Menander Rhetor, Treatise 1

LCL 539: 54-55




1. Περὶ δὲ τῶν πεπλασμένων ταῦτα ἰστέον, πρῶτον 341μὲν ὅτι οὐκ ἂν γένοιντο περὶ τοὺς περιφανεῖς τῶν θεῶν ῥᾳδίως, καὶ ὧν αἱ γενέσεις καὶ δυνάμεις πρόδηλοι, ἀλλὰ περὶ τοὺς ἀφανεστέρους ὡς τὰ πολλὰ θεοὺς καὶ δαίμονας, οἷον καὶ περὶ τὸν Ἔρωτα ὁ Πλάτων ποτὲ μὲν ὡς πρὸ γῆς ἐγένετο, ποτὲ δὲ ὡς Ἀφροδίτης ἐστὶ παῖς, πάλιν δὲ πεπλασμένος ὕστερον Πόρου καὶ Πενίας, καὶ πάλιν [ὁ Παυσανίας],1 ὅτι τῇ τέχνῃ τῇ ἰατρικῇ ἐφέστηκεν ἡ δύναμις τοῦ Ἔρωτος, καὶ [Ἀριστοφάνης]2 ὅτι συνάγει τὰ ἡμίτομα τῶν σωμάτων, τούτους τοὺς ὕμνους ποικίλως σφόδρα πλάσας, τοὺς μὲν περὶ φύσιν, τοὺς δὲ περὶ δύναμιν, τοὺς δὲ περὶ γένος. 2. ἥκει καὶ αὕτη ἡ ἐξουσία παρὰ τῶν ποιητῶν τοῖς συγγραφεῦσιν· Ἄρεως μὲν γὰρ θεράποντας Δεῖμον καὶ Φόβον ἀναπλάττουσι, τοῦ δὲ Φόβου τὴν Φυγὴν φίλην, καὶ τοῦ Θανάτου τὸν Ὕπνον ἀδελφόν· ἤδη




1. The following points must be understood about fictive hymns (peplasmenoi). First, they cannot easily be composed for eminent gods and those whose genealogies and powers are obvious, but usually for lesser known gods and divinities (daimones). For example, Plato depicts Eros at one point as born before the earth existed,1 at another point as Aphrodite’s son,2 and yet at a later point, resorting to fiction, as the son of Plenty and Poverty.3 Then too, he says that Eros’ power presides over the medical art,4 and that the god unites the severed halves of our bodies.5 He has contrived these hymns with great variety, whether they concern Eros’ nature, power, or birth.6 2. This license too comes to prose writers from poets, for poets fashion Terror (Deimos) and Fear (Phobos) as the squires of Ares;7 Flight (Phygē)8 as the friend of Fear; and Sleep (Hypnos) as the brother of Death (Thanatos)9—and, in

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.menander_rhetor-treatise_1.2019