Lo, once more doth beloved Hippolytus hither make voyage. There is a legend, too, that Pan became enamoured of Pindar and his verses. And the divine powers bestowed signal honour on Archilochus and Hesiod after their deaths, for the sake of the Muses.1 Again, there is a story, still well attested, that Sophocles, during his life, was blessed with the friendship of Aesculapius, and that when he died, another deity procured him fitting burial.2  Is it worth while, then, if we concede these instances of divine favour, to disbelieve that Zaleucus, Minos, Zoroaster, Numa, and Lycurgus, who piloted kingdoms and formulated constitutions, had frequent audience of the Deity? Is it not likely, rather, that the gods are in earnest when they hold converse with such men as these, in order to instruct and advise them in the highest and best way, but use poets and warbling singers, if at all, for their own diversion?  However, if any one is otherwise minded, I say with Bacchylides, ‘Broad is the way.’ 3 Indeed there is no absurdity in the other account which is given of Lycurgus and Numa and their like, namely, that since they were managing headstrong and captious multitudes, and introducing great innovations in modes of government, they pretended to get a sanction from the god, which sanction was the salvation of the very ones against whom it was contrived.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
1 The Delphian oracle pronounced a curse on the man who killed Archilochus, because ‘he had slain the servant of the Muses.’ And the same oracle told the people of Orchomenus, when a plague had fallen upon them, that ‘the only remedy was to bring back the bones of Hesiod from the land of Naupactus to the land of Orchomenus.’
2 Dionysus is said to have appeared to Lysander and ordered him to allow Sophocles to be buried in the tomb of his fathers, on the road to Deceleia, then occupied by the Lacedaemonian army. See Pausanias, i. 21, 1, with Frazer's note.
3 Fragment 29 (Jebb, Bacchylides, p. 423).
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.