previous next


This is a parenthetical note: it has little to do with Rhetoric except so far as it occupies common ground with poetry, in the use of synonyms. ‘Of names (words) homonyms (ambiguous words, with more than one meaning) are useful to the Sophist’ (the fallacious reasoner; see II 24. 2, the topic of ὁμωνυμία, and the note)—‘for those are the (principal) instruments of his (logical) frauds or cheats; to the poet, synonyms’. The homonym and the synonym are defined at the commencement of the Categories. The former is a word of more than one signification, of which the several definitions do not agree; so that the name being the same, the one signification can be employed fallaciously for the other: synonyms are words which can be variously applied, in which the name and the definition (or meaning) do agree; as animal, can be said with truth of man and ox. Trendelenburg, El. Log. Ar. § 42, p. 116, on synonyms. Of hononyms Quintilian says, Inst. Or. VII 9. 2, singula afferunt errorem, quum pluribus rebus aut hominibus eadem appellatio est, (ὁμωνυμία dicitur) ut Gallus; avem enim, an gentem, an nomen, an fortunam corporis significet incertum est: et Aiax Telamonis an Oilei filius. Verba quoque quaedam diversos intellectus habent, ut cerno: (with the application of it in suits of law). Of this logical application of κακουργεῖν, see the examples quoted in note on I 1. 10.

‘By proper and synonymous I mean such words as πορεύεσθαι and βαδίζειν: these are both of them proper and identical in meaning’. According to Trendelenburg, u. s., πορεύεσθαι is the genus and βαδίζειν the species, both predicable of animals in the same sense: “Aristoteles enim constanter vocabulum (συνώνυμος) ita frequentavit, ut vel eiusdem generis formas vel genus et species, quatenus communi nomine comprehenduntur, synonyma diceret.” The use of these to the poet lies in this, that they help him to give variety to his diction, and relieve him from the necessity of constantly repeating the same word.

‘Now what each of these things is’—i. e. the things already enumerated, nomina propria, translata, συνώνυμα &c. (Victorius)—‘and the number of the kinds of metaphors, and that this, metaphor, is most effective both in poetry and prose, has been already stated, as we said (§ 2, τῶν δ᾽ ὀνομάτων καὶ ῥημάτωντἆλλα ὀνόματα ὅσα εἴρηται ἐν τοῖς περὶ ποιητικῆς), in our work on poetry’. Max Schmidt, in his tract On the date of the Rhetoric, Halle, 1837 (frequently referred to in the Introd.), and before him Victorius, notices here, that the synonyms alone of all the words here referred to do not appear in the Poetics; from which each of them infers a lacuna in that work: more especially as Simplicius had left on record that Aristotle had treated of them in his book on poetry. There is another loss in that work indicated by a reference in Rhet. I 11. 29 [and III 18. 7] to the Poetics for an account of τὸ γελοῖον, which is now no longer to be found there.

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: