In this article, you will encounter the words of a Greek philosopher that changed prose forever, as well as a Greek statesmen and orator who had a flair for the judicial system.
Thrasymachus (459-400 BCE)
This 5th century Greek philosopher was regarded as a sophist during ancient Greek times and is best recognized as a character portrayed in Plato’s ‘Republic.’ Thrasymachus was a citizen of Chalecedon and has been given credit for increasing the rhythmic character of Greek oratory, especially when it comes to the use of the paeonic rhythm that is found in prose. He additionally influenced the way emotions shined through in gestures. Some of his words include:
“Justice is simply the advantage of the stronger.”
“Just” or “right” means nothing but what is to the interest of the stronger.”
Demosthenes (384 BC – 322 BC)
In regards to ancient Greek history, Demosthenes was recognized as a prominent Greek statesmen and orator of his time. When taking a look at his orations, you will find distinct glimpses of the heightened level of intellect during this time period. The politics and culture of ancient times in Greece are easier to analyze through his words, as he serves as a great example of 4th century BC. Demosthenes developed a flair for rhetoric after spending time studying the speeches of previous greats.
His first judicial speech would come at the age of 20. He successfully argued in regards to receiving the rest of his inheritance that was left to him by his guardians. As a career, Demosthenes made money as a professional writer of speeches, which was called a logographer over time. He also moonlighted as a lawyer and wrote speeches that later played an important role in private legal suits. A few words associated with this great Greek, include:
“He who confers a favor should at once forget it, if he is not to show a sordid ungenerous spirit.”
“To remind a man of a kindness conferred and to talk of it is little different from reproach.”
“Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master.”
“The readiest and surest way to get rid of censure, is to correct ourselves”
“To remind a man of the good turns you have done him is very much like a reproach.”
“What we have in us of the image of God is the love of truth and justice.”
“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”
“Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.”
“A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true.”
In the other articles within this series, you will learn of Heraclitus, a pre-Socratic Ionian philosopher who may or may have not influenced some of the greatest thinkers in history, as well as Thucydides, a Greek historian with an interesting tale to spin.