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[29]

You hear the challenge, gentlemen. By the very act of refusing to accept this Leocrates condemned himself as a traitor to his country. For whoever refuses to allow the testing of those who share his secrets has confessed that the charges of the indictment are true. Every one of you knows that in matters of dispute it is considered by far the justest and most democratic course, when there are male or female slaves, who possess the necessary information, to examine these by torture and so have facts to go upon instead of hearsay, particularly when the case concerns the public and is of vital interest to the state.1

1 The right of torturing slave witnesses does not seem often to have been exercised, and it is doubtful whether evidence obtained in this way was really very highly rated. No man was bound to submit his slaves for examination, and accusers often demanded them in such a way as to ensure a refusal which gave them an additional argument against the defendant. To strengthen their position they naturally tried, as Lycurgus does here, to impress the jury with the value of such evidence (cf. Isaeus 8.12 etc.): but Antiphon must be nearer the mark when he points out that a man on the rack would say anything to gratify his torturers (Antiph. 5.32).

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Antiphon, On the murder of Herodes, 32
    • Isaeus, Ciron, 12
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