Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities

LCL 319: 256-257


Dionysius of Halicarnassus

ἔμελλε καὶ τὸ τῆς ὄψεως γνώριμον εἰς ἀσαφὲς ὡς 2μάλιστα ἐδύνατο καθιστάντα· οἱ δὲ πλεῖστοι μυθολογοῦσι τοῦ δαίμονος εἴδωλον, οὗ τὸ χωρίον ἦν, πολλὰ καὶ ἄλλα τῷ πάθει δαιμόνια ἔργα προσάπτοντες1 ἡλίου τε ἀφανισμὸν αἰφνίδιον καὶ ζόφον ἐν οὐρανῷ κατασχόντα· καὶ2 ὄψιν δέ, ἣν τὸ εἴδωλον εἶχε, θαυμασιωτέραν μακρῷ δή τινι3 κατὰ μέγεθος καὶ κάλλος ἀνθρώπων. φασί τε εἰπεῖν τῇ κόρῃ παρηγοροῦντα τὴν λύπην τὸν βιασάμενον, ἐξ οὗ γενέσθαι δῆλον ὅτι θεὸς ἦν, μηδὲν ἄχθεσθαι τῷ πάθει· τὸ γὰρ κοινώνημα τῶν γάμων αὐτῇ γεγονέναι πρὸς τὸν ἐμβατεύοντα τῷ χωρίῳ δαίμονα, τέξεσθαι δ᾿ αὐτὴν ἐκ τοῦ βιασμοῦ δύο παῖδας ἀνθρώπων μακρῷ κρατίστους ἀρετὴν καὶ τὰ πολέμια. ταῦτα δὲ εἰπόντα νέφει περικαλυφθῆναι καὶ 3ἀπὸ γῆς ἀρθέντα φέρεσθαι δι᾿ ἀέρος ἄνω. ὅπως μὲν οὖν χρὴ περὶ τῶν τοιῶνδε δόξης ἔχειν, πότερον καταφρονεῖν ὡς ἀνθρωπίνων ῥᾳδιουργημάτων εἰς θεοὺς ἀναφερομένων, μηδὲν ἂν τοῦ θεοῦ λειτούργημα τῆς ἀφθάρτου καὶ μακαρίας φύσεως ἀνάξιον ὑπομένοντος, ἢ καὶ ταύτας παραδέχεσθαι τὰς ἱστορίας, ὡς ἀνακεκραμένης τῆς ἁπάσης οὐσίας τοῦ κόσμου καὶ μεταξὺ τοῦ θείου καὶ θνητοῦ γένους τρίτης τινὸς ὑπαρχούσης φύσεως, ἣν τὸ δαιμόνων φῦλον ἐπέχει, τοτὲ μὲν ἀνθρώποις, τοτὲ δὲ θεοῖς ἐπιμιγνύμενον, ἐξ οὗ ὁ λόγος ἔχει τὸ μυθευόμενον ἡρώων φῦναι γένος, οὔτε καιρὸς ἐν τῷ παρόντι διασκοπεῖν ἀρκεῖ τε ὅσα4 φιλοσόφοις περὶ αὐτῶν


Book I. 77

to behold and that he also kept his features disguised as effectively as possible. But most writers relate a fabulous story to the effect that it was a spectre of the divinity to whom the place was consecrated; and they add that the adventure was attended by many supernatural signs, including a sudden disappearance of the sun and a darkness that spread over the sky, and that the appearance of the spectre was far more marvellous than that of a man both in stature and in beauty. And they say that the ravisher, to comfort the maiden (by which it became clear that he was a god), commanded her not to grieve at all at what had happened, since she had been united in marriage to the divinity of the place and as a result of her violation should bear two sons who would far excel all men in valour and warlike achievements. And having said this, he was wrapped in a cloud and, being lifted from the earth, was borne upwards through the air. This is not a proper place to consider what opinion we ought to entertain of such tales, whether we should scorn them as instances of human frailty attributed to the gods,—since God is incapable of any action that is unworthy of his incorruptible and blessed nature,—or whether we should admit even these stories, upon the supposition that all the substance of the universe is mixed, and that between the race of gods and that of men some third order of being exists which is that of the daemons, who, uniting sometimes with human beings and sometimes with gods, beget, it is said, the fabled race of heroes. This, I say, is not a proper place to consider these things, and, moreover, what the philosophers have said

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dionysius_halicarnassus-roman_antiquities.1937