Julian, The Caesars

LCL 29: 344-345

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The Satires of Julian


Ἐπειδὴ δίδωσιν ὁ θεὸς παίζειν· ἔστι γὰρ Κρόνια· γελοῖον δὲ οὐδὲν οὐδὲ τερπνὸν οἶδα ἐγώ, τὸ μὴ καταγέλαστα φράσαι φροντίδος ἔοικεν εἶναι ἄξιον, ὦ φιλότης.

Εἶτα τίς οὕτω παχύς ἐστι καὶ ἀρχαῖος, ὦ Καῖσαρ, ὥστε καὶ παίζειν πεφροντισμένα; ἐγὼ ᾤμην τὴν παιδιὰν ἄνεσίν τε εἶναι ψυχῆς καὶ ἀπαλλαγὴν τῶν φροντίδων.

Ὀρθῶς γε σὺ τοῦτο ὑπολαμβάνων, ἐμοὶ δὲB οὐ ταύτῃ ἔοικεν ἀπαντᾶν τὸ χρῆμα. πέφυκα γὰρ οὐδαμῶς ἐπιτήδειος οὔτε σκώπτειν οὔτε παρῳδεῖν οὔτε γελοιάζειν. ἐπεὶ δὲ χρὴ τῷ νόμῳ πείθεσθαι τοῦ θεοῦ, βούλει σοι ἐν παιδιᾶς μέρει μῦθον διεξέλθω πολλὰ ἴσως ἔχοντα ἀκοῆς ἄξια;

Λέγοις ἂν καὶ μάλα ἀσμένῳ, ἐπεὶ καὶ αὐτὸςC οὐκ ἀτιμάζω τοὺς μύθους οὐδὲ παντάπασιν ἐξελαύνω τοὺς ὀρθῶς ἔχοντας, ἀκόλουθά σοί τε καὶ φίλῳ τῷ σῷ, μᾶλλον δὲ τῷ κοινῷ, Πλάτωνι διανοούμενος, ἐπεὶ καὶ αὐτῷ πολλὰ ἐν μύθοις ἐσπούδασται.


The Caesars

The Caesars

It is the season of the Kronia,1 during which the god allows us to make merry. But, my dear friend, as I have no talent for amusing or entertaining I must methinks take pains not to talk mere nonsense.”

“But, Caesar, can there be anyone so dull and stupid as to take pains over his jesting? I always thought that such pleasantries were a relaxation of the mind and a relief from pains and cares.”

“Yes, and no doubt your view is correct, but that is not how the matter strikes me. For by nature I have no turn for raillery, or parody, or raising a laugh. But since I must obey the ordinance of the god of the festival, should you like me to relate to you by way of entertainment a myth in which there is perhaps much that is worth hearing?”

“I shall listen with great pleasure, for I too am not one to despise myths, and I am far from rejecting those that have the right tendency; indeed I am of the same opinion as you and your admired, or rather the universally admired, Plato. He also often conveyed a serious lesson in his myths.”

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.emperor_julian-caesars.1913