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Extant literature of Political Oratory: 354—324 B.C.

Apart from the scantiest fragments,—preserved chiefly by Aristotle in the Rhetoric, and handed down to him mainly, it would seem, like the sayings of Perikles, by oral tradition—the extant literature of Attic Political Oratory begins with the speech of Demosthenes on the Navy Boards, in 354 B.C., and ends with the speeches of Deinarchos against Demosthenes, Aristogeiton and Philokles in 324 B.C.

In this period of thirty years, our concern, as defined by the scope of our inquiry, is no longer with details either of style or of work. It is, here, with tendencies or characteristics, considered as showing in what general relation the perfecters

Deinarchos.
stand to the inventors. Now, in the first place, Deinarchos may be set aside as being, for this purpose, valueless. The reason of Dionysios for not giving him a separate treatment is equally good for us. He was neither an inventor nor a perfecter1. He has, indeed, been called the best among the imitators of Demosthenes2. But the praise would be faint, even if the epithets3 with which antiquity qualified it, did not attest a coarseness in the copy which is not less evident to modern readers. Hermogenes, his too lenient judge, admits his want of finish4. A more serious defect is his dependence on imitation or on plagiarism; and it follows that he has nothing to show us which is not incomparably better shown by Demosthenes.

Lykurgos, Hypereides, Aeschines, Demosthenes are the four men who illustrate the maturity of civil eloquence. Each has an interest of his own, and each serves, in his own way, to show the unity of the whole Attic development.

1 Dionys. de Dinarch. 1, μήτε εὑρετὴν ἰδίου γεγονέναι χαρακτῆρος τὸν ἄνδρα, ὥσπερ τὸν Λυσίαν, καὶ τὸν Ἰσοκράτην, καὶ τὸν Ἰσαῖον, μήτε τῶν εὑρημένων ἑτέροις τελειωτήν, ὥσπερ τὸν Δημοσθένην καὶ τὸν Αἰσχίνην καὶ Ὑπερείδην ἡμεῖς κρίνομεν. ib. c. 5. οὐδὲν οὔτε κοινὸν οὔτ᾽ ἴδιον ἔσχεν—‘no one stamp of his own—no distinctive trait’.

2 ib. c. 8 τούτων (=τῶν τὸν Δημοσθένη προχειρισαμένων) ἄριστον ἄν τις θείη Δείναρχον γενέσθαι.

3 Deinarchos was called ἄγροικος Δημοσθένης, Dionys. l.c. c. 8. Also, κρίθινος Δημοσθένης, Hermog. περὶ ἰδ. B. 11, Speng. Rh. Gr. II. 413. This curious epithet has been taken to mean (1) ‘coarse’, as barley opposed to fine wheat, Schol. in Walz Rh. Gr. v. 560 =οὐ σίτινος: (2) ‘skittish’, like a κριθῶν πῶλος, Ruhnken, Hist. crit. Or Gr.: (3) ‘like beer compared with wine’, Donalds. contin. of Müller Hist. Gr. Lit. II. 369, comparing Aesch. Suppl 930,ἀλλ᾽ ἄρσενάς τοι τῆσδε γῆς οἰκήτορας εὑρήσετ᾽ οὐ πίνοντας ἐκ κριθῶν μέθυ”. The last is probably right. Α κρίθινος Δημοσθένης is one whose strength is rougher, and who has neither the flavour nor the sparkle. As Hermog. says, l.c., he has τὸ τραχὺ καὶ γοργὸν καὶ σφοδρόν, ὥστ᾽ ἤδη τινέςand so they call him κρίθινος. Cf. hordearius.

4 Hermog. l.c. ἧττον ἐπιμελὴς λόγος αὐτῷ. The same critic, in allowing him ‘fiery earnestness’ and ‘vehemence’, observes, with truth, that the latter quality depends rather on his thoughts and method than on his diction.

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