Focusing on extant speeches from the Athenian Assembly, law, and Council in the fifth–fourth centuries BCE, these essays explore how speakers constructed or deconstructed identities for themselves and their opponents as part of a rhetorical strategy designed to persuade or manipulate the audience.

According to the needs of the occasion, speakers could identify the Athenian people either as a unified demos or as a collection of sub-groups, and they could exploit either differences or similarities between Athenians and other Greeks, and between Greeks and ‘barbarians’. Names and naming strategies were an essential tool in the (de)construction of individuals’ identities, while the Athenians’ civic identity could be constructed in terms of honour(s), ethnicity, socio-economic status, or religion. Within the forensic setting, the physical location and procedural conventions of an Athenian trial could shape the identities of its participants in a unique if transient way.

The Making of Identities in Athenian Oratory is an insightful look at this understudied aspect of Athenian oratory and will be of interest to anyone working on the speeches themselves, identity in ancient Greece, or ancient oratory and rhetoric more broadly.

chapter |11 pages


ByJanek Kucharski, Brenda Griffith-Williams, Jakub Filonik

part I|68 pages

The politics of naming and individuals’ rhetorical identities

chapter 1|17 pages

Civic and local identities in Athenian rhetoric

ByRoger Brock

chapter 2|15 pages

The two Mantitheuses in Demosthenes 39 and [Demosthenes] 40

A case of Athenian identity theft?
ByBrenda Griffith-Williams

chapter 3|16 pages

Constructing the identity of Timarchus in Aeschines 1

ByRosalia Hatzilambrou

chapter 4|18 pages

Constructing gender identity

Women in Athenian trials
ByKonstantinos Kapparis

part II|69 pages

The rhetorical construction of civic identities

chapter 5|19 pages

Athenian identity and the ideology of autochthony

An institutionalist approach
ByMatteo Barbato

chapter 6|20 pages

Lysias and the rhetoric of citizen honour

ByBenjamin Keim

chapter 8|13 pages

Seeing others as Athenians in Demosthenes’ third Philippic

ByJudson Herrman

part III|55 pages

Social and material dimensions of Athenian identities

chapter 9|18 pages

The rich and the poor, conflicts and alliances

Socio-economic identities and their uses in the Demosthenic corpus
ByLucia Cecchet

chapter 10|20 pages

Prosecutorial identities and the problem of relevance

ByJanek Kucharski

chapter 11|15 pages

Space, place, and identity in Antiphon On the murder of Herodes

ByChristine Plastow