LYSIAS (c.458- C.380 B.C.), born at Athens, son of wealthy Cephalus of Syracuse settled in Attica, is said to have gone after his father's death to Greek Thurii when it was founded in Italy in 444, and to have begun his studies in the new art of Rhetoric there. After the Athenian disaster in Sicily in 413, Lysias and his brother Polemarchus and others were expelled from Thurii in 413 and became 'metrics' (resident aliens) of a privileged kind in Attica, Polemarchus in Athens, Lysias in Peiraeus where they inherited their father's shileld-factory. Both being loyal supporters of democracy, Polemarchus fell victim to the 'Thirty Tyrants' in 404 but Lysias escaped and helped the democrats at Athens with shields and money. After one political speech in accusation of Ertosthenes (one of the Thirty) in 405, he became at Athens a busy professional speech-writer for the law-courts. At the Olympic festival of 388 he denounced, with riotous results, the costly display of the embassy sent by Dionysius I of Syracuse and the domination of Sicily by Dionysus. The surviving speeches (about thirty complete out of a very much larger number) -- fluent, simple and graceful in style yet vivid in description, and in expression of character, suggest that Lysias, though an over-passionate partisan was a gentle humorous man loyal to the Athenian democracy. We see him in the art of oratory young and fresh.
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