(αυμβόλαιον, συνάλλαγμα, συνθήκη
all words used to signify a contract, but are distinguishable from one
is used of contracts
and bargains between private persons, and peculiarly of loans of money: thus
συμβαλεῖς εἰς τἀνδράποδα
is to lend
upon the security of the slaves, Dem. c. Aphob.
cf. Isae. Aristarch.
§ 10;--Dem. c.
p. 884.7; c. Phorm.
p. 907.1; c.
p. 1185.2; c. Dionysod.
signifies any matter
negotiated or transacted between two or more persons, whether a contract or
anything else (Dem. c. Onet.
p. 867.12; p. 869.21;--c.
p. 896.12;--c. Timocr.
p. 766.213). Συνθήκη
is used of more
solemn and important contracts, not only of those made between private
individuals, but also of treaties and conventions between kings and states
; Xen. Hell. 7.1
de Rhod. lib.
p. 199.20; c. Aristog.
774.16, etc.). Here we may observe, that συνθῆκαι
is mostly used in the plural, instead of συνθήκη,
the only difference being, that
strictly the former signifies the terms or articles of agreement, in the
same manner as διαθῆκαι,
the testamentary dispositions,
is put for διαθήκη,
and later σύμβολα
(Harpocr. s. v.) signified originally a compact
between two states, in late Greek between two private persons [SYMBOLON, DIKAI APO].
As to the necessity or advantage of having written agreements between
individuals, see SYNGRAPHE
National compacts, on account of their great importance, and the
impossibility of otherwise preserving evidence of them, were almost always
committed to writing, and commonly inscribed on pillars or tablets of some
durable material (Thuc. 5.23
,47: see Aristoph. Ach. 727
). Upon a breach, or on
the expiration, of the treaty, the pillars were taken down (Dem. pro
For breaches of contract various actions were maintainable at Athens: (1) in
a general way συμβολαίων
§ 3, λαχὼν ὁ πατὴρ
παντὸς τοῦ συμβολαίου Ἐρασιστράτῳ
), or [p. 2.734]συνθηκῶν παραβάσεως δίκη
(Poll. 6.153; 8.31); (2) more specially χρέους
(Poll. 8.31), wherever a debt had become due by reason of
some previous contract; (3) ἀργυρίου
p. 201, sub
;--Dem. c. Boeot.
i. p. 1002.25; c.
p. 1179.45); Callippus brought this action against
Apollodorus, because the latter's father, the banker Pasion, had paid over a
certain sum of money deposited with him by Lycon of Heraclea to Cephisiades
instead of to Callippus, the proxenus of Heraclea. (4) ἀφορμῆς
(Dem. pro Phorm.
p. 943, argument.
and p. 948.12: cf. Caillener, Le
Contrat de prêt à Athènes,
ff.). Apollodorus brought this suit against Phormio, claiming after his
father's death a sum of twenty talents alleged to have been transferred to
Phormio by his father as part of the working capital of the business; and
e. g. the action against
Dionysodorus for the non-fulfilment of a contract ([Dem.] c.
p. 1291.27). The main point of difference might be
this: that in a general action for breach of contract, the plaintiff went
for unliquidated damages, which the court had to assess; whereas, upon a
claim to recover a debt or certain sum, the court had nothing more to do
than to determine.whether the plaintiff was entitled to it or not; the
All such actions were tried before οἱ τετταράκοντα
ed. Lipsius, pp. 675 f., 697 f.; p. 220 f.).