The so-called ‘Canon of the Ten Attic Orators’, which was established at some date between the third century BC and the second century AD, has had a dominating effect on the survival of the orators whose works we have today. 1 The canon as we have it names ten orators: Antiphon, Andocides, Lysias, Isocrates, Isaeus, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Hyperides, Lycurgus, and Dinarchus. As is immediately evident, the list is in neither alphabetical nor chronological order (for Lysias was born before Andocides, and Aeschines, Hyperides and Lycurgus were born before Demosthenes). Moreover, while Antiphon is said by Quintilian to have been the first to write speeches (3.1.11), Dinarchus is not the last orator to have lived and worked, but was followed by others—Demetrius of Phalerum to name but one. We do have some speeches by other orators; about half a dozen by Apollodorus, for example, which have survived in the orations of Demosthenes; 2 or there is the speech On The Twelve Years (which today exists only in fragments), attributed to Demades, but this is a later composition which could even be the product of imperial times. 3 Thus most of what is extant comes from the orators of the canon.
The canon is fundamental to any study of Greek oratory and rhetoric, and accordingly it has received a fair share of attention in numerous books in these areas over the years. All too often, however, discussion of the canon and the chosen ten orators is subsumed under more detailed treatment of particular orators or of oratory and rhetoric in general—examples of this range from Blass’ magisterial work, the two volumes by George Kennedy on Greek and Roman rhetoric, to Konrad Heldmann’s recent study of rhetoric. 4 Studies specifically on the canon are few, especially in recent times. 5 Such a neglect is perhaps to be expected, given the