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III. 1. On the Estate of Dikaeogenes. [Or. v.]

Dikaeogenes I Menexenos I wife of Proxenos wife of Polyaratos wife of Democles wife of Kephisodon wife of Theoopompos Dikaeogenes IItestator Dikaeogenes III Harmodios speaker one sister one brother wife of Protarchides Menexenos II one sister Kephisodotos one brother

In § 26, according to the vulgate, Dikaeogenes III. betroths to Protarchides τὴν ἀδελφὴν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ. The context favours the emendation of H. Weissenborn, adopted by Scheibe, τὴν ἀδελφιδῆν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ: but this cannot have been the speaker's sister.—Reiske proposed τὴν ἀδελφὴν τὴν ὲμαυτοῦ: Schomann, τὴν ἀδελφὴν τὴν τούτου (Kephisodotos) or τὴν τοῦ—, supposing the brother's name lost.—For a complete table of the House of Menexenos I. see Schäfer, Demosthenes und seine Zeit, III, Part 2, p. 212.

Dikaeogenes, son of Menexenos—who, for distinction from his grandfather, of the same name, we call Dikaeogenes II.—had four sisters. These, when he died childless, shared among them two-thirds of his estate. The other third went to his first-cousin, Dikaeogenes III., son of his uncle Proxenos, in accordance with a will produced by Proxenos, in which the deceased declared Dikaeogenes III. to be his adopted son, and heir to one-third of his estate (υἱὸς ποιητὸς ἐπὶ τρίτῳ μέρει τῆς οὐσίας, § 6).

Twelve years later (§ 7), Dikaeogenes III. alleged that this first will was invalid. Under a second will, he said, he was heir, not to a third only, but to the whole of the estate. He gained his cause. The sisters of the testator were deprived of their shares, and the whole was transferred to Dikaeogenes III.

Ten years more elapsed (§ 35). Meanwhile the nephews of the testator had grown up. They now resolved to seek redress for their mothers and themselves. They began by bringing an action against one Lykon, who had been called by Dikaeogenes III. as a witness to the second will. Lykon was convicted of perjury.

The state of things was now this:—Dikaeogenes III. had himself declared the first will—which gave him 1/3rd—to be invalid. The judges of Lykon had declared the second will—which gave him all—to be false. Accordingly, the nephews (with the exception of Menexenos II., who had deserted their cause) now sued Dikaeogenes III. for the whole estate. One Leochares interposed a protest (διαμαρτυρία) that their claim was inadmissible. They indicted Leochares for perjury. Leochares was certain to be convicted. Dikaeogenes III. therefore made a compromise. He was to keep his original one-third, and leave his adversaries in secure1 possession of the other two-thirds. Leochares and Mnesiptolemos became his sureties for the performance of this engagement.

Leochares is now sued (by an ἐγγύης δίκη) to

Form of the Cause.
discharge his liability as surety, since his principal Dikaeogenes III. has made default. The speaker, son of Polyaratos (§ 5), is one of the nephews of the testator, and is supported by his first cousin Kephisodotos (§ 2).

The question of the date—a most difficult and,

for the chronology of Isaeos, a most important question—turns mainly on one point. Dikaeogenes II., when commanding the Paralos, was killed in battle ‘at Knidos’ (§§ 6, 42). Does this refer to the sea-fight off Knidos in 412 B. C.; or to the more famous battle in 394 B. C. ? If to the former, then the date of the speech is about 390 B. C. —earlier, by at least 12 years, than any other Isaean work of which we can approximately fix the time. If to the latter, then the date is about 372 B. C. The former view is the more probable. The annals will then stand thus:—

412 B. C., Ol. 92. 1. Dikaeogenes II. killed in the sea-fight off Knidos2. First will produced, making Dikaeogenes III. heir to one-third of the estate.

400 B. C. Twelve years (§ 7) after the first will, Dikaeogenes III. alleges a second will, which makes him heir to the whole estate; and gains his cause. Meanwhile Athens had suffered calamity, sedition, and civil strife3 (ib.: i.e. the defeat at Aegospotami, the tyranny of the Thirty, and the Anarchy).

393 B.C. Lechaeum, the western port of Corinth, is taken (§ 37) by the Lacedaemonians in the second year of the Corinthian War (394—387 B. C.).

390 B. C. Ten years (§ 35) after the establishment of the second will, Dikaeogenes III. is sued by the testator's nephews. A great war is still going on, in which—while he has never served—‘Olynthians and islanders are dying (ἀποθνήσκουσι) for this land in battle with the enemy’: § 464.

It is true that, in the Olynthian War of 382— 379 B. C., Olynthians were, in a sense, fighting the battle of Athens. It is also true that, in 374 B. C., war had been renewed between Athens and Sparta; and that the mention of ‘islanders’ might be explained by the fact that Corcyra was a centre of the hostilities. But the πόλεμος of § 46 cannot well cover the whole intermittent struggle against Sparta. Clearly it refers to the Corinthian War (394—387 B. C.)5.

The speaker defines his case by quoting his own affidavit

(ἀντωμοσία, § 1). He then refers to a register (ἀπογραφή) of the property left by his uncle, to prove that Dikaeogenes III. has not refunded the due amount, and that Leochares has therefore not discharged his suretyship (τὴν ἐξεγγύην ἀπέδωκεν, §§ 1—4).

A narrative of the facts above stated follows—stress being laid on the conduct of Dikaeogenes III. to his own cousins, one of whom he made a sort of servant to his brother Harmodios (§§ 5—18).

Dikaeogenes had covenanted, not only to resign his claim to two-thirds of the estate, but to give the plaintiffs undisputed possession of them. He now pretends that he had agreed only to resign his claim. This would mean nothing, as he had already sold these two-thirds to other persons. He was bound to refund the price to the purchasers, and to explain that he could not warrant (βεβαιοῦν) their ownership. So far from doing this, he had allowed the plaintiffs to incur the cost of an unsuccessful attempt to eject (ἐξάγειν) one of these purchasers (§§ 19—24). To prove that Leochares was surety for Dikaeogenes, it is shown that Leochares had, on that very pretext, induced Protarchides, the husband of one of his nieces, to resign some property (§§ 25—27).

The plaintiffs have made fair allowance for the improvement of the property by Dikaeogenes III.; and arbitrators, half of whom were chosen by him, have recognised the justice of their claim (§§ 28—34). Dikaeogenes deserves no sympathy on the ground of patriotism. His public services have been ill done; and he has paid no war-tax (εἰσφορά). Once, indeed, after Lechaeum was taken, he promised a subscription; but he never paid it, and his name was posted as a defaulter at the statues of the Eponymi (§§ 35—38).

His private and public life is contrasted with that of the speaker's ancestors—whose great-grandfather, Dikaeogenes I., fell fighting for Athens at Eleusis6; as his grandfather Menexenos fell at Spartolos7, and his uncle, Dikaeogenes II., at Knidos. Nor can the defendant take credit for his ancestors Harmodios and Aristogeiton. He renounced them, and the privileges which their descendants enjoy— maintenance at the Prytaneion, places of honour (προεδριῶν), freedom from taxes—in order to be adopted by his cousin8 (§§ 39—47).

1 ἀναμφισβήτητα, § 18 (=καθαρὰ καὶ ἀνέπαφα, Argum.), ‘freed from all claims;’—whereas, in fact, he sold these two-thirds to other persons.

2 Thuc. VIII. 42; cf. Cox, H. Gr. II. 453: (for we must think of this sea-fight, in which the Athenians lost six ships, rather than of the unsuccessful attack on Knidos noticed in c. 35, which does not seem to have been attended with any loss). The Paralos, it may be observed, is heard of soon afterwards as being with the army at Samos; Thuc. VIII. 74, 411 B C.

3 Note the language of § 7:— ἐκέκτητο ἐκαστος δωδεκα ἔτη ἔλαχε: καὶ ἐν τοσούτῳ χρόνῳ οὐσῶν δικῶν οὐδεὶς αὐτω_ν ἠξίωσε τὰ πεπραγμένα εἰπεῖν ἀδίκως πεπρᾶχθαι, πρὶν δυστυχησάσης τῆς πόλεως καὶ στάσεως γενομένης κἀγῶνος οὑτοσὶ πεισθεὶς...ἠμφισβήτει.This does not say that the στάσις was going on at the time when the false claim was made. No doubt a slip of three years would not be impossible for what Schömann calls ‘oratoria magis quam historica fides’; but the apology is not needed here.

4 Schömann would boldly alter Ὀλύνθιοι to Κορίνθιοι. Sir W. Jones (p. 159) actually proposed Ὀπούντιοι. But the context itself defends Ὀλύνθιοι. The meaning is:—‘You, an Athenian, have not served, while aid has been coming to Athens in this crisis from the uttermost parts of her confederacy.’ The great city of Olynthos, as well as the insular allies, doubtless furnished some troops in the course of a seven years' war which held all Greece in suspense.

5 I long held that 372 B.C. was the date, and that the difficulties could be overcome, (1) by referring στάσις to the strife of factions at Athens between the partisans of Sparta and the partisans of the Theban patriots in 382 B. C. (see Xen. Hellen. v. iv. 19)—the year in which the Kadmeia was seized, and in which Athens, stripped of nearly all her possessions abroad and nearly destitute of allies, might be said δυστυχῆσαι (cf. Boeckh, Publ. Econ. I. 417): (2) by explaining Ὀλύνθιοι...καὶ νησιῶται ἀποθνήσκουσι of the Olynthian War, 382—379, and of the renewed hostilities in 374 between Athens and Sparta, of which Corcyra was a centre. But στάσις most naturally refers to the Anarchy.The consideration, however, which, for me, has finally turned the scale in favour of 390 is one which, so far as I know, has not been noticed—the tone of §§ 37, 38. Clearly the details set forth there are comparatively recent. They could not have been used thus effectively after 21 years. The great war of § 46 must be identical with the great war of § 37—the Corinthian. [For 391, 390 or 389 are Schäfer, Dem. u. s. Z. I. 255, cf. III. App. 211: Blass, Att. Ber. II. 508 ff.: Schömann, Isae. 290 ff.: Weissenborn, Ersch and Gruber's Encycl. II. xxiv. 295. For 372 are Benseler, De hiatu, p. 186; and (on second thoughts) Dobree, Adv. I. 297. Krüger— who takes 384—381—would have been for 372 if he had not overlooked the 10 years of § 35.]

6 § 42, ὅτε ἐν Ἐλευσῖνι μάχη ἐγένετο. This battle at Eleusis has been referred (1) by Palmer, ap. Schöm. p. 342, to Ol. 80. 4, 457 B.C., when there were hostilities in the Megarid between the Athenians and the Corinthians: (2) by Reiske to Ol. 83. 4, 445 B.C., when the Lacedaemonians, invading Attica under Pleistonax, advanced to Elcusis; Thuc. I. 114. But on neither occasion is a battle at Eleusis recorded.Read, with Dobrce, ἐν Ἁλιεῦσι. Having made a descent on the coast of Argolis, the Athenians were defeated by the Corinthians and Epidaurians at Halicis, Ol. 80. 4, 457 B.C.. Thuc. I. 104.

7 § 42. φυλαρχῶν (ἀπέθανε) τῆς Ὀλυνθίας ἐν Σπαρτώλῳ, as Scheibe rightly follows Palmer in reading. In Ol. 87. 4, 429 B C; when the Athenians were defeated by the Chalkidians at Spartolos on the Chalkidic peninsula: Thuc. II. 79. The vulgate Ὀλυσίας was actually taken by Sir W. Jones with φυλαρχῶν—‘captain of the Destructive cohort.’ Reiske's Ὀδρυσίας, Ὀδυσσείας (the latter as name of a cohort) were not much better. Thuc. (II. 79) mentions Spartolos as belonging to the Βοττιαῖοι. But now, in 389, it had come under the control of Olynthos: cf. Xen. Hellen. v. 2. 11.

8 Scheibe (praef. XXVIII.) says ‘videtur deesse epilogus’: but, as Blass rightly remarks, the rather abrupt ending is Isaean and does not prove that anything has been lost.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Selections from the Attic Orators, 11.6
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Selections from the Attic Orators, 5.42
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Selections from the Attic Orators, 5.46
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