Lysias and his Successors.
A few words will be enough to mark the broad differences between Lysias and those three of his successors who may best be compared with him,— Isaeos, Isokrates and Demosthenes. Isokrates, like Lysias, has purity of diction and accuracy of idiom; command of plain language (though he is seldom content with it); power of describing, though not of dramatizing, character; propriety and persuasiveness. But while Lysias hides his art in order to be more winning, Isokrates aims openly at the highest artificial ornament, and escapes being frivolous or frigid only by the greatness of most of his subjects and the earnestness with which he treats them. Isaeos, a direct student of Lysias, resembles him most in his diction, which is not only, like that of Isokrates, clear and pure, but concise also; further, he strives, like his master, to conceal his art, but never quite succeeds in this. The excellence of Demosthenes comprises that of Lysias, since, while the latter is natural by art, the former is so by the necessary sincerity of genius; but Demosthenes is not, like Lysias, plain; nor has he the same delicate charm; grandeur and irresistible power take its place.
Services of Lysias to the prose idiom.
Lastly—it should be remembered that it is not only as an orator but also, and even more, as a writer that Lysias is important; that, great as were his services to the theory and practice of eloquence, he did greater service still to the Greek language. He brought the everyday idiom into a closer relation than it had ever before had with the literary idiom, and set the first example of perfect elegance joined to plainness; deserving the praise that, as in fineness of ethical portraiture he is the Sophokles, in delicate control of thoroughly idiomatic speech he is the Euripides of Attic prose.