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Chapter Six Demosthenes

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Chapter Summary

Unlike the compositions of Thucydides, Plato and indeed Isocrates, which were detached from specific situational contexts, the orations of Demosthenes were designed to have an effect on the here and now, as integrative parts of the concrete decision-making that characterized political institutions. The texts one can have by him are documents of the actual oratory of the rhetor speaking in front of the Assembly on the particular issues of the day. Only sixteen or more exactly thirteen demegoric speeches have come down to us in their entirety; most of Demosthenes' speeches to the Assembly are known to us as partial elaborations in the 56 Prooimia. In the Prooimia the reflection focuses on the most important aspects of democratic deliberation, I. e. the role of the counselor, the behavior of the demos gathered in the assembly, and the function of the speech being delivered.

Keywords: democratic deliberation; Demosthenes' speeches; Isocrates; Plato; political institutions; Thucydides



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