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‘Maxims which are in everyone's mouth (notorious), and universally known, should be also employed if they are serviceable (when they are to the point): for the fact that they are universal (universally known and employed) being equivalent to an universal acknowledgment (of their truth), they are generally supposed to be right (true and sound)’.

τεθρυλημέναις καὶ κοιναῖς γνώμαις] Such are the sayings of the seven sages, and of the old gnomic poets in general, Theognis, Hesiod, Phocylides and the rest, which everybody remembers and repeats. θρυλεῖν is to repeat again and again, as ὑμνεῖν, decantare. Zonaras, συνεχῶς λέγειν. Suidas and Photius, λαλεῖν, κυκᾷν. (Hesych. θρυλλεῖ, ταράσσει, ὀχλεῖ. θρύλλοι, ψιθυρισμοί, ὁμιλίαι.) Arist. Eq. 348, τὴν νύκτα θρυλῶν καὶ λαλῶν ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς, of the sausage-monger, who after having made, as he thinks, a good speech, walks about the streets all night repeating it over and over again, and chattering. Eurip. El. 909, καὶ μὴν δἰ ὄρθρων γ᾽ οὔποτ̓ ἐξελίμπανον θρυλοῦς᾿, γ̓ εἰπεῖν ἤθελον. “She had long practised and considered her speech in the early dawn of the mornings.” Paley. For τεθρυλημέναις cf. also III 7. 9; 14. 4, ‘notorious’. Plat. Phaedo 65 B, 76 D. πολυθρύλητον, Ib. 100 B, Rep. VIII 566 B. Isocr. Panath. § 237, περὶ ἀντιδόσεως § 55, (λόγους) τοὺς πάλαι παρ᾽ ὑμῖν διατεθρυλημένους. Ast, Lex. Plat. decantare. May not θρύλλειν (so it is sometimes written) be an onomatopoeia from the sound of the harp, like θρεττανελό, Arist. Plut. 290; the notion of constant repetition, recurrences being derived from ‘harping’ perpetually on the same string, chorda qui semper oberrat eadem? [Horace, A. P. 356].

παρακαλοῦντι] lit. ‘to a man exhorting’; when Ar. wrote this dative he was most likely thinking of ἐὰν ὦσι χρήσιμοι, rather than of anything else; though it is extremely uncertain. ‘As for instance in an exhortation to make the adventure—run the risk of battle—without previous sacrifice’.

θυσαμένους] Schrader interprets litare, said of a sacrifice which propitiates the deity to whom it is offered. He may possibly mean that it is the use of the middle voice that gives it this sense ‘for themselves, for their own benefit’.

εἷς οἰωνός κ.τ.λ.] Hom. Il. XII 243 (Hector to Polydamas, who has threatened him with an evil omen). οἰωνός in the γνώμη has reference to the preceding θυσαμένους. Talk not to me of your omens (from sacrifice) says the officer, cheering on his men, who are disheartened by the absence of favourable omens; “One omen is best of all, to rally for our country's defence.” Pope, “And asks no omen but his country's cause.” Lord Derby, “The best of omens is our country's cause.” Applied by Cicero to his own public conduct and intentions, Ep. ad Attic. II 3. 3, ult. Schrader quotes Cic. Cato Maior, 3. 4, Q. Fabius Maximus, augur cum esset, dicere ausus est optimis auspiciis ea geri quae pro reipublicae salute gererentur: quae contra rempublicam fierent contra auspicia fieri.

‘And again an exhortation to run the risk (subaudi παρακαλοῦντι ἐπὶ τὸ κινδυνεύειν1) with inferior forces’; ξυνὸς Ἐνυάλιος, Il. XVIII 309. This again is from a speech of Hector, expressing his readiness to encounter Achilles. Οὔ μιν ἔγωγε φεύξομαι...ἀλλὰ μάλ᾽ ἄντην στήσομαι, κε φέρῃσι μέγα κράτος, κε φεροίμην. ξυνὸς Ἐνυάλιος, καί τε κτανέοντα κατέκτα. This passed into a proverb for ‘the equal chances of battle’. Archilochus, (Bergk, Fr. Lyr. Gr. No. 56, p. 479 [p. 550, ed. 2]), ἐτήτυμον γὰρ ξυνὸς ἀνθρώποις Ἄρης. Aesch. S. c. T. 409, ἔργον δ᾽ ἐν κύβοις Ἄρης κρινεῖ. Liv. XXVIII 19, In pugna et in acie, ubi Mars communis et victum saepe erigeret et affligeret victorem. Ib. V 12, XXI 1 (quoted by Trollope on the verse of Homer).

‘And an exhortation (und. as before) to destroy enemies' children even when innocent, “Childish is he, who first slays the father and then leaves the children behind.”’ This is a verse of Stasinus's Κύπρια, one of the Cyclic poems. It is ascribed to him by Clemens Alex. Strom. VI p. 747. Düntzer, Fragm. Epic. Gr. p. 16. See note on I 15. 14.

1 Gaisford, echoing F. A. Wolf, says of this, “Recte statuit W. haec non sana esse. Mihi videtur verbum aliquod excidisse.” In a writer like Aristotle there is nothing at all extraordinary in such an ellipse as I have supposed: in any other it might no doubt lead one to suspect an omission.

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