Ten Facts About Demosthenes

There is a lot that people are unaware of when it comes to the ancient Greek influence of Demosthenes , the well-known Greek orator who showed a talent for writing and giving speeches at a young age. In this article, you will learn a little more about the most outspoken of citizens when Macedonian rule threatened to take over his surroundings. Below are ten facts to browse:

1) Demosthenes was born in 384 BC, which is during the last year of the 98th Olympiad (or the first year of the 99th Olympiad), which lasted for a period of four year and was linked to the Olympic Games of the Classical times of Greece.

2) Demosthenes and his father shared the same name. His father was part of a local tribe referred to as Pandionis. He lived about the Athenian countryside and made a living as a sword-maker generating a profitable income.

3) Unfortunately, Demosthenes became an orphan at the age of seven. Although his father left him a sizable chunk of money to live off of , his legal guardians (Demophon, Therippides, and Aphobus) greatly mishandled the funds. An estate worth close to fouteen talents (about $400,000 by current U.S. standards) was left to Demosthenes.

4) In 366 BC, Demosthenes became of age and demanded that he was provided with evidence of how his inheritance monies were managed by his guardians. When he finally received an account of the funds , he learned that his property was taken advantage of. When Demosthenes was old enough to question their actions , he was left with a house, 14 slaves, and ½ talent.

5) At the age of 20, Demosthenes sued his guardians so that he could collect patrimony. He would deliver five orations during this process between 363 BC and 361 BC. In the end , the court assessed that he had lost out on ten talents. At the close of the last trial, he was only able to gain back a percentage of his inheritance but not all of his losses. It was these court appearances that helped to sharpen his oratory skill.

6) When studying the accounts of Pseudo-Plutarch , Demosthenes only took one wife. The only thing we know about her is that she was the daughter of Heliodorus , a respected citizen in town. Her name is unknown.

7) Demosthenes and his wife produced a daughter. Unfortunately, his daughter died at a young age and never got a chance to marry. The incident took place a couple of days before Philip was to pass.

8) Demosthenes was so successful in writing speeches for private legal disputes that he gained the attention of client who were wealthy and rather powerful in the community. During these times, an Athenian logographer could conceal their identity , meaning they could still serve their personal beliefs in a manner that would not conflict with their views (in case they held a bit of prejudice against a certain client).

9) Researchers believe that Demosthenes was able to publish the majority or all of his orations. After his passing, texts containing his speeches survived in Athens , finding a special place at the Library of Alexandria. Today, there are 61 of Demosthenes’ orations to study.

10) Other writing of Demosthenes that has survived includes 56 prologues and six letters. All of these can be found at the Library of Alexandria.