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Place of Isaeos in Attic Oratory

Relatively to the history of Attic Oratory, it is, for us, the unique interest of Isaeos that he represents the final period of transition. His profession was to write speeches which others were to speak in the law-courts, and this almost wholly in private causes. He takes account, therefore, of the pattern first made clear by Lysias; he tries somewhat to make it seem as if the private person his client, and
between ἀφέλεια
not an expert, were speaking; he aims at plainness, ἀφέλεια. But, since the time of Lysias, the expert's art itself has been growing more complete, more confident, more irrepressible. By the side of the Lysian ‘plainness’ there has arisen, in its full strength, technical mastery, δεινότης,—no longer haughty,
and δεινότης.
distrustful, self-secluding, as in the days of Antiphon, but now each day more frankly and fearlessly triumphant. If Isaeos had been an artist of genius, he would have made his choice, even if he had not widened his scope, and probably would have hastened by one generation the maturity of civil eloquence. But, confined almost wholly to private causes, he did not dare altogether to forsake the Lysian simplicity for which he had no real gift, or decisively to assume that open, energetic art towards which his inborn strength drew him. He hesitated: and he remains, therefore, an able compromise—the
His meaning,
first advocate who was at once morally persuasive and logically powerful, without either entrancing by the grace of his ethical charm or constraining by the imperious brilliancy of his art; one from
relatively to Demosthenes,
whom Demosthenes learned the best technical lessons that Antiphon or Thucydides could teach, in a form, at once strict and animated, serviceable under conditions which they had not known; a contributor, by these means, to the success of Demosthenes both in the forensic and in other fields, but no more the author of his victories than he is the kindler of his enthusiasm: yet, for the modern world, not the
and in himself
less, but the more, a man who speaks with his own voice and stands for his own work—the earliest master of forensic controversy.

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