κατὰ φύσιν. 2οὐ μὴν ἀλλ’ οἷ βλέπων τὸ δίκαιον ἐποιούμην καὶ περὶ ἧς εἶχον ἐν νῷ τροφῆς εἰπεῖν, τῆς ὡς ἀληθῶς καθαρᾶς καὶ διαφερόντως ἀνθρώπου, τῆς ἐν μαθήμασι καὶ λόγοις, τίς οὕτως ἔξω τούτων ἐστὶν ὥστ’ ἀγνοεῖν παρ’ ὑμῶν οὖσαν ἅπασι τὴν ἀρχήν; ὥστε εἰκὸς καὶ τὸν περὶ τούτων λόγον δεῦρο κομίζειν καὶ τιμᾶν τοῖς γιγνομένοις τὴν πόλιν, ὡς τὰς μὲν ἄλλας χάριτας δικαίας μέν, οὐ μὴν τῶν πραγμάτων ἄντικρυς εἶναι συμβέβηκε, μόνην δὲ ταύτην γνησίαν τῆς εὐεργεσίας ἔξεστι προσειπεῖν· [ἡ γὰρ ὑπὲρ λόγων λόγῳ γιγνομένη χάρις οὐ μόνον τὸ δίκαιον ἔχει μεθ’ ἑαυτῆς, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ λόγου πρῶτον ἐπωνυμίαν βεβαιοῖ.]1 μόνη γάρ ἐστιν ἀκριβῶς εὔλογος.
3μηδεὶς δὲ ὑμῶν, ὦ νῦν τε παρόντες τοῖς λόγοις καὶ χρόνῳ συνεσόμενοι, μηδεμίαν προπέτειαν μηδὲ εὐήθειαν καταγνῷ τοῦ παντὸς ἐγχειρήματος, εἰ μήτε προστησάμενοι σχῆμα φαυλότερον τοῦ λόγου μήτε ἃ πολλὰ καὶ ἐργώδη τῷ λόγῳ πρόσεστι δείσαντες ὑπέστημεν ἐκ τοῦ φανεροῦ τοσοῦτον ἀγῶνα. μάλιστα μὲν γάρ, εἰ καὶ τοῦτο ἄξιον αἰτίας, οὐδὲ τὰ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς ἡμῖν γε παρεῖται τὸ μὴ οὐ τετολμῆσθαι. ἔπειτ’ οὐδ’ ἐμὲ τοῦτο λέληθεν ὡς ἐργώδης ὁ λόγος καὶ χαλεπὸς
purely natural grounds. 2But what I was actually looking to when I made my claim on your behalf, the kind of fostering care I meant to speak of, is that truly pure and distinctively human kind that resides in learning and in eloquence. Can there be anyone to whom these gifts are so alien that he does know that all of them originally derive from you? It is right and proper, therefore, to bring an account of them too here as part of my tribute, so as to honor your city as it deserves.2 Other expressions of gratitude, however well merited, still do not have the property of matching their grounds directly; it is this one alone that can be described as a legitimate return for your benefaction, for it alone constitutes a eulogy in the proper sense of the word.3
3Let no one among you—you who are now present as I speak or who will encounter my words in the future—condemn this whole undertaking for rashness or naivety, in that I have not sought the safety of a more lowly form of oration, or taken fright at the many difficulties that this speech involves, but have openly set myself to rise to the great challenge it involves. In the first place, even if this too may give grounds for criticism, I have not let faintness of heart deter me from offering praises to the gods either.4 Secondly, I am as well aware as anyone how much labor is needed for a speech of this kind, how hard it is to carry it
- 2See §§322–30 below.
- 3The sentence immediately following, bracketed in the Greek text opposite, looks like a reader’s or commentator’s addition, knowledgeably but superfluously expanding Aristides’ meaning: “For thanks rendered in eloquent speech for the gift of eloquence are not only right in themselves, but also confirm the initial derivation of their name from ‘logos.’”
- 4Apparently a reference to Aristides’ prose hymns (Orr. 37–46), which date from (probably) AD 142 onward.