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The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought$
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Mirko Canevaro and Benjamin Gray

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748472

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198748472.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

Demosthenic Influences in Early Rhetorical Education

Demosthenic Influences in Early Rhetorical Education

Hellenistic Rhetores and Athenian Imagination

(p.73) 4 Demosthenic Influences in Early Rhetorical Education
The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought

Mirko Canevaro

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the afterlife of Demosthenes as a political model in the Hellenistic period, and through his image the afterlife of Athenian democratic values in the Hellenistic world. It shows how political struggles in Athens between the heirs of Demosthenes’ ‘party’ and pro-Macedonian politicians and philosophers shaped the later reception of this figure—the biographical tradition on Demosthenes has its foundation in slanderous assessments of his character and ability by Peripatetic philosophers after his death. Against the scholarly consensus, it argues that this was a minority tradition, and far from ignoring Demosthenes, a flourishing rhetorical and political tradition in the Hellenistic poleis saw Demosthenes as a political and rhetorical model symbolizing the civic virtues of a free city. This tradition is less represented in the works transmitted, but allusions to rhetorical exercises in Polybius and elsewhere and new papyrological finds shed light on its importance and its characters.

Keywords:   Demosthenes, Hellenistic polis, Demochares, declamations, Hellenistic oratory, rhetorical schools

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