THIS speech turns on a point involving some curious questions in the rights of citizenship. It is primarily this: whether two sons of the same father, both enrolled as citizens, have a legal right to the same name. The civil disabilities resulting from it are described in detail; and although such difficulties could hardly arise with us, who use a plurality of names, the Athenian custom of describing a person solely by one name, with the addition of that of his father and deme (borough or parish), made it impossible, in such cases as appointment by lot to any office, to know, publicly at least, which of the two was intended. It is distinctly affirmed in §§ 32 and 40, that no Athenian citizen ever called two sons of his own by the same name.

To remove this practical difficulty an action is brought by Mantitheus, the son of Mantias1, of the deme Thoricus, and of a daughter of Polyaratus (Or. 40 § 24), against his half-brother, by name Boeotus. This man was the son of another woman, Plangon, who, though only the mistress of Mantias, was an Athenian citizen; and the citizenship descended to the progeny of ἀστοὶ on both sides, even without the legal form of marriage2. It appears from the speech that Mantias had, either in reality or in pretence, felt some doubts about this Boeotus, and another brother called, after the mother's father, Pamphilus, being his sons by Plangon. Boeotus, however,— at what age is uncertain,—had been persuaded by his friends to represent himself as an injured man3, and to insist on being recognised as the son of Mantias, and as entitled to the rights of citizenship. Mantias was reluctant, but an action was threatened to compel him. Unwilling, for some political reasons, to appear in a public trial, he endeavoured to settle the matter by πρόκλησις, i.e. by proposing that Plangon should declare on oath before an arbitrator, whether Boeotus and Pamphilus were her sons by Mantias or not. She had assured him privately that if the oath on the affirmative were tendered to her, she would decline to take it; and it had been further arranged, that a sum of money should be paid to her for so declining it. She, however, had unexpectedly sworn that they were her sons by Mantias; and thus Mantias was obliged to enter both sons in the clans (φρατρίαι or ‘families’), according to the established rule of the first enrolment or registration of citizens' children, which usually took place at an early age. It was then that the name of Boeotus was given to the elder, that of Pamphilus to the younger son. However, before the second enrolment into the register of citizens (in the γραμματεῖον ληξιαρχικὸν) had taken place, Mantias died. Boeotus then, dissatisfied with the name (which, though taken from his maternal uncle, he pretended had been given him in contempt4), contrived to get himself registered as Mantitheus. The true Mantitheus resents this: he had, in filial obedience, recognised his half-brothers, taken them to live with him after his father's death, and acknowledged them as his co-heirs. But he insists on his sole right to the name of Mantitheus. Both in this and in the next speech, which is intimately connected with it, examples are given in which real inconvenience had resulted from the two having the same name.

It seems that Boeotus had founded his claim on his elder birth (ὡς δὴ πρεσβύτερος ὤν, § 27). Mantitheus does not affirm that he is himself older in years, but pleads that his registration in the phratry took place before that of Boeotus; and he contends that the precedence in being inscribed in the city register should be dated from that time.

The precise age or period at which Boeotus procured his enrolment into his clan or phratry is not stated. It appears, however, that he was old enough to co-operate with (μεθ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ κατασκευάσαι, § 2) a party who undertook the management of the affair. At whatever age an adoption took place, the registration in a phratry was required (Ar. Ach. 146; cf. Ran. 418).

That the plaintiff Mantitheus lost his cause seems probable from Or. 40 §§ 17, 18. It is there stated that Mantitheus brought an action against his brother by the name of Boeotus to recover the dower of his mother. This cause was given against Boeotus by the arbitrator; but he had denied that this was his name, and said that he was Mantitheus, not Boeotus5. This could not have been said,—unless in open contempt of court,—if he had been adjudged, in the present trial, to retain the name of Boeotus.

[Had the plaintiff gained his cause we may be quite sure that in his subsequent speech περὶ προικὸς (Or. 40) he would have expressly asserted that it had been legally decided that the name of Mantitheus belonged to himself alone. Further, in the latter part of § 18 of that speech, the suit περὶ προικὸς is described as directed against the defendant under the name of Mantitheus6. Hence Dionysius of Halicarnassus rightly calls the first speech πρὸς Βοιωτὸν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος and the second πρὸς Μαντίθεον περὶ προικός7. It may be interesting to add that, in an inscription referring to a date shortly after B.C. 342, or at least eight years after the present trial, both the elder and the younger Mantitheus are mentioned with Pamphilus as heirs of Mantias.8 The date of the speech is determined within narrow limits by the reference to the battle of Tamynae (§ 16 n.), which may perhaps be placed in the spring of either B.C. 350 (A. Schaefer) or 348 (Weil and Blass). The trial probably took place in the autumn of that year.9 S.]

[Modern critics have, with almost complete unanimity, accepted the speech as the genuine work of Demosthenes. It is unnecessary to cite the criticisms on the speech in general which may be found in the standard works of Arnold Schaefer and of Blass. It may, however, be interesting to quote the remarks made by Mr W. H. Kirk in his pamphlet on Demosthenic Style in the Private Orations. Beginning his investigation of the characteristics of the fourteen undoubtedly genuine private speeches, with examples of the vocabulary of denunciation, he observes that in the present speech and Or. 41 such examples are strikingly absent.

‘It would seem that in his youth (Or. 27 and 29) Demosthenes gave a freer rein to the passion which seeks issue in vigorous and downright abuse, while later (Or. 45) he learned to clothe the same sentiment in a more refined and subtle expression. The triumph of this refinement is seen in the first speech against Boeotus, where, without the employment of any harsh word, the adversary is loaded with scorn and rebuke. The cause lies in the ἠθοποιία of the speech (the expression in the writer's style of the speaker's personality); Mantitheus, whose case has no support in law, wishes to arouse in the judges a sense of what is fair and considerate; accordingly, he poses throughout as a person of scrupulous fairness, and displays an ostentatious consideration of the rights and feelings of a brother whom he despises and repudiates, while admitting and satisfying his legal claims’ (p. 8).]

[Modern Literature. A. Schaefer, Dem. und seine Zeit, III B 211—228, 1858. Blass, die Attische Beredsamkeit, III i 415—419{1}, 473—477{2}. Von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Aristoteles u. Athen, II p. 179 (Das Recht am Namen), note 24, quoted at end of Introd. to Or. 40. Also Thalheim in Quaestiones Demosthenicae, pp. 7—10 (Schneidemühl) 1889.]

Argument. ll. 1—7. ‘Mantias, one of those who had formerly held office at Athens, had married a wife according to the legal forms, and had by her a son, the same (Mantitheus) who now brings the action. But he had formed a connexion with one Plangon, an Attic citizen, from a passion he had conceived for her. She bore him two sons, who on attaining their full age went to law with Mantias, claiming to be recognised by him as their father. Mantias pleaded against the claim at first, but afterwards adopted the youths, as no other course remained to him in consequence of an offer of his own which he had made to Plangon, deceived by a solemn promise of hers.’

Μαντίας A minor politician and public speaker. Cf. § 3 πολιτευομένου, and Aristot. Rhet. II 23 περὶ τῶν τέκνων αἱ γυναῖκες πανταχοῦ διορίζουσι τἀληθές: τοῦτο μὲν γὰρ Ἀθήνησι Μαντίᾳ τῷ ῥήτορι ἀμφισβητοῦντι πρὸς τὸν υἱὸν μήτηρ ἀπέφηνεν. The evidence of inscriptions proves that he was treasurer of the Athenian dockyards about 360 B.C., and concerned in the registration of vessels in the harbour of Munychia; at a later date (after 342 B.C.) his heirs had to discharge a debt incurred by him in those duties. (Cf. § 25 τίς ἦν χρηματιστὴς πατήρ.) See note 1 on p. 153, and A. Schaefer's Dem. u. seine Zeit, III B 214. S.]

ib. γυναῖκα The lawful wife of Mantias was the widow of Cleomedon, son of the famous demagogue Cleon. Or. 40 § 6. S.]

προσῄει Here the plusquam perfectum, ‘he had had connexion.’ The name Πλαγγών is perhaps a ὑποκόρισμα, as the word means ‘Dolly.’ Hesych. πλαγγών: κηρινόν τι κοροκός μιον. The fact of this woman being ἀστή, not δούλη or ξένη, made the sons legitimate, if acknowledged by the father, even if the marriage was not κατὰ νόμους. [‘Citizenship descended to the children of citizens on both sides, even without the legal form of marriage; such children, without being admitted to the phratries, belonged to a deme, and consequently possessed civic rights (§§ 23, 25, 28), and by a formal act of recognition of parentage (ποιεῖσθαι παῖδας, §§ 29, 30) they could be made to share all the rights of those born in wedlock’ (Caillemer and Lipsius, quoted in Smith, Dict. Ant. I 445 a).] Those who were not born of both father and mother who were citizens, were struck off the register; τοὺς μὴ γεγονότας ἐξ ἀστοῦ καὶ ἐξ ἀστῆς ἐξαλείφεσθαι (Arg. to Or. 57). Cf. Or. 48 § 53 γυναῖκα μὲν ἀστὴν κατὰ τοὺς νόμους τοὺς ὑμετέρους οὐδεπώποτ᾽ ἔγημεν, οὐδ̓ εἰσὶν αὐτῷ παῖδες οὐδ̓ ἐγένοντο. [Aristot., Const. Athens, 26 § 4 (B.C. 451—0) Περικλέους εἰπόντος, ἔγνωσαν μὴ μετέχειν τῆς πόλεως ὃς ἂν μὴ ἐξ ἀμφοῖν ἀστοῖν γεγονώς.]

ἀναλαμβάνει Suscipit, ‘acknowledges as his own.’

ἀπατηθεὶς The grammarian goes on to explain this. He first explains προκλήσεως, and then προὐκαλέσατο ἀπατηθείς. Mantias had wished not to recognise the sons; and Plangon, induced by a promise of money, had given a pledge that, on the oath being tendered to her, she would swear they were not by him. But she (induced perhaps by her affection for them, or perhaps by a still larger bribe on their part) had sworn just the contrary, viz. that they were her sons by Mantias.

ib. προὐκαλέσατο This word, ‘to make a formal offer,’ governs a double accusative, τἰ τινα. Or. 30 § 1 πολλὰ καὶ δίκαια προκαλεσάμενος ἀμφοτέρους, and προκαλεῖσθαί τινα πρόκλησιν, Or. 56 § 17.

ἐμμενεῖν ‘Promising to abide by the oath,’ i.e. whichever way she should make the declaration, and even against his own wish or belief.

ὑπὲρ τούτου sc. τοῦ μὴ ὀμόσαι αὐτήν.

λάθρᾳ Construe with καὶ ὠμωμόκει, not with προτεινόμενον. She had even sworn privately, i.e. she had even gone so far as to swear. Such a compact was fraudulent and illegal, and for that reason, perhaps, secretly made.

ib. προτεινόμενον ‘When offered.’ Perhaps προτεινομένου, i.e. αὐτοῦ, ‘should be offer it.’

ib. προκαλεσαμένου ‘When he called upon her to make her declaration on oath.’

συνθήκας, the pledges she had given that she would decline to take the oath.

τετελεύτηκεν ‘He died.’ So the perfect is sometimes used by the grammarians, e.g. πέπομφε, Arg. ad Or. 34 § 3.

[The pf. (‘dies and is now dead’) is influenced by the present construction δέχεται...ἀναγκάζεται, &c. Prof. Kennedy.]

εισποιηθέντων ‘Who had been admitted by adoption into the roll of the citizens.’

τοῦτο γὰρ αὐτῷ If we read αὐτῷ, τοῦτο must mean Boeotus. If αὑτῷ, then Mantitheus: ‘For this name had been given to himself, Mantitheus, by his father.’

τεθεῖσθαι Here put passively. The Attic writers of the best age used κεῖσθαι in preference. [The only instances of τεθεῖσθαι as passive quoted by Veitch, Gk. Verbs, are Ar. fragm. 304 ἄμφοδον ἐχρῆν αὐτῷ τεθεῖσθαι τοὔνομα, which may be middle, and Demades 12 τοὺς ὅρους τῆς Λακωνικῆς τεθειμένους, which is from a spurious speech by a late Rhetorician. For its correct use, as a middle, cf. § 40, ὅστις ταὐτὸν ὄνομα τέθειται, and for the passive, Isaeus 3 § 32 (ὄνομα) ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς κείμενον. (Isocr. ad Dem. § 36 n.) S.]

ib. αὐτόθεν Prima facie, as we say; lit. from the facts of the case itself. ‘From a casual view of the matter, a man might be thought litigious and quarrelsome in disputing about names and titles; but the speech itself supplies good proofs that the having the same name is seriously inconvenieut both on public and on private grounds.’ The former of these are summed up §§ 7—12, the latter §§ 13—18.

φιλόνικος Compound adjectives formed from neuters ending in -ος have the termination -ής, as δέος ἀδεής, γένος ἀγενής, κλἐος ἀκλεής, βλάβος ἀβλαβής. Hence from νεῖκος we should have φιλονεικής (cf. Πολυνείκης); but from νίκη φιλόνικος (cf. καλλίνικος). In Xen. Mem. III 4 § 3, πᾶσι τοῖς χοροῖς νενίκηκεν points to φιλόνικος as the right reading, not φιλόνεικος. Cf. Ar. Rhet. I 10 φιλότιμος διὰ τιμήν followed by φιλόνικος διὰ νίκην (Cobet, Nov. Lect. 691). Cf. § 36. S.]

1 “The peculiar system of the Romans enabled them to associate with the individual's name an intimation of his clan and his family. But the Greeks, without such help, endeavoured to make a single name indicate as much as possible concerning the individual's relationship. Thus a Mantias names his son Mantitheus, preserving one element of his name, and varying the remainder. This method was exceedingly common, as appears from the witness of epitaphs, such as Δημοφῶν Δημονίκου, Σωγένης Σωκράτους, Φιλοξενίδης Φιλοκράτους, &c.—Nor can it have been an accident that in Demosthenes' family there should be so many persons named from δῆμος. The name Demosthenes was borne by his father, Demon by an uncle and a cousin, Demophon by an uncle, Demochares and Demomeles by several of his kinsmen. We trace in this the democratic and political bias of the family.” Rev. E. L. Hicks in Nineteenth Cent. no. 61, pp. 391, 398.

2 Adoption, or recognition of parentage by the father, was however necessary. Mr Kennedy assumes that Mantias must subsequently have married Plangon: for he says, “had she never been more than a concubine, her sons could not have had heritable rights” (Introd. p. 253). That they did share in the property with Mantitheus, is clear; see § 6, and Or. 40 § 48. But it is not clear that this was not an arrangement effected by sufferance or compromise, rather than a positive legal right. The passage in Or. 40 § 9, οὐδὲ τῆς μητρὸς τῆς ἐμῆς ἀποθανούσης ἠξίωσεν αὐτὴν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν παρ᾽ έαυτὸν εἰσδέξασθαι, seems nearly conclusive against Mantias having subsequently married her.

3 From § 18 it seems likely that he had enlisted popular sympathy; and this may in some degree explain the probable result of the trial in his favour.

4 Compare the proverb “Βοιωτία ὗς”, in Pind. Ol. VI 90.

5 οὔτε ἠντεδίκει τότε παρὼν οὔτ᾽ ἔφη με καταδιαιτήσασθαι τὴν δίκην αὑτοῦ: οὐ γὰρ εἶναι Βοιωτὸν αὑτῷ ὄνομα, ἀλλὰ Μαντίθεον. (Or. 40 § 18.)

6 Or. 40 § 18 πάλιν τὴν αὐτὴν δίκην λαχὼν αὐτῷ Μαντιθέῳ...νῦν εἰς ὑμᾶς καταπέφευγα.

7 Both speeches were carefully discussed by him in the lost portions of his treatise on Demosthenes. All that remains of that discussion may be found in his treatise on Deinarchus §§ 11—13, where he combats on chronological grounds the notion that the speech περὶ τοῦ ὀνόματος was written by the later Attic orator Deinarchus, and assigns it to the archonship of either Thessalus (Ol. 107, 2 = B.C. 351—0) or Apollodorus (Ol. 107, 3 = B.C. 350—49). A. Schaefer, Dem. und seine Zeit, III B p. 222 ff., and Boeckh's Staats haus haltung I, p. 680—1{2} = p. 675 Lamb. See also Blass III i 329{2}, 474{2}, where it is observed that Dionysius was misled by a false reading Πύλας for Ταμύνας in § 16, the former referring to the Athenian naval expedition to Thermopylae in Ol. 106, 4 = B.C. 353—2. Blass assigns the speech to the year 348.

8 The inscription (as restored by Boeckh, Seewesen Xd 4— 12; cf. p. 380 f.) is as follows: “>Μαντ[ίας Θορίκιος], ταμία[ς γενόμενος εἰς τὰ νεώ]ρια Κα ¯ ¯ [ἄρχοντος]: ὑπὲρ το[ύτου ἀπέδω]καν κλη[ρονόμοι] Πάμφιλος [Θορίκιος] ΗΗΗΔΠ[ρουγη ], Μαντίθεος Θ[ορίκ]ιος - -, Μαντἰθεος [Θορίκ]ιος - -

9 A. Schaefer, u. s. pp. 214, 220.

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  • Commentary references from this page (6):
    • Demosthenes, Against Onetor, 1
    • Demosthenes, Against Phormio, 3
    • Demosthenes, Against Boeotus 2, 24
    • Demosthenes, Against Boeotus 2, 6
    • Demosthenes, Against Olympiodorus, 53
    • Demosthenes, Against Dionysodorus, 17
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Demosthenes, Against Boeotus 2, 18
    • Demosthenes, Against Boeotus 2, 48
    • Demosthenes, Against Boeotus 2, 9
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