previous next

Forensic speeches in private causes

SIXTY-FOUR speeches bearing the name of Isaeos—of which fifty were allowed as genuine—and an Art of Rhetoric, are mentioned by the writer of the Plutarchic Life1. At least the accredited fifty appear to have been extant in the middle of the ninth century2. Eleven3, with large part of a twelfth4, have come down to us; forty-two more— of which three were suspected by Harpokration—are known from their titles; and we have thus a record of fifty-four imputed, or fifty-one unquestioned, works5.

So far as can now be judged, the orations of Isaeos

Speeches of Isaeos wholly forensic
were exclusively forensic6. It is a striking fact that only three of them appear to have dealt with Public
and almost wholly Private.
Causes7. All the rest were concerned with Private Causes. These may be classified as bearing on (1)
Their subjects.
cases of claim to an inheritance; (2) cases of claim to the hand of a heiress; (3) cases of claim to property; (4) cases of claim to the ownership of a slave; (5) an action brought against a surety whose principal had made default; (6) a special plea; (7) appeals from one jurisdiction to another8.

1 [Plut.] Vit. Isaei, καταλέλοιπε δὲ λόγους ἑξήκοντα τέσσαρας, ὧν εἰσι γνήσιοι πεντήκοντα, καὶ ἰδίας τέχνας. This is the only definite mention of the Art of Rhetoric: though Dionysios ad Ammaeum I. 2 speaks generally of ‘Theodektes, Philiskos, Isaeos, Kephisodoros, Hypereides, Lykurgos, Aeschines,’ as being παραγγελμάτων τεχνικῶν συγγραφεῖς as well as speakers. Blass (Att. Ber. II. 458) suggests that it may have been a collection of commonplaces.

2 The words of Photios (cod. 263) are: ἀνεγνώσθησαν Ἰσαίου διάφοροι λόγοι, οὗτοι δέ, ἁπλῶς εἰπεῖν, εἰς δ́ καὶ ξ́ (64) συναριθμοῦνται. τούτων δὲ οἱ τὸ γνήσιον μαρτυρηθέντες ν́ (50) κατ αλείπονται μόνον. Both the ἁπλῶς εἰπεῖν and the συναριθμοῦνται as opposed to καταλείπονται seem clearly to imply that 64 were not then (circ. 850 A.D.) extant. The last sentence may obviously be rendered in two ways:—(1) ‘Of this number, those which, being attested as genuine, are extant are only 50’; —implying that others not so attested were extant. (2) ‘Of this number, only those 50 which have been attested as genuine are extant.’ I prefer the latter version.

3 The Second Oration (‘On the Estate of Menekles’) was first discovered in the Laurentian Library in 1785, and was first edited by Robert Tyrwhitt in that year. In the MSS. known before that date all was wanting from the words ἐκείνῳ in Or. I. § 22 to ἀλλ᾽ ἐπειδὴ τὸ πρᾶγμα εἰς ὑμᾶς ἀφῖκται in Or. II. § 47. These concluding words of Or. II. had, as Tyrwhitt notices (p. 21), been wrongly tacked on to the imperfect first part of Or. I. In the Translation of Isaeos by Sir William Jones (1779) we find this arrangement followed. The last paragraph of Or. I. in his Translation [‘To conclude; since this cause...conformably to the laws’] is a version of ἀλλ᾽ ἐπειδὴ.. ψηφίσασθε, the concluding words, in reality, of Or. II.,—which oration was then, of course, unknown to him. In Or. I. all from μὴ ποιήσαντες in § 22 to the end was first found by Mai in the Ambrosian Library at Milan and published by him in 1815.

4 The large fragment of the ὑπὲρ Εὐφιλήτου preserved by Dionysios (de Isae. 17) is printed as Or. XII. by recent editors, as by Baiter and Sauppe in their Oratores Attici, and by Scheibe in his edition of Isaeos (Teubner, 1860).

5 For the titles and probable subjects of the lost speeches see Sauppe's digest of the Fragments of Isaeos, Or. Att. II. pp. 228— 244. It will be seen that Sauppe reckons 44 lost speeches. He supposes a lost speech κατ᾽ Ἀριστοκλέους, his No. IV., which Blass, rightly, I think, identifies with the κατὰ Στρατοκλέους (XL. in Sauppe). Further, Sauppe reckons the ὑπὲρ Εὐφιλήτου—already printed in his Vol. I. with the Orations—among the Fragments also, as No. XVII. Omitting, then, No. IV. and No. XVII., we get a total of 42. Blass reckons 43 lost speeches (Att. Ber. II. 459 ff.). But I agree with Sauppe in thinking that the πρὸς Ἀνδοκίδην ἀποστασίου (No. 30 in Blass) was the work of Lysias, to whom Harpokration twice assigns it, and that the ascription of it to Isaeos by Pollux was a carelessness or at least a mistake: see Sauppe Or. Att. II. 174.The three lost speeches to which Harpokration adds εὶ γνήσιος are: 1. κατὰ Στρατοκλέους [s. v. ὑπερήμεροι, if indeed, as seems probable, κατ᾽ Ἀριστοκλέους there is a false reading for κατὰ Στρατοκλέους: the latter, it must be owned, is mentioned by Harpokr. without suspicion s. v. ὀθνεῖος]: 2. κατὰ Μεγαρέων: 3. πρὸς Εὐκλείδην τὸν Σωκρατικόν.

6 The titles of the lost speeches confirm the statement of Dionysios (Isae. 2)—γένους λόγων ἑνὸς ἀσκητὴς ἐγένετο, τοῦ δικανικοῦ. Yet one conceivable exception should be noticed—the speech thrice cited by Harpokration (s. vv. Ἀλκέτας, Ἐπικράτης, πέπλος) under the title περὶ τῶν ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ ῥηθέντων. But this too was probably forensic —being concerned with a παραπρεσβείας γραφή, possibly arising out of the negotiations regarding Amphipolis in 358 B.C.: cf. Sauppe II. 238.

7 1. Κατὰ Διοκλέους ὔβρεως (VIII. in Sauppe): 2. περὶ τῶν ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ ῥηθέντων (XXVII.): 3. περὶ τῶν ἀποφάσεων (II.). [Possibly the ὰποφάσεις or reports made by the Areiopagos to the ekklesia: see Deinarchos Or. I. §§ 53 ff.] The doubt as to the authenticity of the κατὰ Μεγαρέων has already been noticed.

8 (1) κληρικοί: (2) ἐπικληρικοί: (3) διαδικασίας [properly a general term, including will-cases]: (4) ἀποστασίου: (5) ἐγγύης: (6) ᾶντωμοσία [as=παραγραφή]: (7) ἔφεσις.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: