Menander Rhetor, Treatise 2

LCL 539: 224-225




1. Ὁ ἐπιθαλάμιος λέγεται ὑπό τινων καὶ γαμήλιος, λόγος δ’ ἐστὶν ὑμνῶν θαλάμους τε καὶ παστάδας καὶ νυμφίους καὶ γένος, καὶ πρό γε πάντων αὐτὸν τὸν θεὸν τῶν γάμων· χαίρει δὲ διηγήμασιν ἐπαφροδίτοις τε καὶ ἐρωτικοῖς· ταῦτα γὰρ οἰκεῖα τῇ ὑποθέσει.

2. Μετεχειρίσαντο δὲ τὸ εἶδος οἱ μὲν συντόνως, οἱ δὲ συγγραφικώτερον, καὶ δῆλον ὅτι ὁ μὲν σύντονος συνέστραπται λόγος ἅτε πολιτικῶς προϊών, καὶ ἕξει τὰς ἀρετὰς τοῦ πολιτικοῦ λόγου προοίμιά τε ἐγκατεσκευασμένα, <ἐν οἷς>1 ἢ μέγεθος περιθήσεις τῇ ὑποθέσει αὔξων αὐτὴν ἀπὸ τῶν προσώπων τῶν ζευγνυμένων, ἂν ὦσιν οἱ νυμφίοι τῶν ἐνδόξων, ἢ τὴν αἰτίαν ἐν αὐτοῖς ἐρεῖς, δι’ ἣν παρελήλυθας ἐπὶ τὸ λέγειν, ὅτι συγγενὴς τῶν γαμούντων, ὅτι παρακληθεὶς ἦλθον ἐπὶ τὸν λόγον, ὅτι ἔρανον ἀποδιδοὺς αὐτῷ προειληφὼς πρότερον χάριτας, ἢ καὶ ἄλλως, ὅτι φιλίᾳ χαριζόμενος, ἢ ὅ τι περ ἂν παραπέσῃ τοιοῦτον, ἢ ὅτι ἀρχόντων καὶ πόλεων καὶ ἐθνῶν συνελθόντων καὶ συνεορτάζειν

  • 1suppl. RW



1. The epithalamium (epithalamios logos), which some call a marriage speech (gamēlios logos),1 sings the praises of wedding chambers and bridal bedrooms,2 brides and grooms, families—and above all the god of marriage himself.3 It delights in stories that are charming and erotic, for they are germane to the subject.

2. Some have treated the genre formally, others more casually (syngraphikōteron).4 Obviously the formal (syntonos)5 speech is tightly constructed. It will proceed like a public oration and have the features of a public speech, including elaborate introductions, in which you may either invest the subject matter with importance and amplify it on the basis of the persons being married, if the bride and groom are distinguished people, or else you may explain why you have come forward to speak. “I am a relative of the wedding parties,” or “I was invited to come speak,” or “I am repaying him6 for previous favors,” or “I take delight in our friendship,” or any such thing that occurs to you. Alternatively, “Since governors, cities, and nations have

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.menander_rhetor-treatise_2.2019