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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10328
Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 1.1-1.6


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.


nanII To [his brother-in-law] Agricola [454(?) CE] You have often begged a description of Theodoric the Gothic king, whose gentle breeding fame commends to every nation; you want him in his quantity and quality, in his person, and the manner of his existence. I gladly accede, as far as the limits of my page allow, and highly approve so fine and ingenuous a curiosity. Well, he is a man worth knowing, even by those who cannot enjoy his close acquaintance, so happily have Providence and Nature joined to endow him with the perfect gifts of fortune; his way of life is such that not even the envy which lies in wait for kings can rob him of his proper praise. [2] And first as to his person. He is well set up, in height above the average man, but below the giant. His head is round, with curled hair retreating somewhat from brow to crown. His nervous neck is free from disfiguring knots. The eyebrows are bushy and arched; when the lids droop, the lashes reach almost half-way down the cheeks. The upper ears are buried under overlying locks, after the fashion of his race. The nose is finely aquiline; the lips are thin and not enlarged by undue distension of the mouth. Every day the hair springing from his nostrils is cut back; that on the face springs thick from the hollow of the temples, but the razor has not yet come upon his cheek, and his barber is assiduous in eradicating the rich growth on the lower part of the face. [3] Chin, throat, and neck are full, but not fat, and all of fair complexion; seen close, their colour is fresh as that of youth; they often flush, but from modesty, and not from anger. His shoulders are smooth, the upper- and forearms strong and hard; hands broad, breast prominent; waist receding. The spine dividing the broad expanse of back does not project, and you can see the springing of the ribs; the sides swell with salient muscle, the well-girt flanks are full of vigour. His thighs are like hard horn; the knee-joints firm and masculine; the knees themselves the comeliest and least wrinkled in the world. A full ankle supports the leg, and the foot is small to bear such mighty limbs.


nanIII To his friend Filimatius [467 CE] INDICT me now by the laws against intrigue, degrade me from the Senate for keeping patient eyes on the promotion to which, after all, birth gives me claim, since my own sire and my wife's, my grandsire and his sire too before him were urban and praetorian prefects, or held high rank in court and army. [2] If it comes to that, consider our friend Gaudentius, who but now of tribune's rank, towers in the dignity of the Vicariate above the unenterprising sloth of our good citizens. Of course our young nobles grumble at his passing over their heads; as for him, his one sentiment is satisfaction. And they now respect a man scorned till yesterday; amazed at such a sudden rise, they look up to one as magistrate on whom as neighbour they looked down. He for his part sets his crier to stun the ears of his drowsy detractors; though envy goads them to hostility they always find a friendly bench reserved for them in court. [3] You too had best make good the loss of your old office by the membership of the prefect's council now offered you; if you fail to do so, if you sit without the advantage which such a position confers, you will be set down as one only fit to represent a Vicarius. Farewell.


nanIV To his friend Gaudentius [467 CE] CONGRATULATIONS, most honoured friend; the rods of office are yours by merit. To win your dignities you did not parade your mother's income, or the largess of your ancestors, your wife's jewels, or your paternal inheritance. In place of all this, it was your obvious sincerity, your proven zeal, your admitted social charm which won you favour in the imperial household. O thrice and four times happy man, whose rise means joy to friends, gall to enemies, and glory to your own posterity, to say nothing of the example given to the active and alert, and the spur applied to the listless and the slow. The man who tries to emulate you, be his spirit what it will, may haply owe the last success to his own exertions, but will certainly owe his start to your example. [2] I fancy I see among the envious, with all deference to better citizens be it said, the old miserable arrogance, the old scorn of service affected by men too slack to serve, men lost to all ambition, who crown their cups with sophistries about the charm of a free life out of office, their motive a base indolence, and not the love of the ideal which they pretend. . . .


nanV To his friend Heronius [467 CE] YOUR letter finds me at Rome. You are solicitous to know whether the affairs which have brought me so far go forward as we hoped, what route I took, and how I fared on it, what rivers celebrated in song I saw, what towns famed for their fair sites, what mountains reputed as the haunt of gods, what glorious battlefields; for it is your delight to check the descriptions you have read by the more accurate relation of the eye-witness. I am rejoiced that you inquire about my doings, because I know that your interest springs from the heart. Well then, though little accidents there were, I will begin, under kind Providence, with things of good event; it was the wont of our ancestors, as you know, to develop even a tale of mishap from fortunate beginnings. [2] As bearer of the imperial letter, I was able to avail myself of the public post on leaving our beloved Lyons [Rhodusianiae]; my path lay amid the homes of kinsmen and acquaintances; and I lost less time from scarcity of horses than from multiplicity of friends, so closely did every one cling about me, shouting each against the other best wishes for a happy journey and safe return. In this way I drew near the Alps, which I ascended easily and without delay; formidable precipices rose on either side, but the snow was hollowed into a track, and the way thus smoothed before me.


nanVI To his friend Eutropius [467 CE] I HAVE long wished to write, but feel the impulse more than ever now, when by the Christ's preventing grace, I am actually on the way to Rome. My sole motive, or at least my chief one, is to drag you from the slough of your domestic ease by an appeal to you to enter the imperial service. . . .


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