HODOI ELEKTRONIKAI
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DION CHRYSOSTOME, Au peuple d'Alexandrie (discours 32; traduction anglaise)

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Texte grec :

[32,40] ὁρῶ γὰρ ἔγωγε οὐ μόνον Ἕλληνας παρ´ ὑμῖν οὐδ´ Ἰταλοὺς οὐδὲ ἀπὸ τῶν πλησίον Συρίας, Λιβύης, Κιλικίας, οὐδὲ τοὺς ὑπὲρ ἐκείνους Αἰθίοπας οὐδὲ Ἄραβας ἀλλὰ καὶ Βακτρίους καὶ Σκύθας καὶ Πέρσας καὶ Ἰνδῶν τινας, οἳ συνθεῶνται καὶ πάρεισιν ἑκάστοτε ὑμῖν· ὥστε ὑμεῖς μὲν ἀκούετε ἑνός, ἂν οὕτω τύχῃ, κιθαρῳδοῦ, καὶ τούτου συνήθους, ἀκούεσθε δὲ ὑπὸ μυρίων ἐθνῶν οὐκ ἐπισταμένων ὑμᾶς, καὶ ὁρᾶτε μὲν τρεῖς ἢ τέτταρας ἡνιόχους, ὁρᾶσθε δὲ ὑπὸ τοσούτων μὲν Ἑλλήνων, τοσούτων δὲ βαρβάρων. τί οὖν οἴεσθε τούτους ἐπὶ γῆς πέρατα ἐλθόντας λέγειν; οὐχ ὡς πόλιν εἴδομεν τὰ μὲν ἄλλα θαυμαστὴν καὶ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων θεαμάτων πάντων κρεῖττον θέαμα, κόσμῳ τε ἱερῶν καὶ πλήθει πολιτῶν καὶ τῶν ἐπιτηδείων περιουσίᾳ, πάντα ἀκριβῶς διεξιόντας ὡς ἂν δύνωνται τοῖς αὑτῶν, ἃ καὶ μικρὸν ἔμπροσθεν εἶπον, τὰ τοῦ Νείλου καὶ τῆς χώρας καὶ τῆς θαλάττης καὶ τὸ μέγιστον τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν τοῦ θεοῦ· μαινομένην δὲ ὑπὸ ᾠδῆς καὶ δρόμων ἱππικῶν καὶ μηδὲν ἄξιον πράττουσαν ἐν τούτοις ἑαυτῆς; οἱ γὰρ ἄνθρωποι θύοντες μέν εἰσι μέτριοι καὶ βαδίζοντες καθ´ αὑτοὺς καὶ τἄλλα πράττοντες· ὅταν δὲ εἰς τὸ θέατρον εἰσέλθωσιν ἢ τὸ στάδιον, ὥσπερ φαρμάκων αὐτοῖς ἐκεῖ κατορωρυγμένων, οὐδὲν οἴδασι τῶν προτέρων οὐδὲ αἰσχύνονται λέγειν ἢ ποιεῖν ὅ,τι ἂν αὐτοῖς ἐπέλθῃ. τὸ δὲ πάντων χαλεπώτατον, ἐσπουδακότες περὶ τὴν θέαν οὐχ ὁρῶσι καὶ ἀκούειν ἐθέλοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσι, σαφῶς ἐξεστηκότες καὶ παρανοοῦντες, οὐκ ἄνδρες μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ παῖδες καὶ γύναια. ἐπειδὰν δὲ παύσηται τὸ δεινὸν καὶ διαλυθῶσι, τὸ μὲν ἀκμαιότερον ἔσβεσται τῆς ταραχῆς· ἔτι δὲ ἔν τε συνόδοις καὶ στενωποῖς μένει καὶ δι´ ὅλης τῆς πόλεως ἐπὶ συχνὰς ἡμέρας· καθάπερ ἐμπρησμοῦ μεγάλου λήξαντος ἰδεῖν ἔστι μέχρι πολλοῦ τήν τε λιγνὺν καὶ μέρη τινὰ φλεγόμενα. καίτοι τάχα ἐρεῖ τις τῶν Περσῶν ἢ τῶν Βακτρίων, ὡς αὐτοὶ μὲν ἴσασιν ἱππεύειν καὶ σχεδὸν ἄριστοι δοκοῦσιν ἱππεῖς· τὸ γὰρ πρᾶγμα ὑπὲρ ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐλευθερίας ἐπιτηδεύουσιν· ἀλλ´ ὅμως οὐδὲν τοιοῦτον {οὐδ´ αὖ ὅμοιον} πεπόνθασιν· ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐδεπώποτε αὐτοὶ θιγόντες οὐδ´ ἐπιβάντες ἵππων οὐ δύνασθε κατέχειν αὑτοὺς, ἀλλ´ ἐστὲ ὅμοιοι χωλοῖς ὑπὲρ δρόμου ἐρίζουσιν. τοιγαροῦν δειλοὶ ὄντες καὶ ἀστράτευτοι πολλὰς ἤδη νενικήκατε ἱππομαχίας. σκοπεῖτε δὲ μὴ περὶ ὑμῶν ἀληθέστερον οὗτοι λέγωσιν ἢ περὶ τῶν Ἑλλήνων Ἀνάχαρσιν τὸν Σκύθην φασὶν εἰπεῖν· ἐδόκει μὲν γὰρ εἶναι τῶν σοφῶν· ἧκε δὲ εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα θεασόμενος οἶμαι τά τε ἔθη καὶ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους· ἔλεγεν οὖν ὡς ἔστιν ἐν ἑκάστῃ πόλει τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἀποδεδειγμένον χωρίον, ἐν ᾧ μαίνονται καθ´ ἡμέραν, τὸ γυμνάσιον λέγων· ἐπειδὰν γὰρ ἐλθόντες ἀποδύσωνται, χρίονται φαρμάκῳ. τοῦτο δὲ ἔφη κινεῖν αὐτοῖς τὴν μανίαν. εὐθὺς γὰρ οἱ μὲν τρέχουσιν, οἱ δὲ καταβάλλουσιν ἀλλήλους, οἱ δὲ τὼ χεῖρε ἀνατείναντες μάχονται πρὸς οὐδένα ἀνθρώπων, οἱ δὲ παίονται. ταῦτα δὲ ποιήσαντες, ἀποξυσάμενοι τὸ φάρμακον αὐτίκα σωφρονοῦσι, καὶ φιλικῶς αὑτοῖς ἤδη ἔχοντες βαδίζουσι κάτω ὁρῶντες, αἰσχυνόμενοι τοῖς πεπραγμένοις.

Traduction française :

[32,40] For I behold among you, not merely Greeks and Italians and people from neighbouring Syria, Libya, Cilicia, nor yet Ethiopians and Arabs from more distant regions, but even Bactrians and Scythians and Persians and a few Indians, and all these help to make up the audience in your theatre and sit beside you on each occasion; therefore, while you, perchance, are listening to a single harpist, and that too a man with whom you are well acquainted, you are being listened to by countless peoples who do not know you ; and while you are watching three or four charioteers, you yourselves are being watched by countless Greeks and barbarians as well. What, then, do you suppose those people say when they have returned to their homes at the ends of the earth? Do they not say: " We have seen a city that in most respects is admirable and a spectacle that surpasses all human spectacles, with regard both to beauty of sanctuaries and multitude of inhabitants and abundance of all that man requires," going on to describe to their fellow-citizens as accurately as possible all the things that I myself named a short while ago—all about the Nile, the land, and the sea, and in particular the epiphany of the god ; " and yet," they will add, " it is a city that is mad over music and horse-races and in these matters behaves in a manner entirely unworthy of itself. For the Alexandrians are moderate enough when they offer sacrifice or stroll by themselves or engage in their other pursuits ; but when they enter the theatre or the stadium, just as if drugs that would madden them lay buried there, they lose all consciousness of their former state and are not ashamed to say or do anything that occurs to them. And what is most distressing of all is that, despite their interest in the show, they do not really see, and, though they wish to hear, they do not hear, being evidently out of their senses and deranged—not only men, but even women and children. And when the dreadful exhibition is over and they are dismissed, although the more violent aspect of their disorder has been extinguished, still at street-corners and in alley-ways the malady continues throughout the entire city for several days; just as when a mighty conflagration has died down, you can see for a long time, not only the smoke, but also some portions of the buildings still aflame." Moreover, some Persian or Bactrian is likely to say : " We ourselves know how to ride horses and are held to be just about the best in horsemanship " — for they cultivate that art for the defence of their empire and independence— " but for all that we have never behaved that way or anything like it "; whereas you, who have never handled a horse or mounted one yourselves, are unable to restrain yourselves, but are like lame men squabbling over a foot-race. That may explain why, cowards and slackers though you are, you have won so many cavalry battles in the past ! And take heed lest these people prove to have spoken more truthfully about you than Anacharsis the Scythian is said to have spoken about the Greeks—for he was held to be one of the sages, and he came to Greece, I suppose, to observe the customs and the people. Anacharsis said that in each city of the Greeks there is a place set apart in which they act insanely day after day—meaning the gymnasium —for when they go there and strip off their clothes, they smear themselves with a drug (olive oil). "And this," said he, " arouses the madness in them; for immediately some run, others throw each other down, others put up their hands and fight an imaginary foe, and others submit to blows. And when they have behaved in that fashion," said he, " they scrape off the drug and straightway are sane again and, now on friendly terms with one another, they walk with downcast glance, being ashamed at what has occurred."





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Dernière mise à jour : 25/10/2007