Philostratus of Athens, Discourses 1

LCL 521: 502-503





Τὸν ἐπιστολικὸν χαρακτῆρα τοῦ λόγου μετὰ τοὺς παλαιοὺς ἄριστά μοι δοκοῦσι διεσκέφθαι φιλοσόφων μὲν ὁ Τυανεὺς καὶ Δίων, στρατηγῶν δὲ Βροῦτος ἢ ὅτῳ Βροῦτος ἐς τὸ ἐπιστέλλειν ἐχρῆτο, βασιλέων δὲ ὁ θεσπέσιος Μάρκος ἐν οἷς ἐπέστελλεν αὐτός, πρὸς γὰρ τῷ κεκριμένῳ τοῦ λόγου καὶ τὸ ἑδραῖον τοῦ ἤθους ἐντετύπωτο τοῖς γράμμασι, ῥητόρων δὲ ἄριστα μὲν Ἡρώδης ὁ Ἀθηναῖος ἐπέστελλεν, ὑπεραττικίζων δὲ καὶ ὑπερλαλῶν ἐκπίπτει πολλαχοῦ τοῦ πρέποντος ἐπιστολῇ χαρακτῆρος. δεῖ γὰρ φαίνεσθαι τῶν ἐπιστολῶν τὴν ἰδέαν ἀττικωτέραν μὲν συνηθείας, συνηθεστέραν δὲ ἀττικίσεως καὶ συγκεῖσθαι μὲν πολιτικῶς, τοῦ δὲ ἁβροῦ μὴ ἀπᾴδειν. ἐχέτω δὲ τὸ εὔσχημον ἐν





It seems to me that, after the ancients, those who have engaged best in the epistolary style of discourse are the man of Tyana1 and Dio2 among philosophers, Brutus among generals (or whoever Brutus employed to write letters),3 among emperors the divine Marcus4 in the letters he wrote himself, since in addition to his exquisite style he also left an impression in his writing of the stability of his character; among rhetoricians Herodes of Athens wrote letters best, but in his hyperatticism and chattiness he often lapses from the style that suits a letter. For the form of letters must be more attic than the everyday style, but more everyday than the attic style, and be composed seriously, yet not depart from delicacy. Let its elegance

  • 1For the preserved letters of Apollonius of Tyana, see the introduction, text, and translation of C. P. Jones, Philostratus, the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Loeb Classical Library 458 (Cambridge, MA, 2006), 2–79.
  • 2Five letters ascribed to Dio of Prusa are translated in Dio Chrysostom, vol. 5, tr. H. Lamar Crosby, Loeb Classical Library 385 (Cambridge, MA, 1951), 354–59.
  • 3Thirty-five short letters of the tyrannicide are preserved in multiple manuscripts and known to Plutarch (Brutus 22–23, 29). Christopher P. Jones, “The Greek Letters Ascribed to Brutus,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology (forthcoming), argues for their genuineness and gives a translation and historical commentary on the letters from 43–42 BC.
  • 4See G. Cortassa, “Fozio, Filostrato di Lemno e le lettere greche di Marco Aurelio,” Sileno 20 (1994): 193–200.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philostratus_athens-discourses_1.2014