Dio Chrysostom, Discourses 63. On Fortune 1

LCL 385: 34-35

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Dio Chrysostom


1Οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἐοίκασι πρὸς τὴν τύχην διακεῖσθαι ὃν τρόπον οἱ πλέοντες πρὸς τοὺς ἀνέμους τοὺς φορούς1· ἄσμενοι γὰρ προσκαρτεροῦσι τῷ δρόμῳ, καὶ2 οἷς ἂν ὁ ἄνεμος παρῇ, ἐκεῖνοι3 ἦλθον ὅπου ἤθελον, οἱ δὲ ἀπολειφθέντες ἐν πελάγει μέσῳ μάτην ὀδύρονται· οὕτως οὖν καὶ τῆς τύχης παρούσης μὲν χαίρειν καὶ ἥδεσθαι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, μὴ παρούσης δὲ λύπην ἔχειν καὶ ἀπορίαν. πάντα γὰρ ἐκ τῆς δαίμονος ταύτης· καὶ γὰρ τὸ ἄπορον εὔπορον φαίνεται4 καὶ τὸ ἀσθενὲς ἰσχυρὸν καὶ τὸ αἰσχρὸν καλὸν καὶ ἡ πενία γίγνεται πλοῦτος.

2Τύχης γοῦν ἐν θαλάττῃ γενομένης εὐπλοεῖ ναῦς καὶ ἐν ἀέρι φανείσης εὐτυχεῖ γεωργός. καὶ ψυχὴ γέγηθεν ὑπὸ τῆς τύχης αἰωρουμένη5· εἰ δὲ ἀπολίποι τύχη, περίεισιν6 ὡς ἐν τάφῳ τῷ σώματι. οὔτε γὰρ εἰ λέγοι τις, εὐδοκιμεῖ,7 οὔτε εἰ πράττοι τις, ἐπιτυγχάνει, οὐδὲ ὄφελός τι εὐφυῆ γενέσθαι ἀπολιπούσης τύχης. ταύτης γὰρ μὴ παρούσης οὐκ ἦλθε8 παιδεία οὐδὲ ἄλλο τι ἀγαθόν. ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ ἀρετὴ τότε ἔργων ἕνεκεν θαυμάζεται, ὅταν παρῇ τύχη· εἰ


The Sixty-Third Discourse

The Sixty-Third Discourse: on Fortune (I)

Mankind seems to feel toward Fortune as sailors do toward the winds that waft them on their way; for sailors gladly and with vigour apply themselves to their course, and those who have the breeze reach the port for which they aimed, while those who are abandoned by it in the midst of the open sea lament to no avail; so too when men have Fortune with them they rejoice and are glad, but when she is absent they are grieved and distressed. Yes, everything is the work of this goddess, for indeed when she is present the difficult appears easy, the weak strong, the ugly beautiful, and poverty turns to wealth.

For instance, when Fortune comes at sea a ship has fair sailing, and when she shows herself in the atmosphere a farmer prospers. Moreover, a man’s spirit rejoices when uplifted by Fortune, yet should Fortune fail, it goes about in its body as in a tomb. For neither does a man win approval if he speaks, nor does he succeed if he acts, nor is it any advantage to have been born a man of genius when Fortune fails. For when she is not present learning is not forthcoming, nor any other good thing. Why, even valour gains recognition for its achievements only when Fortune

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dio_chrysostom-discourses_63_fortune_i.1951