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Demosthenes bust copy, antiquity replica, 38 cm, 5,6 kg

ca. 3-4 days ca. 3-4 days
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Weight per unit: 6 kg


Original Archaeological Museum Athens

The Greek speaker Demosthenes, known above all for his "Philippika" against the father of Alexander the Great, was one of the greatest rhetoric experts of his time.

Demosthenes, 384-322 B. C. was an Athenian speaker and politician, son of a wealthy weapons manufacturer. He lost his father at an early age and was betrayed by his guardians for his inheritance. Despite physical deficiencies, he purposefully trained himself in eloquence and sued his guardians. In the following period, he wrote process speeches for others.

His work as a lawyer led him to politics. He became the spokesman in the fight against Philippos of Macedonia, whom he passionately attacked as the most dangerous opponent of Greek freedom, especially in the three "Philippine speeches" (351,344,341 B. C.) and the three "Olynthian speeches" (349,348).  After the defeat of the allied Athenians and Thebanans at Chaironeia (338), Demosthenes, who himself had taken part in the battle, held the funeral speech on the dead. When the Athenians praised his merits by awarding him a golden wreath of honour, he justified his politics in his "speech on the wreath" and forced his political opponent Aischines to go into exile. 
A few years later, Demosthenes was involved in a bribery affair and had to flee Athens himself (324). He was recalled after the death of Alexander the Great, but was sentenced to death soon after the occupation of Athens by the Macedonians. He took poison to avoid falling into his pursuers' hands.

Under the name of the Demosthenes 61 speeches have been handed down, but only about half of them are undoubtedly authentic. They are an important factual source of knowledge of the Attic judiciary and the political circumstances of that time. Above all, however, they are testimony to the irresistible power of speech of the Demosthenes, who were regarded as by far the most important Attic speaker in Hellenistic times. His eloquent use of rhetorical means of jewellery, careful rhythmization and, above all, the superior mastery of all styles, which are always applied according to the subject matter of the speech, distinguish his eloquence. Urgent passion and rousing impetus are characteristic of the political speeches, compelling logic and hard-hitting arguments for the speeches.

In the following period, Demosthenes became the speaker par excellence. For Cicero, the master of Roman eloquence, he was the absolute model. In the 1st and 2nd centuries of our time, the vocabulary of Demosthenes was compiled in atticist lexicons, his style was examined in special fonts, his speeches were commented on and summaries of them were written. Melanchthon saw in Demosthenes, whom he even put above Cicero, the greatest speaker of all time. 

Demosthenes then continued to act as a model of great political eloquence into modern times, especially in England, where he has always been held in high esteem as a model for parliamentarians since the Elizabethan era.

Exhibit of the National Archaeological Museum Athens under the inventory no. 327, Roman reproduction 2nd century BC, an original work of the bronze caster Polyeuctos at the beginning of the 3rd century BC, reproduction original size.

This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday, 15. January 2014.
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