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Demosthenes, Speeches 50-59

Translated by Victor Bers

Publication Year: 2003

This is the sixth 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 been largely ignored: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few. Demosthenes is regarded as the greatest orator of classical antiquity; indeed, his very eminence may be responsible for the inclusion under his name of a number of speeches he almost certainly did not write. This volume contains four speeches that are most probably the work of Apollodorus, who is often known as "the Eleventh Attic Orator." Regardless of their authorship, however, this set of ten law court speeches gives a vivid sense of public and private life in fourth-century BC Athens. They tell of the friendships and quarrels of rural neighbors, of young men joined in raucous, intentionally shocking behavior, of families enduring great poverty, and of the intricate involvement of prostitutes in the lives of citizens. They also deal with the outfitting of warships, the grain trade, challenges to citizenship, and restrictions on the civic role of men in debt to the state.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: The Oratory of Classical Greece

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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Series Editor's Preface

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pp. ix-x

This is the sixth 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...

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Translator's Preface

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pp. xi-xii

I record here my gratitude to five scholars who worked assiduously to improve successive drafts of my manuscript: Alan Boegehold (reader for the University of Texas Press), Debra Hamel, Adriaan Lanni, BarbaraTsakirgis, and especiallyMichael Gagarin, ever-vigilant...

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Series Introduction: Greek Oratory

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pp. xiii-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

Since antiquity Demosthenes (384 –322 BC) has usually been judged the greatest of the Attic orators. Although the patriotic and nationalistic tenor of his message has been more highly regarded in some periods of history than in others, he is unique in his mastery of so many different rhetorical styles and his ability to blend them into a powerful...

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Introduction to This Volume

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pp. 9-16

Although this volume of The Oratory of Classical Greece bears the title Demosthenes, Speeches 50 –59, only one speech in the group, Against Conon (54), has been unanimously regarded by antiquity and modern scholars as the work of Demosthenes. Some scholars have doubted whether Demosthenes wrote On the Trierarchic Crown (51)...

Demosthenes, Speeches 50-59

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pp. 17-18

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50. Against Polycles in the Matter of A Period of Supplementary Service as Trierarch

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pp. 19-38

This speech, delivered by Apollodorus, son of Pasion, is almost certainly his own composition, not Demosthenes’ (see the Introduction to this volume). Regardless of the authorship, the text is one of the most revealing sources of information on the trierarchy, a liturgy (see the Series Introduction, p. xxiii) that involved not only paying for much...

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51. On the Trierarchic Crown

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pp. 39-45

On the Trierarchic Crown shares a subject with the preceding speech, 50, Against Polycles, a dispute concerning a trierarchy, but otherwise it is unlike the other speeches in this volume in several respects. It was written for delivery before the Council of Five Hundred (boulē), which was not a court but sometimes heard legal disputes. The nature...

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52. Against Callippus

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pp. 46-55

This speech was written for delivery by Apollodorus, and in all likelihood he was also its author. If so, this is the earliest of his surviving speeches. The court case arose from the banking activities of Pasion, Apollodorus’ father (see pp. 12–13). Lycon, a man from Heraclea, a town on the southeast coast of the Black Sea, had deposited...

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53. Against Nicostratus

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pp. 56-65

Apollodorus delivers this speech and, despite the ascription to Demosthenes, is probably its author as well.1 As we see in many other lawcourt speeches, the litigant narrates a chain of actions and reactions, often in the form of legal maneuvers, nearly all of which would be deemed irrelevant in a modern court. Apollodorus tells a dramatic...

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54. Against Conon

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pp. 66-80

From antiquity1 until the present day, Against Conon has been one of the favorite speeches of the Demosthenic corpus. Moderns are amused by its vivid portrayal of drunken brawling in an army camp and in the streets of Athens itself, as well as the other forms of shocking behavior the speaker describes. There is, moreover, much interest...

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55. Against Callicles for Damage to Property

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pp. 81-91

We cannot date Against Callicles, and we know nothing about the people involved in this dispute beyond what is in the text, not even the name of the speaker. Nevertheless, the speech is interesting for its portrayal of a quarrel that flared between neighboring families over difficulties faced by Attic farmers working steep slopes subject to occasional...

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56. Against Dionysodorus for Damages

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pp. 92-106

Although a “Demosthenes” is called up to speak at the very end of this speech, its style has struck most scholars as falling well below Demosthenes’ standard of composition. Some technical characteristics also tell against Demosthenic authorship: hiatus, that is, the occurrence of a vowel at the end of a word and at the start of the following...

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57. Appeal Against Eubulides

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pp. 107-128

This speech and Against Neaera (Dem. 59) revolve around the issue of Athenian citizenship. The stakes were very high: it is no rhetorical exaggeration when in the opening section the speaker equates conviction with ruin, for he was to be sold into slavery if he lost the case (though at 65 it appears that an unsuccessful appellant might be expected...

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58. Against Theocrines

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pp. 129-150

Acting, he says, to avenge his father, a man named Epichares1 brought a denunciation of the sort called an endeixis against his father’s enemy, Theocrines.2 The father was debarred from bringing the prosecution himself: he had been disenfranchised (atimos) ever since Theocrines had successfully prosecuted him on a charge of unconstitutional...

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59. Against Neaera

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pp. 151-194

The author of this speech is almost certainly Apollodorus, fatherin- law (also brother-in-law) of the man who delivers the first sixteen sections. The style of Against Neaera is repetitious and sprawling and shows other signs that the speech is not by Demosthenes himself (see the Introduction, pp. 12–15). Yet Against Neaera holds exceptional interest...


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pp. 195-205

E-ISBN-13: 9780292797710
E-ISBN-10: 0292797710
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292709218
Print-ISBN-10: 0292709218

Page Count: 237
Publication Year: 2003

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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