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Biographies (3)

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Aristophon

Aristophon. A native of the demos of Azenia in Attica (Aeschin. c. Tim. p. 159) He lived about and after the end of the Peloponnesian war. In B. C. 412, Aristophon, Laespodius and Melesias were sent to Sparta as ambassadors by the oligarchical government of the Four Hundred (Thuc. viii. 86). In the archonship of Eucleides, B. C. 404, after Athens was delivered of the thirty tyrants, Aristophon proposed a law which, though beneficial to the republic, yet caused great uneasiness and troubles in many families at Athens; for it ordained, that no one should be regarded as a citizen of Athens whose mother was not a freeborn woman (Caryst. ap. Atwcn. xiii.; Taylor, Vit. Lys.). He also proposed various other laws, by which he acquired great popularity and the full confidence of the people (Dem. c. Eubul.), and their great number may be inferred from his own statement (ap. Aeschin. c. Ctes.), that he was accused 75 times of having made illegal proposals, but that he had always come off victorious. His influence with the people is most manifest from his accusation of Iphicrates and Timotheus, two men to whom Athens was so much indebted (B. C. 354). He charged them with having accepted bribes from the Chians and Rhodians, and the people condemned Timotheus on the mere assertion of Aristophon (C. Nepos, Timoth. 3; Aristot. Rhet. 11, 23; Deinarch. c. Demosth., c. Philocl.). After this event, but still in B. C. 354, the last time that we hear of him in history, he came forward in the assembly to defend the law of Leptines against Demosthenes, and the latter, who often mentions him, treats the aged Aristophon with great respect, and reckons him among the most eloquent orators. (c. Lept.) He seems to have died soon after. None of his orations has come down to us.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Aristophon of Azenia was one of the most durable politicians of fourth century Athens. He first appears on the political scene at the time of the restoration of the democracy at the close of the fifth century and his career lasted into the middle of the fourth. Even in old age he was an able political fighter. He was one of the prosecutors of the general Timotheus in the mid 350s and secured his conviction with a crushing fine of 100 talents. Demosthenes (18.162, 19.291) makes Aeschines earlier in his career an associate of Aristophon. Harris (1995 p.155) is sceptical. Certainly Aeschines is critical of Aristophon at 3.194. However, Aristophon fiercely opposed the terms of the peace with Macedonia in 346 (see 2.74n) and it may be that policy differences over Macedonia led to a rupture between the two.



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