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Denys d'Halicarnasse, Les Antiquités romaines, livre VI

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Texte grec :

[6,49] Ὁ δὲ δῆμος, ἐπειδὴ παρῆν ὁ χρόνος, ἐν ᾧ τὰς ἀρχὰς ἐπικυροῦν ἔδει συνελθόντας εἰς τὸ πεδίον, οὐδενὸς οὔτε μετιόντος τὴν ὑπατείαν οὔτε διδομένην ὑπομένοντος λαβεῖν, αὐτὸς ἀποδείκνυσιν ὑπάτους ἐκ τῶν εἰληφότων ἤδη τὴν ἀρχὴν ταύτην δήμῳ τε κεχαρισμένους ἄνδρας καὶ ἀριστοκρατίᾳ, Πόστομον Κομίνιον καὶ Σπόριον Κάσσιον, ὑφ´ οὗ Σαβῖνοι καταπολεμηθέντες τῆς ἡγεμονίας ἀπέστησαν, ἐπὶ τῆς ἑβδομηκοστῆς καὶ δευτέρας ὀλυμπιάδος, ἣν ἐνίκα στάδιον Τισικράτης Κροτωνιάτης, ἄρχοντος Ἀθήνησι Διογνήτου. οὗτοι παραλαβόντες τὴν ἀρχὴν καλάνδαις Σεπτεμβρίαις θᾶττον ἢ τοῖς προτέροις ἔθος ἦν, πρὶν ἢ τῶν ἄλλων τι διαπράξασθαι βουλὴν συγκαλέσαντες περὶ τῆς καθόδου τῶν δημοτικῶν λέγειν ἠξίουν, ἥν τινα διάνοιαν ἔχει, πρῶτον ἀποφήνασθαι παρακαλοῦντες ἄνδρα ἡλικίας ἐν τῇ κρατίστῃ τότε ὄντα καὶ συνέσει δοκοῦντα τῶν ἄλλων διαφέρειν, μάλιστα δ´ ἐπὶ τῇ προαιρέσει τῶν πολιτευμάτων ἐπαινούμενον, ὅτι τῆς μέσης τάξεως ἦν, οὔτε τὴν αὐθάδειαν τῶν ἀριστοκρατικῶν αὔξων οὔτε τῷ δήμῳ ὅσα βουληθείη πράττειν ἐπιτρέπων, Ἀγρίππαν Μενήνιον· ὃς ἐπὶ τὰς διαλλαγὰς τὴν βουλὴν παρεκάλει τάδε λέγων· Εἰ μὲν ἅπασιν, ὦ βουλή, τοῖς παροῦσι τὴν αὐτὴν γνώμην συνέβαινεν ἔχειν, καὶ μηδεὶς ἔμελλε ταῖς πρὸς τὸν δῆμον διαλλαγαῖς ἐμποδὼν ἔσεσθαι, ἐφ´ οἷς δὲ διαλυσόμεθα πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἴτε δικαίοις οὖσιν εἴτε μή, ὅμως ταῦτα προὔκειτο μόνον σκοπεῖν, δι´ ὀλίγων ἂν ὑμῖν ἐδήλωσα λόγων, ἃ φρονῶ. ἐπεὶ δὲ καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτό τινες οἴονται βουλῆς ἔτι δεῖν, πότερον ἡμῖν ἄμεινόν ἐστι συμβῆναι πρὸς τοὺς ἀφεστηκότας ἢ πολεμεῖν, οὐχ ἡγοῦμαι ῥᾴδιον εἶναί μοι δι´ ὀλίγης δηλώσεως, ὅ τι χρὴ πράττειν παραινέσαι, ἀλλ´ ἀνάγκη διὰ πλειόνων διδάξαι λόγων τοὺς πρὸς τὰς διαλλαγὰς ἀλλοτρίως ἔχοντας ὑμῶν, ὅτι τἀναντία συμπείθουσιν ἢ καὶ δεδίττεσθαι μέλλοντες ὑμᾶς τὰ φαυλότατα τῶν χαλεπῶν καὶ ῥᾳδίας ἔχοντα τὰς ἐπανορθώσεις ὀρρωδοῦντας τῶν μεγίστων τε καὶ ἀνιάτων ἱκανῶς ἀπερισκέπτως ἔχουσι. καὶ τοῦτο πεπόνθασι παρ´ οὐδὲν ἕτερον ἢ ὥστε λογισμῷ μὴ κρίνειν τὸ συμφέρον, ἀλλὰ θυμῷ καὶ μανίᾳ. πῶς γὰρ ἂν οὗτοι λέγοιντο προορᾶσθαί τι τῇ διανοίᾳ τῶν χρησίμων ἢ δυνατῶν, οἵ τινες ὑπολαμβάνουσι τηλικαύτην πόλιν καὶ τοσούτων πραγμάτων κυρίαν ἤδη ἐπίφθονόν τε καὶ λυπηρὰν τοῖς περιοίκοις γιγνομένην, ἢ δίχα τοῦ δημοτικοῦ δυνήσεσθαι κατέχειν τε καὶ σώζειν τὰ ἔθνη ῥᾳδίως, ἢ ἕτερον ἐπάξεσθαι δῆμον ἀντὶ τοῦ πονηροτέρου κρείττονα, ὃς αὐτοῖς προπολεμήσει τε τῆς ἀρχῆς καὶ κατὰ πολλὴν ἡσυχίαν συμπολιτεύσεται, παρέχων καὶ ἐν εἰρήνῃ καὶ κατὰ πολέμους ἑαυτὸν μέτριον; οὐδὲν γὰρ ἂν ἕτερον ἔχοιεν εἰπεῖν, ᾧ πιστεύοντες ἀξιώσουσιν ὑμᾶς μὴ δέχεσθαι τὰς διαλλαγάς.

Traduction française :

[6,49] When the time came for them to assemble in the field to elect their magistrates, and no one either sought the consulship or would consent to accept it if offered, the people themselves chose two consuls from among those who had already held this magistracy and who were acceptable to both the people and the aristocracy, namely Postumus Cominius and Spurius Cassius, Cassius being the one through whose efforts the Sabines had been conquered and had resigned their claims to the leadership. This was in the seventy-second Olympiad, the year in which Tisicrates of Croton won the short-distance foot-race, Diognetus being then archon at Athens. Upon assuming office on the calends of September, earlier than had been customary with the former consuls, they convened the senate before attending to any other business and asked for an expression of (p5) its opinion concerning the return of the plebeians. The first senator they called upon to declare his views was a man, then in the maturity of his age, who was looked upon as a person of superior wisdom and was particularly commended for his political principles, since he pursued a middle course, being inclined and to increase the arrogance of the aristocratic party nor to permit the people to have their own way in everything — namely Agrippa Menenius. It was he who now urged the senate to an accommodation, speaking as follows: "If all who are present, senators, chanced to be of the same opinion, and no one were going to oppose the accommodation with the people, but only the terms of it, be these just or unjust, on which we are to be reconciled with them were before you for consideration, I could have expressed my thoughts to you in few words. But since some consider that even this very point should be a matter for further consultation, whether it is better for us to come to an agreement with the seceders or go to war with them, I do not think it easy for me in a brief exposition of my views to advise you what ought to be done. On the contrary, a speech of some length is necessary, in order to show those among you who are opposed to the accommodation that they contradict themselves if, while intending to frighten you by playing on your far of those difficulties that are the most trivial and easily corrected, they at the same time neglect to consider the evils that are greatest and incurable. And they have fallen (p7) into this predicament for no other reason than that in judging what is expedient they do not use reason but rather passion and frenzy. For how can these men be said to foresee in their minds any course that is profitable or possible, when they imagine that a state so powerful and mistress of so extensive a dominion, a state that is calendar becoming an object of hatred, and a cause of offence to her neighbours, will easily be able either without the plebeians to hold and preserve the subject nations or else to bring some other people into the commonwealth, a better people in place of one most knavish, who will fight to preserve their supremacy for them and will live with them under the same government in profound quiet, behaving themselves with self-restraint in both peace and war? For there is no other possibility they could name that would justify their asking you not to accept the accommodation.





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Dernière mise à jour : 9/01/2007