Sunday, February 10, 2008


Chiasmus, Part II

The examples of reflecting chiasmus in Chiasmus, Part I, involved crosswise pairs of repeated words, usually synonyms or antonyms. Another common type of reflecting chiasmus involves syntactical patterns.

Verbs (or Participles) plus Objects

Plato, Republic 9.588e-589a: strengthen the lion and the things pertaining to the lion, but the man to starve and to weaken...

...ποιεῖν ἰσχυρὸν καὶ τὸν λέοντα καὶ τὰ περὶ τὸν λέοντα, τὸν δὲ ἄνθρωπον λιμοκτονεῖν καὶ ποιεῖν ἀσθενῆ...
See also 2.381a, 2.367b, 2.371e, 2.373c, 2.383a, 3.393e, 3.404e, 8.550a, 8.554a, 9.572a, 9.573b, 9.576a, 9.576b-c, and 9.578a-b.

Subjects plus Predicates

To the gods also then, Thrasymachus, hateful will be the unjust man, but the just man dear.

καὶ θεοῖς ἄρα ἐχθρὸς ἔσται ὁ ἄδικος, ὦ Θρασύμαχε, ὁ δὲ δίκαιος φίλος.
See also 6.484b, 6.505d, 8.568a, 9.572e, 9.588e, 9.591a, 10.604e, and 10.616e.

Sometimes the chiastically arranged subject / predicate pairs occur with a verb of calling or naming, e.g. 2.371 d:
"Shopkeepers" do we not call those seated in the marketplace performing a service in buying and selling, but those wandering to cities "merchants"?

οὐ καπήλους καλοῦμεν τοὺς πρὸς ὠνήν τε καὶ πρᾶσιν διακονοῦντας ἱδρυμένους ἐν ἀγορᾷ, τοὺς δὲ πλανήτας ἐπὶ τὰς πόλεις ἐμπόρους;
See also 7.534a, 8.559c, and 8.559c-d.

Nouns plus Possessive Genitives

...noises of winds and of hailstones and of axles and of pulleys, and of trumpets and of flutes and of pipes and of all instruments sounds...

...ψόφους ἀνέμων τε καὶ χαλαζῶν καὶ ἀξόνων τε καὶ τροχιλιῶν, καὶ σαλπίγγων καὶ αὐλῶν καὶ συρίγγων καὶ πάντων ὀργάνων φωνάς...
See also 1.353b, 7.532c, 8.552c, and 8.569b-c.

Nouns plus Prepositional Phrases

In the class of virtue and wisdom you place injustice, but justice in the opposites.

ἐν ἀρετῆς καὶ σοφίας τιθεῖς μέρει τὴν ἀδικίαν, τὴν δὲ δικαιοσύνην ἐν τοῖς ἐναντίοις.
See also 1.333b, 3.389c, 5.477a, and 10.614c-d.

Nouns plus Adjectives or Participles

Of whatever, then, a man is a skillful guardian, of that also he is a thief skillful.

ὅτου τις ἄρα δεινὸς φύλαξ, τούτου καὶ φὼρ δεινός.
See also 8.574e, 10.603c, and 10.609e-610a.

Miscellaneous examples of reflecting chiasmus involving syntactical patterns that do not fall into any of the above categories occur in Plato's Republic at 1.334a, 1.352e, 2.373d, 3.400a, 3.402d, 7.535d, 7.536b, 8.551c, 8.560d, 9.580a-b, 9.587b, 10.599e, 10.609a, and 10.613a-b.

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