An historical commentary on Lykourgos against Leokrates
This thesis is an historical commentary on Lykourgos' prosecution speech against Leokrates. The introduction comprises various sections. The first is a brief consideration of the specific historical background to the oration in Athens and the wider Greek world. The second looks at the orator Lykourgos himself, one of the most significant figures of Classical Athenian history who could be described as a fourth-century equivalent of Perikles. Lykourgos was 'Controller of Athenian finances' for more than a decade following the Athenians' defeat by Philip at Khaironeia in 338 B.C. During this period, Lykourgos used his dominant position effectively to rebuild Athens structurally, aesthetically and culturally. He could thus be considered to be of far greater significance than his much better-known contemporary Demosthenes, even if it is accepted that he was a less effective orator. There are, however, reasons to believe that he was in fact not less effective, for the ancient view of Lykourgos as a prosecutor was that his 'pen was dipped in blood'. This has, indeed, proved a puzzle in tenns of this one surviving speech, which Lykourgos has unanimously been deemed to have lost. The remainder of the introduction looks in detail at eisangelia, the procedure under which Lykourgos prosecuted Leokrates, and the sole reference to the outcome of the case (Aiskhin. 3.252), and re-evaluates this assessment. It concludes that there are juridical and rhetorical reasons to suggest that Aiskhines has been misinterpreted and that Lykourgos in fact won this case, failing by one vote on a second ballot to secure a majority for a punishment of execution. The introduction concludes by re-evaluating the structure of the speech which has been overwhelmingly seen as a mass digression into poetic quotations. It suggests that previous assessments of the speech as a failure have worked against an objective consideration of Lykourgos' tactics, and have therefore masked the structure inherent to the speech as a whole. The commentary itself has an historical, rather than rhetorical or linguistic, focus, and is subdivided into sections which reflect the structure outlined in the introduction.