Aristotle, Art of Rhetoric

LCL 193: 2-3

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1354a1. Ἡ ῥητορική ἐστιν ἀντίστροφος τῇ διαλεκτικῇ· ἀμφότεραι γὰρ περὶ τοιούτων τινῶν εἰσὶν ἃ κοινὰ τρόπον τινὰ ἁπάντων ἐστὶ γνωρίζειν καὶ οὐδεμιᾶς ἐπιστήμης ἀφωρισμένης. διὸ καὶ πάντες τρόπον τινὰ μετέχουσιν ἀμφοῖν· πάντες γὰρ μέχρι τινὸς καὶ ἐξετάζειν καὶ ὑπέχειν λόγον καὶ ἀπολογεῖσθαι καὶ κατηγορεῖν ἐγχειροῦσιν. 2τῶν μὲν οὖν πολλῶν οἱ μὲν εἰκῇ ταῦτα δρῶσιν, οἱ δὲ διὰ συνήθειαν ἀπὸ ἕξεως. ἐπεὶ δ᾿ ἀμφοτέρως ἐνδέχεται, δῆλον ὅτι εἴη ἂν αὐτὰ καὶ ὁδῷ ποιεῖν· δι᾿ ὃ γὰρ ἐπιτυγχάνουσιν οἵ τε διὰ συνήθειαν καὶ οἱ ἀπὸ ταὐτομάτου, τὴν αἰτίαν θεωρεῖν ἐνδέχεται, τὸ δὲ τοιοῦτον ἤδη πάντες ἂν ὁμολογήσαιεν τέχνης ἔργον εἶναι.

3Νῦν μὲν οὖν οἱ τὰς τέχνας τῶν λόγων συντιθέντες ὀλίγον πεπονήκασιν αὐτῆς μόριον· αἱ γὰρ πίστεις ἔντεχνόν ἐστι μόνον, τὰ δ᾿ ἄλλα προσθῆκαι, οἱ δὲ περὶ μὲν ἐνθυμημάτων οὐδὲν λέγουσιν, ὅπερ ἐστὶ σῶμα τῆς πίστεως, περὶ δὲ τῶν ἔξω τοῦ πράγματος τὰ πλεῖστα πραγματεύονται· 4διαβολὴ γὰρ καὶ ἔλεος καὶ




1. Rhetoric is a counterpart1 of dialectic; for both have to do with matters that are in a manner within the cognizance of all men and not confined to any special science. Hence all men in a manner have a share of both; for all, up to a certain point, attempt to criticize or uphold an argument, to defend themselves, or to accuse. Now, the majority of people do this either at random or with a familiarity arising from habit. But since both these ways are possible, it is clear that it can also be done systematically, for it is possible to examine the reason why some attain their end by familiarity and others by chance; and such an examination all would at once admit to be the function of an art.

At this point, previous compilers of “Arts”2 of rhetoric have worked out only a small portion of this art, for the means of persuasion are the only part that comes within the province of art; everything else is merely an accessory. And yet they say nothing about enthymemes, which are the body of proof, but chiefly devote their attention to matters outside the subject; for the arousing of prejudice,

  • 1Not an exact copy, but making a kind of pair with it, and corresponding to it as the antistrophe to the strophe in a choral ode.
  • 2Manuals or handbooks treating of the rules of any art or science.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-art_rhetoric.2020