τὸν ἑαυτοῦ βίον ἀνατεθεικότι τούτοις πρέποι ἂν οἶμαι τοῖς τοιούτοις [λόγοις]1 κοσμεῖν τὴν πανήγυριν, τέχνῃ μετιόντι τὸν λόγον, ὡς μὴ κατὰ τοὺς πολλοὺς εἴη αὐτῷ γινόμενος.
Φέρε οὖν εἰς τοῦτο, ὦ Ἐχέκρατες, λέγωμέν σοι, ὥσπερ ὁδοῦ τινος ἀστιβοῦς τοῖς πολλοῖς ἡγεμόνες γιγνόμενοι, ἃ πάλαι παρὰ τῶν πατέρων τῆς ἡμεδαπῆς σοφίας παραλαβόντες ἔχομεν, ἐκεῖνοι δὲ καὶ οἱ ἔτι τούτων ἀνωτέρω παρ’ Ἑρμοῦ τε καὶ Μουσῶν λαβεῖν ἔφασαν οὐ μείον’ ἢ ὁ Ἀσκραῖος ποιμὴν [ποίησιν]2 παρὰ τῶν αὐτῶν τούτων ἐν τῷ Ἑλικῶνι. ἴθι οὖν σὺν τέχνῃ οὑτωσὶ μετίωμεν τοὺς λόγους.
2. Θεὸς μέν γέ που πάντως πάσης ἡστινοσοῦν πανηγύρεως ἡγεμὼν καὶ ἐπώνυμος, οἷον Ὀλυμπίων μὲν Ὀλύμπιος Ζεύς, τῆς3 δὲ ἐν Πυθοῖ Ἀπόλλων. ἀρχὴ μὲν δὴ τοῦ λόγου τοῦδε τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅστίς ποτ’ ἂν ᾖ, ἔπαινος ἡμῖν γιγνέσθω, ὥσπερ πρόσωπόν τι τηλαυγὲς προκείμενος τοῦ λόγου. ἐπαινέσεις δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν προσόντων τῷ θεῷ· εἰ μὲν Ζεύς, ὅτι βασιλεὺς θεῶν, ὅτι τῶν ὅλων δημιουργός· εἰ δὲ Ἀπόλλων, ὅτι μουσικῆς εὑρετής, ὅτι ὁ αὐτὸς Ἡλίῳ, Ἥλιος δὲ πάντων πᾶσιν 257ἀγαθῶν αἴτιος· εἰ δὲ Ἡρακλῆς, ὅτι Διός, καὶ ἃ
entire life to it to grace the festival by such means, composing his speech with artfulness so that it may avoid being merely ordinary.
To achieve this, Echecrates,2 let me tell you—like a guide down a path untrodden by many—what I have inherited from the fathers of my wisdom, which they themselves and their predecessors claimed to have received from Hermes and the Muses, no less than what Hesiod the Ascraean shepherd had acquired from those same Muses on Mt. Helicon.3 Let us then compose our speeches with artfulness in the following way.
2. Now, a god always presides at any festival and gives his name to it, as Olympian Zeus with the Olympic games and Apollo at the festival at Pytho.4 The speech should begin with praise of this god, whoever he may be, placed like “a far-shining façade”5 at the front of the speech. You should praise the god through his attributes. If it is Zeus, say that he is king of the gods and the creator of the universe; if Apollo, that he invented music, that he is the same as the Sun,6 who is the source of all good things for everyone; if Heracles, say that he is the son of Zeus and tell what
- 2He cannot be identified. The best known Echecrates is the interlocutor in Plato’s Phaedo. In view of the previous citation of Plato (and the admiration for Plato in [DH]), the name may be both fictional and allusive. He is also named at the beginning of essays 5 and 7 (and alluded to at 2.1).
- 3Cf. Hes. Theog. 22–34, although no specific instructions are given there.
- 4That is, Delphi, where Pythian Apollo presides.
- 5That is, of a building; cf. Pind. Ol. 6.3–4 (πρόσωπον ... τηλαυγές).
- 6Cf. M. 1.5.2 and 2.16.4.