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criticism, such as can be used for definition; it always tended to be a nickname of compliment or eulogy, and was subject to the variations of meaning that we may observe in many similar words of the modern critical vocabulary. There was a disposition, it is true, to associate it in Roman criticism with one of the two great "characters of style" of which we will speak presently. But on the other hand it might denominate a quality of style, vaguely associated with Athens in the time of its glory, which neither of the "characters" could afford to neglect and which might appear equally well in either. Or again it could be used in its exact geographical sense, of any author who lived at Athens, without reference to either the quality or the character of his style.

All the trees in this forest have again been studied close-up by recent scholars; and we are now no more competent to give a comprehensive definition of 'Attic' than the ancients themselves were. Evidently any one who wants to use the term at the present time for the purpose of identification must explain what he means by it. If this involved an attempt to discuss the many questions still in controversy among the classicists, or to adjust the relations of the various ancient meanings of the word that have been mentioned, it would be too pretentious an undertaking for one who is not a trained classicist. But we are not concerned here with any of these thorny problems. Our business is to understand 'Attic' as the seventeenth-century critics did; and they at least had a clear idea of what they meant by it, and used it to define the stylistic purposes of their own age. It meant in their critical vocabulary one of two kinds or characters of style made familiar to them in modern and vernacular use by the imitation of antiquity since the beginning of the Renaissance, and corresponding, as they saw, roughly but definitely enough with the two leading "characters," or genera dicendi, distinguished by ancient criticism. This limitation of meaning will serve as a clue to guide us through all complexities.

Classical scholars may not, therefore, feel highly rewarded by the present survey, and it is not in their interest that it is undertaken. Yet it may have some value even for them. For the word 'Attic' had a lively, contemporary interest in the seventeenth

Of course in the matured ancient theory there are three characters. See explanation, however, below, pp. 87 ff. and 104 ff.

century that it has never had since, and was used by men whose own writings were, by intention at least, direct continuations of ancient Latin literature. Their knowledge was limited in its range as compared with that of the most accomplished modern classicists; but as far as it went it was both sounder and more vivid than that of any later generation. It is possible that their use of the term we are considering will help to simplify a problem which has been greatly confused by the investigation of details; and it is certain that it is truer to ancient usage than that which has been current in popular criticism since the eighteenth century.


The seventeenth century, then, regarded the history of ancient prose-style chiefly as a story of relations and conflicts between two modes of style, which-for the sake of the utmost simplificationwe may characterize at once (in modern terms) as the oratorical style and the essay-style, and may describe by the kind of ornament most used in each. The oratorical style was distinguished by the use of the schemata verborum, or 'schemes,' as we may call them, which are chiefly similarities or repetitions of sound used as purely sensuous devices to give pleasure or aid the attention. The essaystyle is characterized by the absence of these figures, or their use in such subtle variation that they cannot easily be distinguished, and, on the other hand, by the use of metaphor, aphorism, antithesis, paradox, and the other figures which, in one classification, are known as the figurae sententiae, the figures of wit or thought. ¡ But of course such characterizations are mere caricature, and serve only as convenient labels. The form and history of the two styles must be fully considered.

The first is of earlier origin: it is the style in which prose first came to be recognized as a proper object of artistic cultivation among the Greeks. According to the sketchy and untrustworthy reports of ancient literary historians, Gorgias was its "inventor"; but this may mean no more than that he first formulated and systematized for teaching purposes the schemes' which serve to

The division of the figures into schemata verborum and figurae sen tentiae is here adopted because it represents the opposition of styles that we are concerned with. There were, of course, other classifications in antiquity, based on other principles,

ornament it, and especially the three most important of these, which still go by his name in rhetorical theory: and it is almost certain that even these figures originated long before Gorgias' time, in certain liturgical or legal customs of the primitive Greek community. The next stage in its history is associated with the name of Isocrates, a disciple of Gorgias, to whom is always attributed the elaboration of the form of the rhythmic "period " and the subordination to this, in their proper artistic relation to it, of the 'Gorgianic schemes.' Isocrates was the most important of all that class of teachers to whom Socrates and Plató have given a much worse reputation than they deserve. The sophistic scheme of education included a great use of oratory because it was founded on a study of politics; the individual man was conceived as a kind of mirror reflecting the character and interests of his town or state, and his literary education was wholly determined by the customs of the forum and the public uses of rhetoric.®

In spite of all opposition from the philosophers this type of education spread generally throughout the Greek world, in the colonies perhaps even more widely than in the home cities, and was disseminated in the Hellenistic period throughout the greater part of the Mediterranean world. And with it, of course, went the sophistic' rhetoric everywhere, now exfoliating in cultus and flamboyancy under the influence of provincial tastes, now degenerating into a merely puerile and academic employment of the schemes, or again assuming the normal grandeur of its proportions and the purity of its design, but preserving through all variations the essential features of its form as they had been perfected by Isocrates. In fact the conventionalized oratory of the sophistic schools must be considered not only the most conspicuous contribu

'They are:-1) Isocolon, approximate equality of length between members of a period; 2) Parison, similarity of form between such equal members, as in the position of the nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.; 3) Parombion, likeness of sound between words thus similarly placed. Descriptions of them may be found in Volkmann's Rhetorik d. Griecher u. Römer, pp. 40-49, in Landmann's Euphuismus, Child's John Lyly and Euphuism, in the Introduction to Lyly's Euphues, ed. Croll and Clemons, or better in a number of the medieval treatises collected in Halm's Rhetores Lating Minores. They may be briefly described as the chief figures by which oratorical concinnity is effected.

•E. M. Cope's Introduction to his translation of the Gorgias (London, 1883) gives a clear statement of the character of sophistic education.


tion of the Greeks to the prose-style of Europe, but also the standard and normal form of their own prose, of which all other forms are variations, and to which it always returned as to the true rhetorical point of departure. Nor did it perish with the passing of classical Greek culture. It lived again in the Roman rhetoric which culminated in the oratory of Cicero, and survived, to enjoy still longer and stranger destinies, in the teaching of the Christian schools of the Middle Ages.

The form of Isocratean rhetoric need not detain us long here; we are concerned with it only in its relation with the style that arose in opposition to it, and the only point that it is necessary to emphasize here is the sensuous character of its appeal to its audience. Its "round composition" and the "even falling of its clauses" do not always satisfy the inward ear of the solitary reader. Heard solely by the reflective mind, it is an empty, a frigid, or an artificial style. But it is not meant for such a hearing. It is addressed first, like music, to the physical ear; and the figures with which its large and open design are decorated have been devised with a reference to the attentive powers and the aural susceptibilities of large audiences, consisting of people of moderate intelligence, and met amid all the usual distractions of public assemblage -as Cicero says, in sole et pulvere.

In their appropriate place they are the legitimate resource of a great popular art, and their fitness for their ends is vindicated by the fact that they reappear whenever the necessary conditions of popular eloquence are satisfied. But it is evident that their literary adaptability is strictly limited. They offer nothing that is pleasing to an intellect intent upon the discovery of reality; and a people like the Greeks, in whom philosophic curiosity was quite as strong an incentive to literary art as the love of sensuous forms, would not long resist the temptation to ridicule or parody them, and to study modes of expression deliberately contrasted with them. The beginning of the history of the essay-style among them follows hard, as we should expect, upon that of the oratorical, in the lifetime indeed of the reputed founder of the latter.

In his dialogue named from the orator, Plato relates a conversation that is supposed to occur on a visit of Gorgias to Athens in about the year 405, when Gorgias was perhaps eighty years of age. Socrates had been invited to meet him at dinner and hear him deliver a new oration that he had prepared. Socrates

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avoided the proffered entertainment, probably with some malice; but, either by accident or design, met the dinner party on its way home, and was again invited to hear an oration by the master-this time at Callicles' house. Socrates went with the party, but asked whether Gorgias would not consent to converse with him instead of speaking to him. In the long conversation that followed the philosopher succeeded by his unequalled dialectic art in making Gorgias and one of his disciples acknowledge that the true aim of education is not the art of persuasion, but how to see and like the truth, how to know right from wrong and love it; and gave an original turn to the whole theory of style by showing that it is at best a kind of cookery which makes things palatable whether they are good for us or not, whereas the study of morality is like medicine, which puts the soul in a state of health and keeps it there.

In this dialogue of Plato's, and in the Phaedrus, which treats the same theme, are laid the foundations of a new interpretation of : the functions of rhetoric, wholly different from those of oratory, and of the practise of a style appropriate to these functions. But it is not fair to say that Plato and Socrates foresaw such an outcome of their controversy with the sophists, or would have been pleased by it if they had done so. Cicero complained that it was Socrates who first instituted the opposition between philosophy and oratory which, as he properly observed, is fatal to the highest X development of the latter; and this statement seems to represent the attitude of Socrates in the Gorgias with substantial correctness. The purport of his argument is almost certainly that in the public life of a sound commonwealth, and, with still more reason, in the private activities of its citizens, there would be no use of an art of rhetoric of any kind. The Protestant, or Puritan, divorce of spirit and sense is apparent in his treatment of the subject, and he has apparently not thought of the possibility that a new theory of style could be erected on the foundation of his opposition to oratory and its forms.

History shows, however, that when you put rhetoric out at the door it comes in at the window, and the inevitable next step in the development of the ideas of Socrates and Plato was their systemization with reference to an art of prose composition. Aristotle effected this in the first two Books of his Rhetoric, which have served as the starting point of all subsequent theories of style that have called themselves "modern." This book was a wholly new

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