Careers of Isaeos and Demosthenes.
Isaeos was, through life, a professional writer of speeches for the lawcourts, and this, so far as appears, almost exclusively in private causes. Demosthenes, after the lawsuit with his guardians, sought to repair the fortunes which they had brought low by working in the calling which such men as Antiphon, Lysias and Isaeos had followed before him. A host of private speeches, not his, are given to him in the collection of Kallimachos. But, to take those only of which the genuineness is tolerably certain, we have proof that he wrote for private causes from 361 to
Demosthenes engaged in Private Causes:
345 B.C. After the two speeches Against Aphobos in 363 and the two Against Onetor in 362, we have, probably in 361, the speech Against Spudias (XLI.) and the speech Against Kallikles (LV.); in 356 (probably) the speech Against Konon (LIV.); in 352, the speech For Phormio (XXXVI.); in 350, the speech Against Boeotos concerning the Name (XXXIX.); in 345, the speech Against Pantaenetos (XXXVII.), and probably the speech Against Nausimachos (XXXVIII.)1
. But, meanwhile, he had another occupation, a higher,
and one which, for him, made a stepping-stone to the highest. During the years 355—350 B.C. he was concerned with four public causes—Against
Androtion, Against Leptines, Against Timokrates, Against Aristokrates,—the object in each case being to obtain the repeal of a new decree or law which had been carried by corrupt influences and which was dangerous to the public interests. Each of these four speeches is at once an interpretation of positive right and a vindication of political morality —a protest against the civic apathy which was suffering the resources of the State to be crippled, its powers to be abused for personal ends, its safeguards against foreign foes to be broken down. The same five years saw Demosthenes enter on that
direct participation in public life for which this concernment with public causes formed a preparation; his speech On the Navy Boards was delivered in 354, the First Philippic in 351. Thus, while continuing to exercise the profession of Isaeos, Demosthenes had already passed through a second phase of activity, and had even made trial of that crowning sphere in which the great work of his life was to be done. Almost from the first, therefore, Demosthenes
exerted his force under more liberal conditions than those prescribed by the narrow scope of the writer for private causes; almost from the first his natural intensity was free to ally itself with the oratorical
bent of the age, and, instead of refining on the art which hides itself, to wield the art which triumphs and commands. A comparison of the two orators cannot reach far; but, within its limits, it will serve to warn us against doing wrong to either.