Aeschines and Athenian Politics by Edward M. Harris

By Edward M. Harris

Filling a huge hole in scholarship, this can be the 1st full-length research of the Athenian baby-kisser Aeschines. in addition to Isocrates, Aeschines used to be some of the most popular Athenian politicians who encouraged pleasant ties with the Macedonian king Philip II. notwithstanding overshadowed via his well-known rival Demosthenes, Aeschines performed a key position within the decisive occasions that marked the increase of Macedonian strength in Greece and shaped the transition from the Classical to the Hellenistic interval. 3 lengthy speeches via Aeschines, all brought in court docket battles along with his opponent Demosthenes, were preserved and supply us with priceless information regarding Athenian politics in the course of a huge turning aspect in Greek background. This examine of Aeschines' political profession examines the reliability of court docket speeches as ancient proof and indicates how they assist exhibit how democratic associations really functioned in Athens whilst confronted with the increase of Macedonian strength.

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Nausicles became a national hero when he commanded the Athenian expedition that prevented Philip from seizing Thermopylai in 352 and won a gold crown in recognition of his achievement. 56 The political patron who launched Aeschines on his career in the Assembly appears to have been Phocion. Aeschines came to the attention of Phocion during the Athenian campaign on Euboea in 348. In that year, Plutarch of Eretria asked the Athenians to ward off the threat of his neighbor Callias of Chalcis. The Assembly granted his request and sent a force of hoplite and cavalry to Euboea under the command of Phocion.

His father's modest amount of property made the difference between a late start and no start at all. Yet what is most interesting about Aeschines' early career is that it reveals that politics in Athens was not dominated by a privileged elite who had large incomes and illustrious ancestors and stood at a distance from the mass of citizens. When Pericles boasted that it was talent that counted when the Athenians selected men for positions of honor, not membership in a restricted group, he may have been exaggerating a bit.

The date of his marriage is not known, but in 343 he introduced his wife and three small children to beg the court for mercy at his trial. 40 The father of Aeschines' bride was a man named Philodemus. He seems to have been influential in his deme of Paiania, because Aeschines says that he was called upon to vouch for Demosthenes when the latter was enrolled on the list of citizens 32 Aeschines and Athenian Politics upon coming of age. Demosthenes' allegation made in 330 that Aeschines inherited five talents from Philodemus' son Philon also gives the impression that the family was rather wealthy.

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