PEANIA (Ancient demos) PEANIA
Demosthenes. A celebrated Athenian orator, a native of the deme of Paeania, in the tribe Pandionis. His father, Demosthenes, was a citizen of rank and opulence, and the proprietor of a manufactory of arms; not a common blacksmith, as the language of Juvenal would lead us to believe. The son was born about B.C. 383, and lost his father at the early age of seven years, when he was left to the care of his mother, Cleobule. The guardians to whom his father had intrusted the administration of a large property proving faithless to their charge and wasting a large portion of his patrimony, the orator's early studies were seriously hampered by the want of sufficient means, to say nothing of the delicate state of his own health. When Demosthenes was some sixteen years of age his curiosity was attracted by a trial in which Callistratus pleaded and won a cause of considerable importance. The eloquence which gained, and the applause which followed, his success so inflamed the ambition of the young Athenian that he determined to devote himself thenceforward to the assiduous study of oratory. He chose Isaeus as his master rather than Isocrates; from Plato, also, he imbibed much of the richness and the grandeur which characterize the writings of that philosopher. At the age of seventeen he appeared before the courts and pronounced against his faithless guardians, and against a debtor to his father's estate, five orations, which were crowned with complete success. These discourses, in all probability, had received the finishing touch from Isaeus, under whom Demosthenes continued to study for the space of four years after he had reached his majority.
An opening so successful emboldened the young orator to speak before the people in the assembly; but, when he made the attempt, his feeble and stammering voice, his interrupted respiration, his ungraceful gestures, and his ill-arranged periods, brought upon him general ridicule. Returning home in the utmost distress, he was encouraged by the kindness of the actor Satyrus, who, having requested Demosthenes to repeat some passage from a dramatic poet, pronounced the same extract after him with so much correctness of enunciation and in a manner so true to nature that it appeared to the young orator to be quite a different passage. Convinced, thereupon, how much grace and persuasive power a proper enunciation and manner add to the best oration, he resolved to correct the deficiencies of his youth, and accomplished this with a zeal and perseverance which have passed into a proverb. To free himself from stammering he spoke with pebbles in his mouth, a story resting on the authority of Demetrius Phalereus, his contemporary. It also appears that he was unable to articulate clearly the letter R; but he vanquished that difficulty most perfectly, for Cicero says that he exercitatione fecisse ut plenissime diceret. He removed the distortion of features which accompanied his utterance by watching the movements of his countenance in a mirror; and a naked sword was suspended over his left shoulder while he was declaiming in private, to prevent its rising above the level of the right. That his enunciation might be loud and full of emphasis he frequently ran up the steepest and most uneven walks, an exercise by which his voice acquired both force and energy; and on the sea-shore, when the waves were violently agitated, he declaimed aloud, to accustom himself to the noise and tumult of a public assembly. He constructed a subterranean study, where he would often stay for two or three months together, shaving one side of his head, that in case he should wish to go abroad the shame of appearing in that condition might keep him within. In this solitary retreat, by the light of his lamp, he is said to have copied and recopied, ten times at least, the orations scattered throughout the history of Thucydides, for the purpose of moulding his own style after so pure a model.
Whatever may be the truth of these stories, Demosthenes got credit for the most indefatigable labour in the acquisition of his art. His enemies, at a subsequent period of his career, attempted to ridicule this extraordinary industry, by remarking that all his arguments "smelled of the lamp," and they eagerly embraced the opportunity of denying him the possession of natural talents. This criticism of Demosthenes seems to have rested chiefly on his known reluctance to speak without preparation. The fact is, that though he could exert the talent of extemporaneous speaking, he avoided rather than sought such occasions, partly from deference to his audience and partly from apprehending the possibility of a failure. Plutarch, however, who mentions this reluctance of the orator, speaks at the same time of the great merit of his extemporaneous effusions.
Demosthenes reappeared in public at the age of twenty-five years, and pronounced two orations against Leptines, the author of a law which imposed on every citizen of Athens, except the descendants of Harmodius and Aristogiton, the exercise of certain burdensome functions. The second of these discourses, entitled "Of Immunities," is regarded as one of his happiest efforts. After this, he became much engaged in the business of the bar, and these professional labours, added to the scanty portion of his patrimony which he had recovered from his guardians, appear to have formed his only means of support. But, whatever may have been the distinction and the advantages which Demosthenes acquired by his practice at the bar, his principal glory is derived from his political discourses. At the period when he engaged in public affairs the State was a mere wreck. Public spirit was at the lowest ebb; the laws had lost their authority; the austerity of early manners had yielded to the inroads of luxury, activity to indolence, and probity to venality. Of the virtues of their fathers there remained to the Athenians little save an attachment, carried almost to enthusiasm, for their native soil. On the slightest occasion this feeling of patriotism was sure to display itself; and, thanks to this sentiment, the people of Athens were still capable of making strenuous efforts for the preservation of their freedom. No one understood better than Demosthenes the art of exciting and keeping alive this enthusiasm. His penetration enabled him easily to divine the ambitious plans of Philip of Macedon from the very outset of that monarch's operations, and he resolved to counteract them. His whole public career, indeed, had but one object in view, and that was war with Philip. For the space of fourteen years this monarch found the Athenian orator continually in his path, and every attempt proved unavailing to corrupt so formidable an adversary. These fourteen years, which immediately preceded the fall of Grecian freedom, constitute the brightest period in the history of Demosthenes. And yet his courage was political rather than military. At Chaeronea (B.C. 338) he fled from the field of battle, though in the Athenian assembly no private apprehensions could check his eloquence or influence his conduct. But, though overpowered in the contest with the enemy of Athenian independence, he received after his defeat the most honourable recompense which, in accordance with Grecian customs, a grateful country could bestow. Athens decreed him a crown of gold. The reward was opposed by Aeschines. The combat of eloquence which arose between the two orators attracted to Athens an immense concourse of spectators. Demosthenes triumphed, and his antagonist, not having received the fifth part of the votes, was, in conformity with the existing law, compelled to retire into exile. A short time after this splendid victory Demosthenes was condemned for having suffered himself to be bribed by Harpalus, a Macedonian governor, who, dreading the anger of Alexander, had come to Athens to hide there the fruit of his extortion and rapine, and had bargained with the popular leaders of the day for the protection of the Republic. Demosthenes, having escaped from imprisonment, fled to Aegina (B.C. 324), whence he could behold the shores of his beloved country, and earnestly and constantly protested his innocence. After the death of Alexander he was restored, and his entry into Athens was marked by every demonstration of joy. A new league was formed among the Grecian cities against the Macedonians, and Demosthenes was the soul of it. But the confederacy was broken up by Antipater, and the death of the orator was decreed. He retired, thereupon, from Athens to the island of Calauria, off the coast of Argolis, and, being still pursued by the satellites of Antipater, terminated his life there by poison, in the temple of Poseidon, at the age of about sixty years, B.C. 322.
Before the time of Demosthenes there existed three distinct styles of eloquence: that of Lysias, mild and persuasive, which quietly engaged the attention and won the assent of an audience; that of Thucydides, bold and animated, which awakened the feelings and powerfully forced conviction on the mind; while that of Isocrates was, as it were, a combination of the two former. Demosthenes can scarcely be said to have adopted any individual as a model, although he bestowed so much untiring labour on the historian of the Peloponnesian War. He rather culled all that was valuable from the various styles of his great predecessors, working them up and blending them into one harmonious whole. In the general structure of many of his sentences he resembles Thucydides, but is simpler and more perspicuous and better calculated to be quickly comprehended by an audience. On the other hand, his clearness in narration and his elegance and purity of diction remind the reader of Lysias. But the argumentative parts of the speeches of Lysias are often deficient in vigour; whereas earnestness, power, zeal, rapidity, and passion, all exemplified in plain, unornamented language and a strain of close, business-like reasoning, are the distinctive characteristics of Demosthenes. The general tone of his oratory, indeed, was admirably adapted to an Athenian audience, constituted as it was of those whose habits of life were mechanical, and of those whom ambition or taste had led to the cultivation of literature. The former were captivated by strong good sense, urged with masculine force and inextinguishable spirit, and by the forcible application of plain truths; while there was enough of grace and variety to please more learned and fastidious auditors. Another very remarkable excellence of Demosthenes is the collocation of his words. The arrangement of sentences in such a manner that their cadences should be harmonious, and to a certain degree rhythmical, was a study much in vogue among the great masters of Grecian composition. See Colon.
The question has often been raised as to the secret of the success of Demosthenes. The universal approbation will appear the more extraordinary to a reader who for the first time peruses the orations. They do not exhibit any of that declamation on which loosely hangs the fame of so many aspirants to eloquence. There appears no deep reflection to indicate a more than ordinary penetration, or any philosophical remarks to prove the extent of his acquaintance with the great moral writers of his country. He 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 this, that his political principles were interwoven with his very spirit; they were not assumed to serve an interested purpose, to be laid aside when he descended from the bema and resumed when he sought to accomplish an object, but were deeply seated in his heart and emanated from its profoundest depths. The more his country was environed by dangers, the more steady was his resolution. Nothing ever impaired the truth and integrity of his feelings or weakened his generous conviction. It was his undeviating firmness, his disdain of all compromise, that made him the first of statesmen and orators; in this lay the substance of his power, the primary foundation of his superiority; the rest was merely secondary. The mystery of his influence, then, lay in his honesty; and it is this that gave warmth and tone to his feelings, energy to his language, and an impression to his manner before which every imputation of insincerity must have immediately vanished. We may thus perceive the meaning of Demosthenes himself, when, to one who asked him what was the first requisite in an orator, he merely replied, "Delivery" (hupokrisis); and when asked what were the second and third requisites, gave the same answer as at first (Plut. Vit. X. Orat.). His meaning was this: a lifeless manner on the part of a public speaker shows that his own feelings are not enlisted in the cause which he is advocating, and it is idle for him, therefore, to seek to make converts of others when he has failed in making one of himself. On the other hand, when the tone of voice, the gesture, the look, the whole manner of the orator, display the powerful feelings that agitate him, his emotion is communicated to his hearers, and success is inevitable.
Of the orations we have sixty-one (half of them spurious), and fifty-six Introductions, or prooimia demegorika. In confining ourselves to the classification adopted by the ancient rhetori cians, we may arrange all these discourses under one of three heads. (I.) Deliberative discourses (logoi sumbouleutikoi), treating of political topics, and delivered either before the Senate or the assembly of the people. (II.) Judicial speeches (logoi dikanikoi), having for their object accusation or defence. (III.) Studied or set speeches (logoi epideiktikoi), intended to censure or praise. Seventeen of the orations of Demosthenes belong to the first of these classes, forty-two to the second, and two to the third.
Of the seventeen discourses which compose the first class, five treat of various subjects connected with the Republic, and twelve of the quarrels between the State and Philip. Our limits allow an examination of only a few of these that are most important in their character. Of the twelve harangues that turn upon the quarrels of the Republic with Philip, the first was pronounced in B.C. 351; the second, third, and fourth in B.C. 349; the fifth in B.C. 347; the sixth in B.C. 346; the seventh in B.C. 344; the eighth in B.C. 343; the ninth in B.C. 342; the tenth and eleventh in B.C. 341; and the twelfth in B.C. 340. The order here given is that of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, but no manuscript and no editions observe it. The manuscripts give the First, Second, Tenth, and Eleventh Philippics of Dionysius by name, and regard his fifth as forming the conclusion of the first. They give the title of Second, Third, and First Olynthiacs to his Second, Third, and Fourth. The remaining four (Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, Twelfth) have the following titles: "Of Peace," "Of Halonesus," "Of the Chersonesus," and "On the Letter of Philip." We shall now speak of them in chronological order. The (1 and 2) Pros Philippon logos protos, the First Philippic. Demosthenes here exhorts his fellow-citizens to prosecute the war with the greatest vigour against Philip. This monarch had, after the defeat of the Phocians, assumed a threatening attitude, as if wishing to establish himself in their country. The discourse we are now considering has been divided into two parts, which, according to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, were pronounced at different times; but this opinion is contradicted by most critics. (3, 4, 5) Olunthiakos A, B, G--The three Olynthiacs. Their object is to stimulate the Athenians to succour Olynthus and prevent its falling into the hands of Philip. (6) Peri tes eirenes, "Of the Peace." Philip having obtained a seat in the council of the Amphictyons, Demosthenes advises his countrymen to preserve the peace with this prince. Libanius thinks that this discourse, though written by Demosthenes, was never delivered. Modern scholars are, however, of a different opinion. (7) Kata Philippou logos B, the Second Philippic, pronounced after the return of Demosthenes from the Peloponnesus, where he had negotiated a peace between Sparta and Messenia. (8) Peri tes Halonesou, "Of Halonesus," or, rather, of a letter of Philip's, by which he makes a present to the Athenians of the island of Halonesus, which he had taken from the pirates, and demands of the Athenians to share with them the office of protecting the seas. Demosthenes strenuously opposes so insulting an offer; it is, however, far from certain whether he ever pronounced such a discourse as this. Libanius says that the ancient critics ascribed it to Hegesippus, the friend of Demosthenes. Suidas and the author of the Etymologicum Magnum agree with him. (9) Peri ton en Cherronesoi pragmaton, e ho peri Diopeitheous, "Of the events in the Chersonesus, or of Diopithes." That general, sent at the head of a colony into the Chersonesus, had committed hostilities against the city of Cardia, the only one which Philip had reserved for himself in the conditions of peace. Diopithes had even made an inroad into Macedonia. Philip insisted on his being punished. Demosthenes undertakes in this oration to justify the conduct of the Athenian commander. (10) Kata Philippou logos G, the Third Philippic. The progress which Philip had made in Thrace, where he was preparing to lay siege to the cities of Perinthus and Byzantium, form the subject of this harangue. (11) Kata Philippou logos D, the Fourth Philippic, pronounced at the time when Philip had raised the siege of Perinthus, in order to fall upon Byzantium. Valckenaer, Wolf, and Bekker do not acknowledge this as a production of Demosthenes. (12) Ho pros ten epistolen Philippou logos, "On the Letter of Philip." The letter of the king, to which this harangue refers, still exists. It contains many complaints, but no declaration of war. Taylor, Reiske, Valckenaer, and Bekker consider this letter to be spurious.
We come now to the second class of the orations of Demosthenes, namely, those of a judicial nature; and here a distinction must be made between those which refer to affairs connected with the State and those which relate to individual interests: in the former case, the procedure was called kategoria; in the second, dike--words which may be translated by "accusation" and "pleadings." Of the first species we have twelve harangues remaining, the most important one of which is that entitled Peri Stephanou, "On the Crown." Demosthenes had been twice crowned in the theatre during the Dionysiac festival: the first time after the expulsion of the Macedonian garrisons from the island of Euboea, and again after the alliance with the Thebans. In the year B.C. 338, Ctesiphon, who was then president of the Senate, had a decree passed by this body that, if the people approved, Demosthenes should be crowned at the approaching Dionysiac festival, in the public theatre, as a recompense for the disinterested manner in which he had filled various offices, and for the services which he had never for a moment ceased to render the State. This matter had to be confirmed by a psephisma, or decree of the people; but, before it was brought before them, Aeschines presented himself as the accuser of Ctesiphon. He charged him with having violated the laws in proposing to crown a public functionary before the latter had given an account of the manner in which he had discharged his office; and to crown him, too, in the theatre, instead of the senate-house or the Pnyx, where this could alone be done; finally, in having alleged what was false, for the purpose of favouring Demosthenes. He concluded by demanding that a fine of fifty talents be imposed upon Ctesiphon. The matter remained for some time pending, in consequence of the troubles that followed the battle of Chaeronea. When, however, the influence of the Macedonian party had, through the exertions of Antipater, gained the ascendency in Athens, Aeschines believed it to be a favourable moment for the revival of his accusation. It was brought forward, therefore, again, in B.C. 330, or eight years after the proposition of Ctesiphon had been made. Aeschines thereupon pronounced his famous harangue, to which Demosthenes replied. This speech of Demosthenes is regarded, and justly so, not only as his masterpiece, but as the most perfect specimen that eloquence has ever produced. It is said that after this discourse Demosthenes no longer appeared as a public speaker. Ulpian, in his commentary on the oration De Corona, relates an anecdote which has been often cited. Demosthenes is endeavouring to fix the charge of bribery on Aeschines, whom he represents as corrupted by Philip and by Alexander, and consequently their hireling and not their friend or guest. Of this assertion he declares his willingness to submit the truth to the judgment of the assembly. "I call thee," says the orator, "the hireling, first of Philip and now of Alexander; and all these who are here present agree in opinion with me. If thou disbelievest it, ask them the question; but no, I will ask them myself. Athenians, does Aeschines appear to you in the light of a hireling or a friend of Alexander's?" In putting this question, Demosthenes purposely commits a fault of accentuation: he places the accent improperly on the antepenultima, instead of the last syllable, of misthotos--in the words of Ulpian, hekon ebarbarisen--in order to draw the attention of the people from the question to the pronunciation. This had the desired effect: the accurate ears of the Athenians were struck with the mistake; to correct it, they called out misthotos, misthotos, "a hireling! a hireling!" from every part of the assembly. Pretending to receive the word as the expression of their sentiments on the guilt of Aeschines, he cried out, "Dost thou hear what they say?"
The simple pleadings (dikai) relative to matters of private interest, constitute the second class of judicial actions. Of these we have thirty remaining, which are as follows: (1) Discourses having relation to the proceedings instituted by Demosthenes against his guardians. They are five in number: of these, two are against Aphobus, and two against Onetor, his brother. (2) Logoi paragraphikoi, or, as Cicero calls them, constitutiones translativae. We have seven discourses of this class from the pen of Demosthenes, viz.: against Zenothemis, against Apaturius, against Lacritus, against Phormion, against Pantaenetus, against Nausimachus, and Xenopithaea. (3) Discourses relative to the rights of succession and to questions of dower. These are four in number: against Macartatus, against Leochares, against Spudias, against Boeotus for his mother's dowry. (4) Discourses in matters of commerce and of debt. These are three in number: against Calippus, against Nicostratus, against Timotheus. (5) Actions for indemnity and for damages (blabe, aikia). The discourses under this head are five in number: against Boeotus, against Olympiodorus, against Conon, against Dionysiodorus, against Callicles. (6) Actions for perjury: two discourses against Stephanus, and one against Euergus and Mnesibulus. (7) Three discourses on the subject of the antidosis (q. v.), or exchange of estates. The discourses under this head are the following: against Phoenippus, against Polycles, and respecting the crown of the trierarchia. It is unnecessary to speak of each of these thirty pleadings; a few [p. 494] remarks on some of them must suffice. The five discourses which Demosthenes pronounced against his guardians contain valuable details respecting his youth, his fortune, and the Athenian laws. Aphobus, one of the guardians, was condemned to pay Demosthenes the sum of ten talents. It does not appear whether he brought the two other guardians to trial or not. These discourses have some resemblance to those of Isaeus, his master. The paragraphe for Phormio against Apollodorus has furnished occasion for a reproach to the memory of Demosthenes. We are told by Plutarch that Demosthenes "wrote an oration for Apollodorus, by which he carried his cause against the general Timotheus, in an action for debt to the public treasury; as also those others against Phormio and Stephanus, which formed a just exception against his character. For he composed likewise the oration which Phormio had pronounced against Apollodorus. This, therefore, was like furnishing the enemies with weapons out of the same shop."
The discourse against Macartatus, respecting the succession of Hagnias, is interesting from the circumstance of our having the defence of Macartatus by Isaeus, and from our being thus able to compare the pupil with his former master. It remains to speak of the third class of Demosthenes's orations, the logoi epideiktikoi, "studied or set speeches." We have only two remaining, and these, very probably, are spurious. The one, epitaphios logos, is a eulogy on the Athenians who had perished at Chaeronea; the other, erotikos logos, is written in praise of the beauty of the young Epicrates.
There are also six letters ascribed to Demosthenes; five of them are addressed to the people of Athens. All, however, are forgeries.
Good manuscripts of Demosthenes are rare, but several of them are as old as the eleventh century, and most of them contain a very large portion, if not the whole, of the extant works. In all, there are some 170 MSS. They are divided by editors into three groups, of which the first is headed by a Codex Parisinus (S or S) of the tenth or eleventh century, distinguished by remarkable omissions in the text; the second is headed by a Marcianus Venetus (F) and another Codex Parisinus (g), both of the eleventh century; the third by a Codex Monacensis (A), also of the eleventh century, distinguished by curious simplifications of hard passages. Editors are not entirely agreed as to the value of S or S, some maintaining that it gives the authentic text, others believing that it gives an edition by a clever scholar. The scholia on Demosthenes are inferior, the best being those in C. Muller (Paris, 1846-47) and Scholia Graeca in Demosth. (Oxford, 1851). On the MSS. see Vomel's Prolegomena Critica to his edition (Halle, 1856-57).
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Demosthenes, the greatest of the Greek orators, was the son of one Demosthenes,
and born in the Attic demos of Paeania. Respecting the year of his birth, the
statements of the ancients differ as much as the opinions of modern critics. Some
of the earlier scholars acquiesced in the express testimony of Dionysius of Halicarnassus
(Ep. ad Amm. i. 4), who says that Demosthenes was born in the year preceding the
hundredth Olympiad, that is B. C. 381. Gellius (xv. 28) states that Demosthenes
was in his twenty-seventh year at the time when he composed his orations against
Androtion and Timocrates, which belong to B. C. 355, so that the birth of Demosthenes
would fall in B. C. 383 or 382, the latter of which is adopted by Clinton. According
to the account in the lives of the Ten Orators Demosthenes was born in the archonship
of Dexitheus, that is, B. C. 385, and this statement has been adopted by most
modern critics, such as Becker, Bockh, Westermann, Thirlwall, and others; whereas
some have endeavoured to prove that B. C. 384 was his birthyear. The opinion now
most commonly received is, that Demosthenes was born in B. C. 385. For detailed
discussions on this question the reader is referred to the works mentioned at
the end of this article.
When Demosthenes, the father, died, he left behind him a widow, the daughter of Gylon, and two children, Demosthenes, then a boy of seven, and a daughter who was only five years old (Plut. Dem. 4; Dem. c. Aphob. ii; Aeschin. c. Ctesiph.171). During the last moments of his life, the father had entrusted the protection of his wife and children and the care of his property, partly capital and partly a large sword manufactory, to three guardians, Aphobus, a son of his sister Demophon, a son of his brother, and an old friend Therippides, on condition that the first should marry the widow and receive with her a dowry of eighty minae; the second was to marry the daughter on her attaining the age of maturity, and was to receive at once two talents, and the third was to have the interest of seventy minae, till Demosthenes, the son, should come of age (Dem. c. Aphob. i, ii). But the first two of the guardians did not comply with the stipulations made in the will, and all three, in spite of all the remonstrances of the family, united in squandering and appropriating to themselves a great portion of the handsome property, which is estimated at upwards of fourteen talents, and might easily have been doubled during the minority of Demosthenes by a prudent administration. But, as it was, the property gradually was so reduced, that when Demosthenes became of age, his guardians had no more than seventy minae, that is, only one twelfth of the property which the father had left (Dem. c. Aphob. i., c. Onet.). This shameful conduct of his own relatives and guardians unquestionably exercised a great influence on the mind and character of Demosthenes, for it was probably during that early period that, suffering as he was through the injustice of those from whom he had a right to expect protection, his strong feeling of right and wrong was planted and developed in him, a feeling which characterizes his whole subsequent life. He was thus thrown upon his own resources, and the result was great selfreliance, independence of judgment, and his oratory, which was the only art by which he could hope to get justice done to himself.
Although Demosthenes passed his youth amid such troubles and vexations, there is no reason for believing with Plutarch (Dem. 4), that he grew up neglected and without any education at all. The very fact that his guardians are accused of having refused to pay his teachers (c. Aphob. i.) shews that he received some kind of education, which is further confirmed by Demosthenes's own statement (de Coron.), though it cannot be supposed that his education comprised much more than an elementary course. The many illustrious personages that are mentioned as his teachers, must be conceived to have become connected with him after he had attained the age of manhood. He is said to have been instructed in philosophy by Plato (Plut. Dem. 5, Vit. X Orat.; Diog. Laert. iii. 46; Cic. Brut. 31, Orat. 4; Quintil. xiii. 2.22, 10.24; Gellius, iii. 13). It may be that Demosthenes knew and esteemed Plato, but it is more than doubtful whether he received his instruction; and to make him, as some critics have done, a perfect Platonic, is certainly going too far. According to some accounts he was instructed in oratory by Isocrates (Plut. Vit. X Orat.; Phot. Bibl.), but this was a disputed point with the ancients themselves, some of whom stated, that he was not personally instructed by Isocrates, but only that he studied the techne rhetorike, which Isocrates had written (Plut. Vit. X Orat., Dem. 5). The tradition of Demosthenes having been a pupil of Isocrates is, moreover, not supported by any evidence derived from the orations of Demosthenes himself, who speaks with contempt of the rhetorical school of Isocrates (c. Lacrin.), and an unbiassed reader of the works of the two orators cannot discover any direct influence of the elder upon the younger one, for certain words and phrases cannot assuredly be taken as proofs to the contrary. The account that Demosthenes was instructed in oratory by Isaeus (Plut. Dem. 5, Vit. X Orat.; Phot. Bibl.), has much more probability; for at that time Isaeus was the most eminent orator in matters connected with the laws of inheritance, the very thing which Demosthenes needed. This account is further supported by the fact, that the earliest orations of Demosthenes, viz. those against Aphobus and Onetor, bear so strong a resemblance to those of Isaeus, that the ancients themselves believed them to have been composed by Isaeus for Demosthenes, or that the latter had written them under the guidance of the former (Plut. Vit. X Orat.; Liban. Vit. Dem., Argum. ad Orat. c. Onet.). We may suppose without much hesitation, that during the latter years of his minority Demosthenes privately prepared himself for the career of an orator, to which he was urged on by his peculiar circumstancesno less than by the admiration he felt for the orators of his time, and that during the first years after his attaining the age of manhood he availed himself of the instruction of Isaeus.
Immediately after becoming of age in B. C. 366, Demosthenes called upon his guardians to render him an account of their administration of his property; but by intrigues they contrived to defer the business for two years, which was perhaps less disagreeable to him, as he had to prepare himself and to acquire a certain legal knowledge and oratorical power before he could venture to come forward in his own cause with any hope of success. In the course of these two years, however, the matter was twice investigated by the diaetetae, and was decided each time in favour of Demosthenes (Dem. c. Aphob. i., c. Aphob. iii.). At length, in the third year after his coming of age, in the archonship of Timocrates, B. C. 364 (Dem. c. Onet.), Demosthenes brought his accusation against Aphobus before the archon, reserving to himself the right to bring similar charges against Demophon and Therippides, which, however, he does not appear to have done (c. Aphob. i.; Plut. Vit. X Orat.; Zozim. Vit. Dem.). Aphobus was condemned to pay a fine of ten talents. This verdict was obtained by Demosthenes in the face of all the intrigues to which Aphobus had resorted for the purpose of thwarting him and involving him in a series of other law-suits (c. Aphob.). The extant orations of Demosthenes against Aphobus, who endeavoured to prevent his taking possession of his property, refer to these transactions. Demosthenes had thus gained a signal victory over his enemies, notwithstanding all the extraordinary disadvantages under which he laboured, for his physical constitution was weak, and his organ of speech deficient--whence, probably, he derived the nickname of Batalos, the delicate youth, or the stammerer,--and it was only owing to the most unwearied and persevering exertions that he succeeded in overcoming and removing the obstacles which nature had placed in his way. These exertions were probably made by him after he had arrived at the age of manhood. In this manner, and by speaking in various civil cases, he prepared himself for the career of a political orator and statesman. It is very doubtful whether Demosthenes, like some of his predecessors, engaged also in teaching rhetoric, as some of his Greek biographers assert.
The suit against Aphobus had made Meidias a formidable and implacable enemy of Demosthenes (Dem. c. Aphob. ii., c. Meid.), and the danger to which he thus became exposed was the more fearful, since except his personal powers and virtues he had nothing to oppose to Meidias, who was the most active member of a coterie, which, although yet without any definite political tendency, was preparing the ruin of the republic by violating its laws and sacrificing its resources to personal and selfish interests. The first acts of open hostility were committed in B. C. 361, when Meidias forced his way into the house of Demosthenes and insulted the members of his family. This led Demosthenes to bring against him the action of kakeloria, and when Meidias after his condemnation did not fulfil his obligations, Demosthenes brought against him a dike exoules (Dem. c. Meid.). Meidias found means to prevent any decision being given for a period of eight years, and at length, in B. C. 354, he had an opportunity to take revenge upon Demosthenes, who had in that year voluntarily undertaken the choregia. Meidias not only endeavoured in all possible ways to prevent Demosthenes from discharging his office in its proper form, but attacked him with open violence during the celebration of the great Dionysia (Dem. c. Meid.). Such an act committed before the eyes of the people demanded reparation, and Demosthenes brought an action against him. Public opinion condemned Meidias, and it was in vain that he made all possible efforts to intimidate Demosthenes, who remained firm in spite of all his enemy's machinations, until at length, when an amicable arrangement was proposed, Demosthenes accepted it, and withdrew his accusation. It is said that he received from Meidias the sum of thirty minae (Plut. Dem. 12; Aeschin. c. Ctesiph. 52). The reason why Demosthenes withdrew his accusation was in all probability his fear of the powerful party of which Meidias was the leader; his accepting the sum of thirty minae, which, however, can scarcely be treated as an authentic fact(Isid. Epist.iv. 205), has been looked upon as an illegal act, and has been brought forward as a proof that Demosthenes was accessible to bribes. But the law which forbade the dropping of a public accusation (Dem. c. Meid.) does not appear to have been always strictly observed, as it was merely intended to prevent frivolous and unfounded accusations. If, on the other hand, Demosthenes did receive the thirty minae, it does not follow that it was a bribe, for that sum may have been required of him as a fine for dropping his accusationn against Meidias, or Demosthenes may have regarded that sum as a satisfactory acknowledgement of the guilt of his enemy. This affair belongs to the year B. C. 353, in which also the extant oration against Meidias was written, but as Demosthenes did not follow up the suit, the oration was left in its present unfinished state.
Demosthenes had some years before this event come forward as a speaker in the public assembly, for in B. C. 355 he had delivered the orations against Leptines and Androtion (Dionys. Ep. ad Amm. i. 4), and in B. C. 353 the oration against Timocrates. The general esteem which Demosthenes enjoyed as early as that time is sufficiently attested by the fact, that in B. C. 354, in spite of all the intrigues of Meidias, he was confirmed in the dignity of Bouleutes, to which he had been elected by lot (Dem. c. Meid.), and that in the year following he conducted, in the capacity of architheoros, the usual theoria, which the state of Athens sent to the festival of the Nemean Zeus (c. Meid.). The active part he took in public affairs is further attested by the orations which belong to this period: in B. C. 354 he spoke against the projected expedition to Euboea, though without success, and he himself afterwards joined in it under Phocion (Dem. de Pace, Meid.). In the same year he delivered the oration peri summoron, in which he successfully dissuaded the Athenians from their foolish scheme of undertaking a war against Persia (Dem. de Rhod. lib.), and in B. C. 353 he spoke for the Megalopolitans (huper Megalopolton), and opposed the Spartans, who had solicited the aid of Athens to reduce Megalopolis.
The one hundred and sixth Olympiad, or the period from B. C. 356, is the beginning of the career of Demosthenes as one of the leading statesmen of Athens, and henceforth the history of his life is closely mixed up with that of his country; for there is no question affecting the public good in which he did not take the most active part, and support with all the power of his oratory what he considered right and beneficial to the state. King Philip of Macedonia had commenced in B. C. 358 his encroachments upon the possessions of Athens in the north of the Aegean, and he had taken possession of the towns of Amphipolis, Pydna, Potidaea, and Methone. During those proceedings he had contrived to keep the Athenians at a distance, to deceive them and keep them in good humour by delusions and apparently favourable promises. Demosthenes was not, indeed, the only man who saw that these proceedings were merely a prelude to greater things, and that unless the king was checked, he would attempt the subjugation, not only of Athens but of all Greece; but Demosthenes was the only person who had the honesty and the courage openly to express his opinions, and to call upon the Greeks to unite their strength against the common foe. His patriotic feelings and convictions against Macedonian aggrandizement are the groundwork of his Philippics, a series of the most splendid and spirited orations. They did not, it is true, produce the desired results, but the fault was not his, and the cause of their failure must be sought in the state of general dissolution in the Greek republics at the time; for while Philip occupied his threatening position, the Phocians were engaged in a war for life and death with the Thebans; the states of Peloponnesus looked upon one another with mistrust and hatred, and it was only with great difficulty that Athens could maintain a shadow of its former supremacy. The Athenians themselves, as Demosthenes says, were indolent, even when they knew what ought to be done; they could not rouse themselves to an energetic opposition; their measures were in most cases only half measures; they never acted at the right time, and indulged in spending the treasures of the republic upon costly pomps and festivities, instead of employing them as means to ward off the danger that was gathering like a storm at a distance. This disposition was, moreover, fostered by the ruling party at Athens. It was further an unfortunate circumstance for Athens that, although she had some able generals, yet she had no military genius of the first order to lead her forces against the Macedonian, and make head against him. It was only on one occasion, in B. C. 353, that the Athenians gained decided advantages by a diversion of their fleet, which prevented Philip passing Thermopylae during the war between the Phocians and Thebans. But a report of Philip's illness and death soon made room for the old apathy, and the good-will of those who would have acted with spirit was paralyzed by the entire absence of any definite plan in the war against Macedonia, although the necessity of such a plan had been pointed out, and proposals had been made for it by Demosthenes in his first Philippic, which was spoken in B. C. 352. Philip's attack upon Olynthus in B. C. 349, which terminated in the year following with the conquest of the place, deprived the Athenians of their last stronghold in the north. At the request of several embassies from the Olynthians, and on the impressive exhortation of Demosthenes in his three Olynthiac orations, the Athenians had indeed made considerable efforts to save Olynthus (Dem. de Fals. Leg.; Dionys. Ep. ad Amm. i. 9), but their operations were thwarted in the end by a treacherous plot which was formed at Olynthus itself, and the town fell into the hands of Philip.
The next event in which Demosthenes took an active part is the peace with Philip, which from its originator is called the peace of Philocrates, and is one of the most obscure points in the history of Demosthenes and of Athens, since none of the historians whose works are extant enter into the details of the subject. Our only sources of information are the orations of Demosthenes and Aeschines on the embassy (peri parapresbeias), which contain statements so much at variance and so contradictory, that it is next to impossible to come to any certain conclusions, although, if we consider the characters of the two orators, the authority of Demosthenes is entitled to higher credit than that of Aeschines. The former may, to some extent, have been labouring under a delusion, but Aeschines had the intention to deceive. The following particulars, however, may be looked upon as well established. During the Olynthian war, Philip had expressed his willingness to conclude a peace and alliance with Athens, and the Athenians, who were tired of the war and unable to form a coalition against the king, had accepted the proposal. Philocrates accordingly advised the Athenians to commence negotiations and to send an embassy to Philip. Demosthenes supported the plan, and Philocrates, Aeschines, and Demosthenes were among the ambassadors who went to the king. The transactions with Philip are not quite clear, though they must have referred to the Phocians and Thebans also, for the Phocians were allied with Athens, and the Athenian ambassadors probably demanded that the Phocians should be included in the treaty of peace and alliance between Macedonia and Athens. But this was more than Philip was inclined to agree to, since he had already resolved upon the destruction of the Phocians. It is, therefore, very probable that he may have quieted the ambassadors by vague promises, and have declined to comply with their demand under the pretext that he could not make a public declaration in favour of the Phocians on account of his relation to the Thessalians and Thebans. After the return of the ambassadors to Athens, the peace was discussed in two successive assemblies of the people, and it was at length sanctioned and sworn to by an oath to the king's ambassadors. Aeschines censures Demosthenes for having hurried the conclusion of this peace so much, that the Athenians did not even wait for the arrival of the deputies of their allies, who had been invited, and the contradictory manner in which Demosthenes himself (de Fals. Leg., de Coron.) speaks of the matter seems indeed to cast some suspicion upon him; but the cause of Demosthenes's acting as he did may have been the vague manner in which Philip had expressed himself in regard to the Phocians. At any rate, however, quick decision was absolutely necessary, since Philip was in the meantime making war upon Cersobleptes, a king of Thrace, and since, in spite of his promises to spare the possessions of Athens in the Chersonesus, he might easily have been tempted to stretch out his hands after them: in order to prevent this, it was necessary that Philip, as soon as possible, should take his oath to the treaty of peace and alliance with Athens. It was on this occasion that the treacherous designs of Aeschines and his party became manifest, for notwithstanding the urgent admonitions of Demosthenes not to lose any time, the embassy to receive the king's oath (epi tous horkous), of which both Aeschines and Demosthenes were again members (the statement in the article Aeschines, that Demosthenes was not one of the ambassadors, must be corrected: see Newman in the Classical Museum, vol. i. p. 145), set out with a slowness as if there had been no danger whatever, and instead of taking the shortest road to Macedonia by sea, the ambassadors travelled by land. On their arrival in Macedonia they quietly waited till Philip returned from Thrace. Nearly three months passed away in this manner, and when at length Philip arrived, he deferred taking his oath until he had completed his preparations against the Phocians. Accompanied by the Athenian ambassadors, he then marched into Thessaly, and it was not till his arrival at Pherae that he took his oath to the treaty, from which he now excluded the Phocians. When the ambassadors arrived at Athens, Demosthenes immediately and boldly denounced the treachery of his colleagues in the embassy; but in vain. Aeschines succeeded in allaying the fears of the people, and persuaded them quietly to wait for the issue of the events. Philip in the meantime passed Thermopylae, and the fate of Phocis was decided without a blow. The king was now admitted as a member of the Amphictyonic league, and the Athenians, who had allowed themselves to act the part of mere spectators during those proceedings, were now unable to do anything, but still they ventured to express their indignation at the king's conduct by refusing their sanction to his becoming a member of the Amphictyonic league. The mischief, however, was done, and in order to prevent still more serious consequences, Demosthenes, in B. C. 346, delivered his oration " on the peace" (pepi eirenes), and the people gave way.
From this time forward the two political parties are fully developed, and openly act against each other; the party or rather the faction to which Aeschines belonged, was bribed by Philip to oppose the true patriots, who were headed by Demosthenes. He was assisted in his great work by such able men as Lycurgus, Hyperides, Polyeuctus, Hegesippus, and others, and being supported by his confidence in the good cause, he soon reached the highest point in his career as a statesman and orator. The basis of his power and influence was the people's conviction of his incorruptible love of justice and of his pure and enthusiastic love of his country. This conviction manifested itself clearly in the vengeance which the people took upon the treacherous Philocrates (Aeschin. c. Ctesiph. 79). But this admiration and reverence for real and virtuous greatness soon cooled, and it was in vain that Demosthenes endeavoured to place the other men who had betrayed their country to Philip in their embassy to him, in the same light as Philocrates (Dem. de Fals. Leg.), for the people were unwilling to sacrifice more than the one man, whom the Macedonian party itself had given up in order to save the rest. It was undoubtedly owing to the influence of this party that Aeschines, when after a long delay he consented to render an account of his conduct during the embassy, B. C. 343, escaped punishment, notwithstanding the vehement attacks of Demosthenes in the written oration peri parapesbeias.
In the mean time Philip followed up his plans for the reduction of Greece. With a view of drawing the Peloponnesians into his interests, he tried to win the confidence of the Argives and Messenians, who were then perilled by Sparta; he even sent them subsidies and threatened Sparta with an attack (Dem. Phil. ii.). Sparta did not venture to offer any resistance, and the Athenians, who were allied with Sparta, felt unable to do anything more than send ambassadors to Peloponnesus, among whom was Demosthenes, to draw the Peloponnesians away from the Macedonian, and to caution them against his intrigues (Dem. Philip. ii.). In consequence of these proceedings, ambassadors from Philip and the Peloponnesians met at Athens to complain of the Athenians favouring the ambitious schemes of Sparta, which aimed at suppressing the freedom of the peninsula, and to demand an explanation of their conduct. The Macedonian party at Athens, of course, supported those complaints; their endeavours to disguise Philip's real intentions and to represent them to the people in a favourable light, afforded an opportunity for Demosthenes, when the answer to [p. 985] be sent to the king was discussed in the assembly, B. C. 344, to place in his second Philippic the proceedings and designs of the king and his Athenian friends in their true light. The answer which the Athenians sent to Philip was probably not very satisfactory to him, for he immediately sent another embassy to Athens, headed by Python, with proposals for a modification of the late peace, although he subsequently denied having given to Python any authority for such proposals (Dem. de Halones.).
Philip had for some time been engaged in the formation of a navy, and the apprehensions which the Athenians entertained on that score were but too soon justified; for no sooner were his preparations completed, than he took possession of the island of Halonesus, which belonged to Athens. The Athenians sent an embassy to claim the island back; but Philip, who had found it in the hands of pirates, denied that the Athenians had any right to claim it, but at the same time he offered to make them a present of the island, if they would receive it as such. On the return of the ambassadors to Athens in B. C. 343, the oration on Halonesus (Peri Halonedon) was delivered. It is usually printed among the orations of Demosthenes, but belongs in all probability to Hegesippus. This and other similar acts of aggression, which at length opened the eyes of the Athenians, roused them once more to vigorous and energetic measures, in spite of the efforts of the Macedonian party to keep the people quiet. Embassies were sent to Acarnania and Peloponnesus to counteract Philip's schemes in those quarters (Dem. Phil. iii.), and his expedition into Thrace, by which the Chersonesus was threatened, called forth an energetic demonstration of the Athenians under Diopeithes. The complaints which Philip then made roused Demosthenes, in B. C. 342, to his powerful oration peri ton en Cherrhoonesps, and to his third Philippic, in which he describes the king's faithlessness in the most glaring colours, and exhorts his countrymen to unite and resist the treacherous aggressor. Soon after this, the tyrants whom Philip had established in Euboea were expelled through the influence and assistance of Demosthenes (Dem. de Coron.); but it was not till B. C. 341, when Philip laid siege to Perinthus and attacked Byzantium, that the long-sup-pressed indignation of the Athenians burst forth. The peace with Philip was now declared violated (B. C. 340); a fleet was sent to relieve Byzantium (Plut. Phoc. 14), and Philip was compelled to withdraw without having accomplished anything. Demosthenes was the soul of all these energetic measures. He had proposed, as early as the Olynthian war, to apply the theoricon to defray the expenses of the military undertakings of Athens (Dem. Olynth. iii.); but it was not till Philip's attack upon Byzantium that he succeeded in carrying a decree to this effect (Dionys. Ep. ad Amm. i. 11). By his law concerning the trierarchy (nomos trierarchikos), he further regulated the symmoriae on a new and more equitable footing (Dem. de Coron.). He thus at once gave a fresh impulse to the maritime power and enterprise of Athens, B. C. 340.
Philip now assumed the appearance of giving himself no further concern about the affairs of Greece. He carried on war with his northern neighbours, and left it to his hirelings to prepare the last stroke at the independence of Greece. He calculated well; for when in the spring of B. C. 340 the Amphictyons assembled at Delphi, Aeschines, who was present as pylagoras, effected a decree against the Locrians of Amphissa for having unlawfully occupied a district of sacred land. The Amphissaeans rose against this decree, and the Amphictyons summoned an extraordinary meeting to deliberate on the punishment to be inflicted upon Amphissa. Demosthenes foresaw and foretold the unfortunate consequences of a war of the Amphictyons, and he succeeded at least in persuading the Athenians not to send any deputies to that extraordinary meeting. (Dem. de Coron.; Aeschin. c. Ctesiph.125). The Amphictyons however decreed war against Amphissa, and the command of the Amphictyonic army was given to Cottyphus, an Arcadian; but the expedition failed from want of spirit and energy among those who took part in it (Dem. de Coron.). The consequence was, that in B. C. 339, at the next ordinary meeting of the Amphictyons, king Philip was appointed chief commander of the Amphictyonic army. This was the very thing which he had been looking for. With the appearance of justice on his side, he now had an opportunity of establishing himself with an armed force in the very heart of Greece. He set out without delay, and when the Athenians received the news of his having taken possession of Elatea, they were thrown into the deepest consternation. Demosthenes alone did not give up all hopes, and he once more roused his countrymen by bringing about an alliance between Athens and Thebes. The Thebans had formerly been favoured by Philip, but his subsequent neglect of them had effaced the recollection of it; and they now clearly saw that the fall of Athens would inevitably be followed by their own ruin. They had before opposed the war of the Amphictyons, and when Philip now called upon them to allow his army to march through their territory or to join him in his expedition against Athens, they indignantly rejected all his handsome proposals, and threw themselves into the open arms of the Athenians (Dem. de Coron.). This was the last grand effort against the growing power of Macedonia; but the battle of Chaeroneia, on the 7th of Metageitnion, B. C. 338, put an end to the independence of Greece. Thebes paid dearly for its resistance, and Athens which expected a similar fate, resolved at least to perish in a glorious struggle. The most prodigious efforts were made to meet the enemy; but Philip unexpectedly offered to conclude peace on tolerable terms, which it would have been madness to reject, for Athens thus had an opportunity of at least securing its existence and a shadow of its former independence.
The period which now followed could not be otherwise than painful and gloomy to Demosthenes, for the evil might have been averted had his advice been followed in time. The catastrophe of Chaeroneia might indeed to some extent be regarded as his work; but the people were too generous and too well convinced of the purity of his intentions, as well as of the necessity of acting as he had acted, to make him responsible for the unfortunate consequences of the war with Philip. It was, on the contrary, one of the most glorious acknowledgments of his merits that he could have received, that he was requested to deliver the funeral oration upon those who had fallen at Chaeroneia, [p. 986] and that the funeral feast was celebrated in his house (Dem. de Coron.). But the fury of the Macedonian party and of his personal enemies gave full vent to itself; they made all possible efforts to humble or annihilate the man who had brought about the alliance with Thebes, and Athens to the verge of destruction. Accusations were brought against him day after day, and at first the most notorious sycophants, such as Sosicles, Diondas, Melanthus, Aristogeiton, and others, were employed by his enemies to crush him (Dem. de Coron.); but the more notorious they were, the easier was it for Demosthenes to unmask them before the people. But matters soon began to assume a more dangerous aspect when Aeschines, the head of the Macedonian party, and the most implacable opponent of Demosthenes, came forward against him. An opportunity offered soon after the battle of Chaeroneia, when Ctesiphon proposed to reward Demosthenes with a golden crown for the conduct he had shewn during his public career, and more especially for the patriotic disinterestedness with which he had acted during the preparations which the Athenians made after the battle of Chaeroneia, when Philip was expected at the gates (Dem. de Coron.). Aeschines attacked Ctesiphon for the proposal, and tried to shew that it was not only made in an illegal form, but that the conduct of Demosthenes did not give him any claim to the public gratitude and such a distinction. This attack, however, was not aimed at Ctesiphon, who was too insignificant a person, but at Demosthenes, and the latter took up the gauntlet with the greater readiness, as he now had an opportunity of justifying his whole political conduct before his countrymen. Reasons which are unknown to us delayed the decision of the question for a number of years, and it was not till B. C. 330 (Plut. Dem. 24) that the trial was proceeded with. Demosthenes on that occasion delivered his oration on the crown (peri stephanou). Aeschines did not obtain the fifth part of the votes, and was obliged to quit Athens and spend the remainder of his life abroad. All Greece had been looking forward with the most intense interest to the issue of this contest, though few can have entertained any doubt as to which would carry the victory. The oration on the crown was, in all probability, like that of Aeschines against Ctesiphon, revised and altered at a later period.
Greece had in the mean time been shaken by new storms. The death of Philip, in B. C. 336, had revived among the Greeks the hope of shaking off the Macedonian yoke. All Greece rose, and especially Athens, where Demosthenes, although weighed down by domestic grief, was the first joyfully to proclaim the tidings of the king's death, to call upon the Greeks to unite their strength against Macedonia, and to form new connexions in Asia (Plut. Dem. 23; Aeschin. c. Clesiph.161; Diod. xvii. 3). But the sudden appearance of young Alexander with an army ready to fight, damped the enthusiasm, and Athens sent an embassy to him to sue for peace. Demosthenes was one of the ambassadors, but his feelings against the Macedonians were so strong, that he would rather expose himself to the ridicule of his enemies by returning after having gone half way, than act the part of a suppliant before the youthful king (Plut. Dem. 23; Aeschin. c. Ctesiph.161). But no sooner had Alexander set out for the north to chastise the rebellious neighbours of Macedonia, than a false report of his death called forth another insurrection of the Greeks. Thebes, which had suffered most severely, was foremost; but the insurrection spread over Arcadia, Argos, Elis. and Athens. However, with the exception of Thebes, there was no energy anywhere. Demosthenes carried indeed a decree that succours should be sent to Thebes, but no efforts were made, and Demosthenes alone, and at his own expense, sent a supply of arms. (Diod. xvii. 8.) The second sudden arrival of Alexander, and his destruction of Thebes, in B. C. 335, put an end to all further attempts of the Greeks. Athens submitted to necessity, and sent Demades to the king as mediator. Alexander demanded that the leaders of the popular party, and among them Demosthenes, should be delivered up to him; but he yielded to the intreaties of the Athenians, and did not persist in his demand.
Alexander's departure for Asia is the beginning of a period of gloomy tranquillity for Greece; but party hatred continued in secret, and it required only some spark from without to make it blaze forth again in undiminished fury. This spark came from Harpalus, who had been left by Alexander at Babylon, while the king proceeded to India. When Alexander had reached the easternmost point of his expedition, Harpalus with the treasures entrusted to his care, and with 6000 mercenaries, fled from Babylon and came to Greece. In B. C. 325 he arrived at Athens, and purchased the protection of the city by distributing his gold among the most influential demagogues. The reception of such an open rebel could not be viewed by the Macedonian party otherwise than as an act of hostility towards Macedonia itself; and it was probably at the instigation of that party, that Antipater, the regent of Macedonia, and Olympias called upon the Athenians to deliver up the rebel and the money they had received of him, and to put to trial those who had accepted his bribes. Harpalus was allowed to escape, but the investigation concerning those who had been bribed by him was instituted, and Demosthenes was among the persons suspected of the crime. The accounts of his conduct during the presence of Harpalus at Athens are so confused, that it is almost impossible to arrive at a certain conclusion. Theopompus (ap. Plut. Dem. 25, comp. Vit. X Orat.) and Deinarchus in his oration against Demosthenes state, that Demosthenes did accept the bribes of Harpalus; but Pausanias (ii. 33.4) expressly acquits him of the crime. The authority of his accusers, however, is very questionable, for in the first place they do not agree in the detail of their statements, and secondly, if we consider the conduct of Demosthenes throughout the disputes about Harpalus, if we remember that he opposed the reception of the rebel, and that he voluntarily offered himself to be tried, we must own that it is at least highly improbable that he should have been guilty of common bribery, and that it was not his guilt which caused his condemnation, but the implacable hatred of the Macedonian party, which eagerly seized this favourable opportunity to rid itself of its most formidable opponent, who was at that time abandoned by his own friends from sheer timidity. Demosthenes defended himself in an oration which Athenaeus (xiii.) calls peri tou chrusiou, and which is probably the same as the one referred to by others under the title of apologia ton doron (Dionys. de Admir. vi dic. Dem. 57, Ep. ad Amm. i. 12). But Demosthenes was declared guilty, and thrown into prison, from which however he escaped, apparently with the connivance of the Athenian magistrates (Plut. Dem. 26, Vit. X Orat.; Anonym. Vit. Demosth.158). Demosthenes quitted his country, and resided partly at Troezene and partly in Aegina, looking daily, it is said, across the sea towards his beloved native land.
But his exile did not last long, for in B. C. 323 Alexander died, and the news of his death was the watchword for a fresh rise of the Greeks, which was organized by the Athenians, and under the vigorous management of Leosthenes it soon assumed a dangerous aspect for Macedonia (Diod. xviii. 10). Demosthenes, although still living in exile, joined of his own accord the embassies which were sent by the Athenians to the other Greek states, and he roused them to a fresh struggle for liberty by the fire of his oratory. Such a devotedness to the interests of his ungrateful country disarmed the hatred of his enemies. A decree of the people was passed on the proposal of Demon, a relative of Demosthenes, by which he was solemnly recalled from his exile. A trireme was sent to Aegina to fetch him, and his progress from Peiraeeus to the city was a glorious triumph: it was the happiest day of his life (Plut. Dem. 27, Vit. X Oral.; Justin, xiii. 5). The military operations of the Greeks and their success at this time, seemed to justify the most sanguine expectations, for the army of the united Greeks had advanced as far as Thessaly, and besieged Antipater at Lamia. But this was the turning point; for although, even after the fall of Leosthenes, the Greeks succeeded in destroying the army of Leonnatus, which came to the assistance of Antipater, yet they lost, in B. C. 322, the battle of Cranon. This defeat alone would not indeed have decided the contest, had not the zeal of the Greeks gradually cooled, and had not several detachments of the allied army withdrawn. Antipater availed himself of this contemptible disposition among the Greeks, and offered peace, though he was cunning enough to negotiate only with each state separately. Thus the cause of Greece was forsaken by one state after another, until in the end the Athenians were left alone to contend with Antipater. It would have been folly to continue their resistance singlehanded, and they accordingly made peace with Antipater on his own terms. All his stipulations were complied with, except the one which demanded the surrender of the popular leaders of the Athenian people. When Antipater and Craterus thereupon marched towards Athens, Demosthenes and his friends took to flight, and, on the proposal of Demades, the Athenians sentenced them to death. Demosthenes had gone to Calauria, and had taken refuge there in the temple of Poseidon. When Archias, who hunted up the fugitives everywhere, arrived, Demosthenes, who was summoned to follow him to Antipater, took poison, which he had been keeping about his person for some time, and died in the temple of Poseidon, on the 10th of Pyanepsion, B. C. 322 (Plut. Dem. 29, Vit. X Orat.; Lucian, Encom. Dem.. 43).
Thus terminated the career of a man who has been ranked by persons of all ages among the greatest and noblest spirits of antiquity; and this fame will remain undiminished so long as sterling sentiments and principles and a consistent conduct through life are regarded as the standard by which a man's worth is measured, and not simply the success--so often merely dependent upon circumstances--by which his exertions are crowned. The very calumnies which have been heaped upon Demosthenes by his enemies and detractors more extravagantly than upon any other man--the coarse and complicated web of lies which was devised by Aeschines, and in which he himself was caught, and lastly, the odious insinuations of Theopompus, the historian, which are credulously repeated by Plutarch,--have only served to bring forth the political virtues of Demosthenes in a more striking and brilliant light. Some points there are in his life which perhaps will never be quite cleared up on account of the distorted accounts that have come down to us about them. Some minor charges which are made against him, and affect his character as a man, are almost below contempt. It is said, for example, that he took to flight after the battle of Chaeroneia, as if thousands of others had not fled with him (Plut. Dem. 20, Vit. X Oral.; Aeschin. c. Ctesiph.); that, notwithstanding his domestic calamity (his daughter had died seven days before) he rejoiced at Philip's death, which shews only the predominance of his patriotic feelings over his personal and selfish ones (Plut. Dem. 22; Aeschin. c. Ctesiph.77); and lastly, that he shed tears on going into exile--a fact for which he deserves to be loved and honoured rather than blamed (Plut. Dem. 26). The charge of tergiversation which is repeatedly brought against him by Aeschines, has never been substantiated by the least evidence (Aeschin. c. Ctesiph.173, c. Timarch.131, de Fals. Leg.165; Plut. Dem. 15). In his administration of public affairs Demosthenes is perfectly spotless, and free from all the crimes which the men of the Macedonian party committed openly and without any disguise. The charge of bribery, which was so often raised against him by the same Aeschines, must be rejected altogether, and is a mere distortion of the fact that Demosthenes accepted'subsidies from Persia for Athens, which assuredly stood in need of such assistance in its struggles with Macedonia; but there is not a shadow of a suspicion that he ever accepted any personal bribes.
His career as a statesman received its greatest lustre from his powers as an orator, in which he has not been equalled by any man of any country. Our own judgment on this point would necessarily be one-sided, as we can only read his orations; but among the contemporaries of Demosthenes there was scarcely one who could point out any definite fault in his oratory. By far the majority looked up to him as the greatest orator of the time, and it was only men of such over-refined and hypercritical tastes as Demetrius Phalereus who thought him either too plain and simple or too harsh and strong (Plut. Dem. 9, 11); though some found those features more striking in reading his orations, while others were more impressed with them in hearing him speak. (Comp. Dionys. de Admir. vi die. Demosth. 22; Cic. de Oral. iii. 56, Brut. 38; Quintil. xi. 3.6). These peculiarities, however, are far from being faults; they are, on the contrary, proofs of his genius, if we consider the temptations which natural deficiencies hold out to an incipient orator to pursue the opposite course. The [p. 988] obstacles which his physical constitution threw in his way when he commenced his career, were so great, that a less courageous and persevering man than Demosthenes would at once have been intimidated and entirely shrunk from the arduous career of a public orator (Plut. Dem. 6). Those early difficulties with which he had to contend, led him to bestow more care upon the composition of his orations than he would otherwise have done, and produced in the end, if not the impossibility of speaking extempore, at least the habit of never venturing upon it; for he never spoke without preparation, and he sometimes even declined speaking when called upon in the assembly to do so, merely because he was not prepared for it (Plut. Dem. 8, Vit. X Oral.). There is, however, no reason for believing that all the extant orations were delivered in that perfect form in which they have come down to us, for most of them were probably subjected to a careful revision before publication; and it is only the oration against Meidias, which, having been written for the purpose of being delivered, and being afterwards given up and left incomplete, may be regarded with certainty as a specimen of an oration in its original form. This oration alone sufficiently shews how little Demosthenes trusted to the impulse of the moment. It would lead us too far in this article to examine the manner in which Demosthenes composed his orations, and we must refer the reader to the various modern works cited below. We shall only add a few remarks upon the causes of the mighty impression which his speeches made upon the minds of his hearers. The first cause was their pure and ethical character; for every sentence exhibits Demosthenes as the friend of his country, of virtue, truth, and public decency (Plut. Dem. 13); and as the struggles in which he was engaged were fair and just, he could without scruple unmask his opponents, and wound them where they were vulnerable, though he never resorted to sycophantic artifices. The second cause was his intellectual superiority. By a wise arrangement of his subjects, and by the application of the strongest arguments in their proper places, he brought the subjects before his hearers in the clearest possible form; any doubts that might be raised were met by him beforehand, and thus he proceeded calmly but irresistibly towards his end. The third and last cause was the magic force of his language, which being majestic and yet simple, rich yet not bombastic, strange and yet familiar, solemn without being ornamented, grave and yet pleasing, concise and yet fluent, sweet and yet impressive, carried away the minds of his hearers. That such orations should notwithstanding sometimes have failed to produce the desired effect, was owing only to the spirit of the times.
Most of the critical works that were written upon Demosthenes by the ancients are lost, and, independent of many scattered remarks, the only important critical work that has come down to us is that of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, entitled peri tes tou Demosthenous deinotetos. The acknowledged excellence of Demosthenes's orations made them the principal subjects of study and speculation with the rhetoricians, and called forth numerous imitators and commentators. It is probably owing to those rhetorical speculations which began as early as the second century B. C., that a number of orations which are decidedly spurious and unworthy of Demosthenes, such as the logos epitaphios and the erotikos, were incorporated in the collections of those of Demosthenes. Others, such as the speech on Halonesus, the first against Aristogeiton, those against Theocrines and Neaera, which are undoubtedly the productions of contemporary orators, may have been introduced among those of Demosthenes by mistake. It would be of great assistance to us to have the commentaries which were written upon Demosthenes by such men as Didymus, Longinus, Hermogenes, Sallustius, Apollonides, Theon, Gymnasius, and others; but unfortunately most of what they wrote is lost, and scarcely anything of importance is extant, except the miserable collection of scholia which have come down to us under the name of Ulpian, and the Greek argumenta to the orations by Libanius and other rhetoricians.
The ancients state, that there existed 65 orations of Demosthenes (Plut. Vit. X Orat.; Phot. Bibl.), but of these only 61, and if we deduct the letter of Philip, which is strangely enough counted as an oration, only 60 have come down to us under his name, though some of these are spurious, or at least of very doubtful authenticity. Besides these orations, there are 56 Exordia to public orations, and six letters, which bear the name of Demosthenes, though their genuineness is very doubtful.
The orations of Demosthenes are contained in the various collections
of the Attic orators by Aldus, H. Stephens, Taylor, Reiske, Dukas, Bekker, Dobson,
and Baiter and Sauppe. Separate editions of the orations of Demosthenes alone
were published by Aldus, Venice, 1504; at Basel in 1532 ; by Feliciano, Venice,
1543; by Morellus and Lambinus, Paris, 1570; by H. Wolf, 1572 (often reprinted);
by Auger, Paris, 1790; and by Schaefer, Leipzig and London, 1822, in 9 vols. 8vo.
The first two contain the text, the third the Latin translation, and the others
the critical apparatus, the indices, &c. A good edition of the text is that by
W. Dindorf, Leipzig, 1825, 3 vols. 8vo. We subjoin a classified list of the orations
of Demosthenes, to which are added the editions of each separate oration, when
there are any, and the literature upon it.
I. POLITICAL ORATIONS.
A. Orations against Philip.
Editions of the Philippics were published by J. Bekker (Berlin, 1816, 1825 and 1835), C. A. Rudiger (Leipzig, 1818, 1829 and 1833), and J. T. Vomel. (Frankfurt, 1829.)
1. The first Philippic was delivered in B. C. 352, and is believed by some to be made up of two distinct orations, the second of which is supposed to commence at p. 48 with the words ha men hemeis. (Dionys. Ep. ad Amm. i. 10.) But critics down to the present time are divided in their opinions upon this point. The common opinion, that the oration is one whole, is supported by the MSS., and is defended by Bremi, in the Philol. Beilrage aus der Schweiz, vol. i. p. 21, &c. The opposite opinion is very ably maintained by J. Held, Prolegomena ad Dem. Orat. quae vulgo prima Phil. dicitur, Vratislaviae, 1831, and especially by Seebeck in the Zeitschrift fur d. Alterthumswiss. for 1838, No. 91, &c.
2--4. The first, second, and third Olynthiac orations belong to the year B. C. 349. Dionysius (Ep. ad Amm. i. 4) makes the second the first, and the third the second in the series; and this order has been defended by R. Rauchenstein, de Orat. Olynth. ordine, Leipz. 1821, which is reprinted in vol. i. of Schaefer's Apparatus. The other order is defended by Becker, in his German translation of the Philippics, i. p. 103, &c., and by Westermann, Stuve, Ziemann, Petrenz, and Bruckner, in separate dissertations. There is a good edition of the Olynthiac orations, with notes, by C. H. Frotscher and C. H. Funkhanel, Leipzig, 1834, 8vo.
5. The oration on the Peace, delivered in B. C. 346. Respecting the question as to whether this oration was actually delivered or not, see Becker, Philippische Reden, i. p. 222, &c., and Vomel, Prolegom. ad Orat. de Pace, p. 240, &c.
6. The second Philippic, delivered in B. C. 344. See Vomel, Integram esse Demosth. Philip. II. apparet ex dispositione, Frankf. 1828, whose opinion is opposed by Rauchenstein in Jahn's Jahrb. vol. xi. 2, p. 144, &c.
7. On Halonesus, B. C. 343, was suspected by the ancients themselves, and ascribed to Hegesippus. (Liban. Argum. p. 75; Harpocrat. and Etym. M. s. v.; Phot. Bibl. p. 491.) Weiske endeavoured to vindicate the oration for Demosthenes in Dissertatio super Orat. de Halon., Lubben. 1808, but he is opposed by Becker in Seebode's Archiv. for 1825, i. p. 84, &c., Philippische Reden, ii. p. 301, &c., and by Vomel in Ostenditur Hegesippi esse orationem de Haloneso, Frankf. 1830, who published a separate edition of this oration under the name of Hegesippus in 1833.
8. Peri ton en Cherrhoonesoi delivered in B. C. 342.
9. The third Philippic, delivered in B. C. 342. See Vomel, Demosthenis Philip. III. habitant esse ante Chersonesiticam, Frankf. 1837; L. Spengel, Ueber die dritte Philip. Rede des Dem., Munich, 1839.
10. The fourth Philippic, belongs to B. C. 341, but is thought by nearly all critics to be spurious. See Becker, Philip. Reden, ii. p. 491, &c.; W. H. Veersteg, Orat. Philip. IV. Demosth. aljudicatur, Groningae, 1818.
11. Pros ten Epistolen ten Philippou refers to the year B. C. 340, but is a spurious oration. Becker, Philip. Reden, ii. p. 516, &c.
B. Other Political Orations.
12. Peri Suntaxeos, refers to B. C. 353, but is acknowledged on all hands to be spurious. F. A. Wolf, Proleg. ad Leptin. p. 124; Schaefer, Apparat. Crit. i. p. 686.
13. Peri Summorion, was delivered in B. C. 354. See Amersfoordt, Introduct. in Orat. de Symmor. Lugdun. Bat. 1821, reprinted in Schaefer's Appar. Crit. vol. i.; Parreidt, Disputat. de Instit. eo Athen. cujus ordinat. et correct. in orat. Peri Summ. inscripta suadet Demosth., Magdeburg, 1836.
14. Huper Megalopoliton, B. C. 353.
15. Peri tes Rhodion eleutherias, B. C. 351.
16. Peri tonpros Alexandron sunthekon, refers to B. C. 325, and was recognized as spurious by the ancients themselves. (Dionys. de Admir. vi die. Dem. 57; Liban. Argum. p. 211.)
II. JUDICIAL OR PRIVATE ORATIONS.
17. Peri Stephanou, or on the Crown, was delivered in B. C. 330. There are numerous separate editions of this famous oration; the best are by I. Bekker with scholia, Halle, 1815, and Berlin, 1825, by Bremi (Gotha, 1834), and by Dissen (Gottingen, 1837). Comp. F. Winiewski, Comment. Historica et Chronolog. in Demosth. Orat. de Coron., Monasterii, 1829. The genuineness of the documents quoted in this oration has of late been the subject of much discussion, and the most important among the treatises on this question are those of Droysen (Ueber die Aechtheit der Urkund. in Denmosth. Rede vonm Kranz, in the Zeitschrift fur die Alterthumsw. for 1839, and reprinted separately at Berlin, 1839), and F. W. Newman (Classical Museum, vol. i. pp. 141--169), both of whom deny the genuineness, while Vimel in a series of programs (commenced in 1841) endeavours to prove their authenticity. Comp. A. F. Wolper, de Forma hodierna Orat. Demosth. de Coron. Leipzig, 1825 ; L. C. A. Briegleb, Comment. de Demosth. Orat. pro Ctesiph. praestantia, Isenac. 1832.
18. Peri tes Parapredbeias, delivered in B. C. 342.
19. Peri tes ateleias pros Leptinen, was spoken in B. C. 355, and it has been edited separately by F. A. Wolf, Halle, 1789, which edition was reprinted at Ziirich, 1831.
20. Kata Meidiou peri tou kondulou, was composed in B. C. 355. There are separate editions by Buttmann (Berlin, 1823 and 1833), Blume (Sund. 1828), and Meier (Halle, 1832). Compare Bockh, Ueber die Zeitverhaltnisse der Midiana in the Abhandl. der Berlin. Akadem. for 1820, p. 60, &c.
21. Kata Androtionos paranomon, belongs to B. C. 355, and has been edited separately by Funkhanel, Leipzig, 1832.
22. Kata Aridtokratous, B. C. 352. See Rumpf, De Charidemo Orita, Giessen, 1815.
23. Kata Timokratous, B. C. 353. See Blume, Prolegom. in Demosth. Orat. c. Timocrat., Berlin, 1823.
24 and 25. The two orations against Aristogeiton belong to the time after B. C. 338. The genuineness of these two orations, especially of the first, was strongly doubted by the ancients themselves (Dionys. de Admir. vi dic. Dem. 57; Harpocrat. s. vv. Theoris and nealh/s; Pollux, x. 155) though some believed them to be the productions of Demosthenes. (Liban. Argum. p. 769; Phot. Bibl. p. 491.) Modern critics think the first spurious, others the second, and others again both. See Schmidt, in the Excursus to his edition of Deinarchus, p. 106, &c.; Westermann, Quaest. Demosth. iii. p. 96, &c.
26 and 27. The two orations against Aphobus were delivered in B. C. 364.
28. Pros Aphobon pseudomarturion, is suspected of being spurious by Westermann, Quaest. Dem. iii. p. 11, &c. Comp. Schomann, de Jure Publ. Graec. p. 274.
29 and 30. The two orations against Onetor. See Schmeisser, de Re Tutelari ap. Athen., &c., Freiburg, 1829. The genuineness of these orations is suspected by Bockh, Publ. Econ. of Athens, Index, s. v. Demosthenes.
31. Paragraphe pros Zenothemin, falls after the year B. C. 355.
32. Pros Apatourion paragreraphe, is of uncertain date.
33. Pros Phormiona peri daneiou, was spoken in B. C. 332. See Baumstark, Prolegom. in Orat Demosth. adv. Phorm., Heidelberg, 1826.
34. Pros ten Lakritou paragraphen, is of uncertain date, and its genuineness is doubted by some of the ancients. See the Greek Argumentum.
35. Huper Phormionos paragraphe, belongs to B. C. 350.
36. Pros Pantaineton paragraphe, falls after B. C. 347.
37. Pros Nausimachon kai Xenopeithe paragraphe, is of uncertain date.
38. Pros Boioton peri tou onomaatos, belongs to B. C. 351 or 350, and was ascribed by some of the ancients to Deinarchus. (Dionys. Hal. Deinarch. 13.) See Bockh, Urkund. uber. das Att. Seewesen, p. 22, &c.
39. Pros Boioton nper proikos metroias, B. C. 347.
40. Pros Spoudian huper proikos, of uncertain date.
41. Pros Phainippon peri antidoseos, of uncertain date. The genuineness of this oration is doubted by the author of the argum. to it, Bockh, Index to Publ. Econ. of Ath/ens, and Schaefer, Appar. Crit. v. p. 63.
42. Pros Makartaton peri Hagniou klerou, of uncertain date. See de Boor, Prolegom. zu der Rede des Demosth. gegen. Makartatus, Hamburg, 1838.
43. Pros Leochare peri tou klerou, of uncertain date.
44 and 45. The two orations against Stephanus, belong to the time previous to B. C. 343. The genuineness of the first is doubted by I. Bekker. See C. D. Beel, Diatribe in Demosth. Orat. in Stephan., Lugdun. Bat. 1825.
46. Peri Euerlou kai Mnesiboulou pseudomarturion, belongs to the time after B. C. 355. Its genuineness is doubted by Harpocr. s. vv.)Ekaki/stroun and h)|thme/nhn, H. Wolf, Bockh (l. c.), and I. Bekker. See Schaefer, Appar. Crit. v. p. 216.
47. Kata Olumpiodorou blabes after B. C. 343.
48. Pros Timotheon huper chreeos, falls between B. C. 363 and 354, but is considered spurious by Harpocrat. s. v. Kakotechnion, boxke, and Bekker (see Schaefer, Appar. Crit. v. p. 264). It is defended by Rumpf, de Orat. adv. Timothy , Giessen, 1821.
49. Pros poluklea peri tou epitrierarchematos, after B. C. 361.
50. Peri tou Stephanou tes trierarchias, after B. C. 361, is suspected by Becker, Demosth. als Staatsmann und. Redner, p. 465.
51. Pros Kallippon, spoken in B. C. 364.
52. Pros Nikostraton peri ton Arethousiou andrapodon, of uncertain date, was suspected by Harpocrat. s. v. Apographe.
53. Kata Kononos abikias, B. C. 343.
54. Pros Kallaklea peri choriou, of uncertain date.
55. Kata Dionusodorou blabes, B. C. 329.
56. Ephesis pros Eubouliden, after B. C. 346.
57. Kata Theokrinou endeixis, belongs to B. C. 325, but is probably the work of Deinarchus. (Dionys. Deinarch. 10; Argum. ad Orat. c. Theocrin. p. 1321; Harpocrat. s. vv. agraphiou and Theokrines; Schaefer, Appar. Crit. v. p. 473.)
58. Kata Neairas, refers to B. C. 340, but is considered spurious both by ancient and modern writers. (Dionys. de Admir. vi die. Dem. 57 ; Phrynich. p. 225; Harpocrat. s. vv. gerrha, demopoietos, dienguesen, Hipparchos, and Kolias ; Schaefer, Appar. Crit. v. p. 527.)
III. SHOW SPEECHES.
59. Epitaphios, refers to B. C. 338, but is un questionably spurious. (Dionys. de Adnir. vi dic. Dem. 23, 44; Liban. p. 6; Harpocrat. s. tv. Aigeidai and Kekroipis; Phot. Bibl. p. 491; Suid. s. v. Demosthenes; Bekker, Anecd. p. 354; Westermann, Quaest. Dem. ii. p. 49, &c.) Its genuineness is defended by Becker (Demosth. als Staatsm. u. Red. ii. p. 466, &c.) and Kriiger (in Seebode's Archiv, i. 2, p. 277).
60. Erotikos, is, like the former, a spurious production. (Dionys. de Adnmir. vi dic. Dem. 44 ; Liban. p. 6; Pollux, iii. 144; Phot. Bibl. l. c.; Westermann, Quaest. Dem. ii. p. 70, &c.)
Among the lost orations of Demosthenes the following are mentioned :--Diphiloi demegorikas aitounti doreas. (Dionys. Deinarech. 11.) 2. Kata Medontos. (Pollux, viii. 53; Harpocr. s. v. Dekateuein.) 3. Pros Polueukton paragraphe. (Bekker, Anecd. p. 90.) 4. Peri chrusiou (Athen. xiii. p. 592) is perhaps the same as the apologia ton doron. (Dionys. Ep. ad Amm. i. 12, who, however, in Demoosth. 57, declares it a spurious oration.) 5. Peri tou me ekdounai Harpalon, was spurious according to Dionysius. (Demosth. 57.) 6. Kata Demadou. (Bekker, Anecd. p. 335.) A fragment of it is probably extant in Alexand. de Figur. p. 478, ed. Walz. 7. Pros Kritian peri tou enepiskemmatos. (Harpocrat. s. v. Enepiskemma, where Dionysius doubts its genuineness.) 8. Huper petoron, probably not a work of Demosthenes. (Suid. s. v. Hama. 9. Huper Saturou tes epitropes pros Chaaridemon, belonged according to Callimachus (ap. Phot. Bibl. p. 491) to Deinarchus.
Besides the ancient and modern historians of the time of Philip and Alexander, the following works will be found useful to the student of Demosthenes : Schott, Vitae Parallelae Aristot. et Demosth. Antwerp, 1603; Becker, Demosthenes als Staatsmann und Redner, Halle, 1816, 2 vols. 8vo.; Westermann, Quaestiones Demosthenicae, in four parts, Leipzig, 1830--1837, Geschichte der Griech. Beredtsamkeit, §§ 56, 57, and Beilage, vii. p. 297, &c.; Bohneke, Studien auf dem Gebiete der Attischen Redner, Berlin, 1843.
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
by J.F.Dobson, The Greek Orators, London, 1919)
The art of rhetoric could go no further after Isocrates, who, in addition to possessing a style which was as perfect as technical dexterity could make it, had imparted to his numerous disciples the art of composing sonorous phrases and linking them together in elaborate periods. Any young aspirant to literary fame might now learn from him to write fluent easy prose, which would have been impossible to Thucydides or Antiphon. If the style seems on some occasions to have been so over-elaborated that the subject-matter takes a secondary place, that was the fault not so much of the artist as of the man. Isocrates never wrote at fever-heat; his greatest works come from the study; he is too reflective and dispassionate to be a really vital force.
With Demosthenes and his contemporaries it is otherwise; they are men actively engaged in politics, actuated by strong party-feeling, and swayed by personal passion. This was the outcome of the political situation: just as feeling was strong in the generation immediately succeeding the reign of the oligarchical Thirty at Athens, so now, when Athens and the whole of greece were fighting not against oligarchy but the empire of a sovereign ruler, the depths were stirred.
A new feature in this period is the publication of political speeches. From the time of the earliest orator--Antiphon--the professional logographoi had preserved their speeches in writing. The majority of these were delivered in minor cases of only personal importance, though some orations by lysias and others have reference indirectly to political questions.
Another class of speeches which were usually preserved is the epideictic--orations prepared for delivery at some great gathering, such as a religious festival or a public funeral. Isocrates was an innovator to the extent of writing in the form of speeches what were really political treatises; but these were only composed for the reader, and were never intended to be delivered.
Among the contemporaries of Demosthenes we find some diversity of practice. Some orators, such as Demades and Phocion, never published any speeches, and seem, indeed, hardly to have prepared them before delivery. They relied upon their skill at improvisation.
Others, for instance Aeschines, Lycurgus, and Dinarchus, revised and published their judicial speeches, especially those which had a political bearing. Hyperides and Demosthenes, in addition to this, in some cases gave to the world an amended version of their public harangues. Demosthenes did not always publish such speeches; there are considerable periods of his political life which are not represented by any written work; but he seems to have wished to make a permanent record of certain utterances containing an explanation of his policy, in order that those who had not heard him speak, or not fully grasped his import, might have an opportunity for further study of his views after the ephemeral effect of his eloquence had passed away. It is probable that most of the speeches so published belong to times when his party was not predominant in the state, and the opposition had to reinforce its speech by writing. The result is of importance in two ways, for the speeches are a serious contribution to literature, of great value for the study of the development of Greek prose; and they are of still greater historical value; for, though untrustworthy in some details, they provide excellent material for the understanding of the political situation, and the aims and principles of the anti-Macedonian party.
Demosthenes the orator was born at Athens in 384 B.C. His father, Demosthenes, of the deme of Paeania, was a rich manufacturer of swords; his mother was a daughter of an Athenian named Gylon, who had left Athens, owing to a charge of treason, at the end of the Peloponnesian war, settled in the neighbourhood of the Cimmerian Bosporus (Crimea), and married a rich woman who was a native of that district. We know nothing more of her except that Aeschines describes her as a Scythian. She may have been of Hellenic descent; even Plutarch doubts the assertion of Aeschines that she was a barbarian; the suspicion, however, was enough for Aeschines, who is able to call his enemy a Greek-speaking Scythian.
Demosthenes the elder died, leaving his son seven years old and a daughter aged five. By his will two nephews, Aphobos and Demophon, and a friend Therippides, were appointed trustees. The two former, as nearest of kin, were, according to Attic custom, to marry the widow and her daughter, but these provisions were not carried out. During the years of Demosthenes' minority his guardians ruined the sword business by their mismanagement, and squandered the accumulated profits.
At the age of eighteen Demosthenes, who had been brought up by his mother, laid claim to his father's estate. The guardians by various devices attempted to frustrate him, and three years were spent in attempts at compromise and examinations before the arbitrators. During this time Demosthenes was studying rhetoric and judicial procedure under Isaeus, to whose methods his early speeches are so deeply indebted that a contemporary remarked 'he had swallowed Isaeus whole.' At last, when he was twenty-one years old, he succeeded in bringing his wrongs before a court; thanks to the training of Isaeus he was able to plead his own case, and he won it. The ingenuity of his adversaries enabled them to involve him in further legal proceedings which lasted perhaps two years more. In the end he was victorious, but by the time he recovered his patrimony there was very little of it left.
Being forced to find a means of living he adopted the profession of a speech-writer, which he followed through the greater part of his life. he made speeches for others to use, as his father had made swords, and he was as good a craftsman as his father. He succeeded by this new trade in repairing his damaged fortunes.
In addition to forging such weapons for the use of others, he instructed pupils in the art of rhetoric. This practice he seems to have abandoned soon after the year 345 B.C., when public affairs began to have the chief claim on his energies. From that time forward he wielded with distinction a sword of his own manufacture.
It is said that as a youth barely of age he made an attempt to speak in the ecclesia, and failed. His voice was too weak, his delivery imperfect, and his style unsuitable. The failure only inspired him to practise that he might overcome his natural defects. We are familiar with the legends of his declaiming with pebbles in his mouth and reciting speeches when running up hill, of his studies in a cave by the sea-shore, where he tried to make his voice heard above the thunder of the waves.
The training to which he subjected himself enabled him to overcome to a great extent whatever disabilities he may have suffered from, but he never had the advantage of a voice and delivery such as those of Aeschines. Legends current in the time of Plutarch represent him as engrossed in the study of the best prose-writers. He copied out the history of Thucydides eight times, according to one tradition. This we need not accept, but it may be taken as certain that he studied the author's style carefully. He may not have been a pupil of Isocrates or Plato, but from the former he must have learnt much in the way of prose-construction and rhythm, and the latter's works, though he dissented from the great principle of Plato that the wise man avoids the agora and the law-courts, may well have inspired him with many of the generous ideas which are the foundation of his policy. From the study of such passages as the Melian controversy and others in which the historian bases justice upon the right of the stronger, he may have turned with relief to the nobler discussion of justice in the Republic, and indeed, in his view of what is right and good, Demosthenes approaches much nearer to the philosopher than to the historian.
A professional speech-writer at Athens might make a speciality of some particular kind of cases, and by thus restricting his field become a real expert in one department, as Isaeus, for instance, did in the probate court; or, on the other hand, he might engage in quite general practice. A farmer might have a dispute with his neighbours about his boundaries, or damage caused by the overflow of surface water; a quiet citizen might seek redress from the law in a case of assault against which he was unable or unwilling to make retaliation in kind; an underwriter who had been defrauded in some shady marine transaction might wish to bring another knave to account. but besides these private cases, whether they are purely civil, or practically, if not technically, criminal actions, there is other work of more importance for a logographos.
The state may wish to prosecute an official who has abused its trust. In times when honesty is rarer than cleverness it may find the necessity of appointing a prosecutor rather for his known integrity than for his ability in the law-courts. Such a prosecutor will need professional assistance; and this need evoked some of the early political speeches of Demosthenes, Against Androtion, Timocrates, and Aristocrates (355-352 B.C.). It is noticeable that we have no trace of his work between the speeches delivered against his guardians and the first of this latter group. Probably he spent these ten years partly in study and partly in the conduct of such cases as fell to the portion of a beginner. In this time he must gradually have built up a reputation, but he may not have wished to keep any record of his first essays which, when he had arrived at his maturity as a pleader, could not, perhaps, have seemed to him worthy of his reputation.
It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of these varied activities to the career of Demosthenes. In the course of these early years he must have made himself familiar with many branches of the law; he was brought into intimate relations with individuals of all classes, and all shades of political opinion. In order to be of use vicariously in political cases he must have made a careful study of politics. Such studies were of great value in the education of a statesman, and by means of the semi-public cases in which he was engaged, though not on his own account, and perhaps not always in accordance with his convictions, his own political opinions must gradually have been formed.
In 354 B.C., the year after the trial of Androtion, Demosthenes appeared in person before the dicastery on behalf of Ctesippus in an action against Leptines. This was a case of some political importance. A few months later he came forward in the assembly to deliver his speech On the Symmories, which was shortly followed by another public harangue On Behalf of the People of Megapolis (353 B.C.). Two years later he came to the front not as a mere pleader, but a real counsellor of the people, and began the great series of Philippics.
His career from this point onward is divided naturally into three periods.
In the first, 351-340 B.C., he was in opposition to the party in power at Athens. The beginning of it is marked by some famous speeches, the First Philippic and the first three Olynthiac orations (351-349 B.C.). Till this time the Athenians had not realized the significance of the growth of the Macedonian power. It was only eight years since Philip, on his accession to the throne, had undertaken the great task of uniting the constituent parts of his kingdom which had long been torn by civil war, of fostering a national feeling, and creating an army. He had won incredible successes in a few years. By a combination of force and deceit he had made himself master of Amphipolis and Pydna in 357 B.C. In the following year he obtained possession of the gold mines of Mt. Pangaeus, which gave him a source of inexhaustible wealth, and enabled him to prepare more ambitious enterprises. This was an important crisis in his career: the bribery for which he was famous and in which he greatly trusted could now be practised on a large scale.
In the early speeches of Demosthenes there is little reference to Philip; he is certainly not regarded as a dangerous rival of Athens. There is a passing mention of him in the Leptines (384 B.C.); in the Aristocrates he plays a larger part, but is treated almost contemptuously: 'You know, of course, whom I mean by this Philip of Macedon' (iste derou Philirron toutoni ton Makedona) is the form in which his name is introduced (§ 111). He is considered as an enemy, but only classed with other barbarian princes, such as Cersobleptes of Thrace.
But Philip was not content with annexing towns and districts in his own neighbourhood in whose integrity Athens was interested--Amphipolis, Pydna, Potidaea, Methone, and part of Thrace. He interfered in the affairs of Thessaly, which brought the trouble nearer home to Athens (353 B.C.). In 352 B.C. he proposed to pass through Thermopylae, and take part in the Sacred War against Phocis, but here Athens intervened for the first time and checked his progress.
After this one vigorous stroke the Athenians, in spite of Philip's renewed activities in Thrace and on the Propontis, relapsed into an apathetic indifference, from which Demosthenes in vain tried to rouse them.
The language of the First Philippic shows that Demosthenes fully recognized the seriousness of the situation, and the imminent danger to which the complacency of his countryment was exposing them; he wishes to make them feel that the case, though not yet desperate, is likely to become so if they persist in doing nothing, while a whole-hearted effort will bring them into safety again:
§ 2. 'Now, first of all, Gentlemen, we must not despair about the present state of affairs, serious as it is; for our greatest weakness in the past will be our greatest strength in the future. What do I mean? I mean that you are in difficulties simply because you have never exerted yourselves to do your duty. If things were as they are in spite of serious effort on your part to act always as you should, there would be no hope of improvement. Secondly, I would have you reflect on what some of you can remember and others have been told, of the great power possessed not long ago by Sparta; yet, in face of that power you acted honourably and nobly, you in no wise detracted from your country's dignity; you faced the war unflinchingly in a just cause. . . .'
§ 4. 'If any of you thinks that Philip is invincible, considering how great is the force at his disposal, and how our city has lost all these places, he has grounds for his belief; but let him consider that we once possessed Pydna, Potidaea, and Methone, and the whole of that district; and many of the tribes, now subject to him, were free and independent and better disposed to us than to Macedon. If Philip had felt as you do now, that it was a serious matter to fight against Athens because she possessed so many strongholds commanding his own country, while he was destitute of allies, he would never have won any of his present successes, or acquired the mighty power which now alarms you. But he saw clearly that these places were the prizes of war offered in open competition; that the property of an absentee goes naturally to those who are on the spot to claim it, and those who are willing to work hard and take risks may supplant those who neglect their chances.'
§ 8. 'Do not imagine that he is as a God, secure in eternal possession. There are men who hate and fear and envy him, even among those who seem his closest associates. These feelings are for the present kept under, because through your slowness and your negligence they can find no opening. These habits, I say, you must break with.'
§ 10. 'When, I ask, when will you be roused to do your duty?--When the time of need comes, you say. What do you think of the present crisis? I hold that a free nation can never be in greater need than when their conduct is of a kind to shame them. Tell me, do you want to parade the streets asking each other, "Is there any news to-day?" What graver news can there be than that a Macedonian is crushing Athens and dictating the policy of Greece? "Philip is dead," says one. "Oh no, but he is ill," says another. What difference does it make to you? Even if anything happens to him you will very soon call into existence a second Philip if you attend to your interests as carefully as you are doing now. For it is not so much his own strength as your negligence that has raised him to power.'
The orator proceeds to give detailed advice for the conduct of the war; he asks for no 'paper forces,' such as the assembly is in the habit of voting, irrespective of whether they can be obtained or not--ten or twenty thousand of mercenaries or the like. He requires a small but efficient expeditionary force, of which the backbone is to be a contingent of citizenhoplites, one quarter of the whole; a small but efficient fleet, and money to pay both army and navy--this was a matter often overlooked by the assembly--and an Athenian general in whom the host will have confidence. The advice was moderate and sound in the extreme. Demosthenes probably knew what he was talking about when he said that two thousand hoplites, two hundred cavalry, and fifty triremes were enough for the present. A resolute attack on Philip by such a force would probably have put fresh heart into the many enemies whom he had not yet completely subdued.
There is a further point which marks the difference between the present advice and that of previous counsellors. The army is not to be enlisted for a particular expedition only; it is to be maintained at its original strength as long as may be necessary. Soldiers will serve for a certain limited time, and at the end of their term will be replaced by fresh troops. The army which he suggests will not be enough to defeat Philip unaided, but enough to produce a strong impression. They might send a large force, but it would be unwieldy, and they could not maintain it.
The First Philippic failed to produce the effect desired. The Olynthiac speeches which closely followed it were also ineffectual. In 349 B.C. Philip seized a pretext for making war on Olynthus, which appealed for help to Athens. The alliance, which had been sought in vain in 357 and 352 B.C., was now, apparently, granted with little opposition, and Chares with two thousand mercenaries sent to the help of the Olynthian league. Demosthenes tries to emphasize the importance of the situation; the aid which has been voted is not enough; they ought to act at once, sending two forces of citizens, not mercenaries; the one to protect Olynthus, the other to harass Philip elsewhere. Large supplies of money are necessary, and he hints that the Athenians have such supplies ready at hand. He refers to the Festival Fund (theorikon), but concerning this he is in a delicate position. The ministry of Eubulus was in power, and a law of Eubulus had pronounced any attempt to tamper with the theorikon a criminal offence. Demosthenes, being one of a weak minority, could only move cautiously, suggesting that a change of administration was desirable, but not proposing a definite motion.
There is a marked difference in tone between the first two speeches and the third. In the former Demosthenes insists that everything is still to be done, but he points out that there are many weak points in Philip's armour, and a vigorous and united policy may still defeat him. In the third he makes it clear that the opportunity is past, and the lost ground can only be recovered by desperate measures. He openly advocates the conversion of the Festival Fund into a military chest, and this is the main theme of the oration, to which every argument in turn leads up.(1)
The efforts of Athens were dilatory and insufficient; Olynthus and the other cities of the Chalcidian League fell in the following year (349 B.C.); they were destroyed, and all the inhabitants made slaves. Attempts to unite the Peloponnesian States against the common enemy were futile, and negotiations were begun between Philip and Athens. They were conducted at first informally by private persons, but in 347 B.C., on the proposal of Philocrates, an embassy was sent to Philip. Philip's answer, received in 346 B.C., demanded that Phocis and Halus should be excluded from the proposed treaty. Demosthenes contested this point, but Aeschines carried it. A second embassy was sent, and the discreditable Peace of Philocrates was signed. The result was the ruin of Phocis. Although Demosthenes disapproved of the peace, later in the year, in his speech On the Peace, he urged Athens to keep its conditions, arguing that to break it would bring upon them even greater disaster.
In consequence of the peace, Philip had been able to convoke the Amphictyonic Council, and pass a vote for the condemnation of Phocis. Twenty-two towns were destroyed, and the Phocian votes in the Council transferred to Philip, who was also made president of the Pythian Games. Thus the barbarian of a few years ago had received the highest religious sanction for his claim to be the leader of Greece. Athens alone, whose precedence he had usurped, refused to recognize him, and Demosthenes saw that to persist in a hostile attitude might involve all the States in a new Amphictyonic war. It was better to surrender their scruples, and to regard the convention not, indeed, as a permanent peace, but a truce during which fresh preparations might be made. Six years of nominal peace ensued, during which Philip extended his influence diplomatically. Whether from principle or policy he treated Athens with marked courtesy, and, through his agents, made vague offers of the great services which he was prepared to render. Many of the citizens believed in his sincerity, notably Isocrates, who in 346 B.C. spoke of the baseless suspicions caused by the assertions of malicious persons, that Philip wished to destroy Greek freedom (Isocr., Philippus, § 73-74). Demosthenes was never duped by these professions. He was now a recognized leader, and was gathering to his side a powerful body of patriotic orators such as Lycurgus and Hyperides. Philip, after organizing the government of Thessaly and allying himself with Thebes, interfered in the Peloponnese by supporting Messene, Arcadia, and Argos against Sparta.
An Athenian embassy, led by Demosthenes, was sent to these states to advise them of the danger which they incurred by their new alliance. Some impression was produced, and apparently an embassy was sent by some of the states to Athens. In reply to their representations, of which no trace is preserved, Demosthenes delivered the Second Philippic. In it he exposes the king's duplicity. 'The means used by Athens to counteract his manoeuvres are quite inadequate; we talk, but he acts. We speak to the point, but do nothing to the point. Each side is superior in the line which it follows, but his is the more effective line' (§§ 1-5). Philip's assurances of goodwill are accepted too readily. He realized that Thebes, in consideration of favours received, would further his designs. He is now showing favour to Messene and Argos from the same motive. He has paid Athens the high compliment of not offering her a disgraceful bargain (§§ 6-12). His past actions betray him; as he made the Boeotian cities subject to Thebes, he is not likely to free the Peloponnesian States from Sparta. He knows that he is really aiming at you, and that you are aware of it; that is why he is ever on the alert, and supports against you Thebans and Peloponnesians, who, he thinks, are greedy enough to swallow his present offers, and too stupid to foresee the consequences' (§§ 12-19). The epilogue contains an indictment of those whose policy is to blame for the present troubles. In accordance with Demosthenes' general practice Aeschines and Philocrates, at whom he aims the charge, are not mentioned by name.
The anti-Macedonian party grew in strength in 343 B.C. Hyperides impeached Philocrates, who retired into exile and was condemned to death. About the same time Demosthenes himself brought into court an action against Aeschines, which had been pending for three years, for traitorous conduct in connexion with the embassy to Philip. The position was a difficult one for two reasons: his own policy in that matter could not be sharply distinguished from that of Aeschines; the accusation depended largely on discrimination of motives, and he had practically no proof of the guilt of Aeschines. Considering the technical weakness of the prosecutor's case it is not surprising that Aeschines escaped; it is more remarkable that he was acquitted only by a small majority.
In 342 B.C. Philip, whose influence in the Peloponnese had slightly waned, began a fresh campaign in Thrace, and in 341 B.C. had reached the Chersonese. The possession of this district meant the control of the Dardanelles, and, as Athens still depended largely on the Black Sea trade for her corn supply, his progress was a menace to her existence. Diopeithes, an Athenian mercenary captain, had in 343 B.C. taken settlers to Cardia, a town in the Chersonese in nominal alliance with Macedon. Cardia was unwilling to receive them, and Philip sent help to the town. Diopeithes, who, in accordance with the habit of the times, in order to support his fleet, exacted ?benevolences? from friends and foes impartially, happened to plunder some districts in Thrace which were subject to Macedon. Philip addressed a letter of remonstrance to Athens, and his adherents in the city demanded the recall of Diopeithes. Demosthenes in his speech On the Chersonese urged that the Chersonese should not be abandoned at such a crisis: a permanent force must be maintained there. He defends the actions of Diopeithes by an appeal to necessity. The Athenians were in the habit of voting armaments for foreign service without voting them supplies; consequently the generals had to supply themselves.
In addition to including a plan of campaign, the speech contains, as many of the orations do, a frank statement of the position of affairs, and the usual invectives against Athenian apathy. The concluding section, however, contains a more solemn warning than is usual, showing that Demosthenes almost despairs of success.
"All the generals who have ever sailed from Athens take money from Chios, Erythrae, or from any other Asiatic city they can. Those who have one or two ships take less; those with a larger force take more. Those who give, whether in large or small amounts, are not so mad as to give them for nothing; they are purchasing protection for merchants sailing from their ports, immunity from ravages, safe convoy for their own ships and other such advantages. They will tell you that they give "Benevolences," which is the term applied to these extortions.
Now in the present case, since Diopeithes has an army, it is obvious that all these people will give him money. Since he got nothing from you, and has no private means to pay his soldiers with, where else do you imagine he can get money to keep them? Will it fall from the skies? Unfortunately, no. He has to live from day to day on what he can collect and beg and borrow." Chers., §§ 24-26.
The Third Philippic was delivered in the same year (341 B.C.). The situation is in all essentials the same. Demosthenes again demands that help should be sent to the Chersonese and the safety of Byzantium assured; but he does not enlarge on these points, which have been treated by previous speakers (§ 19). 'We must help them, it is true, and take care that no harm befalls them; but our deliberations must be about the great danger which now threatens the whole of Greece.' (§ 20). It is this breadth of view which distinguishes the Third Philippic, and makes it the greatest of all the public harangues.
"If you grasp the situation as I have indicated, and cease to make light of everything, it may be, it may be that even now our affairs may take a favourable turn; but if you continue to sit still and confine your enthusiasm to expressions of applause and votes of approval, but shirk the issue when any action is required of you, I cannot conceive of any eloquence which, without performance of your duty, can guide our State to safety." Chers., § 77.
This short extract is a fair example of Demosthenes' vigorous use of historical argument, but it can give little idea of the speech as a whole. It abounds, indeed, in enumerations of recent events bearing on the case, and in contrasts between the present and the past.
'I pass over Olynthus, Methone, and Apollonia, and thirty-two cities in the Thracian district, all of which he has so brutally destroyed that it is hard for a visitor to say whether they were ever inhabited. I am silent about the destruction of a great nation, the Phocians. But how fares Thessaly? Has he not deprived the cities of their governments, and established tetrarchies, in order that they may be enslaved, not only city by city, but tribe by tribe? Are not the cities of Euboea now ruled by tyrants, though that island is close on the borders of Thebes and Athens? Does he not expressly state in his letters "I am at peace with those who will obey me"? And his actions corroborate his words. He has started for the Hellespont; before that he visited Ambracia; he holds in the Peloponnese the important city of Elis; only the other day he made plots against Megara. Neither Greece nor the countries beyond it can contain his ambition.' §§ 26-27.
Style and composition
Though Demosthenes wrote in pure Attic Greek, it is to Lysias and Isocrates rather than to him that Dionysius assigns praise for the most perfect purity of language. It is probable that Demosthenes was nearer to the living speech. Even in his deliberative speeches he can use such familiar expressions as o tan, ho deina and such expletives as ne Dia, the frequent use of which would have seemed to Isocrates to belong to the vocabulary of Comedy. The epideictic style would also have shunned such vigorous touches as lago bion ezes--'you lived a hare's life,' or, to give the proper equivalent, 'a dog's life,' (de Cor., § 263) or the famous kakon Ilias-- 'Twenty-four books of misery.' (de Falsa Leg., § 148). Colloquial vigour is apparent in some metaphorical uses of single words, e.g. heola kai psuchra--'stale and cold' (applied to crimes, Midias, § 91), proselosthai--'to be pinned down,' (Ibid., § 105), or the succession of crude metaphors in the account of how Aristogiton, in prison, picked a quarrel with a newcomer; 'he being newly caught and fresh, was getting the better of Aristogiton, who had got into the net some time ago and been long in pickle; so finding himself getting the worst of it, he ate off the man's nose.' There is bold personification of abstractions in 'Peace, which has destroyed the walls of your allies and is now building houses for your ambassadors,' (de Falsa Leg., § 275) and such phrases as tethnasi toi deei tous toioutous apostolous --'they are frightened to death of so and so,' are more vigorous than literary.
Demosthenes seems to discard metaphor in his most solemn moments. In a spirit of sarcasm he can use such expressions as those quoted above about the disorderly scene in prison, and in an outburst of indignation he can speak of rival politicians as 'Fiends, who have mutilated the corpses of their fatherlands, and made a birthday present of their liberty first to Philip, and now again to Alexander; who measure happiness by their belly and their basest pleasures' (de Cor., § 296); but on grave occasions, whether in narrative or in counsel, he reverts to a simplicity equal to that of Lysias. The plainness of the language in which he describes the excitement caused by the news of Philip's occupation of Elatea is proverbial (de Cor., § 169); and the closing sentences of the Third Philippic afford another good example:
The simplicity of the language is only equalled by the sobriety of tone. The simplest words, if properly used, can produce a great effect, which is sometimes heightened by repetition, a device which Demosthenes finds useful on occasion--all' ouk estin, ouk estin horos hemartete--'But surely, surely you were not wrong.' (de Cor., § 208). We realize a slight raising of the voice as the word comes in for the second time. Dinarchus, an imitator of Demosthenes, copies him in the use of this 'figure,' but uses it too much and inappropriately. In this, as in other details, his style is an unsuccessful parody of the great orator.
'If everybody is going to sit still, hoping to get what he wants, and seeking to do nothing for it himself, in the first place he will never find anybody to do it for him, and secondly, I am afraid that we shall be forced to do everything that we do not want. This is what I tell you, this is what I propose; and I believe that if this is done our affairs may even yet be set straight again. If anybody can offer anything better, let him name it and urge it; and whatever you decide, I pray to heaven it may be for the best.'
Another passage quoted from the same speech gives a companion picture of the defendant's behaviour in civil life:
"Two years ago, having been detailed for garrison-duty, we went out to Panactum. Conon's sons occupied a tent near us; I wish it had been otherwise, for this was the primary cause of our enmity and the collisions between us. You shall hear how it arose. They used to drink every day and all day long, beginning immediately after breakfast, and this custom they maintained all the time that we were in garrison. My brothers and I, on the contrary, lived out there just as we were in the habit of living at home. So by the time which the rest of us had fixed for dinner, they were invariably playing drunken tricks, first on our servants, and finally on ourselves. For because they said that the servants sent the smoke in their faces while cooking, or were uncivil to them, or what not, they used to beat them and empty the slops over their heads . . . and in every way behaved brutally and disgustingly. We saw this and took offence, and first of all remonstrated with them; but as they jeered at us and would not stop, we all went and reported the occurrence to the general--not I alone, but the whole of the mess. He reprimanded them severely, not only for their offensive behaviour to us, but for their general conduct in camp; however, they were so far from stopping or feeling any shame that, as soon as it was dark that evening, they made a rush on us, and first abused us and then beat me, and made such a disturbance and uproar round the tent that the general and his staff and some of the other soldiers came out, and prevented them from doing us any serious harm, and us from retaliating on their drunken violence." Against Conon, §§ 3-5.
Dionysius observes that the ecclesia and the courts were composed of mixed elements; not all were clever and subtle in intellect; the majority were farmers, merchants, and artisans, who were more likely to be pleased by simple speech; anything of an unusual flavour would turn their stomachs: a smaller number, a mere fraction of the whole, were men of high education, to whom you could not speak as you would to the multitude; and the orator could not afford to neglect either section. He must therefore aim at satisfying both, and consequently he should steer a middle course, avoiding extremes in either direction.
"When we met them, one of the party, whom I cannot identify, fell upon Phanostratus and held him tight, while the defendant Conon and his son and the son of Andromenes fell upon me, and first stripped me, and then tripped me up, and dashed me down in the mud. There they jumped upon me and beat me, and so mishandled me that they cut my lip right through, and closed up both my eyes. They left me in such a weak state that I could neither get up nor speak, and as I lay on the ground I heard them uttering floods of abominable language. What they said was vilely slanderous, and some of it I should shrink from repeating, but I will mention one thing which is an example of Conon's brutality, and proves that he was responsible for the whole incident--he began to crow like a game-cock after a victory, and the others told him to flap his arms against his sides in triumph. After this I was carried home naked by some passers-by, while the defendants made off with my coat." Against Conon, §§ 8-9.
Dionysius, as we know from many of his criticisms, had a remarkably acute sense of style; he had also a strong imagination. In this same treatise he recounts how the forms of the sentences themselves suggest to him the tone in which the words were uttered, the very gestures with which they were accompanied.
"When I read a speech of Isocrates, I become sober and serious, as if I were listening to solemn music; but when I take up a speech of Demosthenes, I am beside myself, I am led this way and that, I am moved by one passion after another: suspicion, distress, fear, contempt, hate, pity, kindliness, anger, envy--passing successively through all the passions which can obtain a mastery over the human mind; . . . and I have sometimes thought to myself, what must have been the impression which he made on those who were fortunate enough to hear him? For where we, who are so far removed in time, and in no way interested in the actual events, are led away and overpowered, and made to follow wherever the speech leads us, how must the Athenians and other Greeks have been led by the speaker himself when the cases in which he spoke had a living interest and concerned them nearly? . . ." (Demos., ch. xxii.)
Similarly in the Third Olynthiac he rouses the curiosity of the audience by propounding a riddle, of which, after some suspense, he himself gives the answer. The matter under discussion is the necessity of sending help to Olynthus. There is, as usual, a difficulty about money.
'On the question of resources of money at present at our disposal, what I have to say will, I know, appear paradoxical, but I must say it; for I am confident that, considered in the proper light, my proposal will appear to be the only true and right one. I tell you that we need not raise the question of money at all: we have great resources which we may fairly and honourably use if we need them. If we look for them now, we shall imagine that they never will be at our disposal, so far shall we be from willingness to dispose of them at present; but if we let matters wait, we shall have them. What, then, are these resources which do not exist at present, but will be to hand later on? It looks like a riddle. I will explain. Consider this city of ours as a whole. It contains almost as much money as all other cities taken together; but those individuals who possess it are so apathetic that if all the orators tried to terrify them by saying that the king is coming, that he is near, that invasion is inevitable, and even if the orators were reinforced by an equal number of soothsayers, they would not only refuse to contribute; they would refuse even to declare or admit the possession of their wealth. But suppose that the horrors which we now talk about were actually realized, they are none of them so foolish that they would not readily offer and make contributions. . . . So I tell you that we have money ready for the time of urgent need, but not before.' de Symmor., §§ 24-26.
This mention of the Festival Fund suggests some reflections on the orator's tenacity and perseverance. He is not content to say once what he has to propose, and leave his words to sink in by their own weight. Like a careful lecturer he repeats his statement, emphasizing it in various ways, until he perceives that his audience has really grasped its importance. The walls which he is attacking will not fall flat at the sound of the trumpet; his persistent battering-rams must make a breach, his catapults must drive the defenders from their positions. Such is the meaning of Lucian's comment in the words attributed to Philip.
"Very well," you may say; "we have all decided that we must send help; and send help we will; but how are we to do it; tell me that?" Now, Gentlemen, do not be astonished if what I say comes as a surprise to most of you. Appoint a legislative board. Instruct this board not to pass any law (you have enough already), but to repeal the laws which are injurious under present conditions. I refer to the laws about the Theoric Fund. Third Olynthiac, §§ 10-11.
Narrative, too, can take the place of argument; a recital of Philip's misdeeds during the last few years may do far more to convince the Athenians of the necessity for action than any argument about the case of a particular ally who chances to be threatened at the moment.(4)
If Philip captures Olynthus, who will prevent him from marching on us? The Thebans? It is an unpleasant thing to say, but they will eagerly join him in the invasion. Or the Phocians?--when they cannot even protect their own land, unless you help them. Can you think of any one else?--"My dear fellow, he won't want to attack us." It would indeed be the greatest surprise in the world if he did not do it when he got the chance; since even now he is fool enough to declare his intentions.First Olynthiac, §§ 25-26.
This, however, occurs in a speech before the law courts; it is excellent in its place, but would have been unsuitable to the more dignified and solemn style in which he addresses the assembly. Equally unsuitable to his public harangues would be anything like the virulent satire which he admits into the de Corona, the vulgar personalities of abuse and gross caricatures of Aeschines and his antecedents. For these the only excuse is that, though meant maliciously, they are so exaggerated as to be quite incredible. They may be compared to Aristophanes' satire of Cleon in the Knights, which was coarse enough, but cannot have done Cleon any serious harm. Demosthenes indeed becomes truly Aristophanic when he talks about Aeschines' acting:
I should like to tell you, Gentlemen, how legislation is conducted among the Locrians. It will do you no harm to have an example before you, especially the example of a well-governed State. There men are so convinced that they ought to keep to the established laws and cherish their traditions, and not legislate to suit their fancy, or to help a criminal to escape, that any man who wishes to pass a new law must have a rope round his neck while he proposes it. If they think that the law is a good and useful one, the proposer lives and goes on his way; if not, they pull the rope and there is an end of him. For they cannot bear to pass new laws, but they rigorously observe the old ones. We are told that only one new law has been enacted in very many years. Whereas there was a law that if a man knocked out another man's eye, he should submit to having his own knocked out in return, and no monetary compensation was provided, a certain man threatened his enemy, who had already lost an eye, to knock out the one eye he had left. The one-eyed man, alarmed by the threat, and thinking that life would not be worth living if it were put into execution, ventured to propose a law that if a man knocks out the eye of a man who has only one, he shall submit to having both his own knocked out in return, so that both may suffer alike. We are told that this is the only law which the Locrians have passed in upwards of two hundred years.Timocrates, §§ 139 sqq.
He is generally described as deficient in wit, and he seems in this point to have been inferior to Aeschines, though on one or two occasions he could make a neat repartee. As Dionysius says: "Not on all men is every gift bestowed."
When in the course of time you were relieved of these duties, having yourself committed all the offences of which you accuse others, I vow that your subsequent life did not fall short of your earlier promise. You engaged yourself to the players Simylus and Socrates, the "Bellowers," as they were called, to play minor parts, and gathered a harvest of figs, grapes, and olives, like a fruiterer getting his stock from other people's orchards; and you made more from this source than from your plays, which you played in dead earnest at the risk of your lives; for there was a truceless and merciless war between you and the spectators, from whom you received so many wounds that you naturally mock at the cowardice of those who have never had that great experience. de Corona, §§ 261-262
Demosthenes: Lives, by Plutarch
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