Dionysius of Halicarnassus peri gloottas physioos (θ)

(ΣΥΝΕΧΕΙΑ ΑΠΟ 3/09/18)

conversation between Candaules and Gyges).166 In his analysis of these texts, Dionysius distinguishes between three aspects, namely the
subject matter or thoughts, the words, and the composition. His argument is in both cases that neither the subject matter (prãgmata) nor the words (ÙnÒmata) are the cause of beauty; it is the composition (sÊnyesiw) that has produced the pleasing form of these passages. Dionysius focuses on the contrast between the commonplace words on the one hand and the beautiful composition on the other, but in both cases he implies that the character of the words corresponds to that of the subject matter: the passage from the Odyssey portrays ‘minor happenings from everyday life’ (pragmãtiÉ êtta bivtikã).167 The passage from Herodotus (in which Candaules asks Gyges to see his wife naked) describes ‘an incident that is not only undignified and unsuitable for artistic embellishment, but also insignificant and hazardous and closer to ugliness than to beauty.’168 Nevertheless, the story has been told ‘with great dexterity’ (deji«w): in fact, ‘it is better to hear the incident described than to see it done’: the latter words clearly allude to Candaules’ words that ‘men trust their ears less readily than their eyes’.169 The attractiveness of the passage is due neither to the subject matter (which is unsuitable and insignificant), nor to the selection of words (which are common and artless), nor to the Ionic dialect (which Dionysius changes into Attic —



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