This is the eighth volume in the Oratory of Classical Greece. This series presents all of the surviving speeches from the late fifth and fourth centuries BC in new translations prepared by classical scholars who are at the forefront of the discipline. These translations are especially designed for the needs and interests of today's undergraduates, Greekless scholars in other disciplines, and the general public.
Classical oratory is an invaluable resource for the study of ancient Greek life and culture. The speeches offer evidence on Greek moral views, social and economic conditions, political and social ideology, law and legal procedure, and other aspects of Athenian culture that have recently been attracting particular interest: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few.
Demosthenes is regarded as the greatest orator of classical antiquity. This volume contains five speeches written for lawsuits in which Demosthenes sought to recover his inheritance, which he claimed was fraudulently misappropriated and squandered by the trustees of the estate. These speeches shed light on Athenian systems of inheritance, marriage, and dowry. The volume also contains seven speeches illustrating the legal procedure known as paragraphe, or "counter-indictment." Four of these are for lawsuits involving commercial shipping, a vital aspect of the Athenian economy that was crucial to maintaining the city's imported food supply. Another concerns the famous Athenian silver mines.