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UNIPA Springer Series Patrizia Laspia From Biology to Linguistics: The Definition of Arthron in Aristotle's Poetics
Patrizia Laspia
Patrizia Laspia
UNIPA Springer Series Patrizia Laspia From Biology to Linguistics: The Definition of Arthron in Aristotle's Poetics
UNIPA Springer Series Patrizia Laspia From Biology to Linguistics: The Definition of Arthron in Aristotle's Poetics

From Biology to Linguistics:

The Definition of Arthron in Aristotle's Poetics

UNIPA Springer Series Patrizia Laspia From Biology to Linguistics: The Definition of Arthron in Aristotle's Poetics
UNIPA Springer Series Patrizia Laspia From Biology to Linguistics: The Definition of Arthron in Aristotle's Poetics
UNIPA Springer Series Patrizia Laspia From Biology to Linguistics: The Definition of Arthron in Aristotle's Poetics

UNIPA Springer Series


Carlo Amenta, Universit à di Palermo, Palermo, Italy

Series editors

Sebastiano Bavetta, Universit à di Palermo, Palermo, Italy Calogero Caruso, Universit à di Palermo, Palermo, Italy Gioacchino Lavanco, Universit à di Palermo, Palermo, Italy Bruno Maresca, Universit à di Salerno, Fisciano, Italy Andreas Ö chsner, Grif th School of Engineering, Southport Queensland, Australia Mariacristina Piva, Universit à Cattolica Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy Roberto Pozzi Mucelli, Policlinico G.B.Rossi, Verona, Italy Antonio Restivo, Universit à di Palermo, Palermo, Italy Norbert M. Seel, University of Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany Gaspare Viviani, Universit à di Palermo, Palermo, Italy

More information about this series at http://www.springer.com/series/13175

Patrizia Laspia

From Biology to Linguistics:

The De nition of Arthron in Aristotle s Poetics

Patrizia Laspia From Biology to Linguistics: The De fi nition of Arthron in Aristotle ’ s


Patrizia Laspia Dipartimento di Scienze Umanistiche University of Palermo Palermo Italy

ISSN 2366-7516

UNIPA Springer Series ISBN 978-3-319-77325-4 ISBN 978-3-319-77326-1 (eBook)


ISSN 2366-7524 (electronic)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2018934441

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microlms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specic statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional af liations.

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pe w ά ll o1 qihlm peqip έφ etcem ja je m o1 ra vά qlas ' k - k oi1 hη jem , sί 1 m φ q άrai d ύmais oPindaro , Olimpica II, Ant. 5, vv. 98/101 (178 180 Gentili)

A D. P., con gratitudine



The Problem


1.1 The De nition of qhq o m in Aristoles Poetics: An Unsolvable Dilemma?


1.2 State of the Text


1.3 The Principal Critical Positions Regarding the De nition of qhq o m



From Biology to Linguistics


2.1 Biological Patterns in the Twentieth Chapter of the Poetics


2.2 The Aristotelian De nitions of qhq o m


2.3 e mai as qhq o m : My Conjecture


2.4 Some Possible Objections. Is e mai a Verb?


2.5 Nature and Uses of e mai : The Contemporary Debate







Index Locorum


Index Verborum


Index of Ancient Authors




Modern Authors



This volume is not intended as a philological or paleographical specialist contri- bution: it is a new attempt at reading Aristotle s work as a whole. It consists of two

chapters. The rst chapter consists of three sections. First section discusses the main problems posed by the de nition of arthron ; second section considers the state of the text; third section examines the critical literature on that issue since the end of the nineteenth century. The second chapter is the actual pars construens of the work. It consists of ve sections. The rst section explores the close relationship that Aristotle holds between biology and language. Aristotle is not the father of the specialized sciences: He is rather the last great global thinker of Antiquity; in each

eld of knowledge, he employs the method of his biological inquiries. Second

section analyzes the de nition of arthron in the twentieth chapter of the Poetics and emphasizes their close similarity to its de nition in the biological works. In the third section suggest my conjecture about the rst example of arthron in the Poetics , according to which I read eimi instead of f.m.i . In the fourth and fth sections, I take some objections to my conjecture into account; I reject that einai may be considered one verb among the others. Last section considers the more recent critical issues about Greek einai .


The content of the work whose introduction I am writing today, September 13, 2017, was already clear in my mind back in 1996 when I gave birth to the volume that was published in September 1997 with the title Larticolazione linguistica. Origini biologiche di una metafora (Laspia 1997). As demonstrated by the eighth chapter almost a fth of the volume 1 the difculties posed by the de nition of qhq o m in the Poetics were already well known to me, and, I must say, their solution, too. But in 1996, I was only thirty- ve years old, with little experience in philology and paleography, no stable academic position, and all the recklessness of youth, but not enough to propose a hypothesis as daring as the one I now propose in these pages. Once the book had been published and the reviews had been read I thought that the question was closed, and that there was no reason to return to the subject. I had to wait until the year 2009 and the Ph.D. defense of Laura Gianvittorio, my doctoral student at that time and today my colleague, whom I thank for nally exhuming the issue at a symposial dinner. Laura and her boyfriend (now her husband) Alex Ungar, who has been studying Classical Philology in Oxford for a while, thought the idea exposed here was a good one. Meanwhile, years had passed (somehow, twenty!) and my self-con dence had increased somewhat. So I began the arduous task of acquiring the philological, paleographic, and, not least in importance, the bibliographic skills necessary to re-examine the issue from the very beginning. The de nition of qhqo m in the Poetics is a real puzzle, in the very precise sense explained by Thomas Kuhn in his famous book of 1962, The Structure of Scienti c Revolutions. Generations of scholars have used it as their exercise regime, only to end up proposing what is already well known, at times what is outdated, or else to express a drastic distrust of any possible solution to the problem. With this paper, I hope I have made a small contribution to the subject. Up to Sect. 2.2 , my con- clusions run parallel to the contents of Larticolazione linguistica. Since I do not

1 La logica del vivente. R ύmderl o 1 ed qhq o m in Aristotle, in Laspia 1997, pp. 79126.



think that there were many more than the proverbial twenty- ve readers of that book, there is no need to apologize: repetita iuvant . But the conjecture I propose here is different, and my bibliographic knowledge is different as well time has moved forward, and some (though not many) have spoken out on the difcult topic. Above all, the methodological awareness with which I write today is different, even though my method has not changed. I say, moreover, that if one should choose to refuse the conjecture I propose here regarding the rst example of qhq o m in the twentieth chapter of Aristotle s Poetics , but appreciate the way I have conducted my reading of Aristotle, we cannot say that we disagree completely. What am I alluding to and what is the method I use to read Aristotle? In my reading, I begin with three main assumptions. (1) Unlike what is commonly said today, Aristotle is not the father of the specialized sciences, nor is he the one who inaugurated spe- cialized studies in Greece, but the last great global thinker of antiquity 2 . There is, therefore, a unitary Aristotelian research program 3 , whose dimension coincides with his own work. (2) The heart of the Aristotelian research program is represented by the life sciences. The current reading paradigm, which gives priority to Aristotles ethical and political works, does not do justice to that research program and should not be fol- lowed. (3) Within the Aristotelian research program, indeed at its heartrepresented by the biological investigationa highly signicant place is occupied by the language/living bodyanalogy, which is the basis of Aristotelian linguistic investi- gation, and in particular, of twentieth chapter of the Poetics. Any reading of the so-called linguistic chapter of the Poetics that does not proceed simultaneously and in parallel with the biological investigation, which is the model of Aristotles linguistic investigations, has in my opinion no foundation on principle. To this is added the following methodological premise: In reading Aristotle, we are in no way justi ed in seeking to understand what precedes in function of what follows that is, in interpreting his words on the basis of later texts by other authors. This means that we are not justied in reading Aristotle in light of our contemporary prejudices, or in considering him as the forerunner of any of our fashions or theories. Instead, it is necessary to read Aristotle iuxta propria prin- cipia : « Aristotle the linguist with Aristotle the biologist and naturalist » . 4 Only then can Aristotle regain his voice, which still speaks to us after thousands of years. In this way, we can avoid the insurmountable contradictions present, for example, in the current readings of the twentieth chapter of the Poetics. But this is

2 «Lultimo grande pensatore totale dell antichit à» (Laspia 1997, p. 79). 3 Originally coined by Imre Lakatos (1968), the notion of research program was rst used in regard to Aristotelian biology by James Lennox (1987). Lennox is convinced, however, that this notion can only be applied to the biological works. The author, therefore, implicitly adheres to the idea of Aristotle as the father of specialized sciences and uses the term in a narrower sense than the one I use here. My hypothesis is that Aristotle, the heir of Ionic naturalism, and in a broader sense of the Homeric Encyclopedia (see Laspia 1996), is the last global scientist of antiquity. In my view, the notion of program would, therefore, be applicable to his entire work, viewed as a whole. 4 «LAristotle linguista con lAristotle biologo e naturalista ». Laspia (1997), p. 80.



still not enough. To understand Aristotle by framing him in his time, and restoring the genuine sense of his afrmations, our reading needs to be directed not to what follows, but to what precedes his work: Only in this way can we avoid the abuse of a tendentious and, shall we say, colonizing reading of the ancient text. In practical terms, this means reading Aristotle in terms of Homer and Hesiod, Pindar, Sophocles, Plato, and above all on the basis of the medical and natural science contemporary or prior to him, not in light of what we know today about the same subjects, or the opinions we hold about them. Thanks to these three or even four simple methodological premises, many intricate issues of Aristotelian exegesis seem nally to nd a solution. With them, the age-old problem of the so-called Aristotelian contradictions is solved, whereas previously, to tame them, critics invoked nostalgia for a systematic kind of Aristotle of Thomist or neo-Thomist inspiration 5 , or else the ghost of Werner Jaeger s Geistentwicklung 6 , today, fortunately, no longer in fashion, or else the presumption of a radically aporetic nature in Aristotle s thought, very commonly invoked in the existentialist investigations of the last century. 7 Yet, the idea that Aristotle s research program has, so to speak, a center and a periphery should be carefully considered. The center is, in my opinion, represented by the Aristotelian investi- gation of life and nature, including the universe, understood as a living being. This center s twin is his linguistic investigation, based on the analogy between language and a living body. The living bodies and in particular his investigation of the rst, living Mover and on living and eternal beings, of whom nite and mortal entities are only a pale re ection, while sharing with language the same internal organi- zation, i.e., the organization of the living are the beings that Aristotle de nes rst by nature. Different, however, is the scope of the rst for us, in which Aristotle includes the sphere of the contingency as opposed to the necessity, and therefore, all human things. Rhetoric, ethics, and politics the subjects of Aristotle s most studied and esteemed works belong, for Aristotle, in the sphere of the rst for us, but posterior by nature. Hence arise many contradictions, such as that of the different consideration of women (and of matter) in both his biological works and Politics , or slavery in Politics and in light of Ethica Nicomachea. Considering the center as a function of the periphery, and the biological works in function of Ethics and Politics , would be a serious mistake: Yet, it is what happens on a regular basis today. And so in the critical literature was born the now widely circulating image of an Aristotle in favor of slavery, racist, and/or sexist, or worse still an advocate of an anthropocentric model of nature. 8

5 See, for example, Hamelin 1931, Reale 1961, 1993, vol I. 6 Cfr. Jaeger 1923. 7 See, for example, Aubenque 1962. 8 For an extreme example, see Sedley (1991). There is a broad discussion on this subject, with a critical review of the positions both for and against, in Laspia (2016), pp. 17 35, especially p. 28 and ff.



From the perspective of content, the bene ts regard not only an innovative and more consistent reading of the linguistic de nitions of the twentieth chapter of Poetics , which I believe is the one provided here. I believe that much more thorny issues, such as that of active intelligence or the Prime unmoved Mover, of its role and place in the universe and its relations with natural entities and mortal things, and many others not least among which the different de nitions of essence in the Categoriae and the Metaphysics 9 can be solved at the same time. But this, for- tunately, is not our task here. This work is not, in the end, but a diligent application of the methodological principles outlined here to the problems posed by the linguistic de nitions of the twentieth chapter of the Poetics. It is perhaps interesting to remark that my method, which essentially consists of reading Aristotle not as an exponent of today s sci- enti c specialism, but as a global scientist, coincides, si parva licet, with my own intellectual path, which uni es an initial specialization in Linguistics and Philosophy of Language (and before that, in the philosophy of science) with my constant love for Greek language, culture and literature, and my present (and indeed eternal) interest in ancient philosophy, the subject that I currently teach at the University of Palermo. I say this because I feel that the problems posed by the de nitions of r ύ mderl o 1 and qhqo m in Poetics cannot be solved, nor clari ed in the mind of the reader, on the sole basis of a philological or paleographic con- sideration. We must start from the total and methodologically aware knowledge of the Aristotelian text: one which combines philological rigor and exhaustiveness with the knowledge of the most recent linguistic investigations; in particular, those found in the literature on the uses and functions of the Greek term e mai. In this way, we can arrive at a few conjectures that at rst glance may seem bold, but on the basis of this evidence are perhaps not entirely implausible. Those who think they will nd in these pages a myopically specialized reading, or a purely philological or paleographic approach to the problem, will be disap- pointed. Many highly specialized philologists and paleographers have not appre- ciated my conjecture, and will continue, I think, to do so. But that does not mean that it is entirely implausible and should be excluded a priori , perhaps even before reading the book. I believe, however, that it is necessary to reject any reading of the de nitions of the twentieth chapter of Poetics , and in particular of the de nition of qhq o m , as an isolated exercise, whose peculiarities are at times not even fully explored indeed, few interpreters have put forward precise hypotheses about the enigma of the dotted handwriting with which the examples of qhq o m appear to be written. Especially implausible are, in my opinion, the interpretations that seek at all costs to reconcile the de nitions of the twentieth chapter of Poetics with the sub- sequent theories of the parts of speech, and/or to reduce such de nitions to the narrow eld of our mental habits, thus obstinately continuing to see the article as the rst example of qhq o m .

9 For the problem, the relative bibliography, and an attempt at solving it, see Laspia (2018a).



Ultimately, I am convinced, with many other scholars, that Aristotle s qhq o m cannot be identied as the article found in the subsequent grammatical tradition; therefore, the rst example given in the de nition of qhq o m in the Poetics cannot refer to the article. If the example provided was so obvious, how could the dotted handwriting be justi ed? And how could we explain the next example of qhq o m , once again in dotted handwriting, in which most interpreters see the preposition peq ί ? What Aristotle really thought about the article, we will probably never know, except for the insubstantial hints he devotes to it in his Corpus , and especially in the Prior Analytics. But the rst and most necessary referent of the de nition of qhq o m in Poetics is certainly not the article. The use and functionality of Aristotle s l έq η s 1 k έnex 1 deserve a separate discussion. A few critics found it particularly implausible that, in my reconstruc- tion, they are seen to carry out promiscuous functions: For example, that the verb be, in its function of copula, or rather of propositional connector, may behave « in part like ῥῆ la and in part like ps ri 1 » . But for Aristotle, there is continuity in animal species, and the heart is simultaneously the organ of cognition, of life, of breathing, and of voice. And if natura non facit saltus, why should these jumps be made by linguistic investigation, which is closely modeled on biological investigation? My work consists of two chapters. In the rst, I take into consideration the status quaestionis concerning the problems posed by the de nitions of rύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m in Poetics , together with the state of the text. The history of critical con- tributions regarding the problem is then examined in detail. This analysis is per- formed with a fair degree of breadth and attention to details, which some have found annoying. This was not due, however, to inexperience, as it may seem at rst glance, but to the desire to familiarize the reader with all previous attempts at interpretation, especially the best ones, though in the end they prove to be inade- quate and unsatisfactory. So, a choice must be made: Either we resign ourselves to considering the de nition of qhq o m in the Poetics as an inscrutable and insoluble mystery, « wrapped in the thickest fog » as Gudeman said followed by Jonathan Barnes, at least in reference to the examples or to nd a solution we must choose other paths and dare to formulate slightly riskier hypotheses. In the second chapter, I proceed to the real pars construens of the work, which initially involves tracing a precise and close parallel between the biological and linguistic investigations within the Corpus of Aristotle s works. The linguistic investigations of the twentieth chapter of Poetics can no longer be regarded as an inaugural moment in the theorization of the parts of speech, or as the rst chapter of specialized linguistics or grammar, but may indeed, must be recognized as a projection onto language of Aristotle s theory of the living body. Based on these considerations, and on the fact that there are currently no valid solutions to the problem posed by the de nition and examples of qhq o m , I formulate my con- jecture, which sees in the incomprehensible u. l. i . provided as the rst example of qhq o m a corrupt form for e l ί , and I try to corroborate it with arguments of a general methodological nature, rather than a philological or paleographic one. Then I examine the literature on Greek e mai published in the last fty years, in



light of which my hypothesis acquires, I believe, far greater strength. Finally, I consider some objections that have been addressed to me, both orally and in writing, over the course of the decade during which I have worked on this text, and I try to provide some answers, whenever possible. With that, I think I have touched, albeit only super cially, an issue that is close to my heart: that of the so-called (what I call the) oral style of Aristotle, in the name of which this work comes to an end. It is now well known that Aristotle was the best teacher of his time, whose entire known work, i.e., the Corpus , consists of esoteric works that constitute the necessary support to performances consisting of one or more oral lessons. The exoteric works, into which Cicero said the « golden river of eloquence » owed, survive today only in the form of meager fragments. In light of what has remained, I do not suffer from their absence. By virtue of this esoteric work (not exoteric), Aristotle proves to be an admirable artist of the word, precisely in the sense indicated by Charles Kahn, and was no less an artist of this kind than Heraclitus and Plato, whom he so admirably studied. Succinctness, concision, daring syntactic and conceptual nexuses, sentences with- out a verb: these are the unmistakable characteristics of the oral style of Aristotle. What a waste to consider them oversights of his students and/or copysts. Thus, and only thus, does Aristotle acquire his proper physiognomy: that of a teacher of truth (ma î tre de verit é ), in the sense given to this expression by Detienne. 10 Aristotle would thus be the last teacher of truth in ancient Greece, and therefore, necessarily, a great artist of words, too, as before him were Heraclitus, Empedocles and Parmenides, and in a different way Plato, as well. So, Aristotle becomes bard and spokesman of his own thinking. Or I should say it is Aristotle here, I think, who would correct me bard and spokesman of his beloved Nature. 11 There are many people whom I think it is necessary here to thank friends and acquaintances, colleagues, and external parties, in Italy and abroad. Beginning with the institutions, I thank my University of Palermo and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan, and especially the staff of the Consultation Room, for the patience they have (almost) always had in responding to my requests. The list of colleagues is particularly long, and I do not want to forget or fail to mention anybody. First of all, I would like to thank Prof. Charles H. Kahn, now professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, for his kind invitation, his time and patience, and our unforgettable talk while the rst narcissi were shaking off the last snow of February 2013. Second, my former student Laura Gianvittorio, whom I have already mentioned, of the University of Vienna and her current husband, Alex Hungar, for helping me believe in my work. Third, all my colleaguesexperts in Greek scholars, philologists, and paleographerswhom I have consulted over time,

10 Cfr. Detienne 1967; english translation 1996. 11 Moreover, Attico, quoted in Falcon 2016, p. 106 and note, considered Aristotle a mere «scribe of Nature », and the same expression is found in the Suda. I really do not understand why Falcon believes this statement is «poisonous » and the judgment underlying it is « very ingenerous » . I believe to the contrary that Aristotle would have been very attered by such an expression, which makes him a kind of oracle, a spokesman on Earth for Nature.



even those most contrary to my hypothesis, though they probably will not be grateful for this mention. Among them, rst, Prof. Carlo Maria Mazzucchi, who has always been staunchly opposed, and Prof. Mario Cantilena, who did not, so to speak, simplify my work, both from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. A particularly affectionate thanks goes to my friend and colleague Antonietta Porro of the same University. I have no words to express my gratitude for her patience in listening to me over the last few years, and for the clever suggestions, both in terms of the plates and the papyri, and on the text of the Aristotles latinus . And what can I say about my friend and colleague Giorgio Di Maria of the University of Palermo, who has been my companion of theoretical and philological speculations for a lifetime? Perhaps only that he is often Homerically apostrophized by me as cktjeq m uά o 1 ( sweet light ), so illuminating have his suggestions and theoretical contributions always been as evidenced, too, by my reference to one of his objections in the conclusions here, and his valiant friend and roommate, Prof. Carlo Martino Lucarini, who has the honor of being friends with Rudolph Kassel, one of the most important editor of Aristotle s Poetics. Last but not least, I wish to mention, embrace, and thank my friend and colleague at the University of Palermo Cristina Rognoni, for helping me keep my feet rmly on the ground. In the eld of linguistics, I would like to thank my friend and colleague Savina Raynaud of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart for her friendship, her discussions, and her helpful advice, as well as all the contacts she has always provided, including the names of the illustrious linguists Giorgio Grafand Emanuele Ban , who have often crossed my path at Conferences of Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language, which were once my daily bread. An emotional tribute goes to the great linguist Tullio De Mauro, recently deceased, my teacher and my teacher s teacher, to whom I talked about these issues a few times. Finally, my friends, Greek scholars, and philologists of the University of Palermo: the most senior and authoritative teachers like Salvatore Nicosia and my dear friend Valeria And ò , and then Andrea Cozzo, always in my heart, the adorable and well-esteemed Sabrina Grimaudo, with whom for 20 years I have been involved in a discussion about Greek medicine, and my dear colleague and friend Franco Giorgianni, with whom a long and close collaboration has been established over the years. On the philosophical-linguistic side, I would like rst of all to thank my teacher, Franco Lo Piparo, and the members of the Ph.D. commission of which I am a part, who became my dear friends, especially Federico Albano Leoni, a renowned phonetician and linguist, and Stefano Gensini, a great historian of linguistic ideas. Then, there are my younger colleagues with whom I have shared part of my journey, especially Felice Cimatti and Elisabetta Gola. Finally, the intimate friends with whom I was educated: rst of all, Marco Carapezza, fraternal lifelong friend, my dear Francesca Piazza, a distinguished scholar of Aristotelian rhetoric, and the youngest but no less dear to my heart, Ciccio (Francesco) La Mantia, to whom I have been bound for more than twenty years, both on the theoretical and personal levels. As for ancient philosophy, I would rst like to thank my older and most authoritative friends and colleagues: Prof. Mario Vegetti, professor emeritus of the University of Pavia and a distinguished Plato scholar, as well as the rst translator of Aristotle s biological



work, with whom I have had an affectionate, but dialectical relationship for years, and Enrico Berti, one of the greatest scholars of Aristotle alive today, to whom goes my warmest admiration and esteem, as well as friendship. Among the colleagues with whom I have a long-standing relationship are Cristina Rossitto of the University of Padua, Giovanni Casertano and Lidia Palumbo of the University of Naples, Franco Trabattoni and Mauro Bonazzi of the University of Milan, Linda Napolitano Valditara of the University of Verona, Loredana Cardullo of the University of Catania, with whom I enjoy a most affectionate friendship, and a truly long-standing friend, Diana Quarantotto of the University of Rome, with whom I have shared many pleasant and less than pleasant moments. Among the philoso- phers, the Director of our Department, Prof. Leonardo Samon à , esteemed scholar of the theoretical philosophy of Aristotle and, with me, member of the Executive Committee of the Inter-University Center of Studies for the Aristotelian Tradition (Centro Interuniversitario per la Storia della Tradizione Aristotelica), my dear friend and colleague Chiara Agnello, with whom I share a love for Aristotle and a the- oretical interest in the theme of care, my colleague Andrea Le Moli, a specialist in Heidegger, the late antique period, and Plato. Special thanks also go to my friend and colleague Carmelo Cal ì , with whom I have shared an ofce for many years, for our lively discussions and continuous and affectionate encouragement. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Pietro Giuffrida, my former student and author of a beautiful edition of De motu animalium , who today unfortunately no longer works with me, and my current and closest assistant, Dr. Marco Antonio Pignatone, whose intelligence and wisdom I can joyfully see growing every day. Habent sua fata libelli . Now the feared-but-desired moment for dedications has arrived. To whom shall I consecrate such a theoretically difcult work? If there is a book that I would have wanted to devote to Aristotle, it is this one, my extreme theoretical effort. But a bold dedication to Aristotle which sounds so nal that it strikes a sinister note can still wait, I think. Another idea was to devote the work to my past, present, and future students, who are such an important part of my life. But the rst, truest, and most heartfelt dedication goes to the one man who stood by me and gave me the energy to nish an often arduous work repeatedly interrupted, rewritten, and resumed. I dedicate these labor-born pages to a man I did not know when I began to write them. To this man, Daniele Puglisi, without whom this book would not exist, goes my primary dedication along with my deepest gratitude.

Palermo, Italy

September 2017

Chapter 1

The Problem

Chapter 1 The Problem 1.1 The De fi nition of ἄ qhq o m in Aristole

1.1 The De nition of qhqo m in Aristole s Poetics :

An Unsolvable Dilemma?

« Es gibt m.W. in der antiken Literatur nur wenige Stellen ä hnlichen Umfangs, von unleserlichen oder verst ü mmelten Fragmenten abgesehen, die dem Verst ä ndnis so un ü berwindliche Schwierigkeiten bieten wie die folgende Er ö rterung ü ber den rύ mderl o 1 und das qhq o m » . 1 The commentary on the two controversial de nitions of Aristotle s Poetics opens with these discouraging words in the Alfred Gudeman edition of the Poetics . As is universally acknowledged, the greatest difculties are undoubtedly posed by the de nition of qhq o m , which is however so closely linked to that of rύ mderlo 1 that it is impossible to consider one without the other. The following book is therefore an analysis of the two de nitions taken as a whole: the problem of how to attribute meaning to one or the other term cannot be solved unless the two de - nitions are both taken into consideration. But this is still not enough. With this contribution, I hope to prove that the de nitions of rύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m remain enigmatic and incomprehensible as long as they are read by themselves, or even in the sole context of the Poetics . They become clear and speak to us only when examined in light of the entire Corpus aristotelicum. Aristotle is not a modern scientist, nor an ancient grammarian, nor is he a linguist by profession. As his theoretical terminology shows clearly, Aristotle s linguistic thought is constantly inspired by biology. It is therefore impossible to understand « Aristotle the linguist » except in light of « Aristotle the biologist and naturalist. 2 » Rather than projecting onto Aristotle our modern mental habits, which separate the different elds of knowledge rather than unify them, Aristotle must be read iuxta propria principia.

1 « There are few passages of similar length in the ancient literature, except for spurious or dubious fragments, which present difculties as unsurmountable to our understanding as the following remarks on rύmderl o 1 and qhq o m» . Gudeman (1934), pp. 344345. 2 « LAristotele linguista con l Aristotele biologo e naturalista ». Laspia 1997, p. 80.

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018 P. Laspia, From Biology to Linguistics: The De nition of Arthron in Aristotle s Poetics , UNIPA Springer Series,




1 The Problem

But this, too, is not so easy: the Aristotle we know is so incoherent and inconsistent as to be analogous to Pirandello s One, None, and One Hundred Thousand . 3 My reading of Aristotle is also far removed from certain interpretative clich é s that are very fashionable today: like seeing him as the father of the specialized sciences. 4 Indeed, the constant dependence of Aristotle s linguistic de nitions on his biological background shows, in my opinion, that far from being the rst non-scientist philosopher, or non-philosophical scientist, in the case of the antique grammarians, Aristotle is « the last global thinker of antiquity. 5 » Only on the basis of these methodological indications do the linguistic de nitions of the Poetics acquire voice and signi cance, and the interpreter learns to defend himself from far-too-comfortable solutions that force the text of the Poetics to say exactly what we would expect in light of future grammatical tradition. But let us now go back to reading the text. Aside from the examples of that qhq o m I reproduce exactly as they are found in the manuscript tradition, I give below the full text of the two de nitions in the Kassel edition:

Poet. 1456 b 38-1457 a 10:

rύ mderl o 1 d έ rsim φ xm ὴ ἄ rη lo 1 o se jxk ύ ei o se p o ie φ xm m lί am rη lamsijm j pkei ό mxm φxm m pe φ tjt a rtms ί herhai ja ὶ ἐp s m jqxm ja ὶ ἐp s o l έ ro t m l ὴ ἁql ό ssei m qvk ό c o t sih έmai jah a s ή m [cod. A: jah as ό m ], 6 o o m l έm s o i d έ. φ xm ὴ ἄ rη lo 1 ἣ ἐ j pkei ό mxm l m φ xm m li 1 rη lamsijm d p o iem pέφ tjem l ί am rη lamsij m φ xm ήm . qhq o m d rs φ xm ὴ ἄ rη l o 1 k ό c o t qvm s έk o 1 di o qirl m d ηk o . o o m s φ. l . i. ja s p . e . q . i . jas ὰ ἄ kka . φ xm ὴ ἄ rη l o 1 o se jxk ύ ei o se p o ie φ xm m l ί am rη lamsij m j pkei ό mxm φ xm m pe φ tjt a s ί herhai ja ὶ ἐ p s m jqxm ja ὶ ἐ p s o l έ ro t . « A connector is a non-signi cant expression which neither prevents nor pro- duces a single signi cant expression from several expressions, being by its nature combined both at the ends and in the middle, which is not appropriate to place at the beginning of a saying in its own right for example l έm s o i d έ. Or: a non-signicant expression which is of such a nature as to produce a single sig- ni cant expression from more expressions than one. An articulator is a non-signicant expression which indicates a beginning or an end or a division of a saying for example φ . l . i . and p . e . q . i . and the rest. Or: a non-signi cant expression which neither prevents nor produces a single signi cant expression from several expressions, being by its nature placed both at the ends and in the middle. » This passage has appeared so cryptic to commentators that many have consid- ered it a problem for enigmatography rather than for philology. The mystery of its interpretation and the history of the many attempts to amend it go back to the

3 Cfr. Laspia (2005), p. 7; now also Laspia (2018). 4 See, lastly, Vegetti-Ademollo (2016), pp. 3145. 5 Laspia (1997), p. 80. 6 With Bywater (1909), p. 273, Pagliaro (1956), p. 88, Dupont Roc and Lallot (1980), p. 103, and contrary to Schramm (2005), p. 188, footnote 2, it seems appropriate here to restore the jah as όm found in the Parisinus.


The De nition of qhq o m in Aristole s Poetics : An Unsolvable Dilemma?


humanist and Renaissance commentators of the Poetics 7 . Almost all interpreters suspect the text is incurably corrupt; this suspicion is also shared by the few publishers who reproduce the two de nitions without drastic amendments. 8 Gudeman considered it as an insoluble riddle and invited the reader to exercise the ars nesciendi. The case of the last critical edition of the Poetics I know of, pub- lished in 2012 by Brill and edited by L. Tar á n and D. Gutas, is emblematic. The responsibilities of the two authors are not evenly distributed in this edition: Tar á n deals only with the Greek text, while Gutas deals with the Syrian-Arabic tradition of the Poetics. The greatest merits of the edition, in my opinion, belong to Gutas. Thanks to his meticulous, perspicuous, and excellent notes, Gutas manages to make the Arabic translation of the Poetics accessible even to an educated reader who is not a specialist in Arabic. On the contrary, the Greek text established by Tar á n appears highly questionable, especially in the speci c point that interests us. On the basis of Bywater s authority (who wrote in 1909, not today), Tar á n decides to expunge most of the rst de nition of rύ mderl o 1 (1457 a 2-3: ja ὶ ἐp s m jqxm ja ὶ ἐp s o l έr o t ) and almost all of the second of qhq o m (1457 a 8-9: φ xm ὴ ἄ rη l o 1 o se jxk ύ ei o se po ie φ xm m l ί am r ηlamsij m j pkeiό mxm φ xm m ), moving the examples qhq o m in 1457 a 6 and attributing them to the de nition of rύ mderl o 1 9 . This is, as we shall see, a widely adopted solution, though one that goes against the more recent trend: the latest editions of the Poetics have in fact remained more closely to the original text. Gutas notes to the Arabic translation of the Poetics , in my opinion, go in the opposite direction of the text established by Tar á n. In the Arabic translation, the problems concern mainly rύ mderl o 1 , and in particular its second de nition, which is completely expunged, perhaps because it was perceived as contradicting the rst; the de nition of qhq o m is reproduced in its entirety, including the examples. 10 Such a major intervention on

7 A detailed history of humanist comments on the Poetics and the amendments proposed is found in Morpurgo-Tagliabue (1967), pp. 3343; see also Gallavotti (1972), especially pp. 3, 13 ff. 8 So writes Kassel, who reproduces the passage as shown above, but in the critical apparatus remarks: « corrupta et confusa » . Even Dupont-Roc and Lallot, to whom we owe one of the most coherent attempts to interpret the passage as a whole, think that the passage is corrupt and pose

unsolvable problem. In their own words: « le passage qui va de 56 b 38 a 57 a 10, consacr é à la conjonction (sundesmos ) et à l’ ‘articulation(arthron ) pose des probl è mes insolubles. On se trouve en effet en face d un texte gravement corrompu (touts les éditeurs saccordent sur ce point),

et dont les corruptions ne peuvent ni être dè limit èes avec certitude, ni, a fortiori , amend ées par des

conjectures raisonablement fond ées » 1980, pp. 3212). Barnes is of the same opinion: «The note on connectors, which is immediately followed by a note on articulators, is textually corrupt; and

the corruption infects not merely the details but the whole thrust of the note or rather, of the pair of notes» (2007, p. 175). In one of the more recent Italian translations of the Poetics , the one edited by Pierluigi Donini, the desperation (« disperazione » ) of the interpreters is emphasized, and it concludes with the statement: «il testo non è qui ancora sanato » (Donini 2008, p. 137). Even in the most recent edition of Guastini the text is considered uncertain and corrupt. We read, ad loc. : « Qui

il testo risulta particolarmente confuso, e da tutti gli edd. è considerato incerto è lintero brano

a non avere un chiaro signi cato e ad essere probabilmente corrotto » (2010, pp. 3101).

9 See Tar án and Gutas (2012), pp. 198 199 for the Greek text and p. 284 for the comment.

10 For the Arabic tradition, see in particular pp. 423424, to which we will return.


1 The Problem

the text based on such fragile grounds (from Bywater until now, much has been written on the subject) is not a welcome sight, all the more so in an edition in which the Syrian-Arabic tradition is carefully discussed. Until a few decades ago, such practices formed part of a more general suspicion about the authenticity of the twentieth chapter of the Poetics. Still in 1957, the famous annotated edition of Else took the liberty of skipping over it entirely because it was neither useful nor appropriate to the subject. 11 The detailed technical nature of a list of the lέ q η s 1 k έ nex 1 12 with their respective de nition appeared out of place wrongly soin a treatise dedicated to poetry 13 ; the meaning of the de nitions was elusive and at times even incomprehensible. Today, thankfully, greater precaution is exercised in making expunctions or other interventions on the chapter. But to penetrate the meaning it is necessary, in my view, to abandon altogether the interpretive perspective that sees the twentieth chapter of the Poetics as a theory of the parts of speech. Before dealing with the state of the text and making our proposals, which relate mainly to the rst de nition of qhq o m , let us look brie y at the issues that arise most frequently in connection with the two de nitions. An initial doubt arose immediately in connection with the quali cation of φxm ὴ ἄ rη lo 1 . Based on the questionable view that the rύ mderl o 1 contributes to the overall meaning of a sentence, some in particular Gallavotti considered calling it a non-signi cant expression inappropriate. 14 The idea that the rύ mderl o 1 (and possibly the qhq o m ) are asemantic is however shared by many ancient authors, such as Apollonius Dyscolus, who de nes them precisely in this way. 15 It is no wonder then that Aristotle de nes the rύ mderlo i (and possibly the qhqa ) as φxma ὶ ἄ rη l o i and no wonder either that the Aristotelian de nitions do not match the more banal de nitions of the Stoic tradition. 16 On the basis of the considerations made by Dupont-Roc and Lallot (1980) and especially by Barnes (2007), we can

11 See Else (1957), p. 567, who notes: «they have very little, astonishing little connection with any other part of Aristotle s poetry » ; on this topic, see Morpurgo-Tagliabue (1967), p. 16, Somville (1975), p. 18, footnote 1. 12 « They are technical in very high degree, specially Chaps. 20 and 21 » [Else (1957), p. 357]. 13 Against such discomfort however speaks De interpretatione , which reads: olm om kko i φe ί rhxram η so qij1 c q po i ηsij 1 o jeio sέ qa rj έwi 1 (4, 17 a 5). 14 See Gallavotti (1954), (1972), (1974), whose positions will be discussed in more detail below. 15 See Conj. p. 214, 4 Schneider; see a discussion of the passage, the sources, and the entire ancient debate about it in Dupont-Roc and Lallot (1980), pp. 3278; Ildefonse (1997), p. 109 and notes; Barnes (2007), especially pp. 186199 for rύmderl o 1 before Apollonius, pp. 119216 for Apollonius Dyscolus. On the relationship between the de nition of r ύmderl o1 in Aristotle and what in Posidonius is attributed to Apollonius Dyscolus, see the brief note of Belli (1987). 16 See, in this regard, the observations in Schmitt 2008, to which we refer especially for the opinions of ancient commentators. They considered Aristotle far superior to the Stoics, unlike many modern interpreters (see pp. 608 18, especially pp. 60818). Among these we naturally nd Steinthal 1890; also the contribution of Pohlenz (1939), emphatically titled Die Begr ündung abendl ändischen Sprachlehre der durch die Stoa, reects an opinion that was widely shared between the late 1800s and the rst half of the 1900s.


The De nition of qhq o m in Aristole s Poetics : An Unsolvable Dilemma?


now better understand both the nature of and the reason for this quali cation. For Aristotle, r ύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m are operators that apply to signi cant parts of the sentence, acting as connectors, conjunctions or organizers, a bit like modern logical connectors. 17 For this reason rύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m are called φ xma ὶ ἄ rη lo i . A much thornier problem is posed by the overall structure of the two de nitions; this structure seems quite peculiar and, at rst sight, certainly enigmatic. Both de nitions are composed in fact of two lemmas coordinated by a disjunctive par- ticle ( ), as if one could freely choose between the two. 18 According to a well-established tradition in the literature on the subject, we will call the two lemmas of the de nition of rύ mderl o 1 S1 and S2, while the two lemmas of the de nition of qhq o m will be called A1 and A2. 19 Gudeman, followed with even greater emphasis by Gallavotti, was the rst to manifest severe doubts about this: in the Topics , as well as in many other places in his work, Aristotle excludes that alternative de nitions of the same object can be given. 20 The solutions that have been proposed to this problem (i.e., the existence of two different de nitions for both rύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m ) are often akin to pure fantasy. Someone went so far as to exaggerate the supposedly « un nished and sketchy state » 21 of the Poetics in general, and in particular the twentieth chapter, and would like to interpret the two lemmas as « marginal notes » ( Randnotizen ), 22 that is, as alternative de nitions that Aristotle intended to evaluate at a later date. Such an explanation is, in my opinion, far from convincing. The two pairs of lemmas in fact form a chiasmus in which S1 is almost identical to A2, while S2 and A1 differ completely. A structure such as this appears very well balanced, and any attempt to amend it would lessen this equilibrium. The extreme similarity between (S1) and (A2) is doubtlessly enigmatic and becomes even more so in light of the opposing functions that Aristotle assigns to r ύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m when he deals

17 Barnes is the most exhaustive and convincing on this point; see Barnes (2007), pp. 168263; see also Barnes (1996), quoted below. 18 As is well known, the problem was raised mainly by Gudeman and Gallavotti, and it will be discussed later. 19 As far as I know, a similar notation is used for the rst time in van Bennekom (1975) and was used again by Dupont-Roc and Lallot (1980), Schramm (2005), as well as in this paper. 20 « Sicher ist hier nur, da ß A. unm ö glich seinen Zuh ö rern je zwei De nitionen des r ύmderl o 1 und qhqo m zur beliebigen Auswahl zur Verf ü gung gestellt hatte. Es ist mir wenigstens trotz der unzuz ähligen qo i in dem aristotelischen Corpus nicht gelungen, auch nur ein einziges paralleles Beispiel zu entdecken» Gudeman 1934, p. 340). The problem is later greatly ampli ed in Gallavotti (1954), who, in order to avoid it, proposed as we shall seean imaginative rewriting of S2 and an interpretation that reduces and tends to merge r ύmderl o1 and qhqo m . 21 Thus van Bennekom (1975), p. 402. 22 Such a case, doubtfully put forward by Gudeman ( «Ersatzde nitionen an dem Rand geschrie- ben » 1934, p. 340), is much more vigorously reproposed in van Bennekom (1975), pp. 4012; see, in this regard, Schramm (2005), pp. 1923, which uses the expression quoted above.


1 The Problem

with biology and then reiterates when dealing with metaphysics and linguistics. 23 Indeed, this is something that cannot be ignored or simply hidden under a ood of amendments. Most publishers prefer to believe in a random repetition and do not hesitate to eliminate one of the two similar de nitions, usually A2. 24 Repetition is avoided even in the Arabic version of the Poetics , but it eliminates S1, not A2. We shall soon examine the problems that arise in the comparison of S1 and S2, which may have determined the choice of the Arabic copyist. But, as Gutas shows clearly, elsewhere Gudeman allows himself a great deal of license, for example with regard to the de nition of syllable, which I have already discussed elsewhere. 25 The structure of the two de nitions also allows us to understand the reasons for something that many claim, but no one explains that S2 and A1 are the real de nitions of rύ mderlo 1 and qhq o m , or at least those which best explain their role. 26 Now, since S2 and A1 correspond in the chiasmus of the two de nitions, just as S1 and A2 correspond, in fact they are identical, except for two minute details ( rtms ί herhai in S1, s ί herhai in A2, in addition to the elimination of the nal part of S1 in A2) one can understand not only that S2 and A1 are very important, but also why. The text is in fact constructed in this way on purpose to make them stand out. This of course does not mean that we are free to make S1 and A2 disappear as we like. Indeed, the fact that S1 and A2 are so similar is something that must be explained and cannot be passed over in silence. But to this day, there have been no convincing explanations of this fact. But let us return to our de nitions and to their chiastic structure. We can cer- tainly rule out the idea that scandalized Gudeman so greatly, that is, that the two lemmas represent alternative de nitions of the same object. Even the watered-down version of the paradox, which presents them as footnotes that Aristotle meant to evaluate and select later, is not convincing. First, it exaggerates the alleged « sketchy state » of the Poetics as we know it today. It should also be recalled that S1 and A2 are not identical, but almost identical to each other: indeed, this reinforces their

23 In the de nitions of one and being given by Aristotle in Book D of Metaphysics, a distinction

is clearly made between what is (or is unitary) by itself and what is (or is unitary) thanks to a

connector (derl , rtmd έrl ). See Met. D 6, 7, 1015 b 16- 1017 b 9, especially 1015 b 36-1016

a 10. At the same time, in Poet . xx, 1457 a 28-30, De int. 5, 17 a 9, as well as in numerous

passages of Metaphysics , Aristotle recognizes two types of kό c o1 : one which manifests the unit (m d ηk m ), which is thus unitary by itself, and one which is unitary thanks to a connector (rtmd έrl e1 ). 24 Thus, for example, Ildefonse (1997), who in almost all his reasoning follows Dupont-Roc and Lallot, who for their part remain scrupulously faithful to the original text and numerous others. Even Gudeman (1934, p. 340) would have gone in this direction, but he did not consider the passage amendable. Choosing to put his faith in the Arabic version, Barnes however expunges S2 and concludes: « It is not difcult to see that there has been some textual interference between the two successive notes, and that a part of the note on articulators has been wrongly anticipated in the note on connectors. In that case, the note on connectors must be severely prunedand the wild incoherence disappears » (2007, p. 176). 25 See Laspia (2013), especially pp. 109110 as regards the Arabic edition.

26 See, for example, Dupont-Roc and Lallot (1980), p. 327, Schramm (2005), pp. 195, 201.


The De nition of qhq o m in Aristole s Poetics : An Unsolvable Dilemma?


signi cance from a philological point of view. 27 S2 and A1 however are completely different, thereby indicating, in all likelihood, the two most meaningful functions assigned to r ύ mderl o 1 and to qhq o m . But this still does not explain why there is a dual de nition (or to be more precise a chiastic structure, in which S1 corresponds to A2, and S2 to A1). So far, two explanations have been proposed: the rst (and most widely adopted) is that the two lemmas of each de nition identify different classes of grammatical referents (conjunctive particles, coordinatives, expletives, or similar words). In order to explain not only the dual de nition but also the much more complex chiastic structure of the passage, I hypothesize however that Aristotle desires here to establish a hierarchy of strength between the referents of the two lemmas. S1 refers to weak rύ mderl o i , S2 to stronger rύ mderl o i ; and inversely A1 refers to strong qhqa , A2 to weaker qhqa . In fact, a passage of the Problemata would seem to prove the existence of such a hierarchy, at least for r ύ mderl o i. 28 According to Pagliaro and Schramm, the two lemmas of each de nition refer to the same things, but seen from a different point of view and/or in a different context. It must be said that only S1 and A2 de ne their object according to its position; for the de nitions of S1 and A2, position must therefore have a certain importance. But to base one s ideas on such a premise, and then claim that qhq o m indicates only the article or pronoun ( « larticolo-pronome » , Pagliaro), or at least the article (Schramm), does not seem to make sense. The article in fact is not so easy to place « at the ends or in the middle » of a kό c o 1 as both S1 and A2 require; nor does it indicate its purpose, or its end ( s έk o 1 ), as required by A1, because a k ό c o 1 that ends with an article has never been seen. As we can see from these initial observations, the problem we are dealing with is extremely complex. It is thus useless or, at best, premature to try to establish the referents identi ed by S1 and S2, A1 and A2, unless rst we clearly show the functions performed respectively by r ύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m and provide a con- vincing explanation of the entire peculiar structure. It is also necessary to determine the assumptions on which the linguistic study of the twentieth chapter of the Poetics is based. Faced with the most recent contributions on the subject, one cannot help but note a curious fact. The majority of scholars begin with a virtuous declaration of intent, in which they state that the twentieth chapter of the Poetics should not be identi ed with a classi cation of parts of speech and that its results do not coincide with the classications of the subsequent phase of grammatical tradition. We would expect, therefore, the alternative assumptions of Aristotle to be clari ed rst:

instead, each scholar seems interested only in establishing from the outset what the

27 This has been correctly pointed out, as we shall see, both by Rosé n (1990) and by Schramm (2005), whatever the interpretations then chosen by the two authors may be. 28 Probl. XIX 20, 919 a 23-6: K ahά peq j s m kό cxm mί xm naiqeh έmsxm rtmd έrlxm oj rsim k ό co 1 kk η mij ό1 , o om s ό se ja sja ί , mio i doh m ktp orim disso 1 l m macja om emai vq rhai po kk ά ji1, () s o1 d l ή.


1 The Problem

grammatical referents of rύ mderl o 1 and qhqo m 29 are. Thus begins a relentless hunt for the possible referents, which eventually leads to the most diverse results, including the irenic idea of accepting all the proposed solutions, 30 or nearly all. 31 But if twentieth chapter of the Poetics does not have the function of classifying parts of speech, it makes no sense to look for referents before functions have been identi ed. Moreover, by doing so, any coincidence of the referents of pairs of de nitions (not only of rύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m ) becomes unexplainable. Yet the coincidence of the grammatical referents of rs o ive o m and rtkkab ή , 32 rύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m (S1 and A2), m o la and ῥῆ la found in Poetics and De interpretatione , 33 m o la and k ό c o 1 in the same Poetics (and not only), 34 is not the exception in Aristotle but the rule.

29 Especially Swiggers and Wouters (2002), pp. 1112: «Although we have already pointed out that this merology is not one of the parts of speech (or word classes as grammatical-semantic typization ), the fact remains that we should ask ourselves in what way the lέ qη s1 k έnex 1 correlate with (various) word-classes (or subgroups of word-classes) » . The same concept is reit- erated with greater force in Rosé n (1990), p. 112: He claims that l έq η s1 k έnex 1 cannot be read and translated as parts of speech , with reference to grammatical word classes, because kέ ni1 does not mean speech (as language ), but vocal utterance . « Man muss jedoch vorerst den Begriff der Redeteile n äher ins Auge fassen; er geht auf l έqη s1 k έnex1 zur ück, k έni 1 bedeutet aber bei Aristoteles nicht Rede , sondern sprachlicher Ausdruck , und so haben wir es bei der Aufz ählung dieser konstitutiven Komponenten, lέ qη , gar nichts mit grammatischen Wortklassen zu tun ». 30 This seems to be what Swiggers and Wouters (2002) do, admitting as examples of qhq om both the preposition and the article, and they leave the list of referents open. 31 Of all the solutions, the authors discard in fact only my own and that of von Fragstein, according to which qhq o m is (or, for me, is also) the copula ; but not without reason. The idea of von Fragstein is in fact only postulated on the basis of De interpretatione 16 b 19-25 and nds no foothold in the text of the Poetics , while my idea of 1997 is erroneous in the explanation of the rst example of qhq o m. Also Barnes 1996 is forced to admit that to be cannot be considered a verb, but he erroneously thinks that the copula, as a ligament, can be considered a connector (r ύmderl o 1). We shall see why this conclusion is far from convincing. 32 For this aspect, and more generally for the entire phonetic section of the twentieth chapter of the Poetics , see Laspia (2001), (2008), (2010) and especially 2013: the vowel, pronounced in the metric unit which is the basis for the length of a syllable, is in fact both rs oive o m and rtkkab ή . 33 The adjective ketj ό1 is in fact de ned as m o la in the Poetics (1457 a 16) and ῥῆ la in De interpretatione (20 b 42-43), not without reasons. In the Poetics, which deals with k έni1 i.e., é nonciation , vocal utterance (é nounciation , sprachliche Ausdruck ), ketj ό1 is de ned as mo la because, in Greek, adjective are declined as nouns. In De interpretatione , which deals with kό c o 1, i.e., proposition , ketj ό1 is de ned as ῥῆ la because, from a logical-syntactical point of view, it acts as a predicate in the proposition (kό c o1 ). I thank my friend and collegue Luisa Brucale for helping me to re ect on this point. 34 For this, and more generally, for the theory of kό c o1 m olas ώ d η1 in Posterior Analytics (93 b 31), see Barnes (1994), pp. 222223, and references therein; see also Laspia (2018). But above all, see Scarpat (1950), p. 36, footnote 10, also useful for quotes of Philoponus on the Second Analytics.


The De nition of qhq o m in Aristole s Poetics : An Unsolvable Dilemma?


Ultimately, the assumption that the twentieth chapter of the Poetics represents the rst Western classi cation of the parts of speech 35 has the effect of transforming the text into an incomprehensible puzzle. It would therefore be appropriate to abstain from attributing classifying intentions to Aristotle 36 and ask instead what he intended to accomplish in twentieth chapter of the Poetics. 37 Now that we have taken care of the many problems that arise from the general structure of rύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m , we can now consider each of the two terms taken separately. As mentioned, rύ mderl o 1 poses far less problems than qhq o m , but it is not immune from them. The rst de nition of rύ mderl o 1 does seem to be contradicted by the second. The rst says that r ύ mderl o 1 « neither prevents nor produces » the formation of a single signi cant voice from multiple voices; the second says that it is by its nature capable of producing such a unication. 38 Perhaps for this reason, the Arabic translator of the Syriac version of the Poetics , or his source, chose to expunge S1 and not A2, of the two repetitions. The examples, moreover, are not equally distributed and are found only in a median position between the two terms: i.e., as a partial illustration of S1, but not S2, and of A1, but not A2. A convincing explanation is missing, especially since the nature of the examples is truly cryptic, especially as regards qhq o m . But also for rύ mderlo 1 the examples are not the ones we would expect. The conjunction ja ί , or se , for example, is not mentioned, 39 and S2 (like A2) is completely devoid of examples. It is possible, however, that Aristotle did not provide examples that he thought should

35 This assumption is shared by many interpreters; see, for example, Gudeman « Diese in apho- ristisch hingeworfen Sä tzen gegebene Er ö rterung der lέ qη kέnex 1 ist die beim weiteren die älteste, die uns enthalten ist » (1934, p. 336). Morpurgo-Tagliabue also describes it as « the rst linguistic summary of the West» (1967, p. 14), and many other examples can be given. 36 As Steinthal does, for example, at the very beginning of his discussion of Aristotle in Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft Griechen und bei den Rö mern,where he states that Aristotle deals not with how things actually are, but only with their analytical constituents: « Noch nicht: wie die Dinge werden, sondern nur: aus welchen Teilen sie bestehen, ist die Aufgabe, die sich Aristoteles stellt. Er analysirt, abstrahirt, classi cirt» (1890, p. 183). It is common opinion that Aristotle is the father of modern treatises, and with this, of specialized science; see, for example, Vegetti (1987), (1992), Vegetti, Ademollo (2016), pp. 31 45. Contra, Lloyd (1968), It. edition 1985, pp. 1025, Laspia (1997), pp. 7983, 126133. 37 So rightly does Pagliaro 1956, as do I (1997, pp. 79-83), though we reach very different conclusions. 38 This is particularly evidenced by Gallavotti, see 1954, pp. 2425, 1975, pp. 3 7. 39 And in fact Gallavotti (1954), p. 247, proceeds without delay to integrate jaί , attributing to r ύmderl o1 the examples of qhqo m , retranscribing them as he sees t (o όm φη li sja ί , sὸ ὅ peq ja sὰ ἄkka ), and considering qhq om as a simple non-technical synonym of r ύmderl o1 (pp. 43 4).


1 The Problem

be taken for granted, 40 especially if his intention was not to provide a classication of the parts of speech. There really is no reason, after all, why the examples and de nitions of Aristotle should coincide with those of the subsequent phase of grammatical tradition. 41 We come now to the in nite problems concerning the de nition of qhq o m , beginning with its very existence. 42 Outside of the twentieth chapter of the Poetics , Aristotle never mentions qhq o m as a grammatical term. 43 In the list that introduces the chapter and which precedes the de nition, qhq o m is not mentioned after rύ mderl o 1 , but between ῥῆ la and ps ri 1 . 44 Dionysius of Halicarnassus 45 later afrmed, then followed by Quintilian, 46 that Aristotle identi ed only three parts of speech, m ό lasa , ή lasa , and r ύ mderl o i, and that the Stoics should be credited with having « rst distinguished the qhqa from the rύ mderlo i » . 47 The term qhq o m , however, occurs already in the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum , 48 which, though it was certainly not written by Aristotle himself, belongs nevertheless to the

40 The conjunction ja ί is in fact an example of r ύmderl o1 in Rhet. C 5, 1407 a 26-7, with l έm , dέ , pe ί , cά q , and is again mentioned in 1407 b 39-1408 a 1. The aforementioned Problemata C 20, 919 a 23-26 also alludes to ja ί and se and to their difference from the r ύmderl o i that can be freely omitted without weakening the discourse. On the authenticity of some of the Aristotelian Problemata , especially those related to acoustics and music, see Marenghi (1962), (1981), p. 166; Flashar (1991), p. 503; see also the preface by Centrone in Centrone 2011. The common Aristotelian practice of making a collage of quotations from his own works, referring simulta- neously to all of them, is enough, I think, to explain the absence of examples in S2, since we nd them in Rhet. C and in the Problemata. On this topic, see Fazzo (2004), Rashed (2007), Giuffrida (2014), pp. 19 79, especially pp. 38 39. The absence of examples in A2 is due, I believe, to the coincidence of the referents of S1 and A2. 41 This point is insisted upon by all the interpreters who refuse to identify the Aristotelian qhq om with the article: in particular, Gudeman, Dupont-Roc and Lallot, Barnes, and me. 42 Barnes observes: «Aristotelian articulators are odd birds; the Greek grammarians do not accept them as a part of sayingindeed Greek grammarians never mention them» (2007, p. 176). 43 This is noticed by all interpreters, whether they expunge qhqo m [as does, i.e., Rostagni (1945), pp. 119120, Morpurgo-Tagliabue (1967), pp. 43], or whether they keep it, like Schramm (2005). 44 Attempts to normalize the position of qhq o m in the initial list, placing it after r ύmderl o 1 (in the event it has not been expunged), are practically innumerable. Emblematic is the (bad) example of Steinthal (1890); such an intention can even be found in critical editions [see Hardy (1961), p. 58]. Nevertheless, the different location of qhqo m in the initial list is a sort of lectio difcilior :

indeed no one, except Aristotle, would have chosen to put it where it is; see, on this subject, Lucas (1968), p. 199200, Halliwell (1987), pp. 15557. 45 De comp. verb. 2, 8, 1; the passages are listed in full in Schramm (2005), pp. 18990, notes 4, 5, and 6. 46 Inst. I, 4, 18. 47 De comp. verb. 2, 7, 2 (= Dem 48, 232, 20 ff). 48 Rhet. Alex. 25, 1435 a 34-b 14: Pq or έve so 1 jako tlέm o i1 qhq oi 1 px 1 m s d έo msi pq o rsihsai (). Td pq o rέ veim s o1 qhq oi 1 px 1 m s d έo msi pqo rsih sai psmde qa o so 1 ὁ ἄmhqxp o 1 s os om sm mhqxp o m dije . Nm lm < c q > ccem όlema sὰ ἄ qhqa ra φ p oie s m kέ nim, naiqeh έmsa d ὲ ἀ ra φ p oi ή rei .


The De nition of qhq o m in Aristole s Poetics : An Unsolvable Dilemma?


peripatetic environment and is presumed to be almost contemporary to Rhetoric 49 . If this is so, the use of qhq o m in a linguistic context is not an innovation of the Stoics: the testimony provided by Dionysius of Halicarnassus is therefore incorrect. What is more likely is that Dionysius, or the source from which he draws, did not know the Poetics. Such a hypothesis is far from absurd, given the scant dissemi- nation of this work in that period. 50 Another possibility is that Dionysius of Halicarnassus is referring to other works of Aristotle, and in particular to Rhetoric , where m ό lasa , ήlasa , and r ύ mderl o i are discussed. 51 But it is not important here to determine the cause of the incorrectness; what is important is to emphasize the falsity of the afrmations of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Quintilian. Since in fact the term is used in the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum , coeval with the Rhetoric of Aristotle, it is therefore not an invention of the Stoics. Also, if there is evidence that implicitly rules out the use of qhq o m by Aristotle and his school, there is also evidence that explicitly con rms it, and it is not clear why this should be worth less than the other. Simplicius, in fact, testi es that Theophrastus wondered if r ύ mderl o i and qhqa were to be considered part of the k ό c o 1 or k έni 1 . 52 As for the use of the term in Rhetorica ad Alexandrum, from which many interpreters deduced that qhq o m in the twentieth chapter of the Poetics can only

49 On all these issues which here are marginal see Pierre Chiron s excellent edition of the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum recently published by Belles Lettres (2002, p. VIIICLXXVII); see, in particular, pp. XLCVII for the problems of dating and attribution of the work. 50 See Lucas (1968), pp. xxii xxiv; on this Barnes notes: « In the De Interpretatione A. uses the term r ύmderl o1 , it offers no analysis or explanation. For that we must go to the Poetics , which the source of Dionysios and Quintilianus either did not know or else chose to ignore » (2007, p. 175). 51 See Chiron 2002, p. LIV LVI . 52 Simplicius, In Arist. Cat. (Kalb eisch 10, 24): jah lm c q k έnei 1, kka 1 vo tri pqaclase ί a1 , 1 m speq sm so kό c ot rs oive ί xm se Heόφqars o 1 majimeja o peqasm cecqaφό se1 , o o m p ό seq om m ola ja ὶ ῥῆ la so k όc o t rs oive a, ja ὶ ἄ qhqa ja r ύmderl oi ja ὶ ἄ kka sim ά, kέ nex1 d ja sa sa l έqη , kό c ot d ὲ ὄ m ola ja ὶ ῥῆ la . On the passage, see Vahlen (1914), p. 117, Pagliaro (1956), p. 86 note 8, Laspia (1997), p. 117. This is an important document, not only because it solidly attests the presence of qhqo m in the peripatetic environment, already attested in Rhetorica ad Alexandrum, but also because it settles the vexed question of the discrepancy between the lέ qη s 1 k έnex 1 in the Poetics and the exclusive mention of m o la and ῥῆ la in De interpretatione and in Rhet. C 2, 1404 b 26-7 (msxm d m o lά sxm ja ὶ ῥη lά sxm n m k ό co 1 rtm έrs η jem ).


1 The Problem

designate (Pagliaro) or must also designate (Schramm) the article, 53 it should rst be noted that the author of the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum never uses qhq o m to indicate the article by itself, but the article in a hinge position between adjective and noun (o s o 1 ὁ ἄ mhqxp o 1 ). 54 Moreover, he does not seem to attribute a unique referent to the term, which contradicts at least the interpretation of Pagliaro, according to which qhq o m is only the article/pronoun. Moreover, it is not certain that the author of Rhetorica ad Alexandrum uses the term in the same sense of Aristotle. 55 It should also be noted, in regard to s jak o ύ lema qhqa ( the so-called qhqa ), that in the peripatetic sense the adjective jak o ύ lem o 1 indicated that qhq o m is a newly coined term and that there is no univocal identi cation of its referents. 56 This would be perfectly justied if we recognize Aristotle as the original inventor of the term, or at least the rst who uses the term with this new meaning. Let us now proceed to the problem of the discrepancy between the position of qhq o m in the introductory list and in subsequent de nitions. In the preliminary list rύ mderl o 1 , φ xm ὴ ἄ rη l o 1 , is placed exactly where we expect it, namely imme- diately after rtkkab ή. Then come m o la and ῥῆ la , and only then do we nd qhq o m , which in turn precedes ps ri 1 . In the series of de nitions within the chapter, r ύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m are treated one after the other and the two de - nitions are strictly interwoven. For this reason, some doubt the authenticity of the de nition of qhq o m , 57 while others have wanted to correct its position in the initial list. 58

53 Barnes however notes: « articles (i.e., as translation for articulators , qhqa) is wildly mis- leading and, as I have already said, Aristotle s use of qhq o m has nothing to do with the use of the word in later grammatical texts » (2007, p. 224). Of the same opinion is Davis (1992), p. 105, who renders qhqo m with joint but, accepting Hartung s conjecture, believes that Aristotle here alludes only to prepositions, or little grammatical tools (« petits outils grammaticaux » ) of which Wartelle (1985), p. 29 speaks. The position of Valgimigli is very interesting: in his rst edition of the Poetics (1916) he rendered qhq om with articolazione on the basis of Margoliouth (1911) and the Arabic version, and rightly intended it to be opposed to rύmderl o 1 (pp. 823, note 4). In subsequent editions (1934, 1946), he will however trust the authority of Rostagni (1927), quoted in the preface to the second edition (1934, p. xiii) and unfortunately will decide to expunge the reference to qhqo m . 54 See Laspia (1997), pp. 119 120; contra, Melazzo (2002), p. 151. 55 It is important to clarify that the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum is not an authentic work of Aristotle. There no longer seems to be any doubt of this; see Chiron (2002), pp. LIIILXVI . 56 See Lanza (1972), Laspia (1997), p. 119. 57 Thus, for example, Steinthal (1890), p. 264; and many others. 58 This would thus con rm the axiom of Castelvetro, according to which the order of the de nitions of the twentieth chapter of the Poetics should be from asemantic and indivisible to semantic and divisible (« non signi cativo e non divisibile, al signi cativo e divisibile » ); see Morpurgo-Tagliabue (1968), pp. 2942, especially p. 33, which embraces this view. It seems to be shared by Belardi, too, who titled his often republished essay Il semplice e il complesso nella teoresi aristotelica della forma linguistica (see 1985, pp. 99120), where he underlines the logical character of Aristotelican point of view (« il carattere logicizzante del punto di vista aristotelico » , p. 99).


The De nition of qhq o m in Aristole s Poetics : An Unsolvable Dilemma?


Some scholars have interpreted the difference between the order of the list and the order of the subsequent de nitions as a clear indication of corruption of the text. I really do not understand why. When the text of the Poetics contains surprising statements that are factors of apparent inconsistency, or a lectio difcilior , as in the case of rtmes ή instead of rtmhes ή in the de nition of rs o ive o m , or even dif- cillima , as are the de nitions of rtkkab ή , 59 rύ mderl o 1 , and qhq o m , or seem- ingly incongruous examples such as those we nd in the de nitions of rtkkab ή , qhq o m , and k ό c o 1 , it is precisely in these places that we should use extreme caution in our interpretation and wonder if the difculty does not arise from our lack of understanding. If Aristotle chose to mention qhq o m between ῥῆ la and ps ri 1 , perhaps he did not do so haphazardly. 60 The qhq o m seemed perhaps, in some way, similar to ῥῆ la (and to ps ri 1 ). And if r ύ mderl o 1 and qhq o m come before and after m o la and ῥῆ la, almost like an embrace, could it not be that they are opposing factors that are coordinated in the project of building a meaningful k ό c o 1 ? But the biggest problem is undoubtedly represented by the examples of qhq o m in the context of A1 (Illustration 1.1 ). These examples are indeed strange and appear in dotted handwriting with a sort of dash above each letter. In the rst

example, we read φ . l . i., in the second p . e . q . i

In the latter, the preposition peq ί

seems clearly recognizable, even if this appears incongruous with the subsequent grammatical tradition. The Stoics in fact called prepositions pq o hesij o rύ mderl o i , and in Rhetorica ad Alexandrum qhq o m seems likely to refer to the article, in a hinge position between adjective and noun. In the Aldina edition of the Poetics, to which the older editions and even some recent interpretations con- form, φ. l .i. was interpreted as φη l ί , which, however, seems truly incongruous as an example of qhq o m ; in fact the many interpreters who opt for this conjecture read φη l ί not as an example, ( qhq o m I say in the sense of by qhq o m I mean ),

59 On Aristotle s de nition of rtkkab ή, see Laspia 2001, 2008, 2013. I hope to return to this subject. 60 Even for Pagliaro (1956), pp. 103