previous next

‘So now, as I was saying, the demonstrative, declamatory, branch of Rhetoric is the best adapted for writing; for its special function (the purpose which it was made to serve, its ἔργον1) is reading: and in the second degree the dicastic branch’ (and its pleadings). Comp. supra III 1.4 and 7. Cic. Orat. LXI 208 (already referred to). Quint. u. s. (III 8.63) referring to this place, Namque Ar. idoneam maxime ad scribendum demonstrativam, proximamque ab ea iudicialem putavit: videlicet quoniam prior illa tota esset ostentationis; haec secunda egeret artis, vel ad fallendum, si ita poposcisset utilitas; consilia fide prudentiaque constarent. It is very manifest, and had already been pointed out by Victorius and Spalding, ad loc. Arist. et Quint., that this is not Aristotle's meaning.

‘To make the further distinction, that the language must be sweet and magnificent is superfluous’—the author of this ‘distinction’ is Theodectes, in his ‘Art.’ Quint. IV 2.63, Theodectes...non magnificam modo vult esse, verum etiam iucundam expositionem—‘for why that more than continent (or perhaps discreet) and liberal, or any other virtue of character (the moral virtues, of which μεγαλοπρέπεια is one. Eth. Nic. II and IV)?’ For προσδιαιρεῖσθαι, Brandis' Anonymus, quoted in Schneidewin's Philologus [IV. i.] p. 45, has προσδιορίζεσθαι.

‘For plainly the sweetness will be produced by all that has been enumerated (purity, propriety, rhythm, vivacity, and the rest) if we have rightly defined what the excellence of the language consists in: for why (else, subaudi ἄλλου) must it be (as we have described it) clear, and not low (mean and common-place), but appropriate (ch. 2 § 2, μὴ ταπεινὴν ἀλλὰ κεκοσμημένην, σεμνοτέραν, § 3 ξένην)? For if it be verbose, it is not clear; nor if it be too concise (brief)’. Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio. ἀδολεσχεῖν, said of idle chatter: here of verbosity, vain repetition, tautology. Comp. de Soph. El. c. 3, 165 b 15, τὸ ποιῆσαι ἀδολεσχῆσαι τὸν προδιαλεγόμενον: τοῦτο δ᾽ ἐστὶ τὸ πολλάκις ἀναγκάζεσθαι (by the opponent) ταὐτὸ λέγειν. Comp. supra c. 3. 3, τὸ ἀσαφὲς διὰ τὴν ἀδολεσχίαν, and II 21.3, where it is applied to unnecessary accumulation of steps of proof in reasoning, or drawing inferences.

‘But (on the contrary) it is quite plain (of itself, and without rule or precept) that the mean is the appropriate style’. Of this the preceding example is an illustration: clearness or perspicuity is the mean between the excess of garrulity, verbosity, and the defect overconciseness, in the amount of words. ‘Also the rules (ingredients) already stated will produce sweetness of language if they be well mixed, viz. the familiar (these are the ὀνόματα κύρια, the customary), and the foreign (γλῶτται, ἐξηλλαγμένα, ξένην τὴν διάλεκτον, c. 2 § 3, c. 3 § 3, sub init. ξενικὴν ποιεῖ τὴν λέξιν), and the rhythm, and the plausibility that arises out of (the due observation of) propriety’ (supra c. 7).

‘We have now finished our remarks upon style or language, of all (the three branches of Rhetoric) in common (cc. 2—11), and of each kind individually (c. 12): it now remains to speak of the order (division and arrangement) of the parts of the speech’.

1 The ἔργον of a thing is always directed to its τέλος. If the end of a knife and of a horse be respectively to cut and to run, their ἔργον will be fulfilled in sharpness and fleetness. So here the end of one of these compositions is to be read, its ἔργον or appropriate function is exercised in reading, fulfilled in being pleasant to read.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: