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Demosthenes, Speeches 20-22

Demosthenes, Speeches 20-22

Translated with introduction and notes by Edward M. Harris
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    Demosthenes, Speeches 20-22
    Book Description:

    This is the twelfth 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 three important speeches from the earliest years of his political career:Against Leptines, a prosecution brought against a law repealing all exemptions from liturgies;Against Meidias, a prosecution for aggravated insult (hybris) brought against an influential politician; andAgainst Androtion, an indictment of a decree of honors for the Council of Athens. Edward M. Harris provides contemporary English translations of these speeches, two of which (LeptinesandAndrotion) have not been translated into English in over sixty years, along with introductions and extensive notes that take account of recent developments in Classical scholarship.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79413-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xxxiv)

    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. 1-5)
    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. 6-14)
    Edward M. Harris

    The three speeches in this volume were delivered at trials during the decade following the Social War (357–355 BCE). This period marked an important transition in the history of Athenian democracy. Earlier in the fourth century the Athenians attempted to regain the hegemony that they had lost by their defeat in the Peloponnesian War.¹ In 378 the Athenians created a league of allies and portrayed themselves as the champions of Greek freedom against Spartan oppression. The new league got off to a promising start: in 376 Chabrias defeated the Spartan fleet off Naxos, freeing Athens from a Spartan blockade....

    (pp. 15-74)

    The Athenians assigned many public duties called liturgies to wealthy citizens and metics (resident aliens). These were divided into military (e.g., the trierarchy) and festival liturgies. The festival liturgies were quite numerous: there were normally over 97 every year, but this number could rise to over 118 once every four years when the Panathenaic festival was celebrated.¹ They fell into four general categories. The most important was thechoregiafor dramatic festivals. The person assigned to this duty was responsible for paying the expenses of a chorus and for hiring an instructor to train its members (see also the Introduction...

    (pp. 75-166)

    Meidias, the defendant in this case, was born around 395 or later¹ and came from a wealthy family; his father Cephisodorus served as trierarch.² Meidias made enough money from mining in Attica (see 167) to perform liturgies (151, 156), to qualify for inclusion among the Three Hundred in the naval symmories (157), and to donate a trireme to the state (160). He served as trierarch several times³ and was elected to the prestigious posts of cavalry leader, treasurer of the sacred shipParalus, overseer of the Eleusinian Mysteries (see 171– 174 and notes there), and Pylagoros to the Amphictyony at...

    (pp. 167-196)

    Androtion was a wealthy Athenian who was active in politics.¹ His father Andron was associated with prominent intellectuals in the late fifth century² and may have played a role in the Revolution of 411.³ Two sources make Androtion a student of the orator Isocrates,⁴ but in hisAntidosis, Isocrates (15.93–94) does not list him among his pupils.⁵ Androtion entered politics around 385; a decree of 378/7 reveals that he was a member of the Council and presided over a meeting of the Assembly during that year.⁶ At one point he was elected to a special office that granted him...

    (pp. 197-206)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 207-212)