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Arguments And Ornaments

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author examines the way in which Lucretius subordinates the elements traditionally assigned to the domain of style, to those traditionally assigned to the domain of content or thought. Epicurus' insistence on analogy must be viewed in the light of this tradition. Cicero's illustration of this type of argument is a case in which the interpretation of a word's etymology influences the interpretation of the law. The discussion of arguments from definition in Cicero's Topica immediately precedes the discussion of arguments from etymology. The main goal of Lucretius' argumentation in the sections devoted to physics could be described as a systematic progress by which phenomena are referred back to already familiar principles. The tools of Lucretius' trade are traditional poetic techniques, usually associated with the diction and imagery of epic poetry and tragedy metaphors, similes, proverbs, puns, the rhythm and the sound of the words.

Keywords: analogy; Cicero's Topica; etymology; ornaments



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