Aeschines de Falsa Legatione / on the False Embassy

Author: Greaney, George L.
This new translation of Aeschines' On the Embassy is designed for readers who know little or no Greek but would like to gain a sense of the linguistic and stylistic qualities of the original text. Numerous notes to the text incorporate the analysis of ancient rhetoricians, the work of nineteenth-century scholars, and that of the most recent commentators in English, German, and Italian. At certain points in the notes textual problems and variant interpretations by recent translators and commentators are addressed and, in some cases, new solutions or interpretations are offered. The bibliography is comprehensive, including work in several languages, both recent and from the past, addressing rhetorical issues, as well as legal and historical ones.


“The second oration of Aeschines, known as On the False Embassy, was delivered before an Athenian jury in 343 BCE.... After a long period of scholarly neglect, this speech has recently been favored by commentaries in German and Italian... George L. Greaney’s annotated translation has a rhetorical focus based on insights of recent scholarship and earlier rhetorical studies as well as comments of ancient rhetoricians and scholiasts, whose writings are preserved in margins of manuscripts.... The translation combines two (seemingly antithetical) desiderata, literalness and readability....Greaney’s translation also does much to replicate the clear and natural style found in Aeschines,...the narration of events during the first embassy to Macedonia (20-55) has great vividness and force and paints a picture of a treacherous and ruthless Demosthenes...The narrative seems sincere and the impression of sincerity is reinforced by the direct and rapid narration of events. All this Greaney captures admirably in his translation....I am pleased to recommend this translation and commentary, which can also serve as a good introduction to Attic oratory and will appeal to those interested in Aeschines, in Greek rhetoric, and in Attic oratory in general.” – Professor Mervin R. Dilts, New York University

“Greaney’s work is a significant contribution to the scholarship on Aeschines...readers may use Greaney’s translation to gain access to the impressive scholarly publications of modern scholars since the Renaissance about the works of Aeschines, Attic Orators, and ancient rhetoric. Greaney’s work is also useful because he refers to the commentaries of ancient rhetoricians and medieval scholiasts that have been preserved in the manuscript transmissions of various authors....I think that Greaney’s translation is an excellent rendition of the ancient text: He skillfully preserves the meaning while preserving the artistry of Aeschine’s style, while he provides numerous footnotes that allow the reader to delve into a wealth of relevant scholarship in many areas....Greaney’s translation would make an excellent textbook for beginning courses in rhetoric, and as well it would be a useful reference for advanced scholars studying this author.” – Mark L. Sosower, Professor of Classics, North Carolina State University

“After a period of relative neglect, Attic oratory of the 5th and 4th centuries BCE has been rediscovered; the transmitted speeches are studied as vivid documents of the political fights and of everday life in ancient Athens...George Greaney has written an excellent translation of the plea that Aeschines pronounced in the first trial...captures the qualities of Aeschines’s narratives...This is just one example that demonstrates Greaney’s fine ear for linguistic nuances and his ability to express them in clear, readable English that brings these classical texts back to life. Greaney’s introduction gives a precise and very readable account of the events that led up to the trial; it is accessible to all readers without specialist knowledge. His notes will be immensely useful to both the general reader and the specialist...Greaney’s translation could be used as a textbook for classes in ancient history, rhetoric, or classics....I highly recommend it.” – Thomas A. Schmitz, Chair of Department of Classics, University of Frankfurt, Germany

Table of Contents

Preface by Professor Mervin R. Dilts
Introduction to the Oration
Outline of the Oration
On the False Embassy
General Index