Menander Rhetor, Treatise 2

LCL 539: 326-327




1. Ὅμηρος ὁ θεῖος ποιητὴς τά τε ἄλλα ἡμᾶς ἐπαίδευσε καὶ τὸ τῆς μονῳδίας εἶδος οὐ παραλέλοιπε· καὶ γὰρ Ἀνδρομάχῃ καὶ Πριάμῳ καὶ τῇ Ἑκάβῃ λόγους μονῳδικοὺς περιτέθεικεν οἰκείους ἑκάστῳ προσώπῳ, ὥσπερ ἐκδιδάξαι βουλόμενος ἡμᾶς μηδὲ τούτων ἀπείρως ἔχειν. χρὴ τοίνυν λαβόντας παρὰ τοῦ ποιητοῦ τὰς ἀφορμὰς ἐπεξεργάζεσθαι ταύτας γνόντας τὸ θεώρημα ἐξ ὧν ὁ ποιητὴς παρέδωκεν. 2. τί τοίνυν ἡ μονῳδία βούλεται; θρηνεῖν καὶ κατοικτίζεσθαι, κἂν μὲν μὴ προσήκων ᾖ ὁ τεθνεώς, αὐτὸν μόνον θρηνεῖν τὸν ἀπελθόντα, παραμιγνύντα τὰ ἐγκώμια τοῖς θρήνοις, καὶ συνεχῶς τὸν θρῆνον ἐμφανίζειν, ἵνα μὴ ἀπολύτως ἐγκώμιον ᾖ, ἀλλ’ ἵνα πρόφασις τοῦ θρήνου ᾖ τὸ ἐγκώμιον· ἂν δὲ προσήκων ᾖ, οὐδὲν ἧττον καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ λέγων οἰκτίσεται ἢ ὅτι ὀρφανὸς καταλέλειπται ἢ ὅτι ἀρίστου πατρὸς ἐστέρηται καὶ τὴν ἐρημίαν ὀδύρεται τὴν ἑαυτοῦ αὐτός.

3. Ἐὰν δὲ καὶ πόλεως τύχῃ προεστὼς ὁ μεταστάς, ἐρεῖς τι καὶ περὶ αὐτῆς τῆς πόλεως, μεταχειριζόμενος καὶ ταύτης τὰ ἐγκώμια πρὸς τὴν ὑπόθεσιν, ὅτι λαμπρὰ μὲν ἡ πόλις, ὁ δὲ ἐγείρας αὐτὴν ὁ πεπτωκώς




1. The divine poet Homer, who taught us so much else, did not neglect the genre of the monody (monōdia). He attributed monodic speeches to Andromache,1 Priam,2 and Hecuba3 that were appropriate for each of their characters, as if he intended to provide instructions and familiarize us with these types.4 Therefore it behooves us to take our starting points from Homer and elaborate on them, discerning the scheme from the examples the poet has left us. 2. What then is the intention of the monody? To lament and express one’s own grief. If the deceased is not a relative, the point is simply to lament the departed one, and, while mixing praise with the lamentations, to emphasize the lament throughout, so that it does not become a mere encomium, but rather the encomium becomes the motivation for the lament. But if it is a relative, the speaker should pity himself no less, either because he has been left an orphan, or because he has lost an excellent father and bewails the emptiness that is now his.

3. If the deceased is a leader in the city, you should say a word about the city itself, treating its praises with a view to the subject. “The city is illustrious, but the one who

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.menander_rhetor-treatise_2.2019