But verily that is not so; I swear by the dangers the Emperor underwent for the welfare of the Roman Empire, and the struggles and disasters my father suffered on behalf of the Christians, I most certainly do not describe and write of these things in order to favour my father. And, wherever I perceive that my father made a mistake, I unhesitatingly transgress the natural law and cling to the truth, for though I hold him dear, I hold truth dearer still. For, as some philosopher has said, when two things are dear, it is best to prefer the truth.
The attendants of the women’s apartments
But I follow up the facts themselves, without adding anything of my own or slurring over events, and thus I speak and write. And the proof is close at hand; for I am not writing about things of ten thousand years ago, but there are many still living to-day who knew my father and tell me of his doings; and no small part of my history has been gathered from them, for one will relate one thing which he happens to remember and another another, and all are of the same opinion. And as a rule I was with my father and mother and accompanied them. For it was not my lot to be kept at home and brought up in the shade and in luxury; but even from my cradle (I call my God and His Mother to witness!) toils and afflictions and continual misfortunes beset me, some from without and some from within. What my physical appearance was I cannot say, that the attendants of the women’s apartments can describe and tell at length.
But as for all the external ills which happened to me before I had even completed my eighth year, and the many enemies the malice of men aroused against me it would require the Siren of Isocrates to tell, or the eloquence of Pindar, the breeziness of Polemo, the Calliope of Homer, the lyre of Sappho or some other power beyond all these. For there is no terror either great or small, from near or afar that did not throng around us. And verily the floods overwhelmed me and from that time until now, up to the very time that I am writing this history, the sea of calamities rushes over me and waves follow upon waves. But unconsciously I have been drawn to speak of my own troubles; now having returned to my senses, I will swim upstream again, as it were, and return to my first subject.
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