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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Demosthenes’ life and works provide invaluable evidence both about the process by which the Athenians made diplomatic decisions and about how their ambassadors were expected to carry out these decisions. His foreign-policy speeches showed the wide variety of arguments that carried weight in the Athenian assembly: everything from cold calculation to appeals to manliness, from reciprocity to the noble Athenian mission to succour the unjustly oppressed. Although the practice of diplomacy was aristocratic in several ways, Demosthenes emphasized only the most democratic and public aspects of his own diplomatic service in contrast with Aischines’ supposed corruption, which Demosthenes links with an elitist preference for personal ties over loyalty to the city. Demosthenes’ self-representation was probably a distortion of his actual role; for example, he may have been a proxenos for Thebes.

Keywords: Demosthenes, diplomacy, foreign policy, proxeny, Aischines, ambassadors, Athens, Thebes

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