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[11] Compound words, a number of epithets, and “foreign” words especially, are appropriate to an emotional speaker; for when a man is enraged it is excusable for him to call an evil “high-as-heaven” or “stupendous.” He may do the same when he has gripped his audience and filled it with enthusiasm, either by praise, blame, anger, or friendliness, as Isocrates does at the end of his Panegyricus1: “Oh, the fame and the name!” and “In that they endured.” For such is the language of enthusiastic orators, and it is clear that the hearers accept what they say in a sympathetic spirit. Wherefore this style is appropriate to poetry; for there is something inspired in poetry. It should therefore be used either in this way or
when speaking ironically, after the manner of Gorgias, or of Plato in the Phaedrus.2

1 Isoc. 4.186, where μνήμη is the reading, translated “name” above (lit. memory) for the sake of the jingle, which also appears in the Greek of Isocrates. All the Mss. of Aristotle give γνώμην here, which shows that it is a misquotation.

2 Plat. Phaedrus 238d, Plat. Phaedrus 241e. In the first of these passages Socrates attributes his unusual flow of words to the inspiration of the nymphs, and tells Phaedrus not to wonder if he seems to be in a divine fury, for he is not far from breaking out into dithyrambs. An example of the irony (a term implying a certain amount of contempt (2.2.25)) of Gorgias is given in Aristot. Pol. 3.1. When asked how a person comes to be a citizen, he answers: “as those are mortars which have been made by mortar-makers, so those are Larissaeans who have been made by artisans ( δημιουργούς); for some of these were Larissa-makers ( λαρισοποιούς).” There is a play on the double meaning of δημιουργός, (1) artisan, (2) magistrate, lit. people-maker. Larissa-makers means makers of Larissaeans in such numbers that they might be regarded as makers of Larissa itself. It has also been suggested that λαρισοποιούς may mean “kettle-makers,” from λάρισα “a kettle,” so called from having been first made at Larissa, but this seems unnecessary. The point is that Gorgias maintained that all were citizens who were made so by the magistrates, that citizenship was a manufactured article (see W. L. Newman's note on the passage, and W. H. Thompson's Appendix to his edition of Plato's Gorgias).

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  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, The Attic Orators from Antiphon to Isaeos, Introduction
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