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1036

THEODECTES.

the same subject; that, though he was defeated by Theodectes in the competition of oratory, his tra­gedy gained the prize ; and that, while his oration was lost, his tragedy was extant down to the time of Gellius. (Cell. x. 18; Pseudo-Plut. Vit. Isocr-. p. 838, b. ; Suid. s. vv. ©eoSe/cTTjs, 'IffOKpdr-^s). In this, as in so many other cases, we have to thank Suidas for originating the error by confound­ing the testimonies together; but the truth may be detected even in his confused account- (Suid. s. v. koi evi/ojtre [o ©eoSe/cr^s]

& 77 clTre rpaycpfiiy &AAot Se ®e6irofj.Trov 6%eij/ t& irpcare'icC). There still re­mains, however, a minor, and not unimportant question ; namely, whether the tragedy of Theo­dectes was brought out in a dramatic contest (or perhaps merely recited) at the funeral of Mausolus, or whether it was afterwards composed for the Athenian stage, and there rewarded with the first prize. It is no sufficient answer to the latter idea, to say that the subject was not one which would interest the Athenians, for, besides that the tra­gedies of that day derived nearly all their interest from their manner rather than their matter, the Athenians could not be indifferent to a subject which was employing the genius, not only of the greatest rhetoricians, but also of the greatest artists whom they then possessed. (See Diet, of Antiq. s. v. Mausoleum, 2d ed.) The only safe conclusion, we believe, is that the evidence is insufficient to determine the question.

For excellence in the art of rhetoric, as it was practised by the school of Isocrates, Theodectes appears to have possessed the highest qualifications. Among these, no mean place must be assigned to that personal beauty which has been already men­tioned. His memory was so strong, that he could repeat any number of verses, after they had been read to him only once. (Qiiintil. xi. 2. § 51 ; Aelian, N. A. vi. 10; Pollux, vi. 108 ; Cic. Tuso. i. 24). Connected with this strength of memory was a power greatly prized by the rhetoricians of the day, and possessed in a high degree by Theo­dectes, of solving a kind of complicated riddles called ypfyot. (Poll. 1. c.; A then. p. 451, f.; where two examples are given from his tragedies; Fr. 8, 19, ed. Wagner).

Dionysius places him, with Aristotle, at the head of the writers on the art of rhetoric. (De Comp. Verb. 2, de Vi die. in Dem. 48.) His treatise on the subject, entitled rex^ prfropiK'fi (Suid. Steph. Eustath. II. cc.\ is repeatedly referred to by the fincient writers, from the comic poet Antiphanes, who was his elder contemporary (Ath. iv. p. 134, b.), down to Tzetzes (Chil. xii. 573). If we may believe Suidas (s. v.) it was in verse. Some appear to have believed the Rhetoric of Aristotle to be the work of Theodectes ; but this is a manifest error. (Quintil. ii. 15. § 10 ; with Spalding's Note; comp. Val. Max. viii. 14. § 3.) It seems, however, as might have been expected, that his work had some things in common with Aristotle's views, especially as to the classification of words, and the exclusion of the idea of metrical numbers from prose com position (Dion. //. cc.), and we ^are told that Aris­totle wrote an introduction (eio-aywyy) to the work of Theodectes. (Diog. Laert. v. 24 ; Anon. Vit. Aristot., where it is called 'Svvaywyfj, and is said to have been in three books.) Cicero quotes certain statements, respecting the alleged occurrence of certain feet in prose, from the work of Theodectes,

THEODECTES.

whom he calls in primis politus scriptor atque artifeae (Orat. 51). The work is now entirely lost, as are also his orations, which are mentioned under the title of \6yoi pyropiKol (Steph. Byz. /. c.), and which Eustathius (1. c.) calls \6yoi ayaOot. All that we know of their subjects is that one of them was a defence of Socrates (Aristot. Rhet. ii. 23 ; Phot. Frag. Cantab, p. 671, where he is wrongly called ©e^Se/rros), and that another was entitled Noytios. (Aristot. I. c.} A most valuable account of all that is known of the prose compositions of Theodectes is contained in the work of Marcker, de Theodectis Phaselitae Vita et Scriptis Comment. /., Vratislav. 1835.

We now turn to his dramatic works. It was not till after he had obtained renown in rhetoric, that he turned his attention to tragedy. (Suid. Plut. Vit. Isocr.\ Phot. Cod. 260, //. cc.). If, there­fore, the view above stated be correct, that he brought out his tragedy of Mausolus at the funeral of the Carian prince in B. c. 352, it may be assumed that this was about the time when he began to compose tragedies. The number of his dramas is uniformly stated as fifty. (Suid.; Steph.; Eustath.; //. cc.} According to his epitaph, quoted above, he entered the dramatic contests thirteen times, and gained eight victories. Hence the conjecture seems very probable, that he always brought out a tetra­logy, and that the fifty dramas ascribed to him are to be taken as a round number, for fifty-two ; or it may be said that he brought out eleven tetralogies and two trilogies ; but the latter, though a more literal, is a less natural and more arbitrary expla­nation. We have the titles of ten of these dramas, Atas, yA\K/naiwvt 'EAeV??, ©ueVrTjs, Avy/cefo, Mav-<ra>Aos, OiSnrous, 'OpefTTTjs, TuSeus, ^/aokt^tt/s, to which three may be added with great probability, namely, BeAAepo^Jz/r^s, ©^treuy, and Me/j.i>(av ?) 'AXiAAeuy. Popular as his dramas were, on account of their adaptation to the taste of his contemporaries, it is probable, from the fragments which survive, that they would be condemned by a sound aesthetic criticism, as characterised by the lax morality and the sophistical rhetoric of the schools of Euripides and Isocrates. The former censure is meant to apply to the choice of his subjects rather than to the manner in which he treated them ; for we find in the fragments sound moral sentiments, lamenta­tions over the growing vice of the poet's times, examples of the heroic virtues, arguments against impiety and atheism, and in favour of divine provi­dence and justice ; the last of which subjects appears to have been treated in such a manner as entirely to reject the old doctrine of fate, and consequently to make an essential change in the whole character and spirit of tragedy. His tragedies contained many of the enigmas to which reference has been made above ; an ingenious specimen is the attempt of a rustic to describe the letters which compose the name ®r](revs.

A story is related about Theodectes, which, though almost certainty fabulous, ought not to be passed over, namely, that, in one of his tragedies he borrowed, or thought of borrowing, something from the sacred books of the Jews, and was struck blind as a punishment for his profanity ; but, on his repenting of the crime, his sight was restored to him. (Aristeas, de LXX. Interpr. in Gallandii Bibl. Pair. vol. ii. p. 803 ; Joseph. Antiq. xii. 2. § 14 ; Euseb. Praep. Ev. vii. ; and other writers cited by Wagner, p. 114, b.) A sufficient proof

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