Demosthenes(redirected from Demostenes)
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See A. W. Pickard-Cambridge, Demosthenes and the Last Days of Greek Freedom (1914); W. W. Jaeger, Demosthenes: The Origin and Growth of His Policy (1938, repr. 1963); J. J. Murphy, ed., Demosthenes on the Crown (1983); H. Montgomery, The Way to Chaeronea (1984); I. Worthington, Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece (2012).
Born c. 384 B.C., in Attica; died 322 B.C., in Calauria. Ancient Greek orator and political leader.
Demosthenes was the son of a master armorer. After studying the art of oratory, he became a logographer (speechwriter), taught rhetoric, took part himself in court cases, and spoke in the popular assembly. Some 61 speeches, 56 addresses, and six letters ascribed to Demosthenes have been preserved (of these, about 20 speeches and several letters probably are not his). In 351 B.C., Demosthenes delivered the First Philippic, a speech against the king of Macedonia, Philip II (the father of Alexander the Great). In it he sharply criticized the passive position of Athens with regard to the expansionist policy of Macedonia, which was threatening the independence of the Greek city-states. From this time on, Demosthenes became the acknowledged leader of the anti-Macedonian faction in Athens and other Greek city-states. Having become the de facto leader of Athens, he succeeded in having a law passed that introduced an extraordinary service to the state, the trierarchy (the maintenance of warships, the triremes, by individual citizens and metics), and that allocated the theorika (the spectator entertainment money) for military purposes; by means of a number of military alliances Demosthenes managed to create an anti-Macedonian coalition of Greek city-states. After the defeat of the allied army at Chaeronea (338), Demosthenes continued to maintain a cautious but consistent anti-Macedonian position. In 323, after the death of Alexander the Great, he again called for a struggle against Macedonia. After a new defeat of the Greeks in the Lamian War (323-322), Demosthenes, pursued by his enemies, poisoned himself. Demosthenes’ consistently patriotic position and his unsurpassed oratorical mastery have made his name famous. His works marked an important stage in the development of oratory.
EDITIONSOrationes [vols. 1-3]. Edited by C. Fuhr and J. Sykutris. Leipzig, 1914-27.
In Russian translation:
Rechi. With a preface by S. I. Radtsig. Moscow, 1954. (Translated from Greek.)
REFERENCESZhebelev, S. A. Demosfen. Berlin-Petrograd-Moscow, 1922.
Cloché, P. Démosthènes et la fin de la démocratie athénienne [2nd ed.]. Paris, 1957.
Jaeger, W. Demosthenes der Staatsmann und sein Werden. [Berlin] 1939.
Mathieu, G. Démosthéne, l’homme et l’oeuvre. Paris .
I. V. POZDEEVA