Vol. xc] Arguments in Oratory 131
IX. Focusing of Arguments in Greek Deliberative Oratory
Two different techniques of argumentation may be found in Greek deliberative oratory. One is that best seen in the speeches in Thucydides where orators tend to focus most of their attention on a single form of argument. Sometimes this is the just, sometimes the honorable, sometimes the possible, but in successful speeches most frequently the center of attention is the expedient, which is regarded as the real basis ofpolicy. 1 A single one of these arguments is usually developed throughout a whole speech and only rarely are arguments combined." Particularly are expediency and justice regarded as mutually exclusive. Thus in the very first debate in the work, that between the ambassadors of Corcyra and Corinth before the Athenians (1 .32-43), the former expound a strict argument from expediency and are successful in persuading the Athenians to accept them as allies, the latter stress the demands of justice with equal intensity but less success. A still better example is the famous debate of book three (37-48) between Cleon and Diodotus over the proper punishment for the people of Mytilene after their attempted revolt. Cleon admits (39) that justice is a consideration but argues for expediency against it. Diodotus, who is the successful speaker and who is actually SUppOl ting the more humanitarian position, explicitly rejects justice as a basis of action and meets Cleon on his own ground of expediency (44). His line of thought is audacious, sharply focused, brilliantly vigorous. The rhetorical impact is greater than in any other formal speech in Thucydides, and the reason is this very rejection ofjustice and bald acceptance of reality.