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.
This chapter treats two imperial Greek phenomena that have often been paired, usually in opposition: Atticism and Asianism. It first describes the theory, practice, and development of Atticism, the attempt by imperial Greeks to write in the language of the fifth and fourth century bce, treating its stylistic and grammatical variants and outlining its relation to imperial classicism. The second part treats the so-called “Asian” prose style associated primarily with the Hellenistic writer Hegesias of Magnesia and reminiscent of Gorgias and the first sophistic. The term itself is not current in the Second Sophistic, but the chapter argues that the style and aesthetic to which it refers are not only present in the work of many writers, but are also portrayed in a positive light by Philostratus. The tension between the classicizing tendencies of Atticism and the unclassical flavor of Asianism is an essential component of imperial Greek culture.
Chapter 32 focuses on the authenticity, composition, and publication of Demosthenes’ speeches. In discussing authenticity, three alternatives need to be taken into consideration. A speech could be either a genuine work of Demosthenes, a real speech from fourth-century Athens wrongly attributed to Demosthenes, or a later composition. Most, if not all, of the speeches fall into the first two categories, while the last is possibly but not necessarily written with the intention of passing as a genuine work of Demosthenes. The article examines the debate over the authenticity of a large quantity of Demosthenes’ surviving oratory, and the distinctiveness of his style, on stylistic grounds. It also analyses how Demosthenes composed his speeches and other works, with emphasis on the extent to which he wrote his speeches in advance of delivery and what evidence exists for subsequent revision. Finally, it evaluates evidence of the publication and circulation of Demosthenes’ speeches.
Brad L. Cook
Chapter 23 examines the biographic tradition on Demosthenes, focusing on the content of the surviving Lives of Demosthenes. It also cites examples to characterize the perspectives and distinctive features of these biographic texts from the fragments of Demosthenes’ day to the time of Photius and the Suda. The writing of Demosthenes’ Life begins with Demosthenes and his contemporaries. To find the earliest surviving biography of Demosthenes, allowing for a flexible definition of biography, a good start is to consider the summary justification of Ctesiphon’s proposed decree to crown Demosthenes in 336. The article discusses a number of works dealing with Demosthenes’ Life, including Plutarch’s Demosthenes, Lucian’s Encomium of Demosthenes, the pseudo-Plutarchan Demosthenes, Libanius’ Life of Demosthenes, Zosimus’ Life of Demosthenes, and the anonymous Life of Demosthenes.
J. R. Morgan
This chapter discusses the novels of Chariton and Xenophon of Ephesus. Both are engaged with central concerns of the Second Sophistic, in particular that of elite Greek identity. Chariton’s novel (composed in the second century and connected with the sophist Dionysius of Miletus) demonstrates the same empathetic recreation of the classical past as sophistic declamation, and defines the Greekness of his protagonists in antithesis to a Persia configured to enable the exploration of the contemporary accommodation of the Greek elite to Rome. In his vision, paideia is a central constituent of Hellenic identity, enacted through an important third character, who represents an older erotic paradigm in contrast to the romantic heroes. Xenophon’s novel (probably an epitome), on the other hand, uses a contemporary setting to explore the nightmare of the loss of social status and control over one’s own person.
Chapter 22 examines how the city and countryside are represented in Demosthenes and other Attic orators. In a court of law, the plausibility of a story will often be contingent on the physical setting, and a speaker is expected to persuade the jury to accept his version by having them visualize where events took place. Demosthenes, even when speaking in the courts, seldom depicts action in a specific rural or urban environment. To understand why, the chapter first considers what Athenian forensic oratory generally has to offer by way of descriptions of physical settings. It then analyses the rhetorical and political reasons why the Attic orators in general, and Demosthenes in particular, provide little detailed information about the physical world in which they lived. Finally, it discusses the implications of the reticence by Demosthenes and other orators to talk about local city or country life.
Robert J. Nichols
Chapter 13 examines the problem of corruption in Classical Athens. There are numerous references to corruption in Demosthenes, Attic oratory, and Greek literature. In an Athenian context, corruption typically involved the bribery of prominent officials. A central issue is ‘katapolitical’ bribery, or bribery at the expense of public interests or with intention to damage institutions or the community. The article considers the institutional and legal regulations adopted by Athens to combat bribery as well as the range of penalties and procedures against offenders, including prosecution. It also discusses the case of Aeschines, who was prosecuted by Demosthenes in his speech On the False Embassy (Dem. 19; Aeschin. 2) for mismanagement on the second embassy (parapresbeia) in support of the Peace of Philocrates in 346.
Daniel S. Richter
This chapter describes the how various intellectuals active in the Second Sophistic conceived of the unity of the human community, a problem with philosophical, social, political, and, perhaps most importantly, ethnic implications. Intellectuals of the period inherited a rich conceptual vocabulary with which to think about human unity; ironically, fifth- and fourth-century Athenian rejections of aristocratic privilege provided a means for later intellectuals to debunk the importance of ethnic birth. As well, the Hellenistic Stoic idea of oikeiôsis is developed by intellectuals of the Second Sophistic as the basis of a philosophically oriented cosmopolitanism. The chapter discusses late Stoic cosmopolitan thought and rhetorical constructions of the Roman oikoumenê (inhabited world) as a single polis, and then turns to the figure of the exile as peculiarly suited to inhabit the world as if it were a single city.
Chapter 7 considers Demosthenes’ use of court procedures and the role played by arbitration, first by describing the early stage of a dispute. In particular, it examines pre-litigation arbitration, more often known as ‘private arbitration’, and how it could occur at any stage in a dispute, even after formal charges had been filed. It then discusses the steps taken to initiate litigation when efforts to settle a dispute privately failed, such as choosing the kind of offence (for example, assault, theft, or impiety) and the procedure. The chapter goes on to explain private and public procedures, or dikê and graphê, respectively, and the distinction between them. Finally, it looks at the remaining steps in initiating litigation, namely: filing the charge, the preliminary hearing, public arbitration, the trial, presentation of evidence and witnesses, and the jury’s rendering of the verdict.
The chapter examines three exemplars of Syrian Christianity in the second and early third centuries: Tatian (ca. 120–180), Bar Daysan (154–222), and Julius Africanus (ca. 160–240). To varying degrees, all of them are as much creations of Hellenic high culture as they are representatives of the Church. In developing this argument, the chapter treats these figures in the context of themes familiar to students of the Second Sophistic: (1) attitudes toward Greek paideia; (2) relics and the creation of civic identities; (3) Hellenic court culture; and (4) the encounter of Greek-speaking eastern elites with Rome.
Chapter 1 discusses the range of scholarship dealing with Demosthenes’ life and work, published in three distinct periods: from the eighteenth century to 1945, from 1945 to the late 1990s, and during the last twenty years. Before World War II, work on Demosthenes focused on the constitution and translation of the text on the one hand, and on the political judgement—often one-sided and heavily influenced by the contemporary outlook—of Demosthenes the politician on the other hand. After the war political interpretation, and interest in oratory in general, waned, whereas the last two decades have seen a new surge of research on Demosthenes, with particular prominence of high-standard commentaries.