By Edward M. Harris
Filling a massive hole in scholarship, this can be the 1st full-length research of the Athenian flesh presser Aeschines. besides Isocrates, Aeschines used to be essentially the most well-liked Athenian politicians who endorsed pleasant ties with the Macedonian king Philip II. although overshadowed via his recognized rival Demosthenes, Aeschines performed a key function 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 by way of Aeschines, all brought in court docket battles along with his opponent Demosthenes, were preserved and supply us with useful information regarding Athenian politics in the course of an incredible turning aspect in Greek background. This examine of Aeschines' political occupation examines the reliability of courtroom speeches as ancient proof and exhibits how they assist display how democratic associations truly functioned in Athens whilst confronted with the increase of Macedonian energy.
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Additional info for Aeschines and Athenian Politics
Aeschines' Entry into Politics To understand what it meant to be a politician and how one started on a political career in Classical Athens, a brief look at the political institutions of the city is necessary. The most powerful political institution in Athens was the Assembly, where all major decisions regarding important issues, both foreign and domestic, were voted on by the citizens of Athens. The Athenians of the Classical period did not elect officials to make crucial political decisions for them.
The seer was normally called on by individual clients to give advice about what sacrifices they should perform in order to assuage the anger of the gods or to improve their lot in life. The seer was generally consulted about sacrifices on private matters, but might also offer his advice from time to time at public meetings. Unlike the priest, the seer did nor perform sacrifices on behalf of others; rather he acted as a religious expert who used his knowledge to counsel his clients. Despite the fact that anyone who wished to could try to prophesy, not everyone was equally good at it.
In the later speech he goes into far greater detail in his description of her priestly duties, but it is difficult to identify the rites that Demosthenes is talking about. Of the several candidates proposed, none has won general acceptance. The mysteries of Dionysus have been suggested, and so have those of Sabazius. Yet the reading of holy books and the emphasis on purification seem to point in the direction of Orphic practices. I doubt that Demosthenes is portraying these rites with clinical accuracy.