Saturday, June 12, 2021


Abusive Language

Demosthenes 54.19 (Against Conon; tr. A.T. Murray):
The least of these evils, namely abusive language, has, I think, been provided for to prevent the last and most grievous, that murder may not ensue, and that men be not led on step by step from vilification to blows, from blows to wounds, and from wounds to murder...

τὸ φαυλότατον, οἶμαι, τὸ τῆς λοιδορίας, πρὸ τοῦ τελευταίου καὶ δεινοτάτου προεώραται, τοῦ μὴ φόνον γίγνεσθαι, μηδ᾿ ὑπάγεσθαι κατὰ μικρὸν ἐκ μὲν λοιδορίας εἰς πληγάς, ἐκ δὲ πληγῶν εἰς τραύματα, ἐκ δὲ τραυμάτων εἰς θάνατον...
This is a good example of the rhetorical device known as ladder or climax or gradatio. For other examples see:

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