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The name given among the Greeks to a speech delivered before a panegyris; that is, an assembly of the whole nation on the occasion of the celebration of a festival, such as Panathenaea and the four great national games. This oration had reference to the feast itself, or was intended to inspire the assembled multitude with emulation, by praising the great deeds of their ancestors, and also to urge them to unanimous co-operation against their common foes. The most famous compositions of this kind which have been preserved are the Panegyricus and Panathenaicus of Isocrates, [neither of which, however, was actually delivered in public.] In later times eulogies upon individuals were so named. This kind of composition was especially cultivated under the Roman Empire by Greeks and Romans. In Roman literature the most ancient example of this kind which remains is the eulogy of the emperor Trajan, delivered by the younger Pliny in the Senate, 100 A.D., thanking the emperor for conferring on him the consulate, a model which subsequent ages vainly endeavoured to imitate. It forms, together with eleven orations of Mamertinus, Eumenius, Nazarius, Pacatus Drepanius, and other unknown representatives of the Gallic school of rhetoric, from the end of the 3rd and the whole of the 4th centuries A.D., the extant collection of the Panegyrici Latini. Besides these, we possess similar orations by Symmachus, Ausonius, and Ennodius. There are also a considerable number of poetical panegyrics; e.g. one upon Messala, composed in the year 31 B.C., and wrongly attributed to Tibullus; one by an unknown author of the Noronian time upon Calpurnius Piso; and others by Claudian, Sidonius Apollinaris, Merobaudes, Corippus, Priscian, and Venantius Fortunatus (q.v.).
The fourth among the Ten Attic Orators, was born at Athens B.C. 436. He was the son of Theodorus, the wealthy proprietor of a flute manufactory, who provided for his son's receiving a careful education. Accordingly he had the advantage of being instructed by Prodicus, Protagoras, Theramenes, and (above all) Gorgias; his character was also moulded by the influence of Secrates, although he never belonged to the more restricted circle of his pupils. Bashfulness and a weak voice prevented him from taking part in public life. After the fall of the Thirty, as his father had lost his means in the calamitous years that closed the Peloponnesian War, he turned his attention to composing forensic speeches for others. After having taught rhetoric at Chios [possibly about 404 B.C.], he returned to Athens in 403, and there opened a regular school of rhetoric about 392. It was largely attended by both Athenians and non-Athenians, and brought him in considerable wealth. The total number of his pupils has been given at one hundred, including Timotheus, the son of Conon, the orators Isaeus, Hyperides, and Lycurgus, and the historians Ephorus and Theopompus. Isocrates also had friendly relations with foreign princes, especially with Evagoras of Cyprus and his son Nicocles, who loaded him with favours. He kept himself completely aloof from any personal share in the public life of his day; yet he attempted to influence the political world, not only within the narrow bounds of his native land, but also throughout the whole of Greece, by a series of rhetorical declamations, not intended to be delivered, but only to be read. This he did in the first place in his Panegyricus, which he published in 380 B.C., after spending ten or (according to another account) as many as fifteen years over its preparation. This is a kind of festal oration eulogising the services of Athens to Greece, exhorting the Spartans peacefully to share the supremacy with Athens, and calling on the Greeks to lay aside all internal dissensions and attack the barbarians with their united strength. In the ninetieth year of his age, in a discourse addressed to Philip, in 346 B.C., he endeavours to induce that monarch to carry out his policy by reconciling all the Greeks to one another, and leading their united forces against the Persians. Other discourses relate, to the internal politics of Athens. Thus, in the Areopagiticus, he recommends his fellow citizens to get rid of the existing weaknesses in their political constitution by returning to the democracy as founded by Solon and reconstituted by Clisthenus, and by reinstating the Areopagus as the supreme tribunal of censorship over public decorum and morality. He retained his mental and bodily powers unimpaired to an advanced age, and in his ninety-eighth year completed the Panathenaicus, a discourse in praise of Athens. He lived to see the total wreck of all his hopes for a regeneration of Greecep and died B.C. 338, a few days after the battle of Chaeronea, He is said to have died of voluntary starvation, owing to his despair at the downfall of Greek liberty; [but this account of his death, familiarised by Milton in his fifth English sonnet, must be considered as doubtful.] There were sixty compositions bearing his name known to antiquity, but less than half that number were considered genuine. Of the twenty-one which have come down to us, the first, the Letter to Demonicus, is often regarded as spurious, [but there is no reason to doubt the genuineness of nine of the ten other Letters. It is only the letter prefixed to the nine in the older editions that is not genuine, having been really written by Theophylact Simocatta early in the 7th century A.D.] Of the speeches, six are forensic orations, written to be delivered by others; the rest are declamations, chiefly on political subjects. By his mastery of style, Isocrates had a far-reaching influence on all subsequent Greek prose, which is not confined to oratorical composition alone. His chief strength lies in a careful choice of expression, not only in his vocabulary, but also in the rhythmical formation of his flowing periods, in a skilful use of the figures of speech, and in all that lends euphony to language. [Even in Latin, the oratorical prose of Cicero is, on its formal side, founded chiefly on that of Isocrates. Modern literary prose has, in its turn, been mainly modelled on that of Cicero, and thus the influence of Isocrates has endured to the present day.]
Among the Greeks, rhetorike comprised the practical as well as the theoretical art of speaking, and rhetor denoted an orator no less than a teacher of oratory. Among the Romans, it denoted only the latter, the actual speaker being called orator. The first men, who reduced oratory to a system capable of being taught, appeared among the Sicilian Greeks, who, according to the (testimony of the ancients, were distinguished for the keenness of their understanding and their love of disputation [Cicero, Brutus 46]. The Syracusan CORAX (circ. 500 B.C.) is said to have been the first who elaborated systematic rules for forensic speeches, and laid them down in writing in a manual on the art of rhetoric (techne). His pupil TISIAS (born circ. 480), and after him the Leontine GORGIAS, further cultivated the art, and from about 427 carried it to Greece itself, and in particular to Athens. In the judicial proceedings and the assemblies of the people, the practice of oratory had long been familiar at Athens, though it had not been reduced to technical rules, and oratory had had a conspicuous representative in PERICLES. At Athens the theory of oratory was further cultivated by the SOPHISTS (Gr. Sophistai, " men who professed knowledge or wisdom "). Their instruction in style and rhetoric was enjoyed by numerous Athenians, who desired by the aid of study and practice to attain to expertness in speaking. The first Athenian, who, besides imparting instruction in the new art, applied it practically to speaking in the assemblies of the people and before courts, and who published speeches as patterns for study, was ANTIPHON (died B.C. 411), the earliest of the " Ten Attic Orators." In his extant speeches the oratorical art is shown still in its beginnings. These, with the speeches interwoven in the historical work of his great pupil Thucydides, give, an idea of the crude and harsh style of the technical oratory of the time; while the speeches of ANDOCIDES (died about 399), the second of the Ten Orators, display a style that is still uninfluenced by the rhetorical teaching of the age. The first really classical orator is LYSIAS (died about 360), who, while in possession of all the technical rules of the time, handles with perfect mastery the common language of every-day life. ISOCRATES (436-338) is reckoned as the father of artistic oratory properly so called ; he is a master in the careful choice of words, in the rounding off and rhythmical formation of periods, in the apt employment of figures of speech, and in everything which lends charm to language. By his mastery of style he has exercised the most far-reaching influence upon the oratorical diction of all succeeding time. Of the three kinds of speeches which were distinguished by the ancients, political (or deliberative), forensic, and showspeeches (or declamations), he specially cultivated the last. Among his numerous pupils is ISAeUS (about 400-350), who in his general method of oratory closely follows Lysias, though he shows a more matured skill in the controversial use of oratorical resources. The highest point was attained by his pupil DEMOSTHENES, the greatest orator of antiquity (384-322); next to him comes his political opponent AeSCHINES (389-314). The number of the Ten Orators is completed by their contemporaries HYPERIDES, LYCURGUS, and DINARCHUS. In the last of these the beginning of the decline of oratorical art is already clearly apparent. To the time of Demosthenes belongs the oldest manual of rhetoric which has been preserved to us, that of ANAXIMENES Of Lampsacus. This is founded on the practice of oratory, and, being intended for immediate practical use, shows no trace of any philosophical groundwork or philosophical research. Greek rhetoric owes to ARISTOTLE its proper reduction into a scientific system. In contrast to Isocrates, who aims at perfection of form and style, Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, lays special stress on subject-matter, and mainly devotes himself to setting forth the means of producing conviction. When Athens had lost her liberty, practical oratory was more and more reduced to silence; the productions of the last orators, such as DEMETRIUS of Phalerum, were only a feeble echo of the past. Demetrius is said to have been the first to give to oratorical expression a tendency towards an elegant luxuriance. He was also the first to introduce the custom of making speeches upon imaginary subjects by way of practice for deliberative and forensic speaking. In later times the home of oratory was transferred to the free Hellenic or hellenized communities of the coasts and islands of Asia Minor, especially Rhodes. On the soil of Asia a new style was developed, called the Asiatic. Its originator is said to have been HEGESIAS of Magnesia near Mount Sipylus. He flourished in the latter half of the 3rd century. In avowed opposition to the method of Demosthenes, who spoke in artistically formed periods, Hegesias not only went back to the simpler constructions of Lysias, but even endeavoured to outvie the latter in simplicity, breaking up all that he had to say into short sentences, and carefully avoiding periods of any length [Cic., Orator 226]. On the other hand, he sought to give a certain vividness to his speeches by an elaborately arranged order of words, and by a far-fetched and often turgid phraseology. This was the prevailing fashion until the middle of the 1st century B.C. Even in Rome it had numerous followers, especially Hortensius, until by the influence of Cicero it was so utterly crushed out, that Hegesias was soon forgotten, even among the Greeks. A peculiar kind of oratory prevailed in Rhodes, where a closer approach was again made to the Attic models, and particularly to the representatives of the simple style, such as Hyperides. Conspicuous orators of this school were APOLLONIUS and MOLON, both of Alabanda in Caria, in the first half of the 1st century B.C. [These two orators are expressly distinguished from one another by Strabo, p. 655; they are confounded even by Quintilian, who erroneously speaks of Apollonius Molon, iii 1, 16; xii 6, 7.] The theory of oratory remained until about the end of the 2nd century B.C. exclusively in the hands of the philosophers, and was little regarded by the Asiatic orators, After that time the orators and practical teachers of the art again applied themselves with eagerness to theoretical studies; the theorists adopted an eclectical method, seeking to combine the philosophical and more scientific proceeding of Aristotle with that of Isocrates, which addressed itself rather to the turns of phrase and the outward forms of oratory. The most noteworthy system was introduced by HERMAGORAS of Temnos (about 120 B.C.), whose writings, which are no longer extant, supplied the chief foundation for the theoretical studies of the Romans at the beginning of the 1st century B.C. The system of rhetoric elaborated by him was afterwards further worked out and improved in detail. In the time of the Empire the rhetorical schools in general flourished, and we poossess an extensive rhetorical literature that age reaching as far as the 5th century A.D. It includes the works of authors who mainly treated of the literary and aesthetic side of rhetoric, especially those of DIONYSIUS of Halicarnassus, the champion of Atticism and of refined taste, and the unknown author of the able treatise On the Sublime (See LONGINUS); also those of technical writers, such as HERMOGENES, the most noteworthy representative of the scholastic rhetoric of the age, APSINES, MENANDER, THEON, APHTHONIUS, and others. On the revival of Greek oratory, after the end of the 1st century, and particularly in the 2nd century, See SOPHISTS. (II) Roman. As among the Athenians, so also among the Romans, the institutions of the State early gave occasion for the practice of political and forensic oratory. Until the end of the 3rd century B.C., this oratory was wholly spontaneous. The speech of the aged APPIUS CLAUDIUS CAeCUS, delivered in 280 against the peace with Pyrrhus, and afterwards published, was long preserved as the earliest written monument of Roman oratory. Numerous political speeches were published by the well-known MARCUS PORCIUS CATO, the most note-worthy orator during the first half of the 2nd century. After the second Punic War, in spite of all the opposition of a Cato and of those who thought with him, Greek culture forced its way irresistibly into Rome, and the Romans became eager to conform to the Greek theory of oratory also. SERVIUS SULPICIUS GALBA (Circ. 144 B.C.) is spoken of as the first man who compose his speeches in accordance with the rules of Greek art, and not long afterwards the younger GRACCHUS (died 121) proved himself a consummate orator through the combination of natural gifts and art. Even at this time the publication of orations after delivery was a general custom, and men were already to be met with who actually wrote speeches for others. At the beginning of the 1st century B.C., the most noteworthy orators were Marcus ANTONIUS and Lucius Licinius CRASSUS. Rhetorical instruction was originally imparted by Greeks. In the first decade of the 1st century the freedman Plotius Gallus came forward as a teacher of rhetoric, and other Latin teachers followed him. These found a large number of hearers, but the censors interfered to stop the practice, as an innovation on the custom of their forefathers. It is true that this attempt to oppose the current, which bad already set in, was in vain. Still it was only by freedmen that rhetorical instruction in Latin was given until the time of Augustus, when the Roman knight Blandus was the first free-born man who came forward as a public teacher of rhetoric. Even the Latin rhetoricians derived their theory exclusively from Greek sources, especially from Hermagoras, to whose influence the two earliest extant rhetorical writings of the Roman school are to be referred; these are the work of CORNIFICIUS, and the youthful production of CICERO, the De Inventione. Cicero, the greatest orator of Rome, and the only orator of the Republic of whom any complete speeches are extant, composed in his later years several other valuable writings upon rhetorical subjects, founded on his practice as an orator; viz. the De Oratore, the Brutus, and the Orator. Besides Cicero, the last age of the Republic possessed a series of other conspicuous orators, such as HORTENSIUS, CAeLIUS, BRUTUS, and, above all, CAeSAR. A few more representatives of the oratory of the Republic survived to the time of Augustus. The most important of these is Asinius POLLIO. But, with the old constitution, the occasions and materials for oratory also disappeared under the Monarchy, and the hindrances and limitations to its public exercise increased in the same proportion. Practice was gradually superseded bytheory, orators by rhetoricians, speeches by declamations. The exercises of the rhetorical schools, which now became one of the chief centres of intellectual life, paid almost exclusive attention to the form, and dealt with imaginary subjects of political and forensic oratory, called suasorioe and controversioe, which were as far as possible removed from the practice of life. A vivid picture of these exercises is preserved by the reminiscences of the rhetorician SENECA, the father of the well-known philosopher. The manner of speaking contracted in the schools was adopted on the few occasions on which practical oratory could still be exercised, and these occas:ons were accordingly turned into exhibitions of theatrical declamation. It was in vain that men like QUINTILIAN, in his work on the training of an orator (Institutio Oratoria), and TACITUS, in his Dialogue on Orators, pointed to the true classical patterns, and combated the fashion of their time, from which even they were not entirely free. Like these, the younger PLINY belongs to the end of the 1st century A.D.; his Panegyric, addressed to Trajan, the only monument of Roman oratory after Cicero preserved in a complete form, became the model for the later panegyrists. In the 2nd century A.D., FRONTO, and the school named after him, sought to revive the old Roman spirit by a tasteless imitation of archaic expressions and forms of speech. The same style is practised, though with more ability, by the African Apuleius. After the end of the 3rd century, the oratorical art had its chief seat in the towns of Gaul, especially in Treves (Treviri) and Bordeaux (Burdigala). Here a style of oratory was matured which possessed a certain smoothness and copiousnessin words, but showed great lack of ideas. Upon the representatives of this style, the " Panegyrists," See PANEGYRICUS.
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