Aelius Aristides, Oration 2. A Reply to Plato

LCL 533: 334-335

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2. A REPLY TO PLATO

3.Plato is wrong to class oratory as a kind of flattery (178–203)
B.Counterattack (204–445)
1.Oratory is in fact a crucial element in human life, society, and politics (204–318)
a)Origins and purpose show central to politics and maintenance of justice (204–46)
b)No objection that some orators (politicians) sometimes make wrong decisions (247–60)
c)Protects against the suffering as well as the doing of wrong, which Plato (notwithstanding what he says in the Gorgias) approves of (261–305)
d)Summary of virtues of orators, contrasted with tyrants (306–18)
2.Excursus: the great Athenian orator-politicians defended from Plato’s unfair criticism (319–43)
3.Good oratory and the good orator (344–445)
a)Plato in fact admits (inconsistently) that good oratory is possible and that there has been at least one good orator (344–61)
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2. A REPLY TO PLATO

b)The status and powers of good oratory and the good orator (362–437)
(1)Superiority over other technai (to which Plato wants to assimilate it)—(362–81)
(2)Possession of all the virtues (382)
(3)Inseparability of speech from ability to act (383–93)
(4)A foundation myth—Prometheus and Zeus (394–399)
(5)Superiority over other kinds of power and social position; ability to enhance any other technê (400–28)
(6)The good orator is the good man; a palinode is owed by Plato (429–37)
c)Plato in fact agrees with this position: a palinode can be found in his writings (438–45)
C.A final objection disposed of: Plato’s position cannot be rescued by use of a distinction between two types of oratory (446–61)
III.Peroration (462–66)
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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aelius_aristides-oration_2_reply_to_plato.2017