C. Anonymous Writings

1. Philodemus, On Rhetoric: [The sophistic rhetoricians] parade the claim that rhetoric is the mother of all knowledge and all arts, a sort of starting capital and point of departure, particularly when it is taken together with persuasion.

From an encomium. Xenophon, Oec. 5.17: ‘That person too was right who said that agriculture was the mother and nurse of the other arts.’


2. Plato, Phaedrus 269 B-C: Some have thought, when they possessed the knowledge that is a necessary preliminary to rhetoric, that they had discovered rhetoric, and believe that by teaching these preliminaries to others they have taught them rhetoric completely, and that the persuasive use of these details and the composition of the whole discourse is a small matter which their pupils must supply of themselves in their writings or speeches.


3. Aristotle, Topics 149 b24: Sometimes they take as definition not the thing itself but the thing done well or completed. Such is the definition of the orator and the thief, if the orator is he who can recognize whatever is persuasive about anything and leave nothing out, and the thief he who takes things away surreptitiously.

Cf. B VII 12.


4. Plato, Phaedrus 260E: Yes, if the arguments that are coming against her testify that she is an art. For I seem, as it were, to hear some arguments approaching and protesting that she is lying and is not an art, but a craft devoid of art. A real art of speaking, says the Laconian, which does not seize hold of truth, does not exist and never will.

Could these ‘arguments approaching and protesting’ be a treatise written in Doric? Cf. Append. (D.).


5. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1359 b12: (rhetoric is a skill;) to the extent that someone tries to organize dialectic or rhetoric not as skills but as sciences, he will erase their nature unawares.


6. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1356 a27: That is why Rhetoric assumes the character of Politics, and those who claim to possess it, partly from ignorance, partly from boastfulness, and partly from other human weaknesses, do the same.

Cf. Philod. On Rhetoric 2.240; Isocr. 15.81, 83. Aristotle seems to be referring to Isocrates (Spengel Ar. Rhet. 2.48), but he was not the only one to hold this opinion.


7. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1180 b35 -1181 a: But in politics the sophists, who profess to teach the science, […] On the other hand those sophists who profess to teach politics are found to be very far from doing so successfully. In fact they are absolutely ignorant of the very nature of the science and of the subjects with which it deals; otherwise they would not class it as identical with, or even inferior to, the art of rhetoric. Nor would they imagine that it is easy to frame a constitution by making a collection of such existing laws as are reputed to be good ones, on the assumption that one can then select the best among them; as if even this selection did not call for understanding, and as if to judge correctly were not a very difficult task.

Michael Eph. (Eustratius) ad l. fol. 188r Ald. p. 617, 26 H.: ‘Those who participate in politics are able to teach fairly well what they have learned from their experience, whereas the sophists and anyone who is not a participant in it are far from being real teachers. Among the latter are Prodicus, Hippias, Gorgias and all the other corrupters of the youth.

Plat. leg. 889 D: ‘Politics too, as they say, shares to a small extent in nature, but mostly in art; and in like manner all legislation shares not in nature, but in art.


8. Ibid.: The sophistic rhetoricians, however, do not fare better than these, nor when they enlist as evidence that people are made politically savvy by their art the fact that many, upon leaving their schools, are capable of litigating and acting appropriately in the people’s Assembly.

As in other parts of this chapter (p. 241-268 of the disputation), so does Philodemus here too seem to be looking at Isocrates and his followers and critique their ‘political philosophy.’ It is however very odd that he makes the anonymous author he is attacking on p. 267.25 say that ‘philosophers have not dealt with politics at all, but the rhetoricians have.’ Does this mean that the unknown opponent of Philodemus lived before Plato’s Republic? As is to be expected in an obscure and difficult case, I should note that Philodemus likewise critiques the theses of several of those who claimed that the rhetorician is the steward of civic life, cf. ad. loc. p. 263.5; 265.1; 266.25 ibid. col. XI a 14.


9. Ibid.: But those of the sophists who have a common mind [?] do not think that they are concerned with introductions, expositions, proofs, refutations and epilogues regarding all and any subject matter, but only political matters. On the other hand, the mass of the less sophisticated, by whom alone these things are worked out, says…


10. Dialexeis [?] 8.3-7: Whoever knows the art of speech will also be able to speak correctly about all things, too. For he who wants to speak correctly must speak about things he knows about […] all of what he will know about. He will, in fact, master the art of all speech, and speech is about everything that exists. Whoever wants to speak correctly about the things he speaks on will also correctly teach the city to do good things and to prevent in some way the bad ones form happening. If he knows these things, he will know all else, too: for he will know everything. In fact, the same things are a subset of all things [?], and he will do what is right about it, if necessary.


11. John Sardianus on Aphthonius’ Progymnasmata: Some of the eristic sophists criticize myths, claiming that lies agreed upon are useless for orators, for it is impossible to do rhetoric on such premises.

<Lies> is restored on the basis of the compiler Doxopater W II 160.23.

As it is agreed that Sardianus used a ‘very ancient’ source, I have put forward this fragment, cf. my note on Ephorus fr. 9.


12. Anaximenes, On Rhetoric: This many are the kinds of speeches; we shall use them in public political debates, in courts regarding our financial transactions and in dealing privately with one another.

Cf. ibid. 38 p. 99, 10 H. Alcidamas On the Sophists 9: ‘Who does not know that it is necessary for public speakers, parties to a trial and those engages in private discussions to speak extemporarily?’ Plato Soph. 232 C, speaking about the sophists: ‘But we know that, in their private discussions, […] they are both very good at putting forth counter-arguments and skilled in teaching other to be just as good as they themselves are.’

13. Plato, The Sophist 222 C-D: And by giving the art of the law courts, of the public platform, and of conversation also a single name and calling them all collectively an art of persuasion. – Correct. – Now let us say that there are two kinds of persuasion. – What kinds? – The one has to do with private persons, the other with the community. – Phaedrus 261 A-B: Is not rhetoric in its entire nature an art which leads the soul by means of words, not only in law courts and the various other public assemblages, but in private companies as well? And is it not the same when concerned with small things as with great?

Cf. Phaedr. 271 C. Quint. 3, 4, 10 is thinking of the Sophist. This is also Isocrates’ division when, attacking the sophistic teachers ‘who have promised to teach students to argue in court,’ he says (13.20): ‘This skill – to the extent that it is teachable at all – can help in all kinds of speech no less than in judicial ones.’ The same author, 15.136: ‘Some people have in high regard those who are orators and those who know how to speak well in private settings and pretend to know everything,’ from which we can again see that the practitioners of the eloquence of private circles were the sophists, such as Protagoras is portrayed by Plato. Cf. Isocrates 15.204; he also lauds ‘winsomeness’ (2.49; 9.10). Scheel p. 8 et W. Suess p. 22. 79 think they recognize Gorgias’ doctrine here. Cf. B VII 9. See also Usener, Quaest. Anaxim. p. 31 f., Brandstätter 139.


14. Polybius 12.28.7-8: To prove that I have not misrepresented him, it is easy to bring the evidence of Timaeus himself. In the preface to his sixth book he says that “some people suppose that more genius, industry, and preparation are required for rhetorical than for historical composition.”

Timaeus had added (ibid. 9) that Ephorus had already opposed his opinions and had been unable to combat them enough.


15. Plato, Theaetetus 167 A: A doctor changes your condition through medications, a sophist through speeches.

Cf. Gorgias Helen 14; Plato Gorgias 475 D; Suess 86 f.


16. Xenophon, Cyropedia 3.3.49-55: “How would it do, Cyrus,” Chrysantas then1 asked, “for you to get your men together, too, while yet you may, and exhort them, and see if you also might make your soldiers better men.” “Do not let the exhortations of the Assyrian trouble you in the least, Chrysantas,” Cyrus answered; “for no speech of admonition can be so fine that it will all at once make those who hear it good men if they are not good already; […] “But, Cyrus,” answered Chrysantas, “it is really enough if you make their souls better with your words of exhortation.” “Do you really think,” returned Cyrus, “that one word spoken could all at once fill with a sense of honour the souls of those who hear, or keep them from actions that would be wrong, and convince them that for the sake of praise they must undergo every toil and every danger? Could it impress the idea indelibly upon their minds that it is better to die in battle than to save one’s life by running away? […] But I should be surprised, Chrysantas, if a word well spoken would help those wholly untrained in excellence to the attainment of manly worth any more than a song well sung would help those untrained in music to high attainments in music.”

Cf. Isocr. 15.197. Gorgias Helen 14 too is well-versed in opposites.

17. Dialexeis [?] 4.2-6: When a speech is given, if things happen to be as the speech says, the speech is true; if not, the same speech is false. So if one accuses another of pillaging a temple, if the deed did in fact happen, the speech is true; if it did not, it is false. The same applies to the defendant. Now the courts judge the same speech to be both false and true[1] […]. And who ever said the truth or testified to it? So these same things are obviously false.

[1] Likely in the sense that some of the judges vote for conviction, others for acquittal, so that they have contradictory judgments on the same matter.


18. Thucydides 2.60.5 (Pericles speaking): As I believe, I am second to no man either in knowledge of the proper policy, or in the ability to expound it, and am moreover not only a patriot but an honest one.

There was a distinction between invention and delivery.


19. Plato, Phaedrus 236 A: And in these the arrangement, not the invention, is to be praised; but in the case of arguments which are not inevitable and are hard to discover, the invention deserves praise as well as the arrangement.

I have listed this passage, too, because at that time there was already the same distinction as later between invention, arrangement, style, etc. I suspect, however, that Plato’s use of the words is due not to a rhetorical techne but to a poetic one. I base this view on the words of Polybius, provided that 34.4.1f. is restored correctly: ‘If there are contradictions [that is, in the Odyssey], one must blame changes or ignorance or maybe poetic licence, which consists of history, disposition and myth. The goal of history is the truth, […] that of disposition is clarity, […] that of the myth is pleasure and amazement. Making everything up [which belongs to invention], however, is not persuasive.’ The word ‘disposition’ remained in poetics and did not reach the rhetoricians. For there is hardly any doubt that Polybius is following some very ancient author of a poetic treatise, and you may remember that ‘disposition’ is a term in the poetic treatise of Philodemus (Pap. 1425 col. 7.32), and so is it in Plutarch’s How to listen to poets 16 B, not to speak of myth or fiction. If the goal of ‘disposition’ is ‘clarity,’ it is clear that it is a portrayal (“die Darstellung”). One could think of Heraclides Ponticus (Jensen Berl. S. B. 1936. 33.6 f.).


20. For the testimonies of Plato, Isocrates, and Aristotle which teach us that the ancient writers of treatises dealt only with legal oratory, see above, B II 10-16.


21. Plato, Phaedrus 266 D-E: …The things that are written in the books on rhetoric. (Socrates:) Thank you for reminding me. You mean that there must be an introduction first, at the beginning of the discourse; these are the things you mean, are they not?—the niceties of the art. (Phaedrus:) Yes. (Socrates:) And the narrative must come second with the testimony after it, and third the proofs, and fourth the probabilities.

See Antiphon 6.30: ‘If someone expounds what happened through speech, but does not provide witnesses, one might say that these speeches are devoid of witnesses. If he provides witnesses but no proofs to match the testimonies of the former, one might say something similar if he so wishes. I, for my part, present you with plausible speeches, witnesses who back up the speeches, facts that match their testimony and proofs drawn from the facts themselves.’ – Lys. 19.53: ‘If we seem to be making plausible claims and present adequate proofs.’ Isocr. 18.16: ‘I think, however, that if the lifestyle were not there nor were there witnesses to the facts, but one had to decide based on probability…’ Euripides Phoenix frag. 811: ‘What is hidden is plausibly captured through proofs.’ Hyperides frag. 195: ‘What is not visible must be researched through proofs and plausibility.’ Euripides Oenomaus frag. 574: ‘We infer the unknown from the present.’ (Clemens Alex. Strom. VI 2, 18 p. 436, 12 St.).


22. Plato, Phaedrus 267 D: But all seem to be in agreement concerning the conclusion of discourses, which some call recapitulation, while others give it some other name. – You mean making a summary of the points of the speech at the end of it, so as to remind the hearers of what has been said?

Cf. Gorgias Palamedes 37. On the whole order (‘proem’ to ‘epilogue’) of ancient treatises as a quasi-foundation see K. Barwick, Herm. 57, 11 f.


23. Cicero, On the Orator 1.19.86: “If those famous teachers of rhetoric embraced with their art such a great power of the most important things,” he (Charmadas) would ask, “why are their books riddled with disquisitions about proems, epilogues and other such trifles?”

This passage seems to refer also to the times that preceded Aristotle.


24. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1354 b16: It is obvious that all those who definitely lay down, for instance, what should be the contents of the exordium or the narrative, or of the other parts of the discourse, are bringing under the rules of art what is outside the subject. – Ibid. 1414 a37-b: 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.

On the topic see Wendland p. 37 f.

25. Dionysius of Halicarnassos, On Lysias: This introduction contains all the virtues that an introduction needs to contain. This will be made clear by the canons of the art applied to his works. For nearly all who have written treatises teach that, when one is litigating against family, one must be careful to avoid the accusers appearing evil or meddlesome.[2] They also suggest, first, that one cast the responsibility for the accusation and the lawsuit on the opponents and say that the injustice is great and impossible to bear with equanimity, and that the suit is about people even closer to oneself and lonely and less worthy of being overlooked, so that, had the accusers not decided to help them, they would have looked worse than they do. Also, that even though they invited the opponents to mediation, tried to have friends judge the matter and were willing to give up as much of their due as possible, they were still unable to obtain a fair compromise. These things the writers of treatises enjoin doing so that the character of the speaker may appear fairer. This behaviour can create goodwill toward them and is the most important element of the preparatory part of the speech.

[2] Which will be the first assumption about anyone filing a lawsuit against his own relatives.

‘If only Dionysius had named the author from whom he has taken the teaching he describes! In the literature that has come down to us they are not found,’ Spengel on Anaxim. p. 256, confirming the individual teachings through examples from the orators. These certainly have in common with the more ancient doctrine that – if I may say so – they are concrete rather than abstract: they spell out the exact words to be spoken. Dionysius himself had not long before dealt with the virtues of the proem (17, p. 27, 16 f.), after announcing that he would follow Isocrates and his students. There he touches on other things, openly distinguishing the use ‘according to the persons and according to the facts.’ Cf. also Navarre p. 167 f. on topoi in proems.


26. Ibid.: As for how to make the audience receptive, they suggest that they sum up the matter in order that the judges may not be in the dark about the issue, shape the introduction in a manner befitting that of the things they are going to say afterwards and try from the very beginning to point to the core of the matter by means of enthymemes […]. Additionally, they address the problem of capturing the audience’s attention in more or less the following terms: One must, in order to make the audience listen more intently, both say surprising and paradoxical things and ask the judges to listen.

Cf. Isocr. 4.13; Aristot. Rhetoric 3.14 with Spengel’s n. p. 429.25, 430.36, 431.11; Anaximenes p. 80.4: ‘We call on people to pay attention, among other things, by saying astounding and illustrious things.’


27. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1419 b27 (about epilogues): 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.


28. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1415 b7: 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.

Cf. Anon. Seg. 26 p. 358, 1 H.: ‘The entire speech will seem headless because the proem is like the head of the whole speech.’ Plato Phaedr. 264 C: ‘The entire speech must be put together like some living being, with a sort of body of its own, so that it is neither headless nor without feet…’ Anaximenes 31, p. 73.23; Cic. On the Orator 2.80.325; On Invention 1.18.26 (Peters 42.5).


29. Andocides 1.1:                                                            Lysias 19.2

You, gentlemen, know the preparedness and eagerness of my foes […], so there is no need to say much about it. I for my part, gentlemen, shall ask of you what is just and both easy for you to grant and important for me to be granted by you.


(In the following – see frag. 47 below –)

. . . . (9) I ask you to listen to my defense favorably and neither become opponents to me nor be suspicions about my words nor hunt after words, but to listen till the end of the defense speech and then finally cast such vote as you regard best for yourselves and most in accordance with your oath.

You see the preparedness and eagerness of my foes, and I need not say anything about it.





(11) I entreat you (to listen) favorably


and, after listening till the end, to cast such vote as you regard best for yourselves and most in accordance with your oath.

Cf. Lysias frag. 70 Th.: ‘Look, judges, at the preparedness and the eagerness of my opponents.’ Lycurgus Leocrates 20: ‘You do not recognize, gentlemen, the preparedness of the litigants or…’ Aeschines Against Ctesiphon 1: ‘You see the preparedness, Athenian gentlemen.’ Cratinus Pythinae frag. 4 Mein.: ‘Perhaps you recognize the preparedness.’  Clemens Alex. Strom. 6.2, 20 p. 438, 14 St. (= Caecilii Caleact. f. 165 Ofenl.) quotes most of this, then he continues: ‘After Demosthenes said (19.1): “I am sure, Athenian gentlemen, that all of you have noticed how much engagement and summoning of partisans there has been around this trial,’ Philinos (fr. 4 Or. Att.) similarly: “I think none of you, judges, is unaware of how much engagement and alliances have come about regarding this trial.’” These words could have been drawn from some collection of proems.


30. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1416 b30: But at the present day it is absurdly laid down that the narrative should be rapid.

Cf. Cic. On the Orator 2.80.326, 328; On the Classification of Rhetoric 9.32. On Prodicus see above, who however rejected too short speeches no less than too long ones. There was also the question whether there should always be a narration, as Anaximenes thought, see above C 24, Spengel Anax. p. 213.


31. Aristotle, Poetics 1461 b16: Contradictions in terms must be examined in the same way as an opponent's refutations in argument.

See Sophistic refutations 174b19: ‘In addition, it is necessary, as in rhetoric, so too in refutations to consider the opposites.’


32. Demosthenes 22 (Against Androtion), 22-23: But I think you ought first of all to reflect in your own minds that abuse and accusation are very far removed from proof. It is an accusation when one makes a bare statement without supplying grounds for believing it; it is proof when one at the same time demonstrates the truth of one's statements. Those, therefore, who are proving a case must supply evidence sufficient to establish its credibility with you, or must advance reasonable arguments, or must produce witnesses. Of some facts it is impossible to put eye-witnesses in the box, but if one can establish any of these tests, you rightly consider in every case that you have a sufficient proof of the truth. We then base our proof, not on probabilities nor on circumstantial evidence, but on a witness from whom the defendant may easily obtain satisfaction.

Cf. 52 (Against Callippus), 32: ‘I have provided you with witnesses, proofs, laws and evidence for everything.’


33. Antiphon 6 (On the Choreutes), 18: Admittedly, with a deliberately planned murder, carried out in secret and with none to witness it, the truth can only be determined from the accounts given by the prosecutor and the defendant, and from them alone; their statements must be followed up with care and suspected on the slightest grounds and the final verdict must necessarily be the result of conjecture rather than "clear" knowledge.

Sapha ("clear") is not a word used in Attic prose. The phrase ‘with a deliberately planned murder’ seems to have been added by Antiphon.


34. Antiphon 6.25: You do not need to be reminded, gentlemen, that the one occasion when compulsion is as absolute and as effective as is humanly possible, and when the rights of a case are ascertained thereby most surely and most certainly, arises when there is an abundance of witnesses, both slave and free, and it is possible to put pressure upon the free men by exacting an oath or word of honor, the most solemn and the most awful form of compulsion known to freemen, and upon the slaves by other devices.

On the issue see Aristotle Rhetoric 1375 b26, Anaximenes chapter 15. This thinking about torturing slaves became commonplace and is expressed with more or less the same words by Isaeus 8.12 and Demosthenes 30.37, cf. Isocr. 17.53 f. The oath, which was so important in Antiphon’s eyes, was apparently no longer so among later authors; cf. what follows.


35. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1376 a17: In regard to the confirmation of evidence, when a man has no witnesses, he can say that the decision should be given in accordance with probabilities, and that this is the meaning of the oath “according to the best of one's judgement”; that probabilities cannot be bribed to deceive, and that they cannot be convicted of bearing false witness. But if a man has witnesses and his adversary has none, he can say that probabilities incur no responsibility, and that there would have been no need of evidence, if an investigation according to the arguments were sufficient.

Witness testimony is exploited in both directions by Anaximenes, Chapter 15, too. Spengel has shed a great deal of light on the matter itself, using both examples from the orators and teachings by the rhetoricians, in his comments on Aristotle p. 199 and Anaximenes p. 168 f., to which you may add the wonderful passage in Antiphon tetral. A β 7. See also the explanation by Jaeneke p. 17. You may also note that whatever Aristotle says ‘about the so-called artless proofs’ – which are ‘statute, witnesses, contracts, torture and oath’ – he announces he will go over quickly (1376 a 22), which he is right to do since a good deal of it is unworthy of the greatest philosopher. This fact is nowhere clearer than in his dealing with how to undermine an oath, a chapter one should not read without mourning over the fact that ancient piety is now in such shambles. Most of this, one must surmise, is scooped from some sources on sophistic rhetoric. A different take is found in Plato leg. 948 B.


36. Lysias 4.12: And I think it fair that, inasmuch as this man could have found an indication in favour of his speaking the truth in my evasion of the test of torture, I should equally find a proof that I am not lying in the fact that he refused to settle the question by means of the woman.

Cf. e. g. Dialexeis 6, 8: ‘And if someone did not teach it, this is no indication [sēmeion]; but if someone – even just one person – did, this is proof [tekmērion] that it is possible to teach it.’ [Isocr.] 1.2: ‘I have sent you this speech as a gift, to be an indication of my goodwill toward you all, as well as a proof of my friendship with Hipponikos.’ On this subject see K. Jost, Rhet. Stud. 19 (Das Beispiel und Vorbild der Vorfahren etc. 1936) 3 f., to which I add the following remarks from my own records. Authors prior to Aristotle use ‘indication’ [sēmeion] and ‘proof’ [tekmērion] synonymously; some, like Isaeus, prefer to write ‘proof’, others, like Isocrates, ‘indication.’ In Antiphon 5.27, however, we read: ‘Although the man searched for two days both in the port and outside it, no one was found who had seen the deed, nor blood, nor any other indication.’ Here, as we can see, blood is called an indication of a murder, and I think he would never have called it ‘proof.’ ‘Indication’ is used in the same sense in 5.28: ‘And yet it was plausible that there would have been some indication of a dead man on the boat,’ and finally 5.45: ‘Then after he had died on land and his body had been loaded onto the boat, no indication or blood was found either on land nor on the boat,’ where Hirschig, apparently correctly, writes ‘no indication was found,’ deleting ‘blood’ as probably a gloss. Further, Antiphon 5.81 distinguishes not without reason: ‘You have heard all that could be shown from human proofs and witnesses; you have to judge, however, no less on the basis of the indications coming from the gods.’ I do not need to explain what diosēmia is; and no one says Diothen tekmeria. For tekmēria [proofs] are, properly speaking, a form of evidence that stems from a person’s life, character or actions, which the Attic orators, however, also call ‘indications’. Sēmeion [indication], on the other hand, has a broader meaning; sometimes ‘things’ fall under it, such as blood and lightning. In contrast, it is a tekmērion, a proof from which it becomes plausible that one has done some wrong, if one is found to be violent and to disrespect the laws (Antiph. 5.8). If a litigant offers up some slaves for torture, on the other hand, this is a ‘proof’ of good conscience (Antiph. 5.38 etc.); and if one has fulfilled his public duties scrupulously, it is a ‘proof’ of an honest life (Lys. 7.33). Thus, we must infer as a general rule that the kind of evidence that is called ‘proof’ pertains to the ‘examination of one’s life’ or, if it is unfavorable to the accused, to ‘slander’; hence you may surmise that ‘proof’ is older in accusations and defenses than ‘plausibility’ (see below, 41). However, what is inferred from a ‘proof; is clearly ‘plausible’ to later authors, even though the older teachers of rhetoric, as we know from Plato and others, distinguished between ‘proof’ and ‘what is plausible’ in a learned fashion (so also Antiphon Tetralogies A δ 10). ‘Proofs equal to the witnesses’ are named by Antiphon (6.30), who then (31) speaks of ‘proofs from the facts themselves.’ As an advocate he may be excused for writing that. The orators, however, correctly claim that in this kind of argumentation, from past events is inferred something that will be the case in the future: so Andocides 3.2: ‘One ought, Athenian gentlemen, to use what has happened before as proof for what is to come;’ similar statements in Isoc. 4.141, Din. 1.33: ‘…inferring the future from the past,’ words that also clarify the dictum attributed to Antiphon’s treatise: ‘The future is made trustworthy by proofs.’ To make the concept easier to grasp through examples, in Lys. 31.34 we read: ‘You need not consider, to find out who is fit to serve on the Council, any proof other than yourself: what you were judged to be like as citizen of this polis.’ In other words, this is the use of tenses that our grammarians call ‘relative.’ There are, however, very many passages where someone’s virtue or infamy, such as it is at a given time, is deduced from his (contemporary) actions, see e.g. Lys. 12.33: ‘Double-checking the speeches given back then through proofs drawn from the facts they know happened (at that time);’ or, with respect to the present, Lys. 16.11: ‘As far as public morality is concerned, I think the best proof of my good character is the fact that, of all those young men who happen to spend their time playing dice or drinking or engaging in some other such vice, you will see that all of them are on bad terms with me.’ Finally, sometimes, if rarely, arguments of any kind are called ‘proofs’ (e.g. Lys. 19.45); I hardly need to point out that this is an improper usage. Spengel (on Arist. Rhetoric p. 63 f.) shows that the later teachers of rhetoric follow Aristotle’s distinction except for Anaximenes – although even his definition of ‘proof’ does not totally align with that of the Attic orators. For he writes (9): ‘“Proof” is everything that has been done in a manner contrary to that which the speech is about and everything where the speech contradicts itself.’ Sometimes the orators too call such a thing a ‘proof’ (see Spengel ad loc.; Isoc. Antidosis 33), but they also view correspondence as one.

On Antiphon’s particular way of arguing by means of a ‘proof,’ see Reuter, Hermes 38, 492 f.


37. Aristotle, Sophistic Refutations 167 b8: In rhetoric demonstrations by a sign derive from what follows. Thus, to show that someone is an adulterer, they took what follows from it, viz. that he takes care of his appearance or that is seen wandering around at night.

Cf. Rhetoric 1401 b20 f., Hermogenes On Civil Strifes 2 p. 138. 11 Sp.


38. Anaximenes p. 68.13 H.: One must always attack slander and say that it is terrible, widespread and the cause of many evils. One must also make clear that many people’s lives have already been ruined through unjust rumors. – Lysias 19.5: For I hear – and I think most of us know as well – that slander is the worst thing of all. – Isocrates 15.18: I am not surprised by those who spend more time attacking people who try to sway others with lies than actually defending themselves, nor am I by those who claim that slander is the greatest of evils.

Cf. Eurip. Alexander frag. 56; Aristot. Rhetoric 1416 a3 f., where he lists all the ways there are to counter ‘slander’ (35): ‘Another method is to attack slander (as such), how great an evil it is…’ For Aristotle’s testimony on the writers of treatises who deal not with the actual arguments but ‘concern themselves, for the most part, with things outside the subject,’ where ‘slander’ is named as the first item on the list, see above, A V 41. Philod. On Rhetoric 2.258 Col. V a2: ‘Hence they came to spend money on sophists. Afterwards they recognize that they have wasted that money. For they achieve nothing, I think, in the matter at hand other than slander and anguish: slander, because they have practiced rhetoric, so that if the trial turns out in their favor, they are seen as having deceived the judges, as it fits the genre of forensic speech, and if it does not, they are thought to have wasted their money on a sophist.’

In truth, the word ‘slander’, which is encountered everywhere, has an extremely broad range of use in the Attic orators, so much so that even the accusation itself is labelled ‘slandering’ (Antiph. Tetr. A δ 2, Lycurgus Against Leocrates 11). I am afraid that the oldest speech given in front of a Greek court contained almost nothing but witness testimony, oaths, slander and entreaties, until in the 5th century BCE they began to base their proofs on rational thought. However, any time a litigant went to court he had to fear having his life subjected to examination (elenkhon tou biou). Hence the label ‘slander’ is applied specifically to anything that is brought up ‘outside the subject’ (Lycurgus Against Leocrates 13). See W. Suess, Ethos 247 f. Anaximenes’ seventh kind of speech, which he calls ‘inquisitory,’ seems to be a rivulet flowing from that big stream, with which Aristotle disagrees, who wants the affects to have no part in argumentation. Likewise, the method of ‘accusing based on the defendant’s mistakes’ attributed by Aristotle Rhet. 1400 b9 f. to ‘the treatise by the older Theodorus’ is, I think, a kind of argument born of the habit of castigating the opponent’s vices.


39. Antiphon 6.7-9: My own attitude to my defence, gentlemen, is very different from that of my accusers to their prosecution. They, on their side, allege that their object in bringing this action is to discharge a sacred duty and to satisfy justice; whereas they have in fact treated their speech for the prosecution as nothing but an opportunity for malicious falsehood […].Their aim is not to expose any crime I may have committed in order to exact the penalty which it deserves, but to blacken me, even though I am entirely innocent, in order to have me punished. I, on the other hand, consider that my first duty is to reply to the charge before the court by giving you a complete account of the facts. Afterwards, if you so desire, I shall be pleased to answer the remaining accusations made. […] For it is indeed a strange fact, gentlemen: when they had the opportunity of avenging themselves on an enemy and doing the state a service by exposing and bringing home to me any public offence of which I had been guilty, as Choregus or otherwise, not one of them was able to prove that I had done your people any wrong, great or small. Yet at today's trial, when they are prosecuting for prosecution to the charge before the court, they are seeking to achieve my downfall with a tissue of lies calculated to bring my public life into disrepute. If the state has in fact been wronged, they are compensating it not with redress, but with a mere accusation.


40. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1416 a6: Another topic (of refuting slander) 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.

The distinction follows the method of assessing the existence, then the quality, then the size or importance of something. Thus we have, as Fr. Marx first showed, traces of teachings that anticipate Hermagoras’ future doctrine on the states, and they are not by Aristotle, for whom ‘what happened’ is the end of all investigations, ‘how much’ and ‘of which quality’ that of individual kinds. Also, it seems quite clear that Aristotle’s teachings on how to combat slander had already been dealt with by the authors of treatises (W. Suess p. 200 f. offers an overview of the work of the more ancient authors).


41. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1357 a34: For that which is probable is that which generally happens, not however unreservedly, as some define it, but that which is concerned with things that may be other than they are.

Cf. 1402 b15: ‘Enthymemes taken from what happens or is though to happen most of the time are from probability.’ Ibid. 21: ‘Probability is not what is always the case but was mostly is.’

From reading one will easily recognize that in the orators there are two kinds of ‘probability’: one by which something is proved to be likely – as the Greeks call it, pithanon; the other determined by observing the equitable or the just, by which it is proved whether something is to be approved or disapproved of – in Greek to prepon or epieikes or prosēkon. The former already appears in Theognis of Megara, who is older than Corax (279): ‘It is probable that a bad man will treat justice badly/without fear of future retribution.’ The latter can be adequately illustrated with examples from the tragedians, such as Aesch. Eum. 193, on the Furies: ‘It is fit for such beings to live in the cave of a blood-drinking lion, not to sit by this oracle defiling those near them.’ To use examples from the orators, you find to pithanon in [Isoc.] 1.45: ‘It is probable that whoever commands himself to do what is best will receive favourably those other people who incite virtue,’ or Isoc. 2.2 f.: ‘There are many things that educate lay people, […] so that they will probably become better because of them all,’ cf. 4.184; 5.19, 113, 141; 6.40, 59, 75, 96; 7.2, 11, 37, 14, 52; 15.34 (where ‘the possible’ is added); 15.41, 82, 86, 169; 17.46 (in a dilemma), 55; 18.13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 45; 21.6, 7, 14. Rarely, except in speech 20, is the second kind found in Isocrates; for instance, in 15.309: ‘If you reflect on those things, it is only fair for you to look for a way to make sure that the majority gets their due,’ that is, it is ‘equitable and agreeable.’ In Lysias, on the other hand, it is used a great deal. Eikotōs must finally almost always be understood as ‘deservedly’ or ‘lawfully.’ Thus eikos grows from a twofold root: the observation of what is mostly the case, which is called pithanon, and the common views on what is just and equitable. We may judge the latter manner of addressing an issue – frequent as it is – as having little to offer in the way of argument but pertaining to the stirring of emotions. Conversely, from observing ‘what happens most of the time’ one can derive arguments – not true ones, nota bene, but plausible ones, since we are dealing with human circumstances, where what happens often happens neither always nor everywhere; for it is, precisely, ‘possible that it may happen otherwise.’


42. Plato, Phaedrus 272 D: see B II 16.


43. Anaximenes 7, p. 37, 2 H.: One part is to include in the accusation or defense speech the experiences that by nature accompany the human condition […]; the other part is the familiarity of what is likely, which each of us does out of habit.


44. From the observation of human habits pairings are put together. Some examples:

The poor – the rich: Aristotle, Rhetoric 1669 a 11. 1389 b 13f. 1378 b 28. 1390 b 32. Anaximenes 36, p. 86, 20 H. Plato Phaedrus 227 C. Lysias 24, 16. 31, 11. frag. CXIX 4 (p. 371 Th.).  Isocrates Areop. (7) 83. Demosthenes 45, 67.

The strong – the weak: Aristotle, Rhetoric 1377 a 20. Anaximenes Rhetoric 36, p. 86, 18. 23 H. Plato Phaedr. 273 B. Lysias 24. 16. Quint. inst. οr. V 10, 26.

The wanton – the moderate: Anaximenes 36, p. 86, 19 H. Antiphon Tetral. 3.2.1. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1369 a 21.

The young – the old: Antiphon Tetral. 3. Aristot. rhet. 1369 a b. 1378 b 28. 1389 a 3 sq.

Anaximenes 36, p. 86, 17. 29, p. 68, 23 H. Anοn. (Cornuti) rhet. 43 sq. p. 362, 2 H. Lysias 24, 16. frag. CXIX 4 (p. 371 Th.) Isocr. Letters 8, 9.

Sophocles frag. 718. Euripides frag. 149 (Stobaeus IV 338 sq. H.). Plato Phaedrus 227 C.

Cf. the use of the word νεανιεύεσθαι (‘to be a [hot-headed] youth’). From this is explained what is meant by νεότης καὶ ἀπειρία (ἄνοια) (‘youth and inexperience [folly]’): Sophocles O. C. 1181. Euripides Ion 545, Thucydides VI 17. Antiphon 5, 79. Andocides 2. 7. Lysias 16, 20. Isaeus frag. 3 Bue.

[Demosthenes] 58, 1 sq. 41. 57 sq. 59, 14.

Demosthenes 27, 2.

Good fortune – bad luck: Antiphon Tetral. 1.4.9.


45. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1369 a5: Thus all the actions of men must necessarily be referred to seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, anger, and desire. But it is superfluous to establish further distinctions of men's acts based upon age, moral habits, or anything else. For if the young happen to be irascible, or passionately desire anything, it is not because of their youth that they act accordingly, but because of anger and desire. Nor is it because of wealth or poverty; but the poor happen to desire wealth because of their lack of it, and the rich desire unnecessary pleasures because they are able to procure them.

It is clear that this passage is a criticism of some writer of treatises who had written about such matters. Cf. Gorgias Palamedes 32.


46. Anaximenes 7, p. 37, 16 H: The third [part of likelihood] is one’s own advantage, since often for this thing’s sake we choose to act against our nature and character.

Cf. Gorgias Palamedes 19: ‘For everybody does everything out of two kinds of motives: for gain or to avoid loss;’ Aristotle Rhetoric 1.12 (‘For what reasons people commit crimes’) 1372 a36: ‘… and people for whom the gain is apparent, large or close by, whereas the loss is small, hidden or far away;’ Isocr. Antidosis (15) 217: ‘I maintain that everyone does everything for the sake of pleasure, gain or honor;’ Against Euthynos (21) 6: ‘Yet anyone would recognize from the matter itself that it was much more likely for Euthynos to deny receiving it than for Nicias to sue without having actually lent it to him. For it is well-known that everybody does bad things out of greed. Now those who take from others are in possession of that over which they are doing wrong, whereas the plaintiffs do not even know whether to not they will recover their property.’ Lys. 7.13: ‘All human beings do such things not out of sheer wantonness but out of greed. It is only fair for you judges to look at the matter in this way and for litigants to argue their position by showing which gain was awaiting the wrongdoers.’


47. Andocides 1.6-7: I ask you, then, to show more sympathy to me, the defendant, gentlemen, than to my accusers, in the knowledge that even if you give us an impartial hearing, the defence is inevitably at a disadvantage. The prosecution have brought their charge in perfect safety, after elaborating their plans at leisure; whereas I who am answering that charge am filled with fear; my life is at stake, and I have been grossly misrepresented. You have good reason for showing more sympathy to me than you do to my accusers. And there is another thing to be borne in mind. Serious charges have often before now been disproved at once, and so decisively that you would much rather have punished the accusers than the accused. Again, witnesses have caused the death of innocent men by giving false evidence, and have only been convicted of perjury when it was too late to be of help to the victims. When this kind of thing has been so common, you can hardly do less than refuse for the Present to consider the prosecution's statement of the case trustworthy. You may use it to judge whether the charge is serious or not but you cannot tell whether the charge is true or false until you have heard my reply as well.

Similarly Lys. 19.3: ‘It is inevitable that the defendant should be at a disadvantage, even if you judges listen to both sides equally. For the accusers have been plotting their prosecution for a long time, without any danger to themselves, whereas we fight in fear, with our names smeared and risking the worst possible consequences. Thus you have good reason to be better disposed toward the defendant. In fact, I think that all of you are aware that many, throwing around terrible accusations, have been caught lying on the spot and in such an obvious fashion that, when they left, they were hated because of all they had done, while others have given false testimony and unjustly ruined people only to be caught at a time when it no longer made a difference to their victims. Since, as I hear, there have been many such cases, you have good reason, gentlemen, not to regard the accusers’ words as persuasive yet until we too have had our say.’

Thirdly, there is a similar passage in Isocr. Antidosis (15) 17 f. In Lys. 14.23 f. we find an example of this kind of argument being switched around to support the prosecution all the while being likewise given the label ‘good reason’ (eikós). The conclusion is drawn ‘by way of comparison’; the other eikós is based on the same passage – the eikós found in Andocides 1 proem 3 (‘On those who face danger willingly and those who run away from it’). From this we may conclude, at least, that Andocides follows the same authority everywhere. Is this Thrasymachus? Cf. above frag. 29; Lys. 7.38, 14.31; Andoc. 2.19.


48. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1397 a7: One topic of demonstrative enthymemes is derived from opposites; for it is necessary to consider whether one opposite is predicable of the other, as a means of destroying an argument, if it is not, as a means of constructing one, if it is; for instance, self-control is good, for lack of self-control is harmful, etc.

Aristotle was not the first to come up with the 28 loci he lists, as is clear, if nothing else, from the fact that he eloquently adds the author’s name to a number of them. More to the point, when he first names ‘the exposition from the opposites’, one ought to keep in mind that he is speaking of something that was commonplace among the orators and poets of the 5th and 4thcentury. It barely bears mentioning that Aristophanes Frogs 1443 f. makes fun of this rhetorical device: Euripides, who is well-versed in sophistic doctrines, says that the fatherland will be saved ‘when we regard as trustworthy what we now regard as untrustworthy, and what is trustworthy as untrustworthy. – How? I don’t understand. […] – If we distrusted the citizens we trust and relied on the ones we don’t, we’d be saved. Because now we are in a bad spot with these; how would we not be saved if we did the opposite?’ Now if you look at an example such as Andocides 1.24: ‘Just as, if what they accuse me of was true, you judges would be angry with me and would want to impose on me the harshest punishment – so too, knowing that they are lying, you should in my estimation hold them to be bad people and base this judgement on the following proof: If they have been shown very clearly to be lying about the worst part of the accusation, I shall certainly readily be able to show that they are lying about the much less serious part’ – would it make any difference if instead of ‘you should in my estimation’ one read ‘it is fair (eikós)’?


49. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1397 b28: Another topic is derived from the consideration of time. Thus Iphicrates, in his speech against Harmodius, says: “If, before accomplishing anything, I had demanded the statue from you in the event of my success, you would have granted it; will you then refuse it, now that I have succeeded? Do not therefore make a promise when you expect something, and break it when you have received it, etc.”

In truth, this topos, for which Spengel has gathered a great deal of examples from the orators, is ‘from the comparison of time’, see Lys. 3.25: ‘Yet how is it plausible that, while back then we did all the bad things he is accusing us of in order to steal the 30 drachmae, then, after we had prevailed, we gave the money back to him?’ Cf. Lys. 24.7, a passage that, as is plain to see, harks back to some treatises. One simple instance of eikós from the time/right moment is found in Lys. 16.5, Andoc. 3.2.


50. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1398 a30: Another (topic), from division. For example, “There are always three motives for wrongdoing; two are excluded from consideration as impossible; as for the third, not even the accusers assert it.”

Spengel notes that Gorgias’ trifle about Helen is built out of such a division; he likewise demonstrates that Aristotle himself is alluding to Isocr. Antidosis 217 f. However, on this division is based the argument in Gorgias’ Palamedes, too. I add that in Antiphon’s first tetralogy (A β 5 f.) the defense uses this contrivance, and his speeches are not devoid of further traces of this division either. Thus three sophistic teachers made use of that form of argument, two of them in a treatise. On this topic see H. Gomperz p. 12 f.


51. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1397 a23: Another topic is derived from relative terms. For if to have done rightly or justly may be predicated of one, then to have suffered similarly may be predicated of the other; there is the same relation between having ordered and having carried out, as Diomedon the tax-gatherer said about the taxes, “If selling is not disgraceful for you, neither is buying disgraceful for us.” And if rightly or justly can be predicated of the sufferer, it can equally be predicated of the one who inflicts suffering; if of the latter, then also of the former. However, in this there is room for a fallacy. For if a man has suffered justly, he has suffered justly, but perhaps not at your hands.

In fact, Tyndareus in Euripides’ Orestes 538 says: ‘By dying my daughter did the right thing, but it wasn’t fit for her to be killed by this man,’ where the fact that eikós is used must be viewed in the same light as the fact that Aristotle says: ‘There is room for fallacious reasoning in this matter,’ for this is peculiar to sophistic rhetoric. Hence the Rhetoric to Herennius says (1.16.26): ‘Since Orestes used this argument as follows: “I killed her justly, for she had killed my father,” the accuser must base his argument on something like the following: “But she should not have been killed by you, nor be punished without having been convicted first.”’ This easy and widespread example is used by Cicero De Inventione 1.13.18; it bears pointing out, however, that Theodectes too, a tragedian and rhetorician, had dealt with the same case in his Orestes, using the topos ‘from distinction’, about which Aristotle Rhet. 1401 a33 writes: ‘The entire topos is fallacious.’ Cf. ibid. 35: ‘… or what happens in Theodectes’ Orestes: it is an argument from distinction: “it is just that a woman who has killed her husband” should die. – And so is a son’s avenging his father. Has that therefore not been done justly? Well, in combination not anymore.’ An Apology of Orestes is attributed to Antisthenes too


52. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1397 b12: Another topic is derived from the more and less. For instance, if not even the gods know everything, hardly can men; for this amounts to saying that if a predicate, which is more probably affirmable of one thing, does not belong to it, it is clear that it does not belong to another of which it is less probably affirmable. And to say that a man who beats his father also beats his neighbors, is an instance of the rule that, if the less exists, the more also exists. Either of these arguments may be used, according as it is necessary to prove either that a predicate is affirmable or that it is not. Further, if there is no question of greater or less.

I have excerpted what could be sufficiently understood in this passage, which is corrupt and tainted by two diverging strains of transmission. Their origin, on the other hand, is shown more clearly by the same author in Topica 2.10 p. 115 a6: ‘Another topos is the following: If one thing is said about two subjects, and if it is not present in one of them in which it is more likely to be present, then it will not be present in the one where it is less so; and if it is present in the one where it is less so, etc.’ One should also look at Alcidamas On the Sophists 6: ‘It is likely that that those who complete hard tasks, when they put their mind to easy ones, will easily acquit themselves of them; whoever has practiced with easy tasks, on the other hand, will find it difficult and arduous to deal with harder ones.’ Cf. Aristotle Rhet. 1392 a13 and Isocrates Helen 8; Anaximenes 3 p. 29, 7 H. Spengel in his commentary provides examples from the orators and the poets apart from Aristotle himself. – See also above on Corax, Gorgias, Theodorus and Callippus. It seems to be the case that the older authors worked out individual loci in their treatises, and then Aristotle built up for the first time a system of such loci, partly using the observations of his predecessors, partly adding new insights.


53. Andocides 3.2: Now had the Athenian people never made peace with Sparta in the past, our lack of previous experience and the untrustworthy character of the Spartans might have justified such fears. But you have done so on a number of occasions since the establishment of the democracy; and it is therefore only logical that you should first of all consider the results which followed at the time; one must use the past as a guide to the future, gentlemen. – 32: The examples furnished by our past mistakes are enough to prevent men of sense from repeating them.

That in Greek oratory examples were from the very beginning the most used tool is shown by Herodotus, see Navarre p. 73. On the doctrine see Anaximenes p. 36.15, p. 39.22 (Ch. 8) H.; Aristotle Rhet. 1357 b26, 1402 b14, 1403 a5. This fact is briefly mentioned by Lycurgus Leoc. 9: ‘It is inevitable that your judgment will remain as an example to posterity.’ Wendland, Quaestiones Rhetoricae 4 (Göttingen 1914); Karl Alewell, Über das rhetorische Paradeigma (diss. Kiel 1913); K. Jost, Rhetorische Studien 19, Paderborn 1936; Gisela Schmitz-Kahlmann, Philologus Suppl. 31.4 (1939) p. 34 f. For although examples had a special place in public speeches, it was nonetheless useful, when arguing before a court, to assess even mere likelihoods, especially in examining someone’s life, so that it provides, as it were, a norm for honest or criminal actions. So e.g. Demosthenes in his prosecution of Leptines and Dinarchus in prosecuting Demosthenes. Thus an example can provide an opportunity for a ‘comparison’; cf. e.g. Lycurgus Leoc. 59. The rationale for this kind of argument is shown by Lysias 13.56: ‘The Thirty let this man go. […] But you people, having caught him a long time afterward, put him to trial and sentenced him to death – and justly so –, and he was given over to the executioner and crucified on a plank. But if that man was put to death, then it will be just for Agoratos to be put to death too.’

54. Anaximenes 3, p. 30, 5 H.: One must bring things together by way of comparison and built them up on one another in more or less the following way: ‘Whoever cares about his friends will likely honour his parents, and whoever honours his parents will do good to his fatherland.’

Rather inappropriately Ploebst p. 22. But both eikazein and eikós give away an old treatise. Arist. Rhet. 1365 a16.


55. Demosthenes 25 (Against Aristogeiton 1), 76: I have before now seen men on their trial, who were being convicted by the actual facts and were unable to prove their innocence, taking refuge some of them in the respectability and moderation of their lives, others in the achievements or public services of their ancestors, or in similar pleas, by which they succeeded in moving their judges to compassion and goodwill. But I cannot see that any one of these topics offers an easy path for the defendant; there is nothing before him but precipices, ravines, and gulfs.

That loci were already called topoi back then is clear from Demosthenes’ words, cf. Arist. Rhet. 1358 a10, 31. I have already pointed out, when dealing with Gorgias, that others called this kind of figure kairós. We have a great deal of evidence that there were collections of loci; on Protagoras see above B VII 25, on Gorgias B VII 4, on Antiphon B  X 16. Much more of this kind is found in the Attic orators, repeated almost verbatim, so much so that the ancient critics speak of plagiarism, cf. Dionysius On Lysias p. 29.8 Us.-R.; Theon Progymnasmata p. 62.23 f.; Caecilius frag. 164, 165 Of. – Further, there can be no doubt that Aeschines ripped off Andocides 3.3-9 (just to name one example); on such occurrences I have to refer to the book Das Plagiat by E. Stemplinger. Other figures drawn from the rhetorical discipline are widely rehashed, above all vituperation and anything that pertains to any sort of praise or supplication. Instances of this kind are collected by E. Pflugmacher p. 12 f. and W. Ploebst 22 f. See also Navarre p. 122 f., 116 f., 173 f.; Hofrichter, Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Deklamation (diss. Breslau 1935) p. 55 f.; Scheel 22 f.; P. Maas, Herm. 63, 259 f. Many examples from the proems are gathered by Hiddemann, De Antiphontis etc. proemiis (diss. Monast. 1913) passim. See also E. Maas, Herm. 22, 579 f. and, on the history of the term itself, F. Solmsen, Die Entwicklung der aristotelischen Logik und Rhetorik (Neue philol. Unters. 4, Berlin 1929) p. 166 f.







56. Plato, Apology 35 B-C: But apart from the question of reputation, gentlemen, I think it is not right to implore the judge or to get acquitted by begging; we ought to inform and convince him. For the judge is not here to grant favors in matters of justice, but to give judgement.

Cf. Laws 949 A-B: ‘And in general in a trial the presiding officers must not allow a litigant to speak under oath in order to be more persuasive, curse oneself and one’s children, stage a self-demeaning supplication or indulge in womanish lamentations.’ Although these examples are taken from actual forensic practice, treatises such as Thrasymachus’ Eleoi (‘supplications’) view them, as a matter of course, as an integral part of the discipline. See Phaedr. 272 A, Apol. 38 D-E; Gorgias Palamedes 33; Aristophanes Wasps 555 f.; Aristot. Rhet. 1385 b12.







57. Anaximenes 19, p. 55, 17 H.: In the speeches are contained requests aimed at the listeners by the speakers, of which some are just, others are unjust. A just one is asking the audience to pay attention to what one is saying and listen with goodwill; it is also just to ask them to help one in conformity with the law, not to vote on any matter in a way contrary to the law and to be understanding toward mere misfortune. But if one asks to do this things in a manner that is against the law, it is not just.


58. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1111 a24: For it is probably a mistake to say that acts caused by anger or by desire are involuntary.

Cf. Anaximenes 7 p. 39.16 H.: ‘One must try to obtain forgiveness by pointing out the passions that are common to everybody and cause us to act irrationally. These are love (see Gorgias Helen 19), anger, drunkenness, ambition and the like;’ Rhetoric to Herennius 2.16.24.


59. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1356 a5: The orator persuades by moral character when his speech is delivered in such a manner as to render him worthy of confidence; for we feel confidence in a greater degree and more readily in persons of worth in regard to everything in general, but where there is no certainty and there is room for doubt, our confidence is absolute. But this confidence must be due to the speech itself, not to any preconceived idea of the speaker's character; for it is not the case, as some writers of rhetorical treatises lay down in their “Art,” that the worth of the orator in no way contributes to his powers of persuasion; on the contrary, moral character, so to say, constitutes the most effective means of proof. The orator persuades by means of his hearers, when they are roused to emotion by his speech; for the judgements we deliver are not the same when we are influenced by joy or sorrow, love or hate; and it is to this alone that, as we have said, the present-day writers of treatises endeavor to devote their attention.

Aristotle’s allusion shows that the ‘opinion of the rhetor’ was fairly important to rhetoricians; cf. Anaximenes 14, p. 48.5 and 15 H., ibid. p. 81.16, 23; p. 82.9; Isoc. 15.278, whose statement ‘Who does not know […] that proofs are more powerful if taken from someone’s life than if provided by reason?’ seems to be mildly corrected by Aristotle.


60. Isocrates 12 (Panathenaicus), 1: Nor, again, that which gives the impression of having been composed in a plain and simple manner and is lacking in all the refinements of style, which those who are clever at conducting law-suits urge our young men to cultivate, especially if they wish to have the advantage over their adversaries.


61. Plato, Phaedrus 237 B-C: There is only one way, dear boy, for those to begin who are to take counsel wisely about anything. One must know what the counsel is about, or it is sure to be utterly futile, but most people are ignorant of the fact that they do not know the nature of things. So, supposing that they do know it, they come to no agreement in the beginning of their enquiry, and as they go on they reach the natural result.


62. Scholion on Thucydides 3.9.1: This public speech is divided into headings: what is just […], what is possible […], what is useful.

There can be no doubt that in the sophists’ schools even before Aristotle there was debate about the places of the arguments, which are called ‘headings pertaining to the supreme ends’ (teliká kephálaia), namely what is just, useful, honorable, beautiful and possible. To this fact bear witness the termini themselves, which, starting from there, are of widespread use in public oratory from the tragedians and Thucydides to Demosthenes. The most popular question seems to have been that about what is just and that about what is useful. All of a sudden, in the speech of the Plataeans in Thuc. 3.56.3 you find the following: ‘For if you people should measure the just based on what is presently useful to you and opposed to the interest of your enemies, you will show not to be accurate judges of the truth as well as to be pursuing only what suits you…’, words that pertain to ‘what is useful in greater need’ (Arist. Rhet. 1365 a33). With this one ought to compare what Isocrates, fighting on behalf of justice (cf. 12 [Panathenaikos] 86), writes in 6 (Archidamos) 37: ‘For now we all have the same view about what is just, but debate about what is advantageous. But if two goods are presented to you, one of them apparent, the other unknown, how would you not be doing something extremely ridiculous if you if you rejected the one there is agreement on and decided to pick the one over which there is debate,’ which is an instance of ‘the more honorable being preferable to the less honorable’ in Arist. Rhet. 1364 b26. Thus, in Euripides Orestes Tyndareus, playing the role of the prosecutor, holds up ‘the just and lawful’ (see esp. v. 494 f., 523), Orestes as the defendant ‘the holy’ (546 f.) and ‘the advantageous’ (565); likewise, Lys. 13.93 connect ‘the holy’ and ‘the lawful’, Antiphon ‘the holy’ and ‘the just’; nor is it unknown that Aristotle labelled ‘the advantageous’ as ‘the goal of the deliberative genre’. Finally, Isoc. Letters 9.19 lauds ‘what is possible and advantageous’, and in 5 (Philipp) 57 distinguishes ‘what is impossible’ from ‘what is easy.’ See also Plat. Alc. 1 109 C; 113 D.


63. Syrianus, Against Hermogenes: We inquire into what is useful in seven ways:

- According to what is bad for our enemies and good for us;

- what is pleasant for our enemies but useless to us;

- the necessity of holding on to things for which we toiled a great deal and on which we spent a great deal of money;

- the judgment of all or most people;

- what makes the enemies wonder;

- the judgment of respected individuals.

These words in Syrianus were inserted into a chapter foreign to them. The number seven intimates Anaximenes, whose divisions into seven seems to have been taken from some old treatise. The same words appear in Sopater W, 4.744, 10 f., with lightly changed wording. Likewise, Planudes W. V 350.26 f. is partially the same as Aristotle 1362 b29 f., although the latter’s disquisition is a lot fuller; Anaximenes has a different way. They are marked by simplicity in such a way that you may think them old.


64. Anaximenes, On Rhetoric: There are a total of seven kinds of subjects for us to speak about: for it is necessary that we both deliberate and give speeches in the Council and in the Assembly about one of the following: religious things; laws; the constitution of the city-state; alliances or relationships with other cities; war; or ways of raising money. – Aristotle, Rhetoric: One may say that, among the things people deliberate on and those giving advice speak about, the most prominent ones happen to be five in number. These are raising money, war and peace; also the protection of the land, the imports, the exports and legislation.

Fully consistent with this is Socrates in Χen. mem. 3.6 (Wendland, Anaximenes v. L. 65 f.), Plato Alc. 2 144 E: ‘The orators […] advise you people each time – some about war and peace, others about the building od walls or the creation of a port; in short, whatever the city does, either in relation to another city or on its own, is done on the basis of some orator’s advice.’ Spengel compares Demosthenes On the Crown 309 and Dinarchus 1.96. Cf. also Syrianus 2 p. 177.3: ‘As far as the city is concerned […] we shall take over legislation, the good order of the constitution, […] the walls, the dockyards, the administration of religious rites, the infantry, the hoplites, the cavalry, the navy, […] finances, alliances, renown.’


65. Andocides 3.13: Let us begin, then, gentlemen, by considering exactly why we are to fight. Everyone would agree, I think, that war is justified only so long as one is either suffering a wrong oneself or supporting the cause of another who has been wronged. – Anaximenes 2 p. 25.3 H.: When wronged one must wage war over oneself, one’s relatives, or one’s benefactors, or help one’s allies who are being wronged.

Cf. Platο Alc. 1 107 D.

66. Cicero, On the Orator 2.12.49: What if, as often happens to the most important men, one has to deliver what one has been ordered to, either from a general to the Senate or from the Senate to a general, a king or some foreign people? Since in such matters one must use a more accurate kind of speech, does this mean this kind of oratory needs enumerating and endowing with its own peculiar precepts? Not so, says Cato.

Usener Quaest. Anaxim. p. 42 notices that regarding an embassy’s report Anaximenes Ch. 30, p. 71.10 f. is relating his own teachings, and he adds that, beyond Cicero’s passage, a ‘rhetoric of public speeches and embassies’ is listed by Diogenes Laertius 5.80 among the writings of Demetrius of Phalerum. Many of these talking points are brought forward by Philodemus, who criticizes Diogenes the Stoic for claiming that the Spartans were excellent ambassadors even though they did not study rhetoric (rhet. 2.216.15 f. S.). Ibid. 2 p. 217.8 you find a mention of ‘those who today do embassies the sophistic way’; the same author (271.14) claims that ‘it was a claim the sophists made, to be able to persuade with speeches in an embassy.’ Consequently, Philodemus rhet. 1.134.3 f. (cf. 2.265.3) lists ‘forensic, deliberative and embassy speeches;’ and I see no reason why people have made such a fuss about Anaximenes alone or Demetrius of Phalerum. I think that, more generally, I am acknowledging the work of those sophists who peddled the art of managing the state.

67. Plato, Menexenos 237 A-B: Where then could we discover a speech like that? […] Firstly, then, let us eulogize their nobility of birth, and secondly their nurture and training: thereafter we shall exhibit the character of their exploits, how nobly and worthily they wrought them.

Cf. Laws 801 E f.; Anaxim. 35, p.80.20 f.; H. Wendland Herm. 25, 183.

68. Josephus, Against Apion: (Josephus is citing Clearchus’ first book On Sleep, which in turn is quoting Aristotle.) ‘Sure,’ said Aristotle, ‘let’s first describe the sleep’s kin as the rhetoricians enjoin that we should do.

Isocrates Letters 9.1.

69. Isocrates, Letters 7.2: For most men are wont to praise and honor, not so much the sons of fathers who are of good repute, as those born of harsh and cruel fathers, provided that they show themselves to be in no respect similar to their parents.


70. Plato, Symposion 195 A: There is but one correct method of giving anyone any kind of praise, namely to make the words unfold the character of him, and of the blessings brought by him, who is to be our theme.


71. Anaximenes, On Rhetoric: One should not praise the strong, the beautiful, those of noble birth and the wealthy, but pronounce them happy.

This distinction intimates the treatises by Prodicus. But cf. Aristot. Eth. Nic. 1101b31: ‘For the praise is aimed at one’s virtue (as people practice good things out of virtue), whereas encomia are directed equally at actions, bodily characteristics and psychological characteristics. But probably it is more normal for those who work on writing encomia to be more concerned about the latter things.’ Rhet. 1367b27: ‘A praise is a speech that underlines the measure of one’s virtue, […] whereas an encomium is about the actions.’ Further, 1367b33: ‘Blessing and felicitation are identical with each other; however, they are not the same as praise and encomium but, as happiness contains virtue, felicitation contains the actions.’ Wendland p. 55, 56; Peters 85 f.

72. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1367 a32: We must also assume, for the purpose of praise or blame, that qualities which closely resemble the real qualities are identical with them; for instance, that the cautious man is cold and designing, the simpleton good-natured, and the emotionless gentle. And in each case we must adopt a term from qualities closely connected, always in the more favorable sense; for instance, the choleric and passionate man may be spoken of as frank and open, the arrogant as magnificent and dignified those in excess as possessing the corresponding virtue, the fool-hardy as courageous, the recklessly extravagant as liberal. For most people will think so, and at the same time a fallacious argument may be drawn from the motive.

That these things were known before Aristotle is clear from what Thucydides puts forward in 3.82; see also Isoc. 2.34, 46; Plato Republic 474D, Alc. 2 140C. One ought not to neglect, either, what Alexander of Aphrodisias on Arist. Topica p. 85 points out: ‘In the same way, Callicles too in Plato’s Gorgias lists the self-controlled among the stupid.’ For as Aristotle says: ‘It will seem to the many,’ and therefore the doctrine of those who do not embrace ‘what is really true’ but ‘what is most likely to be accepted by the masses’ is not about ‘the truth’ but about ‘the probable.’ Thus it is called ‘fallacious’ by Aristotle, as are other teachings of the sophists.

73. Philodemus, On Rhetoric 1 p. 215, 9 S.: We shall say the following (apart from the fact that they wrote praises, not just for brute animals, but for inanimate objects): None of the gods or heroes needs to be praised by a human.[4]

Cf. Anaximenes B XXXVI 6.

The author attacks the sophistic rhetoricians, thinking of perhaps – among others – Polycrates.

74. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1398 a22: Another topic is derived from definition […]: it is said in the Alexander that it would be generally admitted that those with disorderly passions are not satisfied with the enjoyment of one body alone. – Ibid. 1401 b20: Another fallacy is that of the Consequence. For instance, in the Alexander it is said that Paris was high-minded, because he despised the companionship of the common herd and dwelt on Ida by himself. – Ibid. 1399 a3: (Another topic comes from judgments about the same thing) …the same applies to Alexander Paris, whom the goddesses chose before others. – Ibid. 1397 b21: (Also, if neither more nor less) …Other instances are: if Theseus did no wrong, neither did Alexander Paris; if the sons of Tyndareus did no wrong, neither did Alexander; and if Hector did no wrong in slaying Patroclus, neither did Alexander in slaying Achilles. – Ibid. 1401 b35: Another fallacy is the omission of when and how. For instance, Alexander Paris had a right to carry off Helen, for the choice of a husband had been given her by her father.

Sauppe (Or. Att. II 223 a) has gathered the individual passages. He thinks that they are taken from a declamation by Polycrates, which is astute, but we cannot be sure of the identity of the original author. The work itself was similar to Gorgias’ Helen, and Philodemus may be thinking of it when, talking about the sophistic rhetoricians, he writes: ‘By preferring in their comparisons Clytemnestra to Penelope and Paris to Hector, they make the virtue of the good disappear.’ We know from Aristotle that Hector was indeed mentioned. The mention of Clytemnestra seems to go back to Polycrates (B XXI 8), which argues in favor of Sauppe’s hypothesis. Cf. also Aristotle 1414b36 f.