Demosthenes Timeline

Demosthenes Timeline

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The first time Demosthenes made a speech in the public assembly was a disaster. Discouraged, he was fortunate to run into an actor who helped show him what he needed to do to make his speeches compelling. To perfect the technique, he set up a routine, which he followed for months until he had mastered oratory.

Hereupon he built himself a place to study in underground (which was still remaining in our time), and hither he would come constantly every day to form his action and to exercise his voice, and here he would continue, oftentimes without intermission, two or three months together, shaving one half of his head, that so for shame he might not go abroad, though he desired it ever so much.


Family and personal life

Demosthenes was born in 384 BC, during the last year of the 98th Olympiad or the first year of the 99th Olympiad. [4] His father—also named Demosthenes—who belonged to the local tribe, Pandionis, and lived in the deme of Paeania [5] in the Athenian countryside, was a wealthy sword-maker. [6] Aeschines, Demosthenes' greatest political rival, maintained that his mother Kleoboule was a Scythian by blood [7] —an allegation disputed by some modern scholars. [a] Demosthenes was orphaned at the age of seven. Although his father provided for him well, his legal guardians, Aphobus, Demophon and Therippides, mishandled his inheritance. [8]

Demosthenes started to learn rhetoric because he wished to take his guardians to court and because he was of "delicate physique" and could not receive gymnastic education, which was customary. In Parallel Lives, Plutarch states that Demosthenes built an underground study where he practised speaking and shaving one half of his head so that he could not go out in public. Plutarch also states that he had "an inarticulate and stammering pronunciation" that he overcame by speaking with pebbles in his mouth and by repeating verses when running or out of breath. He also practised speaking in front of a large mirror. [9]

As soon as Demosthenes came of age in 366 BC, he demanded his guardians render an account of their management. According to Demosthenes, the account revealed the misappropriation of his property. Although his father left an estate of nearly fourteen talents (equivalent to about 220 years of a labourer's income at standard wages, or 11 million dollars in terms of median U.S. annual incomes). [10] Demosthenes asserted his guardians had left nothing "except the house, and fourteen slaves and thirty silver minae " (30 minae = ½ talent). [11] At the age of 20 Demosthenes sued his trustees to recover his patrimony and delivered five orations: three Against Aphobus during 363 and 362 BC and two Against Onetor during 362 and 361 BC. The courts fixed Demosthenes' damages at ten talents. [12] When all the trials came to an end, [b] he only succeeded in retrieving a portion of his inheritance. [13]

According to Pseudo-Plutarch, Demosthenes was married once. The only information about his wife, whose name is unknown, is that she was the daughter of Heliodorus, a prominent citizen. [14] Demosthenes also had a daughter, "the only one who ever called him father", according to Aeschines in a trenchant remark. [15] His daughter died young and unmarried a few days before Philip II's death. [15]

In his speeches, Aeschines uses pederastic relations of Demosthenes as a means to attack him. In the case of Aristion, a youth from Plataea who lived for a long time in Demosthenes' house, Aeschines mocks the "scandalous" and "improper" relation. [16] In another speech, Aeschines brings up the pederastic relation of his opponent with a boy called Cnosion. The slander that Demosthenes' wife also slept with the boy suggests that the relationship was contemporary with his marriage. [17] Aeschines claims that Demosthenes made money out of young rich men, such as Aristarchus, the son of Moschus, whom he allegedly deceived with the pretence that he could make him a great orator. Apparently, while still under Demosthenes' tutelage, Aristarchus killed and mutilated a certain Nicodemus of Aphidna. Aeschines accused Demosthenes of complicity in the murder, pointing out that Nicodemus had once pressed a lawsuit accusing Demosthenes of desertion. He also accused Demosthenes of having been such a bad erastes to Aristarchus so as not even to deserve the name. His crime, according to Aeschines, was to have betrayed his eromenos by pillaging his estate, allegedly pretending to be in love with the youth so as to get his hands on the boy's inheritance. Nevertheless, the story of Demosthenes' relations with Aristarchus is still regarded as more than doubtful, and no other pupil of Demosthenes is known by name. [18]


Between his coming of age in 366 BC and the trials that took place in 364 BC, Demosthenes and his guardians negotiated acrimoniously but were unable to reach an agreement, for neither side was willing to make concessions. [20] At the same time, Demosthenes prepared himself for the trials and improved his oratory skill. According to a story repeated by Plutarch, when Demosthenes was an adolescent, his curiosity was noticed by the orator Callistratus, who was then at the height of his reputation, having just won a case of considerable importance. [21] According to Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philologist and philosopher, and Constantine Paparrigopoulos, a major modern Greek historian, Demosthenes was a student of Isocrates [22] according to Cicero, Quintillian and the Roman biographer Hermippus, he was a student of Plato. [23] Lucian, a Roman-Syrian rhetorician and satirist, lists the philosophers Aristotle, Theophrastus and Xenocrates among his teachers. [24] These claims are nowadays disputed. [c] According to Plutarch, Demosthenes employed Isaeus as his master in rhetoric, even though Isocrates was then teaching this subject, either because he could not pay Isocrates the prescribed fee or because Demosthenes believed Isaeus' style better suited a vigorous and astute orator such as himself. [25] Curtius, a German archaeologist and historian, likened the relation between Isaeus and Demosthenes to "an intellectual armed alliance". [26]

It has also been said that Demosthenes paid Isaeus 10,000 drachmae (somewhat over 1½ talents) on the condition that Isaeus withdraw from a school of rhetoric he had opened and instead devote himself wholly to Demosthenes, his new pupil. [26] Another version credits Isaeus with having taught Demosthenes without charge. [27] According to Sir Richard C. Jebb, a British classical scholar, "the intercourse between Isaeus and Demosthenes as teacher and learner can scarcely have been either very intimate or of very long duration". [26] Konstantinos Tsatsos, a Greek professor and academician, believes that Isaeus helped Demosthenes edit his initial judicial orations against his guardians. [28] Demosthenes is also said to have admired the historian Thucydides. In the Illiterate Book-Fancier, Lucian mentions eight beautiful copies of Thucydides made by Demosthenes, all in Demosthenes' own handwriting. [29] These references hint at his respect for a historian he must have assiduously studied. [30]

Speech training

According to Plutarch, when Demosthenes first addressed himself to the people, he was derided for his strange and uncouth style, "which was cumbered with long sentences and tortured with formal arguments to a most harsh and disagreeable excess". [31] Some citizens, however, discerned his talent. When he first left the ekklesia (the Athenian Assembly) disheartened, an old man named Eunomus encouraged him, saying his diction was very much like that of Pericles. [32] Another time, after the ekklesia had refused to hear him and he was going home dejected, an actor named Satyrus followed him and entered into a friendly conversation with him. [33]

As a boy Demosthenes had a speech impairment: Plutarch refers to a weakness in his voice of "a perplexed and indistinct utterance and a shortness of breath, which, by breaking and disjointing his sentences much obscured the sense and meaning of what he spoke." [31] There are problems in Plutarch's account, however, and it is probable that Demosthenes actually suffered from rhotacism, mispronouncing ρ (r) as λ (l). [34] Aeschines taunted him and referred to him in his speeches by the nickname "Batalus", [d] apparently invented by Demosthenes' pedagogues or by the little boys with whom he was playing [35] —which corresponded to how someone with that variety of rhotacism would pronounce "Battaros," the name of a legendary Libyan king who spoke quickly and in a disordered fashion. Demosthenes undertook a disciplined programme to overcome his weaknesses and improve his delivery, including diction, voice and gestures. [36] According to one story, when he was asked to name the three most important elements in oratory, he replied "Delivery, delivery and delivery!" [37] It is unknown whether such vignettes are factual accounts of events in Demosthenes' life or merely anecdotes used to illustrate his perseverance and determination. [38]

Chronology of the Old Testament

In the days of Abram we meet with the names of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Amraphel, king of Shinar. Egypt was manifestly a powerful kingdom before and during the patriarchal times, but the early annals of Egypt as they have come down to us help us to few synchronisms that can be relied on.

After the death of Joshua was the period of the Judges, of whom the first was Othniel and the last Samuel, but the arrangement and dates of the rest are very uncertain.

The commencement of the Assyrian empire appears to have been somewhere in the period of the Judges, but much of the chronological data preserved in Assyrian tablets is of a mythical character.

In this section approximate dates are suggested, some help being derived from synchronisms with secular history, which become more numerous with every succeeding century.

Persons and Events of External History

Commencement of Saul’s reign. Samuel lives for a great part of Saul’s reign.

Tiglath-pileser Ⅰ, king of Assyria.

David king in Jerusalem. Nathan and Gad, prophets.

Hanun, son of Nahash, king of Ammon.

Solomon made king. Death of David.

Solomon begins to build the temple.

Solomon begins to build his own house.

The buildings are finished.

Hadad the Edomite is protected in Egypt.

Shishak, king of Egypt, shelters Jeroboam.

Death of Solomon. The ten tribes revolt from Rehoboam.

In the following table the first column of dates follows the books of Kings and Chronicles the third column contains a revised chronology derived from inscriptions on Assyrian and other monuments. The kings of Judah are printed in heavy type, and the kings of Israel in capitals.

Demosthenes Timeline - History

Here you can find the Pnyx Hill on a map .

It follows the full text transcript of Demosthenes' Third Philippic speech, delivered on the Pnyx Hill, Athens, ancient Greece - late spring or early summer of 341 BC.

Many speeches are made, men of Athens, at almost every meeting of the Assembly, with reference to the aggressions which Philip has been committing, ever since he concluded the Peace, not only against yourselves but against all other peoples.

And I am sure that all would agree, however little they may act on their belief, that our aim, both in speech and in action, should be to cause him to cease from his insolence and to pay the penalty for it. And yet I see that in fact the treacherous sacrifice of our interests has gone on, until what seems an ill-omened saying may, I fear, be really true - that if all who came forward desired to propose, and you desired to carry, the measures which would make your position as pitiful as it could possibly be, it could not, so I believe, be made worse than it is now.

It may be that there are many reasons for this, and that our affairs did not reach their present condition from any one or two causes. But if you examine the matter aright, you will find that the chief responsibility rests with those whose aim is to win your favor, not to propose what is best. Some of them, men of Athens, so long as they can maintain the conditions which bring them reputation and influence, take no thought for the future and therefore think that you also should take none, while others, by accusing and slandering those who are actively at work, are simply trying to make the city spend its energies in punishing the members of its own body, and so leave Philip free to say and do what he likes.

Such political methods as these, familiar to you as they are, are the real causes of the evil. And I beg you, men of Athens, if I tell you certain truths outspokenly, to let no resentment on your part fall upon me on this account. Consider the matter in this light. In every other sphere of life, you believe that the right of free speech ought to be so universally shared by all who are in the city, that you have extended it both to foreigners and to slaves and one may see many a servant in Athens speaking his mind with greater liberty than is granted to citizens in some other states: but from the sphere of political counsel you have utterly banished this liberty.

The result is that in your meetings you give yourselves airs and enjoy their flattery, listening to nothing but what is meant to please you, while in the world of facts and events, you are in the last extremity of peril. If then you are still in this mood to-day, I do not know what I can say but if you are willing to listen while I tell you, without flattery, what your interest requires, I am prepared to speak. For though our position is very bad indeed, and much has been sacrificed, it is still possible, even now, if you will do your duty, to set all right once more.

It is a strange thing, perhaps, that I am about to say, but it is true. The worst feature in the past is that in which lies our best hope for the future. And what is this? It is that you are in your present plight because you do not do any part of your duty, small or great for of course, if you were doing all that you should do, and were still in this evil case, you could not even hope for any improvement. As it is, Philip has conquered your indolence and your indifference but he has not conquered Athens. You have not been vanquished, you have never even stirred.

Now if it was admitted by us all that Philip was at war with Athens, and was transgressing the Peace, a speaker would have to do nothing but to advise you as to the safest and easiest method of resistance to him. But since there are some who are in so extraordinary a frame of mind that, though he is capturing cities, though many of your possessions are in his hands, and though he is committing aggressions against all men, they still tolerate certain speakers, who constantly assert at your meetings that it is some of _us_ who are provoking the war, it is necessary to be on our guard and come to a right understanding on the matter.

For there is a danger lest any one who proposes or advises resistance should find himself accused of having brought about the war. Well, I say this first of all, and lay it down as a principle, that if it is open to us to deliberate whether we should remain at peace or should go to war .

Now if it is possible for the city to remain at peace, if the decision rests with us that I may make this my starting-point, then I say that we ought to do so, and I call upon any one who says that it is so to move his motion, and to act and not to defraud us. But if another with weapons in his hands and a large force about him holds out to you the name of peace while his own acts are acts of war what course remains open to us but that of resistance?

Though if you wish to profess peace in the same manner as he, I have no quarrel with you. But if any man's conception of peace is that it is a state in which Philip can master all that intervenes till at last he comes to attack ourselves, such a conception, in the first place, is madness and, in the second place, this peace that he speaks of is a peace which you are to observe towards Philip, while he does not observe it towards you: and this it is, this power to carry on war against you, without being met by any hostilities on your part, that Philip is purchasing with all the money that he is spending.

Indeed, if we intend to wait till the time comes when he admits that he is at war with us, we are surely the most innocent persons in the world. Why, even if he comes to Attica itself, to the very Peiraeus, he will never make such an admission, if we are to judge by his dealings with others.

For, to take one instance, he told the Olynthians, when he was five miles from the city, that there were only two alternatives, either they must cease to live in Olynthus, or he to live in Macedonia: but during the whole time before that, whenever any one accused him of any such sentiments, he was indignant and sent envoys to answer the charge. Again, he marched into the Phocians' country, as though visiting his allies. It was by Phocian envoys that he was escorted on the march and most people in Athens contended strongly that his crossing the Pass would bring no good to Thebes.

Worse still, he has lately seized Pherae and still holds it, though he went to Thessaly as a friend and an ally. And, latest of all, he told those unhappy citizens of Oreus that he had sent his soldiers to visit them and to make kind inquiries he had heard that they were sick, and suffering from faction, and it was right for an ally and a true friend to be present at such a time.

Now if, instead of giving them warning and using open force, he deliberately chose to deceive these men, who could have done him no harm, though they might have taken precautions against suffering any themselves, do you imagine that he will make a formal declaration of war upon you before he commences hostilities, and that, so long as you are content to be deceived? Impossible! For so long as you, though you are the injured party, make no complaint against him, but accuse some of your own body, he would be the most fatuous man on earth if he were to interrupt your strife and contentions with one another, to bid you turn upon himself, and so to cut away the ground from the arguments by which his hirelings put you off, when they tell you that he is not at war with Athens.

In God's name, is there a man in his senses who would judge by words, and not by facts, whether another was at peace or at war with him? Of course there is not. Why, from the very first, when the Peace had only just been made, before those who are now in the Chersonese had been sent out, Philip was taking Serrhium and Doriscus, and expelling the soldiers who were in the castle of Serrhium and the Sacred Mountain, where they had been placed by your general. But what was he doing, in acting thus? For he had sworn to a Peace. And let no one ask, What do these things amount to? What do they matter to Athens?

For whether these acts were trifles which could have no interest for you is another matter but the principles of religion and justice, whether a man transgress them in small things or great, have always the same force. What? When he is sending mercenaries into the Chersonese, which the king and all the Hellenes have acknowledged to be yours when he openly avows that he is going to the rescue, and states it in his letter, what is it that he is doing?

He tells you, indeed, that he is not making war upon you. But so far am I from admitting that one who acts in this manner is observing the Peace which he made with you, that I hold that in grasping at Megara, in setting up tyrants in Euboea, in advancing against Thrace at the present moment, in pursuing his machinations in the Peloponnese, and in carrying out his entire policy with the help of his army, he is violating the Peace and is making war against you. Unless you mean to say that even to bring up engines to besiege you is no breach of the Peace, until they are actually planted against your walls. But you will not say this for the man who is taking the steps and contriving the means which will lead to my capture is at war with me, even though he has not yet thrown a missile or shot an arrow.

Now what are the things which would imperil your safety, if anything should happen? The alienation of the Hellespont, the placing of Megara and Euboea in the power of the enemy, and the attraction of Peloponnesian sympathy to his cause. Can I then say that one who is erecting such engines of war as these against the city is at peace with you?

Far from it! For from the very day when he annihilated the Phocians, from that very day, I say, I date the beginning of his hostilities against you. And for your part, I think that you will be wise if you resist him at once but that if you let him be, you will find that, when you wish to resist, resistance itself is impossible. Indeed, so widely do I differ, men of Athens, from all your other advisers, that I do not think there is any room for discussion to-day in regard to the Chersonese or Byzantium.

We must go to their defense and take every care that they do not suffer and we must send all that they need to the soldiers who are at present there. But we have to take counsel for the good of all the Hellenes, in view of the grave peril in which they stand. And I wish to tell you on what grounds I am so alarmed at the situation, in order that if my reasoning is correct, you may share my conclusions, and exercise some forethought for yourselves at least, if you are actually unwilling to do so for the Hellenes as a whole but that if you think that I am talking nonsense, and am out of my senses, you may both now and hereafter decline to attend to me as though I were a sane man.

The rise of Philip to greatness from such small and humble beginnings the mistrustful and quarrelsome attitude of the Hellenes towards one another the fact that his growth out of what he was into what he is was a far more extraordinary thing than would be his subjugation of all that remains, when he has already secured so much. All this and all similar themes, upon which I might speak at length, I will pass over.

But I see that all men, beginning with yourselves, have conceded to him the very thing which has been at issue in every Hellenic war during the whole of the past. And what is this? It is the right to act as he pleases, to mutilate and to strip the Hellenic peoples, one by one, to attack and to enslave their cities.

For seventy-three years you were the leading people of Hellas, and the Spartans for thirty years save one and in these last times, after the battle of Leuctra, the Thebans too acquired some power: yet neither to you nor to Thebes nor to Sparta was such a right ever conceded by the Hellenes, as the right to do whatever you pleased. Far from it!

First of all it was your own behavior, or rather that of the Athenians of that day, which some thought immoderate and all, even those who had no grievance against Athens, felt bound to join the injured parties, and to make war upon you. Then, in their turn, the Spartans, when they had acquired an empire and succeeded to a supremacy like your own, attempted to go beyond all bounds and to disturb the established order to an unjustifiable extent and once more, all, even those who had no grievance against them, had recourse to war.

Why mention the others? For we ourselves and the Spartans, though we could originally allege no injury done by the one people to the other, nevertheless felt bound to go to war on account of the wrongs which we saw the rest suffering. And yet all the offences of the Spartans in those thirty years of power, and of your ancestors in their seventy years, were less, men of Athens, than the wrongs inflicted upon the Greeks by Philip, in the thirteen years, not yet completed, during which he has been to the fore. Less do I say?

They are not a fraction of them. A few words will easily prove this. I say nothing of Olynthus, and Methone, and Apollonia, and thirty-two cities in the Thracian region, all annihilated by him with such savagery, that a visitor to the spot would find it difficult to tell that they had ever been inhabited. I remain silent in regard to the extirpation of the great Phocian race. But what is the condition of Thessaly? Has he not robbed their very cities of their governments and set up tetrarchies, that they may be enslaved, not merely by whole cities, but by whole tribes at a time?

Are not the cities of Euboea even now ruled by tyrants, and that in an island that is neighbor to Thebes and Athens? Does he not write expressly in his letters, "I am at peace with those who choose to obey me"? And what he thus writes he does not fail to act upon for he is gone to invade the Hellespont he previously went to attack Ambracia the great city of Elis in the Peloponnese is his he has recently intrigued against Megara and neither Hellas nor the world beyond it is large enough to contain the man's ambition.

But though all of us, the Hellenes, see and hear these things, we send no representatives to one another to discuss the matter we show no indignation we are in so evil a mood, so deep have the lines been dug which sever city from city, that up to this very day we are unable to act as either our interest or our duty require.

We cannot unite we can form no combination for mutual support or friendship but we look on while the man grows greater, because every one has made up his mind, as it seems to me, to profit by the time during which his neighbor is being ruined, and no one cares or acts for the safety of the Hellenes. For we all know that Philip is like the recurrence or the attack of a fever or other illness, in his descent upon those who fancy themselves for the present well out of his reach.

And further, you must surely realize that all the wrongs that the Hellenes suffered from the Spartans or ourselves they at least suffered at the hands of true-born sons of Hellas and, one might conceive, it was as though a lawful son, born to a great estate, managed his affairs in some wrong or improper way. His conduct would in itself deserve blame and denunciation, but at least it could not be said that he was not one of the family, or was not the heir to the property.

But had it been a slave or a supposititious son that was thus ruining and spoiling an inheritance to which he had no title, why, good Heavens! how infinitely more scandalous and reprehensible all would have declared it to be. And yet they show no such feeling in regard to Philip, although not only is he no Hellene, not only has he no kinship with Hellenes, but he is not even a barbarian from a country that one could acknowledge with credit. He is a pestilent Macedonian, from whose country it used not to be possible to buy even a slave of any value.

And in spite of this, is there any degree of insolence to which he does not proceed? Not content with annihilating cities, does he not manage the Pythian games, the common meeting of the Hellenes, and send his slaves to preside over the competition in his absence? Is he not master of Thermopylae, and of the passes which lead into Hellenic territory? Does he not hold that district with garrisons and mercenaries? Has he not taken the precedence in consulting the oracle, and thrust aside ourselves and the Thessalians and Dorians and the rest of the Amphictyons, though the right is not one which is given even to all of the Hellenes?

Does he not write to the Thessalians to prescribe the constitution under which they are to live? Does he not send one body of mercenaries to Porthmus, to expel the popular party of Eretria, and another to Oreus, to set up Philistides as tyrant? And yet the Hellenes see these things and endure them, gazing, it seems to me, as they would gaze at a hailstorm, each people praying that it may not come their way, but no one trying to prevent it. Nor is it only his outrages upon Hellas that go unresisted.

No one resists even the aggressions which are committed against himself. Ambracia and Leucas belong to the Corinthians. He has attacked them: Naupactus to the Achaeans. He has sworn to hand it over to the Aetolians: Echinus to the Thebans. He has taken it from them, and is now marching against their allies the Byzantines, is it not so? And of our own possessions, to pass by all the rest, is not Cardia, the greatest city in the Chersonese, in his hands? Thus are we treated. And we are all hesitating and torpid, with our eyes upon our neighbors, distrusting one another, rather than the man whose victims we all are.

But if he treats us collectively in this outrageous fashion, what do you think he will do, when he has become master of each of us separately? What then is the cause of these things? For as it was not without reason and just cause that the Hellenes in old days were so prompt for freedom, so it is not without reason or cause that they are now so prompt to be slaves. There was a spirit, men of Athens, a spirit in the minds of the people in those days, which is absent to-day, the spirit which vanquished the wealth of Persia, which led Hellas in the path of freedom, and never gave way in face of battle by sea or by land a spirit whose extinction to-day has brought universal ruin and turned Hellas upside down. What was this spirit? It was nothing subtle nor clever.

It meant that men who took money from those who aimed at dominion or at the ruin of Hellas were execrated by all that it was then a very grave thing to be convicted of bribery that the punishment for the guilty man was the heaviest that could be inflicted that for him there could be no plea for mercy, nor hope of pardon.

No orator, no general, would then sell the critical opportunity whenever it arose--the opportunity so often offered to men by fortune, even when they are careless and their foes are on their guard. They did not barter away the harmony between people and people, nor their own mistrust of the tyrant and the foreigner, nor any of these high sentiments.

Where are such sentiments now? They have been sold in the market and are gone and those have been imported in their stead, through which the nation lies ruined and plague-stricken, the envy of the man who has received his hire the amusement which accompanies his avowal, the pardon granted to those whose guilt is proved, the hatred of one who censures the crime and all the appurtenances of corruption.

For as to ships, numerical strength, unstinting abundance of funds and all other material of war, and all the things by which the strength of cities is estimated, every people can command these in greater plenty and on a larger scale by far than in old days. But all these resources are rendered unserviceable, ineffectual, unprofitable, by those who traffic in them.

That these things are so to-day, you doubtless see, and need no testimony of mine: and that in times gone by the opposite was true, I will prove to you, not by any words of my own, but by the record inscribed by your ancestors on a pillar of bronze, and placed on the Acropolis, not to be a lesson to themselves, they needed no such record to put them in a right mind, but to be a reminder and an example to you of the zeal that you ought to display in such a cause.

What then is the record? "Arthmius, son of Pythonax, of Zeleia, is an outlaw, and is the enemy of the Athenian people and their allies, he and his house." Then follows the reason for which this step was taken, "because he brought the gold from the Medes into the Peloponnese." Such is the record.

Consider, in Heaven's name, what must have been the mind of the Athenians of that day, when they did this, and their conception of their position. They set up a record, that because a man of Zeleia, Arthmius by name, a slave of the King of Persia, for Zeleia is in Asia, as part of his service to the king, had brought gold, not to Athens, but to the Peloponnese, he should be an enemy of Athens and her allies, he and his house, and that they should be outlaws.

And this outlawry is no such disfranchisement as we ordinarily mean by the word. For what would it matter to a man of Zeleia, that he might have no share in the public life of Athens? But there is a clause in the Law of Murder, dealing with those in connection with whose death the law does not allow a prosecution for murder but the slaying of them is to be a holy act: "And let him die an outlaw," it runs. The meaning, accordingly, is this that the slayer of such a man is to be pure from all guilt.

They thought, therefore, that the safety of all the Hellenes was a matter which concerned themselves, apart from this belief, it could not have mattered to them whether any one bought or corrupted men in the Peloponnese and whenever they detected such offenders, they carried their punishment and their vengeance so far as to pillory their names for ever. As the natural consequence, the Hellenes were a terror to the foreigner, not the foreigner to the Hellenes. It is not so now. Such is not your attitude in these or in other matters.

But what is it? You know it yourselves for why should I accuse you explicitly on every point? And that of the rest of the Hellenes is like your own, and no better and so I say that the present situation demands our utmost earnestness and good counsel. And what counsel? Do you bid me tell you, and will you not be angry if I do so?

[He reads from the document.]

Now there is an ingenuous argument, which is used by those who would reassure the city, to the effect that, after all, Philip is not yet in the position once held by the Spartans, who ruled everywhere over sea and land, with the king for their ally, and nothing to withstand them and that, none the less, Athens defended herself even against them, and was not swept away. Since that time the progress in every direction, one may say, has been great, and has made the world to-day very different from what it was then but I believe that in no respect has there been greater progress or development than in the art of war.

In the first place, I am told that in those days the Spartans and all our other enemies would invade us for four or five months during, that is, the actual summer, and would damage Attica with infantry and citizen-troops, and then return home again. And so old-fashioned were the men of that day, nay rather, such true citizens, that no one ever purchased any object from another for money, but their warfare was of a legitimate and open kind.

But now, as I am sure you see, most of our losses are the result of treachery, and no issue is decided by open conflict or battle while you are told that it is not because he leads a column of heavy infantry that Philip can march wherever he chooses, but because he has attached to himself a force of light infantry, cavalry, archers, mercenaries, and similar troops.

And whenever, with such advantages, he falls upon a State which is disordered within, and in their distrust of one another no one goes out in defense of its territory, he brings up his engines and besieges them. I pass over the fact that summer and winter are alike to him, that there is no close season during which he suspends operations.

But if you all know these things and take due account of them, you surely must not let the war pass into Attica, nor be dashed from your seat through looking back to the simplicity of those old hostilities with Sparta. You must guard against him, at the greatest possible distance, both by political measures and by preparations you must prevent his stirring from home, instead of grappling with him at close quarters in a struggle to the death.

For, men of Athens, we have many natural advantages for a war, if we are willing to do our duty. There is the character of his country, much of which we can harry and damage, and a thousand other things. But for a pitched battle he is in better training than we.

Nor have you only to recognize these facts, and to resist him by actual operations of war. You must also by reasoned judgment and of set purpose come to execrate those who address you in his interest, remembering that it is impossible to master the enemies of the city, until you punish those who are serving them in the city itself.

And this, before God and every Heavenly Power, this you will not be able to do. For you have reached such a pitch of folly or distraction or, I know not what to call it, for often has the fear actually entered my mind that some more than mortal power may be driving our fortunes to ruin, that to enjoy their abuse, or their malice, or their jests, or whatever your motive may chance to be, you call upon men to speak who are hirelings, and some of whom would not even deny it and you laugh to hear their abuse of others.

And terrible as this is, there is yet worse to be told. For you have actually made political life safer for these men, than for those who uphold your own cause. And yet observe what calamities the willingness to listen to such men lays up in store. I will mention facts known to you all.

In Olynthus, among those who were engaged in public affairs, there was one party who were on the side of Philip, and served his interests in everything and another whose aim was their city's real good, and the preservation of their fellow citizens from bondage. Which were the destroyers of their country? which betrayed the cavalry, through whose betrayal Olynthus perished? Those whose sympathies were with Philip's cause those who, while the city still existed brought such dishonest and slanderous charges against the speakers whose advice was for the best, that, in the case of Apollonides at least, the people of Olynthus was even
induced to banish the accused.

Nor is this instance of the unmixed evil wrought by these practices in the case of the Olynthians an exceptional one, or without parallel elsewhere. For in Eretria, when Plutarchus and the mercenaries had been got rid of, and the people had control of the city and of Porthmus, one party wished to entrust the State to you, the other to entrust it to Philip. And through listening mainly, or rather entirely, to the latter, these poor luckless Eretrians were at last persuaded to banish the advocates of their own interests.

For, as you know, Philip, their ally, sent Hipponicus with a thousand mercenaries, stripped Porthmus of its walls, and set up three tyrants - Hipparchus, Automedon, and Cleitarchus. And since then he has already twice expelled them from the country when they wished to recover their position sending on the first occasion the mercenaries commanded by Eurylochus, on the second, those under Parmenio.

And why go through the mass of the instances? Enough to mention how in Oreus Philip had, as his agents, Philistides, Menippus, Socrates, Thoas, and Agapaeus - the very men who are now in possession of the city - and every one knew the fact while a certain Euphraeus, who once lived here in Athens, acted in the interests of freedom, to save his country from bondage.

To describe the insults and the contumely with which he met would require a long story but a year before the capture of the town he laid an information of treason against Philistides and his party, having perceived the nature of their plans. A number of men joined forces, with Philip for their paymaster and director, and haled Euphraeus off to prison as a disturber of the peace.

Seeing this, the democratic party in Oreus, instead of coming to the rescue of Euphraeus, and beating the other party to death, displayed no anger at all against them, and agreed with a malicious pleasure that Euphraeus deserved his fate. After this the conspirators worked with all the freedom they desired for the capture of the city, and made arrangements for the execution of the scheme while any of the democratic party, who perceived what was going on, maintained a panic-stricken silence, remembering the fate of Euphraeus. So wretched was their condition, that though this dreadful calamity was confronting them, no one dared open his lips, until all was ready and the enemy was advancing up to the walls. Then the one party set about the defense, the other about the betrayal of the city.

And when the city had been captured in this base and shameful manner, the successful party governed despotically: and of those who had been their own protectors, and had been ready to treat Euphraeus with all possible harshness, they expelled some and murdered others while the good Euphraeus killed himself, thus testifying to the righteousness and purity of his motives in opposing Philip on behalf of his countrymen.

Now for what reason, you may be wondering, were the peoples of Olynthus and Eretria and Oreus more agreeably disposed towards Philip's advocates than towards their own? The reason was the same as it is with you, that those who speak for your true good can never, even if they would, speak to win popularity with you. They are constrained to inquire how the State may be saved: while their opponents, in the very act of seeking popularity, are co-operating with Philip.

The one party said, "You must pay taxes." The other, "There is no need to do so." The one said, "Go to war, and do not trust him." The other, "Remain at peace." - until they were in the toils. And, not to mention each separately, I believe that the same thing was true of all. The one side said what would enable them to win favor the other, what would secure the safety of their State. And at last the main body of the people accepted much that they proposed, not now from any such desire for gratification, nor from ignorance, but as a concession to circumstances, thinking that their cause was now wholly lost.

It is this fate, I solemnly assure you, that I dread for you, when the time comes that you make your reckoning, and realize that there is no longer anything that can be done. May you never find yourselves, men of Athens, in such a position! Yet in any case, it were better to die ten thousand deaths, than to do anything out of servility towards Philip or to sacrifice any of those who speak for your good. A noble recompense did the people in Oreus receive, for entrusting themselves to Philip's friends, and thrusting Euphraeus aside! And a noble recompense the democracy of Eretria, for driving away your envoys, and surrendering to Cleitarchus! They are slaves, scourged and butchered! A noble clemency did he show to the Olynthians, who elected Lasthenes to command the cavalry, and banished Apollonides!

It is folly, and it is cowardice, to cherish hopes like these, to give way to evil counsels, to refuse to do anything that you should do, to listen to the advocates of the enemy's cause, and to fancy that you dwell in so great a city that, whatever happens, you will not suffer any harm.

Aye, and it is shameful to exclaim after the event, "Why, who would have expected this? Of course, we ought to have done, or not to have done, such and such things!" The Olynthians could tell you of many things, to have foreseen which in time would have saved them from destruction. So too could the people of Oreus, and the Phocians, and every other people that has been destroyed.

But how does that help them now? So long as the vessel is safe, be it great or small, so long must the sailor and the pilot and every man in his place exert himself and take care that no one may capsize it by design or by accident: but when the seas have overwhelmed it, all their efforts are in vain.

So it is, men of Athens, with us. While we are still safe, with our great city, our vast resources, our noble name, what are we to do? Perhaps some one sitting here has long been wishing to ask this question. Aye, and I will answer it, and will move my motion and you shall carry it, if you wish. We ourselves, in the first place, must conduct the resistance and make preparation for it with ships, that is, and money, and soldiers. For though all but ourselves give way and become slaves, we at least must contend for freedom.

And when we have made all these preparations ourselves, and let them be seen, then let us call upon the other states for aid, and send envoys to carry our message in all directions, to the Peloponnese, to Rhodes, to Chios, to the king. For it is not unimportant for his interests either that Philip should be prevented from subjugating the world, that so, if you persuade them, you may have partners to share the danger and the expense, in case of need and if you do not, you may at least delay the march of events.

For since the war is with a single man, and not against the strength of a united state, even delay is not without its value, any more than were those embassies of protest which last year went round the Peloponnese, when I and Polyeuctus, that best of men, and Hegesippus and the other envoys went on our tour, and forced him to halt, so that he neither went to attack Acarnania, nor set out for the Peloponnese.

But I do not mean that we should call upon the other states, if we are not willing to take any of the necessary steps ourselves. It is folly to sacrifice what is our own, and then pretend to be anxious for the interests of others, to neglect the present, and alarm others in regard to the future. I do not propose this. I say that we must send money to the forces in the Chersonese, and do all that they ask of us. That we must make preparation ourselves, while we summon, convene, instruct, and warn the rest of the Hellenes.

That is the policy for a city with a reputation such as yours. But if you fancy that the people of Chalcis or of Megara will save Hellas, while you run away from the task, you are mistaken. They may well be content if they can each save themselves. The task is yours. It is the prerogative that your forefathers won, and through many a great peril bequeathed to you.

But if each of you is to sit and consult his inclinations, looking for some way by which he may escape any personal action, the first consequence will be that you will never find any one who will act and the second, I fear, that the day will come when we shall be forced to do, at one and the same time, all the things we wish to avoid.

This then is my proposal, and this I move. If the proposal is carried out, I think that even now the state of our affairs may be remedied. But if any one has a better proposal to make, let him make it, and give us his advice. And I pray to all the gods that whatever be the decision that you are about to make, it may be for your good.

Demosthenes Sculpture Photos

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The Rise of Rome

Zeno of Citium

Zeno founded the Stoic school of philosophy, which laid great emphasis on goodness and peace of mind gained from living a life of Virtue in accordance with Nature. It proved very successful, and flourished as the dominant philosophy from the Hellenistic period through to the Roman era. With regard to rhetoric, the Stoics valued simplicity, brevity, and correctness in discourse, and under their influence, rhetoricians greatly extended the classification of tropes and figures.

Hermagoras of Temnos

Hermagoras was an important and influential Hellenistic rhetorical theorist. While none of his writings survive, he is noted by Cicero, Quintilian, and others for having developed "stasis theory," an inventional technique that guides forensic orators in defining the key questions in any case. According to Hermagoras, these are: 1.) What are the signs that X committed an act? 2.) If X committed an act, was it criminal? 3.) If X committed a crime, were there extenuating circumstances and 4.) If X does deserve to be tried for committing the crime, is the trial being conducted properly?


Generally regarded as the next great rhetorician in the classical tradition after Aristotle, his reputation as a thinker on rhetoric was established with his De Inventione (c. 86 BCE) and consolidated with later, more complex works such as De Oratore (c. 55 BCE). Cicero was not only a theorist but was (and is) widely regarded as the most accomplished forensic (courtroom) orator of his time period and also was a major political force and deliberative (political) orator, advocating to protect the republic from demagoguery and tyranny.

De Inventione

Cicero's youthful work on rhetoric summarizes the categories for rhetorical study that were operative in the standard education of his time period, including the types of rhetoric and the five canons of rhetoric. The work contains detailed discussion only of the canon of invention, however.

Anonymous - Rhetorica ad Herennium

Once thought to have been written by Cicero, the Rhetorica ad Herennium (now attributed to an anonymous Hellenistic teacher of rhetoric) is the oldest surviving rhetorical manual in Latin. It offers a highly useful window into the standard content of a Greek-influenced rhetorical education in first century Rome. The Rhetorica ad Herennium remained influential as one of the most widely read texts on classical rhetoric up until the Renaissance. Books I & II discuss invention, especially as it pertains to forensic oratory Book III begins by discussing invention as it pertains to deliberative and ceremonial oratory and moves on to discuss arrangement, delivery, and memory and Book IV is focused entirely on style.

De Oratore

De Oratore (Of Oratory) is Cicero's most important work elaborating his theory of rhetoric. In this dialogue, Crassus, Antonius, and other minor characters converse and debate various Aristotelian, Isocratean, and Hellenistic conceptions of rhetoric, how it should be taught and practiced, its ethical status, and its value in public life.

The early Archaic period

The period between the catastrophic end of the Mycenaean civilization and about 900 bce is often called a Dark Age. It was a time about which Greeks of the Classical age had confused and actually false notions. Thucydides, the great ancient historian of the 5th century bce , wrote a sketch of Greek history from the Trojan War to his own day, in which he notoriously fails, in the appropriate chapter, to signal any kind of dramatic rupture. (He does, however, speak of Greece “settling down gradually” and colonizing Italy, Sicily, and what is now western Turkey. This surely implies that Greece was settling down after something.) Thucydides does indeed display sound knowledge of the series of migrations by which Greece was resettled in the post-Mycenaean period. The most famous of these was the “ Dorian invasion,” which the Greeks called, or connected with, the legendary “return of the descendants of Heracles.” Although much about that invasion is problematic—it left little or no archaeological trace at the point in time where tradition puts it—the problems are of no concern here. Important for the understanding of the Archaic and Classical periods, however, is the powerful belief in Dorianism as a linguistic and religious concept. Thucydides casually but significantly mentions soldiers speaking the “Doric dialect” in a narrative about ordinary military matters in the year 426. That is a surprisingly abstract way of looking at the subdivisions of the Greeks, because it would have been more natural for a 5th-century Greek to identify soldiers by home cities. Equally important to the understanding of this period is the hostility to Dorians, usually on the part of Ionians, another linguistic and religious subgroup, whose most-famous city was Athens. So extreme was this hostility that Dorians were prohibited from entering Ionian sanctuaries extant today is a 5th-century example of such a prohibition, an inscription from the island of Paros.

Phenomena such as the tension between Dorians and Ionians that have their origins in the Dark Age are a reminder that Greek civilization did not emerge either unannounced or uncontaminated by what had gone before. The Dark Age itself is beyond the scope of this article. One is bound to notice, however, that archaeological finds tend to call into question the whole concept of a Dark Age by showing that certain features of Greek civilization once thought not to antedate about 800 bce can actually be pushed back by as much as two centuries. One example, chosen for its relevance to the emergence of the Greek city-state, or polis, will suffice. In 1981 archaeology pulled back the curtain on the “darkest” phase of all, the Protogeometric Period (c. 1075–900 bce ), which takes its name from the geometric shapes painted on pottery. A grave, rich by the standards of any period, was uncovered at a site called Lefkandi on Euboea, the island along the eastern flank of Attica (the territory controlled by Athens). The grave, which dates to about 1000 bce , contains the (probably cremated) remains of a man and a woman. The large bronze vessel in which the man’s ashes were deposited came from Cyprus, and the gold items buried with the woman are splendid and sophisticated in their workmanship. Remains of horses were found as well the animals had been buried with their snaffle bits. The grave was within a large collapsed house, whose form anticipates that of the Greek temples two centuries later. Previously it had been thought that those temples were one of the first manifestations of the “monumentalizing” associated with the beginnings of the city-state. Thus, that find and those made in a set of nearby cemeteries in the years before 1980 attesting further contacts between Egypt and Cyprus between 1000 and 800 bce are important evidence. They show that one corner of one island of Greece, at least, was neither impoverished nor isolated in a period usually thought to have been both. The difficulty is to know just how exceptional Lefkandi was, but in any view it has revised former ideas about what was and what was not possible at the beginning of the 1st millennium bce .

The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy

Human brains aren’t built for self-rule, says Shawn Rosenberg. That’s more evident than ever.

Rick Shenkman, founder of George Washington University’s History News Network, is the author of Political Animals: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics (Basic Books).

Everything was unfolding as it usually does. The academics who gathered in Lisbon this summer for the International Society of Political Psychologists’ annual meeting had been politely listening for four days, nodding along as their peers took to the podium and delivered papers on everything from the explosion in conspiracy theories to the rise of authoritarianism.

Then, the mood changed. As one of the lions of the profession, 68-year-old Shawn Rosenberg, began delivering his paper, people in the crowd of about a hundred started shifting in their seats. They loudly whispered objections to their friends. Three women seated next to me near the back row grew so loud and heated I had difficulty hearing for a moment what Rosenberg was saying.

What caused the stir? Rosenberg, a professor at UC Irvine, was challenging a core assumption about America and the West. His theory? Democracy is devouring itself—his phrase — and it won’t last.

As much as President Donald Trump’s liberal critics might want to lay America’s ills at his door, Rosenberg says the president is not the cause of democracy’s fall—even if Trump’s successful anti-immigrant populist campaign may have been a symptom of democracy’s decline.

We’re to blame, said Rosenberg. As in “we the people.”

Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy. As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists.

His prediction? “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail.”

The last half of the 20th century was the golden age of democracy. In 1945, according to one survey, there were just 12 democracies in the entire world. By the end of the century there were 87. But then came the great reversal: In the second decade of the 21st century, the shift to democracy rather suddenly and ominously stopped—and reversed.

Right-wing populist politicians have taken power or threatened to in Poland, Hungary, France, Britain, Italy, Brazil and the United States. As Rosenberg notes, “by some metrics, the right wing populist share of the popular vote in Europe overall has more than tripled from 4% in 1998 to approximately 13% in 2018.” In Germany, the right-wing populist vote increased even after the end of the Great Recession and after an influx of immigrants entering the country subsided.

A brief three decades after some had heralded the “end of history” it’s possible that it’s democracy that’s nearing the end. And it’s not just populist rabble-rousers who are saying this. So is one of the establishment’s pioneer social scientists, who’s daring to actually predict the end of democracy as we know it.

Rosenberg, who earned degrees at Yale, Oxford and Harvard, may be the social scientist for our time if events play out as he suggests they will. His theory is that over the next few decades, the number of large Western-style democracies around the globe will continue to shrink, and those that remain will become shells of themselves. Taking democracy’s place, Rosenberg says, will be right-wing populist governments that offer voters simple answers to complicated questions.

And therein lies the core of his argument: Democracy is hard work and requires a lot from those who participate in it. It requires people to respect those with different views from theirs and people who don’t look like them. It asks citizens to be able to sift through large amounts of information and process the good from the bad, the true from the false. It requires thoughtfulness, discipline and logic.

Unfortunately, evolution did not favor the exercise of these qualities in the context of a modern mass democracy. Citing reams of psychological research, findings that by now have become more or less familiar, Rosenberg makes his case that human beings don’t think straight. Biases of various kinds skew our brains at the most fundamental level. For example, racism is easily triggered unconsciously in whites by a picture of a black man wearing a hoodie. We discount evidence when it doesn’t square up with our goals while we embrace information that confirms our biases. Sometimes hearing we’re wrong makes us double down. And so on and so forth.

Our brains, says Rosenberg, are proving fatal to modern democracy. Humans just aren’t built for it.

People have been saying for two millennia that democracy is unworkable, going back to Plato. The Founding Fathers were sufficiently worried that they left only one half of one branch of the federal government in the hands of the people. And yet for two centuries democracy in America more or less proceeded apace without blowing itself up.

So why is Rosenberg, who made his name back in the 1980s with a study that disturbingly showed that many voters select candidates on the basis of their looks, predicting the end of democracy now?

He has concluded that the reason for right-wing populists’ recent success is that “elites” are losing control of the institutions that have traditionally saved people from their most undemocratic impulses. When people are left to make political decisions on their own they drift toward the simple solutions right-wing populists worldwide offer: a deadly mix of xenophobia, racism and authoritarianism.

The elites, as Rosenberg defines them, are the people holding power at the top of the economic, political and intellectual pyramid who have “the motivation to support democratic culture and institutions and the power to do so effectively.” In their roles as senators, journalists, professors, judges and government administrators, to name a few, the elites have traditionally held sway over public discourse and U.S. institutions—and have in that role helped the populace understand the importance democratic values. But today that is changing. Thanks to social media and new technologies, anyone with access to the Internet can publish a blog and garner attention for their cause—even if it’s rooted in conspiracy and is based on a false claim, like the lie that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring from the basement of a Washington D.C. pizza parlor, which ended in a shooting.

While the elites formerly might have successfully squashed conspiracy theories and called out populists for their inconsistencies, today fewer and fewer citizens take the elites seriously. Now that people get their news from social media rather than from established newspapers or the old three TV news networks (ABC, CBS and NBC), fake news proliferates. It’s surmised that 10 million people saw on Facebook the false claim that Pope Francis came out in favor of Trump’s election in 2016. Living in a news bubble of their own making many undoubtedly believed it. (This was the most-shared news story on Facebook in the three months leading up to the 2016 election, researchers report.)

The irony is that more democracy—ushered in by social media and the Internet, where information flows more freely than ever before—is what has unmoored our politics, and is leading us towards authoritarianism. Rosenberg argues that the elites have traditionally prevented society from becoming a totally unfettered democracy their “oligarchic ‘democratic’ authority” or “democratic control” has until now kept the authoritarian impulses of the populace in check.

Compared with the harsh demands made by democracy, which requires a tolerance for compromise and diversity, right-wing populism is like cotton candy. Whereas democracy requires us to accept the fact that we have to share our country with people who think and look differently than we do, right-wing populism offers a quick sugar high. Forget political correctness. You can feel exactly the way you really want about people who belong to other tribes.

Right-wing populists don’t have to make much sense. They can simultaneously blame immigrants for taking jobs away from Americans while claiming that these same people are lazy layabouts sponging off welfare. All the populist followers care is that they now have an enemy to blame for their feelings of ennui.

And unlike democracy, which makes many demands, the populists make just one. They insist that people be loyal. Loyalty entails surrendering to the populist nationalist vision. But this is less a burden than an advantage. It’s easier to pledge allegiance to an authoritarian leader than to do the hard work of thinking for yourself demanded by democracy.

“In sum, the majority of Americans are generally unable to understand or value democratic culture, institutions, practices or citizenship in the manner required,” Rosenberg has concluded. “To the degree to which they are required to do so, they will interpret what is demanded of them in distorting and inadequate ways. As a result they will interact and communicate in ways that undermine the functioning of democratic institutions and the meaning of democratic practices and values.”

I should clarify that the loud whispers in the crowd in Lisbon weren’t a response to Rosenberg’s pessimism. This was after all a meeting of political psychologists—a group who focus on flaws in voters’ thinking and the violation of democratic norms. At the conference Ariel Malka reported evidence that conservatives are increasingly open to authoritarianism. Brian Shaffer related statistics showing that since Trump’s election teachers have noted a rise in bullying. Andreas Zick observed that racist crimes shot up dramatically in Germany after a million immigrants were allowed in.

What stirred the crowd was that Rosenberg has gone beyond pessimism into outright defeatism. What riled the crowd was that he’s seemingly embraced a kind of reverence for elitism no longer fashionable in the academy. When challenged on this front, he quickly insisted he didn’t mean to exempt himself from the claim that people suffer from cognitive and emotional limitations. He conceded that the psychological research shows everybody’s irrational, professors included! But it was unclear that he convinced the members of the audience he really meant it. And they apparently found this discomforting.

There were less discomforting moments in Lisbon. The convention gave an award to George Marcus, one of the founders of the discipline, who has dedicated his career to the optimistic theory that human beings by nature readjust their ideas to match the world as it is and not as they’d like it to be—just as democracy requires.

Timeline Index

Building for colored patients at Longview Asylum, courtesy of: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

  • Longview Asylum opens in Cincinnati and begins admitting African American patients in 1866.
  • A separate building was constructed at a distance from the main building to care for these “colored patients.”
  • This portion of the asylum served African Americans across the entire State of Ohio.

Institute for the Feeble-Minded 1860

  • The Kentucky Institute for the Feeble-Minded opens in Frankfort.
  • This facility was one of two institutions of its kind in the south that provided care and education to both races.

Bryce Insane Asylum 1861

  • The Alabama Insane Asylum opens in Tuscaloosa and admits African American patients in segregated facilities.
  • The asylum was later renamed Bryce Insane Hospital in honor of its first superintendent, Dr. Peter Bryce.

The Civil War 1861

Freedmen’s Hospital 1862

  • Camp Barker was established to provide shelter, medical care, food, and possible employment to escaped slaves.
  • Eventually the camp and others combined to create Freedman’s Village on the estate of Robert E. Lee in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Freedmen’s Hospital was built on the grounds in 1862 to care for freed African Americans with disabilities and other medical issues.

American Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission 1863

  • The American Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission is formed to determine the status of former slaves and slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • The Commission surveyed the number of African Americans in hospitals outside of the South. Dr. Samuel G. Howe was one of the appointed commissioners.

West Virginia 1864

  • The West Virginia Hospital for the Insane accepts its first patients in the newly-admitted state of West Virginia.
  • The first black patients were accepted into the institution in 1873.

West of the Mississippi River 1865

  • Fulton State Hospital for the Insane, located in Missouri, admits the first black patients cared for in separate “colored” wards.
  • The hospital had reopened in 1863 after being closed and used as a barracks for federal troops during the Civil War.

A Female Buffalo Soldier 1866

  • Cathay Williams poses as man in order to enroll in the United States Army.
  • She served from 1866 – 1868 and was eventually discharged with a disability.
  • The army surgeon claimed that she was of “a feeble habit.”
  • She was the first African American woman to enlist and be documented as a soldier in the United States Army.

Segregation in the South 1866

  • A separate, segregated building is added to the campus of the Central State Lunatic Asylum in Milledgeville, Georgia to house black patients.

Eastern Hospital for the Insane 1866

The Tennessee State Legislature appropriates funds for a separate building at the Tennessee Hospital for the Insane to provide an “asylum for colored insane” patients.

Black Codes 1866

  • After slavery was abolished with the 13th Amendment, many Southern states implemented “Black Codes.”
  • These codes, passed at both the local and state level, were used to restrict the rights of former slaves.

Federal Disability Pensions 1868

Black Civil War veterans become eligible for federal disability pensions. 1869

Central Lunatic Asylum 1869

Central Lunatic Asylum – Whitworth Lodge

  • The Central Lunatic Asylum for the Colored Insane is built near Petersburg, Virginia.
  • This was the first institution established specifically for the care of African Americans with various mental disabilities.
  • By 1938, the asylum became the largest institution for African Americans who were labeled as mentally ill—housing over 3,500 patients.

A First of Its Kind 1869

  • The North Carolina School for Colored Blind and Deaf is established in Raleigh.
  • This was the first separate school for African American children who were deaf in the United States.

Maryland 1872

  • The Maryland School for the Colored Deaf and Blind opens in Baltimore, in accordance with a provision of the State legislature.
  • The school was also known as the Maryland Institution for Colored Deaf-Mutes.

Jim Crow Laws 1876

  • Between 1876 and 1965, every southern state implemented Jim Crow Laws to force the segregation of blacks and whites.
  • The laws mandated “separate but equal” accommodations for African Americans.
  • These laws extended to institutions for people with disabilities and even to hospitals.

Segregated Wards 1877

The Florida Hospital for the Insane opens in Chattahoochee with segregated wards. 1880

Goldsboro 1880

  • The Eastern Asylum for the Colored Insane opens in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
  • The institution was desegregated in 1965, after having served the African American community for 85 years.

The Tuskegee Institute 1881

  • Booker T. Washington—an African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States—establishes the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
  • The Institute provided disease treatment, prevention, and health education.

Separate Departments 1881

The Tennessee School for the Deaf opens a Colored Department to serve African Americans with hearing impairments. 1882

Nervous Diseases 1882

  • The State Hospital for Nervous Diseases opens in Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • State law required that the hospital operate segregated wards.

Mississippi 1882

A “Colored Division” is established at the Mississippi School for the Deaf in the city of Jackson.

Georgia 1882

  • The Georgia School for the Negro Deaf opens in Cave Spring.
  • The school did not have any heat or electricity until 1913. Students completed their homework by candlelight.

South Carolina 1883

Building for colored students courtesy of the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind.

  • The “South Carolina Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind” establishes a Colored Department to serve African Americans with hearing and visual impairments.
  • The school would not be integrated until 1967.

Kentucky 1884

The Kentucky School for the Deaf opens a Colored Department.

A Medical Society of Their Own 1884

  • The Medico-Chirurgical Society of Washington D.C. is founded by a group of African American physicians.
  • This was the nation’s first African American medical society and was formed because medical societies established by white physicians would not admit black physicians.

Colored Department for the Deaf 1887

The Arkansas Colored Department for the Deaf is established in Little Rock.

Austin, Texas 1887

The Texas Institute for Deaf, Dumb and Blind Colored Youths opens in Austin, Texas. 1888

Fulton, Missouri 1888

The Missouri School for the Deaf opens a Colored Department in Fulton.

A Colored Department 1888

The Kansas School for the Deaf opens a Colored Department in Olathe. 1889

State Mandate 1889

  • The East Mississippi Insane Hospital opens in Meridian.
  • It is mandated by the state to accept African American patients.

Northern Segregation 1889

The Delaware State Hospital for the Insane opens in Farnhurst with segregated wards. 1890

Gallaudet College 1890

Ennals Adams Jr. becomes the first African American student to be enrolled at Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C. 1892

Alabama 1892

  • The Alabama School for Negro Deaf-Mutes and Blind opens in Talladega.
  • The school would not be integrated until 1968.

A Medical Journal of Their Own 1892

  • Dr. Miles V. Lynk, the son of former slaves, creates The Medical and Surgical Observer—the United States’ first medical journal for African American physicians.
  • The publication only lasted eighteen months due to financial problems, but it nevertheless helped establish the first professional network of African American physicians.

Increasing Insanity in the African American Population 1895

  • Dr. T. O. Powell, superintendent of the Georgia Lunatic Asylum, reports on the increase of insanity among blacks between 1860 and 1890.
  • He believed that this increase was due to their freedom from bondage.

Florida Segregates 1895

The Florida Institute for the Blind, Deaf, and Dumb establishes a Colored Department in St. Augustine.

National Medical Association 1895

  • The National Medical Association is founded by a group of twelve African American physicians.
  • The Association was created as a response to the American Medical Association only admitting white physicians.
  • Dr. Robert F. Boyd served as the Association’s first president and was one of the forces, along with Dr. Miles V. Lynk, behind its creation.
  • The Association aimed to combat racism and segregation in the medical field—both for physicians and patients.

Searcy Hospital 1902

  • Mount Vernon Hospital, now known as Searcy Hospital, opens for the care and treatment of the “colored insane” in Alabama.
  • The hospital served solely the African American community until 1969.

Tuberculosis: A Black Disease? 1904

  • The National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis is established to treat and prevent the deadly disease from spreading.
  • At the time, medical theory believed that tuberculosis occurred more in African Americans than it did in whites.
  • Much of this was do to the scant knowledge of microbiology and the poor conditions in which many southern blacks lived.

Spring Grove 1906

The Spring Grove Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland opens a “cottage for colored women” to house “insane black females.”

Overcrowding 1906

  • Due to overcrowding at the Louisiana Insane Asylum in Jackson, a new institution—built exclusively for “Negro patients”—opens in Alexandria.
  • However, increasing numbers of both white and black patients soon forced the new facility to admit both races.

Taft, Oklahoma 1909

  • The Industrial Institute for Colored Deaf, Blind and Orphans opens in Taft, Oklahoma.
  • The “exclusive purpose” of the institute was:

Success in Virginia 1909

  • The Virginia School for the Colored Deaf and Blind is established in the city of Newport News.
  • William C. Ritter, who had lost his hearing due to scarlet fever, served as the school’s first superintendent.
  • He had petitioned in favor of the school’s creation for more than 8 years before funding was provided by the state legislature.

Maryland State Lunacy Commission 1911

  • A 1908 report by the Maryland State Lunacy Commission spurred the establishment of the Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland.
  • A reason for the new hospital was the horrible conditions that were found at Montevue Hospital in Frederick, Maryland.
  • Built in Crownsville, Maryland, many of the hospital’s patients came from the Spring Grove State Hospital.

For Black Patients Only 1912

African American doctor Constantine Clinton Barnett opens the Barnett Hospital to improve conditions for black patients.

Robert Demosthenes O’Kelly 1912

  • Roger Demosthenes O’Kelly, an alumnus of the North Carolina School for the Colored Blind and Deaf, receives a law degree from Yale University—becoming the only black deaf-mute lawyer to practice law in the United States at that time.
    D. O'Kelly from the Silent Worker.

Malaga Island 1912

  • Governor Frederick Plaisted evicts 45 families from Malaga Island, located one hundred yards off the coast of Maine.
  • A racially mixed community founded in 1794, the residents were said to be feeble-minded and many were sent to the Maine School for Feeble-Minded in Pownal, Maine.

Palmetto State Hospital 1913

  • Palmetto State Hospital opens for black patients only.
  • The hospital resided on land that was purchased in 1910 by the South Carolina State Hospital in an attempt to ease conditions of overcrowding.
  • In 1965 it became the Crafts-Farrow State Hospital.

National Negro Health Week 1915

National Negro Health Week is founded by Booker T. Washington. 1916

The Black Stork 1916

  • The silent film “The Black Stork” is released. Using eugenics as its central theme, the movie discusses the consequences of breeding with the unhealthy—including a black slave that causes a “genetic contamination” in an otherwise well-to-do family.
  • The result is the birth of defective children, making members of such families unfit for marriage.

Care for Tubercular African-Americans 1918

The Piedmont Sanatorium opens in Burkeville, Virginia, providing treatment to African Americans with tuberculosis. 1919

West Virginia Follows Suit 1919

  • The West Virginia State Colored Tuberculosis Sanatorium, later known as “Denmar Sanatorium,” admits its first patient.
  • The sanatorium’s first superintendent wrote of its location: “The altitude is 2,200 feet, giving the rarity and purity of atmosphere so desirable in the treatment of tuberculosis . . . Mountains protect [the village of Denmar] on all sides from the harsh blasts of winter. ”[1]

Rusk State 1919

  • Rusk State Penitentiary in Texas is converted to a hospital for the “Negro Insane.”
  • The hospital admitted 600 patients in its first year of operation.
  • White patients were eventually admitted due to a growing need and the hospital became segregated.

State School for Deaf and Blind Negro Children 1920

  • Louisiana passes legislation to establish a State School for Deaf and Blind Negro Children in Baton Rouge.
  • Due to insufficient funds, only the school for the blind opened initially in 1922 on the campus of Southern University.

Help for Veterans 1923

  • The Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital opens.
  • It is the first of its kind fully staffed by African Americans.

The Almshouse 1923

  • University at Buffalo sociologist Niles Carpenter publishes a study, “Feebleminded and Pauper Negroes in Public Institutions.”
  • The study examined the number of whites and blacks in almshouses and in institutions for the feebleminded.
  • Carpenter’s data showed that, for every hundred thousand people, 52.7 African Americans resided in almshouses and 9.4 in institutions, compared to 59.2 native-born whites residing in almshouses and 47.3 in institutions.

Distinguishing Between Mental Disabilities 1923

  • Prior to 1915, Central State Hospital did not distinguish between feebleminded and insane patients. By 1923, separate provisions were made for both types of patients.

Racial Integrity Act 1924

  • The Virginia State Legislature passes “The Racial Integrity Act.” This act made it illegal for white and non-whites to marry.
  • In 1967, the United States Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, ruled that racial integrity laws were unenforceable in Loving v. Virginia.

Segregation 1926

  • The West Virginia School for the Colored Deaf and Blind is created.
  • After the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the school was shut down and the students were transferred to the integrated school in Romney, West Virginia.

Easing Overcrowding 1926

  • The State Hospital for the Colored Insane, also known as Lakin State Hospital, opens in West Virginia.
  • The first patients were transferred from Weston State Hospital.

Segregation in Colony Homes 1929

Hamilton Colony, Rome State School

  • Rome State School in New York initiated a colony care program in 1906 to provide students with opportunities to live and work in the community. By 1929, the school had established 45 colonies—two of which were exclusively for “Negro” students.
  • The colony home in Hamilton County, the first of these two colonies, provided domestic service opportunities.
  • Patients who excelled in this setting were then transferred to a colony in Harlem that allowed for increased community living and socializing.

The Tuskegee Experiment 1932

  • The “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” is initiated by the United States Public Health Service in conjunction with the Tuskegee Institute and the John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital.
  • Conducted without the consent of the initial 600 black men, the study continued until 1972. Long term effects of untreated syphilis include issues with mental functions, memory loss, loss of vision, balance, and other symptoms.

Taft State Hospital 1933

The “Negro Project” 1939

  • The American Birth Control Federation begins planning a “Negro Project” with the aid of activist Margaret Sanger.
  • Elements of the project included sterilization and birth control of impoverished African Americans.

Petersburg State Colony 1939

  • The Petersburg State Colony opens in Virginia on land owned by Central State Hospital.
  • The Colony was specifically for the care of African Americans who were considered “feeble-minded.”

Help from the President 1941

  • The Tuskegee Infantile Paralysis Center is established with grant funding from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis—founded in 1938 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt .
  • The $161,350 grant was announced by the director of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, Basil O’Connor.

Warm Springs, Georgia 1945

  • Warm Springs, a facility founded by President Franklin Roosevelt to treat polio, begins treating black patients after intense pressure from the African American community.

The BVA 1945

  • The Blinded Veterans Association is formed at the Old Farms Convalescent Home in Farmington, Connecticut.
  • This organization openly recruited black veterans while other veteran organizations did not.

The Kendall School for the Deaf 1952

  • The Kendall School for the Deaf, located at Gallaudet University, is ordered by the federal court system to allow the admission of black students with hearing impairments.

A First 1954

  • Dr. Andrew Foster becomes the first deaf African American to graduate from Gallaudet College.

Desegregation Begins 1954

  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: The United States Supreme Court declares “separate but equal” schools unconstitutional.
  • This ruling led to national desegregation of the nation’s schools—including educational and medical institutions for people with disabilities.

Polio Vaccination Field Trials 1954

  • As polio epidemics spread during the early 20th century, it was thought to be only a “white” disease.
  • This thinking in medical circles changed by the end of the 1920’s when it was realized that any race could contract the disease.
  • Because of this conceptual change, African American children were included in the first vaccination field trials.

Avoiding a Supreme Court Ruling 1955&ndash56

  • During these two years, enrollment in Washington, D.C. special education classes doubled—with close to 77% of the students being African Americans.
  • This was one of many attempts to circumvent the Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Another First 1957

  • Ida Wynette Gray Hampton graduates from Gallaudet College. She is the first African American woman to do so.

Wrongfully Admitted 1961

  • Civil rights activists Juanita Nelson, Wallace Nelson, and Rose Robinson are arrested for trying to eat at a restaurant in Elkton, Maryland.
  • They were arrested for trespassing and eventually sent to Crownsville State Hospital for a mental evaluation.
  • The Maryland State Attorney believed the 3 trespassers showed signs of mental illness. Dr. Charles Ward, the hospital’s superintendent, disagreed and they were later just charged for trespassing.

1964 Civil Rights Act 1964

  • Discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex is outlawed with the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Diversity 1966

  • Gallaudet College hires Dr. N. Judge King, the first African American member of the school’s faculty.

Movement 1967

  • Hobson v. Hansen is ruled on by United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Judge J. Skelly Wright.
  • Wright’s ruling declared that ability-grouping based on race, or the “track system,” was unconstitutional.
  • Ability-grouping was found to place more African American students in special education classrooms than white students. The suit was led by civil rights leader Julius Wilson Hobson.

Inclusivity 1972

  • Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia forces the District of Columbia’s public schools to be inclusive of children with disabilities.
  • The seven plaintiffs in the case were African American children with disabilities, but the case was fought on behalf of 18,000 children with disabilities being excluded from public education.

The Story Breaks 1972

  • Associated Press reporter Jean Heller breaks the story of the Tuskegee Study in the Washington Star with the help of former health inspector for the United States Public Health Service Peter Buxtun.

A Racial Distinction 1973

  • Several studies conducted in 1973 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, showed that African American patients were more likely to be diagnosed as schizophrenic than white patients.
  • The previous decade suggested a movement of “racializing” schizophrenia as a black condition.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy 1973

  • Senator Edward M. Kennedy holds hearings on human experimentation following the exposure of the Tuskegee Study.
  • The hearings gave a platform for participants, the Public Health Service, and others to tell their stories.

An End to Eugenic Sterilization 1974

 Picture taken of the Relf sisters post-surgery

  • The federal lawsuit Relf v. Weinberger comes to trial in Alabama.
  • The lawsuit was brought to court by the Southern Poverty Law Center after two African American girls with “mental disabilities,” ages 12 and 14, were sterilized without consent.

The Federal Government Admits Guilt 1974

  • The United States Government agrees to pay a $10 million settlement to people impacted by the Tuskegee Study.

  • Living syphilitic group participants received $37,500.
  • Heirs of deceased syphilitic group participants received $15,000.
  • Living control group participants received $16,000.
  • Heirs of deceased control group participants received $5,000.

Larry P. v. Riles 1979

  • Federal District Judge Robert Peckham makes a decision in the case Larry P. v. Riles.
  • The case involved the use of intelligence tests for placement of black children in classes for “educable mentally retarded” in California.
  • Judge Peckham ruled that the disproportionate number of black children in California’s special education classrooms was due to cultural bias in the IQ testing.

First Black Deaf Conference 1981

  • The First Black Deaf Conference at Howard University in Washington, D.C. is held in June of 1981.
  • This Conference led to the subsequent formation of a national deaf advocacy organization.

A Voice for the Deaf 1982

  • National Black Deaf Advocates is founded.
  • The advocacy organization works on behalf of African Americans who have hearing impairments.
  • Objectives of the organization include social equality and educational and economic opportunities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act 1990

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act is signed into law by President George H. W. Bush.
  • This breakthrough civil rights legislation forbids discrimination based on a wide range of disabilities.
  • A foundation for the law was the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

National Council on Disability 1992

  • The National Council on Disability, in conjunction with Jackson State University, issued a report titled “Meeting the Unique Needs of Minorities with Disabilities.”

IQ Testing 1994

  • The court decision of Larry P. v. Riles (1979) is reversed due to the needs of some African-American students who wanted qualification through standardized IQ tests in order to receive special education services.

The United States Census 2000

  • According the United States Census of 2000, the African American community has the highest rate of disability at 20.8 percent.
  • This is 1.4 percent higher than the overall rate of 19.4 percent.

An End to a Eugenic Era 2003

  • Mike Easley, the governor of North Carolina, signs legislation ending the state’s use of forced sterilization on people with disabilities.
  • Over 7,600 people—many with developmental disabilities—were sterilized during the state’s eugenic program from 1929 until 1974.
  • Sterilizations were performed on young black women in the state through the 1960s.

Graduation Rates 2003&ndash2004

  • The 28th Annual Report to Congress on the “Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act” reports that Black students with disabilities had the lowest graduation rates (39.1%) compared to other racial groups in the United States.

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