Plan of this book.
The task which I have set before me is to consider the lives, the styles and the writings of Antiphon, Andokides, Lysias, Isokrates and Isaeos, with a view to showing how Greek oratory was developed, and thereby how Greek prose was moulded, from the outset of its existence as an art down to the point at which the organic forces of Attic speech were matured, its leading tendencies determined, and its destinies committed, no longer to discoverers, but to those who should crown its perfection or
initiate its decay. The men and the writings that mark this progress will need to be studied systematically and closely. It is hoped that much which is of historical, literary or social interest will be found by the way. But the great reward of the labour will be to get, if it may be, a more complete and accurate notion of the way in which Greek prose grew. It will not be enough, then, if we break off when the study of Isaeos has been finished. It will be necessary to look at the general characteristics of the mature political oratory built on those foundations at which Isaeos was the latest worker. It will be necessary to conceive distinctly how Isaeos and those before him were related to Lykurgos, Hypereides, Aeschines, Demosthenes. Nor must we stop here. The tendencies set in movement during the fifth and fourth centuries B. C. were not spent before they had passed into that life of the Empire which sent them on into the modern world. The inquiry which starts from the Athens of Perikles has no proper goal but in the Rome of Augustus.