I am trying to remember a term I once heard/read in a document -- I believe -- related to poetry and music. If not mistaken, the term was introduced by Aristotle/Plato, and it defines that: a piece of art is/has p______eia when it presents elements that work all in relation to the main theme.

p______eia is the term I am looking for. I believe it is spelled somewhat like that, but I am really not sure and would appreciate in case someone would refresh my memory.

  • 1
    You can see Aristotle's Poetics. Mar 27 '17 at 12:57
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA Thanks for the pointer. I've tried it before, though, and had no success. I believe I read it in a music theory document, that discussed Bach's Musical Offering.
    – Rubens
    Mar 27 '17 at 13:03
  • 1
    Possibly looking for Poesia?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Mar 27 '17 at 15:37
  • 1
    ὀργανικός (organic) has connotations of "unity"
    – Geremia
    Mar 27 '17 at 16:40
  • 2
    See also the three unities of ancient drama. Mar 27 '17 at 18:16

The key passages where Aristotle spoke about the elements of beauty are the following:

“The chief forms of beauty are order (τάξις - taxis) and symmetry (συμμετρία - symmetria) and definiteness (̇ὡρισμένον - orismenon), which the mathematical sciences demonstrate in a special degree." (Metphysics, Book 13, Part 3)

"Again, a beautiful object, whether it be a picture of a living organism or any whole composed of parts, must not only have an orderly arrangement (τεταγμένα - tetagmena, from τάσσω) of parts, but must also be of a certain magnitude; for beauty depends on magnitude (μέγεθος - megethos) and order (τάξις - taxis)." (Poetics, Book 7)

None of those words seem to match your desciption, but what you are describing looks more like Latin than Greek. Thomas Aquinas, who followed much of Aristotle's philosophy, also wrote about about the elements of beauty in Latin:

"There are three requirements for beauty (pulchritudinem). Firstly, integrity (integritas) or perfection (perfectio)—for if something is impaired it is ugly. Then there is due proportion (proportio) or consonance (consonantia). And also clarity (claritas): whence things that are brightly coloured are called beautiful" (Summa Theologica I, 39, 8)

  • I've done quite a bit of research trying to remember the word I'm looking for. If I ever get to find it, I'll let you all know. Meanwhile, thanks a lot for the effort!
    – Rubens
    Mar 28 '17 at 16:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.