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The Thirty–Fifth Discourse, Delivered in Celaenae in Phrygia

Celaenae, as Dio himself tells us, was situated at the headwaters of the Maeander in the heart of Phrygia, on the main highway between East and West and was the focus of five other well–marked natural routes (Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia). From Herodotus (7. 26) we learn that Xerxes paused there on his way to Greece; and there too the younger Cyrus tarried thirty days in 401 b.c. while assembling his forces (Xenophon, Anabasis 1. 2. 5–8). Despite its manifest importance, Celaenae does not appear again in literature until Roman times. In fact Strabo, who devotes considerable space to the site (12. 8. 15–18), uses the name Apamea rather than Celaenae. He explains that Antiochus Soter (280–261 b.c.), on moving the inhabitants a short distance away, renamed the settlement in honour of his mother. According to Ramsay, the old name was revived in the second century of our era, presumably in consequence of a ‘reinvigorated national sentiment.’

Arnim locates this Discourse in the same general period of Dio’s career as the three that precede it. We are in the dark regarding the occasion of its delivery. Dio seems to be quite at his ease and enjoys the opportunity to introduce himself and to flatter and amuse his audience. Much of what he says was doubtless uttered with a twinkle of the eye.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dio_chrysostom-discourses_35_discourse_delivered_celaenae_phrygia.1940