signifies any corrupt conduct, misfeasance, or neglect of duty on the part
of an ambassador; for which he was liable to be called to account and
prosecuted on his return home (Dem. F. L.
p. 430.278 f.; p.
342.4 f.; c. Mid.
p. 515.5). Ambassadors were usually elected
by the people in: assembly (C. I. A.
ii. No. 17, 50.72 ff.;
iv. No. 27 a, 50.45 ff.; Aeschin. F. L.
§ 18 f.,
etc.), on rare occasions by the senate (Heydemann, de
p. 37; cf. Dem. F. L.
At the time of the Peloponnesian war and before, only men above fifty years
of age were eligible as ambassadors (Plut. Per.
; C. I. A.
i. No. 40, 50.16; cf. Plat.
xii. p. 950 D); later on this restriction was removed,
for Demosthenes had not reached that age when he was sent to Philip in B.C.
346. Persons fit for the post (ἄξιοι
Aeschin. F. L.
§ 23; λέγειν δυνάμενοι,
§ 139) and personae
to the state to which the embassy was to be sent (l.c.
§ 138 f.; Thuc.
, etc.; usually the πρόξενοι,
Schubert, de prox. Attic.
p. 78) were
proposed by their friends (Aeschin. F. L.
§ 18) or
might even propose themselves (Din. c. Dem.
Lys. c. Agor.
§ 9). In most cases the ambassadors
received definite instructions (C. I. A.
i. No. 40, 50.16
ff.; Dem. F. L.
p. 352.37; p. 392.162; Aeschin. F.
§ 98, etc.); but sometimes this was, from the nature of
the case, not possible, and they had to act according to their own judgment.
Hence such instructions as Aeschin. F. L.
πράττειν δὲ τοὺς πρέσβεις καὶ ἄλλ᾽ ὅ τι
ἂν δύνωνται ἀγαθόν
: Cf. C. I. A.
17, 50.74, and as an instance of independent action on the part of
ambassadors may be cited the steps taken by Learchus and Ameiniades against
the Lacedaemonian envoys (Thuc. 2.67
Ambassadors who were empowered to make peace or conclude an alliance without
further reference to the popular assembly were called αὐτοκράτορες
(Andoc. de Pac.
αὐτοκράτορας γὰρ πεμφθῆναι εἰς Λακεδαίμονα
διὰ τοῦθ᾽, ἵνα μὴ πάλιν ἐπαναφέρωμεν,
with Thuc. 5.41
τέλος τι αὐτῶν ἔχειν, ἐς τὸ Ἄργος πρῶτον ἐπαναχωρήσαντας
αὐτοὺς δεῖξαι τῷ πλήθει, καὶ ἢν ἀρέσκοντα ᾖ, ἥκειν ἐς
τὰ Ὑακίνθια τοὺς ὅρκους ποιησομένους
); yet such
ambassadors had no power to settle the conditions on which peace was to be
made, etc., these having been determined upon before they were despatched.
Egger's definition (Mémoire histor. sur les
p. 8) is therefore too wide:
“Les ambassadeurs prenaient quelquefois le titre de
plénipotentiaires, quand on les dispensait formellement d'en
référ à leurs commettants pour la
conclusion du traité.” That the power of the πρέσβεις αὐτοκράτορες
was such as described
above is borne out, e. g. by Lysias' (c. Agor.
ff.) and Xenophon's (Hell.
2.2, 11 ff.) accounts of
Theramenes' embassy to Sparta. The Athenians had proposed to Agis to become
allies of Sparta, retaining their walls and the Peiraeus, and Agis referred
the ambassadors to the ephors at Sparta. This they reported to the popular
assembly, by whom they were despatched to Sparta. On the frontier the ephors
asked what their propositions were; and hearing that they were the same as
those made to Agis, they desired them to go back and come prepared with
something more admissible, informing them at the same time that no
proposition could be received which did not include the demolition of the
Long Walls for a continuous length of ten stadia. With this answer the
envoys returned to Athens; a senator advised the acceptance of the terms,
but was thrown into prison, and a resolution was passed forbidding any such
motion in future. Then Theramenes offered to go as envoy to Lysander, to
find out the real intentions of the Spartans as regards Athens; and when
after three months' delay Lysander referred him to the ephors, Theramenes
returned to Athens. He was now chosen πρεσβευτὴς
to Sparta, together with nine others, i. e.
empowered to conclude peace if the Spartans accepted the conditions which he
was prepared to offer, these having been agreed on by the people (Θηραμένης . . . λέγει ὅτι . . . ποιήσειν ὥστε μήτε
τῶν τειχῶν διελεῖν μήτε ἄλλο τὴν πόλιν ἐλαττῶσαι
etc. Lys. l.c.
§ 9). At
Sellasia these envoys informed the ephors that they were αὐτοκράτορες,
and were therefore permitted to
come to Sparta; but when the Spartans insisted upon the demolition of the
Long Walls, etc., the envoys could do nothing but refer (ἐπαναφέρειν,
§ 21) these terms to the Athenians; in the popular assembly they
strongly recommended submission to Sparta, and the terms were accepted by a
large majority. It is clear that if Theramenes and his colleagues had been
plenipotentiaries in the usual sense of the word, i. e. empowered to make
peace on the best terms they could secure, they would have done so at once
at Sparta. See also Diod. 12.4
, διόπερ οἱ περὶ τὸν Ἀρτάβαζον καὶ Μεγάβυζον
ἔπεμψαν εἰς τὰς Ἀθήνας πρεσβευτὰς τοὺς διαλεξομένους περὶ
συλλύσεως: ὑπακουσάντων δὲ τῶν Ἀθηναίων καὶ πεμψάντων
πρέσβεις αὐτοκράτορας ὧν ἡγεῖτο Καλλίας ὁ Ἱππονίκου
ἐγένοντο συνθῆκαι περὶ τῆς εἰρήνης,
etc. In Dem.
p. 395.173, αὐτοκράτωρ
has of course a different sense (Schäfer,
Dem. u. s. Zeit,
ii. p. 227, n. 1).
For ambassadors to act contrary to their instructions (παρὰ τὸ ψήφισμα πρεσβεύειν,
Dem. F. L.
346.17) was a high misdemeanour [p. 2.342]
p. 941 A).
On their return home they were required immediately to make a report of
their proceedings (ἀπαγγέλλειν τὴν
), first to the senate (ἐπὶ
Aeschin. F. L.
§ 45) and
afterwards to the people in assembly (l.c.
§ § 17, 25, 45 ff.; Dem. F. L.
If the report made to the senate seemed satisfactory and no
complaint was made against the ambassadors, a member of the senate moved a
vote of thanks to the envoys and an invitation to dinner in the Prytaneum,
and this motion was afterwards submitted to the popular assembly. Thus,
after the return of the first embassy to Philip, Demosthenes moved in the
senate στεφανῶσαι θαλλοῦ στεφανῷ ἕκαστον καὶ
καλέσαι ἐπὶ δεῖπνον εἰς τὸ πρυτανεῖον εἰς αὔριον,
and in the popular assembly ἐπαινέσαι καὶ καλέσαι
etc. (Aeschin. F. L.
§ 45, 53; cf. Dem. F. L.
p. 414.234). When
objections were raised to the conduct of the ambassadors, as happened after
the second embassy, no such vote of thanks, etc. was proposed in the senate
(Dem. F. L.
p. 350.31; cf. p. 355.45, etc.). This vote of
thanks had in course of time become a mere formality (τὸ νόμιμον ἔθος ποιῶν,
Dem. F. L.
414.234, and argum.
p. 338; cf. Aeschin. c.
§ 178), and to judge from the case of Timagoras,
a person, though thus honoured, might later on be severely punished if
misconduct in the embassy could be proved against him (Xen. Hell. 7.1
;--Dem. F. L.
p. 400.191; p. 383.137). Since it was
forbidden by law στεφανοῦν τοὺς
(Aeschin. c. Ctes.
such a motion probably always contained the clause ἐπειδὰν τὰς εὐθύνας δῷ
(cf. C. I. A.
ii. No. 114 A; Rangabé, Ant. Hell.
ii. No. 425).
For that the ambassadors had to render an official account of their conduct
in the embassy in the usual way [EUTHYNE
] is clear (Aristotle in Harpocr. s. v. εὔθυνοι
: Pollux, 8.45, etc.). At the anakrisis
held by the logistae, their κήρυξ
any one intended to accuse the functionary who was rendering his account
(τίς βούλεται κατηγορεῖν;
§ 23; cf. Dem. F. L.
341.2). If an accuser appeared, he had to establish his complaint and reduce
it to the form of a γραφή,
prosecution would be conducted in the usual way, stopping the proceedings of
(This explains why Aeschines
had not rendered his account before Demosthenes brought him to trial, Dem.
p. 374.104 f.) We do not. know within what time
this account had to be rendered, whether ambassadors were bound to render it
thirty days after their return, as most magistrates had to do after the
expiration of their term of office. Thirlwall (Hist. of
vi. p. 31) can scarcely be right in saying that the time for
doing it was left to their discretion; for the instance from which he draws
this inference must be explained differently. From the way in which
Demosthenes had attacked him on his return from the second embassy to Philip
both in the senate and in the popular assembly, Aeschines had reason to fear
that charges would be made against him on the occasion of his rendering his
account. He therefore tried at first to escape it altogether; and with a
view to that, when Demosthenes wished to render his account in due form, he
presented himself before the logistae and argued that there was no occasion
to render an account of this second embassy, as it was for a matter of form
only, viz. to receive the oath of Philip (Aeschin. F. L.
§ 123). This objection was overruled, and Demosthenes went through
the necessary forms and received his discharge, no one complaining of his
conduct, and probably some other envoys likewise (Dem. F. L.
p. 377.118; Aeschin. F. L.
§ 178). Now Aeschines
changed his tactics, and professed to be eager to render his account
§ 168), and Demosthenes and Timarchus
brought charges of neglect of duty against him (Dem. F. L.
343.8). Aeschines, however, gained time by proceeding against Timarchus: he
demanded a judicial scrutiny into Timarchus' character, and thus in a
summary way got rid of one of his accusers (ἠτίμωσεν
ὑπακούσαντά τιν᾽ αὑτοῦ κατήγορον,
p. 423.257). At last, more than three years after the embassy
(Dion. Halic. Epist.
i. ad Amm.
10, ἄρχων Πυθόδοτος,
i. e. B.C. 343-2. . .
καὶ τὸν κατ᾽ Αἰσχίνου συνετάξατο λόλον,
ὅτε τὰς εὐθύνας ἐδίδου τῆς δευτέρας πρεσβείας τῆς ἐπὶ τοὺς
), Demosthenes brought Aeschines to trial, when he, it
is said, was acquitted by a majority of only thirty votes (Plut. Dem. 15
; [Plut.] Vitt. X.
p. 840 B, C). The γραφὴ
which might be brought only on occasion of the
was a τιμητὸς ἀγών
(Aeschin. F. L.
etc.); and as it might comprise charges of the most serious kind, such as
treachery and treason against the state, the defendant might have to
apprehend the heaviest punishment. Callias, (Dem. F. L.
428.273) had to pay a fine of fifty talents ἐν ταῖς
(on his embassy: cf. Duncker, Abh. a. d.
p. 121 ff.). Aelian's story (V. H.
6.5), that the Athenian ambassadors sent to Arcadia, though successful in
the object of their mission, were condemned to death because they had not
travelled by the prescribed route, wants confirmation. Besides this γραφή,
might be brought against an ambassador (Dem.
p. 374.104 f.), e. g. against Epicrates (Dem.
p. 429 f., § 276 ff.), and probably
against Philon (Isocr. c. Callim.
§ 22; ἐνδειχθέντα
can scarcely be [p. 2.343]
used here in its technical sense). (Att.
ed. Lipsius, p. 459 ff., p. 290.) Aeschines (F.
§ 139) says that Demosthenes had threatened to bring an
eisangelia (εἰσαγγεῖλαι παραπρεσβεύσασθαι
against him for going as ambassador to Philip and to the Amphictyonic
council, without being appointed as such (cf. Dem. F. L.
379.125 ff.); it is true that Aeschines, when elected to go on the third
embassy, declined under the pretext of ill-health (Dem. F. L.
p. 379.124), but the election was renewed by a decree which Demosthenes
passed over (Aeschin. F. L.
§ 94, ψήφισμα τὸ μὲν ἀνέγνως,
scil. Dem. F.
p. 381.130, τὸ δὲ
: cf. Dem. F. L.
p. 395.172, ἐπὶ τὴν τρίτην πρεσβείαν δίς με χειροτονησάντων
ὑμῶν δὶς ἐξωμοσάμην
); cf. Plat. Legg.
p. 941 A. Antiphon and Archeptolemus were proceeded against by an εἰσαγγελία προδοσίας
([Plut.] Vitt. X.
p. 833 E, F), and the impeachment of Philocrates was not
p. 195), but ῥήτορα ὄντα λέγειν μὴ τὰ ἄριστα τῷ δήμῳ τῷ
(Hyper. pro Eux.