chapter  5
42 Pages

Textual Authority

Once Philodemus has dispensed with the arguments for and against the proposition that sophistic rhetoric is an art he is free to illustrate his thesis by citation from the works of the Founders of the School. These quotations and references form an essential service in that they validate the thesis in a way that no amount of argumentation can. As the most unimpeachable author­ ity, Epicurus’ evidence is led first. This is followed by citations from Hermarchus and Metrodorus.1 It is difficult to ascertain whether there is any significance in this order vis-à-vis the relative authority of the last two or the suitability of their testimonies for Philodemus’ purpose. By far the simplest explanation would be that Philodemus follows the same order for the cita­ tions as the source from which he is working (see below).2