Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 1.133 Aeschin. 1.144 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 1.153

1.140

and so it was that those benefactors of the state, Harmodius and Aristogeiton, men pre-eminent for their virtues, were so nurtured by that chaste and lawful love—or call it by some other name than love if you like—and so disciplined, that when we hear men praising what they did, we feel that words are inadequate to the eulogy of their deeds.

1.141

But since you make mention of Achilles and Patroclus, and of Homer and the other poets—as though the jury were men innocent of education, while you are people of a superior sort, who feel yourselves quite beyond common folks in learning—that you may know that we too have before now heard and learned a little something, we shall say a word about this also. For since they undertake to cite wise men, and to take refuge in sentiments expressed in poetic measures, look, fellow citizens, into the works of those who are confessedly good and helpful poets, and see how far apart they considered chaste men, who love their like, and men who are wanton and overcome by forbidden lusts.

1.142

I will speak first of Homer, whom we rank among the oldest and wisest of the poets. Although he speaks in many places of Patroclus and Achilles, he hides their love and avoids giving a name to their friendship, thinking that the exceeding greatness of their affection is manifest to such of his hearers as are educated men.

1.143

For Achilles says somewhere in the course of his lament for the death of Patroclus, as recalling one of the greatest of sorrows, that unwillingly he has broken the promise he had given to Menoetius, the father of Patroclus; for he had promised to bring his son back safe to Opus, if he would send him along with him to Troy, and entrust him to his care. It is evident from this that it was because of love that he undertook to take care of him.

1.144

But the verses, which I am about to recite, are these: “Ah me, I rashly spoke vain words that day
When in his halls I cheered Menoetius.
I told the hero I would surely bring
His famous son to Opus back again,
When he had ravaged Ilium, and won
His share of spoil. But Zeus does not fulfil
To men their every hope. For fate decrees
That both of us make red one spot of earth.”
Hom. Il. 324-329

1.145

And indeed not only here do we see his deep distress, but he mourned so sorely for him, that although his mother Thetis cautioned him and told him that if he would refrain from following up his enemies and leave the death of Patroclus unavenged, he should return to his home and die an old man in his own land, whereas if he should take vengeance, he should soon end his life, he chose fidelity to the dead rather than safety. And with such nobility of soul did he hasten to take vengeance on the man who slew his friend, that when all tried to comfort him and urged him to bathe and take food, he swore that he would do none of these things until he had brought the head of Hector to the grave of Patroclus.

1.146

And when he was sleeping by the funeral pyre, as the poet says, the ghost of Patroclus stood before him, and stirred such memories and laid upon Achilles such injunctions, that one may well weep, and envy the virtue and the friendship of these men. He prophesies that Achilles too is not far from the end of life, and enjoins upon him, if it he in any wise possible, to make provision that even as they had grown up and lived together, even so when they are dead their bones may be in the same coffer.

1.147

weeping, and recalling the pursuits which they had followed together in life, he says, “Never again shall we sit together alone as in the old days, apart from our other friends, and take high counsel,” feeling, I believe, that this fidelity and affection were what they would long for most. But that you may hear the sentiments of the poet in verse also, the clerk shall read to you the verses on this theme which Homer composed.

1.148

read first the verses about the vengeance on Hector. “But since, dear comrade, after thee I go
Beneath the earth, I will not bury thee
Till here I bring thee Hector's head and arms,
The spoils of that proud prince who took thy life.”
Hom. Il. 18.333-35

1.149

Now read what Patroclus says in the dream about their common burial and about the intercourse that they once had with one another. “For we no longer as in life shall sit
Apart in sweet communion. Nay, the doom
Appointed me at birth has yawned for me.
And fate has destined thee, Achilles, peer
Of gods, to die beneath the wall of Troy's
Proud lords, fighting for fair-haired Helen's sake.
More will I say to thee, pray heed it well:
Let not my bones be laid apart from thine,
Achilles, but that thou and I may be
In common earth, I beg that I may share
That golden coffer which thy mother brought
To be thine own, even as we in youth
Grew up together in thy home. My sire
Menoetius brought me, a little lad, from home,
From Opus, to your house, for sad bloodshed,
That day, when, all unwitting, in childish wrath
About the dice, I killed Amphidamas' son.
The knightly Peleus took me to his home
And kindly reared me, naming me thy squire.
So let one common coffer hide our bones.”
Hom. Il. 23.77



Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 1.133 Aeschin. 1.144 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 1.153

Powered by PhiloLogic