Sextus Empiricus, Against the Professors

LCL 382: 188-189

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Sextus Empiricus




Τοῖς περὶ γραμματικῆς διεξοδευθεῖσιν ἡμῖν ἀκόλουθον ἂν εἴη καὶ περὶ ῥητορικῆς λέγειν, ἀνδρικωτέρας ἤδη καθεστώσης καὶ τὸ πλέον ἐπ᾿ ἀγορᾶς καὶ βημάτων ἐξεταζομένης. ἀλλ᾿ ἐπεὶ κοινὸν ὑπάρξεώς τε καὶ ἀνυπαρξίας ἐστὶν ἡ ἔννοια, καὶ οὐδὲν τούτων ἕτερον οἷόν τέ ἐστι ζητεῖν μὴ προλαβόντας ὅ ἐστι τὸ ζητούμενον, φέρε πρῶτον σκεψώμεθα τί ἂν εἴη ῥητορική, τὰς ἐπιφανεστάτας εἰς τοῦτο τῶν φιλοσόφων ἀποδόσεις παρατιθέμενοι.


Πλάτων μὲν οὖν ἐν τῷ Γοργίᾳ κατὰ διοριστικὴν ἔφοδον τοιοῦτον ἔοικεν ἐξ ἐπισυνθέσεως ὅρον τῆς ῥητορικῆς ἀποδιδόναι “ῥητορική ἐστι πειθοῦς δημιουργὸς διὰ λόγων, ἐν αὐτοῖς τοῖς λόγοις τὸ κῦρος ἔχουσα, πειστική, οὐ διδασκαλική,” τὸ μὲν “διὰ λόγων” προστιθεὶς τάχα παρόσον πολλά ἐστι τὰ πειθὼ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἐνεργαζόμενα χωρὶς λόγου, καθάπερ πλοῦτος καὶ δόξα καὶ ἡδονὴ καὶ 3κάλλος. οἱ γοῦν παρὰ τῷ ποιητῇ δημογέροντες, καίπερ ἐκπεπολεμωμένοι καὶ τελέως ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι πρὸς τὴν Ἑλένην ὡς κακῶν αἰτίαν γενομένην αὐτοῖς, ὅμως ὑπὸ τοῦ περὶ αὐτὴν κάλλους πείθονται,


Against the Rhetoricians

Book II

Against the Rhetoricians

Following on our discussion of the Art of Grammar1 we shall speak of the art of Rhetoric,—in itself a more manly art, and one which is for the most part tested in the Assembly and the Law-courts. But since the notion of a thing holds of it equally whether it be existent or non-existent, and it is impossible to investigate either of these states without having grasped beforehand what the object of investigation is, come and let us consider first what Rhetoric is by comparing the most notable accounts of it given by the philosophers.

Now Plato in the Gorgias,a using his method of definition,2 seems to set forth a composite definition of Rhetoric such as this,—“Rhetoric is the creator of persuasion by means of words, having its efficacy in the words themselves, and being persuasive, not instructive”; and he added the phrase “by means of words” probably because there are many things which effect persuasion in men without speech, such as wealth and glory and pleasure and beauty. Thus3 the elders of the folk (in the poet Homer), although exhausted by war and wholly estranged from Helen as the cause of their woes, are yet persuaded by her

  • aCf. Gorg. 453 a.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.sextus_empiricus-against_professors.1949