Dio Chrysostom


1Πρῶτον μέν, ὦ ἄνδρες, ὅταν ἀναστῶ, μὴ πάντως ἡγεῖσθε λόγων ἀκούσεσθαι θαυμαστῶν μηδὲ ἐπισήμων· λέγω δὲ οἷον πρὸς ἡδονήν τινα ἢ κάλλος ἢ σοφίαν εἰργασμένων. ἴσως μὲν γὰρ οὐδ᾿ ἂν1 ἄλλως ἦμεν ἱκανοὶ πρὸς τὸ τοιοῦτον, ἀλλὰ τύχῃ τινὶ τὸ πλῆθος καὶ τὰς πόλεις πάσας ἐξηπατήσαμεν· εἰ δ᾿ οὖν, ἀλλὰ νῦν πολλὴν ἀπορίαν καὶ λήθην εἰκὸς ἡμῖν γεγονέναι τῶν τοιούτων λόγων. ὁποῖα γὰρ ἂν πράττῃ τις καὶ ἐν ὁποίοις ἂν ᾖ πράγμασιν, ἀνάγκη καὶ τοὺς λόγους εἶναι παραπλησίους· ἡμεῖς δὲ πολὺν ἤδη χρόνον σμικρὰ καὶ ἄδοξα πράττομεν.

2Καὶ τοῦτο ἴσως2 ἀναγκαῖόν ἐστιν· ὡς ἐγὼ πρότερον μὲν ἐθαύμαζον τῶν φιλοσόφων τοὺς καταλιπόντας μὲν τὰς αὑτῶν πατρίδας οὐδενὸς ἀναγκάζοντος, παρ᾿ ἄλλοις δὲ ζῆν ἑλομένους, καὶ ταῦτα ἀποφαινομένους αὐτοὺς ὅτι δεῖ τὴν πατρίδα τιμᾶν καὶ περὶ πλείστου ποιεῖσθαι καὶ ὅτι πράττειν τὰ κοινὰ καὶ πολιτεύεσθαι τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ κατὰ


The Forty-Seventh Discourse

The Forty-Seventh Discourse: a Speech in the Public Assembly at Prusa

In the first place, my friends, do not by any means suppose when I rise to speak that you are about to hear a discourse that is extraordinary or remarkable; I mean, for example, one composed to produce a kind of pleasure or to exhibit beauty or wisdom. For possibly I should not in any event have been equal to that sort of thing, but it may be that by good luck I have deceived the public and all the cities; yet be that as it may, it stands to reason that now at all events I have experienced a great lack, indeed a complete forgetfulness, of that sort of eloquence. For a man’s words must needs be coloured by the nature of what he is doing and in which he is engrossed; and in my case I have long been engaged in petty and inglorious affairs.1

Now perhaps this experience of mine is a matter of necessity, for previously I used to be surprised at those philosophers who abandoned their own countries under no compulsion and chose to dwell among other peoples, and what is more, despite their own claim that a man should honour his fatherland and regard it as of supreme importance, and that activity in public affairs and playing one’s part as a citizen is

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dio_chrysostom-discourses_47_efforts_beautify_prusa.1946