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Lysias 21. A Commentary
Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter 2014, XVIII + 182 S. (= Trends in Classics - Supplementary Volumes Bd. 28), EUR 79.95

Lysias’ 21st speech “On a charge of taking bribes” is an important example of Attic oratory that sheds significant light on Classical history and society. Delivered after the restoration of democracy in 402 B.C.E., this speech provides information that is critical for our understanding of the relationship between the Athenian demos and aristocrats, Athenian civic institutions (e.g., taxation, liturgies and conscription), religious beliefs, moral values, political behavior, and, in particular, of the legal and rhetorical treatment of embezzlement and bribery. It also supplies unique information about the military engagement of the Athenians at Aegospotami and the role of Alcibiades in the political life of Athens. Despite its importance, however, Lysias’ speech has never been the subject of an extensive study in its own right. This volume seeks to fill that gap by presenting the first systematic commentary on this speech. The author puts much emphasis on its structure, strategy, and argumentation, focusing especially on the tension between the actual practices of the anonymous client of the logographer and civic ideals invoked in the present case. The book is intended to be of interest to classicists, ancient historians and political theorists, but also to the general reader.

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