Codices 257-280
[Extracts]

Portions Les Belles Lettres, Paris.


263. [Isaeus, Various Discourses] 1

Read the Various Discourses of Isaeus: in a word, there are 64 of them.  There are only 50 whose authenticity is attested.  He imitates Lysias, whose pupil he also was.  His imitation is shown by the type of words used and by his famility with matters of fact;  it is in this way, in fact, that his discourses show their resemblance to those of the other orator, on which point without long examination and study, the difference in style of the two series of discourses cannot be recognised, except all the same in the figures.  Isaeus in fact was the first to employer figures and to turn his thought towards public affairs, imitated above all in that by Demosthenes, who was his pupil.

Isaeus was originally from Chalcis; he came to Athens and studied, it is said, with Lysias; the summit of his career was after the Peloponnesian War, and he lived until the domination of Philip.  He abandoned his school one day for 10,000 drachmas and became the teacher of Demosthenes, which contributed more to make him famous.  It is also said that he wrote the discourse of Demosthenes against his teachers.

1. The same facts are all to be found in Ps.-Plutarch.

[Translated from Henry]


264.  [Aeschines, Discourses]

Read some discourses by Aeschines, of which the number is reduced to three, with nine letters.  The discourse entitled Delian is not by Aeschines.  In these discourses he is mild, pure, neat and remarkable for the clarity of his arguments.1  The discourse Against Timarchus accuses the latter of prostitution; Timarchus, struck with terror, abandoned the lawsuit and hanged himself.

Aeschines was the first to announce to the Athenians the second victory of Tamynes, for which he received a crown.  It is said that he began by speaking to the assembly against Philip, then, raised to reputation by his eloquence, he was chosen as ambassador to the Arcadians where, on his arrival, he raised ten thousand men against Philip.

This Aeschines was the son of Atrometos who was banished under the Thirty, then was of those who reestablished democracy.  Son of him and Glaucothea, he was of the deme of Kothokis; he wasn't one of those who shine because of their birth, nor one of those who do so because of their fortune.  From his youth, being physically vigorous, he gave himself up to sports; as he had a good voice, he acted in tragedy and, according to Demosthenes, he served as secretary and in third place to Aristodemos in the course of the Dionysian festivals of the demes.

When he was still quite a young man he taught letters with his father and, as an adolescent, he was a soldier.  He was a hearer of Isocrates and Plato, some say; Caecilius says that he was a hearer of Leodamas.  He was the colleague of Demosthenes in an embassy, when he distinguished himself by his action in the opposed party, and he accompanied many others of these, notably those sent to Philip to treat for peace, and in connection with which he was the object of a prosecution by Demosthenes, and also for having supported a war between Amphissa and the Amphictyons charged with reconstructing the port while he was pylagoros, because, after this affair, the Amphictyons sought refuge with Philip and the latter, instigated by Aeschines, intervened and possessed himself of the Phocide.  However, defended by the demagogue Eubulus son of Spintharos, of the deme of Probalinthos, he was acquitted by only thirty votes.

Later, after the death of Philip, and at the moment when Alexander had passed into Asia, Aeschines accused Ctesiphon of illegality because of the honours decreed to Demosthenes.  As he did not obtain a fiftieth part of the votes, he was exiled to Rhodes for not having wanted to disburse a thousand drachmas for his failure.  At Rhodes he opened a school and set himself to teach.  When he gave the Rhodians a hearing of his discourse against Ctesiphon, they were astonished at his defeat after such a speech.  "You would not be astonished, people of Rhodes," he said, "if you had heard Demosthenes speak against me."  From Rhodes he embarked for Samos; in the island he lived for some time further, and died there a short time later.2

1.  This brief judgement on his style is not to be found in any of the ancient notices available to us.

2.  The majority of the facts are taken from Ps.-Plutarch.  Cf. The picture given of the same man in codex 61.

[Translated from Henry].


265.  [Demosthenes, Discourses]

265. Read almost all the discourses of Demosthenes; 65 authentic ones are attributed to him among which most people think the best composed are the harangues to the people.1

Some say that the discourse 'On the Halonnesus' -- which is also entitled 'Second discourse against Philip',2 because the orator there responds to the letter of Philip -- some say that thus this is not an authentic discourse of Demosthenes; and allege, in support of their opinion, the expressions, the vocabulary, and the harmony of the construction; these elements are much above the manner of Demosthenes; in the fact the style, here, is relaxed and without consistancy, much inferior to the skill of the orator in this domain. Those who remove it from Demosthenes attribute it to Hegesippus.3 I myself think that, often, the works of different authors show great resemblance and that writings of different character derive from the same author. Because human resource isn't always inalterable or immutable, no more in letters than in other areas of life. Above all, considering a difference which does not hold even on the most essential characteristics of the diction of the orator, but on very little, I would not know how to decide with assurance that the discourse 'On the Halonnesus' is a work of Hegesippus or a moment of fallibility in the talent of Demosthenes.

Likewise the discourse which is entitled On the treaty with Alexander is attributed to Hyperides instead of Demosthenes because the latter, among the many points where he overpassed other orators, outclassed them above all in his choice of words, while the present discourse even contains some little-liked expressions such as 'nouveau riche' and 'conduct oneself in an odious manner' and some others of the same kind.

There are also those who reject the two discourses Against Aristogiton as not authentic.  But such people leave them like orphans, unable to name their parents.  Dionysius of Halicarnassus appears among these, who does not subject his conjecture to any valid proof; he has even refused to see a fact which has much more weight than his denial, which is that Aristogiton himself agreed that Demosthenes wrote against him, because he is seen to defend himself, not in passing but in the course of a detailed polemic, in the discourse entitled Apology against the prosecutions against Lycurgus and Demosthenes.

The discourses Against Midias and Against Aeschines have been equally accused of lacking in some points the quality which characterises the style of Demosthenes.4  In these two discourses, in fact, at certain intervals he seems in taking to himself the same ideas, to combat himself, like someone who practises and not like someone who is really polemicising.  This is why some say that the two discourses have been left in the state of drafts, without having been cleaned up for publication; yet the discourses in question use the incriminating process with much discretion.

But what would those who put them on trial say about Aristides,5 who is seen to abuse this stylistic trick to the limit, just as he pushes his effort beyond what is reasonable and uses comparisons, not in the proportion necessary for the elaboration, but beyond?  It is above all the Discourse against Aeschines which has left itself open to the reproach of being left in a draft state, of not having received the final touches, for the reason that everything that is very confused and irrelevant to the accusation was left at the end of the discourse, a thing that the orator would not have let slip if he had carried out an attentive review of his works.  In fact the discourse of Lysias Against Mnesiptolemus 6 is not thus developed, and, in all the parts that demand it, he has retained pathos without ever relaxing his momentum, but rather accentuated it, and without failing to keep his listeners in suspense, even at the end.  However, according to some, the discourse On the false embassy has been left in outline and has not been written for publication in so far as the editing had proceeded.  Why?  Because after the elements of the peroration which are numerous and which hold almost the largest place, the author, who has already given many antitheses returns again to antitheses, which is a lack of organisation and a disorder.

As for the discourse For Satyros 7 on guardianship, against Charidemos, those of sure judgement say that it is by Demosthenes, but Callimachus 8, who is not even capable of judging, thinks that it is by Dinarchus.  Some attribute it to Lysias, in which they go against the chronological facts as well as all the character of the work, the subject and the style.  Witnessing in favour of the attribution to Demosthenes is the use of oblique cases, the sustained character of the periods and their vigour because, from the exordium, the discourse is strewn with these characteristics.  And certainly the choice of words is excellent and the construction almost perfection.  Witness also the figures: they are compact, with vivacity and asyndeton, which Demosthenes liked to use above all.  But the construction above all is neat and the decorations do not obstruct clarity; the periods are finished to perfection and keep to a just measure throughout.

Thus the fact that no type of construction is lacking, but that everything is contained in its periods, connects Isocrates to Demosthenes as well as Lysias.  But what differentiates them is the very different length in composition of the parts of a phrase in the periods.  Most of the time Isocrates draws them out, and Lysias abbreviates them, while Demosthenes preserves the just measure between the two.

As for the discourse On peace, many, and notably the sophist Libanius,9 are of the opinion that it was written but  never spoken.  In fact the orator in his prosecution against Aeschines does not reproach him less for having advised the Athenians to pass a decree that Philip would be one of the Amphictyons.  Thus, how could be dare himself to give this advice on a point where he had violently criticised the other?  Because the discourse On peace suggests clearly that Philip become an Amphictyon.

The discourse Against Neaera, accused of platitude, is excluded by certain critics of the writings of Demosthenes, together with the discourse On love which is attributed to him, as well as the Funeral oration.  

It is said that at the age of 24 Demosthenes worked on the discourse On the [tax] exemptions or Against Leptines, the exordium of which is considered as combative by the critic Longinus.  Longinus lived under Claudius 10 and he often did legal business for Zenobia, queen of Osrohene, who reigned after the death of her husband Odenathus.  An old tradition reports that she adopted Jewish customs and abandoned pagan superstition.  However Longinus gave the opinion on the exordium that I mentioned.  Others have wrongly said that the exordium is of a moralising type.  To many other critics still, this discourse has given difficulty: such as the rhetor Aspasios 11, for example, because he had not even advanced his knowledge of the discourse to the point of precision.

It is the same with the discourse Against Midias, because it has preoccupied many people and furnished them with materials for numerous controversies.  Some say that it belongs to the genre of pathos, and uses exaggeration.  Others say that it is of the practical genre.  In sum, the vocabulary has vigour, the construction harmony; he adapts a style of pathos to reasonings and arguments of pathos, and to those of a practical character he adapts the form that suits them.  The author keeps a balance, not only in this discourse but also in many others.  However, it is difficult for a combative author to keep his balance from bout to bout against his antagonist, above all when one is naturally lively and passionate, traits of character lacking in neither Demosthenes nor Aristides.  This is why they often allow themselves to be carried away: their intention is derailed by their temperament, because art cannot regulate the will unless it is aided by a trait of temperament.

At the age of 38 the orator convinced the people by a speech to send help against Philip to the Olynthians, who had asked for it by an embassy.

This Demosthenes was the son of Demosthenes and Cleoboule, of the deme of Paeania.  His father died when he was seven, with a sister two years younger than himself.  He lived with his mother and followed the teaching of the rhetor Isocrates and, according to most people, of Isaeus of Chalcis, who taught at Athens.  Isaeus himself was the disciple of Isocrates and the rival of Thucydides and the philosopher Plato.  Everyone reports different facts about the education of Demosthenes and his masters.  On attaining his majority, he only received from his guardians a truncated patrimony, and he instituted proceedings against them for their mismanagement; they were three; Aphobos, Therippides and Demophon -- some give Demeas instead of Demophon --  claiming ten talents from them in each prosecution.  All the same, he took nothing from them once he had obtained a conviction; he reached a settlement with some and forgave others out of charity.  Chosen as choregus, he was struck in the theatre by Midias of Anagyra during the exercise of his duties; he prosecuted him and allowed it to lapse when the other gave him three thousand drachmas.

It is said that he corrected many natural defects by much exercise.  In his youth he shut himself up in a cave and spent his time there philosophising, after shaving part of his head so that his appearance would prevent him leaving even if he wanted to.  Then it is said that he slept on a narrow bed so that he could get up rapidly; being unable to pronounce the letter rho, he achieved this by hard work.  As in the course of his rhetorical exercises, he moved his shoulders in a less than graceful way, he suspended a spit, or as some say, a small sword, from the ceiling while he was exercising so as to constrain himself to immobility for fear of injuring himself, and he was thus freed of this disgrace.

As the noise of the crowd troubled him, he went to Phalerum so as to suffer no more and made his rhetorical exercises while confronted with the noise of the waves, to correct nature through practise.  He even had a full-length mirror made, and used to look at himself in it to check himself so that, if there was anything careless in his posture when he spoke, he could come to correct it by studying himself.

He had too little wind to speak very long periods without drawing breath, so he gave ten thousand drachmas to the actor Neoptolemus, to train him in the control of breathing.  The narrow passages through which we draw air across the palate so that we refresh and warm the thoraz as by breaths of air and from which vapour comes out were for him too narrow for his profession; for this is an important factor for the clarity of the voice.  He enlarged their natural diameter by filling his mouth with oil while going up a steep slope; by the force of movement, it worked itself into the nostrils, rendering the natural narrowness of the passages effective for normal use.12

When he entered politics and saw that some citizens supported Philip, while others addressed the people in favour of the freedom of the city, he ranged himself with the good party and worked with Hyperides, Nausicles, Polyeuctes and Diotimos.  It is thus that he gained for the Athenians the alliance with Thebes and also with Euboea, Corcyra, Corinth, Boetia and many other Hellenes also.

One day when addressing the people he was chased out of the theatre and went home discouraged.  Eunomos of Thria, who was already very old, found him on the way, learned the cause of his discouragement, exhorted him to encourage him and restored his confidence.  Even more than Eunomos, the actor Andronicus told him that his discourses were good, and even excellent, and that he only lacked the art of an actor.  Demosthenes put himself in the hands of Andronicus and learned from him the technique of oratorical movement.  That is why, to someone who asked him what is the first element of oratory, he replied, "'Movement'; and the second, 'movement', and the third, 'movement'," showing by this that movement is an important element in the art of swaying the public.  He swore an oath, according to Demetrius of Phalerum 13, "by earth, by springs, by streams and rivers."  One day, when he had made an oath in these terms, he provoked a riot among the people, as he also did in swearing an oath by Asclepius and putting the accent on the antepenultimate syllable 14.  All the same, after he had been the pupil of Euboulides of Miletus who was second to none in the art of eloquence, he corrected every habit that could be used to criticise him.

It is reported that Philip of Macedon, when he had received and read the speeches of Demosthenes composed against him, admired them greatly and said, "I myself, if I had heard Demosthenes speak against me, would have chosen the man to make war on me."  One of his friends asked him which speeches were the most persuasive and the most effective, those of Demosthenes or those of Isocrates: he replied that the speeches of Demosthenes resembled soldiers because their power is strong and warlike; those of Isocrates resembled athletes because they give pleasure to those hearing.

When Aeschines was condemned to banishment, Demosthenes followed him on horseback, offering him various consolations and giving him a talent of silver, while Aeschines was expecting the opposite.  In fact when he saw Demosthenes following his trail, Aeschines believed that he wanted to follow in order to do him harm, and had already thrown himself down with his head covered, imploring his safety; and Demosthenes, as has been said, behaved to him in a manner more like a philosopher than an orator.  When he encouraged him to bear his exile with courage, Aeschines said, "How can I, being separated from such a city, where one's enemies surpass in kindness and nobility those whom elsewhere we consider as friends?"

Appointed to administer the corn supply and accused of theft, Demosthenes was acquitted.  Philip having seized Elateia, he went himself to the war with those who were beaten at Chaeroneia; it came out that he there abandoned his post.  As he fled, a thorn-bush snagged his coat; he was accused of turning to it and saying, "Take me alive."  His shield showed Fortune as its device.15

He honoured those who had fallen in combat with a funeral oration; he made it in a manner which was undoubtedly adequate in the circumstances but which fell far short of his ability as an orator.  Later he repaired the ramparts of the city; being appointed to maintain them, he met the expense, which was 100 minae of silver, from his personal fortune.  He gave 10,000 drachmas for the delegates to religious festivals.  He embarked on a triereme and made a tour in order to collect money from the allies.  For his services, he was several times honoured with a golden crown, firstly by Demoteles, Aristonicus and Hyperides, lastly by Ctesiphon; this latter decree was alleged to be illegal by Diodotus and Aeschines; he spoke for the defence and carried the day.

Later, when Alexander had crossed into Asia and Harpalus 16 had fled to Athens with his money, at first Demosthenes spoke out against receiving the man into the city; but once Harpalus had arrived and, it is said, Demosthenes had received 1,000 darics 17, he went over to those who supported Harpalus and, when the Athenians wanted to deliver Harpalus to Antipater, he opposed this and had it decreed that Harpalus' money should be deposited on the Acropolis without even having told the people how much it amounted to.  Harpalus claimed to have brought 700 talents which he deposited on the Acropolis, and only 308 or a little more could be found there.  From his prison Harpalus escaped, some say to Crete, others to Taenarum in Laconia; Demosthenes faced a charge of corruption.

Brought to trial on this charge by Hyperides, Pytheas, Menesaichmos, Himeraeus and Procles, who influenced the Areopagus to condemn him, he was found guilty, after which he went into exile because he could not pay five times the sum he received: he was accused of allowing himself to be bribed with 30 talents.  There exists another version of the story which says that, without awaiting the sentence, he went into exile which those who were to judge him were making their preparations.

A little later, the Athenians sent Polyeuctes as ambassador to the Arcadian league to detach them from the Macedonian alliance.  When Polyeuctes was unable to obtain anything, Demosthenes appeared, spoke in the same sense, and convinced the Arcadians.  This action won him the admiration of the Athenians and obtained his recall; a decree was passed and a triereme sent to him.  It was decreed that, instead of paying the 30 talents he owed, he should restore the altar of Zeus at Piraeus.  He returned to political activity as before.

But when Antipater had destroyed Pharsalus, threatening to beseige Athens if the orators were not delivered over to him, Demosthenes quitted the city which could not protect itself and went into exile.  He first went to Aegina, then, fearing the anger of Antipater 18 there too, he moved on to Calauria 19.  The Athenians having voted to hand over the orators, he took refuge in the temple of Poseidon.  Archias, nicknamed the hound of the proscribed, followed him and attempted to convince him to leave the temple and trust Antipater.  "But my dear chap," he said, "you didn't convince me by your tragedies, and you won't convince me now by your advice."  When Archias attempted to seize him by force, the people of the town prevented him.  And Demosthenes said, with much nobility and spirit, "I did not flee to Calauria through fear for my safety, but because I wanted to prove that the Macedonians are capable of fouling themselves by violence against the gods."  He asked for a tablet and, it is said, wrote on it the elegiac couplet destined for his statue, which the Athenians later had engraved there: "O Demosthenes, if you had had strength equal to your resolution, the Macedonian Ares would never have ruled over the Greeks."  This is what Demetrius of Magnesia 20 says; others say that the tablet was found to have nothing on it except the words, "Demosthenes to Antipater, greeting."  Some say that the orator died by swallowing a poisoned drink, others by sucking poison which was in his pen, because it was to hand while writing.  Others give him a bracelet on his arm in which the poison was hidden.  Another version reports that he died by holding his breath, yet another thanks to poison which was hidden in the seal of his ring.

He lived for 70 years according to the opinion of most; for 67 years according to a few.  He was politically active for 22 years.  He left two children, by the same wife who was from a distinguished family.  There is a state of him in the Prytaneum, carrying a sword, because that is how, it is said, he spoke to the people against Antipater when the latter wanted to force the orators to leave Athens.  Later the city accorded free meals at the Prytaneum to the relatives of the orator; other posthumous honours were conferred on him and his statue was set up in the public square.

A great number of jokes and witty remarks are attributed to him, each suited to the needs of the occasion, and which his hearers treasured in memory or wrote down.

One day, when the Athenians were opposed to what he was saying at the assembly, he declared that he only wanted to say a few words to them.  They agreed.  "A young man," he said, "one summer day had hired an ass to go from Athens to Megara.  When around mid-day the heat was very oppressive, the owner of the ass and the young man both wanted to be in the shadow of the ass; one saying that the other had hired the ass but not its shadow; the hirer asserting that since the fee made him master of the body of the ass, he also had the right to the enjoyment of that which resulted from the existence of this body."  At this point he went out, leaving after he had roused their interest in hearing the rest of the story.  And when the Athenians stopped him and demanded that he finish his story, he replied, "So, you want to hear about the shadow of an ass, but not about matters serious and useful to the city."

He was called Batalos 21, some say, because in his youth he wore women's clothes to parties; others say in order to do him injury that he took this nickname from the diminutive of his nurse's name.  Others still, followed by the sophist Libanius, say that in his youth he was feeble and sickly and that, for this reason, he did not frequent the palaestra as all the children of Athens were accustomed to do; this is why, when he grew up, he was mocked by his enemies for his softness and nicknamed Batalos.  In fact an Ephesian fluter-player called Batalos was the first to wear women's shoes on stage and to employ soft melodies; he made his performance completely effeminate; it is since then that dissolute and effeminate men are nicknamed Batalos.

1.  There are 60 speeches of Demosthenes (384/3-322 BC) extant today.  Much of this material comes from Ps.-Plutarch.

2.  This is a mistake; the speech On Halonnesos is not the Second Philippic.

3.  Contemporary and battle-companion of Demosthenes. Photius' report is related to Libanius, Op. cit., p.619, 8-620, 9, with many literary connections. The source for both Libanius and Photius was Caecilius, Fr. 139, p.122, 1-31 Ofenloch. A further chunk of Photius is considered as fr. 144 of Caecilius.

4.  Wilson states that there seems to be another mistake here, as Against Aeschines ought to be the same as On the false embassy mentioned later.

5.  This Aristides must be the orator of the Roman period, in the second sophistic, the subject of codices 246-8.  He is also mentioned in codex 158.

6.  This is a lost speech: Wilson suggests that this indicates that Photius is probably simply repeating his source here more or less word for word.

7.  Another lost speech.

8.  The poet and librarian of Alexandria, who compiled the Pinakes, a kind of bibliographical guide to Greek literature.  This passage is given as fragment 446 in R. Pfeiffer's edition.

9.  The well-known sophist of Antioch (304-395 AD).  This point seems to be copied directly from Libanius, Hyp., vol. 8 p.615ff of Foerster's edition.

10.  Claudius II Gothicus (268-270 AD).

11.  A little-known sophist of the second century AD.

12.  Henry states that this is not in Ps.-Plutarch; Wilson that the anecdote is not comprehensible as recorded, and that perhaps Photius himself did not understand it.

13.  Pupil of Aristotle and friend of Theophrastus.  He was made governor of Athens by the Macedonians in 317 BC and stayed until 307.  His numerous works are today lost.

14.  It should fall on the last syllable.

15.  Ps.-Plutarch tells us that it was an inscription, "With good fortune", not a picture.

16.  Harpalus was a Macedonian noble whom Alexander had left in Babylon in charge of his property.  He proved dishonest and when Alexander returned, fled to Athens where he tried unsuccessfully to bribe leading politicians.  He then went on to Crete where he was murdered by one of his own officers.

17.  The daric was a Persian coin worth two gold drachmas.

18.  The manuscripts both say 'Philip', and Henry translates this; but Wilson rightly remarks that the subject is Antipater so this must be a mistake. It was corrected in the edition by Henricus Stephanus.

19.  Calauria is an island near Troizen.

20.  Scholarly compiler of the 1st century AD.  Nothing of his work remains; this citation is from Ps.-Plutarch.

21.  The name may also refer to one who stammers.

[Translated from Henry, compared against Wilson, notes from both]


266.  [Hyperides, Various Discourses]

266. Read various discourses by Hyperides.  Among these, 52 are attributed as authentic works of the orator; those which are disputed are 25; thus totalling 77 altogether.

He excells in polishing his discourses to the point where some are led to ask whether Demosthenes takes place of him in eloquence or if it is Hyperides who takes place of Demosthenes; there are even those who give the preference to Hyperides.  Even the epigram which is said to be graven on the stele of Demosthenes is attributed by some to him in confining himself to change...

...[more]...

[Translated from Henry]


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