soul. And that cause gave me, to aid my understanding, certain beliefs which are perhaps not wholly out of harmony with the true and sacred knowledge of the gods. But it looks as though, not knowing what to say next, I were turning round in a circle. I can, however, give clear and manifest reasons in every single case why we are not allowed to eat this food which is forbidden by the sacred ordinance, and presently I will do this. But for the moment it is better to bring forward certain forms, so to speak, and regulations which we must observe in order to be able to decide about these matters, though perhaps, owing to my haste, my argument may pass some evidence by.
First I had better remind you in a few words who, I said Attis is; and what his castration means; and what is symbolised by the ceremonies that occur between the castration and the Hilaria: and what is meant by the rite of purification. Attis then was declared to be an original cause and a god, the direct creator of the material world, who descends to the lowest limits and is checked by the creative motion of the sun so soon as that god reaches the exactly limited circuit of the universe, which is called the equinox because of its effect in equalising night and day. And I said that the castration meant the checking of limitlessness, which could only be brought about through the summons and resurrection of Attis to the more venerable and commanding causes. And I said that the end and aim of the rite of purification is the ascent of our souls.
For this reason then the ordinance forbids us first to eat those fruits that grow downwards in the earth. For the earth is the last and lowest of things. And Plato also says that evil, exiled from the gods, now moves on earth; and in the oracles the gods often call the earth refuse, and exhort us to escape thence. And so, in the first place, the life-generating god who is our providence does not allow us to use to nourish our bodies fruits that grow under the earth; and thereby enjoins that we turn our eyes towards the heavens, or rather above the heavens. One kind of fruit of the earth, however, some people do eat, I mean fruit in pods, because they regard this as a vegetable rather than a fruit, since it grows with a sort of upward tendency and is upright, and not rooted below the soil; I mean that it is rooted like the fruit of the ivy that hangs on a tree or of the vine that hangs on a stem. For this reason then we are forbidden to eat seeds and certain plants, but we are allowed to eat fruit and vegetables, only not those that creep on the ground, but those that are raised up from the earth and hang high in the air. It is surely for this reason that the ordinance bids us also avoid that part of the turnip which inclines to the earth since it belongs to the under world, but allows us to eat that part which grows upwards and attains to some height, since by that very fact it is pure. In fact it allows us to eat any vegetables that grow upwards, but forbids us roots, and especially those which are nourished in and influenced by the earth. Moreover in the case of trees it does not allow us to destroy and consume apples, for these are sacred and golden and are the symbols of secret and mystical rewards. Rather are they worthy to be reverenced and worshipped for the sake of their archetypes. And pomegranates are forbidden because they belong to the under-world; and the fruit of the date-palm, perhaps one might say because the date-palm does not grow in Phrygia where the ordinance was first established. But my own theory is rather that it is because this tree is sacred to the sun, and is perennial, that we are forbidden to use it to nourish our bodies during the sacred rites. Besides these, the use of all kinds of fish is forbidden. This is a question of interest to the Egyptians as well as to ourselves. Now my opinion is that for two reasons we ought to abstain from fish, at all times if possible, but above all during the sacred rites. One reason is that it is not fitting that we should eat what we do not use in sacrifices to the gods. And perhaps I need not be afraid that hereupon some greedy person who is the slave of his belly will take me up, though as I remember that very thing happened to me once before; and then I heard someone objecting: "What do you mean? Do we not often sacrifice fish to the gods?" But I had an answer ready for this question also. "My good sir," I said, "it is true that we make offerings of fish in certain mystical sacrifices, just as the Romans sacrifice the horse and many other animals too, both wild and domesticated, and as the Greeks and the Romans too sacrifice dogs to Hecate. And among other nations also many other animals are offered in the mystic cults; and sacrifices of that sort take place publicly in their cities once or twice a year. But that is not the custom in the sacrifices which we honour most highly, in which alone the gods deign to join us and to share our table. In those most honoured sacrifices we do not offer fish, for the reason that we do not tend fish, nor look after the breeding of them, and we do not keep flocks of fish as we do of sheep and cattle. For since we foster these animals and they multiply accordingly, it is only right that they should serve for all our uses and above all for the sacrifices that we honour most." This then is one reason why I think we ought not to use fish for food at the time of the rite of purification. The second reason which is, I think, even more in keeping with what I have just said, is that, since fish also, in a manner of speaking, go down into the lowest depths, they, even more than seeds, belong to the under-world. But he who longs to take flight upwards and to mount aloft above this atmosphere of ours, even to the highest peaks of the heavens, would do well to abstain from all such food. He will rather pursue and follow after things that tend upwards towards the air, and strive to the utmost height, and, if I may use a poetic phrase, look upward to the skies. Birds, for example, we may eat, except only those few which are commonly held sacred, and ordinary four-footed animals, except the pig. This animal is banned as food during the sacred rites because by its shape and way of life, and the very nature of its substance — for its flesh is impure and coarse — it belongs wholly to the earth. And therefore men came to believe that it was an acceptable offering to the gods of the under-world. For this animal does not look up at the sky, not only because it has no such desire, but because it is so made that it can never look upwards. These then are the reasons that have been given by the divine ordinance for abstinence from such food as we ought to renounce. And we who comprehend share our knowledge with those who know the nature of the gods.
And to the question what food is permitted I will only say this. The divine law does not allow all kinds of food to all men., but takes into account what is possible to human nature and allows us to eat most animals, as I have said. It is not as though we must all of necessity eat all kinds — for perhaps that would not be convenient — but we are to use first what our physical powers allow; secondly, what is at hand in abundance; thirdly, we are to exercise our own wills. But at the season of the sacred ceremonies we ought to exert those wills to the utmost so that we may attain to what is beyond our ordinary physical powers, and thus may be eager and willing to obey the divine ordinances. For it is by all means more effective for the salvation of the soul itself that one should pay greater heed to its safety than to the safety of the body. And moreover the body too seems thereby to share insensibly in that great and marvellous benefit. For when the soul abandons herself wholly to the gods, and entrusts her own concerns absolutely to the higher powers, and then follow the sacred rites — these too being preceded by the divine ordinances — then, I say, since there is nothing to hinder or prevent — for all things reside in the gods, all things subsist in relation to them, all things are filled with the gods — straightway the divine light illumines our souls. And thus endowed with divinity they impart a certain vigour and energy to the breath implanted in them by nature; and so that breath is hardened as it were and strengthened by the soul, and hence gives health to the whole body. For I think not one of the sons of Asclepios would deny that all diseases, or at any rate very many and those the most serious, are caused by the disturbance and derangement of the breathing. Some doctors assert that all diseases, others that the greater number and the most serious and hardest to cure, are due to this. Moreover the oracles of the gods bear witness thereto, I mean that by the rite of purification not the soul alone but the body as well is greatly benefited and preserved. Indeed the gods when they exhort those theurgists who are especially holy, announce to them that their "mortal husk of raw matter" shall be preserved from perishing.
And now what is left for me to say? Especially since it was granted me to compose this hymn at a breath, in the short space of one night, without having read anything on the subject beforehand, or thought it over. Nay, I had not even planned to speak thereof until the moment that I asked for these writing-tablets. May the goddess bear witness to the truth of my words! Nevertheless, as I said before, does there not still remain for me to celebrate the goddess in her union with Athene and Dionysus? For the sacred law established their festivals at the very time of her sacred rites. And I recognise the kinship of Athene and the Mother of the Gods through the similarity of the forethought that inheres in the substance of both goddesses. And I discern also the divided creative function of Dionysus, which great Dionysus, received from the single and abiding principle or life that is in mighty Zeus. For from Zeus he proceeded, and he bestows that me on all things visible, controlling and governing the creation of the whole divisible world. Together with these gods we ought to celebrate Hermes Epaphroditus. For so this god is entitled by the initiated, who say that he kindles the torches for wise Attis. And who has a soul so dense as not to understand that through Hermes and Aphrodite are invoked all generated things everywhere, since they everywhere and throughout have a purpose which is peculiarly appropriate to the Logos? But is not this Logos Attis, who not long ago was out of his senses, but now through his castration is called wise? Yes, he was out of his senses because he preferred matter and presides over generation, but he is wise because he adorned and transformed this refuse, our earth, with such beauty as no human art or cunning could imitate. But how shall I conclude my discourse? Surely with this hymn to the Great Goddess.
O Mother of gods and men, thou that art the assessor of Zeus and sharest his throne, O source of the intellectual gods, that pursuest thy course with the stainless substance of the intelligible gods; that dost receive from them all the common cause of things and dost thyself bestow it on the intellectual gods; O life-giving goddess that art the counsel and the providence and the creator of our souls; O thou that lovest great Dionysus, and didst save Attis when exposed at birth, and didst lead him back when he had descended into the cave of the nymph; O thou that givest all good things to the intellectual gods and fillest with all things this sensible world, and with all the rest givest us all things good! Do thou grant to all men happiness, and that highest happiness of all, the knowledge of the gods; and grant to the Roman people in general that they may cleanse themselves of the stain of impiety; grant them a blessed lot, and help them to guide their Empire for many thousands of years! And for myself, grant me as fruit of my worship of thee that I may have true knowledge in the doctrines about the gods. Make me perfect in theurgy. And in all that I undertake, in the affairs of the state and the army, grant me virtue and good fortune, and that the close of my life may be painless and glorious, in the good hope that it is to you, the gods, that I journey!
|6 To the uneducated Cynics
Behold the rivers are flowing backwards, as the proverb says! Here is a Cynic who says that Diogenes was conceited and who refuses to take cold baths for fear they may injure him, though he has a very strong constitution and is lusty and in the prime of life, and this too though the Sun-god is now nearing the summer solstice. Moreover he even ridicules the eating of octopus and says that Diogenes paid a sufficient penalty for his folly and vanity in that he perished of this diet as though by a draught of hemlock. So far indeed is he advanced in wisdom that he knows for certain that death is an evil. Yet this even the wise Socrates thought he did not know, yes and after him Diogenes as well. At any rate when Antisthenes was suffering from a long and incurable illness Diogenes handed him a dagger with these words, "In case you need the aid of a friend." So convinced was he that there is nothing terrible or grievous in death. But we who have inherited his staff know out of our greater wisdom that death is a calamity. And we say that sickness is even more terrible than death, and cold harder to bear than sickness. For the man who is sick is often tenderly nursed, so that his ill-health is straightway converted into a luxury, especially if he be rich. Indeed I myself, by Zeus, have observed that certain persons are more luxurious in sickness than in health, though even in health they were conspicuous for luxury. And so it once occurred to me to say to certain of my friends that it were better for those men to be servants than masters, and to be poor and more naked than the lily of the field than to be rich as they now are. For they would have ceased being at once sick and luxurious. The fact is that some people think it a fine thing to make a display of their ailments and to play the part of luxurious invalids. But, says someone, is not a man who has to endure cold and to support heat really more miserable than the sick? Well, at any rate he has no comforts to mitigate his sufferings.
Come now, let me set down for the benefit of the public what I learned from my teachers about the Cynics, so that all who are entering on this mode of life may consider it. And if they are convinced by what I say, those who are now aiming to be Cynics will, I am sure, be none the worse for it: and if they are unconvinced but cherish aims that are brilliant and noble, and set themselves above my argument not in words only but in deeds then my discourse will at any rate put no hindrance in their way. But if there are others already enslaved by greed or self-indulgence, or to sum it up briefly in a single phrase, by the pleasures of the body, and they therefore neglect my words or even laugh them down - just as dogs sometimes defile the front porticoes of schools and law-courts, - "Tis all one to Hippocleides," for indeed we take no notice of puppies who behave in this fashion. Come then let me pursue my argument under headings from the beginning in due order, so that by giving every question its proper treatment I may myself more conveniently achieve what I have in mind and may make it more easy for you also to follow. And since it is a fact that Cynicism is a branch of philosophy, and by no means the most insignificant or least honourable, but rivalling the noblest, I must first say a few words about philosophy itself.
The gift of the gods sent down to mankind with the glowing flame of fire from the sun through the agency of Prometheus along with the blessings that we owe to Hermes is no other than the bestowal of reason and mind. For Prometheus, the Forethought that guides all things mortal by infusing into nature a fiery breath to serve as an operative cause, gave to all things a share in incorporeal reason. And each thing took what share it could; lifeless bodies only a state of existence; plants received life besides, and animals soul, and man a reasoning soul. Now some think that a single substance is the basis of all these, and others that they differ essentially according to their species. But this question we must not discuss as yet, or rather not at all in the present discourse, and we need only say that whether one regards philosophy, as some people do, as the art of arts and the science of sciences or as an effort to become like God, as far as one may, or whether, as the Pythian oracle said, it means "Know thyself," will make no difference to my argument. For all these definitions are evidently very closely related to one another.
However, let us begin with "Know thyself," since this precept is divinely inspired. It follows that he who knows himself will know not only about his soul but his body also. And it will not be enough to know that a man is a soul employing a body, but he will also investigate the essential nature of the soul, and then trace out its faculties. And not even this alone will be enough for him, but in addition he will investigate whatever exists in us nobler and more divine than the soul, that something which we all believe in without being taught and regard as divine, and all in common suppose to be established in the heavens. Then again, as he investigates the first principles of the body he will observe whether it is composite or simple; then proceeding systematically he will observe its harmony and the influences that affect it and its capacity and, in a word, all that it needs to ensure its permanence. And in the next place he will also observe the first principles of certain arts by which the body is assisted to that permanence, for instance, medicine, husbandry and the like. And of such arts as are useless and superfluous he will not be wholly ignorant, since these too have been devised to humour the emotional part of our souls. For though he will avoid the persistent study of these last, because he thinks such persistent study disgraceful, and will avoid what seems to involve hard work in those subjects; nevertheless he will not, generally speaking, remain in ignorance of their apparent nature and what parts of the soul they suit. Reflect therefore, whether self-knowledge does not control every science and every art, and moreover whether it does not include the knowledge of universals. For to know things divine through the divine part in us, and mortal things too through the part of us that is mortal - this the oracle declared to be the duty of the living organism that is midway between these, namely man; because individually he is mortal, but regarded as a whole he is immortal, and moreover, singly and individually, is compounded of a mortal and an immortal part.
Further, that to make oneself like God as far as possible is nothing else than to acquire such knowledge of the essential nature of things as is attainable by mankind, is evident from the following. It is not on the score of abundance of possessions that we count the divine nature happy, nor on the score of any other of those things that are commonly believed to be advantages, but it is because, as Homer says, "The gods know all things"; and indeed he says also of Zeus, "But Zeus was older and wiser." For it is in knowledge that the gods surpass ourselves. And it may well be that with them also what ranks as noblest is self-knowledge. In proportion then as they are nobler than we in their essential nature, that self-knowledge of theirs is a knowledge of higher things. Therefore, I say, let no one divide philosophy into many kinds or cut it up into many parts, or rather let no one make it out to be plural instead of one. For even as truth is one, so too philosophy is one. But it is not surprising that we travel to it now by one road, now by another. For if any stranger, or, by Zeus, any one of her oldest inhabitants wished to go up to Athens, he could either sail or go by road, and if he travelled by land he could, I suppose, take either the broad highways or the paths and roads that are short cuts. And moreover he could either sail along the coasts or, like the old man of Pylos, "cleave the open sea." And let no one try to refute me by pointing out that some philosophers in travelling by those very roads have been known to lose their way, and arriving in some other place have been captivated, as though by Circe or the Lotus-Eaters, that is to say by pleasure or opinion or some other bait, and so have failed to go straight forward and attain their goal. Rather he must consider those who in every one of the philosophic sects did attain the highest rank, and he will find that all their doctrines agree.
Therefore the god at Delphi proclaims, "Know Thyself," and Heracleitus says, "I searched myself"; and Pythagoras also and his school and his followers down to Theophrastus, bid us become like God as far as possible, yes and Aristotle too. For what we are sometimes, God is always. It would therefore be absurd that God should not know himself. For he will know nothing at all about other things if he be ignorant of himself. For he is himself everything, seeing that in himself and near himself he keeps the causes of all things that in any way whatever have existence, whether they be immortal causes of things immortal, or causes of perishable things, though themselves not mortal or perishable for imperishable and ever-abiding are the causes of perpetual generation for the perishable world. But this line of argument is too lofty for the occasion.
Now truth is one and philosophy is one, and they whom I just now spoke of are its lovers one and all; and also they whom I ought in fairness to mention now by name, I mean the disciples of the man of Citium. For when they saw that the cities of Greece were averse to the excessive plainness and simplicity of the Cynic's freedom of manners, they hedged him about with screens as it were, I mean with maxims on the management of the household and business and intercourse with one's wife and the rearing of children, to the end, I believe, that they might make him the intimate guardian of the public welfare. And that they too held the maxim "Know Thyself" to be the first principle of their philosophy you may believe, if you will, not only from the works that they composed on this very subject, but even more from what they made the end and aim of their philosophic teaching. For this end of theirs was life in harmony with nature, and this it is impossible for any man to attain who does not know who and of what nature he is. For a man who does not know himself will certainly not know what it is becoming for him to do; just as he who does not know the nature of iron will not know whether it is suitable to cut with or not, and how iron must be treated so that it may be put to its proper use. For the moment however I have said enough to show that philosophy is one, and that, to speak generally, all philosophers have a single aim though they arrive at that aim by different roads. And now let us consider the Cynic philosophy.
If the Cynics had composed treatises with any serious purpose and not merely with a frivolous aim, it would have been proper for my opponent to be guided by these and to try in each case to refute the opinions that I hold on the subject; and then, if they proved to be in harmony with those original doctrines, he could not attack me for bearing false witness; but if they proved not to be in harmony, then he could have barred my opinions from a hearing, as the Athenians barred spurious documents from the Metroum. But, as I said, nothing of that sort exists. For the much-talked-of tragedies of Diogenes are now said to be the work of a certain Philiscus of Aegina; though even if they were by Diogenes there would be nothing out of the way in a wise man's jesting, since many philosophers have been known to do so. For Democritus also, we are told, used to laugh when he saw men taking things seriously. Well then I say we must not pay any attention to their frivolous writings, like men who have no desire at all to learn anything of serious interest. Such men when they arrive at a prosperous city abounding in sacrifices and secret rites of many kinds, and containing within it countless holy priests who dwell in the sacred enclosures, priests who. for this very purpose, I mean in order to purify everything that is within their gates, have expelled all that is sordid and superfluous and vicious from the city, public baths and brothels, and retail shops, and everything of the sort without exception: such men, I say, having come as far as the quarter where all such things are, do not enter the city itself. Surely a man who, when he comes upon the things that have been expelled, thinks that this is the city, is despicable indeed if he depart on the instant, but still more despicable if he stay in that lower region, when he might by taking but a step across the threshold behold Socrates himself. For I will borrow those famous phrases of Alcibiades in his praise of Socrates, and I assert that the Cynic philosophy is very like those images of Silenus that sit in the shops of the statuaries, which the craftsmen make with pipes or flutes in their hands, but when you open them you see that inside they contain statues of the gods. Accordingly, that we may not make that sort of mistake and think that his jesting was sober earnest (for though there is a certain use even in those jests, yet Cynicism itself is something very different, as I shall presently try to prove), let us consider it in due course from its actual practice and pursue it like hounds that track down wild beasts in the chase.
Now the founder of this philosophy to whom we are to attribute it, in the first instance, is not easy to discover, even though some think that the title belongs to Antisthenes and Diogenes. At least the saying of Oenomaus seems to be not without good grounds: "The Cynic philosophy is neither Antisthenism nor Diogenism." Moreover the better sort of Cynics assert that in addition to the other blessings bestowed on us by mighty Heracles, it was he who bequeathed to mankind the noblest example of this mode of life. But for my part, while I desire to speak with due reverence of the gods and of those who have attained to their functions, I still believe that even before Heracles, not only among the Greeks but among the barbarians also, there were men who practised this philosophy. For it seems to be in some ways a universal philosophy, and the most natural, and to demand no special study whatsoever. But it is enough simply to choose the honourable by desiring virtue and avoiding evil; and so there is no need to turn over countless books. For as the saying goes, "Much learning does not teach men to have understanding." Nor is it necessary to subject oneself to any part of such a discipline as they must undergo who enter other philosophic sects. Nay it is enough merely to hearken to the Pythian god when he enjoins these two precepts, "Know Thyself," and "Falsify the common currency." Hence it becomes evident to us that the founder of this philosophy is he who, I believe, is the cause of all the blessings that the Greeks enjoy, the universal leader, law-giver and king of Hellas, I mean the god of Delphi. And since it was not permitted that he should be in ignorance of aught, the peculiar fitness of Diogenes did not escape his notice. And he made him incline to that philosophy, not by urging his commands in words alone, as he does for other men, but in very deed he instructed him symbolically as to what he willed, in two words, when he said, "Falsify the common currency." For "Know Thyself" he addressed not only to Diogenes, but to other men also and still does: for it stands there engraved in front of his shrine. And so we have at last discovered the founder of this philosophy, even as the divine lamblichus also declares, yes, and we have discovered its leading men as well, namely Antisthenes and Diogenes and Crates; the aim and end of whose lives was, I think, to know themselves, to despise vain opinions, and to lay hold of truth with their whole understanding; for truth, alike for gods and men, is the beginning of every good thing; and it was, I think, for her sake that Plato and Pythagoras and Socrates and the Peripatetic philosophers and Zeno spared no pains, because they wished to know themselves, and not to follow vain opinions but to track down truth among all things that are.
And now, since it has become evident that Plato was not pursuing one aim and Diogenes another, but their end was one and the same: suppose one should inquire of the wise Plato: What value do you set on the precept "Know Thyself"? I am very sure that he would answer that it is worth everything, and indeed he says so in the Alcibiades. Come then tell us next, divine Plato, scion of the gods, how one ought to be disposed towards the opinions of the many? He will give the same answer, and moreover he will expressly enjoin on us to read his dialogue the Crito, where Socrates is shown warning us not to take heed of such things. At any rate what he says is: "But why, my dear good Crito, are we so concerned about the opinion of the multitude?" And now are we to ignore all this evidence, and without further question fence off from one another and force apart men whom the passion for truth, the scorn of opinion, and unanimity in zeal for virtue have joined together? And if Plato chose to achieve his aim through words, whereas for Diogenes deeds sufficed, does the latter on that account deserve to be criticised by you? Nay, consider whether that same method of his be not in every respect superior; since we see that Plato for himself forswore written compositions. "For" he says, "there are no writings by Plato nor ever will be, and what now pass current as his are the work of Socrates, the ever fair and ever young." Why then should we not from the practice of Diogenes study the character of the Cynic philosophy?
Now the body consists of certain parts such as eyes, feet and hands, but there are besides other parts, hair, nails, ordure, a whole class of accessories of that sort without which the human body cannot exist. Then is it not absurd for a man to take into account such parts, I mean hair or nails or ordure or such unpleasant accessories, rather than those parts that are most precious and important, in the first place, for instance, the organs of perception, and among these more especially the instruments whereby we apprehend, namely the eyes and ears? For these aid the soul to think intelligently, whether it be buried deep in the body and they enable it to purify itself more readily and to use its pure and steadfast faculty of thought, or whether, as some think, it is through them that the soul enters in as though by channels. For, as we are told, by collecting individual perceptions and linking them through the memory she brings forth the sciences. And for my own part, I think that if there were not something of this sort, either incomplete in itself or perfect but hindered by other things many and various, which brings about our apprehension of externals, it would not even be possible for us to apprehend the objects of sense-perception. But this line of argument has little to do with the present question.
Accordingly we must go back to the divisions of the Cynic philosophy. For the Cynics also seem to have thought that there were two branches of philosophy, as did Aristotle and Plato, namely speculative and practical, evidently because they had observed and understood that man is by nature suited both to action and to the pursuit of knowledge. And though they avoided the study of natural philosophy, that does not affect the argument. For Socrates and many others also, as we know, devoted themselves to speculation, but it was solely for practical ends. For they thought that even self-knowledge meant learning precisely what must be assigned to the soul, and what to the body. And to the soul they naturally assigned supremacy, and to the body subjection. This seems to be the reason why they practised virtue, self-control, modesty and freedom, and why they shunned all forms of envy, cowardice and superstition. But this, you will say, is not the view that we hold about them, for we are to think that they were not in earnest, and that they hazarded what is most precious in thus despising the body; as Socrates did when he declared, and rightly, that philosophy is a preparation for death. And since this was the aim that the Cynics pursued daily, we need not emulate them any more than the others, but we are to think them miserable beings and altogether foolish. But why was it that they endured those hardships? Surely not from ostentation, as you declared. For how could they win applause from other men by eating raw meat? Certainly you yourself do not applaud them for this. At any rate, when you imitate one of those Cynics by carrying a staff and wearing your hair long, as it is shown in their pictures, do you think that you thereby gain a reputation with the crowd, though you do not yourself think those habits worthy of admiration? One or two, indeed, used to applaud him in his own day, but more than ten times ten thousand had their stomachs turned by nausea and loathing, and went fasting until their attendants revived them with perfumes and myrrh and cakes. So greatly did that renowned hero shock them by an act which seems absurd to men "of such sort as mortals now are," though, by the gods, it was not ignoble, if one should explain it according to the intention of Diogenes. For just as Socrates said of himself that he embraced the life of cross-examining because he believed that he could perform his service to the god only by examining in all its bearings the meaning of the oracle that had been uttered concerning him, so I think Diogenes also, because he was convinced that philosophy was ordained by the Pythian oracle, believed that he ought to test everything by facts and not be influenced by the opinions of others, which may be true and may be false. Accordingly Diogenes did not think that every statement of Pythagoras, or any man like Pythagoras, was necessarily true. For he held that God and no human being is the founder of philosophy. And pray what, you will say, has this to do with the eating of octopus? I will tell you.
To eat meat some regard as natural to man, while others think that to follow this practice is not at all appropriate for man, and this question has been much debated. And if you are willing to make the effort, you can see with your own eyes swarms of books on the subject. These Diogenes thought it his duty to refute. At any rate his own view was as follows. If one can eat meat without taking too much trouble to prepare it, as can all other animals to whom nature has assigned this diet, and can do it without harm or discomfort, or rather with actual benefit to the body, then he thought that eating meat is entirely in accordance with nature. But if harm came of it, then he apparently thought that the practice is not appropriate for man, and that he must abstain from it by all means. Here then you have a theory on this question, though perhaps it is too far-fetched: but here is another more akin to Cynicism, only I must first describe more clearly the end and aim of that philosophy.
Freedom from emotion they regard as the end and aim; and this is equivalent to becoming a god. Now perhaps Diogenes observed that in the case of all other foods he himself had no particular sensations, and that only raw meat gave him indigestion and nausea, and took this for a proof that he was enslaved to vain opinion rather than reason; for flesh is none the less flesh, even though you cook it any number of times or season it with any number of sauces. This, I say, was why he thought he ought to rid and free himself altogether of this cowardice; for you may be sure that this sort of thing is cowardice. And in the name of the Law-Giving goddess, tell me why if we used cooked meats we do not eat them in their natural state also? You can give me no other answer than that this has become a custom and a habit with us. For surely we cannot say that before meat is cooked it is disgusting and that by being cooked it becomes purer than it was by nature. What then was it right for him to do who had been appointed by God like a general in command to do away with the common currency and to judge all questions by the criterion of reason and truth? Ought he to have shut his eyes and been so far fettered by this general opinion as to believe that flesh by being cooked becomes pure and fit for food, but that when it has not been acted upon by fire it is somehow abominable and loathsome. Is this the sort of memory you have? Is this your zeal for truth? For though you so severely criticised Diogenes the vain-glorious as you call him - though I call him the most zealous servant and vassal of the Pythian god - for eating octopus you yourself have devoured endless pickled food, "Fish and birds and whatever else might come to hand." For you are an Egyptian, though not of the priestly caste, but of the omnivorous type whose habit it is to eat everything "even as the green herb." You recognise, I suppose, the words of the Galilaeans. I almost omitted to say that all men who live near the sea, and even some who live at a distance from it, swallow down sea-urchins, oysters and in general everything of the kind without even heating them. And then you think they are enviable, whereas you regard Diogenes as contemptible and disgusting, and you do not perceive that those shell-fish are flesh just as much as what he ate? Except perhaps that they differ in so far as the octopus is soft and shellfish are harder. At any rate the octopus is bloodless, like hard-shelled fish, but the latter too are animate things like the octopus. At least they feel pleasure and pain, which is the peculiar characteristic of animate things. And here we must not be put out by Plato's theory that plants also are animated by soul. But it is now, I think, evident to those who are in any way able to follow an argument, that what the excellent Diogenes did was not out of the way or irregular or contrary to our habits, that is if we do not in such cases apply the criterion of hardness and softness, but judge rather by the pleasure or distaste of the palate. And so it is not after all the eating of raw food that disgusts you, since you do the like, not only in the case of bloodless animals but also of those that have blood. But perhaps there is also this difference between you and Diogenes, that he thought he ought to eat such food just as it was and in the natural state, whereas you think you must first prepare it with salt and many other things to make it agreeable and so do violence to nature. I have now said enough on this subject.
Now the end and aim of the Cynic philosophy, as indeed of every philosophy, is happiness, but happiness that consists in living according to nature and not according to the opinions of the multitude. For plants too are considered to do well, and indeed all animals also, when without hindrance each attains the end designed for it by nature. Nay, even among the gods this is the definition of happiness, that their state should be according to their nature, and that they should be independent. And so too in the case of human beings we must not be busy about happiness as if it were hidden away outside ourselves. Neither the eagle nor the plane tree nor anything else that has life, whether plant or animal, vainly troubles itself about wings or leaves of gold or that its shoots may be of silver or its stings and spurs of iron, or rather of adamant; but where nature in the beginning has adorned them with such things, they consider that, if only they are strong and serviceable for speed or defence, they themselves are fortunate and well provided. Then is it not absurd when a human being tries to find happiness somewhere outside himself, and thinks that wealth and birth and the influence of friends, and generally speaking everything of that sort is of the utmost importance If however nature had bestowed on us only what she has bestowed on other animals, I mean the possession of bodies and souls like theirs, so that we need concern ourselves with nothing beyond, then it would suffice for us, as for all other animals, to content ourselves with physical advantages, and to pursue happiness within this field. But in us has been implanted a soul that in no way resembles other animals; and whether it be different in essence, or not different in essence but superior in its activity only, just as, I Suppose, pure gold is superior to gold alloyed with sand, - for some people hold this theory to be true of the soul, - at any rate we surely know that we are more intelligent than other animals. For according to the myth in the Protagoras, nature dealt with them very generously and bountifully, like a mother, but to compensate for all this, mind was bestowed on us by Zeus. Therefore in our minds, in the best and noblest part of us, we must say that happiness resides.
Now consider whether Diogenes did not above all other men profess this belief, since he freely exposed his body to hardships so that he might make it stronger than it was by nature. He allowed himself to act only as the light of reason shows us that we ought to act; and the perturbations that attack the soul and are derived from the body, to which this envelope of ours often constrains us for its sake to pay too much attention, he did not take into account at all. Thus by means of this discipline the man made his body more vigorous, I believe, than that of any who have contended for the prize of a crown in the games: and his soul was so disposed that he was happy and a king no less if not even more than the Great King, as the Greeks used to call him in those days, by which they meant the king of Persia. Then does he seem to you of no importance, this man who was "cityless, homeless, a man without a country, owning not an obol, not a drachma, not a single slave," nay, not even a loaf of bread - and Epicurus says that if he have bread enough and to spare he is not inferior to the gods on the score of happiness. Not that Diogenes tried to rival the gods, but he lived more happily than one who is counted the happiest of men, and he used actually to assert that he lived more happily than such a man. And if you do not believe me, try his mode of life in deed and not in word, and you will perceive the truth.
Come, let us first test it by reasoning. You think, do you not, that for mankind freedom is the beginning of all good things, I mean of course what people are always calling good? How can you deny it? For property, money, birth, physical strength, beauty and in a word everything of the sort when divorced from freedom are surely blessings that belong, not to him who merely seems to enjoy them, but to him who is that man's master? Whom then are we to regard as a slave? Shall it be him whom we buy for so many silver drachmas, for two minae or for ten staters of gold? Probably you will say that such a man is truly a slave. And why? Is it because we have paid down money for him to the seller? But in that case the prisoners of war whom we ransom would be slaves. And yet the law on the one hand grants these their freedom when they have come safe home, and we on the other hand ransom them not that they may become slaves, but that they may be free. Do you see then that in order to make a ransomed man a slave it is not enough to pay down a sum of money, but that man is truly a slave over whom another man has power to compel him to do whatever he orders, and if he refuse, to punish him and in the words of the poet "to inflict grievous pains upon him"? Then consider next whether we have not as many masters as there are persons whom we are obliged to conciliate in order not to suffer pain or annoyance from being punished by them? Or do you think that the only sort of punishment is when a man lifts up his stick against a slave and strikes him? Yet not even the harshest masters do this in the case of all their slaves, but a word or a threat is often enough. Then never think, my friend, that you are free while your belly rules you and the part below the belly, since you will then have masters who can either furnish you the means of pleasure or deprive you of them; and even though you should prove yourself superior to these, so long as you are a slave to the opinions of the many you have not yet approached freedom or tasted its nectar, "I swear by him who set in my breast the mystery of the Four!" But I do not mean by this that we ought to be shameless before all men and to do what we ought not; but all that we refrain from and all that we do let us not do or refrain from, merely because it seems to the multitude somehow honourable or base, but because it is forbidden by reason and the god within us, that is, the mind. As for the multitude there is no reason why they should not follow common opinions, for that is better than that they should be altogether shameless, and indeed mankind is predisposed to the truth by nature. But a man who has attained to a life in accordance with intelligence and is able to discover and estimate right reasons, ought on no account whatever to follow the views held by the many about good and bad conduct.
Since therefore one part of our souls is more divine, which we call mind and intelligence and silent reason, whose herald is this speech of ours made up of words and phrases and uttered through the voice; and since there is yoked therewith another part of the soul which is changeful and multiform, something composite of anger and appetite, a many-headed monster, we ought not to look steadily and unswervingly at the opinions of the multitude until we have tamed this wild beast and persuaded it to obey the god within us, or rather the divine part. For this it is that many disciples of Diogenes have ignored, and hence have become rapacious and depraved and no better than any one of the brute beasts. And to prove that this is not my own theory, first I will relate to you something that Diogenes did, which the many will ridicule but to me it seems most dignified. Once when, in a crowd of people among whom was Diogenes, a certain youth made an unseemly noise, Diogenes struck him with his staff and said "And so, vile wretch, though you have done nothing that would give you the right to take such liberties in public, you are beginning here and before us to show your scorn of opinion?" So convinced was he that a man ought to subdue pleasure and passion before he proceeds to the final encounter of all and strips to wrestle with those opinions which to the multitude are the cause of evils innumerable.
Do you not know how people lure away the young from philosophy by continually uttering now one slander and then another against all the philosophers in turn? The genuine disciples of Pythagoras and Plato and Aristotle are called sorcerers and sophists and conceited and quacks. If here and there among the Cynics one is really virtuous he is regarded with pity. For instance I remember that once my tutor said to me when he saw my fellow-pupil Iphicles with his hair unkempt and his clothes in tatters on his chest and wearing a wretched cloak in severe winter weather: "What evil genius can have plunged him into this sad state which makes not only him pitiable but even more so his parents who reared him with care and gave him the best education they could! And now he goes about in this condition, neglecting everything and no better than a beggar!" At the time I answered him with some pleasantry or other. But I assure you that the multitude hold these views about genuine Cynics also. And that is not so dreadful, but do you see that they persuade them to love wealth, to hate poverty, to minister to the belly, to endure any toil for the body's sake, to fatten that prison of the soul, to keep up an expensive table, never to sleep alone at night, provided only that they do all this in the dark and are not found out? Is not this worse than Tartarus? Is it not better to sink beneath Charybdis and Cocytus or ten thousand fathoms deep in the earth than to fall into a life like this, enslaved to lust and appetite, and not even to these simply and openly, like the beasts, but to take pains so that when we act thus we may be hidden under cover of darkness? And yet how much better is it to refrain altogether from all this! And if that be difficult the rules of Diogenes and Crates on these matters are not to be despised: "Fasting quenches desire, and if you cannot fast, hang yourself." Do you not know that those great men lived as they did in order to introduce among men the way of plain living? "For" says Diogenes, "it is not among men who live on bread that you will find tyrants, but among those who eat costly dinners." Moreover Crates wrote a hymn to Plain Living: "Hail, goddess and Queen, darling of wise men, Plain Living, child of glorious Temperance." Then let not the Cynic be like Oenomaus shameless or impudent, or a scorner of everything human and divine, but reverent towards sacred things, like Diogenes. For he obeyed the Pythian oracle nor did he repent of his obedience. But if anyone supposes that because he did not visit the temples or worship statues or altars this is a sign of impiety, he does not think rightly. For Diogenes possessed nothing that is usually offered, incense or libations or money to buy them with. But if he held right opinions about the gods, that in itself was enough. For he worshipped them with his whole soul, thus offering them as I think the most precious of his possessions, the dedication of his soul through his thoughts. Let not the Cynic be shameless, but led by reason let him first make subservient to himself the emotional part of his soul so that he may entirely do away with it and not even be aware that he is superior to pleasures. For it is nobler to attain to this, I mean to complete ignorance whether one has any such emotions. And this comes to us only through training. And that none may think I say this at random I will add for your benefit a few lines from the lighter verse of Crates: "Glorious children of Memory and Olympian Zeus, ye Muses of Pieria, hearken to my prayer! Give me without ceasing victuals for my belly which has always made my life frugal and free from slavery. . . . To my friends make me useful rather than agreeable. As for money I desire not to amass conspicuous wealth, seeking after the wealth of the beetle or the substance of the ant; nay, I desire to possess justice and to collect riches that are easily carried, easily acquired, of great avail for virtue. If I may but win these I will propitiate Hermes and the holy Muses not with costly dainties but with pious virtues." If it be of any use to write for you about such things I could recite still more maxims by this same Crates. But if you will read Plutarch of Chaeronea, who wrote his Life, there will be no need for you to learn his character superficially from me.
But let me go back to what I said before, that he who is entering on the career of a Cynic ought first to censure severely and cross-examine himself, and without any self-flattery ask himself the following questions in precise terms: whether he enjoys expensive food; whether he cannot do without a soft bed; whether he is the slave of rewards and the opinion of men; whether it is his ambition to attract public notice and even though that be an empty honour he still thinks it worth while. Nevertheless he must not let himself drift with the current of the mob or touch vulgar pleasure even with the tip of his finger, as the saying is, until he has succeeded in trampling on it; then and not before he may permit himself to dip into that sort of thing if it come his way. For instance I am told that bulls which are weaker than the rest separate themselves from the herd and pasture alone while they store up their strength in every part of their bodies by degrees, until they rejoin the herd in good condition, and then they challenge its leaders to contend with them, in confidence that they are more fit to take the lead. Therefore let him who wishes to be a Cynic philosopher not adopt merely their long cloak or wallet or staff or their way of wearing the hair, as though he were like a man walking unshaved and illiterate in a village that lacked barbers' shops and schools, but let him consider that reason rather than a staff and a certain plan of life rather than a wallet are the mintmarks of the Cynic philosophy. And freedom of speech he must not employ until he have first proved how much he is worth, as I believe was the case with Crates and Diogenes. For they were so far from bearing with a bad grace any threat of fortune, whether one call such threats caprice or wanton insult, that once when he had been captured by pirates Diogenes joked with them; as for Crates he gave his property to the state, and being physically deformed he made fun of his own lame leg and hunched shoulders. But when his friends gave an entertainment he used to go, whether invited or not, and would reconcile his nearest friends if he learned that they had quarrelled. He used to reprove them not harshly but with a charming manner and not so as to seem to persecute those whom he wished to reform, but as though he wished to be of use both to them and to the bystanders.
Yet this was not the chief end and aim of those Cynics, but as I said their main concern was how they might themselves attain to happiness and, as I think, they occupied themselves with other men only in so far as they comprehended that man is by nature a social and political animal; and so they aided their fellow-citizens, not only by practising but by preaching as well. Then let him who wishes to be a Cynic, earnest and sincere, first take himself in hand like Diogenes and Crates, and expel from his own soul and from every part of it all passions and desires, and entrust all his affairs to reason and intelligence and steer his course by them. For this in my opinion was the sum and substance of the philosophy of Diogenes.
And if Diogenes did sometimes visit a courtesan - though even this happened only once perhaps or not even once - let him who would be a Cynic first satisfy us that he is, like Diogenes, a man of solid worth, and then if he see fit to do that sort of thing openly and in the sight of all men, we shall not reproach him with it or accuse him. First however we must see him display the ability to learn and the quick wit of Diogenes, and in all other relations he must show the same independence, self-sufficiency, justice, moderation, piety, gratitude, and the same extreme carefulness not to act at random or without a purpose or irrationally. For these too are characteristic of the philosophy of Diogenes. Then let him trample on vaingloriousness, let him ridicule those who though they conceal in darkness the necessary functions of our nature - for instance the secretion of what is superfluous - yet in the centre of the market-place and of our cities carry on practices that are most brutal and by no means akin to our nature, for instance robbery of money, false accusations, unjust indictments, and the pursuit of other rascally business of the same sort. On the other hand when Diogenes made unseemly noises or obeyed the call of nature or did anything else of that sort in the market-place, as they say he did, he did so because he was trying to trample on the conceit of the men I have just mentioned, and to teach them that their practices were far more sordid and insupportable than his own. For what he did was in accordance with the nature of all of us, but theirs accorded with no man's real nature, one may say, but were all due to moral depravity.
In our own day, however, the imitators of Diogenes have chosen only what is easiest and least burdensome and have failed to see his nobler side. And as for you, in your desire to be more dignified than those early Cynics you have strayed so far from Diogenes' plan of life that you thought him an object of pity. But if you did not believe all this that I say about a man whom all the Greeks in the generation of Plato and Aristotle admired next to Socrates and Pythagoras, a man whose pupil was the teacher of the most modest and most wise Zeno, - and it is not likely that they were all deceived about a man as contemptible as you make him out to be in your travesty, - well, in that case, my dear sir, perhaps you might have studied his character more carefully and you would have progressed further in your knowledge of the man. Was there, I ask, a single Greek who was not amazed by the endurance of Diogenes and by his perseverance, which had in it a truly royal greatness of soul? The man used to sleep in his jar on a bed of leaves more soundly than the Great King on his soft couch under a gilded roof; he used to eat his crust with a better appetite than you now eat your Sicilian courses; he used to bathe his body in cold water and dry himself in the open air instead of with the linen towels with which you rub yourself down, my most philosophic friend! It becomes you well to ridicule him because, I suppose, like Themistocles you conquered Xerxes, or Darius like Alexander of Macedon. But if you had the least habit of reading books as I do, though I am a statesman and engrossed in public affairs, you would know how much Alexander is said to have admired Diogenes' greatness of soul. But you care little, I suppose, for any of these things. How should you care? Far from it! You admire and emulate the life of wretched women.
However, if my discourse has improved you at all you will have gained more than I. But even if I accomplish nothing at the moment by writing on such a great subject thus hastily, and, as the saying is, without taking breath - for I gave to it only the leisure of two days, as the Muses or rather you yourself will bear me witness - then do you abide by your former opinions, but I at any rate shall never regret having spoken of that great man with due reverence.
|7 To the Cynic Heracleios
"Truly with the lapse of time many things come to pass!" This verse I have heard in a comedy and the other day I was tempted to proclaim it aloud, when by invitation we attended the lecture of a Cynic whose barking was neither distinct nor noble; but he was crooning myths as nurses do, and even these he did not compose in any profitable fashion. For a moment my impulse was to rise and break up the meeting. But though I had to listen as one does when Heracles and Dionysus are being caricatured in the theatre by comic poets, I bore it to the end, not for the speaker's sake but for the sake of the audience, or rather, if I may presume to say so, it was still more for my own sake, so that I might not seem to be moved by superstition rather than by a pious and rational sentiment and to be scared into flight by his miserable words like a timid dove. So I stayed and repeated to myself the famous line "Bear it my heart: yea thou didst of yore endure things yet more shameful." Endure for the brief fraction of a day even a babbling Cynic! It is not the first time that thou hast had to hear the gods blasphemed! Our state is not so well governed, our private life is not so virtuous, in a word we are not so favoured by fortune that we can keep our ears pure or at any rate our eyes at least undefiled by the many and various impieties of this iron race. And now as though we had not enough of such vileness this Cynic fills our ears with his blasphemies, and has uttered the name of the highest of the gods in such wise as would he had never spoken nor I heard! But since he has done this, come, let me in your presence try to teach him this lesson; first that it is more becoming for a Cynic to write discourses than myths; secondly, what sort of adaptations of the myths he ought to make, if indeed philosophy really needs mythology at all; and finally I shall have a few words to say about reverence for the gods. For it is with this aim that I appear before you, I who have no talent for writing and who have hitherto avoided addressing the general public, as I have avoided all else that is tedious and sophistical. But perhaps it is not unsuitable for me to say and for you to hear a few words about myth in general as a sort of genealogy of that kind of writing.
Now one could no more discover where myth was originally invented and who was the first to compose fiction in a plausible manner for the benefit or entertainment of his hearers, than if one were to try to find out who was the first man that sneezed or the first horse that neighed. But as cavalry arose in Thrace and Thessaly and archers and the lighter sort of weapons in India, Crete and Caria - since the customs of the people were I suppose adapted to the nature of the country, - just so we may assume about other things as well, that where anything is highly prized by a nation it was first discovered by that nation rather than by any other. On this assumption then it seems likely that myth was originally the invention of men given to pastoral pursuits, and from that day to this the making of myths is still peculiarly cultivated by them, just as they first invented instruments of music, the flute and the lyre, for their pleasure and entertainment. For just as it is the nature of birds to fly and of fish to swim and of stags to run, and hence they need not be taught to do so; and even if one bind or imprison these animals they try none the less to use those special parts of themselves for the purpose for which they know they are naturally adapted; even so I think the human race whose soul is no other than reason and knowledge imprisoned so to speak in the body - the philosophers call it a potentiality - even so I say the human race inclines to learning, research and study, as of all tasks most congenial to it. And when a kindly god without delay looses a man's fetters and brings that potentiality into activity, then on the instant knowledge is his: whereas in those who are still imprisoned false opinion instead of true is implanted, just as, I think, Ixion is said to have embraced a sort of cloud instead of the goddess. And hence they produce wind-eggs and monstrous births, mere phantoms and shadows so to speak of true science. And thus instead of genuine science they profess false doctrines, and are very zealous in learning and teaching such doctrines, as though forsooth they were something useful and admirable. But if I am bound to say something in defence of those who originally invented myths, I think they wrote them for childish souls: and I liken them to nurses who hang leathern toys to the hands of children when they are irritated by teething, in order to ease their suffering: so those mythologists wrote for the feeble soul whose wings are just beginning to sprout, and who, though still incapable of being taught the truth, is yearning for further knowledge, and they poured in a stream of myths like men who water a thirsty field, so as to soothe their irritation and pangs.
Then when the myth was gaining ground and coming into favour in Greece, poets developed from it the fable with a moral, which differs from the myth in that the latter is addressed to children and the former to men, and is designed not merely to entertain them but conveys moral exhortation besides. For the man who employs fable aims at moral exhortation and instruction, though he conceals his aim and takes care not to speak openly, for fear of alienating his hearers. Hesiod, for instance, seems to have written with this in view. And after him Archilochus often employed myths, adorning and as it were seasoning his poetry with them, probably because he saw that his subject matter needed something of this sort to make it attractive, and he well knew that poetry without myth is merely versification and lacks, one may say, its essential characteristic, and so ceases to be poetry at all. Therefore he culled these sweets from the Muse of Poetry and offered them to his readers, in order that he might not be ranked merely as a writer of satife but might be counted a poet.
But the Homer of myths, or their Thucydides, or Plato, or whatever we must call him, was Aesop of Samos, who was a slave by the accident of birth rather than by temperament, and he proved his sagacity by this very use of fable. For since the law did not allow him freedom of speech, he had no resource but to shadow forth his wise counsels and trick them out with charms and graces and so serve them up to his hearers. Just so, I think, physicians who are free-born men prescribe what is necessary, but when a man happens to be a slave by birth and a physician by profession, he is forced to take pains to flatter and cure his master at the same time. Now if our Cynic also is subject to this sort of slavery, let him recite myths, let him write them, and let everyone else under the sun leave to him the role of mythologist. But since he asserts that he alone is free, I do not know what need he has of myths. Does he need to temper the harshness and severity of his advice with sweetness and charm, so that he may at once benefit mankind and avoid being harmed by one whom he has benefited? Nay, that is too much like a slave. Moreover, would any man be better taught by not hearing facts as they really are, or called by their real names, like the comic poet who calls a spade a spade? What need to speak of Phaethon instead of So-and-so? What need sacrilegiously to profane the title of King Helios? Who among men that walk here below is worthy to be called Pan or Zeus, as though we should ascribe to those gods our human understanding? And yet if indeed this were possible it would have been better to give the men their own names. Would it not have been better to speak of them thus and to bestow on them human names, or rather not bestow, for those that our parents gave us were enough? Well then if it is neither easier to learn by means of fiction, nor appropriate for the Cynic to invent that sort of thing at all, why did we not spare that wasteful expense, and moreover why did we waste our time in inventing and composing trivial myths and then making stories of them and learning them by heart?
But perhaps you will say that though reason asserts that the Cynic, who alone of men can claim to be free, ought not to invent and compose lying fictions instead of the unvarnished truth and then recite these in public assemblies, nevertheless the custom began with Diogenes and Crates, and has been maintained from that time by all Cynics. My answer is that nowhere will you find a single example of such a custom. For the moment I do not insist on the fact that it in no wise becomes a Cynic who must "give a new stamp to the common currency" to pay any attention to custom, but only to pure reason, and he ought to discover within himself what is right for him to do and not learn it from without. And do not be misled by the fact that Antisthenes the disciple of Socrates, and Xenophon too, sometimes expressed themselves by means of myths; for I shall have something to say to you on this point in a moment. But now in the Muses' name answer me this question about the Cynic philosophy. Are we to think it a sort of madness, a method of life not suitable for a human being, but rather a brutal attitude of mind which recks naught of the beautiful, the honourable, or the good? For Oenomaus would make many people hold this view of it. If you had taken any trouble to study the subject, you would have learned this from that Cynic's "Direct Inspiration of Oracles" and his work "Against the Oracles," in short from everything that he wrote. This then is his aim, to do away with all reverence for the gods, to bring dishonour on all human wisdom, to trample on all law that can be identified with honour and justice, and more than this, to trample on those laws which have been as it were engraved on our souls by the gods, and have impelled us all to believe without teaching that the divine exists, and to direct our eyes to it and to yearn towards it: for our souls are disposed towards it as eyes towards the light. Furthermore, suppose that one should discard also that second law which is sanctified both by nature and by God, I mean the law that bids us keep our hands altogether and utterly from the property of others, and permits us neither by word or deed or in the inmost and secret activities of our souls to confound such distinctions, since the law is our guide to the most perfect justice - is not this conduct worthy of the pit? And ought not those who applauded such views to have been driven forth, not by blows with wands, like scapegoats, for that penalty is too light for such crimes, but put to death by stoning? For tell me, in Heaven's name, how are such men less criminal than bandits who infest lonely places and haunt the coasts in order to despoil navigators? Because, as people say, they despise death; as though bandits were not inspired by the same frenzied courage! So says at any rate he who with you counts as a poet and mythologist, though, as a Pythian god proclaimed to certain bandits who sought his oracle, he was a hero and divinity - I mean where, speaking of pirates of the sea, he says: "Like pirates who wander over the sea, staking their lives." What better witness can you require for the desperate courage of bandits? Except indeed that one might say that bandits are more courageous than Cynics of this sort, while the Cynics are more reckless than they. For pirates, well aware as they are how worthless is the life they lead, take cover in desert places as much from shame as from the fear of death: whereas the Cynics go up and down in our midst subverting the institutions of society, and that not by introducing a better and purer state of things but a worse and more corrupt state.
Now as for the tragedies ascribed to Diogenes, which are, and are admitted to be, the composition of some Cynic - the only point in dispute being whether they are by the master himself, Diogenes, or by his disciple Philiscus, - what reader of these would not abhor them, and find in them an excess of infamy not to be surpassed even by courtesans? However, let him go on to read the tragedies of Oenomaus - for he too wrote tragedies to match his discourses - and he will find that they are more inconceivably infamous, that they transgress the very limits of evil; in fact I have no words to describe them adequately, and in vain should I cite in comparison the horrors of Magnesia, the wickedness of Termerus or the whole of tragedy put together, along with satiric drama, comedy and the mime: with such art has their author displayed in those works every conceivable vileness and folly in their most extreme form.
Now if from such works any man chooses to demonstrate to us the character of the Cynic philosophy, and to blaspheme the gods and bark at all men, as I said when I began, let him go, let him depart to the uttermost parts of the earth whithersoever he pleases. But if he do as the god enjoined on Diogenes, and first "give a new stamp to the common currency," then devote himself to the advice uttered earlier by the god, the precept "Know Thyself," which Diogenes and Crates evidently followed in their actual practice, then I say that this is wholly worthy of one who desires to be a leader and a philosopher. For surely we know what the god meant? He enjoined on Diogenes to despise the opinion of the crowd and to give a new stamp, not to truth, but to the common currency. Now to which of these categories shall we assign self-knowledge? Can we call it common currency? Shall we not rather say that it is the very summary of truth, and by the injunction "Know Thyself" we are told the way in which we must "give a new stamp to the common currency"? For just as one who pays no regard whatever to conventional opinions but goes straight for the truth will not decide his own conduct by those opinions but by actual facts, so I think he who knows himself will know accurately, not the opinion of others about him, but what he is in reality. It follows then, does it not? that the Pythian god speaks the truth, and moreover that Diogenes was clearly convinced of this since he obeyed the god and so became, instead of an exile, I will not say greater than the King of Persia, but according to the tradition handed down actually an object of envy to the man who had broken the power of Persia and was rivalling the exploits of Heracles and ambitious to surpass Achilles. Then let us judge of the attitude of Diogenes towards gods and men, not from the discourses of Oenomaus or the tragedies of Philiscus - who by ascribing their authorship to Diogenes grossly slandered that sacred personage - but let us, I say, judge him by his deeds.
Why in the name of Zeus did he go to Olympia? To see the athletes compete? Nay, could he not have seen those very athletes without trouble both at the Isthmian games and the Panathenaic festival? Then was it because he wished to meet there the most distinguished Greeks? But did they not go to the Isthmus too? So you cannot discover any other motive than that of doing honour to the god. He was not, you say, awestruck by a thunderstorm. Ye gods, I too have witnessed such signs from Zeus over and over again, without being awestruck! Yet for all that I feel awe of the gods, I love, I revere, I venerate them, and in short have precisely the same feelings towards them as one would have towards kind masters or teachers or fathers or guardians or any beings of that sort. That is the very reason why I could hardly sit still the other day and listen to your speech. However, I have spoken thus as I was somehow or other impelled to speak, though perhaps it would have been better to say nothing at all.
To return to Diogenes: he was poor and lacked means, yet he travelled to Olympia, though he bade Alexander come to him, if we are to believe Dio. So convinced was he that it was his duty to visit the temples of the gods, but that it was the duty of the most royal monarch of that day to come to him for an interview. And was not that royal advice which he wrote to Archidamus? Nay, not only in words but in deeds also did Diogenes show his reverence for the gods. For he preferred to live in Athens, but when the divine command had sent him away to Corinth, even after he had been set free by the man who had bought him, he did not think he ought to leave that city. For he believed that the gods took care of him, and that he had been sent to Corinth, not at random or by some accident, but by the gods themselves for some purpose. He saw that Corinth was more luxurious than Athens, and stood in need of a more severe and courageous reformer.
To give you another instance: Are there not extant many charming poems by Crates also which are proofs of his piety and veneration for the gods? I will repeat them to you if you have not had time to learn this from the poems themselves: "Ye Muses of Pieria, glorious children of Memory and Olympian Zeus, grant me this prayer! Give me food for my belly from day to day, but give it without slavery which makes life miserable indeed. . . . . Make me useful rather than agreeable to my friends. Treasure and the fame thereof I desire not to amass; nor do I crave the wealth of the beetle and the substance of the ant. But justice I desire to attain, and to collect riches that are easily carried, easily acquired, precious for virtue. If I attain these things I will worship Hermes and the holy Muses, not with costly and luxurious offerings, but with pious and virtuous actions."
You see that, far from blaspheming the gods as you do, he adored and prayed to them? For what number of hecatombs are worth as much as Piety, whom the inspired Euripides celebrated appropriately in the verses "Piety, queen of the gods. Piety"? Or are you not aware that all offerings whether great or small that are brought to the gods with piety have equal value, whereas without piety, I will not say hecatombs, but, by the gods, even the Olympian sacrifice of a thousand oxen is merely empty expenditure and nothing else? This I believe Crates recognised, and so with that piety which was his only possession he himself used to honour the gods with praises, and moreover taught others not to honour expensive offerings more than piety in the sacred ceremonies. This then was the attitude of both those Cynics towards the gods but they did not crowd audiences together to hear them, nor did they entertain their friends with similes and myths, like the wise men of today. For as Euripides well says, "Simple and unadorned is the language of truth." Only the liar and the dishonest man, he says, have any use for a mysterious and allusive style. Now what was the manner of their intercourse with men? Deeds with them came before words, and if they honoured poverty they themselves seem first to have scorned inherited wealth; if they cultivated modesty, they themselves first practised plain living in every respect; if they tried to expel from the lives of other men the element of theatrical display and arrogance, they themselves first set the example by living in the open market places and the temple precincts, and they opposed luxury by their own practice before they did so in words; nor did they shout aloud but proved by their actions that a man may rule as the equal of Zeus if he needs nothing or very little and so is not hampered by his body; and they reproved sinners during the lifetime of those who had offended but did not speak ill of the dead; for when men are dead even their enemies, at least the more moderate, make peace with the departed. But the genuine Cynic has no enemy, even though men strike his feeble body or drag his name in the mire, or slander and speak ill of him, because enmity is felt only towards an opponent, but that which is above personal rivalry is usually loved and respected. But if anyone is hostile to a Cynic, as indeed many are even to the gods, he is not that Cynic's enemy, since he cannot injure him; rather he inflicts on himself the most terrible punishment of all, namely ignorance of one who is nobler than himself; and so he is deserted and bereft of the other's protection.
Now if my present task were to write about the Cynic philosophy, I could add many details about the Cynics, not less important than what I have said already. But not to interrupt my main theme, I will now consider in due course the question what kind of myths ought to be invented. But perhaps another inquiry should precede this attempt, I mean to what branch of philosophy the composition of myths is appropriate. For we see that many philosophers and theologians too have employed it, Orpheus for instance, the most ancient of all the inspired philosophers, and many besides of those that came after him. Nay what is more, Xenophon as we know and Antisthenes and Plato often introduced myths, so that it is obvious that even if the use of myth be not appropriate for the Cynic, still it may be so for some other type of philosopher.
I must first then say a few words about the subdivisions or instruments of philosophy. It does not make much difference in which of two ways one reckons logic, whether with practical or natural philosophy, since it is equally necessary to both these branches. But I will consider these as three separate branches and assign to each one three subdivisions. Natural philosophy consists of theology, mathematics, and thirdly the study of this world of generation and decay and things that though imperishable are nevertheless matter, and deals with their essential nature and their substance in each case. Practical philosophy again consists of ethics in so far as it deals with the individual man, economics when it deals with the household as a unit, politics when it deals with the state. Logic, again, is demonstrative in so far as it deals with the truth of principles; polemic when it deals with general opinions; eristic when it deals with opinions that only seem probabilities. These then are the divisions of philosophy, if I mistake not. Though indeed it would not be surprising that a mere soldier should be none too exact in these matters or not have them at his fingers' ends, seeing that I speak less from book-knowledge than from observation and experience. For that matter you can yourselves bear me witness thereto, if you count up how few days have elapsed between the lecture that we lately heard and today, and moreover the number of affairs with which they have been filled for me. But as I said if I have omitted anything - though I do not think I have - still if anyone can make my classification more complete he will be "no enemy but my friend."
Now of these branches of philosophy, logic has no concern with the composition of myths; nor has mathematics, the subdivision of natural philosophy; but they may be employed, if at all, by that department of practical philosophy which deals with the individual man, and by that department of theology which has to do with initiation and the Mysteries. For nature loves to hide her secrets, and she does not suffer the hidden truth about the essential nature of the gods to be flung in naked words to the ears of the profane. Now there are certain characteristics of ours that derive benefit from that occult and unknown nature, which nourishes not our souls alone but our bodies also, and brings us into the presence of the gods, and this I think often comes about by means of myths; when through riddles and the dramatic setting of myths that knowledge is insinuated into the ears of the multitude who cannot receive divine truths in their purest form.
It is now evident what branch and what sort of philosophy may properly on occasion employ myths. And to support my argument I call to witness the authority of those philosophers who were the first to use myths. Plato for instance in his theological descriptions of life in Hades often uses myths, and the son of Calliope before him. And when Antisthenes and Xenophon and Plato himself discuss certain ethical theories they use myths as one of the ingredients, and not casually but of set purpose. Now if you too wished to use myths you ought to have imitated these philosophers, and instead of Heracles you should have introduced the name of Perseus or Theseus, let us say, and have written in the style of Antisthenes; and in place of the dramatic setting used by Prodicus, in treating of those two gods you should have introduced into your theatre another setting of the same sort.
But since I have mentioned also the myths that are suited to initiation, let us ourselves independently try to see what sort of myths they must be that suit one or the other of those two branches of philosophy; and no longer need we call in the aid of witnesses from the remote past for all points, but we will follow in the fresh footprints of one whom next to the gods I revere and admire, yes, equally with Aristotle and Plato. He does not treat of all kinds of myths but only those connected with initiation into the Mysteries, such as Orpheus, the founder of the most sacred of all the Mysteries, handed down to us. For it is the incongruous element in myths that guides us to the truth. I mean that the more paradoxical and prodigious the riddle is the more it seems to warn us not to believe simply the bare words but rather to study diligently the hidden truth, and not to relax our efforts until under the guidance of the gods those hidden things become plain, and so initiate or rather perfect our intelligence or whatever we possess that is more sublime than the intelligence, I mean that small particle of the One and the Good which contains the whole indivisibly, the complement of the soul, and in the One and the Good comprehends the whole of soul itself through the prevailmg and separate and distinct presence of the One. But I was impelled I know not how to rave with his own sacred frenzy when I spoke like this of the attributes of great Dionysus; and now I set an ox on my tongue: for I may not reveal what is too sacred for speech. However, may the gods grant to me and to many of you who have not as yet been initiated into these Mysteries to enjoy the blessings thereof!
And now to confine myself to what is lawful for us, both for me to say and for you to hear. Every discourse that is uttered consists of language and the thought to be expressed. Now a myth is a sort of discourse and so it will consist of these two. Let us consider them separately. In every discourse the thought is of two kinds, either simple or expressed in figures of speech; and there are many examples of both kinds. The one is simple and admits of no variety, but that which is embellished with figures has in itself many possibilities of variation with all of which you are yourself familiar if you have ever studied rhetoric; and most of these figures of thought are suited to myth. However I need not now discuss all or indeed many of them, but only two, that in which the thought is dignified and that in which it is paradoxical. The same rules apply also to diction. For this is given a certain shape and form hy those who do not express themselves carelessly or sweep in the refuse of language from the highways like a winter torrent. And now to consider these two types. When we invent myths about sacred things our language must be wholly dignified and the diction must be as far as possible sober, beautiful, and entirely appropriate to the gods; there must be nothing in it base or slanderous or impious, for fear we should lead the common people into this sort of sacrilegious rashness; or rather for fear we should ourselves anticipate the common people in displaying impiety towards the gods. Therefore there must be no incongruous element in diction thus employed, but all must be dignified, beautiful, splendid, divine, pure, and as far as possible in conformity with the essential nature of the gods. But as regards the thought, the incongruous may be admitted, so that under the guidance of the gods men may be inspired to search out and study the hidden meaning, though they must not ask for any hint of the truth from others, but must acquire their knowledge from what is said in the myth itself. For instance I have heard many people say that Dionysus was a mortal man because he was born of Semele, and that he became a god through his knowledge of theurgy and the Mysteries, and like our lord Heracles for his royal virtue was translated to Olympus by his father Zeus. "Nay, my good sir," said I, "do you not perceive that the myth is obviously an allegory?" For in what sense do we regard the "birth" of Heracles, yes, and of Dionysus as well, since in their case birth has superior and surpassing and distinctive elements, even though it still falls within the limits of human nature, and up to a certain point resembles our own? Heracles for instance is said to have been a child, even as we are; his divine body grew gradually; we are informed that he was instructed by teachers; they say that he carried on wars and defeated all his opponents, but for all that his body had to endure weariness. And in fact all this did in his case occur, but on a scale greater than human. For instance, while still in swaddling clothes he strangled the serpents and then opposed himself to the very elements of nature, the extremes of heat and cold and things the most difficult and hardest to contend with, I mean lack of food and loneliness; and then there is his journey over the sea itself in a golden cup, though, by the gods, I do not think it was really a cup, but my belief is that he himself walked on the sea as though it were dry land. For what was impossible to Heracles? Which was there of the so-called elements that did not obey his divine and most pure body since they were subdued to the creative and perfecting force of his stainless and pure intelligence? For him did mighty Zeus, with the aid of Athene goddess of Forethought, beget to be the saviour of the world, and appointed as his guardian this goddess whom he had brought forth whole from the whole of himself; and later on he called him to his side through the flame of a thunderbolt, thus bidding his son to come to him by the divine signal of the ethereal rays of light. Now when we meditate on this, may Heracles be gracious to you and to me!
As for the commonly received legend about the birth of Dionysus, which was in fact no birth but a divine manifestation, in what respect was it like the birth of men? While he was still in his mother's womb she, as the story goes, was beguiled by jealous Hera to entreat her lover to visit her as he was wont to visit his spouse. And then her frail body could not endure the thunders of Zeus and began to be consumed by the lightning. But when everything there was being devoured by flames, Zeus bade Hermes snatch Dionysus forth, and he cut open his own thigh and sewed the babe therein. Then in due course when the time was ripe for the child's birth, Zeus in the pangs of travail came to the nymphs, and they by their song over the thigh "Undo the stitching" brought to light for us the dithyramb. Whereupon the god was driven mad by Hera, but the Mother of the Gods healed him of his sickness and he straightway became a god. And he had for followers not, like Heracles, Lichas for instance or lolaus or Telamon or Hylas or Abderos, but Satyrs, Bacchanals, Pans and a whole host of lesser divinities. Do you perceive how much of human there is in this generation through the fire of a thunderbolt, that his delivery is even more human, and that his deeds, even more than these two that we have mentioned, resemble those of human beings? Now why do we not set aside all this nonsense and recognise herein first the fact that Semele was wise in sacred things? For she was the daughter of Phoenician Cadmus, and the god himself bears witness to the wisdom of the Phoenicians when he says "The Phoenicians too have learned many of the roads travelled by the blessed gods." I think then that she was the first among the Greeks to perceive that there was to be before long a visible manifestation of this god, and that she foretold it, and then that, sooner than was fitting, she gave the signal for certain of the mystic rites connected with his worship, because she had not the patience to wait for the appointed time, and thus she was consumed by the fire that fell upon her. But when it was the will of Zeus to bestow on all mankind in common a new order of things, and to make them pass from the nomadic to a more civilised mode of life, Dionysus came from India and revealed himself as very god made visible, visiting the cities of men and leading with him a great host of beings in some sort divine; and everywhere he bestowed on all men in common as the symbol of his manifestation the plant of "the gentle vine"; and since their lives were made more gentle by it the Greeks as I think gave it that name; and they called Semele the mother of Dionysus because of the prediction that she had made, but also because the god honoured her as having been the first prophetess of his advent while it was yet to be.
Now since this is the historical truth of these events if they are accurately considered and examined, those who sought to discover what sort of god Dionysus is worked into a myth the truth which is as I said, and expressed in an allegory both the essential nature of the god and his conception in his father Zeus among the intelligible gods, and further his birth independently of generation in this our world. . . . in the whole universe, and in their proper order all those other facts which are well worth studying but too difficult for me at any rate to describe; partly perhaps because I am still ignorant of the precise truth about them, but perhaps also because I am unwilling to exhibit as in a theatre this god who is at once hidden and manifest, and that, too, to ears that have not sought after truth and to minds disposed to anything rather than the study of philosophy.
However let Dionysus himself decide about these things, though I do indeed implore him to inspire my mind and yours with his own sacred frenzy for the true knowledge of the gods, so that we may not by remaining too long uninspired by him have to suffer the fate of Pentheus, perhaps even while we are alive, but most certainly after death has freed us from the body. For he in whom the abundance of life has not been perfected by the essential nature of Dionysus, uniform and wholly indivisible as it is in the divisible world and pre-existing whole and unmixed in all things, he I say who has not been perfected by means of the Bacchic and divine frenzy for the god, runs the risk that his life may flow into too many channels, and as it flows be torn to shreds, and hence come to naught. But when I say "flow" or "torn to shreds" no one must consider the bare meaning of the words and suppose that I mean a mere trickle of water or a thread of linen, but he must understand these words in another sense, that used by Plato, Plotinus, Porphyry and the inspired Iamblichus. One who does not interpret them thus will laugh at them no doubt, but let me assure him that it will be a Sardonic laugh, since he will be forever deprived of that knowledge of the gods which I hold to be more precious than to rule over the whole world, Roman and barbarian put together, yea, I swear it by my lord Helios. But again some god or other and no choice of my own has made me rave with this Bacchic frenzy.
To go back then to what led me to say all this. Whenever myths on sacred subjects are incongruous in thought, by that very fact they cry aloud, as it were, and summon us not to believe them literally but to study and track down their hidden meaning. And in such myths the incongruous element is even more valuable than the serious and straightforward, the more so that when the latter is used there is risk of our regarding the gods as exceedingly great and noble and good certainly, but still as human beings, whereas when the meaning is expressed incongruous there is some hope that men will neglect the more obvious sense of the words, and that pure intelligence may rise to the comprehension of the distinctive nature of the gods that transcends all existing things.
These then are the reasons why that branch of philosophy which is connected with initiation and the doctrines of the Mysteries ought by all means to be expressed in devout and serious language, while as regards the thought the narrative may be expounded in a style that has stranger qualities. But one who is inventing tales for the purpose of reforming morals and inserts myths therein, does so not for men but for those who are children whether in years or intelligence, and who on all accounts stand in need of such tales. If, however, you took us for children, me, for instance, or Anatolius here, and you may reckon with us Memmorius also and Sallust and add if you please all the others in due order, then you need a voyage to Anticyra. For why should one pretend to be polite? Tell me, I ask, in the name of the gods, and of myth itself, or rather in the name of Helios the King of all the universe, what have you ever accomplished, great or small? When did you ever champion one who was resisting oppression and had right on his side? When did you ever comfort the mourner and teach him by your arguments that death is not an evil either for him who has suffered it or for his friends? What youth will ever give you the credit for his temperance, and say that you have made him show himself sober instead of dissolute, and beautiful not merely in body but far more in soul? What strenuous discipline have you ever embraced? What have you ever done to make you worthy of the staff of Diogenes or still more, by Zeus, of his freedom of speech? Do you really think it so great an achievement to carry a staff and let your hair grow, and haunt cities and camps uttering calumnies against the noblest men, and flattering the vilest? Tell me in the name of Zeus and of this audience now present, who are disgusted with philosophy because of men of your sort, why was it that you visited the late Emperor Constantius in Italy but could not travel as far as Gaul? And yet if you had come to me you would at any rate have associated with one who was better able to comprehend your language. What do you gain by travelling about in all directions and wearing out the very mules you ride? Yes, and I hear that you wear out the mule drivers as well, and that they dread the sight of you Cynics even more than of soldiers. For I am told that some of you belabour them more cruelly with your staffs than do the soldiers with their swords, so that they are naturally more afraid of you. Long ago I gave you a nickname and now I think I will write it down. It is "monks," a name applied to certain persons by the impious Galilaeans. They are for the most part men who by making small sacrifices gain much or rather everything from all sources, and in addition secure honour, crowds of attendants and flattery. Something like that is your method, except perhaps for uttering divine revelations: but this is not your custom, though it is ours; for we are wiser than those insensate men. And perhaps too there is this difference that you have no excuse for levying tribute on specious pretexts as they do; which they call "alms," whatever that may mean. But in all other respects your habits and theirs are very much alike. Like them you have abandoned your country, you wander about all over the world, and you gave more trouble than they did at my headquarters, and were more insolent. For they were at any rate invited to come, but you we tried to drive away. And what good have you, or rather, what have the rest of us derived from all this? First arrived Asclepiades, then Serenianus, then Chytron, then a tall boy with yellow hair - I don't know his name - then you, and with you all twice as many more. And now, my good sirs, what good has come from your journey? What city or individual has had any experience of your alleged freedom of speech? Was it not foolish of you to choose in the first place to make this journey to an Emperor who did not even wish to set eyes on you? And when you had arrived, did you not behave even more foolishly and ignorantly and insanely in flattering and barking at me in the same breath, and offering me your books, and moreover imploring that they should be taken to me? I do not believe that any one of you ever visited a philosopher's school as diligently as you did my secretary: in fact the entrance to the Palace stood for you in place of the Academy and the Lyceum and the Portico.
Have done with all this nonsense! At any rate lay it aside now if not before, when you can get no advantage from your long hair and your staff. Shall I tell you how you have caused philosophy to be lightly esteemed? It is because the most ignorant of the rhetoricians, those whose tongues not King Hermes himself could purify, and who could not be made wise by Athene herself with the aid of Hermes, having picked up their knowledge from their industry in frequenting public places, - for they do not know the truth of the current proverb, "Grape ripens near grape" - then all rush into Cynicism. They adopt the staff, the cloak, the long hair, the ignorance that goes with these, the impudence, the insolence, and in a word everything of the sort. They say that they are travelling the short and ready road to virtue. I would that you were going by the longer! For you would more easily arrive by that road than by this of yours. Are you not aware that short cuts usually involve one in great difficulties? For just as is the case with the public roads, a traveller who is able to take a short cut will more easily than other men go all the way round, whereas it does not at all follow that he who went round could always go the short cut, so too in philosophy the end and the beginning are one, namely, to know oneself and to become like the gods. That is to say, the first principle is self-knowledge, and the end of conduct is the resemblance to the higher powers.
Therefore he who desires to be a Cynic despises all the usages and opinions of men, and turns his mind first of all to himself and the god. For him gold is not gold or sand sand, if one enquire into their value with a view to exchanging them, and leave it to him to rate them at their proper worth: for he knows that both of them are but earth. And the fact that one is scarcer and the other easier to obtain he thinks is merely the result of the vanity and ignorance of mankind. He will judge of the baseness or nobility of an action, not by the applause or blame of men but by its intrinsic nature. He avoids any excess in food, and renounces the pleasures of love. When he is forced to obey the needs of the body he is not the slave of opinion, nor does he wait for a cook and sauces and a savoury smell, nor does he ever look about for Phryne or Lais or So-and-so's wife or young daughter or serving-maid. But as far as possible he satisfies his body's needs with whatever comes to hand, and by thrusting aside all hindrances derived from the body he contemplates from above, from the peaks of Olympus, other men who are "Wandering in darkness in the meadow of Ate,"and for the sake of a few wholly trifling pleasures are undergoing torments greater than any by the Cocytus or Acheron such as the most ingenious of the poets are always telling us about. Now the true short cut to philosophy is this. A man must completely come out of himself and recognise that he is divine, and not only keep his mind untiringly and steadfastly fixed on divine and stainless and pure thoughts, but he must also utterly despise his body, and think it, in the words of Heracleitus, "more worthless than dirt." And by the easiest means he must satisfy his body's needs so long as the god commands him to use it as an instrument.
So much for that, as the saying is. Now to go back to the point at which I digressed. Since, as I was saying, myths ought to be addressed either to those who though grown men are children in intelligence, or to those who in actual years are mere children, we must take pains to utter in them no word that is offensive to gods or men or anything impious, as was done recently. And moreover we must in all cases apply careful tests to see whether the myth is plausible, closely related to the matter discussed and whether what is invented is really a myth. Now what you composed lately is not your own myth though you boasted that it was. Nay, your myth was an old one and you did but adapt it to fresh circumstances, as I believe people are in the habit of doing who use tropes and figures of thought. The poet of Paros for instance is much given to this style. It seems then that you did not even invent your myth, my very clever friend, and that yours was an idle boast. Though in fact the thing is done by any nurse with an inventive turn. And if the mythical tales of Plutarch had ever fallen into your hands you would not have failed to observe what a difference there is between inventing a myth from the beginning and adapting to one's own purpose a myth that already exists. But I must not detain you even for a moment or hinder you on your way along that short cut to wisdom by making you embark on books that are long and hard to read. You have not even heard of the myth by Demosthenes which he of the Paeanian deme addressed to the Athenians when the Macedonian demanded that the Athenian orators be given up. You ought to have invented something of that sort. In Heaven's name was it too hard for you to relate some little myth of the kind? You will force me too to become a myth-maker.
A certain rich man had numerous flocks of sheep and herds of cattle and "ranging flocks of goats" and many times ten thousand mares "grazed his marsh-meadows." Many shepherds too he had, both slaves and hired freedmen, neatherds and goat-herds and grooms for his horses, and many estates withal. Now much of all this his father had bequeathed to him, but he had himself acquired many times more, being eager to enrich himself whether justly or unjustly; for little did he care for the gods. Several wives he had, and sons and daughters by them, among whom he divided his wealth before he died. But he did not teach them how to manage it, or how to acquire more if it should fail, or how to preserve what they had. For in his ignorance he thought that their mere numbers would suffice, nor had he himself any real knowledge of that sort of art, since he had not acquired his wealth on any rational principle but rather by use and wont, like quack doctors who try to cure their patients by relying on their experience only, so that many diseases escape them altogether. Accordingly since he thought that a number of sons would suffice to preserve his wealth, he took no thought how to make them virtuous. But this very thing proved to be the beginning of their iniquitous behaviour to one another. For every one of them desired to be as wealthy as his father and to possess the whole I for himself alone, and so attacked the brother that was his neighbour. Now for a time they continued to behave thus. And their relatives also shared in the folly and ignorance of those sons, since they themselves had had no better education. Then ensued a general slaughter, and heaven brought the - tragic curse to fulfilment. For" by the edge of the sword they divided their patrimony" and everything was thrown into confusion. The sons demolished the ancestral temples which their father before them had despised and had stripped of the votive offerings that had been dedicated by many worshippers, but not least by his own ancestors. And besides demolishing the temples they erected sepulchres both on new sites and on the old sites of the temples, as though impelled by fate or by an unconscious presentiment that they would ere long need many such sepulchres, seeing that they so neglected the gods.
Now when all was in confusion, and many marriages that were no marriages were being concluded, and the laws of god and man alike had been profaned, Zeus was moved with compassion and addressing himself to Helios he said: "O my son, divine offspring more ancient than heaven and earth, art thou still minded to resent the insolence of that arrogant and audacious mortal, who by forsaking thee brought so many calamities on himself and his race? Thinkest thou that, though thou dost not show thine anger and resentment against him nor whet thine arrows against his children, thou art any less the author of his destruction in that thou dost abandon his house to desolation? Nay," said Zeus, "let us summon the Fates and enquire whether any assistance may be given the man." Forthwith the Fates obeyed the call of Zeus. But Helios who was as though absorbed in thought and inward debate yet gave constant heed and fixed his eyes on Zeus. Then spoke the eldest of the Fates: "O our father. Piety and Justice both restrain us. Therefore it is thine to prevail on them also, since thou hast ordered us to be subservient to them." And Zeus made answer, "Truly they are my daughters, and it is meet that I question them. What then have ye to say, ye venerable goddesses?" "Nay, father," they replied, "that is as thou thyself dost ordain. But be careful lest this wicked zeal for impious deeds prevail universally among men." "I will myself look to both these matters," Zeus replied. Then the Fates approached and spun all as their father willed.
Next Zeus thus addressed Helios: "Thou seest yonder thine own child." (Now this was a certain kinsman of those brothers who had been cast aside and was despised though he was that rich man's nephew and the cousin of his heirs.) "This child," said Zeus, "is thine own offspring. Swear then by my sceptre and thine that thou wilt care especially for him and cure him of this malady. For thou seest how he is as it were infected with smoke and filth and darkness and there is danger that the spark of fire which thou didst implant in him will be quenched, unless thou clothe thyself with might. Take care of him therefore and rear him. For I and the Fates yield thee this task." When King Helios heard this he was glad and took pleasure in the babe, since he perceived that in him a small spark of himself was still preserved. And from that time he reared the child whom he had withdrawn "from the blood and noise of war and the slaughter of men." And father Zeus bade Athene also, the Motherless Maiden, share with Helios the task of bringing up the child. And when, thus reared, he had become a youth "With the first down on his chin, when youth has all its charms," he learned the numerous disasters that had befallen his kinsmen and his cousins, and had all but hurled himself into Tartarus, so confounded was he by the extent of those calamities. Then Helios of his grace, aided by Athene, Goddess of Forethought, threw him into a slumber or trance, and so diverted him from that purpose. Then when he had waked from this he went away into the desert. And there he found a stone and rested for a while thereon, debating within himself how he should escape evils so many and so vast. For all things now appeared grievous to him and for the moment there was no hope anywhere. Then Hermes, who had an affinity for him, appeared to him in the guise of a youth of his own age, and greeting him kindly said, "Follow me, and I will guide thee by an easier and smoother road as soon as thou hast surmounted this winding and rugged place where thou seest all men stumbling and obliged to go back again," Then the youth set out with great circumspection, carrying a sword and shield and spear, though as yet his head was bare. Thus relying on Hermes he went forward by a road smooth, untrodden and very bright, and overhung with fruits and many lovely flowers such as the gods love, and with trees also, ivy and laurel and myrtle. Now when Hermes had brought him to the foot of a great and lofty mountain, he said, "On the summit of this mountain dwells the father of all the gods. Be careful then - for herein lies the greatest risk of all - to worship him with the utmost piety and ask of him whatever thou wilt. Thou wilt choose, my child, only what is best." So saying Hermes once more became invisible, though the youth was fain to learn from him what he ought to ask from the father of the gods. But when he saw that he was no longer at his side he said, "The advice though incomplete is good nevertheless. Therefore let me by the grace of fortune ask for what is best, though I do not as yet see clearly the father of the gods. Father Zeus - or whatever name thou dost please that men should call thee by, - show me the way that leads upwards to thee. For fairer still methinks is the region where thou art, if I may judge of the beauty of thy abode from the splendour of the place whence I have come hither."
When he had uttered this prayer a sort of slumber or ecstasy came over him. Then Zeus showed him Helios himself. Awestruck by that vision the youth exclaimed, "For this and for all thy other favours I will dedicate myself to thee, O Father of the Gods!" Then he cast his arms about the knees of Helios and would not let go his hold but kept entreating him to save him. But Helios called Athene and bade her first enquire of him what arms he had brought with him. And when she saw his shield and sword and spear, she said, "But where, my child, is thy aegis and thy helmet?" "Even these that I have," he replied, " I procured with difficulty. For in the house of my kinsfolk there was none to aid one so despised." " Learn therefore," said mighty Helios, " that thou must without fail return thither." Thereupon he entreated him not to send him to earth again but to detain him there, since he would never be able to mount upwards a second time but would be overwhelmed by the ills of earth. But as he wept and implored Helios replied,, "Nay, thou art young and not yet initiated. Return therefore to thine own people that thou mayst be initiated and thereafter dwell on earth in safety. For return thou must, and cleanse away all impiety and invoke me to aid thee, and Athene and the other gods." When Helios had said this the youth remained silent. Then mighty Helios led him to a high peak whose upper region was filled with light but the lower with the thickest mist imaginable, through which, as through water, the light of the rays of King Helios penetrated but faintly. "Thou seest," said Helios, "thy cousin the heir?" "I see him," the youth replied. "Again, dost thou see yonder herdsmen and shepherds?" The youth answered that he did. "Then what thinkest thou of the heir's disposition? And what of his shepherds and herdsmen?" "He seems to me," replied the youth, "to be for the most part asleep, sunk in forgetfulness and devoted to pleasure; and of his shepherds a few are honest, but most are vicious and brutal. For they devour or sell his sheep, and doubly injure their master, in that they not only ruin his flocks but besides that they make great gain and return him but little thereof, while they declare with loud complaint that they are defrauded of their wages. And yet it were better that they should demand and obtain their full pay than that they should destroy the flock." "Now what if I and Athene here," said Helios, "obeying the command of Zeus, should appoint thee to govern all these, in place of the heir?" Then the youth clung to him again and earnestly entreated that he might remain there. "Do not be obstinate in disobedience," said Helios, "lest perchance I hate thee beyond measure, even as I have loved thee." Then said the youth, "Do thou, O most mighty Helios, and thou, Athene, - and thee too, Father Zeus, do I call to witness, - dispose of me as ye will." Then Hermes suddenly appeared once more, and inspired him with greater courage. For now he thought that he had found a guide for the journey back, and for his sojourn on earth. Then said Athene, "Attend, good youth, that art born of myself and of this god, thy noble sire! The most virtuous of the shepherds do not please this heir, for flatterers and profligates have made him their slave and tool. Thus it is that he is not beloved by the good, and is most deeply wronged by those who are supposed to love him. Be careful then when thou returnest that he make thee not his flatterer rather than his friend. This second warning also do thou heed, my son. Yonder man slumbers, and hence he is often deceived, but do thou be sober and vigilant, lest the flatterer assume the frankness of a friend and so deceive thee; which is as though a smith covered with smoke and cinders should come wearing a white garment and with his face painted white, and thus induce thee to give him one of thy daughters in marriage. My third warning to thee is this: do thou very zealously keep watch over thyself, and reverence us in the first place, and among men only him who resembles us, and no one besides. Thou seest how false shame and excessive timidity have injured this foolish man."
Then mighty Helios took up the tale and said, "When thou hast chosen thy friends treat them as friends and do not regard them as thy servants and attendants, but let thy conduct towards them be generous, candid, and honourable: say not one thing about them while thou thinkest another. Thou seest that it was treachery to his friends that destroyed this heir. Love thy subjects even as we love thee. Prefer our worship to all other blessings. For we are thy benefactors and friends and preservers." At these words the youth became calm and showed plainly that he was already obedient in all things to the gods. "Come," said Helios, "now depart with good hope. For everywhere we shall be with thee, even I and Athene and Hermes here, and with us all the gods that are on Olympus or in the air or on earth and the whole race of gods everywhere, so long as thou art pious towards us and loyal to thy friends, and humane towards thy subjects, ruling them and guiding them to what is best. But never yield to thy own passions or become the slave of theirs. Keep the armour that thou hast brought hither, and depart, but first receive from me this torch so that even on earth a great light may shine for thee and that thou mayst not long for the things of earth. And from fair Athene here receive an aegis and helmet. For as thou seest she has many, and she gives them to whom she will. And Hermes too will give thee a golden wand. Go then thus adorned in full armour over sea and land, steadfastly obeying our laws, and let no man or woman or kinsman or foreigner persuade thee to neglect our commands. For while thou dost abide by them thou wilt be loved and honoured by us and respected by our good servants and formidable to the wicked and impious. Know that a mortal frame was given to thee that thou mightest discharge these duties. For we desire, out of respect for thy ancestor to cleanse the house of thy forefathers. Remember therefore that thou hast an immortal soul that is our offspring, and that if thou dost follow us thou shalt be a god and with us shalt behold our father."
Now whether this be a fable or a true narrative I cannot say. But in your composition, whom do you mean by Pan, and whom by Zeus unless you and I are they, that is, you are Zeus and I am Pan? What an absurd counterfeit Pan! But you are still more absurd, by Asclepius, and very far indeed from being Zeus! Is not all this the utterance of a mouth that foams with morbid rather than inspired madness? Do you not know that Salmoneus in his day was punished by the gods for just this, for attempting, though a mortal man, to play the part of Zeus? Then too there is the account in Hesiod's poems of those who styled themselves by the names of the gods, even of Hera and of Zeus, but if you have not heard of it till this moment I can excuse you for that. For you have not been well educated, nor did fate bestow on you such a guide to the poets as I had - I mean this philosopher now present: and later on I arrived at the threshold of philosophy to be initiated therein by the teaching of one whom I consider superior to all the men of my own time. He used to teach me to practise virtue before all else, and to regard the gods as my guides to all that is good. Now whether he accomplished anything of real profit he himself must determine, or rather the ruling gods; but at least he purged me of such infatuate folly and insolence as yours, and tried to make me more temperate than I was by nature. And though, as you know, I was armed with great external advantages, nevertheless I submitted myself to my preceptor and to his friends and compeers and the philosophers of his school, and I was eager to be instructed by all whose praises I heard uttered by him, and I read all the books that he approved.
Thus then I was initiated by those guides, in the first place by a philosopher who trained me in the preparatory discipline, and next by that most perfect philosopher who revealed to me the entrance to philosophy; and though I achieved but little on account of the engrossing affairs that overwhelmed me from without, still for all that I have had the benefit of right training, and have not travelled by the short road as you say you have, but have gone all the way round. Though indeed I call the gods to witness, I believe that the road I took was really a shorter road to virtue than yours. For I, at any rate, if I may say so without bad taste, am standing at the entrance, whereas you are a long way even from the entrance. "But as for virtue, you and your brethren -," omit the ill-sounding phrase and fill in the blank yourself! Or rather, if you please, bear with me when I "put it mildly" - "what part or lot have you in it?" You criticise everybody, though you yourself do nothing to deserve praise; your praises are in worse taste than those of the most ignorant rhetoricians. They, because they have nothing to say and cannot invent anything from the matter in hand, are always dragging in Delos and Leto with her children, and then "swans singing their shrill song and the trees that echo them," and "dewy meadows full of soft, deep grass," and the "scent of flowers," and "the season of spring," and other figures of the same sort. When did Isocrates ever do this in his panegyrics? Or when did anyone of those ancient writers who were genuine votaries of the Muses, and not like the writers of to-day? However, I omit what I might add, lest I should make them also my enemies, and offend at once the most worthless Cynics and the most worthless rhetoricians. Though indeed I have nothing but friendly feelings for the really virtuous Cynics, if indeed there be any such nowadays, and also for all honest rhetoricians. But though a vast number of illustrations of this sort flow into my mind - for anyone who desired to use them could certainly draw from an ample jar - I shall refrain because of the present pressure of business. However I have still somewhat to add to my discourse, like the balance of a debt, and before I turn to other matters let me complete this treatise.
I ask you then what reverence for the names of the gods was shown by the Pythagoreans and by Plato? What was Aristotle's attitude in these matters? Is it not worth while to pay attention to this? Or surely no one will deny that he of Samos was reverent? For he did not even allow the names of the gods to be used on a seal, nor oaths to be rashly uttered in the names of the gods. And if I should go on to say that he also travelled to Egypt and visited Persia, and everywhere endeavoured to be admitted to the inner mysteries of the gods and everywhere to be initiated into every kind of rite, I shall be saying what is familiar and obvious to most people, though you may not have heard of it. However, listen to what Plato says: "But for my part, Protarchus, I feel a more than human awe, indeed a fear beyond expression, of the names of the gods. Now therefore I will address Aphrodite by whatever name pleases her best; though as for pleasure, I know that it has many forms." This is what he says in the Philebus and he says the same sort of thing again in the Timaeus. For he says that we ought to believe directly and without proof what we are told, I mean what the poets say about the gods. And I have brought forward this passage for fear that Socrates may furnish you with an excuse, - as I believe he does to many Platonists because of his natural tendency to irony, - to slight the doctrine of Plato. For it is not Socrates who is speaking here, but Timaeus, who had not the least tendency to irony. Though for that matter it is not a sound principle to enquire who says a thing and to whom, rather than the actual words. But now will you allow me to cite next that all-wise Siren, the living image of Hermes the god of eloquence, the man dear to Apollo and the Muses? Well, he declares that all who raise the question or seek to enquire at all whether gods exist ought not to be answered as though they were men but to be chastised as wild beasts. And if you had read that introductory sentence which was inscribed over the entrance to his school, like Plato's, you would most surely know that those who entered the Lyceum were warned to be reverent to the gods, to be initiated into all the mysteries, to take part in the most sacred ceremonies, and to be instructed in knowledge of every kind.
And do not try to frighten me by bringing forward Diogenes as a sort of bogey. He was never initiated, they tell us, and replied to some one who once advised him to be initiated: "It is absurd of you, my young friend, to think that any tax-gatherer, if only he be initiated, can share in the rewards of the just in the next world, while Agesilaus and Epameinondas are doomed to lie in the mire." Now this, my young friend, is a very hard saying and, I am persuaded, calls for more profound discussion. May the goddesses themselves grant us understanding thereof! Though indeed I think that has already been bestowed by them. For it is evident that Diogenes was not impious, as you aver, but resembled those philosophers whom I mentioned a moment ago. For having regard to the circumstances in which his lot was cast, and next paying heed to the commands of the Pythian god, and knowing that the candidate for initiation must first be registered as an Athenian citizen, and if he be not an Athenian by birth must first become one by law, it was this he avoided, not initiation, because he considered that he was a citizen of the world; and moreover such was the greatness of his soul that he thought he ought to associate himself with the divine nature of all the gods who in common govern the whole universe, and not only with those whose functions are limited to certain portions of it. And out of reverence for the gods he did not transgress their laws, though he trampled on all other opinions and tried to give a new stamp to the common currency. And he did not return to that servitude from which he had joyfully been released. What servitude do I mean? I mean that he would not enslave himself to the laws of a single city and submit himself to all that must needs befall one who had become an Athenian citizen. For is it likely that a man who in order to honour the gods journeyed to Olympia, and like Socrates embraced philosophy in obedience to the Pythian oracle, - for he says himself that at home and in private he received the commands of that oracle and hence came his impulse to philosophy - is it likely I say that such a man would not very gladly have entered the temples of the gods but for the fact that he was trying to avoid submitting himself to any set of laws and making himself the slave of any one constitution? But why, you will say, did he not assign this reason, but on the contrary a reason that detracted not a little from the dignity of the Mysteries? Perhaps one might bring this same reproach against Pythagoras as well, but the reasoning would be incorrect. For everything ought not to be told, nay more, even of those things that we are permitted to declare, some, it seems to me, we ought to refrain from uttering to the vulgar crowd. However the explanation in this case is obvious. For since he perceived that the man who exhorted him to be initiated neglected to regulate his own life aright, though he prided himself on having been initiated, Diogenes wished at the same time to reform his morals and to teach him that the gods reserve their rewards without stint for those whose lives have earned them the right to be initiated, even though they have not gone through the ceremony, whereas the wicked gain nothing by penetrating within the sacred precincts. For this is what the hierophant proclaims, when he refuses the rite of initiation to him "whose hands are not pure or who for any reason ought not!"
But where would this discourse end if you are still unconvinced by what I have said?
|8 Consolation upon the departure of Sallust
Ah, my beloved comrade, unless I tell you all that I said to myself when I learned that you were compelled to journey far from my side, I shall think I am deprived of some comfort; or rather, I shall consider that I have not even begun to procure some assuagement for my grief unless I have first shared it with you. For we two have shared in many sorrows and also in many pleasant deeds and words, in affairs private and public, at home and in the field, and therefore for the present troubles, be they what they may, we must needs discover some cure, some remedy that both can share.
But who will imitate for us the lyre of Orpheus, who will echo for us the songs of the Sirens or discover the drug nepenthe? Though that was perhaps some tale full of Egyptian lore or such a tale as the poet himself invented, when in what follows he wove in the story of the sorrows of the Trojans, and Helen had learned it from the Egyptians; I do not mean a tale of all the woes that the Greeks and Trojans inflicted on one another, but rather tales such as they must be that will dispel the griefs of men's souls and have power to restore cheerfulness and calm. For pleasure and pain, methinks, are connected at their source and succeed each other in turn. And philosophers assert that in all that befalls the wise man the very greatest trials afford him as much felicity as vexation; and thus, as they say, does the bee extract sweet dew from the bitterest herb that grows on Hymettus and works it into honey. Even so bodies that are naturally healthy and robust are nourished by any kind of food, and food that often seems unwholesome for others, far from injuring them, makes them strong. On the other hand, the slightest causes usually inflict very serious injuries on persons who by nature or nurture, or owing to their habits, have an unsound constitution and are lifelong invalids. Just so with regard to the mind: those who have so trained it that it is not altogether unhealthy but moderately sound, though it do not indeed exhibit the vigour of Antisthenes or Socrates, or the courage of Callisthenes, or the imperturbability of Polemon, but so that it can under the same conditions as theirs adopt the golden mean, they, I say, will probably be able to remain cheerful in more trying conditions.
For my part, when I put myself to the proof to find out how I am and shall be affected by your departure, I felt the same anguish as when at home I first left my preceptor. For everything flashed across my mind at once; the labours that we shared and endured together; our unfeigned and candid conversation; our innocent and upright intercourse; our co-operation in all that was good; our equally-matched and never-repented zeal and eagerness in opposing evildoers. How often we supported each other with one equal temper! How alike were our ways! How precious our friendship! Then too there came into my mind the words, "Then was Odysseus left alone." For now I am indeed like him, since the god has removed you, like Hector, beyond the range of the shafts which have so often been aimed at you by sycophants, or rather at me, since they desired to wound me through you; for they thought that only thus should I be vulnerable if they should deprive me of the society of a faithful friend and devoted brother-in-arms one who never on any pretext failed to share the dangers that threatened me. Moreover the fact that you now have a smaller share than I in such labours and dangers does not, I think, make your grief less than mine; but you feel all the more anxiety for me and any harm that may befall my person. For even as I never set your interests second to mine, so have I ever found you equally well disposed towards me. I am therefore naturally much chagrined that to you who with regard to all others can say, "I heed them not, for my affairs are prosperous," I alone occasion sorrow and anxiety. However this sorrow it seems we share equally, though you grieve only on my account, while I constantly feel the lack of your society and call to mind the friendship that we pledged to one another that friendship which we ever cemented afresh, based as it was, first and foremost, on virtue, and secondly on the obligations which you continually conferred on me and I on you. Not by oaths or by any such ties did we ratify it, like Theseus and Peirithous, but by being of the same mind and purpose, in that so far from forbearing to inflict injury on any citizen, we never even debated any such thing with one another. But whether anything useful was done or planned by .us in common, I will leave to others to say.
Now that it is natural for me to be grieved by the present event, on being parted for ever so short a time and God grant that it may be short! from one who is not only my friend but my loyal fellow-worker, I think even Socrates, that great herald and teacher of virtue, will agree; so far at least as I may judge from the evidence on which we rely for our knowledge of him, I mean the words of Plato. At any rate, what he says is: "Ever more difficult did it seem to me to govern a state rightly. For neither is it possible to achieve anything without good friends and loyal fellow-workers, nor is it very easy to obtain enough of these." And if Plato thought this more difficult than digging a canal through Mount Athos, what must we expect to find it, we who in wisdom and knowledge are more inferior to him than he was to God? But it is not only when I think of the help in the administration that we gave one another in turn, and which enabled us to bear more easily all that fate or our opponents brought to pass contrary to our purpose; but also because I am destined soon to be bereft also of what has ever been my only solace and delight, it is natural that I am and have been cut to the very heart. For in the future to what friend can I turn as loyal as yourself? With whose guileless and pure frankness shall I now brace myself? Who now will give me prudent counsel, reprove me with affection, give me strength for good deeds without arrogance and conceit, and use frankness after extracting the bitterness from the words, like those who from medicines extract what is nauseating but leave in what is really beneficial? These are the advantages that I reaped from your friendship! And now that I have been deprived of all these all at once, with what arguments shall I supply myself, so that when I am in danger of flinging away my life out of regret for you and your counsels and loving kindness, they may persuade me to be calm and to bear nobly whatever God has sent? For in accordance with the will of God our mighty Emperor has surely planned this as all else. Then what now must be my thoughts, what spells must I find to persuade my soul to bear tranquilly the trouble with which it is now dismayed? Shall I imitate the discourses of Zamolxis I mean those Thracian spells which Socrates brought to Athens and declared that he must utter them over the fair Charmides before he could cure him of his headache? Or must we leave these alone as being, like large machinery in a small theatre, too lofty for our purpose and suited to greater troubles; and rather from the deeds of old whose fame we have heard told, as the poet says, shall we gather the fairest flowers as though from a variegated and many-coloured meadow, and thus console ourselves with such narratives and add thereto some of the teachings of philosophy? For just as, for instance, certain drugs are infused into things that have too sweet a taste, and thus their cloying sweetness is tempered, so when tales like these are seasoned by the maxims of philosophy, we avoid seeming to drag in a tedious profusion of ancient history and a superfluous and uncalled-for flow of words.
"What first, what next, what last shall I relate?" Shall I tell how the famous Scipio, who loved Laelius and was loved by him in return with equal yoke of friendship, as the saying is, not only took pleasure in his society, but undertook no task without first consulting with him and obtaining his advice as to how he should proceed? It was this, I understand, that furnished those who from envy slandered Scipio with the saying that Laelius was the real author of his enterprises, and Africanus merely the actor. The same remark is made about ourselves, and, far from resenting this, I rather rejoice at it. For to accept another's good advice Zeno held to be a sign of greater virtue than independently to decide oneself what one ought to do; and so he altered the saying of Hesiod; for Zeno says: "That man is best who follows good advice" instead of "decides all things for himself." Not that the alteration is to my liking. For I am convinced that what Hesiod says is truer, and that Pythagoras was wiser than either of them when he originated the proverb and gave to mankind the maxim, "Friends have all things in common." And by this he certainly did not mean money only, but also a partnership in intelligence and wisdom. So all that you suggested belongs just as much to me who adopted it, and whenever I was the actor who carried out your plans you naturally have an equal share in the performance. In fact, to whichever of us the credit may seem to belong, it belongs equally to the other, and malicious persons will gain nothing from their gossip.
Let me go back now to Africanus and Laelius. When Carthage had been destroyed and all Libya made subject to Rome, Africanus sent Laelius home and he embarked to carry the good news to their fatherland. And Scipio was grieved at the separation from his friend, but he did not think his sorrow inconsolable. Laelius too was probably afflicted at having to embark alone, but he did not regard it as an insupportable calamity. Cato also made a voyage and left his intimate friends at home, and so did Pythagoras and Plato and Democritus, and they took with them no companion on their travels, though they left behind them at home many whom they dearly loved. Pericles also set out on his campaign against Samos without taking Anaxagoras, and he conquered Euboea by following the latter's advice, for he had been trained by his teaching: but the philosopher himself he did not drag in his train as though he were part of the equipment needed for battle. And yet in his case too we are told that much against his will the Athenians separated him from the society of his teacher. But wise man that he was, he bore the folly of his fellow-citizens with fortitude and mildness. Indeed he thought that he must of necessity bow to his country's will when, as a mother might, however unjustly, she still resented their close friendship; and he probably reasoned as follows. (You must take what I say next as the very words of Pericles.)
"The whole world is my city and fatherland, and my friends are the gods and lesser divinities and all good men whoever and wherever they may be. Yet it is right to respect also the country where I was born, since this is the divine law, and to obey all her commands and not oppose them, or as the proverb says kick against the pricks. For inexorable, as the saying goes, is the yoke of necessity. But we must not even complain or lament when her commands are harsher than usual, but rather consider the matter as it actually is. She now orders Anaxagoras to leave me and I shall see no more my best friend, on whose account the night was hateful to me because it did not allow me to see my friend, but I was grateful to daylight and the sun because they allowed me to see him whom I loved best. But, Pericles, if nature had given you eyes only as she has to wild beasts, it would be natural enough for you to feel excessive grief. But since she has breathed into you a soul, and implanted in you intelligence by means of which you now behold in memory many past events, though they are no longer before you: and further since your reasoning power discovers many future events and reveals them as it were to the eyes of your mind; and again your imagination sketches for you not only those present events which are going on under your eyes and allows you to judge and survey them, but also reveals to you things at a distance and many thousand stades removed more clearly than what is going on at your feet and before your eyes, what need is there for such grief and resentment? And to show that I have authority for what I say, 'The mind sees and the mind hears,' says the Sicilian; and mind is a thing so acute and endowed with such amazing speed that when Homer wishes to show us one of the gods employing incredible speed in travelling he says: 'As when the mind of a man darts swiftly.' So if you employ your mind you will easily from Athens see one who is in Ionia; and from the country of the Celts one who is in Illyria or Thrace; and from Thrace or Illyria one who is in the country of the Celts. And moreover, though plants if removed from their native soil when the weather and the season are unfavourable cannot be kept alive, it is not so with men, who can remove from one place to another without completely deteriorating or changing their character and deviating from the right principles that they had before adopted. It is therefore unlikely that our affection will become blunted, if indeed we do not love and cherish each other the more for the separation. For 'wantonness attends on satiety,' but love and longing on want. So in this respect we shall be better off if our affection tends to increase, and we shall keep one another firmly set in our minds like holy images. And one moment I shall see Anaxagoras, and the next he will see me. Though nothing prevents our seeing one another at the same instant; I do not mean our flesh and sinews and "bodily outline and breasts in the likeness" of the bodily original though perhaps there is no reason why these too should not become visible to our minds but I mean our virtue, our deeds and words, our intercourse, and those conversations which we so often held with one another, when in perfect harmony we sang the praises of education and justice and mind that governs all things mortal and human: when too we discussed the art of government, and law, and the different ways of being virtuous and the noblest pursuits, everything in short that occurred to us when, as occasion served, we mentioned these subjects. If we reflect on these things and nourish ourselves with these images, we shall probably pay no heed to the 'visions of dreams in the night,' nor will the senses corrupted by the alloy of the body exhibit to our minds empty and vain phantoms. For we shall not employ the senses at all to assist and minister to us, but our minds will have escaped from them and so will be exercised on the themes I have mentioned and aroused to comprehend and associate with things incorporeal. For by the mind we commune even with God, and by its aid we are enabled to see and to grasp things that escape the senses and are far apart in space,, or rather have no need of space: that is to say, all of us who have lived so as to deserve such a vision, conceiving it in the mind and laying hold thereof."
Ah, but Pericles, inasmuch as he was a man of lofty soul and was bred as became a free man in a free city, could solace himself with such sublime arguments, whereas I, born of such men as now are, must beguile and console myself with arguments more human; and thus I assuage the excessive bitterness of my sorrow, since I constantly endeavour to devise some comfort for the anxious and uneasy ideas which keep assailing me as they arise from this event, like a charm against some wild beast that is gnawing into my very vitals and my soul, And first and foremost of the hardships that I shall have to face is this, that now I shall be bereft of our guileless intercourse and unreserved conversation. For I have no one now to whom I can talk with anything like the same confidence. What, you say, cannot I easily converse with myself? Nay, will not some one rob me even of my thoughts, and besides compel me to think differently, and to admire what I prefer not to admire? Or does this robbery amount to a prodigy unimaginable, like writing on water or boiling a stone, or tracing the track of the flight of birds on the wing? Well then since no one can deprive us of our thoughts, we shall surely commune with ourselves in some fashion, and perhaps God will suggest some alleviation. For it is not likely that he who entrusts himself to God will be utterly neglected and left wholly desolate. But over him God stretches his hand, endues him with strength, inspires him with courage, and puts into his mind what he must do. We know too how a divine voice accompanied Socrates and prevented him from doing what he ought not. And Homer also says of Achilles, "She put the thought in his mind," implying that it is God who suggests our thoughts when the mind turns inwards and first communes with itself, and then with God alone by itself, hindered by nothing external. For the mind needs no ears to learn with, still less does God need a voice to teach us our duty: but apart from all sense-perception, communion with God is vouchsafed to the mind. How and in what manner I have not now leisure to inquire, but that this does happen is evident, and there are sure witnesses thereof men not obscure or only fit to be classed with the Megarians, but such as have borne the palm for wisdom.
It follows therefore that since we may expect that God will be present with us in all our doings, and that we shall again renew our intercourse, our grief must lose its sharpest sting. For indeed in the case of Odysseus too, who was imprisoned on the island for all those seven years and then bewailed his lot, I applaud him for his fortitude on other occasions, but I do not approve those lamentations. For of what avail was it for him to gaze on the fishy sea and shed tears? Never to abandon hope and despair of one's fate, but to play the hero in the extremes of toil and danger, does indeed seem to me more than can be expected of any human being. But it is not right to praise and not to imitate the Homeric heroes, or to think that whereas God was ever ready to assist them he will disregard the men of our day, if he sees that they are striving to attain that very virtue for which he favoured those others. For it was not physical beauty that he favoured, since in that case Nireus would have been more approved; nor strength, for the Laëstrygons and the Cyclops were infinitely stronger than Odysseus; nor riches, for had that been so Troy would never have been sacked. But why should I myself labour to discover the reason why the poet says that Odysseus was beloved by the gods, when we can hear it from himself? It was "Because thou art so wary, so ready of wit, so prudent." It is therefore evident that if we have these qualities in addition, God on His side will not fail us, but in the words of the oracle once given of old to the Lacedaemonians, "Invoked or not invoked, God will be present with us."
Now that I have consoled myself with these arguments I will go back to that other consideration which, though it seems trivial, nevertheless is generally esteemed to be not ignoble. Even Alexander, we are told, felt a need for Homer, not, of course, to be his companion, but to be his herald, as he was for Achilles and Patroclus and the two Ajaxes and Antilochus. But Alexander, ever despising what he had and longing for what he had not, could never be content with his contemporaries or be satisfied with the gifts that had been granted to him. And even if Homer had fallen to his lot he would probably have coveted the lyre of Apollo on which the god played at the nuptials of Peleus; and he would not have regarded it as an invention of Homer's genius but an actual fact that had been woven into the epic, as when for instance Homer says, "Now Dawn with her saffron robe was spread over the whole earth"; and "Then uprose the Sun"; and "There is a land called Crete"; or other similar statements of poets about plain and palpable things partly existing to this very day, partly still happening.
But in Alexander's case, whether a superabundance of virtue and an intelligence that matched the advantages with which he was endowed exalted his soul to such heights of ambition that he aimed at greater achievements than are within the scope of other men; or whether the cause was an excess of courage and valour that led him into ostentation and bordered on sinful pride, must be left as a general topic for consideration by those who desire to write either a panegyric of him or a criticism; if indeed anyone thinks that criticism also can properly be applied to him. I on the contrary can always be content with what I have and am the last to covet what I have not, and so am well content when my praises are uttered by a herald who has been an eyewitness and comrade-in-arms in all that I have done; and who has never admitted any statements invented at random out of partiality or prejudice. And it is enough for me if he only admit his love for me, though on all else he were more silent than those initiated by Pythagoras.
Here however I am reminded of the report current that you are going not only to Illyria but to Thrace also, and among the Greeks who dwell on the shores of that sea. Among them I was born and brought up, and hence I have a deeply rooted affection for them and for those parts and the cities there. And it may be that in their hearts also there still remains no slight affection for me: I am therefore well assured that you will, as the saying is, gladden their hearts by your coming, and there will be a fair exchange, since they will gain in proportion as I lose by your leaving me here. And I say this not because I wish you to go for it were far better if you should return to me by the same road without delay but the thought in my mind is that even for this loss I shall not be without comfort or consolation, since I can rejoice with them on seeing you just come from us. I say "us," since on your account I now rank myself among the Celts, seeing that you are worthy to be counted among the most distinguished Greeks for your upright administration and your other virtues; and also for your consummate skill in oratory; in philosophy too you are thoroughly versed, a field wherein the Greeks alone have attained the highest rank; for they sought after truth, as its nature requires, by the aid of reason and did not suffer us to pay heed to incredible fables or impossible miracles like most of the barbarians.
However, this subject also, whatever the truth about it may be, I must lay aside for the present. But as for you for I must needs dismiss you with auspicious words may God in His goodness be your guide wherever you may have to journey, and as the God of Strangers and the Friendly One may He receive you graciously and lead you safely by land; and if you must go by sea, may He smooth the waves! And may you be loved and honoured by all you meet, welcome when you arrive, regretted when you leave them! Though you retain your affection for me, may you never lack the society of a good comrade and faithful friend! And may God make the Emperor gracious to you, and grant you all else according to your desire, and make ready for you a safe and speedy journey home to us!
In these prayers for you I am echoed by all good and honourable men; and let me add one prayer more: "Health and great joy be with thee, and may the gods give thee all things good, even to come home again to thy dear fatherland!"