Dio Chrysostom, Discourses 59. Philoctetes, a Paraphrase

LCL 376: 440-441

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Dio Chrysostom

59. ΦΙΛΟΚΤΗΤΗΣ

1ΟΔΥΣΣΕΥΣ. Φοβοῦμαι μήποτε μάτην κατ᾿ ἐμοῦ φανῶσι ταύτην οἱ σύμμαχοι τὴν δόξαν εἰληφότες ὡς ἀρίστου δὴ καὶ σοφωτάτου τῶν Ἐλλήνων. καίτοι ποία τις ἡ τοιαύτη σοφία καὶ φρόνησις, δι᾿ ἥν τις ἀναγκάζεται πλείω τῶν ἄλλων1 πονεῖν ὑπὲρ τῆς κοινῆς σωτηρίας καὶ νίκης, ἐξὸν ἕνα τοῦ πλήθους δοκοῦντα μηδενὸς ἔλαττον ἐν τούτοις ἔχειν τῶν ἀρίστων; ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἴσως χαλεπὸν εὑρεῖν οὕτω μεγαλόφρον καὶ φιλότιμον ὁτιοῦν ὡς ἀνὴρ πέφυκεν. τοὺς γὰρ φανεροὺς καὶ πλειόνων ἅπτεσθαι τολμῶντας σχεδὸν τούτους ἅπαντες2 θαυμάζομεν καὶ τῷ ὄντι ἄνδρας ἡγούμεθα.

2Ὑφ᾿ ἧς φιλοτιμίας κἀγὼ προάγομαι πλεῖστα πράγματα ἔχειν καὶ ζῆν ἐπιπόνως παρ᾿ ὁντινοῦν, ἀεί τινα προσδεχόμενος καινὸν κίνδυνον, ὀκνῶν διαφθεῖραι τὴν ἐπὶ τοῖς ἔμπροσθεν γεγονόσιν εὔκλειαν. νῦν οὖν κατὰ πρᾶξιν πάνυ ἐπισφαλῆ καὶ χαλεπὴν δεῦρο ἐλήλυθα εἰς Λῆμνον, ὅπως Φιλοκτήτην

440

The Fifty-Ninth Discourse

The Fifty-Ninth Discourse: Philoctetes

Odysseus. I fear ’twill prove that my allies were rash when they conceived of me the thought that I, in sooth, am best and wisest of the Greeks. And yet what kind of wisdom and prudence may this be which makes a man to toil beyond the others to gain the salvation and the victory of the group, seeing that, were he deemed to be but one among the throng, ’twere his to share these blessings with the best?1 Ah well, no doubt ’tis difficult to find a thing so proud, so jealous of honour, as man is born to be. For ’tis the prominent, those who dare to undertake more labours than the rest, I dare say, whom we all do view with wonder and regard as truly men.2

This thirst for glory is what leads even me to bear unnumbered woes and live a life of toil beyond all other men, accepting ever fresh peril, fearing to mar the glory won by earlier achievements.3 So now a task most hazardous and hard brings me to Lemnos

441
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dio_chrysostom-discourses_59_philoctetes_paraphrase.1946