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The meagre fragments of Hekataios of Miletos (late sixth/early fifth c. B.C.E.), a precursor of Herodotos whose works included an account of a far-ranging journey (ges periodos) and genealogical researches (genealogii), show a style considered naive by later generations: clauses and sentences, and the connections among them, are simple, and there is more parataxis (coordination) of ideas than hypotaxis (subordination) of one idea to another. Hekataios is cited by ancient critics as an example of lexis eiromene, the “strung-together” or “loose” style. He wrote in the Ionic dialect of Asia Minor, and indeed the earliest literary prose was Ionic, not Attic.

A fragment of Hekataios is analyzed in the essay on loose and periodic style.

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The philosopher Anaxagoras of Klazomenai (c. 520-c. 428), a teacher and associate of Perikles who was indicted by the Athenians on charges of impiety and medism and exiled from Athens, wrote a more graceful and subtle Ionic, but his style differs notably from that developed by later writers of Attic. His sentences are longer and more complex than those of Hekataios. Connections between and within sentences, however, are still fairly simple, while repetitions of words and phrases create a certain dignified and even monumental effect in spite of–or perhaps because of–the simplicity of the words themselves. Fragment 12, on the role of nous in the universe, is the longest extant fragment.

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Herodotos of Halikarnassos (c. 490-c. 431), the “father of history,” is sometimes portrayed as a naive and quaintly archaic stylist. In fact his is a style as subtle as any in Greek and represents the fullest development of literary Ionic. Outwardly he may seem merely to be stringing his thoughts together with simple connectives and frequent repetitions, but as the episode of Kroisos and Adrastos shows, Herodotos is a master of both the loose and the periodic style (lexis katestrammene [“style turned toward an end”] or lexis he en periodois [“style composed in circular courses”]). As the needs of his story dictate, he modulates with complete ease between one and the other, just as his vocabulary can include, in addition to ordinary words, remarkable compounds and coinages and words redolent more of poetry than of prose. His periodic sentences are all the more effective for being used sparingly, to elevate emotion and bring matters to a conclusion. One of the best examples is the final sentence of the assigned selection.

A passage from Herodotos is analyzed in the essay on loose and periodic style.

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Plato: Protagoras

Just as Herodotos could deftly mix what later ages saw as naive and sophisticated elements of diction and style, so also, even when Attic prose had reached its fullest development, Plato, who deftly worked in a variety of styles, could impart a flavor of archaic simplicity when one of his characters had occasion to tell a story. The selection from the Protagoras, in which the great sophist (a contemporary of Herodotos and Anaxagoras) tells a myth explaining how Justice took her place among human beings, may be intended in part as a parody of Protagoras’ style; too few direct quotations of him survive for us to be sure, and in any case Plato only has Protagoras speak this way when he is telling a fable. Sokrates tells a similar story in a similar way in his reply to Kallikles at the end of the Gorgias. In any case, naive though it may at first seem, any Platonic fable will reveal, when closely studied, an elegant and playful sophistication.

A passage from Protagoras’ fable is analyzed in the essay on loose and periodic style.

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The Old Oligarch (pseudo-Xenophon)

Very little is left of Attic literary prose before the late fifth century. Indeed, although laws and decrees had been committed to writing since the time of Drakon, the speeches which were so important in Athenian political life seem not to have been written down in permanent form. Thus even so acclaimed a speaker as Perikles left no written works.

One of the few surviving examples of “political prose” from the mid-fifth century is the pamphlet The Constitution of the Athenians (Athenaion Politeia), dating probably from just before 440 and written in a simple and unsophisticated Attic, which has come down to us in the manuscripts of Xenophon. Since its author displays a distinctly anti-democratic bias, he is usually called in English the Old Oligarch. His basic sentence structure is simple, with little variety; he does not hesitate to repeat words and phrases. He says what he has to say plainly and with no pretension to literary elegance. But his writing is lively: he imagines his audience asking him questions about the strange ways of the Athenians, and both these questions and their answers are nicely sarcastic and reveal a deadpan sense of humor.

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Thrasymachos of Chalkedon (fl. c. 430-400), prominent in book 1 of Plato’s Republic as the advocate of the idea that justice is the interest of the stronger party (to tou kreittonos sumpheron), was reputed to have invented periodic style and to have been the first to pay attention to prose rhythm. The one substantial fragment of his prose which survives (quoted in large part here), has a distinctly different character from that of the selections just discussed. For Thrasymachos long and well-organized sentences seem to have been not an occasional effort for special effect but the normal, continuous way of expressing himself.

The mark of periodic style is that the reader (or hearer) knows, at every stage of each sentence, that the speaker is embarked upon a well-directed and delimited course, like a runner headed out to the turning-post and back again. Nothing comes as an abrupt surprise: at the beginning we expect further development; near the end we expect the finish. Compared to Isokrates and Demosthenes, Thrasymachos is unpolished and not quite elegant. But he is still writing the same kind of Greek–a considerably more sophisticated Attic than that of the Old Oligarch. [See the remarks of Denniston, Greek Prose Style, p. 15; H. C. Gotoff, “Thrasymachus of Chalcedon and Ciceronian Style.”] Thrasymachos is said to have written some sort of handbook of rhetoric, perhaps more a series of examples than a systematic treatment.

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Antiphon of Rhamnous in Attica (c. 480-411) is the first of the Attic orators whose works survive to any extent. (Some identify him with the sophist of the same name, an opponent of Sokrates of whom some fragments survive, but that Antiphon may be a separate figure. M. Gagarin, in his 1997 edition of Antiphon’s speeches, makes the case for considering the two Antiphons one and the same.) Antiphon was a logographos who wrote speeches for others to deliver in court. Three of these survive; the opening section of the speech On the Murder of Herodes is assigned in Greek 701. The speaker is accused of murdering a fellow passenger who disappeared during a stopover on a voyage.

Also extant are three tetralogies (tetralogiai) attributed to Antiphon: sets of four speeches, alternatively for prosecution and defense, in imaginary murder cases. (These have recently been dated to the fourth century [See E. Carawan in AJP 114 (1993), cited by Kennedy, A New History of Classical Rhetoric 24], but Gagarin considers them Antiphon’s work.) The Tetralogies provide examples of a type of rhetorical exercise important throughout antiquity and recall the charge leveled against those who taught argumentation, including Sokrates, that they made the weaker argument the stronger.

Antiphon was not himself a public speaker, but he did play a role in public life: he helped to organize the oligarchic revolution of 411, for which he was tried and executed. Thucydides speaks highly of his intellect and persuasive ability. The selections included here show Antiphon’s style at its most formal: his sentences are mostly periodic, with careful balance and antithesis of clauses and frequent repetition of sound-patterns from one clause to another. Comparing him with later orators, ancient critics were struck by his austerity and dignity.

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In all of Greek no author has a personal style as idiosyncratic and demanding as Thucydides (c. 460-c. 400). In particular, the speeches in his History of the Peloponnesian War and those passages (such as 1.20-22) where he gives his own analysis of events have kept commentators busy since ancient times. It is a truism that the speeches make virtually no attempt to imitate the style of the individual speakers. Rather, they show Thucydides at work, closely analyzing the arguments which were presented on each occasion.

Critics comment on the compression, rapidity, and density of his style, his aversion to formal parallelism and emphatic connectives, his innovations in abstract expression, his displacement of words and postponement of conclusions, his powerful understatements. At its best, the complex development of Thucydides’ sentences seems to mirror exactly the unfolding of his thoughts, so that to understand one is at once to understand the other. The archaism of his dialect (-ss- for -tt-, xun for sun, es for eis) and his occasional use of “poetic” words contribute to an impression of both austerity and grandeur.

We should bear in mind, however, that the distinction between the vocabulary of prose and poetry had not been fully established in Thucydides’ time. One should remember, too, that Thucydides, like his predecessor Herodotos, was a skilled narrator; when he is describing the events of the war, his style is more straightforward, though still unmistakably Thucydidean. For a detailed account of Thucydides’ style see Dover‘s edition of Book VII, pp. xiii-xviii. Along with Antiphon, Thrasymachos and the Old Oligarch, Thucydides, who states (1.1) that he began writing his history at the beginning of the war, represents what one might call “Old Attic” literary prose, composed before Attic had reached its full development as a medium for orators, philosophers, and historians.

In Greek 701 we read the Melian Dialogue. The austerity and complexity of Thucydides’ style in this famous passage repays comparison with that of other writers presenting similar arguments, especially Gorgias in his Enkomion of Helen.

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One of the strangest events in the history of Attic prose was the arrival in Athens in 427 of the rhetorician Gorgias of Leontinoi in Sicily (c. 483-376). As leader of an embassy he persuaded the Athenians to make an alliance with Leontinoi, and he is said to have astounded them with his novel way of speaking. He later spent a good deal of time in Athens, and he features prominently, of course, in the dialogue of Plato which bears his name. He specialized in epideictic oratory (epideiktike) and boasted that he could speak at any length on any topic.

Selections from his Encomium of Helen, which survives complete and is the most ornate of his extant works, are read in Greek 701; also preserved are Gorgias’ Defense of Palamedes and fragments of an Epitaphios or funeral speech, as well as accounts of a work peri tou me ontos e peri phuseos. In this last Gorgias made the notorious assertions (frag. 3 Diels) that: Being does not exist; if it did exist human beings could not know it; if we could know it we could not communicate it.

Gorgias’ work shows a style that is nothing if not distinctive: short, balanced, antithetical clauses, closely corresponding in length and sound with one another; echoing sounds in the same and similar words; constant word-play and word-coinage; an overall impression that words and parts of words are being juggled by a magician. Gorgias himself calls his Helen a paignion, a “game” or “trifle”, so perhaps his style was somewhat more subdued when he was pleading a serious cause. (The very fact that our text of Gorgias is in Attic dialect suggests that this showman adapted the Ionian dialect of Leontinoi to his most important audience–unless the later manuscript tradition has simply regularized what he wrote.) It is notable that in Plato’s Gorgias, where Sokrates disputes Gorgias’ assertion that rhetoric is a tekhne, Gorgias himself speaks in a relatively un-Gorgianic manner; his student Polos is more sharply satirized.

As teacher and showman Gorgias, who returned to spend a lot of time in Athens after his first visit, had a substantial influence on Attic prose, both directly and through his students. Polos, for example, became a teacher in his own right and wrote a rhetorical handbook. More generally, no one afterward, of whatever stylistic bent, could write Attic Greek without an awareness of the skhemata Gorgieia, “Gorgianic figures” as they came to be called, involving sound-play and balanced clauses of nearly equal length. Whether one used them or avoided them, there was no ignoring them.

Of course, there was nothing new about balance, antithesis, assonance, or homoioteleuton in Greek, as a glance at the text of Sophokles and Euripides (or even Homer) will show. [See D. Fehling, Die Wiederholungsfiguren und ihr Gebrauch bei den Griechen vor Gorgias.] Nor was there anything new in the kind of argumentation Gorgias offered. What was new was a style of which these figures comprise the very fabric, a style whose incantatory power could only fully be felt by those for whom words, far from being arbitrary sets of phonemes, “had” meaning. As Gorgias himself said, logos dunastes megas estin, “speech is a powerful master”. (Encomium of Helen 10).

A passage from the Encomium is analyzed in the essay on loose and periodic style.

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Plato: Agathon

While Plato refrains from other than gentle parody of Gorgias, the tragic playwright Agathon (c. 445-401), who seems to have adopted with gusto the Gorgianic figures, is the target of an amusing send-up in the Symposium. The dialogue takes place at his house; the symposiasts are celebrating Agathon’s victory at the Lenaia in 416. Aristophanes also lampoons him in the Thesmophoriazusae (411), where we see him composing a play about women while dressed as a woman, and lending Euripides women’s clothes as a disguise. Like Euripides, Agathon is said to have taken up residence at the court of king Archelaos of Macedonia at the end of his life. He was an innovator, as evidenced by his composing a tragedy, the Antheus, with a fictional, not a mythical story (Aristotle, Poetics 1451b21).

Plato cares very little for strict chronology in the settings of his dialogues, but the evidence of Plato and Aristophanes together suggests that the Gorgianic style had achieved a certain vogue within a decade of Gorgias’ first visit. The extent to which Gorgias influenced Antiphon and Thucydides, who were a generation older than Agathon, is less clear. John Finley has argued persuasively that Thucydides’ style was fully formed before Gorgias came on the scene; heightened sensitivity to “Gorgianic” figures, which had always been present to some degree in Greek poetry and literary prose, led some, but not all, later readers to see the influence of Gorgias himself even on those who were fully mature before he came to Athens. The Gorgianic elements in Agathon’s style, then, are of a different order from those which some see in the styles of Antiphon and Thucydides.

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Attic oratory and Attic Greek came of age with Lysias (c. 459-c. 380), a metic (metoikos) or resident alien who lived much of his life in Athens. His father was Kephalos, whom Perikles brought to the city from Syracuse; his brothers were Polemarchos and Euthydemos. The family ran a prosperous business manufacturing shields; their property was seized by the Thirty Tyrants in 404/3. Kephalos is best known from Book 1 of Plato’s Republic, where he helps begin the discussion of justice but excuses himself to attend to a sacrifice, and Polemarchos is the vigorous if feckless defender, immediately afterward, of the idea that justice consists of helping one’s friends and harming one’s enemies.

Like Antiphon, Lysias became a logographos, a writer of speeches for delivery in court. He wrote more than 200 speeches, of which 34 are extant in whole or in part; in addition to forensic speeches they include an Epitaphios and a fragment of an Olympikos logos delivered in 388 at Olympia and arguing for unity among the Greeks. The erotikos logos which Phaidros reads to Sokrates in Plato’s Phaidros is more likely a close imitation by Plato than an actual speech by Lysias.

Indeed, in Lysias and the Corpus Lysiacum K. J. Dover has argued, from a detailed stylistic analysis, that only a single extant speech can with certainty be attributed to Lysias–the speech Against Eratosthenes, the one speech delivered by Lysias himself. (This speech is read in Greek 701.) Lysias is prosecuting Eratosthenes, one of the Thirty Tyrants, who had Polemarchos killed. The outcome of the case is not known.

Critics ancient and modern hold Lysias up as a model of clarity, simplicity, and brevity, especially adept at vivid narration and at fitting each speech to the character which the speaker wishes to display. Lysias’ is an artful simplicity, achieved by careful choice of ordinary words and the arrangement of these words in a seemingly effortless but often complex sentence structure.

And while Lysias eschews the theatricality of Gorgias, he does not hesitate to use rhetorical figures at moments of heightened emotion, especially when he is speaking in his own person, as a well-regarded rhetorician, against Eratosthenes. An important element in Lysias’ Greek, often overlooked in brief characterizations of him, is his subtle modulation from loose to periodic style, from plain speaking to more exalted utterance–and a sure sense of when to return to “normal” speech.

See also the entry in the Perseus Encyclopedia.

Passages from Lysias are analyzed in the essay on loose and periodic style.

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Xenophon (c. 428-c. 354), like his contemporary Plato, was a student of Sokrates. An aristocrat, he left Athens in 401, not to return until 366/5. He saw extensive military service under various commanders and as a commander himself; he developed strong ties to the Spartans. His writings span the range of history and philosophy; they include an Apology of Sokrates and a Symposium, as well as four books of Memorabilia (apomnemoneumata, “Recollections”) of his teacher and a continuation of Thucydides’ history, the Hellenika, in 7 books covering the period from 411 to 362.

His Anabasis (Kurou anabasis, “The Upland March of Kyros”), a selection from which is assigned in Greek 701, describes the expedition in Asia Minor of a troop of Greek mercenaries commanded by Kyros, a pretender to the throne of Persia. The foray was unsuccessful, and Xenophon led the troops back to a Greek settlement at Trapezous (Trebizond) on the Black Sea. In the selection from the Anabasis read in Greek 701 Xenophon describes the crisis caused by the defeat of the expedition; his original decision, after consulting with Sokrates, to go on the expedition; and a dream which gave him some hope that all would end well.

Xenophon is a versatile and clear stylist, whether recounting dialogues with Sokrates, military maneuvers, or speeches delivered by various leaders. As with Lysias, however, whom Xenophon most resembles, clarity is not the same thing as simplicity: Xenophon’s sentence structure can be quite complex. Intellectually Xenophon is far from being the equal of Thucydides or Plato, but he shows how supple a medium of expression Attic Greek had become. Cicero and others admired the mellifluousness of Xenophon. To appreciate him one need only compare his brother-in-arms the Old Oligarch.

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If Gorgias represented a new level of formal artistry in Attic rhetoric, Isokrates (436-338) was, for better and for worse, the supreme craftsman of formal, elevated, ornate, and carefully polished Greek.

The notion that Isokrates was a student (i.e., a follower) of Gorgias has lately been challenged: see Y. L. Too, The Rhetoric of Identity in Isocrates, Appendix 1, pp. 235-239. Isokrates knew Gorgias’ work, of course, and used “Gorgianic” devices, but there is no reason to assume a simple, linear succession.

Isokrates, like Xenophon, was a student of Sokrates, and he established, as did Plato, a school, in which he taught what one might call political rhetoric: the art of advising the people on great matters of state, of enunciating ideas and ideals, of turning the Greek cities toward the noblest goals. His school became known as a “workshop” in which outstanding speakers and leaders were produced; for him the realization of ideas in speech, and thus in action, was of prime importance, as was the building of his students’ character though contact with these ideas.

The selections assigned in this course are from his Panegyrikos, composed for the Olympic festival of 380. Isokrates labored over the speech for ten years; in it he urges the Greeks to unite against the Persians under the joint leadership of Athens and Sparta. Later Isokrates was to look to Philip of Macedon, among others, to lead the Greek cities in such a quest. Isokrates died in the year of the Battle of Chaironeia, which established Philip not as leader but as master; a tradition, which has been doubted, says that Isokrates starved himself to death.

Twenty-one speeches and nine letters of Isokrates are extant; the authenticity of some of the letters is doubtful. None of the speeches was spoken by Isokrates himself: his voice was too weak, and he was too lacking in confidence, to engage in public speaking. Indeed, the fact that his speeches were intended to be read rather than recited makes him as much a precursor of later developments, when rhetoric became divorced from the give and take of real debate, as the culmination of a tradition.

Also pointing to later, unhealthy developments, and indeed helping to cause them, was the extraordinary refinement and polish of everything Isokrates wrote. His speeches, though they argue serious matters of policy, are at the same time epideixeis, “demonstrations” of his art: Isokrates invariably expressed himself in expansive periodic sentences, replete with antitheses, meticulously balanced, and carefully rounded. He took exquisite care over the choice of words, shunning diction too poetic or recherche or vulgar; in his arrangement of words, he studiously avoided harsh clashes of consonants and obsessively avoided hiatus (the juxtaposition of vowels or diphthongs at the end of one word and the beginning of another).

The texture of his prose is thus always the same; there are no rough patches, and never a surprise. Ancient critics admired his formal perfection but faulted him for lacking variety, pungency, and emotive force. This is not to say that his style was always exactly the same. See the detailed analysis of S. Usher, “The Style of Isocrates”.

Isocratean sentences are analyzed in the essay on loose and periodic style.

The generation which followed Isokrates saw the beginning of the Hellenistic Age and the spread of Greek as the language of educated people far and wide

. But the careful elaboration of Isokratean Greek gave way, in large part, to the undisciplined bombast of “Asianic” style. And ever since Isokrates’ time, and even earlier, it has been all too easy for writers of Greek to express themselves with frigid formality.

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While the art of Isokrates is all too apparent, Plato (429-347) is the most subtle, elegant and versatile writer in the history of Greek prose. Critics have long noted that it is difficult to speak of his “style” since, except in the Letters, Plato himself does not speak: his characters do. What is more, in a single dialogue Plato can range from a straightforward conversational style to poetical flights of fancy to comic parodies to grave and dignified exhortations. His powers as a writer of Attic Greek are apparent in the way his language, in choice of words, sentence structure, and overall tone, shapes itself effortlessly to fit perfectly each speaker, occasion, and subject.

And since Plato himself remains in the background, we must always be aware of his irony, which is even more pervasive than that of his master Sokrates. Students who try to imitate Plato sometimes take words or phrases out of context and create a strange sort of hybrid Greek unsuited to the thoughts they are trying to express. And even Dionysios of Halikarnassos, otherwise a shrewd critic, faults Plato for his poetic excursions–forgetting the dramatic context of these verbal flights.

We have already seen how, in Protagoras’ myth and Agathon’s encomium, Plato can imitate the style of others, subtly or not-so-subtly. In order to see Plato’s “own” style to the extent possible, we must also confront the problem of genre: just as historical narrative, political or courtroom oratory, storytelling, and epideictic speeches require different means of expression, so do philosophical dialogues, where people converse less formally and often exchange brief and elliptical remarks. If Plato is representing the conversation of educated Athenians during the last part of the fifth century, one would expect deftness, elegance, and subtlety of expression, but not, perhaps, the rhetorical formality and periodic closure that even so plain a courtroom speaker as Lysias can employ–to say nothing of Isokratean grandiloquence. Indeed, when Plato’s speakers lapse into a “rhetorical” or tumid style, as Gorgias sometimes does, Sokrates will usually stop them short.

[A sentence of Plato, termed by Demetrios a “philosophical” period (more loosely organized than a rhetorical period), is analyzed in the essay on loose and periodic style].

Rather than examine conversational style and compare apples with oranges, the assignments in this course include two extensive formal speeches from the Gorgias: Kallikles’ claim that it is just for the stronger to rule the weaker and possess more, and Sokrates’ final rebuttal of this idea, where he claims that one must follow the philosopher’s way of life, not that of the power-seeking politician.

These speeches have special interest both from the inherent importance of their subject and especially because Plato deploys all his resources to make each, both intellectually and emotively, as persuasive as possible. There is story-telling, quotation of poetry, exhortation, sarcasm, and, above all and infusing everything, a moral earnestness (as the nineteenth century might have put it) adroitly served by language which rises to a persuasive grandeur unattainable by strictly formal rhetoric. As commentators have noted, part of the effect of these speeches comes from the repetition of a few key words, not at regular, predictable intervals, but more subtly interwoven into each speech. Especially notable is the way Sokrates pointedly uses Kallikles’ very words against him.

These passages also illustrate a general characteristic of Plato’s style: his impatience with elaborate structures and formal symmetries. Plato often breaks off a sentence when it gets too complex, and begins it again. This formal anakolouthon actually makes long and complex sentences easier to understand and mirrors more accurately the way people really speak. Thus Plato’s sentences are sometimes formally unorganized, but better for it. As for rhetorical figures, they are present in abundance in these two speeches, disguised just beneath the surface. In Sokrates’ final speech in the Gorgias Plato shows how the true persuasive art, rather than the flattery (kolakeia) of rhetoric, can be directed toward the highest goals.

Isokrates’ relationship with Plato, whose Sokrates praises the young Isokrates in the Phaidros, is unclear. Plato’s quarrel with rhetoric need not, perhaps, imply a personal animosity toward Isokrates. But the two did run rival schools. And it is hard to imagine so subtle an ironist as Plato reading with any pleasure a long stretch of Isokratean prose!

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Critics have long agreed that the supreme Greek orator is Demosthenes (384-322). In Greek 701 we study selections from his oration On the Crown (peri tou stephanou, De Corona), delivered in 330, after Philip and Alexander had triumphed. In 337/6 Demosthenes’ political ally Ktesiphon had proposed that Demosthenes be awarded a crown at the Dionysia for his efforts on behalf of the city, especially in strengthening Athens’ defenses after the battle of Chaironeia. Demosthenes’ rival Aischines brought a graphe paranomon against Ktesiphon, claiming that for various reasons the decree was illegal. Demosthenes’ defense of Ktesiphon in this oration is really a defense of his own entire political career, during which he steadfastly opposed the advancing power of Philip of Macedon.

The speech On the Crown is rightly regarded as the masterpiece among the dozens of Demosthenes’ speeches which survive. Though he was on the losing side, he vigorously defends the course which he took and compares himself and his audience effectively to the Athenians of earlier generations, including the heroes of Marathon and Salamis who refused to surrender to the Persians. So successful was Demosthenes’ defense that Aischines failed to get the required one-fifth of the jury’s votes and was forced to pay a penalty. He apparently left Athens for Rhodes soon afterward and taught rhetoric there.

[Aischines (c. 397-c. 322) was a well-regarded orator in his own right and later joined Demosthenes, Isokrates, Lysias, and Antiphon in the canon of ten Attic orators (the others are Andokides, Isaios, Lykourgos, Hyperides, and Deinarchos). Three of his speeches survive, including the speech Against Ktesiphon to which Demosthenes replies in On the Crown.]

As a speaker Demosthenes is everything that Isokrates is not. He achieves an astonishing intensity, variety, and freshness of emotional expression. He never lets his audience anticipate what he will say next. No one creates periodic sentences longer or more complex, or so skillfully suspends the conclusion of a thought. No one has a better instinct for when to vary periodic structure with simpler sentences, or when to break off with a single word. No one better handles the thrust and parry of rhetorical questions and answers, sarcastic asides to and about his opponent, and sudden exclamations. No one can shift his tone so swiftly or with such effect.

There is above all a forcefulness about Demosthenes, which he achieves by the most careful art–as the analysis of any page of this speech will show. He combines the compression and force of Thucydides with every rhetorical artifice of which Attic Greek had become capable. Like Plato and Thucydides, whose brilliance he equals, Demosthenes avoids the obviously “rhetorical” while being profoundly, in the best sense and for the highest goals, rhetorical. The ancient critics spoke of his deinotes. Used of Demosthenes, the word means more than “cleverness”.

On Demosthenes’ style see the introduction to S. Usher‘s edition of the speech On the Crown, pp. 19-28; G. Ronnet, Etude sur le style de Demosthene dans les discours politiques. On the difference between Isokrates and Demosthenes see E. Laughton, “Cicero and the Greek Orators.”

Demosthenic sentences are analyzed in the essay on loose and periodic style.

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Hegesias of Magnesia (3rd c. B.C.E.) wrote a history of Alexander, a fragment of which is read in Greek 701. The staccato effect of his short, rhythmical clauses is more reminiscent of Gorgias than Gorgias’ successors. His exotic language and untamed metaphors serve to remind one how restrained was the language of the best writers of Attic and indeed of all good Greek.

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Antiochos I

King Antiochos I of Kommagene in northern Syria (1st c. B.C.E.), who submitted to Pompey and was later overthrown by Antony, constructed a royal tomb for himself on Mount Tauros. Part of the inscription on it is included here. The orotundity of Antiochos is as different as possible from the controlled rhetorical fire of Demosthenes. It is a useful exercise to determine why this is so, since the kingly trappings of Antiochos’ style outwardly, at least, resemble those of good Attic Greek.

We can be thankful that Cicero, Dionysios of Halikarnassos, and others rebelled against the excesses of Asianism and helped to establish earlier authors as models.