Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History

LCL 409: 176-177

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Diodorus of Sicily


1. Οὔτε ποιητὴς οὔτε συγγραφεὺς οὔτε ἄλλος τεχνίτης οὐδεὶς παραγγελίας τινὸς λογικῆς δύναται πᾶσι τοῖς ἀναγινώσκουσι κατὰ πᾶν εὐαρεστῆσαι· θνητῇ δὲ φύσει, κἂν ὅλως ἐπιτετευγμένη γένηται, οὐ δυνατὸν ἐφικέσθαι τῆς ἀμέμπτου πάντων εὐαρεστήσεως. οὔτε γὰρ Φειδίας, μάλιστα τεθαυμασμένος ἐπὶ τῇ τῶν ἐλεφαντίνων ἀγαλμάτων κατασκευῇ,1 οὔτε Πραξιτέλης ὁ καταμίξας ἄκρως τοῖς λιθίνοις ἔργοις τὰ τῆς ψυχῆς πάθη, οὔτε Ἀπελλῆς ἢ Παρράσιος οἱ τοῖς ἐμπειρικῶς κεκραμένοις χρώμασι προαγαγόντες2 εἰς ἀκρότατον τὴν3 ζωγραφικὴν τέχνην, οὕτως ἐπέτυχον ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις ὥστε κατὰ πᾶν ἄμεμπτον ἐπιδείξασθαι τὸ τῆς ἐμπειρίας ἀποτέλεσμα. τίς γὰρ ἐπιφανέστερος τῶν μὲν ποιητῶν Ὁμήρου, τῶν δὲ ῥητόρων Δημοσθένους, τῶν δὲ εὖ βεβιωκότων Ἀριστείδου καὶ Σόλωνος; ἀλλ᾿ ὅμως ταῖς τούτων εὐφημίαις καὶ δυνάμεσι προσῆλθεν ὁ μεμφόμενος καὶ τὰς ἀγνοίας 2ἐλέγχων4 λόγος. ἄνθρωποι γὰρ ὄντες καὶ ταῖς τῶν ἐγχειρουμένων ὑπεροχαῖς ἐπιτυγχάνοντες, ὅμως διὰ τὴν ἀνθρωπίνην5 ἀσθένειαν διέπιπτον ἐν πολλοῖς.



Fragments of Book XXVI

1. Neither the poet nor the historian nor indeed any craftsman in literary form can in all respects satisfy all his readers; for human nature, even though carried to the highest degree of perfection, cannot succeed in winning the approval of all men and the censure of none. Pheidias, for example, was admired above all others for the fabrication of ivory statues; Praxiteles in masterly fashion embodied the emotions in works of stone; Apelles and Parrhasius by their practised skill in blending colours brought the art of painting to its peak. Yet not one of these men attained such success in his work that he could display a product of his skill in all respects above censure. Who, for instance, among poets is more illustrious than Homer? Who among orators than Demosthenes? Who among men of upright life than Aristeides and Solon? Yet even their reputations and talents have been assailed by criticism and the demonstration of mistakes. For they were but human, and though they achieved pre-eminence in their professions, yet through human frailty they

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.diodorus_siculus-library_history.1933