By Andrew J. Bayliss
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Additional resources for After Demosthenes: The Politics of Early Hellenistic Athens
490) who not only condemns the Athenians for overthrowing Demetrius of Phalerum, whom he ranks ‘among the greatest men that Athens every produced’, but proceeds (1793, p. 494) to castigate the Athenians for the degeneracy of the ‘democratical form of government’ and their servility to their new conqueror: The Athenians, with a view of making court to the conqueror . . heaped the most extravagant honours on Demetrius Poliorcetes and his father Antigonus, calling them their kings and tutelary gods, and carrying their pictures in the procession at the feast of Minerva.
73). 26 After Demosthenes Archaic Greece is equated with adolescence and early manhood, a period of growth; the fifth century is again equated with mature age, the prime of life, while the Hellenistic period is seen as on a par with senility. To sum up the Victorian view of Greek history, Jenkyns (1980, p. 74) writes, ‘Frederick Temple could write casually, as though it were undisputed fact, “Greek history hardly begins before Solon, and it hardly continues after Alexander” ’. When Greek history and Greek liberty are viewed as entities that can grow, age, decline and die, the decline of Greece can only be seen as inevitable and unavoidable.
Demosthenes is the central figure in what must be considered to be the first modern work of Greek history, Jacques de Tourreil’s hundred-page ‘Historical Preface’ to his translation of Demosthenes’ speeches. For de Tourreil (1702, p. 134), Demosthenes is last of the Greeks to remain free and to make a stand against the attempts of the Macedonian kings to stamp out liberty: His last attempt to restore the Liberty of Greece, has something more Noble in it than all the rest. ‘Twas not then Philip, Conqueror of Cheronæa, before whom all Athens bowed, and to whom all Greece submitted, except the invincible Soul of Demosthenes; but ‘was Alexander, and Alexander already Triumphing in Asia, whom this zealous Republican attempts to drive out of Europe: the man of whom the World stood in awe could not silence this Orator.