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‘And seeing that all calamities and sufferings are (especially) objects of pity when they appear close at hand, and yet things that either have happened ten thousand years ago, or will happen ten thousand years hence, neither in expectation or recollection do we ever pity equally, if at all, (ὁμοίως, as we do things close at hand, whether past or to come,) it necessarily follows from this (that pity is heightened when the object is brought near us) that those (orators) who aid the effect of their descriptions (lit. join with the other arts of Rhetoric in producing ἐλεος) by attitude (gestures, action in general), by the voice, and dress, and the art of acting in general, are more pitiable (i.e. more successful in exciting pity): because, by setting the mischief before our very eyes (by their graphic representation of it) they make it appear close to us whether as future or past’.

πρὸ ὀμμάτων] which is almost technical in Rhetoric, is again used to denote a vivid, graphic, striking representation, III 2. 13, Ib. 10. 6, and in III 11. 1, seq. is explained and illustrated. Comp. Poet. c. XVII 1, δεῖ δὲ τοὺς μύθους συνιστάναι καὶ τῇ λέξει συναπεργάζεσθαι (aid the effect by the language) ὅτι μάλιστα πρὸ ὀμμάτων τιθέμενον: οὕτω γὰρ ἂν ἐναργέστατα ὁρῶν, ὥσπερ παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς γιγνομένοις τοῖς πραττομένοις, εὑρίσκει τὸ πρέπον καὶ ἥκιστ̓ ἂν λανθάνοιτο τὰ ὑπεναντία. Ib. § 3 we have the same phrase that occurs here, τοῖς σχήμασι συναπεργαζόμενον. Compare also Poet. XIV 1, τὸ φοβερὸν καὶ ἐλεεινὸν ἐκ τῆς ὄψεως γίνεσθαι κ.τ.λ., de Anima III 3, 427 b 18, πρὸ ὀμμάτων γὰρ ἔστι ποιήσασθαι, ὥσπερ οἱ ἐν τοῖς μνημονικοῖς τιθέμενοι καὶ εἰδωλοποιοῦντες1. Cicero expresses this by the equivalent phrase, subicere oculis, Orat. XL 139. Auct. ad Heren. IV 47.60, ante oculos ponere (de similitudine; hoc simile...sub aspectum omnium rem subiecit. Quint. VIII 6, 19, translatio...signandis rebus ac sub oculos subiciendis reperta est. Ern. Lex. Techn. Gr. s. v. ὄμμα.

1 Referring to mental pictures, in aid of the memory as a kind of memoria technica, such as that of a large house-front with various windows, or the plan of a building, or any other divisions, occurring in a regular order, in which the topics of a speech or argument may be lodged as it were; the plan of this is retained in the mind, and will suggest the topics in their proper order. These ‘mnemonic’ artifices—τὰ μνημονικά, “mnemonics”—are described in Auct. ad Heren. III. xvi. 29, seq. Such aids to the memory are of two kinds, loci and imagines; the former are ‘the places’, or compartments, the sequence of which suggests the order or arrangement of the imagines, which are the “forms, marks, images, of the particular things which we wish to remember, such as horse, lion, eagle, &c.” The same subject is treated by Cicero, de Orat. II 86. 351—360, from whom the author of the other treatise has manifestly borrowed. The invention of this are memoriae is there attributed to Simonides, §§ 351—353. The theory of the art and practice is, that as of all mental impressions those derived from the senses, of which the sight is the keenest and most powerful, are the most distinct, vivid and intense; quare facillime animo teneri posse ea quae perciperentur auribus aut cogitatione, si etiam oculorum commendatione animis traderentur.

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