[Or. XVIII.]—Kallimachos had brought against the defendant an Action for Damage (δίκη βλάβης
). The defendant has entered a Special Plea to show that the action is not maintainable.
The facts of the case are these. In 403 B. C., during the short reign of the Ten who succeeded the Thirty, Patrokles, the Archon Basileus, denounced Kallimachos for having in his possession a sum of money which was liable to confiscation, as being the property of a man who had joined the exiles in the Peiraeus. The Ten referred the case to the Senate, and the Senate decided that the money should be confiscated. On the restoration of the democracy, Kallimachos brought an action (1) against Patrokles, from whom he recovered ten minae; (2) against one Lysimachos, from whom he recovered two minae; (3) against the defendant. The defendant compromised the case, paying two minae; and this compromise was sanctioned by the award of an arbitrator1
by the parties. Such an award was a bar to further litigation. Notwithstanding this, Kallimachos presently sued the defendant for 100 minae on the same account. The defendant brought a witness to show that the action was barred by the previous arbitration. Kallimachos was then bound to prove that the witness was perjured. He did not attempt to do this, but, favoured by the Archon, merely brought his action afresh.
The defendant now avails himself of the new law
of Archînos, passed soon after the Restoration of the democracy. This provided that any person, against whom an action was brought in violation of the Amnesty, should be allowed to enter a Special Plea (παραγραφή
); that such Plea should be heard before the cause was tried; and that the bringer of the Plea should speak first2
. If either party failed to obtain 1/5th of the votes on the Special Plea, he was liable to the fine of the epôbelia (1/6th of the damages originally laid3
). As the original Action for Damage would have been tried under the presidency of the Thesmothetae, these would be presidents of the court at the hearing of the Special Plea also.
The Amnesty of 403 is recent (§ 29); on the
other hand, there has been time for examples of that tendency to violate it which led to the measure of Archînos (§ 2). Probably the speech may be referred to the year 402 B.C.4
The Special Plea is a novelty, and its form must be
explained. The speaker then states the law of Archînos He can show that Kallimachos has violated the Amnesty; that the charge is untrue in itself; and that the matter in dispute had already been settled by arbitration. (§§ 1—4.)
A narrative of the facts follows. (§§ 5—12.)
‘Kallimachos intends,’ the defendant goes on, ‘to deny that any arbitration took place. It is not likely, he will say, that he should have chosen as referee my friend Nikomachos; or that he should have taken two minae in payment for a hundred. But the terms of the reference left no discretionary power to Nikomachos; and it is not surprising that a claimant who had no real case at all should have been satisfied by two minae. Even, however, if there had been no arbitration; even if no witnesses could be brought; you could infer the truth from my past character. When the oligarchy was strongest,—when injustice was easiest,—I never assailed the fortunes or life of any citizen, nor struck any one off the civic list to place him upon the muster-roll of Lysander. Is it likely that I should have dared to do so when the oligarchy was tottering? (§§ 11—18.)
‘This is enough to show that the accusation is untrue. It can also be shown that the action is illegal. The Amnesty, and the oaths which ratified it, shall be read to you.
Kallimachos thinks to set aside the compact thus solemnly sworn to. Yet when Philon of Koelê was accused of malversation upon an embassy, and had no defence to offer, that compact protected him. And it deters your most influential citizens, Thrasybulos and Anytos, from claiming great sums of which they were robbed from those whom they know to be answerable. Do not allow Kallimachos to break an agreement which has been salutary to all Athens. Your verdict will affect the credit of public compacts generally. It is by these that civilized life is held together; in these, when we had been conquered by Sparta, we found refuge; and it would be ill for us if Sparta were to break her oaths. But how can we be trusted abroad if we violate pledges given among ourselves? You try this cause under two oaths—that which all judges take, and that which ratified the public amnesty. (§§ 19—34.)
‘Kallimachos will bewail his poverty and his peril; he will inveigh against the crimes of the oligarchy. The plea of poverty is no defence for a slanderer who has brought peril upon himself; the crimes of the oligarchy are irrelevant. (§§ 35—41.) Men will infer from your verdict whether the Amnesty is, or is not, to be observed. You yourselves know that that Amnesty has brought us peace and honour in exchange for an infamous civil war. (§§ 42—46.) Shall it be broken by a man of such life as Kallimachos? During the ten years of our war with Sparta, he kept away from us. When the Thirty came to power, he returned to Athens. When they were about to fall, he went to the Peiraeus; when the Spartan army had blockaded the exiles there, he fled to Boeotia. You do not know him as I do. Kratinos once had a lawsuit for a farm with the brother-inlaw of Kallimachos. A personal encounter took place; and the brother-in-law of Kallimachos swore that a female slave of his had died of a blow received from Kratinos during the fray. Kratinos allowed them to bring their action; and, as soon as Kallimachos had sworn that the woman was dead, produced her alive. That such a man should accuse others of falsehood is as if Phrynondas should say that his neighbours are blackguards; or, Philurgos, the stealer of the
Gorgon's head, should tax his neighbours with sacrilege. (§§ 47—57.)
‘But there will be other opportunities of denouncing Kallimachos; I wish now to recall one of my own merits. When our fleet was lost at Aegospotami, I was one of the few trierarchs who saved their ships; and the only one who, on returning to the Peiraeus, did not lay down his trierarchy. In partnership with my brother, I continued to serve, bringing corn to Athens in defiance of Lysander's prohibition. For this you crowned us—at a time when crowns were less common than they now are. Remember the contrast between Kallimachos and me; remember the Amnesty; and decide in the interests of justice and of Athens.’ (§§ 58—68.)
The genuineness of the speech has been doubted
by some modern critics; one, at least, of whom is inclined to ascribe it to Isaeos5
. In uniform plainness, indeed, it differs even more decidedly than the Aeginetikos from the latter writings of Isokrates. But this plainness accords with his own forensic ideal as hinted in the Panathenaikos6
; and, instead of proving anything against the authenticity, rather
tends to show that his manner cannot be inferred from one period only of his work. The closeness and detail of technical argument, especially in §§ 1—41, is certainly like Isaeos. But this was made necessary by the complexity of the facts and by the very nature of the paragraphê, turning, as it did, upon the question of form.