previous next

On the second defect of rhetorical style, γλῶτται, see Introd. p. 288.

‘Now this is one cause (of ψυχρότης); another is the employment of obscure and unintelligible words. As Lycophron calls Xerxes a “hugeous” man, and Sciron’ (the famous robber who gave name to the Scironian rocks; put to death by Theseus, after Hercules the greatest eradicator of nuisances from the land of Attica) ‘a “bale” of a man’.

γλώτταις] Whether those which have never been much in use, unusual; or those which have gone out of use, obsolete or archaic; or those which belong to a foreign language or dialect. Comp. Julius Caesar's rule, tanquam scopulum fugere inauditum atque insolens verbum (Aulus Gellius I 10).

πέλωρον] This word frequent in Hom. and Hes. under the forms πέλωρ, πέλωρος (subst.), πέλωρος and πελώριος (adj.); πελώριος twice in Aesch. and once in Eurip. Iph. T., had it seems become obsolete in Arist.'s time. Comp. infra 7 § 11.

σίννις ἀνήρ] If σίννις stands for the actual robber, Πιτυοκάμπτης, rival and contemporary of Procrustes, and Sciron, all of whom Theseus disposed of, he may be translated a “Turpin-man:” but the word is also used to represent the “incarnation of all mischief and destructive agency” —see Monk on Eur. Hippol. 981, and the authors cited; comp. the old poetical words σίνεσθαι, σίνος, (σίντης of the great robber and ravager, the mischievous, destructive lion, Hom. Il. XX 165,) and σίνις. Both σίνος and σίνις occur in Aeschylus in the abstract sense of mischief or destruction, and if σίννις is to be so understood here, as I rather think it should, bale, an old English word of similar import, may serve to express it. [Suidas s. v. Σίνις: ὄνομα λῃστοῦ βλαπτικοῦ.]

ἄθυρμα τῇ ποιήσει] ‘And Alcidamas “toys to poetry”’. The rest of the phrase is supplied below § 4, “to apply to or introduce toys in poetry”. ἄθυρμα is a childish amusement, ἀθύρειν to sport like a child, of a child's sport or pastime. So employed by Homer, Pindar, Apoll. Rhod., Anthol. (quinquies), Euripides (in his Auge, Fragm. VIII Wagner, VI Dindorf) νηπίοις ἀθύρμασιν, and by Plato in the solemn semi-poetical Leges, VII 796 B. See Donaldson on Pind. Nem. III 44, παῖς ἐὼν ἄθυρε, also Meineke ad Fragm. Crat. Ὀδυσσῆς, XVI; Suidas ἄθυρμα, παίγνιον. It seems from this that ‘toy’ is the corresponding English word; which is actually used by Spenser in the same more general sense of ‘a childish sport or amusement,’ and in this sense is with us obsolete. Faery Queen, Bk. I. Cant. 6, 28 “To dally thus with death is no fit toy, Go, find some other play-fellowes, mine own sweet boy.” ‘Gawd’ is another word now obsolete that might represent it.

τὴν τῆς φύσεως ἀτασθαλίαν] and ‘the outrecuidance of his nature’. ἀτασθαλία, ἀτάσθαλος, ἀτασθάλλω, a poetical word denoting ‘mad, presumptuous arrogance’, found in Homer and Herod., and also in an epitaph of Archedice quoted by Thucyd. VI 59, οὐκ ἤρθη νοῦν ἐπ᾽ ἀτασθαλίην. [‘Retchlessness,’ for recklessness, is similarly an unfamiliar word with ourselves, and may serve as an illustration, if not a rendering of this use of ἀτασθαλία.]

καὶ ἀκράτῳτεθηγμένον] and ‘whetted with the unadulterated’ (hot and heady, like pure unmixed wine) ‘wrath of his mind’. The γλῶττα here is τεθηγμένον, a not very rare, but usually poetical, metaphor for exasperated, excited, provoked, irritated; sharpened like a knife or tool, or an animal's teeth. Examples from the tragic poets are supplied by Valck. on Eur. Hippol. 689, ὀργῇ συντεθηγμένος φρένας: it is opposed to ἀμβλύνειν as Aesch. Theb. 721, τεθηγμένον τοί μ᾽ οὐκ ἀπαμβλυνεῖς λόγῳ, comp. P. V. 308, Soph. Aj. 585, γλῶσσαν τεθηγμένην. Ib. Fragm. 762, Inc. Trag. Dind., Eur. Cycl. 240, Electr. 836. Xenophon however has employed it several times; Cyrop. I 2. 10, 6. 19, 6. 41, II 1. 4, 5, 7, Mem. III 3. 7. Lat. acuere. [Vahlen, der Rhetor Alkidamas p. 492, notes that its repeated use by Xenophon need not prevent us from regarding this use of θήγειν in prose as a kind of provincialism; it appears among the γλῶτται κατὰ πόλεις in Bekker's Anecdota, Ἀρκάδων ἄορ ξίφος. θήγει ἀκονᾷ.]

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: