This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
It seems as if in the following section Aristotle had, probably unconsciously misled by the ambiguous term, used ἀκριβής and its πτώ- σεις in two distinct senses: exactness and high finish in style and reasoning. The general subject and connexion of the chapter will oblige us to refer the first clause, with its comparison of public speaking to a rough sketch in black and white, without details, and producing no effect on close inspection, to the style of the speech—which indeed is the subject of the whole book as well as this chapter—though it may possibly include also minute details of reasoning. The same thing may be said of ἡ δίκη ἀκριβέστερον: in this the style and the argument may be minuter, exacter and more detailed in proportion to the diminished size of the audience, and the increased probability of their paying attention to such things (see note ad loc.). But when we come to the third degree, the single judge, it seems to be false and absurd to say that exactness and high finish of style is more suited to speeches addressed to him: no man would endeavour to attract or impose upon an arbitrator by such artifices. The exactness in this case seems therefore to be confined to exactness of reasoning and minute detail, as of evidence and the like. A single judge—as in our own courts—would always be more patient, more inclined to listen to, and more influenced by, exact reasoning and circumstantial evidence than either of the two preceding: the mob of the assembly would not hear them, nor follow them, nor listen to them at all: the large body of dicasts would be more ready to do so: but most of all the single judge. The last clause of the section brings us back to the point from which it started, viz. differences of style, and seems to apply this exclusively to what has been said of ἀκρίβεια in forensic pleading. ‘Now the style of public-speaking is exactly like scene-painting; for the greater the crowd, the more distant the point of view, and consequently’ (in these crowded assemblies; held too in the open air—which should be added in respect of the style required, though this does not distinguish it from forensic rhetoric,) ‘all exactness, minute and delicate touches, and high finish in general appear to be superfluous and for the worse (deviating from the true standard of public speaking) in both’. Compare with this Whately's remarks, partly borrowed from Ar., Rhet. c. IV (Encycl. Metrop. p. 299), on the “bolder, as well as less accurate, kind of language allowable and advisable in speaking to a considerable number”: he quotes Ar.'s comparison of scene-painting, and then proceeds “to account for these phenomena”—which Ar. has omitted to do. His explanation is derived from the various sympathies which are especially awakened in a great crowd. σκιαγραφία is a painting in outline and chiaroscuro, or light and shade, without colour, and intended to produce its effect only at a distance—herein lies the analogy to public speaking—consequently rough and unfinished, because from the distance all niceties and refinements in style and finish would be entirely thrown away (περίεργα). This point is well brought out in a parallel passage of Plat. Theaet. 208 E, νῦν δῆτα, ὦ Θ., παντάπασί γε ἔγωγε ἐπειδὴ ἐγγὺς ὥσπερ σκιαγραφήματος γέγονα τοῦ λεγομένου, ξυνίημι οὐδὲ σμικρόν: ἕως ἀφεστήκη πόρρωθεν ἐφαίνετό μοί τι λέγεσθαι (Heindorf, note ad loc.): “as long as he was at a distance he seemed to understand the meaning of what was said; on a nearer approach all the apparent clearness vanished, and it became confused and indistinct.” In Phaedo, 69 B, σκιαγραφία is a mere rough sketch or outline; a daub, without any distinct features (see Wyttenbach ad loc.). Parmen. 165 C, οἷον ἐσκιαγραφημένα, ἀποστάντι μὲν ἓν πάντα φαινόμενα,... προσελθόντι δὲ πολλὰ καὶ ἕτερα. Rep. X 602 D. Ib. II 365 C, where it has the same sense as in the Phaedo. Ast ad loc. Comm. p. 410. And in several other passages of Plato. As the point of comparison here is solely the difference between the near and distant effects, I have translated it ‘scene-painting’ (as also Whately) which represents this better to us: the proper and literal meaning of the word is “the outline of a shadow”, the supposed origin of painting. See further in Mr Wornum's art. on ‘painting’, in Dict. Ant. p. 680 b. With πορρωτέρω ἡ θέα, comp. de Soph. El. 1 164 b 27, where the ‘appearance’ as opposed to the ‘reality’, is compared to this distant view, φαίνεται δὲ δἰ ἀπειρίαν: οἱ γὰρ ἄπειροι ὥσπερ ἂν ἀπέχοντες πόρρωθεν θεωροῦσιν. ἡ δὲ δίκη ἀκριβέστερον] ‘Whereas justice (forensic pleading) admits of more exactness and finish’. The audience is less numerous, and nearer, literally and metaphorically, to the speaker; they are nearer to him locally, so they can hear better what he says, and also nearer to him in respect of the knowledge of persons and circumstances, which permits him to enter into more minute detail. Also they are not personally interested in the dispute, and can afford to bestow more attention upon minutiae of style, action, intonation, and such like, and being comparatively unoccupied are more likely to notice and criticize such things. All these are reasons why ἡ δίκη is ἀκριβέστερον in various senses. See Quint. III 8.62 seq. After speaking of the declamatory style, he continues, Alia veris consiliis ratio est; ideoque Theophrastus quam maxime remotum ab omni affectatione in deliberativo genere voluit esse sermonem: secutus in hoc auctoritatem praeceptoris sui; quanquam dissentire ab eo non timide solet. Namque Aristoteles idoneam maxime ad scribendum demonstrativam, proximamque ab ea iudicialem putavit et seq. ‘And still further (in respect of the reduction of the number of hearers, and the consequent admissibility of accuracy and finish in the speech) that (subaudi δίκη, the pleading) before a single judge: for he is least of all subject to (liable to be imposed on by) rhetorical artifices (appeals to the feelings and the like): for he takes a more comprehensive view of what belongs to the subject and what is foreign to it (this seems to define the kind of ἀκρίβεια that is here intended) and the contest is absent (there is no room for partisanship and prejudice) and his judgment clear or pure (i.e. free and unbiassed; sincerum, pure of all alloy, such as the preceding). And this is why the same orators don't succeed (become popular, distinguish themselves) in all these (at once): but where action or delivery is most required, there is least of exact finish to be found’. [With ὁ ἀγὼν ἄπεστιν comp. Cic. ad Att. I 16. 8 remoto illo studio contentionis quem ἀγῶνα vos appellatis.] With μάλιστα ὑποκρίσεως something must be supplied: whether we should understand δεῖ or the like; or simply ἐστί, ‘when it (the speech, or the thing in general,) belongs to, is concerned with, when it is a question of, delivery’. ‘And this where voice is required, and especially loud voice’ (to reach a larger assembly). φωνή, voice in general, means the various qualities of voice, flexibility, sweetness, power, &c.; out of which a powerful voice is especially distinguished as the most important. It seems that Aeschines was very proud of his sonorous voice. Demosth. alludes to this, de F. L. § 388, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἄλλως ἐνταῦθ᾽ ἐπαρεῖ τὴν φωνὴν καὶ πεφωνασκηκὼς ἔσται. And § 389, καί τοι καὶ περὶ τῆς φωνῆς ἴσως εἰπεῖν ἀνάγκη: πάνυ γὰρ μέγα καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ φρονεῖν αὐτὸν ἀκούω. And elsewhere.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.