A. The Beginnings of the Art




    1.   Isocrates 13 (Against the Sophists) 2:  I think it is clear to all that it is not in our nature to understand future events in advance. We are so far removed from this intelligence that Homer, who has won the greatest reputation for wisdom, has even had the gods sometimes deliberate over these things,1 not because he knew their thoughts but because he wanted to demonstrate to us that for humans this is an impossibility.2

Aristides, On Rhet., (45) II p. 19 Di. (16, 15): “In the beginning, the power of words came to humans from the gods.” On the gods holding assemblies and competing in a trial, see the Prolegomenon of the Art of Rhetoric P.S. p. 21, the Prolegomenon of Troilus p. 51.5ff, of John Doxapater against Aphthonius p. 91.5ff. Prolegomenon in Aphthonius p. 163.12, Prolegomenon to Hermogenes On Stases p. 188.15, Sopater W. V5.30 The Stoic Chrysippus also follows this tradition: “he would force the phrase ‘wide-seeing’ son of Cronos to mean ‘clever in conversation,’ that is to say, with a widespread power of speech” (Plut., How to Study Poetry 31E).

1 See Hom. Il. 16.431ff., 16.652ff., and 22.168 ff.    2 Cf. Arist., Rhet. 2.23.4


    2.   Proclus, Commentaries on Plato’s Republic I 69.4 Kroll:  The artificer of persuasion is none other than Hermes, because of whom the other gods debate each other.

Apollo and Hermes dispute a theft with speeches in Homeric Hymn 4.  Zeus judges.   Cf. Prol. Art of Rhetoric p. 22.2-3.


    3.   Scholion on Homer B, Iliad 20.67:  (They say) that sometimes Homer established the names of gods by their dispositions: Athena by her intelligence, Ares by his foolishness, Aphrodite by desire, and Hermes by speech, and they fit them. This is really the old method of defense from Theagenes of Rhegium,1 who was the first to write about Homer; such is from the lexis.

1 Theagenes 72.2 D.-K.

A trace of this interpretation appears in Philodemus, Rhet. 2 p. 171 fr. 8- and 2 p. 289 fr. 13b.


    4.   Plato, Cratylus 407E-408A:  Well, this name, “Hermes”, seems in a way to have to do with speech; he is an interpreter (hermeneus) and a messenger, and [408a] furtive and deceptive in speeches and commercial.  All this activity is concerned with the power of speech.

There follows an etymology: Now, as I said before, eirein denotes the use of speech; moreover, Homer often uses the word emesato, which means “contrive.” From these two words, then, the lawgiver imposes upon us the name of this god who contrived speech and the use of speech—eirein means “speak.”  Cf. Hesiod, Works and Days 79 (On Pandora) the herald of the gods placed in her a voice.


    5.    Diogenes of Oenoanda frag. 10 col. 2-3 W. (Epicurus): And with regard to sounds (I mean those nouns and verbs that humans born from the earth first uttered) let us not assume Hermes for the teaching, as some say, for that is obviously prattle, etc.

‘some’: for example, Hecataeus of Abdera in Diod. Bibl. I.16: ‘Hermes articulated for the first time the spoken language and gave a name to heretofore unnamed things’. One must distinguish between Hermes as the inventor of language and of eloquence such as is produced by rhetoricians; there is, however, no full distinction.

    6.   Lucius Annaeus Cornutus, Summary of the Traditions Concerning Greek Mythology p. 20.18 Lang: Hermes is in fact the word, which the gods sent to us from heaven, having made the human the only talking (logikon) animal on earth, which they held far beyond the others.  He is named from imitation of erein, i.e. to speak.

Cf. Etym. Mag. 376.20: ‘lego (to speak) comes from ero…


    7.   Cornutus 25.14-18: He surreptitiously steals people’s former opinions and sometimes covers up the truth through persuasiveness. Hence[1] some call him deceitful for using deceitful words; and in fact, being sophistic is typical of those who know how to use words.



[1] Here we follow R.s text. If we follow Lang’s text (ὅθεν τινὰς καὶ ἐπικλόποις λόγοις χρῆσθαι λέγουσι), which is that of the mss., as R. himself shows in his apparatus, the current translation is correct.




    8.   Aelius Aristides, In Response to Plato On Rhetoric:  Zeus in wonder at Prometheus who was speaking justly and had assumed for himself the reasoning of the matter called on Hermes from among his children to take rhetoric and go to humans.  Prometheus had earlier fashioned together for all of them individually the senses and the other parts of the body, but even so he did not call on Hermes to divide up the theoretical, so that all would share straightaway in rhetoric, like their eyes and hands and feet, but, having picked out the best and noblest and strongest natures, he placed the gift in their hands, so that together they would be able to save all the rest.

Aristides puts together the myth he mentions, and which in the following he expands upon vividly, from different sources. The same author mentions Mercury as the inventor of rhetoric in other places too, cf. II p. 14 Di  (13.7), p. 18 Di. (16.2); he is the protector of that same art: ibid. p. 143 Di. (106.12), of ‘speeches’: p. 5 Di. (5.1, p. 18 Di. (16.3). Rhetoric teachers agree, v. Prol. sylloge 20.8. 15, 90.23, 163.2, Schol. Thucγd. VI 27.1 p. 341.10 H. There is a vestige of Euhemerism, according to which Hermes was human and a famous ‘teacher of speeches’, in Ioannes Sardianus p. 164.15 sq. R.


    9.  Pseudo-Dionysius, On Rhetoric: Athletes would most of all need the incitement and encouragement that comes from speech, since they themselves are disciples and imitators of Hermes and Herakles, of whom the former is the inventor of speech or is speech himself…

See an inscription found at Chalybis-Chassis from the principate: ‘Ostanes gives Hermes the Reckoner a piece of land by argumentation’ D. arch. Mitt., Ath. A bt. 62 (1937), 9 N. 8. Augustine de civ. Dei 7.14: language itself is said to be Mercury. How widespread such ideas are is evident from Acts 14.11-12: ‘As the masses saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in Lycian: The gods have assumed a human form and have come down to us. They called Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes, since he was the main speaker’. Hence in later cults Hermes is ‘the interpreter’, ‘of the market-place’, ‘speech-y’, ‘persuasive’, ‘revealer of speech to humans’, ‘giver of language’ (Eitrem, RE. 8.781 sq.). It would be tedious, however, to keep producing sources for this common view of later people; but since I have introduced Hermes the Reckoner, I shall add one more thing, namely that at that time the two Greek words logos and logismos were not distinguished, as is perfectly shown by the two attestations, diametrically opposed to each other, in the foreword of Plutarch, Moralia vol. VII p. XXIX ed. Bernardakis.




    1. Plato, Cratylus 398D-E And either this is the reason1 why they are called heroes, or it is because they were wise and clever orators and dialecticians, capable of questioning (ἐρωτᾶν), for εἴρειν is the same as λέγειν (speak). Therefore, when their name is spoken in the Attic dialect, which we were saying just now, the heroes turn out to be orators and questioners, [E] so that the heroic race proves to be a race of orators and sophists.

1 Because the word is related to Eros.

Related to this idea are Prolegomena to Hermog. P. S. p. 188, 18 R., Sopatros in Hermog. V 6, 1 W.

    2. Cratinus, The Chirons: Blessed was the life before now for the mortals compared to the present – the life that gentle-minded men had, excellent among mortals for their pleasantly worded wisdom.

This passage refers to those who lived in the time of Chiron.  Pleasantly worded wisdom = rhetoric.


    3. Isocrates 12 Panathenaicus 203-6: You will realize that [your argument] is so, if you ask any intelligent men what they think the finest lifestyle is, and next how much time it is that the Spartans have dwelt in the Peloponnesus. For there is no one who, among the ways of life, will not prefer piety toward the gods, justice toward humanity, and practical wisdom toward other activities, and they will say that the Spartans have lived in the Peloponnesus no more than seven hundred years.  [205] This being so, if you actually speak the truth when you say that they were the discoverers of the finest lifestyle, then it must follow that those who lived many generations before the Spartans dwelt here had no share in it—neither those who led the campaign against Troy nor those who lived at the time of Heracles, Theseus, Minos, son of Zeus, Rhadamanthus, Aeacus, or the others who are celebrated in song for these virtues, but that all of them have this reputation falsely.  [206] But if you’re speaking nonsense, and if it is fitting that men descended from gods practised these virtues more than others and demonstrated them to their descendants, then it’s impossible for you not to appear mad to all your listeners.   

Cf. Aristotle, Politics 3.14 1285b5-9 A fourth kind of kingly monarchies are those that came about in the heroic age through general consent, following tradition and in accordance with the law. For since the prominent men would become benefactors of the people thanks to skills or warfare… they would become kings of willing subjects…


    4. Plato, Phaedrus 261B (making fun of the doctrine): Then you have heard only the technai on speeches by Nestor and Odysseus, which the pair wrote [261c] while they were at ease at Troy, and you have not heard of that by Palamedes?

Plato playfully goes on to have Phaedrus respond that he did not know treatises by Nestor, either, but that Socrates perhaps meant Gorgias with “Nestor” and Thrasymachus or Theodorus by “Odysseus”.   Odysseus was seen as experienced in rhetoric already in the 4th century BC in a fragment of Homeric Interpretations of Antisthenes that is preserved in Porphyry’s Questions on the Odyssey see (B XIX 10 below).  There the epithet polytropos means “capable of varied turns of speaking” that express the same ideas.  At Phdr. 269A Socrates calls on “mellifluous Adrastus and Pericles” as critics of rhetoric.  Those who suppose that Antiphon is cloaked in the name Adrastus appear to have missed the edge of the words.  Spengel notes that the words of Tytaeus (fr. 9.8) are reflected in Plato.  Note that the declamations of Adrastus survived among later authors and the same Adrastus appears among the eloquent heroes in Philodemus  (below, A II 7).


    5. Philodemos, On Rhetoric 2 p. 71 fr. 8.5 Sudhaus: I do not think it necessary to repeat the above, since my demonstration would be no different in force from a speech that taught that the heroes were no different from private people who were able to do rhetoric even without having ever learned it.


    6. Philodemos, On Rhetoric  2 p. 119 fr. 16.8 Sudhaus: […] At the same time he also talks about the heroes, saying that they had the ability to speak, and adding […].

Who talks? Maybe Theodore of Cyrene? (Sudh. l. l. p. 116 fr. 1X 6.)


    7. Philodemus, On Rhetoric 2 p. 201 fr. 15 Sudhaus.: This kind of ability, such as was possessed by Odysseus, Nestor, Solon, Themistocles and Pericles, (he says is called) rhetoric.

Cf. Philodemus, On Rhetoric 2 p. 76 fr. 3 p.77 fr. 4 where there is a discussion about the heroes and Odysseus and Adrastus are named, a Stoic is attacked.  The text has been corrected by Sudhaus.  Aristides 46.2 p. 180 Di., includes Pericles, Odysseus, and Nestor, where there is a scholion (3 p.480, 16 Di.): He casts Pericles against the rhetoricians: the rhetors are part of the Greek force.


    8. Syrian, Commentary on Hermogenes 2 p. 7.3 Rabe: The words “clear from the beginning” mean “from the time the human race came into existence”. For rhetoric runs parallel with the reason of the souls, and before Nestor, Phoenix, Palamedes, Odysseus and the orators at Troy, rhetoric was already practiced among humans, inasmuch as some say that Pittheus from Troizen also wrote technai of speeches and taught people in Troezen. Those earlier than these who pursued this with excellence the oblivion of the Flood, among other things, has wiped out.

The fact that Pittheus was thought to derive from the peitho (“I persuade”) gave rise to these speculations.  Cf. Pausanias 2.31.3 on the sanctuary of the Muses at Troezen: "Here, they say, Pittheus taught the art of rhetoric, and I have myself read a book purporting to be a treatise by Pittheus, published by a citizen of Epidaurus."  Pittheus was “a man learned among those at the time, and most wise” (Plut. Thes. 3.1). Cf. a scholion on Euripides’ Hippolytus 11.  This tradition is older than the Roman Principate.  More remarkable still, however, is what is read in Philodemus On Rhetoric 1 p. 337 col. 30 ‘First, one had to worry that, instead of taking away the youth’s longing for rhetoric, it/he [whatever that is] might only heighten it on account of the accusations. For even if they clearly state something else, [one might think that] such a powerful practical skill would cause wonder, as if told in a myth with regard to Autolycus and his likes.’ So not only Odysseus, but also his ancestor Autolycus was listed among the orators, and you may remember the contest between Autolycus and Sisyphus. Demosthenes himself is called Sisyphus by Aeschines (2.42).  Sisyphus' name appears in Philodemus in a passage otherwise pitifully corrupted. (Rhet. II. p. 170 fr. V. S.)


    9. Prologue to Hermogenes, On Civil Strife: Some say that the first to give a forensic speech was the Athenian general Menestheus, who also took part in the war against Troy, - others say it was Antiphon the rhetor -  when he prosecuted Theseus on the matter of the Pallantids.

Cf. Sopater W v 6.12, Plut. Thes. 32-3, hence this seems to have come from some atthidographer. Libanius, or. 64.21.



    1. Eratosthenes = Strabo, 1.2.5 Rhetoric is, I suppose, practical wisdom regarding speeches, which [Homer] has Odysseus demonstrate throughout the whole poem, in the trial (book 2), the contests (book 3), and the Embassy (book 9). “But when he sends forth his mighty voice from his breast, and words like wintry flakes of snow, no longer then would another mortal contend with Odysseus.” (Il. 3.221)


    2. Cicero, Brutus 40 For already in Trojan times, Homer would not have attributed such praise of speaking to Ulysses and Nestor (one of whom he celebrates for his force, and the other for his sweetness).  50 For Menelaus himself Homer reports to have possessed a sweet elocution, but said little.


    3. Quintilian 12.10.64 For Homer himself assigns to Menelaus an eloquence pleasantly brief and appropriate, (for, that is, “he doesn’t wander far with his words”) and lacking needless words, which are virtues of the first order: and he says that from the mouth of Nestor flowed speech sweeter than honey, than which delight certainly none greater can be conceived: but when he is going to express the highest ability of eloquence and greatness of voice, he attributes to (Odysseus) a strength of speech equal to the snows of winter both in the abundance and in the vigor of words.


    4. Gellius, Attic Nights 6.14.7 But in early days these same three styles of speaking were in three men reported by Homer: the grand and rich in Ulysses, the subtle and restrained in Menelaus, and the mixed and moderate in Nestor.


    5. [Plutarch], On the Life and Poetry of Homer 172: He did not neglect to characterize the orators.  He introduces Nestor as pleasant and kindly to his listeners, Menelaus as brief in speech and gracious and on topic, and Odysseus as having used a great and dense cleverness in words. Antenor testifies to these two heroes, since he heard them when they came to Ilium.


    6. Sopater, Commentary on Hermogenes (Walz, Rhet. Gr. 5) 6.3: The poet (Homer) also appears to have known all kinds of examples of rhetoric. So he describes the fast, concise and demonstrative speaker as speaking “like snowflakes falling”, and the speaker who is compact and concise, but no less demonstrative, as “saying little, but very clearly”. He also knows the disorderliness of demagoguery and what those who speak in a disorderly but artful way are like, such as Thersites, who “in his mind knew unpolished words but many of them.”

Cf. Sen. epist. 40.2. Auson. prοf. Burd. XXI 16 grat. act. VIII 19, epist. 12.10 sq. p. 239 P.


    7. Prologue to an Anonymous Treatise on Rhetoric p. 22.14: The second point is where we check whether there was rhetoric even among the Heroes. For it was necessary and just for those who were from the gods to enjoy the gods’ fabrications first. Now let a witness for all of this be our divine sounding hierophant Homer, who has brought our inquiries into such matters onto a clear and safe ground. When he wishes to show us that among the heroes are found both qualities of rhetoric, he introduces Nestor as an advisor, about whom he says: “In their midst rose Nestor, the sweet-spoken, clear orator from Pylos, from whose tongue flowed a voice sweeter than honey.”     So the poet makes clear that Nestor possessed the sweet and gentle quality of rhetoric.  On the other hand, he indicates the concise and charming quality through Menelaus, of whom he says: “But Menelaus certainly spoke fluently, saying few words, but very clearly”. He also introduces Odysseus to exemplify the swift, sharp, forceful, and brilliant quality of rhetoric; he says about him: “But whenever he released his big voice out of his chest and words similar to snowflakes in winter, no other mortal would have been able to compete with Odysseus.” To show that the word “rhetoric” itself was known to the heroes, he brings Phoenix talking to Achilles: “Therefore he sent me to teach you all these things, to be a rheter of speeches and doer of deeds.” That an orator needs divine inspiration, we can again be assured by Homer himself, for he says: “But a god adorns his looks with words, and the audience look at him with joy, while he speaks without fail.”

On "To show that the word “rhetoric”", etc., cf. Philod. rhet. I p. 187.22 sq., Cic. de orat. 3,57, Brut. 13,50, Aristid. de rhet. (45) p. 30 sq. Di. (25), Doxapater Against Aphthonius P. S. p. 91.8 f., Schol. Townl. Il. I 443, Eustathius ad Il. I 441. Lysias, Demοsthenes, Isocrates are compared to this in Schol. ABT on Il. 3.212 (216), Eustathius on Il. 3.213.

Otherwise Troilus, Prol. p. 51.10 R.: ‘From the gods it came down to the heroes, and Homer shows this fact by applying deliberative <rhetoric> to Menelaus through the words: He said little, but very clearly; and panegyric to Nestor, where he writes: From his mouth ran speech sweeter than honey; these are encomiastic, except that he shows that the encomiast must also be sweet in his pronunciation and persuasive when he writes: And words like wintery snowflakes; the forensic he leaves to Odysseus.

Similar nonsense is found in commentaries by later writers: P. S. p. 93.1 f., p. 188.21 f., p. 268.11 f. R. These ideas seem to stem from Telephus of Pergamon (p. 189.3 sq. R.). But how much views already conceived in early times influenced Homeric interpretation is clear also from Anonymus, On Forms (rhet. gr. III p. 152.12 sq. Sp.), with which the Excerpt of Syrianus in the Codex Monacensis also agrees (see Spengel Art. Scr. p. 119 n. See also Schrader, Hermae 37.530 f.) As a result, those who wrote about delivery credited the heroes with ‘amazing' delivery (Philod. rhet. I p. 200.21)


    8. Schol. Hom. Townl. Il. 1.443 Those associated with Corax and Tisias later adorned it (rhetoric).




    1. Philodemos, On Rhetoric: We are such foolish fellows that while we bear hearing him being hailed as the inventor of philosophy – not just one of the wise, but of the philosophers proper, and the initiator not only of one school, but of all – we think it absurd that he might be the inventor of rhetoric.

See also Sudh. Philod. Suppl. p. XXΧIII and , on the topic itself, Strabo A 2, 3 (C. 16), Plut. On the Life and Poetry of Homer 92 f., Quint.12.11.21, Dionysius Hal. Letter to Pompey II 225.16. This view was particularly held by the Stoics (Striller, De Stoicorum studiis rhetoricis, Bresl. philol. Abh. I.2 p. 11, Brozoska, De canone decem oratorum quaestiones, Breslau 1883 p. 59), but hardly their own invention. Please compare what Antisthenes taught about the rhetorical meaning of the Homeric word polytropos (B XIX 10).

    2. Quintilian 10.1.46 We appear to have begun properly – as Aratus thinks, “With Jove let us begin” (Phaen. 1) – from Homer.  For he, just as he himself says that the course of the rivers and springs takes its start from Ocean (Il. 21.196), he himself has given us a model and an inspiration for every part of eloquence. No one has surpassed him in the sublimity for great themes or in propriety for the small. He is at once rich and concise, humorous and serious, remarkable both for fullness and brevity, and most eminent not only for poetic, but for oratorical virtue.  [47] For, to say nothing of his speeches of praise, his exhortations and his consolations, doesn’t the ninth book, containing the embassy sent to Achilles, or the first, describing the famous quarrel between the chiefs, or the arguments spoken by the counselors in the second display all the rules of art to be followed in forensic or deliberative speeches?  [48] As regards the emotions, whether the mild ones (of the embassy) or the excited ones (of the quarrel), no one is so ill educated as not to admit that the poet had them in his power. Come now, in the few lines with which he introduces both of his epics, I am not saying that he observed, but that he actually established the law of exordiums? For, by his invocation of the goddesses who are believed to preside over poets he makes the audience benevolent, by his statement of the greatness of his themes he excites their attention and renders them receptive by the briefness of his summary.  Who can narrate more briefly than the hero who brings the news of Patroclus’ death, or more vividly than he who describes the battle between the Curetes and the Aetolians? Then consider his similes, his amplifications, his illustrations, digressions, indications of fact, inferences, and all the other methods of proof and refutation which he employs. They are so numerous that the majority of writers on the principles of rhetoric have gone to his works for examples of all these things. [50] And as for perorations, what can ever be equal to the prayers which Priam addresses to Achilles when he comes to beg for the body of his son? Again, does he not transcend the limits of human genius in his choice of words, his reflections, figures, and the arrangement of his whole work?

Quintilian summarizes these ideas in 2.17.8: ‘We are not about to try and find out when this discipline began, although in Homer we encounter Phoenix as a teacher not only of delivery but also of style, several orators, all genres of speeches in the three leaders and even rhetorical contests being set up for young people – not to mention the fact that in the reliefs on Achilles’ shield we see both trials and public speakers/actors.’ We know that some Greek author, an early one, had already had such thoughts through a comparison with Dionysius de comp. 24 p. 121.2 sq. Us. Rad.

    3. Pseudo-Plutarch, On the Life and Poetry of Homer, 74: Since all speech practiced among humans is either historical or speculative or political, let us investigate whether his [Homer’s] work contains the beginnings of those things, too. – 161: Political speech is contained in the art of rhetoric, in which Homer was apparently the first. For if the power of rhetoric lies in speaking persuasively, who is more versed in this than Homer?

In the following he treats household management, proems, and several genres of oratory, agreeing in many things with Quintilian. Cf. Ch. 162 and Quint. 10.1.50; 163 and Quint. 10.1.48; 169 and Quint. 10.1.47; 174 (74) and Quint. 10.1.49.

     4. Eustathius, Commentary on the Odyssey: … the instructor in every art involving words, the ocean, as it were, from which stream forth all the rivers and all the sources of the language-based disciplines.

Cf. above on A IV 2 (Dionysius de cοmp. p. 121.7), Pseudo-Dionysius p. 310.24, p. 324.6 Us.



    1. Diogenes Laertius 8.57: Aristotle in the Sophist (fr. 65) says that Empedocles was the first to invent rhetoric, and Zeno invented Dialectic.  Cf. 9.25.


    2. Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians 7.6:  According to Aristotle, Empedocles was the first mover of rhetoric.


    3. Diogenes Laertius 8.58: Satyrus says in the Lives (frag. 12, FHG. 3.162) that (Empedocles) was both a physician and an excellent rhetor, and that, in fact, Gorgias of Leontini was his student, a man preeminent in rhetoric who also left behind a techne

Cf. Olympiodorus on Plat. Gοrgias p. 112 J., 6.16. 23 N

    4. Quintilian 3.1.8: For the first, after those related by the poets, who is said to have moved somewhat in the direction of rhetoric is Empedocles. But the earliest writers of arts were the Sicilians Corax and Tisias, who were followed by another from the same island, Gorgias of Leontini, who is reported to have been a pupil of Empedocles.  See 10, below.

    5. Scholion on Iamblichus V. P. p. 198 N. p. 150.10 D.: Dialectic began with Pythagoras, likewise rhetoric: Tisias, Gorgias and Polus were students of the Pythagorean Empedokles.

    6. Aristotle, Sophistical Refutations 34 183b29-184b8: Those who are well reputed today have received from many who have earlier, as if in a tradition, advanced them bit by bit, and have increased as follows: Tisias came after the first founders, then Thrasymachus after Tisias, and Theodorus after him, and many added many parts. Therefore it is no wonder that the art has attained some magnitude. Of this activity, however, it was not that part of it had been thoroughly worked out before, while part had not, but that nothing had existed at all. For the education given by those paid (to teach) eristic speeches was like the activity of Gorgias. For they both used to give out speeches, his rhetorical, theirs eristic ('erotic' mss.), to be learned by heart, each side supposing that the other side’s speeches mostly fell into this category.  Therefore the teaching their pupils got from them was quick but non-technical. For they supposed that they were educating not by giving the art but what was from the art;’ perhaps rather ‘giving them not the art but what was from the art, they thought they were educating them…’ It was as though someone professed that he would impart knowledge with regard to stopping foot pain, did not then teach shoemaking or where to be able to furnish such things, but gave many kinds of footwear of every sort.  This man has helped meet the need, but has not imparted an art. Concerning rhetorical speeches there existed much that had been said, but concerning syllogizing we were unable to say anything else before.

Cf. Plato Menex. 235D, Isocr. 13.12 f. On the interpretation of words see P. Wendland, Quaestiones rhetoricae (Universitatis Gott. Progr. 1914), Susemihl, Neue Platonische Forschungen (Univers. Gryph. Progr. 1898) 4 f., Kroll, RhM 66.168. On the rationale of the methods of education used by the sophists see Plato Soph. 232C f.


    7. Scholion on Isocrates 13.19: “… who dared to write the so-called technai”: he is speaking about Tisias and Corax from Syracuse and Gorgias and Thrasymachus, who first wrote rhetorical technai.

Philod. I p. 211, col. 29 a17: ‘the technai that they (the great sophists) have published.’


    8. Cicero, On Invention 2.2.6-7: And Aristotle sought out and collected into one place the ancient writers of the art, from that first inventor of it, Tisias, and clearly described the precepts of each of them, by name, after having sought them out with exceeding care; and he has explained them with great diligence and explained their obscurities; and he has so greatly excelled the inventors themselves in pleasantness and brevity of speaking, that no one knows their precepts from their own writings, but all who wish to know what precepts they had go back to him as a far more agreeable expounder.  And he himself has set before us himself and those too who had lived before his time, in order that we might understand the rest as well as himself through himself.

This book by Aristotle, ‘in which he explains the rhetorical theories of all his predecessors’, was read by Antonius according to what he himself is cited saying in Cic. de orat. 2.38.160. It is called "Epitome of the orators” by Diogenes Laertius 2.104 (v. below, under n. Theodoros). From here Philodemus rhet. II p. 110, fr. 19, 8f. apparently mentions ‘sophistic technologies’ (technologiai).


    9. Cicero, Brutus 12.46-48: Aristotle, therefore, says that when the tyrants were expelled from Sicily and private property after a long interval was sought back in trials, the Sicilians Corax and Tisias (since that people was sharp and naturally argumentative) first attempted to write an art and precepts. Before them (Aristotle writes) there was no one who spoke with method and art, but nevertheless many spoke carefully and precisely, and Protagoras wrote out and prepared (probably ‘published’, ‘made publicly available’) arguments over common issues, which are now called commonplaces. Gorgias did the same, composing praises and criticisms of individual subjects, since he thought that it was the role of an orator to be able both to augment a subject by praise and to inflict the opposite by criticism.  Antiphon of Rhamnous composed several similar writings – about whom Thucydides, a trustworthy author, who claims to have heard that speech in person, wrote (8.68) that no one ever pleaded a capital case better than he did when he was defending himself. Lysias (Aristotle continues) at first was accustomed to profess an art of speaking, but as Theodorus was subtler in his art though weaker in his speeches, he began to compose speeches for others and set aside the art. In the same way, Isocrates at first denied that there was an art of speaking, but was accustomed to write speeches for other people to use in lawsuits, but since he was often called into court often himself, as if in violation of the law that prohibited judicial entrapment, he stopped writing speeches for others and applied himself entirely to composing arts.


    10. Quintilian 3.1.8-13: For the first man, after those related by the poets, who is said to have moved somewhat in the direction of rhetoric is Empedocles. But the earliest writers of arts were the Sicilians, Corax and Tisias, who were followed by another from the same island, Gorgias of Leontini, who is reported to have been a pupil of Empedocles.  [9] Thanks to his very long life – for he lived a hundred and nine years – he flourished at the same time as many others and was consequently the rival of those whom I have just mentioned, and lasted even beyond Socrates.  [10] With him there were Thrasymachus of Chalcedon, Prodicus of Ceos, and Protagoras of Abdera (from whom Euathlus is said to have learned his art for 10,000 denarii, which he afterwards published), Hippias of Elis, and Alcidamas of Elaea, whom Plato calls Palamedes (Phdr. 261D).  [11] There was Antiphon also, who was the first of all of them to write a speech and nevertheless he himself wrote an art and is believed to have spoken very well in his own defense. Polycrates also, [11] by whom we said a speech against Socrates was written, and Theodorus of Byzantium, who was one of those called “word-Daedaluses” by Plato (Phdr. 266e). [12] Of these Protagoras and Gorgias are said to have been the first to treat commonplaces, Prodicus, Hippias, Protagoras and Thrasymachus the first to treat emotions. Cicero in the Brutus (7.27) states that nothing that had an oratorical complexion was written before Pericles, and that some things were still extant. For my part I have been unable to discover anything worthy of his great reputation for eloquence, and am consequently the less surprised that there are some who think he never committed anything to writing, and that those things that circulate were composed by others.  [13] Many followed them, but the most famous pupil of Gorgias was Isocrates, although there is no agreement among the authorities about his teacher: I however trust Aristotle.

See also what is extant about the individual authors as annotated below. Do not, however, think that this is a purely Aristotelian tradition.


    11. Cicero, Brutus 8.30-32 But as soon as the force of a regular and a well-adjusted speech was understood, a sudden crowd of rhetoricians appeared, such as Gorgias the Leontine, Thrasymachus the Chalcedonian, Protagoras the Abderite, and Hippias the Elean, who were all held in great esteem, with many others of the same age, who professed (it must be owned, rather too arrogantly) to teach their pupils how – as they put it back then – the worse cause might be made, by the force of eloquence, to appear the better one. [31] But these were openly opposed by the famous Socrates, who, by an adroit method of arguing which was peculiar to himself, took every opportunity to refute the principles of their art. His instructive conferences produced a number of intelligent men, and philosophy is said to have derived her birth from him – not the doctrine of physics, which was of an earlier date, but that philosophy which treats of men, and manners, and of the nature of good and evil. But as this is foreign to our present subject, we must defer the philosophers to another opportunity, and return to the orators, from whom I have ventured to make a sort digression.  [32] When the abovementioned professors, therefore, were in the decline of life, Isocrates made his appearance, whose house stood open to all Greece as the school and laboratory/manufactory/workshop of eloquence. He was an accomplished orator, and an excellent teacher; though he did not display his talents in the law courts, but cherished and improved that glory within the walls of his academy, a glory that, in my opinion, no one else has attained since. He composed many valuable specimens of his art, and taught the principles of it to others; and not only excelled his predecessors in every part of it, but first discovered that a certain metre should be observed in prose, though totally different from the measured rhyme of the poets.


    12. Plato, Apology 19e-20b: Although this also seems to me to be a fine thing, if one might be able to teach people, as Gorgias of Leontini and Prodicus of Ceos and Hippias of Elis are. For each of these men, gentlemen, is able to go into any one of the cities and persuade the young men, who can associate for nothing with whomsoever they wish among their own fellow citizens, [20a] to give up the association with those men and to associate with them and pay them money and be grateful besides.  And there is also another wise man here, a Parian, who I learned was in town; for I happened to meet a man who has spent more on sophists than all the rest, Callias, the son of Hipponicus; so I asked him—for he has two sons—“Callias,” said I, “if your two sons had happened to be two colts or two calves, we should be able to get and hire for them an overseer who would make them [20b] excellent in the kind of excellence proper to them; and he would be a horse-trainer or a husbandman; but now, since they are two human beings, whom have you in mind to get as overseer? Who has knowledge of that kind of excellence, that of a man and a citizen? For I think you have looked into the matter, because you have the sons. Is there anyone,” said I, “or not?” “Certainly,” said he. “Who,” said I, “and where from, and what is his price for his teaching?” “Evenus,” he said, “Socrates, from Paros, five minae.”


    13. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, To Ammaeus 1, p. 258: I have done this [a critique of Aristotle], my wonderful Ammaeus, partly in service of the truth, which I think should be investigated on any topic, partly to help all those who study political speech, lest they think that Peripatetic philosophy encompasses all the teachings of rhetoric and people such as Theodorus, Thrasymachus, and Antiphon did not discover anything worthwhile nor did Isocrates, Anaximenes, Alcidamas, or those writers of handbooks and orators who lived in their times, such as Theodectes, Isaeus, Cephisodorus, Hypereides, Lycurgus and Aischines, and that Demosthenes himself would not have become who he was by adorning himself with the teachings of Isocrates and Isaeus had he not learned Aristotle’s treatise intently.


     14. Diogenes Laertius 9.8.54: The first of his books that he [Protagoras] read in public was the one On the Gods, the introduction to which we quoted above; he read it at Athens in Euripides' house, or, as some say, in Megaclides'; others again make the place the Lyceum and the reader his disciple Archagoras, Theodotus's son, who gave him the benefit of his voice. His accuser was Pythodorus, son of Polyzelus, one of the four hundred; Aristotle, however, says it was Euathlus.

On Euathlus, see the following.


    15. Diogenes Laertius 9.8.56: The story is told that once, when he asked Euathlus his disciple for his fee, the latter replied, "But I have not won a case yet." "No," said Protagoras, "if I win this case against you I must have the fee for winning it; if you win, I must have it, because you win it."

Rabe (P. S. XI. De Protagora Euathlum in ius vocante) establishes that this passage must have been derived from another source and the lawsuit cannot be the same as the one pointed out above ("Aristotle says Euathlus", cf. Apul. Flor. 18 p. 30 K, Gell. 5.10, Syrianus On Hermogenes II p. 42.2 R, nor can a narration that is so widespread have arisen only in the second century CE. The ‘lawsuit over the compensation’ is mentioned among Protagoras’ writings by Diog. Laert. 9.55.


     16. Traces of Aristotle's teaching, who had reported that Corax spoke in private disputes before judges, not verbatim, in Sopatrus’ Commentary on Hermogenes, W V 6.14:      When tyrannies came about in the cities, rhetoric, striving as it does toward freedom and being against tyrannies, by necessity became an offense and a dangerous thing to practice. In Sicily Phalaris is said to have given a demagogic speech and led on the masses with his persuasiveness, so much so that he ended up gaining tyrannical power. Later on, Corax was the first to compose a primer of rhetoric. For those who practiced the art before him did so by personal experience and practice, and he himself did it in this way, without reasoning and assessment of causality or any doctrine.  Tisias became a student of this Corax; about him there is a story that goes more or less like this: Tisias agreed to pay Corax a thousand drachmae as soon as he won his first lawsuit. But as Corax was older, Tisias would not go to trial, looking to make profit on the terms stated through Corax’s death. Corax, in fact, wrote it down as a debt […]

A story follows about the dispute between Corax and Tisias over the payment, known already to Sextus Empiricus, Adv. Math.2.96, reporting the same things among all the writers of Prolgomena and Commentaries, which other writers relate about Protagoras and Euathlus.  Then Sopater continues (p.7.9):

      There rose great envy against these two because of their art, and Gorgias of Leontinoi, when he went to Athens on an embassy, took along the treatise Corax had written on the subject and added to it his own. After him, Antiphon of Rhamnus, Thucydides’s teacher, is said to have written a treatise, and after him Isocrates the orator. 

You have the same succession Corax, Gorgias, Antiphon, Isocrates, which Cicero describes (ibid.).  Sopater also knew (as Aristotle had observed) that those ancient arts pertained to the forensic genre (ibid. p.7.18-19), adding at the end (7.31), "however, these forensic arts are not preserved."  On this subject, see also teh very short excerpts in P.S. 60.2-7.

The report of Aristotle is mixed with another, somewhat childishly, by Troilus, Prolegomena: Hieron and Gelon were tyrants of Sicily, and they had a sidekick named Corax, who took care of the administration of most of their business. When the tyranny was turned into a democracy, however, seeing that he could not persuade the people in the same way that he could one of the tyrants, he came up with the exordium, with which he would coax the audience into goodwill, then the preliminary expose, aimed at eliminating an accusation that pained him, then the preliminary narration, which was an introduction, beginning and exordium to the main narrative, then the main narrative, a bare exposition of what has happened, then the argumentative part, that is, demonstration and proof of the truth of the bare narrative, then the digression, a description of the life under judgment. For he saw that, if one was content to base one’s prosecution on a single accusation, the defendant would be acquitted, so he came up with the digression. Finally, the epilogue was a sum-up of what had been said, due to the judges’ likely forgetting things after hearing so much talk.                     

There follows the report of the dispute between Corax and Tisias.  Gorgias conveys eloquence to Athens.

According to Troilus Corax distinguished seven parts of a speech: prooimion, preparation, prepleading, pleading, contests, digression, epilogue, the parts that fit only the forensic genre (on which individually, see Corax).

There is another tradition in the Rhetorical Prolegomena, by which Corax was versed in the deliberative genre.  Ioannes Doxapatros, Commentary on Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata (W II 140 = P. S. p. 150.12 R.): There is another story one can adduce to prove that the hortatory genre is the first of all: Corax, who drew the rhetorical art to the light for humans, is said to have used the deliberative genre first. 

Anonymous, Introduction to Rhetoric: Syracuse, a city in Sicily, was the first to accept [rhetoric].  This city was dominated by Gelon and Hieron, the most brutal tyrants. As the Syracusans were being ruled so harshly and inhumanely and prayed to Zeus Eleutherios to free them from that bitter servitude, Zeus, at once Savior and Liberator (eleutherios), freed the Syracusans from the tyranny. Consequently, the Syracusan people’s Assembly decreed that it was to have control over everything. However, one Corax, himself a Syracusan, saw that the people are an unbalanced and undisciplined thing, and figured that speech is what gives structure to a person’s character; so he made sure to persuade and dissuade the people for their own good by means of speech. When he entered the Assembly, he started off by calming down the people’s disturbance and clamor with obsequious and flattering words, which he called “exordium”. After thus calming down the people and making them be silent, he would begin to advise them on the matter at hand and speak by way of exposition; after that he would summarize the main points and remind them succinctly of what he had previously said, making it easy for the people to look over and grasp. The first part he called exordium, the second the argument and the third the summary. [There follows the story of the dispute around his student Tisias.] The fourth main point is how rhetoric peaked in Athens. […] The city of Leontinoi is in Sicily, too. It is an old colony of Athens; when at some point they were at war with their neighbors, they sent an embassy to Athens to have Gorgias, the orator, ask for an alliance. Gorgias went to Athens and studied how to be an orator for the sake of his task; his speech was so superior in beauty that all Athenians rushed to listen to him. When they were gathered to this end they called the days he would publicly speak holidays, his speeches lamps.

Likewise W III 610. W II 119 = P. S. p. 126 R. W 11 = P. S. p. 269. W II 683 = P. S. p. 60. W II 91 = P. S. p. 91. W VII 6 = P. S. p. 189. The same tradition is found in John of Sardis p. 50.12-19 R. These words seem to allude to Plato’s Gorgias (464 C): ‘pandering and flattering speeches,’ which are mentioned also in Longinus rhet. P. 190.15 H.: ‘One must do this though pandering and flattering words.

This tradition according to which Corax appeared in an assembly as orator distinguishes not seven but three parts of speech: exordium, argument and epilogue, which fits the subject matter very well. Sometimes out of confusion an exposition is added as fourth element, and digression as fifth.

On the subject see Diodorus 11.87.5 (on Sicilian affairs): ‘There surfaced a multitude of demagogues and pettifoggers, and young people trained to become good speakers.’ See A. Gercke, Hermae 32 (1897) 344 f.; P. Hamberger, Die rednerische Disposition in der alten Τέχνη ῥητορική (Rhet. Studien 2, Paderborn 1914) 25 f.; Kowalski, De artis rhet. origg. quaestiones sel. 44 f. Iamblichus Life of Pythagoras 166 speaks in general terms of rhetorical doctrines being transferred from Sicily to Greece.


    17. Theophrastus 736A-C FHS&G: From the Peplos of Theophrastus: Corax of Syracuse invented the techne of words.

Cf. P. S. p. 126.5, p. 171.19, p. 150.13 R., Suda s. v. Corax.


    18. Cicero, On the Orator 1.20.91:  He claimed that not a single writer of an art had been even moderately eloquent, and he searched all the way back to the days of one Corax and a certain Tisias who, he stated, were acknowledged to have been the founders and first practitioners of this art.


    19. Quintilian 2.17.5: Some would have it that rhetoric is a natural gift though they admit that it can be developed by practice. So Antonius in the De Oratore of Cicero styles it a knack derived from experience, but denies that it is an art: [7] To this is added the quibble that nothing that is based on art can have existed before the art in question, whereas men have always from time immemorial spoken in their own defence or in denunciation of others: the teaching of rhetoric as an art was, they say, a later invention dating from about the time of Tisias and Corax.


    20. Codex Parisinus 3032: Tisias and Corax, who invented rhetoric.


    21. Scholion Hom. Town. Il. 1.443 see above A III 8.


    22. Sopater 7.10: Gorgias of Leontinoi went to Athens on an embassy and brought along the treatise that had been written by Corax. He added to it his own. After him they say Antiphon of Rhamnus, Thucydides’ teacher, wrote a treatise, too, and afterwards Isocrates the orator. All of these treatises are about swaying the people.

Cf. Iamblichus, Life of Pythagoras, 166.  For what follows see below, A V 42.


    23. Pausanias 6.17.8: This Gorgias was a son of Charmantides, and is said to have been the first to revive the study of rhetoric, which had been altogether neglected, in fact almost forgotten by mankind. They say that Gorgias won great renown for his eloquence at the Olympic assembly, and also when he accompanied Tisias on an embassy to Athens. Yet Tisias improved the art of rhetoric, in particular he wrote the most persuasive speech of his time to support the claim of a Syracusan woman to a property.


    24. Diodorus Siculus 12.53.1-4: This year in Sicily the Leontines, who were colonists from Chalcis but also kinsmen of the Athenians, were attacked, as it happened, by the Syracusans. And being hard-pressed in the war and in danger of having their city taken by storm because of the superior power of the Syracusans, they dispatched ambassadors to Athens asking the Athenian people to send them immediate aid and save their city from the perils threatening it.  [2] The leader of the embassy was Gorgias the rhetorician, who in eloquence far surpassed all his contemporaries. He was the first man to devise rules of rhetoric and so far excelled all other men in the instruction offered by the sophists that he received from his pupils a fee of one hundred minas.  [3] Now when Gorgias had arrived in Athens and been introduced to the people in assembly, he discoursed to them upon the subject of the alliance, and by the novelty of his speech he filled the Athenians, who are by nature clever and fond of dialectic, with wonder.  [4] For he was the first to use the rather unusual and carefully devised structures of speech, such as antithesis, sentences with equal members or balanced clauses or similar endings, and the like, all of which at that time was enthusiastically received because the device was exotic, but is now looked upon as laboured and to be ridiculed when employed too frequently and tediously.


    25. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On Lysias (1 p. 11.3 U. R. (458 R.): The poetic and tropic way of speaking was adopted by the Athenian orators as well, according Timaeus of Tauromenios, after Gorgias had made the beginning when he had come to Athens on an embassy and impressed his listener through the quality of his public speaking.

You will also note that the commentaries, when they claim that Gorgias imported rhetoric to Athens, do not provide any other source than the beauty of the words used in a speech given in the Athenian assembly. Less correctly, however, Rabe (P. S. p. 27) cites Plato Hippias Maior 282B to support this narrative, as Plato says nothing except that Gorgias, like Prodicus, was thought both to speak very well in front of the assembly and to have introduced the sophistic declamation genre.

    26. Plato, Hippias Major 281d-282d: [Socrates] Then for Heaven’s sake, just as the other arts have progressed, and the ancients are of no account in comparison with the artisans of to-day, shall we say that your art also has progressed and those of the ancients who were concerned with wisdom are of no account in comparison with you? [Hippias] Yes, you are quite right. [Socrates] Then, Hippias, if Bias were to come to life again now, he would be a laughing-stock in comparison with you, just as the sculptors say that Daedalus, if he were to be born now and were to create such works as those from which he got his reputation, would be ridiculous. [Hippias] That, Socrates, is exactly as you say. I, however, am in the habit of praising the ancients and our predecessors rather than the men of the present day, and more greatly, as a precaution against the envy of the living and through fear of the wrath of those who are dead. [Socrates]  Yours, Hippias, is a most excellent way, at any rate, of speaking about them and of thinking, it seems to me; and I can bear you witness that you speak the truth, and that your art really has progressed in the direction of ability to carry on public together with private affairs. For this man Gorgias, the sophist from Leontini, came here from home in the public capacity of envoy, as being best able of all the citizens of Leontini to attend to the interests of the community, and it was the general opinion that he spoke excellently in the public assembly, and in his private capacity, by giving exhibitions and associating with the young, he earned and received a great deal of money from this city; or, if you like, our friend here, Prodicus, often went to other places in a public capacity, and the last time, just lately, when he came here in a public capacity from Ceos, he gained great reputation by his speaking before the Council, and in his private capacity, by giving exhibitions and associating with the young, he received a marvelous sum of money; but none of those ancients ever thought fit to exact money as payment for his wisdom or to give exhibitions among people of various places; so simple-minded were they, and so unconscious of the fact that money is of greatest value. But either of these two has earned more money from his wisdom than any artisan from his art. And even before these Protagoras did so.


    27. Philodemus, On Rhetoric: One will probably say that in the time of Pericles and Thucydides the study of rhetoric began, and that nobody became powerful who did not act with total shamelessness.


    28. Life of Antiphon (as found in the manuscripts before the speeches): Antiphon was son of Sophilus, from the tribe of Aiantis and the deme of Rhamnus. He was born at the time of the Persian wars and was active at the same time as the sophist Gorgias. At first he had his father as a teacher, who taught him to write; but as he grew older he worked out the art of speaking through his own natural talent, adding to that the experience resulting from practice, without having ever listened to a teacher, since at that time there was yet no writer of speeches or rhetorical treatises nor a sophist who was at the helm of that discipline. However, by coming across books written before him, in particular those by poets, he became so proficient that he was dubbed “Nestor” because of the pleasantness of his speech.

One must not ignore the tradition used by whoever wrote the vita of Antiphon among Plutarch’s Lives of the Ten Orators, as well as the Suda. In Philodem. rhet. I p. 187.16 sq. it seems one should read ‘before Corax and Antiphon and just any other author of technai’, and ibid. II p. 111, fr. XXI seems to deal with the same subject matter. Add Schol. on Prol. on Hermogenes W VII 6 = P. S. p. 189.9: ‘Others say Antihpon was this rhetor (that is, the one who first gave a forensic speech)’. Cf. Philodemus before the passage cited and [Plut.]  Lives of the Ten Orators 832C.

    29. Isocrates, Antidosis 15.295: For you must not lose sight of the fact that Athens is looked upon as having become a school for the education of all able orators and teachers of oratory. And naturally so; for people observe that she holds forth the greatest prizes for those who have this ability, that she offers the greatest number and variety of fields of exercise to those who have chosen to enter contests of this character and want to train for them, and that, furthermore, everyone obtains here that practical experience which more than any other thing imparts ability to speak; and, in addition to these advantages, they consider that the catholicity and moderation of our speech, as well as our flexibility of mind and love of letters, contribute in no small degree to the education of the orator. Therefore they suppose, and not without just reason, that all clever speakers are the disciples of Athens.

Cf. Cic. Brut. 13 (49). On the sophists who lived at Athens see the funny passage in Aristoph. Birds 1694f.




    30. Isocrates, Antidosis 15.41: Nay, everyone is aware of this also, that there is a superabundance of men who produce speeches for litigants in the courts. Nevertheless you will not find that any one of them, numerous as they are, has ever been thought worthy to have pupils.


    31. Isocrates, Against the Sophists 13.9-10 But it is not these sophists alone who are open to criticism, but also those who profess to teach political discourse. For the latter have no interest whatever in the truth, but consider that they are masters of an art if they can attract great numbers of students by the smallness of their charges and the magnitude of their professions and get something out of them. For they are themselves so stupid and conceive others to be so dull that, although the speeches which they compose are worse than those which some laymen improvise, nevertheless they promise to make their students such clever orators that they will not overlook any of the possibilities which a subject affords. More than that, they do not attribute any of this power either to the practical experience or to the native ability of the student, but undertake to transmit the science of discourse as simply as they would teach the letters of the alphabet, not having taken trouble to examine into the nature of each kind of knowledge, but thinking that because of the extravagance of their promises they themselves will command admiration and the teaching of discourse will be held in higher esteem—oblivious of the fact that the arts are made great, not by those who are without scruple in boasting about them, but by those who are able to discover all of the resources which each art affords.

Cf. ibid. 12 f., as well as what I noted on Isoc. 13.12 below, in the collection of of framgemts of this author. See also Hippocrates On  the Places Where Men Live 41-45 (Pohlenz, Gött. Gel. Nachr. N. F. II 4 (1937) 98 f.). On the ‘promise’ 9 f. see Plato Phaedr. 235 B; Aeschines 2.38; Theophrastus Char. 17.8 (Usener, Kl. Schriften I 26).

    32. Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.2.31: Now Critias bore a grudge against Socrates for this; and when he was one of the Thirty and was drafting laws with Charicles,15 he bore it in mind. He inserted a clause which made it illegal “to teach the art of words.”

Cf. Sextus Emp. Against the Mathematicians II 20 f.; Philod. II p. 216.I 359 cοl. LXX. The same sentiment is felt by Plato and the relative of Critias in Laws ΧI 938, who threatens orators with the death penalty.

    33. Diogenes Laertius 4.1.4: Diogenes Laertius 4.1.4: [On Speusippus] He has left behind a vast store of memoirs and numerous dialogues, among them . . . Elenchus of Technai, one book

Cf. Wendland 35.2. Already Hippocrates speaks of the people who object to all arts in On the Art Ch. 1; on Protagoras see Plato Soph. 232D. A reflex of this is found in Republic 495C f., a critique of rhetoric itself in Laws 937E. Philod. rhet. I p. 79.23 Sudh. = Philod. Suppl. p. 40.2: ‘For Alexinos in Peri agoges accuses the sophists who are rhetoricians of embarking on many useless inquiries, such as their research into lexis and memory, and when they try to argue that Homer falls under this heading in the verses that begin with The stars had already progressed, as well as discussing other passages both in Homer and in Euripides’... . What follows is very uncertain. Among the critics of rhetoric was Theodore of Cyrene called ‘the godless’ (Philod. l. 1. II p. 116 fr. IX). We do not know (Sauppe Or. Att. II 344) who the Agnon was who wrote a work titled Accusation of rhetoric (Quintil. inst. 2.17,15).


    34. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 9 1164a27-33: But people who take the money in advance, and then, having made extravagant professions, fail to perform what they undertook, naturally meet with complaints because they have not fulfilled their bargain. Perhaps however the sophists are bound to demand their fees in advance, since nobody would pay money for the knowledge that they possess. Persons paid in advance then naturally meet with complaints if they do not perform the service for which they have taken the pay.


    35. Isocrates, Antidosis 15.197-8 Accordingly I must not leave off expounding and speaking until I shall accomplish one of two things—until I have persuaded them to change their views or have proved that the slanders and charges which they repeat against me are false.  These charges are of two kinds. Some of them say that the profession of the sophist is nothing but sham and chicane, maintaining that no kind of education has ever been discovered which can improve a man’s ability to speak or his capacity for handling affairs, and that those who excel in these respects owe their superiority to natural gifts; while others acknowledge that men who take this training are more able, but complain that they are corrupted and demoralized by it, alleging that when they gain the power to do so, they scheme to get other people’s property.

One can find the sophists’ sophistry, for instance, in [Xen.] On Hunting 13. The question addressed there is itself dealt with extensively in later controversies. Cf. Maximus Planudes On Forms Schol. W V 440, 25: ‘When Epicurus in On Rhetoric (fr. 55 Us.) claims – arrogantly, in my opinion – that he is the one who invented the art of political speeches and casts away all other rhetoricians, he contradicts himself, for it is talent that creates good speeches, not any art’, which I personally don’t think is just nonsense.


     36. Philodemus, On Rhetoric: I would argue that those sophists did not discover even a fraction of what could have been discovered in political science as well as in the treatises. Somebody, on the other hand, will say that even the great sophists were inadequate at sophistic things, as is shown by the treatises they published and the like.


    37. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.1.9-10 1354b16-: it is obvious that all those who definitely lay down, for instance, what should be the contents of the exordium or the narrative, or of the other parts of the discourse, are bringing under the rules of art what is outside the subject; for the only thing to which their attention is devoted is how to put the judge into a certain frame of mind. They give no account of the entechnoi pisteis which make a man a master of rhetorical argument.  Hence, although the method of deliberative and forensic rhetoric is the same, and although the pursuit of the former is nobler and more worthy of a statesman than that of the latter, which is limited to transactions between private citizens, they say nothing about the former, but without exception endeavor to bring forensic speaking under the rules of art. The reason of this is that in public speaking it is less worthwhile to talk of what is outside the subject, and that deliberative oratory lends itself to trickery less than forensic, because it is of more general interest.

Plato shows that On Public Oratory was spoken, but not written (cf. A V 43). Aristot. Rhet. 1355a19: ‘It is clear that the others write technai on what is outside the issue and why they have been tending toward giving forensic speeches.’


    38. Plutarch, Themistocles 2.4: Rather, then, might one side with those who say that Themistocles was a disciple of Mnesiphilus the Phrearrhian, a man who was neither a rhetorician nor one of the so-called physical philosophers, but a cultivator of what was then called “sophia” or wisdom, although it was really nothing more than cleverness in politics and practical sagacity. Mnesiphilus received this “sophia,” and handed it down, as though it were the doctrine of a sect, in unbroken tradition from Solon. His successors blended it with forensic arts, and shifted its application from public affairs to language, and were dubbed “sophists.”


    39. Isocrates, Against the Sophists 13.19: Now as for the sophists who have lately sprung up and have very recently embraced these pretensions, even though they flourish at the moment, they will all, I am sure, come round to this position. But there remain to be considered those who lived before our time and did not scruple to write the so-called arts of oratory. These must not be dismissed without rebuke, since they professed to teach how to conduct law-suits, picking out the most discredited of terms, which the enemies, not the champions, of this discipline might have been expected to employ—and that too although this facility, in so far as it can be taught, is of no greater aid to forensic than to all other discourse.


    40. Plato, Laws 11 937d-938a: None would deny that justice between men is a fair thing, and that it has civilized all human affairs. And if justice be fair, how can we deny that pleading is also a fair thing? But these fair things are in disrepute owing to a kind of foul art, which, cloaking itself under a fair name, claims, first, that there exists a device for dealing with lawsuits, and further, that it is the one which is able, by pleading and helping another to plead, to win the victory, whether the pleas concerned be just or unjust; and it also asserts that both this art itself and the arguments which proceed from it are a gift offered to any man who gives money in exchange.


    41. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.1 1354a11: Now, previous compilers of “Arts” of Rhetoric have provided us with only a small portion of this art, for proofs are the only things in it that come within the province of art; everything else is merely an accessory. And yet they say nothing about enthymemes, which are the body of proof, but chiefly devote their attention to matters outside the subject; for the arousing of prejudice, compassion, anger, and similar emotions has no connection with the matter in hand, but is directed only to the dicast.

Cf. 1.2 1356a15: ‘We do not pass judgment in the same way when we are sad or joyful as when we are loving or hating. I tell you that only now have the writers of treatises begun to address this matter.


    42. Sopater, Commentary on Hermogenes W V 7.15: All of these treatises [by the ancient writers down to Isocrates] are demagogical, not focusing on civil strife and the other things that are dealt with today, but on generic persuasiveness, on how to sway the people.

The same author later (26) cites the passage cited above (Isoc. 13.19). Cf. above A V 22.


    43. Plato, Phaedrus 261b: [Phaedrus] there is speaking and writing by a techne particularly in lawsuits, and there is speaking also in public assemblies, more I have not heard.

So he does not know the Writings on Public Oratory. See also Brandstätter p. 191 n. 2.


    44. Plato, Republic 365d (Plato imagines young men talking among themselves as follows): Yet all the same, if we aim to be happy, we must take the path where the steps of our argument lead. For in order to escape notice we shall organize conspiracies and clubs; and there are teachers of the art of persuasion who for a fee give lessons in the ways of the assembly and the courtroom, as a result of which, by persuading some and forcing others, we shall gain the advantage without having to pay a penalty.

Cf. Gorg. 452E. Euthydem. 290A. Aristotle NE 1181a4, regarding politicians: ‘But it would probably be better [to write about such matters] than forensic and public speeches.’

Philod. rhet. I p. 132.7: ‘But they say the techne is about public oratory and trials’. Diogenes Laert. 3.59 (93) reports that Plato himself distinguished six kinds of rhetoric; these are exhortation, warning, accusation, defense, praise, and criticism, to which Anaximenes adds ‘inquiry’ as the seventh, since he loves the number seven; not even he, however, acknowledges more than two kinds of public speeches, the judicial and the political. Thus we see that epideictic was not epideictic oratory was not regarded as an independent genre before Aristotle.


    45. Isocrates, Evagoras 9.8: I am fully aware that what I propose to do is difficult—to eulogize in prose the virtues of a man. The best proof is this: Those who devote themselves to philosophy venture to speak on many subjects of every kind, but no one of them has ever attempted to compose a discourse on such a theme.


    46. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1.12.7 1101b34: But to develop this subject is perhaps rather the business of those who have made a study of encomia.

He seems to mean Isocrates himself and his students.


    47. Aristotle, Rhetoric 3.1 1403b35: But no treatise has yet been composed on delivery, since the matter of style itself only lately came into notice.


    48. Aristotle, Rhetoric 3.1.7 1404a12: When the matter of style receives attention, it will do the same as delivery.  Some writers have attempted to say a few words about it, as Thrasymachus, in his Eleoi.


    49. Aristotle, Rhetoric 3.1.3 1403b20: And in the third place, delivery, which is of the greatest importance, but has not yet been dealt with by any one.

Cf. ibid. 31 f.

    50. Rufinus, Commentary on the Number of Orators: see B VII 38 = Hieronymus 37B White


    51. Longinus, On Rhetoric p. 201.24: Simonides and several after him had taught memory techniques, introducing the juxtaposition of images and places in order that one may remember words and phrases.

Cf. Quint. Inst. 11.2.11 f. Amm. Marc. 16.5.8, Dialexeis 9 and on Hippias of Elis see below, on Antiphon 2.10.7. F. Solmsen, Die Entwicklung der aristot. Logik und Rhetorik (Neue philol. Unters. 4) 171 f.


    52. Philodemos, On Rhetoric: Alexinos in On Reasoning (?) accuses the sophists who deal with rhetoric of conducting useless research, for instance, that about diction and that about memory (see above, 33 n.).

Plato Laws 811A: ‘Some pick out the main passages from all poets and gather together some complete quotations and then say that one ought to learn it all by heart, putting it into one’s memory, if one wants to become a good citizen among us and knowledgeable through a wealth of experience and learning.’   I think he is referring to the sophists, unless he is speaking of Hippias himself.