The names of the orators are:
Antiphon - Andocides - Lysias - Isocrates - Isaeus - Aeschines - Lycurgus - Deemosthenes - Hyppereides - Deiinarchus
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.
 G 1. ANTIPHON, the son of Sophilus, from the deme of Rhamnus, was his father's pupil; for Sophilus kept a rhetoric school, to which it is reported that Alcibiades himself had recourse in his youth. Having attained to competent measure of knowledge and eloquence, - and that, as some believe, from his own natural ingenuity, - he dedicated his study chiefly to affairs of state. And yet he was for some time conversant in the schools, and had a controversy with Socrates the philosopher about the art of disputing, - not so much for the sake of contention as for the profit of arguing, as Xenophon tells us in his Commentaries of Socrates. At the request of some citizens, he wrote orations by which they defended their suits at law. Some say that he was the first that ever did any thing of this nature. For it is certain there is not one judicial oration extant written by any orator that lived before him, nor by his contemporaries either, as Themistocles, Aristeides, and Pericles; though the times gave them opportunity, and there was need enough of their labour in such business. Not that we are to impute it to their lack of ability that they did nothing in this way, for we may inform ourselves of the contrary from what historians relate of each of them. Besides, if we inspect the most ancient of those known in history who had the same form and method in their pleadings, such as Alcibiades, Critias, Lysias, and Archinous, we shall find that they all followed Antiphon when he was old. For being a man of incomparable sagacity, he was the first that published instructions about oratory; and by reason of his profound learning, he was surnamed Nestor. Caecilius, in a tract which he wrote about him, supposes him to have been Thucydides' pupil, from what Antiphon delivered in praise of him. He is most accurate in his orations, in invention subtle; and he would frequently baffle his adversary unawares, by a covert sort of pleading; in troublesome and intricate matters he was acute and sharp; and as he was a great admirer of ornamental speaking, he would always adapt his orations to both law and reason.
He was born the time of the Persian war and of Gorgias the rhetorician, being somewhat younger than him. And he lived to see the subversion of the popular government in the commonwealth which was wrought by the four hundred [411 B.C.], in which he himself is thought to have had the chiefest hand, being sometimes commander of two ships, and sometimes general, and having by the many and great victories he obtained gained them many allies, he armed the young men, manned out sixty triremes, and on every occasion went ambassador to Lacedaemon at the time when Eetioneia was fortified.  But when those Four Hundred were overthrown, he with Archeptolemus, who was likewise one of the same number, was accused of the conspiracy, condemned, and sentenced to the punishment due to traitors, his body cast out unburied, and all his posterity infamous on record. But there are some who tell us, that he was put to death by the Thirty Tyrants; and among the rest, Lysias, in his oration for Antiphon's daughter, says the same; for he left a little daughter, whom Callaeschrus claimed for his wife by the law of propinquity. And Theopompus likewise, in his Fifteenth Book of Philippics, tells us the same thing. But this must have been another Antiphon, son of Lysidonides, whom Cratinus mentions in his Pytine as a rascal. But how could he be executed in the time of the Four Hundred, and afterward live to be put to death by the Thirty Tyrants? There is likewise another story of the manner of his death: that when he was old, he sailed to Syracuse, when the tyranny of Dionysius the First was most famous; and being at table, a question was put, what sort of brass was best. When others had answered as they thought most proper, he replied, That is the best brass, of which the statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton were made. The tyrant hearing this, and taking it as a tacit exhortation to his subjects to contrive his ruin, he commanded Antiphon to be put to death; and some say that he put him to death for deriding his tragedies.
This orator is reported to have written sixty orations; but Caecilius supposes twenty-five of them to be spurious and none of his. Platon, in his comedy called Peisander, traduces him as a greedy man. He is reported to have composed some of his tragedies alone, and others with Dionysius the tyrant. While he was poetically inclined, he invented an art of curing distress of the mind, as physicians can provide cures of bodily diseases. And having at Corinth built him a little house, in or near the market, he set a notice over the gate, to this effect: that he had a way to cure distress of men's minds by words; and let him but know the cause of their malady, he would immediately prescribe the remedy, to their comfort. But after some time, thinking that art not worth his while, he betook himself to the study and teaching of oratory. There are some who ascribe the book of Glaucus of Rhegium concerning Poets to him as author. His orations concerning Herodes, against Erasistratus concerning Peacocks, are very much commended, and also that which, when he was accused, he penned for himself against a public indictment, and that against Demosthenes the general for moving an illegal measure. He likewise wrote another speech against Hippocrates the general; who did not appear on the day appointed for his trial, and was condemned in his absence.
Caecilius has recorded the decree of the senate for the judicial trial of Antiphon, passed in the year in which Theopompus was archon of Athens [411 B.C.], the same in which the Four Hundred were overthrown, - in these words:
"Enacted by the senate on the twenty-first day of the prytany. Demonicus of Alopece was clerk; Philostratus of Pallene was president.
Andron moved in regard to those men, - Archeptolemus, Onomacles, and Antiphon, whom the generals had declared against, for that they went on an embassy to Lacedaemon, to the great damage of the city of Athens, and departed from the camp in an enemies' ship, and went through Deceleia by land, - that they should be apprehended and brought before the court for a legal trial.
Therefore let the generals, with others of the senate, to the number of ten, whom it shall please the generals to name and choose, look after these men to present them before the court, that they may be present during the proceedings. Then let the Thesmothetes summon the defendants to appear on the morrow, and let them open the proceedings in court at the time at which the summonses shall be returnable. Then let the chosen advocates, with the generals and any others who may have any thing to say, accuse the defendants of treason; and if any one of them shall be found guilty, let sentence be passed upon him as a traitor, according to the law in such case made and provided."
 At the bottom of this decree was subscribed the sentence :-
"Archeptolemus son of Hippodamus, the Agrylian, and Antiphon son of Sophilus, the Rhamnusian, being both present in court, are condemned of treason. And this was to be their punishment: that they should be delivered to the eleven executioners, their goods confiscated, the tenth part of them being first consecrated to Athena; their houses to be levelled with the ground, and in the places where they stood this inscription to be engraved on brass, '[The houses] of Archeptolemus and Antiphon, traitors.'
That Archeptolemus and Antiphon should neither of them be buried in Athens, nor anywhere else under that government. And besides all this, that their posterity should be accounted infamous, bastards as well as their lawful descendants; and he too should be held infamous who should adopt any one of their descendants for his son. And that all this should be engraved on a brass tablet, and that tablet should be placed where that stands on which is engraved the decree concerning Phrynichus."
G 2. ANDOCIDES, the son of Leogoras, [and grandson of that Andocides] who once made a peace between the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians, from either the Cydathenian or the Thorian deme, of a noble family, and, as Hellanicus tells us, the offspring of Hermes himself, for the race of Heralds belongs to him. On this account he was chosen by the people to go with Glaucon, with twenty sail of ships, to aid the Corcyraeans against the Corinthians [433 B.C.]. But in process of time he was accused of some notorious acts of impiety, as that he was of the number of those who defaced the statues of Hermes and divulged the sacred mysteries of Demeter. And besides, he had been before this time wild and intemperate, and had once been seen in night-time revelry to break one of the statues of Hermes; and when on his trial he refused to bring his slave to examination whom his accusers named, he not only remained under this reproach, but was also on this account very much suspected to be guilty of the second crime too. This later action was laid to his charge soon after the expedition of the navy sent by the Athenians into Sicily [415 B.C.]. For, as Cratippus informs us, when the Corinthians sent the Leontines and Egestians to the Athenians, who hesitated to lend them assistance, they in the night defaced and broke all the statues of Hermes which were erected in the market. To which offence Andocides added another, that of divulging the mysteries of Demeter. He was brought to his trial, but was acquitted on condition he would reveal who were companions with him in the crime. In which affair being very diligent, he found out who they were that had been guilty, and among the rest he accused his own father. He proved all guilty, and caused them all to be put to death except his father, whom he saved, though in prison, by a promise of some eminent service he would do to the commonwealth. Nor did he fail of what he promised; for Leogoras accused many who had acted in several matters against the interest of the commonwealth, and for this was acquitted of his own crime.
Now, though Andocides was very much esteemed of for his skill in the management of the affairs of the commonwealth, yet his inclinations led him rather to traffic by sea; and by this means he contracted friendship with the kings of Cyprus and other great princes. At which time he secretly stole a girl from the city, the daughter of Aristeides, and his own niece, and sent her as a present to the king of Cyprus. But suspecting he should be called in question for it, he again stole her from Cyprus, for which the king of Cyprus took him and locked him up in prison; whence he broke loose, and returned to Athens, just at that time when the four hundred conspirators had usurped the government. By whom being confined, he again escaped when the oligarchic government was broken up. . . . . But when the Thirty Tyrants were uppermost, he withdrew to Elis,  and there lived till Thrasybulus and his faction returned into the city [403 B.C.], and then he also repaired thither. And after some time, being sent to Lacedaemon to conciliate a peace, he was again suspected of wrongdoing, and on that suspicion banished.
He himself has given an account of all these transactions, in his orations, which he has left behind him. For some of them contain his defence of himself in regard to the mysteries; others his petition for restoration from exile; there is one extant on Endeixis (or information laid against a criminal); also a defence against Phaeax, and one on the peace. He flourished at the same time as Socrates the philosopher. He was born in the seventy-eighth Olympiad, when Theogenides was archon of Athens [468 B.C.], so that he should seem to be about ten years before Lysias. There is an image of Hermes, called from his name, being given by the tribe Aegeis; and it stood near the house where Andocides dwelt, and was therefore called by his name. This Andocides himself was at the charge of a cyclic chorus for the tribe Aegeis, at the performance of a dithyramb. And having gained a victory, he erected a tripod on a high point opposite to the limestone statue of Silenus. His style in his orations is plain and easy, without the least affectation or any thing of a figurative ornament.
G 3. LYSIAS was the son of Cephalus, grandson of Lysanias, and great-grandson of Cephalus. His father was by birth a Syracusan; but partly for the love he had to the city, and partly in condescension to the persuasions of Pericles the son of Xanthippus, who entertained him as his friend and guest, he went to live at Athens, being a man of great wealth. Some say that he was banished from Syracuse when the city was under the tyranny of Gelon. Lysias was born at Athens when Philocles, the successor of Phrasicles, was archon [459 B.C.], in the second year of the eightieth Olympiad. At his first coming, he was educated among the most noble of the Athenians. But when the city sent a colony to Sybaris, which was afterwards called Thurii, he went thither with his other brother Polemarchus, his father being now dead (for he had two other brothers, Euthydemus and Brachyllus), that he might receive his portion of his father's estate. This was done in the fifteenth year of his age, when Praxiteles was archon [444 B.C.]. There then he stayed, and was brought up under Nicias and Teisias, both Syracusans. And having purchased a house and received his estate, he lived as a citizen for thirty-three years, till the year of Cleocritus [413 B.C.]. In the year following, when Callias was archon [412 B.C.], in the ninety-second Olympiad, the Athenians met with their disasters in Sicily, and others of their allies revolted, and especially the Italians. Lysias, being accused of favouring the Athenians, was banished with three others of his association; and coming to Athens, in the year wherein Callias succeeded Cleocritus [412 B.C.], the city then labouring under the tyranny of the four hundred conspirators, he remained there. But after the fight at Aegospotami, when the Thirty Tyrants had usurped the government, he was banished thence, after he had remained in Athens seven years. His goods were confiscated; and having likewise lost his brother Polemarchus, he himself escaped by a back door of the house in which he was kept for execution, fled to Megara and there lived. But when the citizens endeavoured to return from Phyle, he also behaved himself very well, and appeared very active in the affair, having, to forward this great enterprise, deposited two thousand drachmas of silver and two hundred shields, and being commissioned with Hermas, he maintained three hundred men in arms, and prevailed with Thrasylaeus the Elean, his old friend and host, to contribute two talents. Upon entering the city, Thrasybulus proposed that, for a consideration of his good service to the public, he should receive the rights of citizenship: this was during the so-called time of anarchy before Eucleides [403 B.C.]. Which proposal being ratified by the people, Archinus objected that it was against the laws, and a decree without authority of the senate.  The decree was thereupon declared void, and Lysias lost his citizenship. He led the remainder of his life in the rank of an Isoteles (or citizen who had no right to vote or hold office), and died at last at Athens, being eighty-three years old, or as some would have it, seventy-six; and others again say, that he lived above eighty years, till after the birth of Demosthenes. It is supposed he was born in the year of Philocles [459 B.C.].
There are four hundred and twenty-five orations which bear his name, of which Dionysius and Caecilius affirm only two hundred and thirty to be genuine, and he is said to have been overcome but twice in all. There is extant also the oration which he made in defence of the forementioned decree against Archinus, who challenged it and thereby prevented Lysias from receiving the citizenship, as also another against the Thirty Tyrants. He was very persuasive, and was always very brief in what he delivered. He would commonly give orations to private persons. There are likewise his textbooks of oratory, his public harangues, his letters, his eulogies, funeral orations, love speeches, and his defence of Socrates, accommodated to the minds of the judges. His style seems plain and easy, though difficult to imitate. Demosthenes, in his oration against Neaera, says that he was in love with one Metaneira, Neaera's serving-maid, but afterwards married his brother Brachyllus's daughter. Plato in his Phaedrus makes mention of him, as a most eloquent orator and older than Isocrates. Philiscus, his companion, and Isocrates's pupil, composed an epigram concerning him, which agrees with what we have urged from Plato; and it is to this effect:
"Calliope's witty daughter, Phrontis, show
If anything of wit or eloquence you have;
For 'tis decreed that you shall bear a son,
Lysias by name, to spread the name of him
Whose great and generous acts do fill the world,
And are received for glorious above.
Let him who sings those praises of the dead,
Let him, my friend, too, praise our fellowship."
He likewise wrote two orations for Iphicrates, - one against Harmodius, and another accusing Timotheus of treason, - in both which he was successful. But when Iphicrates made himself responsible for Timotheus's actions, and would purge himself of the allegation of treason made also against him, Lysias wrote an oration for him to deliver in his defence; upon which he was acquitted, but Timotheus was fined a considerable sum of money. He likewise delivered an oration at the Olympic games, in which he endeavoured to convince the Greeks of how great advantage it would be to them, if they could but unanimously join to pull down the tyrant Dionysius.
G 4. ISOCRATES was the son of Theodorus, of Erchia, reckoned among the middle class of citizens, and a man who kept servants under him to make flutes, by which he got so much money as enabled him not only to bring up his children after the most genteel manner, but likewise to maintain a choir. For besides Isocrates, he had other sons, Telesippus and Diomnestus, and one daughter. And hence, we may suppose, those two comic poets, Aristophanes and Stratis, took occasion to bring him on the stage. He was born in the eighty-sixth Olympiad, Lysimachus being archon [436 B.C.], about two and twenty years after Lysias, and seven before Plato. When he was a boy, he was as well educated as any of the Athenian children, being under the tuition of Prodicus the Cean, Gorgias the Leontine, Teisias the Syracusan, and Theramenes the rhetorician. And when Theramenes was to be apprehended by the order of the Thirty Tyrants, and fled for protection to the altar of Hestia of the senate, only Isocrates stood by his friend, when all others were struck with terror. For a long time he stood silent;  but after some time Theramenes advised him to desist, because, he told him, it would be an aggravation of his grief, if any of his friends should come into trouble through him. And it is said that he made use of certain textbooks of rhetoric composed by Theramenes, when he was slandered in court; which textbooks have since borne Boton's name.
When Isocrates was come to man's estate, he meddled with nothing of state affairs, both because he had a very weak voice and because he was something timorous; and besides these two impediments, his estate was much impaired by the loss of a great part of his patrimony in the war with the Lacedaemonians. It is evident that he composed orations for others to use, but delivered only one; that concerning Exchange of Property. Having set up a school, he gave himself much to writing and the study of philosophy, and then he wrote his Panegyrical oration, and others which were used for advice, some of which he delivered himself, and others he gave to others to deliver for him; aiming thereby to persuade the Greeks to the study and practice of such things as were of most immediate concern to them. But his endeavours in that way proving to no purpose, he gave those things over, and opened a school in Chios first, as some will have it, having for a beginning nine pupils; and when they came to him to pay him for their schooling, he weeping said, "Now I see plainly that I am sold to my pupils." He admitted all into his acquaintance who desired it. He was the first that made a separation between contentious pleas and political arguments, to which latter he rather addicted himself. He instituted a form of magistracy in Chios, much the same as that at Athens. No schoolmaster ever got so much; so that he maintained a trireme at his own charge. He had more than a hundred pupils, and among others Timotheus the son of Conon was one, with whom he visited many cities, and composed the letters which Timotheus sent to the Athenians; who for his pains gave him a talent out of that which he got at Samos [365 B.C.]. Likewise Theopompus of Chios, Ephorus of Cyme, Asclepiades who composed arguments for tragedies, and Theodectes of Phaselis, who afterwards wrote tragedies, were all Isocrates' pupils. The last of these had a monument in the way to the shrine of Cyamites, as we go to Eleusis by the Sacred Way, of which now remains only ruins. There also he set up with his own the statues of other famous poets, of all which only Homerus' is to be seen. Leodamas also the Athenian, and Lacritus who gave laws to the Athenians, were both his pupils; and some say, Hypereides and Isaeus too. They add likewise, that Demosthenes also was very desirous to learn of him, and because he could not give the full rate, which was a thousand drachmas, he offered him two hundred, the fifth part, if he would teach him but the fifth part of his art in proportion: to whom Isocrates answered, We do not use, Demosthenes, to impart our skill by halves, but as men sell good fish whole, or altogether, so if you have a desire to learn, we will teach you our full art, and not a piece of it. He died in the year when Charondas was archon [338 B.C.], when, being at Hippocrates's public exercise, he received the news of the slaughter at Chaeroneia; for he was the cause of his own death by a four days' fast, which he then made, pronouncing just at his departure the three verses which begin three tragedies of Euripides:
"Danaus, father of the fifty sisters, -
Pelops, son of Tantalus, in quest of Pisa, -
Cadmus, in time past, going from Sidon."
He lived ninety-eight years, or, as some say, a hundred, not being able to behold Greece the fourth time brought into slavery. The year (or, as some say, four years) before he died, he wrote his Panathenaic oration. He laboured upon his Panegyric oration ten years, or, as some tell us, fifteen, which he is supposed to have borrowed out of Gorgias the Leontine and Lysias. His oration concerning Exchange of Property he wrote when he was eighty-two years old, and those to Philippus a little before his death.  When he was old, he adopted Aphareus, the youngest of the three sons of Plathane, the daughter of Hippias the orator. He was very rich, both in respect of the great sums of money he exacted of his pupils, and besides that, received at one time twenty talents from Nicocles, king of Cyprus, for an oration which he dedicated to him. By reason of his riches he suffered the envy of others, and was three times named to maintain a trireme; which he evaded twice by the assistance of his son and a counterfeit sickness, but the third time he undertook it, though the expense proved very great. A father telling him that he had allowed his son no other companion than one slave, Isocrates replied, Go your way then, for one slave you shall have two. He strove for the prize which Aretemisia dedicated to the honour and memory of her husband Mausolus; but that oration is lost. He wrote also another oration in praise of Helen, and one called Areopagiticus. Some say that he died when he had fasted nine days, - some again, at four days' end, - and his death took its date from the funeral solemnities of those that lost their Lives at Chaeroneia. His son Aphareus likewise wrote several orations.
He lies buried with all his family near Cynosarges, on the left hand of the hill. There are interred Isocrates and his father Theodorus, his mother and her sister Anaco, his adoptive son Aphareus, Socrates the son of Anaco, Theodorus his brother, bearing his father's name, his grandsons, the sons of his adopted Aphareus, and his wife Plathane, the mother of Aphareus. On these tombs were erected six tables, which are now demolished. And upon the tomb of Isocrates himself was placed a column thirty cubits high, and on that a mermaid of seven cubits, which was an emblem of his eloquence; of which nothing now remains. There was also near it a tablet, having poets and his schoolmasters on it; and among the rest, Gorgias inspecting a celestial globe, and Isocrates standing by him. There is likewise a statue of his of bronze in Eleusis; dedicated by Timotheus the son of Conon, before the entry of the porch, with this inscription:
"To the fame and honour of Isocrates,
This statue's sacred to the Goddesses:
The gift of Timotheus."
This statue was made by Leochares. There are sixty orations which bear his name; of which, if we credit Dionysius, only twenty-five are genuine; but according to Caecilius, twenty-eight; and the rest are accounted spurious. He was an utter stranger to ostentation, insomuch that, when there came at one time three persons to hear him declaim, he admitted but two of them, desiring the third to come the next day, for that two at once were to him as a full theatre. He used to tell his pupils that he taught his art for ten minas; but he would give any man ten thousand, that could teach him to be bold and give him a good utterance. And being once asked how he, who was not very eloquent himself, could make others so, he answered, Just as a whetstone cannot cut, yet it will sharpen knives for that purpose. Some say that he wrote textbooks of oratory; others are of opinion that he had no method of teaching, but only exercise. He would never ask any thing of a free-born citizen. He used to enjoin his pupils being present at public assemblies to repeat to him what was there delivered. He conceived no little sorrow for the death of Socrates, insomuch that the next day he put himself in mourning. Being asked what was the use and force of rhetoric, he answered, To make great matters small, and small great. At a feast with Nicocreon, the tyrant of Cyprus, being desired by some of the company to declaim upon some theme, he made answer, that it was not the time for him to speak what he knew, and he knew nothing that was fitted to that time. Happening once to see Sophocles the tragedian amorously following a comely boy, he said to him, It will become you, Sophocles,  to restrain not only your hands, but your eyes. When Ephorus of Cyme left his school before he had arrived at any good proficiency, his father Demophilus sent him again with a second sum of money in his hand; at which Isocrates jokingly called him Diphorus, that is, twice bringing his fee. However, he took a great deal of pains and care with him, and went so far as to put him in the way of writing history.
He was wantonly given; and used to keep a mattress alongside his bed, and his pillow was commonly made moist with saffron. He never married while he was young; but in his old age he kept a mistress, whose name was Lagisce, and by her he had a daughter, who died in the twelfth year of her age, before she was married. He afterwards married Plathane, the wife of Hippias the rhetorician, who had three sons, the youngest of which, Aphareus by name, he adopted for his own, as we said before. This Aphareus erected a bronze statue to him near the temple of Zeus, as may be seen from the inscription:
"In veneration of the mighty Zeus,
His noble parents, and the Gods above,
Aphareus this statue here has set,
The statue of Isocrates his father."
He is said to have run a race on a swift horse, when he was but a boy; for he is to be seen in this posture in a statue on the Acropolis, in the ball-court of the Arrhephoroi. There were but two suits commenced against him in his whole life. One of these was Megacleides, who challenged him to exchange of property; at the trial of which he could not be personally present, by reason of sickness; but sending Aphareus, he nevertheless won his case. The other suit was commenced against him by Lysimachus, who would have him come to an exchange or be at the charge of maintaining a trireme for the commonwealth. In this case he was defeated, and forced to perform the service. There was likewise a painting of him in the Pompeium.
Aphareus also wrote a few orations, both judicial and deliberative; as also tragedies to the number of thirty-seven, of which two are contested. He began to make his works public in the year of Lysistratus [369 B.C.], and continued it to the year of Sosigenes [342 B.C.], that is, twenty eight years. In these years he exhibited dramas six times at the city Dionysiac festivals, and twice went away with the prize through the director Dionysius; he also gained two other victories at the Lenaean festival through other directors.
There were to be seen in the Acropolis the statues of the mother of Isocrates, of Theodorus, and of Anaco his mother's sister. That of the mother is placed just by the image of Health, the inscription being changed; that of Anaco is no longer there. [Anaco] had two sons, Alexander by Coenes, and Lysicles by Lysias.
G 5. ISAEUS was born in Chalcis. When he came to Athens, he read Lysias's works, whom he imitated so well, both in his style and in his skill in managing causes, that he who was not very well acquainted with their manner of writing could not tell which of the two was author of many of their orations. He flourished after the Peloponnesian war, as we may conjecture from his orations, and was in repute till the reign of Philippus. He taught Demosthenes - not at his school, but privately - who gave him ten thousand drachmas, by which business he became very famous. Some say that he composed orations for Demosthenes, which he delivered in opposition to his guardians. He left behind him sixty-four orations, of which fifty are his own; as likewise a personal textbook of rhetoric. He was the first that used to speak or write figuratively, and that addicted himself to civil matters; which Demosthenes chiefly followed. Theopompus the comedian makes mention of him in his Theseus.
G  6. AESCHINES was the son of Atrometus - who, being banished by the Thirty Tyrants, was thereby a means of restoring the commonwealth to the government of the people - and of his wife Glaucothea; by birth a Cothocidian. He was neither nobly born nor rich; but in his youth, being strong and well set, he addicted himself to all sorts of bodily exercises; and afterwards, having a very clear voice, he took to playing of tragedies, and if we may credit Demosthenes, he was a petty clerk, and also served Aristodemus as a player of third parts at the Dionysiac festivals, in his times of leisure rehearsing the ancient tragedies. When he was but a boy, he was assisting to his father in teaching little children their letters, and when he was grown up, he listed himself a private soldier. Some think he was brought up under Socrates and Plato; but Caecilius will have it that Leodamas was his master. Being concerned in the affairs of the commonwealth, he openly acted in opposition to Demosthenes and his faction; and was employed in several embassies, and especially in one to Philippus, to treat about articles of peace [346 B.C.]. For which Demosthenes accused him for being the cause of the overthrow and ruin of the Phocians, and the inflamer of war; which part he would have him thought to have acted when the Amphictyons chose him one of their deputies to the Amphissians who were building up the harbour [of Crissa]. Upon which the Amphictyons put themselves under Philippus' protection, who, being assisted by Aeschines, took the affair in hand, and soon conquered all Phocis. But Aeschines, notwithstanding all that Demosthenes could do, being favoured by Eubulus the son of Spintharus, a Probalisian, who pleaded on his behalf, carried his cause by thirty voices, and so was cleared. Though some tell us, that there were orations prepared by the orators, but the news of the defeat at Chaeroneia put a stop to the present proceedings, and so the suit lapsed.
Some time after this, Philippus being dead, and his son Alexander marching into Asia, Aeschines impeached Ctesiphon for acting against the laws, in passing a decree in favour of Demosthenes. But he had less than one-fifth of the votes of the jury on his side, and was forced to go in exile to Rhodes, because he would not pay his fine of a thousand drachmas. Others say, that he incurred disfranchisement also, because he would not depart the city, and that he went to Alexander at Ephesus. But upon the death of Alexander [323 B.C.], when a tumult had been excited, he went to Rhodes, and there opened a school and taught. And once, when he declaimed the oration which he had formerly made against Ctesiphon, to please the Rhodians, he did it with such grace, that they wondered how he could fail of carrying his cause if he pleaded so well for himself. But you would not wonder, said he, that I was defeated, if you had heard Demosthenes pleading against me. He left a school behind him at Rhodes, which was later called the Rhodian school. Thence he sailed to Samos, and died there soon afterwards. He had a very good voice, as both Demosthenes and Demochares testified of him.
Four orations bear his name, one of which was against Timarchus, another concerning a false embassy, and a third against Ctesiphon, which three are really his own; but the fourth, called Deliaca, is none of his; for though he was named to plead the cause of the temple at Delos, yet Demosthenes tells us that Hypereides was chosen in his stead. He says himself, that he had two brothers, Aphobetus and Philochares. He was the first that brought the Athenians the news of the victory obtained at Tamynae, for which he was crowned for the second time. Some report that Aeschines was never any man's pupil, but having passed his time chiefly in the administration of justice, he raised himself from the office of clerk to that of orator. His first public appearance was in a speech against Philippus; with which the people being pleased, he was immediately chosen to go ambassador to the Arcadians; and when he came there, he excited the Ten Thousand against Philippus. He indicted Timarchus for profligacy; who, fearing the issue, deserted his cause and hanged himself,  as Demosthenes somewhere informs us. Being employed with Ctesiphon and Demosthenes in an embassy to Philippus to treat of peace, he appeared the most accomplished of the three. Another time also he was one of ten men sent in embassy to conclude a peace; and being afterwards called to answer for it, he was acquitted, as we said.
G 7. LYCURGUS was the son of Lycophron, and grandson of that Lycurgus whom the Thirty Tyrants put to death, at the prompting of Aristodemus of Batē, who, also being treasurer of the Greeks, was banished in the time of the popular government. He was from the Butadian deme, and belonged to the family of the Eteobutades. He received his first instruction in philosophy from Plato the philosopher. But afterwards, making himself a pupil to Isocrates the orator, he employed his study about affairs of the commonwealth. And to his care was committed the disposal and management of the city funds, and so he executed the office of treasurer-general for the space of twelve years; in which time there went through his hands fourteen thousand talents, or (as some will have it) eighteen thousand six hundred and fifty. It was the orator Stratocles that procured him this appointment. At first he was chosen in his own name; but afterwards he nominated one of his friends to the office, while he himself performed the duties; for there was a law just passed, that no man should be chosen treasurer for above the term of four years. But Lycurgus plied his business closely, both summer and winter, in the administration of public affairs. And being entrusted to make provision of all necessaries for the wars, he reformed many abuses that were crept into the commonwealth. He built four hundred triremes for the use of the state, and prepared and fitted a place for public exercises in Lyceium, and planted trees before it; he likewise built a wrestling-court, and being made surveyor of the theatre of Dionysus, he finished this building. He was likewise of so great repute among all sorts, that he was entrusted with two hundred and fifty talents of private citizens. He adorned and beautified the city with gold and silver vessels of state, and golden images of victory. He likewise finished many things that were as yet imperfect, as the dockyards and the arsenal. He built a wall also about the spacious Panathenaic race-course, and made level a piece of uneven ground, given by one Deinias to Lycurgus for the use of the city.
The keeping of the city was committed wholly to his care, and power to apprehend malefactors, of whom he cleared the city utterly; so that some sophists were wont to say, that Lycurgus did not dip his pen in ink, but in blood. And therefore it was, that when Alexander demanded him of the people, they would not deliver him up. When Philippus made the second war upon the Athenians, he was employed with Demosthenes and Polyeuctus in an embassy to the Peloponnese and other cities. He was always in great repute and esteem with the Athenians, and looked upon as a man of such justice and integrity, that in the courts of law his good word was at all times prevalent on the behalf of those persons for whom he undertook to speak. He was the author of several laws; one of which was, that there should be certain comedies played at the Chytrian festival, and whoever of the poets or players should come off victor, he should thereby be invested with the freedom of the city, which before was not lawful; and so he revived a tradition which for want of encouragement had for some time before been out of use. Another of his laws was, that the city should erect statues to the memory of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; and that their tragedies, being fairly written out, should be preserved in the public depository, and that the public clerks should read these copies as the plays were acted, that nothing might be changed by the players; and that otherwise it should be unlawful to act them. A third law proposed by him was,  that no Athenian, nor any person inhabiting in Athens, should be permitted to buy a captive, who was once free, to be a slave, without the consent of his former master. Further, that in the Peiraeus there should be at least three circular dances played to Poseidon; and that to the victor in the first should be given not less than ten minas; in the second, eight; in the third, six. Also, that no woman should go to Eleusis in a carriage, lest the poor should appear more despicable than the rich, and so be dejected and cast down; and that whoever should ride in a carriage contrary to this law should be fined six thousand drachmas. And when even his own wife was found to be in the violation of the law, he paid to the informers a whole talent; for which being afterwards called in question by the people: See therefore, said he, I am called to answer for giving, and not for receiving money.
As he was walking one day in the streets, he saw an tax-collector lay hands on Xenocrates the philosopher, and lead him away to prison, because he had not paid the tax due from strangers. Lycurgus with his staff struck the tax-collector on the head for his unmannerly roughness toward a person of that character, and freeing Xenocrates, cast the other into prison in his stead. And not many days after, Xenocrates meeting with the children of Lycurgus said: I have returned thanks unto your father right speedily, my good children, for his friendship towards me, for I hear his kindness commended by all people where I go. He made likewise several decrees, in which he made use of the help of an Olynthian named Euclides, one very expert in such matters. Though he was rich enough, yet he was used to wear the same coat every day, both summer and winter; but he wore shoes only when he was compelled to do it. Because he was not adept at speaking extempore, he used to practice and study day and night. And in order that he might not at any time oversleep himself and so lose time from his study, he used to cover himself on his bed only with a sheepskin with the wool on, and to lay a hard bolster under his head. When someone reproached him for paying rhetoricians when he worked on his orations, he answered, that, if a man would promise to make his sons better, he would give him not only a thousand drachmas, but half what he was worth. He took the liberty of speaking boldly upon all occasions, by reason of his greatness; as when once the Athenians interrupted him in his speaking, he cried out, O Corcyraean whip, how many talents art thou worth? And another time, when some would rank Alexander among the Gods, What manner of God, said he, must he be, when all that go out of his temple had need to be dipped in water to purify themselves?
After his death Menesaechmus accused his sons according to an indictment drawn by Thracycles, and they were delivered to the eleven executioners of Justice. But Demosthenes, being in exile, wrote to the Athenians, to let them know that they were wrongfully accused, and that therefore they did not well to hear their accusers; upon which they recanted what they had done, and set them at liberty again, - Democles, who was Theophrastus' pupil, likewise pleading in their defence. Lycurgus and some of his posterity were buried publicly, at or near the temple of Athena Paeonia, where their monuments stand in the garden of Melanthius the philosopher, on which are inscriptions to Lycurgus and his children, which are yet extant. The greatest thing he did while he lived was to increase the public revenue wholly from sixty talents, as he found it, to twelve hundred. When he found he must die, he was by his own appointment carried into the temple of the Mother of the Gods, and into the senate-house, being willing before his death to give an account of his administration. And no man daring to accuse him of any thing except Menesaechmus, he cleared himself of those false accusations, and was carried home again, where shortly afterwards he ended his life. He was always accounted honest; his orations were commended for the eloquence they carried in them; and though he was often accused, yet he never was defeated in any suit.
He had three children by Callisto, the daughter of Abron, and sister of Callias, Abron's son, by descent a Batesian, - I mean, of him who, when Chaerondas was archon [338 B.C.], was paymaster to the army.  Deinarchus speaks of this relationship in his oration against Pastius. He left behind him three sons, Abron, Lycurgus, and Lycophron; of which, Abron and Lycurgus died without issue, though the first, Abron, did for some time act very acceptably and worthily in affairs of the commonwealth. Lycophron marrying Callistomacha, the daughter of Philippus of Aexone, had a daughter Callisto, who married Cleombrotus the son of Deinocrates the Acharnian, to whom she bare Lycophron, who, being adopted by his grandfather, died without issue. He being dead, Socrates married Callisto, of whom he had his son Symmachus. To him was born Aristonymus; to Aristonymus, Charmides, who was the father of Philippe. Of her and Lysander came Medeius, who also was an interpreter, one of the Eumolpids. He married Timothea, the daughter of Glaucus, and they had three children, Laodameia and Medeius, who were priests of Poseidon Erechtheus, and also Philippe a daughter, who was afterward priestess of Athena; for before, she was married to Diocles of Melite, to whom she bare a son named Diocles, who commanded the hoplite soldiers. He married Hediste, the daughter of Abron, and they had two children, Philippides and Nicostrata, whom Themistocles the torch-bearer, son of Theophrastus, married, and by her had Theophrastus and Diocles; and he likewise controlled the priesthood of Poseidon Erechtheus.
It is said that he penned fifteen orations. He was often crowned by the people, and had statues dedicated to him. His image in brass was set up in Cerameicus by order of the public, in the year of Anaxicrates [307 B.C.]; in whose time also it was ordered that he and his eldest son should be provided for with maintenance in the Prytaneium; but he being dead, Lycophron his eldest son applied for that privilege. This Lycurgus also was used frequently to plead on religious matters; and accused Autolycus the Areopagite, Lysicles the general, Demades the son of Demeas, Menesaechmus, and many others, all whom he caused to be condemned as guilty. Diphilus also was called in question by him, for impairing and diminishing the props of the metal mines, and unjustly making himself rich therefrom; and he caused him to be condemned to die, according to the provision made by the laws in that case. He gave out of his own funds fifty drachmas to every citizen, the sum total of which donation amounted to one hundred and sixty talents; but some say he gave a mina of silver to each. He likewise accused Aristogeiton, Leocrates, and Autolycus for cowardice. He was called the Ibis :-
"The ibis to Lycurgus, to Chaerephon the bat."
His ancestors derived their pedigree from Erechtheus, the son of the Gaia and of Hephaestus; but he was nearest to Lycomedes and Lycurgus, whom the people honoured with public solemnities. There is a succession of those members of the family who were priests of Poseidon, in a complete table placed in the Erechtheium, painted by Ismenias the Chalcidian; in the same place stood wooden images of Lycurgus, and of his sons, Abron, Lycurgus, and Lycophron; made by Timarchus and Cephisodotus, the sons of Praxiteles. His son Abron dedicated the table; and coming to the priesthood by right of succession, he resigned to his brother Lycophron, and hence he is painted as giving a trident. But Lycurgus had made a record of all his actions, and hung it on a tablet before the wrestling-court built by himself, that all might read that would; and no man could accuse him of any misappropriation. He likewise proposed to the people to crown Neoptolemus, the son of Anticles, and to dedicate statues to him, because he had promised and undertaken to cover the altar of Apollo in the market with gold,  according to the order of the oracle. He decreed honours likewise to Diotimus, the son of Diopeithes of Euonymus, in the year when Ctesicles was archon [334 B.C.].
Following pages (844 - 852) →
Attalus' home page | 02.02.17 | Any comments?