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Antiphon

This word admits at least two distinct senses.

He took an active part in political affairs at Athens, and, as a zealous supporter of the Oligarchical party, was largely responsible for the establishment of the Four Hundred in 411 (see Theramenes; on the restoration the democracy he was accused of treason and condemned to death. Thucydides (viii. 68) expresses a very high opinion of him.

Antiphon may be regarded as the founder of political oratory, but he never addressed the people himself except on the occasion of his trial. Fragments of his speech then, delivered in defence of his policy have been edited by J Nicole (5907) from an Egyptian papyrus.

His chief business was that of a professional speech-writer for those who felt incompetent to conduct their own cases--all disputants were obliged to do so--without expert assistance. Fifteen of Antiphon's speeches are extant: twelve are mere school exercises on fictitious cases, divided into tetralogies, each conting of two speeches for prosecution and defence--accusation, fence, reply, counter-reply; three refer to actual legal processes.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.



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