[Back] [Blueprint] [Next]

From The Greek Orators by J. F. Dobson, M. A., London: Methuen and Co. Ltd., 1919; pp. 50-73.


By J. F. Dobson




§ 1

A NEW period begins with Thrasymachus of Chalcedon, who adopted Athens as his home. He is placed by Aristotle between Tisias, one of the founders of rhetoric, and Theodorus of Byzantium,1 who was a contemporary of Lysias. According to the chronology of Plato’s Phaedrus, he was already at the height of his powers when Isocrates was only a youth of promise.2 The dramatic date of the dialogue being 410 B.C., we may suppose him to have been born between 460 and 450 B.C., though there is no clear indication.

He seems to have followed the lines of his predecessors. He composed a τέχνη or handbook of rhetoric, and composed or compiled a collection of passages to serve as models for his pupils, called by Suidas ἀφορμαὶ  ῥητορικαί (oratorical resources). This probably included the exordia and epilogues mentioned by Athenaeus.3 Aristotle mentions a work called λεοι (appeals to pity),4 and a book with the mysterious title ὑπερβάλλοντες completed his educational output.5 He composed also 51 some epideictic speeches, which, as Suidas calls them παίγνια, were probably of the mythological type, of which we possess examples in the Helen and Palamedes of Gorgias. Dionysius says that he left no deliberative or forensic speeches, and this statement agrees with the known fact that he was an alien, and therefore could not appear in the courts or the assembly.6 On the other hand, Suidas mentions public speeches, and Dionysius has himself preserved a fragment of what appears to be a deliberative speech.7 The probability is that this was composed only as a model for his pupils, and it is, in fact, of a vagueness which would be appropriate to almost any circumstances.

He excelled in the ‘pathetic’ style: ‘For the “sorrows of a poor old man,” ’ says Socrates, ‘or any other pathetic case, no one is better than the Chalcedonian giant; he can put a whole company of people into a passion and out of one again by his mighty magic, and is first-rate at inventing or disposing of any sort of calumny on any grounds or none.’8 These gifts seem to have been the natural expression of his impetuous and passionate character represented in the Republic.9

The loss of his works is much to be regretted, since he was the inventor of a style — the tempered style, as it was called by Dionysius — which, standing between the austerity of Antiphon and Thucydides, and the elaborate simplicity perfected by Lysias, combined the best qualities of both. He was thus a forerunner of Isocrates. In the fragment which is preserved, we find no trace of rare or poetical words or audacious 52 compounds such as Gorgias used; none of the complicated sentences of Thucydides, and no forced antithesis; the diction is flowing, and the expression clear. He seems to have been the first writer to make a careful study of metrical effect, and is mentioned for his frequent use of the paeon by Aristotle, who apparently classed him with those writers to whom diction is more important than ideas.10

The fragment already mentioned purports to be the exordium of a political speech:

‘I could have wished, men of Athens, that my lot had been cast amid those ancient times and conditions when the younger men were content to be silent, since circumstances did not force them to speak in public, and their elders were able administrators of the state. . . .’

This is a conventional opening; a similar phrase of regret (ἐβουλόμην) begins the speech of Antiphon on the murder of Herodes,11 and Aeschines has elaborated the same theme of the superiority of political life in the time of Solon in a way which leads us to suspect that he had the prooemium of Thrasymachus in mind.12

Of the works of Theodorus of Byzantium not a sentence remains. A contemporary of Lysias, he taught rhetoric and composed certain works on the subject.13 He concerned himself with the proper divisions of a speech, adding a section of ‘further narrative’ (ἐπιδιήγησις) to the usual narrative, and ‘further proof’ (ἐπιπίστωσις) to proof.14 It is for 53 this over-subtlety that Plato ridicules the ‘cunning artificer of speeches’ from Byzantium.15

§ 2

Andocides was born about 440 B.C., a member of a family which had been distinguished for three generations.

His great-grandfather, as he tells us, fought against the Pisistratidae; his grandfather Andocides was one of the envoys for the peace with Sparta in 445, and was twice subsequently a strategus; his father, Leogoras, is mentioned by Aristophanes as rearing pheasants.16 The orator himself was a member of a ἑταιρεία or club — probably a social rather than a political club, as the only meeting mentioned was purely for convivial purposes.

In 415, on the eve of the sailing of the Sicilian expedition, Athens was startled and horrified by a remarkable act of sacrilege. The images of Hermes which stood everywhere in the town were, all but one, mutilated and defaced in a single night. The superstitious citizens, with a deep feeling that the whole community must suffer for the guilty action of some of its members, considered this an evil omen for the fortunes of the Syracusan expedition, and, less reasonably, took it as an indication of impending revolution and an attempt to subvert the democracy. Their anxiety was increased by rumours that a profane parody of the Eleusinian mysteries was being celebrated in certain private houses. Such acts of impiety were likely to bring upon Athens the wrath of the gods who had hitherto protected her.


It will be remembered how Alcibiades, one of the leaders of the expedition, was accused of complicity in the plot, and how this accusation brought about his recall from Sicily and his estrangement from his native city, which led to the utter failure of the great enterprise of conquest, and ultimately, through the total loss of her best armies and fleets, to the downfall of Athens herself.

Andocides was accused of complicity both in the profanation of the mysteries and the mutilation of the Hermae. Of the former charge he apparently succeeded in clearing himself, but he confesses to a knowledge of the affair of the Hermae.

A certain Teucrus denounced eighteen persons as guilty of the mutilation of the busts. Of these some were put to death, the rest went into exile. The list included some members of the club to which Andocides belonged. Another informer, Dioclides, came forward with a tale that about three hundred persons were implicated, and he named forty-two of them, including Andocides and twelve of his near relations. Athens was in a panic, and eager for instant vengeance. The informers’ victims were at once imprisoned, and their situation was grave indeed. Andocides describes how, to save his father and other innocent persons, he at last resolved to tell what he knew. He gave his information under a promise of immunity from punishment, but in accordance with the terms of a subsequent decree, he suffered ‘atimia,’ comprising exclusion from the market-place and the temples; and being thus debarred from a public career he decided to go abroad.

In the de Reditu, delivered in 410 B.C., five years after the outrage, Andocides implies that he was himself 55 concerned in the deed, and asks pardon for his ‘youthful folly’ (§ 7). The language of Thucydides17 and others also implies that he accused himself along with others. The language of the de Reditu is not, however, explicit, and does not necessarily disagree with the statement made twelve years later in the de Mysteriis.

Andocides there affirms that he knew of the plot and opposed its execution, but it was carried out without his knowledge. In proof of this he points out that the Hermes opposite his own house was the only one not mutilated.

‘So I told the Council that I knew the culprits, and I declared the facts — namely that Euphiletus suggested the plot while we were drinking, and I spoke against it, and for the moment prevented it. Some time later I was riding a colt I had in Cynosarges, and had a fall, and broke my collar-bone and cut my head, and was carried home on a stretcher. Euphiletus, hearing of my condition, told the others that I had been persuaded to join them, and had agreed to take a hand in the work and mutilate the Hermes beside the shrine of Phorbas. In this statement he deceived them, and this is the reason why the Hermes which you all see in front of our house, the one erected by the Aegeid tribe, was the only Hermes in Athens not to be mutilated, because it was supposed that I would do it, as Euphiletus said. The conspirators, when they heard of it, were highly indignant, considering that I knew of the affair, but had taken no part in it. On the next day Meletus and Euphiletus came to me and said:

‘ “We have done it, Andocides, and it ’s all over. If you care to keep quiet and hold your tongue, you will find that we are as good friends to you as ever; if not, our enmity 56 will count much more than any friendship you could form by betraying us.”

‘I answered that from what had occurred, I considered Euphiletus a scoundrel; but that they had much more to fear from the fact of their guilt than from my knowledge of it.’18

This story is at least a plausible one. The only suspicious detail is the orator’s own candid admission that all of those whom he accused — with the exception of four — had already been named by Teucrus and punished, some by death, the rest by exile, so that his ‘confession’ could do them no further harm. The four others whom he included were not yet in prison, though they were known to be associates of those who had already paid the penalty. They had time to escape into exile (§ 68). We may suspect that they received from the informer due notice of his intentions. Thus, at the expense of driving four men, who were probably guilty, into exile, Andocides undoubtedly saved the lives of himself, his father, his brother-in-law, and the rest of the forty-two prisoners. The informer Dioclides now recanted, and said that he had been compelled by Alcibiades and Amiantus to lay false information. He was brought to trial and put to death (§ 66). Andocides, suffering from partial disfranchisement, was for many years away from Athens. He engaged in commerce in many countries, and made money, sometimes by discreditable means. He had dealings with Sicily, Italy, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Ionia, the Hellespont, and finally, Cyprus, where Evagoras, King of Salamis, bestowed a valuable property on him.19


In 411 B.C. he made an attempt to recover his rights. He procured oars for the Athenian fleet at Samos, and returned to Athens to plead his cause. Unfortunately the Four Hundred had then just usurped the government, and they rejected his plea on the ground that he had helped their enemies. Later, in 410 or 408 B.C., he made another attempt, and delivered the speech de Reditu, but was again unsuccessful. It was only after the amnesty of Thrasybulus (403 B.C.) that he resumed his full citizenship, and henceforward took an active part in public life, figuring now as an ardent democrat, speaking in the assembly and performing liturgies. In 390 B.C. old enmities burst into flame, and he was accused of impiety on two counts — as having taken part in the Eleusinian mysteries at a time when he was legally disqualified from doing so, and as having deposited a suppliant’s branch on the altar at Eleusis during the time of the mysteries — which was a profanation. The penalty for either offence was death, and the de Mysteriis is his successful answer to these charges.

In 391 B.C., as one of the envoys delegated to bring about a peace with Sparta, he delivered the de Pace. The peace was not concluded. This is the last mention of this interesting adventurer, though the Pseudo-Plutarch affirms that he went into exile again. If that is true, we know that he had comfortable places to retire to, in Cyprus and elsewhere.

§ 3

Ancient critics dealt severely with Andocides. Though Alexandrine criticism included him in the list of the ten standard orators, Dionysius barely mentions 58 him;20 Quintilian disparages his work,21 and Herodes Atticus modestly hopes that he himself is at least superior to Andocides;22 Hermogenes sums up his defects as an orator as follows:

‘He aims at being a statesman, but does not quite succeed. He lacks proper articulation and distinctness in his “figures,” he lacks order in connecting his sentences and rounding them off, losing distinctness by the use of parentheses, so that he strikes some as ineffectual and needlessly obscure. He has very little finish or arrangement and little vigour. He has a small, but very small, portion of cleverness in systematic argument, but practically none of any other kind.’23

It is with some hesitation that I give this tentative translation of a difficult passage. It seems to mean that Andocides, though he uses ‘figures,’ such as antithesis, rhetorical question and irony, does not attain ‘precision’ or make them distinct enough. His sentences are sometimes deformed because a parenthesis overpowers the main clause. His diction is unpolished and unconvincing. The only credit which he deserves is for his μέθοδος — his system of stating his case; wherein Hermogenes was perhaps thinking of the way in which the orator arranges his material, giving only part of the narrative at a time, and criticizing it as he goes along, rather than keeping narrative and arguments quite separate. Later and more practised orators have been commended for this method. By general cleverness, Hermogenes probably 59 means skill in the use of the usual sophistries of the rhetorician.

The Pseudo-Plutarch is less severe on the orator:

‘He is simple and inartificial in his narratives, straightforward and free from “figures.” ’24

It must at once be granted that many of the criticisms aimed at Andocides hit their mark; but it is open to doubt whether they can penetrate deep enough to deal a vital blow at his reputation. The ancient critics were academic and tended to lose sight of practical details. They were, as a rule, more concerned with the impressions that a speech produced on the reader than with its effect on the hearers; they laid great emphasis on the artistic side, and in examining a speech looked carefully to see how closely the orator had followed the artificial rules of the rhetorician. But this kind of estimate may lead to injustice, for not only must the critic refer to an artificial standard established by convention, a standard which might not have been recognized by the orator’s contemporaries, but, even granting that certain rules of rhetoric should generally be followed, we may maintain that particular circumstances justify a speaker in departing from them. Rhetoric is a practical art, whose object, as Plato tells us, is persuasion; and though most people who practise it will do best to move on the accustomed lines, there may be some who can succeed without following the beaten track.

Andocides is not to be compared to his predecessor Antiphon in the points which are the latter’s chief characteristics — dignity of manner, balance of clauses 60 and verbal antithesis; but, on the other hand, he has command of a fairly lucid style, and a gift for telling a straightforward narrative of events, two matters in which the older orator was not conspicuously successful. Again, Andocides starts with one signal advantage. If we read the tetralogies of Antiphon, excellent as they may be in showing the writer’s grasp of the technique of his trade, and turn from them to one of the real speeches, the Herodes, for instance, we feel at once how great a gain it is to have the human interest before us. A speech in which real persons are concerned must always have this advantage over a declamatory exercise. But we still feel that the personal element is not so prominent as it might be, simply because the orator is not giving voice to his own thoughts on an occasion where his own interests are deeply concerned, but stringing together sentences which an obscure young man from Mitylene may clumsily stumble through without, perhaps, in the least comprehending their cleverness. But Andocides is a real live man speaking in his own person and in his own defence on a most serious charge. He is in grave danger, and must exert himself to the utmost; he must rise to the great occasion, or expect to pay the penalty — perhaps with his life. This is an occasion, if there ever can be one, when style may be completely put in the background, where matter is of more importance than method, where the means are of no account unless the end can be attained; for epigram cannot temper the hemlock-cup, and the laws of Athens are stronger than the rules of oratory.

It was natural to Antiphon to pay attention to details of style, and his style is of a rather archaic 61 tone. Andocides, on the other hand, was not a trained orator, except in so far as every Athenian was trained in youth in the elements of speaking. He was not either a professional pleader or a frequent speaker in public — indeed, from the fact that he lived long in exile he cannot have had many opportunities of appearing either in the law-courts or the assembly. Possessing a convenient fluency of speech, and a thorough command of the language of daily life, he finds in it a satisfactory means of expression. In most cases he seems to have by nature what Lysias obtained by art — a clear and direct way of expressing his thoughts, a simplicity of language in which nothing strained or unfamiliar strikes the ear. On the other hand, there are inconsistencies in his style; there are times when, apparently without premeditation, he does use words or phrases slightly foreign to the speech of common life. We have a feeling that this was done without affectation; that in the course of his fluent and rapid utterance he used just those words which naturally occurred to him as appropriate.25 In this he differs from Lysias, who took the common speech and perfected it into a literary form, attaining by study a refined simplicity and purity which only careful practice could produce.


On the whole, Andocides is most effective when he is most simple; when he uses common words and makes no attempt at the rhetorical artifices which do not come natural to him. The following narrative will emphasize my point:

‘When we had all been taken to prison, and it was night and the prison gates were shut, and one man’s mother had come, and another’s sister, and another’s wife and children, and sounds of lamentation were heard as they wept and bewailed our miserable state, Charmides spoke to me — he was a cousin of mine, of the same age as myself, and he had been brought up in our home from childhood.

‘ “Andocides,” he said, “you see what serious trouble we are in; and though I did not want to say anything, or to annoy you at all before, I am now forced to do so on account of the misfortune we are come to.

‘ “Your other friends and associates, apart from us who are your relations, have some of them already been executed for the charges on which we are being done to death, while others have admitted their guilt by fleeing from the country.

‘ “If you have heard anything about this affair, tell the truth, and by doing so save both yourself, and your father, who must be very dear to you, and your brother-in-law, who is married to your only sister, and finally, all the rest of your family and friends, not to mention me — for in all my life I have never caused you annoyance, but am devoted to you and ready to do anything I can to help you.” ’26


His exposure of Dioclides is simple and effective; he repeats the informer’s statement, and with a very few words of comment makes it appear ridiculous:

‘Encouraged by his country’s misfortunes Dioclides laid information before the Council. He asserted that he knew the persons who had mutilated the Hermae, and that there were about three hundred of them. He proceeded to relate how he had come across the matter.

‘He said that he had a slave working at Laureion, and had to go there to get the man’s wages. He rose very early, having mistaken the time, and started on his way. The full moon was shining, and as he passed the gateway of Dionysus, he saw a number of men coming down from the Odeum into the Orchestra. He was afraid of them, and so went into the shadow and sat down between the pillar and the pedestal on which the bronze statue of the General stands.

‘He estimated the number of the men he saw at about three hundred, and they were standing round in groups of five or ten, or, in some cases, twenty. He could recognize most of them, as he saw the moonlight shining on their faces.

‘Now he made this monstrous statement in the first place in order that it might be in his power to say that any citizen he liked was or was not a member of that company.

‘After seeing all this, he said, he went on to Laureion, and on the next day heard of the mutilation of the Hermae. So he knew at once that it was the work of the men whom he had seen.’27

The opening of the speech shows a reasonable use of the sort of commonplaces which custom demanded as a preface to argument — the malignity and ingenuity of the speaker’s enemies and the perplexity caused 64 by the number of their accusations which makes it difficult to know where to begin.

‘Nearly all of you know, Gentlemen, with what persistency my enemies have contrived to harm me in every possible way, by fair means or foul, from the time when I first came to Athens, and there is no need for me to dwell upon the subject; but I shall ask you only for just treatment, a favour which is as easy for you to grant as it is important for me to gain.

‘First, I would have you bear in mind that I have now appeared before you without having been in any way forced to await my trial; I have neither surrendered to bail, nor have I suffered the constraint of imprisonment. I appear because I have put my trust above all in the justice of my cause, and secondly, in your character; feeling as I do that you will give a just decision, and not allow me through a perversion of justice to be ruined by my enemies, but that you will much rather save me by allowing justice to take its course in accordance with the laws of the city, and the oaths which you have sworn as a preliminary to the verdict which you are about to record.

‘It is reasonable, Gentlemen, that, in the case of men who voluntarily face the danger of a trial, you should take the same view of them as they do of themselves. Those who refuse to await their trial practically stand self-condemned, so that you may reasonably pass on them the sentence which they have passed on themselves; but as for those who wait to stand their trial in the confidence that they have done no wrong, you have a right to hold the same opinion about them which they have held about themselves, and not decide, without a hearing, that they are in the wrong. . . .

‘I am considering, therefore, from which point I ought to begin my defence. Shall I begin with the last-mentioned plea, that my indictment was illegal? or with the fact that the decree of Isotimides is not valid? or shall I appeal to 65 the laws and the oaths which you have taken? or, lastly, shall I start by relating the facts from the beginning?

‘My greatest difficulty is that the various counts of the indictment do not stir you all equally to resentment, but each of you has some point which he would like me to answer first. It is impossible to deal with them all at once, and so it seems to me the best course to relate the whole story from the beginning, omitting nothing; for if you thoroughly realize what actually occurred, you will easily recognize the lies which my accusers have told to my discredit.’28

The peroration is simple and vigorous in its directness:

‘Do not deprive yourselves of your hopes of my help, nor deprive me of my hopes of helping you. I now request those who have already given proof of the highest nobility of feeling towards the democracy to mount the platform and advise you in accordance with what they know of my character. Come forward, Anytus and Cephalus, and you members of my tribe who have been chosen to plead for me — Thrasyllus and the rest.’29

Reference has already been made to the vitality of his speech. Compared with his life-like vigour, the ‘austerity’ of Antiphon becomes dull and pompous. The most striking feature of his work is the ease with which, in reporting conversations or explaining motives, he breaks into direct quotation, recalling his own words or putting words into the mouths of others to express what they said or thought. We recognize in this something of a Homeric quality; it is comparable to the Epic use of ὧδε  δέ  τις εἴπεσκε and κὰ τοτέ τις εἴπῃσι.

The following extract shows how the main thread 66 of the sentence may be lost in a tangle of such parenthetical quotations:

‘From the first, though many people informed me that my enemies were saying that I should never await my trial — “For what could induce Andocides to await his trial, when he may leave the city and still be well off? If he sails to Cyprus, where he comes from, there is waiting for him a large and flourishing farm of which he has the freehold; will he prefer to put his neck into a halter? With what end in view? Cannot he see which way the wind blows here?” I, Gentlemen, disagree entirely with this view. I would not live and enjoy the utmost prosperity somewhere else at the price of losing my fatherland; and even if the wind did blow here as my enemies say it does, I would rather be a citizen of Athens than of any other city; prosperous, for the present, as such other cities may seem to me to be. Holding such views as these I have committed to you the decision about my life.’30

It has been noted that Andocides is not addicted to the use of verbal antithesis such as Thucydides and Antiphon have made too familiar. We do not find him playing upon the contrasts between ‘word and deed,’ ‘being and seeming’ with such recurrent monotony.

There is, however, one kind of antithesis to which he is somewhat partial — an antithesis of thought rather than language. He is fond of explaining a difficulty of choice by putting it in the form of a dilemma.

As far as his own personal conduct was concerned, he must often have had to face dilemmas. From the part which he had played in the sacrilege, and the awkward positions in which consequently he found himself placed, it must often have been equally difficult 67 and dangerous for him to lie and to speak the truth. So it is not unnatural that we should often find sentences like the following:

‘How would each of you have acted, Gentlemen, if you had had to choose either to die nobly, or to owe your life to a disgraceful action?

‘Some may say that what I did was base, but many would have chosen as I did.’31

This appeal to the individual feelings, especially the request by which it is prefaced, that they will judge ‘by human standards’ (ἀνθρωπίνως), is effective in its boldness. The speaker must have felt sure of his audience before he ventured to appeal to the lower nature which every one would like to repudiate.

In marked contrast to the dignity of Antiphon, Andocides from time to time lapses into scurrility, dragging into his speech discreditable anecdotes relating to his opponents which are quite irrelevant to his proper subject and merely serve to raise a laugh at the moment. Thus the long recital about the domestic affairs of Callias (§§ 121-130) has no bearing at all on the trial. A man whose father has been three times unhappily married may still be a trustworthy witness. The introduction of the irrelevant story is then quite unjustifiable, but, since such examples of bad taste were freely tolerated at Athens, it was worth while to make a score by such foul hitting, especially if one could deliver the blows as neatly as in the following passage:

‘At the mother’s request, the relations took the child to the altar at the time of the Apaturia. They brought 68 a victim, and requested Callias to perform the sacrifice. He asked who was the father of the child. “Callias, the son of Hipponicus.” — “But I’m Callias.” — “Yes, and it ’s your child.” ’32

There is more to be said in justification of the attack on Epichares. To prove, or to assert violently, that his accuser was an enemy of the democracy and a person of vile character formed a presumption in favour of the defendant. Demosthenes himself made a custom of such practices, and was not less unscrupulous or less irrelevant than Andocides.

‘But Epichares, who is the worst of them all, and wants to keep up his reputation, and so acts vindictively against himself — for he was a member of the Council in the time of the Thirty; and what is the provision in the law which is inscribed on the pillar in front of the Council room? “Whosoever shall hold office in the city when the democracy has been overthrown, may be slain without penalty, and his slayer shall be free from blood-guiltiness, and shall possess the property of the slain.” Surely then, Epichares, any one who slays you now will have clean hands, according to Solon’s law? Let me have the law on the pillar read aloud?’ 33

But Andocides in such cases certainly violates the laws of good taste, and in the matter of this personal abuse, though less fertile in vocabulary, is a worthy forerunner of the great orators. His scurrility is hardly excused by the ingenuity of its epigrammatic form:

‘You jackal, you common informer! . . . are you allowed to live and prowl about the city? Little do you deserve it; under the democracy you lived by the informer’s 69 trade; under the oligarchy, for fear of being forced to give up the money you had made by informing, you were a menial of the Thirty. . . .’34

and again:

‘One result of your decision to observe the present laws is that he has been restored from exile to citizenship, and from legal disability to the free exercise of the informer’s trade.’35

The use of parenthesis is sometimes carried by Andocides to extremes. An instance has been quoted in which the grammatical construction breaks down because the writer introduces an imaginary conversation into the middle of it.36 The style is sometimes so loose and discursive that not only is the construction difficult to follow, but the argument is obscure. The writer suffers from an inability to keep to the point, or rather, he tries to explain several things at once, and so makes nothing clear. An extreme instance is to be found in §§ 57 sqq. of the de Mysteriis. His thoughts run too fast for his tongue, and he has not the technical skill to guide them on their proper courses. Such sentences afford a practical comment on the introduction to the same speech, in which he states that the does not know where to begin.37

On the other hand, passages may be found in which a series of short sentences, loosely combined, and disturbed by anacoluthon, are really effective, since they simulate the broken utterance of passion. Of such is the following:

‘Then the herald inquired who had deposited the suppliant’s branch, and no one answered. Now we were 70 standing close by, and Callias could see me. When nobody answered, he retired into the temple. Eucles, stepping forward — oblige me by calling him up — Now then, Eucles, first of all give evidence whether I am speaking the truth.’38

§ 4

I have dealt hitherto chiefly with the speech de Mysteriis, the best of Andocides’ work. The other speeches now demand a short mention. The de Reditu differs remarkably from the later speech, de Mysteriis, but it is chiefly a difference of tone. The verbal style is much the same, though there is rather more tendency to antithetical structure. The language is simple, the sentences are less hampered with parentheses. But here Andocides is humble; he appears as a young man without friends speaking before a critical and hostile assembly; he is moderate in his language, apologetic in tone, careful not to give offence by any sarcastic or ill-considered utterance. In the de Mysteriis he is speaking with the consciousness not of a better cause but of increased powers and an assured position in the State. He is confident, almost arrogant at times; he is bitter and violent in his attacks on his enemies.

The de Pace bears a general resemblance in style to the other speeches, except for certain grammatical peculiarities. Dionysius declared it to be spurious, but modern critics mostly regard it as genuine.

The chief grounds for suspicion are the inaccuracies of the historical narrative (§§ 3-9) and the curious fact that a very similar passage occurs in Aeschines (de F. L., §§ 172-176), where even certain peculiarities 71 of phraseology39 are reproduced. As to history, the orators were often inaccurate about the past history of their own country. Careless statements occur even in the de Mysteriis. Demosthenes is an untrustworthy authority even for events almost contemporary. As to the other matter, there is good reason for the belief that Aeschines plagiarized Andocides in the fact that a reference to Andocides, the grandfather of the orator, which occurs in both speeches, is in place in a speech of Andocides, while there is no particular reason why Aeschines, if he were composing the passage, should have mentioned him. In some minor points, as Jebb has shown, Andocides is more accurate than Aeschines. The suggestion that the de Pace is a spurious speech, composed by a later rhetor who plagiarized from Aeschines, is therefore hardly tenable. There remains a third possibility, that both Aeschines and Andocides borrowed from the same semi-historical compilation, perhaps a lost rhetorical exercise.

The de Pace and the de Reditu are not enlivened by excursions into anecdote or the consequent direct quotations of speech which characterize the de Mysteriis. The historical argument already mentioned is dull in itself, but the tedium of the de Pace is somewhat relieved by a not infrequent use of rhetorical question.

‘What is there left for us to discuss? The subject of Corinth and the invitation of Argos. First, I should like to be informed about Corinth: if the Boeotians do not join us in the war but make peace with Sparta, what will Corinth be worth to us? Remember the day, men of Athens, 72 when we made our alliance with the Boeotians; what was our feeling in that transaction? Was it not that we and Boeotia in combination were strong enough to stand against all the world? But now our question is, if the Boeotians make peace, how shall we be able, without Boeotian help, to fight against Sparta? We can do it, say some people, if we protect Corinth, and have an alliance with Argos.

‘But when the Spartans attack Argos, are we going to help Argos or not? We must definitely choose one course or the other.’40

An appeal for peace does not give such opportunities for oratory as a call to arms; nevertheless, a greater orator might have made more of the subject.

The speech Against Alcibiades is undoubtedly spurious and belongs to a much later date.

It is based upon a complete misconception of the nature of the law about ostracism. The speaker is represented as discussing the question whether he himself or Nicias or Alcibiades should be ostracized — a quite impossible position. The speech is little more than a collection of some of the stock anecdotes about Alcibiades, such as occur in Plutarch.

The names of four lost speeches are preserved: — πρὸς  ἑταίρους, συμβουλευτικός, περὶ  τῆς  ἐνδείξεως and ἀπολογία  πρὸς Φαίακα. Fragments — a few lines in each case — remain of two unnamed speeches. One of these refers to Hyperbolus as still in Athens, and so must be placed not later than 417 B.C., the year when Hyperbolus was ostracized. It deserves quotation as being typical of the snobbishness 73 of the young aristocrat, not yet disciplined by misfortune.

‘I am ashamed to mention the name of Hyperbolus; his father is a branded slave, who up to the present day works in the public mint; he himself is a foreigner, a barbarian, and a lampmaker.’41


 1  Soph. Elench., 183 b. 32.

 2  267 C.

 3  x. 416 A.

 4  Rhet., iii. 1. 7.

 5  The word seems to mean powerful or convincing; whether τόποι (commonplaces or passages) or λόγοι (arguments) is the word to be supplied, we cannot even conjecture.

 6  de Isaeo, ch. xx.

 7  de Demosthene, ch. iii.

 8  Phaedrus, 267. C. (Jowett).

 9  Book I., 336 B.

10  Rhet., iii. 8. 4; iii. 1. 7. The paeon =   ¯ ˘˘˘   or    ˘˘˘ ¯ .

11  Cf. Aristoph., Frogs, 866: ἐβουλόμην μὲν  οὑκ  ἐρίζειν  ἐνθάδε.

12  Aesch. in Ctes., § 2.

13  The reference by Arist., Rhet., ii. 23. 28 to ἡ  πρότερον  Θεοδώρου  τέχνη — the earlier treatise of T. — implies others.

14  Cf. Arist., Rhet., iii. 13. 4: διήγησις, ἐπιδιήγησις, προδιήγησις ; ἔλεγχος, ἐπεξέλεγχος.

15  Phaedrus, 266 C, λογοδαίδαλος.

16  Aristoph., Clouds, 109.

17  Thuc., vi. 60.

18  de Myst.., §§ 61 sqq.

19  Ibid., § 4.

20  Dion., de Lysia, ch. 2.

21  Quint., xii. 10, 21.

22  Philostratus, vita Her. Att., ii. 1, § 14.

23  Hermogenes περὶ  ἰδεῶν, ch. xi. p. 416. Spengel (Rhetores Graeci).

24  Ps-Plut., Lives of the Ten Orators.

25  The following is a list of some of the poetical or unusual words and phrases occurring in the speeches — de Myst.: § 29 ταῦτα   τὰ   δεινὰ  καὶ  φρικώδη  ἀνωρθίαζον. § 67 πίστιν . . . ἀπιστοτάτην. § 68 ὁρῶσι  τοῦ  ἡλίου  τὸ  φῶς. § 99 ἐπίτριπτον  κίναδος. § 130 κληδών. § 146 (γένος) οἴχεται  πᾶν  πρόρριζον.

de Pace: § 7 τὸν  δῆμον . . . ὑψηλὸν   ἦρε. § 8 and in three other passages κατηργάσατο (secure, bring about, cf. Eur. Her., 646 πόλει  σωτηρίαν  κατεργάσασθαι). § 18 κρατιστεύειν. § 31 ἐκτεῖναι  τὸν  θυμὸν, ἀρχὴν  πολλῶν  κακῶν.

The de Pace is noticeable for the recurrence of two grammatical forms which do not occur in the other speeches, the use of τοῦτο  μὲν τοῦτο  δέ after the manner of Herodotus for the simple μέν and δέ; and the repetition of δέ with a resumptive force, as e.g. § 27 ἂ  δὲ  πρὸς  τούτους  μόνους  ἐκεῖνοι  συνέθεντο, ταῦτα  δ’ οὐδεπώποτ’  αὐτούς  φασι  παραβῆναι.

The illogical use of the plural of οὐδείς in the same sense as the singular (de Myst., § 23 οὐδένας, § 147 οὐδένα) is perhaps colloquial. There are many instances of the use of this plural in the later orators, a point which Liddell and Scott did not observe, or, at any rate, failed to make clear. Another phrase which may be colloquial is τῇ  γνώμῇ  καὶ  ταῖν  χεροῖν  ταῖν  ἐμαυτοῦ (de Myst., § 144).

26  de Myst., §§ 48-50.

27  de Myst., §§ 37-39.

28  de Myst., §§ 1-3 and 8.

29  Ibid., § 150.

30  de Myst., §§ 4, 5.

31  de Myst., § 57.

32  de Myst., § 126.

33  Ibid., § 95.

34  ὦ  συκόφαντα  καὶ  ἐπίτριπτον  κίναδος, κ.τ.λ., de Myst., § 99.

35  Ibid., § 93.

36  Supra, p. 66.

37  § 8.

38  de Myst., § 112.

39  E.g., the poetical ὑψηλὸν  ἧρε. Andoc., § 7; Aesch., § 174. Cf. Euripides, Supp., 555, and Her. 323.

40  de Pace., §§ 24-26.

41  Frag. 5 (Blass).

[Back] [Blueprint] [Next]