Aelius Aristides, Oration 1. Panathenaic Oration

LCL 533: 14-15

Go To Section
Go To Section



[Prologue (1–6)]

Νόμος ἐστὶ τοῖς Ἕλλησι παλαιός, οἶμαι δὲ καὶ τῶν βαρβάρων τοῖς πλείστοις, τροφεῦσι χάριν ἐκτίνειν ἅπασαν, ὅση δυνατή. οὕστινας δ’ ἂν τροφέας προτέρους ὑμῶν ἄγοι τις, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, δοκῶν γε δή πως εἰς Ἕλληνας τελεῖν, οὐ ῥᾴδιον εὑρεῖν, ὥς γέ μοι φαίνεται. μάλιστα μὲν γὰρ καὶ τῆς νενομισμένης ταυτησὶ τροφῆς καὶ κοινῆς ὑμᾶς εὐθὺς ἂν εὕροι τις ἐπωνύμους καὶ ποριστὰς σκοπῶν ἐξ ἀρχῆς· ὥστε ἔξεστιν εἰπεῖν ἰδίᾳ μὲν ἄλλους ἄλλοις εἶναι τροφέας, οὓς ἂν ἡ τύχη καὶ ὁ συμπίπτων χρόνος ἑκάστοις παρασκευάσῃ, κοινοὺς δὲ ἁπάντων τροφέας ὑμᾶς εἶναι καὶ μόνους καὶ πρό γε αὐτῶν ἔτι τῶν τροφέων, ὥσπερ οὓς πατέρας πατέρων καλοῦσιν οἱ ποιηταί· δι’ ἃ καὶ μόνα τὴν εὔνοιαν ἤρκει παρὰ πάντων ὑμῖν εἶναι




Prologue (1–6)

It is a time-honored custom among the Greeks—and I think among most foreign peoples too—to repay as completely as possible the debt of gratitude owed to those who have raised us. Athenians, I for one believe it would be hard to find any people who could be recognized as fulfilling this fostering role further back in time than you, at any rate in the eyes of anyone acknowledged as any kind of Hellene. In the first place, any investigation would establish straight away that it was you who were the original providers of that familiar form of nourishment which all share, and to have given your name to it. It can therefore be said that whereas in individual cases different people receive fostering care from different sources, as chance and the coincidences of time provide it, you alone are the common foster parents of all mankind, and indeed even before that of the foster parents themselves, so as to be like those whom the poets call fathers’ fathers.1 This service alone was enough to secure you the goodwill of all on

  • 1A phrase used by Tyrtaeus in fr. 5.6 IEG (cf. Strabo 8.4.10); is it a deliberate piece of cleverness on Aristides’ part to reapply a phrase about Spartans from a Spartan poet to the Athenians? But there are also Homeric instances, e.g., Il. 14.118.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aelius_aristides-oration_1_panathenaic.2017