Saturday, October 10, 2015

Figures of Rhetoric and Syntax

This list of Latin and Greek rhetorical devices was born slowly and out of frustration with existing reference materials, which failed students insofar as they variously:
  1. Were incomplete, leaving out significant figures.
  2. Did not cite examples in Latin.
  3. Did not give the references for the examples.
  4. Provided no explanation.
  5. Gave confusing explanations.
  6. Had contradictory entries.
  7. Did not give alternative names and Greek names.
While there are many books and websites of great use and which have served me well, it is my hope that this list somehow rectifies these common errors and makes useful improvements. I add a few caveats.
  1. It is not exhastive, and there are some figures known to me for which I cannot presently offer any good Latin examples. 
  2. Some of the definitions are textbook, others I adapted for clarity, and others I took the liberty of writing myself.
  3. Some examples are common or famous, the classica exempla of the figure, others more obscure.
  4. I have refrained from explanation where I thought the defninition, example, or annotation (boldfacing, italicizing, et cetera) sufficient.
  5. For authors with only one work to their name or only one extant work, such as Valerius Flaccus and Lucan, the works are not listed in the entries.
  6. I have risked cluttering the page refrained from abbreviations for the benefit of those less familiar or unfamiliar with the authors of the Latin canon.
Finally, regarding both the selections and definitions, I make no pretensions of originality. I reiterate what Cicero said of his philosophy, verba tantum adfero, I only supply the words, (Epistulares Ad Atticum, 12.52) and while I have not so copius a supply as he, I hope this list is of some use.

Accumulatio: Latin, “heaping, piling up,” in Gk. ἀνακεφαλαιωσις, “summary of an argument,” also Latin Recapitulatio, “restatement of points, summing up,” and Enumeratio, “listing,” the return to points made previously, this time in a compact, forceful manner. It is often used with climax to present the summation of a speech.

Suae pudicitiae proditor est, insidiator alienae; cupidus intemperans, petulans superbus; impius in parentes, ingratus in amicos, infestus cognatis; in superiores contumax, in aequos et pares fastidiosus, in inferiores crudelis; denique in omnes intolerabilis. (Pseudo Cicero. De ratione dicendi ad C. Herennium 4.52)
Adunaton: Gk. ἀδύνατον, “impossible,” extreme hyperbole to suggest an impossibility. It is especially common of lovers’ oaths.

cum Paris Oenone poterit spirare relicta,
  ad fontem Xanthi versa recurret aqua.
(Ovid. Heroides. 5. 29f)
When Paris will breathe with Oeneone abandoned, / turned to the source, the waters of the Scamander will return.
From the choral ode in Euripides' Medea: ἄνω ποταμῶν ἱερῶν χωροῦσι παγαί (410)

Allegory:  Gk. ἀλληγορία, “veiled language, figurative,” an extended metaphor in which abstract ideas figure as circumstances or persons.

The personification of rumor in Vergil. Aeneid. 4.173-197.
Alliteration: Latin, littera, “letter,” the repetition of the same sound beginning several words in sequence.

Viri validis cum viribus luctant. (Ennius. Annales. 307)
timidae tellus tutissima matri (Statius. Achilleis. 1.211)
Anacoluthon: Gk. ἀνακόλουθον, “not following,” a lack of grammatical sequence; a change in the grammatical construction within the same sentence.

Si, ut dicunt, omnes Graios esse. (Cicero. De Re Publica. 1.58)
Here, the si expects a parallel omnes graii sunt, but instead we have an indirect statement dependent on dicunt

Anadiplosis: Gk. ἀναδίπλωσις, "doubling back," the repetition of a word that ends one clause at the beginning of the next.

Senatus haec intellegit, consul videt; hic tamen vivit. Vivit? (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.2)
Anaphora: Gk. ἀναφορά, “carrying back” the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses or lines.

Nihil agis, nihil moliris, nihil cogitas, quod non ego non modo audiam, sed etiam videam planeque sentiam. (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.8)
da nomina rebus, da loca; da vocem qua mecum fata loquantur. (Lucan. 6.773-4) 
nec, quid Hymen, quid Amor, quid sint conubia curat. (Ovid. Metamorphoses. 1.480)
Anastrophe: Gk. ἀναστροφή, “a turning up,” the transposition of normal word order; most often found in Latin in the case of prepositions and the words they control. Anastrophe is a form of Hyperbaton.

errabant acti fatis maria omnia circum.  (Vergil. Aeneid. 1.32) 
cur ulla puer iam tempora ducit te sine? (Statius. Achilleis. 1.129)
Antimetabole: Gk. ἀντιμεταβολή: from ἀντί, "against, opposite" and μεταβολή, "turning about, change, "the repetition of words in successive clauses in changed order.

Miser ex potente fiat ex misero potens. (Seneca. Thyestes. 1.35)
Antistrophe: Gk. ἀντιστροφή, “a turning back,” the repetition of the same word or phrase at the end of successive clauses. Also called Epiphora, Gk. επιφορά and Epistrophe, Gk. ἐπιστροφή.

Laelius homo novus erat, ingeniosus erat, doctus erat. (Pseudo Cicero. De ratione dicendi ad C. Herennium 4.19)
Click "Read More" below for the rest of the list.
Antithesis: Gk. ἀντίθεσις, “positioned against”, the opposition or contrast of ideas or words in a balanced or parallel construction.

tristis felicibus umbris voltus erat. (Lucan. 6.784-5)
Odi et amo. (Catullus 85.1)
Antonomasia: Gk. ἀντονομάζειν, “to name differently,” the substitution of epithets for a proper name.

Delius for Apollo (Ovid. Metamorphoses. 1.454)
Hennaea for Proserpina (Lucan. 6.740)
Tirythius for Hercules (Valerius Flaccus. 1.107)
Aparithmesis: Gk. ἀπᾰριθμησις, “counting over, inventory,” enumeration of items for emphasis or clarity. Below, Cicero enumerates Verres’ crimes.

[1] Innumerabiles pecuniae ex aratorum bonis novo nefarioque instituto coactae; [2] socii fidelissimi in hostium numero existimati; [3] cives Romani servilem in modum cruciati et necati; [4] homines nocentissimi propter pecunias iudicio liberati; [5] honestissimi atque integerrimi, absentes rei facti, indicta causa damnati et eiecti; [6] portus munitissimi, maximae tutissimaeque urbes piratis praedonibusque patefactae; [7] nautae militesque Siculorum, socii nostri atque amici, fame necati; [8] classes optimae atque opportunissimae, cum magna ignominia populi Romani, amissae et perditae. (Cicero Ver. 1.5)
 The above list is numbered to reflect the quantity of charges.

Aporia: Gk. ἀπορία, “difficulty, lack, impasse,” an expression of doubt (often feigned) by which a speaker appears uncertain as to what he should think, say, or do.

Heu, quid agat? (Valerius Flaccus. 1.71)
Aposiopesis: Gk. ἀποσιώπησις, “becoming silent,” also known as Reticentia, Latin, reticere, “keep silent,” a form of ellipse by which a speaker comes to an abrupt halt, seemingly overcome by passion, fear, excitement, modesty, et cetera.

illum ego––tu tantum hoc caput accipias. . . (Valerius Flaccus. 1.203) 
nunc quoque––sed tardum, iam plena iniuria raptae. (Statius. Achilleis. 1.47)
Apostrophe: Gk. ἀποστροφή, “turning away,” a sudden turn from the general audience to address a specific group, person, ορ personified abstraction, either absent or present.

tu sola animos mentemque peruris, Gloria. . . (Valerius Flaccus. 1.76f)
Here the poet shifts from recounting the deeds of Jason to address glory, personified, drawing attention to it as Jason’s motive.

Archaism: Gk. ἀρχή, “beginning,” the use of an older or obsolete form of a word. Below, induperatorem is an old form of imperator. 

qualis tunc epulas ipsum gluttisse putamus induperatorem. (Juvenal. Satire. 4.28-9)
Assonance: Latin assonare, “to sound together,” the repetition of the same sound in words close to each other.

O fortunatam natam me consule Romam. (Cicero. Fragment quoted in Quintilian. Institutiones. 9.41)

Asyndeton: Gk. ἀσύνδετον, “unconnected,” the lack of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, or words.

Veni, vidi, vici. (Julius Caesar, quoted in various sources)
Brachylogy: Gk. βραχυλογία, “short speech,” a general term for abbreviated or condensed expression, of which Asyndeton and Zeugma are types. Ellipse is often used synonymously.
Aeolus haec contra. (Vergil. Aeneid. 1.76)
Non Cinnae, non Sullae longa dominatio. (Tacitus. Annales. I.1)
Missing from Vergil is a form of “said” and from Tacitus “were.” Verbs of saying and the linking verb are the most commonly omitted.

Cacophony: Gk. κακός, “bad” and φωνή “sound,” the inherent unpleasantness or harshness of sounds.

O Tite tute Tati tibi tanta tyranne tulisti! (Ennius. Annales. fr. 109)
tam taetram, tam horribilem tamque infestam (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.11)
Catachresis: Gk. κατάχρησις, “excessive use, misuse,” in Latin Abusio, “improper use of a word,” a metaphor involving the use of a word beyond its strict sphere.

Cynthia prima suis miserum me cepit ocellis. (Propertius 1.1.1)
Here, cepit, “capture,” is used with the meaning of “captivate.”

Chiasmus: Gk. χίασμα, “crossing,” two corresponding pairs arranged in the order order ABBA, as the shape of the Greek letter chi (X), in which the A words are of one type and B another, for example, nouns interlocked with adjectives, subjects interlocked with objects, et cetera. 

quibus amissis et pacis ornamenta et subsidia belli requiretis (Cicero. de Imperio Cn. Pompei. 6)
non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum. (Ovid. Metamorphoses. 1.9)
In both examples, the genitives surround the accusatives, with the former emphasized because of their places at the beginning and the end, and the latter emphasized by their contrast next to one another. In Cicero, the chiasmus provides contrast: the ornaments of peace (pacis ornamenta) and subsidies of war (subsidia belli.) In Ovid, the arrangement of the words imitates the physical arrangement he is depicting. Because everything was Chaos, with all things jumbled into a discordant seed, he places discordant seed (discordia semina) in the center of all things (iunctarum rerum.)

The use of chiastic arrangement on a larger scale may be referred to as Ring Structure, so named for the return at the end to the original idea. 

Climax: Gk. κλῖμαξ, “ladder,” also called Gradatio, Latin gradus, “step,” an arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of ascending power. Often the last emphatic word in one phrase or clause is repeated as the first emphatic word of the next. The escalation itself is achieved by other devices, which culminate in the effect of increase and climax.

#1 Nonne hunc in vincula duci, non ad mortem rapi, non summo supplicio mactari imperabis? (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.27)
#2 Facinus est vincere civem Romanum; scelus verberare; prope parricidium necare: quid dicam in crucem tollere? verbo satis digno tam nefaria res appellari nullo modo potest. (Cicero. In Verrem. 6.14)
#3 Africano industria virtutem, virtus gloriam, gloria aemulas comparavit. (Ps. Cic. De ratione dicendi ad C. Herennium. 34.5)
In #1, the climax is reached by the repetition of non, but by the consecutive infinitives in #2. In #3, it is reached by the repeated interlocking of subject and object.

Conduplicatio: Latin conduplico, “to double,” the repetition of a key word (not necessarily the last word as with Anadiplosis) from a preceding phrase, clause, or sentence, at the beginning of the next.

passer mortuus est meae puellae / passer deliciae meae puellae (Catullus 3.3f)
Consonance: Latin consonare, “to sound together,” the repetition of consonants at the beginning, middle, or end of words. 

quamquam videbam perniciem meam cum magna calamitate rei publicae esse coniunctam. (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.11)
Correctio: Latin, “correction, amendment, word substitution,” in Gk. μετάνοια, “change of mind,” and ἐπανόρθωσις, “correcting, revision,” qualifying or retracting a statement or word by recalling it and expressing it in a different way, i.e. harsher,  milder, more specific, et cetera.

quod quidem facerem vehementius, nisi intercederent mihi inimicitiae cum istius mulieris viro— fratrem volui dicere; semper hic erro. (Cicero. Pro Caelio. 32)
Above, to attack Clodia, Cicero refers to Clodius, her brother, first incorrectly as her husband (viro), drawing attention to the accusation of incest against them, and then pauses to correct his remark, with the correction serving to draw even more attention to it.

Diatyposis: Gk. διατύπωσις, “vivid description,” a vivid description that presents events as taking place before the audience’s eyes. 

Ad hoc templum, cum esset iste Agrigenti, duce Timarchide repente nocte intempesta servorum armatorum fit concursus atque impetus. Clamor a vigilibus fanique custodibus tollitur; qui primo cum obsistere ac defendere conarentur, male mulcati clavis ac fustibus repelluntur. (Cicero. In Verem. 2.4.94)
Here and in the rest of In Verrem 2.4.94-95, Cicero vividly recounts–shifting into the historic present–a night raid by Verres’ men on the people of Agrigentum and the heroic response of the Agrigentini.

Dilation: Latin, dilatare, “to spread out,” broadening a theme to include general or universal ideas.

Marcus: Videtis igitur magistratus hanc esse vim ut praesit praescribatque recta et utilia et coniuncta cum legibus. Ut enim magistratibus leges, ita populo praesunt magistratus, vereque dici potest, magistratum esse legem loquentem, legem autem mutum magistratum.
Nihil porro tam aptum est ad ius condicionemque naturae — quod quom dico, legem a me dici intellegi volo — quam imperium, sine quo nec domus ulla nec civitas nec gens nec hominum universum genus stare, nec rerum natura omnis nec ipse mundus potest. Nam et hic deo paret, et huic oboediunt maria terraeque, et hominum vita iussis supremae legis obtemperat. (Cicero. De Legibus. 3.1)
Here Marcus moves from the topic of the magistrate, to the laws he administers, to sovereign political power, finally to the power which governs the world.

Diminution: Latin diminuo, “to lessen,” the addition of a syllable containing the letter -l- to the stem indicates a small size or amount. A diminutive can convey a variety of feelings, from affection to contempt.

Cui labella mordebis? (Catullus 8.18)
The diminutive labella draws attention to the erotic twist at the end of Poem 8, upon which the premise of the poem–whether Catullus is over Lesbia–hinges.

Duo equites in meo lectulo interfecturos esse pollicerentur. (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.10)
Cicero’s diminutive lectulo makes him seem vulnerable in his “little bed,” preyed upon by the plots and henchmen of the vicious Catiline.

Ecphrasis: Gk. ἔκφρασις, “description,” a digression vividly describing a place, objet or event. In epic poetry, this device creates a transition to a new scene.

Vergil’s descriptions of the harbor in Aeneid. 1.159-170 and shield of Aeneas in Aeneid. 8.626-728.
Ellipsis: Gk. ἔλλειψις, “omission or falling short,” the omission of one or more words of a sentence. Brachyology is often used synonomously. 

hic illius arma [were], hic currus fuit. (Vergil. Aeneid. 2.17)
Missing from Vergil is a form of the linking verb. Verbs of saying and the linking verb are the most commonly omitted.

Emphasis: Gk. ἔμφασις, from εμφαινειν, “to present, indicate,” in Latin Significatio, “signal,” the process of leaving an idea to be suspected rather than overtly asserting it. It is similar to a hint or innuendo. The speaker may use other devices to achieve the ambiguity. 

Cui labella mordebis? (Catullus 8.18)
Here, after seventeen lines of urging himself to get over being rejected by his lover and vindictively imagining her lonely old age, Catullus, in the penultimate line of the poem, conjures an erotic image of her, making us wonder whether he has, in fact, put his longing behind him.

Enallage: Gk. ἐναλλαγή, “interchange, variation,” Latin Ordinis Permutatio, “change of order,” a figure of exchange similar to Hypallage, the use of an incorrect grammatical form in place of the correct form, as one tense, person, case, gender, or number, for another. 

Postquam res Asiae Priamique evertere gentem
immeritam visum superis, ceciditque superbum
Ilium et omnis humo fumat Neptunia Troia, (Vergil Aen. 3.1ff)
Here fumat is present tense although it describes past action along with visum and cecidit.

Enjambment: Fr. enjamber, “to slide over,” the postponement of a word that completes the thought of a line of verse onto the next line.

Hauriat hunc oculis ignem et crudelis ab alto
Dardanus et nostrae secum ferat omina mortis. (Verg. Aen. 4.661f)
Epanalepsis: Gk. ἐπανάληψις, “taking up again,” the repetition of the word at the beginning of the clause, at the end.

at rubicunda Ceres medio succiditur aestu
et medio tostas aestu terit area fruges. (Verg. Georgic. 1. 297f)
Epiphonema: Gk. ἐπιφώνημα, from ἐπιφωνείν, “call to,” in Latin Acclamatio, “shout of approval,” an epigrammatic summary which gathers into a pithy sentence what has preceded. A striking, summarizing reflection which clinches an argument or sums up a narrative.

neque enim possunt tam multae bonae sententiae esse quam necesse est multae sint clausulae. (Quintilian. Institutiones. 8.5.14)
Quintilian concludes his discussion of short, generalizing statements, with one about them.

Exire ex urbe iubet consul hostem. (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.12)
Cicero summarizes his argument that Catiline should leave the city with the concise remark that the consul (Cicero) is simply ordering an enemy (Catiline) to leave the city, with the strong implication that such a situation–the consul expelling an enemy–is not exceptional, and therefore ought to proceed.

Epizeuxis: Gk. ἐπίζευξις: “a fastening upon” from ἐπί, “upon” and ζευγνύναι, “to yoke,” in Latin Iteratio, “repetition,” the repetition of a word or words in immediate succession in the same clause.

Ite, ite, nati, matris infaustae genus, (Seneca. Medea. 845)
Fuit, fuit ista quondam in hac re public virtus... (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.3)
Euphemism: Gk. εὐφημέω, “to use words of good omen,” the substitution of an agreeable or at least non-offensive expression for one whose plainer meaning might be harsh or unpleasant.
si quid mihi humanitus accidisset. (Cicero. Philippic. 1.10)
 Saying “If anything should happen...” is a euphemism for anything bad, i.e. dying.

Euphony: Gk. εὐφωνέω, “to have a good voice,” the inherent pleasantness of sounds.

silvaque sole locum passura tepescere nullo. (Ovid. Metamorphoses. 8.412)

Exclamation: Latin Exclamatio, “exclamation, saying,” in Gk. ἐκφώνησις, “pronunciation, exclamation,” an emotional outburst, for which Latin uses the accusative case and less often the nominative.

O tempora, o mores! (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.2)
Hendiadys: Gk. ἓν διὰ δυοῖν, “one through two,” Use of two words connected by a conjunction, instead of subordinating one to the other, for example and adjective modifying a noun, to express a single complex idea.

armis virisque (Tacitus. Historiae. 1.67)
“arms and men” instead of viris armatis, “with armed men”

Homoioteleuton: Gk. ὁμοιοτέλευτον, “like ending,” a recurrence of similar endings in successive words.

e.g. Cui dono lepidum novum libellum / arida modo pumice expolitum. (Catullus 1.1f)

Hypallage: Gk. ὑπαλλαγή, “exchange,” a transferred epithet; the grammatical agreement of a word with another word which it does not logically qualify.

nec mihi quaerenti spatiosam fallere noctem
     lassaret viduas pendula tela manus. (Ovid. Heroides. 1.9f)
Viduas (widowed) agrees with manus (hands) but refers to mihi (i.e. Penelope.)

In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas / corpora;
Here, we expect bodies (corpora) changed into new forms (formas), not forms into new bodies.

Hyperbaton: Gk. ὑπέρβατον: ὑπέρ, “over” and βάνειν “to step,” the separation of words which belong together, often to emphasize the first of the separated words or to create a certain image. Within this broad category are included 1) Anastrophe, 2) Hysteron Proteron, 3) Chiasmus, and 4) Tmesis.

Speluncam Dido dux et Troianus eandem (Vergil. Aeneid. 4.124)
Here, separating eandem from speluncam allows Vergil to put it at the emphatic final position of the sentence and only then reveal that Dido and Aeneas were together in the cave.

Hyperbole: Gk. ὑπέρ, “above” and βάλλειν “το throw,”  exaggeration for emphasis or for rhetorical effect. In extreme form, see Adunaton.

Da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
Dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
Deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum. (Catullus 5.7ff)
Catullus is hoping to shield himself and his lover from ill will by disguising the number of their kisses, which are not just many in number but exaggerated to hundreds and thousands.

Hypotaxis: Gk. ὑπόταξι: from ὑπό, “under” and τάξις, “arrangement,” the use of subordinate clauses. In contrast to Parataxis.

At tanta militum virtus atque ea praesentia animi fuit, ut, cum undique flamma torrerentur maximaque telorum multitudine premerentur suaque omnia impedimenta atque omnes fortunas conflagrare intellegerent, non modo demigrandi causa de vallo decederet nemo, sed paene ne respiceret quidem quisquam, ac tum omnes acerrime fortissimeque pugnarent. (Caesar. De Bello Gallico. 5.43)

Here, a concessive cum clause and an indirect statement are nested within a result clause.

Hysteron Proteron:  Gk. ὕστερον πρότερον, "later-earlier,” the inversion of the natural sequence of events, often meant to stress the event which, though later in time, is considered the more important.

moliri hunc puppem iubet et demittere ferro robora. (Valerius Flaccus. 1.94)
The ship (puppem) is built before the wood for it is cut.

Hannibal in Africam redire atque Italia decedere coactus est. (Cicero. In Catilinam. 4.21)
Hannibal returns to Africa after he is driven to depart from Italy.

Irony: Gk. εἰρωνεία, “dissimulation, feigned ignorance,” an expression of something which is contrary to the intended meaning; the words say one thing but mean another.

legatos bonus imperator vester non admisit. (Livy. 21.1.10)
Livy recounts how Hanno [Hanno II the Great] was denouncing Hannibal and the war with Rome. Hanno ironically calls Hannibal a bonus imperator, drawing attention to the fact that means malus, because Hannibal was refusing ambassadors and prolonging the war, which Hanno opposed.

Litotes: Gk. λιτότης, “simple,” an understatement, for intensification, by denying the contrary of the thing being affirmed. (Sometimes used synonymously with Meiosis.)

quo numquam terra vocato non concussa tremit. (Lucan. 6.745f)
The voice causes the whole world to tremble, but rather than say so obviously, Lucan says that it never does not cause the world to tremble.

Metaphor: Gk. μεταφέρειν, “to carry over,” an implied comparison achieved through a figurative use of words; the word is used not in its literal sense, but in one analogous to it.

cuius aures veritati clausae sunt.  (Cicero. Laelius De Amicitia. 27)
Ears (aures) are closed, meaning that the person does not listen.
fessos sopor alligat artus.  (Valerius Flaccus. 1.48) 
Sleep (sopor) binds tired limbs as if it does so of its own will or physically,
natat ignis in ore.  (Statius. Achilleis. 1.161)
Fire (ignis) swims on his face, as a person swims.

Metonymy: Gk. μετωνυμία, “a change of name,” the substitution of one word for another which it suggests.  Poetic usage often involves divinities and their associated domains; e.g. Bacchus for wine; Ceres for food; Mars for war. Cf. Synecdoche.

valido spumantia pocula Baccho.  (Valerius Flaccus. 1.260)
Onomatopoeia: Gk. ὀνοματοποιία: ὄνομα = “name” and ποιεῖν = "to make," the use of words to imitate natural sounds; accommodation of sound to sense.

At tuba terribili sonitu taratantara dixit. (Ennius. Annales.140)
Tam taetram, tam horribilem tamque infestam (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.11)
Ennius uses the cacophony of T-sounds to imitate the terrible trumpet blasts and Cicero to emphasize the way in which Catiline has infected the Senate and Rome.

Oxymoron: Gk. ὀξύμωρος: ὀξύς = "sharp, keen" and μωρός = "dull, stupid," an apparent paradox achieved by the juxtaposition of words which seem to contradict one another.

Festina lente.  
Hurry slowly.   

aegrescitque medendo. (Vergil. Aeneid. 12.46)
He grows sick by the cure.

Sullanae ... cadavera pacis (Lucan. 2.171)
the corpses of the peace of Sulla

dulcibus armorum furiis.  (Statius. Achilleis. 1.398)
the sweet rage of arms

Paradox:  Gk. παράδοξος, “unexpected, strange,” an assertion seemingly opposed to common sense, but that may yet have some truth in it.

carminibus magicis opus est herbisque, cadaver / ut cadat. (Lucan. 6.822-3)
Lucan writes that, “Magic songs and herbs were needed so that the corpse could die,” which is paradoxical because a cadaver is dead, but sensible here because the cadaver had been reanimated.

Paraprosdokian:  Gk. παρά, = "against" and προσδοκία = "expectation," a surprise or unexpected ending of a phrase or series.

Laudandus, ornandus, tollendus. (Cicero. Epistulae Ad Familiares. 11.20.1)
Here, Cicero speaking of the young Octavian breaks the parallelism of the first two accolades with tollendus, which may also mean ,“be rid of.”

Parataxis: Gk. παράταξις: from παρα, “near” and τάξις, “arrangement,” the use of successive independent clauses or sentences, so as to give equal weight to each. In contrast to Hypotaxis.

Erat Italia tunc plena Graecarum artium ac disciplinarum, studiaque haec et in Latio vehementius tum colebantur quam nunc eisdem in oppidis, et hic Romae propter tranquillitatem rei publicae non neglegebantur. (Cicero. Pro Archia. 5)
Here, simple sentences each with subjects and verbs are joined by conjunctions, not subordinated.

Parenthesis: Gk. παρένθεσις: from παρά , “beside” and ἐν, “in” and τίθημι, “put, place,” a clause, phrase, or word, inserted into a sentence as an explanatory or amplificatory digression.

Dico te priore nocte venisse inter falcarios–non agam obscure–in M. Laecae domum; (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.5)
Cicero adds non agam obscure parenthetically to emphasize that he is not going to speak generally,  but rather identify the very house at which the conspirators of Catiline met.

Paronomasia: Gk. παρονομασία: παρά, = "against" and ὀνομασία ‎= “naming,” in Latin Adnominatio, “punning,” the use of similar sounding words with different meaning; often etymological word-play.

Hic est sepulcrum haud pulchrum feminae pulchrae.
(A Roman epitaph, c. 135BC)
tomb / beauty
Orchomenosque ferax ... Messeneque ferox.
(Ovid Met. 6.416-7)
fruitful / wild
Disce aut discede.(A common school motto)
learn / leave
Periphrasis: Gk. περίφρασις, “circumlocution,” also known as Circumlocution, Latin, “to talk around,” an indirect or roundabout expression, usually using more words than are strictly necessary.

innumerosque gradus, gemina latus arbore clusos, aerium...iter. (Statius. Thebaid. 10.841f)
Here a simple ladder is described as, “countless steps, enclosed between twin trees, an airy path."
Personification: Latin, persona, “mask, character, personality” and –ficare, “to make,” the attribution of personality to an impersonal thing.

Nimium diu te imperatorem tua illa Manliana castra desiderant. (Cic. Catil. 1.5)
Cicero personifies Catiline’s camp, saying that it misses him, and thus urges him to leave Rome.

Pleonasm: Gk. πλεονασμός, “excess,” the use of superfluous or redundant words, often enriching the thought.

erant itinera duo, quibus itineribus exire possent.  (Caesar. De Bello Gallico. 1.6)
Caesar repeats the word for path (iter), “there were two paths, by which paths they were able to go.”

iussit et ambitae circumdare litora terrae. (Ovid. Metamorphoses. 1.37)
Here, ambitae (encircling) is not necessary with circumdare (surround), but emphatic.
Poetic Plural: The use of a word in the plural which might seem more logical in the singular.

Rapidi vicina solis / mollit odoratas, pennarum vincula, ceras; (Ovid. Metamorphoses. 8.225-26)
Ovid writes that the nearness of the sun melted not the wax, but the waxes.

Polyptoton: Gk. πολύπτωτον: πολύς ‎= “many” and πίπτειν, “to fall,” the repetition of a word, but in a different form. 

Quicum ludere, quem in sinu tenere / cui primum digitum dare appetenti. (Catullus 2.2-3)
Ovid makes especially frequent and especially effective use of this device in Metamorphoses III.424-431. The forms are mirrored as is Narcissus’ face in the water at which he gazes.

Spectat humi positus geminum, sua lumina, sidus            
et dignos Baccho, dignos et Apolline crines
inpubesque genas et eburnea colla decusque
oris et in niveo mixtum candore ruborem,
cunctaque miratur, quibus est mirabilis ipse:
se cupit inprudens et, qui probat, ipse probatur,            
dumque petit, petitur, pariterque accendit et ardet.
Inrita fallaci quotiens dedit oscula fonti,
in mediis quotiens visum captantia collum
bracchia mersit aquis nec se deprendit in illis!
Quid videat, nescit; sed quod videt, uritur illo,            
atque oculos idem, qui decipit, incitat error.
Polysyndeton: Gk. πολύς ‎= “many” and σύνδετεος = “bound together,” The repetition of conjunctions in a series of coordinate words, phrases, or  clauses.

omnia Mercurio similis, vocemque coloremque
et crinis flavos et membra decora iuventae. (Vergil. Aeneid. 4.558-9)

Praeteritio: A pretended omission for rhetorical effect. (Also called: Apophasis Gk. ἀπόφημι, "to say no," Paraleipsis/Paralepsis, Gk. παράλειψις, ῾to pass over,” Occupatio, Latin, occupation, and Parasiopesis Gk. παρασιώπησις, “pass over in silence, omit mention of.”)

Obliviscor iam iniurias tuas, Clodia, depono memoriam doloris mei. (Cicero. Pro Caelio. 50)
ac iam illa omitto—neque enim sunt aut obscura aut non multa commissa postea—quotiens... (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.6)
quid vero? nuper cum morte superioris uxoris novis nuptiis locum vacuefecisses, nonne etiam alio incredibili scelere hoc scelus cumulavisti? quod ego praetermitto et facile patior sileri... (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.6)
In each example, Cicero, by mentioning the thing so that he can say he will pass over it, mentions it and as such does not pass over it. 

Prolepsis: Gk. πρόληψις ,‎“preconception, anticipation”, from προλαμβάνω , “take beforehand, anticipate,” the anticipation, in adjectives or nouns, of the result of the action of a verb; also, the positioning of a relative clause before its antecedent.

perque cavas terrae, quas egit carmine, rimas manibus inlatrat. (Luc. 6.728)
Here, cavas aniticpates egit.

Prosopopoeia: Gk. προσωποποιία: πρόσωπον, “face” and ποιεῖν, “to make,” a type of personification, the impersonation of an absent or imaginary speaker as speaking, for dramatic effect. 

Cicero speaking in the voice of Appius Claudius Caecus in s.34 of Pro Caelio and of the Roman people in In Catilinam 1.11.
Rhetorical Question: A question designed not to obtain information but to make a statement.

Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? (Cicero. In Catilinam. 1.1)
Cicero does not expect an answer from Catiline, but is in fact encouraging the senators not to allow Catiline to proceed any further by saying that he is abusing their patience.

Simile: Latin, similis, “similar,” an explicit comparison between two things (usually using coordinated clauses, which are often introduced by ut. . . sic).

ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator
vel nimis admovit vel iam sub luce reliquit,
sic deus in flammas abiit... (Ovid. Metamorphoses. 1.493ff)
Here Ovid says the god is changed by the flames as a hedge burns by a torch, moved to close or left by a traveler. Similes may be extensive and the comparisons quite specific, c.f. in Vergil Georgic IV between the birds and the dead (473-480) and between Orpheus and the nightingale (511-515.)

Syllepsis:  Gk. σύλληψις, “a taking together,” the application of one word to two others, though it is strictly appropriate to only one of them. (Syllepsis is sometimes used interchangeably with Zeugma.)

seu pacem seu bellum geram. (Vergil. Aeneid. 9.279) 
imbrem et tenebras saevumque tridentem iam iam ego et. . . torsissem coniugis ignem.(Valerius Flaccus 1.115f)
In the first example, one can wage war (bellum) but not peace (pacem), and in the second, torsissem, “hurl,” is not strictly applicable to tenebras (shadows) or imbrem (rain), although it can apply to tridentem (trident.)

Syncope: Gk. συγκοπή: σύν, “with” and κόπτειν, “strike, cut off,” the abbreviation of a word, usually a verb, for phonetic and metrical economy.

repostum for repositum (Horace. Epode 9.1)
Synchysis: Gk. σύγχυσις, "a mixing," interlocked word order in the pattern ABAB, in which the A words are of one type and B another, for example, nouns interlocked with adjectives, subjects interlocked with objects, et cetera. The interlocking arrangement often reflects the meaning.

aurea purpuream subnectit fibula vestem (Verg. Aen. 4.139)
Vergil interlocks the subjects and objects, with Dido’s gold (aurea fibula), interlocking with her purple robe (purpureaeram vestem), as an actual brooch clasps fabric.

aeternum hoc sanctae foedus amicitiae. (Catullus 109.6)
Catullus interlocks the accusatives and genitives, imitating in the arrangement of his words the hope that his love will be permanent, an, “eternal pact of sacred friendship.”

Synecdoche: Gk. συνεκδοχή, “receiving together,” understanding one thing with another; the use of a part for the whole, or the whole for the part.  (Synechdoche is a form of Metonymy.)

statio male fida carinis.  (Vergil. Aeneid. 2.23)
Here, carinis (keel) is equivalent to navibus (ships.)

Synesis: Gk. σύνεσις, “unification,” also known as Constructio ad sensum, the agreement of words according to logic, and not by the grammatical form.  (Synesis is a kind of Anacoluthon.)

pars certare parati. (Vergil. Aeneid. 5.108)
Here, parati is plural, conforming to the plural sense of pars, "some, " even though pars is singular.

Tmesis: Gk. τμῆσις, “a cutting,” the separation of the parts of a compound word. Tmesis is a form of Hyperbaton. Below, priusquam is split.

nec prius respexi. . . quam venimus. (Vergil. Aeneid. 2.741-3)
Tricolon:  Gk. τρία, “three” and κῶλον, “part, limb,” a series of three phrases or clauses parallel in structure, of which it is common for the last member to be the longest and/or most important (Tricolon Crescens.)
nec te noster amor nec te data dextera quondam
nec moritura tenet crudeli funere Dido? (Vergil. Aeneid. 4.307f)
Vergil presents a masterful use of the device on which it is worth speaking at length to demonstrate the extraordinary efficacy of these seemingly simple devices.

Here, Dido implores Aeneas with a tricolon on nec. The first two uses precede te (referring to Aeneas), and precede the things that she alleges do not but ought hold him with her in Carthage. The repetitions are emphatic, as is the juxtaposition of subject and object. The importance of the matters then escalates, with their love (noster amor) yielding to his promise of marriage (dextera data), and finally climaxing in her imminent death (moritura.)

The effect of the third nec is so strong first because the succeeding te is dropped, which imitates in arrangement how Aeneas’ departure leaves only Dido’s demise and second because the te– of tenet reminds us of the preceding uses of te, until we read on only to be surprised that it is not the pronoun but the verb, revealed at last and emphatically after the diaeresis. 

Finally, the false relationship of the verb to the pronoun allows Vergil to sneak another te into the line in the emphatic place between Dido about to die (moritura)  and the verb of which Aeneas is the object (tenet.) The fact that Aeneas is between Dido and the verb of which he is not only object but also is effectively a part (tenet) and yet still not held, of which we are reminded by weight of the tricolon on nec, compresses Dido’s burning frustration which erupts in the vain reminder of her fate (crudeli funere) at the climax of the Tricolon.

Zeugma: Gk. ζεῦγμα, “a yoking; a bond,” the use of one word which refers to two or more other words, but which is understood differently in the different contexts.  Zeugma is sometimes used interchangeably with Syllepsis.

consiliis non curribus utere nostris.  (Ovid. Metamorphoses. 2.146) 

using advice (consiliis) vs. using a chariot (curribus)

clamorem omnes. . . tollunt [et] gaudia. (Valerius Flaccus. 8.295-6)

raising a shout (clamorem) vs. raising spirits (gaudia)

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