previous next
10. Still, all men used to agree that Demades, in the exercise of his natural gifts, was invincible, and that when he spoke on the spur of the moment he surpassed the studied preparations of Demosthenes. And Ariston the Chian records an opinion which Theophrastus also passed upon the two orators. When he was asked, namely, what sort of an orator he thought Demosthenes was, he replied: ‘Worthy of the city’; [2] and what Demades, ‘Too good for the city.’ And the same philosopher tells us that Polyeuctus the Sphettian, one of the political leaders of that time at Athens, declared that Demosthenes was the greatest orator, but Phocion the most influential speaker; since he expressed most sense in fewest words. Indeed, we are told that even Demosthenes himself, whenever Phocion mounted the bema to reply to him, would say to his intimates: ‘Here comes the chopper of my speeches.’ [3] Now, it is not clear whether Demosthenes had this feeling towards Phocion because of his oratory, or because of his life and reputation, believing that a single word or nod from a man who is trusted has more power than very many long periods.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Bernadotte Perrin, 1919)
hide References (4 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: