Comment of Longinus’ theory of the Sublime


On the Sublime is a work of Greek artistic feedback from the Roman era dating from the 1st century AD. His creator is unknown, however he is referred to as Longinus or Pseudo-Longinus. It is seen as an exemplary work on the style and impacts of good written work. The treatise presents cases of good and bad written works from the first thousand years, concentrating especially on what can bring about the great.

The personality of the creator has been discussed for quite some time. The most experienced surviving composition, from the 10th century, shows that the first writer was called “Dionysius or Longinus”, which was later misunderstood as “Dionysius Longinus”. Later clarifications have attributed the work to Dionysius of Halicarnassus or Cassius Longinus, however it is not currently widely recognized.


The creator is dark. In the original 10th-century reference copy, the heading reports “Dionysius or Longinus”, a medieval copyist’s credit which was misinterpreted as “by Dionysius Longinus”. When the composition was being set up for print production, the work was at first attributed to Cassius Longinus. Since the correct interpretation incorporates the likelihood of a writer named “Dionysius”, some attribute the work to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a 1st century AD essayist. The possibility remains that the work has a place neither with Cassius Longinus nor with Dionysius of Halicarnassus, at the same time, but with some obscure writer composing under the Roman Empire, probably in the first century. The error implies that when the codex was composed, traces of the actual author were lost at that time. None of the authors can be recognized as the true essayist of the treatise. Dionysius held completely opposite thoughts to those written in the treatise; with Longinus, there are problems with the sequence.

Additional names proposed include Hermagoras, Aelius Theon, and Pompeius Geminus.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus

Dionysius of Halicarnassus composed under Augustus, distributing several works. Dionysus is generally rejected as the potential writer of On the Sublime, since the composition authoritatively attributed to Dionysus contrasts with the On the Sublime in style and thought.

Cassius Longinus

Credited with the composition of several artistic works, Longinus was a student of Plotinus and considered “the most renowned researcher of his time”. He received instruction from him in Alexandria and then went to Athens to be educated. He later moved to Asia Minor, where he held the position of adviser to Zenobia, ruler of Palmyra. Cassius is of questionable plausibility for the creator of the treatise since he wrote in the 3rd century, and no writing after the 1st century AD is specified. C. and the work is currently typically dated to the mid-1st century AD. The work closes with a thesis on the rottenness of rhetoric, a common theme for the time when creators such as Tacitus, Petronius and Quintilian lived, who also handled the theme. Cassius was executed by Aurelian, the Roman leader who defeated Palmyra in AD 273. C. for planning charges against the Roman state. This was no doubt a direct result of what he had composed for Queen Zenobia of Palmyra while she was still in control. Longinus is said to have composed responses for the queen, which were used as part of the reaction to Aurelian, the man who might soon rise to control as Roman ruler.


On the Sublime is both a treatise on sentiment and a work of abstract feedback. It is composed in epistolary form and the last part, which potentially handled an open conversation, has been lost.

The treatise is dedicated to Posthumius Terentianus, a refined and outspoken Roman figure, though little else is known of him. On the Sublime is a summary of academic models, with around 50 creators spread over 1000 years said or quoted. Along with the usual cases of Homer and different characters from Greek culture, Longinus alludes to a very strange section of Genesis for the first century:

The lawgiver of the Jews achieved a comparative impact—a virtuoso by no means insignificant, for he understood and articulated the energy of eternity as it deserved—when he composed at the absolute starting point of his laws, and I quote his words: “God said,”— what was it?—“Let there be light, and there was. Let there be land, and there was.

—  On the Sublime 9.9

Given his positive reference to Genesis, it has been thought that Longinus was a Hellenized Jew or was comfortable with Jewish culture. In that capacity, Longinus stresses that, to be a genuinely amazing essayist, writers must have “moral magnificence.” In reality, experts theorize that Longinus stayed away from production in the old world “either out of humility or prudential thought processes.” Furthermore, Longinus emphasizes that transgressive scholars are not really unseemly fools, regardless of the possibility that they take risks and appear to be “strong, uncivilized, and unique”. With regard to social subjectivity, Longinus recognizes that complete freedom advances the soul and expectation; as Longinus puts it, “a slave never became a speaker.” On the other hand, an excess of extravagance and wealth causes a rot in the expert articulation, persuasion being the goal of the great author.

The glorious

Longinus fundamentally salutes and denounces certain academic functions as cases of good or bad styles of composition. Longinus finally advances a “style climb” and a quintessential “effortlessness.” To quote this well-known writer, “the first and most essential source of sublimity, the energy to shape incredible origins”. The idea of ​​the marvelous is recognized for the most part as an allusion to a style of composition that rises “above the ordinary.” At last, Longinus establishes five springs of sublimity: “extraordinary contemplations, forceful sentiments, certain figures of thought and speech, respectable linguistic authority, and noble play on words.”

The impacts of the Sublime are: loss of sanity, a distance that provokes a recognizable test with the ingenious procedure of the craftsman, and a deep mixed feeling of delight and adoration. A case of magnificence is a ballad of Sappho, the supposed Ode to Jealousy, characterized as a “brilliant tribute.” An essayist’s goal is not so much to express exhausted feelings as to stimulate feeling in his audience.

In the treatise, the creator declares that “the Sublime leads the spectators not to influence, but to joy: because the brilliant always runs along with a feeling of discouragement, and surpasses what is simply persuasive or pleasant, since the influence, generally speaking, is within everyone’s reach: however, the Sublime, endowing speech with a strong power and quality, transcends each audience”.

As this ad indicates, one might feel that the wonderful thing, for Longinus, was a minute of escape from reality. Be that as it may, in reality, he imagined that writing could show a spirit and that a spirit could be cast into a gem. In this sense, the treatise remarkably ends with a content of abstract petition, as well as moral exposition, since the Sublime becomes the result of an imposing soul. The sources of the Sublime are of two types: innate sources and purchasable sources.

The moral point of view and respect for the “immense soul” extend the scope of the work; started with the ultimate goal of denying the claims of a scholarly commentary booklet in mind, it closes with a new reflection within the entire style system. The eminent, to tell the truth, is a denominator of the significance of whoever treats it, both the creator and the viewer. A compassionate bond must emerge between them. At that point, the Sublime is an instrument of recognition of the meaning of a soul, of the depth of a thought, of the energy of discourse. This recognition is based on the conviction that everyone knows of the presence of the Sublime, and that the search for meaning is established in human instinct.

In the wake of these contemplations, the artist’s chosen abstract type and subject matter hold less meaning for Longinus, who claims that “sublimity” can be found in any or every scholarly work. He ends up being an extremely intelligent expert, as he exceeds the expectations of the Apollodorians by speaking of the commentator as some kind of positive “direction” of the Genius. He goes beyond the inflexible principles of the abstract experts of his opportunity, according to which a normal style could be characterized as good.

On the other hand, he values ​​the strength of the Genius, who always prevails when it comes to reaching the top, regardless of the possibility that to the detriment of the excusable he will pass in style. In this way, among the cases of the Sublime, Homer, the tragic ones, Sappho, Plato, even the Bible and a writer like Aristophanes could be evaluated. He respects Hellenistic artists such as Apollonius of Rhodes and Theocritus for their modernity, but ranks them below the creators of the traditional era as they did not take risks and struggled below the “overcome problem” without which one could not wish. . to achieve the heavenly. “Would you like to be Homer or Apollonius? … No rational individual would give a single disaster, the Oedipus Rex, in exchange for each of Ion’s dramatizations.”

The Sublime, moreover, shows itself not only in what is basically delicious, but also in what is disturbing enough to cause bewilderment, reflection, and even awe. It could be said that Helen of Troy may indeed have been the most excellent lady on the planet, but she was never marvelous in Greek writing: yet Edmund Burke refers to the scene of the old men looking on at Helen’s “horrendous” magnificence in the stronghold of Troy, he sees it as an occasion for the delightful, but his creative ability is trapped by its sublimity. Hecuba in Euripides’s The Trojan Women is surely superb when she communicates her perpetual anguish over the disgusting predetermination of her children.


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