AESCHINES

Athens
389 – 314 B.C..





BIOGRAPHY

A famous orator and politician, rival of Demosthenes. Born in Athens in 389 BC from poor parents, he could not enter Isocrates and Plato school due to lack of money. Being an actor helped him receive great education by studying the ancient tragic poems. Serving as a state representative he had the chance to learn everything about legislation and laws. As an enemy of Philip of Macedonia –after he conquered the city of Olynth- he tried to persuade the Athenians to conduct a panhellenic war against Philip.

Athenians elected him as an ambassador, and sent him to the cities of Peloponessos to raise them against the Macedonians. In 346 BC he took a part in the negotiations leading to Philocratean peace. There he was accused for a friendly stance towards Philip by Demosthenes, and was led to trial, where he presented his famous apology. The court found him innocent of charges stated and he joined the Phocion party, asking for a truce between Athens and Macedonia.

After the Heronia battle in 338, Demosthenes was proposed by Ktesifon to be awarded a golden garland for his patriotism and virtue. Aischines insulted the proposal claiming that it was against the law. After six years the court decided to vote in favor of Demosthenes, and Aischines was condemned to a fine and he left to Rhodes where he founded a rhetorical school. Only three of his speeches are saved, and considered perfect examples of the rhetorical arts.