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Similarities between Demosthenes and Isaeos

As regards composition, the likeness consists in
Likeness of Demosthenes to Isaeos—in Composition:
adaptation to real contests by the blending of terse, vigorous, and not too formal periods with passages of more lax and fluent ease1; in vividness of presentment2; and in that dramatic vivacity which is given by rhetorical question, by irony, and, in general, by the ‘figures of thought3.’ As regards treatment of
in Treatment of Subject-matter:
subject-matter, Demosthenes has borrowed the versatile arrangement of Isaeos; he shifts or interweaves the divisions according to the case; though his more temperate art nowhere copies his master in discarding the proem. That, however, in which the discipleship of Demosthenes to Isaeos is most surely and most strikingly seen is in his development and elaboration
especially of Proof.
of systematic proof — depending sometimes on a chain of arguments, sometimes on a single proposition illustrated and confirmed from several points of view, but always enforced by keen logic and apt law4. Closely connected with this is the most distinctive single trait which the younger man took from the elder, and which is the more noticeable because it is perhaps the chief Isaean lesson which Demosthenes was able to carry from the Forensic field into the Deliberative: what in Greek would be called τὸ ἐναγώνιον, and in English might be paraphrased as ‘the art of grappling.’

1 See, e.g., Dem. Or. XXXVI., For Phormio. The ease of Isaeos sometimes tends to be slipshod; that of Demosthenes, never.

2 Cf. Plut. Δημοσθένους καὶ Κικέρ. σύγκρισις, c. 1: Δημοσθένης ...ὑπερβαλλόμενος ἐναργείᾳ μὲν καὶ δεινότητι τοὺς ἐπὶ τῶν ἀγώνων καὶ τῶν δικῶν συνεξεταζομένους.

3 See above, p. 285.

4 Theon celebrates the legal learning of Demosthenes, referring to him as an exemplar of argument for the abrogation (ἀνασκευή) of laws—e.g. in the Speeches Against Timokrates, Aristokrates and Leptines (προγυμν. II. p. 166, Sp. Rh. Gr. II. 69): again in I. 150 (ib. p. 61) he adds to these the De Corona and Androtion as proofs that οἱ κάλλιστοι τῶν Δημοσθενικῶν λόγων εἰσιν, ἐν οἷς περὶ νόμου ψηφίσματος ἀμφισβητεῖται.

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