Demosthenes and His Time: A Study in Defeat

Demosthenes and His Time: A Study in Defeat

Raphael Sealey

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0195079280

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book draws on a wide range of evidence to study the history of Athens from 386 to 322 B.C. Taking a sympathetic view of the Second Athenian League, Sealey focuses on the career of Demosthenes to provide important insights into Athenian politics and policies. Demosthenes experienced repeated setbacks in his early attempts at public activity, but found his mission as a statesman in the conflict with Macedon and subsequently became the leading man in Athens. Sealey rejects theories that assume programmatic divisions among Athenian statesmen into pro- and anti-Macedonians, and argues that all Athenians active in politics resented Macedonian ascendancy but recognized the necessity of accommodation to superior power. His account concludes with the defeat of Athens and its allies and the suicide of Demosthenes, presenting new insights not only into the life of Demosthenes and the turbulent years of his political career, but also the social and international factors bearing on Athenian political activity in general.

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Ten Plays


















If this work is read at its face value, the audacity of its fantasies takes the reader's breath away. One may well wonder what Philip thought about it.13 But perhaps the Philippos should not be taken at its face value. Interpretation of the work has made progress since readers have pointed out what it does not say.14 It does not look ahead to an organization of the type that Philip set up among the cities of Greece after the war of Chaironeia. It does not advise or expect any further extension of

into western Attica by night. At dawn he was in the plain of Thria. He made himself conspicuous by seizing farm animals and destroying buildings. The three Spartan envoys were taken by surprise. They assured their hosts that Sphodrias would be called to account and executed. The question of his purpose in making his raid is difficult. He had alleged that he intended to seize the Peiraieus. But it would not be possible to penetrate so far into Attica without being checked effectively. It is more

Androtion, but by an oversight he named only two of them. Polyeuktos carried an amendment adding the third. Polyeuktos was the son of Timokrates.78 In short, the record linking Timokrates and his son to Androtion extends over a period of nearly twenty years. Their collaboration may have continued longer. The attested record should give pause to those who favor an atomistic view of the Athenian political scene. Friendships between Athenian statesmen could last a long time. Philip in Thessaly and

claimed to swear on behalf of the Boiotian federation, King Agesilaos refused to accept their oath and insisted that the cities of Boiotia should swear separately. The Theban envoys went home for new instructions. Without waiting for them to return, Agesilaos gained authorization from the ephors for a campaign, advanced to Tegea, and began collecting forces there. Before he could set off northward from Tegea, the Theban envoys returned with the news that Thebes disbanded the Boiotian federation.

asserts or implies something on a subject that was a matter of common knowledge among his audience or could easily be verified by them, he should be believed.69 Application of this principle can be illustrated from the account Aischines gives of the behavior of Demosthenes on the first embassy, when Philip received the envoys in audience. He says that on the outward journey Demosthenes had boasted to his colleagues of the fine speech he would make (2.21). But, Aischines continues, when Philip

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