“Everyone knows that!”: Gossip in ancient Athens – knowledge

The character spoiled, the lifestyle off, the mother a prostitute? In Athenian democracy, gossip played a prominent role – even in court.

Gossip in Ancient Athens: Conversations in Ancient Greece didn't always have to be as philosophical as this one: Famous Thinkers in the "School of Athens" by Raphael.

Conversations in ancient Greece didn’t always have to be as philosophical as this: Famous thinkers in Raphael’s “School of Athens”.

(Photo: imagebroker/imago)

If Appollodor had never asked for the 20 talents. Then he wouldn’t be sitting in front of the people’s court and having to watch Demosthenes, the greatest Athenian orator of his generation, tearing him apart according to all the rules of rhetoric. “Your insatiable greed and your character,” said Demosthenes, “yes, no one could describe that adequately” – whereupon the speaker of course still tries: Appollodor has two mistresses, wears luxurious robes and always walks around with three slavish companions. Anyone who meets him on the streets of Athens can see that. In addition, despite his wealth, he only donated a ridiculous percentage of his fortune to the polis.

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