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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 3 examines how contemporary historians use the Attic orators. It first considers political histories of Philip II of Macedon and their dependence upon speeches from the Demosthenic corpus, noting how the emergence of vernacular translations of Demosthenes and Aeschines in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France and England were harbingers of the first histories of Philip. The chapter then explores problems that affect historians, in particular those relating to authorship, authenticity, chronology, and bias, before describing how the orators are useful for different types of historians, such as economic, social, religious, and legal historians. Finally, it analyses problems that arise from the constraints of the corpus, focusing on the forensic speeches. More specifically, it considers the consequences of using speeches that represent a limited class of litigants and that aim at persuasion rather than truth; epigraphic evidence may at times be a remedy for the first problem, and the application of the method of ‘forensic attestation’ for the second.

Keywords: historians, Attic orators, political histories, Philip II of Macedon, speeches, Demosthenes, orations, litigants, truth problem, forensic attestation

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