Sophrosyne and the Rhetoric of Self-Restraint: Polysemy & Persuasive Use of an Ancient Greek Value Term (Mnemosyne, Bibliotheca Classica Batava)
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While of paramount importance to Ancient Greek society, "sophrosyne," the value of self-restraint, constitutes a notoriously complex concept, and provides the speaker of Ancient Greek with a subtle instrument for verbal persuasion. This study provides a new description of the semantics of "sophrosyne" in Archaic and Classical Greek, based on a model from the field of cognitive linguistics. Besides, the volume shows how such a semantic description can contribute to the analysis and study of our sources: it investigates how speakers in our texts (ab)use the term to achieve their ends, covering most of the main texts, and culminating in a chapter on the dialogues of Plato.
such as anger and fear, but probably less typically so: the ever-systematic Aristotle (EN 1103b19), for instance, contrasts !≈frone! and prçoi to ékÒla!toi and Ùrg¤loi, qualifying the first members of these pairs as per‹ tå! §piyum¤a! and the second as per‹ tå! Ùrgã!. (Incidentally, the treatment of these types of affect in classical literature show strong stereotype effects. With men showing fear — Eteocles in Septem, for instance — or women showing anger — Sophocles’ Electra — there is often an
symposion, from love and wine (and the proper ways to deal with these) to the various moral prescriptions pertaining to the thoroughly aristocratic notion of being a noble citizen. As such, they share the aim of imparting the political concerns and general values of the Me——— 2 Much of the discussion on the authorship has focused on the interpretation of the poet’s claim that there should be a seal (!fr∞gi!) on his poetry (19-20). Some, e.g. Jacoby (1931), followed by West, have taken this to
of democratic, pro-Athenian propaganda. AESCHYLUS 101 In what follows, no account is taken of Persians, a play that is often regarded as the illustration par excellence of the Aeschylean conflict between Ïbri! and !vfro!Ênh, but in which the terms are not used except in a single corrupt passage in the speech of 1 the ghost of Darius. Of course, there is no doubt, at least in the view of Darius, that Xerxes’ decision to yoke the Bosporos and ——— 1 A. Pers. 829-31, prÚ! taËt' §ke›non
brave young man. 9 North (1966), 4. 10 CHAPTER ONE person’s responsibility for his self-interest, rather than on his obligations with regard to others. If so, there is a priori little to support the idea that the supposedly non-moral senses represent the ‘original’ meanings of the words, as etymology10 might be taken to suggest, and that the ‘moral’ ones all result from later developments. The strongest adherent of this theory is North (1966), and the problems connected with such an approach
also invoked, it seems, in fr. 896 e‡yÉ ∑!ya !≈frvn ¶rga to›! lÒgoi! ‡!a, as this is cited by the scholiast on E. Rh. 105 e‡yÉ ∑!yÉ énØr eÎboulo! …! drç!ai xer¤. Similarly, in fr. 936 (˜pou går oﬂ fÊ!ante! ≤!!«ntai t°knvn, | oÈk ¶stin aÏth !vfrÒnvn éndr«n pÒli!), prudent men are said not to accept that children take precedence over their parents, for the sake of the well-being of their pÒli!. The other fragments in which the adjective occurs address familiar ‘otherregarding’ types of !vfro!Ênh: