This text is part of:
ἔθελγε τὴν Ἑλλάδα ἐν Ὀλυμπίᾳ λόγοις ποικίλοις καὶ πεφροντισμένοις εὖ, ‘used to charm Greece at Olympia with ornate and carefully meditated speeches’ (Philostr. I. 11). The Ὀλυμπικός of Gorgias ‘dealt with the largest of political questions. Seeing Greece torn by faction, he became a counsellor of concord, seeking to turn the Greeks against the barbarians, and advising them to take the land of the aliens — not each others' cities — for the prize of their arms’ (ib.). The Olympiacus of Lysias was spoken, according to Diodorus, in the first year of the 98th Olympiad, 388 B.C. — the year before the Peace of Antalcidas, by which the Corinthian War was brought to a close. Athens, Thebes, Argos and Corinth had then been seven years at war with Sparta. During this time two powers, both dangerous to the freedom of Greece, had been rapidly growing. In the east the naval strength of Persia had become greater than it had been for a century. In the west Dionysius I., tyrant of Syracuse, had reduced Naxos, Catana and Leontini: had twice defeated Carthage; and was threatening the Greek towns of Italy. A magnificent embassy from the court of Dionysius, with his brother Thearides at its head, appeared at the Olympic festival of 388 B.C. Tents embroidered with gold were pitched in the sacred enclosure; a number of splendid chariots were entered in the name of Dionysius for the four-horse chariotrace; while rhapsodists, whose skill in recitation attracted crowds, repeated poems composed by their royal master. While eye and ear were thus allured by the glories of the Syracusan tyrant, Lysias lifted up his voice to remind the assembled Greeks that in Dionysius they must recognise one of the two great enemies of Greece. Let them not admit to their sacred festival the representatives of an impious despotism. Let them remember that their duty is to overthrow that tyranny and to set Sicily free; and let the war be begun forthwith by an attack upon those glittering tents. — Attic Orators, I. 203 f.
πρῶτος συνήγειρε Heracles, the legend said, founded the prizes of the Olympic games with the spoils taken in his war with Augeas: Pind. Ol. II. 3, “Ὀλυμπιάδα δ᾽ ἔστασεν Ἡ. ἀκρόθινα πολέμου”: cp. XI. 57: and brought trees — esp. the olive — from the land of the Hyperboreans to the Olympian valley, — that ‘garden of the gods’ (κᾶπος) which had before been ‘naked’ (O. III. 24).
φιλοτιμίαν...πλούτου ‘rivalry in wealth’ — i.e. in chariots entered for the races (horses being ἄγαλμα τῆς ὑπερπλούτου χλιδῆς), and in the general splendour of the θεωρίαι. — πλούτου, not πλούτῳ: cp. [Lys.] Epitaph. § 80, ἀγῶνες...ῥώμης καὶ σοφίας (=γνώμης here) καὶ πλούτου. γνώμης δ᾽ ἐπίδειξιν ‘a display of intellect’ (in the recitation of poems, orations, etc.); but not properly ἀγῶνα, a contest, since at Olympia there were not prizes for a μουσικὸς ἀγών, as there were at Delphi. Lucian, it is true, says of Herodotus, ἀγωνιστὴν παρεῖχεν ἑαυτὸν Ὀλυμπίων: but he presently explains that this is metaphorical — ἀνακηρυχθεὶς οὐχ ὑφ᾽ ἑνὸς μὰ Δία κήρυκος ἀλλ̓ ἐν ἁπάσῃ πόλει, κ.τ.λ. (Her. 2). Besides the ‘sophists, historians and speech-writers’, Lucian mentions Aetion as having exhibited at Olympia his picture of the marriage of Alexander and Roxana (ib. 3). <ἂν> γενέσθαι] It seems probable that we should supply ἄν, rather than change γενέσθαι to γενήσεσθαι. One of the two remedies is necessary. The aor. infin., without ἄν, might be used if the context made it clear that the reference was to the future: but, here, ἡγήσατο γενέσθαι would mean ‘thought that it had become’. On p. 69, § 19, ᾤοντο κτήσασθαι means, indeed, ‘thought to acquire’; but there a difference is made (a) by the fact that the sense of ‘expecting’ can be given to οἴομαι more easily than to ἡγοῦμαι: (b) by the fact that the context is clearer.
ταῦθ᾽ ὑφηγήσατο, ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἥκω Heracles ‘traced this plan’, sketched this outline of the Olympic festival, leaving it for us to fill in the details. Now I, Lysias says, do not think that he meant this γνώμης ἐπίδειξις to be frivolous. ‘I am not here to dispute on subtleties or to cavil about words’: like the sophists (Polus, Prodicus, Anaximenes, — Luc. De Her. 3), who have displayed their niceties of dialectic or of grammar at Olympia. Prodicus taught ὀρθότης ὀνομάτων, the accurate use of synonyms, Plat. Euthyd. 277 E. σοφιστῶν, κ.τ.λ. ‘These, I consider, are the tasks of worthless and needy declaimers’. On σοφιστῶν, see below, introd. to Isocrates κατὰ σοφιστῶν. πολίτου Lysias never acquired the Athenian citizenship, though he had deserved it; but at Olympia he would feel that he was at least a citizen of Greece: see Attic Orators, I. 151. τῷ βαρβάρῳ — τυράννων The king of Persia (Artaxerxes Mnemon, 405 — 359 B.C.): — Dionysius I. of Syracuse.
τῶν μὲν παύσασθαι ‘cease from our feuds’: τὰ δὲ κωλῦσαι — arrest their consequences. εἰδότας...τῶν Α᾿τυχῶν ‘knowing that rivalry, indeed, is for the prosperous, but that the part of the unfortunate is to devise remedies’. τῶν ἀτυχῶν is, I think, the true correction of the reading found in the mss., τῶν αὐτῶν. ‘The same men’ would mean here οἱ εὖ πράττοντες. But there is no point here in saying that it is the part of prosperous men γνῶναι τὰ βέλτιστα. He is saying that the Greeks, being the reverse of prosperous, cannot afford to indulge in strife with each other, but must provide for their common safety.
τῶν δὲ χρ. — τὰ δὲ τῶν Ἑλλ.] Dobree thought that logical order required τὰ δὲ τῶν Ἑλλ. — τῶν δὲ χρημ.: but the change is needless. The orator puts his two main propositions first. The third (τὰ δὲ τῶν Ἑλλ.) could almost have been understood. αὐτὸς he himself, as distinguished from Dionysius, who in this view is his ally. Sauppe need not, then, wish for οὗτος.
ἐποίησαν...ἐστερῆσθαι more than στερεῖσθαι: not merely ‘made them lose’ their land, but ‘left them stripped’ of it.
ἀτείχιστοι Sparta was not a town in the proper sense, but a group of hamlets (οὐ ξυνοικισθεῖσα πόλις...κατὰ κώμας δὲ οἰκισθεῖσα: Thuc. I. 10). In the Macedonian period it acquired walls; and Polybius describes Sparta as circular in form (σχήματι περιφερής, v. 22), having a circumference of about six miles — rather less than that of Megalopolis (IX. 21). προορᾶσθαι depending on ἐλπίς, this might mean there is hope (1) that they are now providing, or (2) that they will continue to provide, — προορᾶσθαι differing from προόψεσθαι or προιδεῖν (ἄν) by expressing that the vigilance is to be sustained: and this is the sense here. See Goodwin § 15, n. 2.
ὁ ἐπιὼν καιρός ‘The future opportunity’ (at whatever particular moment it is to come): i.e. ‘Now the future can give us no better opening than the present’. — ἀμφοτέρων, =τοῦ τε βασιλέως καὶ τοῦ Διονυσίου: after αἱ δυνάμεις, because the idea is, ‘come upon us from both quarters’.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.