Dio Chrysostom, Encomium on Hair

LCL 385: 332-333

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Dio Chrysostom


Ex Synesii Encomio Calvitii pp. 63 sqq. Petav.

Δίωνι τῷ χρυσῷ τὴν γλῶτταν ἐποιήθη βιβλίον, Κόμης Ἐγκώμιον, οὕτω δή τι λαμπρὸν ὡς ἀνάγκην εἶναι παρὰ τοῦ λόγου φαλακρὸν ἄνδρα αἰσχύνεσθαι. συνεπιτίθεται γὰρ ὁ λόγος τῇ φύσει· φύσει δὲ ἅπαντες ἐθέλομεν εἶναι καλοί, πρὸς ὃ μέγα μέρος αἱ τρίχες συμβάλλονται, αἷς ἡμᾶς ἐκ παίδων ἡ φύσις ᾠκείωσεν. ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν καὶ ὁπηνίκα τὸ δεινὸν ἤρχετο καὶ θρὶξ ἀπερρύη μέσην αὐτὴν δέδηγμαι τὴν καρδίαν, καὶ ἐπειδὴ προσέκειτο μᾶλλον, ἄλλης ἐπ᾿ ἄλλῃ πιπτούσης, ἤδη δὲ καὶ σύνδυο καὶ κατὰ πλείους καὶ ὁ πόλεμος λαμπρὸς ἦν, ἀγομένης καὶ φερομένης τῆς κεφαλῆς, τότε δὴ τότε χαλεπώτερα πάσχειν ᾤμην ἢ ὑπ᾿ Ἀρχιδάμου τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἐπὶ τῇ δενδροτομίᾳ τῶν Ἀχαρνῶν, ταχύ τε ἀπεδείχθην ἀνεπιτήδευτος Εὐβοεύς, οὓς ὄπιθεν κομόωντας ἐστράτευσεν ἐπὶ Τροίαν ἡ ποίησις.


Encomium on Hair

Encomium on Hair

SynesiusEncomium on Baldness: Dio of the golden tongue has composed a discourse entitled An Encomium on Hair, which is a work of such brilliance that the inevitable result of the speech is to make a bald man feel ashamed. For the speech joins forces with nature; and by nature we all desire to be beautiful, an ambition whose realization is greatly assisted by the hair to which from boyhood nature has accustomed us. In my own case, for example, even when the dreadful plague was just beginning and a hair fell off, I was smitten to my inmost heart, and when the attack was pressed with greater vigour, hair after hair dropping out, and ultimately even two or three together, and the war was being waged with fury, my head becoming utterly ravaged, then indeed I thought myself to be the victim of more grievous injury than the Athenians suffered at the hands of Archidamus when he cut down the trees of the Acharnians,1 and presently, without my so intending, I was turned into a Euboean, one of the tribe which the poet marshalled against Troy “with flowing locks behind.”2

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dio_chrysostom-encomium_hair.1951