Dio Chrysostom, Discourses 71. On the Philosopher

LCL 385: 164-165

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Dio Chrysostom

ζώνην ὡς ἅπαντα πεποιηκὼς αὐτός, οἷον ἀπαρχὰς τῆς σοφίας τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἐπιδεικνύων.

3Σχεδὸν δὲ καὶ Ὅμηρος Ὀδυσσέα πεποίηκεν οὐ μόνον γνώμῃ διαφέροντα καὶ τῷ δύνασθαι περὶ πραγμάτων βουλεύεσθαι καὶ λέγειν δεινότατον1 ἔν τε πλήθει καὶ πρὸς ὀλίγους καὶ πρὸς ἕνα, καὶ νὴ Δία γε ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ τε καὶ παρὰ πότον καὶ εἰ τύχοι μετά τινος βαδίζων ὁδόν, καὶ πρὸς βασιλέα καὶ πρὸς ἰδιώτην, καὶ πρὸς ἐλεύθερον καὶ πρὸς δοῦλον, καὶ αὐτὸν ἔνδοξον2 ὄντα καὶ βασιλέα καὶ αὖ πάλιν ἀγνοούμενον καὶ πτωχόν, καὶ πρὸς ἄνδρα τε ὁμοίως καὶ γυναῖκα καὶ κόρην, ἔτι δὲ μάχεσθαι ἐπιστάμενον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν τοιούτων ἁπάντων ἔμπειρον, τεκτονικῆς καὶ οἰκοδομίας καὶ 4ναυπηγικῆς. πῶς γὰρ ἂν τὸ λέχος ἐποίησεν ἀποκόψας τὸν3 τῆς ἐλαίας θαλλόν, εἰ μὴ τεκτονικῆς ἐπιστήμων ἦν; πῶς δ᾿ ἂν περιέβαλε τὸν θάλαμον, εἰ μὴ καὶ οἰκοδομῆσαι ἠπίστατο; πῶς δ᾿ ἂν εἰργάσατο τὴν σχεδίαν οὐκ ὢν ἔμπειρος ναυπηγίας; τὰ δὲ περὶ φυτείαν καὶ γεωργίαν εὐθὺς ἐκ παιδὸς4 ἐσπουδακὼς φαίνεται παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς δένδρα αἰτῶν καὶ ἀμπέλους· ἄλλως τε καὶ τοῦ πατρὸς γεωργοῦ ὄντος πάνυ ἐπιμελοῦς τε καὶ


The Seventy-First Discourse

his girdle—boasting that he had made them all himself, displaying them to the Greeks as a kind of firstfruits of his wisdom.1

And Homer too, I venture to remark, has represented Odysseus, not merely as pre-eminent in judgement and in his ability to plan concerning practical matters, not merely as a most able speaker,2 whether in a crowd or before a few or before only one person—yes, by Heaven, both in assembly and over the wine-cups and on occasions when walking with somebody on a journey—whether in the presence of king or of commoner, freeman or slave, no matter whether he was himself held in honour and recognized as king or, on the other hand, unknown and a beggar, and, moreover, alike when addressing either man or woman or maiden; but he also makes him pre-eminent for his knowledge of the art of combat, and he has even represented him as skilled in all such crafts as those of the joiner, the carpenter, and the shipwright. For instance, how could Odysseus have constructed his bed by cutting off the trunk of an olive tree if he were not acquainted with the joiner’s art?3 How could he have enclosed his bed-chamber if he had not been acquainted with the builder’s art? How could he have built his raft if he had not understood ship-building?4 As for the operations connected with planting and husbandry, he obviously had shown a serious interest in all that from his very boyhood, since he begged his father for trees and vines5; and especially, since his father was a very careful and experienced farmer, it was to be

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dio_chrysostom-discourses_71_philosopher.1951