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SYNE´GORUS (συνήγορος) may be translated an advocate or counsel, though such translation will convey to the English reader a more comprehensive meaning than the Greek word strictly bears.

According to the ancient practice of the Athenian law, parties to an action were obliged to conduct their own causes without assistance (Quint. Inst. 2.15, 30); but on the increase of litigation the sciences of law and rhetoric began to unfold themselves, and men who had paid no attention to these were unable to compete with more experienced opponents. To consult a friend before bringing an action, or about the best means of preparing a defence, were obvious expedients. It was but another step to have a speech prepared by such friend out of court, to be delivered by the party himself when the cause was brought to trial. A class of persons thus sprang up, somewhat in the nature of chamber counsel, who received money for writing speeches and giving legal advice to those who consulted them (Isocr. de Perm. § 41). [LOGOGRAPHI] Antiphon was the first who made a profession of it ([Plut.] Vitt. X. Oratt. p. 832 C; according to Paus. 6.17, 8, it was Tisias). Still, whatever assistance the party might have received out of court, the law which compelled him to appear in person at the trial remained in force; although the prohibition to speak by counsel was so far relaxed, that if the party was labouring under illness, or through any physical or mental debility was unable to conduct his own cause without manifest disadvantage, he might (by permission of the court) procure a relation or friend to speak for him. Thus, when Miltiades was impeached for treason, and by reason of a gangrene iii his hip was unable to plead his own cause, he was brought on a litter into court, and his brother Tisagoras addressed the people on his behalf (Corn. Nep. Milt. 100.7). So, when Isocrates was ill, his son Aphareus spoke for him in the cause about the ἀντίδοσις ([Plut.] Vitt. X. Oratt. p. 839 C). And in the speech of Demosthenes against Leochares we see that the son conducts his father's cause (p. 1081.4). As a general rule, the party was expected to address the court himself; for the judges liked to form an opinion of him from his voice, look, and demeanour; and therefore, if a man distrusted his own ability, he would open the case himself by a short speech, and then ask permission for his friend or friends to come forward (Hyper. pro Eux. 100.25 f.; pro Lycophr. 100.8 f.; [Dem.] c. Phorm. p. 922.52; c. Neaer. p. 1349.14; Aeschin. c. Ctes. § 202, etc.: cf. SYNDICUS). This was seldom refused; and in the time of the orators the practice was so well established, that the principal speeches in the cause were not unfrequently made by the advocate. The defence by Demosthenes [p. 2.745]of Ctesiphon against Aeschines may be cited as an example. In this it will be seen that Demosthenes was as much interested as the defendant himself; and it is further to be observed, that the advocate was looked upon with more favour on this very account; for as no fees were allowed to be taken, a speaker was regarded with suspicion who had no apparent motive for undertaking the cause of another person. Hence we find in most of the συνηγορικοὶ λόγοι, that the speaker avows what his motives are; as, for instance, that he is connected by blood or friendship with the one party, or at enmity with the other, or that he has a stake in the matter at issue between them. (See the opening of the speeches of Isaeus de Nicost. her. and de Philoct. her.; Isocrates, c. Euthyn.; and Demosthenes, c. Lept. and c. Androt.: cf. Lyc. c. Leocr. § 138, ἐκπέπληγμαι μάλιστα ἐπὶ τοῖς μήτε γένει μήτε φιλίᾳ μηδὲν προσήκουσι, μισθοῦ δὲ συναπολογουμένοις ἀεὶ τοῖς κρινομένοις, etc.) In the cause against Leochares above cited, it is evident that the son had an equal interest with his father in preserving the inheritance, and therefore he would be considered in the light of a party. The law which prohibited the advocate from taking fees, under peril of a γραφὴ before the Thesmothetae ([Dem.] c. Steph. ii. p. 1137.26; cf. Plat. Legg. 11.15, p. 937 E f.), made no provision (and perhaps it was impossible to make an effective provision) against an influence of a more pernicious kind, viz. that of political association, which induced men to support the members of their club or party without the least regard for the right or justice of the case (ξυνωμοσίαι ἐπὶ δίκαις καὶ ἀρχεῖς, Thuc. 8.54). Hence the frequent allusions by the orators to the ἐργαστήρια συκοφαντῶν, μοχθηρῶν ἀνθρώπων συνεστηκότων, παρασκευὰς λόγων, μαρτύρων, συνωμοτῶν, all which expressions have reference to that system of confederation at Athens, by which individuals endeavoured to influence and control the courts of justice. (See ERANI; SYCOPHANTES; Reiske, Index in Orat. Att. s. vv. Ἐργαστήριον and παρασκευή.) That friends were often requested to plead, not on account of any incapacity in the party, but in order that by their presence they might exert an influence on the bench, is evident fiom an attentive perusal of the orators. In some cases this might be a properly legitimate course, as where a defendant charged with some serious crime called a man of high reputation to speak in his behalf, and pledge himself thereby that he believed the charge was groundless. (For this reason Lycurgus was in great request as συνήγορος: [Plut.] Vitt. X. Oratt. p. 841 E; Rutil. Lup. de Fig. 2.4.) With such view Aeschines, cn his trial for misconduct in the embassy, prayed the aid of Eubulus and Phocion, the latter of whom he had previously called as a witness (Aeschin. F. L. sub fin.).

In cases of dispute concerning the amount of tribute to be paid, the members of the confederacy might either plead their cause themselves (Antiph. fr. 48 ff.) or through συνήγοροι (Id. fr. 13). Five συνήγοροι were chosen to represent the οἶκος Δεκελείῶν in the assembly of the phratry (C. I. A. ii. No. 841 b, 50.31 ff.).

Συνήγοροι (or κατήγοροι) was also the name given to the public advocates appointed to manage the prosecution in causes of importance, wherein the state was materially interested, more especially in those which were brought before the court upon an εἰσαγγελία (in the fifth century, Lipsius, Leipz. Stud. vi. p. 320). Thus, Pericles was appointed, not at his own desire, to assist in the impeachment of Cimon (εἷς τῶν κατηγόρων ὑπὸ τοῦ δήμου προβεβλημένος, Plut. Per. 10). The generals might choose from the senate (συνήγοροι, not more than ten in number, to assist in prosecuting Antiphon, Archiptolemus, and Onomacles for treason ([Plut.] Vitt. X. Oratt. p. 833 E). Public prosecutors were chosen by the people to bring to trial Demosthenes, and others charged with having received bribes from Harpalus (ten κατήγοροι, Dinarch. c. Dem. § 51; c. Aristog. § 6: see also Jebb, Att. Orators, i. p. 222). [RHETORICE GRAPHE] The fee of a drachm (τὸ συνηγορικὸν) mentioned by Aristophanes (Aristoph. Wasps 691) was probably the sum paid to the public advocate per diem whenever he was employed on behalf of the state.

In ordinary cases, however, the accuser or prosecutor (κατήγορος) was a distinct person from the συνήγορος, who acted only as auxiliary to him. It might be, indeed, that the συνήγορος performed the most important part at the trial, as Anytus and Lycon are said to have done on the trial of Socrates, wherein Meletus was prosecutor; or it might be that he performed a subordinate part, making only a short speech in support. But, however this might be, he was in point of law an auxiliary only, and was neither entitled to a share of the reward (if any) given by the law to a successful accuser, nor liable, on the other hand, to a penalty of a thousand drachmas, or the ἀτιμία consequent upon a failure to get a fifth part of the votes. Here we must distinguish between an advocate and a joint prosecutor. The latter stood probably precisely in the same situation as his colleague, just as a co-plaintiff in a civil action. The names of both would appear in the bill (ἔγκλημα), both would attend the ἀνάκρισις, and would in short have the same rights and liabilities; the elder of the two only having priority in certain matters of form, such as the πρωτολογία (argum. Dem. c. Androt. p. 592). In the proceeding against the law of Leptines, there were two prosecutors, Aphepsion and Ctesippus the son of Chabrias; each addressed the court, Aphepsion first, as being the elder; each had his advocate, the one Phormio, the other Demosthenes (argum. p. 453 f.).

There seems to have been no law which limited the number of persons who might appear as advocates, either in public or private causes. There was, however, this practical limitation, that as the time allowed for speaking to either party was in most cases measured by the clepsydra, if either chose to employ a friend to speak for him, he subtracted so much from the length of his own speech as he meant to leave for that of his friend, and the whole time allowed was precisely the same, whatever the number of persons who spoke on one side (this applied also to the public advocates, Dinarch. c. Dem. § 114; c. Aristog. § 6; for an exception, see HERES iv.). Both parties were usually (not always: cf. Dem. F. L. p. 407.213) allowed to make two speeches, the plaintiff beginning, the defendant [p. 2.746]following, then the plaintiff replying, and lastly the defendant again. These are often called λόγοι πρότεροι and ὕστεροι respectively, but are not to be confounded with the συνηγορίαι or δευτερολογίαι which immediately followed the speech of the party in whose favour they were made. (Att. Process, ed. Lipsius, pp. 920-925, 759.)

With respect to the custom of producing friends to speak in mitigation of damages or punishment, see TIMEMA As to the public advocates appointed to defend the old laws before a Heliastic court, see SYNDICUS, NOMOTHETES.

It has been shown clearly by Schömann, that Petitus was wrong in supposing that the orators or statesmen who spoke in the assembly are called συνήγοροι (Legg. Attic. iii 3, p. 344 f., “Quamquam inter Magistratus censendi non sint Oratores, tamen ἐν τοῖς ἰδιώταις non sunt numerandi, cum expressis verbis distinguantur ab iis in Aeschinis Or. adv. Tim. ( § 8), τρίτον δ᾽ἐφεξῆς τοὺς περὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἡλικιῶν, οὐ μόνον περὶ τῶν ἰδιωτῶν ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῶν ῥητόρων . . . Nemo autem temere huic Oratorum albo adscribebatur, sed quotannis decem sorte legebantur, qui drachmam de publico accipiebant, eo, quo orabant, die docet Aristoteles ap. Schol. Aristoph. ad hunc e Vespis versum (689): ἐλάμβανον γὰρ οἱ ῥήτορες δραχμήν, ὅτε συνηγόρουν ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως ὑπὲρ ἄλλου τινός. ἐκ τούτου δὲ φαίνεται ὅτι μισθοφόρος ἦν ἀρχή. κληρωτοὺς δὲ γενομένους δέκα συνηγόρους Ἀριστοτέλης φησίν. Qui enim συνήγοροι hic dicuntur, ii sunt ῥήτορες,” etc.). The speakers in the popular assembly are always distinguished by the title of ῥήτορες or δημήγοροι, or, if they possessed much influence with the people, δημαγωγοί: and it is not to be supposed that they constituted a distinct class of persons, inasmuch as any Athenian citizen was at liberty to address the assembly when he pleased; though, as it was found in practice that the possession of the βῆμα was confined to a few persons who were best fitted for it by their talent and experience, such persons acquired the title of ῥήτορες, etc. (Schömann, de Comit. pp. 107-109, 210; Journ. of Philol. iv. p. 90 f.). There appears, however, to have been a regular appointment of συνήγοροι, ten in number, with whom the Scholiast on Aristoph. l.c. confounded the ῥήτορες or orators, viz. the officers who assisted the Logistae in auditing magistrates' accounts: cf. Bekk. Anecd. i. p. 301, 4, συνήγοροι ἄρχοντες ἦσαν κληρωτοὶ οἳ τοῖς λογισταῖς ἐβοήθουν πρὸς τὰς εὐθύνας τῶν ἀρξάντων τινὰ ἀρχήν: and Lex. Rhetor. Cantabr. p. 672, 24, Λογιστὰς αἱροῦνται δέκα . . . καὶ ἄλλους δέκα συνηγόρους οἵτινες συνανακρίνουσι τούτοις: Photius, s. v. οὐ μόνον οἱ τοῖς ἰδιώταις συναγορεύοντες, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἄρχοντες Ἀθήνησιν. See also the oath of the συνήγοροι of the Myrrhinusians in C. I. A. ii. No. 578; R. Schöll, de Syneg. Att. p. 30 ff. Aristotle (Aristot. Pol. 7.5 (8 B), § 10) says that the authorities to whom magistrates rendered their accounts were called in some of the Greek states εὔθυνοι (e. g. in Teos, Dittenberger, Syll. No. 349, 58 ff.), in others λογισταί (e. g. in Ephesus, Dittenberger, Syll. No. 253, 29 ff.; Issa, C. I. G. No. 1834, etc.), in others ἐξετασταί (e. g. in Erythrae, Dittenberger, Syll. No. 370, 25; in Nesos, Hicks, Manual, No. 138, etc.), and in others συνήγοροι (e. g. in Iasus, Dittenberger, No. 77, 11; Gilbert, Handb. d. Griech. Staatsalt. ii. p. 336). (Att. Process, ed. Lipsius, p. 115.) Three συνήγοροι are mentioned in a decree of Zelea, to be chosen by lot from amongst nine citizens elected to act as ἀνευρεταὶ τῶν χωρίων τῶν δημοσίων, etc. (Dittenberger, Syll. No. 113, 1. 30 ff.) [H.H]

(Appendix). For the συνήγοροι τῶν λογιστῶν, see App. s. v. EUTHYNE

hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Aristophanes, Wasps, 691
    • Aristotle, Politics, 6.1322b
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.8
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.17
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.54
    • Cornelius Nepos, Miltiades, 7
    • Plutarch, Pericles, 10
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