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‘These and the like are the things (the ills or sufferings) that we pity: the objects of pity (persons) are our friends and acquaintance—provided they are not very closely connected with us; for in regard of the latter we are in the same state of mind’ (have the same feelings, i. e. in this case the feeling of anxiety and alarm) ‘as we are about ourselves when threatened with (the like disaster)’, μέλλοντας (ταὐτὰ πείσεσθαι). ‘And for this reason it was that Amasis, as is reported, wept, not at the sight of his son led away to death, but of his friend begging: for this is a spectacle of pity, that of terror: for the terrible is distinct from the pitiable, nay, it is exclusive of pity, and often serviceable for the excitement of the opposite feeling’.

The king of Egypt, here by an oversight called Amasis, was in reality Psammenitus, his successor on the throne. The horrible story of Cambyses' ferocious cruelty here alluded to is told by Herodotus III 14, with his accustomed naiveté, as if there was nothing in it at all extraordinary or unusual. It will be sufficient to quote in the way of illustration Psammenitus' answer to Cambyses' inquiry, why he acted as Aristotle describes, which will likewise serve as a commentary on οἰκειότητι in our text. παῖ Κύρου, τὰ μὲν οἰκήϊα ἦν μέζω κακὰ ὥστε ἀνακλαίειν, τὸ δὲ τοῦ ἑταίρου πένθος ἄξιον ἦν δακρύων: ὃς ἐκ πολλῶν καὶ εὐδαιμόνων ἐκπεσὼν εἰ πτωχηΐην ἀπίκται ἐπὶ γήραος οὐδῷ. τὰ οἰκήϊα are, his son's death, and his daughter's humiliation. As to the substitution of Amasis for Psammenitus, Victorius and Buhle think it may be explained either by a slip of memory on Aristotle's part, or by a variation in the story in the account given by other authorities. I have no doubt myself that the true explanation is the former. We have already seen that our author is very liable to misquotation, as I believe to be the case with all or most of those who, having a wide range of reading and an unusually retentive memory, are accustomed to rely too confidently upon the latter faculty. The vague ὡς φασίν confirms this view. If Aristotle had remembered as he set down his example that he had it from Herodotus, it seems to me quite certain that he would have mentioned his name.

ἐκκρουστικόν] prop. ‘expulsive’, inclined to strike or drive out (having that nature or tendency), the metaphor being taken, according to Victorius, from two nails, one of which being driven in after the other forces it out, or expels it. He quotes Eth. Nic. III 15, sub fin., (αἱ ἐπιθυμίαι) ἂν μεγάλαι καὶ σφοδραὶ ὦσιν, καὶ τὸν λογισμὸν ἐκκρούουσιν. Plut. p. 1088 A, non posse suaviter vivi secundum Epicurum c. 3, (πόνος) ὑπ᾽ ἄλλων πόνων, ὥσπερ ἥλων σφοδροτέρων, ἐκκρουόμενος ἀπαλλάττεται, and Cic. Tusc. Disp. IV 35. 75, etiam novo quidem amore veterem amorem, tanquam clavo clavum, eiciendum putant. ἧλον ἥλῳ ἐκκρούειν is a proverb, occurring three times in Lucian, de merc. cond. c. 9, Vol. I. p. 716, ed. Hemst., pro lapsu inter salut. c. 7, I 733, Philopseudes, c. 24, III 39, ἥλῳ, φασίν, ἐκκρούεις τὸν ἧλον.—ἐναντίῳ] sc. πάθει.

χρήσιμον] seems to refer to the rhetorical use of the topic, rather than to the promotion of the feeling itself, to which the word is less appropriate. On the mutual exclusiveness of terror and pity compare I 14. 5 (note), and § 5 of this chapter. The pity and terror therefore, which it is the object of tragedy to excite and purify, Poet. VI 2, can never be simultaneous.

I will just observe here in passing that these two emotions are appealed to in that branch of Rhetoric which was collectively called affectus and divided into indignatio and miseratio, technically δείνωσις and ἔλεος; δείνωσις is otherwise called σχετλιασμός (Rhet. II 21. 10). Though they might be scattered over the whole speech, the proper place for them is the conclusion, the ἐπίλογος or peroratio, because the impression is then most vivid and intense, and is ‘left behind’, like the bee's sting, in the minds of the audience, τὸ κέντρον ἐγκατέλειπε τοῖς ἀκροωμένοις (Eupolis, of Pericles).

The importance of these to the rhetorician may be estimated by the fact that Thrasymachus, one of the most celebrated of the early writers on Rhetoric, gave his work the title of ἔλεοι (Cicero, miserationes) referred to by Aristotle, Rhet. III 1. 7, and ridiculed by Plato, Phaedr. 267 C. The ἔλεοι certainly ‘had a wider scope than their name would indicate’ (Thompson's note ad loc.), for Aristotle expressly mentions in the passage quoted that they included remarks upon language and style. See further on this subject, Introd. p. 367, and 368 note 3.

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