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Avoidance of hiatus.

Before we leave the technical traits of his composition, one striking trait remains to be noticed as the special cause of his ‘smoothness.’ This is the studious, the even pedantic care with which he avoids allowing a vowel at the end of a word to be followed by a vowel at the beginning of the next1. Dionysios says that he had gone through the whole of the Areopagitikos without finding one instance of such a collision2. The artificialism soon makes itself felt; and, as one critic justly says, a possible music of clashing sounds is lost3. In this, as in greater things, Demosthenes knew how to hit the mean4.

1 For his own precept, see the frag. of his τέχνη (Sauppe II. 225)— ‘vowels must not come together’ (δεῖ τὰ φωνήεντα μὴ συμπίπτειν), ‘for the effect is lame,’ χωλὸν γὰρ τὸ τοιόνδε. Benseler, in his work De Hiatu in Oratoribus Atticis et Historicis Graecis, has applied this test to the whole extant text of Isokrates (Bk. I. Ch. 1).

2 De Comp. Verb. c. 23 (where he analyses §§ 1—5). Benseler examines this statement (pp. 7—9). Among the more striking instances of hiatus in our text of the Areopagitikos are ὑμᾶς γε ᾤοντο, § 57: —ὥστε οὔτε, § 80.

3 Demetrios περὶ ἑρμηνειας § 68: who adds, in § 72, that such clashing, σύγκρουσις, suits the μεγαλοπρεπὴς χαρακτήρ. Dionysios (Dem. c. 4), Quintilian (IX. 4 § 35) and Hermogenes (περὶ ἰδ. ά c. 12) agree with Demetrios in thinking the solicitude of Isokrates in this matter excessive: while Plutarch, with a somewhat frigid sarcasm, asks how Isokrates, φοβούμενος φωνῆεν φωνήεντι συγκροῦσαι—could help shrinking from the Macedonian phalanx? (Deglor. Athen. c. 8, Mor. p. 350 E.) On the other hand, Longinus praises him for avoiding harsh collocations ‘which make the texture of the speech rougher and do not slide into the ear, but offend it, while they also arrest the speaker's breath’ (Rhet. § 9, p. 560 in Speng. Rh. Gr. I. 306).

4 See Schäfer, Demosth. Vol. III. p. 317 note 2.

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