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Dinarchus, Hyperides, and Lycurgus

Dinarchus, Hyperides, and Lycurgus

The surviving speeches of three orators from the end of the classical period.

Series: The Oratory of Classical Greece, Volume 5

August 2001
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254 pages | 5.5 x 8.5 |

This is the fifth volume in the Oratory of Classical Greece. This series presents all of the surviving speeches from the late fifth and fourth centuries B.C. in new translations prepared by classical scholars who are at the forefront of the discipline. These translations are especially designed for the needs and interests of today's undergraduates, Greekless scholars in other disciplines, and the general public.

Classical oratory is an invaluable resource for the study of ancient Greek life and culture. The speeches offer evidence on Greek moral views, social and economic conditions, political and social ideology, law and legal procedure, and other aspects of Athenian culture that have been largely ignored: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few.

This volume combines the surviving speeches of three orators who stand at the end of the classical period. Dinarchus was not an Athenian, but he was called on to write speeches in connection with a corruption scandal (the Harpalus affair) that put an end to the career of Demosthenes. His speeches thus raise many of the vital issues surrounding the Macedonian conquest of Athens and the final years of Athenian democracy. Hyperides was an important public figure who was involved in many of the events described by Dinarchus and Lycurgus. His speeches open a window into many interesting facets of Athenian life. Lycurgus was one of the leading politicians in Athens during the reign of Alexander the Great and put Athenian public finances on a more secure footing. He was also a deeply religious man, who tried to revive Athenian patriotism after the crushing defeat at Chaeronea.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Series Introduction
    • Oratory in Classical Athens
    • The Orators
    • The Works of the Orators
    • Government and Law in Classical Athens
    • The Translation of Greek Oratory
    • Abbreviations
    • Note on Currency
    • Bibliography of Works Cited
    • Supplementary Bibliography for Volume 5
  • DINARCHUS (Ian Worthington)
    • Introduction to Dinarchus
    • Bibliography
    • 1. Against Demosthenes
    • 2. Against Aristogeiton
    • 3. Against Philocles
  • HYPERIDES (Craig R. Cooper)
    • Introduction to Hyperides
    • 1. In Defense of Lycophron
    • 2. Against Philippides
    • 3. Against Athenogenes
    • 4. On Behalf of Euxenippus
    • 5. Against Demosthenes
    • 6. The Funeral Oration
    • Fragments
  • LYCURGUS (Edward M. Harris)
    • Introduction to Lycurgus
    • 1. Against Leocrates
    • Fragments
  • Index

Ian Worthington holds the Frederick A. Middlebush Chair in History at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Craig Cooper is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Winnipeg. Edward H. Harris is Professor of Classics at Brooklyn College and the Graduate School, City University of New York.


Dinarchus, the son of Sostratus, was born in Corinth in about 361/0. He moved to Athens, by then the leading city for the study of rhetoric, when he was relatively young. This was probably a little before 338, for he fought at the battle of Chaeronea, at which a combined force of Greek cities, including Athens, was defeated by Philip II of Macedon (see 1.78n). In Athens he was a pupil of Theophrastus, Aristotle's successor as head of the Lyceum, and he also apparently attended the lectures of Demetrius of Phalerum. His career as a logographer would certainly have started by the mid 330s, and his metic status allowed him to devote himself entirely to it while he lived in Athens. As a result, he amassed considerable wealth.


In 323 Dinarchus was commissioned by the state to write speeches for one of the prosecutors appointed by the people in the politically charged Harpalus trials, which were set against a background of intrigue in the time of Alexander the Great of Macedon (see further below). This was a turning point in his career, elevating him to the status of one of the leading logographers of the day, and he flourished especially during the ten-year regime (317-307) of Demetrius of Phalerum, the puppet king of Cassander of Macedon. His friendship with Macedonians and Macedonian sympathizers in this period would be his undoing, however. When Demetrius Poliorcetes ousted Demetrius of Phalerum from Athens in 307, Dinarchus was forced to leave the city. He went to Chalcis, where he lived in exile for fifteen years. He returned to Athens in 292/1 with the consent of Demetrius Poliorcetes, who may have been persuaded to recall him by Theophrastus.


While lodging in Athens with his friend Proxenus, Dinarchus lost a large amount of money. He then sued his host for two talents, stating that when he arrived in Proxenus' house he had with him 285 gold staters and silver articles to the value of twenty minas. This was the first time, so we are told, that Dinarchus himself delivered a speech, but the outcome of the trial is unknown. We do not know when, how, or where Dinarchus died.


Dinarchus was a prolific writer; he had expertise in many branches of the law and wrote prosecution and defense speeches (see the list of genuine public and private speeches given by Dionysius at the end of his essay). Although some later writers mention 160 speeches of his, the figure of 61 speeches given by Dionysius (who cites titles and opening words in his list at Dinarchus 10 and 12) is probably more accurate. Aside from scattered fragments, only 3 speeches survive, those written against Demosthenes, Aristogeiton, and Philocles (1, 2, and 3), when the three men were brought to trial (along with others) in 323 for their role in the Harpalus scandal. The first has survived almost in full, but the latter two are incomplete.


Despite being a leading logographer, Dinarchus' rhetorical style has been condemned since antiquity, with the notable exceptions of Callimachus (Suda, s.v. Kallimachos; cf. Athenaeus 15.669c) and Cicero (De oratore 2.23.94; cf. Brutus 9.36). To Dionysius, for example, Dinarchus was a "rustic Demosthenes," inferior to someone like Demosthenes in his disjointed arrangement of material and incoherent composition (Dinarchus 8). Modern opinion spanning a century concurs. However, it must be stressed that Dinarchus was included in the Canon of the Ten Attic Orators, and that since so many orators must have been excluded from it, his inclusion can testify only to his literary merits and reputation. Indeed, there is much about Dinarchus' style that is worthy of commendation, in particular his use of ring composition.


Ring composition is a stylistic device for organizing subject matter within a particular work (be it a poem, play, history, or speech) into a pattern with echoes of language and themes. The device operates on a series of levels: a work is divided into a number of parts, which may be called the main framework or primary level. Each of these primary-level parts may then be subdivided, and each of these secondary-level parts may be further subdivided, and then subdivided again, each division having a structure of ring composition. The result is a number of stories or narratives within "the" story or "the" narrative (which is the primary level). The technique is used at highly sophisticated levels by Dinarchus in the speech Against Demosthenes, where reiteration of a theme tends to enclose a particular structural unit. The sophistication of this technique tells against criticisms of his poor compositional abilities or incoherent arrangement of material.


When Alexander became king in 336 he was faced with a revolt by the Greek states, which had been under the control of Philip II since the battle of Chaeronea in 338. Alexander stormed into Greece with such unexpected speed that in a matter of months he had subdued the Greeks and reimposed his father's League of Corinth (only Sparta remained aloof). Alexander was duly proclaimed its leader, and the Persian invasion, first put forward by his father, was again endorsed. Then in 335 Thebes revolted, supported by some states (including initially Athens) and by money from the Persian king. Alexander swept against the Thebans, and, when they defied him, he forced the city to surrender and razed it to the ground.


From that time on until Alexander's death in 323 Greece remained passive; the lesson of Thebes had been well learned, as Alexander intended. The only deviation from this passivity was the abortive war of Agis III of Sparta from 331 to 330. He attempted to unite the Greeks against Macedon but failed to do so. Despite the obvious cost to Greek autonomy, Macedonian hegemony of Greece brought with it a period of peace, which more importantly allowed the Greeks some prosperity after their many decades of fighting. Nowhere was this prosperity more evident than in Athens, thanks to the administration of Lycurgus, the treasurer of the Theoric Fund, who was even able to initiate a building program and make other reforms. In 330 Athens was the venue for two trials of no small political interest, the prosecution of Leocrates by Lycurgus (see Lyc. 1) and the great clash between Demosthenes and Aeschines (see Dem. 18 and Aes. 3). These trials were not, however, linked to the issue of Macedonian domination but were personal and linked to domestic politics. Athens, thanks to Demosthenes, prudently kept a low profile internationally for most of the 330s and 320s.


Then in 324 as Alexander returned from the East, his imperial treasurer Harpalus, the son of Machatas, absconded to Athens with a powerful force of six thousand mercenaries, five thousand talents of stolen money, and thirty warships to be deployed against Alexander. His debauchery at his financial headquarters in Babylon made him an obvious candidate for Alexander's retribution, and inciting a revolt of the Greeks was his only chance for survival.


The Athenians—and the Greeks as a whole—had cause to welcome Harpalus' offer and revolt, owing to the recent arrival of Nicanor of Stagira, who had brought Alexander's Exiles Decree for proclamation at Olympia. Under the terms of the decree, all Greek cities (excluding Thebes) were to receive back their exiles, and the Athenians were also required to return the strategically important island of Samos to the native Samians. Though the Greeks refused to receive back their exiles (cf. Din. 1.58 and 94), resistance was futile: the Macedonians controlled Greece, as demonstrated in the final clause of the decree, in which Alexander stated that Antipater would have authority to coerce any Greek city to receive back its exiles. Also playing a factor on the political scene now was the debate whether Alexander should be worshipped as a god by the mainland Greeks.


Despite the outcry against the Exiles Decree, which clearly flouted the autonomy of the Greek poleis, and the debate over worshipping a living Alexander, Demosthenes advised the Athenians against using Harpalus' force in a revolt against the king. The Assembly ordered the general Philocles not to allow Harpalus into the city, and consequently he was forced to make for the mercenary base at Taenarum in the southern Peloponnese. Not long after (about June 324),8 he returned to Athens, this time as a suppliant, with a much reduced force and less money, and was admitted into the city by Philocles. A second Assembly meeting was held, at which Hyperides spoke in favor of accepting Harpalus' offer of support, but again Demosthenes won the day. Harpalus was imprisoned, the money he had brought with him, allegedly seven hundred talents, was impounded on the Acropolis the same day (Din. 1.70 and 89; cf. 9o; Hyp. 5.9-10), and a guard posted over the money (cf. Din. 1.62). Demosthenes' course was no doubt influenced by the fact that the Athenians were about to send an embassy to Alexander over the Exiles Decree—as other states were doing—and to accept Harpalus' offer might jeopardize its success.


Demosthenes was then sent to Olympia as architheoros (head of the Athenian religious delegation) to the festival in order to discuss the terms of the Exiles Decree with Nicanor. Soon after he returned he spoke in favor of recognizing Alexander's divine status, a volte face that was seen as the result of his accepting a bribe (Din. 1.94,103, Hyp. 5.31-32). While Demosthenes may have taken a bribe, it is more likely that he supported the apotheosis simply to placate Alexander and to bolster the chances of success of the Athenian embassy to Alexander. After all, did it matter whether Alexander was called a god if he ruled in the Athenians' favor? The remark of Demades that may be connected to the Samian issue, that the Athenians were so concerned about heaven that they stood to lose the earth, sums up the situation nicely.


Ultimately Demosthenes' strategy did not pay off. After he returned from Olympia, Harpalus escaped. He fled first to Taenarum and thence to Crete, where he was murdered. In Athens, accusations were leveled against Demosthenes and several others that they had taken bribes from Harpalus in order to facilitate his escape, and when only half of his alleged seven hundred talents was found on the Acropolis, the case seemed open and shut. At a meeting of the Assembly Demosthenes struck a counter blow: protesting his innocence, he proposed that the Areopagus investigate the matter under the procedure known as apophasis, which had developed in the fourth century. He also offered to submit to the death penalty if the Areopagus found him guilty, and others also suspected followed suit, such as Philocles (Din. 3.2, 5, 16, 21; cf. Hyp. 5.34 for unnamed others). As the inquiry progressed, he issued a challenge (proklesis) to the people to present the Areopagus with evidence for their accusation (Din. 1.5, Hyp. 5.2). At this point, he confessed to taking some money from Harpalus, not for himself but for the Theoric Fund (Hyp. 5.12-13).


After six months (Din. 1.45) the Areopagus issued its report accusing Demosthenes and several others of receiving bribes from Harpalus (in Demosthenes' case, twenty talents of gold). Around the same time news arrived that Alexander had rejected the Athenian embassy's pleas over the Exiles Decree. The coincidence is too much. The Areopagites were reacting angrily at Demosthenes' failed diplomatic strategy over the Exiles Decree; they may even have hoped that their action would curry favor with Alexander, should they appeal again. Demosthenes himself pleaded that he had been sacrificed to please the king (Hyp. 5.14) and resorted to a second proklesis, aimed this time at the Areopagites, to produce the evidence on which their findings had been based (Din. 1.6, 61, Hyp. 5.3). However, he was brought to trial in about March 323. Others accused of complicity in the affair, and also tried then, included Aristogeiton, Aristonicus, Cephisophon, Charicles (the son-in-law of the general Phocion), Demades, Hagnonides, the general Philocles, and Polyeuctus of Sphettus, some of whom are mentioned in Dinarchus' and Hyperides' speeches. There were probably others also indicted for taking bribes, whose names are lost to us. Almost all were acquitted, apart from Demosthenes. After one week he fled into self-imposed exile, not to return until after Alexander's death when the Lamian War (323-322) was in full swing.


The three extant speeches of Dinarchus, along with Hyperides' speech against Demosthenes (Hyp. 5, translated below in this volume), are our only surviving contemporary sources for the Harpalus affair and indeed the only relatively complete ones we have from the trials of those accused in it. Small fragments exist of Dinarchus' speeches against three others accused, Aristonicus and Hagnonides (Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Dinarchus 10), and Polyeuctus of Sphettus (cf. Din. 1.100), but these furnish no additional information. It is possible that we have a fragment of a speech by Stratocles, another prosecutor at Demosthenes' trial, since he uses the same imagery about Thebes' destruction as Dinarchus at 1.24.


The implications of the Harpalus affair (and Exiles Decree) as they affect the Greek attitude to Macedonian rule are significant, since they must have tested the subservience of the Greeks. However, there was no rebellion, and that Demosthenes' counsel prevailed at the meeting of the Assembly held when Harpalus had been admitted into the city shows that the majority of the Athenians had no wish to wage war against Alexander then. They sent a diplomatic envoy to the king about Harpalus and joined the rest of the Greeks who resorted to diplomacy in order to counter the decree. Thus, the Greeks were not ready to seize the first chance to revolt against their Macedonian masters but came to accept Macedonian rule, under which life was not so harsh, and were more willing to resort to diplomacy than to revolt. Until, that is, the news came of Alexander's death (10 June 323), and then, with the exception of the Boeotian and the Euboean Leagues, Greece revolted. While Alexander was alive, the force of his own personality made rebellion out of the question; Alexander dead, however, was another matter.




Major Ancient Sources: Dinarchus 1-3 (primarily of value for the Harpalus affair), Hyperides 5 (again, primarily of value for the Harpalus affair), Diodorus Siculus 17.108.4-109, Plutarch, Demosthenes 25-27 and Phocion 21-22, Pseudo-Plutarch, Moralia 846, and Quintus Curtius Rufus 10.1.45-2.4.


Commentaries: Worthington 1992 and Worthington 1999.


Oratory/Law: Kennedy 1963, Kennedy 1994, MacDowell 1978, Worthington 1994a.


Historical Background: Badian 1961, Bosworth 1988, Goldstein 1968, Sealey 1993, Worthington 1992, Worthington 1994b (especially the chapters by Badian, Cawkwell, and Worthington), Worthington 2000 (especially the chapters by Buckler and Worthington).


The text used is the Teubner edition of Dinarchus by N. C. Conomis (Leipzig: 1975). See also Worthington 1999 for a text.

Hyperides, son of Glaucippus, of the deme Collytes was born in the year 389/8. According to tradition, as a young man he studied under Plato and Isocrates, and since such education was expensive, we can assume that he came from a family of considerable means. Hyperides himself is known to have owned at least two or three pieces of property: an estate in Eleusis, a house in Athens, and possibly a house in Piraeus, where he kept one of his many women. He is also known to have leased sacred property at Eleusis and a mine in the mining district of Laurium.


Hyperides, then, had sufficient wealth to rank among the richest families of Athens and to qualify for public services (liturgies) imposed by law on the rich (Fr. 134n). Such duties could include deferring the cost of outfitting a warship (trireme), and it is in this capacity that we first find him performing these public duties. In the spring of 340, Hyperides raised a fleet of forty triremes from private donations, and in 340/39, when Philip was besieging Byzantium, he volunteered as trierarch and served as choregos, or Chorus producer. These are the only public services that he is known to have performed, and since they all occurred around the same time (340), they may be connected with money he is said to have received from the Persian King, who was alarmed at Macedon's expansion. Two of the activities were directed against Philip, and as we shall see, Hyperides' rise to prominence and eventual demise would be tied to his opposition to the Macedonians.


Hyperides acquired his considerable wealth from logography and, unlike his more famous contemporary Demosthenes, continued in this line of work long after he began his political career. We know little about his career as a logographer and politician before the 340s, by which time he was a prominent political figure. His earliest known speeches can be dated to the 360s and 350s; they are all of a political nature, and it was his boast (4.28) not to have prosecuted any private citizen, only politicians. In 362, at a relatively young age and perhaps to make a name for himself, he prosecuted Aristophon of Hazenia for making an illegal proposal (Frs. 40-44). Shortly thereafter (360), he charged the Athenian general Autocles with treason over his failed activities in Thrace (Frs. 55-57, Dem. 23.104). The attack was again directed at Aristophon, who, it seems, was behind the expedition in the first place. Hyperides' opposition to Aristophon is curious: we do not know his motives nor with whom he was associated. The next event of political importance in Hyperides' life sees him ranged on the side of Aristophon, the only well-known figure to oppose peace with Philip in 346.


In 343 Hyperides positioned himself clearly within the anti-Macedonian camp, when he prosecuted Philocrates for accepting bribes from Philip (4.29). Philocrates was the driving force behind the peace (Dem. 19m6); his name was attached to the decree that authorized sending envoys to Philip to negotiate terms and to the decree that accepted the terms offered by Philip (Aes. 2.17-19; 3.63, Dem. 19.4749, 121). Most prominent politicians, including Demosthenes and Aeschines, had spoken in support of peace (Dem. 19.15-16, 144, 307, Aes. 2.75-77, 3.71-72), and in 346 the Athenians were persuaded to sign what became known as the Peace of Philocrates. But between 346 and 343 the mood in Athens changed, largely because of Philip's continued meddling in Greek affairs, and supporters of the peace came under attack. In 343 Aeschines was prosecuted by Demosthenes and, according to tradition, acquitted by only thirty votes. In that same year, and perhaps even before Aeschines came to trial, Hyperides brought an impeachment (eisangelia) against Philocrates, who did not await his trial but went into exile (4.29, Dem. 19.116, Aes. 2.6). We may surmise that in 343 began the friendship and association between Hyperides and Demosthenes that would last until 324.


Shortly after the trial ofAeschines, Hyperides was chosen to replace him as Athens' representative in a dispute with Delos (Frs. 67-71; cf. Dem. 18.134). Hyperides won the case, and since he had proven an able spokesman on that occasion, he was again sent to represent Athens in 341, this time as an envoy to Rhodes and Chios to secure an alliance against Philip (Dem. 9.71). In the spring of 340 Philip threatened to invade Euboea; Athens responded by sending a naval expedition on which Hyperides himself personally served. In fact, it was largely through Hyperides' efforts that the Athenians were able to raise the funds needed to equip the forty triremes for the expedition, with Hyperides himself providing two ships. In the next year he was again found in active service as trierarch on his own vessel at the siege of Byzantium.


Philip failed in the siege, and this encouraged the Greeks to confront.him more openly. But in 338 Philip defeated the Athenians, Thebans, and their allies (Aes. 3.141-145, Dem. 18.237-238) at Chaeronea. Although Hyperides was not present at the battle, he was active back at home, and after Athens' defeat, he proposed a series of measures to meet the crisis (Frs. 27-39a, Lyc. 1.36-37, 41). He was indicted by Aristogeiton for proposing an illegal measure but defended himself by claiming that Macedonian arms had prevented him from seeing the illegality of his proposal. Soon after the battle, he was sent out to secure support from various smaller Greek cities (Lyc.1.42) and to this occasion probably belongs his Cythnian speech (Fr. 117).


Philip's treatment of Athens after Chaeronea was moderate, thanks in large part to the efforts of Demades, Phocion, and Aeschines. Accommodation characterized these men, but Hyperides, like his friends Lycurgus and Demosthenes, was far from accommodating. In 338/7 he proposed a crown for Demosthenes (Dem.18.222) for his efforts after Chaeronea; for this he was indicted by Diondas for making an illegal proposal but was easily acquitted, as Diondas failed to receive even onefifth of the vote. In 337 Hyperides prosecuted Demades for introducing the outrageous proposal to make the Olynthian Euthycrates an Athenian proxenos (or official representative), even though he had betrayed Olynthus to Philip in 348 (Frs. 76-80). Around the same time, Hyperides prosecuted Philippides for his pro-Macedonian measures (Hyp. 2). During this period (338-330) Hyperides was clearly associated with Lycurgus and Demosthenes in exposing anyone suspected of Macedonian sympathies. But he could also act independently, as in his prosecution of Demades, who was Demosthenes' relative and was never prosecuted by Demosthenes himself (Din. 1.101). Moreover, friendship did not prevent Hyperides from writing a speech for Lycophron when the latter was impeached by Lycurgus in 333 (Hyp. 1) or from opposing Lycurgus again with his defense of Euxenippus on a similar impeachment charge (Hyp. 4).


In the summer of 336 Philip was assassinated and succeeded by his son Alexander. In 335 after suppressing a brief revolt by the city of Thebes, Alexander demanded the surrender of several prominent Athenian politicians, whom he regarded as most responsible for the Theban revolt. Some ancient scholars report that Hyperides was among the politicians singled out by Alexander, but others deny this. A heated and bitter debate followed in the Athenian assembly. Phocion advocated giving into Alexander's demands, but Demosthenes and Hyperides urged that they be rejected. In the end, the Assembly voted to send a delegation headed by Demades requesting Alexander to give up his demands; the mission was successful, and Alexander relented.


In the spring of 334 Alexander began the conquest of Persia, an adventure from which he would never return. We then hear little of Hyperides until the notorious Harpalus affair in 324, an event that ended the long friendship between him and Demosthenes. Harpalus was in charge of Alexander's treasury. In 324, to avoid Alexander's anger, he fled with a considerable amount of money to Athens, where he was admitted as a suppliant. Some of that money turned up missing, and a number of politicians fell under suspicion. The Areopagus was entrusted with investigating the scandal, and its report listing those suspected of taking bribes from Harpalus included Demosthenes. Hyperides, who was the only notable politician not to be implicated, was selected as one of the prosecutors (Hyp. 5). Demosthenes was found guilty and fined fifty talents, but he was allowed to retire into exile. Hyperides' attack was vigorous, and he admits that Demosthenes' corruption had severed their friendship. We do not know, however, whether his participation in the prosecution of his old friend was prompted by public interest or his own self-interest. Hyperides was never officially implicated in the scandal, but rumors circulated nonetheless that he had received his share of the money (see Athenaeus 8.341e-342a).


After Alexander's death in 323, one of his generals, Antipater, was given charge of Greece, and the Athenians prepared once more to throw off Macedonian lordship. Hyperides led the way in promoting war with Macedon, touring the Peloponnese to stir up resistance to Antipater. On his tour he met Demosthenes, and the two were reconciled. Hyperides also played a key role in conducting the Lamian War, which followed. For this he was selected to deliver the funeral oration over those killed in battle (Hyp. 6). But the war ended in disaster in 322, when the Athenians were defeated at Crannon and surrendered to Antipater. The democracy was dissolved, Demosthenes and Hyperides and others were forced to flee Athens, and on the motion of Demades, they were condemned to death. Antipater's men pursued Hyperides to a sanctuary either on Aegina or at Herimone. As he clung to the statue of the god, Hyperides was dragged off to Antipater and put to death. According to one tradition, his tongue was cut out, a fitting end, no doubt, for such an outspoken critic of Macedon; according to another, he bit off his tongue to prevent himself from betraying Athens, a true patriot to the end.


Hyperides was a flamboyant figure, a man of contrasts: in public unwavering in his hostility to Macedon, principled to the point of disregarding friendship for the greater good, but in private overly indulgent. He was a well-known epicure given to fine food and women. There were stories of countless affairs with expensive prostitutes, some of whom he even defended in court (Frs. 171-179). His services were open to anyone who would hire him. One comic poet (Timocles) describes him as a river teeming with fish that overwhelms with his rhetoric all that stands in his way, a river that is ready to water the plains of any who will pay him (Athenaeus 8.342a). These same comic poets suggest that he used the profits from his speechwriting to feed his insatiable appetite for sex and food; but, at the same time, they unequivocally admit that he was a skilled orator.


Next to Demosthenes, Hyperides was the most highly regarded orator in antiquity. Indeed, some ancient literary critics considered him far superior. This was particularly true of the "Atticists" (first century BC), rhetoricians who preferred a simple, unadorned Attic prose that avoided any kind of florid language or excessive use of figures of speech, two things for which Demosthenes was criticized. Hyperides, by contrast, was noted for his simplicity and charm, and in these two areas he was often compared to Lysias. But what most critics singled out as a characterizing feature of his style was "acumen," a certain penetration or pointedness to his speaking.


Perhaps the best description of his style can be found in a work of the third century AD entitled On the Sublime. Here the author, Longinus, describes Hyperides as a pentathlete who comes in second in each event but wins overall. If Hyperides, he says, were judged by the number of his merits, which are more numerous, and not by greatness, he would surpass Demosthenes. He is simply a more versatile orator. The author goes on to enumerate his many virtues: Hyperides, we are told, imitates all the good features of Demosthenes and has also embraced the charm of Lysias. He talks with simplicity; does not relate everything in a monotonous series as Demosthenes does; and does a good job at presenting character, which he does with a certain sweetness and simplicity. He has an untold store of wit, sophisticated sarcasm, subtle irony, jesting that is neither tasteless nor rude, clever ridicule that is comical and humorous but full of sting. Here we get some sense of how Hyperides achieved that "acumen" for which he was famous. Longinus then goes on to note that Hyperides had a natural talent for exciting pity, narrating myths, and handling topics with great ease. He singles out two examples, the Leto myth in the Delian speech (Frs. 67-71), which was seen by ancient rhetoricians as a model for its treatment of mythology, and the Funeral Oration (Hyp. 6), which Longinus himself regarded as a masterful showpiece. By contrast, he says, Demosthenes has no talent at characterization, is not fluent and facile, and is certainly no show orator. He has none of the virtues of Hyperides. If he tries to be funny or witty, he only ends up turning the laughter on himself. If he tries to be charming, he fails; if he tries to write the little speech In Defense of Phryne (Frs. 171-179) or Against Athenogenes (Hyp. 3), he would recommend Hyperides all the more to us. It is clear from these last remarks by Longinus that Hyperides excelled all others in the little speech for the courtroom. He is less regarded for his political than for his forensic orations. The speech for Athenogenes is a model of characterization; his defense of Phryne was noted by ancient rhetoricians for its pathos. At the end of speech, so the story goes, in dramatic fashion he paraded Phryne before the courtroom, tore off her upper garments, and broke into such wailing at the sight of her that he succeeded in exciting the jurors' pity and securing her acquittal (Pseudo-Plut., Moralia 849e, Athenaeus 13.590d-e). Here is an orator who knew the courtroom well and knew what it took to win a case.


Seventy-seven speeches were transmitted in antiquity under his name, of which fifty-two or fifty-six were regarded as genuine; we know the titles of some seventy-one of these. A single medieval codex of his speeches may have existed into the sixteenth century and was possibly seen by the scholar J. A. Kohlburger (Brassicanus) in 1525 at Buda, when he was viewing the library of King Corvinus. He remarks that "in the library of king Corvinus we saw intact a volume of Hyperides with rich annotations." Unfortunately, the library was destroyed by the Turks in 1526 and with it perished the only manuscript of Hyperides. All that remained of the orator were fragments quoted by other ancient writers, until the late nineteenth century, when a series of papyri dating from the second or third century AD was discovered in Egypt. Six orations have been recovered, contained on four rolls of papyri. Of these six, only the speech On Behalf of Euxenippus (Hyp. 4) is complete. The Funeral Oration is substantially complete; the remaining four are in a fragmentary condition.


The translations of these speeches follow the most recent edition of Hyperides by Mario Marzi, found in Oratori Attici Minori (Torino, 1977). In addition, where the text becomes extremely fragmentary, I have also consulted the edition of G. Colin (Budé,1946), who is much more adventurous in his conjectures and restorations and tries to reproduce some sense of the missing portions of the text. Because of the fragmentary nature of the surviving speeches, I have done the same, and following Colin's suggestions, I have filled the lacunae, wherever it seemed possible. In some cases we can be fairly certain of the restorations; in others, we can not. Those conjectures, which are marked off by. angle brackets and italics, in no way presume to restore the orator's exact words but try only to capture a sense of what may have been said and in so doing provide a continuous narrative. But the reader is advised to approach each conjecture with great caution. The order of the speeches follows the numbering of the Oxford Classical Text, but the section numbers of each speech the Budé edition. These can become quite complicated, since short fragments are normally cited by fragment number (e.g., 2 Fr. 6), while longer fragments are unnumbered but divided into sections (e.g., 2.6). Further complications are that Hyperides 1 has two speeches (1a and 1b), Hyperides 5 has both fragment numbers and section numbers (I use only section numbers), and the fragmentary speeches have consecutive fragment numbers (e.g., Fr. 67).

Lycurgus, the son of Lycophron, was one of the most influential Athenian politicians in the period between the Athenian defeat at Chaeronea in 338 and the death of Alexander the Great in 323. Despite his importance, relatively little is known about his life. He was born sometime in the 390s into the distinguished genos of the Eteobutadai, and his family held the priesthood of Poseidon and traced its origins back to Erechtheus, one of the legendary kings of Athens. His ancestors may have included the Lycurgus who controlled the plain of Attica in the mid-sixth century and opposed Peisistratus and the general Lycurgus who led a disastrous expedition against the Thracian city of Eion in 476.5 His grandfather Lycurgus was active enough in politics in the late fifth century to draw the attention of Aristophanes (Birds 1296) and to win the honor of burial in the Ceramicus. His prominence under the democracy may have been responsible for his execution by the Thirty.


Nothing is known about Lycurgus' political career until he convicted the general Lysicles for losing the battle of Chaeronea (Diodorus Siculus 16.18). His hostility to Macedon drew the suspicion of Alexander the Great. After destroying the city of Thebes in 335, Alexander demanded that the Athenians surrender Lycurgus, Demosthenes, and several other opponents of Macedon. Phocion argued that these men should sacrifice themselves for their country, but Demades persuaded Alexander to allow the Athenians to punish them in their own courts if they had done anything wrong. Alexander's attempt to punish Lycurgus only enhanced his reputation in Athens; in the following years, Lycurgus became the most powerful politician in Athens.


Lycurgus exerted his influence through his control of Athenian finances during a period of twelve years, probably from 336 to 324. According to our sources, he increased public revenues to 1,200 talents a year and brought in either 14,000 talents or about 18,000 talents during his administration." The increase may have been in part due to Lycurgus' measures to promote trade. In one of his decrees, he persuaded the Assembly to grant privileges to merchants from the city of Citium on Cyprus and in another to send the Athenian fleet to suppress piracy and protect trade routes in the Adriatic. He was also active in the courts; his successful prosecution of Diphilus brought the treasury 160 talents.


Lycurgus' adept financial administration enabled the Athenians to embark on their most ambitious building program since Pericles. Under his direction, work was completed on the Panathenaic stadium, the theater of Dionysus was rebuilt and extended, and a gymnasium was added to Lyceum and a palaestra. Lycurgus also kept the Athenian armed forces strong: he maintained four hundred triremes ready for battle and may have played a role in the reorganization of the Ephebeia, the two-year program of military training for Athenian youth, that took place in this period.


One of Lycurgus' main interests was religion. In a decree passed in his honor after his death, the politician Stratocles credited him with preparing adornment for the goddess Athena, solid gold Victory statues, and gold ornaments for a hundred basket carriers in the Panatheniac procession. In 334 he passed a major law about religious cults. The law survives only in fragments but appears to contains provisions for the cults of numerous deities, including Zeus the Savior, Athena, Amphiareus, Asclepius, Artemis of Brauron, Demeter, and Kore. In 329/28 he was elected one of the administrators of the new games for the hero Amphiareus and received a vote of honors and a gold crown for his work in that office. A decree of 329/8 shows him taking an active role in new construction in the sanctuary of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Lycurgus was also responsible for measures about the Festival of jars and the dramatic festival of the Dionysia. During his administration there was also a reform of the Lesser Panathenaea.


Lycurgus left between thirteen and fifteen speeches, but only his speech Against Leocrates has survived intact. Many of his speeches reflect his religious interests, while others concern his administration or prosecutions of politicians and generals. Lycurgus' oratory possesses a certain solemn dignity, but as an artist he does not rank with Demosthenes and Lysias. At its best, his style conveys deep sincerity and a strong religious conviction; at his worst, Lycurgus is repetitive and bombastic. Aside from a few attempts at sarcasm, there is little variation in tone. The literary critic Dionysius (Letter to Ammaeus 1.2) found him lacking in wit and charm but judged his style forceful; the notable features of his style are his tendency to emphasize the importance of his subject (auxetikos), his elevated tone (diermenos), and his dignified manner (semnos). Hermogenes (On the Types of Oratory 416 Spengel) was less favorable: he considered Lycurgus' style harsh, vehement, and careless. One critic said he wrote his speeches with a pen dipped not in ink but in death. Lycurgus is also notable for his use of exempla from myth and history, though he is more interested in moral edification than in historical accuracy.


The best modern account of Lycurgus and his administration is Faraguna 1992. Useful summaries of the Lycurgan period in Athens in English can be found in Bosworth 1988: 204-215 and C. Habicht, Athens from Alexander to Antony (Cambridge, MA, 1997), 6-35.


The following translation is based on the Greek text of E. Malcovati, Licurgo. Orazione contro Leocrate e frammenti (Rome 1966).




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