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Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby GJCaesar » Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:56 am

Qimmik wrote:You have to be careful about this. Not everything in the Demosthenic corpus was written by Demosthenes (and almost nothing in the Lysianic corpus can be securely attributed to Lysias, if you believe Dover). So unless you separate out the Demosthenic speeches that are recognized as genuine, it's not clear what conclusions you can draw about Demosthenes. You don't have to do this for Lysias, as long as you recognize that comparisons of genuine Demosthenes agains "Lysias" are just comparisons against a collection of randomly assembled speeches, some of which might even be--who knows?--post-4th century rhetorical exercises in composing "pure" Attic by koine-speakers.


That's an excellent point you make, and it kind of slipped my mind that the there is indeed a possibility that a lot of the work that we attribute to Demosthenes may not have been written by the same person as the writer of De Corona.

Still, despite this possibility, the fact that Lysias and Plato were both treated in a research on Attic particles, and Demosthenes not, makes it interesting enough to look into the numbers. As Kroon did in 1995, when she looked into Latin discourse particles, a whole new theoretic framework emerged and showed that the old methods don't always suffice in the case of particles. I'm not saying that this will be the case with Demosthenes as well, but one can hope.

mwh -- I will run some numbers today to compare it with the other orators in 4th century BC. I'm in not mistaken, we're quite sure about the attributions to Isocrates?
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Qimmik » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:55 am

All three of Aeschines' speeches are genuine--and he was obviously a contemporary of Demosthenes. But the corpus is small. There are a few speeches, some in fragmentary form, of other "minor" Attic orators of the 4th century: Lycurgus against Leocrates, three speeches of Dinarchus, including his prosecution of Demosthenes after the Harpalus affair, fragments of speeches by Hyperides (recovered from papyri).

Isocrates' public speeches were really pamphlets, written to be read, not for oral delivery, so they may not make a good target for comparison. I think most, if not all, of them are accepted as genuine, but I'm not completely sure. Like Demosthenes he has a very distinct style: as mwh mentions, he's "smooth and balanced" to excess, in a way that calls attention to itself. He lived a very long life and was writing in his 90s, so he spans the century.

Before Demosthenes in the 4th century Isaeus, supposedly a student of Isocrates, wrote a number of private speeches as a logographos.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby mwh » Sat Sep 13, 2014 12:00 am

Aeschines corpus small yes but the figures significant, and it's the most meaningful comparison with the anti-Aesch Dem speeches.
Aesch:
toinun:oun 44:104
eita:epeita 6:30
So it's still Dem and De Cor. in particular who stands out from all the rest. He has a clear preference for the stronger discourse markers, just as he does for a certain roughness. But the excptionality of De Cor within the Dem corpus that you pointed out is most remarkable. I think I warned before of difference of genre with the corpus, so you'll want to make finer discintions, but even so ....
My stats are just the raw figures pulled from the TLG, I haven't checked beyond that, nor have I run searches on other authors or for other words. But yes this is obviously something worth looking into, and now that figures can be totted up in milliseconds it's easy to see what especially merits investigation. The bare figures are prima facie very telling in rthemselves, but mean little without analysis. I chose oun and epeita as "weaker" forms of toinun and eita but of course the semantic correspondence is far from exact.

As to authenticity, well even Demosthenes had ghostwriters. But what he published he will presumably have worked over; it's a distinctive style. With Lysias isn't it only the one speech that's assuredly his? Authenticity arguments are based largely on matters of style, so there's danger of circularity, as Dover (on Lysias) well recognised. Something to bear in mind is that what we have are the speeches not as delivered but as subsequently published. The gap between the one and the other may not be as great as it is with Cicero, whose published versions (written up for PR purposes, sometimes years later) often bear little relation to what he had actually said, occasionally none at all. Scholars argue endlessly about this, but most strive (unwisely, in my view) to minimize the gap as much as possible; their impromptu appearance (e.g. Catilinarians) is fake. With the Greek orators there's less evidence of the relationship; here the Aesch./Dem. knockabout is especially valuable, since they can be cross-checked for consistency.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:31 pm

mwh wrote:Something to bear in mind is that what we have are the speeches not as delivered but as subsequently published. The gap between the one and the other may not be as great as it is with Cicero, whose published versions (written up for PR purposes, sometimes years later) often bear little relation to what he had actually said, occasionally none at all. Scholars argue endlessly about this, but most strive (unwisely, in my view) to minimize the gap as much as possible; their impromptu appearance (e.g. Catilinarians) is fake. With the Greek orators there's less evidence of the relationship; here the Aesch./Dem. knockabout is especially valuable, since they can be cross-checked for consistency.

The gap between the preserved text and the speech as actually delivered is a interesting question. Isn't it similar in many respects to the question of how the Homeric epics were written down? (Personally, I don't believe that the Homeric epics are somehow magically different from all the other ancient texts, just because they were "oral". As if everything weren't more or less "oral" back then... The big difference, as far I see, is that the Homeric epics are much longer than any speech; I don't think they existed in the form we have them before someone wrote them down. What is left to us is not "performance", even if it originally stems from a performative tradition.)

Anyway... Is there any evidence of written speeches being prepared before they were performed? I don't suppose that reading from a paper at a trial or otherwise was acceptable, but writing the speech beforehand could be helpful to get one's ideas in order as well as a rehearsal aid, and people also might have thought already beforehand that they would "publish" their speeches later on.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Qimmik » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:46 pm

At least some of the speeches were written out before they were delivered. Lysias, Isocrates and Demosthenes made a living as logographoi, hired speechwriters. The speaker would take the speech written for him and memorize it. But the party who spoke second--the defendant--couldn't anticipate everything that the plaintiff or prosecutor was going to say, and so must have had to rely on a certain amount of improvisation. The same would be true in political deliberations, of course.

As for the Homeric poems, this is supposed to be about Demosthenes, not Homer, so I responded in the Homeric forum.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby NateD26 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:09 pm

Whether or not these pages were intended for publication is an intriguing subject.
I think some elements of the speeches are lost when you just read them on paper, however
well crafted the arguments may be. The linked book below quotes from Aristotle's Rhetoric
and Demetrius' On Style to show how certain histrionic features as disjointed clauses and
repetition lend themselves well for delivery, yet they lack the precision needed in written style.

When researching this, the carrer of the logographer/lawyer himself is also taken into account.
Demosthenes' early attempts and speeches were considered tedious and long-winded, at least
according to Demetrius.

These were logographers turned-orators. Not an easy transformation, as I'm sure
paralegal cannot appear in court with the same pathos of a seasoned lawyer, however
precise in their knowledge they may be. Evidently, Demosthenes had "nailed it" in his maturity. :)

Oral Performance and Its Context, C. J. MacKie (Brill, 2004; Preview on Google Books)
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby GJCaesar » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:47 am

First of all: apologies for my absence lately. I had lots of undemosthenes stuff to do, so I haven't read an awful lot of Greek lately.

As for the current discussion, I must confess that I barely know anything about the subject. I read a bit about textual tradition with the excellent book "scribes and scholars", but for some reason the undergraduate programme of my university skipped a lot of important facettes of the classic world. Being a graduate student now, I guess they assume us to get into this stuff on our own. Any recommendations what to read to get a firm grasp of this subject? I''m not lazy, but since you guys seem to know a thing or two about it, I might as well ask instead of looking it up myself.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Qimmik » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:44 pm

Some basic references in English:

D. M. MacDowell, Demosthenes the Orator

http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2010/2010-08-66.html

Raphael Sealey, Demosthenes and His Time: A Study in Defeat

http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1993/04.04.24.html

Ian Worthington, Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece

http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2014/2014-04-48.html

Edward Harris, Aeschines and Athenian Politics.

http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1995/95.09.09.html

Mogens Herman Hansen, The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes: Structure, Principles, and Ideology

Of course, you should by all means consult Yunis's extensive bibliography.

On style, in German: Eduard Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby GJCaesar » Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:32 pm

The university library only has Hansen, so I guess I'll just start with that. Right now, I'm working on my little research on oun and toinun. My tutor and I discussed it and agreed this would be a good thing to look into.

I have Denniston, Sicking & Ophuijsen, and Wakker/Bakker as a theoretical framework, but I want to start this research by just looking at the use of the two particles myself. The first, in my opinion logical, step, is to find out whether or not there are any linguistic phenomena that I can base my outcome on. Probably not, since this is hardly ever the case with particles. Although there is one thing that I noticed already: he likes to use toinun whenever he compares two things, thus often in a sentence with men and de. But these two compared things can differ, so for instance he compares himself with Aeschines, or himself with the jury. There is no clear distinction yet, but I continue as we speak.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Qimmik » Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:41 pm

I believe there's a dispute as to whether On the Crown as we have it would have been too long for oral delivery, but much of the speech reads as if it is being spoken, not like a pamphlet.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby GJCaesar » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:35 pm

Wow, I started this thread and barely have had the time to post something useful or anything of the kind!

My life has lately been busier than I expected it to be. I am a dedicated runner, and my training took some more time than normal. But I have been busy with Demosthenes as well, and have come up with some interesting things regarding his text structure.

As you know, I started with a research on the use of toinun and oun. Together with someone else in this thread, I found out that the numbers aren't what one would expect them to be. I digged into this, and into the theoretical framework, and the general idea I've come up with is the following:

Toinun is a particle that is either used on the highest level of the textual hierarchy, with a strong inclination towards ''connective use'', or as a strong modal particle on a lower level of the hierarchy. The combination of toi and nun confirms this, but it's not as if every case of toinun has ''a bit of toi'' and ''a bit of oun''. I therefore designed a scale, on which one can indicate if a certain case of toinun is ''more modal than connective'' or ''more connective than modal''. Oratory has proven itself to be a difficult genre to put this scale to use in, simply because anything that Demosthenes says can be labeled as ''important (therefore modal)''. But some cases are stronger than others.

Oun is a particle that is only rarely used on the highest level of the textual hierarchy. Studies on Lysias have proven that it does, but I haven't found a lot of examples in Demosthenes. I'm still finishing up on the details though..

If anyone is interested in what I just mentioned or wants to see some examples from DC, just let me know!

ps. I'm very very sorry for my absence, once again. I really tried to post as frequently as possible, but fora is something I do in my leisure, and since I haven't had an awful lot of that lately... well, you get it, I guess :wink:
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby seneca2008 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:03 pm

I wondered what happened to this project. I have always intended to read De Corona but never got a round to it. I saw a second hand copy of Yunis on amazon today which I have now ordered and thought I would make a start. Did everyone finish reading it?
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:24 pm

I finished it. It's definitely difficult but worth it. I might be tempted to read it again, or parts of it at least, if there's some good discussion, and I'm sure people will get interested if you post here about it. Yunis's commentary is very good.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby anphph » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:10 am

Is there any Textkit reading group happening at the moment? I would also like to read something together.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby seneca2008 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:12 am

Paul it is reassuring to hear you finished it. It seems much harder than the Odyssey which is my current Greek reading. I look forward to receiving my copy of Yunis.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Hylander » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:41 pm

Yunis is very good on grammatical issues. There's also a still serviceable 19th c. commentary by Goodwin, of Greek Moods and Tenses fame.

There's a Green and Yellow edition of Private Speeches of Demosthenes, which is also very good, and reading one or two before tackling the De Corona might be helpful.

I've read the De Corona a couple of times but might join in if others undertake to read it. It's a baptism by fire for reading Attic prose.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Bart » Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:02 pm

Tempting, but I have too much on my plate already. And anyway, I should probably aim for something easier to get back into Attic.

Wat makes 'On the Crown' so difficult by the way?
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Hylander » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:10 pm

What makes 'On the Crown' so difficult by the way?


Nothing in particular--it's just a long speech by a supreme master of Greek who wasn't tailoring it to barbarians trying to read it 2346 years later.
Last edited by Hylander on Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:34 pm

Bart wrote:What makes 'On the Crown' so difficult by the way?

It's really a concentrate of Greek idiomatic expressions – the sort of stuff that's makes language so lively for natives but difficult for the rest of us. See this thread for instance.

MiguelM wrote:Is there any Textkit reading group happening at the moment? I would also like to read something together.

There's a few of us reading Herodotus, but we're not really reading it together, everyone is reading from a different place. Then there was a false start for Sophocles' Ajax maybe half a year ago, which I intend to start again sometime, maybe after I've finished the fourth book of Herodotus; I don't know if someone finished that play.

seneca2008 wrote:Paul it is reassuring to hear you finished it. It seems much harder than the Odyssey which is my current Greek reading. I look forward to receiving my copy of Yunis.

To be honest I'm not 100% sure I finished it – I might have left maybe 20 % from the end unread. I don't remember for sure. I had many false starts and interruptions. That's one reason I might be tempted to read again. It's one of the most difficult texts I've read, though of course not as difficult as Thucydides (of which I've only read short sections).
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Re: Demosthenes' De Corona in 10 weeks

Postby anphph » Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:12 am

Paul Derouda wrote:There's a few of us reading Herodotus, but we're not really reading it together, everyone is reading from a different place. Then there was a false start for Sophocles' Ajax maybe half a year ago, which I intend to start again sometime, maybe after I've finished the fourth book of Herodotus; I don't know if someone finished that play.


Thanks Paul, I'll be on the lookout for new groups starting. Ajax is a great play, I read it I think two years ago, wouldn't mind re-reading it (or some other thing of course), this time following the Finglass commentary which I foolishly missed back then.

That, or the De Corona? I was running it through my head, and I think that from Demosthenes I only really read some of the Olynthiacs, and even that for reasons now fully obscure to me. So count me in for the list of "latent interest".
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