Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Critical Essays 1. On Literary Composition

LCL 466: 14-15

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Dionysius of Halicarnassus



‘Δῶρόν τοι καὶ ἐγώ, τέκνον φίλε, τοῦτο δίδωμι᾿, καθάπερ ἡ παρ᾿ Ὁμήρῳ φησὶν Ἑλένη ξενίζουσα τὸν Τηλέμαχον, πρώτην ἡμέραν ἄγοντι ταυτηνὶ γενέθλιον, ἀφ᾿ οὗ παραγέγονας εἰς ἀνδρὸς ἡλικίαν, ἡδίστην καὶ τιμιωτάτην ἑορτῶν ἐμοί· πλὴν οὔτε χειρῶν δημιούργημα πέμπω σοι τῶν ἐμῶν, ὡς ἐκείνη φησὶ διδοῦσα τῷ μειρακίῳ τὸν πέπλον, οὔτ᾿ ἐς γάμου μόνον ὥραν, καὶ γαμετῆς1 χάριν εὔθετον, ἀλλὰ ποίημα μὲν καὶ γέννημα παιδείας καὶ ψυχῆς τῆς ἐμῆς, κτῆμα δὲ σοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ χρῆμα πρὸς ἁπάσας τὰς ἐν τῷ βίῳ χρείας ὁπόσαι γίνονται διὰ λόγων ὠφέλιμον, ἀναγκαιότατον ἁπάντων χρημάτων, εἴ τι κἀγὼ τυγχάνω τῶν δεόντων φρονῶν, ἅπασι μὲν ὁμοίως τοῖς ἀσκοῦσι τοὺς πολιτικοὺς λόγους, ἐν ᾗ ποτ᾿ ἂν ἡλικίᾳ τε καὶ ἕξει τυγχάνωσιν ὄντες· μάλιστα δὲ τοῖς μειρακίοις τε καὶ νεωστὶ τοῦ μαθήματος ἁπτομένοις ὑμῖν, ὦ Ῥοῦφε Μετίλιε2 πατρὸς ἀγαθοῦ κἀμοὶ τιμιωτάτου φίλων.


On Literary Composition

On Literary Composition

“I too, dear child, have here a gift for thee”, as1 Helen says in Homer when she is giving Telemachus a parting gift.1 You are celebrating your first birthday since reaching man’s estate, and of all festive events this is the one which I enjoy and prize most highly. However, I am sending you not the work of my own hands (as Helen says when she gives the robe to the young man2), nor what is suited only to the season of marriage and to please a bride, but the product and the offspring of my learning and my mind, which will at the same time be a possession and a useful aid in all the business of life that is transacted through speech3: the most necessary of all aids to all alike who practise civil oratory, if I have any idea of what is required, whatever their age and disposition may happen to be; but particularly necessary to young men who are just beginning to take up the study, like yourself, Rufus Metilius, whose father is my most esteemed friend.4

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dionysius_halicarnassus-literary_composition.1985