Blandimenta

Theodoric-I

Eat nunc et coturnatis relationibus Alexandrum iactet antiquitas, cui famae opulentiam peperit dos loquentium, ut per adiutricem facundiam videatur crescere rebus mendica laudatio. regis nostri merita solacium non postulant adserentis: minora sunt eius veris actibus, quamvis aucta sint veterum gesta mendaciis. simulastis, poetae, grandia, sed fateri vos convenit praesentem dominum gessisse potiora. Pelleus ductor praeconiorum suorum summam Choerili voluit constare beneficio, ne fallendi votum multitudo deprehenderet et fieret testis impudentiae, qui adsciscebatur in adstipulatione victoriae. nihil detraho senioribus, quos praecipuos habuisset antiquitas, nisi Romani nominis erectio te dedisset. illum verae religionis ignarum obtinuit erroris mater inscitia: te summi dei cultorem ab ipso lucis limine instructio vitalis instituit. numquam applicas laboribus tuis, quod eventus dexter obtulerit: scis in te curam, penes deum perfectionis esse substantiam. agis ut prospera merearis adipisci, sed potitus universa adscribis auctori. exhibes robore vigilantia prosperitate principem, mansuetudine sacerdotem. quid! frustra maiores nostri divos et pontifices vocarunt, quibus sceptra collata sunt. singulare est actibus implere sanctissimum et veneranda nomina non habere. rex meus sit iure Alamannicus, dicatur alienus, ut divus vitam agat ex fructu conscientiae nec requirat pomposae vocabula nuda iactantiae, in cuius moribus veritati militant blandimenta maiorum.
(Ennodius, Panegyricus Dictus Clementissimo Regi Theoderico 78-81)

Let antiquity go now and show off Alexander with his high stepping stories! For him the gift of eloquent historians brought a wealth of fame, so that his praise, poor in substance, seemed to grow through the help of fecundity. The merits of our king do not require the solace of a publicist! The accomplishments of the old ones, no matter how embellished with lies, are minor compared to his genuine achievements. Poets, you fabricate great deeds but it is proper for you to admit that our present lord accomplished greater feats. The Pellean leader wished his entire praises to be composed by the services of a Choerilius, so that the multitude not catch his desire to deceive and that he who was lured into confirming his victory not become a witness to his impudence. I would detract nothing from those whom antiquity considered exceptional, had not the revival of Roman renown brought you forward. Him, his mother unaware of her error kept ignorant of true religion, but vital instruction initiated you into the worship of the highest God at the very threshold of life. Never do you accredit to your labours what an auspicious event offered you. You know that responsibility rests with you, and that God is the force responsible for your achievements. Your conduct is such, that you deserve to obtain prosperity, yet everything you gain you ascribe to your Maker. Your strength, watchfulness and good fortune show the sovereign, your clemency, the priest. What more! In vain our ancestors called those on whom the sceptres were conferred divine and pontifices. It is singular to fulfil the most sacred and not hold venerable titles! Let my king by rights be Alamannicus, but let another hold the title, so that divinely blessed he may live his life by the fruit of his conscience and not require the empty titles of pompous boasting. His character turns the sycophancy of the ancients into reality. (tr. Barbara S. Haase)

 

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