previous next


‘The other kinds (of prooemia) which are employed are mere cures (remedies [specifics] for the infirmities or defects of the hearers—διὰ τὴν τοῦ ἀκροατοῦ μοχθηρίαν, III 1. 5—such as inattention, unfavourable disposition, and the like), and common’, to all parts of the speech. κοινά is opposed to the special office, peculiar to the προοίμιον, καὶ ἴδιον τοῦτο supra. all these other kinds may be introduced in the exordium—and also anywhere else, wherever they are required.

‘These may be derived from the speaker himself, from the hearer, the subject, and the adversary’ (‘the opposite’). Cic. de Or. II 79. 321, seq. Sed quum erit utendum principio, quod plerumque erit, aut ex reo, aut ex adversario, aut ex re, aut ex eis apud quos agitur (ἐκ τοῦ ἀκρουτοῦ), sententias duci licebit. Ex reo—reos appello, quorum res est—quae significent bonum virum seq. followed by the illustration of the remaining three. Cicero, who is certainly following Arist., seems here to translate τοῦ λέγοντος by reus, in the sense which he explains, of both parties in the case. Quintilian, IV 1. 6, seems to charge Aristotle— if he includes him in the plerique who have been guilty of the omission— with having neglected to include the ‘auctor causae’ amongst the sources of topics for prooemia. Victorius defends him against this, by pointing out, as Cicero, that λέγων includes both parties in a suit or prosecution, actor as well as reus (in its ordinary sense). See the passage of Quint., with Spalding's note.

‘The topics derivable from the speaker himself and the opponent, are all such as relate to allaying (lit. ‘refuting’) and exciting prejudice and illfeeling (after ποιῆσαι understand αὐτήν): but with this difference: that in defending oneself all that relates to διαβολή (i. e. the removal of prejudice and ill-will from ourselves, and exciting them against the opponent) must be put first (subaudi λεκτέον, viz. in the exordium), but in the accusation of another reserved for the peroration. The reason of this is not difficult to see; that is, that the defendant, when he is about to introduce his own case, must necessarily begin by doing away with all hindrances (sc. to the establishment of it; all prepossessions against him on the part of the judge); and therefore must make the removal or refutation of all calumnies or prejudices against him his first point; whereas the accuser (the speaker whose office it is to ‘set’ the defendant ‘against’ the judges, conciliate their ill-will to him) must reserve all that tends to prejudice his antagonist for the epilogue (peroration, conclusion), that they may better remember it’ (that his accusations may ‘leave their sting behind them’ in the judges' minds). Both Spengel and Bekker write αὑτόν after εͅἰκάζειν for the vulgata lectio αὐτόν; which as far as appears to the contrary is the reading of all MSS. I think αὐτόν for ‘his own case’, lit. himself, is defensible. We often say ‘him’ for ‘himself’, leaving the reflexive part to be understood, in our own language. See note on I 7. 35, and Waitz on Organ. 54 a 14, Vol. I. p. 486, there referred to.

‘The topics of the προοίμιον which are addressed to the hearer (i. e. in the dicastic branch now under consideration, the judges,) are derived from (subaudi γίγνεται, or as before, λέγεται) the conciliation of his good will (towards ourselves) and irritating him (exciting his indignation against the adversary, δείνωσις), and sometimes too (δέ), (but only when it is required,) from engaging his attention or the reverse: for it is not always expedient to make him attentive, and this is why many (speakers) try to move or provoke him to laughter’. Προάγειν εἰς γέλωτα’, to move, or provoke to’. Herod. II 121. 4, σκῶψαί μιν καὶ ἐς γέλωτα προαγαγέσθαι. Rhet. I 1. 5, εἰς ὀργὴν προάγοντας φθόνον ἔλεον, 1 2. 5, εἰς πάθος, et sim. ‘to carry forward, i. e. stimulate, excite, provoke’.

εὔνουν ποιῆσαι] “The three requisites in the disposition of the audience, according to the later writers on the subject, are that they should be benevoli, dociles, attenti. Cic. de Inv. 1 15. 20, Quint. IV 1. 5: and frequently elsewhere. Ar. includes the two latter under one head προσεκτικοί: and in fact if a man is inclined to attend, he shews that he is already inclined to or desirous of learning. The two are closely connected, Cic. de Inv. I 16. 23.” Introd. p. 340, note 1.

Causa principii nulla est alia, quam ut auditorem, quo sit nobis in ceteris partibus accommodatior, praeparemus. Id fieri tribus maxime rebus, inter auctores plurimos constat si benevolum, attentum, docilem fecerimus; non quia ista non per totam actionem sint custodienda, sed quia initiis praecipue necessaria, per quae in animum iudicis, ut procedere ultra possimus, admittimur. (Quint. IV 1. 5).

οὐ γὰρ ἀεὶ συμφέρει κ.τ.λ.] Cic. de Or. II 79. 323. He begins by saying that neither of these topics is to be confined to the prooemium § 322, nam et attentum monent Graeci ut principio faciamus iudicem et docilem (this is included in προσεκτικοί); quae sunt utilia, sed non principii magis propria quam reliquarum partium; faciliora etiam in principiis, quod et attenti tum maxime sunt, quum omnia exspectant, et dociles magis initiis esse possunt. Quint., IV 1. 37, 38, criticizes Aristotle's remark on this point: Nec me quanquam magni auctores in hoc duxerint ut non semper facere attentum ac docilem iudicem velim: non quia nesciam, id quod ab illis dicitur, esse pro mala causa qualis ea sit non intelligi: verum quia istud non negligentia iudicis contingit, sed errore. Dixit enim adversarius, et fortasse persuasit: nobis opus est eius diversa opinione: quae mutari non potest nisi illum fecerimus ad ea quae dicemus docilem et attentum, seq. That is, the judge's inattention often arises not from negligence, but from a mistaken supposition that the adversary is right and we are wrong: in order to set him right we must rouse his attention. The supposition implied here in explanation of οὐκ ἀεὶ συμφ. κ.τ.λ., which Quint. refers to and criticizes, is that inattention on the judge's part is sometimes expedient when our cause is bad. Quint.'s reply is, it is not his inattention that would be of use to us in such a case, but his attention to the arguments which we are about to use in order to convince him to the contrary. Another disadvantage that may arise from over-attention on the judge's part, occurs when we want to slur over an unfavourable point in our case. In illustration of the following διὸ πολλοὶ κ.τ.λ. Gaisford very appositely quotes Arist. Vesp. 564, Οί δὲ λέγουσιν μύθους ἡμῖν, οἱ δ᾽ Αἰσώπου τι γελοῖον: οἱ δὲ σκώπτους᾿, ἵν̓ ἐγὼ γελάσω, καὶ τὸν θυμὸν καταθῶμαι. [Dem. Or. 54 (κατὰ Κόνωνος) §§ 13, 20, γελάσαντες ἀφήσετε, and Or. 23 § 206.]

The Scholiast on this place (see in Spengel's Ed. p. 158), tells, apropos of this, the story from Demosth. de Cor. §§ 51, 52, with additions. The Scholiast, Ulpian on the passage of Dem., and a scholiast on Ar. Anal. Pr. 1 24 b 20 (in Brandis' collection, Arist. Op. Bekker's 4to. vol. IV. p. 147 b 43 of Bekker's quarto ed. of Aristotle), all agree that Demosthenes' joke consisted in an intentional mispronunciation of the word μισθωτός, which he applied to Aeschines, pronouncing it μίσθωτος, in order to divert the attention of the audience: he appealed to them to say whether the word was not well applied: they burst into a roar of laughter, accepted the application, and shouted Αἰσχίνης μισθωτός, Αἰσχίνης μισθωτός, with the pronunciation corrected. I entirely agree with Dissen that this is a foolish and improbable story, absurd in itself, and receiving no countenance from the text of Demosthenes. All that he did say is found in the existing text, viz. that he interpreted Aeschines' ξενίαν Ἀλεξάνδρου—which Aesch. claimed—as meaning that he was not a ξένος, a guest and friend, but a μισθωτὸς (a hireling) Ἀλεξάνδρον and nothing more, and that the people accepted this version. See Dissen's note on § 52.

εὐμάθεια, docilitas, need not be made a separate topic, because) ‘any speaker may refer to this (carry back, i. e. apply) any thing he pleases (any of the topics of the προοίμιον), even the appearance of worth and respectability; for to these (τοῖς ἐπιεικέσι) the audience is always more inclined to attend’. (This is in fact the ἀρετή which the speaker must always assume by his speech, in order that his hearers may have confidence in him, that he may have weight and authority with them; one of the three ingredients in the ἦθος ἐν τῷ λέγοντι, II 1. 5. Introd. on ἦθος, p. 108 seq.) In short, εὐμάθεια need not be made a separate topic, provided only the speaker treats the other topics of the προοίμιον with the view of making the audience docilcs, that is, ready to receive the information which he is prepared to communicate to them.

‘The things to which the audience is most inclined to listen are things great (momentous, important), things of special interest (to the hearers themselves), things wonderful (surprising), and things pleasant (to hear; either in themselves, or in their associations); and therefore the speaker should always try to produce the impression (ἐν in his hearers' minds) that things of such kinds are his subject. If he wish to make them inattentive (he must try to convey the impression, ἐὰν μή, subaudi ποιεῖν ἐθέλῃ τιςπροσεκτικούς) that his subject is trifling, has no reference to them and their interests (that is, is unimportant in general, or to them in particular: the opposite of the τὰ ἴδια in this preceding topic) or that it is unpleasant’.

On interesting and uninteresting topics, see the parallel passages in Rhet. ad Alex. 29 (30). 3, where those of Aristotle are subdivided: Cic. de Inv. I 16. 23: Cic., Orat. Part. c. 8, expresses Ar.'s ἴδια, Coniuncta cum ipsis apud quos agetur.

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: