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‘The magnitude of a wrong varies with the degree of the injustice that prompts it’. There is here the same distinction taken between ἀδίκημα, a wrong done—an abstract wrong, regarded independently of the motive or intention—and the confirmed habit (the bad ἕξις), depraved will and disposition implied in ἀδικία. The deliberate purpose, προαίρεσις, is the measure of moral worth, and distinguishes virtue from vice, Eth. Nic. V 10, 1135 b 20, ὅταν δὲ εἰδὼς μὲν μὴ προβουλεύσας δὲ (πράττῃ τις), ἀδίκημα, οἷον ὅσα τε διὰ θυμὸν καὶ ἄλλα πάθη, ὅσα ἀναγκαῖα φυσικά, συμβαίνει τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: ταῦτα γὰρ βλάπτοντες καὶ ἁμαρτάνοντες ἀδικοῦσι μέν, καὶ ἀδικήματά ἐστιν, οὐ μέντοι πω ἄδικοι διὰ ταῦτα οὐδὲ πονηροί: οὐ γὰρ διὰ μοχθηρίαν βλάβη: ὅταν δ᾽ ἐκ προαιρέσεως, ἄδικος καὶ μοχθηρός.

‘And therefore (sometimes) the smallest things are greatest’, acts apparently most trifling are sometimes indicative of the worst intentions and dispositions, ‘as is exemplified in Callistratus' charge against Melanopus, that he cheated the temple-builders of three consecrated half-obols’. Such a charge subjected the offender to a γραφὴ ἱερῶν χρημάτων, Dem. de Fals. Leg. § 335 [= p. 435 § 293]. The exact nature of the offence imputed to Melanopus cannot be ascertained: it was probably some fraud (possibly an error construed as a crime,) in the settlement of accounts between himself and the persons charged with the building or restoration of a temple, the ναοποιοί.

The word ναοποιοί appears to be an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον. Stephens, Thesaurus s. v., gives no other example. On the same analogy are formed τειχοποιός, μηχανοποιός, ἀγαλματοποιός. The office is described in Pol. VII (VI) 8, 1322 b 19, οἷον ἱερεῖς καὶ ἐπιμεληταὶ τῶν περὶ τὰ ἱερὰ τοῦ σώζεσθαί τε τὰ ὑπάρχοντα καὶ ἀνορθοῦσθαι τὰ πίπτοντα τῶν οἰκοδομημάτων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὅσα τέτακται πρὸς τοὺς θεούς. The word ἱεροποιοί, which follows immediately, in line 24, is referred by Stahr (erroneously however) to this office of curator of sacred buildings, where he translates it ‘tempel-baumeister’.

The magnitude of the vice is argued in this case from the trifling amount of the profit; if a man would commit so great a sin as sacrilege for three halfpence, how great must be the depravity of his character and intentions. Melanopus and Callistratus, as Victorius notes, are mentioned together as ambassadors to Thebes by Xenoph., Hellen. VI 2 and 3; and by Plutarch, Vit. Demosth. (p. 851 F), represented as political rivals and opponents. On Callistratus, see note on I 7. 13.

παρελογίσατο] This verb has two different applications in conformity with the double sense of λογίζεσθαι and λογισμός; the two senses, though closely connected and often identified, are at all events distinguishable; (1) ‘reasoning’ and (2) ‘calculation’; the παρά, which conveys the imputation of fraud (παρά, amiss, awry, wrong), being common to both. Here (as in Dem. c. Aphob. ά, p. 822. 25, where it stands for simple ‘misreckoning’, and Isocr. Panath. § 243, for ‘cheating’, ‘fraudulent miscalculation’ in accounts) it has the latter sense. Elsewhere, and usually, (at all events in Aristotle, as Rhet. I 9. 29, II 23. 3, 25. 10 bis, III 12. 4, et passim,) it denotes ‘wrong, fallacious, false, reasoning’, a ‘fallacy’ in argument. Lastly ἱερά means ‘consecrated to sacred uses; devoted to the service of the gods or religion’.

‘In the case of justice, the opposite is true’. That is, the magnitude or strength of the just and virtuous disposition, inclination, resolution, is shewn, not now in the trifling character of the temptation or motive by which it is led astray, but in the greatness of the temptation which it withstands. ‘Ut qui ingentem vim auri, apud se nullo teste depositam, cum infitiari impune possit, reddidit, iustior sit necesse est quam si idem in exigua pecunia fecit.’ Victorius. Injustice varies inversely with the magnitude of the profit or advantage to be derived from it, the less the temptation the greater the sin; justice directly, the greater the profit and the consequent temptation to do wrong, the higher the virtue in foregoing it: as, the greater the deposit, the greater the justice in restoring it.

‘The reason of this’ (ταῦτα is τὸ τὰ ἐλάχιστα μέγιστα εἶναι) ‘is, that (the greater crime) is virtually latent (in the less); for one who could steal (lit. stole) three half-obols consecrated to religious uses would be capable of any other iniquity whatsoever’. The δύναμις, the indefinite latent capacity of vice, is tacitly opposed to the ἐνέργεια, any possible enormity, to which it may, or may not, be developed. If a man will commit a crime which may be interpreted as sacrilege for such a trifle as three half-obols, he is plainly ‘capable’ of sacrilege in any degree of atrocity, where the profit and temptation are greater.

On the subject of δύναμις and ἐνέργεια, physical, moral, and metaphysical, the fundamental and all-pervading antithesis of the Aristotelian Philosophy, a commentary on Rhetoric is not the place to enter. It is explained by Trendelenburg, Comm. on de Anima, II 1, Elem. Log. Arist. § 6, p. 61. δύναμις is treated in Metaph. Θ 1—5, and ἐνέργεια, ib. 6—9, on which consult Bonitz's Commentary. Grant, Essays on Ethics, Essay IV, pp. 181—201, 1st [or 2nd] ed., gives a full and clear account of the relation between them, and the doctrine in general, especially in its application to Moral Philosophy. Aristotle himself nowhere gives a complete and intelligible description of this antithesis and its bearings, but assumes the knowledge of it in all his writings.

‘Now sometimes the degree of crime, the comparative criminality, may be determined in this way; in other cases it is decided, or estimated, by the (actual amount of the) harm or injury done’. ἐκ ‘from’, means that the decision or estimate of the amount of criminality proceeds or is derived from the comparison of the injury or consequences resulting from the two acts.

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