Greek Oratory: Tradition and Originality

By Stephen A. Usher | Go to book overview

2
ANTIPHON

Antiphon is the earliest of the Attic orators by a generation (born c. 480 BC). Dearth of biographical detail is unsurprising in his case, since he shunned public attention throughout a career which combined rhetorical writing with political conspiracy. Thucydides, his admirer, credited him with masterminding the oligarchic revolution of 411-410 after years of clandestine preparation (8. 68). Its failure led to his trial and death. His literary legacy, by contrast, was permanent. He comes down as the first man to publish speeches written for others.1 Some of the surviving titles of lost or fragmentary speeches suggest a political programme or affinity,2 and a less clearly definable political background may be discerned in the extant full speeches. All concern homicide. They contain few indications as to their date, though they are probably all products of his later years. There has been little scholarly opposition to the tentatively expressed opinion of Blass ( AB i. 192-3) that the speech Against the Stepmother is the earliest, but there is less agreement over the dates of the other two speeches. Without a high degree of conviction, I accept the arguments which assign Death of a Chorus-Boy to 419/18 and Murder of Herodes to 417/16.3

____________________
1
This statement is based on the simple fact that no forensic speeches earlier than Antiphon were known to his biographers ( Vit. X Or.832d). For other sources and evidence, see Edwards GO i. 21-3.
2
On the Tribute of Lindos and On the Tribute of Samothrace may have been written in support of subject-allies against an oppressive Athenian democracy, or perhaps more specifically in support of the oligarchic factions in those places. Cartledge, in Nomos ( 1990), 51-2 reasonably suggests that Antiphon hired out his expertise to oligarchs facing litigation in the years of preparation for the coup of 411.
3
See B. D. Meritt, The Athenian Calendar in the Fifth Century ( Harvard, 1928), 121-2; K. J. Dover , CQ 44 ( 1950), 44-60.

-27-

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Greek Oratory: Tradition and Originality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Abbreviations x
  • I - The Early Rhetorical Tradition 1
  • 2 - Antiphon 27
  • Antiphon: Summary 40
  • 3 - Andocides 42
  • Andocides: Summary 52
  • 4 - Lysias 54
  • Isocrates Logographos 118
  • 5 - Isaeus 127
  • Isaeus: Summary 169
  • 6 - Demosthenes Logographos (part I) 171
  • 7 - Demosthenes Logographos (part Ii) 244
  • Demosthenes: Summary 277
  • 8 - Aeschines 279
  • Aeschines: Summary 294
  • 9 - Isocrates Sophistes 296
  • 10 - Lycurgus 324
  • Hyperides 328
  • II - Ceremonial Oratory 349
  • 12 - Conclusion 353
  • Appendix A the Tetralogies: Date and Authorship 355
  • Appendix B 360
  • Select Bibliography 369
  • Index of Speeches 377
  • General Index 379
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