XXIII. Lysias

1. Dionysius of Halicarnassus 8.17: [Lysias] wrote mostly well-adapted speeches for law courts, council sessions and assemblies; in addition, some for public festivals, on love, and in the style of epistles.

2. Dionysius of Halicarnassos 11.15: On his letter-styled speeches, those about courtesans and the others that he wrote in jest, I need say nothing.

3. Dionysius of Halicarnassus 23.16: And it is worth wondering just why Theophrastus thinks he was a pursuer of coarse and superfluous speeches and strove more for poetic quality than truth. In his books on elocution he blames those who worked hard on antithesis and even clauses and assonances and the like, and he counted Lysias among them, all while counting the speech for the Athenian general Nicias, which he gave when he was a war prisoners in Syracuse, as having been written by that very orator.

4. Cicero, Brutus 12.48: (…Aristotle says…) that Lysias was the first who used to profess himself an expert in rhetoric.

5. Plato, Phaedrus 269D: As far as (the orator’s) art is concerned, I do not think that the quest for it should follow Lysias’ and Thrasymachus’ way.

6. Plato, Phaedrus 257C (on Lysias): Indeed, lately one of the politicians was abusing him for this very thing, and through all his abusive speech kept calling him a speech-writer.

7. Plato, Phaedrus 228 A: Do you suppose that I, who am a mere ordinary man, can tell from memory, in a way that is worthy of Lysias, what he, the cleverest writer of our day, composed at his leisure and took a long time for?

8. Hermias on Plato’s Phaedrus p. 35.19: One must know that this speech is by Lysias himself and this highly regarded letter, too, is handed down in his Letters. He wants to remind Phaedrus in his absence of the things that he had said to him when he was present.

9. Suda, on "Lysias": He also wrote treatises on rhetoric, public speeches, praises, funeral speeches and seven letters: one businesslike, the others on love, five of which to young boys.

10. Pseudo-Plutarch, Live of Lysias 836b: We also have treatises on rhetoric by him, public speeches, letters, praises, funeral speeches, love speeches and an apology of Socrates aimed at the judges.

11. Quintilian 2.17.15: Some think that rhetoric is a natural gift, yet they do not deny that practice helps with it, as Antonius says in Cicero’s work On the Orator that it is some kind of observation, not art. […] Lysias seems to have shared this opinion.

12. Philodemus, On Rhetoric: And they say that Isokrates, Gorgias and Lysias agreed that they did not possess any science.

13. Scholion on On Civil Strife: One must make it known that while one is investigating [the defendant’s] wealth and the like his assets must be universal and in some way impugnable. For such topoi have been studied thoroughly in Lysias’ treatises: there he lays out which kind of people poverty creates and which wealth, or youth or old age.

14. Lysias 24.15-18: He says that I am insolent, savage, and utterly abandoned in my behavior, as though he needed the use of terrifying terms to speak the truth, and could not do it in quite gentle language. But I expect you, gentlemen, to distinguish clearly between those people who are at liberty to be insolent and those who are debarred from it. For insolence is not likely to be shown by poor men laboring in the utmost indigence, but by those who possess far more than the necessaries of life; nor by men disabled in body, but by those who have most reason to rely on their own strength; nor by those already advanced in years, but by those who are still young and have a youthful turn of mind. For the wealthy purchase with their money escape from the risks that they run, whereas the poor are compelled to moderation by the pressure of their want. The young are held to merit indulgence from their elders; but if their elders are guilty of offence, both ages unite in reproaching them. The strong are at liberty to insult whomsoever they will with impunity, but the weak are unable either to beat off their aggressors when insulted, or to get the better of their victims if they choose to insult.

15. Lysias’ speeches On the Bride’s Gifts and On the Abortion were likely not contained in the book Preparations but, as Sauppe argues, fictitious speeches for the sake of teaching or demonstration.

16. Theophrastus, in Dionysius of Halicarnassos, On Lysias: It seems inappropriate to play around with words while dealing with serious matters and thus take away the emotion through the wording; in this way you will lose the listener. For example, Lysias in the Apology of Nicias writes, trying to stir pity: ‘I weep over the Greeks’ incombatable, unseabattleable doom. We are ourselves sitting as the gods’ suppliants, showing you up as against the oaths belligerents, invoking our blood-relation, your mind’s well-disposition.’

17. Plato, Phaedrus 230E – 234C: Hear then. You know what my condition is, and you have heard how I think it is to our advantage to arrange these matters. And I claim that I ought not to be refused what I ask because I am not your lover. For lovers repent of the kindnesses they have done when their passion ceases; but there is no time when non-lovers naturally repent. For they do kindnesses to the best of their ability, not under compulsion, but of their free will, according to their view of their own best interest. And besides, lovers consider the injury they have done to their own concerns on account of their love, and the benefits they have conferred, and they add the trouble they have had, [231b] and so they think they have long ago made sufficient return to the beloved; but non-lovers cannot ever neglect of their own affairs because of their condition, nor can they take account of the pains they have been at in the past, nor lay any blame for quarrels with their relatives; and so, since all these evils are removed, there is nothing left for them but to do eagerly what they think will please the beloved. [231c] And besides, if lovers ought to be highly esteemed because they say they have the greatest love for the objects of their passion, since both by word and deed they are ready to make themselves hated by others to please the beloved, it is easy to see that, if what they say is true, whenever they fall in love afterwards, they will care for the new love more than for the old and will certainly injure the old love, if that pleases the new. And how can one reasonably entrust matters of such importance to one who is afflicted with a disease [231d] such that no one of any experience would even try to cure it? For they themselves confess that they are insane, rather than in their right mind, and that they know they are foolish, but cannot control themselves; and so, how could they, when they have come to their senses, think those acts were good which they determined upon when in such a condition? And if you were to choose the best from among your lovers, your choice would be limited to a few; whereas it would be made from a great number, if you chose the most congenial from non-lovers, [231e] so that you would have a better chance, in choosing among many, of finding the one most worthy of your affection. Now if you are afraid of public opinion, and fear that if people find out your love affair you will be disgraced, [232a] consider that lovers, believing that others would be as envious of them as they are of others, are likely to be excited by possession and in their pride to show everybody that they have not toiled in vain; but the non-lovers, since they have control of their feelings, are likely to choose what is really best, rather than to court the opinion of mankind. Moreover, many are sure to notice and see the lovers going about with their beloved ones and making that [232b] their chief business, and so, when they are seen talking with each other, people think they are met in connection with some love-matter either past or future; but no one ever thinks of finding fault with non-lovers because they meet, since everyone knows that one must converse with somebody, either because of friendship or because it is pleasant for some other reason. And then, too, if you are frightened by the thought that it is hard for friendship to last, and that under other circumstances any quarrel would be an equal misfortune to both, but that when you have surrendered [232c] what you prize most highly you would be the chief sufferer, it would be reasonable for you to be more afraid of the lovers; for they are pained by many things and they think everything that happens is done for the sake of hurting them. Therefore they prevent their loves from associating with other men, for they fear the wealthy, lest their money give them an advantage, and the educated, lest they prove superior in intellect; and they are on their guard [232d] against the influence of everyone who possesses any other good thing. If now they persuade you to incur the dislike of all these, they involve you in a dearth of friends, and if you consider your own interest and are more sensible than they, you will have to quarrel with them. But those who are not in love, but who have gained the satisfaction of their desires because of their merit, would not be jealous of those who associated with you, but would hate those who did not wish to do so, thinking that you are slighted by these last and benefited by the former, [232e] so that there is much more likelihood that they will gain friendship than enmity from their love-affair with you. And then, too, many lovers are moved by physical passion before they know the character or have become acquainted with the connections of the beloved, so that it is uncertain whether they will wish to be your friends [233a] after their passion has ceased. But in the case of those who are not in love, who were your friends before entering into the closer relation, the favors received are not likely to make the friendship less, but will remain as pledges of future joys. And then, too, it will be better for your character to yield to me than to a lover. For lovers praise your words and acts beyond due measure, partly through fear of incurring your displeasure, [233b] and partly because their own judgment is obscured by their passion. For such are the exhibitions of the power of Love: he makes the unsuccessful lovers think that things are grievous which cause no pain to others, and he compels the successful to praise what ought not to give pleasure; therefore those whom they love are more to be pitied than envied. But if you yield to me, I shall consort with you, not with a view to present pleasure only, but to [233c] future advantage also, not being overcome by passion but in full control of myself, and not taking up violent enmity because of small matters, but slowly gathering little anger when the transgressions are great, forgiving involuntary wrongs and trying to prevent intentional ones; for these are the proofs of a friendship that will endure for a long time. But if you have a notion that friendship cannot be firm, [233d] unless one is in love, you should bear in mind that in that case we should not have great affection for sons or for fathers and mothers, nor should we possess faithful friends who have been gained not through passion but through associations of a different kind. Besides, if you ought to grant favors to those who ask for them most eagerly, you ought in other matters also to confer benefits, not on the best, but on the most needy; for they will be most grateful, since they are relieved of the greatest ills. And then, too, [233e] at private entertainments you ought not to invite your friends, but beggars and those who need a meal; for they will love you and attend you and come to your doors and be most pleased and grateful, and will call down many blessings upon your head. Perhaps, however, you ought not to grant favors to those who beg for them, but to those who are most able to repay you; and not to those who ask merely, but to the most deserving; and not to those [234a] who will enjoy your youthful beauty, but to those who will share their good things with you when you are older; and not to those who, when they have succeeded, will boast to others of their success, but to those who will modestly keep it a secret from all; and not to those who will be enamored for a little while, but to those who will be your friends for life; and not to those who will seek a pretext for a quarrel when their passion has died out, but [234b] to those who will show their own merit when your youth is passed. Do you, then, remember what I have said, and bear this also in mind, that lovers are admonished by their friends, who think their way of life is bad, but no relative ever blamed a non-lover for bad management of his own interests on account of that condition. Perhaps you may ask me if I advise you to grant favors to all non-lovers. But I think the lover would not urge you to be so disposed [234c] toward all lovers either; for the favor, if scattered broadcast, is not so highly prized by the rational recipient, nor can you, if you wish, keep your relations with one hidden from the rest. But from love no harm ought to come, but benefit to both parties. Now I think I have said enough. But if you feel any lack, or think anything has been omitted, ask questions. What do you think of the discourse, Socrates? [234d] Is it not wonderful, especially in diction?