The most complete contrast to Lykurgos, in everything except firm patriotism, is presented by his younger contemporary. Hypereides, son of Glaukippos, of a good Athenian family, had begun life as a forensic speech-writer. At an early age, in 360, he had prosecuted Autokles, a general charged with treason in a Thracian command. He had afterwards appeared as accuser against men so eminent as Aristophon of Azenia — whose oppression of the allies he exposed—and Diopeithes of Sphettos. From the Peace of 346 to the affair of Harpalos in 324 Hypereides stood by the side of Demosthenes as a leader in the struggle against Macedon. The Lamian War was especially his work; and he paid for it with his life. But while in the political sphere Hypereides was a loyal and fiery patriot, in his private character he was a true son of the new Athens. His philosophy was expressed in his own saying—μὴ δύνασθαι καλῶς ζῆν, μὴ μαθὼν τὰ καλὰ τὰ ἐν τῷ βίῳ1
: he could not live beautifully until he had learned what beautiful things there were in life. Perikles might have said that; but not in the sense of Hypereides; the study of the beautiful was ceasing to be combined either with frugality or with spiritual chastenment.
Hypereides was, like Lykurgos, a pupil of
Isokrates. But while the measured and stately flow of Isokratic numbers was in unison with the character of Lykurgos, the basis of whose style is taken from his master, it was not truly congenial to Hypereides.
His relation to Isokrates.
The chief lesson which Hypereides has learned from Isokrates is the large development of the periodic sentence. As might have been expected, Hypereides is far more Isokratic in the Epitaphios than in anything else of his that we have. The reason is, however, not so much that his diction and composition are there modified by the epideictic form; rather it is that Hypereides has thoroughly caught from Isokrates the tone of elevated panegyric, and that, in the treatment of this really noble theme, the disciple unconsciously breathes the master's spirit.
But the essential tendencies in the style of
Hypereides are those of Lysias: and this arises from no accident, but from the natures of the men. Both men united energy in public action with an easy-going, pleasure-loving, humorous temper in social life, which made them peculiarly sensitive to the niceties of social idiom in their day, and peculiarly alive, too, to the real advantages which a public speaker can derive from tact, from wit, and from personal or literary allusion. What Athenian
Sympathies of Lysias and Hypereides with Comedy.
Tragedy was to Antiphon and Aeschines, that was Athenian Comedy to Lysias and Hypereides. The description by Lysias of a persistent borrower has been noticed as illustrating the reference of Demetrios to the ‘somewhat comic graces’ of Lysias2
Hypereides had the same kind of affinity with the Middle Comedy; but he went further; he took words or turns of phrase from it; and unquestionably one great secret of his success as a speaker was his art of making a lively Athenian audience feel that here was no austere student of Thucydides, but one who was in bright sympathy with the everyday life of the time. It has been truly remarked3
that the author of the ‘School for Scandal’ may be recognised in the accuser of Warren Hastings:—
‘He remembered to have heard an honourable and learned gentleman remark that there was something in the frame and constitution of the Company which extended the sordid principles of their origin over all their successive operations; connecting with their civil policy, and even with their boldest achievements, the meanness of a pedlar and the profligacy of pirates—alike in the political and military line, could be observed auctioneering ambassadors and trading generals;—and thus we saw a revolution brought about by affidavits; an army employed in executing an arrest; a town besieged on a note of hand; a prince dethroned for the balance of an account. Thus it was, they exhibited a Government which united the mock majesty of a bloody sceptre, and the little traffic of a merchant's counting-house, wielding a truncheon with one hand, and picking a pocket with the other.’
Hypereides was the Sheridan of Athens.
Style of Hypereides, as characterised (1) by Dionysios:
:—‘Hypereides hits his mark neatly, but seldom lends grandeur to his theme. In embellishment of his diction he has surpassed Lysias; in the astuteness with which he disposes his subject-matter he has surpassed all. Then he keeps
to the issue throughout, and insists on the really strong points of his arguments. He commands the resources of a large intelligence; he has an exquisite charm; and while he appears simple, is no stranger to consummate art. He is especially to be imitated for the subtlety and symmetry of his narratives, as well as in respect to the avenues (ἔφοδοι
) by which he approaches his case.’ Elsewhere5
he names (1) strength of diction, (2) simplicity of composition, (3) tact in the handling of subject-matter, and (4) avoidance of tragic pomp, as the marks of Hypereides. This criticism seems just in the main. Hypereides resembles Lysias in general simplicity, in grace, and in tact: but has a richer vocabulary, more subtlety of arrangement, and the ampler Isokratic period. Hermogenes puts the masters of civil oratory in this
order: Demosthenes, Lysias, Isaeos, Hypereides. Observing that Hypereides has ‘very little finish’, and that his special characteristic is a want of temperance and of elegance in his diction, he instances these words —μονώτατος, γαλεάγρα, ἐκκοκκύζειν, ἐστηλοκόπηται, ἐπήβολος6
. Clearly Hermogenes judges Hypereides harshly because he could not forgive his abundant colloquialisms and his borrowing from comedy or from any literary source that would furnish a point. With this judgment it is instructive to compare that of the so-called Longinus. It is the fullest, and
in one respect the best, of the ancient notices. Dionysios does not mention the wit, the sarcasm or the irony of Hypereides; and in Hermogenes
the omission is not surprising. The treatise On Sublimity
does justice to these qualities7
‘If merits were to be counted, not weighed, Hypereides would stand far before Demosthenes. He has more tones in his voice than Demosthenes, and a greater number of special excellences. In fact, like the pentathlete, Hypereides is second-best all round; for the prize in any given branch, he comes after the specialists, but before the laymen. Besides imitating the merits of Demosthenes in everything except composition, Hypereides has further mastered in an eminent degree the excellences and the graces of Lysias. He expresses himself in the ‘plain’ manner, where it is fitting,—not with the sustained, unvarying tension of Demosthenes; and he has moral persuasiveness, with the flavour of an unstudied suavity. Incomparable wit plays about him; his sarcasm is in perfect keeping with political oratory; he is adroit with the weapons of irony; his jokes are not jarring, ill-bred, or importunate, in the ‘Attic’ manner of that generation; when he does pull people to pieces, he does it neatly, with much humour, and with the pungency of well-aimed banter; and with all this, there is a beauty of style beyond imitation. He has great power of pathos; in relating legends, he has a certain luxuriance, and a facile inspiration that wafts him most smoothly from point to point on his way;—for instance, he has managed Leto's story8
more artistically than any one
else; and, in the Funeral Oration, has perhaps surpassed all in the panegyric manner. Demosthenes, on the other hand, has no gift for delineation of character; his style is not liquid, flexible, or adapted to display; and he is comparatively deficient in each and all of the qualities just mentioned. Again, where Demosthenes strives to be jocose or witty, he makes us laugh rather at him than with him; nor is he ever so far from graciousness as when he courts it. For instance, if he had tried to write the elegant defence of Phryne or of Athenogenes he [would have shown the superiority of Hypereides] still more. The beauties of Hypereides, though many, are yet wanting in grandeur; they are of a sober character, without energy, and allow the hearer to remain placid. No reader of Hypereides feels terror. But Demosthenes is of the greatest nature. He has lofty eloquence, intensity, living passion, copiousness, rapidity of thought. Above all, that which is his own—unapproachable mastery and force of oratorical art. These are heaven-sent, astonishing gifts—human they may not be called—and, having these in their fulness, he prevails over all other orators—even over those who, like Hypereides, have beauties which he lacks. His thunders, his fire, vanquish the speakers of every age; one might as soon face with steady eyes a descending thunder-bolt, as oppose a calm front to the storm of passions which Demosthenes can arouse.’
The two points to which exception may be taken in this otherwise good criticism are, the denial to
Demosthenes of power happily to relax his style, or to delineate character; and (so far as we can judge) the denial to Hypereides of energy. As a whole, however, the estimate is probably just. Some ancient critics placed Hypereides before Demosthenes; this was preposterous; but, on the other hand, there are good grounds for believing that, among political orators, Hypereides was second to no one except Demosthenes.
The work of Hypereides is now represented by
Extant work of Hypereides.
(1) fragments of a speech for Lykophron—probably earlier than 349 B. C.: (2) the speech for Euxenippos, nearly complete, about 330 B. C.: (3) fragments of the speech against Demosthenes in the Harpalos trial, 324 B. C.: (4) the Funeral Oration over Leosthenes and the comrades who fell with him in the Lamian War, 322 B. C.: (5) several small fragments.
It is unfortunate that these remains nowhere illustrate what was especially characteristic of Hypereides—his lighter and more playful grace. But the Epitaphios is a noble monument of his graver eloquence. And the Speech Against Euxenippos— which shall first be noticed—shows his power of scathing reproof.
After the battle of Chaeroneia, Philip had
Speech Against Euxenippos.
restored Oropos to the Athenians. The territory consisted of five hills, one of which was assigned to every two of the ten Athenian tribes. A religious scruple arose about the hill assigned to the tribes Hippothoontis and Akamantis: had it not been already consecrated to the god Amphiaraos? It was resolved to ask the god himself for a sign. The ekklesia directed
Euxenippos and two others to pass a night in the temple of Amphiaraos at Oropos. It does not appear what vision they reported. Polyeuktos, however— a well-known citizen—proposed a decree directing the two tribes to restore the hill to the god, and the other eight tribes to compensate them. This proposal was adjudged to be unconstitutional, and Polyeuktos was fined. He then impeached Euxenippos for reporting falsely to the people. Lykurgos was the accuser and Hypereides the defender. Hypereides shows that Polyeuktos is illogical; that his motive is merely vindictive; and proceeds:—
‘So, if you had been acquitted on that indictment,
Col. XXX XXXIV (ed. Blass)
Euxenippos would not have been guilty of perjury against the god; but, since it happened that you were convicted, Euxenippos must be ruined! For you, the proposer of such a decree, the penalty was laid at five and twenty drachmas; but he who, by the order of the people, passed the night in the temple must not even be buried in Attic ground!
“Yes,’ you say: ‘he behaved monstrously in allowing Olympias to dedicate that cup in the temple of the Goddess of Health!’ You introduce the name of Olympias to speed you on your course, you charge Euxenippos with a fictitious flattery, and you fancy that this will expose him to the hatred and anger of the judges.
‘My good friend, you should not invoke the names of Olympias and Alexander on your attempts to hurt your fellow-citizens; no, but when Olympias and Alexander lay unrighteous and improper commands on the Athenian people, then you should get up, and, on behalf of the city, protest, and argue for your rights with their emissaries, and go before the general assembly of the Greeks to uphold your country's honour. In that assembly you never rose: you never mentioned such things; but here
you hate Olympias for the sake of Euxenippos, and say that he is a flatterer of her and of the Macedonians. If you can show that he ever
visited Macedonia, or received any Macedonian into his house, or that he admits any one from that country to his intimacy or even to his conversation, or that he has expressed any views whatever of such matters either in a workshop or in the marketplace or anywhere else, or that he has not lived decorously and soberly, minding his own affairs, like any other citizen,—then let the judges do what they will to him.
‘If these charges were true, they would have been on other lips than yours,—they would have been the talk of Athens; just as all the other advocates or agents of Macedonia are well-known to the rest of their fellow-citizens, aye, to the children in the schools, even as they are known to their own consciences—the orators who draw Macedonian pay, the entertainers who open their houses to Macedonian visitors, and go to meet them on the roads when they approach. Here, again, you will find that Euxenippos has kept clear of all such association.’
The Funeral Oration belongs to a year hardly so
memorable for the catastrophe of the Lamian War as for the death of Hypereides himself, of Demosthenes, and of Aristotle. Hypereides, as has been noticed, had been a chief mover in the last effort of Greek freedom against Macedon. After the death of Leosthenes before Lamia a gleam of good fortune had come to the Greeks. Antiphilos had won a battle at Meliteia against Leonnatos. When Hypereides spoke the epitaph of Leosthenes and his comrades, the hopes inspired by this victory were still fresh. In August, 322—perhaps a month later than the speech—these hopes had been shattered by the battle of Krannon:—
‘Leosthenes, aware that all Hellas was abased,
panic-stricken, ruined by those who take bribes from Philip and Alexander against their native cities,—that Athens was in
need of a man, and all Hellas in need of a city, capable of exercising leadership,—gave himself as an offering to Athens, and Athens as an offering to the freedom of Greece. Then, having organised a force of mercenaries, and put himself at the head of the citizens, he saw the first who took the field against Hellenic freedom—Boeotians, Macedonians, Euboeans and their allies—fall before him on a Boeotian plain. Thence he went to the Gates,—seized those passes through which of old barbarians marched against Greeks, arrested the Greece-ward progress of Antipater, found Antipater himself in those regions, beat him in a battle, imprisoned and besieged him in Lamia; made allies of the Thessalians, Phocians, Aetolians and other people of the country; and, where Philip and Alexander had gloried in an extorted submission, received the tribute of a voluntary loyalty. His, indeed, it was to perform the cause that he had taken in hand; but not to evade the doom of destiny. And in justice we must give Leosthenes our gratitude, not merely for all that he did himself, but also for the victory won after his death, and for the other benefits which the campaign has brought to Greece; for it is on the foundations laid by Leosthenes that the achievements of his successors are arising.’
Then he imagines the greeting that awaits Leosthenes and his comrades in the place of the departed:—
‘With us, and with all the living, as we have seen, they
shall ever have renown; but in the dark under-world—suffer us to ask—who are they that will stretch forth a right hand to the captain of our dead? May we not deem that Leosthenes will be greeted with welcome and with wonder by those half-gods who bore arms against Troy,—he who set himself to deeds germane with theirs, but in this surpassed them, that while they, aided by all Hellas, took one town, he, supported by his own city alone, humbled the power that ruled Europe and Asia? They
avenged the wrong offered to one woman; he
stayed the insults that were being
heaped on all the cities of Hellas—he and those who are sharing his last honours—men who, coming after the heroes, wrought deeds of heroic worth. Aye, and there, I deem, will be Miltiades and Themistokles, and those others who made Hellas free, to the credit of their city, to the glory of their names—whom this man surpassed in courage and in counsel, seeing that they
repelled the power of the barbarians when it had come against them, but he
forbade its approach; they
saw the foemen fighting in their own country, but he
worsted his enemies on the enemy's soil. And surely they who gave the people trusty proof of their mutual love, Harmodios and Aristogeiton, will count no friends so near to themselves, or so faithful to you, as Leosthenes and those who strove beside him, nor will they so consort with any dwellers in the place of the dead. Well may it be so, since these have done deeds not less than theirs, but, if it may be said, even greater; for they
put down the despots of their own city, but these
put down the despots of Hellas. O beautiful and wonderful enterprise, O glorious and magnificent devotion, O soldiership transcendant in dangers, which these offered to the freedom of Greece!’
The closing sentences are addressed to the
Epilogue of the Epitaphios.
kinsfolk of the dead; but here there is no frigid conventionalism of topics; there is a genuine, and therefore reticent, sympathy; above all, there is a tenderness which, though not Christian, is almost more than pagan; and it should be remembered that these words were spoken, over almost the last martyrs of Greek freedom, by one who himself was very soon to suffer torture and death in that cause:—
‘It is hard, perhaps, to comfort those who are in such a sorrow; grief is not laid to rest by speech or by observance; rather is it for the nature of the mourner, and the nearness of the lost, to determine the boundaries of anguish. Still, we must take heart, and
lighten pain as we may, and remember not only the death of the departed but the good name also that they have left behind them. We owe not tears to their fate, but rather great praises to their deeds. If they came not to old age among men, they have got the glory that never grows old, and have been made blessed perfectly. Those among them who died childless shall have as their inheritors the immortal eulogies of Greece; and those of them who have left children behind them have bequeathed a trust of which their country's love will assume the guardianship. More than this,—if to die is to be as though we had never been, then these have passed away from sickness and pain and from all the accidents of the earthly life; or, if there is feeling in the under-world, and if, as we conjecture, the care of the Divine Power is over it, then it may well be that they who rendered aid to the worship of the gods in the hour of its imminent desolation are most precious to that Power's providence.’
Lykurgos and Hypereides are men with opposite
Lykurgos and Hypereides — Summary
faults, but of characters essentially generous,—with very unequal gifts for language, but alike men of cultivation and of deep sensibility,—who show the chief tendencies of Attic oratory, as already developed, in new combinations. Lykurgos is a thorough Isokratic who, by a natural affinity, reverts to the school of Antiphon. Hypereides is an Isokratic in the chief traits of composition only, who reverts, much more decidedly, to the school of Lysias, but in whom the Lysian manner becomes bolder and more various.