This is the ninth volume in the Oratory of Classical Greece. This series presents all of the surviving speeches from the late fifth and fourth centuries BC 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 recently been attracting particular interest: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few.
Demosthenes is regarded as the greatest orator of classical antiquity. The two speeches translated here grew out of his longtime rivalry with the orator Aeschines. In Speech 19 (On the Dishonest Embassy) delivered in 343 BC, Demosthenes attacks Aeschines for corruption centered around an ultimately disastrous embassy to Philip of Macedon that both men took part in. This speech made Demosthenes the leading politician in Athens for a time. Speech 18 (On the Crown or De Corona), delivered in 330 BC, is Demosthenes' most famous and influential oration. It resulted not only in Demosthenes receiving one of Athens' highest political honors but also in the defeat and disgrace of Aeschines, who retired from public life and left Athens forever.