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147 Appendix Illustrations from the Prog y m n as m a ta of Libanius Libanius of Antioch was the leading pagan rhetorician of the second half of the fourth century. Born in 314 to a prominent Antiochene family and trained at Athens, he taught rhetoric in the imperial capitals Constantinople and Nicomedia before returning to Antioch for the remainder of his career. He was a friend and consultant to emperors , notably Constantius II and Julian (“the Apostate”), and teacher to numerous leading orators of his day, pagan and Christian alike (most likely including John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Basil of Caesarea, and Gregory of Nazianzus). The surviving corpus of his orations includes a set of progymnasmata.While of course dating from the fourth century, these exercises for rhetoric students are deeply rooted in traditions that extend back to the days of the author of Luke and Acts and beyond.The four examples given here show how to turn the tables on convention by praising the despised Homeric characterThersites and by praising or blaming, as need might dictate, the Homeric hero Achilles . See pages 129 and 130 above for discussion. Dr. Craig Gibson has generously provided these translations and the accompanying footnotes from a complete translation of the Progymnasmata of Libanius that he is preparing for publication in the Society of Biblical Literature’s Writings from the Greco-Roman World series.They are included here by permisParsons_LukeActs_JDE_djm .indd 147 9/15/06 1:27:40 PM 148 Appendix sion of the Society of Biblical Literature.The Greek texts are in Libanii opera, vol. 8, edited by Richard Foerster (Leipzig: Teubner, 1915). 1. Encomium of Thersites (Prog. 8.4.1–19) 1 Begging Homer’s pardon, I myself will attempt to praise this man of whom the poet wished to speak badly—by whom I mean Thersites. I will try to discuss him a little, offering Homer himself as witness to certain points. 2 First of all,therefore,he was not descended from lowly or anonymous parents, unless anyone regards Agrius and his father and grandfather as lowly, but no one sensible would do so. So that if   Thersites wanted to exalt himself among the Greeks because of his ancestry,as did his relative Diomedes, he would not have been at a loss for words, but would also have been able to say of himself: “For three blameless sons were born to Portheus.” But in fact, not even when he was being wronged by Odysseus did he mention his ancestors as one might do, thinking that he deserved good repute among the others because of his family. 3 Having been raised, therefore, as seems reasonable for someone descended from such ancestors, and being able to participate in deeds befitting heroes, he went against the boar, when Meleager brought together all the other best men against that bane of the land, but after leaving from there he became sick and the disease injured his body. 4 This did not, however, make his soul worse or drive out of it either his courage or his desire for glory.There is evidence for this: for when the Atreidae were assembling the fleet against the barbarians, although, if he wanted to live a carefree life, he had the misfortune to his body as an attractive pretext for doing so, he could not bear hearing about the action as he waited at home, but rather,although he was free of the necessity imposed by the oath,which had forced the rest to board the ships, he set sail just as though he had sworn all the oaths, and his anger against the wrongdoers spurred him . His father was Agrius (Apollodorus, Bibl. 1.8.6), grandfather Porthaon, and great-grandfather Hippodamas (1.7.10). .Thersites’ father Agrius (schol. in Homer, Il. 2.212) had a brother Oeneus (ibid. and Homer, Il. 14.115–17), who was Diomedes’ paternal grandfather (Homer, Il. 14.118). . Homer, Il. 14.115.The sons’ names were Agrius, Melas, and Oeneus (lines 116–17). . Schol. in Homer, Il. 2.212, with citations of Pherecydes (FGrH 3 F123) and Euphorion (frag. 106, Powell). For the story of the Calydonian boar, see Apollodorus, Bibl. 1.8.2–3. . Apollodorus, Bibl. 3.10.8–9. Parsons_LukeActs_JDE_djm.indd 148 9/15/06 1:27:40 PM 149 Appendix on, and though he was bandy-legged, he believed that the war needed a soul that knew how to be daring, so that it seems to me that the...


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