Meidias

Meidias

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Meidias an Athenian
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 of considerable wealth and influence, was a violent and bitter enemy of Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

, the orator. He displayed his first act of hostility in 361 BC
361 BC
Year 361 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Stolo and Peticus...

 when he broke violently into the house of Demosthenes with his brother Thrasylochus in order to take possession of it. Thrasylochus offered, in the case of a 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...

y, to make an exchange of property with Demosthenes, under a private understanding with the guardians of the latter that, if the exchange were effected, the suit then pending against them should be dropped.

This led Demosthenes to bring against him an accusation of kakegoria (i.e. verbal insult), and when Meidias after his condemnation did not fulfill his obligations, Demosthenes brought against him a dike exules (i.e. a trial for obtaining something already lawfully assigned to the plaintiff). Meidias found means to prevent any decision being given far a period of eight years, and at length, in 354 BC
354 BC
Year 354 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Ambustus and Crispinus...

, he had an opportunity to take revenge upon Demosthenes, who had in that year voluntarily undertaken the choregia. Meidias not only endeavoured in all possible ways to prevent Demosthenes from discharging his office in its proper form; also, their mutual relations were sored more still when Demosthenes attempted to oppose the proposal for sending aid against Callias
Callias of Chalcis
Callias of Chalcis , son of Mnesarchus, together with his brother Taurosthenes, succeeded his father in the tyranny of Chalcis, and formed an alliance with Philip of Macedon in order to support himself against Plutarch, tyrant of Eretria, or rather with the view of extending his authority over the...

 and Taurosthenes of Chalcis
Chalcis
Chalcis or Chalkida , the chief town of the island of Euboea in Greece, is situated on the strait of the Evripos at its narrowest point. The name is preserved from antiquity and is derived from the Greek χαλκός , though there is no trace of any mines in the area...

 to Plutarch
Plutarch of Eretria
Plutarch was a tyrant of Eretria in Euboea. Whether he was the immediate successor of Themison, and also whether he was in any way connected with him by blood, are points which we have no means of ascertaining...

, the tyrant
Tyrant
A tyrant was originally one who illegally seized and controlled a governmental power in a polis. Tyrants were a group of individuals who took over many Greek poleis during the uprising of the middle classes in the sixth and seventh centuries BC, ousting the aristocratic governments.Plato and...

 of Eretria
Eretria
Erétria was a polis in Ancient Greece, located on the western coast of the island of Euboea, south of Chalcis, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow Euboean Gulf. Eretria was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC. However, it lost its importance already in antiquity...

, and the friend of Meidias. The breaking point arrived when Meidias attacked Demosthenes with open violence during the celebration of the great 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...

. Such an act gave Demosthenes a good opportunity for moving a public incrimination against his enemy (353 BC
353 BC
Year 353 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Peticus and Poplicola...

), and on this occasion wrote Against Meidias, still extant, which was never pronounced as the two adversaries found an amicable arrangement under which Demosthenes retired his accusation for thirty minae
Mina (unit)
The mina is an ancient Near Eastern unit of weight equivalent to 60 shekels. The mina, like the shekel, was also a unit of currency; in ancient Greece it was equal to 100 drachmae. In the first century AD, it amounted to about a fourth of the wages earned annually by an agricultural worker...

.

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