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[13] for he is not under any suspicion, since he has done all that justice demanded. Seeing that the matter stands thus, and that they were not forced by a single one of the causes which I have mentioned to let this debt stand, and could not have desired to do so, it is not possible to suggest any other excuse for non-payment. It must be for the reason which I have mentioned—that they did not trust Aphobus enough to pay him the dowry.1

1 To understand the argument of the speech the reader should bear in mind certain facts regarding the Athenian laws concerning marriage and divorce. To make a marriage legal at Athens it was necessary that both bride and bridegroom be of pure Athenian stock, and that the bride be given away by her father, or, if she had no father living, by her nearest male relative (her guardian or κύριος). The marriage-contract was between the bridegroom and this guardian, and the marriage-portion was paid by the guardian to the bridegroom. In the case of Onetor's sister Demosthenes asserts that the portion was not paid outright to Aphobus, but was retained by her former husband, Timocrates, who was to pay interest on it at 10 percent. The husband might divorce his wife, but he was required to send her back to her guardian with her personal effects and her portion, or to pay interest on the portion, normally at 18 percent until it was paid. His action in sending away his wife was technically called ἀπόπεμψις. On the other hand the wife might leave her husband with his consent, or for cause. If the husband's consent could not be obtained, the woman presented herself before the archon and stated her case. The act, taken on her initiative, was termed ἀπόλειψις, and in this case, too, her portion went with her.

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