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‘Persons inclined to think themselves (especially) liable to suffering are such as the following; those who have already suffered some disaster from which they have made their escape (i. e. were not παντελῶς ἀπολωλότες, completely ruined by it), and men advanced in years, by reason of the prudence (or wisdom) and experience1 (which belong to advanced age), and the weak (in body; who are powerless to protect themselves against aggression and injury), and those who are of a rather more timid disposition than ordinary (this is weakness of mind), and men of study and cultivation, for these are men who can accurately calculate’ (the chances of human life; by the experience and knowledge which their studies have taught them. So Victorius). καὶ διαπεφευγότες] This is a remarkable exemplification of that rule of Rhetoric, that every question has two sides, of which either may be maintained indifferently according to circumstances, and that all its materials and reasonings are confined to the sphere of the probable. Here we have a flat contradiction of the statement in the chapter on φόβος and θάρσος, II 5. 18, where we are told that repeated escape from danger is a ground of confidence. The fact is that it may give rise to either, according to the temper and turn of mind of this or that individual: the sanguine will derive confidence from repeated escapes; the anxious and timorous, and the student or philosopher, the Solon, who has learnt by bitter experience that no one can be accounted happy until the end has come,—the second class, the πεπαιδευμένοι, [will be affected in exactly the opposite manner], for the reason given by Aristotle himself, εὐλόγιστοι γάρ. There can be no doubt that he had two different kinds of characters in his mind when he made the opposite statements. οἱ δειλότεροι μᾶλλον] It is quite possible to find a distinct meaning for both these comparatives and not regard them as mere tautology. The comparative in Greek, Latin, English, when it stands alone, with the object of comparison suppressed, has two distinguishable significations; μᾶλλον, for example, is either (1) μᾶλλον τοῦ δέοντος, ‘too much’, (ne quid nimis), more than it ought to be; or (2), what we express by ‘rather’, (itself a comparative of rathe ‘early’—comp. Ital. piutosto, piutosto grasso ‘rather fat’), i.e. more than ordinary, μᾶλλον τοῦ εἰωθότος, a little in excess, rather more than usual. Hence οἱ δειλότεροι μᾶλλον may be rendered ‘rather too timid’, more in a slight degree than men usually are, and also ‘unduly timid’, more so than they ought to be. Examples of this ‘double comparative’—it being assumed apparently that it is in all cases a mere tautological reduplication—are given by Victorius ad I 7. 18, and by Waitz (from Aristotle) on Top. Γ I, 116 b 4, Vol. II p. 465. I have shewn on I 7.18, that μᾶλλον κάλλιον there is not a case in point, both of the words having each its own meaning. Of the reduplicated comparative and superlative, some examples are given in Matth. Gr. Gr. §§ 458, 461, and of the latter, by Monk, Hippol. 487. εὐλόγιστος, opposed to ἀλόγιστος § 5, means one that εὖ λογίζεται, is good or ready at calculating, or reasoning in general: and marks the reflecting, thoughtful man, as opposed to the careless and unreflecting, who does not look forward or take forethought at all.
1 By these they have been taught the instability of all human fortunes; τἀνθρώπινα, their constant liability to accident and calamity and ‘all the ills that flesh is heir to.’ βέβαια δ᾽ οὐδεὶς θνητὸς εὐτυχεῖ γεγώς. Eur. Fragm. ap. Stob. p. 562 (Fr. incert. 44 Dind. [fr. 1059, ed. 5]). θνητὸς γὰρ ὢν καὶ θνητὰ πείσεσθαι δόκει: θεοῦ βίον ζῇν ἀξιοῖς ἄνθρωπος ὤν; Ibid. p. 568 (No. 45 Dind. [fr. 1060, ed. 5]).
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