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[18] Let us then understand a cause in the sense of the Greek hypothesis or subject, and a matter in the sense of the Greek peristasis or collection of circumstances. But some, however, have defined a cause in the same way that Apollodorus defines a matter. Isocrates1 on the other hand defines a cause as some definite question concerned with some point of civil affairs, or a dispute in which definite persons are involved; while Cicero2 uses the following words:—“A cause may be known by its being concerned with certain definite persons, circumstances of time and place, actions, and business, and will relate either to all or at any rate to most of these.”

VI.3 Since every cause, then, has a certain essential basis4 on which it rests, before I proceed to set forth how each kind of cause should be handled, I think I [p. 409] should first examine a question that is common to all of them, namely, what is meant by basis, whence it is derived and how many and of what nature such bases may be. Some, it is true, have thought that they were peculiar merely to forensic themes, but their ignorance will stand revealed when I have treated of all three kinds of oratory.

1 Fr. 13 Sheehan.

2 Top. xxi. 80.

3 This chapter is highly technical and of little interest for the most part to any save professed students of the technique of the ancient schools of rhetoric. Its apparent obscurity will, however, he found to disappear on careful analysis. The one passage of general interest it contains is to be found in the extremely ingenious fictitious theme discussed in sections 96 sqq.

4 There is no exact English equivalent for status. Basis or ground are perhaps the nearest equivalents.

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