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

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Texte grec :

[32,35] αὐτὸ δὲ τοῦτο περὶ οὗ λέγειν ἠρξάμην, ὁρᾶτε ἡλίκον ἐστίν. ὅπως μὲν γὰρ ἑστιᾶσθε καθ´ ἑαυτοὺς ἢ κοιμᾶσθε ἢ διοικεῖτε τὴν οἰκίαν ἕκαστος οὐ πάνυ δῆλός ἐστιν· ὅπως μέντοι θεωρεῖτε καὶ ποῖοί τινες ἐνθάδε ἐστὲ ἅπαντες Ἕλληνες καὶ βάρβαροι ἴσασιν. ἡ γὰρ πόλις ὑμῶν τῷ μεγέθει καὶ τῷ τόπῳ πλεῖστον ὅσον διαφέρει καὶ περιφανῶς ἀποδέδεικται δευτέρα τῶν ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον. ἥ τε γὰρ Αἴγυπτος {ὑμῶν}, τηλικοῦτον ἔθνος, σῶμα τῆς πόλεώς ἐστι, μᾶλλον δὲ προσθήκη, τοῦ τε ποταμοῦ τὸ ἴδιον τῆς φύσεως {καὶ} παρὰ τοὺς ἄλλους ἅπαντας λόγου μεῖζον, τό τε θαυμαστὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ ὠφέλιμον, τήν τε θάλατταν τὴν καθ´ ἡμᾶς ἅπασαν ἐκδέχεσθε, κάλλει τε λιμένων καὶ μεγέθει στόλου καὶ τῶν πανταχοῦ γιγνομένων ἀφθονίᾳ καὶ διαθέσει, καὶ τὴν ἔξωθεν ὑπερκειμένην ἔχετε, τήν τε Ἐρυθρὰν καὶ τὴν Ἰνδικήν, ἧς πρότερον τοὔνομα ἀκοῦσαι χαλεπὸν ἦν· ὥστε τὰς ἐμπορίας οὐ νήσων οὐδὲ λιμένων οὐδὲ πορθμῶν τινων καὶ ἰσθμῶν, ἀλλὰ σχεδὸν ἁπάσης τῆς οἰκουμένης γίγνεσθαι παρ´ ὑμῖν. κεῖται γὰρ ἐν συνδέσμῳ τινὶ τῆς ὅλης γῆς καὶ τῶν πλεῖστον ἀπῳκισμένων ἐθνῶν, ὥσπερ ἀγορὰ μιᾶς πόλεως εἰς ταὐτὸ ξυνάγουσα πάντας καὶ δεικνύουσά τε ἀλλήλοις καὶ καθ´ ὅσον οἷόν τε ὁμοφύλους ποιοῦσα. ἴσως οὖν χαίρετε ἀκούοντες, καὶ νομίζετε ἐπαινεῖσθαι ταῦτα ἐμοῦ λέγοντος, ὥσπερ ὑπὸ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν ἀεὶ θωπευόντων ὑμᾶς· ἐγὼ δὲ ἐπῄνεσα ὕδωρ καὶ γῆν καὶ λιμένας καὶ τόπους καὶ πάντα μᾶλλον ἢ ὑμᾶς. ποῦ γὰρ εἶπον ὥς ἐστε φρόνιμοι καὶ σώφρονες καὶ δίκαιοι; οὐχὶ τἀναντία τούτων; ἔστι γὰρ ἀνθρώπων ἔπαινος εὐταξία, πρᾳότης, ὁμόνοια, κόσμος πολιτείας, τὸ προσέχειν τοῖς ὀρθῶς λέγουσι, τὸ μὴ πάντοτε ζητεῖν ἡδονάς. ἀναγωγαὶ δὲ καὶ κατάρσεις καὶ πλήθους ὑπερβολὴ καὶ ὠνίων καὶ νεῶν πανηγύρεως καὶ λιμένος καὶ ἀγορᾶς ἐστιν ἐγκώμιον, οὐ πόλεως· οὐδέ γε, ἂν ὕδωρ ἐπαινῇ τις, ἀνθρώπων ἔπαινος οὗτός ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ φρεάτων· οὐδ´ ἂν περὶ εὐκρασίας λέγῃ τις, τοὺς ἀνθρώπους εἶναί φησιν ἀγαθούς, ἀλλὰ τὴν χώραν· οὐδ´ ἂν περὶ ἰχθύων, τὴν πόλιν ἐπαινεῖ· πόθεν; ἀλλὰ θάλατταν ἢ λίμνην ἢ ποταμόν. ὑμεῖς δέ, ἂν ἐγκωμιάζῃ τις τὸν Νεῖλον, ἐπαίρεσθε, ὥσπερ αὐτοὶ ῥέοντες ἀπὸ Αἰθιοπίας. σχεδὸν δὲ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων οἱ πλείους ἐπὶ τοῖς τοιούτοις χαίρουσι, καὶ μακαρίους ἑαυτοὺς κρίνουσιν, ἂν οἰκῶσι καθ´ Ὅμηρον νῆσον δενδρήεσσαν ἢ βαθεῖαν {ἤ} τινα ἤπειρον {εὔβοτον, εὔμηλον,} ἢ πρὸς ὄρεσι σκιεροῖς ἢ πηγαῖς διαυγέσιν· ὧν οὐδὲν ἴδιόν ἐστιν ἐκείνων· ἀρετῆς δὲ οὐδὲ ὄναρ αὐτοῖς μέλει. ἐγὼ δὲ τούτων ἐμνήσθην οὔτε ὑμᾶς ἐπαίρων οὔτε τοῖς συνήθως ὑμνοῦσιν αὐτὰ ῥήτορσιν ἢ ποιηταῖς παραβάλλων ἐμαυτόν. δεινοὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι καὶ μεγάλοι σοφισταὶ καὶ γόητες· τὰ δ´ ἡμέτερα φαῦλα καὶ πεζὰ ἐν τοῖς λόγοις, οὐ μέντοι περὶ φαύλων. {τὰ μὲν γὰρ λεγόμενα αὐτὰ οὐ μεγάλα, περὶ μεγίστων δὲ ὡς οἷόν τε.} καὶ νῦν εἶπον τὰ περὶ τῆς πόλεως, δεῖξαι βουλόμενος ὑμῖν ὡς ὅ,τι ἂν ἀσχημονῆτε οὐ κρύφα γίγνεται τοῦτο οὐδ´ ἐν ὀλίγοις, ἀλλ´ ἐν ἅπασιν ἀνθρώποις.

Traduction française :

[32,35] But to take just that topic which I mentioned in the beginning, see how important it is. For how you dine in private, how you sleep, how you manage your household, these are matters in which as individuals you are not at all conspicuous ; on the other hand, how you behave as spectators and what you are like in the theatre are matters of common knowledge among Greeks and barbarians alike. For your city is vastly superior in point of size and situation, and it is admittedly ranked second among all cities beneath the sun. For not only does the mighty nation, Egypt, constitute the framework of your city—or more accurately its appanage—but the peculiar nature of the river, when compared with all others, defies description with regard to both its marvellous habits and its usefulness ; and furthermore, not only have you a monopoly of the shipping of the entire Mediterranean by reason of the beauty of your harbours, the magnitude of your fleet, and the abundance and the marketing of the products of every land, but also the outer waters that lie beyond are in your grasp, both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, whose name was rarely heard in former days. The result is that the trade, not merely of islands, ports, a few straits and isthmuses, but of practically the whole world is yours. For Alexandria is situated, as it were, at the crossroads of the whole world, of even the most remote nations thereof, as if it were a market serving a single City, a market which brings together into one place all manner of men, displaying them to one another and, as far as possible, making them a kindred people. Perhaps these words of mine are pleasing to your ears and you fancy that you are being praised by me, as you are by all the rest who are always flattering you ; but I was praising water and soil and harbours and places and everything except yourselves. For where have I said that you are sensible and temperate and just ? Was it not quite the opposite? For when we praise human beings, it should be for their good discipline, gentleness, concord, civic order, for heeding those who give good counsel, and for not being always in search of pleasures. But arrivals and departures of vessels, and superiority in size of population, in merchandise, and in ships, are fit subjects for praise in the case of a fair, a harbour, or a market-place, but not of a city; nay, if a man speaks in praise of water, he is not praising men but wells ; if he talks of good climate, he does not mean that the people are good but the land ; if he speaks of fish, he is not praising the city—how absurd !—but a sea, a lake, or a stream. Yet if someone eulogizes the Nile, you Alexandrians are as elated as if you yourselves were rivers flowing from Ethiopia. Indeed, it is safe to say that most other people also are delighted by such things and count themselves blessed if they dwell, as Homer puts it, "on a tree-clad isle"' or one that is "deepsoiled" or on a mainland "of abundant pasture, rich in sheep" or hard by "shadowy mountains" or "fountains of translucent waters", none of which is a personal attribute of those men themselves; however, touching human virtue, they care not at all, not even in their dreams ! But my purpose in mentioning such matters was neither to elate you nor to range myself beside those who habitually sing such strains, whether orators or poets. For they are clever persons, mighty sophists, wonder-workers ; but I am quite ordinary and prosaic in my utterance, though not ordinary in my theme. For though the words that I speak are not great in themselves, they treat of topics of the greatest possible moment. And what I said just now about the city was meant to show you that whatever impropriety you commit is committed, not in secrecy or in the presence of just a few, but in the presence of all mankind.





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Dernière mise à jour : 25/10/2007