Classical oratory is an invaluable resource for the study of ancient Greek life and culture. The speeches offer evidence on Greek moral views, social and economic conditions, political and social ideology, law and legal procedure, and other aspects of Athenian culture that have recently been attracting particular interest: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few.
Demosthenes is regarded as the greatest orator of classical antiquity. This volume contains his Funeral Oration (Speech 60) for those who died in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, in which Philip of Macedonia secured his dominance over Greece, as well as the so-called Erotic Essay (Speech 61), a rhetorical exercise in which the speaker eulogizes the youth Epicrates for his looks and physical prowess and encourages him to study philosophy in order to become a virtuous and morally upright citizen. The volume also includes fifty-six prologues (the openings to political speeches to the Athenian Assembly) and six letters apparently written during the orator's exile from Athens. Because so little literature survives from the 330s and 320s BC, these works provide valuable insights into Athenian culture and politics of that era.