Lucian, Herodotus, or Aetion

LCL 430: 142-143

Go To Section
Go To Section

The Works Of Lucian


1Ἡροδότου εἴθε μὲν καὶ τὰ ἄλλα μιμήσασθαι δυνατὸν ἦν. οὐ πάντα φημὶ ὅσα προσῆν αὐτῷ (μεῖζον γὰρ εὐχῆς τοῦτό γε) ἀλλὰ κἂν ἓν ἐκ τῶν ἁπάντων—οἷον ἢ κάλλος τῶν λόγων ἢ ἁρμονίαν αὐτῶν ἢ τὸ οἰκεῖον τῇ Ἰωνίᾳ καὶ προσφυὲς ἢ τῆς γνώμης τὸ περιττὸν ἢ ὅσα μυρία καλὰ ἐκεῖνος ἅμα πάντα συλλαβὼν ἔχει πέρα τῆς εἰς μίμησιν ἐλπίδος. ἃ δὲ ἐποίησεν ἐπὶ τοῖς συγγράμμασιν καὶ ὡς πολλοῦ ἄξιος τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἅπασιν ἐν βραχεῖ κατέστη,1 καὶ ἐγὼ καὶ σὺ καὶ ἄλλος ἂν μιμησαίμεθα.

Πλεύσας γὰρ οἴκοθεν ἐκ τῆς Καρίας εὐθὺ τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἐσκοπεῖτο πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ὅπως ἂν τάχιστα καὶ ἀπραγμονέστατα ἐπίσημος καὶ περιβόητος γένοιτο καὶ αὐτὸς καὶ τὰ συγγραμμάτια. τὸ μὲν οὖν περινοστοῦντα νῦν μὲν Ἀθηναίοις, νῦν δὲ Κορινθίοις ἀναγινώσκειν ἢ Ἀργείοις ἢ Λακεδαιμονίοις ἐν τῷ μέρει, ἐργῶδες καὶ μακρὸν ἡγεῖτο εἶναι καὶ τριβὴν οὐ μικρὰν ἐν τῷ τοιούτῳ ἔσεσθαι. οὔκουν ἠξίου διασπᾶν τὸ πρᾶγμα οὐδὲ κατὰ διαίρεσιν οὕτω κατ᾿ ὀλίγον ἀγείρειν καὶ συλλέγειν2 τὴν γνῶσιν, ἐπεβούλευε δέ, εἰ δυνατὸν εἴη, ἀθρόους που λαβεῖν τοὺς Ἕλληνας ἅπαντας. ἐνίσταται οὖν


Herodotus or Aëtion

Herodotus or Aëtion

I wish it were possible to imitate Herodotus’s other qualities too. I do not mean all and everyone (this would be too much to pray for) but just one of them—whether the beauty of his diction, the careful arrangement of his words, the aptness of his native Ionic, his extraordinary power of thought, or the countless jewels which he has wrought into a unity beyond hope of imitation. But where you and I and everyone else can imitate him is in what he did with his composition and in the speed with which he became an established man of repute throughout the whole Greek world.

As soon as he sailed from his home in Caria straight for Greece, he bethought himself of the quickest and least troublesome path to fame and a reputation for both himself and his works. To travel round reading his works, now in Athens, now in Corinth or Argos or Lacedaemon in turn, he thought a long and tedious undertaking that would waste much time. The division of his task and the consequent delay in the gradual acquisition of a reputation did not appeal to him, and he formed the plan of winning the hearts of all the Greeks at once somewhere if he

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.lucian-herodotus_aetion.1959