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In passing judgment upon Andokides, it must be allowed that he possesses neither literary merit nor properly oratorical merit which can entitle him to rank with the greatest masters of Greek rhetorical prose. His language has neither splendour nor a refined simplicity; he is not remarkably acute in argument; and, compared with his contemporaries, he is singularly without precision in the arrangement of his ideas. His extant works present no passage conceived in the highest strain of eloquence; he never rises to an impassioned earnestness. On the other hand, his naturalness, though not charming, is genuine; he has no mannerisms or affectations; and his speeches have a certain impetus, a certain confident vigour, which assure readers that they must have been still more effective for hearers. The chief value of Andokides is historical. But he has also real literary value of a certain kind: he excels in graphic description. A few of those pictures into which he has put all the force of a quick mind— the picture of Athens panicstricken by the sacrilege1—the scene of miserable perplexity in the prison2—the patriotic citizen arraigned before the Thirty Tyrants3—have a vividness which no artist could easily surpass, combined with a freshness which a better artist might possibly have lost4.

1 De Myst. §§ 43—45.

2 De Myst. §§ 48—51.

3 Ib. §§ 70—91.

4 Sluiter's judgment (Lectiones Andocideae, p. 3) does not show much discrimination—‘At equidem, quanquam Andocidiorationem non tribuam ratione et arte excultam et politam; subtilitatem tamen, impetum atque gravitatem illius sum admiratus. Arte Lysiae cedit, nervos plures habet et lacertos: vehemens imprimis in reprehendendo, in defendendo se gravis, ad misericordiam erga se movendam odiumque in adversarios excitandum plane compositus, in proponendis diiudicandisque argumentis subtilis et acutus, dictione purus et elegans, plenus Attici saporis: ut iure a Grammaticis in numerum sitrelatus et inter decem collocatus principes.’

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