Chariton, Callirhoe

LCL 481: 32-33

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γραφεῖς ἀποδεικνύουσι, πατρὸς Ἀρίστωνος τὰ δεύτερα ἐν Συρακούσαις μετὰ Ἑρμοκράτην φερομένου. καί τις ἦν ἐν αὐτοῖς πολιτικὸς φθόνος ὥστε θᾶττον ἂν 4πᾶσιν ἢ ἀλλήλοις ἐκήδευσαν. φιλόνεικος δέ ἐστιν ὁ Ἔρως καὶ χαίρει τοῖς παραδόξοις κατορθώμασιν· ἐζήτησε δὲ τοιόνδε τὸν καιρόν.

Ἀφροδίτης ἑορτὴ δημοτελὴς <ἦν>, καὶ πᾶσαι 5σχεδὸν αἱ γυναῖκες ἀπῆλθον εἰς τὸν νεών. τέως δὲ μὴ προϊοῦσαν τὴν Καλλιρόην προήγαγεν ἡ μήτηρ, <Ἔρωτος> κελεύσαντος προσκυνῆσαι τὴν θεόν. τότε δὲ Χαιρέας ἀπὸ τῶν γυμνασίων ἐβάδιζεν οἴκαδε στίλβων ὥσπερ ἀστήρ· ἐπήνθει γὰρ αὐτοῦ τῷ λαμπρῷ τοῦ προσώπου τὸ ἐρύθημα τῆς παλαίστρας ὥσπερ ἀργύρῳ 6χρυσός. ἐκ τύχης οὖν περί τινα καμπὴν στενοτέραν συναντῶντες περιέπεσον ἀλλήλοις, τοῦ θεοῦ πολιτευσαμένου τήνδε τὴν συνοδίαν ἵνα ἑκάτερος τῷ ἑτέρῳ ὀφθῇ. ταχέως οὖν πάθος ἐρωτικὸν ἀντέδωκαν ἀλλήλοις . . . . . . . τοῦ κάλλους τῇ εὐγενείᾳ συνελθόντος.

7Ὁ μὲν οὖν Χαιρέας οἴκαδε μετὰ τοῦ τραύματος μόλις ἀπῄει, καὶ ὥσπερ τις ἀριστεὺς ἐν πολέμῳ τρωθεὶς καιρίαν, καὶ καταπεσεῖν μὲν αἰδούμενος, στῆναι δὲ μὴ δυνάμενος. ἡ δὲ παρθένος τῆς Ἀφροδίτης τοῖς ποσὶ προσέπεσε καὶ καταφιλοῦσα, “σύ μοι, δέσποινα” εἶπε, “δὸς ἄνδρα τοῦτον ὃν ἔδειξας.” νὺξ ἐπῆλθεν 8ἀμφοτέροις δεινή· τὸ γὰρ πῦρ ἐξεκαίετο. δεινότερον δ᾿ ἔπασχεν ἡ παρθένος διὰ τὴν σιωπήν, αἰδουμένη κατάφωρος γενέσθαι. Χαιρέας δὲ νεανίας εὐφυὴς καὶ


Book 1.1

and Alcibiades. His father was Ariston,7 second only to Hermocrates in Syracuse. There was a political rivalry between the two, so fierce that they would have made a family alliance with anyone sooner than with each other. However, Love likes winning and enjoys unexpected triumphs, and he was looking for such just a chance as the following.

There was a public feast of Aphrodite, and almost every woman had gone to her temple. Callirhoe had not appeared in public before, but at the prompting of Love her mother took her to do homage to the goddess. Just then Chaereas was walking home from the gymnasium, radiant as a star. The flush of exercise bloomed on his beaming face like gold on silver. As chance would have it, the two walked headlong into each other at the corner of a narrow intersection—a meeting contrived by the god to make sure that they saw each other. They fell in love at first sight: . . . beauty had been matched with nobility.

So smitten, Chaereas could barely make his way home; like a hero mortally wounded in battle, he was too proud to fall but too weak to stand. As for the girl, she fell at the feet of Aphrodite and, kissing them, said, “Lady, give me as my husband this man you have shown me.” The ensuing night brought torment to both, for love’s fire was raging. But the girl’s suffering was worse, for she had to keep silent for shame of being exposed. But when Chaereas, a well-bred

  • 7Presumably based on the historical Ariston of Corinth, whose conduct in the battle against the Athenians is given honorable mention by Thucydides, 7.39.2.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.chariton-callirhoe.1995