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Dio Chrysostom

52. ΠΕΡΙ ΑΙΣΧΥΛΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΣΟΦΟΚΛΕΟΥΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΥΡΙΠΙΔΟΥ Η ΠΕΡΙ ΤΩΝ ΦΙΛΟΚΤΗΤΟΥ ΤΟΞΩΝ

1Ἀναστὰς σχεδόν τι περὶ πρώτην ὥραν τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ διὰ τὴν ἀρρωστίαν τοῦ σώματος καὶ διὰ τὸν ἀέρα ψυχρότερον ὄντα διὰ τὴν ἕω καὶ μάλιστα μετοπώρῳ προσεοικότα καίτοι μεσοῦντος θέρους, ἐπεμελήθην ἐμαυτοῦ καὶ προσηυξάμην. ἔπειτα ἀνέβην ἐπὶ τὸ ζεῦγος καὶ περιῆλθον ἐν τῷ ἱπποδρόμῳ πολλούς τινας κύκλους, πρᾴως τε καὶ ἀλύπως ὡς οἷόν τε ὑπάγοντος τοῦ ζεύγους. καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα περιπατήσας ἀνεπαυσάμην μικρόν τινα χρόνον. ἔπειτα ἀλειψάμενος καὶ λουσάμενος καὶ μικρὸν ἐμφαγὼν ἐνέτυχον τραγῳδίαις τισίν.

2Σχεδὸν δὲ ἦσαν ἄκρων ἀνδρῶν, Αἰσχύλου καὶ Σοφοκλέους καὶ Εὐριπίδου, πάντων περὶ τὴν αὐτὴν ὑπόθεσιν. ἦν γὰρ ἡ τῶν Φιλοκτήτου τόξων εἴτε κλοπὴ εἴτε ἁρπαγὴ1 δεῖ λέγειν· πλὴν ἀφαιρούμενός γε τῶν ὅπλων ἦν Φιλοκτήτης ὑπὸ τοῦ Ὀδυσσέως καὶ αὐτὸς εἰς τὴν Τροίαν ἀναγόμενος, τὸ μὲν πλέον ἑκών,2 τὸ δέ τι καὶ πειθοῖ ἀναγκαίᾳ, ἐπειδὴ τῶν ὅπλων ἐστέρητο, ἃ τοῦτο μὲν βίον αὐτῷ παρεῖχεν ἐν τῇ νήσῳ, τοῦτο δὲ θάρσος ἐν τῇ τοιαύτῃ νόσῳ, ἅμα δὲ εὔκλειαν.

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The Fifty-Second Discourse

The Fifty-Second Discourse: on Aeschylus and Sophocles and Euripides or the Bow of Philoctetes

Having risen about the first hour of the day, both on account of the feeble state of my health and also on account of the air, which was rather chilly because of the early hour and very much like autumn, though it was mid-summer, I made my toilet and performed my devotions. I next got into my carriage and made the round of the race-course several times, my team moving along as gently and comfortably as possible. After that I took a stroll and then rested a bit. Next, after a rub-down and bath and a light breakfast, I fell to reading certain tragedies.

These tragedies were the work of topmost artists, I may say, Aeschylus and Sophocles and Euripides, all dealing with the same theme, which was the theft—or should I say the seizure?—of the bow of Philoctetes. However that may be, Philoctetes was portrayed as being deprived of his weapons by Odysseus and as being carried off to Troy along with them, for the most part willingly, though in some measure also yielding to the persuasion of necessity, since he had been deprived of the weapons which furnished him with not only a living on his island, but courage in his sore affliction, and at the same time fame.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dio_chrysostom-discourses_52_appraisal_tragic_triad.1946