Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
TATIAN: Chapter XXXIV. Ridicule of the Statues Erected by the Greeks.
Chapter XXXIV.—Ridicule of the Statues Erected by the Greeks.
Worthy of very great honour, certainly, was the tyrant Bhalaris, who devoured sucklings, and accordingly is exhibited by the workmanship of Polystratus the Ambraciot, even to this day, as a very wonderful man! The Agrigentines dreaded to look on that countenance of his, because of his cannibalism; but people of culture now make it their boast that they behold him in his statue! Is it not shameful that fratricide is honoured by you who look on the statues of Polynices and Eteocles, and that you have not rather buried them with their maker Pythagoras? Destroy these memorials of iniquity! Why should I contemplate with admiration the figure of the woman who bore thirty children, merely for the sake of the artist Periclymenus? One ought to turn away with disgust from one who bore off the fruits of great incontinence, and whom the Romans compared to a sow, which also on a like account, they say, was deemed worthy of a mystic worship. Ares committed adultery with Aphrodité, and Andron made an image of their offspring Harmonia. Sophron, who committed to writing trifles and absurdities, was more celebrated for his skill in casting metals, of which specimens exist even now. And not only have his tales kept the fabulist Æsop in everlasting remembrance, but also the plastic art of Aristodemus has increased his celebrity. How is it then that you, who have so many poetesses whose productions are mere trash, and innumerable courtezans, and worthless men, are not ashamed to slander the reputation of our women? What care I to know that Euanthé gave birth to an infant in the Peripatus, or to gape with wonder at the art of Callistratus, or to fix my gaze on the Neæra of Calliades? For she was a courtezan. Laïs was a prostitute, and Turnus made her a monument of prostitution. Why are you not ashamed of the fornication of Hephæstion, even though Philo has represented him very artistically? And for what reason do you honour the hermaphrodite Ganymede by Leochares, as if you possessed something admirable? Praxiteles even made a statue of a woman with the stain of impurity upon it. It behoved you, repudiating everything of this kind, to seek what is truly worthy of attention, and not to turn with disgust from our mode of life while receiving with approval the shameful productions of Philænis and Elephantis.
Next: Chapter XXXV. Tatian Speaks as an Eye-Witness.
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