[Or. XVII.]—A subject of Satyros, king of Bosporos1
, brings an action against the
banker Pasion, for the recovery of money alleged to have been placed in Pasion's hands. The details of the case are reserved for the analysis of the speech itself.
Two points fix the date. (1) The Lacedaemonian supremacy
on the sea is spoken of as a thing of the past (§ 36); that is, the time is after the battle of Knidos, August 394 B.C. (2) Satyros I. of Bosporos is alive (§ 57): but he died at the siege of Theudosia in 393 B.C.2
The speech belongs, then, to the end of 394 or early part of 393 B.C.
‘An action of this class is always difficult to maintain.
The business between a banker and his customer is transacted without witnesses; and the banker usually commands money, friends, and credit (§§ 1—2). The facts of this case are as follows. I came to Athens, partly for pleasure, partly for business, having been sent out with two cornships by my father, who is governor of a large district, under Satyros, prince of Bosporos. I was introduced to Pasion and opened an account with him. Meanwhile my father had been arrested by Satyros on suspicion of treason. Some men from the Euxine who were at Athens received the orders of Satyros to take possession of all my property and to send me home. In this difficulty I consulted Pasion and decided to give up a small sum to the agents of Satyros, but to deny the existence of the larger sums which I had lying in Pasion's bank. To help the deception, Pasion was to represent me, not only as having no balance, but as owing money to himself and others. Having arranged matters with the agents of Satyros, I prepared to set out upon my homeward voyage, and applied to Pasion for my money. He told me that he had not the means of
refunding it just then. I then sent to him my friends Philomelos and Menexenos; and to them he repudiated the debt altogether (§§ 3—10).
‘Presently news came that my father was restored to the favour of Satyros. Pasion, aware that there was now no longer any reason why legal proceedings should not be openly taken against him, hid his slave Kittos, who knew the truth. When Menexenos demanded that Kittos should be given up, Pasion retorted that we ourselves had made away with him, after bribing him to give us money from the bank. Presently, however, Kittos was found in Athens by Menexenos, who then demanded that he should be given up by Pasion for torture. Pasion at first asserted that Kittos was a freeman. Subsequently, however, he consented to submit him to the question: but, when we met for that purpose, refused to allow torture to be applied (§§ 11—16).
‘Finding that his conduct was blamed by everyone, he next sought a private interview with me. He pleaded poverty as the cause which had forced him to deny the debt. He then gave me a bond that he would accompany me to the Euxine and there pay the money—thus avoiding a scandal at Athens. The bond, which stipulated that, if we could not come to an agreement, Satyros should arbitrate, was placed in the hands of Pyron of Pherae, a merchant in the Euxine trade. In the event of an amicable settlement, he was to burn it; otherwise, to place it in the hands of Satyros (§§ 17—20).
‘Meanwhile Menexenos had upon his own account brought an action for libel against Pasion. Pasion was now terrified lest Menexenos should get hold of our bond. He implored my mediation, which I refused. Desperate, he bribed the slaves of Pyron, and found means of tampering with the bond. He then became defiant, and refused to go with me to the Euxine or to pay the money. When the bond was opened before witnesses, it was found to release Pasion from all claims on my part (§§ 21—23).
‘Pasion will rely much on this forged document. That it is a forgery, is evident (1) from the terms of the
document itself; (2) from the absence of motive on my part for giving such a release; (3) from my daring to come into court now; (4) from Pasion's eagerness, before he had tampered with the bond, to have it cancelled. Such frauds are common. Last year, Pythodorus, a friend of Pasion, opened the balloting-urn of the Senate, and changed the names of those who had been nominated as judges in the festal contests. (§§ 22—34.)
‘Or perhaps Pasion will contend that I had no money at all here. Among other things which disprove this is the fact that he himself became security for me in seven talents when a vessel upon which I had lent money was denounced as being the property of a Delian, and was in danger of being put to death untried. In a word,—which is more probable—that, at a moment when I was helpless, I should have brought a false charge against Pasion, or that he should have been emboldened to defraud me? (§§ 35—50.)
‘Ultimately Pasion did not go himself to the Bosporos, but sent Kittus as his agent. Satyros declined to give a judgment, but took my part, and wrote in my behalf to Athens. It is the clearest argument for my claim that Pasion declined my challenge to have his slave tortured. Consider the strength of my cause; remember the benefits of Satyros and his father [Spartakos I.] to Athens, for whose sake he has often sent away empty the corn-ships of other States,—and give just sentence in my favour.’ (§§ 51—58.)
has a special interest as
illustrating the relations between Athens and the kingdom of Bosporos,—relations which remained no less friendly under the successors of Satyros I.3
believes this speech, like the last, to be spurious. His ground is the frequency of hiatus4
. The Trapezitikos
is, however, cited by Dionysios, not merely as genuine, but as the typical forensic work of Isokrates5
; and is thrice named by Harpokration without suspicion6
. It has been further asked—Was this a mere declamation7
? There is nothing whatever to prove it; and one point is against it. Pasion, the banker, bore a high character at Athens8
. The writer of a declamation would not have selected him as the object of an imaginary charge of fraud.