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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY

From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

III. MINGLING OF EAST AND WEST AFTER 359 B.C.

Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


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Page 3

DEMOSTHENES AND THE END OF GREEK FREEDOM

DEMOSTHENES, 384-322 B.C.

Philip for many years had been steadily extending his sway over Greece. In the face of his encroachments would Athens, Sparta, and Thebes, so long the leading cities, submit tamely to this Macedonian conqueror? There was one man, at least, who realized the menace to Greek freedom from Philip's onward march. In Demosthenes Greece found a champion of her threatened liberties.

DEMOSTHENES AS AN ORATOR AND A PATRIOT

Demosthenes was the last, as well as the most famous, of the great Athenian orators. When he first began to speak, the citizens laughed at his long, involved sentences, over-rapid delivery, and awkward bearing. Friends encouraged him to persist, assuring him that, if the manner of his speeches was bad, their matter was worthy of Pericles. Numerous stories are told of the efforts made by Demosthenes to overcome his natural defects. He practiced gesturing before a mirror and, to correct a stammering pronunciation, recited verses with pebbles in his mouth. He would go down to the seashore during storms and strive to make his voice heard above the roar of wind and waves, in order the better to face the boisterous Assembly. Before long he came to be regarded as the prince of speakers even in the city of orators. Demosthenes was a man cast in the old heroic mold. His patriotic imagination had been fired by the great deeds once accomplished by free Greeks. Athens he loved with passionate devotion. Let her remember her ancient glories, he urged, and, by withstanding Philip, become the leader of Hellas in a second war for liberty.

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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY: Table of Contents

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Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy

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