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Denys d'Halicarnasse, Les Antiquités romaines, livre VI

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Texte grec :

[6,86] Ἔοικέ πως ἀνθρωπείῳ σώματι πόλις. σύνθετον γὰρ καὶ ἐκ πολλῶν μερῶν ἐστιν ἑκάτερον· καὶ οὔτε δύναμιν ἔχει ἕκαστον τὴν αὐτὴν τῶν ἐν αὐτοῖς μερῶν οὔτε χρείας παρέχεται τὰς ἴσας. εἰ δὴ λάβοι τὰ μέρη τοῦ ἀνθρωπείου σώματος ἰδίαν αἴσθησιν καθ´ αὑτὰ καὶ φωνήν, ἔπειτα στάσις ἐν αὐτοῖς ἐμπέσοι καθ´ ἓν γενομένοις τοῖς ἄλλοις ἅπασι πρὸς τὴν γαστέρα μόνην, καὶ λέγοιεν οἱ μὲν πόδες, ὅτι πᾶν ἐπ´ αὐτοῖς ἐπίκειται τὸ σῶμα· αἱ δὲ χεῖρες, ὅτι τὰς τέχνας ἐργάζονται καὶ τἀπιτήδεια ἐκπορίζουσι καὶ μάχονται πολεμίοις καὶ ἄλλα πολλὰ ὠφελήματα παρέχουσιν εἰς τὸ κοινόν· οἱ δὲ ὦμοι, ὅτι τὰ ἄχθη πάντα ἐπ´ αὐτοῖς κομίζεται· τὸ δὲ στόμα ὅτι φθέγγεται· ἡ δὲ κεφαλή, ὅτι ὁρᾷ καὶ ἀκούει καὶ τὰς ἄλλας αἰσθήσεις περιλαβοῦσα πάσας ἔχει, δι´ ὧν σώζεται τὸ πρᾶγμα· εἶτα φαῖεν πρὸς τὴν γαστέρα· Σὺ δ´, ὦ χρηστή, τί τούτων ποιεῖς ἢ τίς ἐστιν ἡ σὴ χάρις ἡμῖν καὶ ὠφέλεια; ἀλλὰ σύ γε τοσοῦτον ἀπέχεις τοῦ πράττειν καὶ συγκατορθοῦν ἡμῖν τι τῶν κοινῇ χρησίμων, ὥστε καὶ ἀντιπράττεις καὶ ἐνοχλεῖς καί, πρᾶγμα ἀφόρητον, ὑπηρετεῖν ἀναγκάζεις καὶ φέρειν ἁπανταχόθεν εἰς τὴν ἐκπλήρωσιν τῶν σεαυτῆς ἐπιθυμιῶν. φέρε, τί οὐ μεταποιούμεθα τῆς ἐλευθερίας, καὶ τῶν πολλῶν ἀφιέμεθα πραγματειῶν, ἃς ἕνεκα ταύτης ὑπομένομεν; εἰ δὴ ταῦτα δόξειεν αὐτοῖς καὶ μηδὲν ἔτι δρῴη τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ἔργον, ἔσθ´ ὅπως ἂν ἐπὶ τὸ πολὺ διαρκέσαι δυνηθείη τὸ σῶμα, ἀλλ´ οὐκ ἂν ἐντὸς ὀλίγων ἡμερῶν τῷ κακίστῳ τῶν μόρων ἀναλωθείη, λιμῷ; οὐκ ἂν ἔχοι ἄλλως τις εἰπεῖν. τὸν αὐτὸν δὴ τρόπον ὑπολάβετε καὶ περὶ πόλεως. πολλὰ γὰρ δὴ τὰ συμπληροῦντα καὶ ταύτην ἔθνη καὶ οὐδὲν ἀλλήλοις ἐοικότα, ὧν ἕκαστον ἰδίαν τινὰ τῷ κοινῷ χρείαν ὥσπερ τὰ μέλη τῷ σώματι παρέχεται. οἱ μὲν γὰρ τοὺς ἀγροὺς γεωργοῦσιν, οἱ δὲ μάχονται περὶ αὐτῶν πρὸς τοὺς πολεμίους, οἱ δ´ ἐμπορεύονται πολλὰς διὰ θαλάσσης ὠφελείας, οἱ δὲ τὰς ἀναγκαίας ἐργάζονται τέχνας. εἰ δὲ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ταῦτα πρὸς τὴν βουλὴν τὴν ἐκ τῶν ἀρίστων συνηγμένην διαστασιάσειε καὶ λέγοι· Σὺ δ´ ἡμῖν, ὦ βουλή, τί ποιεῖς ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἀντὶ ποίας αἰτίας ἄρχειν τῶν ἄλλων ἀξιοῖς; οὐθὲν γὰρ ἂν εἰπεῖν ἔχοις· ἔπειτ´ οὐκ ἀπαλλαγησόμεθά σου τῆς τυραννίδος ταύτης ἤδη ποτὲ καὶ δίχ´ ἡγεμόνος οἰκήσομεν; εἰ δὴ ταῦτα διανοηθέντες τῶν συνήθων ἐπιτηδευμάτων ἀποσταῖεν, τί κωλύσει ταύτην κακὴν κακῶς ἀπολέσθαι τὴν πόλιν ὑπὸ λιμοῦ τε καὶ πολέμου καὶ παντὸς ἄλλου κακοῦ; μαθόντες οὖν, ὦ δημόται, ὅτι καθάπερ ἐν τοῖς σώμασιν ἡμῶν ἡ λοιδορουμένη κακῶς ὑπὸ τῶν πολλῶν γαστὴρ τρέφει τὸ σῶμα τρεφομένη καὶ σώζει σωζομένη, καὶ ἔστιν ὡσεί τις ἑστίασις κοινὴ τὸ πρόσφορον ἁπάντων καὶ τῆς διαλλαγῆς αἴτιον ἀποδιδοῦσα, οὕτως ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν ἡ διοικοῦσα τὰ κοινὰ καὶ τοῦ προσήκοντος ἑκάστῳ προνοουμένη βουλὴ πάντα σώζει καὶ φυλάττει καὶ ἐπανορθοῖ, παύσασθε τὰς ἐπιφθόνους κατ´ αὐτῆς φωνὰς λέγοντες, ὡς ἐξεβλήθητε τῆς πατρίδος καὶ ὡς ἀλῆται καὶ πτωχοὶ περιέρχεσθε δι´ αὐτήν. οὐδὲν γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἴργασται δεινὸν οὐδ´ ἂν ἐργάσαιτο, ἀλλ´ αὐτὴ καλεῖ καὶ ἀντιβολεῖ καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῖν ἅμα ταῖς πύλαις ἀναπετάσασα ὑποδέχεται.

Traduction française :

[6,86] "A commonwealth resembles in some measure a human body. For each of them is composite and consists of many parts; and no one of their parts either has the same function or performs the same service as the others. If, now, these parts of the human body should be endowed, each for itself, with perception and a voice of its own and a sedition should then arise among them, all of them uniting against the belly alone, and the feet should say that the whole body rests on them; the hands, that they ply the crafts, secure provisions, fight with enemies, and contribute many other advantages toward the common good; the shoulders, that they (p111) bear all the burdens; the mouth, that it speaks; the head, that it sees and hears and, comprehending the other senses, possesses all those by which the thing is preserved; and then all these should say to the belly, 'And you, good creature, which of these things do you do? What return do you make and of what use are you to us? Indeed, you are so far from doing anything for us or assisting us in accomplishing anything useful for the common good that you are actually a hindrance and a trouble to us and — a thing intolerable — compel us to serve you and to bring things to you from everywhere for the gratification of your desires. Come now, why do we not assert our liberty and free ourselves from the many troubles we undergo for the sake of this creature?' If, I say, they should decide upon this course and none of the parts should any longer perform its office, could the body possibly exist for any considerable time, and not rather be destroyed within a few days by the worst of all deaths, starvation No one can deny it. Now consider the same condition existing in a commonwealth. For this also is composed of many classes of people not at all resembling one another, every one of which contributes some particular service to the common good, just as its members do to the body. For some cultivate the fields, some fight against the enemy in defence of those fields, others carry on much useful trade by sea, and still others ply the necessary crafts. If, then, all these different classes of people should rise against the senate, which is (p113) composed of the best men, and say, 'As for you, senate, what good do you do us, and for what reason do you presume to rule over others? Not a thing can you name. Well then, shall we not now at last free ourselves from this tyranny of yours and live without a leader?' If, I say, they should take this resolution and quit their usual employments, what will hinder this miserable commonwealth from perishing miserably by famine, war and every other evil? Learn, therefore, plebeians, that just as in our bodies the belly thus evilly reviled by the multitude nourishes the body even while it is itself nourished, and preserves it while it is preserved itself, and is a kind of feast, as it were, provided by joint contributions, which as a result of the exchange duly distributes that which is beneficial to each and all, so in commonwealths the senate, which administers the affairs of the public and provides what is expedient for everyone, preserves, guards, and corrects all things. Cease, then, uttering those invidious remarks about the senate, to the effect that you have been driven out of your country by it and that because of it you wander about like vagabonds and beggars. For it neither has done you any harm nor can do you any, but of its own accord calls you and entreats you, and opening all hearts together with the gates, is waiting to welcome you."





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Dernière mise à jour : 9/01/2007