The Discourse to the Greeks

 Chapter I.—Justin justifies his departure from Greek customs.

 Chapter II.—The Greek theogony exposed.

 Chapter III.—Follies of the Greek mythology.

 Chapter IV.—Shameless practices of the Greeks.

 Chapter V.—Closing appeal.

Chapter I.—Justin justifies his departure from Greek customs.

Do not suppose, ye Greeks, that my separation from your customs is unreasonable and unthinking; for I found in them nothing that is holy or acceptable to God. For the very compositions of your poets are monuments of madness and intemperance. For any one who becomes the scholar of your most eminent instructor, is more beset by difficulties than all men besides. For first they say that Agamemnon, abetting the extravagant lust of his brother, and his madness and unrestrained desire, readily gave even his daughter to be sacrificed, and troubled all Greece that he might rescue Helen, who had been ravished by the leprous1    Potter would here read λιπαροῦ, “elegant” [ironically for effeminate]; but the above reading is defended by Sylburg, on the ground that shepherds were so greatly despised, that this is not too hard an epithet to apply to Paris. shepherd. But when in the course of the war they took captives, Agamemnon was himself taken captive by Chryseis, and for Briseis’ sake kindled a feud with the son of Thetis. And Pelides himself, who crossed the river,2    Of the many attempts to amend this clause, there seems to be none satisfactory. overthrew Troy, and subdued Hector, this your hero became the slave of Polyxena, and was conquered by a dead Amazon; and putting off the god-fabricated armour, and donning the hymeneal robe, he became a sacrifice of love in the temple of Apollo. And the Ithacan Ulysses made a virtue of a vice.3    Or, won the reputation of the virtue of wisdom by the vice of deceit. And indeed his sailing past the Sirens4    That is, the manner in which he did it, stopping his companions’ ears with wax, and having himself bound to the mast of his ship. gave evidence that he was destitute of worthy prudence, because he could not depend on his prudence for stopping his ears. Ajax, son of Telamon, who bore the shield of sevenfold ox-hide, went mad when he was defeated in the contest with Ulysses for the armour. Such things I have no desire to be instructed in. Of such virtue I am not covetous, that I should believe the myths of Homer. For the whole rhapsody, the beginning and end both of the Iliad and the Odyssey is—a woman.

Μὴ ὑπολάβητε, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἕλληνες, ἄλογον ἢ ἀνεπίκριτον εἶναί μου τὸν ἐκ τῶν ὑμετέρων ἐθῶν χωρισμόν: οὐδὲν γὰρ ἐν αὐτοῖς εὗρον ὅσιον ἢ θεοφιλές. Αὐτὰ γὰρ τὰ τῶν ποιητῶν ὑμῶν συνθέματα λύσσης καὶ ἀκρασίας ἐστὶ μνημεῖα. Τῷ γὰρ ἐν παιδείᾳ παρ' ὑμῖν προὔχοντι φοιτῶν τις πάντων ἀνθρώπων ἐστὶν ἀργαλεώτατος. Πρώτιστα μὲν γάρ φησι τὸν Ἀγαμέμνονα, τῇ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ ἀκρασίᾳ ἐπιτεταμένῃ λύσσῃ καὶ ἀκατασχέτῳ ἐπιθυμίᾳ συνεργοῦντα, καὶ τὴν θυγατέρα πρὸς θυσίαν εὐδοκήσαντα δοῦναι καὶ πᾶσαν ταράξαι τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἵνα ῥύσηται τὴν Ἑλένην ὑπὸ λεπροῦ ποιμένος ἡρπασμένην. Ὁπότε δὲ καὶ τοῦ πολέμου κατασχόντος αἰχμαλώτους ἤγαγον, αὐτὸς Ἀγαμέμνων ὑπὸ Χρυσηΐδος αἰχμάλωτος ἤγετο: πρὸς τὸν Θέτιδος παῖδα Βρισηΐδος ἕνεκεν ἔχθραν ἤρατο. Αὐτὸς δὲ Πηληϊάδης, ὁ ποταμὸν πεδήσας, Τροίαν καταστρέψας, Ἕκτορα χειρωσάμενος, Πολυξένης ὁ ἥρως ὑμῶν δοῦλος ἦν, ὑπὸ Ἀμαζόνος νεκρᾶς νενίκητο: τὰ θεότευκτα ὅπλα ἀποδυσάμενος, νυμφικὴν στολὴν ἐνδυσάμενος, φίλτρων θῦμα ἐγίνετο ἐν τῷ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος νηῷ. Ὁ γὰρ Ἰθακήσιος Λαερτιάδης ἐκ κακίας ἀρετὴν ἐνεπορεύσατο: ὅτι δὲ ἀγαθῆς φρονήσεως ἄμοιρος ἦν, ὁ κατὰ τὰς Σειρῆνας διάπλους ἐδήλωσεν, ὅτε μὴ ἠδυνήθη φρονήσει ἐμφράξαι τὴν ἀκοήν. Ὁ Τελαμώνιος Αἴας, ὁ τὸ ἑπταβόειον φέρων σάκος, διὰ τὴν πρὸς Ὀδυσσέα περὶ τῶν ὅπλων κρίσιν ἡττηθεὶς ὑπὸ μανίας ἡλίσκετο. Ταῦτα παιδεύεσθαι οὐ θέλω: οὐ γὰρ τοιαύτης ἀρετῆς ἐπιδικάζομαι, ἵνα τοῖς Ὁμήρου μύθοις πείθωμαι. Ἔστι γὰρ ἡ πᾶσα ῥαψῳδία, Ἰλιάδος τε καὶ Ὀδυσσείας ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος, γυνή.