Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Critical Essays 3. Letter 1 to Ammaeus

LCL 466: 306-307

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Dionysius Of Halicarnassus




Πολλῶν μετ᾿ ἄλλων ξένων τε καὶ παραδόξων ἀκουσμάτων, ὧν ἐνήνοχεν ὁ καθ᾿ ἡμᾶς χρόνος, ἕν τι καὶ τοῦτο ἐφάνη μοι πρώτως ἀκούσαντι παρὰ σοῦ, ὅτι τῶν φιλοσόφων τις τῶν ἐκ τοῦ περιπάτου πάντα χαρίζεσθαι βουλόμενος Ἀριστοτέλει τῷ κτίσαντι ταύτην τὴν φιλοσοφίαν καὶ τοῦτο ὑπέσχετο ποιήσειν φανερόν, ὅτι Δημοσθένης τὰς ῥητορικὰς τέχνας παρ᾿ ἐκείνου μαθὼν εἰς τοὺς ἰδίους μετήνεγκε λόγους καὶ κατ᾿ ἐκεῖνα κοσμούμενος τὰ παραγγέλματα πάντων ἐγένετο τῶν ῥητόρων κράτιστος. κατ᾿ ἀρχὰς μὲν οὖν ὑπελάμβανον τῶν πολλῶν τινα εἶναι τὸν ταῦτ᾿ ἐπιχειρήσαντα λέγειν, καὶ παρῄνουν σοι μὴ πᾶσι τοῖς παραδόξοις προσέχειν. ὡς δὲ καὶ τοὔνομα τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἐπυθόμην, ὃν ἐγὼ καὶ τῶν ἠθῶν ἕνεκα καὶ τῶν λόγων ἀποδέχομαι, ἐθαύμασα, καὶ πολὺς ἐν ἐμαυτῷ γενόμενος ἐπιμελεστέρας ᾤμην δεῖσθαι σκέψεως τὸ πρᾶγμα, μή ποτε λέληθέ με τἀληθὲς οὕτως ἔχον καὶ οὐδὲν εἰκῇ τῷ ἀνδρὶ εἴρηται, ἵνα ἢ τὴν δόξαν ἣν πρότερον αὐτὸς ἔσχον <ἀφείην> βεβαίως1 μαθὼν ὅτι προτεροῦσι


First Letter to Ammaeus

First Letter to Ammaeus

dionysius to his dear friend ammaeus warmest greetings

Our age has brought forth many strange and paradoxical1 pronouncements; and this statement of yours seemed to me to be one of them when I first heard it from your own lips. You said that one of the Peripatetic philosophers, wishing to show all respect to Aristotle, the founder of his school, actually undertook to demonstrate that it was from him that Demosthenes learnt the rules of rhetoric and applied them to his own speeches; and that it was by equipping himself in accordance with these rules that he became the most accomplished of all the orators. Now initially I supposed that the person who had ventured to make this statement was an ordinary layman, and I advised you not to pay attention to every paradox you heard. But when I heard his name and found him to be a man whom I respect both for his character and for his literary accomplishments, I was astounded; and after much private thought I concluded that the matter needed more diligent enquiry, in case the real truth had escaped me and the man had not spoken at random. I should then have either discarded my earlier view, on learning for certain that the Rhetoric of Aristotle

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dionysius_halicarnassus-first_letter_ammaeus.1985