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son of the famous general Chabrias. Apsephion was supported by Phormion, Ctesippus by Demosthenes. The case was opened by Apsephion and Phormion, so that the speech of Demosthenes, though probably the most important in the case, was the last of the series delivered on his side of the question. It is entitled πρὸς Λεπτίνην, not κατὰ Λεπτίνου, because Leptines was not in the position of defendant in an action, but of an opponent on a matter of State policy, so that the speech was not directed personally against him, but rather in answer to his arguments.

The speech against Leptines has always held a high place in the estimation both of ancient and of modern critics. It is described by Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1as χαριέστατος ἁπάντων τῶν λόγων καὶ yрapikúταTоs; Cicero 2 praises it as characterised throughout by subtlety. F. A. Wolf, while emphasising this judgment of Cicero's, adds that it is no less distinguished for its truthfulness, and the beauty and nobility of its sentiments, as well as for the force and cogency of its arguments. Among the semipublic orations, delivered before the law-courts but involving points of public policy, he places it next to the speech upon the Crown. Dr. Donaldson* praises it for the great knowledge which it displays of the laws and history of Athens, for its acute reasoning, and its powerful declamation.

Demosthenes begins his speech by urging the general injustice and impolicy of the measure introduced by Leptines. It was unjust, first towards the

1 Ad. Ammaeum, p. 724..

2 Orator, c. 31, 111: 'Multae sunt eius orationes totae subtiles, ut contra Leptinem.'

3 Proleg. in Orat. Lept., §§ 42-44.

4 Hist. of Greek Literature, ii. 330.

people, whom it deprived of their power to bestow honours, because they had sometimes been bestowed upon unworthy objects; and secondly towards the worthy holders of the privilege, who would be punished for the misdeeds of other men. It was impolitic, both as removing a powerful stimulus to patriotic action, and as destroying men's faith in the honour of democratic governments, whose gifts had hitherto been looked upon as more secure than those of oligarchies or tyrants (§§ 1-17).

The counterbalancing advantages would be infinitesimal. The number of persons enjoying the immunity was very small, and all the richer men among them were liable to the trierarchy, which would itself exempt them from the other 'liturgies,' whilst admitting in turn of no exemptions whatsoever. The treasury would rather lose than gain, for the privilege had enabled some to contribute to the extraordinary expenses of the State, whose means would otherwise have been exhausted by the ordinary 'liturgies' (§§ 18-27).

The action of the law would be especially prejudicial where it operated against foreigners who had done distinguished service to the State; as in the case of Leucon, who had shown singular generosity in befriending the Athenian corn trade; and Epicerdes, who had so signally relieved the Athenian distress at the close of the Sicilian expedition. If they proved faithless and ungrateful to such benefactors, how could they look for similar services in the future? Nor was it only individuals, but whole States whom they would wrong; as notably the Corinthians, whose friendliness to Athens forty years before had caused the exile of all the democratical leaders in that city (§§ 28-66).

Looking at home, he might instance Conon and Chabrias as men who had well deserved the honours which they had received. Was it well for Athens to withdraw these honours from their sons, when foreign nations, and in the case of Chabrias, even the Chians, against whom he had himself conducted a victorious campaign, regarded as inviolable the honours which they had granted? (§§ 67-87).

All that Leptines could fairly ask was conceded by the bill which his antagonists had introduced, and which they pledged themselves to persevere with, securing all deserving persons in their privileges, but enabling the State to deprive others of the exemption on proof of their unworthiness. This was the fair and constitutional mode of proceeding, whereas the law of Leptines was inconsistent with another law, 'that what the people gave should be secure ;' besides being irregular in other points (§§ 88-101).

The example of other States, even if correctly quoted, was of no force in Athens, where customs and temper were so very different; nor was there much more point in bringing forward the practice of their own ancestors, who, if they did not grant exemptions, yet rewarded merit in other ways, and at any rate never revoked what they had once granted (§§ 102-119).

It did not mend matters to say that Leptines left other rewards untouched; for even those who were thereby left in possession of some portion of their privileges would feel that they had been robbed of others which should have been no less secure (§§ 120124).

The most unscrupulous of his arguments was that the 'liturgies' came under the head of religious duties, from which no one ought to have exemption.

If this were true, on what ground did he propose to retain the privilege for the descendants of Harmodius and Aristogeiton? (§§ 125-130).

If the present system were abused by impostors claiming the exemption, the simple remedy was to call upon such men to prove their claims (§§ 131-133). The law would injure the reputation of the State, and give it an ill name for deceiving its benefactors, for doing in public what each of its citizens would be ashamed of doing in private, for withdrawing honours through envy of those who had received them, and for sacrificing its dignity to gratify the personal malice of a man like Leptines. Leptines himself would do well to consider whether his measure did not lay him open to the suspicion that he had no wish to earn such rewards by any conduct of his own (§§ 134-145).

The supporters of Leptines were scarcely the right men to urge such a measure, even if they had not been technically disqualified by having been σúvdikol before (§§ 146-153).

Besides other faults, the law was unconstitutional, as providing no less than three penalties for the same offence, if offence it could be called to seek reward for service to the State. It was offensive in its want of discrimination, pressing with equal hardness on the meritorious and the undeserving; and it was unstatesmanlike in making no provision for the uncertainty of the future, which might produce crises like the tyranny of the Peisistratidæ, and benefactors like Harmodius and Aristogeiton (§§ 154-162).

The Court could hardly fail to condemn the law, if only they would bear in mind the consequences that would ensue in either event, and see on which side lay the true advantage and the honour of the State;

instead of listening to the impudent clamour of evil counsellors (§§ 163-167).


We are told by Dion Chrysostomus 1 that the trial resulted in a verdict against Leptines, ἑάλω γραφῆς. This must be technically incorrect, as Leptines was shielded from any penal consequences by the statute of limitations; but it probably means no more than that the decision was against his law, which was repealed. Even this has been disputed by Bishop Wordsworth,2 on the authority of an inscription found in the wall of Athens, to the effect that Ctesippus, son of Chabrias, provided a chorus of boys for the Cecropid tribe, which he could not have been called upon to do, had Demosthenes secured the confirmation of his privilege. But, granting the identity of Ctesippus, it is quite possible that he might have voluntarily undertaken a burden from which he was legally exempt; so that the tablet is not necessarily inconsistent with Dion's statement. It would therefore seem probable that the contest resulted in the repeal of the obnoxious law; but it is not known whether the counter-proposal of Demosthenes, that the exemptions should be retained, with liberty to move for their repeal in individual cases of unworthiness, was accepted in its place.

1 Oratio Rhodiaca, p. 365.

2 Athens and Attica, p. 140.

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