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Antiphon the Athenian

Antiphon the Athenian

Michael Gagarin
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/728417
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    Antiphon the Athenian
    Book Description:

    Antiphon was a fifth-century Athenian intellectual (ca. 480-411 BCE) who created the profession of speechwriting while serving as an influential and highly sought-out adviser to litigants in the Athenian courts. Three of his speeches are preserved, together with three sets of Tetralogies (four hypothetical paired speeches), whose authenticity is sometimes doubted. Fragments also survive of intellectual treatises on subjects including justice, law, and nature (physis), which are often attributed to a separate Antiphon the Sophist. Were these two Antiphons really one and the same individual, endowed with a wide-ranging mind ready to tackle most of the diverse intellectual interests of his day?

    Through an analysis of all these writings, this book convincingly argues that they were composed by a single individual, Antiphon the Athenian. Michael Gagarin sets close readings of individual works within a wider discussion of the fifth-century Athenian intellectual climate and the philosophical ferment known as the sophistic movement. This enables him to demonstrate the overall coherence of Antiphon's interests and writings and to show how he was a pivotal figure between the sophists and the Attic orators of the fourth century. In addition, Gagarin's argument allows us to reassess the work of the sophists as a whole, so that they can now be seen as primarily interested in logos (speech, argument) and as precursors of fourth-century rhetoric, rather than in their usual role as foils for Plato.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79645-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-8)

    The second half of the fifth century¹ was a period of intellectual innovation and excitement throughout the Greek world, nowhere more so than in Athens. Poets, philosophers, medical writers and practitioners, religious reformers, historians, and others introduced new ways of thinking. They discussed and debated ideas, experimented with new methods of communicating orally, often in public forums, and explored the possibilities offered by the relatively new medium of communication, writing. At the time, some regarded it as a period of intellectual chaos and moral degeneration; Aristophanes took much of his comic material from these new trends, and Plato often attacks...

  6. I. THE SOPHISTIC PERIOD
    (pp. 9-36)

    Antiphon was active in the second half of the fifth century, a period of great intellectual activity generally associated with the group of thinkers we call Sophists. In using this term and expressions like “the sophistic movement,” I do not mean to imply any strict unity of belief or coordination of activity; indeed, the sophistic period is more notable for rivalry than for agreement or cooperation, as the vivid picture Plato draws of three Sophists (Protagoras, Hippias, and Prodicus) in Protagoras indicates. But the Sophists do share certain common interests, attitudes, and methodologies, and a review of these will provide...

  7. II. ANTIPHON: LIFE AND WORKS
    (pp. 37-62)

    Two contentious issues have long stood in the way of a full appreciation of Antiphon’s accomplishments. First, ever since antiquity there have been those who wished to divide Antiphon into (at least) two different Antiphons, “the orator”¹ (Antiphon of Rhamnus), who wrote forensic speeches, and “the Sophist,” who wrote the treatises Truth and Concord. The main reason for this division in antiquity was apparently stylistic, for the language of the “sophistic works,” especially Truth, is noticeably different from that of the court speeches. Twentieth-century separatists, on the other hand, have argued primarily from doctrinal differences: the orator was a conservative...

  8. III. TRUTH
    (pp. 63-92)

    Two major sophistic works are ascribed to Antiphon, Truth (Alētheia, in two books) and Concord (Homonoia). The former has attracted more scholarly attention, especially since the discovery of substantial papyrus fragments early in the twentieth century, which contain the longest continuous texts and are of great philosophical interest (44 DK, 90–92M).¹ Concord is of less philosophical interest but is still important for the full understanding of Antiphon’s work. In addition, the little that is known about Antiphon’s work on dreams suggests an attitude of inquiry and skepticism similar to that of Truth. This chapter will examine the fragments of...

  9. IV. CONCORD, DREAM-INTERPRETATION
    (pp. 93-102)

    Antiphon’s other well-attested, sophistic work was entitled Concord(Homonoia). Of the twenty-nine fragments usually assigned to it (45–71 DK, 117–145 M), only fourteen are explicitly attributed to it; none of these is longer than two lines, and nine are single words or very short phrases.¹ The other fifteen fragments are generally longer; most are preserved in Stobaeus’s fifth-century C.E. anthology, where they are attributed simply to “Antiphon.” They are traditionally assigned to Concord on the basis of content and style, and there seems no good reason to question this decision. Even so, I shall first examine the fragments explicitly...

  10. V. THE TETRALOGIES
    (pp. 103-134)

    Although Antiphon’s three Tetralogies take the form of court speeches, they were not written for delivery in court but for a more intellectual audience, perhaps the same audience as that of his more explicitly theoretical works. As already noted (above, 1.5), the Tetralogies fall into the category of Antilogiae, or opposed speeches, but are the only examples we know of with two pairs of speeches in each. This unique structure, which replicates an actual Athenian trial, has important consequences that are apparent when we contrast the Tetralogies with Antisthenes’ pair of speeches, Ajax and Odysseus, and with Gorgias’s stand-alone speeches,...

  11. VI. THE COURT SPEECHES
    (pp. 135-169)

    As a background to discussion of the individual works, I begin with a brief summary of Athenian homicide law and legal procedure in Antiphon’s day.¹ The Attic orators and others refer to the Athenian homicide laws as the oldest in the land. Scholars generally accept the tradition that the first laws written for Athens by Draco around 620 were all replaced a generation later (around 590) by Solon, except for Draco’s laws on homicide; thus, the homicide laws were the earliest of “the laws of Draco and Solon,” which remained the basis of Athenian law until Antiphon’s day. By the...

  12. VII. FROM THE SOPHISTS TO FORENSIC ORATORY
    (pp. 170-182)

    As we have seen (above, 2.1), most ancient authorities did not distinguish another Antiphon (“the Sophist”) from Antiphon of Rhamnus. As far as we can tell, those who did make this distinction did so for stylistic reasons and had no biographical information about this supposed other Antiphon; and the Antiphon described by Thucydides so resembles a typical Sophist that he would probably have been considered a Sophist by many of his contemporaries and would thus be the most likely source for Xenophon’s character “Antiphon the Sophist.” In subsequent chapters, examination of the various works attributed to Antiphon shows that these...

  13. APPENDIX A: TRUTH: THE PAPYRUS FRAGMENTS
    (pp. 183-188)
  14. APPENDIX B: CONCORD: THE FRAGMENTS
    (pp. 189-194)
  15. ABBREVIATIONS AND WORKS CITED
    (pp. 195-202)
  16. CITATIONS FROM ANCIENT AUTHORS
    (pp. 203-214)
  17. GENERAL INDEX
    (pp. 215-222)