Callistratus, Descriptions 10. On the Statue of Paean

LCL 256: 410-411

Go To Section
Go To Section

Callistratus: Descriptions


(1) Εἶτα τὸ μὲν Ἀργῷον σκάφος ἔμφωνον 15γενέσθαι πειθόμεθα τὸ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἀθηνᾶς τεχνηθὲν χειρῶν, ὃ καὶ τὴν ἐν ἄστροις ἐκληρούχησε τύχην, ἄγαλμα δὲ οὐ πιστεύσομεν, εἰς ὃ τὰς δυνάμεις Ἀσκληπιὸς ἀνίησι τὸν προνοητικὸν ἐπεισάγων νοῦν ἐπὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ κοινωνίαν, τοῦ συνοικοῦντος 20τὴν δύναμιν πρέπειν, ἀλλ᾿ εἰς μὲν ἀνθρώπινα κατάγεσθαι τὸ θεῖον δώσομεν, ἔνθα καὶ μιανθῆναι παθήμασιν, οὐ πιστεύσομεν δέ, ᾗ μηδὲν ἔγγονον κακίας παραπέφυκεν; (2) Ἐμοὶ μὲν οὖν οὐ τύπος εἶναι δοκεῖ τὸ ὁρώμενον, ἀλλὰ τῆς ἀληθείας 25πλάσμα. ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὡς οὐκ ἀνηθοποίητος ἡ τέχνη, ἀλλ᾿ ἐνεικονισαμένη τὸν θεὸν εἰς αὐτὸν ἐξίσταται. ὕλη μὲν οὖσα θεοειδὲς ἀναπέμπει νόημα, δημιούργημα δὲ χειρὸς τυγχάνουσα ἃ μὴ δημιουργίαις ἔξεστι πράττει τεκμήρια ψυχῆς 30ἀρρήτως ἀποτίκτουσα. πρόσωπον δέ σοι θεασαμένῳ δουλοῦται τὴν αἴσθησιν· οὐ γὰρ εἰς 434 K.κάλλος ἐπίθετον ἐσχημάτισται, ἀλλὰ πάναγνον καὶ ἵλεων ἀνακινῶν ὄμμα βάθος ἄφραστον ὑπαστράπτει σεμνότητος αἰδοῖ μιγείσης. (3) Πλοκάμων δὲ ἕλικες ῥεόμενοι χάρισιν οἱ μὲν εἰς 5νῶτα τεθηλότες ἄφετοι κέχυνται, οἱ δὲ ὑπὲρ


10. On the Statue of Paean

10. On the Statue of Paean1

Are we then to believe that the vessel Argo,2 which was wrought by the hands of Athena and later assumed its allotted place among the stars, became capable of speech, and yet in the case of a statue into which Asclepius infused his own powers, introducing purposeful intelligence therein and thus making it a partner with himself, not believe that the power of the indwelling god is clearly manifest therein? Nay, more, shall we admit that the divine spirit descends into human bodies, there to be even defiled by passions, and nevertheless not believe it in a case where there is no attendant engendering of evil? To me, at any rate, the object before our eyes seems to be, not an image, but a modelled presentment of truth; for see how Art not only is not without power to delineate character, but, after having portrayed the god in an image, it even passes over into the god himself. Matter though it is, it gives forth divine intelligence, and though it is the work of human hands, it succeeds in doing what handicrafts cannot accomplish, in that it begets in a marvellous way tokens of a soul. The face as you look at it enthralls the senses; for it has not been fashioned to an adventitious beauty, but as it raises a saintly and benignant eye it flashes forth an indescribable depth of majesty tempered with modesty. Curly locks abounding in grace,—some fall luxuriant and unconfined on the back, while others come down over the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.callistratus-descriptions_10_statue_paean.1931