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Demosthenes Greek Orator and Politician

Demosthenes was one of Greece’s greatest orators and politicians. He lived from 385 BC to 322 BC which is where he appears on the Bible Timeline with World History. He was important to Greek society because he elevated the art form of speech. His ability to speak well helped him to gain one of the leadership positions inside of ancient Athens about the time that Macedonia was about become a world power.

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Demosthenes

Demosthenes was born around 385 B.C. to a wealthy family. His father was a sword maker who had become a very prosperous. His parents died when he was seven years old and then he was cared for by guardians. His father had a hefty inheritance that he left for his son in order to take care of Demosthenes. His guardians had taken advantage of this situation and used the money on themselves. When Demosthenes became older he found out about what had happened and received restitution for the misuse of his funds.

When Demosthenes was younger he was educated but he wasn’t a great speaker. He had a speech impediment and he suffered socially because of this handicap. However, in time he had learned to overcome this impediment and learned how to become a great speaker. Demosthenes realized in his youth that he had the ability to speak well, but he needed training in order to bring out the best of his talent.

He went through a rigorous program for many years that helped to prepare him to become an excellent orator. After improving his rhetorical skills, he began his career as a writer who wrote speeches for clients involved in judicial cases.

In ancient Athens, people were not allowed to have a lawyer speak on their behalf so Demosthenes would write out their speeches. He worked the legal system for many years before he decided to move into the political arena. He eventually became known as a trierarch and worked on trireme or ancient Greek ship.

He also produced plays which were an important part of Greek society. He wrote articles against people who opposed certain civic, military and social functions such as taxes, the importance of the Greek navy and alliances with foreign powers.

Demosthenes started to become deeply involved in politics and it soon led him to the point where he was denouncing a rising king who was about to make Greece a world power. Philip II was a Macedonian king was about to bring all of Greece under his power. Demosthenes had enough foresight to realize that his city-state of Athens was in danger of losing their sovereignty to the Macedonians.

Other politicians also recognized that this was inevitable and insisted that the Athenians try to make the best out of the coming situation, but Demosthenes decided that they should fight against the growing power of Philip II. He encouraged the Athenian leaders to prepare a rapid force of warriors to protect Athens against Philip II and used whatever means that he could socially and politically to oppose him.

Athens resisted Philip II for many years, but they eventually fell to the power of Macedonia. Demosthenes had strongly denounced King Philip II throughout the course of his lifetime. He also felt the same way about his son Alexander the Great and before King Alexander left to conquer the world he too had to put up with Demosthenes rhetoric.

After Alexander the Great died, Demosthenes was still trying to get the Athenians to break free from Macedonian rule. He eventually was imprisoned for his actions. He then escaped from jail and was hunted down. Before he was captured and returned to prison he died in 322 B.C.

The Greeks highly esteemed great orators and rhetoric because they were living examples of the great knowledge and genius that would characterize Greece. Demosthenes was an example of a great Greek orator and statesmen who influenced the lives of many people throughout the years.

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