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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: January 2010

3 - Declamation 2 [XII]:

from II - CHORICIUS, DECLAMATIONS

Summary

[THEME]

Let us now take the part of Priam. The preliminary explanatory comment is based on the fact that the audience, at the epilogue of the preceding speech, demanded a speech on the opposite side and cried out, “Don't let the old man be forced!”

EXPLANATORY COMMENT

[1] Like all of you, I sympathized with the old man and thought it scandalous to give the girl to Achilles, who “made Priam bereaved of many brave sons.” [2] So what shall I do? How shall I help the old man by putting the right issues at each point? The man with whom he is unwilling to make peace has acquired an almost invincible strength and is therefore much wanted by the Trojans. [3] Where shall we find an appropriate technique? The orator who is great in all things again serves us well: not being able to denigrate Philip's preparations, he finds fault with his way of life, adducing drunkenness, lewd dances, and other terms suggestive of incontinence. [4] Similarly, having no means of disparaging Achilles' power, we have collected material for an attack on his character: boastfulness, sexual exploits, instability, insolence to rulers, the overthrow of respect for the dead shown by his insulting treatment of Hector. [5] Since men do not care long about what is once done, however, but think more about their future safety, the Trojans therefore come rather to favor the son of Peleus for the sake of their future salvation than to hate him for his former wicked deeds.

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