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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



4458
Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 12.16-12.20


nan I must do this and try to the best of my ability. However, you will not hear words such as you would hear from any other man of the present day, but words much less pretentious and wearisome, in fact just such as you now observe. And in brief, you must allow me to pursue any thought that occurs to me and not become annoyed if you find me wandering in my remarks exactly as in the past I have lived a life of roving, but you must grant me your indulgence, bearing in mind that you are listening to a man who is a layman and who is fond of talking. For in fact, as it happens, I have just finished a long, long journey, all the way from the Ister and the land of the Getae, or Mysians as Homer, using the modern designation of the race, calls them. <


nan And I went there, not as a merchant with his wares, nor yet as one of the supply-train of the army in the capacity of baggage-carrier or cattle-driver, nor was I discharging a mission as ambassador to our allies or on some embassy bearing congratulations, the members of which join in prayers with the lips only. I went Unarmed, with neither helm nor shield nor lance, <


nan nor indeed with any other weapon either, so that I marvelled that they brooked the sight of me. For I, who could not ride a horse and was not a skilled bowman or man-at‑arms, nor yet a javelin-thrower, or slinger, belonging to the light-armed troops who carry no heavy armour, nor, again, was able to cut timber or dig a trench, nor to mow fodder from an enemy's meadow 'with many a glance behind,' nor yet to raise a tent or a rampart, just as certain non-combatants do who follow the legions as helpers, <


nan I, who was useless for all such things, came among men who were not dullards, and yet had no leisure to listen to speeches, but were high-strung and tense like race-horses at the starting barriers, fretting at the delay and in their excitement and eagerness pawing the ground with their hoofs. There one could see everywhere swords, everywhere corselets, everywhere spears, and the whole place was crowded with horses, with arms, and with armed men. Quite alone I appeared in the midst of this mighty host, perfectly undisturbed and a most peaceful observer of war, <


nan weak in body and advanced in years, not bearing 'a golden sceptre' or the sacred fillets of any god and arriving at the camp on an enforced journey to gain a daughter's release, but desiring to see strong men contending for empire and power, and their opponents for freedom and native land. Then, not because I shrank from the danger — let no one think this — but because I recalled to mind an old vow, I turned my course hither to you, ever considering that things divine have the greater claim and are more profitable than things human, however important these may be. <


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

5 results
1. Herodotus, Histories, 4.17-4.18, 4.24, 4.53, 4.78-4.79, 4.93-4.96, 4.118 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

4.17. North of the port of the Borysthenites, which lies midway along the coast of Scythia, the first inhabitants are the Callippidae, who are Scythian Greeks; and beyond them another tribe called Alazones; these and the Callippidae, though in other ways they live like the Scythians, plant and eat grain, onions, garlic, lentils, and millet. ,Above the Alazones live Scythian farmers, who plant grain not to eat but to sell; north of these, the Neuri; north of the Neuri, the land is uninhabited so far as we know. 4.18. These are the tribes by the Hypanis river, west of the Borysthenes . But on the other side of the Borysthenes, the tribe nearest to the sea is the tribe of the Woodlands; and north of these live Scythian farmers, whom the Greek colonists on the Hypanis river (who call themselves Olbiopolitae) call Borystheneïtae. ,These farming Scythians inhabit a land stretching east a three days' journey to a river called Panticapes, and north as far as an eleven days' voyage up the Borysthenes ; and north of these the land is desolate for a long way; ,after the desolation is the country of the Man-eaters, who are a nation apart and by no means Scythian; and beyond them is true desolation, where no nation of men lives, as far as we know. 4.24. Now as far as the land of these bald men, we have full knowledge of the country and the nations on the near side of them; for some of the Scythians make their way to them, from whom it is easy to get knowledge, and from some of the Greeks, too, from the Borysthenes port and the other ports of Pontus; such Scythians as visit them transact their business with seven interpreters and in seven languages. 4.53. The fourth is the Borysthenes river. This is the next greatest after the Ister, and the most productive, in our judgment, not only of the Scythian but of all rivers, except the Egyptian Nile, with which no other river can be compared. ,But of the rest, the Borysthenes is the most productive; it provides the finest and best-nurturing pasture lands for beasts, and the fish in it are beyond all in their excellence and abundance. Its water is most sweet to drink, flowing with a clear current, whereas the other rivers are turbid. There is excellent soil on its banks, and very rich grass where the land is not planted; ,and self-formed crusts of salt abound at its mouth; it provides great spineless fish, called sturgeons, for salting, and many other wonderful things besides. ,Its course is from the north, and it is known as far as the Gerrhan land; that is, for forty days' voyage; beyond that, no one can say through what nations it flows; but it is plain that it flows through desolate country to the land of the farming Scythians, who live beside it for a ten days' voyage. ,This is the only river, besides the Nile, whose source I cannot identify; nor, I think, can any Greek. When the Borysthenes comes near the sea, the Hypanis mingles with it, running into the same marsh; ,the land between these rivers, where the land projects like a ship's beak, is called Hippolaus' promontory; a temple of Demeter stands there. The settlement of the Borystheneïtae is beyond the temple, on the Hypanis. 4.78. This, then, was how Anacharsis fared, owing to his foreign ways and consorting with Greeks; and a great many years afterward, Scyles, son of Ariapithes, suffered a like fate. Scyles was one of the sons born to Ariapithes, king of Scythia; but his mother was of Istria, and not native-born; and she taught him to speak and read Greek. ,As time passed, Ariapithes was treacherously killed by Spargapithes, king of the Agathyrsi, and Scyles inherited the kingship and his father's wife, a Scythian woman whose name was Opoea, and she bore Scyles a son, Oricus. ,So Scyles was king of Scythia; but he was in no way content with the Scythian way of life, and was much more inclined to Greek ways, from the upbringing that he had received. So this is what he would do: he would lead the Scythian army to the city of the Borysthenites (who say that they are Milesians), and when he arrived there would leave his army in the suburb of the city, ,while he himself, entering within the walls and shutting the gates, would take off his Scythian apparel and put on Greek dress; and in it he would go among the townsfolk unattended by spearmen or any others (who would guard the gates, lest any Scythian see him wearing this apparel), and in every way follow the Greek manner of life, and worship the gods according to Greek usage. ,When he had spent a month or more like this, he would put on Scythian dress and leave the city. He did this often; and he built a house in Borysthenes, and married a wife of the people of the country and brought her there. 4.79. But when things had to turn out badly for him, they did so for this reason: he conceived a desire to be initiated into the rites of the Bacchic Dionysus; and when he was about to begin the sacred mysteries, he saw the greatest vision. ,He had in the city of the Borysthenites a spacious house, grand and costly (the same house I just mentioned), all surrounded by sphinxes and griffins worked in white marble; this house was struck by a thunderbolt. And though the house burnt to the ground, Scyles none the less performed the rite to the end. ,Now the Scythians reproach the Greeks for this Bacchic revelling, saying that it is not reasonable to set up a god who leads men to madness. ,So when Scyles had been initiated into the Bacchic rite, some one of the Borysthenites scoffed at the Scythians: “You laugh at us, Scythians, because we play the Bacchant and the god possesses us; but now this deity has possessed your own king, so that he plays the Bacchant and is maddened by the god. If you will not believe me, follow me now and I will show him to you.” ,The leading men among the Scythians followed him, and the Borysthenite brought them up secretly onto a tower; from which, when Scyles passed by with his company of worshippers, they saw him playing the Bacchant; thinking it a great misfortune, they left the city and told the whole army what they had seen. 4.93. But before he came to the Ister, he first took the Getae, who pretend to be immortal. The Thracians of Salmydessus and of the country above the towns of Apollonia and Mesambria, who are called Cyrmianae and Nipsaei, surrendered without a fight to Darius; but the Getae resisted stubbornly, and were enslaved at once, the bravest and most just Thracians of all. 4.94. Their belief in their immortality is as follows: they believe that they do not die, but that one who perishes goes to the deity Salmoxis, or Gebeleïzis, as some of them call him. ,Once every five years they choose one of their people by lot and send him as a messenger to Salmoxis, with instructions to report their needs; and this is how they send him: three lances are held by designated men; others seize the messenger to Salmoxis by his hands and feet, and swing and toss him up on to the spear-points. ,If he is killed by the toss, they believe that the god regards them with favor; but if he is not killed, they blame the messenger himself, considering him a bad man, and send another messenger in place of him. It is while the man still lives that they give him the message. ,Furthermore, when there is thunder and lightning these same Thracians shoot arrows skyward as a threat to the god, believing in no other god but their own. 4.95. I understand from the Greeks who live beside the Hellespont and Pontus, that this Salmoxis was a man who was once a slave in Samos, his master being Pythagoras son of Mnesarchus; ,then, after being freed and gaining great wealth, he returned to his own country. Now the Thracians were a poor and backward people, but this Salmoxis knew Ionian ways and a more advanced way of life than the Thracian; for he had consorted with Greeks, and moreover with one of the greatest Greek teachers, Pythagoras; ,therefore he made a hall, where he entertained and fed the leaders among his countrymen, and taught them that neither he nor his guests nor any of their descendants would ever die, but that they would go to a place where they would live forever and have all good things. ,While he was doing as I have said and teaching this doctrine, he was meanwhile making an underground chamber. When this was finished, he vanished from the sight of the Thracians, and went down into the underground chamber, where he lived for three years, ,while the Thracians wished him back and mourned him for dead; then in the fourth year he appeared to the Thracians, and thus they came to believe what Salmoxis had told them. Such is the Greek story about him. 4.96. Now I neither disbelieve nor entirely believe the tale about Salmoxis and his underground chamber; but I think that he lived many years before Pythagoras; ,and as to whether there was a man called Salmoxis or this is some deity native to the Getae, let the question be dismissed. 4.118. The kings of the aforesaid nations having gathered, then, the Scythian messengers came and laid everything before them, explaining how the Persian, now that the whole of the other continent was subject to him, had crossed over to their continent by a bridge thrown across the neck of the Bosporus, and how having crossed it and subjugated the Thracians he was now bridging the Ister, so as to make that whole region subject to him like the others. ,“By no means stand aside and let us be destroyed,” they said; “rather, let us unite and oppose this invader. If you will not, then we shall either be driven out of our country or stay and make terms. ,For what is to become of us if you will not help us? And afterward it will not be easy for you, either; for the Persian has come to attack you no less than us, and when he has subjugated us he will not be content to leave you alone. ,We will give you a convincing proof of what we say: if indeed the Persian were marching against us alone, wanting vengeance for our former enslavement of his country, he ought to leave others alone and make straight for us, and would show everyone that Scythia and no other country was his goal. ,But as it is, from the day he crossed over to this continent, he has been taming all that come in his way, and he holds in subjection not only the rest of Thrace, but also our neighbors the Getae.”
2. Strabo, Geography, 7.3.17 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

7.3.17. Then comes the Borysthenes River, which is navigable for a distance of six hundred stadia; and, near it, another river, the Hypanis, and off the mouth of the Borysthenes, an island with a harbor. On sailing up the Borysthenes two hundred stadia one comes to a city of the same name as the river, but the same city is also called Olbia; it is a great trading center and was founded by Milesians. Now the whole country that lies above the said seaboard between the Borysthenes and the Ister consists, first, of the Desert of the Getae; then the country of the Tyregetans; and after it the country of the Iazygian Sarmatians and that of the people called the Basileians and that of the Urgi, who in general are nomads, though a few are interested also in farming; these people, it is said, dwell also along the Ister, often on both sides. In the interior dwell, first, those Bastarnians whose country borders on that of the Tyregetans and Germans — they also being, one might say, of Germanic stock; and they are divided up into several tribes, for a part of them are called Atmoni and Sidoni, while those who took possession of Peuce, the island in the Ister, are called Peucini, whereas the Roxolani (the most northerly of them all) roam the plains between the Tanais and the Borysthenes. In fact, the whole country towards the north from Germany as far as the Caspian Sea is, so far as we know it, a plain, but whether any people dwell beyond the Roxolani we do not know. Now the Roxolani, under the leadership of Tasius, carried on war even with the generals of Mithridates Eupator; they came for the purpose of assisting Palacus, the son of Scilurus, as his allies, and they had the reputation of being warlike; yet all barbarian races and light-armed peoples are weak when matched against a well-ordered and well-armed phalanx. At any rate, those people, about fifty thousand strong, could not hold out against the six thousand men arrayed with Diophantus, the general of Mithridates, and most of them were destroyed. They use helmets and corselets made of raw ox-hides, carry wicker shields, and have for weapons spears, bow, and sword; and most of the other barbarians are armed in this way. As for the Nomads, their tents, made of felt, are fastened on the wagons in which they spend their lives; and round about the tents are the herds which afford the milk, cheese, and meat on which they live; and they follow the grazing herds, from time to time moving to other places that have grass, living only in the marsh-meadows about Lake Maeotis in winter, but also in the plains in summer.
3. Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 12.17-12.20 (1st cent. CE

12.17.  And I went there, not as a merchant with his wares, nor yet as one of the supply-train of the army in the capacity of baggage-carrier or cattle-driver, nor was I discharging a mission as ambassador to our allies or on some embassy bearing congratulations, the members of which join in prayers with the lips only. I went Unarmed, with neither helm nor shield nor lance 12.18.  nor indeed with any other weapon either, so that I marvelled that they brooked the sight of me. For I, who could not ride a horse and was not a skilled bowman or man-at‑arms, nor yet a javelin-thrower, or slinger, belonging to the light-armed troops who carry no heavy armour, nor, again, was able to cut timber or dig a trench, nor to mow fodder from an enemy's meadow 'with many a glance behind,' nor yet to raise a tent or a rampart, just as certain non-combatants do who follow the legions as helpers 12.19.  I, who was useless for all such things, came among men who were not dullards, and yet had no leisure to listen to speeches, but were high-strung and tense like race-horses at the starting barriers, fretting at the delay and in their excitement and eagerness pawing the ground with their hoofs. There one could see everywhere swords, everywhere corselets, everywhere spears, and the whole place was crowded with horses, with arms, and with armed men. Quite alone I appeared in the midst of this mighty host, perfectly undisturbed and a most peaceful observer of war 12.20.  weak in body and advanced in years, not bearing 'a golden sceptre' or the sacred fillets of any god and arriving at the camp on an enforced journey to gain a daughter's release, but desiring to see strong men contending for empire and power, and their opponents for freedom and native land. Then, not because I shrank from the danger — let no one think this — but because I recalled to mind an old vow, I turned my course hither to you, ever considering that things divine have the greater claim and are more profitable than things human, however important these may be.
4. Tacitus, Annals, 1.9, 2.61 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.9.  Then tongues became busy with Augustus himself. Most men were struck by trivial points — that one day should have been the first of his sovereignty and the last of his life — that he should have ended his days at Nola in the same house and room as his father Octavius. Much, too, was said of the number of his consulates (in which he had equalled the combined totals of Valerius Corvus and Caius Marius), his tribunician power unbroken for thirty-seven years, his title of Imperator twenty-one times earned, and his other honours, multiplied or new. Among men of intelligence, however, his career was praised or arraigned from varying points of view. According to some, "filial duty and the needs of a country, which at the time had no room for law, had driven him to the weapons of civil strife — weapons which could not be either forged or wielded with clean hands. He had overlooked much in Antony, much in Lepidus, for the sake of bringing to book the assassins of his father. When Lepidus grew old and indolent, and Antony succumbed to his vices, the sole remedy for his distracted country was government by one man. Yet he organized the state, not by instituting a monarchy or a dictatorship, but by creating the title of First Citizen. The empire had been fenced by the ocean or distant rivers. The legions, the provinces, the fleets, the whole administration, had been centralized. There had been law for the Roman citizen, respect for the allied communities; and the capital itself had been embellished with remarkable splendour. Very few situations had been treated by force, and then only in the interests of general tranquillity. 2.61.  But other marvels, too, arrested the attention of Germanicus: in especial, the stone colossus of Memnon, which emits a vocal sound when touched by the rays of the sun; the pyramids reared mountain high by the wealth of emulous kings among wind-swept and all but impassable sands; the excavated lake which receives the overflow of Nile; and, elsewhere, narrow gorges and deeps impervious to the plummet of the explorer. Then he proceeded to Elephantine and Syene, once the limits of the Roman Empire, which now stretches to the Persian Gulf.
5. Aelius Aristides, Orations, 26.105 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
ares Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
aristides, aelius Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
autopsy Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 160
bowersock, g.w. Pinheiro et al., Philosophy and the Ancient Novel (2015) 68
china, chinese Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
cities, as thematic locus in herodotean reception Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 160
climate' Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
danube Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
dio, of prusa Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
dio chrysostom, olbia Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 160
dio chrysostom, prusa and prusans Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 160
dio chrysostom Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 160
dionysius, of alexandria, and rome Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
egypt, egyptian Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
ethnography Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 160
flaig, e. Pinheiro et al., Philosophy and the Ancient Novel (2015) 68
getae, the Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 160
getae Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
jedrkiewicz, s. Pinheiro et al., Philosophy and the Ancient Novel (2015) 68
massagetae Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
nasamones Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
nomads Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
ocean Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
parthia, parthian Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
persia, persian Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
schmitz, th. Pinheiro et al., Philosophy and the Ancient Novel (2015) 68
scholastikoi Pinheiro et al., Philosophy and the Ancient Novel (2015) 68
scythia and scythians Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 160
second sophistic Pinheiro et al., Philosophy and the Ancient Novel (2015) 68
socrates, socratic paradox Pinheiro et al., Philosophy and the Ancient Novel (2015) 68
sybaris Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
tacitus Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352
travel Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 160
zeus Bowie, Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, Volume 2: Comedy, Herodotus, Hellenistic and Imperial Greek Poetry, the Novels (2023) 352