Arrangement and Style of the Speech.
It is impossible to read the speech On the
Mysteries without feeling that, as a whole, it is powerful, in spite of some evident defects. The arrangement is best in what we have called the first division (§§ 1—69), which deals with two distinct groups of facts, those relating to the Mysteries case and those relating to the Hermae case. These facts are stated in an order which is, on the whole, clear and natural, though not free from the parentheses of which Andokides was so fond, and of which sections 19—24 form an example. Less praise is due to the second part of the speech (§§ 70—91), devoted to the various enactments which had made the decree of Isotimides obsolete. It is at once full and obscure, giving needless, and withholding necessary, details. The third part (§§ 92—end) is a mere string of topics, unconnected with each other, and but slightly connected with the case. This confused appendix to the real defence is, however, significant. It shows the anxiety of Andokides to make the judges understand the rancorous personal feeling of his enemies; an anxiety natural in a man who for sixteen years had been pursued by unproved accusations. The passages about Kallias and Agyrrhios probably had a stronger effect upon the court than any conventional appeal to compassion would have produced.
As regards style, the language of the speech is thoroughly unaffected and easy, plain without studied avoidance of ornament, and rising at the right places—as when he speaks of the old victories of freedom (§§ 106—109), and in the peroration (§§ 140 —150). But the great merit of the composition is
its picturesqueness, its variety and life. The scene in the prison (§§ 48—53) and the description of the panic at Athens (§§ 43—45) are perhaps the best passages in this respect. If Andokides had not many rhetorical accomplishments, he certainly had perception of character, and the knack of describing it. Diokleides bargaining with Euphemos (§ 40)—Charmides exhorting Andokides to save the prisoners (§§ 49, 50)—Peisandros urging that Mantitheos and Aphepsion should be put on the rack (§ 43)—are well given in a few vivid touches.