Callistratus, Descriptions 9. On the Statue of Memnon

LCL 256: 406-407

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Callistratus: Descriptions


(1) Ἐθέλω δέ σοι καὶ τὸ Μέμνονος ἀφηγήσασθαι 5θαῦμα· καὶ γὰρ ὄντως παράδοξος ἡ τέχνη καὶ κρείττων ἀνθρωπίνης χειρός. τοῦ Τιθωνοῦ Μέμνονος εἰκὼν ἦν ἐν Αἰθιοπίᾳ ἐκ λίθου πεποιημένη, οὐ μὴν ἐν τοῖς οἰκείοις ὅροις ἔμενε λίθος ὢν οὐδὲ τὸ τῆς φύσεως σιγηλὸν ἠνείχετο, 10ἀλλὰ καὶ λίθος ὢν εἶχεν ἐξουσίαν φωνῆς· νῦν μὲν γὰρ ἀνίσχουσαν τὴν Ἡμέραν προσεφθέγγετο ἐπισημαίνων τῇ φωνῇ τὴν χαρὰν καὶ ἐπὶ ταῖς τῆς μητρὸς παρουσίαις φαιδρυνόμενος, νῦν δὲ ἀποκλινομένης εἰς νύκτα ἐλεεινόν τι καὶ ἀλγεινὸν 15ἔστενε πρὸς τὴν ἀπουσίαν ἀνιώμενος. (2) Ἠπόρει δὲ οὐδὲ δακρύων ὁ λίθος, ἀλλ᾿ εἶχεν ὑπηρετούμενα τῇ βουλήσει καὶ ταῦτα. καὶ ἦν Μεμνόνιος ἡ εἰκὼν μόνῳ μὲν τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου2

  • 2τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου Kayser: τῶ ἀνθρωπίνω.

9. On the Statue of Memnon

9. On the Statue of Memnon1

I wish to describe to you the miracle of Memnon also; for the art it displayed was truly incredible and beyond the power of human hand. There was in Ethiopia an image of Memnon, the son of Tithonus, made of marble; however, stone though it was, it did not abide within its proper limits nor endure the silence imposed on it by nature, but stone though it was it had the power of speech. For at one time it saluted the rising Day, by its voice giving token of its joy and expressing delight at the arrival of its mother; and again, as day declined to night, it uttered piteous and mournful groans in grief at her departure. Nor yet was the marble at a toss for tears, but they too were at hand to serve its will. The statue of Memnon, as it seems

Statue of Dionysus in Madrid

  • 1Cf. pp. 31, 155 supra. Memnon was the son of Tithonus and Day (or of Eos, The Dawn).
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.callistratus-descriptions_9_statue_memnon.1931