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 III.—Follies of the Greek mythology.

For Hercules, celebrated by his three nights,8    Τριέσπερον, so called, as some think, [from his origin: “ex concubitu trium noctium.”] sung by the poets for his successful labours, the son of Jupiter, who slew the lion and destroyed the many-headed hydra; who put to death the fierce and mighty boar, and was able to kill the fleet man-eating birds, and brought up from Hades the three-headed dog; who effectually cleansed the huge Augean building from its dung, and killed the bulls and the stag whose nostrils breathed fire, and plucked the golden fruit from the tree, and slew the poisonous serpent (and for some reason, which it is not lawful to utter, killed Achelous, and the guest-slaying Busiris), and crossed the mountains that he might get water which gave forth an articulate speech, as the story goes: he who was able to do so many and such like and so great deeds as these, how childishly he was delighted to be stunned by the cymbals of the satyrs, and to be conquered by the love of woman, and to be struck on the hips by the laughing Lyda! And at last, not being able to put off the tunic of Nessus, himself kindling his own funeral pile, so he died. Let Vulcan lay aside his envy, and not be jealous if he is hated because he is old and club-footed, and Mars loved, because young and beautiful. Since, therefore, ye Greeks, your gods are convicted of intemperance, and your heroes are effeminate, as the histories on which your dramas are founded have declared, such as the curse of Atreus, the bed of Thyestes9    Thyestes seduced the wife of his brother Atreus, whence the tragic career of the family. and the taint in the house of Pelops, and Danaus murdering through hatred and making Ægyptus childless in the intoxication of his rage, and the Thyestean banquet spread by the Furies.10    There is no apodosis in the Greek. And Procne is to this day flitting about, lamenting; and her sister of Athens shrills with her tongue cut out. For what need is there of speaking of the goad11    Not, as the editors dispute, either the tongue of the buckle with which he put out his eyes, nor the awl with which his heels were bored through, but the goad with which he killed his father. of Œdipus, and the murder of Laius, and the marrying his mother, and the mutual slaughter of those who were at once his brothers and his sons?

Τὸν γὰρ τριέσπερον Ἀλκείδην, τῶν ἀγώνων ἡγήτορα, τὸν δι' ἀνδρείαν ᾀδόμενον, τὸν τοῦ Διὸς υἱόν, ὃς βριαρὸν κατέπεφνε λέοντα καὶ πολύκρανον ὤλεσεν ὕδραν, ὗν δ' ἄγριον ἀκάματον ὁ νεκρώσας, ὄρνιθας δ' ἀνδροβόρους ἱπταμένας καθελεῖν ὁ δυνηθείς, καὶ κύνα τρικάρηνον ἐξ ᾅδου ἀναγαγών, Αὐγείου δ' ὀχυρὸν τεῖχος σκυβάλων καθελεῖν ὁ δυνηθείς, ταύρους δὲ καὶ ἔλαφον ἀνελὼν ὧν μυξωτῆρες ἔπνεον πῦρ, καὶ καρπὸν χρύσεον στελέχους ὁ λαβών, ἑρπετὸν ἰοβόλον ἀνελὼν καὶ Ἀχελῷον (τίνος ἕνεκεν ἔκτανεν, οὐ θέμις εἰπεῖν) καὶ τὸν ξενοκτόνον Βούσιριν, καὶ ὁ ὄρη πηδήσας ἵνα λάβῃ ὕδωρ ἔναρθρον φωνὴν ἀποδιδόν, ὡς λόγος, ὁ τὰ τοσαῦτα καὶ τοιαῦτα καὶ τηλικαῦτα δρᾶσαι δυνηθείς, ὡς νήπιος ὑπὸ σατύρων κατακυμβαλισθεὶς καὶ ὑπὸ γυναικείου ἔρωτος ἡττηθεὶς ὑπὸ Λυδῆς γελώσης κατὰ γλουτῶν τυπτόμενος ἥδετο, καὶ τέλος, τὸν Νέσσειον χιτῶνα ἀποδύσασθαι μὴ δυνηθείς, πυρὰν κατ' αὐτοῦ αὐτὸς ποιήσας τέλος ἔλαβε τοῦ βίου. Θέτω τὸν ζῆλον Ἥφαιστος, καὶ μὴ φθονείτω εἰ πρεσβύτης ὢν καὶ κυλλὸς τὸν πόδα μεμίσητο, Ἄρης δὲ πεφίλητο νέος ὢν καὶ ὡραῖος. Ἐπεὶ οὖν, ἄνδρες Ἕλληνες, οἱ μὲν θεοὶ ὑμῶν ὑπὸ ἀκρασίας ἠλέγχθησαν, ἄνανδροι δὲ οἱ ἥρωες ὑμῶν, αἱ παρ' ὑμῖν δραματουργοὶ ἱστορίαι ἐδήλωσαν τὰ μὲν Ἀτρέως ἄγη Θυέστου τε λέχη καὶ Πελοπιδῶν μύση καὶ Δαναὸν φθόνῳ φονεύοντα καὶ ἀτεκνοῦντα Αἴγυπτον μεμεθυσμένον καὶ τὰ Θυέστεια δεῖπνα ἃ Ἐριννύες ἤρτυον. Καὶ Πρόκνη μέχρι νῦν ἐπτερωμένη γοᾷ, καὶ ταύτης ἀδελφὴ γλωσσότμητος τέτριγεν ἡ Κεκροπίς. Τὰ γὰρ Οἰδίποδος κέντρα τί δεῖ καὶ λέγειν, καὶ τὸν Λαΐου φόνον καὶ μητρὸς γάμον, καὶ τὴν τῶν ἀδελφῶν αὐτοῦ καὶ τέκνων ἅμα ἀλληλοκτονίαν;