33. ΤΑΡΣΙΚΟΣ ΠΡΩΤΟΣ
1Ἐγὼ θαυμάζω τί ποτ᾿ ἐστὶ τὸ ὑμέτερον καὶ τί προσδοκῶντες ἢ βουλόμενοι τοὺς τοιούτους ἀνθρώπους διαλέγεσθαι ὑμῖν ζητεῖτε, πότερον εὐφώνους οἴεσθε εἶναι καὶ φθέγγεσθαι ἥδιον τῶν ἄλλων, ἔπειτα ὥσπερ ὀρνέων ποθεῖτε ἀκούειν μελῳδούντων ὑμῖν, ἢ δύναμιν ἄλλην ἔχειν ἔν τε ὀνόμασι καὶ διανοήμασι δριμυτέρας τινὸς πειθοῦς καὶ τῷ ὄντι δεινῆς, ἣν καλεῖτε ῥητορικήν, ἔν τε ἀγοραῖς καὶ περὶ τὸ βῆμα δυναστεύουσαν, ἤ τινα ἔπαινον καθ᾿ αὑτῶν ἀκούσεσθαι οἰόμενοι καὶ δημόσιον ὕμνον τῆς πόλεως, περί τε Περσέως καὶ Ἡρακλέους καὶ τοῦ τῆς τριαίνης1 καὶ περὶ χρησμῶν τῶν γενομένων, καὶ ὥς ἐστε Ἕλληνες καὶ Ἀργεῖοι καὶ ἔτι βελτίους καὶ ἀρχηγοὺς ἔχετε ἥρωας καὶ ἡμιθέους, μᾶλλον δὲ Τιτᾶνας· 2ἔτι δὲ, οἶμαι, περί τε τῆς χώρας καὶ τῶν ὀρῶν τῶν κατ᾿ αὐτὴν καὶ τοῦδε τοῦ Κύδνου, ὡς δεξιώτατος2 ἁπάντων ποταμῶν καὶ κάλλιστος, οἵ τε ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ πίνοντες ἀφνειοὶ καὶ μακάριοι καθ᾿
The Thirty-Third, οr First Tarsic, Discourse
I wonder what on earth is your purpose, and what your expectation or desire, in seeking to have such persons as myself discourse for you. Do you think us to be sweet-voiced and more pleasant of utterance than the rest, so that, as if we were song-birds, you long to hear us make melody for you; or do you believe that we possess a different power in word and thought alike, a power of persuasion that is keener and truly formidable, which you call rhetoric, a power that holds sway both in the forum and on the rostrum; or is it because you expect to hear some laudation directed at yourselves, some patriotic hymn in praise of your city, all about Perseus and Heracles and the Lord of the Trident and the oracles that you have received, and how you are Hellenes, yes, Argives or even better, and how you have as founders heroes and demigods—or, I should say, Titans?1 You may even, methinks, expect to hear a eulogy of your land and of the mountains it contains and of yonder Cydnus, how it is the most kindly of all rivers and the most beautiful and how those who drink its waters are ‘affluent and blessed,’ to use the words
- 1Tarsus, as a semi-oriental city, may well have been touchy regarding its claim to Hellenic origin. There does not seem to have been agreement as to the founder. Dio himself is not consistent on that topic: here he speaks of ‘founders’ but in section 47 he calls Heracles ‘the founder.’ Other deities especially honoured by the Tarsians were Perseus, Apollo, and Athenê. According to Strabo (14. 5. 12) the city was founded by Triptolemus and a band of Argives. To this list of possible founders Capps by his plausible emendation adds Poseidon. See critical note.