Figure Name synanthroesmos
Source Bullinger (1898) ("synanthroesmos; or, enumeration"); Johnson (1903) ("aparithmesis")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms enumeration, aparithmesis, syrmos, enumeratio, congeries
Etymology Gr. syn-ath-rois-mos "gathering together, assembling"
Type None
Linguistic Domain

1. The Enumeration of the Parts of a Whole which has not been mentioned. (Bullinger, 462)

2. Aparithme'sis.—This figure consists in enumerating particulars in such a way as to produce a cumulative effect, and soihetimes a climax... Aparithmesis is a favorite and effective figure
in philippics. A notable example may be seen in the peroration of Edmund Burke's sixth-day speech in the trial of Warren Hastings. (Johnson, 34, 37)


1. Isa. 1:11, 13. -"To what purpose is the multitudes of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats ... Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me." (Bullinger, 463)

2. Thus, in Joel i, 4, we read: "That which the palmer-worm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the canker-worm eaten; and that which the canker-worm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten." A more elaborate example comes from the pen of Dr. Samuel Johnson: "For what can interrupt the content of the fair sex, upon whom one age has labored after another to confer honors and accumulate immunities ?—those to whom rudeness is infamy, and insult is cowardice ?—whose eye commands the brave, and whose smile softens the severe?—whom the sailor travels to adorn, the soldier bleeds to defend, and the poet wears out life to celebrate?—who claim tribute from every art and science, and for whom all who approach them endeavor to multiply delights, without requiring from them any return but willingness to be pleased." The Declaration of Independence employs this figure on a large scale when it enumerates the "injuries and usurpations" of which it accuses George the Third. Kinglake, in The Invasion of the Crimea, Vol. IV, Chapter VIII, "uses the figure with powerful effect in a notable piece of sarcasm: "Their chosen strategy led them to waste the priceless fruits of the Alma; to spare the 'North side' of Sebastopol; to abandon their conquest
of almost the whole Crimea; to surrender to the enemy his all-precious line of communication; to give him back all those country resources—food, forage, shelter, and fuel—which armies commonly used ; to abstain from attacking the south front of Sebastopol whilst it lay at their mercy, and wait until it grew strong; to undertake a slow engineer's conflict of pickax and spade and great guns against an enemy vastly stronger than themselves in that special kind of strife; to submit to be hemmed in and confined by the beaten enemy ; to let him drive them from'the Woronzoff Road—the only metaled road they had between the plain and our camp; to throw away the ascendant obtained by a second great victory ; to see in the Inkerman day a reason for not pushing fortune, and then, finally, in the month of November—too late, of course, for due preparation—to accept the hard, perilous task of trying to live out through a winter on the corner of ground where they stood, there maintaining by day and by night a ceaseless strife with the enemy, but a yet harder strife with the elements. "Henry Giles, in his essay on The Continuity of Life", uses the same figure with a poetic and pleasing effect: "The illusions that belong to childhood are beautiful—the dim mystery around the studded canopy of the skies; the desire to touch the horizon on the mountain's brow ; the necromancies of night; the voices of spirits; the romances of Fairyland: the tales of Araby ; the love of light and gaiety and
flowers; the enjoyment of action; the transmission of its own feelings to surrounding objects; sympathies with the life of nature ; untaught inquiries into the profundities of existence—these are all, not of common, but even of sublime interest, and not the elements of poetry only, but the germs also of philosophy." (Johnson, 34-37)

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Last Editor Ioanna Malton
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