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Demosthenes, Speeches 27-38

Translated by Douglas M. MacDowell
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    Demosthenes, Speeches 27-38
    Book Description:

    This is the eighth volume in the Oratory of Classical Greece. This series presents all of the surviving speeches from the late fifth and fourth centuries BC in new translations prepared by classical scholars who are at the forefront of the discipline. These translations are especially designed for the needs and interests of today's undergraduates, Greekless scholars in other disciplines, and the general public.

    Classical oratory is an invaluable resource for the study of ancient Greek life and culture. The speeches offer evidence on Greek moral views, social and economic conditions, political and social ideology, law and legal procedure, and other aspects of Athenian culture that have recently been attracting particular interest: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few.

    Demosthenes is regarded as the greatest orator of classical antiquity. This volume contains five speeches written for lawsuits in which Demosthenes sought to recover his inheritance, which he claimed was fraudulently misappropriated and squandered by the trustees of the estate. These speeches shed light on Athenian systems of inheritance, marriage, and dowry. The volume also contains seven speeches illustrating the legal procedure known as paragraphe, or "counter-indictment." Four of these are for lawsuits involving commercial shipping, a vital aspect of the Athenian economy that was crucial to maintaining the city's imported food supply. Another concerns the famous Athenian silver mines.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79722-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Michael Gagarin
    (pp. ix-2)
    Michael Gagarin

    From as early as Homer (and undoubtedly much earlier) the Greeks placed a high value on effective speaking. Even Achilles, whose greatness was primarily established on the battlefield, was brought up to be “a speaker of words and a doer of deeds” (Iliad9.443); and Athenian leaders of the sixth and fifth centuries,¹ such as Solon, Themistocles, and Pericles, were all accomplished orators. Most Greek literary genres—notably epic, tragedy, and history—underscore the importance of oratory by their inclusion of set speeches. The formal pleadings of the envoys to Achilles in theIliad, the messenger speeches in tragedy reporting...

    (pp. 3-8)
    Michael Gagarin

    Since antiquity Demosthenes (384–322 bc) has usually been judged the greatest of the Attic orators. Although the patriotic and nationalistic tenor of his message has been more highly regarded in some periods of history than in others, he is unique in his mastery of so many different rhetorical styles and his ability to blend them into a powerful ensemble.

    Demosthenes was born into an old wealthy Athenian family. His father Demosthenes owned workshops that made swords and furniture. His maternal grandfather, Gylon, had been exiled from Athens and lived in the Crimea, where his mother Cleobule was born (perhaps...

    (pp. 9-18)
    Douglas M. MacDowell

    The first five speeches in this volume (Orations 27–31) are the earliest of all Demosthenes’ speeches, written soon after he came of age in 366 bc. They were directed against the men who had been his guardians since the death of his father, and particularly against his cousin Aphobus, who was one of the guardians, and Aphobus’ brother-in-law Onetor, who was alleged to have been assisting Aphobus.¹

    According to Demosthenes’ own account, his father, also named Demosthenes, was a rich man when he died in 376. His property, listed in the first speech, included a workshop with slaves making...


      (pp. 19-39)

      The dispute between the young Demosthenes and his guardians is outlined in the introduction to this volume (pages 9–11). This first speech opens his prosecution of one of the guardians and contains the principal statement of his case against them. It was delivered in 364/3 bc, when he was twenty years old.

      He begins by professing his inexperience and his reluctance to go to law—a common type of excuse at the beginning of prosecution speeches, but in this case justified. He then gives an outline of his family situation and of the dispositions made by his dying father,...

      (pp. 40-47)

      At the trials of most private cases, each of the two litigants was allowed to make two speeches, in the order prosecutor, defendant, prosecutor, defendant. The speeches were timed by the water-clock (klepsydra), less time being allowed for the second speech than for the first.¹ Probably a speaker would usually extemporize his second speech to answer points just made by his opponent, but if it is right to regard Orations 28 and 31 as drafts made by Demosthenes before the respective trials (cf. p. 16), in these two cases, perhaps because of his inexperience, he thought it worthwhile to prepare...

      (pp. 48-66)

      After Aphobus was condemned to pay Demosthenes the huge sum of 10 talents, he tried to avoid the payment by bringing a case for false witness (dikē pseudomartyriōn) against one of Demosthenes’ witnesses. This witness, named Phanus, had given testimony concerning Milyas, the foreman of the workshop of slaves manufacturing knives which formed part of Demosthenes’ estate. One of Demosthenes’ accusations against Aphobus had been that he failed to report and hand over two years’ profit from the manufacture of knives, and Aphobus had said that Milyas was the man who would know what had happened to it (cf. 27.18...

      (pp. 67-78)

      The dispute between Demosthenes and Onetor was an outgrowth of the dispute between Demosthenes and Aphobus, outlined in the Introduction to this volume (pp. 9–11). Demosthenes was trying to recover the sum of 10 talents awarded to him by the court at the trial of Aphobus, and so he attempted to take possession of Aphobus’ farm; but Onetor, Aphobus’ brother-in-law, kept him out of it, claiming that it now belonged to him. Demosthenes therefore is bringing against Onetor a case of ejectment (dikē exoulēs). If he wins it, Onetor will have to leave the farm, and Demosthenes will have...

      (pp. 79-83)

      For his prosecution of Onetor, as for his prosecution of Aphobus (see p. 16), Demosthenes has thought it worthwhile to draft some material for use in his second speech. But this draft is even more incomplete than the draft of the second speech against Aphobus. It begins with an announcement that Demosthenes will first present to the jury another indication, not included in the first speech, that Onetor and Timocrates never paid the dowry to Aphobus, and will afterwards “refute the lies this man has told you.” In fact, the text that we have contains no such refutation, and this...

      (pp. 84-94)

      The speechAgainst Zenothemisis written for delivery by a cousin of Demosthenes named Demon, who was probably a son of the Demomeles son of Demon mentioned in 27.11 (as shown in the genealogy on p. 8).¹ Probably the text was written by Demosthenes, though some scholars have suggested that it was written by Demon himself. Demon has been prosecuted by Zenothemis, a man from Massalia (modern Marseille in southern France), and now brings a counter-indictment² against Zenothemis, claiming that the prosecution is inadmissible. The date of the speech is not known, but is likely to be between 353 and...

      (pp. 95-109)

      The speechAgainst Apaturiusis written for delivery by a man whose name is not mentioned; I therefore call him simply the speaker. He says that he used to travel as a merchant for many years (33.4–5). The speaker is therefore not Demosthenes himself, and since the style of the speech is plainer and more matter-of-fact than Demosthenes’ speeches usually are, it is generally held that he did not write it. The date is not known, but it was no earlier than 341 bc, for the speaker mentions the failure of the bank of Heracleides some two years previously...

      (pp. 110-129)

      The speechAgainst Phormionconcerns a dispute between two grain-merchants named Chrysippus and Phormion. Neither is otherwise known. (This Phormion is not to be identified with the one in Oration 36.) Several passages of the speech imply that they are not Athenian citizens; notice especially “we … have been coming to your port for a long time” (34.1), and “he [unlike Phormion, it is implied] was an Athenian citizen” (34.50). Both evidently are often in Athens, and it is possible that either or both have been registered as metics, but that is uncertain. The date of the speech is 327/6...

      (pp. 130-149)

      Lacritus originally came from Phaselis in Asia Minor, but at the time of this oration he was living in Athens, where he must have been registered as a metic (resident alien). He was a rhetorician; he had been a pupil of Isocrates and taught rhetoric himself (35.15, 35.41). Little else is known about him. One later text calls him an orator who had pupils;¹ another calls him a legislator for the Athenians, but it is hardly credible that a metic could have been a legislator in any sense, and that text is suspected of being corrupt.² His opponent, the speaker...

    • 36. FOR PHORMION
      (pp. 150-172)

      Seven speeches in the Demosthenic corpus (Orations 45, 46, 49, 50, 52, 53, and the main part of 59) are composed for delivery by Apollodorus son of Pasion, and most or all of them are now generally believed to have been written by him. The speechFor Phormion, on the other hand, is a speech against Apollodorus and enables us to see his affairs from an opposing point of view.

      Pasion had been a slave working in a bank in Piraeus owned by Antisthenes and Archestratus. Eventually he was given his freedom, took over the bank, became a wealthy man,...

      (pp. 173-194)

      The speechAgainst Pantaenetusis written for delivery by a man named Nicobulus. Neither Nicobulus nor Pantaenetus is otherwise known, but it appears from the speech that both were Athenian citizens, not metics. The original agreement between them was made in the spring of 347 bc (37.6), after which Nicobulus went off on a trading voyage to the Black Sea, and the dispute arose after his return; thus the date of the speech is probably 346. There is no reason to doubt that it was written by Demosthenes.

      The Athenian silver mines were owned by the state and let out...

      (pp. 195-206)

      Some passages ofAgainst Nausimachus and Xenopeithesare almost identical with passages ofAgainst Pantaenetus:38.1 with 37.1, and 38.21–22 with 37.58–60. That makes it likely that this speech was written by Demosthenes around the same time as that one, about 346 bc, and he saved himself a little trouble by using some of the same material in both. There is no other evidence of the date of this speech.

      Nausicrates was a rich man who died about thirty-eight years earlier, and thus probably around 384. He left two sons named Nausimachus and Xenopeithes, who were only about...

    (pp. 207-210)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 211-216)