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Aristophon (in Greek Aριστοφων; lived 4th century BC) was native of the deme of Azenia in Attica.1 He lived about and after the end of the Peloponnesian war. In 412 BC, Aristophon, Laespodias and Melesias were sent to Sparta as ambassadors by the oligarchical government of the Four Hundred.2 In the archonship of Euclid, 404 BC, after Athens was delivered of the thirty Tyrants, Aristophon proposed a law which, though said to be beneficial to the republic, yet caused great uneasiness and troubles in many families at Athens; for it ordained, that no one should be regarded as a citizen of Athens whose mother was not a freeborn woman.3 He also proposed various other laws, by which he acquired great popularity and the full confidence of the people4, and their great number may be inferred from his-own statement5, that he was accused 75 times of having made illegal proposals, but that he had always come off victorious. His influence with the people is, most manifest from his accusation of Iphicrates and Timotheus, two men to whom Athens was much indebted (354 BC). He charged them with having accepted bribes from the Chians and Rhodians, and the people condemned Timotheus on the mere assertion of Aristophon.6 After this event, but still in 354 BC, the last time that we hear of him in history, he came forward in the assembly to defend the law of Leptines against Demosthenes, and the latter, who often mentions him, treats the aged Aristophon with great respect, and reckons him among the most eloquent orators.7 He seems to have died soon after. None of his orations has come down to us.

References

Smith, William (editor); Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Aristophon (1)", Boston, (1867)

Notes

  • 1 Aeschines, Speeches, "Agaisnt Timarchus" , 64, 158, "Against Ctesiphon", 139, 194
  • 2 Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, viii. 86
  • 3 Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, xiii. 38
  • 4 Demosthenes, Speeches, "Against Eubulides", 32
  • 5 Aeschines, "Against Ctesiphon", 194
  • 6 Cornelius Nepos, Lives of Eminent Commanders, "Timotheus", 3; Aristotle, Rhetoric, ii. 23; Dinarchus, Speeches, "Against Demosthenes", 14, "Against Philocles", 17
  • 7 Demosthenes, "Against Leptines", 146

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This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith (1867).

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