Greek Oratory: Tradition and Originality

By Stephen A. Usher | Go to book overview

8
AESCHINES

The most celebrated, and possibly the most eloquent political opponent, forensic adversary, and personal enemy of Demosthenes, Aeschines also maintained a rival, or at least an alternative tradition in Greek oratory. He never wrote speeches for others to deliver and probably did not receive any form of systematic training, and his career became that of the non-professional (but not amateur) orator, whose speeches were concerned with his own affairs or his public career. Comparison with Andocides has often been made, and with reason,1 but Aeschines had a technical advantage over his predecessor: he was one of a number of actors who turned from the stage to the rostrum, bringing with them their natural gifts of stage presence, strong, clear voice, and good delivery.2 He could also draw on his experience in another job: he served for a short time as a junior secretary (hypogrammateus) to the Assembly. From the second of these early careers he acquired useful knowledge of laws and decrees,3 and how to present them in legal arguments--an ability which he needed in all three of the lawsuits for which he composed his surviving speeches.

Those three orations are probably all that he published, and it can scarcely be doubted that his rivalry with Demosthenes, with which they are all primarily concerned, influenced the form in which they appeared to posterity. After his defeat over the Crown (see below), and retirement to Rhodes, Aeschines had only his literary reputation and his standing among his pupils to consider, if indeed he set up a school of rhetoric on the island, as tradition reports. His aim had to be the perpetuation of the contest with his

____________________
1
e.g. by Jebb AO ii. 393. On a practical level, Aeschines incorporated Andocides' account of the Pentecontaetia ( On Peace with Sparta3 ff.), errors and all, in 2 Leg. 172-6.
2
Demosthenes names two in the De Corona, Aristodemus (21) and Neoptolemus (116). Their services were valued especially on embassies.
3
See E. M. Harris, Aeschines and Athenian Politics ( Oxford, 1995), 30.

-279-

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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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