previous next

After this, Democritus said;—But the song which was composed by that most learned writer, Aristotle, and addressed to Hermias1 of Atarneus, is not a pæan, as was asserted by Demophilus, who instituted a prosecution against the philosopher, on the ground of impiety (having been suborned to act [p. 1113] the part of accuser by Eurymedon, who was ashamed to appear himself in the business). And he rested the charge of impiety on the fact of his having been accustomed to sing at banquets a pæan addressed to Hermias. But that this song has no characteristic whatever of a paean, but is a species of scolium, I will show you plainly from its own language—
O virtue, never but by labour to be won,
First object of all human life,
For such a prize as thee
There is no toil, there is no strife,
Nor even death which any Greek would shun;
Such is the guerdon fair and free,
And lasting too, with which thou dost thy followers grace,—
Better than gold,
Better than sleep, or e'en the glories old
Of high descent and noble race.
For you Jove's mighty son, great Hercules,
Forsook a life of ease;
For you the Spartan brothers twain
Sought toil and danger, following your behests
With fearless and unwearied breasts.
Your love it was that fired and gave
To early grave
Achilles and the giant son
Of Salaminian Telamon.
And now for you Atarneus' pride,
Trusting in others' faith, has nobly died;
But yet his name
Shall never die, the Muses' holy train
Shall bear him to the skies with deathless fame,
Honouring Jove, the hospitable god,
And honest hearts, proved friendship's blest abode.

1 Hermias was tyrant of Atarneus and Assos, having been originally the minister of Eubulus, whom he succeeded. He entertained Aristotle at his court for many years. As he endeavoured to maintain his kingdom in independence of Persia, they sent Mentor against him, who decoyed him to an interview by a promise of safe conduct, and then seized him and sent him to Artaxerxes, by whom he was put to death.

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
load focus Greek (Kaibel)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: