Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece [NOOK Book]

Overview

Demosthenes (384-322 BC) profoundly shaped one of the most eventful epochs in antiquity. His political career spanned three decades, during which time Greece fell victim to Macedonian control, first under Philip II and then Alexander the Great. Demosthenes' courageous defiance of Macedonian imperialism cost him his life but earned for him a reputation as one of history's outstanding patriots. He also enjoyed a brilliant and lucrative career as a speechwriter, and his rhetorical skills are still emulated today by ...

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Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece

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Overview

Demosthenes (384-322 BC) profoundly shaped one of the most eventful epochs in antiquity. His political career spanned three decades, during which time Greece fell victim to Macedonian control, first under Philip II and then Alexander the Great. Demosthenes' courageous defiance of Macedonian imperialism cost him his life but earned for him a reputation as one of history's outstanding patriots. He also enjoyed a brilliant and lucrative career as a speechwriter, and his rhetorical skills are still emulated today by statesmen and politicians. Yet he was a sickly child with a challenging speech impediment, who was swindled out of much of his family's estate by unscrupulous guardians. His story is therefore one of triumph over adversity.

In this new biography—the first written in English for almost a century—Ian Worthington brings the great orator's career vividly to life. He provides a moving narrative of Demosthenes' humble and difficult beginnings, his fierce rivalries with other Athenian politicians, his victories and defeats in the public Assembly, and finally his posthumous influence as a politician and orator. In doing so, Worthington offers new insights into Demosthenes' motives and how he shaped his policy to achieve political power. Set against the rich backdrop of late classical Athens and Macedonia, this biography will appeal to all readers interested in the history and heritage of ancient Greece. All quotations from Demosthenes' speeches are translated and briefly discussed in order for both professional and non-professional readers to appreciate his rhetorical genius.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Informative and lively... Catchy chapter titles and subheadings elucidate and enhance this well-referenced explication of a complex historical period, as do the detailed chronology, catalogue of orations and comprehensive index... [A] masterful conversion of Demosthenes' convoluted rhetoric into a compelling narrative." —The Classical Journal

"'Look to the end', went the ancient Greek motto, and the suicidal end of Professor Worthington's subject was far from ignoble, like much of his actively democratic political life, which is here thoroughly investigated, persuasively estimated, and ultimately celebrated as that of one who stood bravely against tyranny." —Paul Cartledge, A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture, Cambridge University, and author of Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction

"This is a gripping story of Macedonian ascendance, Athenian retrenchment-and the efforts of a gifted, but flawed Demosthenes to reverse the course of history. In both accessible and erudite fashion, Ian Worthington guides us through the labyrinth of Greek and Macedonian politics, and the result is not only first-rate history, but lessons for any age—ours especially—when the fear of civilizational decline, and its supposed remedies, become near obsessions." —Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow, Classics and Military History, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author of The Other Greeks and A War Like No Other

"Demosthenes' life is a powerful case study of the conflict between democracy and monarchy, and this book will be welcomed by both scholars and non-specialist readers because it is highly accessible, fair in its treatment of controversial issues, yet not afraid to state an opinion. A must-read for anyone interested in ancient politics and rhetoric." —Joseph Roisman, Professor of Classics, Colby College, and author of Alexander's Veterans and the Early Wars of the Successors

"Ian Worthington has recently written a very fine introduction to Demosthenes' career...an erudite but readable biography. It is sober, balanced, and analytical." —Barry Strauss, The New Criterion

"A most welcome addition to the extensive scholarly literature on this subject... I would strongly recommend this well-balanced, accessible and thorough monograph to scholars and non-specialist readers." —Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199986941
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/7/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 905,766
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Ian Worthington is Professor of History at the University of Missouri and author of, most recently, Alexander the Great: Man and God and Philip II of Macedonia.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations and Maps
Demosthenes' Life: The Main Events
Speech Numbers and Titles
Quotations and Abbreviations
Chapter 1. Preamble: "Politicians and Heroes"
Chapter 2. Demosthenes, Son of Demosthenes
Chapter 3. Greece and the Awakening of Macedonia
Chapter 4. Into the Public Eye
Chapter 5. The Aspiring Politician
Chapter 6. Swaying the Assembly
Chapter 7. An Uneasy Peace
Chapter 8. Resisting Philip
Chapter 9. "Speeches Like Soldiers"
Chapter 10. The End of Greek Freedom
Chapter 11. "For the Conqueror, Death"
Chapter 12. Demosthenes and Alexander the Great
Chapter 13. The Crown Trial
Chapter 14. Decline and Fall
Chapter 15. Poison from the Pen
Appendix: Ancient Coinage and Months of the Attic Year
Bibliography
Index

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