From Peithô's Web
Lives of the Ten Orators, tr. Bancroft


HYPERIDES, was son of Glaucippus, and grandson of Dionysius, of the borough of Colyttus. He had a son, who bare the same name with his father Glaucippus, an orator, who wrote many orations, and begat a son named Alphinous. At the same time with Lycurgus, he had been a scholar of the philosopher Plato and of the orator Isocrates. In Athens his concern in the commonwealth was at that time when Alexander accosted Greece, whom he vigorously opposed in his demands made of the Athenians for the generals as well as for galleys. He advised the people not to discharge the garrison of Taenarum, and this he did for the sake of a friend of his, Chares, who was commander of it. At first he used to plead causes for a fee. He was suspected to have received part of the money which Ephialtes brought out of Persia, and was chosen to maintain a galley, and was sent to assist the Byzantines, when Philip was besieging their city. Nevertheless, in the same year he took the charge of defraying the expense of the solemn dances, whereas the rest of the captains were exempt from all such public burdens for that year. He obtained a decree for some honors to be paid to Demosthenes; and when that decree was indicted at the instance of Diondas, as being contrary to the laws, he, being called in question upon it, cleared himself. He did not continue his friendship with Demosthenes, Lysicles, and Lycurgus to the last; for, Lysicles and Lycurgus being dead, and Demosthenes being accused of having received money of Harpalus, he, among all the rest, was pitched upon, as the only person who was not corrupted with bribery, to draw up his indictment, which he accordingly did. Being once accused at the instance of Aristogiton of publishing acts contrary to the laws after the battle of Chaeronea,--that all foreign inhabitants of Athens should be accounted citizens, that slaves should be made free, that all sacred things, children, and women should be confined to the Piraeus,--he cleared himself of all and was acquitted. And being blamed by some, who wondered how he could be ignorant of the many laws that were directly repugnant to those decrees, he answered, that the arms of the Macedonians darkened his sight, and it was not he but the battle of Chaeronea that made that decree. But Philip, being affrighted at somewhat, gave leave to carry away their dead out of the field, which before he had denied to the heralds from Lebadea.

After this, at the overthrow at Crannon, being demanded by Antipater, and the people being resolved to deliver him up, he fled out of the city with others who were under the same condemnation to Aegina; where meeting with Demosthenes, he excused himself for the breach of friendship between them. Going from thence, he was apprehended by Archias, surnamed Phygadotheres, by country a Thurian, formerly a player, but at that time in the service of Antipater; by this man, I say, he was apprehended, even in the very temple of Neptune, though he grasped the image of that God in his arms. He was brought before Antipater, who was then at Corinth; where being put upon the rack, he bit out his tongue, because he would not divulge the secrets of his country, and so died, on the ninth day of October. Hermippus tells us that, as he went into Macedonia, his tongue was cut out and his body cast forth unburied; but Alphinous his cousin-german (or, according to the opinion of others, his grandson, by his son Glaucippus) obtained leave, by means of one Philopithes a physician, to take up his body, which he burnt, and carried the ashes to Athens to his kinsfolk there, contrary to the edicts both of the Athenians and Macedonians, which not only banished them, but likewise forbade the burial of them anywhere in their own country. Others say, that he was carried to Cleonae with others, and there died, having his tongue cut out, as above; however, his relations and friends took his bones, when his body was burned, and buried them among his ancestors before the gate Hippades, as Heliodorus gives us the relation in his Third Book of Monuments. His monument is now altogether unknown and lost, being thrown down with age and long standing.

He is said to have excelled all others in his way of delivering himself in his orations to the people. And there are some who prefer him even to Demosthenes himself. There are seventy-seven orations which bear his name, of which only two and fifty are genuine and truly his. He was much given to venery, insomuch that he turned his son out of doors, to entertain that famous courtesan Myrrhina. In Piraeus he had another, whose name was Aristagora; and at Eleusis, where part of his estate lay, he kept another, one Philte a Theban, whom he ransomed for twenty minas. His usual walk was in the fish-market.

It is thought that he was accused of impiety with one Phryne, a courtesan likewise, and so was sought after to be apprehended, as he himself seems to intimate in the beginning of an oration; and it is said, that when sentence was just ready to be passed upon her, he produced her in court, opened her clothes before, and discovered her naked breasts, which were so very white, that for her beauty's sake the judges acquitted her. He at leisure times drew up several declamations against Demosthenes, which were thus discovered: Hyperides being sick, Demosthenes came one day to visit him, and caught him with a book in his hand written against him; at which seeming somewhat displeased, Hyperides told him: This book shall hurt no man that is my friend; but as a curb, it may serve to restrain my enemy from offering me any injury. He obtained a decree of some honors to be paid to Iolas, who gave the poisoned cup to Alexander. He joined with Leosthenes in the Lamian war, and made an admirable oration at the funerals of those who lost their lives therein.

When Philip was prepared to embark for Euboea, and the Athenians heard the news of it with no little consternation, Hyperides in a very short time, by the voluntary contributions of the citizens, fitted out forty sail, and was the first that set an example, by sending out two galleys, one for himself and another for his son, at his own charge.

When there was a controversy between the Delians and the Athenians, who should have the pre-eminence in the temple at Delos; Aeschines being chosen on the behalf of the Athenians for their advocate, the Areopagites refused to ratify the choice and elected Hyperides; and his oration is yet extant, and bears the name of the Deliac oration.(1)

He likewise went ambassador to Rhodes; where meeting other ambassadors from Antipater, who commended their master very highly for his goodness and virtue, We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we have no need of a good master at present.

It is said of him, that he never affected much action in his orations to the people, his chief aim being to lay down the matter plainly, and make the case as obvious to the judges as he could.

He was sent likewise to the Eleans, to plead the cause of Callippus the fencer, who was accused of carrying away the prize at the public games unfairly; in which cause he got the better. But when he opposed the sentence of paying honors to Phocion, obtained by Midias the son of Midias the Anagyrasian, he was in that cause overthrown. This cause was pleaded on the twenty-fourth day of May, in the year when Xenius was magistrate.

1. See Demosthenes on the Crown, p. 221, 27.

Scanned by Agathon (RSB) from the University of Washington's copy of Plutarch's Lives and Writings, ed. by A.H. Clough and William W. Goodwin, with an introd. by Ralph Waldo Emerson. London, Simpkin, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Ltd. [1914?], vol. 5.

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