Anonymous Life of Aeschines

Despite its brevity, this biography contains some unique information; but as the writer admits ( §7 ) the information is not entirely reliable. The Greek text can be found in the edition of Aeschines by F. Blass ( 1908 - ).

Aeschines was the son of Atrometus the elementary schoolteacher and of Glaucothea, who organised the religious bands {thiasoi}. 2 They say that when he was a child, he helped his father in his school and he read the books for his mother, who sprang out from dark places and scared the women and children, and therefore she was called Empūsa, because Empūsa is a night-time apparition. 3 When he was a youth, he acted in tragedies, taking on third-rate roles, and being clear-voiced he acted as scribe to Aristophon and then to Eubūlus, and when through his reading he had become expert in decrees and also laws, he took to the speaker's platform {bēma}, and outshone his contemporaries by his natural ability. 4 After the death of Philip, he appeared to be opposed to the people and to be inciting Antipater against the city, and therefore to have taken property in Thebes; and when he called Ctesiphon to account, because he had proposed that Demosthenes should be awarded a crown with a proclamation in the theatre, Aeschines did not receive even a fifth part of the votes. 5 He suffered disenfranchisement {atimia} and went off to Asia; there he went to Ephesus, intending to bring back Alexander against Athens; but when he learnt that the king had died and there was discord amongst his successors, Aeschines fled to Rhodes. 6 There the Rhodians asked him to teach them the art of rhetoric, but he refused, saying that he did not know it properly himself. Then they told him to speak in legal cases, but he did not want to do that either, because he concluded  that if he had been defeated in his homeland, he would surely come to grief in a foreign land. In the end, he resorted to his father's occupation, and taught the children their letters.

7 Demochares the nephew of Demosthenes (if he can be believed when he is speaking about Aeschines) says that Aeschines performed as a third-rate actor for Ischandrus the tragic poet, and when he was playing the part of Oenomaus in pursuit of Pelops, he fell disgracefully, and was helped back up by Sannion the chorus-master - on this account Demosthenes calls him Oenomaus, making fun of him for those who knew what had happened; and that he wandered around the country districts with Socrates and Simylus, the bad actors - this would be the reason that he was called 'bumpkin'.   8 Aeschines belonged to the deme of Cothocidae.

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