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Demagogue
(216 words)

[German version]

(δημαγωγός, dēmagōgós, ‘leader of the people’). Aristophanes uses demagogue to mean a political leader in the mould of  Cleon (for example in Equ. 191-193; 213-222). The word was possibly coined in the 2nd half of the 5th cent. BC in Athens for the new style of populist politician whose position depended less on the clothing of office than the ability to speak persuasively at meetings of the popular assembly and at jury trials.

The older word for a political leader was prostátēs. Thucydides and Xenophon generally used prostátēs, but each of them twice used dēmagōgós to ref…

Cite this page
Rhodes, Peter J. (Durham), “Demagogue”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 01 December 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e313860>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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