Lucian, Zeuxis, or Antiochus

LCL 430: 154-155

Go To Section
Go To Section

The Works of Lucian


1Ἔναγχος ἐγὼ μὲν ὑμῖν δείξας τὸν λόγον ἀπῄειν οἴκαδε, προσιόντες δέ μοι τῶν ἀκηκοότων πολλοὶ (κωλύει γὰρ οὐδέν οἶμαι καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα πρὸς φίλους ἤδη ὄντας ὑμᾶς λέγειν)—προσιόντες οὖν ἐδεξιοῦντο καὶ θαυμάζουσιν ἐῴκεσαν. ἐπὶ πολὺ γοῦν παρομαρτοῦντες ἄλλος ἄλλοθεν ἐβόων καὶ ἐπῄνουν ἄχρι τοῦ1 καὶ ἐρυθριᾶν με, μὴ ἄρα πάμπολυ τῆς ἀξίας τῶν ἐπαίνων ἀπολειποίμην. τὸ δ᾿ οὖν κεφάλαιον αὐτοῖς τοῦτο ἦν, καὶ πάντες ἓν καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἐπεσημαίνοντο, τὴν γνώμην τῶν συγγραμμάτων ξένην οὖσαν καὶ πολὺν ἐν αὐτῇ τὸν νεωτερισμόν. μᾶλλον δὲ αὐτὰ εἰπεῖν ἄμεινον ἅπερ ἐκεῖνοι ἐπεφθέγγοντο·2 “Ὢ τῆς καινότητος. Ἡράκλεις, τῆς παραδοξολογίας. εὐμήχανος ἄνθρωπος. οὐδὲν ἄν τις εἴποι τῆς ἐπινοίας νεαρώτερον.” οἱ μὲν τοιαῦτα πολλὰ ἔλεγον, ὡς ἐκεκίνηντο δηλαδὴ ὑπὸ τῆς ἀκροάσεως. ἢ τίνα γὰρ ἂν αἰτίαν εἶχον ψεύδεσθαι καὶ κολακεύειν τὰ τοιαῦτα ξένον ἄνθρωπον, οὐ πάνυ πολλῆς αὐτοῖς φροντίδος ἄξιον τὰ ἄλλα;

2Πλὴν ἐμέ γε (εἰρήσεται γάρ) οὐ μετρίως ἠνία ὁ ἔπαινος αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐπειδή ποτε ἀπελθόντων κατ᾿ ἐμαυτὸν ἐγενόμην ἐκεῖνα ἐνενόουν· οὐκοῦν τοῦτο μόνον χάριεν τοῖς ἐμοῖς ἔνεστιν, ὅτι μὴ συνήθη μηδὲ κατὰ τὸ κοινὸν βαδίζει τοῖς ἄλλοις, ὀνομάτων δὲ ἄρα καλῶν ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἀρχαῖον


Zeuxis or Antiochus

Zeuxis or Antiochus

Recently I was on my way home after lecturing to you, when a number of my recent audience met me (I see no objection to telling you a story like this now that you and I are friends)—they met me, then, and after greeting me gave some indication of approval. They accompanied me for some distance, vying in noisy praise until I blushed for shame at the thought that I fell far short of their praises. The substance of their approbation, which all alike emphasised, was the strangeness of the thought in my composition and the degree of freshness it displayed. It would be better to quote verbatim: “What novelty! What marvellous paradoxes! How inventive he is! The freshness of thought is beyond compare!” They continued in this strain. They had clearly been taken with the lecture—I don’t suppose they could have any reason for telling lies and flattering a stranger as they did, one who had no other reason for claiming their attention.

To be honest, however, their praise caused me considerable annoyance, and when they had gone and I was left alone, I reflected as follows: “So this is the only attraction in my writings, that they are unconventional and keep off the beaten track, while good vocabulary, conformity to the ancient canon,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.lucian-herodotus_antiochus.1959