Born: Circa 389-290 B.C., in Athens, Greece
Died: Circa 314 B.C., in Rhodes, Greece
In his early life Aeschines was a tragic actor and held minor positions in the government in Ancient Greece. Later, however, he was to become an important figure in Athens, known for his persuasiveness and facility with words.
He and Demosthenes were sent in 346 B.C. as part of an envoy mission to the king of Macedonia, Phillip II. Aeschines decided that Athens would be better served not resisting the Macedonian forces, and at length the mission resulted in peace. However Demosthenes and some others disagreed with Aeschine's views, maintaining that King Phillip should have been opposed regardless of the cost. When upon his return to Athens Aeschines became leader of the peace party, Demosthenes and his friend Timarchus charged him with treason. Aeschines was narrowly acquitted at his trial, and further managed to have Timarchus convicted of "gross immorality."
Aeschines continued to have feelings of ill will toward Demosthenes, however, and when the orator Ctesiphon recommended Demosthenes for a high honor reserved for state heroes (a golden crown), he initiated a trial against Ctesiphon. The final result of the trial, though, was Aeschine's own exile from Athens in 331 B.C.
In Rhodes Aeschines opened a school of oratory. His trial speech, Oration of Aeschines Against Ctesiphon, while not enough to win a conviction, is one of the published speeches which brought him further fame as an orator skilled in the use of humor and figures of speech.