The Principal Speeches of Demosthenes By Demosthenes

  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
  • Release date: 03-03-22

The Principal Speeches of Demosthenes By Demosthenes AudioBook Summary

Demosthenes (384-322 BCE) is regarded as one of the greatest orators of Classical times. This view has persisted through the centuries even though his rousing speeches warning of the dangers of Macedonian expansion – firstly guided by Philip II and then Alexander the Great – failed to stem the course of continued military success.

A contemporary of Plato and Aristotle, it is said that Demosthenes undertook arduous measures to cure himself of a stammer by speaking with pebbles in his mouth and perfecting breath control. Starting as a speech writer, he made his mark at an unusually young age (for the time), delivering his first major public speech at the age of 30, advising Athens to build its naval fleet as a defence against the Persians. In fact, it was the ambition of Philip of Macedon that would prove the principal threat. This was recognised by Demosthenes, as shown by the main speeches included in this collection.

In the ‘Three Olynthiac Orations’, Demosthenes outlined the tactics of Philip’s aggression towards Olynthus, an ally of Athens. He urged support for the smaller state, but his words went unheeded until it was too late. Demosthenes’s increasingly unrestrained language – at one point he calls Philip ‘a barbarian’ – did not endear him to the Macedonian regime.

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