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Denys d'Halicarnasse, Les Antiquités romaines, livre VI

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Texte grec :

[6,83] Ὡς δ´ ἐπαύσατο, πάντες οἱ παρόντες ἐπεθορύβησαν ὡς τὰ δέοντα λελογισμένῳ συγκατατιθέμενοι καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο ἡσυχίας γενομένης Μενήνιος Ἀγρίππας, ὅσπερ καὶ τοὺς ἐν τῇ βουλῇ λόγους ὑπὲρ τοῦ δήμου διέθετο καὶ τοῦ πεμφθῆναι τὴν αὐτοκράτορα πρεσβείαν τὴν γνώμην ἀποφηνάμενος αἰτιώτατος ἦν, διεσήμηνεν ὅτι βούλεται καὶ αὐτὸς εἰπεῖν. τοῖς δὲ κατ´ εὐχὴν τὸ πρᾶγμα ἐφάνη καὶ νυνί γέ τοι λόγων ὑπέλαβον ἀκούσεσθαι συμβάσεις ἀληθινὰς καὶ γνώμας σωτηρίους ἀμφοῖν ἐχόντων. καὶ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ἐπερρόθησαν ἅπαντες βοῇ μεγάλῃ λέγειν κελεύοντες· ἔπειτα ἐπέσχον, καὶ σιγὴ τοσαύτη κατέλαβε τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, ὥστε μηθὲν διαλλάξαι τὸν τόπον ἐρημίας. ὁ δὲ τά τε ἄλλα, ὡς οἷόν τε ἦν, πιθανωτάτοις ἔδοξε χρήσασθαι λόγοις καὶ τοῦ βουλήματος τῶν ἀκουόντων ἐστοχασμένοις, τελευτῶν δὲ τῆς δημηγορίας λέγεται μῦθόν τινα εἰπεῖν εἰς τὸν Αἰσώπειον τρόπον συμπλάσας πολλὴν ὁμοιότητα πρὸς τὰ πράγματα ἔχοντα, καὶ τούτῳ μάλιστ´ αὐτοὺς ἑλεῖν· ὅθεν καὶ μνήμης ἀξιοῦται ὁ λόγος καὶ φέρεται ἐν ἁπάσαις ταῖς ἀρχαίαις ἱστορίαις. ἦν δὲ τὰ λεχθέντα ὑπ´ αὐτοῦ τοιάδε. Ἡμεῖς ἀπεστάλημεν ὑπὸ τῆς βουλῆς, ὦ δημόται, πρὸς ὑμᾶς οὔτε ἀπολογησόμενοι ὑπὲρ ἐκείνης οὔτε ὑμῶν κατηγορήσοντες· οὐ γὰρ ἐδόκει ταῦτα καιρὸν ἔχειν οὐδ´ εἶναι ταῖς κατεχούσαις τὸ κοινὸν τύχαις πρόσφορα· ἀλλὰ διαλύσοντες ἁπάσῃ προθυμίᾳ καὶ μηχανῇ τὴν στάσιν καὶ καταστήσοντες εἰς τὸν ἐξ ἀρχῆς κόσμον τὴν πολιτείαν, ἔχοντες δὲ τούτου τὴν ἐξουσίαν αὐτοκράτορα. ὥστε περὶ μὲν τῶν δικαίων οὐδὲν ἂν οἰόμεθα δεῖν, ὅπερ Ἰούνιος ἐποίησεν οὑτοσί, εἰς μακρὸν ἐκμηκύνειν χρόνον· ἐφ´ οἷς δὲ φιλανθρώποις διαλῦσαι τὴν στάσιν οἰόμεθα δεῖν, καὶ τίς ἡ βεβαιώσουσα τὰς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν ἔσται πίστις, περὶ τούτων, ἃ διεγνώκαμεν, ἐροῦμεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς. ἡμῖν ἐνθυμουμένοις, ὅτι πᾶσα θεραπεύεται στάσις ἐξ ἁπάσης πόλεως, ὅταν ἐξαιρεθῶσιν αἱ παρασχοῦσαι τὴν διαφορὰν αἰτίαι, ἀναγκαῖον ἔδοξεν εἶναι τὰς ἀρχηγοὺς τῆς διχοστασίας προφάσεις γνῶναί τε καὶ παῦσαι. εὑρόντες δὲ τὰς ἀποτόμους τῶν δανείων ἀναπράξεις τῶν παρόντων κακῶν αἰτίας γεγονυίας, οὕτως αὐτὰς διορθούμεθα. τοὺς ὀφείλοντας χρέα καὶ μὴ δυναμένους διαλύσασθαι πάντας ἀφεῖσθαι τῶν ὀφλημάτων δικαιοῦμεν· καὶ εἴ τινων ἤδη τὰ σώματα ὑπερημέρων ὄντων ταῖς νομίμοις προθεσμίαις κατέχεται, καὶ ταῦτ´ ἐλεύθερα εἶναι κρίνομεν· ὅσοι τε δίκαις ἁλόντες ἰδίαις παρεδόθησαν τοῖς καταδικασαμένοις, καὶ τούτους ἐλευθέρους εἶναι βουλόμεθα, καὶ τὰς καταγνώσεις αὐτῶν ἀκύρους ποιοῦμεν. περὶ μὲν δὴ τῶν ἐκ τοῦ παρεληλυθότος χρόνου συμβολαίων, ἃ τὴν ἀπόστασιν ἔδοξεν ἡμῖν ποιῆσαι, τοῦτον ἐπανορθούμεθα τὸν τρόπον· περὶ δὲ τῶν ὕστερον ἐσομένων, ὡς ἂν ὑμῖν τε τῷ δήμῳ καὶ τοῖς ἐκ τοῦ συνεδρίου κοινῇ βουλευσομένοις φανῇ, νόμου κυρωθέντος, οὕτως ἐχέτω. οὐχὶ ταῦτα μέντοι τὰ διαστήσαντα ὑμᾶς ἦν ἀπὸ τῶν πατρικίων, ὦ δημόται, καὶ τούτων εἰ τύχοιτε ἀποχρῆν ὑμῖν ᾤεσθε καὶ οὐδενὸς ἄλλου ὠρέγεσθε; δίδοται νῦν ὑμῖν· ἄπιτε ἤδη χαίροντες εἰς τὴν πατρίδα.

Traduction française :

[6,83] When he had ceased speaking, all present shouted uproariously, showing that they approved of his reasoning and agreed with him. Then, when silence prevailed, Menenius Agrippa, he who had delivered the speech in the senate in behalf of the people and had, more than any other, brought about, by the motion he had offered, the sending of the envoys clothed with full powers, signified that he too wished to speak. The people looked upon this as the best thing they could ask, and now at least expected to hear proposals tending to a sincere (p101) accommodation and advice salutary to both parties. And first they all roared their approval, calling to him with a great shout to speak; then they became quiet, and so great silence prevailed in the assembly that the place was as hushed as a desert. He seemed to employ in general the most persuasive arguments possible and those which gauged well the inclinations of his audience; and at the end of his speech he is said to have related a kind of fable that he composed after the manner of Aesop and that bore a close resemblance to the situation of the moment, and by this means chiefly to have won them over. For this reason his speech is thought worthy of record and it is quoted in all the ancient histories. His discourse was as follows: "We have been sent to you by the senate, plebeians, neither to excuse them nor to accuse you (for neither of these courses seemed to be opportune or suited to the conditions now disturbing the commonwealth), but to use every effort and every means to put an end to the sedition and to restore the government to its original form; and for that purpose we are invested with full powers. So that we do not think it at all necessary to discourse at great length, as Junius here has done, concerning principles of justice; but as regards the humane terms on which we think we ought to put an end to the sedition, and the assurance you shall have for the performance of our agreement, we shall tell you the decisions to which we have come. When we considered that (p103) every sedition in any state is cured only when the causes that produced the disagreement are removed, we thought it necessary both to discover and to put an end to the primary causes of this dissension. And having found that the harsh exactions of debts have been the cause of the present ills, we are reforming those exactions as follows: We think it just that all those who have contracted debts and are unable to pay them should be relieved of their obligations; and if the persons of any who are default in their payments are already held under restraint by the limit for payment prescribed by law, it is our decision that these also shall be free. As for those who have been convicted in private suits and handed over to the creditors who won their suits against them, it is our wish that these also shall be free, and we set aside their sentences. With regard to your debts of the past, therefore, which seemed to us to have led to your secession, we redress them in this manner; as to your future debts, whatever shall be approved of both by you, the people, and by the senate in joint consultation, after a law has been passed for that purpose, let it be so ordered. are not these the things, plebeians, that divided you from the patricians? And did you not think it enough if you obtained these, without aiming at anything else? They are now granted to you. Return, then, to your country with joy.





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Dernière mise à jour : 9/01/2007