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was submitted in this form to a public arbitrator, and as his award, whatever it may have been, was not final, the plaintiff brought his suit before one of the legal tribunals, possibly that known as the Forty, state-officers chosen by lot who went on circuit through the demes of Attica, and under whose cognisance, besides some minor matters, all private lawsuits for assault were placed'. Two points were essential to the proof of the case, (1) that the defendant struck the plaintiff who was a free-man, with intent to insult him; and (2) that the defendant struck the first blow and was not acting in self-defence under the provocation of a previous assault. The plaintiff, after
brief statement of the reasons which led him to prefer bringing a private suit instead of a public indictment against his assailant, and after the usual request for a favourable hearing, gives à graphic account of the origin of the feud between Conon's sons and himself (SS 3—6); he then passes on to a vivid description of the scene in the market-place and the brutal assault there committed by Conon and one of his sons (SS 7—9), and calls medical and other evidence to prove the serious nature of that assault and its nearly fatal result (SS 10-12).
He next anticipates the defence which is likely to be set up by Conon, who, he understands, will make light of his son's misconduct and try to pass it off as a mere freak of youthful pleasantry; he contrasts the flippancy of the proposed defence with the more serious spirit of the laws of Athens, which provide penalties for even minor offences to preclude the perpetration of
1 Or. 87 (Pant.) 8 33, i up αικία και τα των βιαίων προς τους τετταράκοντα, αι δε της ύβρεως (δίκαι) προς τους θεσμοθέτας. See
esp. Caillemer in Dict. des An. tiquités (Daremberg et Saglio) 8.V. Aikias dikê.
graver crimes ($$ 13—20); and he submits that the plea of youth can only be urged in mitigation of punishment and is at any rate inapplicable to Conon himself, a man of more than fifty years of age, who, so far from restraining his sons and the other assailants, was actually the ringleader of them all (SS 21—23). The defendant was amenable to the laws against highway robbery and brutal outrage and, had death ensued, would have been chargeable with murder (SS 24, 25).
He further describes the evasive conduct of the defendant during the preliminary arbitration (SS 25—29); denounces the falsehood of the evidence put in by persons who were boon-companions of the defendant, deposing that they found the plaintiff fighting with the defendant's son, and that the defendant did not strike the plaintiff ; contrasts it with the evidence of impartial persons on his own side attesting to his having been assaulted by the defendant (SS 30—33); and comments severely on the bad character of the witnesses for the defence ($$ 34—37).
He then warns the court not to allow themselves to be imposed upon by the hard swearing and the sensational imprecations which, he is informed, will be resorted to by the defendant, whose antecedents prove his reckless disregard of things sacred; while he himself, averse though he was to taking even a lawful oath, had for the truth's sake offered to take such a pledge; and, as that offer bad been declined by the defendant, he would now for the satisfaction of the court swear solemnly that in very truth he had been brutally assaulted by his opponents (SS 38—41).
After pointing out that even in this private suit public interests were at stake, he very briefly refers to the way in which his family and himself had done their duty towards their country, while his opponents had done nothing of the kind. Even supposing,' he says in conclusion, 'we are of less service to the state than our opponents, that is no reason why we should be assaulted and brutally outraged.'
The only clue to the date of the speech is to be found in a passage in § 3, whence we conclude that it was delivered two years after orders were given at Athens for a military force to go out on garrison duty to Panactum, a fort on the Boeotian frontier. We read of such an expedition in B.C. 343'; and this would bring us to B.C. 341 as the year of the trial. It has been suggested, however, though no reason is assigned, that this is too late a year, and that there is warrant for believing there was regular military service, as opposed to a special expedition, on the Boeotian frontier in B. C. 357, to protect Attica from a diversion on the part of the Boeotians shortly before the Phocian war, during which there was no occasion for such precautions, as the Phocians kept the Boeotians occupied in another direction”. Thus, the military movements referred to in § 3 belong either to the time shortly before or that shortly after the Phocian war, in other words, either to B.C. 357 or 343, the speech being thus placed in B.C. 355 or 341 respectively. In the course of an Excursus on p. 215, I have pointed out that the reference to the Triballi in the days of Conon's youth supplies us with a hitherto unnoticed coincidence in favour of the later date.
The speech has deservedly won the admiration of i Dem. de fals. leg. (B.C. 343) φρούρια ήσαν έρημα λελοιπότες 326, περί...της προς Πανάκτη the Scholiast remarks φρούρια χώρας μεθ' όπλων εξερχόμεθα, και δε λέγει μεταξύ της Αττικής και έως ήσαν Φωκείς σώοι ουδεπώποτ' ' Βοιωτίας. πολέμου γάρ τότε προς εποιήσαμεν. .
θηβαίους όντος δια την Εύβοιαν 2 A. Schaefer, Dem. U. 8. Zeit, αναγκαίον ήν τας εκ της Βοιωτίας III. 2. p. 251, who notices that εισβολάς παρα των Αθηναίων φυon Dem. Meid. $ 193, őool ad λάττεσθαι. .
ancient and modern critics alike. The orator Deinarchus is reported to have plagiarized from it, the old grammarians often refer to it, the Greek writers on Rhetoric quote it more frequently than any of the other private orations, and in particular Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in his treatise on the eloquence of Demosthenes; after quoting a vivid description from the orator Lysias, one of the highest merits of whose style was the power of clear and graphic narration, selects for comparison the equally vivid passage in the present speech where the plaintiff describes the disorderly doings of his opponents in the camp at Panactum and in the market-place of Athens (SS 3—9). His criticism is to the effect that the extract from Demosthenes is fully equal to that from Lysias in clearness, correctness, and perspicuity of style, in conciseness and terseness, in unadorned simplicity and in truthfulness of detail. He also commends the skill with which the language of the speaker is kept true to character, and appropriate to the subject, and finds in the narrative much of the winning persuasiveness, the charming grace, and the other merits of style that mark his quotation from Lysias? A modern writer on the literature of the speeches of Demosthenes has well remarked that no selection from the Private Orations can be considered complete which does not include
i Eusebius, Praepar. Evang. quoting from Porphyry, (περί του κλέπτας είναι τους Έλληνας), Σ. 3 p. 775 Migne, Δείναρχος εν τω πρώτη κατα Κλεομέδοντα αικίας πολλά μετενήνoχεν αυτοίς ονόμασιν, εκ του Δημοσθένους Μετα (sic) Κόνωνος αικίας.
2 Plutarch, de admir. vi dicendi Dem. 13, ταύτα ου καθαρά και ακριβή και σαφή και δια των κυρίων και κοινών ονομάτων κατεσκευασμένα, ώσπερ τα Λυσίου;...
τι δ' ουχί σύντομα και στρογγύλα και αληθείας μεστα και την αφελή και ακατάσκευον επιφαίνοντα φύσιν, καθάπερ εκείνα;...ουχί δε και πιθανα και εν ηθει λεγόμενά τινι και το πρέπον τοίς υποκειμένοις προσώποις τε και πρά φυλ. άττοντα και ηδονής δ' άρα και πειθούς και χαρίτων, καιρου τε και των άλλων απάντων, α τοις Λυσιακούς επανθουσιν, άρα ουχί πολλή μοίρα;
the Conon?; and many years after that remark was made, it was excellently edited for school-reading with a brief German commentary by Westermann.
To the general reader the main interest of the speech is to be found perhaps in the lifelike pictures of Athenian manners incidentally sketched in its
and several scenes have accordingly been borrowed from it and interwoven with the narrative of Becker's Charicles in illustration of the private life of the ancient Greeks. In particular, we here read of the disorderly clubs formed by young men about town, who, after holding a carouse, would sally forth into the streets to assault quiet people and play practical jokes at the expense of inoffensive citizens. To these indecorous societies the defendant's sons belonged, and the defendant himself in his youth was a member of a club called after a lawless tribe of Thrace, an association that finds its modern parallel in the fraternity, which in the days of Addison took its name from the wild Mohocks of North America, and was for some time the terror of the streets of London. The practical jokes of young Athens in the days of Demosthenes re-appear, some seven centuries later, in a less objectionable, not to say harmless, form, in the pleasantries practised by students at the University of Athens at the expense of the “freshmen’ (oi vendudes), who, at the first moment of their arrival, were struggled for by the young allies of the rival lecturers, good-humouredly chaffed by them, and escorted with mock gravity through the market-place to the public bath, where, after a feint of frightening them, their tormentors considered the act
1 In einer Sammlung aus den Privatreden des Demosthenes dürfte ...diese nicht fehlen. A. G. Becker's Literatur des Dem. p. 122, 1830.
2 W. A. Becker's Charicles, p. 136—139 (with notes) of the 2nd Germ. ed. by K.F. Hermann =p. 80–83 of abridged English ed. of 1866.