Greek Oratory: Tradition and Originality

By Stephen A. Usher | Go to book overview

12
CONCLUSION

The foundations of a flexible and sophisticated rhetorical system, embracing argument, interpretation of the law, and emotional appeal, were laid before the first extant practical oratory appeared shortly before 420 BC. Antiphon developed certain lasting techniques, notably the application of probability-argument to behaviour, the use of historical examples, and addressing the jury in terms of earnest adjuration. Andocides, an enigmatic figure, opted initially to ignore some of the basic rules. Later he acknowledged their efficacy, but also gave rein to his natural talent as a raconteur, at some sacrifice of structural discipline. The establishment of narrative as a distinct and occasionally dominant part of the speech is seen for the first time in the oratory of Lysias, where it serves purposes other than the mere presentation of factual evidence. These include characterization, the creation of an atmosphere favourable to his client or unfavourable to his opponent, and stimulation of the jury's sense of history and civic solidarity. While the literary form of oratory was thus shaped by Lysias, Isaeus is not only a major source for historians of inheritance law, but also introduces a new level of persistence and logical thoroughness into argumentation, and launches character-assaults with unprecedented vehemence.

In the forensic speeches he wrote for a wide variety of clients, Demosthenes made use of all the available techniques without making substantial innovations. But for cases which brought him on to the political stage and gave him the opportunity to show his mettle as a statesman, he created a form of oratory and a style which brought the genre into competition with historiography and moralistic writing, and also with the contemporary political discourses of Isocrates. Hence perhaps the scale of the speeches Against Leptines, Against Timocrates, and Against Aristocrates. As his political career burgeoned, his hortatory and deliberative techniques developed around the themes of opportunity (kairos) and necessity rather

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Greek Oratory: Tradition and Originality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Abbreviations x
  • I - The Early Rhetorical Tradition 1
  • 2 - Antiphon 27
  • Antiphon: Summary 40
  • 3 - Andocides 42
  • Andocides: Summary 52
  • 4 - Lysias 54
  • Isocrates Logographos 118
  • 5 - Isaeus 127
  • Isaeus: Summary 169
  • 6 - Demosthenes Logographos (part I) 171
  • 7 - Demosthenes Logographos (part Ii) 244
  • Demosthenes: Summary 277
  • 8 - Aeschines 279
  • Aeschines: Summary 294
  • 9 - Isocrates Sophistes 296
  • 10 - Lycurgus 324
  • Hyperides 328
  • II - Ceremonial Oratory 349
  • 12 - Conclusion 353
  • Appendix A the Tetralogies: Date and Authorship 355
  • Appendix B 360
  • Select Bibliography 369
  • Index of Speeches 377
  • General Index 379
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