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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 5 examines the role of public opinion in Athenian debates in philosophical circles, especially in arenas such as public assemblies and law courts. It begins with a discussion of the dêmos’ attitudes and positions that occur in speeches, particularly in the political speeches and the prosecution and defence speeches from public trials. More specifically, it considers the attitudes of the dêmos towards the social and political elite as well as its positions on day-to-day politics. It then analyses the competition between orators in political debates that are held in public assemblies and in the law courts. It shows that orators refer back to alleged views of the people in order to communicate their own suggestions or petitions successfully even as they attempt to discredit their opponents, but at the same time distancing themselves from the dêmos and representing the interests of individuals.

Keywords: public opinion, public assemblies, law courts, dêmos, speeches, elite, politics, orators, political debates

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