1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hypereides

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HYPEREIDES (c. 390–322 B.C.), one of the ten Attic orators, was the son of Glaucippus, of the deme of Collytus. Having studied under Isocrates, he began life as a writer of speeches for the courts, and in 360 he prosecuted Autocles, a general charged with treason in Thrace (frags. 55-65, Blass). At the time of the so-called “Social War” (358-355) he accused Aristophon, then one of the most influential men at Athens, of malpractices (frags. 40-44, Blass), and impeached Philocrates (343) for high treason. From the peace of 346 to 324 Hypereides supported Demosthenes in the struggle against Macedon; but in the affair of Harpalus he was one of the ten public prosecutors of Demosthenes, and on the exile of his former leader he became the head of the patriotic party (324). After the death of Alexander, he was the chief promoter of the Lamian war against Antipater and Craterus. After the decisive defeat at Crannon (322), Hypereides and the other orators, whose surrender was demanded by Antipater, were condemned to death by the Athenian partisans of Macedonia. Hypereides fled to Aegina, but Antipater’s emissaries dragged him from the temple of Aeacus, where he had taken refuge, and put him to death; according to others, he was taken before Antipater at Athens or Cleonae. His body was afterwards removed to Athens for burial.

Hypereides was an ardent pursuer of “the beautiful,” which in his time generally meant pleasure and luxury. His temper was easy-going and humorous; and hence, though in his development of the periodic sentence he followed Isocrates, the essential tendencies of his style are those of Lysias, whom he surpassed, however, in the richness of his vocabulary and in the variety of his powers. His diction was plain and forcible, though he occasionally indulged in long compound words probably borrowed from the Middle Comedy, with which, and with the everyday life of his time, he was in full sympathy. His composition was simple. He was specially distinguished for subtlety of expression, grace and wit, as well as for tact in approaching his case and handling his subject matter. Sir R. C. Jebb sums up the criticism of pseudo-Longinus (De sublimitate, 34) in the phrase—“Hypereides was the Sheridan of Athens.”

Seventy-seven speeches were attributed to Hypereides, of which twenty-five were regarded as spurious even by ancient critics. It is said that a MS. of most of the speeches was in existence in the 16th century in the library of Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, at Ofen, but was destroyed at the capture of the city by the Turks in 1526. Only a few fragments were known until comparatively recent times. In 1847 large fragments of his speeches Against Demosthenes (see above) and For Lycophron (incidentally interesting as elucidating the order of marriage processions and other details of Athenian life, and the Athenian government of Lemnos), and the whole of the For Euxenippus (c. 330, a locus classicus on εἰσαγγελίαι or state prosecutions), were found in a tomb at Thebes in Egypt, and in 1856 a considerable portion of a λόγος παρανόμων, a Funeral Oration over Leosthenes and his comrades who had fallen in the Lamian war, the best extant specimen of epideictic oratory (see Babington, Churchill). Towards the end of the century further discoveries were made of the conclusion of the speech Against Philippides (dealing with a γραφὴ παρανόμων, or indictment for the proposal of an unconstitutional measure, arising out of the disputes of the Macedonian and anti-Macedonian parties at Athens), and of the whole of the Against Athenogenes (a perfumer accused of fraud in the sale of his business). These have been edited by F. G. Kenyon (1893). An important speech that is lost is the Deliacus (frags. 67-75, Blass) on the presidency of the Delian temple claimed by both Athens and Delos, which was adjudged by the Amphictyons to Athens.

On Hypereides generally see pseudo-Plutarch, Decem oratorum vitae; F. Blass, Attische Beredsamkeit, iii.; R. C. Jebb, Attic Orators, ii. 381. A full list of editions and articles is given in F. Blass, Hyperidis orationes sex cum ceterarum fragmentis (1894, Teubner series), to which may be added I. Bassi, Le Quattro Orazioni di Iperide (introduction and notes, 1888), and J. E. Sandys in Classical Review (January 1895) (a review of the editions of Kenyon and Blass). For the discourse against Athenogenes see H. Weil, Études sur l’antiquité grecque (1900).