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Birth of Antiphon.

Antiphon was born about the year 480 B. C.1, being thus rather younger than Gorgias, and some eight or nine years older than the historian Thucydides. He was of the tribe of Aiantis and of the deme of Rhamnus2; of a family which cannot have been altogether obscure, since it was made a reproach to him on his trial that his grandfather had been a partisan of the Peisistratidae3. The tradition that his father Sophilos was a sophist antedates by a generation the appearance of that class of teachers4, and may have been suggested simply by the jingle of the words5. Antiphon himself, as the style of his composition indicates, must have felt the sophistic influence; but there is no evidence for his having been the pupil of any particular sophist. He is allowed by general consent to have been the first
Antiphon the first λογογραφος.
representative at Athens of a profession for which the new conditions of the time had just begun to make a place, — the first λογογράφος, or writer of speeches for money6. With the recent growth of Rhetoric as a definite art, the inequality, for purposes of pleading or debating, between men who had and who had not mastered the newly-invented weapons of speech had become seriously felt. A rogue skilled in the latest subtleties of argument and graces of style was now more than ever formidable to the plain man whom he chose to drag before a court or to attack in the ekklesia: and those who had no leisure or taste to become rhetoricians now began to find it worth while to buy their rhetoric ready-made. Forensic speeches were, no doubt, those with which Antiphon most frequently supplied his clients. But Hermogenes7 describes him as ‘the inventor and founder of the political style’,—a phrase including deliberative as well as forensic oratory: and this exactly agrees with the statement of Thucydides that Antiphon was practised in aiding, not only those who had lawsuits, but debaters in the ekklesia8. Besides being a speech-writer, he was also a teacher of rhetoric, and, as the allusion in the Menexenos9 implies, the most fashionable master of Plato's time
Antiphon and Thucydides.
at Athens. The tradition that Thucydides was the pupil of Antiphon may have been suggested by the warmth and emphasis of the passage in which the orator is mentioned by the historian10; a passage which, in its sudden glow of a personal admiration, recalls two others in the History—the tribute to the genius of Themistokles, and the character of Perikles. In the tradition itself there is nothing improbable, but it wants the support of evidence. The special relation of master to pupil need not be assumed to account for a tone which congeniality of literary taste11, common sufferings at the hands of the democracy, or perhaps personal friendship, would sufficiently explain.

1 [Plut.] Vitt. X. Oratt.γέγονε κατὰ τὰ Περσικὰ καὶ Γοργίαν τὸν σοφιστὴν, ὀλίγῳ νεώτερος αὐτοῦ”. Gorgias can scarcely have been more than seventy in 411 B.C. Blass would place the birth of Gorgias ‘a few years’ below 496 (Att. Bereds. p. 45). Clinton suggests 485 (sub ann. 427).

2 He is often distinguished as the ‘Rhamnusian’ from namesakes. Of these there are especially three with whom his ancient biographers —the pseudo-Plutarch, Philostratos, Photios (cod. 259), and the anonymous author of the γένος Ἀντιφῶντος—frequently confuse him. I. The Antiphon who was put to death by the Thirty Tyrants, seven years after the orator's death: Xen. Hellen. III. 40. He had furnished two triremes at his own cost during the war: and of him Philostratos is probably thinking when he says of the orator,ἐστρατήγησε πλεῖστα, ἐνίκησε πλεῖστα, ἑξήκοντα τριήρεσι πεπληρωμέναις ηὔξησεν Ἀθηναίοις τὸ ναυτικόν”. The speech of Lysias περὶ τῆς Ἀντιφῶντος θυγατρός (pseudo-Plut. Vitt. X. Oratt.) referred to his daughter. II. Antiphon the tragedian, put to death by Dionysios the elder, towards the end of his reign, i.e. about 370 B. C.: Arist. Rhet. II. 6. The anonymous biographer says of the orator,τραγῳδίας ἐποίει”: and Philostratos describes him as put to death by Dionysios for criticising his tragedies. III. Antiphon the Sophist, introduced by Xenophon as disputing with Sokrates, Memor. I. 6. 1. Diogenes calls him τερατοσκόπος (soothsayer), Suidas, ὀνειροκριτής — by which title he is often referred to. Hermogenes expressly distinguishes him from the orator (περὶ ἰδεῶν, II. 497); but they are confused by the pseudo-Plut. and by Photios.

3 Harpokration s. v. στασιώτης.

4 K. O. Múller, Hist. Gr. Lit. c. XXXIII., Vol. II. p. 105, ed. Donaldson.

5 Donalds., note, ibid.

6 [Plut.] Vitt. X. Oratt. λόγους συνέγραψε πρῶτος ἐπὶ τοῦτο τραπεὶς, ὥσπερ τινές φασι. Diod. ap. Clem. Alex. Strom. I. 365, πρῶτον δικανικὸν λόγον ἐς ἔκδοσιν γραψάμενον.

7 Hermog. περὶ ἰδ. II. p. 415, λἑγεται εὑρετὴς καὶ ἀρχηγὸς γενέσθαι τοῦ τύπου τοῦ πολιτικοῦ. By πολιτικοὶ λόγοι, as distinguished from διαλεκτική, were meant both συμβουλευτικοί and δικανικοί: see Isokr. κατὰ σοφ. § 20.

8 Thuc. VIII. 68,τοὺς ἀγωνιζομένους καὶ ἐν δικαστηρίῳ καὶ ἐν δήμῳ...δυνάμενος ὠφελεῖν”.

9 Plat. Menex. p. 236 A.

10 [Plut.] Vitt. X. Oratt. Καικίλιος δὲ (Caecilius of Calacte, the Greek rhetorician of the time of Augustus) ἐν τῷ περὶ αὐτοῦ συντάγματι Θουκυδίδου τοῦ συγγραφέως (VIII. 68.) μ αθητὴν τεκμαίρεται γεγονἐναι, ἐξ ὧν ἐπαινεῖται παρ᾽ αὐτῷ Ἀντιφῶν. Ruhnken (Disp. de Ant.) says that some mss. have διδάσκαλον instead of μαθητήν here: Blass suggests καθηγητήν. Hermogenes (περὶ ἰδ. II. 497) refers to the tradition as one which ‘many’ receive; but rejects it for the inadequate reason that the style of Thucydides resembles that of Antiphon the Sophist (see note above) rather than that of Antiphon the orator. In Bishop Thirlwall's remarks (c. XXVIII. Vol. IV. p. 23 note, ed. 1855) I entirely concur. Ruhnken's “satis, ni fallor, demonstravimus Thucydidem ab Antiphonte esse eruditum,’” is surely not justified by his reasonings.

11 See below, ch. II. pp 23 ff., on the affinity between the styles of Antiphon and Thucydides.

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