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[4] The defense are wrong when they say that the evidence of the slave is not to be trusted; where evidence of this sort is concerned, slaves are not tortured; they are given their freedom. It is when they deny a theft or conspire with their masters to keep silence that we believe them to tell the truth only under torture.1

1 The evidence of slaves was accepted only under torture. But the torture could not be inflicted without the consent of the owner. Hence there are instances of the purchase of slaves solely for the purpose of extorting evidence from them (see Antiph. 5.47, On the Murder of Herodes, for a case in point). The last half of the present paragraph envisages a similar purchase in order to obtain evidence against the slave's former owner. On the other hand, a slave who defended his master's life at the risk of his own would more often than not be rewarded with his freedom; and once he was free, he could not be tortured; he gave his evidence in a court of law in the ordinary way. Thus the argument in the present passage is; the dying slave was virtually a free man, as he had given his life for his master; hence there is no ground whatever for maintaining, as the defendant is doing, that his evidence cannot be accepted in court because it was not given under torture.

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