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10. Having settled these questions, we must next state the sources of smart and popular sayings. They are produced either by natural genius or by practice; to show what they are is the function of this inquiry. [2] Let us therefore begin by giving a full list of them, and let our starting-point be the following. Easy learning is naturally pleasant to all, and words mean something, so that all words which make us learn something are most pleasant. Now we do not know the meaning of strange words, and proper terms we know already. It is metaphor, therefore, that above all produces this effect; for when Homer1 calls old age stubble, he teaches and informs us through the genus; for both have lost their bloom. [3] The similes of the poets also have the same effect; wherefore, if they are well constructed, an impression of smartness is produced. For the simile, as we have said, is a metaphor differing only by the addition of a word,2 wherefore it is less pleasant because it is longer; it does not say that this is that, so that
the mind does not even examine this. [4] Of necessity, therefore, all style and enthymemes that give us rapid information are smart. This is the reason why superficial enthymemes, meaning those that are obvious to all and need no mental effort, and those which, when stated, are not understood, are not popular, but only those which are understood the moment they are stated, or those of which the meaning, although not clear at first, comes a little later; for from the latter a kind of knowledge results, from the former neither the one nor the other.3

[5] In regard to the meaning of what is said, then, such enthymemes are popular. As to style, popularity of form is due to antithetical statement; for instance, “accounting the peace that all shared to be a war against their private interests,”4 where “war” is opposed to “peace”; [6] as to words, they are popular if they contain metaphor, provided it be neither strange, for then it is difficult to take in at a glance, nor superficial, for then it does not impress the hearer; further, if they set things “before the eyes”; for we ought to see what is being done rather than what is going to be done. We ought therefore to aim at three things—metaphor, antithesis, actuality.

[7] Of the four kinds of metaphor5
the most popular are those based on proportion. Thus, Pericles said that the youth that had perished during the war had disappeared from the State as if the year had lost its springtime.6 Leptines, speaking of the Lacedaemonians, said that he would not let the Athenians stand by and see Greece deprived of one of her eyes. When Chares was eager to have his accounts for the Olynthian war examined, Cephisodotus indignantly exclaimed that, now he had the people by the throat, he was trying to get his accounts examined7; on another occasion also he exhorted the Athenians to set out for Euboea without delay “and provision themselves there, like the decree of Miltiades.8” After the Athenians had made peace with Epidaurus and the maritime cities, Iphicrates indignantly declared “that they had deprived themselves of provisions for the war.”9 Pitholaus called the Paralus10 “the bludgeon of the people,” and Sestos “the corn-chest11 of the Piraeus.” Pericles recommended that Aegina, “the eyesore of the Piraeus,” should be removed. Moerocles, mentioning a very “respectable” person by name, declared that he was as much a scoundrel as himself; for whereas that honest man played the scoundrel at 33 per cent. he himself was satisfied with 10 per cent.12 And the iambic of Anaxandrides,13 on girls who were
slow to marry, “ My daughters are “past the time” of marriage.

” And the saying of Polyeuctus14 upon a certain paralytic named Speusippus, “that he could not keep quiet, although Fortune had bound him in a five-holed pillory of disease.” Cephisodotus called the triremes “parti-colored mills,”15 and [Diogenes] the Cynic used to say that the taverns16 were “the messes” of Attica. Aesion17 used to say that they had “drained” the State into Sicily,18 which is a metaphor and sets the thing before the eyes. His words “so that Greece uttered a cry” are also in a manner a metaphor and a vivid one. And again, as Cephisodotus bade the Athenians take care not to hold their “concourses” too often; and in the same way Isocrates, who spoke of those “who rush together” in the assemblies.19 And as Lysias says in his Funeral Oration, that it was right that Greece should cut her hair at the tomb of those who fell at Salamis, since her freedom was buried along with their valor. If the speaker had said that it was fitting that Greece should weep, her valor being buried with them, it would have been a metaphor and a vivid one,
whereas “freedom” by the side of “valor” produces a kind of antithesis. And as Iphicrates said, “The path of my words leads through the center of the deeds of Chares”; here the metaphor is proportional and the words “through the center” create vividness. Also, to say that one “calls upon dangers to help against dangers” is a vivid metaphor. And Lycoleon on behalf of Chabrias said, “not even reverencing the suppliant attitude of his statue of bronze,”20 a metaphor for the moment, not for all time, but still vivid; for when Chabrias is in danger, the statue intercedes for him, the inanimate becomes animate, the memorial of what he has done for the State. And “in every way studying poorness of spirit,”21 for “studying” a thing implies to increase it.22 And that “reason is a light that God has kindled in the soul,” for both the words reason and light make something clear. “For we do not put an end to wars, but put them off,”23 for both ideas refer to the future—putting off and a peace of such a kind. And again, it is a metaphor to say that such a treaty is “a trophy far more splendid than those gained in war; for the latter are raised in memory of trifling advantages and a single favor of fortune, but the former commemorates the end of the whole war”;24 for both treaty and trophy are signs of victory. Again, that cities also render
a heavy account to the censure of men; for rendering an account25 is a sort of just punishment.

1 Hom. Od. 24.213 ἀλλ᾽ ἔμπης καλάμην γέ σ᾽ ὀΐμαι εἰσορόωντα γιγνώσκειν. The words are those of Odysseus, whom Athene had changed into an old beggar, to Eumaeus, his faithful swineherd, in whose house he was staying unrecognized.

2 προσθέσει: the addition of the particle of comparison ὡς. προθέσει (the reading of the Paris ms.) would mean, (1) “manner of setting forth” (Cope), or (2) “a metaphor, with a preface” (Jebb) (but the meaning of this is not clear). The simile only says that one thing resembles another, not, like the metaphor, that it is another; since the speaker does not say this, the result is that the mind of the hearer does not go into the matter, and so the chance of instruction, of acquiring some information, is lost.

3 The meaning is: the two kinds of enthymemes mentioned last do convey some information, whereas the superficial enthymemes teach nothing, either at once, or a little later, when reflection has made the meaning clear.

4 Isoc. 5.73.

5 In Aristot. Poet. 21 metaphor and its four classes are defined: “Metaphor consists in assigning to a thing the name of something else; and this may take place either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or proportionally. An instance of a metaphor from genus to species is ‘here stands my ship,’ for ‘standing’ is a genus, ‘being moored’ a species; from species to genus: ‘Odysseus truly has wrought a myriad good deeds,’ for ‘myriad’ is a specific large number, used for the generic ‘multitude’; from species to species: ‘having drawn off the life with the bronze’ and ‘having cut it with the unyielding bronze,’ where ‘drawn off’ is used in the sense of ‘cut,’ and ‘cut’ in the sense of ‘drawn off,’ both being species of ‘taking away.’” For the proportional metaphor see note on 4.4 above.

6 1.7.34.

7 εὔθυνα was the technical term for the examination of accounts to which all public officers had to submit when their term of office expired. Cephisodotus and Chares were both Athenian generals. “Having the people by the throat” may refer to the condition of Athens financially and his unsatisfactory conduct of the war. But the phrase εἰς πνῖγμα τὸν δῆμον ἔχοντα is objected to by Cope, who reads ἀγαγόντα and translates: “that he drove the people into a fit of choking by his attempts to offer his accounts for scrutiny in this way,” i.e. he tried to force his accounts down their throats, and nearly choked them. Another reading suggested is ἄγχοντα (throttling so as to choke).

8 This may refer to a decree of Miltiades which was so speedily carried out that it became proverbial. The expedition was undertaken to assist Euboea against Thebes.

9 By making peace, Iphicrates said that the Athenians had deprived themselves of the opportunity of attacking and plundering a weak maritime city, and so securing provisions for the war. The word ἐφόδια properly means provisions for a journey and travelling expenses.

10 The Paralus and Salaminia were the two sacred galleys which conveyed state prisoners.

11 It commanded the trade of the Euxine.

12 Moerocles was a contemporary of Demosthenes, and an anti-Macedonian in politics. He seems to have been a money-grubber and was once prosecuted for extortion. The degree of the respectability (or rather, the swindling practices) of each is calculated by their respective profits.

13 Poet of the Middle Comedy: Frag. 68 (Kock, Com. Att. Frag. 2.). The metaphor in ὑπερήμενοι is from those who failed to keep the term of payment of a fine or debt. Cope translates: “I find ( μοι) the young ladies are . . .”

14 Athenian orator, contemporary of Demosthenes

15 As grinding down the tributary states. They differed from ordinary mills in being gaily painted.

16 Contrasted with the Spartan “messes,” which were of a plain and simple character, at which all the citizens dined together. The tavern orgies, according to Diogenes, represented these at Athens.

17 Athenian orator, opponent of Demosthenes.

18 Referring to the disastrous Sicilian expedition.

19 Isoc. 5.12. Both συνδρομάς and συντρέχοντας refer to the collecting of a mob in a state of excitement.

20 The statue of Chabrias, erected after one of his victories, represented him as kneeling on the ground, the position which he had ordered his soldiers to take up when awaiting the enemy. The statue was in the agora and could be seen from the court. Lycoleon points to it, and bases his appeal on its suppliant attitude.

21 Isoc. 4.151.

22 Metaphor from species to genus (10.7, first note.), “studying” being a species of “increasing.” As a rule one studies to increase some good quality, not a bad one.

23 Isoc. 4.172.

24 Isoc. 4.180 (apparently from memory).

25 εὔθυνα (see 10.7, third note) further implies the punishment for an unsatisfactory statement of accounts.

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    • Homer, Odyssey, 24.213
    • Isocrates, Panegyricus, 151
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