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Insult and Oral Excess in the Disputes between Aeschines and Demosthenes

Nancy Worman
The American Journal of Philology
Vol. 125, No. 1 (Spring, 2004), pp. 1-25
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1562208
Page Count: 25
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Insult and Oral Excess in the Disputes between Aeschines and Demosthenes
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Abstract

This article argues that in the contests between Demosthenes and Aeschines, their insulting depictions of each other highlight the mouth as a prominent vehicle for communicating ideas about intemperance. Much of the imagery in the speeches lampoons oratorical delivery, especially vocal tone and deportment, which perceptibly project the speakers' characters. While Demosthenes is a piping chatterbox and Aeschines a voluble shouter, both extremes are characterized by an overuse or misuse of the mouth and its vocal organs. These insulting portrayals of the mouth's capacities contribute to a larger abusive discourse that develops around professional speakers during this period.

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