Demosthenes

Demosthenes

Overview
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

 and orator of ancient Athens
History of Athens
Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years. Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BCE and its cultural achievements during the 5th century BCE laid the foundations...

. His oration
Oratory
Oratory is a type of public speaking.Oratory may also refer to:* Oratory , a power metal band* Oratory , a place of worship* a religious order such as** Oratory of Saint Philip Neri ** Oratory of Jesus...

s constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 and culture of ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

 by studying the speeches of previous great orators. He delivered his first judicial speeches at the age of 20, in which he argued effectively to gain from his guardians what was left of his inheritance.
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Quotations

Delivery, delivery, delivery.

Response when asked to name the three most important aspects of rhetoric, as quoted in "Demosthenes: Action on the political and forensic stage" by C. Cooper. in Oral Performance and its Context (2004) by C. J. MacKie, p. 154 ISBN 9004136800
Encyclopedia
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

 and orator of ancient Athens
History of Athens
Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years. Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BCE and its cultural achievements during the 5th century BCE laid the foundations...

. His oration
Oratory
Oratory is a type of public speaking.Oratory may also refer to:* Oratory , a power metal band* Oratory , a place of worship* a religious order such as** Oratory of Saint Philip Neri ** Oratory of Jesus...

s constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 and culture of ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

 by studying the speeches of previous great orators. He delivered his first judicial speeches at the age of 20, in which he argued effectively to gain from his guardians what was left of his inheritance. For a time, Demosthenes made his living as a professional speech-writer (logographer
Logographer (legal)
The title of logographer was applied to professional authors of judicial discourse in Ancient Greece...

) and a lawyer
Ancient Greek law
Ancient Greek law is a branch of comparative jurisprudence relating to the laws and legal institutions of Ancient Greece.Greek law has been partially compared with Roman law, and has been incidentally illustrated with the aid of the primitive institutions of the Germanic nations...

, writing speeches for use in private legal suits
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

.

Demosthenes grew interested in politics during his time as a logographer, and in 354 BC he gave his first public political speeches. He went on to devote his most productive years to opposing Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

's expansion. He idealized his city and strove throughout his life to restore Athens' supremacy and motivate his compatriots against Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

. He sought to preserve his city's freedom and to establish an alliance against Macedon, in an unsuccessful attempt to impede Philip's plans to expand his influence southwards by conquering all the other Greek states. After Philip's death, Demosthenes played a leading part in his city's uprising against the new King of Macedon, Alexander the Great. However, his efforts failed and the revolt was met with a harsh Macedonian reaction. To prevent a similar revolt against his own rule, Alexander's successor in this region, Antipater
Antipater
Antipater was a Macedonian general and a supporter of kings Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. In 320 BC, he became Regent of all of Alexander's Empire. Antipater was one of the sons of a Macedonian nobleman called Iollas or Iolaus and his family were distant collateral relatives to the...

, sent his men to track Demosthenes down. Demosthenes took his own life, in order to avoid being arrested by Archias, Antipater's confidant.

The Alexandrian Canon compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium
Aristophanes of Byzantium
Aristophanes of Byzantium was a Greek scholar, critic and grammarian, particularly renowned for his work in Homeric scholarship, but also for work on other classical authors such as Pindar and Hesiod. Born in Byzantium about 257 BC, he soon moved to Alexandria and studied under Zenodotus,...

 and Aristarchus of Samothrace
Aristarchus of Samothrace
Aristarchus of Samothrace was a grammarian noted as the most influential of all scholars of Homeric poetry. He was the librarian of the library of Alexandria and seems to have succeeded his teacher Aristophanes of Byzantium in that role.He established the most historically important critical...

 recognized Demosthenes as one of the ten greatest Attic orators
Attic orators
The ten Attic orators were considered the greatest orators and logographers of the classical era . They are included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace.-The Alexandrian "Canon of Ten":* Aeschines* Andocides* Antiphon* Demosthenes*...

 and logographers. According to Longinus
Longinus (literature)
Longinus is the conventional name of the author of the treatise, On the Sublime , a work which focuses on the effect of good writing. Longinus, sometimes referred to as Pseudo-Longinus because his real name is unknown, was a Greek teacher of rhetoric or a literary critic who may have lived in the...

, Demosthenes "perfected to the utmost the tone of lofty speech, living passions, copiousness, readiness, speed". Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 acclaimed him as "the perfect orator" who lacked nothing, and Quintilian
Quintilian
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing...

 extolled him as lex orandi ("the standard of oratory") and that inter omnes unus excellat ("he stands alone among all the orators").

Family, education and personal life



Demosthenes was born in 384 BC, during the last year of the 98th Olympiad
Olympiad
An Olympiad is a period of four years, associated with the Olympic Games of Classical Greece. In the Hellenistic period, beginning with Ephorus, Olympiads were used as calendar epoch....

 or the first year of the 99th Olympiad. His father — also named Demosthenes — who belonged to the local tribe, Pandionis, and lived in the deme
Deme
In Ancient Greece, a deme or demos was a subdivision of Attica, the region of Greece surrounding Athens. Demes as simple subdivisions of land in the countryside seem to have existed in the 6th century BC and earlier, but did not acquire particular significance until the reforms of Cleisthenes in...

 of Paeania in the Athenian countryside, was a wealthy sword-maker. Aeschines
Aeschines
Aeschines was a Greek statesman and one of the ten Attic orators.-Life:Although it is known he was born in Athens, the records regarding his parentage and early life are conflicting; but it seems probable that his parents, though poor, were respectable. Aeschines' father was Atrometus, an...

, Demosthenes' greatest political rival, maintained that his mother Kleoboule was a Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

n by blood — an allegation disputed by some modern scholars. Demosthenes was orphaned at the age of seven. Although his father provided well for him, his legal guardians, Aphobus, Demophon and Therippides, mishandled his inheritance.

As soon as Demosthenes came of age in 366 BC, he demanded they render an account of their management. According to Demosthenes, the account revealed the misappropriation of his property. Although his father left an estate of nearly fourteen talents, (very roughly 11,700 troy ounce
Troy ounce
The troy ounce is a unit of imperial measure. In the present day it is most commonly used to gauge the weight of precious metals. One troy ounce is nowadays defined as exactly 0.0311034768 kg = 31.1034768 g. There are approximately 32.1507466 troy oz in 1 kg...

s in silver or 150,000 current United States dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

s) Demosthenes asserted his guardians had left nothing "except the house, and fourteen slaves and thirty silver minae" (30 minae = ½ talent). At the age of 20 Demosthenes sued his trustees in order to recover his patrimony and delivered five orations: three Against Aphobus during 363 BC and 362 BC and two Against Ontenor during 362 and 361 BC. The courts fixed Demosthenes' damages at ten talents. When all the trials came to an end, he only succeeded in retrieving a portion of his inheritance.

Between his coming of age in 366 BC and the trials that took place in 364 BC, Demosthenes and his guardians negotiated acrimoniously but were unable to reach an agreement, for neither side was willing to make concessions. At the same time, Demosthenes prepared himself for the trials and improved his oratory skill. As an adolescent, his curiosity had been noticed by the orator Callistratus
Callistratus of Aphidnae
Callistratus of Aphidnae was an Athenian orator and general in the 4th century BCE.For many years, as prostates, he supported Spartan interests at Athens, recognizing that Thebes posed a greater threat to Athens. In 371 BC he was one of the crafters of the peace treaty between Athens and Sparta...

, who was then at the height of his reputation, having just won a case of considerable importance. According to Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, a German philologist
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 and philosopher
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, and Constantine Paparregopoulus
Constantine Paparregopoulus
Constantine Paparrigopoulos is considered the founder of modern Greek historiography. He analysed Greek history from ancient to the present as a continuous history in his multi-volume History of the Greek Nation, and is also known for his original research in Byzantine history as well as in...

, a major Greek historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

, Demosthenes was a student of Isocrates
Isocrates
Isocrates , an ancient Greek rhetorician, was one of the ten Attic orators. In his time, he was probably the most influential rhetorician in Greece and made many contributions to rhetoric and education through his teaching and written works....

; according to Cicero, Quintillian and the Roman biographer Hermippus, he was a student of Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

. Lucian
Lucian
Lucian of Samosata was a rhetorician and satirist who wrote in the Greek language. He is noted for his witty and scoffing nature.His ethnicity is disputed and is attributed as Assyrian according to Frye and Parpola, and Syrian according to Joseph....

, a Roman-Syrian rhetorician and satirist
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

, lists the philosophers Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, Theophrastus
Theophrastus
Theophrastus , a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age, and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death he attached himself to Aristotle. Aristotle bequeathed to Theophrastus his writings, and...

 and Xenocrates
Xenocrates
Xenocrates of Chalcedon was a Greek philosopher, mathematician, and leader of the Platonic Academy from 339/8 to 314/3 BC. His teachings followed those of Plato, which he attempted to define more closely, often with mathematical elements...

 among his teachers. These claims are nowadays disputed. According to Plutarch, Demosthenes employed Isaeus
Isaeus
Isaeus , fl. early 4th century BC. One of the ten Attic Orators according to the Alexandrian canon. He was a student of Isocrates in Athens, and later taught Demosthenes while working as a metic speechwriter for others. Only eleven of his speeches survive, with fragments of a twelfth. They are...

 as his master in Rhetoric, even though Isocrates was then teaching this subject, either because he could not pay Isocrates the prescribed fee or because Demosthenes believed Isaeus' style better suited a vigorous and astute orator such as himself . Curtius
Ernst Curtius
You may be looking for Ernst Robert Curtius .Ernst Curtius was a German archaeologist and historian.-Biography:...

, a German archaeologist and historian, likened the relation between Isaeus and Demosthenes to "an intellectual armed alliance".

It has also been said that Demosthenes paid Isaeus 10,000 drachmae (somewhat over 1.5 talents) on the condition that Isaeus should withdraw from a school of Rhetoric which he had opened, and should devote himself wholly to Demosthenes, his new pupil. Another version credits Isaeus with having taught Demosthenes without charge. According to Sir Richard C. Jebb, a British classical
Classics
Classics is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world ; especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or...

 scholar, "the intercourse between Isaeus and Demosthenes as teacher and learner can scarcely have been either very intimate or of very long duration". Konstantinos Tsatsos
Konstantinos Tsatsos
Konstantinos Tsatsos was a revered Greek diplomat, professor of law, scholar and politician. He served as the second President of the Third Hellenic Republic from 1975 to 1980.- Life :...

, a Greek professor and academician
Academician
The title Academician denotes a Full Member of an art, literary, or scientific academy.In many countries, it is an honorary title. There also exists a lower-rank title, variously translated Corresponding Member or Associate Member, .-Eastern Europe and China:"Academician" may also be a functional...

, believes that Isaeus helped Demosthenes edit his initial judicial orations against his guardians. Demosthenes is also said to have admired the historian Thucydides. In the Illiterate Book-Fancier, Lucian mentions eight beautiful copies of Thucydides made by Demosthenes, all in Demosthenes' own handwriting. These references hint at his respect for a historian he must have assiduously studied.

According to Pseudo-Plutarch
Pseudo-Plutarch
Pseudo-Plutarch is the conventional name given to the unknown authors of a number of pseudepigrapha attributed to Plutarch.Some of these works were included in some editions of Plutarch's Moralia...

, Demosthenes was married once. The only information about his wife, whose name is unknown, is that she was the daughter of Heliodorus, a prominent citizen. Demosthenes also had a daughter, "the only one who ever called him father", according to Aeschines' in a trenchant remark. His daughter died young and unmarried a few days before Philip's death.

Accusations concerning personal life


In his speeches, Aeschines often uses the pederastic
Pederasty in ancient Greece
Pederasty in ancient Greece was a socially acknowledged relationship between an adult and a younger male usually in his teens. It was characteristic of the Archaic and Classical periods...

 relations of Demosthenes to attack him. The essence of these attacks was not that Demosthenes had relations with boys, but that he had been an inadequate lover (erastes), one whose attentions did not benefit the boys, as would have been expected, but harmed them instead. In the case of Aristion, a youth from Plataea
Plataea
Plataea or Plataeae was an ancient city, located in Greece in southeastern Boeotia, south of Thebes. It was the location of the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC, in which an alliance of Greek city-states defeated the Persians....

 who lived for a long time in Demosthenes' house, Aeschines mocked him for lack of sexual restraint and possibly effeminate behavior: "Allegations about what [Aristion] was undergoing there, or doing what, vary, and it would be most unseemly for me to talk about it." Another relationship which Aeschines brings up is that with Cnosion. His allegation, in this case, was also of a sexual nature. This time, however, he blamed Demosthenes for involving his wife by putting her in bed with the youth so as to get children by him. Athenaeus
Athenaeus
Athenaeus , of Naucratis in Egypt, Greek rhetorician and grammarian, flourished about the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century AD...

, however, presents matters in a different light, claiming that his wife bedded the boy in a fit of jealousy.* C.A. Cox, Household Interests, 202

Aeschines often asserted that Demosthenes made money out of young rich men. He claimed that he deluded Aristarchus, the son of Moschus, with the pretence that he could make him a great orator. Apparently, while still under Demosthenes' tutelage, Aristarchus killed and mutilated a certain Nicodemus of Aphidna, gouging out his eyes and tongue. Aeschines accused Demosthenes of complicity in the murder, pointing out that Nicodemus had once pressed a lawsuit accusing Demosthenes of desertion. He also accused Demosthenes of having been such a bad erastes to Aristarchus so as not even to deserve the name. His crime, according to Aeschines, was to have betrayed his eromenos by pillaging his estate, allegedly pretending to be in love with the youth so as to get his hands on the boy's inheritance. This he is said to have squandered, having taken three talents
Talent (weight)
The "talent" was one of several ancient units of mass, as well as corresponding units of value equivalent to these masses of a precious metal. It was approximately the mass of water required to fill an amphora. A Greek, or Attic talent, was , a Roman talent was , an Egyptian talent was , and a...

 upon Aristarchus' fleeing into exile so as to avoid a trial. Thus, in payment for the trust that Aristarchus and his family put in him, "You entered a happy home [...] you ruined it." Nevertheless, the story of Demosthenes' relations with Aristarchus is still regarded as more than doubtful, and no other pupil of Demosthenes is known by name.

Speech training



According to Plutarch, when Demosthenes first addressed himself to the people, he was derided for his strange and uncouth style, "which was cumbered with long sentences and tortured with formal arguments to a most harsh and disagreeable excess". Some citizens however discerned his talent. When he first left the ecclesia
Ecclesia (ancient Athens)
The ecclesia or ekklesia was the principal assembly of the democracy of ancient Athens during its "Golden Age" . It was the popular assembly, opened to all male citizens over the age of 30 with 2 years of military service by Solon in 594 BC meaning that all classes of citizens in Athens were able...

 (the Athenian Assembly) disheartened, an old man named Eunomus encouraged him, saying his diction was very much like that of Pericles
Pericles
Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age—specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars...

. Another time, after the ecclesia had refused to hear him and he was going home dejected, an actor named Satyrus followed him and entered into a friendly conversation with him.

As a boy Demosthenes had a speech impediment: an inarticulate and stammering pronunciation. Aeschines taunted him and referred to him in his speeches by the nickname "Batalus", apparently invented by Demosthenes' pedagogues or by the little boys with whom he was playing. According to Plutarch, he had a weakness in his voice of "a perplexed and indistinct utterance and a shortness of breath, which, by breaking and disjointing his sentences much obscured the sense and meaning of what he spoke." There are problems in Plutarch's account, however, and it is probable that Demosthenes actually suffered rhotacism
Rhotacism
Rhotacism refers to several phenomena related to the usage of the consonant r :*the excessive or idiosyncratic use of the r;...

, mispronouncing ρ (r) as λ (l). Demosthenes undertook a disciplined program to overcome his weaknesses and improve his delivery, including diction, voice and gestures. According to one story, when he was asked to name the three most important elements in oratory, he replied "Delivery, delivery and delivery!" It is unknown whether such vignettes are factual accounts of events in Demosthenes' life or merely anecdotes used to illustrate his perseverance and determination.

Legal career

"If you feel bound to act in the spirit of that dignity, whenever you come into court to give judgement on public causes, you must bethink yourselves that with his staff and his badge every one of you receives in trust the ancient pride of Athens."
Demosthenes (On the Crown, 210) - The orator's defense of the honor of the courts was in contrast to the improper actions of which Aeschines accused him.

To make his living, Demosthenes became a professional litigant, both as a logographos, writing speeches for use in private legal suits, and synegoros or advocate speaking on another's behalf. He seems to have been able to manage any kind of case, adapting his skills to almost any client, including wealthy and powerful men. It is not unlikely that he became a teacher of rhetoric and that he brought pupils into court with him. However, though he continued writing speeches throughout his career, he stopped working as an advocate once he entered the political arena.

Logographers were a unique aspect of the Athenian justice system: evidence for a case was compiled by a magistrate in a preliminary hearing and litigants could present it as they pleased within set speeches; however, witnesses and documents were popularly mistrusted (since they could be secured by force or bribery), there was little cross-examination during the trial, there were no instructions to the jury from a judge, no conferencing between jurists before voting, the juries were huge (typically between 201 and 501 members), cases depended largely on questions of probable motive, and notions of natural justice were felt to take precedence over written lawconditions that favoured artfully constructed speeches.

Judicial oratory had become a significant literary genre by the second half of the fifth century, as represented in the speeches of Demosthenes' predecessors, Antiphon
Antiphon (person)
Antiphon the Sophist lived in Athens probably in the last two decades of the 5th century BC. There is an ongoing controversy over whether he is one and the same with Antiphon of the Athenian deme Rhamnus in Attica , the earliest of the ten Attic orators...

 and Andocides
Andocides
Andocides or Andokides was a logographer in Ancient Greece. He was one of the ten Attic orators included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace in the third century BCE.He was implicated during the Peloponnesian War in the mutilation of the...

. Most of Demosthenes' extant speeches for private cases were written early in his career and they show glimpses of his talent: a powerful intellectual drive, masterly selection (and ommission) of facts, and a confident assertion of the justice of his case, all ensuring the dominance of his viewpoint over his rival. However, at this early stage of his career, his writing was not yet remarkable for its subtlety, verbal precision and variety of effects.

Since Athenian politicians were often indicted by their opponents, there wasn't always a clear distinction between 'private' and 'public' cases, and thus a career as a logographer opened the way for Demosthenes to embark on his political career, leading to some messy scenarios, as in the following case involving a certain Apollodorus.

An Athenian logographer could remain anonymous, which enabled him to serve personal interests, even if it prejudiced the client. It also left him open to allegations of malpractice. Thus for example Aeschines, a political rival, accused Demosthenes of unethically disclosing his clients' arguments to their opponents; in particular, that he wrote a speech for Phormion (350 BC), a wealthy banker, and then communicated it to Apollodorus, who was bringing a capital charge
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 against Phormion. Plutarch much later supported this accusation, stating that Demosthenes "was thought to have acted dishonorably" and he also accused Demosthenes of writing speeches for both sides. It has often been argued that the deception, if there was one, involved a political quid pro quo
Quid pro quo
Quid pro quo most often means a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services. English speakers often use the term to mean "a favour for a favour" and the phrases with almost identical meaning include: "give and take", "tit for tat", "this for that", and "you scratch my back,...

, whereby Apollodorus secretly pledged support for unpopular reforms that Demosthenes was pursuing in the greater, public interest (i.e. the diversion of Theoric Funds
Theorica
Theorica was in ancient Athens the name for the fund of monies expended on festivals, sacrifices, and public entertainments of various kinds; and also monies distributed among the people in the shape of largesses from the state.-History:There were, according to Xenophon, more festivals at Athens...

 to military purposes - see below). A similar example of political ends justifying the legal means possibly underlay the Harpalus incident
Harpalus
For other uses, see Harpalus Harpalus son of Machatas was an aristocrat of Macedon and boyhood friend of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. Being lame in a leg, and therefore exempt from military service, Harpalus did not follow Alexander in his advance within the Persian Empire but...

 (also below).

Political career


In Demosthenes' Athens there were no political parties or advocacy groups. Different political goals developed around personalities, such as Demosthenes himself. Instead of electioneering, Athenian politicians used litigation and defamation to remove rivals from government processes. Often they indicted each other for breaches of the constitution (γραφη παρανόμων), but accusations of bribery and corruption were ubiquitous in all cases, being part of the political dialogue. The rancorous accusations, satirized by Old Comedy
Old Comedy
Old Comedy is the first period of the ancient Greek comedy, according to the canonical division by the Alexandrian grammarians. The most important Old Comic playwright is Aristophanes, whose works, with their pungent political satire and abundance of sexual and scatological innuendo, effectively...

, were sustained by innuendo, inferences about motives, and a complete absence of proof: "there was no room for chivalry in Athenian political life". Such rivalry enabled the 'demos' or citizen-body to reign supreme as judge, jury and executioner. Demosthenes was to become fully engaged in this kind of litigation and he was also to be instrumental in developing the power of the Areopagus
Areopagus
The Areopagus or Areios Pagos is the "Rock of Ares", north-west of the Acropolis, which in classical times functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases in Athens. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios .The origin...

 to indict individuals for treason, invoked in the Ecclesia
Ecclesia
-Ecclesia:* the Christian Church**See Church militant and church triumphant for ecclesia militans, ecclesia penitens, ecclesia triumphans* Congregation among many English-speaking Christadelphians....

 by a process called απόφασις and yet his political speeches in the Ecclesia were to become "the artistic exposition of reasoned views", avoiding recriminations against other Athenians.

Early political activity (to 350 BC)



Even before he turned 21-years-old in 363 BC, Demosthenes had already demonstrated an interest in politics. In 363 and 359 BC, he assumed the office of the trierarch
Trierarch
Trierarch was the title of officers who commanded a trireme in the classical Greek world. In Athens and a few other states this officer was also required to pay for the outfitting and maintenance of the ship. Trierarchs thus had to be men of considerable means, since the expenses incurred could...

, being responsible for the outfitting and maintenance of a trireme
Trireme
A trireme was a type of galley, a Hellenistic-era warship that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans.The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar...

. He was among the first ever volunteer trierarchs in 357 BC, sharing the expenses of a ship called 'Dawn', for which the public inscription still survives. In 348 BC, he became a choregos
Choregos (ancient Greece)
In the theatre of ancient Greece, chorêgos was an honorary title for a wealthy Athenian citizen who assumed the public duty of financing and paying the expenses of the preparation of the chorus and other aspects of dramatic production that were not covered by the state...

, paying the expenses of a theatrical production.

Between 354 and 350 BC, Demosthenes continued practicing law privately while he was becoming increasingly interested in public affairs. He mostly remained a judicial orator, but started participating in the politics of the Athenian democracy
Athenian democracy
Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the central city-state of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 508 BC. Athens is one of the first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, and even though most followed an Athenian model,...

. In 355 BC he wrote Against Androtion and in 354 BC Against Leptines, two fierce attacks on individuals who attempted to repeal certain tax exemptions. In Against Timocrates and Against Aristocrates he advocated eliminating corruption. Demosthenes denounced measures regarded as dishonest or unworthy of Athenian traditions. All these speeches offer early glimpses of his general principles on foreign policy, such as the importance of the navy, of alliances and of national honor.
"While the vessel is safe, whether it be a large or a small one, then is the time for sailor and helmsman and everyone in his turn to show his zeal and to take care that it is not capsized by anyone's malice or inadvertence; but when the sea has overwhelmed it, zeal is useless."
Demosthenes (Third Philippic, 69) - The orator warned his countrymen of the disasters Athens would suffer, if they continued to remain idle and indifferent to the challenges of their times.


In 354 BC, Demosthenes delivered his first political oration, On the Navy, in which he espoused moderation and proposed the reform of "symmories"(boards) as a source of funding for the Athenian fleet. In 352 BC, he delivered For the Megalopolitans and, in 351 BC, On the Liberty of the Rhodians. In both speeches he opposed Eubulus
Eubulus (statesman)
Eubulus, or Euboulos was a statesman of ancient Athens, who was very influential in Athenian politics during the period 355 BC to 342 BC and was notable for his abilities in managing Athenian finances....

, the most powerful Athenian statesman of the period 355 to 342 BC, who was against any intervention in the internal affairs of the other Greek cities.

Although none of his early orations were successful, Demosthenes established himself as an important political personality and broke with Eubulus' faction, a prominent member of which was Aeschines. He laid the foundations for his future political successes and for becoming the leader of his own party. His arguments revealed his desire to articulate Athens' needs and interests.

In 351 BC, Demosthenes felt strong enough to express his view concerning the most important foreign policy issue facing Athens at that time: the stance his city should take towards Philip II of Macedon. According to Jacqueline de Romilly
Jacqueline de Romilly
Jacqueline Worms de Romilly, née David was a French philologist, classical scholar and fiction writer. Because she was of Jewish ancestry, the Vichy government suspended her from her teaching duties during the Occupation of France. she was the first woman nominated to the Collège de France, and in...

, a French philologist and member of the Académie française
Académie française
L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...

, the threat of Philip would give Demosthenes' stances a focus and a raison d'être (reason for existence). Henceforth, Demosthenes' career is virtually the history of Athenian foreign policy.

First Philippic and the Olynthiacs (351–349 BC)

For more details on this topic, see First Philippic
First Philippic
The First Philippic was delivered by the Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes between 351 BC-350 BC. It constitutes the first speech of the prominent politician against Philip II of Macedon.-Historical framework:...

 and Olynthiacs
Olynthiacs
The Olynthiacs were three political speeches, all delivered by the Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes. In 349 BC Philip II of Macedon attacked Olynthus, which at the time was an ally of Athens...



Most of Demosthenes' major orations were directed against the growing power of King Philip II of Macedon. Since 357 BC, when Philip seized Amphipolis
Amphipolis
Amphipolis was an ancient Greek city in the region once inhabited by the Edoni people in the present-day region of Central Macedonia. It was built on a raised plateau overlooking the east bank of the river Strymon where it emerged from Lake Cercinitis, about 3 m. from the Aegean Sea. Founded in...

 and Pydna
Pydna
Pydna was a Greek city in ancient Macedon, the most important in Pieria. Modern Pydna is a small town and a former municipality in the northeastern part of Pieria regional unit, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pydna-Kolindros, of which it is a...

, Athens had been formally at war with the Macedonians
Ancient Macedonians
The Macedonians originated from inhabitants of the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, in the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios...

. In 352 BC, Demosthenes characterized Philip as the very worst enemy of his city; his speech presaged the fierce attacks that Demosthenes would launch against the Macedonian king over the ensuing years. A year later he criticized those dismissing Philip as a person of no account and warned that he was as dangerous as the King of Persia.

In 352 BC, Athenian troops successfully opposed Philip at Thermopylae
Thermopylae
Thermopylae is a location in Greece where a narrow coastal passage existed in antiquity. It derives its name from its hot sulphur springs. "Hot gates" is also "the place of hot springs and cavernous entrances to Hades"....

, but the Macedonian victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field
Battle of Crocus Field
The Battle of Crocus Field was a battle in the Third Sacred War, fought between the armies of Phocis, under Onomarchos, and the combined Thessalian and Macedonian army under Philip II of Macedon. In the bloodiest battle recorded in Ancient Greek history, the Phocians were decisively defeated by...

 shook Demosthenes. The theme of the First Philippic (351–350 BC) was preparedness and the reform of the theoric fund, a mainstay of Eubulus' policy. In his rousing call for resistance, Demosthenes asked his countrymen to take the necessary action and asserted that "for a free people there can be no greater compulsion than shame for their position".
"We need money, for sure, Athenians, and without money nothing can be done that ought to be done."
Demosthenes (First Olynthiac, 20) - The orator took great pains to convince his countrymen that the reform of the theoric fund was necessary to finance the city's military preparations.


From this moment until 341 BC, all of Demosthenes' speeches referred to the same issue, the struggle against Philip. In 349 BC, Philip attacked Olynthus
Olynthus
Olynthus was an ancient city of Chalcidice, built mostly on two flat-topped hills 30–40m in height, in a fertile plain at the head of the Gulf of Torone, near the neck of the peninsula of Pallene, about 2.5 kilometers from the sea, and about 60 stadia Olynthus was an ancient city of...

, an ally of Athens. In the three Olynthiacs, Demosthenes criticized his compatriots for being idle and urged Athens to help Olynthus. He also insulted Philip by calling him a "barbarian". Despite Demosthenes' warnings, the Athenians engaged in a useless war in Euboea
Euboea
Euboea is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about long, and varies in breadth from to...

 and offered no military support to Olynthus.

Case of Meidias (348 BC)



In 348 BC a peculiar event occurred: Meidias
Meidias
Meidias , an Athenian of considerable wealth and influence, was a violent and bitter enemy of Demosthenes, the orator. He displayed his first act of hostility in 361 BC when he broke violently into the house of Demosthenes with his brother Thrasylochus in order to take possession of it...

, a wealthy Athenian, publicly slapped Demosthenes, who was at the time a choregos at the Greater Dionysia
Dionysia
The Dionysia[p] was a large festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus, the central events of which were the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies and, from 487 BC, comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia...

, a large religious festival in honour of the god Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

. Meidias was a friend of Eubulus and supporter of the unsuccessful excursion in Euboea. He also was an old enemy of Demosthenes; in 361 BC he had broken violently into his house, with his brother Thrasylochus, to take possession of it.
"Just think. The instant this court rises, each of you will walk home, one quicker, another more leisurely, not anxious, not glancing behind him, not fearing whether he is going to run up against a friend or an enemy, a big man or a little one, a strong man or a weak one, or anything of that sort. And why? Because in his heart he knows, and is confident, and has learned to trust the State, that no one shall seize or insult or strike him."
Demosthenes (Against Meidias, 221) - The orator asked the Athenians to defend their legal system, by making an example of the defendant for the instruction of others.


Demosthenes decided to prosecute his wealthy opponent and wrote the judicial oration Against Meidias. This speech gives valuable information about Athenian law at the time and especially about the Greek concept of hybris
Hubris
Hubris , also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power....

 (aggravated assault), which was regarded as a crime not only against the city but against society as a whole. He stated that a democratic state perishes if the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

 is undermined by wealthy and unscrupulous men, and that the citizens acquire power and authority in all state affairs due "to the strength of the laws". According to philologist Henri Weil
Henri Weil
Henri Weil was a German-born French Jewish philologist.He was educated at the universities of Bonn, Berlin, and Leipzig. He went to France, and continued his studies at Paris, graduating as "docteur ès lettres" in 1845, and becoming "agrégé" in 1848...

, Demosthenes dropped the charges for political reasons and never delivered Against Meidias, although Aeschines maintained that Demosthenes was bribed.

Peace of Philocrates (347–345 BC)



In 348 BC, Philip conquered Olynthus and razed it to the ground; then conquered the entire Chalcidice
Chalcidice
Chalkidiki, also Halkidiki, Chalcidice or Chalkidike , is a peninsula in northern Greece, and one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Macedonia. The autonomous Mount Athos region is part of the peninsula, but not of the regional unit...

 and all the states of the Chalcidic federation that Olynthus had once led. After these Macedonian victories, Athens sued for peace with Macedon. Demosthenes was among those who favored compromise. In 347 BC, an Athenian delegation, comprising Demosthenes, Aeschines and Philocrates, was officially sent to Pella
Pella
Pella , an ancient Greek city located in Pella Prefecture of Macedonia in Greece, was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.-Etymology:...

 to negotiate a peace treaty. In his first encounter with Philip, Demosthenes is said to have collapsed from fright.

The ecclesia officially accepted the harsh terms Phillip imposed. However, when an Athenian delegation arrived at Pella to put Phillip under oath, which was required to conclude the treaty, he was campaigning abroad. He expected that he would hold safely any Athenian possessions which he might seize before the ratification. Being very anxious about the delay, Demosthenes insisted that the embassy should travel to the place where they would find Philip and swear him in without delay. Despite his suggestions, the Athenian envoys, including himself and Aeschines, remained in Pella, until Philip successfully concluded his campaign in Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

.

Finally, peace was sworn at Pherae
Pherae
Pherae was an ancient Greek town in southeastern Thessaly. It bordered Lake Boebeïs. In mythology, it was the home of King Admetus, whose wife, Alcestis, Heracles went into Hades to rescue. In history, it was more famous as the home of the fourth-century B.C...

, but Demosthenes accused the other envoys of venality. Just after the conclusion of the Peace of Philocrates, Philip passed Thermopylae, and subdued Phocis
Phocis
Phocis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece. It stretches from the western mountainsides of Parnassus on the east to the mountain range of Vardousia on the west, upon the Gulf of Corinth...

; Athens made no move to support the Phocians. Supported by Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

 and Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

, Macedon took control of Phocis' votes in the Amphictyonic League
Amphictyonic League
In the Archaic period of ancient Greece, an amphictyony , a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient association of Greek tribes formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek polis...

, a Greek religious organization formed to support the greater temples of Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 and Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

. Despite some reluctance on the part of the Athenian leaders, Athens finally accepted Philip's entry into the Council of the League. Demosthenes was among those who recommended this stance in his oration On the Peace
On the Peace
On the Peace is one of the most famous political orations of the prominent Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes. It was delivered in 346 BC and constitutes a political intervention of Demosthenes in favor of the Peace of Philocrates....

.

Second and Third Philippics (344–341 BC)


For more details on this topic, see Second Philippic
Second Philippic
The Second Philippic is an oration that was delivered by the Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes between 344 BC-343 BC. The speech constitutes the second of the four philippics the orator is said to have delivered.-Historical background:...

, On the Chersonese
On the Chersonese
On the Chersonese is a political oration delivered by the Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes in 341 BC. A short time later Demosthenes delivered one of his most famous speeches, the Third Philippic.-Historical background:...

, Third Philippic
Third Philippic
The Third Philippic was delivered by the prominent Athenian statesman and orator, Demosthenes, in 341 BC. It constitutes the third of the four philippics.-Historical background:...


In 344 BC Demosthenes travelled to the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

, in order to detach as many cities as possible from Macedon's influence, but his efforts were generally unsuccessful. Most of the Peloponnesians saw Philip as the guarantor of their freedom and sent a joint embassy to Athens to express their grievances against Demosthenes' activities. In response, Demosthenes delivered the Second Philippic, a vehement attack against Philip. In 343 BC Demosthenes delivered On the False Embassy
On the False Embassy
On the False Embassy is the name of two famous judicial orations, both delivered in 343 BC by the prominent Athenian statesmen and fierce opponents, Demosthenes and Aeschines.-Historical background:...

against Aeschines, who was facing a charge of high treason. Nonetheless, Aeschines was acquitted by the narrow margin of thirty votes by a jury
Jury
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the guilt, or lack thereof, in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be guilty,...

 which may have numbered as many as 1,501.

In 343 BC, Macedonian forces were conducting campaigns in Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

 and, in 342 BC, Philip campaigned in Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

. He also negotiated with the Athenians an amendment to the Peace of Philocrates. When the Macedonian army approached Chersonese
Thracian Chersonese
The Thracian Chersonese was the ancient name of the Gallipoli peninsula, in the part of historic Thrace that is now part of modern Turkey.The peninsula runs in a south-westerly direction into the Aegean Sea, between the Hellespont and the bay of Melas . Near Agora it was protected by a wall...

 (now known as the Gallipoli Peninsula), an Athenian general named Diopeithes
Diopeithes
Diopeithes was an Athenian general, probably father of the poet Menander, who was sent out to the Thracian Chersonese about 343 BC, at the head of a body of Athenian settlers or κληρoυχoι...

 ravaged the maritime district of Thrace, thereby inciting Philip's rage. Because of this turbulence, the Athenian Assembly convened. Demosthenes delivered On the Chersonese and convinced the Athenians not to recall Diopeithes. Also in 342 BC, he delivered the Third Philippic, which is considered to be the best of his political orations. Using all the power of his eloquence, he demanded resolute action against Philip and called for a burst of energy from the Athenian people. He told them that it would be "better to die a thousand times than pay court to Philip". Demosthenes now dominated Athenian politics and was able to considerably weaken the pro-Macedonian faction of Aeschines.

Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC)


In 341 BC Demosthenes was sent to Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

, where he sought to renew its alliance with Athens. Thanks to Demosthenes' diplomatic manoeuvres Abydos
Abydos, Hellespont
For other uses, see Abydos Abydos , an ancient city of Mysia, in Asia Minor, situated at Nara Burnu or Nagara Point on the best harbor on the Asiatic shore of the Hellespont. Across Abydos lies Sestus on the European side marking the shortest point in the Dardanelles, scarcely a mile broad...

 also entered into an alliance with Athens. These developments worried Philip and increased his anger at Demosthenes. The Athenian Assembly, however, laid aside Philip's grievances against Demosthenes' conduct and denounced the peace treaty; so doing, in effect, amounted to an official declaration of war. In 339 BC Philip made his last and most effective bid to conquer southern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, assisted by Aeschines' stance in the Amphictyonic Council. During a meeting of the Council, Philip accused the Amfissian
Amfissa
Amfissa is a town and a former municipality in Phocis, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Delphi, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It is also the capital of the regional unit of Phocis...

 Locrians
Locris
Locris was a region of ancient Greece, the homeland of the Locrians, made up of three distinct districts.-Locrian tribe:...

 of intruding on consecrated ground. The presiding officer of the Council, a Thessalian named Cottyphus, proposed the convocation of an Amphictyonic Congress to inflict a harsh punishment upon the Locrians. Aeschines agreed with this proposition and maintained that the Athenians should participate in the Congress. Demosthenes however reversed Aeschines' initiatives and Athens finally abstained. After the failure of a first military excursion against the Locrians, the summer session of the Amphictyonic Council gave command of the league's forces to Philip and asked him to lead a second excursion. Philip decided to act at once; in the winter of 339–338 BC, he passed through Thermopylae, entered Amfissa and defeated the Locrians. After this significant victory, Philip swiftly entered Phocis in 338 BC. He then turned south-east down the Cephissus
Cephissus (Athenian plain)
Cephissus , Kifissós) or Cephisus Kifisos), a river flowing through the Athenian plain.In his summary of Greek mythology Apollodorus declares that Erechtheus' wife Praxithea was daughter of Phrasimus by Diogenia daughter of Cephissus.This river is found in the western part of the...

 valley, seized Elateia
Elateia
Elateia was an ancient Greek city of Phocis, and the most important place in that region after Delphi. It is also a modern-day town that is a former municipality in the southeastern part of Phthiotis. Since the 2011 local government reform, it is a municipal unit of the municipality...

, and restored the fortifications of the city.

At the same time, Athens orchestrated the creation of an alliance with Euboea, Megara
Megara
Megara is an ancient city in Attica, Greece. It lies in the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was one of the four districts of Attica, embodied in the four mythic sons of King...

, Achaea
Achaea
Achaea is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of West Greece. It is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras. The population exceeds 300,000 since 2001.-Geography:...

, Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

, Acarnania
Acarnania
Acarnania is a region of west-central Greece that lies along the Ionian Sea, west of Aetolia, with the Achelous River for a boundary, and north of the gulf of Calydon, which is the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth. Today it forms the western part of the prefecture of Aetolia-Acarnania. The capital...

 and other states in the Peloponnese. However the most desirable ally for Athens was Thebes. To secure their allegiance, Demosthenes was sent, by Athens, to the Boeotian city; Philip also sent a deputation, but Demosthenes succeeded in securing Thebes' allegiance. Demosthenes' oration before the Theban people is not extant and, therefore, the arguments he used to convince the Thebans remain unknown. In any case, the alliance came at a price: Thebes' control of Boeotia was recognized, Thebes was to command solely on land and jointly at sea, and Athens was to pay two thirds of the campaign's cost.

While the Athenians and the Thebans were preparing themselves for war, Philip made a final attempt to appease his enemies, proposing in vain a new peace treaty. After a few trivial encounters between the two sides, which resulted in minor Athenian victories, Philip drew the phalanx
Phalanx formation
The phalanx is a rectangular mass military formation, usually composed entirely of heavy infantry armed with spears, pikes, sarissas, or similar weapons...

 of the Athenian and Theban confederates into a plain near Chaeronea
Chaeronea
Chaeronea is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Livadeia, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 2,218...

, where he defeated them. Demosthenes fought as a mere hoplite
Hoplite
A hoplite was a citizen-soldier of the Ancient Greek city-states. Hoplites were primarily armed as spearmen and fought in a phalanx formation. The word "hoplite" derives from "hoplon" , the type of the shield used by the soldiers, although, as a word, "hopla" could also denote weapons held or even...

. Such was Philip's hatred for Demosthenes that, according to Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

, the King after his victory sneered at the misfortunes of the Athenian statesman. However, the Athenian orator and statesman Demades
Demades
-Background and early life:He was born into a poor family of ancient Paeania and was employed at one time as a common sailor, but he rose partly by his eloquence and partly by his unscrupulous character to a prominent position at Athens...

 is said to have remarked: "O King, when Fortune has cast you in the role of Agamemnon
Agamemnon
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area...

, are you not ashamed to act the part of Thersites
Thersites
In Greek mythology, Thersites was a soldier of the Greek army during the Trojan War. In the Iliad, he does not have a father's name, which may suggest that he should be viewed as a commoner rather than an aristocratic hero...

? [an obscene soldier of the Greek army during the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

]" Stung by these words, Philip immediately altered his demeanour.

Confrontation with Alexander



After Chaeronea, Philip inflicted a harsh punishment upon Thebes, but made peace with Athens on very lenient terms. Demosthenes encouraged the fortification of Athens and was chosen by the ecclesia to deliver the Funeral Oration
Demosthenes' Funeral Oration
Demosthenes' Funeral Oration was delivered between August and September of 338 BC, just after the Battle of Chaeronea. It constitutes along with the Erotic Essay the two epideictic orations of the prominent Athenian statesman and orator, which are still existent.-Historical background:In 338 BC...

. In 337 BC, Philip created the League of Corinth
League of Corinth
The League of Corinth, also sometimes referred to as Hellenic League was a federation of Greek states created by Philip II of Macedon during the winter of 338 BC/337 BC after the Battle of Chaeronea, to facilitate his use of military forces in his war against Persia...

, a confederation of Greek states under his leadership, and returned to Pella. In 336 BC, Philip was assassinated at the wedding of his daughter, Cleopatra of Macedonia, to King Alexander of Epirus
Alexander I of Epirus
Alexander I of Epirus , also known as Alexander Molossus , was a king of Epirus of the Aeacid dynasty. As the son of Neoptolemus I and brother of Olympias, he was an uncle of Alexander the Great...

. After Philip's death, the army proclaimed Alexander, then aged twenty, as the new King of Macedon. Greek cities like Athens and Thebes saw in this change of leadership an opportunity to regain their full independence. Demosthenes celebrated Philip's assassination and played a leading part in his city's uprising. According to Aeschines, "it was but the seventh day after the death of his daughter, and though the ceremonies of mourning were not yet completed, he put a garland on his head and white raiment on his body, and there he stood making thank-offerings, violating all decency." Demosthenes also sent envoys to Attalus
Attalus (general)
Attalus , important courtier of Macedonian king Philip II of Macedonia.In 339 BC, Attalus' niece Cleopatra Eurydice married king Philip II of Macedonia. In spring of 336 BC, Philip II appointed Attalus and Parmenion as commanders of the advance force that would invade the Persian Empire in Asia Minor...

, whom he considered to be an internal opponent of Alexander. Nonetheless, Alexander moved swiftly to Thebes, which submitted shortly after his appearance at its gates. When the Athenians learned that Alexander had moved quickly to Boeotia, they panicked and begged the new King of Macedon for mercy. Alexander admonished them but imposed no punishment.

In 335 BC Alexander felt free to engage the Thracians
Thracians
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

 and the Illyrians
Illyrians
The Illyrians were a group of tribes who inhabited part of the western Balkans in antiquity and the south-eastern coasts of the Italian peninsula...

. While he was campaigning in the north, Demosthenes produced an actor who pretended to be a bleeding and bandaged Macedonian soldier, who allegedly witnessed Alexander and all of his expeditionary force being slain by the Triballians. The Thebans and the Athenians rebelled once again, and Darius III of Persia
Darius III of Persia
Darius III , also known by his given name of Codomannus, was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia from 336 BC to 330 BC....

 financed the Greek cities that rose up against Macedon, and Demosthenes is said to have received about 300 talents on behalf of Athens and to have faced accusations of embezzlement. Alexander reacted immediately and razed Thebes to the ground. He did not attack Athens, but demanded the exile of all anti-Macedonian politicians, Demosthenes first of all. According to Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, a special Athenian embassy led by Phocion
Phocion
Phocion was an Athenian statesman and strategos, and the subject of one of Plutarch's Parallel Lives....

, an opponent of the anti-Macedonian faction, was able to persuade Alexander to relent.

Delivery of On the Crown


"You stand revealed in your life and conduct, in your public performances and also in your public abstinences. A project approved by the people is going forward. Aeschines is speechless. A regrettable incident is reported. Aeschines is in evidence. He reminds one of an old sprain or fracture: the moment you are out of health it begins to be active."
Demosthenes (On the Crown, 198) - In On the Crown Demosthenes fiercely assaulted and finally neutralized Aeschines, his formidable political opponent.

Despite the unsuccessful ventures against Philip and Alexander, the Athenians still respected Demosthenes. In 336 BC, the orator Ctesiphon proposed that Athens honor Demosthenes for his services to the city by presenting him, according to custom, with a golden crown. This proposal became a political issue and, in 330 BC, Aeschines prosecuted Ctesiphon on charges of legal irregularities. In his most brilliant speech, On the Crown, Demosthenes effectively defended Ctesiphon and vehemently attacked those who would have preferred peace with Macedon. He was unrepentant about his past actions and policies and insisted that, when in power, the constant aim of his policies was the honor and the ascendancy of his country; and on every occasion and in all business he preserved his loyalty to Athens. He finally defeated Aeschines, although his enemy's objections to the crowning were arguably valid from a legal point of view.

Case of Harpalus



In 324 BC Harpalus, to whom Alexander had entrusted huge treasures, absconded and sought refuge in Athens. Demosthenes, at first, advised that he be chased out of the city. Finally, Harpalus was imprisoned despite the dissent of Hypereides
Hypereides
Hypereides or Hyperides was a logographer in Ancient Greece...

, an anti-Macedonian statesman and former ally of Demosthenes. The ecclesia, after a proposal of Demosthenes, decided to take control of Harpalus' money, which was entrusted to a committee presided over by Demosthenes. When the committee counted the treasure, they found they only had half the money Harpalus had declared he had. Nevertheless, they decided not to disclose the deficit. When Harpalus escaped, the Areopagus
Areopagus
The Areopagus or Areios Pagos is the "Rock of Ares", north-west of the Acropolis, which in classical times functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases in Athens. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios .The origin...

 conducted an inquiry and charged Demosthenes with mishandling twenty talents. During Demosthenes' trial, Hypereides argued that he did not disclose the huge deficit, because he was bribed by Harpalus. Demosthenes was fined and imprisoned, but he soon escaped. It remains unclear whether the accusations against him were just or not. In any case, the Athenians soon repealed the sentence.
"For a house, I take it, or a ship or anything of that sort must have its chief strength in its substructure; and so too in affairs of state the principles and the foundations must be truth and justice."
Demosthenes (Second Olynthiac, 10) - The orator faced serious accusations more than once, but he never admitted to any improper actions and insisted that it is impossible "to gain permanent power by injustice, perjury, and falsehood".

After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Demosthenes again urged the Athenians to seek independence from Macedonia in what became known as the Lamian War
Lamian War
The “Lamian War”, also referred to as the “Hellenic War” and the “War against Antipater”, was fought by the Athenians and their Aetolian, Locrian, and Phocian allies against the Macedonians in Thessaly during the winter of 323–322 BC...

. However, Antipater, Alexander's successor, quelled all opposition and demanded that the Athenians turn over Demosthenes and Hypereides, among others. Following his request, the ecclesia adopted a decree condemning the most prominent anti-Macedonian agitators to death. Demosthenes escaped to a sanctuary on the island of Calauria
Kalaureia
Kalaureia or Calauria is an island close to the coast of Troezen in the Peloponnesus of mainland Greece, part of the modern island-pair Poros.Strabo describes the coastwise journey along the Hermionic Gulf:-Pre-classical asylum:...

 (modern-day Poros
Poros
Poros is a small Greek island-pair in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, at a distance about 58 km south from Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200-metre wide sea channel, with the town of Galatas on the mainland across the strait. Its surface is about and it has 4,117...

), where he was later discovered by Archias, a confidant of Antipater. He committed suicide before his capture by taking poison out of a reed, pretending he wanted to write a letter to his family. When Demosthenes felt that the poison was working on his body, he said to Archias: "Now, as soon as you please you may commence the part of Creon
Creon
Creon is a figure in Greek mythology best known as the ruler of Thebes in the legend of Oedipus. He had two children with his wife, Eurydice: Megareus and Haemon...

 in the tragedy, and cast out this body of mine unburied. But, O gracious Neptune, I, for my part, while I am yet alive, arise up and depart out of this sacred place; though Antipater and the Macedonians have not left so much as the temple unpolluted." After saying these words, he passed by the altar, fell down and died. Years after Demosthenes' suicide, the Athenians erected a statue to honor him and decreed that the state should provide meals to his descendants in the Prytaneum
Prytaneum
Prytaneum and Prytanis . In general in ancient Greece, each state, city or village possessed its own central hearth and sacred fire, representing the unity and vitality of the community. The fire was kept alight continuously, tended by the king or members of his family...

.

Political career


Plutarch lauds Demosthenes for not being of a fickle disposition. Rebutting historian Theopompus
Theopompus
Theopompus was a Greek historian and rhetorician- Biography :Theopompus was born on Chios. In early youth he seems to have spent some time at Athens, along with his father, who had been exiled on account of his Laconian sympathies...

, the biographer insists that for "the same party and post in politics which he held from the beginning, to these he kept constant to the end; and was so far from leaving them while he lived, that he chose rather to forsake his life than his purpose". On the other hand, Polybius
Polybius
Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

, a Greek historian of the Mediterranean world
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

, was highly critical of Demosthenes' policies. Polybius accused him of having launched unjustified verbal attacks on great men of other cities, branding them unjustly as traitors to the Greeks. The historian maintains that Demosthenes measured everything by the interests of his own city, imagining that all the Greeks ought to have their eyes fixed upon Athens. According to Polybius, the only thing the Athenians eventually got by their opposition to Philip was the defeat at Chaeronea. "And had it not been for the king's magnanimity and regard for his own reputation, their misfortunes would have gone even further, thanks to the policy of Demosthenes".
"Two characteristics, men of Athens, a citizen of a respectable character...must be able to show: when he enjoys authority, he must maintain to the end the policy whose aims are noble action and the pre-eminence of his country: and at all times and in every phase of fortune he must remain loyal. For this depends upon his own nature; while his power and his influence are determined by external causes. And in me, you will find, this loyalty has persisted unalloyed...For from the very first, I chose the straight and honest path in public life: I chose to foster the honour, the supremacy, the good name of my country, to seek to enhance them, and to stand or fall with them."
Demosthenes (On the Crown, 321-22) - Faced with the practical defeat of his policies, Demosthenes assessed them by the ideals they embodied rather than by their utility.

Paparregopoulus extols Demosthenes' patriotism, but criticizes him as being short-sighted. According to this critique, Demosthenes should have understood that the ancient Greek states could only survive unified under the leadership of Macedon. Therefore, Demosthenes is accused of misjudging events, opponents and opportunities and of being unable to foresee Philip's inevitable triumph. He is criticized for having overrated Athens' capacity to revive and challenge Macedon. His city had lost most of its Aegean allies, whereas Philip had consolidated his hold over Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

 and was master of enormous mineral wealth. Chris Carey, a professor of Greek in UCL
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

, concludes that Demosthenes was a better orator and political operator than strategist. Nevertheless, the same scholar underscores that "pragmatists" like Aeschines or Phocion had no inspiring vision to rival that of Demosthenes. The orator asked the Athenians to choose that which is just and honorable, before their own safety and preservation. The people preferred Demosthenes' activism and even the bitter defeat at Chaeronea was regarded as a price worth paying in the attempt to retain freedom and influence. According to Professor of Greek Arthur Wallace Pickard-Cambridge, success may be a poor criterion for judging the actions of people like Demosthenes, who were motivated by the ideal of political liberty. Athens was asked by Philip to sacrifice its freedom and its democracy, while Demosthenes longed for the city's brilliance. He endeavored to revive its imperilled values and, thus, he became an "educator of the people" (in the words of Werner Jaeger
Werner Jaeger
Werner Wilhelm Jaeger was a classicist of the 20th century.Jaeger was born in Lobberich, Rhenish Prussia. He attended school at Lobberich and at the Gymnasium Thomaeum in Kempen Jaeger studied at the University of Marburg and University of Berlin. He received a Ph.D...

).

The fact that Demosthenes fought at the battle of Chaeronea as a hoplite
Hoplite
A hoplite was a citizen-soldier of the Ancient Greek city-states. Hoplites were primarily armed as spearmen and fought in a phalanx formation. The word "hoplite" derives from "hoplon" , the type of the shield used by the soldiers, although, as a word, "hopla" could also denote weapons held or even...

 indicates that he lacked any military skills. According to historian Thomas Babington Macaulay, in his time the division between political and military offices was beginning to be strongly marked. Almost no politician, with the exception of Phocion
Phocion
Phocion was an Athenian statesman and strategos, and the subject of one of Plutarch's Parallel Lives....

, was at the same time an apt orator and a competent general
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

. Demosthenes dealt in policies and ideas, and war was not his business. This contrast between Demosthenes' intellectual prowess and his deficiencies in terms of vigor, stamina, military skill and strategic vision is illustrated by the inscription his countrymen engraved on the base of his statue:

Oratorical skill


According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus was a Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric, who flourished during the reign of Caesar Augustus. His literary style was Attistic — imitating Classical Attic Greek in its prime.-Life:...

, a Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric, Demosthenes represented the final stage in the development of Attic prose. Dionysius asserts that Demosthenes brought together the best features of the basic types of style; he used the middle or normal type style ordinarily and applied the archaic type and the type of plain elegance where they were fitting. In each one of the three types he was better than its special masters. He is, therefore, regarded as a consummate orator, adept in the techniques of oratory, which are brought together in his work. In his initial judicial orations, the influence of both Lysias
Lysias
Lysias was a logographer in Ancient Greece. He was one of the ten Attic orators included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace in the third century BC.-Life:According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the author of the life ascribed to...

 and Isaeus is obvious, but his marked, original style is already revealed.

According to the classical scholar Harry Thurston Peck, Demosthenes "affects no learning; he aims at no elegance; he seeks no glaring ornaments; he rarely touches the heart with a soft or melting appeal, and when he does, it is only with an effect in which a third-rate speaker would have surpassed him. He had no wit, no humour, no vivacity, in our acceptance of these terms. The secret of his power is simple, for it lies essentially in the fact that his political principles were interwoven with his very spirit." In this judgement, Peck agrees with Jaeger, who said that the imminent political decision imbued the Demosthenes' speech with a fascinating artistic power. Demosthenes was apt at combining abruptness with the extended period, brevity with breadth. Hence, his style harmonizes with his fervent commitment. His language is simple and natural, never far-fetched or artificial. According to Jebb, Demosthenes was a true artist who could make his art obey him. For his part, Aeschines stigmatized his intensity, attributing to his rival strings of absurd and incoherent images. Dionysius stated that Demosthenes' only shortcoming is the lack of humor, although Quintilian regards this deficiency as a virtue. The main criticism of Demosthenes' art, however, seems to have rested chiefly on his known reluctance to speak extempore; he often declined to comment on subjects he had not studied beforehand. However, he gave the most elaborate preparation to all his speeches and, therefore, his arguments were the products of careful study. He was also famous for his caustic wit.

According to Cicero, Demosthenes regarded "delivery" (gestures, voice etc.) as more important than style. Although he lacked Aeschines' charming voice and Demades's skill at improvisation, he made efficient use of his body to accentuate his words. Thus he managed to project his ideas and arguments much more forcefully. However, the use of physical gestures wasn't an integral or developed part of rhetorical training in his day. Moreover, his delivery was not accepted by everybody in antiquity: Demetrius Phalereus
Demetrius Phalereus
Demetrius of Phalerum was an Athenian orator originally from Phalerum, a student of Theophrastus and one of the first Peripatetics...

 and the comedians ridiculed Demosthenes' "theatricality", whilst Aeschines regarded Leodamas of Acharnae
Acharnae
Acharnae was the largest deme of ancient Attica; it was located in the northwest part of the Attic plain, south of Mt. Parnes in the general vicinity of the modern suburbs of Acharnes and Ano Liosia, about due north of Athens. The Acharnians chiefly grew cereals, grapes, and olives, although...

 as superior to him.

Transmission and reception



The 'publication' and distribution of prose texts was common practice in Athens by the latter half of the fourth century BC and Demosthenes was among the Athenian politicians who set the trend, publishing many or even all of his orations. After his death, texts of his speeches survived in Athens (possibly forming part of the library of Cicero's friend, Atticus, though their fate is otherwise unknown), and in the Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria
The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was the largest and most significant great library of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the...

. The Alexandrian texts were incorporated into the body of classical Greek literature that was preserved, catalogued and studied by scholars of the Hellenistic
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 period. From then until the 4th century AD, copies of his orations multiplied and they were in a relatively good position to survive the tense period from the 6th until the 9th century AD. In the end, sixty-one orations attributed to Demosthenes' survived till the present day (some however are pseudonymoussee Works below). Friedrich Blass
Friedrich Blass
Friedrich Blass was a German classical scholar.After studying at Göttingen and Bonn from 1860 to 1863, he lectured at several gymnasia and at the University of Königsberg. In 1876 he was appointed extraordinary professor of classical philology at Kiel, and ordinary professor in 1881...

, a German classical scholar, believes that nine more speeches were recorded by the orator, but they are not extant. Modern editions of these speeches are based on four manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s of the 10th and 11th centuries AD.

Demosthenes' fame has thus continued down the ages. Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 schoolboys studied his art as part of their own oratorical training. Juvenal acclaimed him as "largus et exundans ingenii fons" (a large and overflowing fountain of genius), and he inspired Cicero's speeches against Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

, also called the Philippic
Philippic
A philippic is a fiery, damning speech, or tirade, delivered to condemn a particular political actor. The term originates with Demosthenes, who delivered several attacks on Philip II of Macedon in the 4th century BC....

s. Plutarch drew attention in his Life of Demosthenes to the strong similarities between the personalities and careers of Demosthenes and Marcus Tullius Cicero:
During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, Demosthenes had a reputation for eloquence. He was read more than any other ancient orator; only Cicero offered any real competition. French author and lawyer Guillaume du Vair
Guillaume du Vair
Guillaume du Vair was a French author and lawyer.He was born in Paris. After taking holy orders, he exercised only legal functions for most of his career. However, from 1617 till his death he was Bishop of Lisieux. His reputation is that of a lawyer, a statesman and a man of letters...

 praises his speeches for their artful arrangement and elegant style; John Jewel
John Jewel
John Jewel was an English bishop of Salisbury.-Life:He was the son of John Jewel of Buden, Devon, was educated under his uncle John Bellamy, rector of Hampton, and other private tutors until his matriculation at Merton College, Oxford, in July 1535.There he was taught by John Parkhurst,...

, Bishop of Salisbury
Bishop of Salisbury
The Bishop of Salisbury is the ordinary of the Church of England's Diocese of Salisbury in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers much of the counties of Wiltshire and Dorset...

, and Jacques Amyot
Jacques Amyot
Jacques Amyot , French Renaissance writer and translator, was born of poor parents, at Melun.He found his way to the University of Paris, where he supported himself by serving some of the richer students. He was nineteen when he became M.A. at Paris, and later he graduated doctor of civil law at...

, a French Renaissance writer and translator, regard Demosthenes as a great or even the "supreme" orator.

In modern history
Modern history
Modern history, or the modern era, describes the historical timeline after the Middle Ages. Modern history can be further broken down into the early modern period and the late modern period after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution...

, orators such as Henry Clay
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

 would mimic
Imitation
Imitation is an advanced behavior whereby an individual observes and replicates another's. The word can be applied in many contexts, ranging from animal training to international politics.-Anthropology and social sciences:...

 Demosthenes' technique. His ideas and principles survived, influencing prominent politicians and movements of our times. Hence, he constituted a source of inspiration for the authors of the Federalist Papers
Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788...

 (series of 85 articles arguing for the ratification of the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

) and for the major orators of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau
Georges Clemenceau
Georges Benjamin Clemenceau was a French statesman, physician and journalist. He served as the Prime Minister of France from 1906 to 1909, and again from 1917 to 1920. For nearly the final year of World War I he led France, and was one of the major voices behind the Treaty of Versailles at the...

 was among those who idealized Demosthenes and wrote a book about him. For his part, Friedrich Nietzsche often composed his sentences according to the paradigms of Demosthenes, whose style he admired. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the fighters of the French Resistance
French Resistance
The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II...

 identified themselves with Demosthenes, and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 with Philip.

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

 executive David Ogilvy frequently cited Demosthenes as a model for creating persuasive advertising, saying, "When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip.’"

The Demosthenian Literary Society
Demosthenian Literary Society
The Demosthenian Literary Society is a debating society at The University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. It was founded in 1803 by the first graduating class of the University's Franklin College. The society was founded on February 19, 1803 and the anniversary is celebrated now with the Society's...

 at The University of Georgia
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university located in Athens, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest and largest of the state's institutions of higher learning and is one of multiple schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States...

 is named after Demosthenes, as a tribute to his oratorical ability and the manner in which he improved his speaking ability.

Works



Some of the speeches that comprise the 'Demosthenic corpus' are known to have been written by other authors, though scholars differ over which speeches these are. Irrespective of their status, the speeches attributed to Demosthenes are often grouped in three genres first defined by Aristotle (see Demosthenes' orations below for the full list of speeches per group):
  • Symbouleutic or political, considering the expediency of future actionssixteen such speeches are included in the Demosthenic corpus, of which one scholar for example singles out five as spurious: On Halonnesus, Fourth Phillipic, Answer to Philip's Letter, On Organization and On the Treaty with Alexander;
  • Dicanic or judicial, assessing the justice of past actionsonly about ten of these are cases in which Demosthenes was personally involved, the rest were written for other speakers, and possibly "fifteen or more" of these were not written by Demosthenes;
  • Epideictic or sophistic display, attributing praise or blame, often delivered at public ceremoniesonly two speeches have been attributed to him, one a funeral speech that has been dismissed as a "rather poor" example of his work, and the other probably spurious.


In addition to the speeches, there are fifty-six prologue
Prologue
A prologue is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details, often some earlier story that ties into the main one, and other miscellaneous information. The Greek prologos included the modern meaning of prologue, but was of wider significance...

s whose authenticity as a collection is much disputed. The prologues (openings of speeches) were collected for the Library of Alexandria by Callimachus
Callimachus
Callimachus was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a noted poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes...

, who believed them genuine. Modern scholars are divided: some reject them, while others, such as Blass, believe they are authentic. Finally, six letters also survive under Demosthenes's name and their authorship too is hotly debated.

The speeches that Demosthenes 'published' might have differed from the original speeches that were actually delivered (there are indications that he rewrote them with readers in mind) and therefore it is possible also that he 'published' different versions of any one speech, differences that could have impacted on the Alexandrian edition of his works and thus on all subsequent editions down to the present day.

In Historical Fiction


In the historical fiction of Mary Renault
Mary Renault
Mary Renault born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in Ancient Greece...

, Demosthenes is the corrupt, cowardly and cruel villain.

External links