Lysias, an Athenian orator, born in Athens in 458 B. 0., died there in 378. In 443 he emigrated with an Athenian colony to Thurii in Italy, and there completed his education. After the destruction of the Athenian armament in Sicily (413), he and 300 others were expelled from Thurii by the partisans of Sparta. He returned to Athens in 411, where he was imprisoned as an enemy of the oligarchs, and had he not contrived to effect his' escape would probably have been put to death. When Thrasybulus was organizing at Phyle that band of patriots with which he restored liberty to Athens, Lysias, then sojourning at Megara, sent him money, arms, and mercenaries. On the overthrow of the tyranny of the thirty he returned to Athens (403), and thenceforth chiefly devoted himself to the composition of speeches for parties engaged in litigation, sometimes however pleading in person. There formerly existed over 400 orations ascribed to him, but only 230 of these were admitted to be genuine. The number now extant is 35. None delivered by himself, save that against Eratosthenes, have come down to us.
The best editions of his remaining works are by J. Taylor (London, 1739), Fortsch (Leipsic, 1829), and Franz (Munich, 1831). There is an English translation of some of his principal orations by Dr. Gillies.