« PreviousContinue »
In this edition of the Speeches of the Athenian Orator, I have endeavoured to produce a work which may prove generally useful, and to contribute-by a good text and judicious comments to the pleasure and facility with which his Orations may be read. I have endeavoured in fact to adapt the work to the wants of university students, and of the upper classes in our public schools, in the hope, that, if at all successful, it may also be of service to more advanced scholars, and not without benefit to the teacher as well as the pupil. The familiarity which an editor of ordinary diligence and ability must gain with his author, ought to secure these results, and suggests, if it does not realize, corresponding expectations.
But with such a subject as Demosthenes, an editor may not unreasonably expect another class of readers, besides the student, the teacher, and the scholar by profession. For if the Orator is not unworthy of the praise which has been bestowed upon him, his style and diction must be a valuable study for all who wish to arrive at excellence, or even proficiency in the art of which he was so great a master. Accordingly we find that even in his own age he had imitators such as his calumniator Deinarchus (Dion. Hal. v. 607), and in after times such as the Christian orator" John of the Golden Mouth." Indeed it has even been conjectured that we owe the preservation of so many
1 Dobree in his Adversaria (i. part ii.) quotes from St. Chrysostom many passages which are evidently imitations of Demosthenes. The curious reader may compare Gibbon's (c. xxxii.) account of the return of the Christian Orator to Constantinople (A.D. 404) after exile, with the description of the corresponding events in the lives of Cicero and Demosthenes. See page xxxi.
of his speeches to the estimation in which he was held by the most eloquent of the Eastern Church. (A. G. Becker, Literatur der Demosthenes, 52.) In our own times and country, lawyers and statesmen have translated or illustrated his speeches, and recommended them as models for the bar and the senate. Nay, it has been said (Lord Brougham, Eloquence of the Ancients, p. iv) that "the Orator of old was the parliamentary debater, the speaker at public meetings, the preacher, the newspaper, the published sermon, the pamphlet, the volume, all in one." If this be true of any one, especially is it true of Demosthenes, whose eloquence expresses facts clearly, develops reasoning logically, and combines all those qualities which impel men to action. Such indeed was his chief object in his deliberative speeches; and to those who, amid the struggles of active life, sometimes wish to refresh themselves with the studies of their earlier years, or to prepare themselves for the higher contests of oratory, this Edition of a Master in the art will, I trust, prove both attractive and useful. For I have faithfully endeavoured to explain whatever difficulties occurred to myself, or appeared likely to perplex others, and I have spared neither time nor labour in illustrating those allusions which Demosthenes so frequently makes to the history of his times, and the institutions of his countrymen. In doing this, I have also kept in mind the educational purposes which the "Bibliotheca Classica" is intended to serve, and to which the works of Demosthenes are so well calculated to minister, whether as regards the training of the intellect, the inculcation of principles, or the acquisition of the Greek language. For as no one can follow the arguments of a logical speaker without exercising the reasoning powers, so even the Christian moralist may adopt the sentiments which the Stoics admired in Demosthenes, while his language, naturally simple and unaffected, never becomes obscure from mysticism in his ideas, or indistinctness in his conceptions, or irresolution in his purpose. Indeed, throughout the whole of this volume, I do not remember more than one sentiment to which objection can fairly
be made, nor more than one passage of undisputed authorship,
The reader then will not expect elaborate dissertations where certainty is unattainable, and I have avoided discussing what I conceive to be the erroneous opinions of others. Indeed with an author like Demosthenes, the true explanation of his meaning will, if clearly expressed, at once commend itself to ordinary minds, and moreover, as in the lapse of time Commentaries and Editions multiply, each succeeding editor, though bound to avail himself of their assistance, is less and less able to notice their errors. If he did, his author would disappear in the midst of his commentary.
On the other hand, there are some disputed points, as the order of the Olynthiac Orations, and the genuineness of certain speeches attributed to Demosthenes, and the questions raised about the documents in the "De Corona," which I could not evade, and upon which I have therefore stated my opinion, with the reasons for it, as well as the views of others, and the works in which they are given.
In the Introductions to the several Orations will be found a brief account of the circumstances under which each was delivered, of the events by which they were occasioned, and of the results by which they were followed. In preparing them, I have made ample use of the Histories of Grote and Thirlwall; but I have always consulted the original authorities, and satisfied myself of the truth or the probability of the facts I had to tell. Nevertheless, before reading any of the State Speeches, the student will do well to consult the narrative of one of these Historians, or the more concise but comprehensive summary in chapters 42, 43, and 45 of Smith's History of Greece.
Again, the personal conduct of Demosthenes is so mixed up with the history of his times, that in writing his biography I compelled to enter into more details than would have been otherwise desirable, and still I am conscious of having omitted some particulars of interest. But further information may
readily be found in Dr. Donaldson's "Literature of Ancient Greece" (i. 150-187), and in the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography." The latter of these s. v. Demosthenes, in addition to some account of the various editions of his whole works, gives a classified list of the Orations, with the separate editions of each, and what is called the 'Literature' upon it. A much more elaborate description of the same kind is given by A. G. Becker in his "Literatur der Demosthenes," who further describes the various English, French, German, and Italian translations of the different speeches. We also learn from him, that the first Philippic was published in Russian at St. Petersburg in 1776-8, and the "De Corona at Moscow in 1784-8. In the last twenty-five years, the list has been further enlarged by the complete editions of W. Dindorf (Oxford, 1849, and Leipzig, 1850), of the Zürich editors Baiter and Sauppe, and of Vömel (Paris, 1843, 1845); by editions of single speeches, as of the "De Corona" by Dissen and Drake, and of the "Falsa Legatio" by Mr. Shilleto. Within the same time have appeared Lord Brougham's and Mr. Norris's translations of the "De Corona," and quite recently a translation of that and other speeches (in Bohn's Classical Series) by Mr. C. R. Kennedy.
Among the works of illustration and criticism published during the same period, or a little before, are the "Quaestiones Demosthenicae" of Westermann (Leipzig, 1834), the Treatises of Droysen (Berlin, 1849) and Newman (Clas. Mus. i. 141), and the very valuable work of A. Schäfer, "Demosthenes und seine Zeit" (Leipzig, 1856). Nor should I omit Mr. C. Babington's recent publication of the Speech of Hypereides against Demosthenes and the Funeral Oration over Leosthenes. They furnish very valuable materials for the history of the last years of the Orator's life.
As regards the text of this Edition a few words will suffice. It is not a mere repetition of any former one, though based upon the Oxford Edition of Bekker, and the Oxford and Leipzig Editions of W. Dindorf. In the former part of the