[Dionysius of Halicarnassus], Ars Rhetorica

LCL 539: 392-393

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[DH], ARS RHETORICA

3. ΜΕΘΟΔΟΣ ΓΕΝΕΘΛΙΑΚΩΝ

1. Ἐχόμενος δέ σοι τούτου ὁ ἐπὶ ταῖς γενέσεσι τῶν παίδων λεγόμενος λόγος (γάμῳ γάρ που γένεσιν ἀνάγκη ἀκολουθεῖν)· ὃν καὶ αὐτὸν τελεῖν χρὴ τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον. ἐπεὶ γὰρ ἀρχὴ τῆς γενέσεως τῆς ἑκάστου ἡ ἡμέρα, ἐφ’ ἧς ἐγένετο, ἀναγκαῖόν που ὀλίγα ἄττα καὶ περὶ τῆς ἡμέρας εἰπεῖν οἷον ἐγκωμιάζοντα τὸ προσόν, εἰ ἄρα ἴδιόν τι ἔχει παρὰ τὰς ἄλλας ἡμέρας, ἐπισημαινόμενον· 267εἰ μὲν τῇ νουμηνίᾳ, ὅτι ἀρχὴ τοῦ μηνός, ἀρχὴ δὲ κράτιστον καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς τὰ πάντα· καὶ ὅτι ἥμισυ τοῦ παντὸς ἢ τὸ πᾶν κατὰ τὸν Πλάτωνα. εἰ δὲ ἑβδόμῃ ἢ ἕκτῃ, ὅτι ἱεραὶ τοῖν θεοῖν, καὶ ὅτι κοινωνία πρὸς τὸ κρεῖττον κατὰ τὸ τῆς γενέσεως. ἔχοις δ’ ἂν καὶ περὶ τῆς ἐνάτης λέγειν, ὅτι ἱερὰ τοῦ Ἡλίου, καὶ ὅτι εἰκὸς ἐπίσημον τὸν τοιοῦτον γενέσθαι, τάχα δὲ καὶ εὐεργετικὸν κατὰ τὴν τοῦ Ἡλίου φύσιν. εἰ δὲ πεντεκαιδεκάτη εἴη, ὅτι καὶ αὐτὴ τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς, καὶ ὅτι τέλειος ἐν τούτῳ ὁ κύκλος, καὶ εἰκὸς ἀνενδεῆ τὴν τοιαύτην εἶναι γένεσιν τοῦ ἀνδρός. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ εἰ ἄλλη τις ἡμέρα, ἢ τῇ ἀρχῇ ἢ τῷ τέλει προσβιβάζοντας

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3. BIRTHDAY SPEECHES

3. HOW TO COMPOSE BIRTHDAY SPEECHES1

1. The speech that comes next for you (since birth must follow marriage) is one spoken on the occasion of the birth of children. You should compose it in the following way. Since the day on which he was born marks the beginning of each person’s life, you must say a few words about it as a sort of encomium of its attributes, noting if it has any special characteristic that other days lack. Thus, if it occurs at the new moon, say that it begins the month and that “the beginning is paramount” and “all things come from a beginning,” and that “well begun is half done” or (according to Plato) “the beginning is everything.”2 If it is the sixth or seventh day, say that these days are sacred to the two gods3 and that with this birth comes fellowship with divinity. If it is the ninth day, you could say that it is sacred to Helios, and that it is natural that such a person should be illustrious and probably beneficent as well, that being Helios’ nature. If it is the fifteenth day, say that this is Athena’s day, that the moon is full then, and that such a birth is likely to lack nothing that a man needs. So with other days, we must try to formulate our praise by relating them to

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dionysius_halicarnassus-ars_rhetorica.2019