HODOI ELEKTRONIKAI
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DION CHRYSOSTOME, Sur Homère et sur Socrate (discours 55; traduction anglaise)

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Texte grec :

[55,10] (Dion) Εἴπερ γε, ὦ μακάριε, καὶ τὴν Ἀρχιλόχου ἀλώπεκα τοῖς λέουσι καὶ ταῖς παρδάλεσι παραβάλλομεν καὶ οὐδὲν ἢ μὴ πολὺ ἀποδεῖν φαμεν. ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἴσως καὶ τῶν Ὁμήρου τὰ τοιαῦτα ἀποδοκιμάζεις, ὅπου μέμνηται ψαρῶν ἢ κολοιῶν ἢ ἀκρίδων ἢ δαλοῦ ἢ τέφρας ἢ κυάμων τε καὶ ἐρεβίνθων ἢ λικμῶντας ἀνθρώπους πεποίηκεν, ἀλλὰ ταῦτά (11) σοι δοκεῖ τὰ φαυλότατα εἶναι τῶν Ὁμήρου· μόνους δὲ θαυμάζεις τοὺς λέοντας καὶ τοὺς ἀετοὺς καὶ τὰς Σκύλλας καὶ τοὺς Κύκλωπας, οἷς ἐκεῖνος ἐκήλει τοὺς ἀναισθήτους, ὥσπερ αἱ τίτθαι τὰ παιδία διηγούμεναι τὴν Λάμιαν. καὶ μὴν ὥσπερ Ὅμηρος διά τε μύθων καὶ ἱστορίας ἐπεχείρησε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους παιδεύειν, σφόδρα ἐργώδεις ὄντας παιδευθῆναι, καὶ Σωκράτης πολλάκις ἐχρῆτο τῷ τοιούτῳ, ποτὲ μὲν σπουδάζειν ὁμολογῶν, ποτὲ δὲ παίζειν προσποιούμενος, τούτου ἕνεκεν ἀνθρώπους ὠφέλει· ἴσως δὲ προσέκρουσε (12) τοῖς μυθολόγοις καὶ τοῖς συγγραφεῦσιν. οὐ τοίνυν οὐδὲ τοὺς περὶ Γοργίαν ἢ Πῶλον ἢ Θρασύμαχον ἢ Πρόδικον ἢ Μένωνα ἢ Εὐθύφρονα ἢ Ἄνυτον ἢ Ἀλκιβιάδην ἢ Λάχητα μάτην ἐποίει λέγοντας, ἐξὸν ἀφελεῖν τὰ ὀνόματα· ἀλλὰ ᾔδει τούτῳ καὶ μάλιστα ὀνήσων τοὺς ἀκούοντας, εἴ πως ξυνεῖεν· ἀπὸ γὰρ τῶν λόγων τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων τοὺς λόγους ξυνορᾶν οὐ ῥᾴδιον ἄλλοις ἢ τοῖς φιλοσόφοις καὶ τοῖς πεπαιδευμένοις. οἱ δὲ πολλοὶ μάτην οἴονται τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγεσθαι καὶ ὄχλον ἄλλως καὶ (13) φλυαρίαν ἡγοῦνται. Σωκράτης δὲ ἐνόμιζεν, ὁσάκις μὲν ἀλαζόνα ἄνθρωπον εἰσάγει, περὶ ἀλαζονείας λέγειν· ὁπότε δὲ ἀναίσχυντον καὶ βδελυρόν, περὶ ἀναιδείας καὶ βδελυρίας· ὁπότε δὲ ἀγνώμονα καὶ ὀργίλον, ἀγνωμοσύνης καὶ ὀργῆς ἀποτρέπειν. καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὁμοίως τὰ πάθη καὶ τὰ νοσήματα ἐπ´ αὐτῶν τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἐχομένων τοῖς πάθεσιν ἢ τοῖς νοσήμασι σαφέστερον ἐδείκνυεν (14) ὁποῖά ἐστιν ἢ εἰ τοὺς λόγους ψιλοὺς ἔλεγε. δοκεῖ δέ μοι καὶ τοῦτο παρ´ Ὁμήρου λαβεῖν. καὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος, ὅταν μὲν διηγῆται περὶ Δόλωνος, ὅπως μὲν ἐπεθύμησε τῶν ἵππων τῶν Ἀχιλλέως, ὅπως δὲ τοὺς πολεμίους ἀποφεύγειν δυνάμενος ἔστη τοῦ δόρατος ἐγγὺς παγέντος καὶ οὐδὲν αὐτὸν ὤνησε τὸ τάχος, ὅπως δὲ ἐβάμβαινεν ὑπὸ τοῦ δέους καὶ συνεκρότει τοὺς ὀδόντας, ὅπως δὲ ἔλεγε τοῖς πολεμίοις, οὐ μόνον εἴ τι ἐρωτῷεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑπὲρ ὧν μηδεὶς ἐπυνθάνετο (καὶ γὰρ τοὺς ἵππους ἐμήνυσε τοὺς Θρᾳκικοὺς καὶ τὸν Ῥῆσον, ὃν οὐδεὶς ᾔδει ἀφιγμένον)· ταῦτα δὲ λέγων οὕτω σφόδρα ἐναργῶς οὐ περὶ δειλίας ὑμῖν καὶ φιλοδοξίας δοκεῖ διαλέγεσθαι;

Traduction française :

[55,10] (Dion) I shall, my dear fellow, since indeed we compare the fox of Archilochus with the lions and leopards of Homer and declare it to be not at all, or not much, inferior. However, perhaps you disapprove also of such Homeric similes as those in which he refers to starlings or daws or locusts or a firebrand or ashes or beans and chickpeas, or the one in which he has depicted men winnowing —perhaps these seem to you to be the most inferior portions of Homer's work, while you admire only his lions and eagles and Scyllas and Cyclopes, with which he was wont to beguile stupid people, just as nurses beguile children with tales of the Lamia. Indeed, just as Homer through myths and history undertook to instruct human beings, who are very troublesome to instruct, so also Socrates often used this sort of device, sometimes admitting that he was in earnest and sometimes pretending to be joking, with the aim of benefiting mankind though in so doing he perhaps came into conflict with mvthologists and historians. (12) Again, it was not without conscious purpose that he represented Gorgias or Polus or Thrasymachus or Prodicus or Meno or Euthyphro or Anytus or Alcibiades or Laches as speaking, when he might have omitted their names ; on the contrary, he knew that by this device most of all he would benefit his hearers, if perchance they grasped the point ; for to comprehend hurnan beings from their words, or their words from human beings, is not an easy task for any but philosophers and educated persons. On the other hand, most men suppose that such items are purposeless, and they regard them as mere vexation and nonsense. But Socrates held that, every time he introduces a boastful man, he is speaking of boastfulness ; every time he introduces a shameless, loathsome man, he is speaking of shamelessness and loathsomeness ; every time he introduces an unreasonable, irascible man, he is turning his hearers against unreason and anger. Moreover, in all other cases similarly he revealed the truc nature of the passions and maladies of men in the persons of the very ones who were afflicted by the passions or the maladies more distinctly than if he were using the words by themselves. (14) But it appears to me that he took this too from Homer. For example, when Homer tells about Dolon, how he conceived a longing for the horses of Achilles, and how, when he might have fled from the enemy, he halted with his lance planted close beside him and obtained no benefit from his fleetness, and how his teeth chattered and struck together from terror, and how he talked to the enemy, not only when they asked him a question, but even on topics about which no one was inquiring — for instance, he gave information about the Thracian horses and about Rhesus, of whose arrivai no one knew —by telling all this so very plainly does Homer not seem to you to be discoursing on cowardice and love of notoriety ?





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Dernière mise à jour : 20/12/2007