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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



4458
Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 25.9


nan I could go on to speak in the same way about the other cities, and populations which have fared well or ill on account of certain men who were their rulers and leaders. However, my own opinion has, I think, been made sufficiently clear. So, if you do call those I have mentioned in very truth guiding spirits of those who were under their sway and who severally fared better or worse on account of them, I should be glad to hear what you have to say.


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

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1. Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 1.38, 2.64, 3.37, 6.16, 7.134, 11.51, 11.62-11.63, 12.11, 12.53, 20.20, 31.159-31.160, 31.163, 32.35, 32.41-32.44, 32.56, 33.41, 35.18-35.24, 36.5, 36.8-36.9, 36.25, 36.43, 38.33, 48.5, 49.7-49.9, 53.8 (1st cent. CE

6.16.  That for which men gave themselves the most trouble and spent the most money, which caused the razing of many cities and the piti­ful destruction of many nations — this he found the least laborious and most inexpensive of all things to procure. 12.53.  For you see that the issue is no small one, nor the danger, for us. Since in times past, because we had no clear knowledge, we formed each his different idea, and each person, according to his capacity and nature, conceived a likeness for every divine manifestation and fashioned such likenesses in his dreams; and if we do perchance collect any small and insignificant likenesses made by the earlier artists, we do not trust them very much nor pay them very much attention. But you by the power of your art first conquered and united Hellas and then all others by means of this wondrous presentment, showing forth so marvellous and dazzling a conception, that none of those who have beheld it could any longer easily form a different one. 31.159.  Therefore, just as, when a prosperous and great family has been left desolate and only one male descendant survives, everything depends upon him, and if he errs in any way and bears a bad name, he destroys all the glory of his family and puts shame upon all who preceded him, so too is your position now in respect to Hellas. For you must not take it for granted, Rhodians, that you hold first place in Hellas, nay you must not. For it is only those Hellenes who still live and are sensible of the difference between honour and dishonour of whom it is possible for any to be first. But all the former are past and gone, have perished in an utterly shameful and pitiable way; and as to the rest, it is no longer possible to form a conception of the pre-eminence and splendour of their deeds and, as well, their sufferings, by looking at the men of the present time. 31.160.  Nay, it is rather the stones which reveal the grandeur and the greatness of Hellas, and the ruins of her buildings; her inhabitants themselves and those who conduct her governments would not be called descendants of even the Mysians. So to me, at least, it seems that the cities which have been utterly destroyed have come off better than those which are inhabited as they are now. For the memory of those men remains unimpaired, and the fame of those noble men of the past suffers insult for naught; just as it is true, methinks, with the bodies of the dead — it is in every way better that they should have been utterly destroyed and that no man should see them any more, than that they should rot in the sight of all! 31.163.  Then again, take the mode you affect in dress — which perhaps to some appears ridiculous — the width of the purple stripe; we come now to things still more noticeable — your remaining silent as you watch the games, your applauding by making a clucking sound with your lips — all these manners lend your city dignity, they all cause you to be looked upon as superior to the others, for all these customs you are admired, you are loved; more than by your harbours, your fortifications, your shipyards are you honoured by that strain in your customs which is antique and Hellenic, so that when anybody comes among you he recognizes instantly on disembarking, even if he happens to be of barbarian race, that he has not come to some city of Syria or of Cilicia. But in other cities, unless the stranger hears some one mention the name of the place he sees, that it is called, let us say, 'Lyceum' or 'Academy,' they are all alike to him! 32.35.  But to take just that topic which I mentioned in the beginning, see how important it is. For how you dine in private, how you sleep, how you manage your household, these are matters in which as individuals you are not at all conspicuous; on the other hand, how you behave as spectators and what you are like in the theatre are matters of common knowledge among Greeks and barbarians alike. For your city is vastly superior in point of size and situation, and it is admittedly ranked second among all cities beneath the sun. 32.41.  What, then, do you suppose those people say when they have returned to their homes at the ends of the earth? Do they not say: "We have seen a city that in most respects is admirable and a spectacle that surpasses all human spectacles, with regard both to beauty and sanctuaries and multitude of inhabitants and abundance of all that man requires," going on to describe to their fellow citizens as accurately as possible all the things that I myself named a short while ago — all about the Nile, the land, and the sea, and in particular the epiphany of the god; "and yet," they will add, "it is a city that is mad over music and horse-races and in these matters behaves in a manner entirely unworthy of itself. For the Alexandrians are moderate enough when they offer sacrifice or stroll by themselves or engage in their other pursuits; but when they enter the theatre or the stadium, just as if drugs that would madden them lay buried there, they lose all consciousness of their former state and are not ashamed to say or do anything that occurs to them. 32.42.  And what is most distressing of all is that, despite their interest in the show, they do not really see, and, though they wish to hear, they do not hear, being evidently out of their senses and deranged â€” not only men, but even women and children. And when the dreadful exhibition is over and they are dismissed, although the more violent aspect of their disorder has been extinguished, still at street-corners and in alley-ways the malady continues throughout the entire city for several days; just as when a mighty conflagration has died down, you can see for a long time, not only the smoke, but also some portions of the buildings still aflame. 32.43.  Moreover, some Persian or Bactrian is likely to say: "We ourselves know how to ride horses and are held to be just about the best in horsemanship" — for they cultivate that art for the defence of their empire and independence — "but for all that we have never behaved that way or anything like it"; whereas you, who have never handled a horse or mounted one yourselves, are unable to restrain yourselves, but are like lame men squabbling over a foot-race. That may explain why, cowards and slackers though you are, you have won so many cavalry battles in the past! 32.44.  And take heed lest these people prove to have spoken more truthfully about you than Anacharsis the Scythian is said to have spoken about the Greeks — for he was held to be one of the sages, and he came to Greece, I suppose, to observe the customs and the people. Anacharsis said that in each city of the Greeks there is a place set apart in which they act insanely day after day — meaning the gymnasium — for when they go there and strip off their clothes, they smear themselves with a drug. "And this," said he, "arouses the madness in them; for immediately some run, others throw each other down, others put up their hands and fight an imaginary foe, and others submit to blows. And when they have behaved in that fashion," said he, "they scrape off the drug and straightway are sane again and, now on friendly terms with one another, they walk with downcast glance, being ashamed at what has occurred. 33.41.  well then, suppose that a man were to judge you too by the sound that came to him from a distance, what kind of men would he guess you were and what your occupation? For you haven't the capacity for tending either cattle or sheep! And would any one call you colonists from Argos, as you claim to be, or more likely colonists of those abominable Aradians? Would he call you Greeks, or the most licentious of Phoenicians? I believe it is more appropriate for a man of sense to plug his ears with wax in a city like yours than if he chanced to be sailing past the Sirens. For there one faced the risk of death, but here it is licentiousness, insolence, the most extreme corruption that threatens. 35.18.  For in India, according to the report, there are rivers, not of water as in your land, but one of milk, one of translucent wine, another of honey, and another of olive oil. And these streams spring from hills near by, as if from the breasts of Mother Earth. And also these products are immeasurably superior to those we have both in flavour and in potency. For what we have in our country we gather in scanty measure and with difficulty from certain animals and plants, crushing the fruits of trees and plants and extracting the food of living creatures by milking and by robbing the hive; while the products of India are altogether purer, untainted, methinks, by violence and ruthlessness. Moreover, the rivers flow during one month for the king, and that constitutes his tribute, while for the rest of the year they flow for the people. 35.19.  So every day the Indians assemble with their children and their wives at the springs and river-banks, sporting and laughing as if in expectation of a feast. And by the banks there grows the lotus — a sturdy plant and, one might say, the sweetest of all foods, not, as the lotus in our land, mere fodder for quadrupeds — and also much sesame and parsley, at least as one might judge from the outward similarity of those plants, although for quality they are not to be compared. And that country produces also another seed, a better food than wheat and barley and more wholesome. And it grows in huge calyxes, like those of roses but more fragrant and larger. This plant they eat, both root and fruit, at no expense of labour. 35.20.  And there are many canals which issue from the rivers, some large and some small, mingling with one another and made by man to suit his fancy. And by their aid the Indians convey with ease the fluids I have named, just as we convey the water of our gardens. And there are baths also close by at their disposal, the water of which in the one case is warm and whiter than silver and in the other it is blue from its depth and coldness. In these they swim, women and children together, all of them beautiful. And after the bath, I dare say, reclining in the meadows they sing and hum. 35.21.  And there are in that land meadows of utter beauty and a variety of flowering trees that provide shade from high above, though they bring their fruit within reach of all who wish to pluck it as the branches nod. And the birds charm them by their song, some seated in the meadows, a great flock of them, and some high up among the topmost branches, their notes more tuneful than those of our musical instruments. And a gentle breeze is ever blowing, and the climate is nearly constant throughout the year, and it resembles most closely that of early summer. And what is more, not only is their sky clearer, but also the stars are more numerous and more brilliant. And these people live more than four hundred years, and during all that time they are beautiful and youthful and neither old age nor disease nor poverty is found among them. 35.22.  So wonder­ful and so numerous are these blessings, and yet there are people called Brachmanes who, abandoning those rivers and the people scattered along their banks, turn aside and devote themselves to private speculation and meditation, undertaking amazing physical labours without compulsion and enduring fearful tests of endurance. And it is said that they have one special fountain, the Fountain of Truth, by far the best and most godlike of all, and that those who drink their fill thereof have never been known to lie. Regarding conditions in that land, then, it is a true story that you have heard. For some of those who have been there have vouched for it; though only a few do go there, in pursuit of trade, and they mingle only with the people of the coast. 35.23.  And that branch of the Indian race is in low repute, and all the others say harsh things of them. It must be admitted that the people of India are more fortunate than you are, but that you are more fortunate than all the others — with the exception of just one more race of mortals, namely, those most rich in gold. And their gold is obtained from ants. These ants are larger than foxes, though in other respects similar to the ants we have. And they burrow in the earth, just as do all other ants. And that which is thrown out by their burrowing is gold, the purest of all gold and the most resplendent. Now there are close to one another a series of what might be called hills of gold dust, and the whole plain is agleam. Therefore it is difficult to look thereon in the sunlight, and many of those who have made the attempt have lost their sight. 35.24.  But the people who live near that land, having traversed the intervening territory (desert land of no great extent) in chariots drawn by horses of greatest speed, arrive at midday, at which time the ants have gone underground; and then these men seize the gold that has been cast forth and flee. And the ants, becoming aware of what has happened, give chase, and, having overtaken their quarry, fight until they either meet their death or kill the foe — for they are the most valiant of all creatures. And so these at any rate know what their gold is worth, and they even die sooner than give it up. 36.5.  For that reason the fortunes of the Greeks in that region reached a very low ebb indeed, some of them being no longer united to form cities, while others enjoyed but a wretched existence as communities, and it was mostly barbarians who flocked to them. Indeed many cities have been captured in many parts of Greece, inasmuch as Greece lies scattered in many regions. But after Borysthenes had been taken on the occasion mentioned, its people once more formed a community, with the consent of the Scythians, I imagine, because of their need for traffic with the Greeks who might use that port. For the Greeks had stopped sailing to Borysthenes when the city was laid waste, inasmuch as they had no people of common speech to receive them, and the Scythians themselves had neither the ambition nor the knowledge to equip a trading-centre of their own after the Greek manner. 36.8.  Callistratus was about eighteen years of age, very tall and handsome, having much of the Ionian in his appearance. And it was said also that in matters pertaining to warfare he was a man of courage, and that many of the Sauromatians he had either slain or taken captive. He had become interested also in oratory and philosophy, so that he had his heart set on sailing away in my company. For all these reasons, then, he was in high repute with his fellow-townsmen, and not least of all because of his beauty, and he had many lovers. For this practice has continued among them as a heritage from the city of their origin — I refer to the love of man for man — so much so that they are likely to make converts of some of the barbarians, for no good end, I dare say, but rather as those people would adopt such a practice, that is to say, like barbarians and not without licentiousness. 36.9.  Knowing, then, that Callistratus was fond of Homer, I immediately began to question him about the poet. And practically all the people of Borysthenes also have cultivated an interest in Homer, possibly because of their still being a warlike people, although it may also be due to their regard for Achilles, for they honour him exceedingly, and they have actually established two temples for his worship, one on the island that bears his name and one in their city; and so they do not wish even to hear about any other poet than Homer. And although in general they no longer speak Greek distinctly, because they live in the midst of barbarians, still almost all at least know the Iliad by heart. 36.25.  As a usual thing those who come here are nominally Greeks but actually more barbarous than ourselves, traders and market-men, fellows who import cheap rags and vile wine and export in exchange products of no better quality. But you would appear to have been sent to us by Achilles himself from his holy isle, and we are very glad to see you and very glad also to listen to whatever you have to say. However, we do not believe that this visit of yours is to be of very long duration, nor do we desire it to be, but rather that you may have a prosperous voyage home as speedily as possible. 36.43.  "What follows regarding the horses and their driving I really am ashamed to tell in the manner in which the Magi set it forth in their narrative, since they are not very much concerned to secure consistency at all points in their presentation of the picture. In fact, quite possibly I may appear absurd when, in contrast with Greek lays of grace and charm, I chant one that is barbarian; but still I must make the venture. "According to the Magi, that one of the horses which is the highest in the heavens is immeasurably superior in beauty, size, and speed, since it has the outside track and runs the longest course, a horse sacred to Zeus himself. Furthermore, it is a winged creature, brilliant in colour with the brilliance of the purest flame; and in it Helius and Selenê are to be seen as conspicuous signs or marks — like, I fancy, the marks which horses bear here on earth, some crescent-shaped and some of other patterns. 38.33.  But you must also strive to give the provincial governors occasion to respect you, by continually making it manifest that you are not content with merely being well governed yourselves, but that you are concerned for the welfare of the whole Bithynian people, and that you are no less displeased over the wrongs inflicted upon the others than you are over those inflicted upon yourselves; moreover, that if any persons flee to you for succour, you aid them promptly and impartially. This line of conduct is what will yield you that primacy which is genuine, and not your squabble with Nicaeans over titles. 48.5.  Then what you do not tolerate from the lips of others will you yourselves say against yourselves? If ever a quarrel arises and your adversaries taunt you with having wicked citizens, with dissension, are you not put to shame? As for myself, I swear to you by all the gods, I was indeed violently angry when a certain person said to me, "Bring reconciliation to the city," and I was vexed with him. For may I never see the day when you need reconciliation, but, as the saying goes, may such things be diverted to the heads of our enemies, that is, to the accursed Getae, but not to any others, members of our own race. 49.8.  the Celts appointed those whom they call Druids, these also being devoted to the prophetic art and to wisdom in general. In all these cases the kings were not permitted to do or plan anything without the assistance of these wise men, so that in truth it was they who ruled, while the kings became are servants and the ministers of their will, though they sat on golden thrones, dwelt in great houses, and feasted sumptuously. And indeed it is reasonable to expect that man to administer any office most capably who, occupying continuously the most difficult office of all, can show himself free from error. 53.8.  For in what respect is it a greater feat to cast a spell upon stones and trees and wild beasts and to make them follow than to have mastered so completely men of alien race who do not understand the Hellenic speech, men who have acquaintance with neither the poet's tongue nor the deeds of which his poem tells, but are, as I believe, simply enchanted by a lyre? Moreover, I believe that many barbarians who are still more ignorant than those men of India have heard of the name of Homer, if nothing more, though they have no clear notion what it signifies, whether animal or vegetable or something else still.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
alexander Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 119
barbaroi, vs.greeks Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
barbaroi Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
bithynia (roman province) Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
bon sauvage Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
cicero Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
darius Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 119
dio chrysostomus Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109, 119
dion of prousa Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
graeci Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
greek/barbarian division Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
hellenism(e) Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
humankind, unity of Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
identity (greek) Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
image Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
india Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
mythologie Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
oikeiosis Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
paideia Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
panaitios of rhodes Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
sagesse (dorigine divine) Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
stéréotypes (barbares) Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
tyrannos' Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109