Citizenship and disfranchisement
Abstract and Keywords
In Against Euboulides Euxitheos appeals against the rejection of his membership of the deme Halimous. He claims to be the victim of a conspiracy. He gives details of his alleged parents' families, but hardly proves that Thoukritos was his father. Against Theokrines is delivered and perhaps written by Epikhares, who asserts that Theokrines, as a debtor to the state, is disfranchised and is therefore not entitled to prosecute other men. The two speeches Against Aristogeiton likewise allege that Aristogeiton is disfranchised as a state-debtor, and accuse him of being a sycophant. The first of the two, a masterpiece of vituperation, is rightly ascribed to Demosthenes, but the second not.
Against Euboulides (Oration 57)
The Athenians valued their citizenship highly and resented attempts to usurp it. The lists of citizens were kept by the demes, but from time to time suspicions arose that the demes' registers were inaccurate and men not entitled had got themselves listed, and a general review was therefore ordered. One such review was held in 346/5,1 and this was probably the occasion of Against Euboulides. The procedure was this:2 each deme held a meeting of its members, at which they swore an oath and then voted for or against each name on the deme's register; before each vote any member could state any objection to the man concerned; if the vote went against an individual, he was removed from the deme's register and became a metic; but he could appeal to a jury court, which might reinstate him.3
The name of the speaker, according to the hypothesis, was Euxitheos. He was (or at least claimed to be) the son of Thoukritos (57.67). His deme was Halimous, a small deme on the coast about four miles south of the town of Athens, and he had in a previous year held the office of demarch (57.63). But at the review of members his ejection was demanded by another member, Euboulides, and a majority of the votes cast by the demesmen went against him. He now appeals against that decision, and the surviving text is the draft of his speech at the trial by jury. Presumably the procedure for the trial was the same as when an eighteen‐year‐old was refused admission to a deme and appealed: the deme appointed five of its members to present the case against him.4 If so, Euboulides was evidently one of the five accusers (perhaps the (p. 289 ) only one to speak at length) and spoke first;5 then the text we have is virtually a defence speech. The date of the speech is likely to be within the same year, 346/5.
For a man to be an Athenian citizen at this period both his parents had to be of Athenian citizen status.6 In the course of the speech Euxitheos goes into considerable detail about the family relationships of his father, Thoukritos (57.20–3), and his mother, Nikarete (57.37–9), and describes how she came to be married to Thoukritos, who was her second husband (57.40–3).7 He calls numerous witnesses of these facts and, as he says (57.24–5), it is unlikely that so many witnesses were all lying.8
Euboulides must have given some grounds for ejecting Euxitheos, but it is not clear what they were. Apparently Euboulides and the other accusers said that Euxitheos' father had a foreign accent. (Probably that just means non‐Athenian, not non‐Greek.) Euxitheos explains this by saying that his father was taken prisoner in the Dekeleian War, was sold as a slave, met up with Kleandros the actor,9 and returned home only after a long interval. On his return he was accepted as a member by the deme and the phratry, and Euxitheos calls witnesses to these facts (57.18–19). It is hard to believe that Euboulides said that Euxitheos should be ejected simply because he had an unusual accent.
Later in the speech we find that Euboulides criticized Euxitheos' mother on the ground that she sold ribbons in the Agora and lived ‘not in the manner we wish’ (57.30–1). Presumably he said that this poor life was what one would expect of a foreign immigrant rather than an Athenian lady. But Euxitheos rightly retorts that working in the Agora does not prove a person to be an alien. On the contrary, aliens are not allowed to work in the Agora; and he quotes a law of Solon, recently confirmed by a law proposed by Aristophon, to that effect (57.31–2).
Euboulides also asserted that Euxitheos' mother had been a wet‐nurse, which evidently was regarded as a degrading way of earning money. Euxitheos concedes that she was a wet‐nurse ‘when the city was suffering misfortune and (p. 290 ) everyone was doing badly’ (57.35), ‘when she was in difficulties because my father was on military service abroad with Thrasyboulos’ in the later part of the Peloponnesian War (57.42). Again he can point out that this does not prove that she was not of citizen status.
Even if a wet‐nurse is a humble thing, I do not avoid the truth. We have done nothing wrong if we were poor, but only if we are not citizens. The present trial is not about luck or money, but about parentage. Poverty compels free people to take up many servile and humble activities, for which they deserve sympathy, men of Athens, rather than further ruin. As I am told, many citizen women became wet‐nurses and wool‐workers and fruit‐pickers because of the city's misfortunes in those times, and many who used to be poor are now rich.
Thoukritos, after his return to Athens, was able to recover from his uncles his share of the family property (57.19). He may have died soon afterwards, but Euxitheos has evidently been able to build up his resources and become rich. He points out the inconsistency of Euboulides' attacks in asserting that his poverty showed him to be of disreputable origin and at the same time that his wealth enabled him to bribe witnesses (57.52).
But it was apparently the wet‐nursing which supplied the main point of Euboulides' case: ‘it is from this wet‐nursing that all the slander about us has arisen’ (57.42). How did Euboulides turn Nikarete's work as a wet‐nurse into evidence that Euxitheos was not a citizen? Naturally Euxitheos avoids telling the jury what his opponent's argument is. But she cannot have been a wet‐nurse without having borne a child recently, and I suggest Euboulides asserted that the reason why she was a wet‐nurse while Thoukritos was away from Athens was that Euxitheos was born at that time—and so was not really the son of Thoukritos (but of some slave or metic), though accepted by Thoukritos after his return home. The chief weakness of Euxitheos' case is that he produces no evidence that he was born while Thoukritos was at home (or within nine months of his departure). Admittedly it was difficult in ancient Athens to produce proof of one's date of birth, especially if it was long ago; Euxitheos may have been about sixty at the time of the speech.10
Throughout the speech Euxitheos claims to be the victim of a conspiracy.11 Hostility to him arose, he says, from a recent occasion when Euboulides brought a prosecution for impiety (graphe asebeias) against ‘the sister of Lakedaimonios’ and lost the case, receiving less than one‐fifth of the jury's votes. In that trial Euxitheos had appeared as a witness testifying against (p. 291 ) Euboulides, who therefore wanted to get his revenge (57.8). In fact their families had been on bad terms for a long time, for Euboulides' father had been an enemy of Thoukritos (57.61). It has been suggested that the hostility had a political basis,12 but there is no clear evidence of that.
Euxitheos proceeds to describe how Euboulides attacked him at the meeting of members of their deme, Halimous, to review the list of members, and for us this part of the speech is interesting evidence of the conduct of a deme meeting. For this year Euboulides happened to be one of the representatives of the deme in the Boule,13 and in that capacity he had charge of ‘the oath and the documents in accordance with which he convoked the demesmen’ (57.8); this means the Boule's instructions to the deme about reviewing the deme's membership, with the oath which the demesmen were to swear to carry out the review correctly. When the demesmen met, Euboulides wasted much of the day on other business, so that it was already getting dark when the voting about membership was going on. The number of demesmen who attended and swore the oath was seventy‐three, says Euxitheos (it was a small deme), and his name was about the sixtieth to be reached; by then it was dark and the older demesmen had already left to return to their homes in the country.14 No more than thirty remained at the meeting, and they included Euboulides' friends. When Euxitheos' name was called, Euboulides ‘jumped up and quickly uttered many slanders against me in a loud voice’, and urged the demesmen to eject him (57.9–11). Euxitheos asked for an adjournment to the next day, to give him time to provide witnesses and defend himself, but Euboulides ignored his request and put the question to the vote at once. In the darkness some of Euboulides' supporters managed to put two or three votes each into the urn, so that the votes when counted numbered more than sixty! Thus Euboulides' conspiracy succeeded in ejecting Euxitheos (57.12–14).
Further assertions in support of Euxitheos' claim that he was the victim of a conspiracy appear later in the speech. At the time when he was the demarch, some men quarrelled with him because he made them pay up rent which they owed for sacred property, besides some other money ‘which they had plundered from public funds’. Also ‘they erased from the oath the undertaking to vote according to the justest view, without favour or hostility’; presumably this refers to the oath to be taken before the review of the deme's membership, as conveyed from the Boule by Euboulides, but it is not clear how they had (p. 292 ) power to alter the wording. Next the conspirators stole some arms which Euxitheos had dedicated to Athena, and they obliterated the inscribed decree which the deme had passed in his favour (praising him for the dedication)—and then went around declaring that Euxitheos had done those things (a sacrilege ‘worthy of death’!) to arouse sympathy for himself. Worst of all, as soon as the deme had voted to eject him, as if he were already an outcast some of them went at night to his cottage in the country and vandalized the contents.15 However, he concedes that the jury may consider these facts irrelevant to the question whether he is entitled to citizenship (57.63–6).
The importance which Euxitheos attaches to his adversary's motives is reflected in the arrangement of the speech. At the start the customary request for a fair hearing is combined with fear that the jury may associate him, who is the victim of a plot, with men who have been expelled from demes rightly (57.1–2). He then proceeds to describe the proceedings at the deme meeting (57.7–16) before he goes on to give the details of his father's and his mother's citizen status (57.17–45), and then of the general acceptance of his own citizen status in the past (57.46–56). After that he turns to criticism of past corruption in the deme (57.57–60) and the further evidence of the hostility of Euboulides and his friends (57.63–6). Thus the testimony about his own ancestry, which forms the real basis of his claim to citizenship, is surrounded by the discrediting of Euboulides' motives and methods. However, at the end of the speech he recalls the main facts and witnesses supporting his claim, so as to leave them uppermost in the minds of the jurors. It is almost as if Demosthenes, when he had nearly finished the script for Euxitheos, suddenly realized that he had failed to include earlier any imaginary dialogue and therefore devised some as a way of enlivening the conclusion.
In the same way as you put questions to the thesmothetai,16 I will put questions to myself for you. ‘Who was your father, sir?’ My father? Thoukritos. ‘Do any men testify that they are his relatives?’ Certainly: in the first place four cousins; then a cousin's son; then the husbands of his female cousins; then the members of his phratry; themesmen testify that he has repeatedly passed the dokimasia and held offices, and it is clear that they have accepted him in reviews of membership. How could I give you any stronger or clearer proof of the facts about my father? I will call the relatives for you, if you wish. Now listen to the facts about my mother. My mother is Nikarete, daughter of Damostratos of Melite. ‘Who testify that (p. 293 ) they are her relatives?’ First, a nephew; then two sons of her other nephew…I was left as an orphan by my father; but as for my mother, I beg and entreat you, through this trial restore my right to bury her in our ancestral tombs—don't prevent me, don't make me cityless, don't deprive me of such numerous relatives, don't destroy me utterly. Rather than depart from them, if it were impossible for them to defend me, I would kill myself, so as at least to be buried by them in my native land.
These final sentences of pathos make an effective conclusion, and altogether the speech is one of the best written by Demosthenes for another speaker. Yet it remains the case that Euxitheos has not really proved that Thoukritos was his father. If in truth Euxitheos was not the son of Thoukritos, Demosthenes has shown great skill in obscuring that fact.
Against Theokrines (Oration 58)
The speaker, who is named as Epikhares by Libanios in the hypothesis, says that he had hoped that Demosthenes would support him in this case, but in fact Demosthenes has made an agreement with Theokrines. Theokrines had initiated against Demosthenes a prosecution by graphe, but then, in return for a payment, Theokrines allowed a friend to assert under oath that Demosthenes (though he walks around abusing Aiskhines!) was too ill to attend the court on the day fixed for the case, and Theokrines made no attempt to get the case rescheduled for another date (58.42–3, cf. 34–5). In view of this discreditable comment, implying that Demosthenes had used bribery to evade conviction, we cannot believe that Demosthenes was the writer of this speech. Probably Epikhares wrote it himself.17 The date of the speech is not stated exactly, but the arkhonship of Lykiskos (344/3) is mentioned as being past (58.28), and on the other hand it appears that Athens' defeat by Philip at Khaironeia in 338 and the end of Athens' maritime league had not yet occurred (58.37–8, 53–6). So the date must be within a year or two of 340.
With remarkable frankness Epikhares presents his prosecution as an act of revenge. His father (whose name is not stated) had proposed a decree authorizing a boy named Kharidemos to leave the family of Aiskhylos, who had adopted him and had since died, to return to the family of his natural father Iskhomakhos, who had also died, so as to inherit from Iskhomakhos (p. 294 ) the hereditary privilege of sitesis, regular meals in the Prytaneion at public expense; we are not told how the family acquired this privilege, but it must have been conferred as a reward for some outstanding service to Athens.18 Theokrines prosecuted Epikhares' father by graphe paranomon, asserting that the decree was contrary to law. Probably he argued that it contravened the law forbidding an adopted son to return to his natural family unless he left a legitimate son of his own in his adoptive family.19 The jurors suspected that there was an ulterior motive behind the proposed decree, to enable Kharidemos' stepfather Polyeuktos, who apparently controlled the property left by Iskhomakhos and would be the boy's guardian if he returned to that family, to get his hands on the property left by Aiskhylos and deprive Kharidemos of it. So they convicted Epikhares' father and imposed a huge fine of 10 talents. The conviction may well have been legally justified, by angry with Epikhares' father. He could not pay it within the required time, and it was therefore automatically doubled, leaving no hope of his ever paying it. His alleged accomplice Polyeuktos, however, avoided prosecution for maltreatment of an orphan (kakosis) by paying Theokrines a bribe of the much smaller sum of 200 drachmas (58.1, 30–2).
So says Epikhares. His father, being a debtor to the state as long as he owes the fine, is automatically disfranchised and cannot take legal action. He has therefore urged Epikhares to take revenge on Theokrines while he can (for, when his father dies, Epikhares will inherit the debt and the disfranchisement). Epikhares, despite his youth and inexperience, thinks it his duty to act on his father's wish, and so now he is prosecuting Theokrines as an act of filial obedience. He is proud, not ashamed, that revenge is his motive. But that is not enough to win the case. He has, of course, to show that Theokrines has committed an offence.
Theokrines' alleged offence arises from his initiation of a phasis against a man named Mikon. Phasis was a procedure used especially for pointing out some object or property with which an offence had been committed.20 The object which Theokrines denounced was Mikon's ship. Epikhares does not say what offence Mikon was accused of committing with it, but most probably it was the offence of conveying grain to somewhere other than Athens (cf. 35.50). Theokrines delivered the written statement of his accusation to the secretary of the supervisors of the port (epimeletai tou emporiou), who made (p. 295 ) arrangements for a preliminary hearing (anakrisis), but then Theokrines failed to attend for it, and so the case was struck off. Epikhares says that this was because Theokrines had accepted a bribe from Mikon to drop the case. The implication is that Theokrines is a sycophant, whose aim is not to see justice done but merely to obtain a profit for himself. But a law laid down that anyone bringing a public prosecution, such as graphe or phasis, if he either failed to proceed with the case or, on proceeding, failed to obtain one‐fifth of the jury's votes, was to be fined 1,000 drachmas.21 The object of this law was to discourage frivolous prosecutions which had little prospect of success, and to deter blackmail by a sycophant hoping to be bribed to drop a case. So Epikhares is now pointing out that Theokrines, having failed to proceed with his phasis against Mikon, has incurred a fine of 1,000 drachmas; until he pays it he is disfranchised as a debtor to the state, and thus is acting illegally in prosecuting other people. Epikhares is prosecuting him by endeixis, the normal procedure for pointing out that someone is exercising a right to which he is not entitled.
Epikhares, like many speakers, begins by asking for the jurors' favourable attention: he is young and inexperienced, and is bringing the case at his father's request; he has been abandoned by some men (including Demosthenes, it later appears) who had said they would support him (58.1–4).22 Next he describes Theokrines' failure to proceed with his phasis against Mikon; the law imposing a fine for such failure is read out, and witnesses (including Mikon himself and the supervisors of the port) are called to testify that Theokrines did submit the phasis in writing (58.5‐9). There is also another law protecting merchants and skippers like Mikon against vexatious prosecution, by forbidding anyone to bring a phasis against them unless he is confident that he will prove his case; this law too is read out (58.10–11). Well then, is Mikon guilty or not? If he is, Theokrines was wrong to drop the prosecution. If he is not, Theokrines was wrong to bring the prosecution in the first place (58.12–13).
Epikhares asserts that Theokrines owes other debts too. There was a fine of 700 drachmas imposed by the members of his tribe (phyle), Leontis, for theft of their funds. Admittedly it may have been Theokrines' grandfather who incurred that fine, but he and his brother have inherited it, so that his wickedness extends to the third generation!23 This assertion too is supported (p. 296 ) by the reading of a law, a decree of the tribe, and testimony from members of the tribe (58.14–18). However, the decree praised Theokrines for his willingness to pay the debt (58.18), which suggests that he had not been legally required to pay it. Then again, Theokrines' father had been liable to pay a sum of 1,000 drachmas for wrongfully ‘removing to freedom’24 a slave‐woman belonging to Kephisodoros; half of that sum should have been paid to the state and half to the slave's owner. By an improper private arrangement, Theokrines' father paid Kephisodoros (rather more than 500 drachmas, no doubt) and Kephisodoros agreed not to report the matter to the authorities (the praktores), so that Theokrines' father avoided the payment to the state treasury. So this, says Epikhares, is yet another debt which Theokrines owes to the state (58.19–21). But evidently it was not a fine that had ever been formally imposed.
Thus Epikhares' argument that Theokrines was liable for these inherited debts is not strong, and he is prudent to rely primarily on the liability to a fine for dropping the phasis against Mikon. The next part of the speech is a kind of interlude, dismissing the suggestion that Theokrines is being victimized because he prosecutes other men, and urging the jury to reach a verdict in accordance with the evidence of the witnesses, and not to be misled by the speeches of Theokrines and his supporters (58.22–6). There is then a short passage about Theokrines' disreputable brother, intended to blacken Theokrines' character by association: when the brother held the office of thesmothetes, his behaviour caused the whole board of thesmothetai to be dismissed. Afterwards the brother died a violent death, but Theokrines accepted a payment to take no action against those responsible. Epikhares indulges in some sarcastic irony: ‘He's a good man, trustworthy and incorruptible! Why, he wouldn't even say so himself’ (58.29).
It is at this point that Epikhares gives the details of the case of graphe paranomon in which his father was convicted (58.30–2). Theokrines would have been willing to drop that case if Epikhares' father had paid him 1,000 drachmas. He did in fact drop his prosecution of Polyeuktos on receiving a bribe of 200 drachmas, and for similar small payments he has dropped cases against several other men, including Antimedon, Hypereides, and Demosthenes. So much for his claim that he defends Athens by bringing graphai paranomon against those who make illegal proposals (58.32‐5)! He will claim that the present prosecution has been brought with the aim of stopping him bringing graphai paranomon; on the contrary, it is because of the graphe paranomon already brought that he is being prosecuted (58.36). Politicians (p. 297 ) who pretend to be adversaries are really supporting one another; they are scoundrels by nature (58.39‐40).
As we read the speech, it becomes clear that it is part of an ongoing tussle among Athenian politicians, in which the procedure of graphe paranomon has become a common weapon. The second half of the text contains little fresh argumentation, but repeats in different wording many of the points already made. Epikhares is prosecuting in obedience to his father's request (58.57–8) and ought not to be disadvantaged because he is young (58.41). He has been abandoned by those who ought to have supported him (58.42, 59), whereas Theokrines and other politicians support one another (58.44, 53) anuous and unsystematic. But in a speech they are not to be regarded as faults. No doubt many of the jurors were unintelligent and inattentive. They were more likely to take in and remember Epikhares' points if he made them several times. In his conclusion Epikhares adduces the achievements of his family.
Remember, men of the jury, not only the villainy of these men but also our own ancestors. Epikhares, my grandfather, by winning the boys' stadion 25 at Olympia brought a crown to the city, and had a goodly reputation with your ancestors when he died. Yet we, because of this devilish man, have been deprived of this city,26 for which Aristokrates son of Skellias, who was the uncle of Epikhares my grandfather and whose name is borne by my brother here, performed many fine actions during the city's war with the Lakedaimonians. Demolishing Eëtioneia,27 into which Kritias and his party were intending to receive the Lakedaimonians, he tore down the fortification and restored the democracy, risking personal dangers—not of the kind we face, but ones in which even defeat is glorious—and put a stop to those who were conspiring against you. On his account, even if we were as bad as Theokrines here, it would be reasonable for you to protect us, let alone when we are better men than he is and have a just case.
Epikhares' history is inaccurate, since he confuses events of 411 with those of 403. But he still makes an effective peroration, contrasting his family's services to Athens with the harm done by squabbling minor politicians like (p. 298 ) Theokrines. His case may really have been weak, but his speech does him credit. We may agree with the comment of Libanios in the hypothesis that it is ‘not unlike those of Demosthenes’.28 If Epikhares did write it himself as a very young man, he shows promise as an orator of whom we might have expected to hear more. But presumably inheritance of his father's disfranchisement prevented him from making further speeches in the courts or in the Ekklesia.
Against Aristogeiton (Orations 25 and 26)
There are two speeches against Aristogeiton in the Demosthenic corpus, the first (Oration 25) considerably longer than the second (Oration 26). There has long been disagreement among scholars about their authenticity: are both by Demosthenes, or only one or the other, or neither? In my opinion, the first speech is by Demosthenes and the second not. But it will be best to start by considering the contents of each text and then to come back to the question of authenticity.
Aristogeiton was evidently prominent in politics, though not a great deal is known about him apart from what we are told in these speeches. Both are for the prosecution at a trial, and both refer to what has already been said by Lykourgos (25.1, 26.16). Evidently Lykourgos delivered the first speech for the prosecution. Deinarkhos, speaking against Aristogeiton after the Harpalos affair in 323, uses the expression ‘lastly’ to introduce a reference to the prosecution by Lykourgos;29 that may mean that it was recent. Thus the date of our speeches is probably, but not certainly, 325 or 324.
We do not now have Lykourgos' speech, but it survived until the time of Harpokration, who in his lexicon cites several words and phrases from it. Libanios too must have been able to read it. Whereas Libanios' hypotheseis to Demosthenes' orations usually draw their information from the Demosthenic texts themselves, his hypothesis to Against Aristogeiton contains a quite detailed narrative of facts which are not given by Demosthenes and must be based on Lykourgos' speech. This narrative is our main source of information about the circumstances of the case.
Pythangelos and Skaphon, seeing Hierokles carrying some sacred vestments on which there was also gold lettering naming the dedicators, arrested him and took him to the (p. 299 ) prytaneis as a stealer of sacred property; and on the next day the prytaneis brought him before the Ekklesia. Hierokles stated that he took the vestments because he had been sent by the priestess to convey them to the Sacred Chase.30 Thereupon Aristogeiton proposed a decree which not only had not been considered by the Boule but was to outrageous effect, that if he admitted carrying off the vestments he should be put to death immediately, and if he denied it he should be put on trial; the consequence for him was that if he admitted the truth he died at once, and if he denied it he would suffer that fate shortly afterwards.31 This decree was prosecuted by graphe paranomon by Phanostratos, the father of the accused Hierokles, with Demosthenes as joint prosecutor. He won the case paranomon, and the court assessed the penalty for Aristogeiton at 5 talents.
That was the first fine imposed on Aristogeiton. Next he incurred a fine of 1,000 drachmas for prosecuting Hegemon and selling the case, not obtaining one‐fifth of the votes.32
Because he did not pay up within the fixed time‐limit, the fines were doubled according to law and amounted to 10 talents and 2,000 drachmas. To pay these amounts he listed at the treasury a farm of his; and this farm was bought by Eunomos, his brother, who asked for an arrangement of the fine so as to pay the total over ten years, putting down the part falling due every year. He made two payments, 2 talents and 400 drachmas; the rest was owing, 8 talents and 1,600 drachmas. So Aristogeiton, thinking he had the right to speak and was no longer in debt since he had provided the city with a substitute debtor, was bringing many prosecutions and making public speeches, although the laws disfranchised a debtor to the treasury until he paid. Therefore Lykourgos and his group prosecuted him by endeixis on the ground that he spoke when not permitted. So, since Aristogeiton's name had not been erased on the Akropolis but his fine was still inscribed, while the buyer of the farm had been made a debtor, a question arises whether only the farm's purchaser owes, or also the man who was originally fined, until the debt is paid off.
So about the two fines, that is the question that arises. But the prosecutors say that he also owes a third fine to the treasury. In opposition to this, Aristogeiton says that he has been inscribed wrongly and for that reason has brought a case against (p. 300 ) Ariston who inscribed him. Demosthenes and Lykourgos say nothing about whether the inscription has been made rightly or not, but they declare ‘When he convicts Ariston, then Aristogeiton will be erased and Ariston will be inscribed according to law; but until the case is tried, a man who perhaps is rightly inscribed and is falsely accusing Ariston ought not to speak.’
So those are the questions of the case. Lykourgos has gone into those arguments, because he spoke first; Demosthenes' speech about those is very brief, since they have already been dealt with, and his speech as a whole comprises an accusation of Aristogeiton's life.
(Libanios hypothesis to Demosthenes 25 and 26)
A citizen in debt to the public treasury was disfranchised (atimos) until he paid off the debt. The accusation against Aristogeiton was that he made speeches to the Ekklesia and brought prosecutions in the courts (which a disfranchised citizen was forbidden to do) although he owed money to the treasury. Of course everyone knew that he made speeches; what the prosecutors needed to show was that he was a public debtor.
According to Libanios' account there were three debts. First, Aristogeiton had been convicted in a graphe paranomon brought by Phanostratos and had been condemned to pay a fine of 5 talents. Libanios gives a comparatively long summary of the events leading to that case, involving the allegation that Phanostratos' son Hierokles stole some sacred vestments; this is not strictly necessary for the purpose of showing that Aristogeiton incurred a fine, but probably Lykourgos recounted the story in detail because it reflected badly on Aristogeiton and this has caused Libanios to include more of it in his summary. Aristogeiton's second debt was a fine of 1,000 drachmas which he incurred because, when prosecuting Hegemon, he failed to obtain one‐fifth of the jury's votes. It appears that Aristogeiton acknowledged that he had incurred these two fines (5 talents plus 1,000 drachmas) and that because he had not paid them on time they had been doubled (making 10 talents plus 2,000 drachmas). For this reason he refrained from making public speeches for five years (25.42). But now he claimed that he no longer owed them because responsibility for them had been taken over by his twin brother Eunomos.33 The arrangement was that Aristogeiton gave up a farm which he owned, and Eunomos bought the farm from the treasury for the amount of the fines (10 talents and 2,000 drachmas), to be paid in ten annual instalments. But so far he had paid only two instalments, amounting to 2 talents 400 drachmas. (That does not mean that he had defaulted on the payments; it means that only two years had yet passed since the arrangement was made.) (p. 301 ) Aristogeiton assumed that he no longer owed the money because he had handed over the farm instead, and so for the last two years he had resumed making public speeches (25.38); but now Lykourgos argued that he did still owe 8 talents 1,600 drachmas which the treasury had not yet received. The question at issue was indeed an interesting one: was a man still a state debtor when he had made a full payment but the treasury had not yet received the money? Since it was Eunomos, not Aristogeiton, who was obliged to make the rest of the payments, we may take the view that formally Aristogeiton was not now the debtor. But probably Lykourgos argued that the twins were likely to have colluded with each other, so that Aristogeiton could continue to make use of the farm even though it had nominally been transferred to Eunomos.
Aristogeiton's third alleged debt was also disputed, but in a different way. A man named Ariston of Alopeke had ‘inscribed’ him as owing a fine to the treasury, but Aristogeiton claimed that the inscription was wrong. We know nothing else about Ariston (there is no particular reason to identify him with the speaker of the oration Against Konon), but he was one of the financial officials called praktores,34 and in that capacity he inscribed (in an official list on the Akropolis, which is mentioned specifically in 25.4, but not necessarily on stone) the name of Aristogeiton as owing a fine (a different fine from the ones which we have already considered). Aristogeiton, denying that he owed the fine, prosecuted Ariston,35 but at the time of Aristogeiton's trial the trial of Ariston had not yet been held. Aristogeiton maintained that, since he did not owe this fine, he was not disfranchised by it, but Lykourgos and Demosthenes argued that, since his name was inscribed on the list, he was a state debtor until Ariston was convicted (if he was convicted) and Aristogeiton's name was erased.
Thus we can see that there was scope for disputing whether Aristogeiton was really disfranchised as a state‐debtor. But Demosthenes (if we accept that he is the author of Oration 25) begins his speech by assuming that Aristogeiton's guilt has already been established by what Lykourgos has said; indeed, he says, the jurors were familiar with the facts even bdash;2). Immediately Demosthenes has broadened the scope of his attack. The word ‘wickedness’ (poneria) implies that Aristogeiton is not merely guilty of infringing a particular law, but is a thoroughly bad character. Athens is disgraced by ‘such beasts, of whom he (p. 302 ) is the central and last and first’ (25.8). They go to meetings of the Ekklesia ‘equipped with effrontery, clamour, calumny, sycophancy, shamelessness, and everything of that sort’ (25.9). The jurors must respect the spirits of legality and justice by convicting Aristogeiton; if they do not, they will damage the reputation of themselves and of the city (25.11–12). In this way Demosthenes at the outset of his speech changes the nature of the case. Lykourgos presumably presented the issue as a matter of Aristogeiton's legal status, but Demosthenes launches an attack on a group of politicians of whom Aristogeiton is the leader, and he involves the jurors in his attack by making out that their own reputation will suffer if they give the wrong verdict.
Yet the onslaught on Aristogeiton's general character is not separate from his particular transgression of the law imposing disfranchisement on state‐debtors, for the chief fault of his character is that he is a law‐breaker. This leads into a broader disquisition on the importance of the rule of law, already noticed in an earlier chapter (pp. 255–6). Everything that is important and fine, everything that adorns and protects the city, moderate behaviour, respect for elders and good order, all prevail because of the laws. It is therefore imperative to uphold them, and not to let off Aristogeiton, who breaks them. Demosthenes proceeds to make comments on Aristogeiton's general character. He reels off a list of the man's bad qualities, but focuses on one in particular, lack of sense (aponoia). The Greek word denotes ignorance of the right way to behave.36 One of the Characters of Theophrastos describes the personal conduct of a man of this sort, but Demosthenes places the emphasis rather on Aristogeiton's political conduct, which makes him unfit to be trusted with public affairs (25.32–3). He contrasts aponoia with pronoia, meaning foresight or forethought; there was a temple of Athena Pronoia in Attika37 and a great temple of Pronoia at Delphi, but no one ever erected a temple to aponoia (25.34)!
Aristogeiton is expected to say in his defence (and probably has already been saying in public before the trial) that he makes speeches and brings prosecutions in order to protect the people of Athens, and in particular, if he is now acquitted, he will prosecute Demosthenes. Evidently he alleged that Demosthenes' activities and policies were contrary to Athens' interests. Demosthenes retorts that in the past Aristogeiton had often prosecuted him—seven times by graphe 38 and twice at his euthynai after holding (p. 303 ) office—and he had been acquitted every time; so what likelihood is there that he would be convicted if Aristogeiton prosecuted him again (25.37)? Actually, in the two years since he resumed speaking in public, Aristogeiton has not attempted to prosecute Demosthenes or Lykourgos or any other politician, which shows that he either had no serious accusation to make against them or, if he did know of something serious, he had neglected to bring the accusation forward. Instead, he spent the time prosecuting various private individuals (‘poor Phokides, and the coppersmith from Peiraieus, and the hide‐tanner’) of much less significance (25.38). His supporters call him the people's watchdog,39 but instead of biting the wolves he eats the sheep (25.40)!
Demosthenes hints that Aristogeiton brings prosecutions as an agent on behalf of someone else, but declares that he is not much use as an agent because he is vulnerable to attack as an offender himself (25.39) and because he often accepts a bribe to drop a prosecution without taking it to court (25.41). However, Demosthenes is very hesitant about saying who it is that employs Aristogeiton in this way. He evidently expects that there will be some allies of Aristogeiton in the jury, though he pretends that there are not.
Now I want to touch on a rather risky topic and have a word with those who favour him on this account. What kind of men they should be considered to be, you may decide for yourselves; I shall say only that it is not sensible of them to attach themselves to him. I do not assume that any of you now present in court are of this kind—that is what it is right, good, and expedient, men of Athens, for me to say and think about you. But among the other citizens, to limit my stricture as far as possible, I assume that the only such man is his pupil—or, if you like, his teacher—Philokrates of Eleusis. Not that there are no more (I wish that no one else liked Aristogeiton!), but it is not right for me to make publicly against the other citizens an accusation with which I hesitate to reproach you. Besides, my comment will have the same effect when directed at one man.
Elsewhere, even within this same speech, Demosthenes is often forthright in criticism, and even abusive; it would be hard to find another passage as circumspect as this one anywhere in his works. He seems to be afraid not only of annoying the jury, but of suffering retaliation from some powerful supporters of Aristogeiton. Who they were, we cannot tell. The only one named is Philokrates of Eleusis (not to be confused with Philokrates of Hagnous, who proposed the Peace of 343). He is mentioned in one other speech as a man who directed accusations at Demosthenes in the period after the battle of Khaironeia (18.249), but otherwise nothing is known of his political views (p. 304 ) and activities. Now Demosthenes declares that Philokrates is foolish to put his trust in Aristogeiton, who cares only about his own financial profit.
But if he [Aristogeiton] is a dealer and a double‐dealer and a retailer of wickedness, and all but used scales and weights to sell everything he ever did, why do you spur him on, you silly man [Philokrates]? A knife which doesn't cut is no use to a butcher, surely, and to someone who wants to be the cause of trouble and harm to everyone an accuser who will sell that is quite useless. You already know that Aristogeiton is such a man, but I'll give you the facts. You remember how he sold the eisangelia against Hegemon. You know how he abandoned the graphai against Demades. In the case of Agathon the olive‐oil merchant (this was just the other day) he shouted and bawled and made a hoo‐ha, upsetting everything at meetings of the Ekklesia by saying that torture should be used; and after receiving something or other, though he was present at his [Agathon's] release, he said not a word.
Aristogeiton, says Demosthenes, is a sycophant. It is convenient to use ‘sycophant’ to translate sykophantes, but the meaning differs from the usual sense of ‘sycophant’ in modern English.40 The Greek word is a disparaging term for a prosecutor. In Athens, for most offences against the state or the community, there was no publicly appointed prosecutor. Instead, anyone who wished (or, for some offences, any Athenian citizen who wished) could prosecute in a public case. Some men no doubt brought such cases simply from public spirit, wishing to see justice done; some to improve their own reputation as orators or politicians; some as a means of injuring a personal or political opponent. And for some kinds of prosecution, perhaps because they concerned offences which were more liable than others to be ignored, an extra incentive was provided by giving a financiae system gave rise to a well‐known nuisance. This was the man who made a practice of prosecuting without justification, either because he hoped to get the payment which fell due to a successful prosecutor, or because he hoped to blackmail the accused man into bribing him to drop the accusation. It was this kind of man who was called a sycophant. Sycophants were already notorious in the time of Aristophanes, who presents sycophancy in his plays as if it were a regular, though disgraceful, profession, rather like prostitution. The true situation was not so clear‐cut. The term is subjective and opprobrious, not just factual. Many a defendant, even if guilty, would angrily call his accuser a sycophant, (p. 305 ) but no prosecutor would ever use the word of himself. When Demosthenes says ‘If Aristogeiton is simply wicked and harsh and a sycophant and the sort of man he professes to be…’ (25.45), that does not mean that Aristogeiton claims to be a sycophant, just as it does not mean that he claims to be wicked and harsh; it means that the fierce prosecutions, which he claims he brings from patriotic motives, are regarded by Demosthenes as sycophancy. He is a sycophant, according to Demosthenes, because his real motive is financial. He is a blackmailer. He threatens to prosecute someone, and then agrees to ‘sell’ the prosecution by giving it up if his victim pays him money. He was paid by Hegemon to present his prosecution badly (see p. 299 n. 32); he took money from Demades to give up more than one prosecution of him; he received a sum of money from Agathon the olive‐oil merchant to remain silent at the meeting of the Ekklesia at which it was resolved to let Agathon off without trial. Because he abandons so many of the prosecutions that he threatens, he is no more use to Philokrates than a blunt knife to a butcher.
In the middle part of the speech Demosthenes is no longer concerned with the specific grounds for prosecution. He is simply depicting Aristogeiton as a bad character. As in the cases of Meidias (21.158) and Aiskhines (19.314) the kind of life Aristogeiton leads can be seen from the way he goes about in the Agora every day.
Just consider. There are twenty thousand Athenians altogether.41 Each of these goes around in the Agora engaged in some particular business—I mean either some public or some personal business. But not Aristogeiton; he can't point to any decent or honourable activity in which he passes his life. There is no political benefit to which he devotes himself; he is not engaged in a profession or in agriculture or in any other work; he does not take part in any charitable or social activity. He walks through the Agora like a viper or a scorpion with its sting erect, darting this way and that, seeing whom he can ruin or slander or harm, and so frighten him and exact money. He never goes to the barbers' or the perfumers' or any of the other shops here in the city. Unappeasable, unstable, unsociable, he has no charm, no friendliness, none of the characteristics of a decent person. His companions are the ones with whom painters depict the impious in Hades—it is with Curse and Slander and Envy and Sedition and Strife that he goes around.
This is a masterly piece of character‐description, or rather of character‐destruction. As its basis it takes something with which every man in the jury would be familiar: everyday life in the centre of Athens with its sociable encounters in the open or in shops. (It is interesting that the barbers' and (p. 306 ) the perfumers' shops in particular are specified as places where men often forgathered for conversation.) Aristogeiton's activity is set in contrast with this background. Many of the jurors would have noticed him walking about, and would appreciate the comic depiction of his manner of walking, darting around like some small but dangerous animal. His sole aim is blackmail, and his nature is summed up in three memorably assonant adjectives: ‘unappeasable, unstable, unsociable’.42 Finally the jurors are reminded of pictures of demons in Hades, with which they are to associate Aristogeiton. Is this a man to whom they want to give the extraordinary privilege of making speeches while in debt to the treasury (25.53)?
Demosthenes proceeds to relate some disreputable incidents in the past life of Aristogeiton and his family.43 His father44 was condemned to death in Athens (for what offence, we are not told), but evidently fled from Attika before the sentence was carried out, for he was afterwards imprisoned in Eretria (we are not told his offence there either). There he was left by his son, and died; Aristogeiton failed to give him a funeral and refused to reimburse the man who did, but actually prosecuted him (25.54; this may mean that a relative or friend in Eretria not only arranged the father's funeral but also took possession of whatever property he left, of which Aristogeiton claimed to be the heir). Aristogeiton's mother, who on some occasion was physically assaulted by him, had given birth not only to him and his twin brother Eunomos but also to a girl ‘in whatever way, for I pass over that’, and he subsequently ‘sold his sister for export’; in connection with this, Eunomos initiated a prosecution against him (25.55). What is implied here, though not plainly stated by Demosthenes, is that the mother of Aristogeiton and Eunomos had intercourse with a slave in the household (perhaps after her husband had departed to Eretria, so that he was known not to be the father), and the child was therefore a slave and could be sold; but Aristogeiton kept the proceeds, and Eunomos claimed half. The mother was convicted of ‘defection’,45 and so was herself sold into slavery (25.65).
(p. 307 ) Aristogeiton himself had been imprisoned in Athens with his brother twice (25.67), and spent ‘much time’ in the jail (25.61), but Demosthenes does not define the length of time or the offences. Instead he relates two adventures which he thinks reflect badly on his opponent. On one occasion Aristogeiton escaped from the jail (he ‘dug through’ it in 25.56, but that does not necessarily mean that he made a hole in the wall) and took refuge with a metic woman named Zobia. She concealed him for some days, while the Eleven (the officials in charge of the jail) were searching for him, and then she provided him with money and clothes and enabled him to escape to Megara. Years later, when he had become well‐known, she (presumably in poverty) asked for his help but, so far from repaying her kindness, he sent her away from his house and then, when she complained to his friends, arrested and denounced her for failure to pay the metics' tax, though it turned out that it had in fact been paid. Demosthenes expects the jurors to be shocked at Aristogeiton's ingratitude, and calls him a foul beast (25.56–8).
A little later, proceeding in reverse chronological order (so as to build up to a climax with an incident even more shocking), Demosthenes tells of something which happened while Aristogeiton was still in jail. He was joined there by a man from Tanagra in Boiotia, who was imprisoned because he was a guarantor for a friend who had defaulted. (This detail is mentioned to show that the man, unlike Aristogeiton, was not a criminal.) This man accused Aristogeiton of stealing a document from him. Aristogeiton denied it—though the document was in fact found later in a box to which he had the key—and a fight developed, in which Aristogeiton, getting the worst of it, bit off and swallowed the Tanagran's nose. The other prisoners in the jail were so appalled that they formally resolved not to share fire or light, drink or food with Aristogeiton. And is it fitting for the Athenians to receive counsel fromAristogeiton, will the citizens accept him as one of themselves? ‘Isn't he impious? Isn't he savage? Isn't he defiled? Isn't he—a sycophant?’ (25.60–3).
These colourful anecdotes about Zobia and about the man from Tanagra have no strict relevance to the charge on which Aristogeiton is being tried. But they shed a bad light on his character, and they attract, or revive, the jurors' attention halfway through the speech. Some of the details may be exaggerated by Demosthenes. Yet he calls witnesses to testify to his narrative, including Zobia's prostates or sponsor (Zobia herself, being female, could not testify) and the officials (the poletai) to whom Aristogeiton denounced her (25.58). He also calls the man whose nose was bitten off—a remarkable piece of visible evidence (25.62). So the stories are not mere fiction.
(p. 308 ) The next part of the text, on the other hand, does deal with an aspect of the trial charge, on the pretext that Lykourgos has omitted it (25.69); perhaps Demosthenes had arranged with Lykourgos in advance that he would present this particular argument. It is that a debtor does not cease to be a debtor as soon as he challenges or denies the debt, but only when his denial is accepted and his name is removed from the list of debtors. Thus Aristogeiton was not released from his debt when he initiated a prosecution of Ariston for inscribing his name falsely; only if he won that case would his name be erased from the list and Ariston's name be inscribed in its place. Otherwise, what would be the effect of erasing his name? If he had already been released from the debt earlier, the erasing would reverse that, so that he would owe the debt once again (25.73)! This reductio ad absurdum rests on the assumption that a change in the list must entail a change in his status as a debtor. Aristogeiton of course would deny that; he would say that removal of his name simply brings the list into accordance with the fact. This is so obvious that Demosthenes cannot have expected anyone to take his argument seriously; it is a joke, and rather a contrived one at that. But his main point here, that Aristogeiton remained a debtor until he won his case against Ariston, is legally sound.
The last quarter of the text contains little that is new in substance, but plays variations on the theme that Aristogeiton is a bad man and deserves to be severely punished. It includes a passage surveying different types of plea‐in‐mitigation which were often deployed in defence speeches; Demosthenes makes effective use of hypophora (suggestions by a hypothetical opponent, each in turn rejected) to show that none of these is available to Aristogeiton.46
I have before now seen some defendants who, being convicted by the actual facts and unable to prove their innocence, have resorted in some cases to the moderation and sobriety of their life, in some to their ancestors' achievements and liturgies, and in some to other such means of moving the jurors to pity and sympathy. But I can't see that any of those topics is accessible to Aristogeiton. It's all precipices, ravines, chasms. What in fact will he mention? ‘Something his father has done.’ But you yourselves condemned his father to death in these courts; obviously you thought him a bad man who deserved to die. ‘Well, if his father is a hard subject for him, he'll resort to presenting his own life as sober and moderate.’ What life? Where has he lived it? The one you have all seen is not of that kind! ‘He'll turn to the liturgies.’ Performed when, or where? His father's? There are none. His own? You will find cases of phasis, apagoge, and endeixis, not liturgies. ‘But apart from those, many relatives and gentlemen will (p. 309 ) stand by him and beg him off.’ But he has none, and never had; how could he, when he's not even a free man?47 ‘Except that he has this brother, who is here and has brought that fine prosecution48 against him.’ What need is there to say more about him?
And of course Demosthenes does go on to say more about Aristogeiton's twin brother Eunomos, as a further means of bringing the family into contempt: after the execution of Theoris, the witch from Lemnos,49 Eunomos procured her drugs and spells from her servant, whom he had seduced, and set himself up as a sorcerer and quack doctor. And this is the relative who is going to plead in defence of Aristogeiton (25.79–80)! The path of Aristogeiton's defence is all ‘precipices, ravines, chasms’ (25.76). This part of Demosthenes' speech is made more vivid and arresting by some striking similes and metaphors. The Athenian citizen‐body is like a family, in which Aristogeiton's behaviour is disruptive.
You, men of Athens, in the exercise of your natural sympathy towards one another, as I said, manage your city as a whole in the same way as families manage their individual houses. How do they do that? Where there is a father and adult sons, and perhaps their children too, there are bound to be many different wishes; for youth and age do not talk and act in the same ways. Nevertheless the young, if they are moderate, carry on all their activities in such a way that preferably they avoid notice, or else it is clear that they want to do so; while the elders, on the other hand, if they do see expenditure or drinking or frivolity beyond moderation, see them without appearing to have seen them. As a result, natural inclinations are fulfilled, and are fulfilled satisfactorily. In the same way, men of Athens, you manage your city with the sympathy of family members, some of you seeing what the unfortunate do—seeing without seeing and hearing without hearing, as the saying goes—while for their part they carry on their activities with evident caution and embarrassment. Consequently general harmony, which is the cause of all good things, is established and abiding in our city. All this, so well implanted in your nature and character, Aristogeiton is upsetting, destroying, and casting aside.
Here Demosthenes has brilliantly selected as the basis for his comparison something which every member of the jury knew and valued: harmonious (p. 310 ) family life. Aristogeiton is then presented as a destructive influence on the same quality in Athens as a whole. In fact he is like a dangerous illness, or a pestilent animal.
Just as doctors, when they discover a cancer or a tumour or some incurable malady, cauterize it or cut it out entirely, so you must banish this beast, throw him out of the city, and destroy him.…Perhaps none of you has ever been bitten by a viper or a tarantula (and may you never be!), but still you kill all such creatures when you see them. In the same way, men of Athens, when you see a sycophant, a spiteful person, a human viper, don't wait for him to bite each of you; anyone who comes across him should punish him.
These colourful comparisons bring to a climax a text which is a masterpiece of vituperation.50 In view of the skill with which Aristogeiton's character is demolished, it is surprising that some critics have denied that Demosthenes is the author. In ancient times the only person to doubt his authorship, as far as we know, was Dionysios, who rejected both speeches against Aristogeiton.
If there are in the speeches falsely ascribed to him some unpleasant, vulgar, and crude expressions, as in the two51 Against Aristogeiton…
(Dionysios of Halikarnassos Demosthenes 57)
Dionysios of Halikarnassos does not accept that these speeches are by Demosthenes, basing his conjecture on the form. Some say that the orator has deliberately adoptedt the second, which contains nothing worthy of the orator.
(Libanios hypothesis to Demosthenes 25 and 26)
Evidently Libanios heard or read some discussion of the two speeches, in which critics tried to explain why they do not contain much legal argument or factual proof, but as far as the first speech was concerned no one except Dionysios inferred that Demosthenes was not the author. In fact it is easy to accept the view of those who believed that Lykourgos exhausted the main facts and arguments before Demosthenes spoke, for that is virtually what Demosthenes himself says (25.14). Dionysios' adverse judgement was based on his own impression of the form or style of the speech, not on any external (p. 311 ) evidence, and no other ancient writer, as far as we know, condemned it.52 Pliny the Younger, in a letter praising boldness of expression in oratory, quotes more instances from this speech than from any other, and clearly regards it as an outstanding example of Demosthenes' art.53 The author of the treatise On the Sublime likewise quotes from it without displaying any doubt that Demosthenes wrote it.54
It was only in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and especially in Germany, that scholarly opinion tipped against the genuineness of this oration. One kind of argument used then was based on details of the Athenian constitution and law: it was maintained that several passages of the text conflicted with the known facts of the Athenian system, and that such errors could not have been committed by Demosthenes or by any fourth‐century Athenian. The fullest presentation of this view is an article by Lipsius published in 1883.55 Some of Lipsius's points have subsequently been refuted,56 and some others can be rejected because they rest either on errors about Athenian law or on misinterpretation of the text of the oration. I give a few examples. Early in the speech Demosthenes says that the Athenians at Ekklesia meetings (in the plural) told him to prosecute Aristogeiton and he was reluctant to do so (25.13); Lipsius objects that the Ekklesia did not appoint prosecutors for an endeixis, but in fact Demosthenes is surely referring to informal urging, not to formal appointment (which would not have been made at more than one meeting).57 In two passages Aristogeiton's prosecution of Ariston for wrongly inscribing his name as a debtor is called a prosecution bouleuseos, though we would have expected it to be pseudengraphes (25.28, 71–3); but perhaps alternative procedures were available for that offence, or one procedure was called by alternative names. In another passage it is said that Aristogeiton refrained from addressing the Ekklesia for five years in which he was forbidden to do so (25.42), though in fact disfranchisement for state‐debtors lasted indefinitely, not for a fixed number of years; but Demosthenes means not that five years was the term of disfranchisement, but that it was the period during which Aristogeiton obeyed the ban on speaking. Later in the speech it is not the case that the word timema is (p. 312 ) misused to mean a fine as distinct from the death penalty; it is correctly used to mean any penalty assessed by a jury (25.87).58 There still remain a few technical points which have not yet been explained satisfactorily, but the right approach to them is to continue looking for explanations, not to reject the whole speech on account of these details.
In a few places the text makes reference to something which Lykourgos has said in his speech (25.1, 14, 69, 97), but that does not prove that it was written (whether by Demosthenes or by someone else) after the trial was over.59 When two men (or more) co‐operated in a prosecution, they will naturally have discussed their tactics beforehand, so that Demosthenes, when writing his speech before the trial, will have known more or less what Lykourgos was intending to say; he may even have read the draft of Lykourgos' speech. He omits many details of facts and laws on the ground that Lykourgos has presented them already, devoting more attention to general considerations such as the rule of law (25.14). Yet he does include details of Aristogeiton's earlier life (especially in 25.54–68) which a later writer would have been unlikely either to know or to invent. This is another reason to believe that Demosthenes is the author.
However, the arguments from the content of the speech are not really conclusive either against or in favour of Demosthenes' authorship, and in the end our verdict depends on our assessment of its style and tone. Dionysios evidently thought that some expressions were too ‘unpleasant, vulgar, and crude’ to be Demosthenic. No doubt Dionysios had a refined taste in prose style, but Demosthenes is likely to have thought strong language appropriate for denouncing a scoundrel. I have already quoted some examples of vivid and arresting expression in this text, and for my part I concur with Blass's judgement: ‘there is such power and strength in the speech that it would really be difficult to credit anyone other than Demosthenes with such an achievement’.60 I have little doubt that this is indeed the draft which Demosthenes prepared in advance for Aristogeiton's trial.
But what then are we to make of the second text (Oration 26)? It too declares that Aristogeiton's guilt has already been proved by Lykourgos (26.1, 16); so it too purports to be a supporting speech for the prosecution at Aristogeiton's trial. But Demosthenes can hardly have delivered two such speeches at the same trial. If Oration 25 is rightly identified as his speech, Oration 26 may be someone else's speech. That indeed is quite plausible, for it lacks the strength of expression which we observe in the longer text. Much of (p. 313 ) it merely reiterates the importance of punishing transgression of the law, and the particular importance of punishing Aristogeiton because he is a prominent politician. There are conventional references to Solon who made laws for Athens (26.23) and to statesmen of the past who incurred penalties for breaking them (26.6), but only one passage refers specifically to a recent incident: after the defeat at Khaironeia, Hypereides proposed a decree to re‐enfranchise citizens who had been disfranchised, and Aristogeiton opposed the proposal by a graphe paranomon; it is therefore inconsistent for Aristogeiton to demand, and would be unreasonable for the jury to concede, that his own disfranchisement should be set aside (26.11–14). The writer's knowledge of this incident encourages us to ascribe the text to a contemporary, rather than to a rhetorician of a later age. So the likeliest conclusion is that Oration 26 is not just a rhetorical exercise in imitation of Demosthenes, but the genuine speech of another supporting speaker at the trial of Aristogeiton, preserved alongside Demosthenes' speech.61
(1) Aiskhines 1.77, Dion. Hal. Deinarkhos 11, Harpokration δ 50 (under διαψήϕισις). No such general review is known to have been held earlier in the fourth century, though on at least one occasion a review of its members was held by one deme individually (57.26).
(2) On the procedure of the deme meeting see Whitehead Demes 104–9.
(3) Libanios in the hypothesis says that if he was rejected by the jury he was sold as a slave, but that is probably incorrect. Euxitheos in 57.70 says nothing about a risk of enslavement, but only that he may become ‘cityless’ (ἄπολιν) ceasing to be a citizen. Cf. Gomme Essays 75–80.
(4) Ath. Pol. 42.1.
(5) Statements that ‘Euboulides has accused me’ (e.g. 57.1) might refer back to the proceedings at the deme meeting, but ἐβλασϕήμει … ὣσπερ καὶ νυ̑ν (57.11) does imply that Euboulides has already spoken at the trial.
(6) Citizenship conferred as a distinction on an alien (for example, Pasion; see p. 99) is not relevant to the case of Euxitheos.
(8) On the use of witnesses in this case see Scafuro in Boegehold and Scafuro (eds) Athenian Identity and Civic Ideology 165–8.
(9) This may imply that Kleandros rescued or ransomed him from slavery; less probably, that he joined Kleandros' acting troupe.
(10) Cf. 39.27–9, where the speaker can provide no sure way of telling which of two half‐brothers is the older.
(11) On this aspect of the case cf. Whitehead Demes 298–301, Roisman Conspiracy 88–94.
(12) Brown Das Geschäft mit dem Staat 198–201.
(13) For his membership of the Boule cf. IG 22 218.6–7. It is generally thought (e.g. Whitehead Demes 88 n. 11) that he was also the demarch. However, 57.8 does not say that; an alternative possibility is that the Boule assigned the duty of conducting the review to one of its own members in each deme. Cf. Develin Cl. et Med. 42 (1991) 75–9.
(14) From this we see that the meeting was held in the town of Athens, not in the deme itself.
(15) In this connection R. Osborne Demos 150–1 suggests that Euxitheos' main residence was not in the deme. Perhaps some of the demesmen resented him as an outsider because he was living in the town of Athens.
(16) The reference is to the examination of men selected by lot to hold office as arkhons, to check that they are entitled to hold it.
(17) Dionysios thought the author was Deinarkhos (Dion. Hal. Deinarkhos 10), but that may be ruled out on chronological grounds because Deinarkhos' arrival in Athens (on which see Worthington Dinarchus 3–5) was probably later than the date of this speech.
(19) Compare the case of Leokhares (pp. 92–8).
(21) The details of the definition of this offence and the penalty for it are disputed. See MacDowell Meidias 327–8, Harris Dike 2 (1999) 123–42 (reprinted with afterthoughts in his Democracy and the Rule of Law 405–22), Wallace (with a response by Harris) Symposion 2003 (2006) 57–72.
(22) On Epikhares' plea for sympathy on the ground of his youth see Roisman Manhood 21–3.
(23) 58.17 πονηρὸς ἐκ τριγονίας ἐστίν.
(24) On this legal procedure see Harrison Law 1.178–9, 221.
(25) A foot‐race of approximately 200 metres.
(26) Epikhares means that his father is disfranchised now, and he himself and his brother will inherit the disfranchisement when his father dies.
(27) The north side of the main harbour at Peiraieus.
(28) Blass Beredsamkeit 3.1.502–3 speculates that Epikhares had been a follower of Demosthenes and it was for that reason that he not only imitated Demosthenes' style but also had hoped that Demosthenes would support him in this case.
(29) Deinarkhos 2.13 τὸ τελευται̑ον.
(30) The Sacred Chase (τὸ ἱερὸν κυνηγέσιον) was presumably a religious ritual in honour of Artemis, goddess of hunting.
(31) Libanios reports this decree as being directed against Hierokles only, but Demosthenes' remark ‘when you proposed to put to death three of the citizens without trial’ (25.87) seems to mean that two others were also mentioned in it.
(32) This means that Hegemon paid Aristogeiton to present the case for the prosecution in an inadequate manner, so that the prosecution would lose the case. In the event, Aristogeiton's presentation was so desultory that he obtained less than one‐fifth of the jury's votes and thus incurred a fine of 1,000 drachmas. On failure to obtain that proportion of votes see p. 295 n. 21. The words ‘not obtaining one‐fifth of the votes’ are unnecessarily deleted by Taylor, who supposes the meaning to be that Aristogeiton was bribed to drop the case entirely so that it did not go to trial at all. The prosecution of Hegemon was an eisangelia (25.47), but we do not know for what offence.
(33) Demosthenes tells us in 25.79 that they were twins. The name of Eunomos is given by Libanios in the hypothesis.
(34) This emerges from 25.28, where ἑτέρᾳ (sc. ἐγγραϕῃ̑) πρακτόρων must refer to the inscription made by Ariston.
(35) Ariston's alleged offence is called βούλευσις (25.28, 71, 73), literally ‘deliberation’ or ‘planning’, but it is not clear how, or indeed whether, that term was defined by law in connection with the praktores. Lipsius Recht 444 believes it to be the wrong name, and that is one of his reasons for regarding Oration 25 as spurious; against this see Hansen Apagoge 146–7.
(36) On the definition of ἀπόνοια see Dover Greek Popular Morality 149 n. 2, Diggle Theophrastus: Characters 250.
(37) The temple of Athena Pronoia was at Prasiai on the east coast of Attika (Lexeis Rhetorikai in Anecdota Bekker 1.299.6–7).
(38) For what offences, we are not told. Probably most or all of these prosecutions were attacks by graphe paranomon on decrees proposed by Demosthenes.
(39) Similarly Kleon, a century earlier, claimed to be the people's watchdog (Aristophanes Horsemen 1023, Wasps 895, etc.).
(40) I repeat here some lines from MacDowell Aristophanes and Athens 74–5. For detailed discussion of sycophants in Athens see especially the debate between R. Osborne and D. Harvey in Cartledge, Millett, and Todd (eds) Nomos 83–121, in which Harvey convincingly refutes Osborne. For later accounts see Todd The Shape of Athenian Law 92–4, Kapparis Neaira 254–6.
(41) The figure refers to adult males of citizen status. Of course many of these, especially those residing at a distance from the town, would not be in the Agora every day.
(42) My translation attempts to represent the assonance as well as the sense of the Greek words: ἄσπειστος, ἀνίδρυτος, ἄμεικτος.
(43) Some of these incidents are also mentioned more briefly by Deinarkhos 2.8–19.
(44) The father's name was Kydimakhos (Deinarkhos 2.8).
(45) The Greek legal term is ἀποστασίου. Elsewhere this term refers to prosecution of a metic, brought into court by the polemarch (35.48, Ath. Pol. 58.3). But Aristogeiton's mother cannot have been a metic; she must have been of citizen status, because otherwise Aristogeiton himself would not have been a citizen. Here ‘defection’ evidently refers to a wife who has deserted her husband by having sexual intercourse with a slave. Enslavement may have been the normal penalty, on the ground that the woman had morally reduced herself to the level of a slave; but this is uncertain, because we have no other instance of this offence in our sources.
(46) In my translation I use quotation marks to represent the Greek phrases νὴ Δία and ὠ̑ τα̑ν, which introduce the suggestions of an imaginary interlocutor.
(47) Demosthenes does not explain his grounds for saying that Aristogeiton is not free. Probably he means only that morally he falls below the standards appropriate to an Athenian citizen.
(48) The prosecution concerning his half‐sister; see p. 306. ‘Fine’ is sarcastic; it is disgraceful to prosecute one's own brother.
(49) On the case of Theoris see Dickie Magic and Magicians 50–4.
(50) Cf. Worman Abusive Mouths 230–2.
(51) The Greek words here are ἐν τῃ̑ κατ᾿ Ἀριστογείτονος β,´, and it is not clear whether this means ‘in the pair’ or ‘in the second’. However, Libanios' account shows that Dionysios did reject both speeches.
(52) Photios Bibliotheke 265 (491a), writing in the ninth century, says that ‘there are those who’ regard both speeches Against Aristogeiton as spurious, but he does not name any of them except Dionysios. Photios also read a text which purported to be Aristogeiton's defence speech, but it is not extant now and we have no way of knowin
(53) Pliny Epistles 9.26.
(54) [Longinos] On the Sublime 27.3.
(56) See especially Hansen Apagoge 144–52, Rubinstein Litigation and Cooperation 30–2.
(57) Here I differ from both Lipsius and Hansen.
(58) The sense is not that Aristogeiton was lucky to incur only a fine when he deserved to be put to death, but that it was right for him to be punished, for he deserved even death.
(59) This is the view of Blass Beredsamkeit 3.1.413.
(60) Blass Beredsamkeit 3.1.415. A similar view is taken by Weil Plaidoyers politiques 2.294.
(61) My conclusions about these two speeches are much the same as those reached by Mathieu Plaidoyers politiques 4.134–9. He also summarizes some other inconclusive arguments about the genuineness of the texts.