[Or. XX.]—The plaintiff, ‘a poor man and one of the people’ (§ 19), brings an action against Lochites, a rich young citizen (§ 17), who has struck him a blow. The penalty demanded by the plaintiff is a heavy fine (§ 16).
Two points help to fix the date. (1) Lochites is
too young to have had any part in the doings of 405 B.C. (§ 11); (2) his insolence is compared to that of the oligarchs ‘who gave over our power to the enemy and levelled the walls’ (§ 11). This by no means proves, but it rather suggests, that the rebuilding of the walls by Konon had not begun; i.e. that the speech is earlier than 393 B.C. It is put by Sauppe in 394 B.C.1
The fact of the assault (the prosecutor says) has already
been established by witnesses2
. Now, bodily injury is the most grievous kind of injury, and ought to be atoned for by the heaviest punishment. The framers of the Athenian laws have marked their sense of this by affording two special facilities for prosecution in such cases. First, the prosecutor is not required to deposit caution-money. Secondly, in cases of outrage (ὕβρις
), the right of prosecuting is not confined to the person injured. Any citizen cognisant of the outrage can lay an indictment before the Thesmothetae. Again, it is
in order to prevent personal violence that the penalty for abusive language has been placed so high as 500 drachmas (§§ 1—3). Outrages which were committed under the oligarchy are punished; much more is punishment due to outrages committed under the democracy (§ 4). Lochites will perhaps argue that the blow has proved harmless. But it is not for the damage, it is for the insult that the plaintiff claims satisfaction. Lochites acted in the spirit of that insolence which has twice overthrown the democracy itself, and of which every manifestation ought to be checked as dangerous to the whole community (§§ 5—14). Rich men alone are interested in the security of property. But rich and poor alike are concerned in the repression of personal violence. If the prosecutor is a poor man, it is not less the duty and the interest of the judges to give him the protection of the law (§§ 15—22).
The cleverness of this speech lies in the speaker's
identification of his own dignity ‘as a man of the people’ (τοῦ πλήθους εἷς
) with that of the judges— men of the people too, exposed to the freaks of young men who happen to have the temper of the Thirty Tyrants. There is a good deal of rhetorical skill in the passage which points out that this insolence of Lochites is just the insolence which has twice overthrown public freedom (§§ 9—11). The speech has one special characteristic in common with that of Demosthenes against Konon. Each deals with an action for assault
); but in each the plaintiff constantly speaks of the outrage
）— thus seeking to combine the forces of two distinct forms of accusation3