Demosthenes ; edited by C. Carey and R.A. Reid
The four private speeches contained in this collection were functional artefacts whose object was to persuade a jury numbered in hundreds by manipulating both the facts of the case and the prejudices, beliefs and attitudes of the Athenian man-in-the-street. It is as vehicles of persuasion that Dr Carey and Dr Reid seek primarily to treat the speeches, using their commentary to shed light on how well the speeches perform their function. The speeches have also been chosen for their value as documents of Athenian law, commerce and private life. The commentary explains as far as possible any obscurities in these fields and also deals with matters of linguistic interest. While intended mainly for undergraduates and students in the upper forms of schools, the book will be of interest to all classical scholars. The introduction, which provides a brief survey of the Athenian legal system and the trade of the speechwriter, requires no knowledge of Greek and should interest students of classical culture and literature in translation.