The Ancient Library

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On this page: Rhetoric (continued)



Phalerum, were only a feeble echo of the past. Demetrius is said to have been the first to give to oratorical expression a ten­dency towards an elegant luxuriance. He was also the first to introduce the custom of making speeches upon imaginary sub­jects by way of practice for deliberative and forensic speaking.

In later times the home of oratory was transferred to the free Hellenic or hellenized communities of the coasts and islands of Asia Minor, especially Rhodes. On the soil of Asia a new style was developed, called the Asiatic. Its originator is said to have been hegesias of Magnesia near Mount Slpylus. He nourished in the latter half of the 3rd century. In avowed opposition to the method of Demosthenes, who spoke in artistically formed periods, Hegesias not only went back to the simpler construc­tions of Lysias, but even endeavoured to outvie the latter in simplicity, breaking up all that he had to say into short sentences, and carefully avoiding periods of any length [Cic., Orator 226]. On the other hand, he sought to give a certain vividness to his speeches by an elaborately arranged order of words, and by a far-fetched and often turgid phraseo­logy. This was the prevailing fashion until the middle of the 1st century b.c. Even in Rome it had numerous followers, especially Hortensius, until by the influence of Cicero it was so utterly crushed out, that Hegesias was soon forgotten, even among the Greeks. A peculiar kind of oratory prevailed in Rhodes, where a closer ap­proach was again made to the Attic models, and particularly to the representatives of the simple style, such as Hyperides. Con­spicuous orators of this school were apol-LONIUS and MSLON, both of Alabanda in Caria, in the first half of the 1st century b.c. [These two orators are expressly distin­guished from one another by Strabo, p. 655; they are confounded even by Quintilian, who erroneously speaks of Apollonius Molon, iii 1, 16; xii 6, 7.]

The theory of oratory remained until about the end of the 2nd century b.c. exclusively in the hands of the philosophers, and was little regarded by the Asiatic orators. After that time the orators and practical teachers of the art again applied themselves with eagerness to theoretical studies ; the theo­rists adopted an eclectical method, seeking to combine the philosophical and more scientific proceeding of Aristotle with that of Isocrates, which addressed itself rather to

the turns of phrase and the outward forms of oratory. The most noteworthy system was introduced by hermagoras of Temnos (about 120 b.c.), whose writings, which are no longer extant, supplied the chief foun­dation for the theoretical studies of the Romans at the beginning of the 1st century B.C. The system of rhetoric elaborated by him was afterwards further worked out and improved in detail. In the time of the Empire the rhetorical schools in general flourished, and we possess an extensive rhetorical literature of that age reaching as far as the 5th century a.d. It includes the works of authors who mainly treated of the literary and aesthetic side of rhetoric, espe­cially those of DI6NYSIUS of Hallcarnassus, the champion of Atticism and of refined taste, and the unknown author of the able treatise On the Sublime (see longinus); also those of technical writers, such as hermogenes, the most noteworthy represen­tative of the scholastic rhetoric of the age, ApslNfis, menander, theon, aphthonids, and others. On the revival of Greek oratory, after the end of the 1st century, and parti­cularly in the 2nd century, see sophists.

(II) Roman. As among the Athenians, so also among the Romans, the institutions of the State early gave occasion for the practice of political and forensic oratory. Until the end of the 3rd century b.c., this oratory was wholly spontaneous. The speech of the aged appius claudius c.ecus, delivered in 280 against the peace with Pyrrhus, and afterwards published, was long preserved as the earliest written monu­ment of Roman oratory. Numerous political speeches were published by the well-known marcus porcius cato, the most note­worthy orator during the first half of the 2nd century. After the second Punic War, in spite of all the opposition of a Cato and of those who thought with him, Greek culture forced its way irresistibly into Rome, and the Romans became eager to conform to the Greek theory of oratory also. servjus SDLPldus galba (circ. 144 b.c.) is spoken of as the first man who composed hia speeches in accordance with the rules of Greek art, and not long afterwards the younger gracchus (died 121) proved him­self a consummate orator through the com­bination of natural gifts and art. Even at this time the publication of orations after delivery was a general custom, and men were already to be met with who actually wrote speeches for others. At the beginning of the 1st century b.c., the most noteworthy

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