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(flourished c. 480–411 BC) Orator and statesman. The first Athenian known to practice rhetoric professionally, he wrote speeches for others to give in court but was reluctant to appear in public debate. He may have instigated the revolution of the oligarchic Council of the Four Hundred, an attempt to seize the Athenian government in the midst of war. When the oligarchy fell, he defended his role in the overthrow in a speech called by Thucydides the greatest defense ever made, but he was nonetheless executed for treason.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Antiphon, visit Britannica.com.
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