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Speeches from Athenian Law

Edited by Michael Gagarin

Publication Year: 2011

This is the sixteenth volume in the Oratory of Classical Greece. This series presents all of the surviving speeches from the late fifth and fourth centuries BC in new translations prepared by classical scholars who are at the forefront of the discipline. These translations are especially designed for the needs and interests of today’s undergraduates, Greekless scholars in other disciplines, and the general public. Classical oratory is an invaluable resource for the study of ancient Greek life and culture. The speeches offer evidence on Greek moral views, social and economic conditions, political and social ideology, law and legal procedure, and other aspects of Athenian culture that have recently been attracting particular interest: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few. This volume assembles twenty-one speeches previously published in the Oratory series. The speeches are taken from a wide range of different kinds of cases—homicide, assault, commercial law, civic status, sexual offenses, and others—and include many of the best-known speeches in these areas. They are Antiphon, Speeches 1, 2, 5, and 6; Lysias 1, 3, 10–11, 23, 24, and 32; Isocrates 17; Isaeus 11; Hyperides 3; Demosthenes 21, 35, 54, 55, 57, and 59; and Aeschines 1. The volume is intended primarily for use in teaching courses in Greek law or related areas such as Greek history. It also provides the introductions and notes that originally accompanied the individual speeches, revised slightly to shift the focus onto law.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Front matter

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CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

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PREFACE

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pp. vii-9

The selection of speeches in this volume is primarily intended to illustrate some of the main features of Athenian law. My aim is to provide teachers of Athenian law and students and scholars wishing to learn about Athenian law with a useful selection of primary sources. ...

EDITOR’S NOTE ON ABBREVIATIONS,CURRENCY, AND DATES

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pp. ix-x

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-13

One of the many intriguing (and unique) aspects of Athenian law is that our information about it comes very largely from speeches composed for delivery in court. These date to the period 420–3201 and reflect in part the high value the Greeks in all periods placed on effective ...

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PART I. HOMICIDE AND ASSAULT

Athens appears to have been a relatively nonviolent society. Men did not normally carry weapons and at most might pick up a stone or piece of broken pottery to aid in a fight. Nonetheless, assaults and homicides did occur and are the subject of several surviving cases, ...

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ANTIPHON 2. FIRST TETRALOGY

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pp. 17-27

The Tetralogies are artificial exercises illustrating different types of argument in homicide cases. Each has four speeches, two on each side, as in actual homicide cases.1 Because the focus is on argument, the narrative portion is omitted or reduced to the minimum ...

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ANTIPHON 6. ON THE CHORUS BOY

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pp. 28-43

Th e speech On the Chorus Boy was delivered by an unknown Athenian who in 419 was assigned the important (and expensive) liturgy (Introduction, IVC) of training a boys’ chorus to compete at the Thargelia, a festival held in the late Spring. As the choregus (“chorus ...

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ANTIPHON 1. AGAINST THE STEPMOTHER

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pp. 44-51

Th is speech is delivered by a young man who is prosecuting his stepmother for poisoning his father. She is defended by another son, the speaker’s half-brother.1 The death occurred when the speaker was a boy (1.30); he must have turned eighteen, the minimum age for ...

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ANTIPHON 5. ON THE MURDER OF HERODES

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pp. 52-74

Antiphon’s longest surviving speech, On the Murder of Herodes, was regarded in antiquity as one of his best. Modern commentators generally agree, noting the vividness of the narrative, the creativity of the arguments from probability, and the effectiveness of the procedural ...

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LYSIAS 1. ON THE DEATH OF ERATOSTHENES

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pp. 88-99

At first sight, this appears to be a speech about adultery,1 but in fact the case concerns homicide. Euphiletus, the speaker, has killed Eratosthenes, who was in the act of committing adultery with his wife, and pleads that the killing was justified. Trials for justifiable homicide ...

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DEMOSTHENES 54. AGAINST CONON

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pp. 87-99

From antiquity until the present day, em>Against Conon has been one of the favorite speeches of the Demosthenic corpus. Moderns are amused by its vivid portrayal of drunken brawling in an army camp and in the streets of Athens itself, as well as the other forms of shocking ...

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LYSIAS 3. AGAINST SIMON

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pp. 100-109

Lysias 3 concerns a case of “wounding with premeditation (pronoia),” which apparently meant with the intention of killing, or what we might call attempted murder. This offense at Athens was subject to the same special procedural rules as murder itself (for which see the ...

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ISOCRATES 20. AGAINST LOCHITES

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pp. 110-114

It is commonly believed that the beginning of this speech, which would have contained the narrative of events, has been lost. But it is possible that the speaker, who makes a point of his poverty, was able to afford only this short, prepared speech. Th e testimony of witnesses, ...

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PART II. STATUS AND CITIZENSHIP

For male Athenians, citizenship depended primarily on membership in a deme (small “precincts” established by Cleisthenes in 508 that were originally territorial) but also presumed membership in a phratry—older, larger groups based on an assumed ancient kinship ...

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DEMOSTHENES 57. APPEAL AGAINST EUBULIDES

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pp. 117-136

This speech revolves around the issue of Athenian citizenship. The stakes were very high: it is no exaggeration when in the opening section the speaker equates conviction with ruin, for he was to be sold into slavery if he lost the case (though at 57.65 it appears that an ...

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LYSIAS 23. AGAINST PANCLEON

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pp. 137-143

Th e connection between Plataea and Athens has been discussed in the Introduction to Lysias 3 (above). In that speech there are incidental problems of interpretation arising from the status of Th eodotus, the male prostitute who forms the object of the dispute and who does not ...

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DEMOSTHENES 29. AGAINST NEAERA

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pp. 144-182

The author of this speech is almost certainly Apollodorus, father-in- law (also brother-in-law) of the man who delivers the first sixteen sections. Th e style of Against Neaera is repetitious and sprawling and shows other signs that the speech is not by Demosthenes himself. Yet ...

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AESCHINES 1. AGAINST TIMARCHUS

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pp. 183-243

In 346 an Athenian delegation, led by Philocrates and including Aeschines and Demosthenes, negotiated a peace treaty with Philip of Macedon. Although there was majority support for the peace, there remained elements in the city implacably and explicitly opposed either ...

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PART III. FAMILY AND PROPERTY

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pp. 244-246

The Athenian household (oikos) was headed by the husband and father and typically included his wife, one or more children, perhaps one or more slaves, and sometimes other older or more distant relatives. Girls were typically married in their mid or late teens, boys in ...

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ISAEUS 1. ON THE ESTATEOF CLEONYMUS

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pp. 247-259

Cleonymus1 son of Polyarchus died childless, leaving his estate in a will to some relatives whose precise number and relationship to him cannot be determined.2 Th e validity of the will was challenged in a rival claim (diadikasia) made by Cleonymus’ nephews, one of whom ...

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ISAEUS 7. ON THE ESTATE OF APOLLODORUS

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pp. 260-273

The brothers Eupolis, Mneson, and Thrasyllus I jointly inherited a large estate from their father, who was probably named Apollodorus, since both Eupolis and Thrasyllus so named their sons. Mneson died childless, and Thrasyllus died on the Sicilian expedition of 415–413, ...

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ISAEUS 8. ON THE ESTATE OF CIRON

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pp. 274-289

Ciron I died at an advanced age (8.37), leaving a daughter but no son. The daughter (according to the speaker) was the child of his first marriage to his first cousin, the daughter of his mother’s sister. Th is wife died after four years (7); their daughter was married first and ...

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LYSIAS 32. AGAINST DIOGEITON

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pp. 290-299

Lysias 32 is not found in the mediaeval manuscripts of Lysias, but it is quoted (with two other speeches) by the rhetorical theorist Dionysius of Halicarnassus in his essay On Lysias as an example of Lysias’ style.1 As cited by Dionysius, the text consists of the introduction, the ...

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DEMOSTHENES 27. AGAINST APHOBUS I

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pp. 300-319

Like Lysias 32, this case involves a suit against guardians for mismanagement of an estate. Demosthenes’ father (also named Demosthenes) died in 376, leaving a large estate for his only son, then age seven. He appointed three guardians to manage the estate: Aphobus, ...

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PART IV. COMMERCE AND THE ECONOMY

The classical Greek economy was predominantly agricultural, and much of the countryside was filled with family farms, such as the one in Demosthenes 55. Small-scale commercial enterprises flourished throughout the city. As we see in Demosthenes 27 (above), workshops ...

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DEMOSTHENES 55. AGAINST CALLICLES

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pp. 323-332

We cannot date this speech, and we know nothing about the people involved in this dispute beyond what is in the text, not even the name of the speaker. Nevertheless, the speech is interesting for its portrayal of a quarrel that flared between neighboring families over difficulties ...

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HYPERIDES 3. AGAINST ATHENOGENES

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pp. 333-345

Like all of Hyperides’ surviving speeches, this speech was not preserved in manuscripts, as were all the other speeches in this volume, but in fragments of an ancient papyrus discovered in Egypt in the late nineteenth century. Th e text thus has quite a few gaps, and some of

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LYSIAS 24. FOR THE DISABLED MAN

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pp. 346-353

Th is case is probably a scrutiny (dokimasia).1 The use of dokimasia to examine the qualifications of those who have been appointed to public office is common in the speeches of Lysias,2 but in this instance the issue is not an office but a privilege, specifically, a disability pension ...

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ISOCRATES 17. TRAPEZITICUS

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pp. 354-367

Th e defendant in this case, Pasion, is the most famous banker (trapezitēs) of classical Athens. A former slave, he was also the father of Apollodorus, the author of several speeches later included with those of Demosthenes, including Demosthenes 59 (see Trevett 1992). The ...

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DEMOSTHENES 35. AGAINST LACRITUS

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pp. 368-386

Lacritus originally came from Phaselis in Asia Minor, but at the time of this speech he was living in Athens, where he must have been registered as a metic (resident alien). He was a rhetorician; he had been a pupil of Isocrates and taught rhetoric himself (15, 41). Little else is ...

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 387-390

INDEX

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pp. 391-396


E-ISBN-13: 9780292786523
E-ISBN-10: 0292786522
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292723627
Print-ISBN-10: 0292723628

Page Count: 408
Illustrations: 4 family trees, 2 tables
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: The Oratory of Classical Greece

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Forensic orations -- Greece -- Athens.
  • Trials -- Athens -- History -- Sources.
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