IV. 2. For Mantitheos, Or. XVI
2. For Mantitheos.
[Or. XVI.]—The name occurs only in the title, which, contrary to the general rule, is perhaps of the same age as the speech—‘A Defence for Mantitheos on his Scrutiny before the Senate.’ What the office was to which this scrutiny related, can only be guessed; perhaps it was that of an ordinary senator, since in § 8 the speaker cites instances of persons who had really done what he is charged with doing, and had yet been admitted to the Senate. The complaint against him was that his
name appeared on the list (σανίς
, cf. § 6) of those who had served as Knights in the time of the Thirty. As the speech Against Evandros shows (§ 10), the fact of such service under the Tyrants became, after the restoration of the democracy, a disqualification for the office of senator. Mantitheos must, then, have been at least eighteen years of age in 405 B. C., and so must have been born before 422. He refers to his share in campaigns subsequent to that of 394 B.C. (§§ 15—18). On the other hand, the tone of the joke in § 15 rather suggests that Thrasybulos, its object, was still alive;—that is, that the speech is earlier
than 389 B. C.1
. The date may have been about 392 B. C. The speaker, who was taunted with youthful presumption (§ 20), cannot have been much more than thirty.
The first disproves the charge against him of having served as a Knight under the Thirty Tyrants. Before the disaster on the Hellespont [405 B.C.], his father had sent him and his brother to the Euxine, to Satyros [king of the Kimmerian Bosporos]; and they did not return to Athens till five days before the democratic exiles captured the Peiraeus [404 B.C.] (§ 4). The appearance of his name upon the list of Knights at that time proves nothing; the list has many false entries and many omissions. Here is a better proof on the other side:—when the democracy was restored, the phylarch (captain of cavalry) of each tribe was directed to recover from each Knight who had served under the Tyrants the sum paid to him by the State for his equipment
when he was first enrolled (κατάστασις
, § 6). Now Mantitheos was never called upon to refund, nor brought before the Fiscal Board (σὑνδικοι
, § 7)—（§§ 1—8).
Having disproved the charge against him, he goes on to urge his positive merits. His private life has been blameless. After his father's death, he portioned his two sisters and helped his brother. Men who are fond of dice and wine have a marked aversion to him (§ 11). Then his public services have been constant. He volunteered on the expedition for the relief of Haliartos [395 B.C.] (§ 13). In the next year he fought in the disastrous battle of Corinth, and retreated later than ‘the majestic Steirian [Thrasybulos], who has taunted all the world with cowardice’ (§ 15). In the autumn of the same year [394 B. C.] he and his company volunteered for service against Agesilaos in Boeotia. Since then, he has constantly served in the field or in garrison (§ 18).—（§§ 9—19).
Some have taunted him with forwardness because, though so young, he has spoken in the ekklesia. His own affairs, however, compelled him to do so at first. Perhaps, indeed, he has been too ambitious. But he could not help thinking of his forefathers, who had always been in public life and served the State, and he saw that Athenians, to tell the truth, respected none but those who could act and speak for the city. ‘And why should you be annoyed with such men? You yourselves and none else are their judges’ (§§ 20, 21).
Perhaps hardly anything in Greek literature has
The character of Mantitheos.
a fresher or brighter charm than this short speech— the natural, wonderfully vivid expression of an attractive character. Mantitheos is the brilliant, ambitious young Athenian, burning to fulfil the Homeric ideal by distinguishing himself in council as in war; an Alkibiades made harmless by the sentiment of chivalry. The general tone of simple self-reliance, and possibly the gibe at Thrasybulos, may have been found refreshing by elderly senators. Mantitheos had really done good service in the field; and his statement of this is followed by an ingenuous apology
for over-eagerness to shine in the ekklesia. The last passage is masterly. The virtue of ‘minding one's own affairs’ (ἀπραγμοσύνη
) was often praised at Athens; but Mantitheos goes to the centre of Athenian instincts when he tells the judges that ‘to say the truth’ they respect no men who do not take part in public life2