Menander Rhetor, Treatise 2

LCL 539: 138-139

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3681. Ὁ βασιλικὸς λόγος ἐγκώμιόν ἐστι βασιλέως· οὐκοῦν αὔξησιν ὁμολογουμένην περιέξει τῶν προσόντων ἀγαθῶν βασιλεῖ, οὐδὲν δὲ ἀμφίβολον καὶ ἀμφισβητούμενον ἐπιδέχεται διὰ τὸ ἄγαν ἔνδοξον τὸ πρόσωπον εἶναι, ἀλλ’ ὡς ἐφ’ ὁμολογουμένοις ἀγαθοῖς τὴν ἐργασίαν ποιήσῃ.

2. Λήψῃ τοίνυν ἐν τούτῳ τὰ προοίμια δηλονότι ἀπὸ τῆς αὐξήσεως, μέγεθος περιτιθεὶς τῇ ὑποθέσει, ὅτι δυσέφικτος, καὶ ὅτι καθῆκας ἑαυτὸν εἰς ἀγῶνα οὐ ῥᾴδιον κατορθωθῆναι λόγῳ, ἢ τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ λόγους μακαριεῖς, ὅτι καθῆκαν εἰς πεῖραν πραγμάτων μετ’ ἀγαθῆς καὶ λαμπρᾶς τῆς τύχης, ἧς εἰ τύχοιεν,1 μεγίστην ἄρασθαι δυνήσονται δόξαν· ἢ ὅτι ἄτοπόν ἐστι τοσούτων ἀγαθῶν παρὰ βασιλέων πειρωμένους μὴ τὸν πρέποντα καὶ ὀφειλόμενον αὐτοῖς ἔρανον ἀποδιδόναι· 3. ἢ ὅτι δύο τὰ μέγιστα τῶν ὑπαρχόντων ἐν τῷ βίῳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐστὶν εὐσέβεια περὶ τὸ θεῖον καὶ τιμὴ περὶ βασιλέας, ἃ προσήκει καὶ θαυμάζειν καὶ ὑμνεῖν κατὰ δύναμιν.

4. Δέχεται δὲ τὰ προοίμια τοῦ λόγου καὶ ἐκ παραδειγμάτων ἀορίστων αὐξήσεις, οἷον ὡς ἂν εἰ λέγοιμεν,




1. The royal oration (basilikos logos) is an encomium of the emperor. Consequently, it will contain generally agreed-upon amplification of the good things pertaining to the emperor, and, because of such a person’s great prestige, it excludes anything ambiguous or disputed. In short, you must base your composition on qualities acknowledged to be good.

2. In it you should obviously derive your introduction from topics of amplification and endow your subject with importance by noting how difficult it is to undertake and by claiming that you are engaged in a contest of words by no means easy to win. Or else, you can count your own words blessed and say, “They have engaged in a trial of deeds thanks to splendid good fortune, and should they have its blessing, they stand to win the greatest glory.” Or else: “Since we enjoy so many benefits from the emperors, it is unreasonable not to repay them with our due and proper contribution.” 3. Or else: “The two most important things in human life are reverence for the gods and respect for emperors, and these oblige us to venerate and hymn them to the best of our ability.”

4. The oration’s introductions also permit amplification derived from indefinite examples,1 as when we might say,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.menander_rhetor-treatise_2.2019