This chapter discusses how, despite himself, Aelius Aristides corresponds in many ways to the typical portrait of the sophist. It examines how his personality was both emblematic (practicing epideictic and deliberative eloquence as a counselor, declaimer, and formal speaker) and idiosyncratic: a man who lived in symbiosis with a god, Asclepius, in whom he found both a doctor and a mentor in rhetoric, and who refused to take on civic responsibilities, preferring reclusion to society, yet who also was occupied with promoting language and rhetoric among his contemporaries, and defined himself as the incarnation of the ideal orator in his century. Aristides holds a vital place in literature of the imperial period: his work gives evidence of a real creative process and offers a new vision of the world, where cultural Athens, Roman domination, and the urban world of contemporary Greece and Asia Minor subtly interfere in a new way.
Chapter 33 focuses on Demosthenes’ reception in antiquity and during the Byzantine Era. In particular, it examines the character and value of the 15 ‘demegoriai’ that survive from Demosthenes’ Assembly speeches, first by discussing the peculiarly Demosthenic phenomenon of a first version written already in a highly elaborated form. Demosthenes was perhaps influenced here by Isocrates’ important innovation, the written speech that presented itself as if it had been delivered; this practice is also documented in Demosthenes’ circle by the On Halonnesus of his associate Hegesippus. These innovative practices became the object of attention for the generation of critics immediately following Demosthenes. The article considers the reception of Demosthenes by looking at the works of Theopompus of Chios, Anaximenes of Lampsacus, Timaeus, Aesion, Hermippus, Demochares, Callimachus, Polybius, Cicero, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Didymus of Alexandria, Hermogenes of Tarsus, Plutarch, Lucian of Samosata, Aelius Aristides, Libanius, Zosimus, and Photius.
Alastair J. L. Blanshard
Chapter 34 focuses on Demosthenes’ reception in the modern era. It was Cicero and Quintilian who made sure that Demosthenes will never be forgotten. The praise that they heaped on Demosthenes’ style made it possible for him to always remain a figure to conjure with. Plutarch established the status of Cicero and Demosthenes as the twin fathers of oratory. The article first considers how Demosthenes emerged as a central topic in political discussions during the modern period, as seen in the first English translation of the Olynthiacs and the Philippics by Thomas Wilson. It then examines how, from Wilson onwards, Demosthenes’ fortunes became largely intertwined with the fortunes of Athenian democracy itself, and particularly how his association with liberty and opposition to tyranny propelled Demosthenes into the limelight of American Revolutionary rhetoric. It also describes how Demosthenes became an important figure in popular culture.
Chapter 26 considers three Athenian prominent politicians and gifted orators in the period of Demosthenes’ activity: Aeschines, Hyperides, and Lycurgus. Scholars have often regarded Aeschines, Hyperides, and Lycurgus as leaders of factions or groups that collaborated with or opposed Demosthenes over policy towards Macedon: Aeschines has been seen as the leader of the pro-Macedonians, and Hyperides and Lycurgus as leaders of the radical and the conservative anti-Macedonians, respectively. Although it is now generally agreed that Athens had no political parties in the modern sense, scholars still tend to view Athenian politics in the period of Demosthenes primarily in the reductivist terms of pro- and anti-Macedonian division. The chapter discusses the political careers of Aeschines, Hyperides, and Lycurgus.
Chapter 27 considers some prominent Athenian politicians who were contemporaries of Demosthenes but whose speeches have not survived. In fourth-century Athens, a professionalization of politics took shape: the politically active, the so-called rhêtores, were a rather small group of wealthy citizens who often took the initiative of promoting laws and decrees, initiated legal proceedings against rivals, and were armed with the adequate rhetorical skills to convince the dêmos in the Assembly or with specific expertise in the financial field. The political activity of Athenian politicians and the composition and orientation of the respective groups are often subject to conflicting interpretations. The chapter takes a look at some of these politicians, including Eubulus and his allies, Diophantus, Androtion, Aristophon and his allies, other allies of Demosthenes, and politicians in the period after Chaeronea.
Stephen J. Harrison
This chapter considers the biography, literary career, and literary output of the second-century Platonizing Latin writer Apuleius, born in Roman North Africa in the 120s ce and recorded as active in Carthage and Africa Proconsularis in the late 150s and 160s. In particular, it examines the key features of his two most important surviving works, the Apologia or Pro Se De Magia, a forensic oration of self-defense against charges of magic and other offences, delivered in the late 150s in court at Sabathra, and the Metamorphoses or Golden Ass, a spectacular picaresque fiction concerning the adventures of the young Greek Lucius, who is metamorphosed into a donkey but later becomes an official in the cults of Isis and Osiris. It is shown overall that Apuleius’s literary profile matches those of contemporary Greek sophists and can be usefully described as sophistic.
P. J. Rhodes
Chapter 10 examines foreign policy in Classical Athens, beginning with a discussion of the conflict between Athens and Sparta in the fifth century—that is, before the birth of Demosthenes. Athens lost in the war with Sparta, becoming a subordinate ally of the latter, but rebounded quickly in the fourth century. Thus, the ambition of Thebes/Boeotia to become another leading power was heralded by its leading an alliance including Athens into the Corinthian War against Sparta in 395. The article first provides an overview of the Peace of Antalcidas, or King’s Peace, signed between the Spartans and the Persians in 387/6, before analysing the Social War of 356–355 and the Peace of Philocrates (346). It also describes Alexander the Great’s invasion of Asia in 334 and important developments in Athenian foreign policy in the period after the invasion.
Chapter 12 focuses on the Athenian military during the fourth century. By the time Demosthenes was a youth Athens had more or less recovered after its major losses in the Peloponnesian Wars, but it never regained the position of power that it used to occupy in Greece at the beginning of the war. Although the Peace of Antalcidas (or King’s Peace) of 387 had largely freed Athens from the constraints of the peace treaty of 404 and despite the establishment in 378/7 of the Second Athenian League, the city was reduced to just one among a number of powers in the Greek world. Major military setbacks in conflicts with leading members of the Alliance in 357–355 and against Philip II of Macedon further restricted the Athenians’ sphere of influence. The chapter first considers military development and military leadership in fourth-century Athens before discussing the Athenian army and the fleet.
Edmund M. Burke
Chapter 11 examines the finances of Classical Athens. Following its defeat at the hands of the Spartans in the Peloponnesian War, Athens had to deal with a number of longer-term fiscal challenges. Most immediately, the loss to Sparta put an end to wealth drawn from the empire in tribute and other sources. By war’s end, the city had exhausted the large reserves it once commanded. Another major challenge was the loss in revenues from the Laurium mines with the flight of the slave labour force. After discussing the challenges and responses of the Athenian state with regards to public finance during the fourth century, the article considers Demosthenes’ views on Athenian state finance as articulated in his speeches.
Athletic activity was a major preoccupation of the Greek elite in the imperial period. This chapter looks at the relationship between athletic and intellectual activity, focusing especially on the way in which athletic skill could in itself be presented as a form of paideia. It looks first at day-to-day training in the gymnasium, focusing particularly on the use of athletics in the education of young men of the Greek elite and on the expertise of the athletic trainers. It then turns to the athletic contests which flourished at festivals across the Mediterranean world. Finally, it looks at a series of attempts by imperial Greek authors to redefine athletic training in line with their own intellectual priorities, using Plutarch’s Precepts of Healthcare as a case study for that wider phenomenon.