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and in spite of the horrors of its reverse side it is also true. We cannot forget that Greek oratory, Greek art, and Greek taste all rested on a hideous and cruel slavery, and covered a yawning gulf which at any moment might swallow the most refined and delicate amongst them. But although this great curse casts its shadow between us and them, Mr. Jebb is more than justified in saying that for the free Athenians generally

the immortal things of humanity' were more human than • its accidents; and, therefore, the poorest of them, they could • rise out of the mean or grievous things of daily life into a

contemplation which educated the passions that it moved, and • resolved the anguish of pity or of terror in a musical or • chastened joy'(ii. 436).

But this faculty became pre-eminent chiefly or simply because it was common to the great body of the people, and received in all the same constant and life-long training.

Under no other conditions could it have reached this wonderful perfection. In this sense,' as Mr. Jebb forcibly remarks, 'it may * justly be said that nothing is so democratic as taste' (ii. 437). Nor can we doubt that, although the oligarchic party strove from time to time to turn the weapons of Athenian eloquence to their own purposes, the growth of oratory was determined by the growth of the demos, and the strength of the one was the strength of the other. Each citizen had his place in the Assembly, and was free to take part in its debates. At any moment, too, he might be summoned to a law court to plead on a civil or criminal charge, or might be compelled in selfdefence to come forward as an accuser. In either case he must speak in his own person. Athenian usage allowed no proxies, and a study of rhetoric became in whatever measure one of the needs of practical life. But this necessity was scarcely felt before the days of Kleisthenes, and virtually, it may be said, the rise of Athenian oratory must be assigned to the epoch of the Persian wars. Down to that time poetry was everywhere supreme, and it had scarcely entered into the mind of any to suppose that artistic composition would assume any other than a metrical form. When at length it was found that the common language of daily life was an instrument capable of indefipite cultivation, the growth of a prose literature was insured ; but the trammels of metre were not easily or quickly shaken off. There was the temptation first to indulge in ornament which, being wholly out of place, became simply oppressive; and when this temptation was conquered, there survived the notion of a severe or grand style which was supposed to suit all conceivable conditions, and which everyone must be taught



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to use. A more free and elastic method came in at the end of the age which closed with Antiphon; but to the description which Mr. Jebb gives of the earlier style it must be remembered that we have a signal exception in the case of Herodotus. · The newly-created art,' we are told, has the continual con* sciousness of being an art. It is always on its guard against

sliding into the levity of a conversational style. The com* poser feels above all things that his written language must be • so chosen as to produce a greater effect than would be pro• duced by an equivalent amount of extemporary speaking. • Every word is to be pointed and pregnant; every phrase is 'to be the condensed expression of his thought into ultimate

shape, however difficult it may be to the reader or hearer ' who meets it in that shape for the first time; the movement

of the whole is to be slow and majestic, impressing by its 'weight and grandeur, not charming by its life and tow' (i. 20). The whole description, like many others which are scattered through these volumes, has an air of exaggeration against which the reader may be tempted to enter a protest; but it is undeniably true that the speeches got up for Athenian public speakers were for a long time cast in a single mould. Young and old, the intriguer and his victim, the assassin arraigned on a capital charge, the prisoner brought up to answer for the results of a frolic or a brawl, were all to speak after the same fashion. It was a practice convenient for those who were paid for writing the speeches, but not likely to bring about any great achievements of oratory. Discourses so composed might exhibit an austere dignity, an epigrammatic terseness, a skilful readiness in the management of antitheses and verbal parallelisms; but they would touch rather the intellect than the heart, and the impression left by them would be more that of wisdom and force than of an earnestness which springs from an intense moral conviction. Yet the fact that men could be found to compose speeches to be delivered by others (and such speeches were delivered in the Assembly as well as in the law courts), proves that oratory was regarded as an art, while we have abundant evidence that the term conveyed no such notion of exceptional ability and power as that which modern usage has assigned to it. In Mr. Jebb's words, the Roman term orator related not to a faculty, but to a profes‘ sional or official attitude' (I. Ixx). The Greek word rhetor had not even this limitation. It denoted simply the speaker, and became naturally the designation of those who taught others to speak, or of those who habitually spoke in the public Assembly. Men of the former class might easily earn much



money, but there was always the danger that exceptional ability might bring them a reputation rather mischievous than beneficial. They were the professors of a fine art; but their lives were almost of necessity passed behind the scenes, and their success in bringing about the acquittal of real or supposed offenders would do little more than win them a name for cleverness and subtlety in making the worse appear the better reason. They lived, in short, more or less under a cloud; and if ever they came forward as speakers themselves, it was certain that nothing but thorough uprightness of character and honesty of intention could counteract the popular impression of their unfitness for public life. At the head of these men, and the first professional teacher of deliberative and forensic eloquence, was Antiphon.

Of this ill-famed and able man it may be briefly said that his method of thought and form of expression exhibit a close resemblance to those of Thucydides. There is in both the same manifest anxiety to bring, as Mr. Jebb puts it,' a large * complex idea into a framework in which the whole can be seen at a glance,' the same love of telling antitheses, in which the several clauses of long sentences balance each other with the nicest accuracy, the same desire of bringing an argument to a point by a single word of pregnant meaning, or by words used in a strange and unusual sense. The movement of such a style as this could only be dignified and slow. • Each word

was dropped with deliberation, and now and then some important word ... came down like a sledge-hammer.' (i. 26). It follows that only so long as slow and measured declamation • remained in fashion could the orator attempt thus to put a ' whole train of thought into a single weighty word' (i. 27), This austere oratory, with its “superb decorum,' might lend itself, indeed, to the advocacy of the most opposite principles, but it must necessarily embody them all in the same language. The speeches of Antiphon may accordingly be compared with those of the great historian in whose pages the merciless severity of Kleon and the humane prudence of Diodotos, the sobriety of Pericles and the daring license of Alcibiades, are exhibited in sentences of precisely the same mould.

In the plan of Mr. Jebb's volumes a short but most careful biography of each orator precedes the chapters in which he treats of their style and examines the works which bear their

These memoirs are among the most interesting portions


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* Mr. Jebb regards the tradition that Thucydides was a pupil of Antiphon as not improbable, but as resting on no evidence (i. 5).

of the work, and have often a special value as throwing a light not merely fresh but striking on the history of the time. But the vigour of these sketches, and the fulness of knowledge without which they could not have been drawn up, make us the more regret that the acts and the character of Antiphon are treated in a way which may mislead the judgment of the reader on the subject of his oratorical influence. The career of Antiphon calls for more decisive handling, while the opinions expressed about him are not justified by the later history of Athenian oratory. In short, Antiphon is described as having done more by bis eloquence than in any other way. Such an inference must not only lead us astray in estimating the reputation of Lysias and of those who carried on the Lysian tradition until it reached its crowning height in the oratory of Demosthenes; it will also draw our eyes away from the real character of the revolution, for his share in which Antiphon paid the forfeit of his life. We do not say that Mr. Jebb suppresses the facts related about him, far less that he eulogises his crimes; but we must confess that the language in which he speaks of the great master of rhetoric is singularly ill-suited to the character of the man and of his deeds.


* The distinctive feature in the life of Antiphon,' Mr. Jebb tells us, “is the suddenness of his appearance, at an advanced age, in the very front of Athenian politics. Unlike nearly all the men associated with him, he had neither made his mark in the public service nor come forward in the ekklesia; yet all at once he becomes the chief, though not the most conspicuous, organiser of an enterprise requiring in the highest degree trained political tact; does more than any other individual to set up a new government; and acts to the last as one of its foremost members. The reputation and the power which enabled him to take this part were mainly literary. Yet it would not probably be accurate to conceive Antiphon as a merely literary man who suddenly emerged and succeeded as a politician. It would have been a marvel, indeed, if anyone had become a leader on the popular side who bad not already been prominent in the ekklesia. But the accomplishments most needed in a leader of the oligarchic party might be learned elsewhere than in the ekklesia. The member of a éraipeia, though a stranger to the bema, might gain practice in the working of those secret and rapid combinations upon which his party had come to rely most in its unequal struggle with democracy. As tame and years by degrees brought Antiphon more and more weight in the internal management of the oligarchic clubs, he would acquire more and more insigh: into the tactics of which at last he proved himself a master. He need not, then, be taken as an example of instinct supplying the want of training; he had probably had precisely the training which would serve him best. The real significance of his late and sudden prominence lies in its suggestion of previous self-control. No desire


of place, no consciousness of growing power, had tempted him to stir until in his old age he knew that the time had come, and that all the threads were in his hand.' (I. 15.)

With even greater precision Mr. Jebb adds :

• The ability which Antiphon brought to the service of his party is defined as the power ενθυμηθήναι και αγνοίη είπείν. It was the power of a subtle and quick mind backed by a thorough command of the new rhetoric. He was masterly in device and in utterance. Fertility of expedient, ingenuity in making points in debate, were the qualities which the oligarchs most needed; and it was in these that the strength of Antiphon lay.'

Yet what are the facts of the case ? Before the Athenian people Antiphon never appeared until he stood at their bar to plead for his life, or, if Mr. Jebb prefers to have it so, to pronounce at the cost of his life the justification of the polity which he had done his best to set up and to maintain. But how had this best been done? In the Athenian ekklesia he never spoke; and whatever may have been his command of the new rhetoric, it was exerted only in the privacy of oligarchic conventicles. Whatever ingenuity he may have displayed in making points in debate, the debates themselves were held in the dark and were confined to a knot of secret conspirators. It needs no great effort of imagination to suppose that a daring man who is ready to venture everything in the service of his party may, within his narrow circle, acquire large influence with a very moderate literary reputation and power; nor can we tell how far such power was valued by the band of traitors with whom Antiphon had chosen to cast in his lot. The whole tone of the passages which we have cited implies that the action of Antiphon was mainly confined to words, and that the spell of his power lay chiefly in his eloquence. It is only in the vague notice of secret combinations that we have something like a clue to the nature of his tactics in what is called the unequal struggle with democracy-in other words, with the constitution of Athens as by law established after the fullest and most free debate of the whole body of the citizens of every order. In this unequal strife oligarchic eloquence, it was felt, could with the people do little or nothing; but the conspirators knew that freedom of speech was the very life of Athenian polity, and Antiphon had the sagacity to see that the reverence of his countrymen for forms of law might be made the most potent instrument for inslaving them. The means for bringing about this beneficent change were of the most simple kind. They may be summed up in two words-secret murder; and the mainspring of this excellent work was Antiphon. It was by

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