Innovation in forensic oratory was difficult after Lysias. In adapting and standardizing the array of topics, formulae, and rhetorical devices which he inherited from Antiphon and the early tradition, he found effective and economical expression for them. After Lysias, the recurrence of so much material, together with a common dialect and, to a large extent, common vocabulary, tended to confer on much Attic Oratory a certain uniformity, some degree of which Isaeus could not avoid.1 Again, the fact that his career seems to have begun as that of Lysias was nearing its end,2 in the same city and among the same clientele, guaranteed Lysianic influence. Yet shrewd observers could discern that in Isaeus' hands the genre responded to changing times.3 The precise forms which this response took will be the subject of this chapter; but the search for them must be preceded by some essential facts about the orator.
Very little of significance is known about him.4 The dominant fact in the biographical tradition of Isaeus is his connection with Demosthenes, who engaged him as a full-time private tutor in preparation for his lawsuits against his fraudulent guardians. This tradition had several consequences, including perhaps the selection of his speeches made by the Hellenistic librarians. It is clear from fragments that Isaeus wrote speeches for a variety of types of____________________