Eutrepismus: Definition and Examples

Eutrepismus (derives from Greek word eutrepe literally means “a turning about”), is a figure of division whose speech is at first, numbered into parts, and arranged in an orderly manner.

This involves numbering the parts or points under deliberation, in good order before shedding expansive details on them. The latin term for this device is ‘ordinatio’.

Peacham defines this device in 1593, as:

a forme of speech, which doth not only number the partes before they be said, but also doth order those partes, and maketh them plaine by a kind of definition, or declaration.

Examples of Eutrepismus

  1. In considering the siege, we should consider three things:
    First, are diplomatic alternatives exhausted?
    Second, do we have sufficient means to isolate the enemy?
    Third, would a siege achieve the desired effect?

    — (courtesy: Silva Rhetoricae)

  2. “There are three sorts of men which do dispose of all that a man hath, the Lawyer, the Phisition, and the Divine. The Lawyer disposeth of his goods, the Phisition of his bodie, and the Divine of his soule.

    — (Peacham, p. 129)

  1. There be three things which men do greedily covet, and earnestly follow: riches, pleasures, and honors. Riches are the nurses of sin and iniquity. Pleasures are the daughters of dishonesty, and guides which lead to misery. Honors are mothers and nurses of worldly pomp, and vanity.

    — (courtesy: Henry Perseus)

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