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His Composition.

Cicero, as we have seen, counts among the marks of the ‘plain’ style a free structure of sentences and clauses, not straining after a rhythmical period (Orator § 77, quoted above). Dionysios, speaking of êthopoiïa in Lysias, says that he composes ‘quite simply and plainly, aware that êthos is best expressed, not in rhythmical periods, but in the lax (or easy) style’ (ἐν τῇ διαλελυμένῃ λέξει1. In another place, however, he praises Lysias for a vigour, essential in contests, ‘which packs thoughts closely and brings them out roundly’ (στρογγύλως2—that is, in terse periods. Both remarks are just. Nothing more strikingly distinguishes Lysias from his predecessors and from nearly all his successors than the degree in which the structure of his sentences varies according to his subject. His speeches may in this respect be classified under three heads. First, those which are of a distinctly public character; in which the composition is thoroughly rhythmical, and which abound with artistic periods, single or combined3. Secondly, those speeches which, from the nature of their subjects, blend the private with the public character; which show not only fewer combinations or groups of periods, but a less careful formation of single periods4. Thirdly, the essentially private speeches; which differ from the second class, not in the mould of such periods as occur, but in the larger mixture with these of sentences or clauses not periodic5. Further, in each of these three classes, a greater freedom of composition distinguishes the narrative from the argument. The narrative parts of the properly public speeches are usually thrown into what may be called the historical as opposed to the oratorical period; that is, the sentences are more loosely knit and are drawn out to a greater length. According as the speech has more of a private character, these freer periods are more and more relaxed into a simple series (λέξις εἰρομένη) of longer or shorter clauses. Yet, while there are so many shades in the composition of Lysias, the colour of the whole is individual. Isokrates develops period out of period in long, luxuriant sequence; Demosthenes intersperses the most finished and most vigorous periods with less formally built sentences which relieve them; Lysias binds his periods, by twos or threes at the most, into groups always moderate in size but often monotonous in form; excelling Isokrates in compactness, but yielding to Demosthenes in life6.

1 Dionys. De Lys. c. 8.

2 ib. c. 6.

3 In this class, Berbig (in the essay mentioned above ‘Ueber das genus dicendi tenue des Redners Lysias,’ p. 8) places these speeches: 1. Or. XXVII. (κατὰ Ἐπικράτους): 2. Or. XXVIII. (κατὰ Ἐργοκλέους): 3. Or. XXIX. (κατὰ Φιλοκράτους): 4. Or. XXXIII. (Ὀλυμπιακός): 5. Or. XXXIV. (περὶ τοῦ μὴ καταλῦσαι τὴν πολιτείαν.)

4 e.g. 1. Or. XII. (κατὰ Ἐρατοσθένους): 2. Or. XIII. (κατὰ Ἀγοράτου): 3. Or. XVI. (κατὰ Φίλωνος): 4. Or. XIX. (περὶ τῶν Ἀριστοφάνους χρημάτων.)

5 In this third class two grades may be distinguished, according to the importance of the subject and the use, greater or less accordingly, of a periodic style. I. 1. Or. I. (περὶ τοῦ Ἐρατοσθένους φόνου): 2. Or. III. (κατὰ Σίμωνος): 3. Or. IV. (περὶ τραύματος ἐκ προνοίας): 4. Or. VII. (περὶ τοῦ σηκοῦ). II. 1. Or. XVII. (περὶ δημοσίων χρημάτων): 2. Or. XXIII. (κατὰ Παγκλέωνος): 3. Or. XXXII. (κατὰ Διογείτονος).

6 Cf. Dionys. De Lys. c. 6 (speaking of the terse periodic style)— συστρέφουσα τὰ νοήματα καὶ στρογγύλως ἐκφέρουσα λέξις, Dionysios says, ταύτην ὀλίγοι μὲν ἐμιμήσαντο, Δημοσθένης δὲ καὶ ὑπερεβάλετο: πλὴν οὐχ οὕτως εὐτολῶς οὐδὲ ἀφελῶς ὥσπερ Λυσίας, χρησάμενος αὐτῇ, ἀλλὰ περιέργως καὶ πικρῶς.

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