Lucian, Herodotus, or Aetion

LCL 430: 144-145

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The Works Of Lucian

Ὀλύμπια τὰ μεγάλα, καὶ ὁ Ἡρόδοτος τοῦτ᾿ ἐκεῖνο ἥκειν οἱ νομίσας τὸν καιρόν, οὗ μάλιστα ἐγλίχετο, πλήθουσαν τηρήσας τὴν πανήγυριν, ἁπανταχόθεν ἤδη τῶν ἀρίστων συνειλεγμένων, παρελθὼν ἐς τὸν ὀπισθόδομον οὐ θεατήν, ἀλλ᾿ ἀγωνιστὴν Ὀλυμπίων παρεῖχεν ἑαυτὸν ᾄδων τὰς ἱστορίας καὶ κηλῶν τοὺς παρόντας, ἄχρι τοῦ καὶ Μούσας κληθῆναι τὰς βίβλους αὐτοῦ, ἐννέα καὶ αὐτὰς οὔσας.

2Ἤδη οὖν ἅπαντες αὐτὸν ᾔδεσαν πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἢ τοὺς Ὀλυμπιονίκας αὐτούς. καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ὅστις ἀνήκοος ἦν τοῦ Ἡροδότου ὀνόματος—οἱ μὲν αὐτοὶ ἀκούσαντες ἐν Ὀλυμπίᾳ, οἱ δὲ τῶν ἐκ τῆς πανηγύρεως ἡκόντων πυνθανόμενοι· καὶ εἴ πού γε φανείη μόνον, ἐδείκνυτο ἂν τῷ δακτύλῳ, Οὗτος ἐκεῖνος Ἡρόδοτός ἐστιν ὁ τὰς μάχας τὰς Περσικὰς Ἰαστὶ συγγεγραφώς, ὁ τὰς νίκας ἡμῶν ὑμνήσας. τοιαῦτα ἐκεῖνος ἀπέλαυσε τῶν ἱστοριῶν, ἐν μιᾷ συνόδῳ πάνδημόν τινα καὶ κοινὴν ψῆφον τῆς Ἑλλάδος λαβὼν καὶ ἀνακηρυχθεὶς οὐχ ὑφ᾿ ἑνὸς μὰ Δία κήρυκος, ἀλλ᾿ ἐν ἁπάσῃ πόλει, ὅθεν ἕκαστος ἦν τῶν πανηγυριστῶν.

3Ὅπερ ὕστερον κατανοήσαντες, ἐπίτομόν τινα ταύτην ὁδὸν ἐς γνῶσιν, Ἱππίας τε ὁ ἐπιχώριος αὐτῶν σοφιστὴς καὶ Πρόδικος ὁ Κεῖος καὶ Ἀναξιμένης ὁ Χῖος καὶ Πῶλος ὁ Ἀκραγαντῖνος καὶ ἄλλοι συχνοὶ λόγους ἔλεγον ἀεὶ καὶ αὐτοὶ πρὸς τὴν πανήγυριν, ἀφ᾿ ὧν γνώριμοι ἐν βραχεῖ ἐγίγνοντο.

4Καὶ τί σοι τοὺς παλαιοὺς ἐκείνους λέγω σοφιστὰς καὶ συγγραφέας καὶ λογογράφους ὅπου τὰ τελευταῖα ταῦτα καὶ Ἀετίωνά φασι τὸν ζωγράφον

144

Herodotus or Aëtion

could. The great Olympian games were at hand, and Herodotus thought this the opportunity he had been hoping for. He waited for a packed audience to assemble, one containing the most eminent men from all Greece; he appeared in the temple chamber, presenting himself as a competitor for an Olympic honour, not as a spectator; then he recited his Histories and so bewitched his audience that his books were called after the Muses, for they too were nine in number.

By this time he was much better known than the Olympic victors themselves. There was no one who had not heard the name of Herodotus—some at Olympia itself, others from those who brought the story back from the festival. He had only to appear and he was pointed out: “That is that Herodotus who wrote the tale of the Persian Wars in Ionic and celebrated our victories.” Such were the fruits of his Histories. In a single meeting he won the universal approbation of all Greece and his name was proclaimed not indeed just by one herald but in every city that had sent spectators to the festival.

The lesson was learnt. This was the short-cut to glory. Hippias the sophist was a native of the place, and he and Prodicus from Ceos and Anaximenes from Chios and Polus from Acragas and scores of others always gave their recitations in person before the assembled spectators and by this means soon won reputations.

But why need I mention those old sophists, historians, and chroniclers when there is the recent story of Aëtion the painter who showed off his

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.lucian-herodotus_aetion.1959