aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Maximus of Tyre, Orations 5.2

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Maximus is addressing the question ‘whether one ought to pray’. He discusses the same Croesus-oracle that Cicero quoted.

τί δὲ Λυδός, ὁ τοῦ Φρυγὸς ἀνοητότερος; οὐκ εὔξατο μὲν τῷ Ἀπόλλωνι ἑλεῖν τὴν Περσῶν ἀρχήν, καὶ ἐθεράπευεν χρυσῷ πολλῷ τὸν θεόν, ὥσπερ δωροδόκον δυνάστην; ἀκούων δὲ αὐτοῦ θαμὰ ἐκ Δελφῶν ἐπιστέλλοντος

Κροῖσος Ἅλυν διαβὰς μεγάλην ἀρχὴν καταλύσει,

ἐκδεχόμενος πρὸς ἡδονὴν τὸν χρησμόν, διέβη Ἅλυν, καὶ κατέλυσεν τὴν Λυδῶν μεγάλην ἀρχήν.

And what of the Lydian, who was more foolish than the Phrygian man? Did he not pray to Apollo that he might take the Persians’ empire, and did he not cultivate the god with much gold as though he were a ruler who takes bribes? He often heard the god instructing him from Delphi, ‘If Croesus crosses Halys he will destroy a great empire’; taking the oracle in the way that pleased him, he crossed the Halys, and destroyed the great empire of the Lydians.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 17, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Maximus of Tyre

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