Macedonian and Hellenistic Athens

Demosthenes, Phocion and Macedonian period

After Athens lost its power, new powers appeared such as Theba, but Macedonia, a northern kingdom that had not wasted its resources on previous internal Greek conflicts, prevailed. Macedonia had a smart general as a leader, king Phillip II, who controlled Paggaion mountain mines (that Peisistratus had in his control centuries before him). He had invited Aristotle to tutor his son Alexander, and managed to rule over the Greek city-states-all, except Sparta.

So, during Macedonian period of Greece, Athenian orator Demosthenes played a major role in Anti-macedonian stance of Athenians. Athens was famous for its schools in ancient Greece and it was respected so in Hellenistic, as well in roman period.

Some historians claim that Demosthenes was a student of Isocrates, other of Plato or Aristotle.

But according to Plutarch, Demosthenes employed Isaeus (420-438 and a student of Isocrates and Lysias) as his master in rhetoric. Konstantinos Tsatsos, a famous Greek professor and academic, whose house is in Kydathineon in Plaka today, believes that Isaeus helped Demosthenes edit his initial judicial orations against his guardians.


Apart from Demosthenes, another Athenian person is worth mentioning during Macedonia era in Greece. Demosthenes was against Macedonians, but Phocion was more modest and rational towards them.

Phocion is an unknown person to many but he is a mix of Athenian openness and Spartan strictness. He was both Plato’s pupil and Xenocrates’ friend. Phocion was more of the “Spartan” school, not talking much, but logically and sharply.

When Alexander asked Phocion for his advice regarding future moves, he replied: If Macedonia wishes peace, it should abandon the war. If Macedonia desires glory, it should turn against Persia, instead of oppressing Greece.

Later, in 334 BC, Alexander the Great donated in the Parthenon eastern shelter, shields from the Granikos Battle victory as a tribute and memoir to Athena.

A monument that exists in Athens till today from the Hellenistic period is Stoa of Attalos, located at Athens agora.