Dionysius of Halicarnassus, The Ancient Orators. Preface

LCL 465: 4-5

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Dionysius of Halicarnassus




Πολλὴν χάριν ἦν εἰδέναι τῷ καθ᾿ ἡμᾶς χρόνῳ δίκαιον, ὦ κράτιστε Ἀμμαῖε, καὶ ἄλλων μέν τινων ἐπιτηδευμάτων ἕνεκα νῦν κάλλιον ἀσκουμένων ἢ πρότερον, οὐχ ἥκιστα δὲ τῆς περὶ τοὺς πολιτικοὺς λόγους ἐπιμελείας οὐ μικρὰν ἐπίδοσιν πεποιημένης ἐπὶ τὰ κρείττω. ἐν γὰρ δὴ τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν χρόνοις ἡ μὲν ἀρχαία καὶ φιλόσοφος ῥητορικὴ προπηλακιζομένη καὶ δεινὰς ὕβρεις ὑπομένουσα κατελύετο, ἀρξαμένη μὲν ἀπὸ τῆς Ἀλεξάνδρου τοῦ Μακεδόνος τελευτῆς ἐκπνεῖν καὶ μαραίνεσθαι κατ᾿ ὀλίγον, ἐπὶ δὲ τῆς καθ᾿ ἡμᾶς ἡλικίας μικροῦ δεήσασα εἰς τέλος ἠφανίσθαι· ἑτέρα δέ τις ἐπὶ τὴν ἐκείνης παρελθοῦσα τάξιν, ἀφόρητος ἀναιδείᾳ1 θεατρικῇ καὶ ἀνάγωγος καὶ οὔτε φιλοσοφίας οὔτε ἄλλου παιδεύματος οὐδενὸς μετειληφυῖα ἐλευθερίου, λαθοῦσα καὶ παρακρουσαμένη τὴν τῶν


The Ancient Orators

The Critical Essays Of Dionysius Of Halicarnassus

1. The Ancient Orators

We ought to acknowledge a great debt of gratitude1 to the age in which we live, my most accomplished Ammaeus, for an improvement in certain fields of serious study, and especially for the considerable revival in the practice of civil oratory.1 In the epoch preceding our own, the old philosophic Rhetoric was so grossly abused and maltreated that it fell into a decline. From the death of Alexander of Macedon it began to lose its spirit and gradually wither away, and in our generation had reached a state of almost total extinction. Another Rhetoric stole in and took its place, intolerably shameless and histrionic, ill-bred and without a vestige either of philosophy or of any other aspect of liberal education. Deceiving the mob and exploiting its ignorance, it not only came to

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dionysius_halicarnassus-ancient_orators.1974