Demosthenic influences in early rhetorical education: Hellenistic rhetores and Athenian imagination

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Abstract / Description of output

This chapter discusses the afterlife of Demosthenes as a political model in the Hellenistic period, and through his image the afterlife of Athenian democratic values in the Hellenistic world. It shows how political struggles in Athens between the heirs of Demosthenes' 'party' and pro-Macedonian politicians and philosophers shaped the later reception of this figure-the biographical tradition on Demosthenes has its foundation in slanderous assessments of his character and ability by Peripatetic philosophers after his death. Against the scholarly consensus, it argues that this was a minority tradition, and far from ignoring Demosthenes, a flourishing rhetorical and political tradition in the Hellenistic poleis saw Demosthenes as a political and rhetorical model symbolizing the civic virtues of a free city. This tradition is less represented in the works transmitted, but allusions to rhetorical exercises in Polybius and elsewhere and new papyrological finds shed light on its importance and its characters
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought
EditorsMirko Canevaro, Benjamin Gray
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198748472
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2018


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