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Λυσίας). One of the ten Athenian orators. He was born at Athens, B.C. 458 or 459. His father, Cephalus, was a native of Syracuse, who settled at Athens during the time of Pericles. Cephalus was a person of considerable wealth, and lived on intimate terms with Pericles and Socrates; and his house is the supposed scene of the celebrated dialogues related in Plato's Republic. Lysias, at the age of fifteen, went to Thurii in Italy, with his brother Polemarchus, at the first foundation of the colony. Here he remained for thirty-two years; but, in consequence of his supporting the Athenian interests, he was obliged to leave Italy after the failure of the Athenian expedition to Sicily. He returned to Athens, B.C. 411, and carried on, in partnership with his brother Polemarchus, an extensive manufactory of shields, in which they employed as many as 120 slaves. Their wealth excited the cupidity of the Thirty Tyrants; their house was attacked one evening by an armed force while Lysias was entertaining a few friends at supper; their property was seized, and Polemarchus was taken to prison, where he was shortly after executed (B.C. 404). Lysias, by bribing some of the soldiers, escaped to the Piraeus, and sailed thence to Megara. He has given us a graphic account of his escape in his oration against Eratosthenes, who had been one of the Thirty Tyrants. Lysias actively assisted Thrasybulus in his enterprise against the Thirty; he supplied him with a large sum of money from his own resources and those of his friends, and hired a considerable body of soldiers at his own expense. In return for these services Thrasybulus proposed a decree by which the rights of citizenship should be conferred upon Lysias; but, in consequence of some informality, this decree was never carried into effect. He was, however, allowed the peculiar privileges which were sometimes granted to resident aliens (namely, ἰσοτέλεια). Lysias appears to have died about B.C. 378.

The author of the Life of Lysias, attributed to Plutarch, mentions 425 orations of his, 230 of which were considered to be genuine. There remain only 34, which are all forensic, and remarkable for the method which reigns in them. The purity, the perspicuity, the grace and simplicity which characterize the orations of Lysias, would have raised him to the highest rank in the art had they been coupled with the force and energy of Demosthenes. His style is elegant without being overornate, and is regarded as a model of the “plain” style. In the art of narration, Dionysius of Halicarnassus considers him superior to all orators in being distinct, probable, and persuasive; but, at the same time, admits that his composition is better adapted to private litigation than to important causes. The text of his harangues, as we now have it, is extremely corrupt. His masterpiece is the funeral oration in honour of those Athenians who, having been sent to the aid of the Corinthians under the command of Iphicrates, perished in battle. Lysias is said to have delivered only one of the orations which he wrote—that against Eratosthenes.

Lysias has been edited by Reiske (1772), Bekker (1828), Baiter and Sauppe (1850), Cobet (1863), and Scheibe (1886); and there are selections edited by Rauchenstein-Fuhr (with German notes), Frohberger, and (with English notes) by Shuckburgh, Stevens, and Bristol. There is an English translation by Gillies. See Jebb's Attic Orators, i. pp. 142- 312.

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