Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ A Check on the Assembly in the 4th c..
Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of January 26, 2003
page 19 of 21
After the battle of Chaeronea,
Demosthenes also recounts a series of events in which the Areopagus seems to intervene twice in matters already decided by the People. The orator describes how Antiphon, who had been in exile from Athens, was caught in the city, but Aeschines defended him before the people (presumably in the People’s Court) and won acquittal (Dem. 18.132). Demosthenes goes on to say that, “Had not the Council of the Areopagus, becoming aware of the facts, and seeing that you had made a most inopportune blunder, started further inquiries, arrested the man, and brought him into court a second time, the vile traitor would have slipped out of your hands and eluded justice, being smuggled out of the city by our bombastic phrase-monger” (Dem. 18.133). The “bombastic phrase-monger” (σεμνολόγου τουτουί) to whom Demosthenes refers is his opponent Aeschines. Demosthenes then goes on to say that after this event, in which the Areopagus overturned a verdict from the People’s Court, they overturned a decision by the Assembly, which had chosen Aeschines to serve as an Athenian ambassador for a special mission; the Areopagus “promptly rejected him as a traitor, and gave the mission to Hyperides” (Dem. 18.134).
page 19 of 21