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Top. XI. This is an inference ἐκ κρίσεως, ‘from an authoritative judgment or decision already pronounced upon the same question, or one like it, or the opposite’ (opposites may always be inferred from opposites); ‘either universally and at all times’ (supply οὕτω κεκρίκασιν) ‘or, in default of that, by the majority, or the wise—either all or most— or good’. This topic, like the last, is naturally wanting in the dialectical Topics, to which it is inappropriate. Brandis, u. s. Cicero, Top. XX 78, mixes up this topic with the authority of character, the ἦθος ἐν τῷ λέγοντι, which ought not to be confounded though they have much in common; the authority being derived from the same source, intellectual and moral pre-eminence, but employed in different ways. The former of the two is made supplementary to the other, sed et oratores et philosophos et poetas et historicos: ex quorum et dictis et scriptis saepe auctoritas petitur ad faciendam fidem. Quintilian omits it in his enumeration, V 10. We have here, and in the following sentence, a classification of ‘authorities’ from whose foregone decisions we may draw an inference as to the truth of a statement, or the rectitude of a principle, act, or course of policy which we have to support; or the reverse. Such are the universal consent of mankind1, quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus: short of that, the judgment of the majority: or of the ‘wise’, especially professional men, experts, pre-eminently skilled in any art, science, practice, pursuit, or the majority of them: or, lastly, the good, the right-minded, and therefore sound judging; whose minds are unclouded by passion or partiality, unbiassed by prejudice, clear to decide aright: men of φρόνησις who have acquired the habit of right judgment in practical business and moral distinctions. The good, or virtuous man, the φρόνιμος or ἀγαθός, or the ὀρθὸς λόγος, appears again and again in Aristotle's Moral and Political writings as the true standard of judgment. Comp. Rhet. I 6. 25, ἀγαθόν, ὃ τῶν φρονίμων τις ἢ τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀνδρῶν ἢ γυναικῶν προέκρινεν, and see note and references there. The wise, as authorities; particularly judges and legislators, as well as poets, philosophers, statesmen, prophets and seers, and the like; are one class of μάρτυρες (as attesting the truth of a statement or principle) of the ἄτεχνοι πίστεις, I 15. 13, seq.: where Homer, Periander, Solon, Themistocles (as an interpreter of oracles), and Plato, are selected as examples. ἢ εἰ αὐτοὶ οἱ κρίνοντες] again κεκρίκασιν. ‘Or again, (special classes of authorities,) if the judges themselves, or those whose authority they accept (have already pronounced upon the point); or those whose decision we have no power of opposing, such as our lords and masters (any one that has power, controul, over us, with whom it is folly to contend); or those whose decision it is not right to oppose, as gods, father, pastors and masters’ (whom we are bound in duty to obey). ‘An instance of this is what Autocles said in his speech on the prosecution of Mixidemides’ (this is lit. ‘as Aut. said, what he did say against M.’）’ ‘that’ (before εἰ supply δεινὸν εἶναι aut tale aliquid, ‘it was monstrous that, to think that’—) ‘the dread goddesses’ (the Eumenides or Erinnyes) ‘should be satisfied to bring their case2 before the Areopagus, and Mixidemides not!’ That is, that the authority of the courthad been proved by the submission of the Eumenides, Mixidemides was therefore bound to submit in like manner: the jurisdiction and its claims had been already decided. Of the circumstances of the case nothing further is known: but it seems from the allusion here, that Mixid. had first refused to submit to the Court of Areopagus the trial of some charge against him, on which he was subsequently, and consequently, prosecuted in one of the ordinary courts of Autocles. The appearance of the σεμναὶ θεαί as prosecutors in the court of the Areopagus is of course a reference to their prosecution of Orestes in Aeschylus' Eumenides. Of Mixidemides we know but the name. Autocles was a much more important personage. He was an Athenian, son of Strombichides, Xen. Hellen. VI 3. 2, one of the seven ambassadors sent to the congress at Sparta in 371 B.C., in the spring before the battle of Leuctra, Xen. l. c., who reports his speech § 7. Xenophon (u. s. § 7) calls him μάλα ἐπιστρεφὴς ῥήτωρ, ‘a very careful orator’ (so Sturz, Lex. Xen. and Lexx. but I think rather, ‘dexterous’, one who could readily turn himself about to anything, ‘versatile’: and so apparently Suidas, who renders it ἀγχίνους). Autocles was again employed in 362—361 “in place of Ergophilus (Rhet. II 3. 13) to carry on war for Athens in the Hellespont and Bosporus.” (Grote.) Xenophon's Hellenics do not reach this date. His operations against Cotys in the Chersonese, and subsequent trial, are mentioned by Demosth. c. Aristocr. § 104 and c. Polycl. § 12, and his name occurs, pro Phorm. § 53 [A. Schaefer's Dem. u. s. Zeit I pp. 64, 134 and III 2. p. 158]. See Grote, H. G. X 223 [c. LXXVII], and 511 seq. [c. LXXX]. Another Autocles, ὁ Τολμαίου, is mentioned by Thuc. IV 53, and again c. 119: and another by Lysias, πρὸς Σίμωνα § 12: and a fourth by Aeschines, de F. Leg. § 155. ‘Or (another example) Sappho's saying, that death must be an evil: for the gods have so decided; else they would have died themselves’: using the gods as an authority for the truth of her dictum. ‘Or again, as Aristippus to Plato, when he pronounced upon some point in—as he, Aristippus, thought—a somewhat too authoritative tone, “Nay but,” said he, “our friend”—meaning Socrates—“never used to speak like that.”’ Aristippus draws an inference from the authority of their common master—who never dictated, but left every question open to free discussion, always assuming his own ignorance, and desire to be instructed rather than to instruct—to the proper rule in conducting philosophical discussion. On Aristippus see Grote's Plato, Vol. III. p. 530, seq. ch. XXXVIII. On this passage, see Grote, Plato, III 471, and note. In qualification of what is there said of Plato's ‘arrogance’, so far as it can be gathered from our text, take Victorius' commentary on ὡς ᾤετο, with which I entirely agree: “quae sequuntur verba modestiam Platonis defendunt, et paene declarant sine causa Aristippum arrogantiae eum insumulasse: addit enim ὡς ᾤετο, ut opinio illius erat.” I will not however deny that Plato may even in conversation have been occasionally guilty of dogmatizing: in his latest writings, such as the Timaeus and Laws, and to a less degree in the Republic, such a tendency undoubtedly shews itself: but by far the larger portion of his dialogues, which represent probably nearly three-fourths of his entire life, are pervaded by a directly opposite spirit, and are the very impersonation of intellectual freedom. Following the method and practice of his master, he submits every question as it arises to the freest dialectical discussion, so that it is often impossible to decide which way (at the period of writing any particular dialogue) his own opinion inclines; and always presents in the strongest light any objections and difficulties in the thesis which he is maintaining. I think at all events with Victorius that Aristotle at any rate lends no countenance here to Aristippus' charge of dogmatic assumption. So far as his outward bearing and demeanour were concerned, I can conceive that he may have been haughty and reserved, possibly even morose: but a habit of ‘laying down the law’, or of undue assumption and pretension in lecturing and discussion—which is what Aristippus appears here to attribute to him—seems to me to be inconsistent with what we known from his dialogues to have been the ordinary habit of his mind, at least until he was already advanced in life3. ἐπαγγελτικώτερον] ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι is to ‘announce’, ‘make public profession of’, as of an art, pursuit, business, practice. Xen. Memor. I 2. 7, ἐπ᾽ ἀρετήν, of the Sophists, who ‘made a profession of teaching virtue’. So Πρωταγόρου ἐπάγγελμα, Rhet. II 24. 11. This ‘profession’ may or may not carry with it the notion of pretension without performance, imposture, sham, φαινομένη σοφία, show without substance: and it is by the context and the other associations that the particular meaning must be determined. Thus when Protagoras says of himself, τοῦτό ἐστιν, ὦ Σ., τὸ ἐπάγγελμα ὃ ἐπαγγέλλομαι, he certainly does not mean to imply that he is an impostor: when Aristotle l. c. applies the term to him, this is by no means so certain; judging by his account of the Sophists, de Soph. El. I, 165 a 19 seq. Instances of both usages may be found in Ast, Lex. Plat. There can be no doubt that undue assumption or pretension is meant to be conveyed by Aristippus in applying the word to Plato's tone and manner. ‘And Agesipolis repeated the inquiry of the God at Delphi, which he had previously made (of the God) at Olympia (Apollo at Delphi, Zeus at Olympia), whether his opinion coincided with his father's; assuming or inferring’ (ὡς sc. from the obvious duty of respecting the authority of a father) ‘the disgracefulness of pronouncing the contrary’. For v. l. Ἡγήσιππος Victorius and Muretus had proposed to substitute Ἀγησίπολις, from Xen. Hellen. IV 7. 2, which has been adopted in the recent editions of Bekker and Spengel; being also confirmed by a variation in the old Latin Transl., which has Hegesippus polis. See Spengel in Trans. Bav. Acad. 1851, p. 53. Gaisford in Not. Var. and Victorius. Xenophon in the passage cited tells the whole story. Agesipolis is the first of the three kings of Sparta of that name, who came to the throne in 394 B.C. (Clinton, F. H. II p. 205). His expedition into Argolis, to which the consultation of the oracle was preparatory, was in 390 (Clinton, F. H. sub anno). This Agesipolis has been not unnaturally confounded with his more distinguished fellow-citizen and contemporary Agesilaus, to whom Plutarch, Reg. et Imper. Apophthegm., Agesilaus 7, p. 191 B, erroneously ascribes this saying as an apophthegm (Gaisford). And similarly Diodorus, XIV 97, has substituted the latter name for the former in his account of (apparently) the same event that Xenophon is relating in the passage above cited. See Schneider's note ad locum. ‘And Isocrates’ argument about Helen, to shew that she was virtuous and respectable, (as she must have been) since (εἴπερ, if—as he did) she was approved by Theseus (Theseus decided, or gave judgment in her favour)’. Aristotle's ἔκρινεν expresses Isocrates' ἀγαπήσαντας καὶ θαυμάσαντας. See ante, I 6. 25. The passage of Isocrates referred to occurs in his Helen §§ 18—22. Compare especially §§ 21, 22. He concludes thus, περὶ δὲ τῶν οὕτω παλαιῶν προσήκει τοῖς κατ᾽ ἐκεῖνον τὸν χρόνον εὖ φρονήσασιν ὁμονοοῦντας ἡμᾶς φαίνεσθαι, to give way to their authority. ‘And the case of Alexander (Paris) whom the (three) goddesses (Juno, Minerva, Venus) preferred’ (selected, decided, by preference; πρό, before all others; to adjudge the prize of beauty). This instance is given before, with the preceding, in I 6. 25. ‘And—as Isocrates says, to prove that (ὅτι) Evagoras was a man of worth—Conon, at all events after his misfortune, left all the rest and came to Evagoras’. Evagoras, the subject of Isocrates' panegyric, Or. IX, was king of Salamis in Cyprus. In the spring of 404 B.C., after the defeat of Aegospotami (δυστυχήσας), he fled for refuge to Evagoras, Xen. Hellen. II 1. 29; the words δυστυχήσας ὡς Εὐαγόραν ἦλθε are a direct quotation from the Oration, § 52. This incident of Conon's forced visit is absurdly embellished, exaggerated, and distorted from its true significance by the voluble panegyrist, § 51 seq.
1 On the force of this argument from universal consent, see Cic. Tusc. Disp. I cc. 12, 13, 14, 15: especially 13, 30 (of the belief in God), and 15, 35, omnium consensus naturae vox est, seq. With which compare the maxim, Vox populi vox Dei.
2 δίκην δοῦναι is here, as in Thuc. I 28, δίκας ἤθελον δοῦναι, ‘to submit to trial or adjudication’: comp. Aesch. c. Ctes. § 124, and the phrase δίκην δοῦναι καὶ λαβεῖν, denoting a general legal settlement of differences. The usual meaning is ‘to pay the penalty or give satisfaction’.
3 I have expressed my opinion upon some points of Plato's character, in contrast with that of Aristotle, in Introd. to transl. of Gorgias p. xxvii, and note; to which I venture here to refer.
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