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

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Texte grec :

[32,95] μὴ οὖν καὶ ὑμεῖς κατὰ ζῆλον τὸν ἐπ´ Ἀλεξάνδρῳ· καὶ γὰρ αὐτὸς ἔλεγε Διὸς υἱὸς εἶναι. μᾶλλον δ´ ἴσως οὐχ Ἡρακλεῖ προσέοικεν ὑμῶν ὁ δῆμος, ἀλλὰ Κενταύρῳ τινὶ ἢ Κύκλωπι πεπωκότι καὶ ἐρῶντι, τὸ μὲν σῶμα ἰσχυρῷ καὶ μεγάλῳ, τὴν δὲ διάνοιαν ἀμαθεῖ. πρὸς τοῦ Διὸς οὐχ ὁρᾶτε ὅσην ὁ αὐτοκράτωρ ὑμῶν πεποίηται τῆς πόλεως ἐπιμέλειαν; οὐκοῦν χρὴ καὶ ὑμᾶς ἀντιφιλοτιμεῖσθαι καὶ τὴν πατρίδα κρείττω ποιεῖν, μὰ Δί´ οὐ κρήναις οὐδὲ προπυλαίοις· 〈εἰς〉 ταῦτα μὲν γὰρ οὐ δύνασθε ὑμεῖς ἀναλίσκειν οὐδ´ ἂν ὑπερβάλοισθέ ποτε οἶμαι τὴν ἐκείνου μεγαλοψυχίαν· ἀλλ´ εὐταξίᾳ, κόσμῳ, τῷ δεικνύειν ὑμᾶς αὐτοὺς σώφρονας καὶ βεβαίους. οὕτως γὰρ ἂν οὔτ´ ἐπὶ τοῖς γεγονόσι μετανοήσειε καὶ πλείονα ὑμᾶς ἀγαθὰ ἐργάσεται. καὶ ἴσως ἂν αὐτῷ καὶ τῆς ἐνθάδε ἀφίξεως παράσχοιτε πόθον. οὐ γὰρ οὕτως τὸ κάλλος τῶν οἰκοδομημάτων προσάγειν αὐτὸν δύναται· πάντα γὰρ κρείττω καὶ πολυτελέστερα ἔχει τῶν ὅπου δήποτε· ἀλλ´ ὅταν ἀκούσῃ τοὺς ὑποδεξομένους αὐτὸν εὐνοίας καὶ πίστεως ἀξίους καὶ τῶν πεμπομένων ἕκαστος καὶ διοικούντων ὑμᾶς προτιμήσῃ. μὴ γὰρ οἴεσθε ὑμᾶς μὲν πυνθάνεσθαι περὶ τῶν καταπλεόντων, ὁποῖοί τινες τυγχάνουσιν ὄντες, καὶ τοιαύτην ἔχειν γνώμην εὐθὺς πρὸς αὐτούς, οἵας ἂν μετάσχητε τῆς φήμης, ἐκείνους δὲ περὶ ὑμῶν μὴ πολυπραγμονεῖν, ὁποῖος ὁ τῶν Ἀλεξανδρέων δῆμος. οὐκοῦν ἂν ἀκούσωσιν ὅτι φρόνιμος, ἀλλ´ οὐχ οἷα τὰ νῦν λεγόμενα, ὡς ἐπτοημένος, ὡς εὐχερής, τὰ μικρὰ θαυμάζων, ἥττων τοῦ τυχόντος {πραγμάτων}, ἐραστὴς ἡνιόχων καὶ κιθαρῳδῶν, οὐκ ἄδηλον ὅπως ἕξουσιν. Θεόφιλόν φασι παρ´ ὑμῖν γενόμενον ἄνδρα σοφὸν σιωπᾶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ μηδὲν ἐθέλειν διαλέγεσθαι. καίτοι τίνα γνώμην νομίζετε αὐτὸν ἔχειν; πότερον ὡς σοφοὺς ὑμᾶς καὶ μὴ δεομένους θεραπείας; ἢ μᾶλλον ὡς ἀνιάτων ἀπεγνωκέναι; παραπλήσιον γάρ, ὥσπερ εἴ τις τῶν ἐμπόρων πολλὰ καὶ τίμια ἔχων καταπλεύσειεν εἰς πόλιν, ἔπειθ´ ὑπ´ ἀνέμων τινῶν ἢ τύχης ἄλλης κρατούμενος καὶ διατρίβων ἐκεῖ χρόνον συχνὸν μήτε προθείη τῶν ὠνίων μηδὲν μήτε δείξειε μηδέποτε· δῆλον γὰρ ὡς ἐσχάτην τινὰ αὐτῶν πενίαν κατεγνωκὼς ἢ ἀπειρίαν οὐκ ἂν θέλοι μάτην ἐνοχλεῖσθαι, σαφῶς εἰδὼς ὅτι οὔτ´ ἂν ὠνήσαιτο τῶν ἀνθρώπων τούτων οὐθεὶς οὔτ´ ἂν ἴσως προσέλθοι. καὶ Θεόφιλος τοίνυν πολλὰ ἔχων καὶ μεγάλα ἔνδον ὤνια παρ´ αὑτῷ ταῦτα, συνειδὼς ὑμῖν τὴν ἐσχάτην ἀπορίαν, οὐ χρημάτων, ἀλλὰ νοῦ καὶ συνέσεως. τοιγαροῦν τέθνηκε κατασιωπήσας ὑμῶν τὴν πόλιν, {τοῦτ´ ἔστι καταδικάσας αὐτήν,} καὶ ὑμεῖς τοῦ δεῖνος μὲν πολλάκις ἀκηκόατε καὶ διαμέμνησθε τῶν σκωμμάτων αὐτοῦ καὶ τῶν τοῦ δεῖνος ᾀσμάτων, Θεοφίλου δὲ οὐκ οἶδα εἴ ποτε ἠκούσατε· ὥσπερ ἔφη τις τοὺς ἐν τῇ Ἀττικῇ κανθάρους, τοῦ καθαρωτάτου μέλιτος ὄντος, τοῦ μὲν μηδέποτε γεύσασθαι, μηδ´ ἂν ἐκχέηται, τῆς δὲ ἑτέρας τροφῆς. ἀλλ´ ἐστὲ ἱλαροὶ καὶ σκῶψαι πάντων δεινότατοι. οὐ δήμου τὸ ἐπιτήδευμα· πόθεν; οὐδὲ πόλεως, ἀλλὰ Θερσίτου τινός· αὐτὸν γοῦν ἐκεῖνον εἴρηκεν Ὅμηρος ἐν τοῖς πᾶσιν Ἕλλησιν ἀφικέσθαι γελωτοποιόν· ἀλλ´ ὅτι οἱ εἴσαιτο γελοίιον Ἀργείοισιν ἔμμεναι. ἀλλ´ οὐ τὸ γελοῖον ἀγαθόν ἐστιν οὐδὲ τίμιον, ἀλλὰ τὸ χαίρειν· ἀπορίᾳ δὲ καὶ ἀγνοίᾳ χαρᾶς ἄνθρωποι διώκουσι γέλωτα. τὴν γοῦν βοτάνην ἀκηκόατε τὴν σαρδόνιον καλουμένην, ἣ γέλωτα μὲν ποιεῖ, χαλεπὸν δὲ τοῦτον καὶ ἐπ´ ὀλέθρῳ.

Traduction française :

[32,95] Maybe, then, like so many others, you are only following the example set by Alexander, for he, like Heracles, claimed to be a son of Zeus? Nay rather, it may be that it is not Heracles whom your populace resembles, but some Centaur or Cyclops in his cups and amorous, in body strong and huge but mentally a fool. In heaven's name, do you not see how great is the consideration that your emperor has displayed toward your city ? Well then, you also must match the zeal he shows and make your country better, not, by Zeus, through constructing fountains or stately portals—for you have not the wealth to squander on things like that, nor could you ever, methinks, surpass the emperor's magnificence —but rather by means of good behaviour, by decorum, by showing yourselves to be sane and steady. For in that case not only would he not regret his generosity because of what has happened, but he might even confer on you still further benefactions. And perhaps you might even make him long to visit you. For it is not so much the beauty of your buildings that might attract him, for he has buildings of every kind finer and more costly than anywhere ; but he may be attracted when he hears that the people to receive him are worthy of his favour and his trust, and when each of his emissaries and ministers speaks highly of you. For you must not imagine, that, although you yourselves inquire about those who enter your harbour, what kind of people they may chance to be, and your judgement concerning them at once corresponds to their reputation, yet the emperor's agents are not curious to learn what kind of people the Alexandrians are. Therefore, if they hear that you are sensible, and not, as is now the common report, flighty, easy-going, inclined to admire petty things, with a weakness for trivialities, passionately devoted to jockeys and harpists, there is no doubt how they will feel. Theophilus, they say, who proved himself a man of wisdom here in Alexandria, preserved silence toward you and would hold no converse with you. And yet what do you think was his purpose? Was it because he thought you to be wise yourselves and in no need of treatment : or rather had he despaired of you as being incurable ? For it is very much as if a trader with many precious wares should land at a city, and then, constrained by certain winds or by some mischance, should spend a long time there without either setting out any of his wares or displaying them at all ; for evidently it would be because he was convinced either that the inhabitants were in extreme poverty, or else that they were ignorant, and so he would be unwilling to go to useless trouble, feeling certain that no one of the inhabitants would either make a purchase or, perhaps, come to see him. Theophilus too, we conclude, though he had many notable wares inside of him, kept them to himself, being aware that you were extremely poor, not in money, but in judgement and understanding. Well, then, he is dead, having by his silence passed adverse judgement on your city, and, though you have often heard so-and-so speak and can well recall his jokes, and also the songs of what's-his-name, I am not sure that you have ever heard Theophilus; just as someone has said of the beetles in Attica, that, though Attica has the purest honey, the beetles never taste of it, not even if it is poured out for them, but only of the other kind of food. But, someone will say, you are a jolly folk and the best jesters in the world. That is no calling for a people—how could it be ?—nor for a city, but rather for a Thersites. At least Homer says that Thersites himself came among all the Greeks as a jester, not speaking with decorum, "But what he thought would make the Argives laugh". Yet not what makes men laugh is good or honourable, but rather what makes them joyful; and for lack of joy and for ignorance thereof men seek laughter. You must have heard of the plant called Sardonian, which produces laughter, to be sure, but a laughter which is distressing and disastrous.





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Dernière mise à jour : 25/10/2007