On the Mysteries

MacDowell, Douglas M.
Date published: 
April 1989

A more intimate and vivid glimpse of Athenian political life during and directly after the Peloponnesian War is provided by the speech of Andokides On the Mysteries than by any other work: it is also a major source of legal and prosopographical information, and an important specimen of Attic prose style in the most crucial period of its development. Despite this it has been unduly neglected in recent years, partly for lack of an up-to-date English commentary. This new paperback version of MacDowell's standard edition (first published in hardback in 1962) is intended both for undergraduates and professional scholars. The revised text (notably more conservative than other modern texts) with apparatus criticus is supplemented with a full introduction surveying the life and trial of Andokides and his literary style; a note on the basis of the text; a detailed commentary; and appendices which discuss Andokides' innocence or guilt, the chronology and political significance of events in 415 BC, the legal revision ordered by the decree of Teisamenos, the date of the trial and the speech, and aspects of the historical and stylistic background relevant to the work.