The Classical Quarterly

Research Article

ΗΘΙκΗ ΛЕΞΙΣ and Dinarchus.

J. F. Lockwooda1

a1 University College, London

In the opening chapter of the Iudicium de Dinarcho Dionysius quotes a passage from the Περì xs1F41μωνxs1F50μων of Demetrius Magnes, mat the end of which come the words xs1F27 δxs1F73 λxs1F72ξις xs1F10ςτxs1F77 τοxs1FE6 Δεινxs1F71ρχου κυρxs1F76ως xs1F20θικxs1F75 πxs1F71θος κινοxs1FE6σα σχεδòν τxs1FC7 πικρíxs1FB3 μóνον καì τxs1FF7 τóνxs1FF6 τοxs1F56 Δημοσθθενικοxs1F56 χαρακτxs1FC6ρος λειπομxs1F72νη τοxs1FE6 δxs1F73 πιθανοxs1F56 καì κυρíιυ μηδxs1F72ν xs1F10νδxs1F73ονσα. [I have deliberately omitted all punctuation marks, because the punctuation of this sentence is still doubtful, though I hope to suggest a possible interpretation of its meaning at the end of this article.] Now there is nothing in this sentence or in the words preceding it to indicate beyond all possibility of doubt the precise meaning ofκυρíως xs1F20θικxs1F74. And in such circumstances, to allow free play to personal (or perhaps natural) prejudices regarding the significance of thephrase is more than dangerous. The whole problem of xs1F20θικxs1F75 λxs1F72ξις has been treated too cursorily. If one mentions the phrase to a non-professional student of Greek, who, however, has some acquaintance with the Attic orators, he immediately replies: ‘I suppose you mean the sort of thing you meet in Lysias.’ And he is to beexcused, because, after all, that is the predominant meaning of the term. But it has other senses, and therefore one must fight shy of vague statements like that of Finke, who, after quoting the above lines, comment: ‘Demetrius Magnus attribuit ei (sc. Dinarcho)τxs1F21ν κυρíαν λxs1F72ξιν qua non sit Demosthene inferior’(the last few words of which are possibly not even a correct translation of the text); or of Burgess, who enumerates qualities, ideas, and topics ‘of special value to the epideictic and court orators, ’ among which appears xs1F20θοποιxs1F37α which he merely translates ‘impersonation or delineation of character, ’ without offering any further comment. Sandys talks of ‘the ethical warmth of colouring, by which the dullest details are lit up with a fresh life and interest.’ Gromska is even more vague (and seems almost to confuse xs1F26θxs2228ς and χαρακτxs1F74ρ: ‘Grammatici antiqui, qui de Hyperide tractabant, de eloquentiae eius genere disputabant, orationum Hyperidearum compositionem et xs1F26θxs2228ς respicientes, i.e. quantum in arte rhetorica et oratoria valeret, examinantes.’ In the hope, therefore, of being able to represent the difficulty inherent in these lines, and of attempting to remove it, or at any rate to shed a broader beam of light upon it than has been shed hitherto, I propose to review very briefly the fluctuations of meaning in the life of this phrase and its equivalents, as we find them used in the critical writings of the Greek philosophers and rhetoricians.