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Athens, a city long governed by its unique and proud democracy was under the Thirty’s rule from 404BC after the coup of The Four Hundred in 411BC as a consequence of Athens being defeated by Sparta in the Peloponnesian war 431-404BC. The aim of the Thirty was to arrange the laws of Athens in order to form a new constitution that would (with the support of Sparta) be more favourable to conservatives against the more radical democratic faction. This was a period of political corruption as the Thirty led a brutal campaign oppressed, intimidated, punished and installed fear in the Athenian citizens that supported democracy. Nevertheless, this consisted of more moderate elements like Eratosthenes who had stayed in Athens after the amnesty in a gesture of reconciliation. The jurors at this time were from the 3 upper property classes. We know this from a statement by Aristotle in his Politeia 39.I. If Aristotle is correct, we can think of the jurors as consisting of those not so sympathetic toward radical democrats, but in all probabilities sympathetic towards moderate democrats, and also some who may have even been sympathetic toward the more moderate and conciliatory members of The Thirty such as Theramenes and Eratosthenes. So Lysias would have a difficult task in his attempt to appeal to the jurors.
It is under these tense circumstances in a period of amnesty that Lysias delivered his speech “Against Eratosthenes.” Amnesty was a law that had been passed by Athens to create peace and to prevent conflict from happening between the democrats and the oligarchs. Eratosthenes decision to remain in Athens while many of the 30 went to Eleusis, was a sign that he was willing to negotiate peace with the leader of the moderate democrats Thrasybullus, who had

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