Menander Rhetor, Treatise 1

LCL 539: 60-61

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MENANDER RHETOR

1.9. ΠΕΡΙ ΑΠΕΥΚΤΙΚΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΟΣΕΥΚΤΙΚΩΝ

1. Οἱ δὲ ἀπευκτικοὶ καὶ προσευκτικοὶ ὕμνοι σχεδὸν μέν, ὥσπερ ἐφάσκομεν, πᾶσι τοῖς προειρημένοις εἰσὶν ἀναπεπλεγμένοι, ἢ τοῖς γε πλείστοις αὐτῶν. ἅπαντες γὰρ ἀνυμνοῦντες τοὺς θεοὺς εἰς εὐχὰς ἐγκλείουσι τοὺς λόγους. ἤδη δέ τινες καὶ ἀποτόμως καθ’ αὑτοὺς γεγόνασιν, ἀπευκτικὸς μὲν ὁ τοιοῦτος·

Ζεῦ κύδιστε μέγιστε, κελαινεφές, αἰθέρι ναίων, μὴ πρὶν ἐπ’ ἠέλιον δῦναι καὶ ἐπὶ κνέφας ἐλθεῖν·

προσευκτικὸς δέ·

343κλῦθί μευ αἰγιόχοιο Διὸς τέκος, ἥτε μοι αἰεὶ ἐν πάντεσσι πόνοισι παρίστασαι·

καὶ παρὰ Πλάτωνι, “ὦ φίλε Πᾶν” καὶ ὅσα ἐν τῷ Φαίδρῳ εὔχεται. 2. δεῖ δὲ τοὺς τοιούτους ὕμνους μὴ κατακορεῖς εἶναι. τὰς μὲν γὰρ εὐχὰς δικαίας εἶναι χρή, καὶ [ἀπευχὰς]1 δικαίας οὔσας καὶ ἁπλᾶς εἶναι δεῖ, τὸ δεῖνα γενέσθαι, εἶναι δὲ [ἁπλᾶς]2 καὶ βραχείας, ἔτι δὲ

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1.9. DEPRECATORY AND PRECATORY HYMNS

1.9. DEPRECATORY AND PRECATORY HYMNS

1. Hymns that pray against something (apeuktikoi) or for something (proseuktikoi) are, as we said,1 embedded in nearly all—or at least most—of the aforementioned types, for all who hymn the gods conclude their speeches with prayers.2 To be sure, some are completely self-contained, like this deprecatory example:3

Zeus, most glorious, greatest one, lord of dark clouds, dwelling in the sky, do not let the sun go down nor darkness come over us before ...

or like this precatory one:4

Hear me, daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus, you who always stand by me in all my toils ...

and in Plato’s Phaedrus, the prayer that begins with “O dear Pan.”5 2. Hymns such as these should not be tediously long, for prayers must be just and, being just, should also be straightforward—that such and such may happen—and also be brief. Besides, the point is not to instruct the gods,

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.menander_rhetor-treatise_1.2019