“[Dio] frequently visited military encampments dressed poorly according to his custom. When he noticed that the troops turning to revolt after the assassination of Domitian, he could not restrain himself as he looked upon the churning disorder. So he leapt naked onto the high rostrum and began his speech like this:
“Then very-clever Odysseus was stripped of his rags..” (Od. 22.1)
And after he said this and made clear that he was not a beggar nor who they thought he was, but instead was Dio the wise man, then he produced a great indictment of the tyrant Domitian and he persuaded the soldiers that it was better to act with the interests of the Roman people in mind. Truly, the persuasiveness of this man was such that it bewitched even those who had no great knowledge of Hellenic matters. For example, when the emperor Trajan seated him beside himself in the golden chariot in which the emperors join the victory procession of a triumph, he often turned to Dio and said: “I don’t know what you’re saying, but I love you as I love myself.”
θαμίζων δὲ ἐς τὰ στρατόπεδα, ἐν οἷσπερ εἰώθει τρύχεσθαι, καὶ τοὺς στρατιώτας ὁρῶν ἐς νεώτερα ὁρμῶντας ἐπὶ Δομετιανῷ ἀπεσφαγμένῳ οὐκ ἐφείσατο ἀταξίαν ἰδὼν ἐκραγεῖσαν, ἀλλὰ γυμνὸς ἀναπηδήσας ἐπὶ βωμὸν ὑψηλὸν ἤρξατο τοῦ λόγου ὧδε•
„αὐτὰρ ὁ γυμνώθη ῥακέων πολύμητις ᾿Οδυσσεύς,”
καὶ εἰπὼν ταῦτα καὶ δηλώσας ἑαυτόν, ὅτι μὴ πτωχός, μηδὲ ὃν ᾤοντο, Δίων δὲ εἴη ὁ σοφός, ἐπὶ μὲν τὴν κατηγορίαν τοῦ τυράννου πολὺς ἔπνευσεν, τοὺς δὲ στρατιώτας ἐδίδαξεν ἀμείνω φρονεῖν τὰ δοκοῦντα ῾Ρωμαίοις πράττοντας. καὶ γὰρ ἡ πειθὼ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς οἵα καταθέλξαι καὶ τοὺς μὴ τὰ ῾Ελλήνων ἀκριβοῦντας• Τραιανὸς γοῦν ὁ αὐτοκράτωρ ἀναθέμενος αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῆς ῾Ρώμης ἐς τὴν χρυσῆν ἅμαξαν, ἐφ’ ἧς οἱ βασιλεῖς τὰς ἐκ τῶν πολέμων πομπὰς πομπεύουσιν, ἔλεγε θαμὰ ἐπιστρεφόμενος ἐς τὸν Δίωνα „τί μὲν λέγεις, οὐκ οἶδα, φιλῶ δέ σε ὡς ἐμαυτόν”.
Dio? Dio of Prusa, AKA Dio Chyrsostom, friend of philosophy, exiled under Domitian. Champion of Nerva.
One thought on “Dio Quotes Homer and Trajan Loves Him as Himself (Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists, 1.488)”
I would like it if Ronnie James Dio had quoted Homer in one of his songs.