Plutarch: Lives of the Ten Orators

Pages 844 - 852

Translated by Charles Barcroft, "lecturer of St.Mildred's", revised by W.Goodwin (1878). A few words and spellings have been changed. The page numbers in the Greek text are shown in red. Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text of each Life.

    !!   An updated version of this translation is available.

← Previous pages (832 - 844)

G   [844] 8.   DEMOSTHENES, the son of Demosthenes by Cleobule, the daughter of Gylon, was from the deme of Paeania. He was left an orphan by his father, when he was but seven years old, together with a sister of the age of five.  Being kept by his mother during his childhood, he went to school to Isocrates, say some; but most are of the opinion that he was pupil to Isaeus the Chalcidian, who lived in Athens and was Isocrates' pupil. He imitated Thucydides and Plato, and some affirm that he more especially attended the school of Plato. Hegesias of Magnesia writes, that he entreated his master's leave to go to hear Callistratus of Aphidna, the son of Empaedus, a noble orator, and sometime commander of a troop of horse, who had dedicated an altar to Hermes Agoraeos, and was to make an oration to the people. And when he heard him, he became a lover of oratory,  and so long as he continued at Athens, remained his disciple.

But Callistratus was soon banished to Thrace, and when Demosthenes arrived at maturity, he joined with Isocrates and Plato. After this, he took Isaeus into his house, and for the space of four years laboured very hard in imitation of his orations. Though Ctesibius in his book of philosophy affirms that, by the help of Callias of Syracuse, he got the orations of Zoilus of Amphipolis, and by the assistance of Charicles of Carystus those also of Alcidamas, and devoted himself to the imitation of them. When he came to age, in the year of Timocrates [364 B.C.], he called his tutors and guardians to account for their maladministration, in not allowing him what was fitting and requisite out of his estate. And these tutors or guardians were three, Aphobus, Therippides, and Demophon (or Demeas),  the last of whom, being his uncle, he charged more severely than the other two. He accused each of them for a penalty of ten talents, and convicted them, but did not exact of them what the law had given him, releasing some for money, and others for favour.

When Aristophon, by reason of his age, could not hold the office any longer, he was chosen choregus, or overseer of the dances. During the execution of which office, Meidias of Anagyrus struck him as he was acting as choregus in the theatre, and he sued him upon it, but let fall his suit upon Meidias's paying him three thousand drachmas.

It is reported of him that, while he was a youth, he confined himself to a den or cave, and there studied his orations, and shaved half of his head that he might not be tempted to divert himself from it;  and that he lay upon a very narrow bed, that he might awake and rise the sooner. And for that he could not very well pronounce the letter R, he accustomed himself very much to that, that he might master it if possible; and likewise because he made an unseemly motion of his shoulder when he spoke at any time, he remedied that by a spit (or, as some say, a sword) stuck in the ceiling just over his shoulder, that the fear of being pricked with it might break him of that indecent gesture. They report of him further that, when he could declaim pretty well, he had a sort of mirror made as big as himself, and used always in declaiming to look in that, to the end that he might see and correct what was amiss.  He used likewise at some certain times to go down to the shore at Phalerum, to the end that, being accustomed to the surges and noise of the waves, he might not be daunted by the clamours of the people, when he should at any time declaim in public. And being naturally short-winded, he gave Neoptolemus a player ten thousand drachmas to teach him to pronounce long sentences in one breath.

Afterwards, betaking himself to the affairs of the commonwealth, and finding the people divided into two different factions, one in favour of Philippus, and the other standing for the liberty of the people, he took part with them that opposed Philippus, and always persuaded the citizens to help those who were in danger and trouble by Philippus' oppression; taking for his companions in council Hypereides, Nausicles, Polyeuctus, and Diotimus; [845] and then he drew the Thebans, Euboeans, Corcyraeans, Corinthians, Boeotians, and many more into a league with the Athenians. Being in the assembly one day and his memory failing him, his oration was hissed; which made him return home very heavy and melancholy; and being met by Eunomus the Thriasian, an old man, by him he was comforted and encouraged. But he was chiefly animated by Andronicus the player, who told him that his orations were excellent, but that he wanted something of action,  thereupon rehearsing certain places out of his oration which he had delivered in that same assembly. Unto which Demosthenes gave good ear and credit, and he then betook himself to Andronicus. And therefore, when he was afterwards asked what was the first part of oratory, he answered, "Action;" and which was the second, he replied, "Action;" and which was the third, he still answered, "Action." Another time, declaiming publicly, and using expressions too youthful for one of his years and gravity, he was laughed at, and ridiculed by the comedians, Antiphanes and Timocles, who in derision used to repeat such phrases as these, as uttered by him

"By the earth, by the fountains, by the rivers, by the floods!"

For having sworn thus in presence of the people, he raised a tumult about him. He likewise used to swear by Asclepius, and accented the second syllable through some mistake, and yet afterwards defended it; for this Asclepius, he said, was called hÍpios, that is a mild God. This also often caused him to be interrupted.  But all these things he reformed in time, being sometime conversant with Eubulides, the Milesian philosopher. Being on a time present at the Olympic games, and hearing Lamachus of Tereina sound the praises of Philippus and of Alexander the Great, his son, and decry the cowardice of the Thebans and Olynthians, he stood up in their defence against him, and from the ancient poets he proclaimed the great and noble achievements of the Thebans and Olynthians; and so elegantly he behaved himself in this affair, that he at once silenced Lamachus, and made him convey himself immediately out of the assembly.  And even Philippus himself, when he had heard what harangues he made against him, replied, that if he had heard him, he should have chosen him general in the war against himself. He was used to compare Demosthenes's orations to soldiers, for the force they carried along with them; but the orations of Isocrates to athletes, because of the theatrical delight that accompanied them.

Being about the age of thirty-seven, reckoning from Dexitheus [385 B.C.] to Callimachus [349 B.C.], - in whose time the Olynthians sent to beg aid of the Athenians against Philippus, who then made war upon them, -  he persuaded them to answer the Olynthians' request; but in the following year, in which Plato died, Philippus overthrew and destroyed the Olynthians. Xenophon also, the pupil of Socrates, had some knowledge of Demosthenes, either at his first rise, or at least when he was most famous and flourishing; for he wrote the History of the Greeks, ending with the battle of Mantineia, in the year of Charicleides [363 B.C.]; our Demosthenes having sometime before overthrown his guardians in a suit he had commenced against them, in the year of Timocrates [364 B.C.]. When Aeschines, being condemned, fled from Athens, Demosthenes hearing of it took horse and rode after him; which Aeschines understanding, and fearing to be apprehended again, he came out to meet Demosthenes, and fell at his feet, covered his face, and begged his mercy;  upon which Demosthenes bid him stand up, be assured of his favour, and as a pledge of it, gave him a talent of silver. He advised the people to maintain a company of mercenary soldiers in Thasos, and thither sailed himself as captain of a trireme. Another time, being entrusted to buy corn, he was accused of defrauding the city, but cleared himself of the accusation and was acquitted. When Philippus had seized upon Elateia, Demosthenes with others went to the war of Chaeroneia [338 B.C.], where he is said to have deserted his colours; and flying away, a bramble caught hold of his cloak behind, when turning about in haste, thinking an enemy had overtaken him, he cried out, Save my life, and say what shall be my ransom. On his shield he had engraved for his motto, To Good Fortune. And it was he that made the oration at the funerals of such as died in that battle.

After these things, he bent his whole care and study for the improvement of the city and wall; and being chosen commissioner for repairing the walls, besides what money he expended out of the city funds, [846] he laid out of his own at least a hundred minas. And besides this, he gave ten thousand drachmas to the festival fund; and taking ship, he sailed from coast to coast to collect money of the allies; for which he was often by Demotelus, Aristonicus, and Hypereides crowned with golden crowns, and afterwards by Ctesiphon. Which last decree would have been retracted, Diodotus and Aeschines endeavouring to prove it to be contrary to the laws; but he defended himself so well against their allegations, that he overcame all difficulties, his enemies not having the fifth part of the votes of the jury.

After this, when Alexander the Great made his expedition into Asia, and Harpalus fled to Athens with a great sum of money [324 B.C.], at first he would not let him be entertained; but afterwards, Harpalus disembarked and gave him a thousand darics, so that he was of another mind;  and when the Athenians determined to deliver Harpalus up to Antipater, he opposed it, proposing to deposit the money in the Acropolis, still without declaring the amount to the people. Thereupon Harpalus declared that he had brought with him from Asia seven hundred talents, and that this sum had been deposited in the Acropolis; but only three hundred and fifty or a little more could be found, as Philochorus relates. But when Harpalus broke out of the prison wherein he was kept till some person should come from Alexander, and was escaped into Crete, - or, as some will have it, into Taenarum in Laconia, -  Demosthenes was accused that he had received from him a sum of money, and that therefore he had not given a true account of the sum delivered to him, nor had impeached the negligence of the keepers. So he was brought to trial by Hypereides, Pytheas, Menesaechmus, Himeraeus, and Patrocles, who prosecuted him so severely as to cause him to be condemned in the court of Areopagus; and being condemned, he went into exile, not being able to pay fivefold; for he was accused of receiving thirty talents. Others say, that he would not run the risk of a trial, but went into banishment before the day came. After this tempest was over, the Athenians sent Polyeuctus to the republic of Arcadia  to draw them off from the alliance with the Macedonians. He was unsuccessful, but Demosthenes appeared to second him, where he reasoned so effectively that he easily prevailed. Which procured him so much credit and esteem, that after some time a trireme was dispatched to call him home again. And the Athenians decreed that, whereas he owed the state a fine of thirty talents, he should be excused of the fine if only he built an altar to Zeus the Saviour in the Peiraeus; which decree was first proposed by Demon his near kinsman. This being agreed on, he returned to the administration of affairs in the commonwealth again.

But when Antipater was blocked up in Lamia [323 B.C.],  and the Athenians offered sacrifices for the happy news, he happened, being talking with Agesistratus, one of his intimate friends, to say, that his judgement concerning the state of affairs did not jump with other men's, for that he knew the Greeks were brisk and ready enough to run a short course but not to hold on a long race. When Antipater had taken Pharsalus, and threatened to besiege Athens itself if they refused to deliver up such orators as had declaimed against him, Demosthenes, suspecting himself to be one of the number, left the city, and fled first into Aegina, that he might take sanctuary in the temple of Aeacus; but being afraid to trust himself long there, he went over to Calauria; and when the Athenians had decreed to deliver up those orators, and him especially as one of them,  he continued a suppliant in the temple of Poseidon. When Archias came thither, - who, from his office of pursuing fugitives, was called Phygadotheres and was the pupil of Anaximenes the orator, - when he, I say, came to him, and persuaded him to go with him, telling him that no doubt he should be received by Antipater as a friend, he replied: When you played a part in a tragedy, you could not persuade me to believe you the person you represented; no more shall you now persuade me by your counsel. And when Archias endeavoured to force him thence, the townsmen would not suffer it. And Demosthenes told them, that he did not flee to Calauria to save his life, but that he might convince the Macedonians of their violence committed even against the Gods themselves. [847] And with that he called for a writing-table; and if we may credit Demetrius the Magnesian, on that he wrote a distich, which afterwards the Athenians caused to be affixed to his statue; and it was to this purpose:

"Had you, Demosthenes, an outward force
Great as your inward magnanimity,
Greece should not wear the Macedonian yoke."

This statue, made by Polyeuctus, is placed near the cloister where the altar of the twelve Gods is erected. Some say this writing was found: "Demosthenes to Antipater, Greeting." Philochorus tells us that he died by drinking of poison; and Satyrus the historian will have it, that the pen was poisoned with which he wrote his letter,  and putting it into his mouth, soon after he tasted it he died. Eratosthenes is of another opinion, that being in continual fear of the Macedonians, he wore a poisoned bracelet on his arms. Others say again, that he died with holding his breath; and others, lastly, say that he carried strong poison in his signet. He lived to the age of seventy, according to those who give the highest number, - of sixty-seven, according to other statements. And he was in public life twenty-two years.

When King Philippus died [336 B.C.], he appeared publicly in a glorious robe or mantle, as rejoicing for his death, though he but just before mourned for his daughter.  He assisted the Thebans likewise against Alexander, and animated all the other Greeks. So that when Alexander had conquered Thebes, he demanded Demosthenes of the Athenians, threatening them if they refused to deliver him. When he went against Persia, demanding ships of the Athenians, Demosthenes opposed it, saying, who can assure us that he will not use those ships we should send him against ourselves?

He left behind him two sons by one wife, the daughter of one Heliodorus, a noble citizen. He had but one daughter, who died unmarried, being but a child. A sister too he had, who married Laches of Leuconoe, his kinsman, and to him bore Demochares, who proved inferior to none in his time for eloquence, conduct, and courage.  His statue is still standing in the Prytaneium, the first on the right as you approach the altar, clothed with a mantle and girt with a sword, because in this habit he delivered an oration to the people, when Antipater demanded of them their orators.

Afterwards, in due course, the Athenians decreed maintenance to be given to the family of Demosthenes in the Prytaneium, and likewise set up a statue to his memory, when he was dead, in the market, in the year of Gorgias [280 B.C.], which honours were paid him at the request of Demochares his sister's son. And ten years after, Laches, the son of Demochares of Leuconoe, in the year of Pytharatus [271 B.C.],  required the same honour for himself, that his statue should be set up in the market, and that both he and the eldest of his line for the future should have their allowance in the Prytaneium, and the seat of honour at all public shows. These decrees concerning both of them are inscribed, and to be found among the statute laws. The statue of Demochares, of which we have spoken before, was afterwards removed out of the market into the Prytaneium.

There are extant sixty-five orations which are truly his. Some report of him, that he lived a very dissolute and vicious life, appearing often in women's apparel, and being frequently conversant at masks and revellings, whence he was surnamed Batalus; though others say, that this was a pet name given him by his nurse, and that from this he was called Batalus in derision.  Diogenes the Cynic seeing him one day in a tavern, he was very much ashamed, and to shun him, went to withdraw; but Diogenes called after him, and told him, The more you shrink inward, the more you will be in the tavern. The same Diogenes once jeered at him, saying that in his orations he was a Scythian, but in fighting a delicate nice citizen. He was one of them who received gold of Ephialtes, one of the popular orators, who, being sent in an embassy to the king of Persia, took money secretly, and distributed it among the orators of Athens, that they might use their utmost endeavours to kindle and inflame the war against Philippus; [848] and it is said of Demosthenes, that he for his part had at once three thousand darics of the king. He apprehended one Anaxilas of Oreus, who had been his friend, and caused him to be tortured for a spy; and when he would confess nothing, he procured a decree that he should be delivered to the eleven executioners.

When once at a meeting of the Athenians they would not suffer him to speak, he told them he had but a short story to tell them. Upon which all being silent, thus he began: A certain youth, said he, hired an ass in summer time, to go from hence to Megara. About noon, when the sun was very hot, and both he that hired the ass and the owner were desirous of sitting in the shade of the ass, they each thrust the other away, - the owner arguing that he let him only his ass and not the shadow,  and the other replying that, since he had hired the ass, all that belonged to him was at his dispose. Having said thus, he seemed to go his way. But the Athenians willing now to hear his story out, called him back, and desired him to proceed. To whom he replied: How comes it to pass that you are so desirous of hearing a story of the shadow of an ass, and refuse to give ear to matters of greater moment? Polus the player boasting to him that he had got a whole talent by playing but two days, he answered, and I have got five talents by being silent but one day. One day his voice failing him when he was declaiming publicly, being hissed, he cried out to the people, saying, You are to judge of players, indeed, by their voice, but of orators by the gravity of their sentences.

 Epicles upbraiding him for his premeditating what he was to say, he replied, I should be ashamed to speak what comes uppermost to so great an assembly. They say of him that he never put out his lamp - that is, never ceased polishing his orations - until he was fifty years old. He says of himself, that he drank always fair water. Lysias the orator was acquainted with him; and Isocrates knew him concerned in the management of public affairs till the battle of Chaeroneia; as also some of the Socratic philosophers. [He delivered most of his orations extempore, Nature having well qualified him for it.]  The first that proposed the crowning him with a coronet of gold was Aristonicus, the son of Nicophanes, the Anagyrasian; though Diondas prevented it with an affidavit.

G   9.   HYPEREIDES was son of Glaucippus, and grandson of Dionysius, of the borough of Colyttus. He had a son, who bore the same name as his father Glaucippus; the younger Glaucippus was an orator, who wrote many orations, and he had a son named Alphinous. At the same time as Lycurgus, he had been a pupil of the philosopher Plato and of the orator Isocrates. In Athens his concern in the commonwealth was at that time  when Alexander threatened Greece, and he vigorously opposed Alexander's demands made of the Athenians for the generals as well as for triremes. He advised the people not to discharge the garrison of Taenarum, and this he did for the sake of a friend of his, Chares, who was commander of it. At first he used to plead causes for a fee. He was suspected to have received part of the money which Ephialtes brought out of Persia, and was chosen to command a trireme, and was sent to assist the Byzantines, when Philippus was besieging their city. Nevertheless, in the same year he took the charge of defraying the expense of the solemn dances, whereas the rest of the captains were exempt from all such public burdens for that year.  He obtained a decree for some honours to be paid to Demosthenes; and when that decree challenged by Diondas, as being contrary to the laws, he, being called in question upon it, cleared himself. He did not continue his friendship with Demosthenes, Lysicles, and Lycurgus to the last; for, Lysicles and Lycurgus being dead, and Demosthenes being accused of having received money of Harpalus, he, among all the rest, was pitched upon, as the only person who was not corrupted with bribery, to draw up his indictment, which he accordingly did. Being once accused at the instance of Aristogeiton of publishing acts contrary to the laws after the battle of Chaeroneia [338 B.C.], - [849] that all foreign inhabitants of Athens should be accounted citizens, that slaves should be made free, that all sacred things, children, and women should be confined to the Peiraeus, - he cleared himself of all and was acquitted. And being blamed by some, who wondered how he could be ignorant of the many laws that were directly repugnant to those decrees, he answered, that the arms of the Macedonians darkened his sight, and it was not he but the battle of Chaeroneia that made that decree. But Philippus, being somewhat frightened, gave leave to carry away their dead out of the field, which before he had denied to the heralds from Lebadeia.

After this, following the defeat at Crannon [322 B.C.], being demanded by Antipater, and the people being resolved to deliver him up,  he fled out of the city with others who were under the same condemnation to Aegina; where meeting with Demosthenes, he excused himself for the breach of friendship between them. Going from thence, he was apprehended by Archias, surnamed Phygadotheres, by country a Thurian, formerly an actor, but at that time in the service of Antipater; by this man, I say, he was apprehended, even in the very temple of Poseidon, though he grasped the image of that God in his arms. He was brought before Antipater, who was then at Corinth; where being put upon the rack, he bit out his tongue, because he would not divulge the secrets of his country, and so died, on the ninth day of the month of Pyanepsion.  Hermippus tells us that, as he went into Macedonia, his tongue was cut out and his body cast forth unburied; but Alphinous his cousin (or, according to the opinion of others, his grandson, by his son Glaucippus) obtained leave, by means of one Philopeithes a physician, to take up his body, which he burnt, and carried the ashes to Athens to his kinsfolk there, contrary to the edicts both of the Athenians and Macedonians, which not only banished them, but likewise forbade the burial of them anywhere in their own country. Others say, that he was carried to Cleonae with others, and there died, having his tongue cut out, as above; however, his relations and friends took his bones, when his body was burned, and buried them among his ancestors before the gate Hippades, as Heliodorus relates in his Third Book of Monuments.  His monument is now altogether unknown and lost, being thrown down with age and long standing.

He is said to have excelled all others in his way of delivering himself in his orations to the people. And there are some who prefer him even to Demosthenes himself. There are seventy-seven orations which bear his name, of which only two and fifty are genuine and truly his. He was much given to sexual indulgence, insomuch that he turned his son out of doors, to entertain that famous courtesan Myrrhina. In Peiraeus he had another, whose name was Aristagora; and at Eleusis, where part of his estate lay, he kept another, Phila, a Theban girl whom he ransomed for twenty minas.  His usual walk was in the fish-market.

It is thought that he was accused of impiety with one Phryne, a courtesan likewise, and so was sought after to be apprehended, as he himself seems to intimate in the beginning of an oration; and it is said, that when sentence was just ready to be passed upon her, he produced her in court, opened her clothes before, and revealed her naked breasts, which were so very white, that for her beauty's sake the judges acquitted her. He at leisure times drew up several declamations against Demosthenes, which were thus discovered: Hypereides being sick,  Demosthenes came one day to visit him, and caught him with a book in his hand written against him; at which seeming somewhat displeased, Hypereides told him: This book shall hurt no man that is my friend; but as a curb, it may serve to restrain my enemy from offering me any injury. He obtained a decree for some honours to be paid to Iolas, who gave the poisoned cup to Alexander. He joined with Leosthenes in the Lamian war, and made an admirable oration at the funerals of those who lost their lives therein.

When Philippus was prepared to embark for Euboea, and the Athenians heard the news of it with no little consternation, Hypereides in a very short time, by the voluntary contributions of the citizens, fitted out forty triremes, and was the first that set an example, by sending out two triremes, one for himself and another for his son, at his own charge.

[850] When there was a controversy between the Delians and the Athenians, who should have the pre-eminence in the temple at Delos; Aeschines being chosen on the behalf of the Athenians for their advocate, the Areopagites refused to ratify the choice and elected Hypereides; and his oration is yet extant, and bears the name of the Deliac oration.

He likewise went as ambassador to Rhodes; where meeting other ambassadors from Antipater, who commended their master very highly for his goodness and virtue, We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we have no need of a good master at present.

It is said of him, that he never affected much action in his orations to the people, his chief aim being to lay down the matter plainly,  and make the case as obvious to the judges as he could.

He was sent likewise to the Eleans, to plead the cause of the athlete Callippus, who was accused of carrying away the prize at the public games unfairly; in which cause he was successful. But when he opposed the sentence of paying honours to Phocion, obtained by Meidias the son of Meidias the Anagyrasian, he was in that cause defeated. This cause was pleaded on the twenty-fourth day of Gamelion, in the year when (?) Xenius was archon.

G   10.   DEINARCHUS, the son of Socrates or Sostratus, - born, as some think, at Athens, but according to others, at Corinth, - came to Athens very young, and there took up his dwelling,  at that time when Alexander made his expedition into Asia. He used to hear Theophrastus, who succeeded Aristotle in his school; and he also frequently attended Demetrius of Phalerum. He betook himself more especially to the affairs of the commonwealth after the death of Antipater [319 B.C.], when some of the orators were killed and others banished. Having contracted friendship with Cassander, he became in a short time vastly rich, by exacting great rates for his orations of those for whom he wrote them. He opposed himself to the greatest and most noble orators of his time, not by being zealous to declaim publicly - for his faculty did not lie that way, - but by composing orations for their adversaries. And when Harpalus had broken out of prison, be wrote several orations,  which he gave to their accusers to pronounce against those that were suspected to have taken bribes from him.

Some time after, being accused of a conspiracy with Antipater and Cassander about the matter of Munychia, when it was surprised by Antigonus and Demetrius, who put a garrison into it, in the year of Anaxicrates [307 B.C.], he turned the greatest part of his estate into money, and fled to Chalcis, where he lived in exile about fifteen years, and increased his stock; but afterwards, by the mediation of Theophrastus, he and some other banished persons returned to Athens. Then he took up his abode in the house of one Proxenus, his intimate friend;  where, being very aged and also dim-sighted, he lost his money. And because Proxenus refused to make inquiry after the thief, he apprehended him; and this was the first time that ever he appeared in court. That oration against Proxenus is extant; and there are sixty-four that bear his name, whereof some are believed to be Aristogeiton's. He imitated Hypereides; or, as some incline to judge, rather Demosthenes, because of that vigour and force to move the affections, and the rhetorical ornaments that are evident in his style.


1.    Demochares, the son of Laches of Leuconoe, requires that a statue of brass be set up for Demosthenes, the son of Demosthenes the Paeanian, in the market-place, as likewise that maintenance be provided in the Prytaneium for himself and the eldest of his descendants successively, and the chief seat in all public shows; for that he had done many good offices for the Athenians, had on most occasions been a good counsellor, and had spent his own wealth in the service of the state; had expended eight talents for the fitting out and maintenance of one trireme, when they delivered Euboea, another, when Cephisodorus sailed into the Hellespont, [851] and a third, when Chares and Phocion were commissioned by the people to go as generals to Byzantium; that he at his own charge had redeemed many who had been taken prisoners by Philippus at Pydna, Methone, and Olynthus; that himself had maintained a chorus of men, when no provision had been made therefor through the neglect of the tribe Pandionis; that he had furnished many indigent citizens with arms; that being chosen by the people to oversee the city works, he had laid out three talents of his own funds towards the repairing of the walls, besides all that he gave for making two trenches about the Peiraeus; that after the battle of Chaeroneia he deposited one talent for the use of the public,  and after that, another to buy corn in time of scarcity and want; that by his beneficence, wholesome counsels and effectual persuasions, he allured the Thebans, Euboeans, Corinthians, Megarians, Achaeans, Locrians, Byzantines, and Messenians to a league with the Athenians; that he raised an army of ten thousand foot and a thousand horse, and contracted plenty to the people and their allies; that being ambassador, he had persuaded the allies to the contribution of above five hundred talents; that in the same quality, by his influence and the free gift of money, he obtained of the Peloponnesians that they should not send aid to Alexander against the Thebans;  and in consideration of many other good offices performed by him, either as to his counsels, or his personal administration of affairs in the commonwealth, in which, and in defending the rights and liberties of the people, no man in his time had done more or deserved better; and in regard of his sufferings when the commonwealth was ruined, being banished by the insolence of the oligarchy, and at last dying at Calauria for his good-will to the public, there being soldiers sent from Antipater to apprehend him; and that notwithstanding his being in the hands of his enemies, in so great and imminent danger, his hearty affection to his countrymen was still the same, insomuch that he never to the last offered any unworthy thing to the injury of his people.

2.    In the magistracy of Pytharatus [271 B.C.], Laches, the son of Demochares of Leuconoe requires of the Athenian senate that a statue of brass be set up for Demochares, the son of Laches of Leuconoe, in the market-place, and table and diet in the Prytaneium for himself and the eldest of his progeny successively, and the first seat at all public shows; for that he had always been a benefactor and good counsellor to the people, and had done these and the like good offices to the public: he had gone in embassies in his own person; had proposed and carried in bills relating to his embassy; had been chief manager of public matters; had repaired the walls, prepared arms and machines; had fortified the city in the time of the four years' war,  and composed a peace, truce, and alliance with the Boeotians; for which things he was banished by those who overturned and usurped the government; - and being called home again by a decree of the people, in the year of Diocles [286 B.C.], he had reduced the expenses, and spared the public funds; and going in embassy to Lysimachus, he had at one time gained thirty, and at another time a hundred talents of silver, for the use of the public; he had moved the people to send an embassy to Ptolemy, by which means the people got fifty talents; he went ambassador to Antipater, and by that got twenty talents, and brought it to Eleusis to the people, -  all which measures he persuaded the people to adopt while he himself carried them out; furthermore, he was banished for his love for the commonwealth, and would never take part with usurpers against the popular government; neither did he, after the overthrow of that government, bear any public office in the state; he was the only man, of all that had to do in the public administration of affairs in his time, who never promoted or consented to any other form of government but that of the people; by his prudence and conduct, all the judgements and decrees, the laws, courts, and all things else belonging to the Athenians, were preserved safe and inviolate; and, in a word, he never said or did any thing to the prejudice of the popular government.

3.   Lycophron, the son of Lycurgus of Butadae, requires that he may have maintenance in the Prytaneium, according to a donation of the people to Lycurgus. In the year of Anaxicrates [307 B.C.], in the sixth prytany, - which was that of the tribe Antiochis, - [852] Stratocles, the son of Euthydemus of Diomeia, proposed; that, - since Lycurgus, the son of Lycophron of Butadae, had (as it were) an inherited good-will in him towards the people of Athens; and since his ancestors Diomedes and Lycurgus lived in honour and esteem of all people, and when they died were honoured for their virtue so far as to be buried at the public charge in the Cerameicus; and since Lycurgus himself, while he had the management of public affairs,  was the author of many good and wholesome laws, and was the city treasurer for twelve years together, during which time there passed through his own hands eighteen thousand and nine hundred talents, besides other great sums of money that he was entrusted with by private citizens for the public good, to the sum of six hundred and fifty talents; in all which concerns he behaved himself so justly, that he was often crowned by the city for his fidelity; besides, being chosen by the people to that purpose, he brought much money into the Acropolis, and provided ornaments, golden images of victory, and vessels of gold and silver for the Goddess Athena, and gold ornaments for a hundred Canephoroe;  since, being put in charge of military equipment, he brought into the stores a great number of arms and at least fifty thousand missiles, and set out four hundred triremes, some new built, and others only repaired; since, finding many buildings half finished, as the dock-yards, the arsenal, and the theatre of Dionysus, he completed them; and finished the Panathenaic stadium, and the court for public exercises at the Lyceium, and adorned the city with many fair new buildings; since, when Alexander, having conquered Asia,  and assuming the empire of all Greece, demanded Lycurgus as the principal man that confronted and opposed him in his affairs, the people refused to deliver him up, notwithstanding the terror inspired by Alexander; and since, being often called to account for his management of affairs in so free a city, which was wholly governed by the people, he never was found faulty or corrupt in any particular; - that all people, therefore, may know, not only that the people do highly esteem all such as act in defence of their liberties and rights while they live, but likewise that they pay them honours after death,  in the name of Good Fortune it is decreed by the people, that such honours be paid to Lycurgus, the son of Lycophron of Butadae, for his justice and magnanimity, as that a statue of brass be erected in memory of him in any part of the market which the laws do not prohibit; as likewise that maintenance be provided in the Prytaneium for every eldest son of his descendants, successively for ever. Also, that all his decrees be ratified, and engraved by the public secretary on tablets of stone, and set up in the Acropolis next to the gifts consecrated to Athena; and that the city treasurer shall deposit fifty drachmas for the engraving of them, out of the money set apart for such uses.

Attalus' home page   |   02.02.17   |   Any comments?