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Who is Demosthenes?

The Greek orator Demosthenes lived from 383 BC to 322 BC and during that time , he wore many different hats , such as politician and author. Throughout his lifetime, Demosthenes earned a reputation as a controversial statesman during the ancient times in Athens. However, there is no denying the significance of his intellect, which shined through in the orations he was responsible for. He also possessed a great ear for political change and culture that defined Greece at the time.

Demosthenes gathered his keen sense of rhetoric by studying the speeches of important orators that thrived before his time. By the age of 20, he was delivering his first judicial speech , arguing with an effectiveness that allowed him to receive the rest of inheritance money that was owed to him. In his later years, he would earn a living by becoming a professional in the world of speech writing , logographer was the term. He also made strides as a lawyer, where his speeches were used in private legal suits.

While a logographer, Demosthenes developed an interest in politics. Most of his “productive years” were spent opposing the expansion of Macedon. He wished to uplift Athens to the point of domination and encouraged his fellow citizens to rage against Philip II of Macedon. He wanted the city to retain their freedom. Once Philip II died, it was Demosthenes who led the city against the new king of Macedon , none other than Alexander the Great.

Sadly, his efforts failed and the Macedonians inflicting punishment upon the opposition. Taking over the position of Alexander, it was Antipater who would rally some of his men to hunt down Demosthenes and put an end to his life. However, Demosthenes had other plans and committed suicide instead so that he could prevent his arrest by Archias , one of Antipater’s closest men.  

Below you will find a collection of quotes attributed to Demosthenes. If you are interested in learning more about this ancient Greek figure, take a look at the article titled ” Ten Facts About Demosthenes”

Demosthenes Quotes and Phrases

“Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.”

“The readiest and surest way to get rid of censure, is to correct ourselves.”

“What we wish, that we readily believe.”

“To remind a man of the good turns you have done him is very much like a reproach.”

“A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true.”

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”

“You cannot have a proud and chivalrous spirit if your conduct is mean and paltry; for whatever a man’s actions are, such must be his spirit.”

“What we have in us of the image of God is the love of truth and justice.”