Rhetoric (Freese)/Book 3

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620105RhetoricJohn Henry FreeseAristotle

Chapter 1[edit]

There are three things which require special attention in regard to speech: first, the sources of proofs; secondly, style; and thirdly, the arrangement of the parts of the speech. We have already spoken of proofs and stated that they are three in number, what is their nature, and why there are only three; for in all cases persuasion is the result either of the judges themselves being affected in a certain manner, or because they consider the speakers to be of a certain character, or because something has been demonstrated. We have also stated the sources from which enthymemes should be derived—some of them being special, the others general commonplaces. We have therefore next to speak of style; for it is not sufficient to know what one ought to say, but one must also know how to say it, and this largely contributes to making the speech appear of a certain character. In the first place, following the natural order, we investigated that which first presented itself—what gives things themselves their persuasiveness; in the second place, their arrangement by style; and in the third place, delivery, which is of the greatest importance but has not yet been treated of by anyone. In fact, it only made its appearance late in tragedy and rhapsody, for at first the poets themselves acted their tragedies. It is clear, therefore, that there is something of the sort in rhetoric as well as in poetry, and it has been dealt with by Glaucon of Teos among others. Now delivery is a matter of voice, as to the mode in which it should be used for each particular emotion; when it should be loud, when low, when intermediate; and how the tones, that is, shrill, deep, and intermediate, should be used; and what rhythms are adapted to each subject. For there are three qualities that are considered,—volume, harmony, rhythm. Those who use these properly nearly always carry off the prizes in dramatic contests, and as at the present day actors have greater influence on the stage than the poets, it is the same In political contests, owing to the corruptness of our forms of government. But no treatise has yet been composed on delivery, since the matter of style itself only lately came into notice; and rightly considered it is thought vulgar. But since the whole business of Rhetoric is to influence opinion, we must pay attention to it, not as being right, but necessary; for, as a matter of right, one should aim at nothing more in a speech than how to avoid exciting pain or pleasure. For justice should consist in fighting the case with the facts alone, so that everything else that is beside demonstration is superfluous; nevertheless, as we have just said, it is of great importance owing to the corruption of the hearer. However, in every system of instruction there is some slight necessity to pay attention to style; for it does make a difference, for the purpose of making a thing clear, to speak in this or that manner; still, the difference is not so very great, but all these things are mere outward show for pleasing the hearer; wherefore no one teaches geometry in this way.

Now, when delivery comes into fashion, it will have the same effect as acting. Some writers have attempted to say a few words about it, as Thrasymachus, in his Eleoi; and in fact, a gift for acting is a natural talent and depends less upon art, but in regard to style it is artificial. Wherefore people who excel in this in their turn obtain prizes, just as orators who excel in delivery; for written speeches owe their effect not so much to the sense as to the style.

The poets, as was natural, were the first to give an impulse to style; for words are imitations, and the voice also, which of all our parts is best adapted for imitation, was ready to hand; thus the arts of the rhapsodists, actors, and others, were fashioned. And as the poets, although their utterances were devoid of sense, appeared to have gained their reputation through their style, it was a poetical style that first came into being, as that of Gorgias. Even now the majority of the uneducated think that such persons express themselves most beautifully, whereas this is not the case, for the style of prose is not the same as that of poetry. And the result proves it; for even the writers of tragedies do not employ it in the same manner, but as they have changed from the tetrametric to the iambic meter, because the latter, of all other meters, most nearly resembles prose, they have in like manner discarded all such words as differ from those of ordinary conversation, with which the early poets used to adorn their writings, and which even now are employed by the writers of hexameters. It is therefore ridiculous to imitate those who no longer employ that manner of writing. Consequently, it is evident that we need not enter too precisely into all questions of style, but only those which concern such a style as we are discussing. As for the other kind of style, it has already been treated in the Poetics.

Chapter 2[edit]

Let this suffice for the consideration of these points. In regard to style, one of its chief merits may be defined as perspicuity. This is shown by the fact that the speech, if it does not make the meaning clear, will not perform its proper function; neither must it be mean, nor above the dignity of the subject, but appropriate to it; for the poetic style may be is not mean, but it is not appropriate to prose. Of nouns and verbs it is the proper ones that make style perspicuous; all the others which have been spoken of in the Poetics elevate and make it ornate; for departure from the ordinary makes it appear more dignified. In this respect men feel the same in regard to style as in regard to foreigners and fellow-citizens. Wherefore we should give our language a “foreign air”; for men admire what is remote, and that which excites admiration is pleasant. In poetry many things conduce to this and there it is appropriate; for the subjects and persons spoken of are more out of the common. But in prose such methods are appropriate in much fewer instances, for the subject is less elevated; and even in poetry, if fine language were used by a slave or a very young man, or about quite unimportant matters, it would be hardly becoming; for even here due proportion consists in contraction and amplification as the subject requires. Wherefore those who practise this artifice must conceal it and avoid the appearance of speaking artificially instead of naturally; for that which is natural persuades, but the artificial does not. For men become suspicious of one whom they think to be laying a trap for them, as they are of mixed wines. Such was the case with the voice of Theodorus as contrasted with that of the rest of the actors; for his seemed to be the voice of the speaker, that of the others the voice of someone else. Art is cleverly concealed when the speaker chooses his words from ordinary language and puts them together like Euripides, who was the first to show the way.

Nouns and verbs being the components of speech, and nouns being of the different kinds which have been considered in the Poetics, of these we should use strange, compound, or coined words only rarely and in few places. We will state later in what places they should be used; the reason for this has already been mentioned, namely, that it involves too great a departure from suitable language. Proper and appropriate words and metaphors are alone to be employed in the style of prose; this is shown by the fact that no one employs anything but these. For all use metaphors in conversation, as well as proper and appropriate words; wherefore it is clear that, if a speaker manages well, there will be some thing “foreign” about his speech, while possibly the art may not be detected, and his meaning will be clear. And this, as we have said, is the chief merit of rhetorical language. (In regard to nouns, homonyms are most useful to the sophist, for it is by their aid that he employs captious arguments, and synonyms to the poet. Instances of words that are both proper and synonymous are “going” and “walking”: for these two words are proper and have the same meaning.)

It has already been stated, as we have said, in the Poetics, what each of these things is, how many kinds of metaphor there are, and that it is most important both in poetry and in prose. But the orator must devote the greater attention to them in prose, since the latter has fewer resources than verse. It is metaphor above all that gives perspicuity, pleasure, and a foreign air, and it cannot be learnt from anyone else; but we must make use of metaphors and epithets that are appropriate. This will be secured by observing due proportion; otherwise there will be a lack of propriety, because it is when placed in juxtaposition that contraries are most evident. We must consider, as a red cloak suits a young man, what suits an old one; for the same garment is not suitable for both. And if we wish to ornament our subject, we must derive our metaphor from the better species under the same genus; if to depreciate it, from the worse. Thus, to say (for you have two opposites belonging to the same genus) that the man who begs prays, or that the man who prays begs (for both are forms of asking) is an instance of doing this; as, when Iphicrates called Callias a mendicant priest instead of a torch-bearer, Callias replied that Iphicrates himself could not be initiated, otherwise he would not have called him mendicant priest but torch-bearer; both titles indeed have to do with a divinity, but the one is honorable, the other dishonorable. And some call actors flatterers of Dionysus, whereas they call themselves “artists.” Both these names are metaphors, but the one is a term of abuse, the other the contrary. Similarly, pirates now call themselves purveyors; and so it is allowable to say that the man who has committed a crime has “made a mistake,” that the man who has “made a mistake” is “guilty of crime”, and that one who has committed a theft has either “taken” or “ravaged.” The saying in the Telephus of Euripides,

“Ruling over the oar and having landed in Mysia,”

is inappropriate, because the word ruling exceeds the dignity of the subject, and so the artifice can be seen. Forms of words also are faulty, if they do not express an agreeable sound; for instance, Dionysius the Brazen in his elegiacs speaks of poetry as

“the scream of Calliope;”

both are sounds, but the metaphor is bad, because the sounds have no meaning.

Further, metaphors must not be far-fetched, but we must give names to things that have none by deriving the metaphor from what is akin and of the same kind, so that, as soon as it is uttered, it is clearly seen to be akin, as in the famous enigma,

“I saw a man who glued bronze with fire upon another.”

There was no name for what took place, but as in both cases there is a kind of application, he called the application of the cupping-glass gluing. And, generally speaking, clever enigmas furnish good metaphors; for metaphor is a kind of enigma, so that it is clear that the transference is clever. Metaphors should also be derived from things that are beautiful, the beauty of a word consisting, as Licymnius says, in its sound or sense, and its ugliness in the same. There is a third condition, which refutes the sophistical argument; for it is not the case, as Bryson said, that no one ever uses foul language, if the meaning is the same whether this or that word is used; this is false; for one word is more proper than another, more of a likeness, and better suited to putting the matter before the eyes. Further, this word or that does not signify a thing under the same conditions; thus for this reason also it must be admitted that one word is fairer or fouler than the other. Both, indeed, signify what is fair or foul, but not qua fair or foul; or if they do, it is in a greater or less degree. Metaphors therefore should be derived from what is beautiful either in sound, or in signification, or to sight, or to some other sense. For it does make a difference, for instance, whether one says “rosy-fingered morn,” rather than “purple-fingered,” or, what is still worse, “red-fingered.”

As for epithets, they may be applied from what is vile or disgraceful, for instance, “the matricide,” or from what is more honorable, for instance, “the avenger of his father.” When the winner in a mule-race offered Simonides a small sum, he refused to write an ode, as if he thought it beneath him to write on half-asses; but when he gave him a sufficient amount, he wrote,

“Hail, daughters of storm-footed steeds!”

and yet they were also the daughters of asses. Further, the use of diminutives amounts to the same. It is the diminutive which makes the good and the bad appear less, as Aristophanes in the Babylonians jestingly uses “goldlet, cloaklet, affrontlet, diseaselet” instead of “gold, cloak, affront, disease.” But one must be careful to observe the due mean in their use as well as in that of epithets.

Chapter 3[edit]

Frigidity of style arises from four causes: first, the use of compound words, as when Lycophron speaks of the “many-faced sky of the mighty-topped earth,” “narrow-passaged shore”; and Gorgias of “a begging-poet flatterer,” “those who commit perjury and those who swear right solemnly.” And as Alcidamas says, “the soul full of anger and the face fire-colored,” “he thought that their zeal would be end-accomplishing,” “he made persuasive words end-accomplishing,” and “the azure-colored floor of the sea,” for all these appear poetical because they are compound.

This is one cause of frigidity; another is the use of strange words; as Lycophron calls Xerxes “a monster of a man,” Sciron “a human scourge”; and Alcidamas says “plaything in poetry,” “the audaciousness of nature,” “whetted with unmitigated wrath of thought.”

A third cause is the use of epithets that are either long or unseasonable or too crowded; thus, in poetry it is appropriate to speak of white milk, but in prose it is less so; and if epithets are employed to excess, they reveal the art and make it evident that it is poetry. And yet such may be used to a certain extent, since it removes the style from the ordinary and gives a “foreign” air. But one must aim at the mean, for neglect to do so does more harm than speaking at random; for a random style lacks merit, but excess is vicious. That is why the style of Alcidamas appears frigid; for he uses epithets not as a seasoning but as a regular dish, so crowded, so long, and so glaring are they. For instance, he does not say “sweat” but “damp sweat”; not “to the Isthmian games” but “to the solemn assembly of the Isthmian games”; not “laws”, but “the laws, the rulers of states”; not “running”, but “with a race-like impulse of the soul”; not “museum”, but “having taken up the museum of nature”; and “the scowling anxiety of the soul”; “creator”, not “of favor”, but “all-popular favor”; and “dispenser of the pleasure of the hearers”; “he hid,” not “with branches,” but “with the branches of the forest”; “he covered,” not “his body,” but “the nakedness of his body.” He also calls desire “counter-initiative of the soul”—an expression which is at once compound and an epithet, so that it becomes poetry—and “the excess of his depravity so beyond all bounds.” Hence those who employ poetic language by their lack of taste make the style ridiculous and frigid, and such idle chatter produces obscurity; for when words are piled upon one who already knows, it destroys perspicuity by a cloud of verbiage. People use compound words, when a thing has no name and the word is easy to combine, as χρονοτριβεῖν, to pass time; but if the practice is abused, the style becomes entirely poetical. This is why compound words are especially employed by dithyrambic poets, who are full of noise; strange words by epic poets, for they imply dignity and self-assertion; metaphor to writers of iambics, who now employ them, as we have stated.

The fourth cause of frigidity of style is to be found in metaphors; for metaphors also are inappropriate, some because they are ridiculous—for the comic poets also employ them—others because they are too dignified and somewhat tragic; and if they are farfetched, they are obscure, as when Gorgias says: “Affairs pale and bloodless”; “you have sown shame and reaped misfortune”; for this is too much like poetry. And as Alcidamas calls philosophy “a bulwark of the laws,” and the Odyssey “a beautiful mirror of human life,” and “introducing no such plaything in poetry.” All these expressions fail to produce persuasion, for the reasons stated. As for what Gorgias said to the swallow which, flying over his head, let fall her droppings upon him, it was in the best tragic style. He exclaimed, “Fie, for shame, Philomela!”; for there would have been nothing in this act disgraceful for a bird, whereas it would have been for a young lady. The reproach therefore was appropriate, addressing her as she was, not as she is.

Chapter 4[edit]

The simile also is a metaphor; for there is very little difference. When the poet says of Achilles,

“he rushed on like a lion,”

it is a simile; if he says, “a lion, he rushed on,” it is a metaphor; for because both are courageous, he transfers the sense and calls Achilles a lion. The simile is also useful in prose, but should be less frequently used, for there is something poetical about it. Similes must be used like metaphors, which only differ in the manner stated. The following are examples of similes. Androtion said of Idrieus that he was like curs just unchained; for as they attack and bite, so he when loosed from his bonds was dangerous. Again, Theodamas likened Archidamus to a Euxenus ignorant of geometry, by proportion; for Euxenus “will be Archidamus acquainted with geometry.” Again, Plato in the Republic compares those who strip the dead to curs, which bite stones, but do not touch those who throw them; he also says that the people is like a ship's captain who is vigorous, but rather deaf; that poets' verses resemble those who are in the bloom of youth but lack beauty; for neither the one after they have lost their bloom, nor the others after they have been broken up, appear the same as before. Pericles said that the Samians were like children who cry while they accept the scraps. He also compared the Boeotians to holm-oaks; for just as these are beaten down by knocking against each other, so are the Boeotians by their civil strife. Demosthenes compared the people to passengers who are seasick. Democrates said that orators resembled nurses who gulp down the morsel and rub the babies' lips with the spittle. Antisthenes likened the skinny Cephisodotus to incense, for he also gives pleasure by wasting away. All such expressions may be used as similes or metaphors, so that all that are approved as metaphors will obviously also serve as similes which are metaphors without the details. But in all cases the metaphor from proportion should be reciprocal and applicable to either of the two things of the same genus; for instance, if the goblet is the shield of Dionysus, then the shield may properly be called the goblet of Ares.

Chapter 5[edit]

Such then are the elements of speech. But purity, which is the foundation of style, depends upon five rules. First, connecting particles should be introduced in their natural order, before or after, as they require; thus, μέν and ἐγὼ μέν require to be followed by δέ and ὁ δέ. Further, they should be made to correspond whilst the hearer still recollects; they should not be put too far apart, nor should a clause be introduced before the necessary connection; for this is rarely appropriate. For instance, “As for me, I, after he had told me—for Cleon came begging and praying—set out, taking them with me.” For in this phrase several connecting words have been foisted in before the one which is to furnish the apodosis; and if the interval between “I” and “set out” is too great, the result is obscurity. The first rule therefore is to make a proper use of connecting particles; the second, to employ special, not generic terms. The third consists in avoiding ambiguous terms, unless you deliberately intend the opposite, like those who, having nothing to say, yet pretend to say something; such people accomplish this by the use of verse, after the manner of Empedocles. For the long circumlocution takes in the hearers, who find themselves affected like the majority of those who listen to the soothsayers. For when the latter utter their ambiguities, they also assent; for example,

“Croesus, by crossing the Halys, shall ruin a mighty dominion.”

And as there is less chance of making a mistake when speaking generally, diviners express themselves in general terms on the question of fact; for, in playing odd or even, one is more likely to be right if he says “even” or “odd” than if he gives a definite number, and similarly one who says “it will be” than if he states “when.” This is why soothsayers do not further define the exact time. All such ambiguities are alike, wherefore they should be avoided, except for some such reason. The fourth rule consists in keeping the genders distinct—masculine, feminine, and neuter, as laid down by Protagoras; these also must be properly introduced: “She, having come (fem.) and having conversed (fem.) with me, went away.” The fifth rule consists in observing number, according as many, few, or one are referred to: “They, having come (pl.), began to beat (pl.) me.”

Generally speaking, that which is written should be easy to read or easy to utter, which is the same thing. Now, this is not the case when there is a number of connecting particles, or when the punctuation is hard, as in the writings of Heraclitus. For it is hard, since it is uncertain to which word another belongs, whether to that which follows or that which precedes; for instance, at the beginning of his composition he says: “Of this reason which exists always men are ignorant,” where it is uncertain whether “always” should go with “which exists” or with “are ignorant.” Further, a solecism results from not appropriately connecting or joining two words with a word which is equally suitable to both. For instance, in speaking of “sound” and “color”, the word “seeing” should not be used, for it is not suitable to both, whereas “perceiving” is. It also causes obscurity, if you do not say at the outset what you mean, when you intend to insert a number of details in the middle; for instance, if you say: “I intended after having spoken to him thus and thus and in this way to set out” instead of “I intended to set out after having spoken to him,” and then this or that happened, in this or that manner.

Chapter 6[edit]

The following rules contribute to loftiness of style. Use of the description instead of the name of a thing; for instance, do not say “circle,” but “a plane figure, all the points of which are equidistant from the center.” But for the purpose of conciseness the reverse—use the name instead of the description. You should do the same to express anything foul or indecent; if the foulness is in the description, use the name; if in the name, the description. Use metaphors and epithets by way of illustration, taking care, however, to avoid what is too poetical. Use the plural for the singular, after the manner of the poets, who, although there is only one harbor, say

“to Achaean harbors,”


“Here are the many-leaved folds of the tablet.”

You should avoid linking up, but each word should have its own article: τῆς γυναικὸς τῆς ἡμετέρας. But for conciseness, the reverse: τῆς ἡμετέρας γυναικός. Employ a connecting particle or for conciseness omit it, but avoid destroying the connection; for instance “having gone and having conversed with him,” or, “having gone, I conversed with him.” Also the practice of Antimachus is useful, that of describing a thing by the qualities it does not possess; thus, in speaking of the hill Teumessus, he says,

“There is a little windswept hill;”

for in this way amplification may be carried on ad infinitum. This method may be applied to things good and bad, in whichever way it may be useful. Poets also make use of this in inventing words, as a melody “without strings” or “without the lyre”; for they employ epithets from negations, a course which is approved in proportional metaphors, as for instance, to say that the sound of the trumpet is a melody without the lyre.

Chapter 7[edit]

Propriety of style will be obtained by the expression of emotion and character, and by proportion to the subject matter. Style is proportionate to the subject matter when neither weighty matters are treated offhand, nor trifling matters with dignity, and no embellishment is attached to an ordinary word; otherwise there is an appearance of comedy, as in the poetry of Cleophon, who used certain expressions that reminded one of saying “madam fig.” Style expresses emotion, when a man speaks with anger of wanton outrage; with indignation and reserve, even in mentioning them, of things foul or impious; with admiration of things praiseworthy; with lowliness of things pitiable; and so in all other cases. Appropriate style also makes the fact appear credible; for the mind of the hearer is imposed upon under the impression that the speaker is speaking the truth, because, in such circumstances, his feelings are the same, so that he thinks (even if it is not the case as the speaker puts it) that things are as he represents them; and the hearer always sympathizes with one who speaks emotionally, even though he really says nothing. This is why speakers often confound their hearers by mere noise.

Character also may be expressed by the proof from signs, because to each class and habit there is an appropriate style. I mean class in reference to age—child, man, or old man; to sex—man or woman; to country—Lacedaemonian or Thessalian. I call habits those moral states which form a man's character in life; for not all habits do this. If then anyone uses the language appropriate to each habit, he will represent the character; for the uneducated man will not say the same things in the same way as the educated. But the hearers also are impressed in a certain way by a device employed ad nauseam by writers of speeches: “Who does not know?” “Everybody knows”; for the hearer agrees, because he is ashamed to appear not to share what is a matter of common knowledge.

The opportune or inopportune use of these devices applies to all kinds of Rhetoric. But whenever one has gone too far, the remedy may be found in the common piece of advice—that he should rebuke himself in advance; then the excess seems true, since the orator is obviously aware of what he is doing. Further, one ought not to make use of all kinds of correspondence together; for in this manner the hearer is deceived. I mean, for instance, if the language is harsh, the voice, features, and all things connected should not be equally harsh; otherwise what each really is becomes evident. But if you do this in one instance and not in another, the art escapes notice, although the result is the same. If mild sentiments are harshly expressed or harsh sentiments mildly, the speech lacks persuasiveness.

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 Panegyricus: “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.

Chapter 8[edit]

The form of diction should be neither metrical nor without rhythm. If it is metrical, it lacks persuasiveness, for it appears artificial, and at the same time it distracts the hearer's attention, since it sets him on the watch for the recurrence of such and such a cadence; just as, when the public criers ask, “Whom does the emancipated choose for his patron?” the children shout “Cleon.” If it is without rhythm, it is unlimited, whereas it ought to be limited (but not by meter); for that which is unlimited is unpleasant and unknowable. Now all things are limited by number, and the number belonging to the form of diction is rhythm, of which the meters are divisions. Wherefore prose must be rhythmical, but not metrical, otherwise it will be a poem. Nor must this rhythm be rigorously carried out, but only up to a certain point.

Of the different rhythms the heroic is dignified, but lacking the harmony of ordinary conversation; the iambic is the language of the many, wherefore of all meters it is most used in common speech; but speech should be dignified and calculated to rouse the hearer. The trochaic is too much like the cordax; this is clear from the tetrameters, which form a tripping rhythm. There remains the paean, used by rhetoricians from the time of Thrasymachus, although they could not define it.

The paean is a third kind of rhythm closely related to those already mentioned; for its proportion is 3 to 2, that of the others 1 to 1 and 2 to 1, with both of which the paean, whose proportion is 1½ to 1, is connected. All the other meters then are to be disregarded for the reasons stated, and also because they are metrical; but the paean should be retained, because it is the only one of the rhythms mentioned which is not adapted to a metrical system, so that it is most likely to be undetected. At the present day one kind of paean alone is employed, at the beginning as well as at the end; the end, however, ought to differ from the beginning. Now there are two kinds of paeans, opposed to each other. The one is appropriate at the beginning, where in fact it is used. It begins with a long syllable and ends with three short:

Δα¯λο˘γε˘νε˘ς εἴτε Λυ˘κι˘αν, (“O Delos-born, or it may be Lycia”),”


Χρυ¯σε˘ο˘κό˘μα¯ Ἕ˘κα˘τε˘ παῖ Διό˘ς (“Golden-haired far-darter, son of Zeus”).”

The other on the contrary begins with three short syllables and ends with one long one:

με˘τὰ˘ δε˘ γᾶν ὕ˘δα˘τά˘ τ᾽ ὠκε˘α˘νὸν ἠφά˘νι˘σε˘νύξ (“after earth and waters, night obscured ocean”).”

This is a suitable ending, for the short syllable, being incomplete, mutilates the cadence. But the period should be broken off by a long syllable and the end should be clearly marked, not by the scribe nor by a punctuation mark, but by the rhythm itself. That the style should be rhythmical and not unrhythmical, and what rhythms and what arrangement of them make it of this character, has now been sufficiently shown.

Chapter 9[edit]

The style must be either continuous and united by connecting particles, like the dithyrambic preludes, or periodic, like the antistrophes of the ancient poets. The continuous style is the ancient one; for example, “This is the exposition of the investigation of Herodotus of Thurii.” It was formerly used by all, but now is used only by a few. By a continuous style I mean that which has no end in itself and only stops when the sense is complete. It is unpleasant, because it is endless, for all wish to have the end in sight. That explains why runners, just when they have reached the goal, lose their breath and strength, whereas before, when the end is in sight, they show no signs of fatigue. Such is the continuous style. The other style consists of periods, and by period I mean a sentence that has a beginning and end in itself and a magnitude that can be easily grasped. What is written in this style is pleasant and easy to learn, pleasant because it is the opposite of that which is unlimited, because the hearer at every moment thinks he is securing something for himself and that some conclusion has been reached; whereas it is unpleasant neither to foresee nor to get to the end of anything. It is easy to learn, because it can be easily retained in the memory. The reason is that the periodic style has number, which of all things is the easiest to remember; that explains why all learn verse with greater facility than prose, for it has number by which it can be measured. But the period must be completed with the sense and not stop short, as in the iambics of Sophocles,

“This is Calydon, territory of the land of Pelops;”

for by a division of this kind it is possible to suppose the contrary of the fact, as in the example, that Calydon is in Peloponnesus.

A period may be composed of clauses, or simple. The former is a complete sentence, distinct in its parts and easy to repeat in a breath, not divided like the period in the line of Sophocles above, but when it is taken as a whole. By clause I mean one of the two parts of this period, and by a simple period one that consists of only one clause. But neither clauses nor periods should be curtailed or too long. If too short, they often make the hearer stumble; for when he is hurrying on towards the measure of which he already has a definite idea, if he is checked by the speaker stopping, a sort of stumble is bound to occur in consequence of the sudden stop. If too long, they leave the hearer behind, as those who do not turn till past the ordinary limit leave behind those who are walking with them. Similarly long periods assume the proportions of a speech and resemble dithyrambic preludes. This gives rise to what Democritus of Chios jokingly rebuked in Melanippides, who instead of antistrophes composed dithyrambic preludes:

“A man does harm to himself in doing harm to another, and a long prelude is most deadly to one who composes it;”

for these verses may be applied to those who employ long clauses. Again, if the clauses are too short, they do not make a period, so that the hearer himself is carried away headlong.

The clauses of the periodic style are divided or opposed; divided, as in the following sentence: “I have often wondered at those who gathered together the general assemblies and instituted the gymnastic contests”; opposed, in which, in each of the two clauses, one contrary is brought close to another, or the same word is coupled with both contraries; for instance, “They were useful to both, both those who stayed and those who followed; for the latter they gained in addition greater possessions than they had at home, for the former they left what was sufficient in their own country.” Here “staying behind,” “following,” “sufficient,” “more” are contraries. Again: “to those who need money and those who wish to enjoy it”; where “enjoying” is contrary to “acquiring.” Again: “It often happens in these vicissitudes that the wise are unsuccessful, while fools succeed”: “At once they were deemed worthy of the prize of valor and not long after won the command of the sea”: “To sail over the mainland, to go by land over the sea, bridging over the Hellespont and digging through Athos”: “And that, though citizens by nature, they were deprived of the rights of citizenship by law”: “For some of them perished miserably, others saved themselves disgracefully”: “Privately to employ barbarians as servants, but publicly to view with indifference many of the allies reduced to slavery”: “Either to possess it while living or to leave it behind when dead.” And what some one said against Pitholaus and Lycophron in the lawcourt: “These men, who used to sell you when they were at home, having come to you have bought you.” All these passages are examples of antithesis. This kind of style is pleasing, because contraries are easily understood and even more so when placed side by side, and also because antithesis resembles a syllogism; for refutation is a bringing together of contraries.

Such then is the nature of antithesis; equality of clauses is parisosis; the similarity of the final syllables of each clause paromoiosis. This must take place at the beginning or end of the clauses. At the beginning the similarity is always shown in entire words; at the end, in the last syllables, or the inflections of one and the same word, or the repetition of the same word. For instance, at the beginning: Ἀγρὸν γὰρ ἔλαβεν ἀργὸν παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ, “for he received from him land untilled”;

δωρητοί τ᾽ ἐπέλοντο παράρρητοί τ᾽ ἐπέεσσιν, “they were ready to accept gifts and to be persuaded by words;” ”

at the end: ᾠήθησαν αὐτὸν παιδίον τετοκέναι, ἀλλ᾽ αὐτοῦ αἴτιον γεγονέναι, “they thought that he was the father of a child, but that he was the cause of it”; ἐν πλείσταις δὲ φροντίσι καὶ ἐν ἐλαχίσταις ἐλπίσιν, “in the greatest anxiety and the smallest hopes.” Inflections of the same word: ἄξιος δὲ σταθῆναι χαλκοῦς, οὐκ ἄξιος ὢν χαλκοῦ, “worthy of a bronze statue, not being worth a brass farthing.” Repetition of a word: σὺ δ᾽ αὐτὸν καὶ ζῶντα ἔλεγες κακῶς καὶ νῦν γράφεις κακῶς, “while he lived you spoke ill of him, now he is dead you write ill of him.” Resemblance of one syllable: τί ἂν ἔπαθες δεινόν, εἰ ἄνδρ᾽ εἶδες ἀργόν, “what ill would you have suffered, if you had seen an idle man?” All these figures may be found in the same sentence at once—antithesis, equality of clauses, and similarity of endings. In the Theodectea nearly all the beginnings of periods have been enumerated. There are also false antitheses, as in the verse of Epicharmus:

τόκα μὲν ἐν τήνων ἐγὼν ἦν, τόκα δὲ παρὰ τήνοις ἐγών, “at one time I was in their house, at another I was with them.” ”

Chapter 10[edit]

Having settled these questions, we must next state the sources of smart and popular sayings. They are produced either by natural genius or by practice; to show what they are is the function of this inquiry. Let us therefore begin by giving a full list of them, and let our starting-point be the following. Easy learning is naturally pleasant to all, and words mean something, so that all words which make us learn something are most pleasant. Now we do not know the meaning of strange words, and proper terms we know already. It is metaphor, therefore, that above all produces this effect; for when Homer calls old age stubble, he teaches and informs us through the genus; for both have lost their bloom. The similes of the poets also have the same effect; wherefore, if they are well constructed, an impression of smartness is produced. For the simile, as we have said, is a metaphor differing only by the addition of a word, wherefore it is less pleasant because it is longer; it does not say that this is that, so that the mind does not even examine this. Of necessity, therefore, all style and enthymemes that give us rapid information are smart. This is the reason why superficial enthymemes, meaning those that are obvious to all and need no mental effort, and those which, when stated, are not understood, are not popular, but only those which are understood the moment they are stated, or those of which the meaning, although not clear at first, comes a little later; for from the latter a kind of knowledge results, from the former neither the one nor the other.

In regard to the meaning of what is said, then, such enthymemes are popular. As to style, popularity of form is due to antithetical statement; for instance, “accounting the peace that all shared to be a war against their private interests,” where “war” is opposed to “peace”; as to words, they are popular if they contain metaphor, provided it be neither strange, for then it is difficult to take in at a glance, nor superficial, for then it does not impress the hearer; further, if they set things “before the eyes”; for we ought to see what is being done rather than what is going to be done. We ought therefore to aim at three things—metaphor, antithesis, actuality.

Of the four kinds of metaphor the most popular are those based on proportion. Thus, Pericles said that the youth that had perished during the war had disappeared from the State as if the year had lost its springtime. Leptines, speaking of the Lacedaemonians, said that he would not let the Athenians stand by and see Greece deprived of one of her eyes. When Chares was eager to have his accounts for the Olynthian war examined, Cephisodotus indignantly exclaimed that, now he had the people by the throat, he was trying to get his accounts examined; on another occasion also he exhorted the Athenians to set out for Euboea without delay “and provision themselves there, like the decree of Miltiades.” After the Athenians had made peace with Epidaurus and the maritime cities, Iphicrates indignantly declared “that they had deprived themselves of provisions for the war.” Pitholaus called the Paralus “the bludgeon of the people,” and Sestos “the corn-chest of the Piraeus.” Pericles recommended that Aegina, “the eyesore of the Piraeus,” should be removed. Moerocles, mentioning a very “respectable” person by name, declared that he was as much a scoundrel as himself; for whereas that honest man played the scoundrel at 33 per cent. he himself was satisfied with 10 per cent. And the iambic of Anaxandrides, on girls who were slow to marry,

“My daughters are “past the time” of marriage.”

And the saying of Polyeuctus upon a certain paralytic named Speusippus, “that he could not keep quiet, although Fortune had bound him in a five-holed pillory of disease.” Cephisodotus called the triremes “parti-colored mills,” and [Diogenes] the Cynic used to say that the taverns were “the messes” of Attica. Aesion used to say that they had “drained” the State into Sicily, which is a metaphor and sets the thing before the eyes. His words “so that Greece uttered a cry” are also in a manner a metaphor and a vivid one. And again, as Cephisodotus bade the Athenians take care not to hold their “concourses” too often; and in the same way Isocrates, who spoke of those “who rush together” in the assemblies. And as Lysias says in his Funeral Oration, that it was right that Greece should cut her hair at the tomb of those who fell at Salamis, since her freedom was buried along with their valor. If the speaker had said that it was fitting that Greece should weep, her valor being buried with them, it would have been a metaphor and a vivid one, whereas “freedom” by the side of “valor” produces a kind of antithesis. And as Iphicrates said, “The path of my words leads through the center of the deeds of Chares”; here the metaphor is proportional and the words “through the center” create vividness. Also, to say that one “calls upon dangers to help against dangers” is a vivid metaphor. And Lycoleon on behalf of Chabrias said, “not even reverencing the suppliant attitude of his statue of bronze,” a metaphor for the moment, not for all time, but still vivid; for when Chabrias is in danger, the statue intercedes for him, the inanimate becomes animate, the memorial of what he has done for the State. And “in every way studying poorness of spirit,” for “studying” a thing implies to increase it. And that “reason is a light that God has kindled in the soul,” for both the words reason and light make something clear. “For we do not put an end to wars, but put them off,” for both ideas refer to the future—putting off and a peace of such a kind. And again, it is a metaphor to say that such a treaty is “a trophy far more splendid than those gained in war; for the latter are raised in memory of trifling advantages and a single favor of fortune, but the former commemorates the end of the whole war”; for both treaty and trophy are signs of victory. Again, that cities also render a heavy account to the censure of men; for rendering an account is a sort of just punishment.

Chapter 11[edit]

We have said that smart sayings are derived from proportional metaphor and expressions which set things before the eyes. We must now explain the meaning of “before the eyes,” and what must be done to produce this. I mean that things are set before the eyes by words that signify actuality. For instance, to say that a good man is “four-square” is a metaphor, for both these are complete, but the phrase does not express actuality, whereas “of one having the prime of his life in full bloom” does; similarly, “thee, like a sacred animal ranging at will” expresses actuality, and in

“Thereupon the Greeks shooting forward with their feet”

the word “shooting” contains both actuality and metaphor. And as Homer often, by making use of metaphor, speaks of inanimate things as if they were animate; and it is to creating actuality in all such cases that his popularity is due, as in the following examples:

“Again the ruthless stone rolled down to the plain.”
“The arrow flew.”
“[The arrow] eager to fly [towards the crowd].”
“[The spears] were buried in the ground, longing to take their fill of flesh.”
“The spear-point sped eagerly through his breast.”

For in all these examples there is appearance of actuality, since the objects are represented as animate: “the shameless stone,” “the eager spear-point,” and the rest express actuality. Homer has attached these attributes by the employment of the proportional metaphor; for as the stone is to Sisyphus, so is the shameless one to the one who is shamelessly treated. In his popular similes also he proceeds in the same manner with inanimate things:

“Arched, foam-crested, some in front, others behind;”

for he gives movement and life to all, and actuality is movement.

As we have said before, metaphors should be drawn from objects which are proper to the object, but not too obvious; just as, for instance, in philosophy it needs sagacity to grasp the similarity in things that are apart. Thus Archytas said that there was no difference between an arbitrator and an altar, for the wronged betakes itself to one or the other. Similarly, if one were to say that an anchor and a pot-hook hung up were identical; for both are the same sort of thing, but they differ in this—that one is hung up above and the other below. And if one were to say “the cities have been reduced to the same level,” this amounts to the same in the case of things far apart—the equality of “levelling” in regard to superficies and resources.

Most smart sayings are derived from metaphor, and also from misleading the hearer beforehand. For it becomes more evident to him that he has learnt something, when the conclusion turns out contrary to his expectation, and the mind seems to say, “How true it is! but I missed it.” And smart apophthegms arise from not meaning what one says, as in the apophthegm of Stesichorus, that “the grasshoppers will sing to themselves from the ground.” And clever riddles are agreeable for the same reason; for something is learnt, and the expression is also metaphorical. And what Theodorus calls “novel expressions” arise when what follows is paradoxical, and, as he puts it, not in accordance with our previous expectation; just as humorists make use of slight changes in words. The same effect is produced by jokes that turn on a change of letter; for they are deceptive. These novelties occur in poetry as well as in prose; for instance, the following verse does not finish as the hearer expected:

“And he strode on, under his feet—chilblains,”

whereas the hearer thought he was going to say “sandals.” This kind of joke must be clear from the moment of utterance. Jokes that turn on the word are produced, not by giving it the proper meaning, but by perverting it; for instance, when Theodorus said to Nicon, the player on the cithara, “you are troubled” (θράττει); for while pretending to say “something troubles you,” he deceives us; for he means something else. Therefore the joke is only agreeable to one who understands the point; for if one does not know that Nicon is a Thracian, he will not see any joke in it. Similarly, “you wish to destroy him (πέρσαι).” Jokes of both these kinds must be suitably expressed. Similar instances are such witticisms as saying that “the empire of the sea” was not “the beginning of misfortunes” for the Athenians, for they benefited by it; or, with Isocrates, that “empire” was “the beginning of misfortunes for the city”; in both cases that which one would not have expected to be said is said, and recognized as true. For, in the second example, to say that “empire is empire” shows no cleverness, but this is not what he means, but something else; in the first, the ἀρχή which is negatived is used in a different sense. In all these cases, success is attained when a word is appropriately applied, either by homonym or by metaphor. For example, in the phrase Anaschetos (Bearable) is Unbearable, there is a contradiction of the homonym, which is only appropriate, if Anaschetus is an unbearable person. And, “Thou shalt not be more of a stranger than a stranger,” or “not more than you should be,” which is the same thing. And again,

“The stranger must not always be a stranger,”

for here too the word repeated is taken in a different sense. It is the same with the celebrated verse of Anaxandrides,

“It is noble to die before doing anything that deserves death;”

for this is the same as saying that “it is worthy to die when one does not deserve to die,” or, that “it is worthy to die when one is not worthy of death,” or, “when one does nothing that is worthy of death.” Now the form of expression of these sayings is the same; but the more concisely and antithetically they are expressed, the greater is their popularity. The reason is that antithesis is more instructive and conciseness gives knowledge more rapidly. Further, in order that what is said may be true and not superficial, it must always either apply to a particular person or be suitably expressed; for it is possible for it to have one quality and not the other. For instance, “One ought to die guiltless of any offence,” “The worthy man should take a worthy woman to wife.” There is no smartness in either of these expressions, but there will be if both conditions are fulfilled: “It is worthy for a man to die, when he is not worthy of death.” The more special qualities the expression possesses, the smarter it appears; for instance, if the words contain a metaphor, and a metaphor of a special kind, antithesis, and equality of clauses, and actuality.

Similes also, as said above, are always in a manner approved metaphors; since they always consist of two terms, like the proportional metaphor, as when we say, for instance, that the shield is the goblet of Ares, and the bow a lyre without strings. But such an expression is not simple, but when we call the bow a lyre, or the shield a goblet, it is. And similes may be formed as follows: a flute-player resembles an ape, a short-sighted man a spluttering lamp; for in both cases there is contraction. But they are excellent when there is a proportional metaphor; for it is possible to liken a shield to the goblet of Ares and a ruin to the rag of a house; to say that Niceratus is a Philoctetes bitten by Pratys, to use the simile of Thrasymachus, when he saw Niceratus, defeated by Pratys in a rhapsodic competition, still dirty with his hair uncut. It is herein that poets are especially condemned if they fail, but applauded if they succeed. I mean, for instance, when they introduce an answering clause:

“He carries his legs twisted like parsley,”

or again,

“Like Philammon punching the leather sack.”

All such expressions are similes, and similes, as has been often said, are metaphors of a kind.

Proverbs also are metaphors from species to species. If a man, for instance, introduces into his house something from which he expects to benefit, but afterwards finds himself injured instead, it is as the Carpathian says of the hare; for both have experienced the same misfortunes. This is nearly all that can be said of the sources of smart sayings and the reasons which make them so.

Approved hyperboles are also metaphors. For instance, one may say of a man whose eye is all black and blue, “you would have thought he was a basket of mulberries,” because the black eye is something purple, but the great quantity constitutes the hyperbole. Again, when one says “like this or that” there is a hyperbole differing only in the wording:

“Like Philammon punching the leather sack,”

or, “you would have thought that he was Philammon fighting the sack”;

“Carrying his legs twisted like parsley,”

or, “you would have thought that he had no legs, but parsley, they being so twisted.” There is something youthful about hyperboles; for they show vehemence. Wherefore those who are in a passion most frequently make use of them:

“Not even were he to offer me gifts as many in number as the sand and dust. . . but a daughter of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, I will not wed, not even if she rivalled golden Aphrodite in beauty, or Athene in accomplishments.”

(Attic orators are especially fond of hyperbole.) Wherefore it is unbecoming for elderly people to make use of them.

Chapter 12[edit]

But we must not lose sight of the fact that a different style is suitable to each kind of Rhetoric. That of written compositions is not the same as that of debate; nor, in the latter, is that of public speaking the same as that of the law courts. But it is necessary to be acquainted with both; for the one requires a knowledge of good Greek, while the other prevents the necessity of keeping silent when we wish to communicate something to others, which happens to those who do not know how to write. The style of written compositions is most precise, that of debate is most suitable for delivery. Of the latter there are two kinds, ethical and emotional; this is why actors are always running after plays of this character, and poets after suitable actors. However, poets whose works are only meant for reading are also popular, as Chaeremon, who is as precise as a writer of speeches, and Licymnius among dithyrambic poets. When compared, the speeches of writers appear meagre in public debates, while those of the rhetoricians, however well delivered, are amateurish when read. The reason is that they are only suitable to public debates; hence speeches suited for delivery, when delivery is absent, do not fulfil their proper function and appear silly. For instance, asyndeta and frequent repetition of the same word are rightly disapproved in written speech, but in public debate even rhetoricians make use of them, for they lend themselves to acting. (But one must vary the expression when one repeats the same thing, for this as it were paves the way for declamation: as, “This is he who robbed you, this is he who deceived you, this is he who at last attempted to betray you.” This is what Philemon the actor did in The Old Man's Folly of Anaxandrides, when he says “Rhadamanthus and Palamedes,” and when he repeats the word “I” in the prologue to The Pious. For unless such expressions are varied by action, it is a case of “the man who carries the beam” in the proverb.)

It is the same with asyndeta: “I came, I met, I entreated.” For here delivery is needed, and the words should not be pronounced with the same tone and character, as if there was only one clause. Further, asyndeta have a special characteristic; for in an equal space of time many things appear to be said, because the connecting particle makes many things one, so that, if it be removed, it is clear that the contrary will be the case, and that the one will become many. Therefore an asyndeton produces amplification: thus, in “I came, I conversed, I besought,” the hearer seems to be surveying many things, all that the speaker said. This also is Homer's intention in the passage

“Nireus, again, from Syme . . .,
Nireus son of Aglaia . . .,
Nireus, the most beautiful . . . ;”

for it is necessary that one of whom much has been said should be often mentioned; if then the name is often mentioned, it seems as if much has been said; so that, by means of this fallacy, Homer has increased the reputation of Nireus, though he only mentions him in one passage; he has perpetuated his memory, though he never speaks of him again.

The deliberative style is exactly like a rough sketch, for the greater the crowd, the further off is the point of view; wherefore in both too much refinement is a superfluity and even a disadvantage. But the forensic style is more finished, and more so before a single judge, because there is least opportunity of employing rhetorical devices, since the mind more readily takes in at a glance what belongs to the subject and what is foreign to it; there is no discussion, so the judgement is clear. This is why the same orators do not excel in all these styles; where action is most effective, there the style is least finished, and this is a case in which voice, especially a loud one, is needed.

The epideictic style is especially suited to written compositions, for its function is reading; and next to it comes the forensic style. It is superfluous to make the further distinction that style should be pleasant or magnificent. Why so, any more than temperate, liberal, or anything else that indicates moral virtue? For it is evident that, if virtue of style has been correctly defined, what we have said will suffice to make it pleasant. For why, if not to please, need it be clear, not mean, but appropriate? If it be too diffuse, or too concise, it will not be clear; but it is plain that the mean is most suitable. What we have said will make the style pleasant, if it contains a happy mixture of proper and “foreign” words, of rhythm, and of persuasiveness resulting from propriety. This finishes what we had to say about style; of all the three kinds of Rhetoric in general, and of each of them in particular. It only remains to speak of arrangement.

Chapter 13[edit]

A speech has two parts. It is necessary to state the subject, and then to prove it. Wherefore it is impossible to make a statement without proving it, or to prove it without first putting it forward; for both he who proves proves something, and he who puts something forward does so in order to prove it. The first of these parts is the statement of the case, the second the proof, a similar division to that of problem and demonstration. But the division now generally made is absurd; for narrative only belongs in a manner to forensic speech, but in epideictic or deliberative speech how is it possible that there should be narrative as it is defined, or a refutation; or an epilogue in demonstrative speeches? In deliberative speeches, again, exordium, comparison, and recapitulation are only admissible when there is a conflict of opinion. For both accusation and defence are often found in deliberative, but not qua deliberative speech. And further, the epilogue does not even belong to every forensic speech, for instance, when it is short, or the matter is easy to recollect; for in the epilogue what happens is that there is a reduction of length.

So then the necessary parts of a speech are the statement of the case and proof. These divisions are appropriate to every speech, and at the most the parts are four in number—exordium, statement, proof, epilogue; for refutation of an opponent is part of the proofs, and comparison is an amplification of one's own case, and therefore also part of the proofs; for he who does this proves something, whereas the exordium and the epilogue are merely aids to memory. Therefore, if we adopt all such divisions we shall be following Theodorus and his school, who distinguished narrative, additional narrative, and preliminary narrative, refutation and additional refutation. But one must only adopt a name to express a distinct species or a real difference; otherwise, it becomes empty and silly, like the terms introduced by Licymnius in his “Art,” where he speaks of “being wafted along,” “wandering from the subject,” and “ramifications.”

Chapter 14[edit]

The exordium is the beginning of a speech, as the prologue in poetry and the prelude in flute-playing; for all these are beginnings, and as it were a paving the way for what follows. The prelude resembles the exordium of epideictic speeches; for as flute-players begin by playing whatever they can execute skilfully and attach it to the key-note, so also in epideictic speeches should be the composition of the exordium; the speaker should say at once whatever he likes, give the key-note and then attach the main subject. And all do this, an example being the exordium of the Helen of Isocrates; for the eristics and Helen have nothing in common. At the same time, even if the speaker wanders from the point, this is more appropriate than that the speech should be monotonous.

In epideictic speeches, the sources of the exordia are praise and blame, as Gorgias, in the Olympiacus, says, “Men of Greece, you are worthy to be admired by many,” where he is praising those who instituted the solemn assemblies. Isocrates on the other hand blames them because they rewarded bodily excellences, but instituted no prize for men of wisdom. Exordia may also be derived from advice, for instance, one should honor the good, wherefore the speaker praises Aristides, or such as are neither famous nor worthless, but who, although they are good, remain obscure, as Alexander, son of Priam; for this is a piece of advice. Again, they may be derived from forensic exordia, that is to say, from appeals to the hearer, if the subject treated is paradoxical, difficult, or commonly known, in order to obtain indulgence, like Choerilus:

“But now when all has been allotted.”

These then are the sources of epideictic exordia—praise, blame, exhortation, dissuasion, appeals to the hearer. And these exordia may be either foreign or intimately connected with the speech.

As for the exordia of the forensic speech, it must be noted that they produce the same effect as dramatic prologues and epic exordia (for those of dithyrambs resemble epideictic exordia:

“For thee and thy presents or spoils).”

But in speeches and epic poems the exordia provide a sample of the subject, in order that the hearers may know beforehand what it is about, and that the mind may not be kept in suspense, for that which is undefined leads astray; so then he who puts the beginning, so to say, into the hearer's hand enables him, if he holds fast to it, to follow the story. Hence the following exordia:

“Sing the wrath, O Muse.”
“Tell me of the man, O Muse.”
“Inspire me with another theme, how from the land of Asia a great war crossed into Europe.”

Similarly, tragic poets make clear the subject of their drama, if not at the outset, like Euripides, at least somewhere in the prologue, like Sophocles,

“My father was Polybus.”

It is the same in comedy. So then the most essential and special function of the exordium is to make clear what is the end or purpose of the speech; wherefore it should not be employed, if the subject is quite clear or unimportant. All the other forms of exordia in use are only remedies, and are common to all three branches of Rhetoric. These are derived from the speaker, the hearer, the subject, and the opponent. From the speaker and the opponent, all that helps to destroy or create prejudice. But this must not be done in the same way; for the defendant must deal with this at the beginning, the accuser in the epilogue. The reason is obvious. The defendant, when about to introduce himself, must remove all obstacles, so that he must first clear away all prejudice; the accuser must create prejudice in the epilogue, that his hearers may have a livelier recollection of it.

The object of an appeal to the hearer is to make him well disposed or to arouse his indignation, and sometimes to engage his attention or the opposite; for it is not always expedient to engage his attention, which is the reason why many speakers try to make their hearers laugh. As for rendering the hearers tractable, everything will lead up to it if a person wishes, including the appearance of respectability, because respectable persons command more attention. Hearers pay most attention to things that are important, that concern their own interests, that are astonishing, that are agreeable; wherefore one should put the idea into their heads that the speech deals with such subjects. To make his hearers inattentive, the speaker must persuade them that the matter is unimportant, that it does not concern them, that it is painful.

But we must not lose sight of the fact that all such things are outside the question, for they are only addressed to a hearer whose judgement is poor and who is ready to listen to what is beside the case; for if he is not a man of this kind, there is no need of an exordium, except just to make a summary statement of the subject, so that, like a body, it may have a head. Further, engaging the hearers' attention is common to all parts of the speech, if necessary; for attention slackens everywhere else rather than at the beginning. Accordingly, it is ridiculous to put this at the beginning, at a time when all listen with the greatest attention. Wherefore, when the right moment comes, one must say, “And give me your attention, for it concerns you as much as myself”; and, “I will tell you such a thing as you have never yet” heard of, so strange and wonderful. This is what Prodicus used to do; whenever his hearers began to nod, he would throw in a dash of his fifty-drachma lecture. But it is clear that one does not speak thus to the hearer qua hearer; for all in their exordia endeavor either to arouse prejudice or to remove their own apprehensions:

“O prince, I will not say that with haste [I have come breathless].”
“Why this preamble?”

This is what those also do who have, or seem to have, a bad case; for it is better to lay stress upon anything rather than the case itself. That is why slaves never answer questions directly but go all round them, and indulge in preambles. We have stated how the hearer's goodwill is to be secured and all other similar states of mind. And since it is rightly said,

“Grant that on reaching the Phaeacians I may find friendship or compassion,”

the orator should aim at exciting these two feelings.

In epideictic exordia, one must make the hearer believe that he shares the praise, either himself, or his family, or his pursuits, or at any rate in some way or other. For Socrates says truly in his Funeral Oration that “it is easy to praise Athenians in the presence of Athenians, but not in the presence of Lacedaemonians.”

Deliberative oratory borrows its exordia from forensic, but naturally they are very uncommon in it. For in fact the hearers are acquainted with the subject, so that the case needs no exordium, except for the orator's own sake, or on account of his adversaries, or if the hearers attach too much or too little importance to the question according to his idea. Wherefore he must either excite or remove prejudice, and magnify or minimize the importance of the subject. Such are the reasons for exordia; or else they merely serve the purpose of ornament, since their absence makes the speech appear offhand. For such is the encomium on the Eleans, in which Gorgias, without any preliminary sparring or movements, starts off at once, “Elis, happy city.”

Chapter 15[edit]

One way of removing prejudice is to make use of the arguments by which one may clear oneself from disagreeable suspicion; for it makes no difference whether this suspicion has been openly expressed or not; and so this may be taken as a general rule. Another way consists in contesting the disputed points, either by denying the fact or its harmfulness, at least to the plaintiff; or by asserting that its importance is exaggerated; or that it is not unjust at all, or only slightly so; or neither disgraceful nor important. These are the possible points of dispute: as Iphicrates, in answer to Nausicrates, admitted that he had done what the prosecutor alleged and inflicted damage, but denied that he had been guilty of wrongdoing. Again, one may strike the balance, when guilty of wrongdoing, by maintaining that although the action was injurious it was honorable, painful but useful, or anything else of the kind.

Another method consists in saying that it was a case of error, misfortune, or necessity; as, for example, Sophocles said that he trembled, not, as the accuser said, in order to appear old, but from necessity, for it was against his wish that he was eighty years of age. One may also substitute one motive for another, and say that one did not mean to injure but to do something else, not that of which one was accused, and that the wrongdoing was accidental: “I should deserve your hatred, had I acted so as to bring this about.”

Another method may be employed if the accuser, either himself or one closely related to him, has been involved in a similar charge, either now or formerly; or, if others are involved who are admittedly not exposed to the charge; for instance, if it is argued that so-and-so is an adulterer, because he is a dandy, then so-and-so must be.

Again, if the accuser has already similarly accused others, or himself been accused by others; or if others, without being formally accused, have been suspected as you are now, and their innocence has been proved.

Another method consists in counter-attacking the accuser; for it would be absurd to believe the words of one who is himself unworthy of belief.

Another method is to appeal to a verdict already given, as Euripides did in the case about the exchange of property; when Hygiaenon accused him of impiety as having advised perjury in the verse,

“My tongue hath sworn, but my mind is unsworn,”

Euripides replied that his accuser did wrong in transferring the decisions of the court of Dionysus to the law courts; for he had already rendered an account of what he had said there, or was still ready to do so, if his adversary desired to accuse him.

Another method consists in attacking slander, showing how great an evil it is, and this because it alters the nature of judgements, and that it does not rely on the real facts of the case.

Common to both parties is the topic of tokens, as in the Teucer, Odysseus reproaches Teucer with being a relative of Priam, whose sister his mother Hesione was; to which Teucer replied that his father Telamon was the enemy of Priam, and that he himself did not denounce the spies.

Another method, suitable for the accuser, is to praise something unimportant at great length, and to condemn something important concisely; or, putting forward several things that are praiseworthy in the opponent, to condemn the one thing that has an important bearing upon the case. Such methods are most artful and unfair; for by their use men endeavor to make what is good in a man injurious to him, by mixing it up with what is bad.

Another method is common to both accuser and defender. Since the same thing may have been done from several motives, the accuser must disparage it by taking it in the worse sense, while the defender must take it in the better sense. For instance, when Diomedes chose Odysseus for his companion, it may be said on the one hand that he did so because he considered him to be the bravest of men, on the other, that it was because Odysseus was the only man who was no possible rival for him, since he was a poltroon. Let this suffice for the question of prejudice.

Chapter 16[edit]

In the epideictic style the narrative should not be consecutive, but disjointed; for it is necessary to go through the actions which form the subject of the speech. For a speech is made up of one part that is inartificial (the speaker being in no way the author of the actions which he relates), and of another that does depend upon art. The latter consists in showing that the action did take place, if it be incredible, or that it is of a certain kind, or of a certain importance, or all three together. This is why it is sometimes right not to narrate all the facts consecutively, because a demonstration of this kind is difficult to remember. From some facts a man may be shown to be courageous, from others wise or just. Besides, a speech of this kind is simpler, whereas the other is intricate and not plain. It is only necessary to recall famous actions; wherefore most people have no need of narrative—for instance, if you wish to praise Achilles; for everybody knows what he did, and it is only necessary to make use of it. But if you wish to praise Critias, narrative is necessary, for not many people know what he did . . . .

But at the present day it is absurdly laid down that the narrative should be rapid. And yet, as the man said to the baker when he asked whether he was to knead bread hard or soft, “What! is it impossible to knead it well?” so it is in this case; for the narrative must not be long, nor the exordium, nor the proofs either. For in this case also propriety does not consist either in rapidity or conciseness, but in a due mean; that is, one must say all that will make the facts clear, or create the belief that they have happened or have done injury or wrong, or that they are as important as you wish to make them. The opposite party must do the opposite. And you should incidentally narrate anything that tends to show your own virtue, for instance, “I always recommended him to act rightly, not to forsake his children”; or the wickedness of your opponent, for instance, “but he answered that, wherever he might be, he would always find other children,” an answer attributed by Herodotus to the Egyptian rebels; or anything which is likely to please the dicasts.

In defence, the narrative need not be so long; for the points at issue are either that the fact has not happened or that it was neither injurious nor wrong nor so important as asserted, so that one should not waste time over what all are agreed upon, unless anything tends to prove that, admitting the act, it is not wrong. Again, one should only mention such past things as are likely to excite pity or indignation if described as actually happening; for instance, the story of Alcinous, because in the presence of Penelope it is reduced to sixty lines, and the way in which Phayllus dealt with the epic cycle, and the prologue to the Oeneus.

And the narrative should be of a moral character, and in fact it will be so, if we know what effects this. One thing is to make clear our moral purpose; for as is the moral purpose, so is the character, and as is the end, so is the moral purpose. For this reason mathematical treatises have no moral character, because neither have they moral purpose; for they have no moral end. But the Socratic dialogues have; for they discuss such questions. Other ethical indications are the accompanying peculiarities of each individual character; for instance, “He was talking and walking on at the same time,” which indicates effrontery and boorishness. Nor should we speak as if from the intellect, after the manner of present-day orators; but from moral purpose: “But I wished it, and I preferred it; and even if I profited nothing, it is better.” The first statement indicates prudence, the second virtue; for prudence consists in the pursuit of what is useful, virtue in that of what is honorable. If anything of the kind seems incredible, then the reason must be added; of this Sophocles gives an example, where his Antigone says that she cared more for her brother than for her husband or children; for the latter can be replaced after they are gone,

“but when father and mother are in the grave, no brother can ever be born.”

If you have no reason, you should at least say that you are aware that what you assert is incredible, but that it is your nature; for no one believes that a man ever does anything of his own free will except from motives of self-interest.

Further, the narrative should draw upon what is emotional by the introduction of such of its accompaniments as are well known, and of what is specially characteristic of either yourself or of the adversary: “And he went off looking grimly at me”; and as Aeschines says of Cratylus, that he hissed violently and violently shook his fists. Such details produce persuasion because, being known to the hearer, they become tokens of what he does not know. Numerous examples of this may be found in Homer:

“Thus she spoke, and the aged nurse covered her face with her hands;”

for those who are beginning to weep lay hold on their eyes. And you should at once introduce yourself and your adversary as being of a certain character, that the hearers may regard you or him as such; but do not let it be seen. That this is easy is perfectly clear from the example of messengers; we do not yet know what they are going to say, but nevertheless we have an inkling of it.

Again, the narrative should be introduced in several places, sometimes not at all at the beginning. In deliberative oratory narrative is very rare, because no one can narrate things to come; but if there is narrative, it will be of things past, in order that, being reminded of them, the hearers may take better counsel about the future. This may be done in a spirit either of blame or of praise; but in that case the speaker does not perform the function of the deliberative orator. If there is anything incredible, you should immediately promise both to give a reason for it at once and to submit it to the judgement of any whom the hearers approve; as, for instance, Jocasta in the Oedipus of Carcinus is always promising, when the man who is looking for her son makes inquiries of her; and similarly Haemon in Sophocles.

Chapter 17[edit]

Proofs should be demonstrative, and as the disputed points are four, the demonstration should bear upon the particular point disputed; for instance, if the fact is disputed, proof of this must be brought at the trial before anything else; or if it is maintained that no injury has been done; or that the act was not so important as asserted; or was just, then this must be proved, the three last questions being matters of dispute just as the question of fact. But do not forget that it is only in the case of a dispute as to this question of fact that one of the two parties must necessarily be a rogue; for ignorance is not the cause, as it might be if a question of right or wrong were the issue; so that in this case one should spend time on this topic, but not in the others.

In epideictic speeches, amplification is employed, as a rule, to prove that things are honorable or useful; for the facts must be taken on trust, since proofs of these are rarely given, and only if they are incredible or the responsibility is attributed to another.

In deliberative oratory, it may be maintained either that certain consequences will not happen, or that what the adversary recommends will happen, but that it will be unjust, inexpedient, or not so important as supposed. But one must also look to see whether he makes any false statements as to things outside the issue; for these look like evidence that he makes misstatements about the issue itself as well.

Examples are best suited to deliberative oratory and enthymemes to forensic. The first is concerned with the future, so that its examples must be derived from the past; the second with the question of the existence or non-existence of facts, in which demonstrative and necessary proofs are more in place; for the past involves a kind of necessity. One should not introduce a series of enthymemes continuously but mix them up; otherwise they destroy one another. For there is a limit of quantity; thus,

“Friend, since thou hast said as much as a wise man would say,”

where Homer does not say τοιαῦτα (such things as), but τόσα (as many things as). Nor should you try to find enthymemes about everything; otherwise you will be imitating certain philosophers, who draw conclusions that are better known and more plausible than the premises from which they are drawn. And whenever you wish to arouse emotion, do not use an enthymeme, for it will either drive out the emotion or it will be useless; for simultaneous movements drive each other out, the result being their mutual destruction or weakening. Nor should you look for an enthymeme at the time when you wish to give the speech an ethical character; for demonstration involves neither moral character nor moral purpose.

Moral maxims, on the other hand, should be used in both narrative and proof; for they express moral character; for instance, “I gave him the money and that although I knew that one ought not to trust.” Or, to arouse emotion: “I do not regret it, although I have been wronged; his is the profit, mine the right.”

Deliberative speaking is more difficult than forensic, and naturally so, because it has to do with the future; whereas forensic speaking has to do with the past, which is already known, even by diviners, as Epimenides the Cretan said; for he used to divine, not the future, but only things that were past but obscure. Further, the law is the subject in forensic speaking; and when one has a starting-point, it is easier to find a demonstrative proof. Deliberative speaking does not allow many opportunities for lingering—for instance, attacks on the adversary, remarks about oneself, or attempts to arouse emotion. In this branch of Rhetoric there is less room for these than in any other, unless the speaker wanders from the subject. Therefore, when at a loss for topics, one must do as the orators at Athens, amongst them Isocrates, for even when deliberating, he brings accusations against the Lacedaemonians, for instance, in the Panegyricus, and against Chares in the Symmachikos (On the Peace).

Epideictic speeches should be varied with laudatory episodes, after the manner of Isocrates, who is always bringing somebody in. This is what Gorgias meant when he said that he was never at a loss for something to say; for, if he is speaking of Peleus, he praises Achilles, then Aeacus, then the god; similarly courage, which does this and that, or is of such a kind. If you have proofs, then, your language must be both ethical and demonstrative; if you have no enthymemes, ethical only. In fact, it is more fitting that a virtuous man should show himself good than that his speech should be painfully exact.

Refutative enthymemes are more popular than demonstrative, because, in all cases of refutation, it is clearer that a logical conclusion has been reached; for opposites are more noticeable when placed in juxtaposition. The refutation of the opponent is not a particular kind of proof; his arguments should be refuted partly by objection, partly by counter-syllogism. In both deliberative and forensic rhetoric he who speaks first should state his own proofs and afterwards meet the arguments of the opponent, refuting or pulling them to pieces beforehand. But if the opposition is varied, these arguments should be dealt with first, as Callistratus did in the Messenian assembly; in fact, it was only after he had first refuted what his opponents were likely to say that he put forward his own proofs. He who replies should first state the arguments against the opponent's speech, refuting and answering it by syllogisms, especially if his arguments have met with approval. For as the mind is ill-disposed towards one against whom prejudices have been raised beforehand, it is equally so towards a speech, if the adversary is thought to have spoken well. One must therefore make room in the hearer's mind for the speech one intends to make; and for this purpose you must destroy the impression made by the adversary. Wherefore it is only after having combated all the arguments, or the most important, or those which are plausible, or most easy to refute, that you should substantiate your own case:

“I will first defend the goddesses, for I [do not think] that Hera”

in this passage the poet has first seized upon the weakest argument.

So much concerning proofs. In regard to moral character, since sometimes, in speaking of ourselves, we render ourselves liable to envy, to the charge of prolixity, or contradiction, or, when speaking of another, we may be accused of abuse or boorishness, we must make another speak in our place, as Isocrates does in the Philippus and in the Antidosis. Archilochus uses the same device in censure; for in his iambics he introduces the father speaking as follows of his daughter:

“There is nothing beyond expectation, nothing that can be sworn impossible,”

and the carpenter Charon in the iambic verse beginning

“I [care not for the wealth] of Gyges;”

Sophocles, also, introduces Haemon, when defending Antigone against his father, as if quoting the opinion of others. One should also sometimes change enthymemes into moral maxims; for instance, “Sensible men should become reconciled when they are prosperous; for in this manner they will obtain the greatest advantages,” which is equivalent to the enthymeme “If men should become reconciled whenever it is most useful and advantageous, they should be reconciled in a time of prosperity.”

Chapter 18[edit]

In regard to interrogation, its employment is especially opportune, when the opponent has already stated the opposite, so that the addition of a question makes the result an absurdity; as, for instance, when Pericles interrogated Lampon about initiation into the sacred rites of the savior goddess. On Lampon replying that it was not possible for one who was not initiated to be told about them, Pericles asked him if he himself was acquainted with the rites, and when he said yes, Pericles further asked, “How can that be, seeing that you are uninitiated?” Again, interrogation should be employed when one of the two propositions is evident, and it is obvious that the opponent will admit the other if you ask him. But the interrogator, having obtained the second premise by putting a question, should not make an additional question of what is evident, but should state the conclusion. For instance, Socrates, when accused by Meletus of not believing in the gods, asked whether he did not say that there was a divine something; and when Meletus said yes, Socrates went on to ask if divine beings were not either children of the gods or something godlike. When Meletus again said yes, Socrates rejoined, “Is there a man, then, who can admit that the children of the gods exist without at the same time admitting that the gods exist?” Thirdly, when it is intended to show that the opponent either contradicts himself or puts forward a paradox. Further, when the opponent can do nothing else but answer the question by a sophistical solution; for if he answers, “Partly yes, and partly no,” “Some are, but some are not,” “In one sense it is so, in another not,” the hearers cry out against him as being in a difficulty. In other cases interrogation should not be attempted; for if the adversary raises an objection, the interrogator seems to be defeated; for it is impossible to ask a number of questions, owing to the hearer's weakness. Wherefore also we should compress our enthymemes as much as possible.

Ambiguous questions should be answered by defining them by a regular explanation, and not too concisely; those that appear likely to make us contradict ourselves should be solved at once in the answer, before the adversary has time to ask the next question or to draw a conclusion; for it is not difficult to see the drift of his argument. Both this, however, and the means of answering will be sufficiently clear from the Topics. If a conclusion is put in the form of a question, we should state the reason for our answer. For instance, Sophocles being asked by Pisander whether he, like the rest of the Committee of Ten, had approved the setting up of the Four Hundred, he admitted it. “What then?” asked Pisander, “did not this appear to you to be a wicked thing?” Sophocles admitted it. “So then you did what was wicked?” “Yes, for there was nothing better to be done.” The Lacedaemonian, who was called to account for his ephoralty, being asked if he did not think that the rest of his colleagues had been justly put to death, answered yes. “But did not you pass the same measures as they did?” “Yes.” “Would not you, then, also be justly put to death?” “No; for my colleagues did this for money; I did not, but acted according to my conscience.” For this reason we should not ask any further questions after drawing the conclusion, nor put the conclusion itself as a question, unless the balance of truth is unmistakably in our favor.

As for jests, since they may sometimes be useful in debates, the advice of Gorgias was good—to confound the opponents' earnest with jest and their jest with earnest. We have stated in the Poetics how many kinds of jests there are, some of them becoming a gentleman, others not. You should therefore choose the kind that suits you. Irony is more gentlemanly than buffoonery; for the first is employed on one's own account, the second on that of another.

Chapter 19[edit]

The epilogue is composed of four parts: to dispose the hearer favorably towards oneself and unfavorably towards the adversary; to amplify and depreciate; to excite the emotions of the hearer; to recapitulate. For after you have proved that you are truthful and that the adversary is false, the natural order of things is to praise ourselves, blame him, and put the finishing touches. One of two things should be aimed at, to show that you are either relatively or absolutely good and the adversary either relatively or absolutely bad. The topics which serve to represent men as good or bad have already been stated. After this, when the proof has once been established, the natural thing is to amplify or depreciate; for it is necessary that the facts should be admitted, if it is intended to deal with the question of degree; just as the growth of the body is due to things previously existing. The topics of amplification and depreciation have been previously set forth. Next, when the nature and importance of the facts are clear, one should rouse the hearer to certain emotions—pity, indignation, anger, hate, jealousy, emulation, and quarrelsomeness. The topics of these also have been previously stated, so that all that remains is to recapitulate what has been said. This may appropriately be done at this stage in the way certain rhetoricians wrongly recommend for the exordium, when they advise frequent repetition of the points, so that they may be easily learnt. In the exordium we should state the subject, in order that the question to be decided may not escape notice, but in the epilogue we should give a summary statement of the proofs.

We should begin by saying that we have kept our promise, and then state what we have said and why. Our case may also be closely compared with our opponent's; and we may either compare what both of us have said on the same point, or without direct comparison: “My opponent said so-and-so, and I said so-and-so on this point and for these reasons.” Or ironically, as for instance, “He said this and I answered that; what would he have done, if he had proved this, and not simply that?” Or by interrogation: “What is there that has not been proved?” or, “What has my opponent proved?” We may, therefore, either sum up by comparison, or in the natural order of the statements, just as they were made, our own first, and then again, separately, if we so desire, what has been said by our opponent. To the conclusion of the speech the most appropriate style is that which has no connecting particles, in order that it may be a peroration, but not an oration: “I have spoken; you have heard; you know the facts; now give your decision.”