1. Τὸ μὲν τοῦ Καικιλίου συγγραμμάτιον, ὃ περὶ ὕψους συνετάξατο, ἀνασκοπουμένοις ἡμῖν ὡς οἶσθα κοινῇ, Ποστούμιε Τερεντιανὲ1 φίλτατε, ταπεινότερον ἐφάνη τῆς ὅλης ὑποθέσεως, καὶ ἥκιστα τῶν καιρίων ἐφαπτόμενον οὐ πολλήν τε ὠφέλειαν, ἧς μάλιστα δεῖ στοχάζεσθαι τὸν γράφοντα, περιποιοῦν τοῖς ἐντυγχάνουσιν, εἴγ᾿2 ἐπὶ πάσης τεχνολογίας δυεῖν ἀπαιτουμένων, προτέρου μὲν τοῦ δεῖξαι τί τὸ ὑποκείμενον, δευτέρου δὲ τῇ τάξει, τῇ δυνάμει δὲ κυριωτέρου, πῶς ἂν ἡμῖν αὐτὸ τοῦτο καὶ δι᾿ ὧντινων μεθόδων κτητὸν γένοιτο, ὅμως ὁ Καικίλιος ποῖον μέν τι ὑπάρχει τὸ ὑψηλὸν διὰ μυρίων ὅσων ὡς ἀγνοοῦσι πειρᾶται δεικνύναι, τὸ δὲ δι᾿ ὅτου τρόπου τὰς ἑαυτῶν φύσεις προάγειν ἰσχύοιμεν ἂν εἰς ποσὴν μεγέθους ἐπίδοσιν, οὐκ οἶδ᾿ ὅπως ὡς οὐκ ἀναγκαῖον παρέλιπεν· πλὴν 2ἴσως τουτονὶ μὲν τὸν ἄνδρα οὐχ οὕτως αἰτιᾶσθαι τῶν ἐκλελειμμένων ὡς αὐτῆς τῆς ἐπινοίας καὶ σπουδῆς ἄξιον ἐπαινεῖν. ἐπεὶ δ᾿ ἐνεκελεύσω καὶ ἡμᾶς τι περὶ


On the Sublime 1

On the Sublime

1. You know, my dear Postumius Terentianus, that when we were studying together Caecilius’1 little treatise on the Sublime it appeared to us to fall below the level of the subject and to fail to address the main points, or render its readers very much of that assistance which should be an author’s chief aim, seeing that there are two requisites in every systematic treatise: the author must first define his subject, and secondly, though this is really more important, he must show us how and by what means we may reach the goal ourselves. Caecilius, however, endeavouring by a thousand instances to demonstrate the nature of the sublime, as though we know nothing about it, apparently thought it unnecessary to deal with the means by which we may be enabled to develop our natures to some degree of grandeur. Still, we ought perhaps rather to praise our author for the mere conception of such a treatise and the trouble spent upon it than to blame him for his omissions. But since you have now asked me in my turn to prepare some notes on the sublime for your own sake, let

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.longinus-sublime.1995