Fruits of Atticism for Rome and for Greece.
It must be borne in mind that the practical benefits to be derived from Atticism by Rome were of a different order from those which could be derived
from it by Greece. Rome was only developing her artistic literature: Greece had seen hers pass through maturity to decay. The sapling might be trained to lines of growth in which it should bear fruit hereafter; the withered tree could blossom no more. The Atticist Revival gave Rome true canons for living work. It gave Greece, not this, but the only thing now possible, a standard for the appreciation of the past. The representative of the revival, as it affected Rome, is Cicero. The representative of the revival, as it affected both Rome
and Greece, is Dionysios of Halikarnassos, the greatest critic of the ancient world who was not a philosopher. Philosophical criticism began with Aristotle; and, for antiquity, may be said to have ended with him. But the literary criticism of the
the literary critic of antiquity.
ancient world was never so thorough as in Dionysios. He and his friend Caecilius, those two men who,
Scope of work chosen by him and by Caecilius.
in the reign of Augustus, gave a complete expression to all the tendencies and energies of the reaction which had been growing for nearly a century, had this for a common characteristic,—they were determined not to lose themselves in the subtleties of the new Scholastic Rhetoric: they saw that there was better work to be done. They
Technical Rhetoric not their field.
did not try to strike out a new path through these technical mazes, like Apollodoros of Pergamos or his antagonist Theodoros of Gadara just before them, or like Hermogenes after them. On technical points, Dionysios generally goes back to Aristotle or Theophrastos. He and his friend saw that the revival of theory had performed its part, by recalling
attention to those works of true art by which the theory was illustrated. What was now needed was not a
Aesthetic criticism now needed.
more minute analysis but a better aesthetic criticism. For Cicero's teacher at Athens, Demosthenes and Hegesias were alike classical. This must not be. Men must be taught to feel, and not merely to recognise by a mechanical test, that Hegesias and Demosthenes are of different orders. This desire of clearer insight into the things which make the Attic excellences was necessarily connected with the task of separating genuine from spurious works. In the
Discrimination of true and spurious writings.
catalogues of the orators (ῥητορικοὶ πίνακες
) at Pergamos or Alexandria the librarian had merely to register the traditional authorship. He could not enter upon critical inquiries. Such inquiries were undertaken by Dionysios and Caecilius. The paper of Dionysios on Deinarchos exemplifies his method. The evidence used is external as well as internal: the rhetor's life is sketched; his models are indicated; the tradition is tried by its warranty, by that conception of the writer's style which the critic has formed for himself, and by the subject-matter. Dionysios was, however, preeminently the literary
Special work of Dionysios,
critic, Caecilius was preeminently the scholar and grammarian. The treatment of the Attic orators by the two men respectively suggests the greater independence and greater subtlety of Dionysios in this field. On the other hand, Caecilius was the first to
cultivate a province on which Dionysios does not seem to have entered. The register of Attic phrases compiled by Caecilius—who probably wrote a rhetorical lexicon also—stood, as the first of its kind,
between the glossaries of Alexandria and such later lexicons as those of Harpokration.