It is well known that Athenian orators, when they made reference to the historical past, usually eschewed prolonged narrative in favour of brief allusions to familiar episodes from Athenian history. Perhaps the most striking exception to this custom is the long and detailed account of fifth-century Plataean history in the pseudo-Demosthenic speech Against Neaera . The main interest of this passage, however, lies not in its divergence from contemporary rhetorical practice, but in its clear reliance on Thucydides for its account (...) of the siege of Plataea during the Peloponnesian War. Indeed, it is unique in Attic oratory in the extent of its reliance on an identifiable historical work. Yet, considering its significance, this passage has received very little scholarly attention, and merits a closer reexamination. (shrink)
A much-discussed fragment of Phrynichos’ comedy Monotropos, together with the comments of the scholiast on Aristophanes who preserves it, have often been taken to indicate that at some point before the production of the play, in spring 414 B.C., the Athenian politician Syrakosios moved a decree that restricted the right of comic playwrights to satirize individual Athenians. The relevant passage reads as follows.