Demosthenes (; el, Δημοσθένης, translit=Dēmosthénēs; ; 384 – 12 October 322 BC) was a
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
statesman and orator in
ancient Athens Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh ...
. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide insight into the politics and culture of
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuad ...
by studying the speeches of previous great orators. He delivered his first judicial speeches at the age of 20, in which he successfully argued that he should gain from his guardians what was left of his inheritance. For a time, Demosthenes made his living as a professional speechwriter ( logographer) and a
lawyer A lawyer is a person who practices law. The role of a lawyer varies greatly across different legal jurisdictions. A lawyer can be classified as an advocate, attorney, barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction ( ...
, writing speeches for use in private legal suits. 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 Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
'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 ( grc-gre, Φίλιππος ; 382 – 21 October 336 BC) was the king (''basileus'') of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedonia from 359 BC until his death in 336 BC. He was a member of the Argead ...
. 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 southward, 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 Macedonia,
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
. 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 (; grc, , translit=Antipatros, lit=like the father; c. 400 BC319 BC) was a Macedonian general and statesman under the subsequent kingships of Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great Alexander III of M ...
, sent his men to track Demosthenes down. Demosthenes took his own life to avoid being arrested by Archias of Thurii, Antipater's confidant. The ''Alexandrian Canon'', compiled by
Aristophanes of Byzantium __NOTOC__ Aristophanes of Byzantium ( grc-gre, Ἀριστοφάνης ὁ Βυζάντιος ; BC) was a Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Greek scholar, critic and Philologist, grammarian, particularly renowned for his work in Homeric scholars ...
Aristarchus of Samothrace Aristarchus of Samothrace ( grc-gre, Ἀρίσταρχος ὁ Σαμόθραξ ''Aristarchos o Samothrax''; c. 220 – c. 143 BC) was an ancient Greek Philologist, grammarian, noted as the most influential of all scholars of Homeric poetry. ...
, called Demosthenes one of the ten greatest Attic orators and logographers. Longinus likened Demosthenes to a blazing thunderbolt and argued that he had "perfected to the utmost the tone of lofty speech, living passions, copiousness, readiness, speed."
Quintilian Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (; 35 – 100 AD) was a Roman Empire, Roman educator and rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in Middle ages, medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing. In English translation, he is usuall ...
extolled him as ("the standard of oratory").
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
said of him that ("he stands alone among all the orators"), and also praised him as "the perfect orator" who lacked nothing.Cicero, ''Brutus''
, ''Orator'', I
; Quintillian, ''Institutiones'', X,

* D. C. Innes, 'Longinus and Caecilius", 277.

Early years and personal life

Family and personal life

Demosthenes was born in 384 BC, during the last year of the 98th 
Olympiad An olympiad ( el, Ὀλυμπιάς, ''Olympiás'') is a period of four years, particularly those associated with the ancient and modern Olympic Games. Although the ancient Olympics were established during Greece's Archaic Era, it was not unt ...
or the first year of the 99th Olympiad.H. Weil, ''Biography of Demosthenes'', 5–6. His father—also named Demosthenes—who belonged to the local tribe, Pandionis, and lived in the
deme In Ancient Greece, a deme or ( grc, δῆμος, plural: demoi, δημοι) was a suburb or a subdivision of Classical Athens, Athens and other city-states. Demes as simple subdivisions of land in the countryside seem to have existed in the 6th ...
of PaeaniaAeschines, ''Against Ctesiphon''
in the Athenian countryside, was a wealthy sword-maker.
Aeschines Aeschines (; Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''Aischínēs''; 389314 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek politician, statesman and one of the ten Attic orators. Biography Although it is known he was born in Athens, the records regarding his parentage and ...
, Demosthenes' greatest political rival, maintained that his mother Kleoboule was a
Scythia Scythia (Scythian languages, Scythian: ; Old Persian: ; Ancient Greek: ; Latin: ) or Scythica (Ancient Greek: ; Latin: ), also known as Pontic Scythia, was a kingdom created by the Scythians during the 6th to 3rd centuries BC in the Pontic– ...
n by bloodAeschines, ''Against Ctesiphon''
—an allegation disputed by some modern scholars. Demosthenes was orphaned at the age of seven. Although his father provided for him well, his legal guardians, Aphobus, Demophon and Therippides, mishandled his inheritance.O. Thomsen, ''The Looting of the Estate of the Elder Demosthenes'', 61. Demosthenes started to learn rhetoric because he wished to take his guardians to court and because he was of "delicate physique" and could not receive gymnastic education, which was customary. In ''
Parallel Lives Plutarch's ''Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans'', commonly called ''Parallel Lives'' or ''Plutarch's Lives'', is a series of 48 biographies of famous men, arranged in pairs to illuminate their common moral virtues or failings, probably writt ...
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
states that Demosthenes built an underground study where he practised speaking and shaving one half of his head so that he could not go out in public. Plutarch also states that he had "an inarticulate and stammering pronunciation" that he overcame by speaking with pebbles in his mouth and by repeating verses when running or out of breath. He also practised speaking in front of a large mirror. As soon as Demosthenes came of age in 366 BC, he demanded his guardians 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 (equivalent to about 220 years of a labourer's income at standard wages, or 11 million dollars in terms of median U.S. annual incomes).Demosthenes, ''Against Aphobus 1''

* D. M. MacDowell, ''Demosthenes the Orator'', ch. 3.
Demosthenes asserted his guardians had left nothing "except the house, and fourteen slaves and thirty silver " (30 = ½ talent).Demosthenes, ''Against Aphobus 1''
At the age of 20 Demosthenes sued his trustees to recover his patrimony and delivered five orations: three ''Against Aphobus'' during 363 and 362 BC and two ''Against Onetor'' during 362 and 361 BC. The courts fixed Demosthenes' damages at ten talents.Demosthenes, ''Against Aphobus 3''

* D. M. MacDowell, ''Demosthenes the Orator'', ch. 3.
When all the trials came to an end, he only succeeded in retrieving a portion of his inheritance. According to
Pseudo-Plutarch Pseudo-Plutarch is the conventional name given to the actual, but unknown, authors of a number of pseudepigrapha (falsely attributed works) attributed to Plutarch but now known to have not been written by him. Some of these works were included in s ...
, 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.Pseudo-Plutarch, ''Demosthenes'', 847c. Demosthenes also had a daughter, "the only one who ever called him father", according to Aeschines in a trenchant remark.Aeschines, ''Against Ctesiphon''
His daughter died young and unmarried a few days before Philip II's death. In his speeches, Aeschines uses pederastic relations of Demosthenes as a means to attack him. In the case of Aristion, a youth from
Plataea Plataea or Plataia (; grc, wikt:Πλάταια, Πλάταια), also Plataeae or Plataiai (; grc, wikt:Πλαταιαί, Πλαταιαί), was an ancient city, located in Greece in southeastern Boeotia, south of Thebes (Boeotia), Thebes.M ...
who lived for a long time in Demosthenes' house, Aeschines mocks the "scandalous" and "improper" relation. In another speech, Aeschines brings up the pederastic relation of his opponent with a boy called Cnosion. The slander that Demosthenes' wife also slept with the boy suggests that the relationship was contemporary with his marriage. Aeschines claims that Demosthenes made money out of young rich men, such as Aristarchus, the son of Moschus, whom he allegedly deceived 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. 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 to Aristarchus so as not even to deserve the name. His crime, according to Aeschines, was to have betrayed his by pillaging his estate, allegedly pretending to be in love with the youth so as to get his hands on the boy's inheritance. 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.


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.D. M. MacDowell, Demosthenes the Orator, ch. 3 (''passim''); At the same time, Demosthenes prepared himself for the trials and improved his oratory skill. According to a story repeated by
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
, when Demosthenes was an adolescent, his curiosity was noticed by the orator Callistratus, who was then at the height of his reputation, having just won a case of considerable importance.Plutarch, ''Demosthenes''
According to
Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, Prose poetry, prose poet, cultural critic, Philology, philologist, and composer whose work has exerted a profound influence on contemporary philo ...
, a German
philologist Philology () is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is c ...
and philosopher, and Constantine Paparrigopoulos, a major modern Greek historian, Demosthenes was a student of Isocrates;F. Nietzsche, ''Lessons of Rhetoric'', 233–235; K. Paparregopoulus, Ab, 396–398. according to
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
Quintillian Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (; 35 – 100 AD) was a Roman Empire, Roman educator and rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in Middle ages, medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing. In English translation, he is usuall ...
and the Roman biographer Hermippus, he was a student of
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...
Lucian Lucian of Samosata, '; la, Lucianus Samosatensis ( 125 – after 180) was a Hellenized Syria (region), Syrian satire, satirist, rhetorician and pamphleteer who is best known for his characteristic tongue-in-cheek style, with which he frequent ...
, a Roman-Syrian rhetorician and
satirist This is an incomplete list of writers, cartoonists and others known for involvement in satire – humorous social criticism. They are grouped by era and listed by year of birth. Included is a list of modern satires. Under Contemporary, 1930-1960 ...
, lists the philosophers
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
Theophrastus Theophrastus (; grc-gre, Θεόφραστος ; c. 371c. 287 BC), a Greek philosopher and the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He was a native of Eresos in Lesbos Island, Lesbos.Gavin Hardy and Laurence Totelin, ''Ancient Bota ...
Xenocrates Xenocrates (; el, Ξενοκράτης; c. 396/5314/3 BC) of Chalcedon was a Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher, Greek Mathematics, mathematician, and leader (scholarch) of the Platonic Academy from 339/8 to 314/3 BC. His teachings fol ...
among his teachers.Lucian, ''Demosthenes, An Encomium'', 12. These claims are nowadays disputed. According to Plutarch, Demosthenes employed Isaeus 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, a German
archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the scientific study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, architecture, biofact (archaeology), biofacts ...
and historian, likened the relation between Isaeus and Demosthenes to "an intellectual armed alliance".R. C. Jebb
The Attic Orators from Antiphon to Isaeos.
It has also been said that Demosthenes paid Isaeus 10,000 
drachma The drachma ( el, wikt:δραχμή, δραχμή , ; pl. ''drachmae'' or ''drachmas'') was the currency used in Greece during several periods in its history: # An Ancient Greece, ancient Greek currency unit issued by many Greek city states du ...
e (somewhat over 1½ talents) on the condition that Isaeus withdraw from a school of rhetoric he had opened and instead devote himself wholly to Demosthenes, his new pupil. Another version credits Isaeus with having taught Demosthenes without charge.Suda, articl
According to Sir Richard C. Jebb, a British classical 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, a Greek professor and
academician An academician is a full member of an artistic, literary, engineering, or scientific academy. In many countries, it is an honorific title used to denote a full member of an academy that has a strong influence on national scientific life. In syst ...
, believes that Isaeus helped Demosthenes edit his initial judicial orations against his guardians.K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 83. Demosthenes is also said to have admired the historian
Thucydides Thucydides (; grc, , }; BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian historian and general. His ''History of the Peloponnesian War'' recounts Peloponnesian War, the fifth-century BC war between Sparta and Athens until the year 411 BC. Thucydides has ...
. In the ''Illiterate Book-Fancier,'' Lucian mentions eight beautiful copies of Thucydides made by Demosthenes, all in Demosthenes' own handwriting.Lucian, ''The Illiterate Book-Fancier'', 4. These references hint at his respect for a historian he must have assiduously studied.H. Weil, ''Biography of Demothenes'', 10–11.

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".Plutarch, ''Demosthenes''
Some citizens, however, discerned his talent. When he first left the ekklesia (the Athenian Assembly) disheartened, an old man named Eunomus encouraged him, saying his diction was very much like that of
Pericles Pericles (; grc-gre, Περικλῆς; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek politician and general during the Golden Age of Athens. He was prominent and influential in Athenian Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, ...
. Another time, after the ekklesia 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.Plutarch, ''Demosthenes''
As a boy Demosthenes had a speech impairment: Plutarch refers to 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 from rhotacism, mispronouncing ρ (r) as λ (l). 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 playingAeschines, ''Against Timarchus''
; Aeschines, ''The Speech on the Embassy''
—which corresponded to how someone with that variety of rhotacism would pronounce "'' Battaros''," the name of a legendary Libyan king who spoke quickly and in a disordered fashion. Demosthenes undertook a disciplined programme to overcome his weaknesses and improve his delivery, including diction, voice and gestures.Plutarch, ''Demosthenes''
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.E. Badian, "The Road to Prominence", 16.


Legal career

To make his living, Demosthenes became a professional litigant, both as a " logographer" (, ), writing speeches for use in private legal suits, and as an 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 probably continued writing speeches throughout his career, he stopped working as an advocate once he entered the political arena. 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 An antiphon (Greek language, Greek ἀντίφωνον, ἀντί "opposite" and φωνή "voice") is a short chant in Christianity, Christian ritual, sung as a refrain. The texts of antiphons are the Psalms. Their form was favored by St Ambrose ...
and Andocides. 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 law—conditions that favoured artfully constructed speeches. Since Athenian politicians were often indicted by their opponents, there was not 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. 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 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 against Phormion.Aeschines, ''Against Ctesiphon''
; Aeschines, ''The Speech on the Embassy''
Plutarch much later supported this accusation, stating that Demosthenes "was thought to have acted dishonourably"Plutarch, ''Demosthenes'', 15. 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'', whereby Apollodorus secretly pledged support for unpopular reforms that Demosthenes was pursuing in the greater, public interest (i.e. the diversion of Theoric Funds to military purposes).

Early political activity

Demosthenes was admitted to his () as a citizen with full rights probably in 366 BC, and he soon demonstrated an interest in politics. In 363 and 359 BC, he assumed the office of the trierarch, being responsible for the outfitting and maintenance of a
trireme A trireme( ; derived from Latin: ''trirēmis'' "with three banks of oars"; cf. Greek ''triērēs'', literally "three-rower") was an ancient navies and vessels, ancient vessel and a type of galley that was used by the ancient maritime civilizat ...
. 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, paying the expenses of a
theatrical production A theatrical production is any work of theatre, such as a staged play, musical, comedy or drama produced from a written book or script. Theatrical productions also extend to other performance designations such as Dramatic and Nondramatic theatre, a ...
.S. Usher, ''Greek Oratory'', 226. Between 355 and 351 BC, Demosthenes continued practising law privately while he was becoming increasingly interested in public affairs. During this period, he wrote '' Against Androtion'' and '' Against Leptines'', two fierce attacks on individuals who attempted to repeal certain tax exemptions. In '' Against Timocrates'' and ''Against Aristocrates'', he advocated eliminating corruption. All these speeches, which offer early glimpses of his general principles on foreign policy, such as the importance of the navy, of alliances and of national honour,J. De Romilly, ''A Short History of Greek Literature'', 116–117. are prosecutions ('','' ) against individuals accused of illegally proposing legislative texts. In Demosthenes' time, different political goals developed around personalities. Instead of electioneering, Athenian politicians used litigation and defamation to remove rivals from government processes. Often they indicted each other for breaches of the statute laws ('), but accusations of bribery and corruption were ubiquitous in all cases, being part of the political dialogue. The orators often resorted to "character assassination" tactics (, ; , ), both in the courts and in the Assembly. The rancorous and often hilariously exaggerated accusations, satirised by
Old Comedy Old Comedy (''archaia'') is the first period of the ancient Greek comedy, according to the canonical division by the Alexandrian grammarians.Mastromarco (1994) p.12 The most important Old Comic playwright is Aristophanes#Aristophanes and Old Comedy ...
, were sustained by innuendo, inferences about motives, and a complete absence of proof; as J. H. Vince states "there was no room for chivalry in Athenian political life". Such rivalry enabled the ''demos'' ("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 to indict individuals for treason, invoked in the ''ekklesia'' by a process called (). In 354 BC, Demosthenes delivered his first political oration, ''On the Navy'', in which he espoused moderation and proposed the reform of the ''
symmoria The ''symmoria'' ( el, συμμορία, pl. συμμορίαι, ''symmoriai'') was a group of wealthy citizens in Classical Athens during the 4th century BC, assessed together for the purposes of taxation. Fiscal ''symmoriai'' The ''symmoriai'' ...
i'' (boards) as a source of funding for the Athenian fleet.E. Badian, "The Road to Prominence", 29–30; K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 88. In 352 BC, he delivered ''For the Megalopolitans'' and, in 351 BC, ''On the Liberty of the Rhodians.'' In both speeches he opposed Eubulus, the most powerful Athenian statesman of the period 355 to 342 BC. The latter was no pacifist but came to eschew a policy of aggressive interventionism in the internal affairs of the other Greek cities. Contrary to Eubulus' policy, Demosthenes called for an alliance with Megalopolis against
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: wikt:Σπάρτη, Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the nam ...

or Thebes, and for supporting the democratic faction of the Rhodians in their internal strife. His arguments revealed his desire to articulate Athens' needs and interests through a more activist foreign policy, wherever opportunity might provide. Although his early orations were unsuccessful and reveal a lack of real conviction and of coherent strategic and political prioritisation, Demosthenes established himself as an important political personality and broke with Eubulus' faction, of which a prominent member was Aeschines. He thus laid the foundations for his future political successes and for becoming the leader of his own "party" (the issue of whether the modern concept of political parties can be applied in the
Athenian democracy Athenian democracy developed around the 6th century BC in the Ancient Greece, Greek city-state (known as a polis) of Classical Athens, Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica. Although Athens is the most fam ...
is hotly disputed among modern scholars).

Confrontation with Philip II

First Philippic and the Olynthiacs (351–349 BC)

Most of Demosthenes' major orations were directed against the growing power of King Philip II of Macedon. Since 357 BC, when Philip seized Amphipolis and , Athens had been formally at war with the Macedonians. In 352 BC, Demosthenes characterised 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.Demosthenes, ''Against Aristocrates''
A year later he criticised those dismissing Philip as a person of no account and warned that he was as dangerous as the king of
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...

.Demosthenes, ''For the Liberty of the Rhodians'', 24. In 352 BC, Athenian troops successfully opposed Philip at
Thermopylae Thermopylae (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...

,Demosthenes, ''First Philippic'', 17; ''On the False Embassy'', 319
* E. M. Burke, "The Early Political Speeches of Demosthenes", 184 (note 92).
but the Macedonian victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field shook Demosthenes. 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. According to Jacqueline de Romilly, a French philologist and member of the
Académie française An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning (and generally also research or honorary membershi ...
, the threat of Philip would give Demosthenes' stances a focus and a . Demosthenes saw the King of Macedon as a menace to the autonomy of all Greek cities and yet he presented him as a monster of Athens's own creation; in the ''First Philippic'' he reprimanded his fellow citizens as follows: "Even if something happens to him, you will soon raise up a second Philip ... 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". He thus provided for the first time a plan and specific recommendations for the strategy to be adopted against Philip in the north. Among other things, the plan called for the creation of a rapid-response force, to be created cheaply with each () to be paid only ten
drachmas The drachma ( el, wikt:δραχμή, δραχμή , ; pl. ''drachmae'' or ''drachmas'') was the currency used in Greece during several periods in its history: # An Ancient Greece, ancient Greek currency unit issued by many Greek city states du ...
per month (two obols per day), which was less than the average pay for unskilled labourers in Athens—implying that the hoplite was expected to make up the deficiency in pay by looting. 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 ( grc, Ὄλυνθος ''Olynthos'', named for the ὄλυνθος ''olunthos'', "the fruit of the wild fig tree") was an ancient city of Chalcidice, built mostly on two flat-topped hills 30–40m in height, in a fertile plain at the he ...
, an ally of Athens. In the three '' Olynthiacs'', Demosthenes criticised his compatriots for being idle and urged Athens to help Olynthus.Demosthenes, ''First Olynthiac'', 3; Demosthenes, ''Second Olynthiac'', 3
* E. M. Burke, "The Early Political Speeches of Demosthenes", 185.
He also insulted Philip by calling him a "barbarian". Despite Demosthenes' strong advocacy, the Athenians would not manage to prevent the falling of the city to the Macedonians. Almost simultaneously, probably on Eubulus' recommendation, they engaged in a war in
Euboea Evia (, ; el, wikt:Εύβοια, Εύβοια ; grc, wikt:Εὔβοια, Εὔβοια ) or Euboia (, ) is the second-largest List of islands of Greece, Greek island in area and population, after Crete. It is separated from Boeotia in mainlan ...

against Philip, which ended in a stalemate.Demosthenes, ''On the Peace'', 5
* E. M. Burke, "The Early Political Speeches of Demosthenes", 185–187.

Case of Meidias (348 BC)

In 348 BC a peculiar event occurred: Meidias, a wealthy Athenian, publicly slapped Demosthenes, who was at the time a choregos at the Greater Dionysia, a large religious festival in honour of the god
Dionysus In ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, myth, Dionysus (; grc, wikt:Διόνυσος, Διόνυσος ) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, orchards and fruit, vegetation, fertility, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstas ...

. Meidias was a friend of Eubulus and supporter of the unsuccessful excursion in Euboea.Demosthenes, ''On the Peace'', 5
* E. M. Burke, "The Early Political Speeches of Demosthenes", 174 (note 47).
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.Demosthenes, ''Against Meidias''
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 (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 The rule of law is the political philosophy that all citizens and institutions within a country, state, or community are accountable to the same laws, including lawmakers and leaders. The rule of law is defined in the ''Encyclopedia Britannica ...

rule of law
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".Demosthenes, ''Against Meidias''
There is no consensus among scholars either on whether Demosthenes finally delivered ''Against Meidias'' or on the veracity of Aeschines' accusation that Demosthenes was bribed to drop the charges.

Peace of Philocrates (347–345 BC)

In 348 BC, Philip conquered Olynthus and razed it to the ground; then conquered the entire
Chalcidice Chalkidiki (; el, Χαλκιδική , also spelled Halkidiki, is a peninsula and regional units of Greece, regional unit of Greece, part of the region of Central Macedonia, in the Geographic regions of Greece, geographic region of Macedonia (Gr ...
and all the states of the Chalcidic federation that Olynthus had once led.Demosthenes, ''Third Philippic'', 56
* E. M. Burke, "The Early Political Speeches of Demosthenes", 187.
After these Macedonian victories, Athens sued for peace with Macedon. Demosthenes was among those who favoured compromise. In 347 BC, an Athenian delegation, comprising Demosthenes, Aeschines and Philocrates, was officially sent to
Pella Pella ( el, Πέλλα) is an ancient city located in Central Macedonia, Greece. It is best-known for serving as the capital city of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedon, and was the birthplace of Ale ...
to negotiate a peace treaty. In his first encounter with Philip, Demosthenes is said to have collapsed from fright.Aeschines, ''The Speech on the Embassy''

* D. M. MacDowell, ''Demosthenes the Orator'', ch. 12.
The ekklesia officially accepted Philip's harsh terms, including the renouncement of their claim to Amphipolis. However, when an Athenian delegation arrived at Pella to put Philip under oath, which was required to conclude the treaty, he was campaigning abroad.Demosthenes, ''Third Philippic'', 15
* G. Cawkwell, ''Philip II of Macedon'', 102–103.
He expected that he would hold safely any Athenian possessions that he might seize before the ratification.Demosthenes, ''On the Crown'', 25–27
* G. Cawkwell, ''Philip II of Macedon'', 102–103.
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 (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...

.Demosthenes, ''On the Crown'', 30
* G. Cawkwell, ''Philip II of Macedon'', 102–103.
Philip swore to the treaty, but he delayed the departure of the Athenian envoys, who had yet to receive the oaths from Macedon's allies in
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...

and elsewhere. Finally, peace was sworn at Pherae, where Philip accompanied the Athenian delegation, after he had completed his military preparations to move south. Demosthenes accused the other envoys of venality and of facilitating Philip's plans with their stance.Demosthenes, ''On the Crown'', 31
* G. Cawkwell, ''Philip II of Macedon'', 102–105; D. M. MacDowell, ''Demosthenes the Orator'', ch. 12.
Just after the conclusion of the Peace of Philocrates, Philip passed Thermopylae, and subdued
Phocis Phocis ( el, Φωκίδα ; grc, wikt:Φωκίς, Φωκίς) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece (region), Central Greece. It stretches from the western mountainsides of Mount Parna ...
; Athens made no move to support the Phocians.Demosthenes, ''On the Crown'', 36; Demosthenes, ''On the Peace'', 10
* D. M. MacDowell, ''Demosthenes the Orator'', ch. 12.
Supported by Thebes and Thessaly, Macedon took control of Phocis' votes in the
Amphictyonic League In Archaic Greece, an amphictyony ( grc-gre, ἀμφικτυονία, a "league of neighbors"), or amphictyonic league, was an ancient religious association of tribes formed before the rise of the Greek ''poleis''. The six Dorians, Dorian cities o ...
, a Greek religious organisation formed to support the greater temples of
Apollo Apollo, grc, Ἀπόλλωνος, Apóllōnos, label=genitive , ; , grc-dor, Ἀπέλλων, Apéllōn, ; grc, Ἀπείλων, Apeílōn, label=Arcadocypriot Greek Arcadocypriot, or southern Achaeans (tribe), Achaean, was an ancient ...

Demeter In ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, mythology, Demeter (; Attic Greek, Attic: ''Dēmḗtēr'' ; Doric Greek, Doric: ''Dāmā́tēr'') is the Twelve Olympians, Olympian goddess of the harvest and agriculture, presiding over crops, ...

.Demosthenes, ''On the Crown'', 43. Despite some reluctance on the part of the Athenian leaders, Athens finally accepted Philip's entry into the Council of the League.Demosthenes, ''On the False Embassy'', 111–113
* D. M. MacDowell, ''Demosthenes the Orator'', ch. 12.
Demosthenes was among those who adopted a pragmatic approach, and recommended this stance in his oration '' On the Peace''. For Edmund M. Burke, this speech heralds a maturation in Demosthenes' career: after Philip's successful campaign in 346 BC, the Athenian statesman realised that, if he was to lead his city against the Macedonians, he had "to adjust his voice, to become less partisan in tone".

Second and Third Philippics (344–341 BC)

In 344 BC Demosthenes travelled to the
Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos,(), or Morea is a peninsula and geographic regions of Greece, geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the Isthmu ...
, to detach as many cities as possible from Macedon's influence, but his efforts were generally unsuccessful.Demosthenes, ''Second Philippic'', 19. 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.T. Buckley, ''Aspects of Greek History 750–323 BC,'' 480. In response, Demosthenes delivered the '' Second Philippic'', a vehement attack against Philip. In 343 BC Demosthenes delivered '' On the False Embassy'' against Aeschines, who was facing a charge of high treason. Nonetheless, Aeschines was acquitted by the narrow margin of thirty votes by a jury which may have numbered as many as 1,501. In 343 BC, Macedonian forces were conducting campaigns in
Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Historical region , image_map = Epirus antiquus tabula.jpg , map_alt = , map_caption = Map of ancient Epirus by Heinrich ...
and, in 342 BC, Philip campaigned in Thrace.Demosthenes, ''Third Philippic'', 17. He also negotiated with the Athenians an amendment to the Peace of Philocrates.Demosthenes (or Hegesippus), ''On Halonnesus,'

* D.M. MacDowell, ''Demosthenes the Orator'', ch. 13.
When the Macedonian army approached (now known as the Gallipoli Peninsula), an Athenian general named Diopeithes 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.K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 245. 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 () or Byzantion ( grc, Βυζάντιον) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek Polis, city in classical antiquity that became known as Constantinople in late antiquity and Istanbul today. The Greek name ''Byzantion'' and its Romanizat ...

, where he sought to renew its alliance with Athens. Thanks to Demosthenes' diplomatic manoeuvres, Abydos also entered into an alliance with Athens. These developments worried Philip and increased his anger at Demosthenes. The 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, assisted by Aeschines' stance in the Amphictyonic Council. During a meeting of the Council, Philip accused the Amfissian Locrians 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, ''On the Crown'', 149, 150, 151
* C. Carey, ''Aeschines'', 7–8.
Demosthenes however reversed Aeschines' initiatives and Athens finally abstained.C. Carey, ''Aeschines'', 7–8, 11. 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 valley, seized Elateia, and restored the fortifications of the city.Demosthenes, ''On the Crown'', s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/On the Crown#18:152, 152
* K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 283; H. Weil, ''Biography of Demosthenes'', 41–42.
At the same time, Athens orchestrated the creation of an alliance with
Euboea Evia (, ; el, wikt:Εύβοια, Εύβοια ; grc, wikt:Εὔβοια, Εὔβοια ) or Euboia (, ) is the second-largest List of islands of Greece, Greek island in area and population, after Crete. It is separated from Boeotia in mainlan ...

, Megara, Achaea, Ancient Corinth, Corinth, Acarnania 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, ''On the Crown'', s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/On the Crown#18:153, 153
* K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 284–285; H. Weil, ''Biography of Demosthenes'', 41–42.
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 recognised, Thebes was to command solely on land and jointly at sea, and Athens was to pay two thirds of the campaign's cost.P.J. Rhodes, ''A History of the Classical World'', 317. 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.Plutarch, ''Demosthenes,'

* K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 284–285.
After a few trivial encounters between the two sides, which resulted in minor Athenian victories, Philip drew the Phalanx formation, phalanx of the Athenian and Theban confederates into a plain near Chaeronea, where he defeated them. Demosthenes fought as a mere hoplite. Such was Philip's hatred for Demosthenes that, according to Diodorus Siculus, the King after his victory sneered at the misfortunes of the Athenian statesman. However, the Athenian orator and statesman Demades is said to have remarked: "O King, when Fortune has cast you in the role of Agamemnon, are you not ashamed to act the part of Thersites [an obscene soldier of the Greek army during the Trojan War]?" Stung by these words, Philip immediately altered his demeanour.Diodorus, ''Library'', XVI

Last political initiatives and death

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 ekklesia to deliver the Demosthenes' Funeral Oration, Funeral Oration.Demosthenes, ''On the Crown'', s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/On the Crown#18:285, 285, s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/On the Crown#18:299, 299. In 337 BC, Philip created the League of Corinth, 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 Macedon, to King Alexander I of Epirus, Alexander of Epirus. The Macedonian army swiftly proclaimed Alexander the Great, Alexander III of Macedon, then twenty years old, 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 (general), Attalus, 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 and the Illyrians, but, while he was campaigning in the north, Demosthenes spread a rumour—even producing a bloodstained messenger—that Alexander and all of his expeditionary force had been slaughtered by the Triballians. The Thebans and the Athenians rebelled once again, financed by Darius III of Persia, 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 (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
, a special Athenian embassy led by Phocion, an opponent of the anti-Macedonian faction, was able to persuade Alexander to relent.Plutarch, ''Phocion''
According to ancient writers, Demosthenes called Alexander "Margites" ( grc-gre, Μαργίτης) and a boy. Greeks used the word Margites to describe foolish and useless people, on account of the Margites.

Delivery of ''On the Crown''

Despite the unsuccessful ventures against Philip and Alexander, most Athenians still respected Demosthenes, because they shared his sentiments and wished to restore their independence. In 336 BC, the orator Ctesiphon proposed that Athens honour 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,K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 301; "Demosthenes". Encyclopaedia The Helios. 1952. ''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 honour and the ascendancy of his country; and on every occasion and in all business he preserved his loyalty to Athens.Demosthenes, ''On the Crown'', s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/On the Crown#18:321, 321. He finally defeated Aeschines, although his enemy's objections, though politically-motivated, to the crowning were arguably valid from a legal point of view.A. Duncan, ''Performance and Identity in the Classical World'', 70.

Case of Harpalus and death

In 324 BC Harpalus, to whom Alexander had entrusted huge treasures, absconded and sought refuge in Athens. The Assembly had initially refused to accept him, following Demosthenes' and Phocion's advice, but finally Harpalus entered Athens. He was imprisoned after a proposal of Demosthenes and Phocion, despite the dissent of Hypereides, an anti-Macedonian statesman and former ally of Demosthenes. Additionally, the ekklesia 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 possessed. When Harpalus escaped, the Areopagus conducted an inquiry and charged Demosthenes and others with mishandling twenty talents. Among the accused, Demosthenes was the first to be brought to trial before an unusually numerous jury of 1,500. He was found guilty and fined 50 talents. Unable to pay this huge amount, Demosthenes escaped and only returned to Athens nine months later, after the death of Alexander. Upon his return, he "received from his countrymen an enthusiastic welcome, such as had never been accorded to any returning exile since the days of Alkibiades." Such a reception, the circumstances of the case, Athenian need to placate Alexander, the urgency to account for the missing funds, Demosthenes' patriotism and wish to set Greece free from Macedonian rule, all lend support to George Grote's view that Demosthenes was innocent, that the charges against him were politically-motivated, and that he "was neither paid nor bought by Harpalus." Mogens Herman Hansen, Mogens Hansen, however, notes that many Athenian leaders, Demosthenes included, made fortunes out of their political activism, especially by taking bribes from fellow citizens and such foreign states as Macedonia and Persia. Demosthenes received vast sums for the many decrees and laws he proposed. Given this pattern of corruption in Greek politics, it appears likely, writes Hansen, that Demosthenes accepted a huge bribe from Harpalus, and that he was justly found guilty in an Athenian People's Court.
After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Demosthenes again urged the Athenians to seek independence from Macedon in what became known as the Lamian War. However, Antipater, Alexander's successor, quelled all opposition and demanded that the Athenians turn over Demosthenes and Hypereides, among others. Following his order, the ekklesia had no choice but to reluctantly adopt a decree condemning the most prominent anti-Macedonian agitators to death. Demosthenes escaped to a sanctuary on the island of Kalaureia (modern-day Poros), where he was later discovered by Archias, a confidant of Antipater. He died by suicide before his capture by taking poison out of a reed, pretending he wanted to write a letter to his family.Plutarch, ''Demosthenes''
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 of Thebes, Creon 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 honour him and decreed that the state should provide meals to his descendants in the Prytaneum.Pseudo-Plutarch, ''Demosthenes'', 847d.


Political career

Plutarch lauds Demosthenes for not being of a fickle disposition. Rebutting historian Theopompus, 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".Plutarch, ''Demosthenes'', 1
On the other hand, Polybius, a Greek historian of the Mediterranean Basin, Mediterranean world, 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".Polybius, ''Histories'', 18
Paparrigopoulos extols Demosthenes' patriotism, but criticises 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.C. Carey, ''Aeschines'', 12–14. He is criticised for having overrated Athens's capacity to revive and challenge Macedon. His city had lost most of its Aegean allies, whereas Philip had consolidated his hold over Macedonia (region), Macedonia and was master of enormous mineral wealth. Chris Carey, a professor of Greek in University College London, UCL, 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 honourable, 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 Pickarde, success may be a poor criterion for judging the actions of people like Demosthenes, who were motivated by the ideals of democracy political liberty.A.W. Pickard, ''Demosthenes and the Last Days of Greek Freedom ,'' 490. Athens was asked by Philip to sacrifice its freedom and its democracy, while Demosthenes longed for the city's brilliance.K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 318–326. He endeavoured to revive its imperilled values and, thus, he became an "educator of the people" (in the words of Werner Jaeger).J. De Romilly, ''A Short History of Greek Literature,'' 120–122. The fact that Demosthenes fought at the battle of Chaeronea as a hoplite indicates that he lacked any military skills. According to historian Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay, in his time the division between political and military offices was beginning to be strongly marked.T.B. Macaulay, ''On Mitford's History of Greece,'' 136. Almost no politician, with the exception of Phocion, was at the same time an apt orator and a competent strategos, general. Demosthenes dealt in policies and ideas, and war was not his business. This contrast between Demosthenes' intellectual prowess and his deficiencies in terms of vigour, stamina, military skill and strategic vision is illustrated by the inscription his countrymen engraved on the base of his statue:Plutarch, ''Demosthenes'', 30
* C.Carey, ''Aeschines'', 12–14; K. Paparregopoulus, Ab, 396–398.
Had you for Greece been strong, as wise you were, the Macedonian would not have conquered her.
George Grote notes that already thirty years before his death, Demosthenes "took a sagacious and provident measure of the danger which threatened Grecian liberty from the energy and encroachments of Philip." Throughout his career "we trace the same combination of earnest patriotism with wise and long-sighted policy." Had his advice to the Athenians and other fellow Greeks been followed, the power of Macedonia could have been successfully checked. Moreover, says Grote, "it was not Athens only that he sought to defend against Philip, but the whole Hellenic world. In this he towers above the greatest of his predecessors."
The sentiments to which Demosthenes appeals throughout his numerous orations, are those of the noblest and largest patriotism; trying to inflame the ancient Grecian sentiment of an autonomous Hellenic world, as the indispensable condition of a dignified and desirable existence.

Oratorical skill

In Demosthenes' initial judicial orations, the influence of both Lysias and Isaeus is obvious, but his marked, original style is already revealed. Most of his extant speeches for private cases—written early in his career—show glimpses of talent: a powerful intellectual drive, masterly selection (and omission) 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. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric, Demosthenes represented the final stage in the development of Attic prose. Both Dionysius and Cicero assert 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.Cicero, ''Orator''
; Dionysius, ''On the Admirable Style of Demosthenes'', 46
* C. Wooten, "Cicero's Reactions to Demosthenes", 39.
He is, therefore, regarded as a consummate orator, adept in the techniques of oratory, which are brought together in his work. 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."H. T. Peck
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities.
In this judgement, Peck agrees with Jaeger, who said that the imminent political decision imbued Demosthenes' speech with a fascinating artistic power. From his part, George A. Kennedy believes that his political speeches in the ekklesia were to become "the artistic exposition of reasoned views". Demosthenes was apt at combining abruptness with the extended period, brevity with breadth. Hence, his style harmonises 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 stigmatised his intensity, attributing to his rival strings of absurd and incoherent images.Aeschines, ''Against Ctesiphon''
Dionysius stated that Demosthenes' only shortcoming is the lack of humour, although Quintilian regards this deficiency as a virtue.Dionysius, ''On the Admirable Style of Demosthenes'', 56; Quintillian, ''Institutiones'', VI
In a now lost letter, Cicero, though an admirer of the Athenian orator, claimed that occasionally Demosthenes "nods", and elsewhere Cicero also argued that, although he is pre-eminent, Demosthenes sometimes fails to satisfy his ears. The main criticism of Demosthenes' art, however, seems to have rested chiefly on his known reluctance to speak ;J. Bollansie, ''Hermippos of Smyrna'', 415. 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.Plutarch, ''Demosthenes''
Besides his style, Cicero also admired other aspects of Demosthenes' works, such as the good prose rhythm, and the way he structured and arranged the material in his orations. According to the Roman statesman, Demosthenes regarded "delivery" (gestures, voice, etc.) as more important than style.Cicero, ''Brutus''

Although he lacked Aeschines' charming voice and Demades' 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 and the comedians ridiculed Demosthenes' "theatricality", whilst Aeschines regarded Leodamas of Acharnae as superior to him.Aeschines, ''Against Ctesiphon''
; Plutarch, ''Demosthenes''
Demosthenes relied heavily on the different aspects of ethos, especially phronesis. When presenting himself to the Assembly, he had to depict himself as a credible and wise statesman and adviser to be persuasive. One tactic that Demosthenes used during his philippics was foresight. He pleaded with his audience to predict the potential of being defeated, and to prepare. He appealed to pathos through patriotism and introducing the atrocities that would befall Athens if it was taken over by Philip. He was a master at "self-fashioning" by referring to his previous accomplishments, and renewing his credibility. He would also slyly undermine his audience by claiming that they had been wrong not to listen before, but they could redeem themselves if they listened and acted with him presently. Demosthenes tailored his style to be very audience-specific. He took pride in not relying on attractive words but rather simple, effective prose. He was mindful of his arrangement, he used clauses to create patterns that would make seemingly complex sentences easy for the hearer to follow. His tendency to focus on delivery promoted him to use repetition, this would ingrain the importance into the audience's minds; he also relied on speed and delay to create suspense and interest among the audience when presenting the most important aspects of his speech. One of his most effective skills was his ability to strike a balance: his works were complex so that the audience would not be offended by any elementary language, but the most important parts were clear and easily understood.

Rhetorical legacy

Demosthenes is widely considered one of the greatest orators of all time, and his fame has continued down the ages. Authors and scholars who flourished at Ancient Rome, Rome, such as Longinus and Caecilius of Calacte, Caecilius, regarded his oratory as sublime. Satires of Juvenal, Juvenal acclaimed him as "largus et exundans ingenii fons" (a large and overflowing fountain of genius),Juvenal, ''Satura'', X, 119. and he inspired Cicero's speeches against Mark Antony, also called the Philippicae, Philippics. According to Professor of Classics Cecil Wooten, Cicero ended his career by trying to imitate Demosthenes' political role. Plutarch drew attention in his ''Life of Demosthenes'' to the strong similarities between the personalities and careers of Demosthenes and Marcus Tullius Cicero:Plutarch, ''Demosthenes''
The divine power seems originally to have designed Demosthenes and Cicero upon the same plan, giving them many similarities in their natural characters, as their passion for distinction and their love of liberty in civil life, and their want of courage in dangers and war, and at the same time also to have added many accidental resemblances. I think there can hardly be found two other orators, who, from small and obscure beginnings, became so great and mighty; who both contested with kings and tyrants; both lost their daughters, were driven out of their country, and returned with honour; who, flying from thence again, were both seized upon by their enemies, and at last ended their lives with the liberty of their countrymen.
During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, 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 praised his speeches for their artful arrangement and elegant style; John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, and Jacques Amyot, a French Renaissance writer and translator, regarded Demosthenes as a great or even the "supreme" orator. For Thomas Wilson (rhetorician), Thomas Wilson, who first published translation of his speeches into English, Demosthenes was not only an eloquent orator, but, mainly, an authoritative statesman, "a source of wisdom". In modern history, orators such as Henry Clay would imitation, mimic 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'' (a series of 85 essays arguing for the ratification of the United States Constitution) and for the major orators of the French Revolution.K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 352. French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau was among those who idealised Demosthenes and wrote a book about him.V. Marcu, ''Men and Forces of Our Time,'' 32. For his part, Friedrich Nietzsche often composed his sentences according to the paradigms of Demosthenes, whose style he admired.F. Nietzsche, ''Beyond Good and Evil'', 247
* P. J. M. Van Tongeren, ''Reinterpreting Modern Culture'', 92.

Works and transmission

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.H. Yunis, ''Demosthenes: On The Crown'', 26; H. Weil, ''Biography of Demosthenes'', 66–67. 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. The Alexandrian texts were incorporated into the body of classical Greek literature that was preserved, catalogued and studied by the scholars of the Hellenistic civilization, Hellenistic period. From then until the fourth century AD, copies of Demosthenes' orations multiplied and they were in a relatively good position to survive the tense period from the sixth until the ninth century AD.H. Yunis, ''Demosthenes: On the Crown'', 28. In the end, sixty-one orations attributed to Demosthenes survived till the present day (some however are pseudonymous). Friedrich Blass, a German classical scholar, believes that nine more speeches were recorded by the orator, but they are not extant.F. Blass, ''Die attische Beredsamkeit'', III, 1, 60. Modern editions of these speeches are based on four manuscripts of the tenth and eleventh centuries AD.C. A. Gibson, ''Interpreting a Classic'', 1; K. A. Kapparis, ''Apollodoros against Neaira'', 62. 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: * ''Symbouleutic'' or ''political'', considering the expediency of future actions—sixteen such speeches are included in the Demosthenic corpus; * ''Dicanic'' or ''judicial'', assessing the justice of past actions—only about ten of these are cases in which Demosthenes was personally involved, the rest were written for other speakers; * ''Epideictic'' or ''sophistic display'', attributing praise or blame, often delivered at public ceremonies—only two speeches have been included in the Demosthenic corpus, 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 prologues (openings of speeches). They were collected for the Library of Alexandria by Callimachus, who believed them genuine.I. Worthington, ''Oral Performance'', 135. Modern scholars are divided: some reject them, while others, such as Blass, believe they are authentic.; F. Blass, ''Die Attische Beredsamkeit'', III, 1, 281–287. Finally, six letters also survive under Demosthenes' name and their authorship too is hotly debated.

Later honours

The Demosthenian Literary Society, founded in 1803 at the University of Georgia, was named in honor of Demosthenes. In 1936, an American botanist Albert Charles Smith named a genus of shrubs in the family Ericaceae, which were native to south America, as ''Demosthenesia'' in honour of Demosthenes.

See also

* Pseudo-Demosthenes


a. According to Edward Cohen, professor of Classics at the University of Pennsylvania, Cleoboule was the daughter of a Scythian woman and of an Athenian father, Gylon, although other scholars insist on the genealogical purity of Demosthenes.E. Cohen, ''The Athenian Nation'', 76. There is an agreement among scholars that Cleoboule was a Crimean and not an Athenian citizen. Gylon had suffered banishment at the end of the Peloponnesian War for allegedly betraying Nymphaion (Crimea), Nymphaeum in Crimaea. According to Aeschines, Gylon received as a gift from the Bosporan Kingdom, Bosporan rulers a place called "the Gardens" in the colony of Kepoi in present-day Russia (located within two miles (3 km) of Phanagoria). Nevertheless, the accuracy of these allegations is disputed, since more than seventy years had elapsed between Gylon's possible treachery and Aeschines' speech, and, therefore, the orator could be confident that his audience would have no direct knowledge of events at Nymphaeum. b. According to Tsatsos, the trials against the guardians lasted until Demosthenes was twenty four. Nietzsche reduces the time of the judicial disputes to five years.F. Nietzsche, ''Lessons of Rhetoric'', 65. c. According to the tenth century encyclopedia Suda, Demosthenes studied with Eubulides of Miletus, Eubulides and Plato. Cicero and Quintilian argue that Demosthenes was Plato's disciple.Cicero, ''Brutus''
; Quintilian, ''Institutiones'', XII,
Tsatsos and the philologist Henri Weil believe that there is no indication that Demosthenes was a pupil of Plato or Isocrates.K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 84; H. Weil, ''Biography of Demosthenes'', 10–11. As far as Isaeus is concerned, according to Jebb "the school of Isaeus is nowhere else mentioned, nor is the name of any other pupil recorded". Peck believes that Demosthenes continued to study under Isaeus for the space of four years after he had reached his majority. d. "Batalus" or "Batalos" meant "stammerer" in ancient Greek, but it was also the name of a flute-player (in ridicule of whom Antiphanes wrote a play) and of a songwriter.Plutarch, ''Demosthenes''

* D. Hawhee, ''Bodily Arts'', 156.
The word "batalus" was also used by the Athenians to describe the anus. In fact the word actually defining his speech defect was "Battalos", signifying someone with rhotacism, but it was crudely misrepresented as "Batalos" by the enemies of Demosthenes and by Plutarch's time the original word had already lost currency. Another nickname of Demosthenes was "Argas." According to Plutarch, this name was given him either for his savage and spiteful behaviour or for his disagreeable way of speaking. "Argas" was a poetical word for a snake, but also the name of a poet. e. Both Tsatsos and Weil maintain that Demosthenes never abandoned the profession of the logographer, but, after delivering his first political orations, he wanted to be regarded as a statesman. According to James J. Murphy, Professor emeritus of Rhetoric and Communication at the University of California, Davis, his lifelong career as a logographer continued even during his most intense involvement in the political struggle against Philip.; K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 90; H. Weil, ''Biography of Demothenes'', 17. f. "Theorika" were allowances paid by the state to poor Athenians to enable them to watch dramatic festivals. According to Libanius, Eubulus passed a law making it difficult to divert public funds, including "theorika," for minor military operations. E. M. Burke argues that, if this was indeed a law of Eubulus, it would have served "as a means to check a too-aggressive and expensive interventionism [...] allowing for the controlled expenditures on other items, including construction for defense". Thus Burke believes that in the Eubulan period, the Theoric Fund was used not only as allowances for public entertainment but also for a variety of projects, including public works. As Burke also points out, in his later and more "mature" political career, Demosthenes no longer criticised "theorika"; in fact, in his ''Fourth Philippic'' (341–340 BC), he defended theoric spending. g. In the ''Third Olynthiac'' and in the ''Third Philippic'', Demosthenes characterised Philip as a "barbarian", one of the various abusive terms applied by the orator to the king of Macedon.Demosthenes, ''Third Olynthiac'', s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/Olynthiac III#3:16, 16 and s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/Olynthiac III#3:24, 24; Demosthenes, ''Third Philippic'', s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/Philippic III#9:31, 31
* D. M. MacDowell, ''Demosthenes the Orator'', ch. 13; I. Worthington, ''Alexander the Great'', 21.
According to Konstantinos Tsatsos and Douglas M. MacDowell, Demosthenes regarded as Greeks only those who had reached the cultural standards of south Greece and he did not take into consideration ethnological criteria.D.M. MacDowell, ''Demosthenes the Orator'', ch. 13
* K. Tsatsos, ''Demosthenes'', 258.
His contempt for Philip is forcefully expressed in the ''Third Philippic'' 31 in these terms: "...he is not only no Greek, nor related to the Greeks, but not even a barbarian from any place that can be named with honour, but a pestilent knave from Macedonia, whence it was never yet possible to buy a decent slave." The wording is even more telling in Greek, ending with an accumulation of plosive pi sounds: Nevertheless, Philip, in his letter to the council and people of Athens, mentioned by Demosthenes, places himself "with the rest of the Greeks". h. Aeschines maintained that Demosthenes was bribed to drop his charges against Meidias in return for a payment of thirty mina (unit), mnai. Plutarch argued that Demosthenes accepted the bribe out of fear of Meidias's power.Aeschines, ''Against Ctesiphon''
; Plutarch, ''Demosthenes'', 1

* E.M. Harris, "Demosthenes' Speech against Meidias", 118.
Philipp August Böckh also accepted Aeschines's account for an out-of-court settlement, and concluded that the speech was never delivered. Böckh's position was soon endorsed by Arnold Schaefer and Blass. Weil agreed that Demosthenes never delivered ''Against Meidias'', but believed that he dropped the charges for political reasons. In 1956, Hartmut Erbse partly challenged Böckh's conclusions, when he argued that ''Against Meidias'' was a finished speech that could have been delivered in court, but Erbse then sided with George Grote, by accepting that, after Demosthenes secured a judgment in his favour, he reached some kind of settlement with Meidias. Kenneth Dover also endorsed Aeschines's account, and argued that, although the speech was never delivered in court, Demosthenes put into circulation an attack on Meidias. Dover's arguments were refuted by Edward M. Harris, who concluded that, although we cannot be sure about the outcome of the trial, the speech was delivered in court, and that Aeschines' story was a lie.E.M. Harris, "Demosthenes' Speech against Meidias", ''passim''; H. Weil, ''Biography of Demosthenes'', 28. i. According to Plutarch, Demosthenes deserted his colours and "did nothing honorable, nor was his performance answerable to his speeches".Plutarch, ''Demosthenes'', 20; Pseudo-Plutarch, ''Demosthenes'', 845ff. j. Aeschines reproached Demosthenes for being silent as to the seventy talents of the king's gold which he allegedly seized and embezzled. Aeschines and Dinarchus also maintained that when the Arcadians offered their services for ten talents, Demosthenes refused to furnish the money to the Thebans, who were conducting the negotiations, and so the Arcadians sold out to the Macedonians.Aeschines, ''Against Ctesiphon''
; Dinarcus, ''Against Demosthenes''
k. The exact chronology of Harpalus's entrance into Athens and of all the related events remains a debated topic among modern scholars, who have proposed different, and sometimes conflicting, chronological schemes. l. According to Pausanias (geographer), Pausanias, Demosthenes himself and others had declared that the orator had taken no part of the money that Harpalus brought from Asia. He also narrates the following story: Shortly after Harpalus ran away from Athens, he was put to death by the servants who were attending him, though some assert that he was assassinated. The steward of his money fled to Rhodes, and was arrested by a Macedonian officer, Philoxenus (general), Philoxenus. Philoxenus proceeded to examine the slave, "until he learned everything about such as had allowed themselves to accept a bribe from Harpalus." He then sent a dispatch to Athens, in which he gave a list of the persons who had taken a bribe from Harpalus. "Demosthenes, however, he never mentioned at all, although Alexander held him in bitter hatred, and he himself had a private quarrel with him."Pausanias, ''Description of Greece'',
On the other hand, Plutarch believes that Harpalus sent Demosthenes a cup with twenty talents and that "Demosthenes could not resist the temptation, but admitting the present, ... he surrendered himself up to the interest of Harpalus." Tsatsos defends Demosthenes's innocence, but Irkos Apostolidis underlines the problematic character of the primary sources on this issue—Hypereides and Dinarchus were at the time Demosthenes's political opponents and accusers—and states that, despite the rich bibliography on Harpalus's case, modern scholarship has not yet managed to reach a safe conclusion on whether Demosthenes was bribed or not. m. Blass disputes the authorship of the following speeches: ''Fourth Philippic'', ''Funeral Oration'', ''Erotic Essay,'' ''Against Stephanus 2'' and ''Against Evergus and Mnesibulus'',F. Blass, ''Die attische Beredsamkeit'', III, 1, 404–406 and 542–546. while Schaefer recognises as genuine only twenty-nine orations.A. Schaefer, ''Demosthenes und seine Zeit'', III, 111, 178, 247 and 257; H. Weil, ''Biography of Demosthenes'', 66–67. Of Demosthenes's corpus political speeches, J. H. Vince singles out five as spurious: ''On Halonnesus'', ''Fourth Philippic'', ''Answer to Philip's Letter'', ''On Organization'' and ''On the Treaty with Alexander''. n. In this discussion the work of Jonathan A. Goldstein, Professor of History and Classics at the University of Iowa, is regarded as paramount. Goldstein regards Demosthenes's letters as authentic apologetic letters that were addressed to the Athenian Assembly.J. A. Goldstein, ''The Letters of Demosthenes'', 93.



Primary sources (Greeks and Romans)

Aeschines Aeschines (; Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''Aischínēs''; 389314 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek politician, statesman and one of the ten Attic orators. Biography Although it is known he was born in Athens, the records regarding his parentage and ...
, ''Against Ctesiphon.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Aeschines, ''Against Timarchus.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Aeschines, ''The Speech on the Embassy.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Athenaeus, ''Deipnosophistae''. Translated into English b
Charles Duke Yonge
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
, ''Brutus''. See the original text i
the Latin Library
* Cicero, ''s:On oratory, De Oratore.'' See original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Cicero, ''Orator''. See the original text i
the Latin Library
. * Demades, ''On the Twelve Years''. See original text i
Perseus program
. * Demosthenes, ''Against Aphobus 1.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Demosthenes, ''Against Aphobus 3.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Demosthenes, ''Against Aristocrates.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Demosthenes, ''Against Meidias.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Demosthenes, ''Against Zenothemis.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/Olynthiac I, First Olynthiac.'' * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/Philippic I, First Philippic.'' * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/For the Freedom of the Rhodians, For the Freedom of the Rhodians'' * Demosthenes, ''Fourth Philippic''. See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Demosthenes (or Hegesippus), ''On Halonnesus''. See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/On the Crown, On the Crown.'' * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/On the Embassy, On the False Embassy.'' * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/On the Peace, On the Peace.'' * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/Olynthiac II, Second Olynthiac.'' * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/Philippic II, Second Philippic.'' * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/Olynthiac III, Third Olynthiac.'' * Demosthenes, ''s:The Public Orations of Demosthenes/Philippic III, Third Philippic.'' * Dinarchus, ''Against Demosthenes.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Diodorus Siculus, ''Library.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Dionysius of Halicarnassus, ''On the Admirable Style of Demosthenes.'' * Hypereides,''Against Demosthenes.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
* Juvenal, ''Saturae.'' See original text i
the Latin Library
. Translated into English b
M. Madan
* Cassius Longinus (philosopher), Longinus, ''On the Sublime.'' Translated b
W. Rhys Roberts
Lucian Lucian of Samosata, '; la, Lucianus Samosatensis ( 125 – after 180) was a Hellenized Syria (region), Syrian satire, satirist, rhetorician and pamphleteer who is best known for his characteristic tongue-in-cheek style, with which he frequent ...
, ''Demosthenes, An Encomium.'' Translated i
Sacred Texts
* Lucian, ''The Illiterate Book-Fancier.'' Translated i

* Pausanias (geographer), Pausanias, ''Description of Greece.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. *
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
, ''s:Lives (Dryden translation)/Cicero, Cicero''. See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. *
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
, ''s:Lives (Dryden translation)/Demosthenes, Demosthenes''. See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. *
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
, ''s:Lives (Dryden translation)/Phocion, Phocion''. See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
. * Polybius, ''Histories.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
Pseudo-Plutarch Pseudo-Plutarch is the conventional name given to the actual, but unknown, authors of a number of pseudepigrapha (falsely attributed works) attributed to Plutarch but now known to have not been written by him. Some of these works were included in s ...
, ''Aeschines.'' See Charles Barcroft'
. * Pseudo-Plutarch, ''Demosthenes.'' See Charles Barcroft'

. *
Quintilian Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (; 35 – 100 AD) was a Roman Empire, Roman educator and rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in Middle ages, medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing. In English translation, he is usuall ...
, ''Institutiones.'' See the original text i
Perseus Digital Library
the Latin Library

Secondary sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * Here and in her fiction, Renault portrays Demosthenes as corrupt, cowardly and cruel.

External links

Art of Speech

Britannica online

Works by and about Demosthenes at Perseus Digital Library
* * * ;His era

Blackwell, Christopher W.: The Assembly during Demosthenes' era

Britannica online: Macedonian supremacy in Greece

Smith, William: A Smaller History of Ancient Greece-Philip of Macedon

* [ Libanius, Hypotheses to the Orations of Demosthenes] {{DEFAULTSORT:Demosthenes Demosthenes, 384 BC births 322 BC deaths 4th-century BC Athenians 4th-century BC Ancient Greek statesmen Attic orators People who died under the regency of Antipater Philip II of Macedon Greek politicians who committed suicide Suicides by poison Ancient Greeks who committed suicide 4th-century BC diplomats People associated with Alexander the Great