This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE rhetorician Antonius Julianus had an exceedingly noble and winning personality. He also possessed learning of a delightful and helpful sort, devoting great attention to the refinements of the writers of old and readily recalling them. Moreover, he inspected all the earlier literature with such care, weighing its merits and ferreting out its defects, that you might say that his judgment was perfect. 1 This Julianus expressed the following opinion of the syllogism which is found in the speech of Marcus Tullius spoken In Defence of Gnaeus Plancius 2 —but first I will quote the exact words on which he passed judgment: "And yet, a debt of money is a different thing from a debt of gratitude. For he who discharges a debt in money ceases forthwith to have that which he has paid, while one who continues in debt keeps what belongs to another. But in the case of a debt of gratitude, he who returns it has it; and he who has it returns it by the mere fact of having it. 3 In the present instance I shall not cease to be Plancius' debtor if I pay this debt, nor should I be paying him any the less simply by feeling goodwill, if the present unfortunate situation had not occurred" 4 “Here,” said Julianus, “is to be sure a fine artistry in the way the words are marshalled, something well-rounded that charms tile ear by its mere music; but it must be read with the privilege of a slight change in the meaning of one word in order to [p. 27] preserve the truth of the proposition. Now the comparison of a debt of gratitude with a pecuniary debt demands the use of the word 'debt' in both instances. For a debt of money and a debt of gratitude will seem to be properly compared, if we may say that both money and gratitude are owed; but let us consider what happens in the owing or paying of money, and on the other hand in the owing and paying of a debt of gratitude, if we retain the word 'debt' in both instances. Now Cicero,” continued Julianus, “having said that a debt of money was a different thing from a debt of gratitude, in giving his reason for that statement applies the word 'owe' to money, but in the case of gratitude substitutes ' has' (i.e. 'feels') for ' owes'; for this is what he says: ' But in the case of a debt of gratitude, he who returns it has it; and he who has it returns it by the mere fact of having it.' But that word 'has' does not exactly fit the proposed comparison. For it is the owing, and not the having, of gratitude that is compared with money, and therefore it would have been more consistent to say: 'He who owes pays by the mere fact of owing.' But it would be absurd and quite too forced if a debt of gratitude that was not yet paid should be said to be paid by the mere fact that it was owed. Therefore,” said Julianus, “Cicero made a change and substituted a similar word for one which he had dropped, in order to seem to have kept the idea of a comparison of debts, and at the same time retained the careful balance of his period.” Thus it was that Julianus elucidated and criticized passages in the earlier literature, which a select group of young men read under his guidance.
1 Lit., “according to a rule or level.”
3 The point of this passage depends on the meaning of referre grafiam, “requite” (“pay” a debt of gratitude), and habere gratiam, “feel gratitude.” I have followed to some extent the rendering of Watts (L.C.L.), but with some changes.
4 That is, the prosecution of Plancius, which enabled Cicero to pay his debt by defending his friend.
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.