A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀλκιδάμας), a Greek rhetorician, was a native of Elaea in Aeolis, in Asia Minor. (Quint. Inst. 3.1.10, with Spalding's note) He was a pupil of Gorgias, and resided at Athens between the years B. C. 432 and 411. Here he gave instructions in eloquence, according to Eudocia (p. 100), as the successor of his master, and was the last of that sophistical school, with which the only object of eloquencc was to please the hearers by the pomp and brilliancy of words. That the works of Alcidamas bore the strongest marks of this character of his school is stated by Aristotle (Aristot. Rh. 3.3.8), who censures his pompous diction and extravagant use of poetical epithets and phrases, and by Dionysius (De Isaeo, 19), who calls his style vulgar and inflated. He is said to have been an opponent of Isocrates (Tzetz. Chil. 11.672), but whether this statement refers to real personal enmity, or whether it is merely an inference from the fact, that Alcidamas condemned the practice of writing orations for the purpose of delivering them, is uncertain.