Lysias (lĭsˈēəs) [key], c.459–c.380 B.C., Attic orator; son of Cephalus, a Syracusan. After the capture (404 B.C.) of Athens by the Spartans, the Thirty Tyrants caused the arrest of Lysias and his brother Polemarchus, who was put to death. Lysias escaped to Megara, from which he returned when the tyrants were expelled (403 B.C.). He prosecuted Eratosthenes for his brother's death, and his oration against Eratosthenes is a model of Greek oratory. The tyrants had deprived him of his wealth, and he adopted the profession of writing speeches for litigants. Only 34 of his orations are extant. The clarity and elegance of his style place him among the very finest Greek orators and prose writers.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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