Thrasymachus


pg. 209 Thrasymachus is pure, subtle and inventive, and able, according as he wishes, to speak either with terseness or with an abundance of words. - Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On Isaeus 20 = A13

pg. 211 I would have prefered, men of Athens, to have shared in the political life of olden times, when it was proper for young men to keep quiet, since the political situation made their participation in debate unnecessary, and their elders managed the affairs of state correctly. But since fortune has assigned us to an age in which we witness ..., while we ourselves suffer the consequences (for the worst of these are not the work of gods or of chance, but of human agents), I am compelled to speak. For that man is either quite devoid of wit or greatly forbearing who will permit himself to be continually exploited by anyone who wishes to, and will himself take the blame for the treachery and cowardice of others. 'We have had enough of the immediate past and the change from peace to the dangers of war; in the times we are in, we hanker after the day that is gone and live in dread of the day that is to come. Enough also of the change from concord (harmonia) to mutual hostility and turbulence. In the case of others, it is excess of good fortune that makes them arrogant and seditious; we, on the other hand, in good times practiced moderation, but have gone mad when faced with misfortunes, which normally have a sobering effect upon others. What, then, is a man to think or to say who is on the one hand burdened with grief over the present state of affairs, and at the same time feels that he has some proposals for preventing its continuance into the future? The first thing that I would point out is that those politicians and others who are currently squabbling with one another have arrived at a paradoxical situation, such as is inevitable for those who indulge in witless wrangling; for while they imagine that they are expressing opposing views, they do not perceive that they are carrying out the same policies, and that their opponents' speeches contain the same arguments as their own. For consider, for a start, what either side is seeking after. The first object of contention is the ancestral constitution, though it is very easy to understand and most commonly accessible to all our citizens. For events which are beyond our personal knowledge we must rely on accounts provided by earlier generations, but as for events which were actually witnessed by our elders, we must learn of these from those who know. - Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On the Style of Demosthenes 3

pg. 216 Thrasymachus, taught this, that one must rouse the juror to sympathy, and drag in pity, old age, poverty, wailing children and so on. He used the term 'might man', either with reference to the power of his oratory,or indeed because of one of his speeches he wrote something to the effect that 'The gods do not direct their gaze to human affairs; for in that case they would not have overlooked the greatest of goods for men, justice. For we see that men make no use of it. - Hermeias, Commentary on Plato's Phaedrus

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