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Plutarch’s Moralia

ΒΑΣ. Ἦ φιλοθεάμων τις ἡμῖν καὶ περιττῶς φιλήκοός1 ἐστιν ὁ ξένος.

ΦΙΛ. Φιλόλογος δὲ καὶ φιλομαθής ἐστι μᾶλλον. οὐ μὴν ταῦτα μάλιστα θαυμάζειν ἄξιον, ἀλλὰ 395πραότης τε πολλὴν χάριν ἔχουσα, καὶ τὸ μάχιμον καὶ διαπορητικὸν ὑπὸ συνέσεως, οὔτε δύσκολον οὔτ᾿ ἀντίτυπον πρὸς τὰς ἀποκρίσεις· ὥστε καὶ βραχὺ συγγενόμενον εὐθὺς εἰπεῖν, “τέκος ἀγαθοῦ πατρός.” οἶσθα γὰρ Διογενιανὸν ἀνδρῶν ἄριστον.

ΒΑΣ. Αὐτὸς μὲν οὐκ εἶδον, ὦ Φιλῖνε, πολλοῖς δ᾿ ἐντετύχηκα καὶ τὸν λόγον καὶ τὸ ἦθος τἀνδρὸς ἰσχυρῶς ἀποδεχομένοις, ὅμοια δὲ τούτοις ἕτερα περὶ τοῦ νεανίσκου λέγουσιν. ἀλλὰ τίνα, ὦ ἑταῖρε,2 ἀρχὴν ἔσχον οἱ λόγοι καὶ πρόφασιν;

2. ΦΙΛ. Ἐπέραινον οἱ περιηγηταὶ τὰ συντεταγμένα, μηδὲν ἡμῶν φροντίσαντες δεηθέντων ἐπιτεμεῖν τὰς ῥήσεις καὶ τὰ πολλὰ τῶν ἐπιγραμμάτων. τὸν δὲ ξένον ἡ μὲν ἰδέα καὶ τὸ τεχνικὸν τῶν ἀνδριάντων Bμετρίως προσήγετο, πολλῶν καὶ καλῶν ἔργων ὡς ἔοικε θεατὴν γεγενημένον· ἐθαύμαζε3 δὲ τοῦ χαλκοῦ τὸ ἀνθηρὸν ὡς οὐ πίνῳ προσεοικὸς οὐδ᾿ ἰῷ, βαφῇ δὲ κυάνου στίλβοντος, ὥστε καὶ προσθεῖναί τι4 πρὸς τοὺς ναυάρχους5 (ἀπ᾿ ἐκείνων γὰρ ἦρκτο6 τῆς θέας) οἷον ἀτεχνῶς θαλαττίους τῇ χρόᾳ καὶ βυθίους ἑστῶτας.

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The Oracles at Delphi

basilocles. Our visitor is certainly eager to see the sights, and an unusually eager listener.

philinus. But even more is he a scholar and a student. However, it is not this that most deserves our admiration, but a winning gentleness, and his willingness to argue and to raise questions, which comes from his intelligence, and shows no dissatisfaction nor contrariety with the answers. So, after being with him but a short time, one would say, “O child of a goodly father!”a You surely know Diogenianus, one of the best of men.

basilocles. I never saw him myself, Philinus, but I have met many persons who expressed a strong approval of the man’s words and character, and who had other compliments of the same nature to say of the young man. But, my friend, what was the beginning and occasion of your conversation?

2. philinus. The guides were going through their prearranged programme, paying no heed to us who begged that they would cut short their harangues and their expounding of most of the inscriptions. The appearance and technique of the statues had only a moderate attraction for the foreign visitor, who, apparently, was a connoisseur in works of art. He did, however, admire the patina of the bronze, for it bore no resemblance to verdigris or rust, but the bronze was smooth and shining with a deep blue tinge, so that it gave an added touch to the sea-captainsb (for he had begun his sight-seeing with them), as they stood there with the true complexion of the sea and its deepest depths.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-moralia_oracles_delphi_no_longer_given_verse.1936