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(ĕ`skĭnēz), c.390–314? B.C., Athenian orator, rival of DemosthenesDemosthenes
, 384?–322 B.C., Greek orator, generally considered the greatest of the Greek orators. He was a pupil of Isaeus, and—although the story of his putting pebbles in his mouth to improve his voice is only a legend—he seems to have been forced to
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. Aeschines rose from humble circumstances and became powerful in politics because of his oratorical gifts. At first he opposed Philip II of Macedon, then later changed sides, arguing that resistance to Macedonian power was useless. Both he and Demosthenes were members of the embassy to Philip in 348 B.C., and afterward Demosthenes bitterly and baselessly accused Aeschines of accepting Macedonian bribes. He was to have been joined in his action by Timarchus, but Aeschines prevented this by his oration Against Timarchus (345 B.C.). Aeschines defended himself well in his oration On the False Legation (342 B.C.)—a title also used by Demosthenes in his accusatory oration. The trouble between the orators grew and culminated in a dispute over a gold crown that the orator Ctesiphon proposed should be given Demosthenes in 330 B.C. Aeschines brought suit with Against Ctesiphon. Demosthenes replied with his sturdy defense On the Crown. Aeschines lost and was fined, and retired to Asia Minor where, according to Plutarch, he lived as a professional Sophist.



Born circa 390 B.C.; died 314 B.C. Athenian political figure and orator. A leader of the supporters of Macedonia.

Along with Demosthenes, Aeschines was a member of the delegation that concluded the peace of Philocrates with Macedonia in 346 B.C.; the terms of the treaty were extremely harsh and disadvantageous for Athens. A bitter dispute arose between Demosthenes and Aeschines concerning the aims of the treaty, and Demosthenes charged Aeschines with treason. In 345 and 343, Aeschines defended himself against the charges; the first two of his three extant speeches are part of this defense.

After Macedonia had established hegemony over the Greek city-states, Aeschines in turn brought a number of serious charges against Demosthenes; the third of his extant speeches related to these charges. Demosthenes successfully defended himself, however, and Aeschines went into exile in order to avoid paying a heavy fine; he thereafter spent most of his time in Rhodes, where he taught rhetoric.


Discours, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1927–28.
The Speeches of Aeschines. Cambridge, Mass., 1948.
In Russian translation:
“Grecheskie oratory.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1962, nos. 3–4.


Ramming, G. Die politische Ziele und Wege des Aischines. Erlangen-Nuremburg, 1965. (Dissertation.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Pat Easterling in "Actors and Voices: Reading Between the Lines in Aeschines and Demosthenes" discusses references to acting in Greek oratory.
When Aeschines won the case, Timarchus lost the right to participate in all public and religious functions.
Foucault appropriates this argument - but without taking any critical precautions - from Aeschines, whose ironic rhetoric is noted by Robert Hurley as posing problems for Foucault in connection with another of his references to Aeschines's work in The Use of Pleasure (218).
A letter ([Aeschines] Epistles 1) purporting to be by the Athenian orator Aeschines (cited, but without discussion of the details) imagines departure from Athens at dusk, arrival at Koressos the next day at midday, a stay of nine days on Keos because of contrary winds, departure again at dusk and arrival at Delos the next morning at dawn.
He was railed against by Demosthenes, admired by Aeschines, and courted by philosophers like Isokrates; numerous documents attest to his activities as well as those of his opponents; finally, the contemporary historian Theopompus wrote a massive work in fifty-eight books about Philip (and everything else), entitled Philippika, which began with the provocative dictum, "Europe has never produced such a man at all as Philip, the son of Amyntas.
historiography: Thucydides, Theopompus and Xenophon; oratory: Aeschines, Andocides, Antiphon, Demades, Demosthenes, Hyperides, Isaeus, Isocrates, Lysias, Lycurgus; philosophical prose: Aristotle, Plato and Xenophon; technical treatises: Aristotle and Xenophon.
At the same time, it gives him the opportunity to paint in the person of Nicarete the portrait of a typical madam, exercising one of the most disgraceful professions in antiquity: Aeschines, for example, in his speech Against Timarchus takes it for granted that the jurors endorse feelings of hatred towards brothel-keepers.
But by the 4th century its meaning is more specific: the orator Aeschines accuses Demosthenes of being one, and Plato has Socrates refer to their life as "terrible and shameful and to be pitied" (Gorgias 494C-495A).
The manuscript also contains the short orations of Aeschines, Demas, and Demosthenes in Latin versions sometimes attributed to Bruni (fol.
Part five, which is on Oratory, consists of essays on Antiphon, Andocides, Lysias, Isocrates, Demosthenes and Aeschines.
This passage clearly is an elaboration of school-rhetoric that does not take into account the real political position of the historical figures of Aeschines, Demades and Demosthenes, who appear here and deliver their speeches.