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Cicero the eclectic

Cicero now comes forward as the representative of the Rhodian eclecticism. His success, though not exactly a victory for the Attic school, was, at least, a sure sign that the Atticists would finally prevail. Cicero, like his Rhodian masters, is by no means emancipated from Asianism; and, in a comparison with Demosthenes, his faults of form are made more conspicuous by the usual absence of great thoughts and of really noble feeling. The force of the recent and surely extravagant reaction against Cicero comes from the habit of regarding him as the great Roman orator, not as the great Roman master of literary rhetorical prose. His proper Greek analogue is not Demosthenes but Isokrates. As a practical orator, Cicero can scarcely be placed in the second rank by those who know the Attic models. As a stylist in the epideictic kind, though he has not consummate art, he joins versatile strength to brilliancy and abundance in a degree which has never been equalled.

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