previous next
[2] Now, of the topics of apparent enthymemes one is that of diction, which is of two kinds. The first, as in Dialectic, consists in ending with a conclusion syllogistically expressed, although there has been no syllogistic process, “therefore it is neither this nor that,” “so it must be this or that”; and similarly in rhetorical arguments a concise and antithetical statement is supposed to be an enthymeme; for such a style appears to contain a real enthymeme. This fallacy appears to be the result of the form of expression. For the purpose of using the diction to create an impression of syllogistic reasoning it is useful to state the heads of several syllogisms: “He saved some, avenged others, and freed the Greeks”;1 for each of these propositions has been proved by others, but their union appears to furnish a fresh conclusion.

The second kind of fallacy of diction is homonymy.2 For instance, if one were to say that the mouse is an important animal, since from it is derived the most honored of all religious festivals, namely, the mysteries3; or if, in praising the dog, one were to include the dog in heaven (Sirius), or Pan, because Pindar said,4 “ O blessed one, whom the Olympians call dog of the Great Mother, taking every form,

or were to say that the dog is an honorable animal, since to be without a dog is most dishonorable. And to say that Hermes is the most sociable of the gods, because he alone is called common;5 and that words are most excellent, since good men are considered worthy, not of riches but of consideration; for λόγου ἄξιος has a double meaning.6

1 Isoc. 9.65-69.

2 Or equivocation, in which a single term has a double meaning.

3 Deriving μυστήριαμύειν, to close the lips) from μῦς (mouse).

4 A fragment from the Parthenia (songs sung by maidens to the accompaniment of the flute). Pan is called “the dog of Cybele,” the great nature-goddess of the Greeks, as being always in attendance on her, being himself a nature-god. The fact that Pindar calls Pan “dog” is taken as a glorification of that animal.

5 κοινὸς Ε῾ρμῆς is an expression meaning “halves!” When anyone had a stroke of luck, such as finding a purse full of money in the street, anyone with him expected to go halves. Hermes was the god of luck, and such a find was called ἑρμαῖον. κοινωνικός is taken to mean (1) liberal to others, or (2) sociable.

6 λόγος: (1) speech; (2) account, esteem.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (E. M. Cope, 1877)
load focus Greek (W. D. Ross, 1959)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: