Menander Rhetor, Treatise 2

LCL 539: 240-241




1. Ὁ κατευναστικὸς λόγος ἐστὶ συντομώτατος1 διὰ τῶν καιρίων βαδίζων, καίρια δέ ἐστι τὰ πρόσφορα, πρόσφορα δέ ἐστιν ὅσα τῷ θαλάμω ἁρμόζει καὶ τῇ τοῦ νυμφίου συζυγίᾳ καὶ ταῖς παστάσι καὶ ἔρωσί τε καὶ ὑμεναίοις καὶ τελετῇ γάμου. οἱ μὲν οὖν ποιηταὶ διὰ τοῦ παρορμᾶν ἐπὶ τὸν θάλαμον καὶ προτρέπειν προάγουσι τὰ κατευναστικὰ ποιήματα, καὶ ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐ πόρρω τούτων στησόμεθα, ἀλλὰ παροξυνοῦμεν καὶ προτρέψομεν· ἔστι γὰρ ὁ κατευναστικὸς προτροπὴ πρὸς τὴν συμπλοκήν.

2. Ἐν τούτοις τοίνυν τὸν Ἡρακλέα παραλαμβάνωμεν καὶ ἕτερον εἴ τις ἀνδρεῖος περὶ γάμους γέγονεν, οὐ τῇ πάσῃ ἐπεξιόντες τοῦ Ἡρακλέος ἀλκῇ, ἀλλὰ τοῖς περὶ γάμων αὐτῷ καὶ γυναικῶν καὶ νυμφῶν πεπραγμένοις, ἵνα καὶ χάριτας ὁ λόγος ἔχειν δοκῇ. ἐροῦμεν δὲ ἐγκώμιον τῆς νύμφης διὰ βραχέων, οὐ τὸ ἀπὸ τῆς σωφροσύνης οὐδὲ τὸ ἀπὸ τῆς φρονήσεως οὐδὲ τῶν λοιπῶν ἀρετῶν τῆς ψυχῆς, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀπὸ τῆς ὥρας καὶ τοῦ κάλλους—406τοῦτο γὰρ οἰκεῖον καὶ πρόσφορον μόνον—τοῦ δὲ νεανίσκου τὴν ἀλκὴν καὶ τὴν ῥώμην, παραινοῦντες μὴ καταισχῦναι ταῦτα τοσούτων μαρτύρων γενησομένων τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ τῆς τελετῆς.




1. The bedtime speech (kateunastikos logos) is very brief and treats timely material that fits the occasion, that is, everything having to do with the wedding chamber, the joining of the couple, bridal bedrooms, gods of love, wedding songs, and the rite of marriage. Poets compose their bedtime poems by urging the couple on to the wedding chamber and by exhorting them, and we should closely follow them, for we too will spur them on and exhort them, because the bedtime speech is an exhortation to have intercourse.

2. Accordingly, let us include in them Heracles or some other manly marriage mate, without detailing all of Heracles’ exploits, but only those achievements involving marriages with women and nymphs, so that the speech makes a charming impression. We should briefly praise the bride, not lauding her moderation, intelligence, or the other virtues of her soul, but her youth and beauty, for these alone are germane and appropriate. As for the groom, we shall praise his valor and strength, and urge him not to disgrace them, given how many witnesses will be on hand in the morning after his initiation.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.menander_rhetor-treatise_2.2019