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Autocles (in Greek Aυτοκλης; lived 4th century BC), son of Strombichides, was one of the Athenian envoys empowered to negotiate peace with Sparta in 371 BC.1 Xenophon reports a somewhat injudicious speech of his, which was delivered on this occasion before the congress at Sparta, and which by no means confirms the character, ascribed to him in the same passage, of a skilful orator. It was perhaps this same Autocles who, in 362 BC, was appointed to the command in Thrace, and was brought to trial for having caused, by his inactivity there, the triumph of Cotys over the rebel Miltocythes.2 Aristotle3 refers to a passage in a speech of Autocles against Mixidemides, as illustrating one of his rhetorical topoi.


Smith, William (editor); Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Cephisodotus (2)", Boston, (1867)


1 Xenophon, Hellenica, vi. 3; Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca, xv. 38

2 Demosthenes, Speeches, "Against Aristocrates", 104, "Against Polycles", 12

3. Thus Autocles said, when attacking Mixidemides, that it was a strange thing that the Dread Goddesses could without loss of dignity submit to the judgement of the Areopagus, and yet Mixidemides could not. Or as Sappho said, ‘Death is an evil thing; the gods have so judged it, or they would die’. Aristotle, Rhetoric, ii. 23


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

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