The Rhetoric of the Past in Demosthenes and Aeschines: Oratory, History, and Politics in Classical Athens

ISBN : 9780198857037

Guy Westwood
400 ページ
135 x 216 mm
Oxford Classical Monographs

In democratic Athens, mass citizen audiences - whether in the lawcourts, or in the political Assembly and Council, or when gathered for formal civic occasions - frequently heard politicians and litigants discussing the city's past, and manipulating it for persuasive ends. The Rhetoric of the Past in Demosthenes and Aeschines explores how these dynamics worked in practice, taking two prominent mid-fourth-century politicians (and bitter adversaries) as focal points.

While most recent scholarly treatments of how the Athenians recalled their past concentrate on collective processes, this work looks instead at the rhetorical strategies devised by individual orators, examining what it meant for Demosthenes or Aeschines to present particular 'historical' examples, arguments, and illustrations in particular contexts. It argues that discussing the Athenian past - and therefore discussing a core aspect of Athenian identity itself - offered Demosthenes and Aeschines, among others, an effective and versatile means both of building and highlighting their own credibility, authority, and commitment to the democracy and its values, and of competing with their rivals, whose own versions and handling of the past they could challenge and undermine as a symbolic attack on those rivals' wider competence. Recourse to versions of the past also offered orators a way of reflecting on a troubled contemporary geopolitical landscape in which Athens first confronted the enterprising Philip II of Macedon and then coped with Macedonian hegemony. The work covers the full range of Demosthenes' and Aeschines' surviving public speeches, and the extended opening chapter includes synoptic surveys of key individual topics which feed into the main discussion.



List of Editions, Translations, and Abbreviations

0 Introduction: Polyeuctus Imagines a Statue

1 The Orators and the Athenian Past

1.1. The Past in the Physical City

1.2. Fictions

1.3. Why the Past?

1.4. Using the Past

1.5. Approaches

1.6. An Outline of the Historical Context

1.7. Texts

1.7.1. Revision and Dissemination

1.7.2. Authenticity and Authorship

2 Demosthenes' Early Career: Against Leptines and Other Speeches

2.1. Introduction and Overview

2.2. Democracy in Danger?

2.3. Symbolic History

2.4. Conclusion

3 Demosthenes' Assembly Speeches

3.1. Introduction and Overview

3.2. Applying the Past

3.2.1. The Past, Rightly Applied

3.2.2. Applying the Right Past

3.3. Three Key Techniques

3.3.1. The Continuum in Peril?

3.3.2. Athens by Others

3.3.3. The Uniqueness of Athens

3.4. Modelling Demosthenes

3.5. Conclusion

4 Against Meidias and Against Timarchus

4.1. Introduction and Overview

4.2. Demosthenes: Against Meidias

4.2.1. Demosthenes' Approach

4.2.2. Meidias and Alcibiades

4.2.3. Summary

4.3. Aeschines: Against Timarchus

4.3.1. Aeschines' Parallel Athens

4.3.2. Casting, Ethos, and Anticipation

4.4. Conclusion

5 The Embassy Trial

5.1. Introduction, Overview, and Text

5.2. Demosthenes and the Prosecution

5.2.1. Aeschines and Solon

5.2.2. Aeschines as Envoy: the Timagoras Parallel

5.3. Aeschines and the Defence

5.3.1. Confronting Demosthenes

5.3.2. Aeschines at Pella (2.25-33 and 113-18)

5.3.3. Aeschines' Fifth Century (2.172-7)

5.4. Conclusion

6 The Crown Trial

6.1. Introduction, Overview, and Text

6.2. Darkest Hours, Finest Hours: Aeschines, Solon, Demosthenes

6.3. Aeschines Transfigured: the Epilogos of Against Ctesiphon and the Climax of On the Crown

6.4. Aeschines' Monuments and Demosthenes' Epilogos

6.5. Conclusion

7 Conclusion: Athens Transfigured



Index Locorum

General Index


Guy Westwood is a Departmental Lecturer in Greek Literature at the University of Oxford, and Lecturer in Classics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. He was previously a Departmental Lecturer in Classical Literature at St Hugh's College, Oxford; prior to that he held a Teaching Fellowship in Greek History and Language at the University of Birmingham and the Leventis Research Fellowship in Ancient Greek at Merton College, Oxford.