Lucian, Hippias, or The Bath

LCL 14: 34-35

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The Works of Lucian


Τῶν σοφῶν ἐκείνους μάλιστα ἔγωγέ φημι δεῖν1 ἐπαινεῖν, ὁπόσοι μὴ λόγους μόνον δεξιοὺς παρέσχοντο ὑπὲρ τῶν πραγμάτων ἑκάστων, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἔργοις ὁμοίοις τὰς τῶν λόγων ὑποσχέσεις ἐπιστώσαντο. καὶ γὰρ τῶν ἰατρῶν ὅ γε νοῦν ἔχων οὐ τοὺς ἄριστα ὑπὲρ τῆς τέχνης εἰπεῖν δυναμένους μεταστέλλεται νοσῶν, ἀλλὰ τοὺς πρᾶξαί τι κατ᾿ αὐτὴν μεμελετηκότας. ἀμείνων δὲ καὶ μουσικός, οἶμαι, τοῦ διακρίνειν ῥυθμοὺς καὶ ἁρμονίας ἐπισταμένου. ὁ καὶ ψᾶλαι καὶ κιθαρίσαι αὐτὸς δυνάμενος. τί γὰρ ἄν σοι τῶν στρατηγῶν λέγοιμι τοὺς εἰκότως ἀρίστους κριθέντας, ὅτι οὐ τάττειν μόνον καὶ παραινεῖν ἦσαν ἀγαθοί, ἀλλὰ καὶ προμάχεσθαι τῶν ἄλλων καὶ χειρὸς ἔργα ἐπιδείκνυσθαι; οἷον πάλαι μὲν Ἀγαμέμνονα καὶ Ἀχιλλέα, τῶν κάτω δὲ τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον καὶ Πύρρον ἴσμεν γεγονότας.

Πρὸς δὴ τί ταῦτ᾿ ἔφην; οὐ γὰρ ἄλλως2 ἱστορίαν ἐπιδείκνυσθαι βουλόμενος ἐπεμνήσθην αὐτῶν, ἀλλ᾿ ὅτι καὶ τῶν μηχανικῶν ἐκείνους ἄξιον θαυμάζειν, ὁπόσοι ἐν τῇ θεωρίᾳ λαμπροὶ γενόμενοι καὶ μνημόσυνα ὅμως τῆς τέχνης καὶ παραδείγματα1 τοῖς μετ᾿ αὐτοὺςκ ατέλιπον· ἐπεὶ οἵ γε τοῖς λόγοις μόνοις ἐγγεγυμνασμένοι σοφισταὶ


Hippias, or the Bath

Hippias, or the Bath

Among wise men, I maintain, the most praiseworthy are they who not only have spoken cleverly on their particular subjects, but have made their assertions good by doing things to match them. Take doctors, for instance: a man of sense, on falling ill, does not send for those who can talk about their profession best, but for those who have trained themselves to accomplish something in it. Likewise a musician who can himself play the lyre and the cithara is better, surely, than one who simply has a good ear for rhythm and harmony. And why need I tell you that the generals who have been rightly judged the best were good not only at marshalling their forces and addressing them, but at heading charges and at doughty deeds? Such, we know, were Agamemnon and Achilles of old, Alexander and Pyrrhus more recently.

Why have I said all this? It was not out of an ill-timed desire to air my knowledge of history that I brought it up, but because the same thing is true of engineers—we ought to admire those who, though famous for knowledge, have yet left to later generations reminders and proofs of their practical skill, for men trained in words alone would better be called

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.lucian-hippias_bath.1913