Having studied under Isocrates, he began life as a writer of speeches for the courts, and in 360 he prosecuted Autocles, a general charged with treason in Thrace (frags. 55-65, Blass). At the time of the so-called "Social War" (358—355) he accused Aristophon, then one of the most influential men at Athens, of malpractices (frags. 40-44, Blass), and impeached Philocrates (343) for high treason. From the peace of 346 to 324 Hypereides supported Demosthenes in the struggle against Macedon; but as the affair of Harpalus he was one of the ten public prosecutors of Demosthenes, and on the exile of his former leader he became the head of the patriotic party (324).
After the death of Alexander, he was the chief promoter of the Lamian war against Antipater and Craterus. After the decisive defeat at Crannon (322), Hypereides and the other orators, whose surrender was demanded by Antipater, were condemned to death by the Athenian partisans of Macedonia.
Hypereides fled to Aegina, but Antipater's emissaries dragged him from the temple of Neptune, where he had taken refuge, and put him to death; according to others, he was taken before Antipater at Athens near Cleonae. His body was afterwards removed to Athens for burial.
Hypereides was an ardent pursuer of "the beautiful," which in his time generally meant pleasure and luxury. His temper was easy-going and humorous; and hence, though in his development of the periodic sentence he followed Isocrates, the essential tendencies of his style are those of Lysias, whom he surpassed, however, in the richness of his vocabulary and in the variety of his powers. His diction was plain and forcible, though he occasionally indulged in long compound words probably borrowed from the Middle Comedy, with which, and with the everyday life of his time, he was in full sympathy. His composition was simple. He was specially distinguished for subtlety of expression, grace and wit, as well as for tact in approaching his case and pseudo-Longinus (De sublimitate, 34) in the phrase-"Hypereides was the Sheridan of Athens."
Seventy-seven speeches were attributed to Hypereides, Of which seventy-five were regarded as spurious even by ancient critics. is said that a manuscript of most of the speeches was in existence in the 15th century in the library of Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, but was destroyed at the capture of the city by the Turks 1526. Only a few fragments were known until comparatively recent times. In 1847 large fragments of his speeches Against Imosthenes (see above) and For Lycophron (incidentally interesting elucidating the order of marriage processions and other details Athenian life, and the Athenian government of Lemnos), and the sole of the For Euxenippus (c. 330, a locus classicus on state prosecutions), were found in a tomb at Thebes in Egypt, and 1856 a considerable portion of a Funeral Oration For Leosthenes and his comrades who had fallen in the Lamian war, the best extant specimen of epideictic oratory (see Churchill Babington).
Towards the end of the century further discoveries were made of the conclusion of the speech Against Philippides (dealing with an indictment for the proposal of unconstitutional measure, arising out of the disputes of the Macedonian and anti-Macedonian parties at Athens), and of the whole the Against Athenogenes (a perfumer accused of fraud in the sale his business). These have been edited by F. G. Kenyon (1893). An important speech that is lost is the Deliacus (frags. 67-75, Blass) i the presidency of the Delian temple claimed by both Athens and cbs, which was adjudged by the Amphictyons to Athens.
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.