[Dionysius of Halicarnassus], Ars Rhetorica

LCL 539: 380-381




1. Ἐμοὶ μὲν ἦν τερπνὸν αὐτὸν παρόντα καὶ συγχορεύοντα καὶ ἀναβακχεύοντα μετὰ σοῦ τῆς φίλης ἐμοὶ 261κεφαλῆς ὑμνεῖν τε καὶ ἀνυμνεῖν τὸν μικρὸν ὕστερον ἐπιτελεσθησόμενον γάμον καὶ ᾄδειν γε τὸν ὑμέναιον τὸν ἐπὶ τοῖς γάμοις πρέποντα λέγεσθαι. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἔοικεν δεσμός τις οὗτος ὁ πρὸς τοῖς λόγοις καὶ τῇ παιδεύσει τῇ παρούσῃ διαιρεῖν ἡμᾶς τοῖς σώμασιν καὶ τοῖς τόποις ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων (μὴ γὰρ δὴ ταῖς ψυχαῖς τε καὶ διαθέσεσιν καὶ εὐνοίαις ταῖς ἐπ’ αὐταῖς χωρισθείημέν ποτε), ἀλλ’ οὖν ἔστω σοι ὥσπέρ τι δῶρον παρ’ ἐμοῦ εἰς συντέλειάν τε καὶ κόσμον τῶν γάμων τὸ μηδὲ τῶν περὶ τούτων εἰωθότων λέγεσθαι μηδὲ αὐτὸν ἀπείρως ἔχειν, εἴτ’ οὖν αὐτὸς καὶ παρὰ σεαυτῷ φυλάττειν βούλοιο εἴτε καὶ ἑτέρῳ τινὶ τοῦτον οἷον ἔρανόν τινα εἰς χάριν συνεισφέρειν.

Τάχα μὲν οὖν καὶ αὐτὸς ἤδη ποτὲ καὶ ἄλλοτε προανεκρούσω ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις τῶν λόγων, ὁπηνίκα κομιδῇ νέος ὢν παρ’ ἐμοὶ τὴν πρώτην ὁδὸν τῶν ῥητορικῶν μετῄεις, τά τε ἄλλα γράφων καὶ συγγράφων γυμνάσματά τε καὶ ἀσκήματα τῆς ῥητορικῆς, καὶ δὴ καὶ τὰς θέσεις οὕτω λεγομένας, καὶ τούτων τὰ εἰς τὸν περὶ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γάμου λόγον συντείνοντα καὶ τὴν




1. I would have enjoyed being with you, my dear friend, to dance and revel with you and to sing the praises of the marriage that is shortly to take place, and indeed to sing the hymeneal song that is duly intoned at weddings. But since our bondage (so to speak) to oratory and to our current teaching seems to separate us from each other physically and spatially—may we never be separated, however, in our souls and dispositions, and in the affection that results from these—please accept this gift from me for the purpose of celebrating and gracing weddings, so that you yourself may not be unfamiliar with the things that are usually said on these occasions, whether you wish to keep this information for yourself or to share it with someone else as a favor.

No doubt you yourself have on earlier occasions already made initial attempts at speeches such as these, when as a youngster you took your first steps on the path of rhetoric with me, by writing and composing rhetorical exercises and practice pieces—especially the ones called theses,1 among which are arguments for marriage itself

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dionysius_halicarnassus-ars_rhetorica.2019