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Demosthenes, Speeches 27-38

Translated by Douglas M. MacDowell

Publication Year: 2004

This is the eighth volume in the Oratory of Classical Greece. This series presents all of the surviving speeches from the late fifth and fourth centuries BC in new translations prepared by classical scholars who are at the forefront of the discipline. These translations are especially designed for the needs and interests of today’s undergraduates, Greekless scholars in other disciplines, and the general public. Classical oratory is an invaluable resource for the study of ancient Greek life and culture. The speeches offer evidence on Greek moral views, social and economic conditions, political and social ideology, law and legal procedure, and other aspects of Athenian culture that have recently been attracting particular interest: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few. Demosthenes is regarded as the greatest orator of classical antiquity. This volume contains five speeches written for lawsuits in which Demosthenes sought to recover his inheritance, which he claimed was fraudulently misappropriated and squandered by the trustees of the estate. These speeches shed light on Athenian systems of inheritance, marriage, and dowry. The volume also contains seven speeches illustrating the legal procedure known as paragraphe, or “counter-indictment.” Four of these are for lawsuits involving commercial shipping, a vital aspect of the Athenian economy that was crucial to maintaining the city’s imported food supply. Another concerns the famous Athenian silver mines.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: The Oratory of Classical Greece

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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Series Editor's Preface

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pp. vii-viii

This is the eighth volume in a series of translations of the Oratory of Classical Greece. The aim of the series is to make available primarily for those who do not read Greek up-to-date, accurate, and readable translations with introductions and explanatory notes of all the surviving works and major fragments of the Attic orators of the...

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Series Introduction

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pp. ix-2

From as early as Homer (and undoubtedly much earlier) the Greeks placed a high value on effective speaking. Even Achilles, whose greatness was primarily established on the battlefield, was brought up to be “a speaker of words and a doer of deeds” (Iliad 9.443); and Athenian leaders of the sixth and fifth centuries,1 such as Solon, Themistocles...

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Introduction to Demosthenes

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pp. 3-8

Demosthenes was born into an old wealthy Athenian family. His father Demosthenes owned workshops that made swords and furniture. His maternal grandfather, Gylon, had been exiled from Athens and lived in the Crimea, where his mother Cleobule was born (perhaps to a Scythian mother). When Demosthenes was seven, his father...

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Introduction to This Volume

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pp. 9-18

The first five speeches in this volume (Orations 27–31) are the earliest of all Demosthenes’ speeches, written soon after he came of age in 366 BC. They were directed against the men who had been his guardians since the death of his father, and particularly against his cousin Aphobus, who was one of the guardians, and Aphobus’ brother-in-law...

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27. Against Aphobus I

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pp. 19-39

The dispute between the young Demosthenes and his guardians is outlined in the introduction to this volume (pages 9–11). This first speech opens his prosecution of one of the guardians and contains the principal statement of his case against them. It was delivered in...

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28. Against Aphobus II

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pp. 40-47

At the trials of most private cases, each of the two litigants was allowed to make two speeches, in the order prosecutor, defendant, prosecutor, defendant. The speeches were timed by the water-clock (klepsydra), less time being allowed for the second speech than for the first.1 Probably a speaker would usually extemporize his second speech...

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29. Against Aphobus for Phanus

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pp. 48-66

After Aphobus was condemned to pay Demosthenes the huge sum of 10 talents, he tried to avoid the payment by bringing a case for false witness (dikē pseudomartyriōn) against one of Demosthenes’ witnesses. This witness, named Phanus, had given testimony concerning Milyas, the foreman of the workshop of slaves manufacturing knives which...

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30. Against Onetor I

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pp. 67-78

The dispute between Demosthenes and Onetor was an outgrowth of the dispute between Demosthenes and Aphobus, outlined in the Introduction to this volume (pp. 9–11). Demosthenes was trying to recover the sum of 10 talents awarded to him by the court at the trial of Aphobus, and so he attempted to take possession of Aphobus’ farm...

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31. Against Onetor II

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pp. 79-83

For his prosecution of Onetor, as for his prosecution of Aphobus (see p. 16), Demosthenes has thought it worthwhile to draft some material for use in his second speech. But this draft is even more incomplete than the draft of the second speech against Aphobus. It begins with an announcement that Demosthenes will first present to the jury...

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32. Against Zenothemis

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pp. 84-94

The speech Against Zenothemis is written for delivery by a cousin of Demosthenes named Demon, who was probably a son of the Demomeles son of Demon mentioned in 27.11 (as shown in the genealogy on p. 8).1 Probably the text was written by Demosthenes, though some scholars have suggested that it was written by Demon...

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33. Against Apaturius

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pp. 95-109

The speech Against Apaturius is written for delivery by a man whose name is not mentioned; I therefore call him simply the speaker. He says that he used to travel as a merchant for many years (33.4 –5). The speaker is therefore not Demosthenes himself, and since the style of the speech is plainer and more matter-of-fact than Demosthenes'...

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34. Against Phormion

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pp. 110-129

The speech Against Phormion concerns a dispute between two grain-merchants named Chrysippus and Phormion. Neither is otherwise known. (This Phormion is not to be identified with the one in Oration 36.) Several passages of the speech imply that they are not Athenian citizens; notice especially “we . . . have been coming to your port...

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35. Against Lacritus

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pp. 130-149

Lacritus originally came from Phaselis in Asia Minor, but at the time of this oration he was living in Athens, where he must have been registered as a metic (resident alien). He was a rhetorician; he had been a pupil of Isocrates and taught rhetoric himself (35.15, 35.41). Little else...

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36. For Phormion

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pp. 150-172

Seven speeches in the Demosthenic corpus (Orations 45, 46, 49, 50, 52, 53, and the main part of 59) are composed for delivery by Apollodorus son of Pasion, and most or all of them are now generally believed to have been written by him. The speech For Phormion, on the...

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37. Against Pantaenetus

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pp. 173-194

The speech Against Pantaenetus is written for delivery by a man named Nicobulus. Neither Nicobulus nor Pantaenetus is otherwise known, but it appears from the speech that both were Athenian citizens, not metics. The original agreement between them was made in the spring of 347 bc (37.6), after which Nicobulus went off on a trading...

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38. Against Nausimachus and Xenopeithes

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pp. 195-206

Some passages of Against Nausimachus and Xenopeithes are almost identical with passages of Against Pantaenetus: 38.1 with 37.1, and 38.21– 22 with 37.58 – 60. That makes it likely that this speech was written by Demosthenes around the same time as that one, about 346 BC, and he saved himself a little trouble by using some of the same material in...

Bibliography for This Volume

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pp. 207-210


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pp. 211-216

E-ISBN-13: 9780292797222
E-ISBN-10: 0292797222
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292702530
Print-ISBN-10: 0292702531

Page Count: 244
Illustrations: 1 chart
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: The Oratory of Classical Greece

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Subject Headings

  • Athens (Greece) -- Politics and government -- Early works to 1800.
  • Demosthenes -- Translations into English.
  • Speeches, addresses, etc., Greek -- Translations into English.
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