Panegyric in honour of Eusebia

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Panegyric in honour of Eusebia  (357) 
by Julian, translated by Emily Wilmer Cave Wright
From The Works of the Emperor Julian, volume I (1913) Loeb Classical Library.

Introduction to Oration III

The Third Oration is an expression of gratitude (χαριστήριος λόγος)[1] to the Empress Eusebia, the first wife of Constantius. After Julian's intractable step-brother Gallus Caesar had been murdered by the Emperor, he was summoned to the court at Milan, and there, awkward and ill at ease, cut off from his favourite studies and from the society of philosophers, surrounded by intriguing and unfriendly courtiers, and regarded with suspicion by the Emperor, Julian was protected, encouraged and advised by Eusebia. His praise and gratitude are, for once, sincere. The oration must have been composed either in Gaul or shortly before Julian set out thither after the dangerous dignity of the Caesarship had been thrust upon him. His sincerity has affected his style, which is simpler and more direct than that of the other two Panegyrics.

Panegyric in honour of the empress Eusebia[edit]

[102] What, pray, ought we to think of those who owe things of price and beyond price — I do not mean gold or silver, but simply any benefit one may happen to receive from one's neighbour — suppose that they neither try nor intend to repay that kindness, but are indolent and do not trouble themselves to do what they can and try to discharge the debt? Is it not evident that we must think them mean and base? Far more I think than any other crime do we hate ingratitude, and we blame those persons who have received benefits and are ungrateful to their benefactors. And the ungrateful man is not only he who repays a kindness with evil deeds or words, but also he who is silent and conceals a kindness and tries to consign it to oblivion and abolish gratitude. Now of such brutal and inhuman baseness as the repayment with evil the instances are few and easily reckoned; but there are many who try to conceal the appearance of having received benefits, though with what purpose I know not. They assert, however, that it is because they are trying to avoid a reputation for a sort of servility and for base flattery. But though I know well enough that what they say is all insincere, [103] nevertheless I let that pass, and suppose we assume that they, as they think, do escape an undeserved reputation for flattery, still they at the same time appear to be guilty of many weaknesses and defects of character that are in the highest degree base and illiberal. For either they are too dense to perceive what no one should fail to perceive, or they are not dense but forgetful of what they ought to remember for all time. Or again, they do remember, and yet shirk their duty for some reason or other, being cowards and grudging by nature, and their hand is against every man without exception, seeing that not even to their benefactors do they consent to be gentle and amiable; and then if there be any opening to slander and bite, they look angry and fierce like wild beasts. Genuine praise they somehow or other avoid giving, as though it were a costly extravagance, and they, censure the applause given to noble actions, when the only thing that they need enquire into is whether the eulogists respect truth and rate her higher than the reputation of showing their gratitude by eulogy. For this at any rate they cannot assert, that praise is a useless thing, either to those who receive it or to others besides, who, though they have been assigned the same rank in life as the objects of their praise, have fallen short of their merit in what they have accomplished. To the former it is not only agreeable to hear, but makes them zealous to aim at a still higher level of conduct, while the latter it stimulates both by persuasion and compulsion to imitate that noble conduct, because they see that none of those who have anticipated them have been deprived of that which alone it is honourable to give and receive publicly. For to give money openly, and to look anxiously round that as many as possible may know of the gift, is characteristic of a vulgar person. Nay no one would even stretch out his hands to receive it in the sight of all men, unless he had first cast off all propriety of manner and sense of shame. [104] Arcesilaus indeed, when offering a gift, used to try to hide his identity even from the recipient.[2] But in his case the manner of the deed always made known the doer. For a eulogy, however, one is ambitious to obtain as many hearers as possible, and even a small audience is, I think, not to be despised. Socrates, for instance, spoke in praise of many, as did Plato also and Aristotle. Xenophon, too, eulogised King Agesilaus and Cyrus the Persian, not only the elder Cyrus, but him whom he accompanied on his campaign against the Great King, nor did he hide away his eulogies, but put them into his history. Now I should think it strange indeed if we shall be eager to applaud men of high character, and not think fit to give our tribute of praise to a noble woman, believing as we do that excellence is the attribute of women no less than of men. Or shall we who think that such a one ought to be modest and wise and competent to assign to every man his due, and brave in danger, high-minded and generous, and that in a word all such qualities as these should be hers, — shall we, I say, then rob her of the encomium due to her good deeds, from any fear of the charge of appearing to flatter? But Homer was not ashamed to praise Penelope and the consort of Alcinous[3] and other women of exceptional goodness, or even those whose claim to virtue was slight. Nay nor did Penelope fail to obtain her share of praise for this very thing. But besides these reasons for praise, shall we consent to accept kind treatment from a woman no less than from a man, and to obtain some boon whether small or great, and then hesitate to pay the thanks due therefor? But perhaps people will say that the very act of making a request to a woman is despicable and unworthy of an honourable and high-spirited man, and that even the wise Odysseus was spiritless and cowardly because he was a suppliant to the king's daughter[4] as she played with her maiden companions by the banks of the river. Perhaps they will not spare even Athene the daughter of Zeus, [105] of whom Homer says[5] that she put on the likeness of a fair and noble maiden and guided him along the road that led to the palace, and was his adviser and instructed him what he must do and say when he had entered within; and that, like some orator perfect in the art of rhetoric, she sang an encomium of the queen, and for a prelude told the tale of her lineage from of old. Homer's verses about this are as follows:

"The queen thou shalt find first in the halls. Arete is the name she is called by, and of the same parents is she as those who begat king Alcinous."[6]

Then he goes back and begins with Poseidon and tells of the origin of that family and all that they did and suffered, and how when her father perished, still young and newly-wed, her uncle married her, and honoured her

"As no other woman in the world is honoured,"

and he tells of all the honour she receives

"From her dear children and from Alcinous himself,"

and from the council of elders also, I think, and from the people who look upon her as a goddess as she goes through the city; and on all his praises he sets this crown, one that man and woman alike may well envy, when he says

"For indeed she too has no lack of excellent understanding,"

and that she knows well how to judge between men, and, for those citizens to whom she is kindly disposed, how to reconcile with justice the grievances that arise among them. Now if, when you entreat her, the goddess says to him, you find her well disposed,

"Then is there hope that you will see your friends and come to your high-roofed house."

And he was persuaded by her counsel. Shall I then need yet greater instances and clearer proofs, so that I may escape the suspicion of seeming to natter? [106] Shall I not forthwith imitate that wise and inspired poet and go on to praise the noble Eusebia, eager as I am to compose an encomium worthy of her, though I shall be thankful if, even in a moderate degree, I succeed in describing accomplishments so many and so admirable? And I shall be thankful if I succeed in describing also those noble qualities of hers, her temperance, justice, mildness and goodness, or her affection for her husband, or her generosity about money, or the honour that she pays to her own people and her kinsfolk. It is proper for me, I think, to follow in the track as it were of what I have already said, and, as I pursue my panegyric, so arrange it as to give the same order as Athene, making mention, as is natural, of her native land, her ancestors, how she married and whom, and all the rest in the same fashion as Homer.

Now though I have much that is highly honourable to say about her native land,[7] I think it well to omit part, because of its antiquity. For it seems to be not far removed from myth. For instance, the sort of story that is told about the Muses, that they actually came from Pieria[8] and that it was not from Helicon that they came to Olympus, when summoned to their father's side. This then, and all else of the same sort, since it is better suited to a fable than to my narrative, must be omitted. But perhaps it is not out of the way nor alien from my present theme to tell some of the facts that are not familiar to all. They say[9] that Macedonia was colonised by the descendants of Heracles, the sons of Temenus, who had been awarded Argos as their portion, then quarrelled, and to make an end of their strife and jealousy led out a colony. Then they seized Macedonia, and leaving a prosperous family behind them, they succeeded to the throne, king after king, as though the privilege were an inheritance. Now to praise all these would be neither truthful, nor in my opinion easy. But though many of them were brave men and left behind them very glorious monuments of the Hellenic character, Philip and his son surpassed in valour [107] all who of old ruled over Macedonia and Thrace, yes and I should say all who governed the Lydians as well, or the Medes and Persians and Assyrians, except only the son of Cambyses,[10] who transferred the sovereignty from the Medes to the Persians. For Philip was the first to try to increase the power of the Macedonians, and when he had subdued the greater part of Europe, he made the sea his frontier limit on the east and south, and on the north I think the Danube, and on the west the people of Oricus.[11] And after him, his son, who was bred up at the feet of the wise Stagyrite,[12] so far excelled all the rest in greatness of soul, and besides, surpassed his own father in generalship and courage and the other virtues, that he thought that life for him was not worth living unless he could subdue all men and all nations. And so he traversed the whole of Asia, conquering as he went, and he was the first of men[13] to adore the rising sun; but as he was setting out for Europe in order to gain control of the remainder and so become master of the whole earth and sea, he paid the debt of nature in Babylon. Then Macedonians became the rulers of all the cities and nations that they had acquired under his leadership. And now is it still necessary to show by stronger proofs that Macedonia was famous and great of old? And the most important place in Macedonia is that city which they restored, after, I think, the fall of the Thessalians, and which is called after their victory over them.[14] But concerning all this I need not speak at greater length.

And of her noble birth why should I take any further trouble to seek for clearer or more manifest proof than this? I mean that she is the daughter of a man who was considered worthy to hold the office that gives its name to the year,[15] an office that in the past was powerful and actually called royal, [108] but lost that title because of those who abused their power. But now that in these days its power has waned, since the government has changed to a monarchy, the bare honour, though robbed of all the rest, is held to counterbalance all power, and for private citizens is set up as a sort of prize and a reward of virtue, or loyalty, or of some favour done to the ruler of the empire, or for some brilliant exploit, while for the emperors, it is added to the advantages they already possess as the crowning glory and adornment. For all the other titles and functions that still retain some feeble and shadowy resemblance to the ancient constitution they either altogether despised and rejected, because of their absolute power, or they attached them to themselves and enjoy the titles for life. But this office alone, I think, they from the first did not despise, and it still gratifies them when they obtain it for the year. Indeed there is no private citizen or emperor, nor has ever been, who did not think it an enviable distinction to be entitled consul. And if there be anyone who thinks that, because he I spoke of was the first of his line to win that title and to lay the foundations of distinction for his family, he is therefore inferior to the others, he fails to understand that he is deceived exceedingly. For it is, in my opinion, altogether nobler and more honourable to lay the foundations of such great distinction for one's descendants than to receive it from one's ancestors. For indeed it is a nobler thing to be the founder of a mighty city than a mere citizen and to receive any good thing is altogether less dignified than to give. Indeed it is evident that sons receive from their fathers, and citizens from their cities, a start, as it were, on the path of glory. But he who by his own effort pays back to his ancestors and his native land that honour on a higher scale, and makes his country show more brilliant and more distinguished, and his ancestors more illustrious, clearly yields the prize to no man on the score of native nobility. Nor is there any man who can claim to be superior to him I speak of. [109] For the good must needs be born of good parents. But when the son of illustrious parents himself becomes more illustrious, and fortune blows the same way as his merit, he causes no one to feel doubt, if he lays claim, as is reasonable, to be of native nobility.

Now Eusebia, the subject of my speech, was the daughter of a consul, and is the consort of an Emperor who is brave, temperate, wise, just, virtuous, mild and high-souled, who, when he acquired the throne that had belonged to his ancestors, and had won it back from him who had usurped it by violence, and desired to wed that he might beget sons to inherit his honour and power, deemed this lady worthy of his alliance, when he had already become master of almost the whole world. And indeed why should one search for stronger evidence than this? Evidence, I mean, not only of her native nobility, but of all those combined gifts which she who is united to so great an Emperor ought to bring with her from her home as a dowry, wit and wisdom, a body in the flower of youth, and beauty so conspicuous as to throw into the shade all other maidens beside, even as, I believe, the radiant stars about the moon at the full are outshone and hide their shape.[16] For no single one of these endowments is thought to suffice for an alliance with an Emperor, but all together, as though some god were fashioning for a virtuous Emperor a fair and modest bride, were united in her single person and, attracting not his eyes alone, brought from afar that bridegroom blest of heaven. For beauty alone, if it lacks the support of birth and the other advantages I have mentioned, is not enough to induce even a licentious man, a mere citizen, tc kindle the marriage torch, though both combineo have brought about many a match, but when they occur [110] without sweetness and charm of character they are seen to be far from desirable.

I have good reason to say that the Emperor in his prudence understood this clearly, and that it was only after long deliberation that he chose this marriage, partly making enquiries about all that was needful to learn about her by hearsay, but judging also from her mother of the daughter's noble disposition. Of that mother why should I take time to say more, as though I had not to recite a special encomium on her who is the theme of my speech? But so much perhaps I may say briefly and you may hear without weariness, that her family is entirely Greek, yes Greek of the purest stock, and her native city was the metropolis of Macedonia, and she was more self-controlled than Evadne[17] the wife of Capaneus, and the famous Laodameia[18] of Thessaly. For these two, when they had lost their husbands, who were young, handsome and still newly-wed, whether by the constraint of some envious powers, or because the threads of the fates were so woven, threw away their lives for love. But the mother of the Empress, when his fate had come upon her wedded lord, devoted herself to her children, and won a great reputation for prudence, so great indeed, that whereas Penelope, while her husband was still on his travels and wanderings, was beset by those young suitors who came to woo her from Ithaca and Samos and Dulichium, that lady no man however fair and tall or powerful and wealthy ever ventured to approach with any such proposals. And her daughter the Emperor deemed worthy to live by his side, and after setting up the trophies of his victories, he celebrated the marriage with great splendour, feasting nations and cities and peoples.

But should any haply desire to hear of such things as how the bride was bidden to come from Macedonia with her mother, and what was the manner of the cavalcade, of the chariots and horses and carriages of all sorts, decorated with gold and silver and copper of the finest workmanship, let me tell him that it is extremely childish of him to wish to hear such things. [111] It is like the case of some player on the cithara who is an accomplished artist — let us say if you please Terpander or he of Methymna[19] of whom the story goes that he enjoyed a divine escort and found that the dolphin cared more for music than did his fellow-voyagers, and was thus conveyed safely to the Laconian promontory.[20] For though he did indeed charm those miserable sailors by his skilful performance, yet they despised his art and paid no heed to his music. Now, as I was going to say, if some one were to choose the best of those two musicians, and were to clothe him in the raiment suited to his art, and were then to bring him into a theatre full of men, women and children of all sorts, varying in temperament and age and habits besides, do you not suppose that the children and those of the men and women who had childish tastes would gaze at his dress and his lyre, and be marvellously smitten with his appearance, while the more ignorant of the men, and the whole crowd of women, except a very few, would judge his playing simply by the criterion of pleasure or the reverse; whereas a musical man who understood the rules of the art would not endure that the melodies should be wrongly mixed for the sake of giving pleasure, but would resent it if the player did not preserve the modes of the music and did not use the harmonies properly, and conformably to the laws of genuine and inspired music? But if he saw that he was faithful to the principles of his art and produced in the audience a pleasure that was not spurious but pure and uncontaminated, he would go home praising the musician, and filled with admiration because his performance in the theatre was artistic and did the Muses no wrong. But such a man thinks that anyone who praises the purple raiment and the lyre is foolish and out of his mind, while, if he goes on to give full details about such outward things, adorning them with an agreeable style and smoothing away all that is worthless and vulgar in the tale, [112] then the critic thinks him more ridiculous than those who try to carve cherry-stones,[21] as I believe is related of Myrmecides[22] who thus sought to rival the art of Pheidias. And so neither will I, if I can help it, lay myself open to this charge by reciting the long list of costly robes and gifts of all kinds and necklaces and garlands that were sent by the Emperor, nor how the folk in each place came to meet her with welcome and rejoicing, nor all the glorious and auspicious incidents that occurred on that journey, and were reported. But when she entered the palace and was honoured with her imperial title, what was the first thing she did and then the second and the third and the many actions that followed? For however much I might wish to tell of them and to compose lengthy volumes about them, I think that, for the majority, those of her deeds will be sufficient that more conspicuously witnessed to her wisdom and clemency and modesty and benevolence and goodness and generosity and her other virtues, than does now the present account of her, which tries to enlighten and instruct those who have long known it all from personal experience. For it would not be at all proper, merely because the task has proved to be difficult or rather impossible, to keep silence about the whole, but one should rather try, as far as one can, to tell about those deeds, and to bring forward as a proof of her wisdom and of all her other virtues the fact that she made her husband regard her as it is fitting that he should regard a beautiful and noble wife.

Therefore, though I think that many of the other qualities of Penelope are worthy of praise, this I admire beyond all, that she so entirely persuaded her husband to love and cherish her, that he despised, we are told, unions with goddesses, and equally rejected an alliance with the Phaeacians. And yet they were all in love with him, Calypso, Circe, Nausicaa. And they had very beautiful palaces and gardens and parks withal, [113] planted with wide-spreading and shady trees, and meadows gay with flowers, in which soft grass grew deep: "And four fountains in a row flowed with shining water."[23] And a lusty wild vine bloomed about her dwelling,[24] with bunches of excellent grapes, laden with clusters. And at the Phaeacian court there were the same things, except that they were more costly, seeing that, as I suppose, they were made by art, and hence had less charm and seemed less lovely than those that were of natural growth. Now to ail that luxury and wealth, and moreover to the peace and quiet that surrounded those islands, who do you think would not have succumbed, especially one who had endured so great toils and dangers and expected that he would have to suffer still more terrible hardships, partly by sea and partly in his own house, since he had to fight all alone against a hundred youths in their prime, a thing which had never happened to him even in the land of Troy? Now if someone in jest were to question Odysseus somewhat in this fashion: "Why, O most wise orator or general, or whatever one must call you, did you endure so many toils, when you might have been prosperous and happy and perhaps even immortal, if one may at all believe the promises of Calypso? But you chose the worse instead of the better, and imposed on yourself all those hardships[25] and refused to remain even in Scheria, though you might surely have rested there from your wandering and been delivered from your perils; but behold you resolved to carry on the war in your own house and to perform feats of valour and to accomplish a second journey, not less toilsome, as seemed likely, nor easier than the first!" What answer then do you think he would give to this? Would he not answer that he longed always to be with Penelope, and that those contests and campaigns he purposed to take back to her as a pleasant tale to tell? For this reason, then, he makes his mother exhort him to remember everything, [114] all the sights he saw and all the things he heard, and then she says: "So that in the days to come thou mayst tell it to thy wife."[26] And indeed he forgot nothing, and no sooner had he come home and vanquished, as was just, the youths who caroused in the palace, than he related all to her without pause, all that he had achieved and endured, and all else that, obeying the oracles, he purposed still to accomplish.[27] And from her he kept nothing secret, but chose that she should be the partner of his counsels and should help him to plan and contrive what he must do. And do you think this a trifling tribute to Penelope, or is there not now found to be yet another woman whose virtue surpasses hers, and who, as the consort of a brave, magnanimous and prudent Emperor, has won as great affection from her husband, since she has mingled with the tenderness that is inspired by love that other which good and noble souls derive from their own virtue, whence it flows like a sacred fount? For there are two jars,[28] so to speak, of these two kinds of human affection, and Eusebia drew in equal measure from both, and so has come to be the partner of her husband's counsels, and though the Emperor is by nature merciful, good and wise, she encourages him to follow yet more becomingly his natural bent, and ever turns justice to mercy. So that no one could ever cite a case in which this Empress, whether with justice, as might happen, or unjustly, has ever been the cause of punishment or chastisement either great or small. Now we are told that at Athens, in the days when they employed their ancestral customs and lived in obedience to their own laws, as the inhabitants of a great and humane city, whenever the votes of the. jurymen were cast evenly for defendant and plaintiff, the vote of Athene[29] was awarded to him who would have incurred the penalty, and thus both were acquitted of guilt, [115] he who had brought the accusation, of the reputation of sycophant, and the defendant, naturally, of the guilt of the crime. Now this humane and gracious custom is kept up in the suits which the Emperor judges, but Eusebia's mercy goes further. For whenever the defendant comes near to obtaining an equal number of votes, she persuades the Emperor, adding her request and entreaty on his behalf, to acquit the man entirely of the charge. And of free will with willing heart he grants the boon, and does not give it as Homer says Zeus, constrained by his wife, agreed as to what he should concede to her "of free will but with soul unwilling."[30] And perhaps it is not strange that he should concede this pardon reluctantly and under protest in the case of the violent and depraved. But not even when men richly deserve to suffer and be punished ought they to be utterly ruined. Now since the Empress recognises this, she has never bidden him inflict any injury of any kind, or any punishment or chastisement even on a single household of the citizens, much less on a whole kingdom or city. And I might add, with the utmost confidence that I am speaking the absolute truth, that in the case of no man or woman is it possible to charge her with any misfortune that has happened, but all the benefits that she confers and has conferred, and on whom, I would gladly recount in as many cases as possible, and report them one by one, how for instance this man, thanks to her, enjoys his ancestral estate, and that man has been saved from punishment, though he was guilty in the eyes of the law, how a third escaped a malicious prosecution, though he came within an ace of the danger, how countless persons have received honour and office at her hands. And on this subject there is no one of them all who will assert that I speak falsely, even though I should not give a list of those persons by name. But this I hesitate to do, lest I should seem to some to be reproaching them with their sufferings, and to be composing not so much an encomium of her good deeds as a catalogue of the misfortunes of others. And yet, not to cite any of these acts of hers, and to bring no proof of them before the public seems perhaps to imply that they are lacking, [116] and brings discredit on my encomium. Accordingly, to deprecate that charge, I shall relate so much as it is not invidious for me to speak or for her to hear.

When she had, in the beginning, secured her husband's good-will for her actions like a "frontage shining from afar," to use the words of the great poet Pindar,[31] she forthwith showered honours on all her family and kinsfolk, appointing to more important functions those who had already been tested and were of mature age, and making them seem fortunate and enviable, and she won for them the Emperor's friendship and laid the foundation of their present prosperity. And if anyone thinks, what is in fact true, that on their own account they are worthy of honour, he will applaud her all the more. For it is evident that it was their merit, far more than the ties of kinship, that she rewarded; and one could hardly pay her a higher compliment than that. Such then was her treatment of these. And to all who, since they were still obscure on account of their youth, needed recognition of any sort, she awarded lesser honours. In fact she left nothing undone to help one and all. And not only on her kinsfolk has she conferred such benefits, but whenever she learned that ties of friendship used to exist with her ancestors, she has not allowed it to be unprofitable to those who owned such ties, but she honours them, I understand, no less than her own kinsfolk, and to all whom she regards as her father's friends she dispensed wonderful rewards for their friendship.

But since I see that my account is in need of proofs, just as in a law-court, I will offer myself to bear witness on its behalf to these actions and to applaud them. But lest you should mistrust my evidence and cause a disturbance before you have heard what I have to say, I swear that I will tell you no falsehood or fiction; although you would have believed, even without an oath, that I am saying all this without intent to flatter. [117] For I already possess, by the grace of God and the Emperor, and because the Empress too was zealous in my behalf, all those blessings to gain which a flatterer would leave nothing unsaid, so that, if I were speaking before obtaining these, perhaps I should have to dread that unjust suspicion. But as it is, since this is the state of my fortunes, I will recall her conduct to me, and at the same time give you a proof of my own right-mindedness and truthful evidence of her good deeds. I have heard that Darius, while he was still in the bodyguard of the Persian monarch,[32] met, in Egypt, a Samian stranger[33] who was an exile from his own country, and accepted from him the gift of a scarlet cloak to which Darius had taken a great fancy, and that later on, in the days when, I understand, he had become the master of all Asia, he gave him in return the tyranny of Samos. And now suppose that I acknowledge that, though I received many kindnesses at Eusebia's hands, at a time when I was still permitted to live in peaceful obscurity, and many also, by her intercession, from our noble and magnanimous Emperor, I must needs fall short of making an equal return; for as I know, she possesses everything already, as the gift of him who was so generous to myself; yet since I desire that the memory of her good deeds should be immortal, and since I am relating them to you, perhaps I shall not be thought less mindful of my debt than the Persian, seeing that in forming a judgment it is to the intention that one must look, and not to an instance in which fortune granted a man the power to repay his obligation many times over.

Why, then, I say that I have been so kindly treated, and in return for what I acknowledge that I am her debtor for all time, that is what you are eager to hear. Nor shall I conceal the facts. The Emperor was kind to me almost from my infancy, and he surpassed all generosity, for he snatched me from dangers so great that not even "a man in the strength of his youth"[34] could easily have escaped them, [118] unless he obtained some means of safety sent by heaven and not attainable by human means, and after my house had been seized by one of those in power, as though there were none to defend it, he recovered it for me, as was just, and made it wealthy once more. And I could tell you of still other kindnesses on his part towards myself, that deserve all gratitude, in return for which I ever showed myself loyal and faithful to him; but nevertheless of late I perceived that, I know not why, he was somewhat harsh towards me. Now the Empress no sooner heard a bare mention, not of any actual wrong-doing but of mere idle suspicion, than she deigned to investigate it, and before doing so would not admit or listen to any falsehood or unjust slander, but persisted in her request until she brought me into the Emperor's presence and procured me speech with him. And she rejoiced when I was acquitted of every unjust charge, and when I wished to return home, she first persuaded the Emperor to give his permission, and then furnished me with a safe escort. Then when some deity, the one I think who devised my former troubles, or perhaps some unfriendly chance, cut short this journey, she sent me to visit Greece, having asked this favour on my behalf from the Emperor, when I had already left the country. This was because she had learned that I delighted in literature, and she knew that that place is the home of culture. Then indeed I prayed first, as is meet, for the Emperor, and next for Eusebia, that God would grant them many blessings, because when I longed and desired to behold my true fatherland, they made it possible. For we who dwell in Thrace and Ionia are the sons of Hellas, and all of us who are not devoid of feeling long to greet our ancestors and to embrace the very soil of Hellas. So this had long been, as was natural, my dearest wish, [119] and I desired it more than to possess treasures of gold and silver. For I consider that intercourse with distinguished men, when weighed in the balance with any amount whatever of gold, drags down the beam, and does not permit a prudent judge even to hesitate over a slight turn of the scale.

Now, as regards learning and philosophy, the condition of Greece in our day reminds one somewhat of the tales and traditions of the Egyptians. For the Egyptians say that the Nile in their country is not only the saviour and benefactor of the land, but also wards off destruction by fire, when the sun, throughout long periods, in conjunction or combination with fiery constellations, fills the atmosphere with heat and scorches everything. For it has not power enough, so they say, to evaporate or exhaust the fountains of the Nile. And so too neither from the Greeks has philosophy altogether departed, nor has she forsaken Athens or Sparta or Corinth. And, as regards these fountains, Argos can by no means be called "thirsty,"[35] for there are many in the city itself and many also south of the city, round about Mases,[36] famous of old. Yet Sicyon, not Corinth, possesses Peirene itself. And Athens has many such streams, pure and springing from the soil, and many flow into the city from abroad, but no less precious than those that are native. And her people love and cherish them and desire to be rich in that which alone makes wealth enviable.

But as for me, what has come over me? And what speech do I intend to achieve if not a panegyric of my beloved Hellas, of which one cannot make mention without admiring everything? But perhaps someone, remembering what I said earlier, will say that this is not what I intended to discuss when I began, and that, just as Corybants when excited by the flute dance and leap without method, [120] so I, spurred on by the mention of my beloved city, am chanting the praises of that country and her people. To him I must make excuse somewhat as follows: Good sir, you who are the guide to an art that is genuinely noble, that is a wise notion of yours, for you do not permit or grant one to let go even for a moment the theme of a panegyric, seeing that you yourself maintain your theme with skill. Yet in my case, since there has come over me this impulse of affection which you say is to blame for the lack of order in my arguments, you really urge me, I think, not to be too much afraid of it or to take precautions against criticism. For I am not embarking on irreyelant themes if I wish to show how great were the blessings that Eusebia procured for me because she honoured the name of philosophy. And yet the name of philosopher which has been, I know not why, applied to myself, is really in my case nothing but a name and lacks reality, for though I love the reality and am terribly enamoured of the thing itself, yet for some reason I have fallen short of it. But Eusebia honoured even the name. For no other reason can I discover, nor learn from anyone else, why she became so zealous an ally of mine, and an averter of evil and my preserver, and took such trouble and pains in order that I might retain unaltered and unaffected our noble Emperor's goodwill; and I have never been convicted of thinking that there is any greater blessing in this world than that good-will, since all the gold above the earth or beneath the earth is not worth so much, nor all the mass of silver that is now beneath the sun's rays or may be added thereto,[37] not though the loftiest mountains, let us suppose, stones and trees and all were to change to that substance, nor the greatest sovereignty there is, nor anything else in the whole world. And I do indeed owe it to her that these blessings are mine, so many and greater than anyone could have hoped for, for in truth I did not ask for much, nor did I nourish myself with any such hopes.

But genuine kindness one cannot obtain in exchange for money, nor could anyone purchase it by such means, [121] but it exists only when men of noble character work in harmony with a sort of divine and higher providence. And this the Emperor bestowed on me even as a child, and when it had almost vanished it was restored again to me because the Empress defended me and warded off those false and monstrous suspicions. And when, using the evidence of my life as plain proof, she had completely cleared me of them, and I obeyed once more the Emperor's summons from Greece, did she ever forsake me, as though, now that all enmity and suspicion had been removed, I no longer needed much assistance? Would my conduct be pious if I kept silence and concealed actions so manifest and so honourable? For when a good opinion of me was established in the Emperor's mind, she rejoiced exceedingly, and echoed him harmoniously, bidding me take courage and neither refuse out of awe to accept the greatness[38] of what was offered to me, nor, by employing a boorish and arrogant frankness, unworthily slight the urgent request of him who had shown me such favour. And so I obeyed, though it was by no means agreeable to me to support this burden, and besides I knew well that to refuse was altogether impracticable. For when those who have the power to exact by force what they wish condescend to entreat, naturally they put one out of countenance and there is nothing left but to obey. Now when I consented, I had to change my mode of dress, and my attendants, and my habitual pursuits, and my very house and way of life for what seemed full of pomp and ceremony to one whose past had naturally been so modest and humble, and my mind was confused by the strangeness, though it was certainly not dazzled by the magnitude of the favours that were now mine. For in my ignorance I hardly regarded them as great blessings, but rather as powers of the greatest benefit, certainly, to those who use them aright, but, when mistakes are made in their use, [122] as being harmful to many houses and cities and the cause of countless disasters. So I felt like a man who is altogether unskilled in driving a chariot,[39] and is not at all inclined to acquire the art, and then is compelled to manage a car that belongs to a noble and talented charioteer, one who keeps many pairs and many four-in-hands too, let us suppose, and has mounted behind them all, and because of his natural talent and uncommon strength has a strong grip on the reins of all of them, even though he is mounted on one chariot; yet he does not always remain on it, but often moves to this side or that and changes from car to car, whenever he perceives that his horses are distressed or are getting out of hand; and among these chariots he has a team of four that become restive from ignorance and high spirit, and are oppressed by continuous hard work, but none the less are mindful of that high spirit, and ever grow more unruly and are irritated by their distress, so that they grow more restive and disobedient and pull against the driver and refuse to go in a certain direction, and unless they see the charioteer himself or at least some man wearing the dress of a charioteer, end by becoming violent, so unreasoning are they by nature. But when the charioteer encourages some unskilful man, and sets him over them, and allows him to wear the same dress as his own, and invests him with the outward seeming of a splendid and skilful charioteer, then if he be altogether foolish and witless, he rejoices and is glad and is buoyed up and exalted by those robes, as though by wings, but, if he has even a small share of common sense and prudent understanding, he is very much alarmed "Lest he both injure himself and shatter his chariot withal,"[40] and so cause loss to the charioteer and bring on himself shameful and inglorious disaster. On all this, then, I reflected, taking counsel with myself in the night season, and in the daytime pondering it with myself, [123] and I was continually thoughtful and gloomy. Then the noble and truly godlike Emperor lessened my torment in every way, and showed me honour and favour both in deed and word. And at last he bade me address myself to the Empress, inspiring me with courage and giving me a very generous indication that I might trust her completely. Now when first I came into her presence it seemed to me as though I beheld a statue of Modesty set up in some temple. Then reverence filled my soul, and my eyes were fixed upon the ground[41] for some considerable time, till she bade me take courage. Then she said: "Certain favours you have already received from us and yet others you shall receive, if God will, if only you prove to be loyal and honest towards us." This was almost as much as I heard. For she herself did not say more, and that though she knew how to utter speeches not a whit inferior to those of the most gifted orators. And I, when I had departed from this interview, felt the deepest admiration and awe, and was clearly convinced that it was Modesty herself I had heard speaking. So gentle and comforting was her utterance, and it is ever firmly settled in my ears.

Do you wish then that I should report to you what she did after this, and all the blessings she conferred on me, and that I should give precise details one by one? Or shall I take up my tale concisely as she did herself, and sum up the whole? Shall I tell how many of my friends she benefited, and how with the Emperor's help she arranged my marriage? But perhaps you wish to hear also the list of her presents to me: "Seven tripods untouched by fire and ten talents of gold,"[42] and twenty caldrons. But I have no time to gossip about such subjects. Nevertheless one of those gifts of hers it would perhaps not be ungraceful to mention to you, for it was one with which I was myself especially delighted. For she gave me the best books on philosophy and history, [124] and many of the orators and poets, since I had brought hardly any with me from home, deluding myself with the hope and longing to return home again, and gave them in such numbers, and all at once, that even my desire for them was satisfied, though I am altogether insatiable of converse with literature; and, so far as books went, she made Galatia[43] and the country of the Celts resemble a Greek temple of the Muses. And to these gifts I applied myself incessantly whenever I had leisure, so that I can never be unmindful of the gracious giver. Yes, even when 1 take the field one thing above all else goes with me as a necessary provision for the campaign, some one narrative of a campaign composed long ago by an eye-witness. For many of those records of the experience of men of old, written as they are with the greatest skill, furnish to those who, by reason of their youth, have missed seeing such a spectacle, a clear and brilliant picture of those ancient exploits, and by this means many a tiro has acquired a more mature understanding and judgment than belongs to very many older men; and that advantage which people think old age alone can give to mankind, I mean experience (for experience it is that enables an old man "to talk more wisely than the young"[44]), even this the study of history can give to the young if only they are diligent. Moreover, in my opinion, there is in such books a means of liberal education for the character, supposing that one understands how, like a craftsman, setting before himself as patterns the noblest men and words and deeds, to mould his own character to match them, and make his words resemble theirs. And if he should not wholly fall short of them, but should achieve even some slight resemblance, believe me that would be for him the greatest good fortune. And it is with this idea constantly before me that not only do I give myself a literary education by means of books, but even on my campaigns I never fail to carry them like necessary provisions. The number that I take with me is limited only by particular circumstances.

But perhaps I ought not now to be writing a panegyric on books, nor to describe all the benefits that we might derive from them, [125] but since I recognise how much that gift was worth, I ought to pay back to the gracious giver thanks not perhaps altogether different in kind from what she gave. For it is only just that one who has accepted clever discourses of all sorts laid up as treasure in books, should sound a strain of eulogy if only in slight and unskilful phrases, composed in an unlearned and rustic fashion. For you would not say that a farmer showed proper feeling who, when starting to plant his vineyard, begs for cuttings from his neighbours, and presently, when he cultivates his vines, asks for a mattock and then for a hoe, and finally for a stake to which the vine must be tied and which it must lean against, so that it may itself be supported, and the bunches of grapes as they hang may nowhere touch the soil; and then, after obtaining all he asked for, drinks his fill of the pleasant gift of Dionysus, but does not share either the grapes or the must with those whom he found so willing to help him in his husbandry. Just so one would not say that a shepherd or neatherd or even a goatherd was honest and good and right-minded, who in winter, when his flocks need shelter and fodder, met with the utmost consideration from his friends, who helped him to procure many things, and gave him food in abundance, and lodging, and presently when spring and summer appeared, forgot in lordly fashion all those kindnesses, and shared neither his milk nor cheeses nor anything else with those who had saved his beasts for him when they would otherwise have perished.

And now take the case of one who cultivates literature of any sort, and is himself young and therefore needs numerous guides and the abundant food and pure nourishment that is to be obtained from ancient writings, and then suppose that be should be deprived of allthese all at once, is it, think you, slight assistance that he is asking? And is it slight payment that he deserves who comes to his aid? But perhaps he ought not even to attempt to make him any return for his zeal and kind actions? Perhaps he ought to imitate the famous Thales, that consummate philosopher, and that answer which we have all heard and which is so much admired? For when someone asked what fee he ought to pay him for knowledge he had acquired, [126] Thales replied "If you let it be known that it was I who taught you, you will amply repay me." Just so one who has not himself been the teacher, but has helped another in any way to gain knowledge, would indeed be wronged if he did not obtain gratitude and that acknowledgement of the gift which even the philosopher seems to have demanded. Well and good. But this gift of hers was both welcome and magnificent. And as for gold and silver I neither asked for them nor, were they in question, should I be willing thus to wear out your patience.

But I wish to tell you a story very well worth your hearing, unless indeed you are already wearied by the length of this garrulous speech. Indeed it may be that you have listened without enjoyment to what has been said so far, seeing that the speaker is a layman and entirely ignorant of rhetoric, and knows neither how to invent nor how to use the writer's craft, but speaks the truth as it occurs to him. And my story is about something almost of the present time. Now many will say, I suppose, persuaded by the accomplished sophists, that I have collected what is trivial and worthless, and relate it to you as though it were of serious import. And probably they will say this, not because they are jealous of my speeches, or because they wish to rob me of the reputation that they may bring. For they well know that I do not desire to be their rival in the art by setting my own speeches against theirs, nor in any other way do I wish to quarrel with them. But since, for some reason or other, they are ambitious of speaking on lofty themes at any cost, they will not tolerate those who have not their ambition, and they reproach them with weakening the power of rhetoric. For they say that only those deeds are to be admired and are worthy of serious treatment and repeated praise which, because of their magnitude, have been thought by some to be incredible, those stories for instance about that famous woman[45] of Assyria who turned aside as though it were an insignificant brook the river[46] that flows through Babylon, and built a gorgeous palace underground, [127] and then turned the stream back again beyond the dykes that she had made. For of her many a tale is told, how she fought a naval battle with three thousand ships, and on land she led into the field of battle three million hoplites, and in Babylon she built a wall very nearly five hundred stades in length, and the moat that surrounds the city and other very costly and expensive edifices were, they tell us, her work. And Nitocris[47] who came later than she, and Rhodogyne[48] and Tomyris,[49] aye and a crowd of women beyond number who played men's parts in no very seemly fashion occur to my mind. And some of them were conspicuous for their beauty and so became notorious, though it brought them no happiness, but since they were the causes of dissension and long wars among countless nations and as many men as could reasonably be collected from a country of that size, they are celebrated by the orators as having given rise to mighty deeds. And a speaker who has nothing of this sort to relate seems ridiculous because he makes no great effort to astonish his hearers or to introduce the marvellous into his speeches. Now shall we put this question to these orators, whether any one of them would wish to have a wife or daughter of that sort, rather than like Penelope? And yet in her case Homer had no more to tell than of her discretion and her love for her husband and the good care she took of her father-in-law and her son. Evidently she did not concern herself with the fields or the flocks, and as for leading an army or speaking in public, of course she never even dreamed of such a thing. But even when it was necessary for her to speak to the young suitors, "Holding up before her face her shining veil"[50] it was in mild accents that she expressed herself. And it was not because he was short of such great deeds, or of women famous for them, that he sang the praises of Penelope rather than the others. For instance, he could have made it his ambition to tell the story of the Amazon's[51] campaign and have filled all his poetry with tales of that sort, which certainly have a wonderful power to delight and charm. [128] For as to the taking of the wall and the siege, and that battle near the ships which in some respects seems to have resembled a sea-fight, and then the fight of the hero and the river,[52] he did not bring them into his poem with the desire to relate something new and strange of his own invention. And even though this fight was, as they say, most marvellous, he neglected and passed over the marvellous as we see. What reason then can anyone give for his praising Penelope so enthusiastically and making not the slightest allusion to those famous women? Because by reason of her virtue and discretion many blessings have been gained for mankind, both for individuals and for the common weal, whereas from the ambition of those others there has arisen no benefit whatever, but incurable calamities. And so, as he was, I think, a wise and inspired poet, he decided that to praise Penelope was better and more just. And since I adopt so great a guide, is it fitting that I should be afraid lest some person think me trivial or inferior?

But it is indeed a noble witness that I shall now bring forward, that splendid orator Pericles, the renowned, the Olympian. It is said[53] that once a crowd of flatterers surrounded him and were distributing his praises among them, one telling how he had reduced Samos,[54] another how he had recovered Euboea,[55] some how he had sailed round the Peloponnesus, while others spoke of his enactments, or of his rivalry with Cimon, who was reputed to be a most excellent citizen and a distinguished general. But Pericles gave no sign either of annoyance or exultation, and there was but one thing in all his political career for which he claimed to deserve praise, that, though he had governed the Athenian people for so long, he had been responsible for no man's death, and no citizen when he put on black clothes had ever said that Pericles was the cause of his misfortune. Now, by Zeus the god of friendship, do you think I need any further witness to testify that the greatest proof of virtue [129] and one better worth praise than all the rest put together is not to have caused the death of any citizen, or to have taken his money from him, or involved him in unjust exile? But he who like a good physician tries to ward off such calamities as these,, and by no means thinks that it is enough for him not to cause anyone to contract a disease, but unless he cures and cares for everyone as far as he can, considers that his work is unworthy of his skill, do you think that in justice such a one ought to receive no higher praise than Pericles? And shall we not hold in higher honour her character and that authority which enables her to do what she will, since what she wills is the good of all? For this I make the sum and substance of my whole encomium, though I do not lack other narratives such as are commonly held to be marvellous and splendid.

For if anyone should suspect that my silence about the rest is vain affectation and empty and insolent pretension, this at least he will not suspect, that the visit which she lately made to Rome,[56] when the Emperor was on his campaign and had crossed the Rhine by bridges of boats near the frontiers of Galatia, is a false and vain invention. I could indeed very properly have given an account of this visit, and described how the people and the senate welcomed her with rejoicings and went to meet her with enthusiasm, and received her as is their custom to receive an Empress, and told the amount of the expenditure, how generous and splendid it was, and the costliness of the preparations, and reckoned up the sums she distributed to the presidents of the tribes and the centurions of the people. But nothing of that sort has ever seemed to me worth while, nor do I wish to praise wealth before virtue. And yet I am aware that the generous spending of money implies a sort of virtue. Nevertheless I rate more highly goodness and temperance and wisdom and all those other qualities of hers that I have described, bringing before you as witnesses not only many others [130] but myself as well and all that she did for me. Now if only others also try to emulate my proper feeling, there are and there will be many to sing her praises.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. cf. Quintilian 3. 7. 10. on the Gratiarum actio.
  2. Plutarch, Moralia 63 d.
  3. Arete.
  4. Nausicaa.
  5. Odyssey 7. 20.
  6. Odyssey 7. 54.
  7. Eusebia belonged to a noble family of Thessalonica, in Macedonia; she was married to Constantius in 352 a.d.
  8. Near Mount Olympus.
  9. Herodotus 8. 137.
  10. Cyrus.
  11. A town on the coast of Ilryria.
  12. Aristotle; "who bred | Great Alexander to subdue the world." Milton, Paradise Regained 4.
  13. i.e. of Greeks.
  14. Thessalonica.
  15. The consulship.
  16. Ἄστερες μὲν ἀμφὶ κάλαν σελάνναν ἄψ᾽ ἀποκρύπτοισι φάεννον εἶδος. Sappho fr. 3.
  17. Euripides, Suppliants 494.
  18. The wife of Protesilaus.
  19. Arion.
  20. Taenarum.
  21. Literally seeds or small beads.
  22. Famed for his minute carving of ivory.
  23. Odyssey 5. 70.
  24. The cave of Calypso.
  25. cf. Misopogon 342a. In both passages Julian evidently echoes some line, not now extant, from Menander, Duskolos.
  26. Odyssey 11. 223.
  27. Odyssey 23. 284.
  28. cf. Iliad 24. 527; Oration 7. 236 c.
  29. The traditional founding of the ancient court of the Areopagus, which tried cases of homicide, is described in Aeschylus, Eumenides. Orestes, on trial at Athens for matricide, is acquitted, the votes being even, by the decision of Athene, who thereupon founds the tribunal, 485 foll.
  30. Iliad 4. 43.
  31. Olympian Ode 6. 4. Pindar says that, as though he were building the splendid forecourt of a house, he will begin his Ode with splendid words.
  32. Cambyses.
  33. Syloson, Herodotus 3. 139; cf. Julian, Epistle 29; Themistius 67 a, 109 d.
  34. Iliad 12. 382 ἀνὴρ οὐδὲ μάλ᾽ ἡβῶν.
  35. Iliad 4. 171.
  36. The port of Argolis.
  37. Iliad 9. 380.
  38. The title of Caesar.
  39. To illustrate the skill and, at the same time, the difficult position of Constantius as sole Emperor, Julian describes an impossible feat. The restive teams are the provinces of the Empire, which had hitherto been controlled by two or more Emperors.
  40. Iliad 23. 341.
  41. Iliad 3. 217.
  42. Iliad 9. 122.
  43. Gaul.
  44. Euripides, Phoenissae 532.
  45. Semiramis, Herodotus 1. 184.
  46. The Euphrates.
  47. Herodotus 1. 185; Oration 2. 85 c.
  48. Rhodopis ? wrongly supposed to have built the third pyramid.
  49. Herodotus 1. 205.
  50. Odyssey 1. 334.
  51. Penthesilea.
  52. Achilles and the Scamander; Iliad 21. 234 foll., Oration 2. 60 c.
  53. Julian tells, incorrectly, the anecdote in Plutarch, Pericles 38.
  54. 440 b.c.
  55. 445 b.c.
  56. 357 a.d.
This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
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This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
 
Translation:
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1951, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.