Aeschines

ancient greeks
Aeschine the orator

Aeschines (c.390-315BC) was an orator from Attica, he was born of poor parents and he learned the rhetoric from experience, in this helped the professions that he have done as a theatre prompter and undersecretary. As prompter he knew the masterpieces of the Attic scene while as undersecretary he knew the laws and resolutions of the state.

His family lost everything and had to go into exile when the Thirty Tyrants took power in Athens.

When they returned his father got a job as a teacher, and Aeschines himself earned a living as an actor at an early age.

At the age of about 28, in 362 BC, he enrolled as a hoplite and later he became secretary of the Assembly. Because he saw no point in resisting the powerful Macedonians, he promoted a pro-Macedonian standpoint, which made Demosthenes his bitter enemy. When the Macedonians did conquer Athens, Demosthenes had has friend Timocrates accuse Aeschines of receiving bribes from Philip II. Aescines won the court case, though, by accusing Timocrates of an indecent lifestyle.

When the Assembly wanted to honour Demosthenes with a golden wreath, Aeschines saw his chance to get back at his old enemy, and filed a suit against the honours. Unfortunately for him, though, he lost the case, and was forced into exile when he could not pay the 1000 drachma fine.
Until his death he worked as a teacher of rhetoric and died on Rhodes at the age of 75. Only three of his speeches have survived to this day.