previous next

‘The varieties of men's characters in respect of their instinctive feelings and developed states and of their several ages and fortunes (conditions of life), let us next proceed to describe’. § 2. ‘By feelings or emotions I mean anger, desire, and such like of which we have spoken before (II 2—11), and by settled states, virtues and vices: these too have been discussed before, as well as the objects of individual choice, and of individual action (what sort of things they are inclined to do, or capable of doing, πρακτικοί)’. The second reference is to I 9, and probably also to I 5 and 6, on good absolute and comparative, as the object of human aspiration.

On πάθη, δυνάμεις, ἕξεις, see Eth. Nic. II 4; and on the import of ἦθος and its relation to ἔθος, Introd. p. 228, Appendix C, to Bk. I. c. 10.

Vater raises a difficulty about the connexion of the above passage with the concluding sentence of the last chapter, which he says he cannot understand. “How could Aristotle after stating that he had concluded the description of the πάθη immediately add, as though nothing had been said about them, nunc autem qui mores aut animorum motus —explicemus? My answer is that he does not say so: the two sentences have reference to two totally different things: at the end of c. 11, he tells us that he has now finished the analysis of the πάθη, and shews by the analysis how they can be applied to the purposes of the rhetorician, how to excite and allay them. What he says at the opening of c. 12, is that he is now going to treat of the application of these πάθη and the ἕξεις which grow out of them to the characters of certain ages and conditions of life. The Latin words quoted are a mere mistranslation: the κατά is overlooked, and the sentence rendered as if it were τὰ δὲ ἤθη καὶ τὰ πάθη ...διέλθωμεν. Vater accordingly on this ground, and also on that of the passage of Quintilian (immediately to be noticed), supposes that something is lost here.

The passage of Quintilian, V 10. 17, presents a real difficulty. In referring to Aristotle in secundo de Arte Rhetorica libro—which can only mean this place—he adds to what we actually find in Aristotle several other ‘characters’ of which no trace is now to be found in his text, “ut divitias quid sequatur, aut ambitum, aut superstitionem; quid boni probent, quid mali petant, quid milites, quid rustici; quo quaeque modo res vitari vel appeti soleat.” Both Victorius (Comm. ad II 17. 6, p. 358, ed. 1548), and Spalding (ad loc. Quint.), attribute the discrepancy to a lapse of memory on Quintilian's part, who was here quoting without book. The former, in a sarcastic note, thinks that it is much more probable to suppose that Quintilian, without referring to the text of his author, added de suo what he thought ought to be there, than that anything has been lost in a book which presents no trace of any hiatus. To which Spalding adds, “non uno quidem loco vidimus videbimusque Quintilianum memoriae vitio e libris afferentem, quae in iis non plane eadem legerentur. Cf. IV 2. 132.” In this explanation I think we must acquiesce. Spengel also, in his tract über die Rhet. des Ar. (Trans. Bav. Acad. 1851) p. 43, attributes this want of coincidence to a ‘mistake’ of Quintilian.

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.

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