Photius on the Ten Orators

Rebekah Smith
T liE DIffERENCES between the two survIving versions of The Lives of the Ten Orators have given rise to various explanations for the history of the treatise. The original work of that title is no. 55 of Plutarch's Moralia (832B-52c: hereafter 'Ps.-Plutarch'), and a second version is presented in codices 259-68 of Photius' Bibliotheca. The differences between the two, some major, some minor, are many. In the Bibliotheca, for example, most of the lives have been rearranged to present a more
more » ... logical flow of narrative. The pinax in which Photius lists the works contained in the Bibliotheca gives the ten orators' lives in the traditional order, by birth, in which they occur in the Moralia. In the codices themselves, however, Isocrates appears second, not fourth, Lycurgus has been moved from seventh place to tenth, I and almost every life shows minor deletions and additions when compared with the corresponding life as given by Ps.-Plutarch. Four of the lives, however, are prefaced by extensive stylistic criticisms. These range from collections of brief comments to a twenty-five-line quotation of Caecilius of Calcacte on Antiphon's use of figures (485B 14-40). 1 I have found no other example of such reordering. Whether or not it was Photius who reorganized this material, it is more likely that someone rearranging an already written work would put less organized items into better order than that the process of transmission could produce as many changes for the worse as these lives show. This contradicts the assumption basic to source criticism that the later order is a degraded version of the original. Both the Bibl. pinax and the traditional order of the Li'7Jes are firmly attested by the manuscripts. The Dinarchus life, codex 267, ends with the sentence, "In these sections is a record of the speeches that were read of the nine orators," and the first words of the Lycurgus codex continues, "But we did not have time to read the speeches of Lycurgus, who is the equal of any." Although Photius moved the life of Lycurgus because he did not read his speeches, the change in the case of [socrates and the discrepancy between the pinax order and the actual order remain puzzling; cf 185 infra. 159