Dionysius of Halicarnassus, The Ancient Orators 4. On the Style of Demosthenes

LCL 465: 238-239

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Dionysius of Halicarnassus



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . δικανικοῖς μὲν οὖν οὐ περιέτυχον αὐτοῦ λόγοις, δημηγορικοῖς δὲ ὀλίγοις καί τισι καὶ τέχναις, τοῖς δὲ πλείοσιν ἐπιδεικτικοῖς. τῆς δὲ ἰδέας αὐτοῦ τῶν λόγων τοιοῦτος ὁ χαρακτήρ, ἐγκωμιάζει δὲ τοὺς ἐν πολέμοις ἀριστεύσαντας Ἀθηναίων· “Τί γὰρ ἀπῆν τοῖς ἀνδράσι τούτοις, ὧν δεῖ ἀνδράσι προσεῖναι; τί δὲ προσῆν, ὧν δεῖ ἀπεῖναι; εἰπεῖν δυναίμην, ἃ βούλομαι, βουλοίμην δέ, ἃ δεῖ, λαθὼν μὲν τὴν θείαν νέμεσιν, φυγὼν δὲ τὸν ἀνθρώπινον φθόνον. οὗτοι γὰρ ἐκέκτηντο ἔνθεον μὲν τὴν ἀρετήν, ἀνθρώπινον δὲ τὸ θνητόν, πολλὰ μὲν δὴ τὸ παρὸν ἐπιεκὲς τοῦ αὐθάδους δικαίου προκρίνοντες, πολλὰ δὲ νόμου ἀκριβείας λόγων ὀρθότητα, τοῦτον νομίζοντες θειότατον καὶ κοινότατον νόμων τὸ δέον ἐν τῷ δέοντι καὶ λέγειν καὶ σιγᾶν καὶ ποιεῖν, καὶ δισσὰ ἀσκήσαντες μάλιστα ὧν δεῖ, γνώμην <καὶ ῥώμην>,1 τὴν μὲν βουλεύοντες τὴν δ᾿ ἀποτελοῦντες, θεράποντες μὲν τῶν ἀδίκως δυστυχούντων, κολασταὶ δὲ τῶν ἀδίκως εὐτυχούντων,



On The Style of Demosthenes

. . . Thus I1 have not come across any forensic1 speeches by him:2 apart from a few political speeches and some handbooks, most of those which I have read are epideictic. The following passage shows the characteristic qualities of his speeches in the genre. He is celebrating the valour of the Athenians who distinguished themselves in war in the words:3

“What did these men lack that men should have, or what did they have that men should lack? May I be able to speak as I wish, and to wish as I ought, escaping the wrath of the gods and evading the envy of men. For these men were endowed with a valour that was divine, but a mortality that was human, and they far preferred practical equity to rigid justice, and integrity of speech to the exactitude of the law, considering that the most divine and universal law is to speak, to be silent and to act, each rightly and at the right time. They cultivated the two most necessary qualities—strength of mind and strength of body—the first for counsel, the second for action. Helpers of the undeservedly unfortunate, chasteners of the undeservedly fortunate, uncompromising towards

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dionysius_halicarnassus-style_demosthenes.1974