Aristaenetus 1.15

Ἀφροδίσιος Λυσιμάχῳ

     Οὐδέν, ὡς ἐγῷμαι, πιθανώτερον πέφυκεν οὐδ’ ἀνυσιμώτερον Ἀφροδίτης. ἴσασι δὲ οἱ βεβλημένοι, καὶ τούτων ἡμῖν ἀντίψηφος οὐδὲ εἷς. αὕτη καὶ πόλεμον διαλύει καὶ δυσμενεῖς παρασκευάζει βεβαιότατα σπένδεσθαι πρὸς ἀλλήλους. ἀμέλει τοι πολλάκις μετὰ στρατηγοὺς ἀρίστους καὶ μεγάλα στρατόπεδα καὶ πολλὴν τοῦ πολέμου συσκευὴν ὁ βραχὺς ἐκεῖνος τοξότης μικρᾶς ἀκίδος βολῇ καὶ αὐτὸν δήπου τὸν Ἄρη περιττὸν ἀποφαίνει, πραότητα μὲν πορίζων, ἀγριότητα δὲ ἐξορίζων. ἔνθα τις ὁπλίτην μὲν ἰδών, εἰ καὶ δύσμαχον, προυβάλλετο τὴν ἀσπίδα σὺν εὐτολμίᾳ κατιθύνων τὸ δόρυ, Ἔρωτος δὲ φανέντος γέγονε ῥίψασπις εὐθὺς ὁ τέως θρασύς, καὶ τὴν δεξιὰν ἀκονιτὶ προσανατείνας ὡμολόγει τὴν ἧτταν, τῆς τε μάχης ὑπανεχώρει, μετατρέπων τὰ νῶτα παιδαρίῳ τοξότῃ, μηδέ γ’ οὖν μαλθακὸς αἰχμητὴς εἶναι δι’ ἐκεῖνον τολμήσας.

     Μίλητος τοίνυν καὶ Μυοῦς αἱ πόλεις ἐπὶ μήκιστον χρόνον πρὸς ἀλλήλας ἀνεπίμικτοι διετέλουν, πλὴν ὅσον ἐς Μίλητον οἱ τῆς ἑτέρας ὑπόσπονδοι βραχὺ προσεφοίτων, καιρὸν ἔχοντες καὶ μέτρον τῆς αὐτόθι τιμωμένης Ἀρτεμίδος τὴν πανήγυριν καὶ σμικρὰν ἀνακωχὴν ἑκάτεροι τὴν ἑορτὴν ἐποιοῦντο. τούτους Ἀφροδίτη κατελεοῦσα διήλλαξεν, ἀφορμὴν εἰς σύμβασιν μηχανησαμένη τοιάνδε. κόρη γάρ τις τοὔνομα Πιερία, φύσει τε καλὴ κἀκ τῆς Ἀφροδίτης ἐπισημότερον κοσμηθεῖσα, ἐκ τοῦ Μυοῦντος ἐγκαίρως ἐπεδήμησε τῇ Μιλήτῳ. καὶ τῆς θεοῦ τὸ πᾶν διεπούσης μετὰ τοῦ πλήθους εἰς Ἀρτέμιδος ἐχώρουν, ἡ μὲν παρθένος ταῖς Χάρισιν ἀγλαϊζομένη, Φρύγιος δὲ ὁ τοῦ ἄστεος βασιλεὺς πρὸς τῶν Ἐρώτων κατατοξευόμενος τὴν ψυχὴν ἐπὶ τῇ κόρῃ τὴν πρώτην αὐτίκα φανείσῃ. καὶ θᾶττον ἄμφω συνῆλθον εἰς εὐνήν, ἵνα καὶ πρὸς εἰρήνην ὅτι τάχιστα συναφθῶσιν αἱ πόλεις.

     ἔφη δ’ οὖν ὁ νυμφίος ἐρασμίως ἐναφροδισιάσας τῇ κόρῃ καὶ σπεύδων αὐτῇ πρέπουσαν ἀμοιβὴν ἀποδοῦναι· “εἴθε γὰρ θαρροῦσα λέξειας, ὦ καλή, τί ἄν σοι χαριέστατα γένοιτο παρ’ ἐμοῦ. καὶ διπλασίαν ἡδέως τὴν αἴτησιν ἀποπληρώσω.” τοιαῦτα μὲν ὁ δίκαιος ἐραστής· σὲ δέ, ὦ πασῶν ὑπερφέρουσα γυναικῶν καὶ κάλλει καὶ γνώμῃ, τῆς ἔμφρονος οὐ παρήγαγεν εὐβουλίας οὐχ ὅρμος, οὐχ ἑλικτῆρες, οὐ πυλεὼν ὁ πολύτιμος, οὐ περιδέραιον, οὐ Λύδιός τε καὶ ποδήρης χιτών, οὐ πορφυρίδες, οὐ θεράπαιναι τῆς Καρίας οὐδὲ Λυδῶν ὑπερφυῶς ἱστουργοῦσαι γυναῖκες, οἷς ἅπασιν ἀτεχνῶς ἀγάλλεσθαι τὸ θῆλυ πέφυκε γένος, ἀλλ’ εἰς γῆν ἑώρας τὸ πρόσωπον, ὥσπερ τι συννοουμένη. εἶτα ἔφης ἐπιχαρίτως πεφοινιγμένη τὰς παρειὰς καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον ἐξ αἰδοῦς ἀποκλίνασα καὶ πῇ μὲν τῆς ἀμπεχόνης ἄκροις δακτύλοις ἐφαπτομένη τῶν κροσσῶν, πῇ δὲ περιστρέφουσα τοῦ ζωνίου τὸ ἄκρον, ἔστι δὲ ὅτε καὶ τοὔδαφος περιχαράττουσα τῷ ποδί (ταῦτα δὴ τὰ τῶν αἰδουμένων ἐν διαπορήσει κινήματα), ἔφης οὖν μόλις ἠρεμαίᾳ φωνῇ· “ἐπίνευσον, ὦ βασιλεῦ, ἐμέ τε καὶ τοὺς ἐμοὺς συγγενεῖς εἰς τήνδε τὴν εὐδαίμονα πόλιν ὅταν ἐθέλοιμεν ἐπ’ ἀδείας ἰέναι.”

     ὁ δὲ Φρύγιος τῆς φιλοπάτριδος γυναικὸς ὅλον κατενόησε τὸν σκοπόν, ὡς διὰ τούτων ἐκείνη σπονδὰς πρὸς Μιλησίους πραγματεύεται τῇ πατρίδι, κατένευσέ τε βασιλικῶς, καὶ τὸ σπουδασθὲν ἐκύρωσε τῇ φιλτάτῃ, πιστότερον ἢ κατὰ θυσίαν ἐμπεδώσας ἐξ ἔρωτος τοῖς ἀστυγείτοσι τὴν εἰρήνην· φύσει γὰρ εὐδιάλλακτον ἄνθρωπος, ὅταν εὐτυχῇ· αἱ γὰρ εὐπραξίαι δειναὶ τὰς ὀργὰς ὑφαρπάζειν καὶ τοῖς εὐτυχήμασι τὰ ἐγκλήματα διαλύειν. οὕτως οὖν ἐκφανῶς δεδήλωκας, ὦ Πιερία, τὴν Ἀφροδίτην ἱκανὴν εἶναι παιδεύειν ῥήτορας οὐκ ὀλίγον ἀμείνους καὶ τοῦ Νέστορος τοῦ Πυλίου· πολλοὶ γὰρ πολλάκις ἑκατέρωθεν τῶν πόλεων σοφώτατοι πρέσβεις ἐξ ἑτέρας εἰς ἑτέραν ὑπὲρ εἰρήνης εἰσιόντες διὰ κενῆς ὅμως κατηφεῖς τε καὶ ἀσχάλλοντες ἄπρακτον ἀνέλυον τὴν πορείαν· ἐντεῦθεν τοιοῦτος εἰκότως παρὰ ταῖς Ἴωσι πάτριος ἐπεκράτησε λόγος· “εἴθε με παραπλησίως ὁ σύνοικος τιμήσειε τὴν ὁμόζυγα, ὥσπερ ὁ Φρύγιος τὴν καλὴν τετίμηκε Πιερίαν.”

Text after Rudolf Hercher (1873). Epistolographoi hellenikoi. Epistolographi graeci, recensuit, recognovit, adnotatione critica et indicibus instruxit Rudolphus Hercher; accedunt Francisci Boissonadii ad Synesium notae ineditae.

Aphrodisius to Lysimachus

There is nothing, I think, more persuasive or more efficient than that brought forth from Aphrodite. Those who have been struck by her know it well, and no one of these would disagree. She puts an end to war and prepares the most intransigent enemies to make peace with each other. Many times, let me tell you, that little archer proves Ares useless, even with the best generals and their armies and battle plans, bringing gentleness and banishing savageness. Indeed, if someone seeing an unbeatable soldier, raises his shield before himself with courage, straightening his spear, when Eros appears, he who was bold becomes a coward, throwing away his shield, and concedes defeat without struggle, offering his hand, and retreats from the battle with the boy archer. Submitting thus to that archer, he is not even a half-hearted warrior.

Now,  for the longest time the cities of Miletus and Myous were alienated from each other, except when the others would visit Miletus under a short truce, taking the oppportunity of the festival there honoring Artemis, each side making the holy days a small cessation of hostilities. Aphrodite, pityiing them, reconciled them, contriving a pretext for coming to terms. A young girl named Pieria, naturally beautiful and made more remarkable by Aphrodite, conveniently came to the city of Miletus from Myous. And with the goddess managing everything, among the crowd going to the temple of Artemis were on the one hand the maiden-being adorned by the Graces-and on the other hand Phrygius the king of the city, who was at once struck through the heart by the Erotes when the girl appeared before him. As soon as possible, the two slept together, in order that their cities may be most quickly joined in peace. 

And so the young man, having affectionately made love with the girl and being eager to provide her a fitting recompense, said, "Fair one, if only, being of good courage, you would tell me what from would be most acceptable to you. I would even pay twice your demand with pleasure."  The just lover spoke thusly. But neither a chain nor earrings, neither a much-lauded crown nor a necklace, neither a full-length Lydian chiton nor purple garments, neither Karian handmaidens nor Lydian weaving-women, all of which things the female race simply glory in,  did not divert you from  intelligent, sound judgment- you, surpassing all women in both beauty and wisdom-you looked to the earth, your countenance as if deep in thought. Then, with your cheeks pleasantly blushing and your face turned aside from modesty-now fingering the tassels on the end of your shawl, now twisting the end of your belt, then drawing circles with your foot on the pavement (these being the movements of the shy when at a loss) you said in a quite gentle voice, "O king, permit me and my kinsmen to come to this blessed cit whenever we wish without fear."

And Phrygius understood the whole object of this patriotic woman, that through this she was attempting a treaty with the Milesians for her fatherland, and king-like he nodded assent and accomplished the desire of his beloved, ratifying a peace with his neighbors more trustworthy through love than one through sacrifice. For by nature man is easy reoncile whenever he is fortunate. For, good conduct cuts short anger and accusations dissolve with good luck. And so, you have clearly show, Pieria, that Aprodite is competent train orators not a little better than even Nestor of Pylos. For many most wise ambassadors from each side had come many times from one town to the other for peace in vain, they suspended the unprofitable visit downcast and vexed. Thereafter an ancestral statement such as this prevailed among Ionian women, "If only my husband would honor me, his wife, like Phrygius honored beautiful Peiria."

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Suggested Citation

Susan Stephens, Callimachus: Aetia. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-947822-07-8.http://dcc.dickinson.edu/callimachus-aetia/supplementary-texts/aristaenetus-1-15