Aeschines, (390-314? B.C.), an orator of ancient Greece. His oratory was distinguished by its eloquence, wit, and passion. He is remembered today, however, mainly as a rival of Demosthenes.
Aeschines and Demosthenes were part of a diplomatic mission to Macedonia in 348 B.C. to promote peace between Athens and Macedonia. After their return to Athens, Demosthenes accused Aeschines of accepting bribes from Philip II of Macedonia. Aeschines defended himself successfully in the orations “Against Timarchus” (345 B.C.) and “On the False Embassy” (343 B.C.). The rivalry between Aeschines and Demosthenes culminated in a dispute over the proposal by Ctesiphon, another orator, to confer a gold crown on Demosthenes for his patriotic services to Athens. Aeschines charged that the proposal was illegal, and Ctesiphon was put on trial in 330. Aeschines' case was stated in the oration “Against Ctesiphon,” in which he mainly attacked Demosthenes. Demosthenes' rebuttal, “On the Crown,” however, persuaded the jury, and Aeschines was ordered to pay a fine. Unable to pay, he lost his rights as a citizen and chose to go into exile on Rhodes.