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‘And whereas every kind of good is not to be indiscriminately assigned to any one at random, but a certain proportion and fitness (appropriateness) is (to be observed in the distribution or assignment of the one to the other)—as for instance arms of peculiar beauty (high finish) are not appropriate to the just man but to the brave, and distinguished marriages’ (i. e. the hand of a lady distinguished for beauty, virtue, accomplishments, high birth and so forth, τὴν ἀξίαν δεῖ γαμεῖν τὸν ἄξιον, III 11. 12) ‘should not be contracted with men recently enriched, but with members of noble houses—then as I say (οὖν) if a man being worthy fails to obtain what suits him’ (is appropriate to his particular sort of excellence) ‘it is a case for indignation’.

τοῦ τυχόντος ἄξιον] The good that is ‘worthy of’ a man, here seems to mean that which suits, befits, is appropriate to him: non omne bonum cuivis homini congruit, Victorius. Similarly ἄξιον with a dat. of the person is used to signify ‘worth his while’, ‘meet’, ‘fit’, as Arist. Ach. 8, ἄξιον γὰρ Ἑλλάδι, ib. 205, τῇ πόλει γὰρ ἄξιον ξυλλαβεῖν τὸν ἄνδρα, and Equit. 616, ἄξιόν γε πᾶσιν ἐπολολύξαι.

ἐὰν οὖν κ.τ.λ. after καὶ ἐπεὶ ἕκαστον is an Aristotelian irregularity of construction. The apodosis of ἐπεί is νεμεσητόν at the end of the second paragraph. The unnecessary οὖν has crept in like the apodotic δέ, in the resumption of a previous statement, (on which see I 1. 11, note on δῆλον δέ, Vol. I. p. 20)—after the parenthetical illustrations; the protasis is forgotten, or overlooked in the writer's haste, and a new sentence introduced by οὖν terminates with the apodosis. I have collected a number of examples of similar irregularities from our author's writings. I will here only quote those that illustrate this particular form of oversight. ἐπεὶ δέ... τὰ μὲν οὖν, Top. Θ 8, 160 a 35. ἐπεὶ ἀναγκαῖον ... and after five lines, τῆς μὲν οὖν θύραθεν, de Somn. et Vig. c. 3, sub init. ἐπεὶ δέ...ἀνάγκη οὖν... Rhet. II 11. 1. εἰ γάρ, ...ἀνάγκη δή, Phys. VI 4 init., 234 b 10, 15. ἐπεὶ δέ...ὅπου μὲν οὖν, Pol. VII (VI), 5, 1320 a 17, 22. The remainder are cases of εἰ δήὥστε, ἐπείὥστε, εἰ οὖνὥστε, ἐπεὶ δέδιό (!), ἐπείδῆλον δέ, which may be reserved for a future occasion. Meanwhile see Zell on Eth. Nic. VII 14, II p. 324. Spengel in Trans. Bav. Acad. 1851, p. 34. Bonitz, Arist. Stud. Pt. II. p. 129 seq. One example cited by Bonitz, p. 131, from de Anima III 3, has a parenthesis of nearly 20 lines between its ἐπεὶ δέ and ὅτι μὲν οὖν. On οὖν in resumption, after a parenthesis, ‘well then, as I was saying’, see Klotz on Devar. de Partic. p. 718. Hartung, Partikellehre, II 22 seq.

‘It is matter of indignation also (subaudi νεμεσητόν from the foregoing clause) for the inferior to compete with the superior, nay and especially where the inferiority and superiority lie (or manifest themselves) in the same department, province, study or pursuit’. With τοὺς ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ must be understood ἥττονας καὶ κρείττονας from the preceding. The case here described is that of an indifferent artist, painter or sculptor, setting himself up as the rival of Apelles or Phidias; of Marsyas and Apollo; of the frog and the ox in the fable.

μάλιστα μὲν οὖν] The μέν in this phrase is the ordinary correlative of δέ in the next sentence, εἰ δὲ μή1. The other particle, οὖν, though its precise meaning in this context may not be quite certain, and it is somewhat unusual in this collocation, is nevertheless fully justified by similar examples to be quoted immediately. The origin of the particle is, as it seems to me, as yet unexplained. It has been traced to various roots, as may be seen by consulting Donaldson, New Cratylus § 189, Klotz on Devar. de Partic. p. 717 seq., Hartung, Partikell. II 8, Doderlein, and Rost, in Rost and Palm's Lex., but in none of these derivations have I been able to find any intelligible connexion with the actual senses of the word. Yet until we know the root of the word and its affinities, we shall hardly be able to trace historically the various senses which diverge from its primary meaning. It is a connective particle, which draws an inference or conclusion from something preceding, ‘then, accordingly’, (1) logically in an argument, and (2) in the continuation of a narrative, the consequence primarily implied having passed into the mere notion of what is subsequent, ‘that which follows’, in both its senses. Hence in all Greek authors μὲν οὖν is habitually employed in this second sense, like the French ‘or’, and our ‘now’ or ‘then’, to impart a slight degree of liveliness and animation to a continuous narrative or discussion. From the first or inferential signification, it acquires this intermediate sense of, ‘so then’, ‘well then’, ‘accordingly’, which lies halfway between the logical and the temporal application; just like our ‘then’, which has both these senses, only derived in the reverse order, the particle of time in the English ‘then’, passing from the temporal to the logical use. For this μὲν οὖν at the commencement of a new paragraph the orators—Demosthenes in particular, with whom μὲν οὖν is comparatively rare, Aeschines in a less degree—often substitute τοίνυν or μὲν τοίνυν, which is used precisely in the same way. “μὲν οὖν, in continuando sermone cum quadam conclusionis significatione usurpatur.” Hermann ad Viger. note 342.

The other prevailing signification of μὲν οὖν when used in combination, which, though by no means confined to them, is found chiefly in dialogues as those of Plato and Aristophanes—in the former most frequently in the familiar πάνυ μὲν οὖν—has a negative corrective sense conveying an emphatic assertion, sometimes to be rendered by a negative; being employed to correct, in the way of strengthening or heightening, a previous statement or assertion; and while it assents to a proposition indicates an advance beyond it. Dem. de Cor. § 316, διὰ τὰς εὐεργεσίας, οὔσας ὑπερμεγέθεις, οὐ μὲν οὖν εἴποι τις ἂν ἡλίκας. Ib. § 130, ὀψὲ γάρ ποτεὀψὲ λέγω; χθὲς μὲν οὖν καὶ πρῴην κ.τ.λ. Aesch. Eum. 38, δείσασα γὰρ γραῦς οὐδέν, ἀντίπαις μὲν οὖν. Eur. Hippol. 1012, ματαῖος ἆρ᾽ ἦν, οὐδαμοῦ μὲν οὖν φρενῶν. In all these cases it may be translated ‘nay more’, or ‘nay rather’. Similarly in answers it expresses a strong assent, πάνυ μὲν οὖν, μάλιστα μὲν οὖν, κομιδῇ μὲν οὖν, ‘just so’, ‘quite so’, ‘exactly so’. In all these cases it may be rendered ‘immo’, ‘nay rather’. Herm. ad Vig. n. 343. In the same sense it appears in the Aristophanic ἐμοῦ μὲν οὖν, ἐμοῦ μὲν οὖν, ‘no, mine; no mine’, in answer to Cleon's nauseous offer to the Demus, Equit. 911; and elsewhere. πάνυ μὲν οὖν is to be explained thus; I not only assent to what you say, but I go farther, I am absolutely convinced of it; ‘nay more (or nay rather), absolutely so’. The οὖν in all these instances, and others like them, conveying thus a strong emphasis, at the same time may be considered to retain its consequential sense, ‘conclusionis significationem’, indicative of what follows, something else, ‘accordingly’, which is contained in the assent to the preceding statement, and thus the two usages of it are connected. The μέν in the combination of the two particles is explained by Dr Donaldson, New Cratylus § 154—rightly I think —by a tacit reference to some suppressed sentence with the correlative δέ, μέν being always opposed to δέ expressed or understood. πάνυ μὲν οὖν would imply ἄλλως δὲ οὔ. (Donaldson supplies τί δ᾽ ἔπειτα; ‘but what then?’) Following this explanation we may render μάλιστα μὲν οὖν in our text ‘nay more, most of all, in the highest degree’.

I will now conclude this long note on a phrase which I have never seen fully explained, with a few examples parallel to that of our text. Soph. Ant. 925, ἀλλ᾽ εἰ μὲν οὖν τάδ̓ ἐστιν ἐν θεοῖς καλά......εἰ δ̓ οἵδ̓ ἁμαρτάνουσι κ.τ.λ. Plato, Phaedo 90 E, ἀνδριστέον καὶ προθυμητέον ὑγιῶς ἔχειν, σοὶ μὲν οὖν καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις κ.τ.λ., on which Stallbaum, not. crit., observes, οἶν utpote de vitio suspectum seclusimus. With what reason, we have seen. Eth. Nic. VI 7, init. ἐνταῦθα μὲν οὖν, where οὖν, as here, seems to be superfluous, and is certainly unusual. Ib. VII 9, 1151 a 14, ἐκεῖνος μὲν οὖν εὐμετάπειστος, δ᾽ οὔ. Polit. I 2, 1252 b 29, γινομένη μὲν οὖν τοῦ ζῇν ἕνεκεν, οὖσα δὲ τοῦ εὖ ζῇν. Ib. IV (VII) 10, sub init., τὰ μὲν οὖν περὶ Αἴγυπτον Σεσώστριος, ὡς φασίν, οὕτω νομοθετήσαντος, Μίνω δὲ τὰ περὶ Κρήτην. De Soph. El. 6, 169 a 19, οἱ μὲν οὖν παρὰ τὴν λέξιν...οἱ δ᾽ ἄλλοι κ.τ.λ. Hist. Anim. V 16, 548 a 25, αἱ μὲν οὖν...αἱ δέ κ.τ.λ. De part. Anim. IV 11. 10, 691 a 28, ἄνθρωπος μὲν οὖν...οἱ δ᾽ ἴχθυες καὶ ὄρνιθες... Magn. Mor. II 3, 1199 b 1, ὡς δ᾽ αὕτως ἄδικος...οἶδεν: ἀλλ̓ εἰ αὑτῷ... Ib. c. 6, 1203 a 16, τοῦ μὲν οὖν ἀκρατοῦς...τοῦ δὲ ἀκολάστου κακῶς.

‘Whence also this saying’. Here follow two hexameter lines as an illustration of the foregoing topic; Cebriones, who knew that the divine vengeance falls upon those who attack their superiors, ‘avoided the encounter of Ajax son of Telamon’. Il. XI 542. This is followed by a line which is rejected by the recent editors from the text of Homer, but appears again in the Life of Homer, attributed to Plutarch. See Paley's note ad loc. ‘(Chiefly in the same art, profession, or pursuit), or if not in the same, any case whatsoever of competition of inferior with superior (understand ἀμφισβητῇ); of a musician, for instance, with a just man (“ut si musicus cum iusto viro de dignitate contendat.” Victorius); because justice is better than music’. The claims of the two are unequal, of which the inferior ought to be sensible. ‘So now from all this it is clear what are the objects and occasions of righteous indignation; such they are (as we have described them) and such-like’.

οἷς καὶ δἰ ,...δῆλον] There is an inaccuracy here in the language, δῆλον should be δῆλοι or δῆλα in agreement with one or other of the antecedents to the relatives; or else οἷς should be τίσιν, and δἰ , διὰ τίνα or ποῖα. Aristotle, when he wrote δῆλον, seems to have had in his mind his usual formula for designating these two departments of inquiry, in the πάθη, viz. τίσι καὶ ἐπὶ ποίοις. The same oversight occurs again c. 2 § 27, where οἷς &c. is followed by εἴρηται, which is impersonal, and cannot supply an antecedent to οἷς. The mistake is again repeated, c. 10 § 5, and, reading οἷς, in c. 10 § 11.

1 I will venture here to express my conviction that Dr Donaldson is right in the account he gives of these two particles, New Crat. §§ 154, 155; that μέν viz. is the neut. of an older form μείς, μία, μέν, of which μία alone remains in the language, the numeral ‘one’; and δέ connected with δύο ‘two’; though as far as I know he stands alone in the opinion; the origin usually assigned to it being that it is a weaker form of δή. Donaldson's view of the primary meaning and derivation of these particles is so completely in accordance with all their actual usages, and is so simple and natural, that it seems to me to carry with it its own evidence, and to need no further proof of its truth.

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