Demosthenes and His Time: A Study in Defeat

Demosthenes and His Time: A Study in Defeat

Raphael Sealey

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0195079280

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book draws on a wide range of evidence to study the history of Athens from 386 to 322 B.C. Taking a sympathetic view of the Second Athenian League, Sealey focuses on the career of Demosthenes to provide important insights into Athenian politics and policies. Demosthenes experienced repeated setbacks in his early attempts at public activity, but found his mission as a statesman in the conflict with Macedon and subsequently became the leading man in Athens. Sealey rejects theories that assume programmatic divisions among Athenian statesmen into pro- and anti-Macedonians, and argues that all Athenians active in politics resented Macedonian ascendancy but recognized the necessity of accommodation to superior power. His account concludes with the defeat of Athens and its allies and the suicide of Demosthenes, presenting new insights not only into the life of Demosthenes and the turbulent years of his political career, but also the social and international factors bearing on Athenian political activity in general.















especially informative. Narrative histories for the fourth century are mostly secondary; Diodoros, Plutarch, and Justin supply a good deal of information about the effects of Chaironeia and about the Lamian War. For the early part of the period the narrative of Xenophon, though much maligned, is contemporary testimony and indispensable. The greatest tribute to Demosthenes was paid unwittingly by Philip II. In the evening following Chaironeia he held a carouse and chanted the formulaic opening of

under a commander called Aristokrates. About the same time a revolt in Kerkyra led to another appeal for Spartan intervention. The island had been brought on to the Athenian side by Timotheos, but now a disaffected party rebelled and asked for Spartan aid. The Spartans sent a fleet of twenty-two triremes under Alkidas. 66 Demosthenes and His Time The squadrons sailing under Aristokrates and Alkidas were not large. When the two missions failed to provoke any severe reaction from the Athenians,

although the prosecution may have had more to say. Information about the career of Leodamas leads further. He had opposed the decree that granted honors to Chabrias after the battle of Naxos. Surely his activity in 376 and 366 indicates not programmatic divergence from Chabrias and Kallistratos, but personal enmity. Again nothing is known of Leodamas after 366 until 355/4, when he defended the law of Leptines.58 If the trials after the loss of Oropos had marked a setback to one policy and

pursuit of international power by the Athenians during the war shows that among them the violent divisions of 404/3 were over. There was a large measure of agreement on policy. It is illustrated by developments of 395, and suggestive light was shed on these by the discovery in 1906 of fragments of a detailed history, which has come to be called the Hellenika Oxyrhynchia. In a much studied passage the author told how toward 396 Epikrates and Kephalos had persuaded the Athenians to undertake

varied. "Meidias was one of the wealthiest Athenians, an arrogant man, who never showed himself on the street without a troop of servants."20 "It no doubt caused general satisfaction when in 348 before a theatre audience he [Demosthenes] was punched in the face by an exasperated supporter of 144 Demosthenes and His Time Eubulus."21 Had the supporters of Euboulos become so unsure of their ascendancy that they were exasperated at the criticisms voiced by Demosthenes? Or were they so secure that

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