Asphalia

An Introduction to Asphalia

Asphalia (a figure from the appeal of ethos, etymologically derives from Greek, meaning “assurance” or “security”), consists when offering oneself as a guarantee for another. It could be a circumstance, where someone offer his/her self as surety for a bond; that is making oneself legally responsible for the obligation, the conduct, the indebtedness, of another person.

Notable Examples of Asphalia
    This figure was gracefully effective, in “Thou Art the Man”, when Old Charley Goodfellow offers to pay the bail of Mr. Pennifeather:
  • ‘the examining magistrate had refused to entertain any further testimony, and immediately committed the prisoner for trial – declining resolutely to take any bail in the case, although against this severity, Mr. Goodfellow very warmly remonstrated, and offered to become surety in whatever amount might be required.’
  • — (Edgar Allan Poe, Thou Art the Man 5:302 – 3).

    After slaying Caesar, Brutus attempts to appease the upset Romans, concluding with the instance of Asphalia:
  • “With this I depart, that, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
  • —(Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act III, Scene II)
Further Readings:
Brett Zimmerman | Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style: AsphaliaOpens in new window
Gregory T. Howard | Dictionary of Rhetorical Terms: AsphaliaOpens in new window