Greek Oratory: Tradition and Originality
Oxford University Press, 2002 - 388 pages
Speakers address audiences in the earliest Greek literature, but oratory became a distinct genre in the late fifth century and reached its maturity in the fourth. This book traces the development of its techniques by examining the contribution made by each orator. Dr Usher makes the speeches come alive for the reader through an in-depth analysis of the problems of composition and the likely responses of contemporary audiences. His study differs from previous books in its recognition of the richness of the early tradition which made innovation difficult; however, the orators are revealed as men of remarkable talent, versatility, and resource. Antiphon's pioneering role, Lysias' achievement of balance between the parts of the speech, the establishment of oratory as a medium of political thought by Demosthenes and Isocrates, and the individual characteristics of other orators - Andocides, Isaeus, Lycurgus, Hyperides, Dinarchus and Apollodorus - together make a fascinating study in evolution; while the illustrative texts of the orators (which are translated into English) include some of the liveliest and most moving passages in Greek literature.
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