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date: 07 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

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.

Keywords: Demosthenes, reception, Olynthiacs, Philippics, Thomas Wilson, democracy, liberty, American Revolution, rhetoric, popular culture

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