Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication

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Context for the Evidence: Lysias

Christopher Cotten, edition of April 8, 2003

· Lysias ·

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Born about 458 BCE, died in 380 BCE (source for dates: OCD3). He was the son of Cephalus, a shield-maker from Syracuse in Sicily, who was invited by Pericles to take up residence in Athens around 470 BCE (source for date: W.R.M. Lamb, Lysias [Cambridge, Mass.; Loeb Classical Library; 1943] ix). Shortly after his father’s death, Lysias moved with his older brother Polemarchus to Thurii, an Athenian colony in southern Italy. After the failure of the Athenian expedition against Sicily (413 BCE), Lysias and Polemarchus were expelled from the colony at which time they returned to Athens to take up residence. In 403 BCE (source for dates: OCD3), both Lysias and Polemarchus were arrested by the Thirty Tyrants. Lysias escaped to Megara; Polemarchus, however, was executed. Later, after the overthrow of the Thirty Tyrants, Lysias returned to Athens and was granted citizenship on a motion moved by Thrasybulus. Due to a technical irregularity in the grant, Lysiascitizenship was soon overturned. He spent the remainder of his life writing speeches on behalf of litigants. A total of thirty-five works have survived which are attributed to Lysias. (See also the genre of Oratory.)