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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10328
Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 1.1


nanBOOK I To his friend Constantius [c. 477 CE] WITH all the influence you derive from a genius for sound advice, you have long urged me to correct, revise, and bring together in one volume the more finished of those occasional letters which matters, men, and times have drawn from me: I am to set presumptuous foot where Symmachus of the ample manner, and Pliny of the perfected art have gone before. [2] Of Cicero as letter-writer I had best be dumb; not Julius Titianus himself, in his Letters of Famous Women, could worthily reproduce that model; he tried to imitate a style which was not of his time, and Fronto's other pupils, in their jealousy, called him 'ape of orators' for his pains. I have always been horribly conscious how far I fall short of these great examples; I have consistently claimed for each the privilege of his own period and genius. [3] But I have done your will; here you have the letters, not merely to revise, for that is nothing, but to polish and, as the phrase goes, clear of lees. Do I not know you devoted not to studies only, but to the studious too? Which devotion now makes you launch me, despite my fears, upon this deep main of ambition. [4] I had been safer had I breathed no word about these trifles, content with the reception of my poems, which good luck surely helped to recognition rather than skill of mine. Such fame as I have should be to me an anchor cast in the haven of safe repute. I ought to be content with it after the envious snarls of all the Scyllas which my ship has passed. But if the tooth of jealousy spares these extravagances of mine, volume shall follow upon volume, all full-brimming with my most copious flow of correspondence. Farewell.


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

11 results
1. Hesiod, Theogony, 536-537, 535 (8th cent. BCE - 7th cent. BCE)

535. Upon her. So they sent her to rich Crete
2. Horace, Ars Poetica, 22-23, 21 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3. Martial, Epigrams, 10.51 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4. Martial, Epigrams, 10.51 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 9.26 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

9.26. To Lupercus. When referring to a certain orator of our own times, who was a straightforward and level-headed speaker, but lacked the grand manner and ornateness, I said, rather neatly in my opinion, "He has no faults, except it be a fault that he has none." For an orator ought to soar to great heights and be carried away by his feelings, and, on some occasions, he ought to rage and storm, and frequently get near the brink of a precipice, for precipices usually lie near high and exalted places. One travels more safely along level ground, but the road is low and undistinguished, and those who run are more likely to stumble than those who creep, yet the latter get no credit for not falling, while the former, despite their fall, often do. It is exactly the same with oratory as with other arts; it is the difficulty of the task which makes the credit of the achievement. You may notice how the tight-rope walkers, who are struggling along at a great height, evoke the loudest applause just when they seem to be on the point of falling, for those events create most wonder which are least expected, most hazardous, and, as the Greeks still better express it, are most recklessly daring. The skill of a helmsman is by no means so great when he is sailing on a smooth sea as when a tempest is raging; in the former case, there is no one to wonder at his skill as he enters the harbour unheeded and without applause; it is only when the ropes are creaking, and the mast is bent, and the helm is groaning, that the pilot appears in all his glory, and seems most like one of the deities of the sea. I am writing in this strain, because I think you have marked some passages in my works as turgid which I consider lofty, and others, as indiscreet and overdone, which seem to me to be boldly and adequately dealt with. But it makes all the difference whether the marks you have made signify your disapproval of a passage, or merely that it is a striking one. For anything which stands out conspicuously catches the eye, but it requires careful attention to decide whether it is out of proportion or cast on a grand scale, whether it is lofty or disproportionately high. But let me refer to Homer for examples, for who can fail to notice the extreme differences of style between "The great heaven trumpeted around,""His lance rested on the clouds," and all the passage beginning, "Not so loud thunders the wave of the sea" ? * One needs the most delicate pair of scales to decide whether these are empty marvels, which no one should credit, or magnificent and divinely inspired passages. I do not, of course, say that I have ever uttered parallel passages to these, or that I ever could utter them. I am not so mad as all that, but the point I do wish to make is that sometimes eloquence must be given a free rein, and that the rush of genius must not be restrained within too narrow a circuit. But, you will say, there is one rule for orators, and another for poets. Still, Marcus Tullius showed just the same daring as Homer - and yet I will say no more about Tullius, for, with respect to him, there is no possibility of dispute. However, take the case of Demosthenes, who is the pattern and model of all orators. Does he rein and curb himself in that well-known passage, "these scoundrels, flatterers, and polluted wretches," or again, "Not with walls of stone or brick did I fortify the city," or again, "Did I not set Euboea to be a bulwark to Attica on the side of the sea" ? or again, "For my own part, men of Athens, I swear I think he is intoxicated by the vastness of his own achievements"? ** What could be more daring than the fine digression beginning, "For a disease ..." or than this passage, shorter than those I have quoted above, but equally bold, "Then indeed I resisted the audacity of Python's eloquence, which was rushing like a tide upon you"? † In the same style he writes I am arguing against my argument, and you will say that Demosthenes is censured for these extravagances of his. But just notice how much finer Demosthenes is than his critic, and finer just because of his extravagances. Elsewhere, he shows his force, in these passages he shows how much he towers above others. Besides, did Aeschines abstain from the faults which he carped at in Demosthenes? What about this sentence
6. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 9.26 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

9.26. To Lupercus. When referring to a certain orator of our own times, who was a straightforward and level-headed speaker, but lacked the grand manner and ornateness, I said, rather neatly in my opinion, "He has no faults, except it be a fault that he has none." For an orator ought to soar to great heights and be carried away by his feelings, and, on some occasions, he ought to rage and storm, and frequently get near the brink of a precipice, for precipices usually lie near high and exalted places. One travels more safely along level ground, but the road is low and undistinguished, and those who run are more likely to stumble than those who creep, yet the latter get no credit for not falling, while the former, despite their fall, often do. It is exactly the same with oratory as with other arts; it is the difficulty of the task which makes the credit of the achievement. You may notice how the tight-rope walkers, who are struggling along at a great height, evoke the loudest applause just when they seem to be on the point of falling, for those events create most wonder which are least expected, most hazardous, and, as the Greeks still better express it, are most recklessly daring. The skill of a helmsman is by no means so great when he is sailing on a smooth sea as when a tempest is raging; in the former case, there is no one to wonder at his skill as he enters the harbour unheeded and without applause; it is only when the ropes are creaking, and the mast is bent, and the helm is groaning, that the pilot appears in all his glory, and seems most like one of the deities of the sea. I am writing in this strain, because I think you have marked some passages in my works as turgid which I consider lofty, and others, as indiscreet and overdone, which seem to me to be boldly and adequately dealt with. But it makes all the difference whether the marks you have made signify your disapproval of a passage, or merely that it is a striking one. For anything which stands out conspicuously catches the eye, but it requires careful attention to decide whether it is out of proportion or cast on a grand scale, whether it is lofty or disproportionately high. But let me refer to Homer for examples, for who can fail to notice the extreme differences of style between "The great heaven trumpeted around,""His lance rested on the clouds," and all the passage beginning, "Not so loud thunders the wave of the sea" ? * One needs the most delicate pair of scales to decide whether these are empty marvels, which no one should credit, or magnificent and divinely inspired passages. I do not, of course, say that I have ever uttered parallel passages to these, or that I ever could utter them. I am not so mad as all that, but the point I do wish to make is that sometimes eloquence must be given a free rein, and that the rush of genius must not be restrained within too narrow a circuit. But, you will say, there is one rule for orators, and another for poets. Still, Marcus Tullius showed just the same daring as Homer - and yet I will say no more about Tullius, for, with respect to him, there is no possibility of dispute. However, take the case of Demosthenes, who is the pattern and model of all orators. Does he rein and curb himself in that well-known passage, "these scoundrels, flatterers, and polluted wretches," or again, "Not with walls of stone or brick did I fortify the city," or again, "Did I not set Euboea to be a bulwark to Attica on the side of the sea" ? or again, "For my own part, men of Athens, I swear I think he is intoxicated by the vastness of his own achievements"? ** What could be more daring than the fine digression beginning, "For a disease ..." or than this passage, shorter than those I have quoted above, but equally bold, "Then indeed I resisted the audacity of Python's eloquence, which was rushing like a tide upon you"? † In the same style he writes I am arguing against my argument, and you will say that Demosthenes is censured for these extravagances of his. But just notice how much finer Demosthenes is than his critic, and finer just because of his extravagances. Elsewhere, he shows his force, in these passages he shows how much he towers above others. Besides, did Aeschines abstain from the faults which he carped at in Demosthenes? What about this sentence
7. Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 1.2, 1.5, 1.7-1.8, 1.10, 2.2, 2.8, 2.14, 3.2, 4.22, 5.15, 6.1, 7.5, 7.7-7.9, 7.18, 8.1, 8.16, 9.1, 9.11, 9.16 (5th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

8. Epigraphy, Lsam, 44, 46, 39

9. Epigraphy, Lss, 19

10. Epigraphy, Ig, 12.4.59, 12.4.278

11. Epigraphy, Ngsl, 3



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
altman, j. Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 15; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 15
anthemius Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116, 174, 175; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116, 174, 175
augustine Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 13; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 13
cicero Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 15; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 15
constantius Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 171, 174, 175; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 171, 174, 175
dating Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 174; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 174
ferreolus Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
horace, allusions Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 183; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 183
hospitium Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 171; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 171
humour, name puns Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 174; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 174
jerome Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 13; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 13
lampridius, character Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
lampridius, death Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
majorian Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
martial, allusions Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 171; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 171
otium Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 171; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 171
paideia Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 13; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 13
petronius Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 174; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 174
petronius maximus (emperor) Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
philomathia Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 175; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 175
pliny, allusions Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 175; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 175
pliny, as a model Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 171, 174, 175; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 171, 174, 175
ravenna Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 171; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 171
seneca Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 15; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 15
sidonius, death Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 171; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 171
sidonius, episcopacy Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 174; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 174
sidonius, literary style Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 13, 15, 20; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 13, 15, 20
sidonius, praefectus urbis Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 20, 174; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 20, 174
slaves Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
symmachus Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 13; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 13
travel' Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 13
travel Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 13
vandals Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 175; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 175
virgil, allusions Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 174; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 174