Antiphon of Rhamnos–Good Man or Bad Man? Philostratus Doesn’t Know

From the Lives of the Sophists 498

“I don’t know if Anitphon of Rhamnos should be called a good man or a bad one. He may be called good for the following reasons: he was a general many times and was victorious for the most part, increasing the Athenian fleet with sixty fully-equipped triremes. He seemed to be the most capable of men at speaking and reasoning. For these reasons, he merits praise from me or any other. But he rightly appears a wicked man on these counts: He destroyed the democracy, he enslaved the Athenian people, he was a friend to the Spartans, at first secretly but later in the open, and he foisted upon the Athenian state the constitution of the Four-hundred Tyrants.”

᾿Αντιφῶντα δὲ τὸν ῾Ραμνούσιον οὐκ οἶδ’, εἴτε χρηστὸν δεῖ προσειπεῖν, εἴτε φαῦλον. χρηστὸς μὲν γὰρ προσειρήσθω διὰ τάδε· ἐστρατήγησε πλεῖστα, ἐνίκησε πλεῖστα, ἑξήκοντα τριήρεσι πεπληρωμέναις ηὔξησεν ᾿Αθηναίοις τὸ ναυτικόν, ἱκανώτατος ἀνθρώπων ἔδοξεν εἰπεῖν τε καὶ γνῶναι· διὰ μὲν δὴ ταῦτα ἐμοί τε ἐπαινετέος καὶ ἑτέρῳ. κακὸς δ’ ἂν εἰκότως διὰ τάδε φαίνοιτο· κατέλυσε τὴν δημοκρατίαν, ἐδού-λωσε τὸν ᾿Αθηναίων δῆμον, ἐλακώνισε κατ’ ἀρχὰς μὲν ἀφανῶς, ὕστερον δ’ ἐπιδήλως, τυράννων τετρακοσίων δῆμον ἐπαφῆκε τοῖς ᾿Αθηναίων πράγμασιν.

I don’t know, Philostratus, whether or not I should consider this opening a purely rhetorical question or not. On the one hand, you do well in the creation of your dichotomy, but on the other hand, the merits of the case seem to render this grammatical balance rather false and forced.  Perhaps add the teaching of Thucydides into the mix?

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