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‘The third vice of style lies in the misuse of “epithets”, that is, in introducing them either too long, or out of season (out of place, we say), or too frequent (numerous); for in poetry it is suitable enough to say “white milk” (a Homeric epithet of course; as red wine, fair women, &c. in ballad poetry), but in prose it is not only less appropriate, but also, if they be employed to satiety (excess), they convict (detect, expose, the art of the composition) and make it plain that it is poetry: for, to be sure, it must be used; for it varies the customary style and gives a foreign air to the language’.

On ἐπίθετα see Introd. p. 289. The over-long ‘epithets’ are illustrated by those of Aeschylus in Tragedy, and Aristophanes in Comedy—who sometimes strings together an entire line of epithets, as ἀρχαιομελισιδωνιφρυνιχήρατα, of Phrynichus' μέλη [Vesp. 220]. Such epithets are of course most inappropriate to prose. The excessive length may also be shewn in the ‘descriptive additions’ to a substantive, which often takes the place of a regular epithet.

δεῖ γε χρῆσθαι αὐτῇ] i. e. to a limited extent; taking care at the same time that the poetical character of the language be not marked and apparent (reading αὐτῇ the vulgata lectio retained by Bekker). Spengel with A^{c} αὐτῷ: Victorius and Vater αὐτοῖς; but the variation of the customary language is far more applicable to poetical usages than to epithets: in fact I doubt whether ἐξαλλάττει could be applied to ἐπίθετα with any satisfactory meaning).

ἐξαλλάττει] supra c. 2 § 2, note, and § 5. ξενικὴν τὴν λέξιν] supra c. 2 § 3.

‘But the mean should always be our aim, for (the reverse of moderation, excess) does more mischief than careless, random, speaking, (over-doing it, exaggeration, is worse than entire carelessness, taking no pains at all): for the one no doubt wants the good, but the other (has) the bad (the defect in the one case is negative, the mere absence of special excellence, in the other it is positive). And this is why Alcidamas' (epithets) appear tasteless; because he employs them, not as the mere seasoning but as the actual meat (pièce de résistance, the substance, not the mere adjunct or appendage); so frequent, and unduly long (μείζοσι τοῦ δεόντος, too long) and conspicuous are they’. Victorius is doubtless right in his opinion that these three words are a repetition in slightly altered terms of the three views of epithets at the commencement of the section; unseasonableness, the importunity with which they engross the attention, is now represented by the conspicuousness or undue prominence which produces the same effect. A fair specimen of this pompous inflated writing, in epithet and metaphor, is given in Auctor. ad Heren. IV 10. 15, nam qui perduellionibus venditat patriam non satis supplicii dederit si praeceps in Neptunias depulsus erit lacunas. Paeniteat igitur istum qui montes belli fabricatus est, campos sustulit pacis.

[ἐπιδήλοις, ‘obtrusive’, ‘glaring’. Bernays proposes ἐπὶ δήλοις, apparently without due cause, though Vahlen quotes it with approval.]

[The little that is left of Alcidamas seems to justify Aristotle's strictures on his want of taste in the use of epithets: e.g. περὶ σοφιστῶν, § 6, ἀντίτυπος καὶ προσάντης τῶν χαλεπωτέρων ἐπιμέλεια, § 7, ποδώκης δρομεύς, § 16, εὐλύτῳ τῆς ψυχῆς ἀγχινοίᾳ χρώμενον ὑγρῶς καὶ φιλανθρώπως μεταχειρίζεσθαι τοὺς λόγους, § 17, γραφὴ...ἄπορον καὶ δεσμῶτιν τὴν ψυχὴν καθίστησι καὶ τῆς ἐν τοῖς αὐτοσχεδαστικοῖς εὐροίας ἁπάσης ἐπίπροσθεν γίγνεται, (where for εὐροίας we should surely read εὐπορίας which is a suitable contrast to ἄπορον and is supported by § 26, τοῖς αὐτομάτοις εὐπορήμασιν ἐμποδών ἐστιν, and by the fact that εὐπορία, εὔπορος, ἀπορία and ἄπορος occur at least ten times in the thirty-five sections of the rhetorician's diatribe, e. g. § 34, which is also an instance of the superabundance of epithets here criticised; τὴν γνώμην εὔλυτον καὶ τὴν μνήμην εὔπορον καὶ τὴν λήθην ἄδηλον). See also Vahlen, Alkidamas, u. s. pp. 508—510, and Blass (who has edited Alcidamas, Gorgias, and Antisthenes in the same volume as Antiphon), die Attische Beredsamkeit II 328.]

‘For instance, (he says) not ‘sweat’, but “the moist sweat”; and not ‘to the Isthmian games’, but “to the general assembly (great convocation) of the Isthmian games”; and not ‘laws’, but “laws the kings of cities”; and not ‘running’, but “with the impulse of his soul at speed”; and not merely ‘a Museum, or haunt of the Muses’, but “a Museum of all Nature that he had received”; and “sullen-visaged (or sullen-looking, with sullen aspect) the care (solicitude, anxiety) of his soul”; and “artificer” not of ‘favour’, but “of universal public favour”; and “steward (administrator, dispenser) of the pleasure of the hearers”; and “concealed”, not ‘with boughs’, but “with the boughs of the wood”; and “he clothed”, not ‘his body’, but “his body's shame”; and “counter-imitative (responsive-answering) the desire of his soul”; and “so extravagant (inordinate, [abnormal]) the excess of the wickedness”’.

πόλεων βασιλεῖς νόμους] Fragm. Pind. quoted by Plat. Gorg. 484 B, νόμος πάντων βασιλεὺς θνατῶν τε καὶ ἀθανάτων, and Sympos. 196 C, οἱ πόλεως βασιλῆς νόμοι. [Also by Herod. III 38, καὶ ὀρθῶς μοι δοκέει Πίνδαρος ποιῆσαι, νόμον πάντων βασιλέα φήσας εἶναι, quoted by Thompson on Gorg. u. s.]

τὸ τῆς φύσεως παραλαβὼν μουσεῖον] I have above translated this quite literally, and own that I do not fully understand it: παραλαβών seems suspicious: A^{c} has περιλαβών, which does not much mend the matter. Perhaps all the meaning lies on the surface, and there is none underneath. Victorius says that μουσεῖον is locus a musis bonisque artibus frequentatus: and translates, cum naturae museum accepisset: adding, appellat igitur hic quoque τῆς φύσεως epitheton, cum adponatur illi nomini ad naturam eius explanandam. [Vahlen discusses the phrase in his article on Alcidamas, u. s., pp. 494—6, and suggests that the passage originally stood as follows: δρομαίᾳ τῇ τῆς ψυχῆς ὁρμῇ τὸ τῆς φύσεως παραλαβὼν μουσεῖον, which he translates “mit der Seele Sturmesdrang den Wissensschatz der Naturum fassend.μουσεῖον occurs in a well-known passage of the Phaedrus, 267 B, τὰ δὲ Πώλου πῶς φράσωμεν αὖ μουσεῖα λόγων, ὡς διπλασιολογίαν καὶ γνωμολογίαν καὶ εἰκονολογίαν, and an interesting account of the word may be found in Thompson's note. Vahlen, who holds that μουσεῖα λόγων there means Redeschulen, in denen man das διπλασίως und das δἰ εἰκόνων, διὰ γνωμῶν λέγειν, lernen knonnte, suggests that by τὸ τῆς φύσεως μουσεῖον Alcidamas here intends to express what in ordinary language would have been expressed by some such phrase as περὶ φύσεως ἱστορία. In illustration of this view, he quotes a fragment of Diogenes Laertius, VIII 2. 56, where Ἀλκίδαμας ἐν τῷ Φυσίκῳ says of Empedocles,’ Αναξαγόρου διακοῦσαι καὶ Πυθαγόρου: καὶ τοῦ μὲν τὴν σεμνότητα ζηλῶσαι τοῦ τε βίου καὶ τοῦ σχήματος, τοῦ δὲ τὴν φυσιολογίαν.—In Stobaeus, 120. 3, the quotation of two lines of Theognis ἐκ τοῦ Ἀλκιδάμαντος Μουσείου shews that as a title of a book (whatever its exact meaning may be) the term is not so modern as might be supposed. (Compare Blass, die Attische Beredsamkeit II 322, note).]

ἀντίμιμονἐπιθυμίαν] ἀντίμιμος ‘corresponding by, in the way of, imitation’, as ἀντίμορφος ‘corresponding in form’, ἀντίτυπος ‘stroke answering stroke’, ἀντίστροφος of an ‘answering wheel’ of a chorus. Aristoph. Thesm. 18, ὄφθαλμον ἀντίμιμον ἡλίου τροχῷ. Thuc. VII 67, ἀντιμίμησις. From the passage of Aristoph. it seems that this word, like ἀντίστροφος, should have after it a dative of the object to which it answers; what that object was in Alcidamas' declamation Aristotle has not informed us.

‘And this is at the same time a compound word and an epithet, so that it becomes quite a poem (a mere bit of poetry: plain prose is turned by this inflated style into poetry)’.

ἔξεδρος, from the analogy of ἔκτοπος, ἐκτόπιος, and the actual use of the word—as ἔξεδρον χώραν ἔχειν, of birds of omen in an unlucky quarter of the heavens, Arist. Av. 275; ἔξεδροι φρενῶν λόγοι ‘words beside the seat of the wits’, Eur. Hippol. 985, οὐκ ἔξεδρος, ἀλλ᾽ ἔντοπος ἁνήρ, Soph. Phil. 212—must mean ‘out of its proper seat or place’, ‘abroad’; and hence as an exaggeration of excess, ‘extravagant’, as translated.

On these extracts from Alcidamas Victorius remarks, “Cum autem haec omnia a mediis quibusdam orationibus sumpserit, ut vitiosae tantum locutionis exemplum sint, non est quod miremur aut plenam sententiam in nonnullis non esse; aut desiderari, ut in hac, verbum unde casus nominum regantur.”

‘And so this poetical diction by its unsuitableness introduces absurdity and tastelessness into their composition, and obscurity which is due to the verbiage: for whenever (a speaker or writer) accumulates words (throws a heap of them) upon one already informed (already acquainted with his meaning), he destroys (breaks up, dissolves, effaces) all perspicuity (distinctness) by the cloud (or darkness, obscurity) in which he involves his meaning’ (lit. which he brings over it; ἐπισκοτεῖν τῇ κρίσει, I 1. 7, see note: to over-cloud, over-shadow, obscure).

ἀδολεσχίαν] the accumulation of unnecessary or unmeaning words: ἀδολεσχία is idle, empty, chatter, prating. It is applied to Socrates and the Sophists by Aristoph. Nub. 1480, 1485, and Eupol. τὸν πτωχὸν ἀδολέσχην, Fragm. Inc. X (Meineke, II 553), comp. XI (Ib.) ἀδολεσχεῖν αὐτὸν ἐκδίδαξον, σοφιστά. Aristoph. Fragm. Tagenist. III (Meineke II 1149) Πρόδικος τῶν ἀδολεσχῶν εἷς γέ τις. Supra II 22. 3, infra III 12. 6, Eth. N. III 13, 1118 a 1, de Soph. El. c. 3, 165 b 15.

ἐπεμβάλλῃ]. “Similiter locutus est Plat. Cratyl. 414 D, de inculcatis alicui nomini syllabis, ὥστε ἐπεμβάλλοντες ἐπὶ τὰ πρῶτα ὀνόματα τελευτῶντες ποιοῦσι μηδ᾽ ἂν ἕνα ἄνθρωπον συνεῖναι ὅτι ποτὲ βούλεται τὸ ὄνομα. Illae enim impediunt ne unde ductum id nomen sit videri possit. Idem affirmavit M. Varro, de L. L. multa enim verba litteris commutatis sunt interpolata.” Victorius.

‘And people in general, use their compound words (τοῖς, those that they do use) when it (what they want to express) is nameless (has no single word to represent it) and the word is easily put together (the combination is easily made), as χρονοτριβεῖν: but if this be carried too far (overdone), it (the result) becomes absolutely poetical. And this is why compound words are most serviceable to the dithyrambic poets—τῶν δ᾽ ὀνομάτων τὰ μὲν διπλᾶ μάλιστα ἁρμόττει τοῖς διθυράμβοις, Poet. XXII 18— for these are noisy, “full of sound and fury”; full of pompous, highsounding phrases’ (on ψόφος see III 2. 13); ‘and obsolete or unusual, to Epic poets, for language of this kind has a stately (majestic, dignified, proud, solemn, and scornful or disdainful) air; and metaphor to writers in iambics, for these they (i.e. the tragic poets) now-a-days—since they have quitted the tetrameter—employ, as has been already stated. III 1. 9 comp. infra 8.4, and Poet. IV 18. The reason, conveyed by γάρ, is this: I say iambics, not tetrameters, because now-a-days, &c.

[χρονοτριβεῖν. Compare our ‘pastime,’ which is also a λόγος εὐσύνθετος. So in Daniel's Ulysses and Siren, “Delicious nymph! suppose there were No honour or report, Yet manliness would scorn to wear The time in idle sport.” Isocr. Paneg. § 41, ἡδίστας διατριβάς.]

On compound words, as connected with dithyrambic poetry, Demetrius, περὶ ἑρμηνείας § 91, says, ληπτέον δὲ καὶ σύνθετα ὀνόματα, οὐ τὰ διθυραμβικῶς συγκείμενα, οἷον θεοτεράτους πλάνας, οὐδὲ ἄστρων δορύπορον στρατόν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐοικότα τοῖς ὑπὸ τῆς συνηθείας συγκειμένοις (such as νομοθέται, ἀρχιτέκτονες): comp. § 78, the accumulation of metaphors will make διθύραμβον ἀντὶ λόγου.

The dithyramb at Athens became at and after the end of the fifth cent. the wildest, and (in point of style) most licentious and most extravagant of all the kinds of poetry. See note in Introd. on III 9, pp. 307, 8, and the reff. to Aristoph. there given; Bode, Gesch. der Hell. dichtk. Vol. II. Pt. II. p. III seq. and 290 seq.; and Müller, H. G. L. s. XXX. To use words suited to a dithyrambic poet is therefore an exaggeration of the ordinary defect of the introduction into prose of poetical language.

Plat. Phaedr. 238 D, οὐκέτι πόῤῥω διθυράμβων φθέγγομαι, Ibid. 241 E, ἤδη ἔπη φθέγγομαι, ἀλλ᾽ οὐκέτι διθυράμβους. Cratyl. 409 C, (σελαναία) διθυραμβῶδές γε τοῦτο τοὔνομα. Dionys. Dinarch. Iud. c. 8, of the imitators of Plato, διθυραμβώδη ὀνόματα καὶ φορτικὰ εἰσφέροντες, Lys. Iud. c. 3, Γοργίας ...οὐ πόῤῥω διθυράμβων ἔνια φθεγγόμενος, de adm. vi. dic. in Dem. c. 29, Ep. ad Pomp. c. 2 (of Socrates' poetical outburst, Phaedr. 237 A), ψόφοι ταῦτ᾽ ἐστὶ καὶ διθύραμβοι, (p. 763 R) and (764) where the words of Phaedr. 238 D (u. s.) are quoted. Hor. Od. IV 2. 10, of Pindar, per audaces nova dithyrambos verba devolvit, Donaldson, Theatre of Gks. p. 37, note 3; and the references. διθυραμβεῖν is a step beyond τραγωδεῖν in pomp and exaggeration of language.

σεμνὸν γάρ] σεμνός, contracted from σεβόμενος, lit. an object of worship: applied again to the heroic measure or rhythm, III 8.4.

On these passive forms in Greek and Latin, see Donaldson, New Crat. § 410, Varron. p. 406 (ed. II), 97. Add to the Greek examples given σεμνός and ἐρυμνός and to the Latin, somnus (sopio).

καὶ αὔθαδες] This means that the unusual γλῶτται affect an air of independence and hauteur; they, like the αὐθάδης, the self-pleaser, selfwilled, stubborn, haughty, independent man, will not conform to ordinary usage, and scornfully affect singularity. Comp. Poet. XXIV 9, τὸ γὰρ ἡρωϊκὸν στασιμώτατον καὶ ὀγκωδέστατον τῶν μέτρων ἐστίν, διὸ καὶ γλώττας καὶ μεταφορὰς δέχεται μάλιστα.

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