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Dio'dotus

*Dio/dotos), the son of Eucrates (possibly, but not probably, the flax-seller of that name who is said to have preceded Cleon in influence with the Athenians), is only known as the orator who in the two discussions on the punishment to be inflicted on Mytilene (B. C. 427), took the most prominent part against Cleon's sanguinary motion. (Thuc. 3.41.) The substance of his speech on the second day we may suppose ourselves to have in the language of Thucydides (3.42-48). The expressions of his opponent lead us to take him for one of the rising class of professional orators, the earliest produce of the labours of the Sophists. If so, he is a singularly favourable specimen. Of his eloquence we cannot judge; but if, in other points, Thucydides represents him fairly, he certainly on this occasion displayed the ingenuityof the Sophists, the tact of the practised debater, and soundness of view of the statesman, in the service of a cause that deserved and needed them all. He cautiously shifts the argument from the justice to the policy of the measure. Feelings of humanity were already excited; the people only wished a justification for indulging them. This he finds them in the certainty that revolt at any risk would be ventured; severities could not check, and would surely make it more obstinately persevered in ; and in the exceeding inexpediency of confounding, by indiscriminate slaughter, their friends, the democratic party, with those who would in any case be their enemies,--a suggestion probably, at that time, far from obvious. To his skill we must ascribe the revocation of the preceding day's vote in Cleon's favour, and the preservation of Mytilene from massacre, and Athens from a great crime.

[A.H.C]

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427 BC (1)
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