The fragmentary state of this speech reflects the circumstances of its survival. It was preserved in a papyrus rescued from the sands of Egypt, not in medieval manuscripts. Even so, its remarkable vigour is unmistakable. It concerns a purchase made by the speaker. As he tells it, he had fallen in love with a slave boy owned by Athenogenes. He had originally intended to secure the freedom of the boy, his father, Midas, and brother but was induced by Athenogenes, partly under the influence of a prostitute turned pimp named Antigona, to buy the slaves and the perfumery business in which they worked. After he made the purchase he discovered a number of undisclosed debts, which Midas had contracted amounting to a total of five talents, an enormous sum. He is now suing Athenogenes, probably by the action for damages (dike blabes). The speech cannot have been delivered before 330, for in §31 we are told that the battle of Salamis occurred one hundred and fifty years earlier. Nor can it be later than 324, for the presence of Troizenian exiles in Athens (§33) indicates that Alexander’s decree of that year allowing the return of exiles to their cities had not yet been enacted. The speaker is a young man from a farming background.

[l] … her. When I had told her the story and said that Athenogenes was being unpleasant to me and refusing to reach any reasonable compromise, she said that he was always like this but urged me to be confident; she would personally collaborate with me in everything. [2] As she said this she had the most sincere manner imaginable and she swore the most solemn oaths that she was speaking with concern for me and complete honesty; and so, judges – I shall tell you the truth – I was persuaded. So much does desire subvert our natural sense, when a woman’s complicity is added. Anyway, by tricking me with these empty claims she got herself for her goodwill three hundred drachmas supposedly to buy a slave girl. [3] I suppose, judges, that it’s not so surprising that I was led like a child by Antigona in this way; this woman was the shrewdest of courtesans in her youth and has continued pimping … she has ruined the house of … of Cholleidai, a property as great as any. Yet if she had such an effect on her own, what do you imagine she will achieve now, when she has acquired Athenogenes as her partner, a speechwriter, a common sort, and most significantly an Egyptian?

[4] Finally, to cut my story short, she sent for me again later and said that after using many arguments on Athenogenes she had at last persuaded him to set free Midas and both his sons for me for forty mnai; and she urged me to provide the money as soon as possible before Athenogenes had a change of mind. [5] I collected money on all sides and pestered my friends and paid the forty mnai into the bank; then I went to see Antigona. She brought the two of us, me and Athenogenes, together and reconciled us and urged us to treat each other kindly in future. I said I would do so, and Athenogenes here in answer said I should be grateful to Antigona for the outcome. ‘And now,’ he said, ‘I’ll show you right away what a good turn I shall do you for her sake. You,’ he said, ‘are about to pay out the money for the freedom of Midas and his children; I for my part will sell them to you as an outright purchase, first of all so that nobody will obstruct you or seduce the boy, second so they themselves will be kept by fear from misbehaving. [6] Most importantly, as matters stand it would appear that they owed their freedom to me; but if you buy them as an outright purchase, and then later set them free at a time of your choosing, they will be doubly grateful to you. However, you will become liable,’ he said, ‘for all the money they owe, the price of perfume due to Pankalos and Prokles, and any other sum paid to the perfumery by any of its customers in the usual way. It is a very small amount, and the goods in the perfumery are worth far more, perfume, scent boxes and myrrh’, and he mentioned several other terms, ‘from which these debts will easily be settled.’ [7] Here, judges, was his trick, his principal deception. If I were to pay the money for their freedom, I stood to lose only what I gave him and would come to no great harm. If I were to buy them as an outright purchase and agree to accept the debts from him thinking them insignificant, since I didn’t know in advance, his intention was to lead the creditors and loan contributors to me, having ensnared me in the agreement. And this is what he did.

[8] The moment I agreed to this suggestion of his, he took from his lap a document and read out the contents, which were an agreement with me. Now I heard them being read out, but I was eager to complete the business for which I had come, and he sealed the agreement immediately right there in the house so that nobody concerned for my interests would hear the contents; he entered the name of Nikon of Kephisia with mine. [9] We went to the perfumery and lodged the document with Lysikles of Leukonoe, and I paid the forty mnai and made the purchase. When this had happened the creditors to whom Midas owed money and the loan contributors came and spoke to me; and within three months all the debts became visible, with the result that including the friendly loans I owed, as I have just said, about five talents. [10] When I realized my appalling situation, I finally called my friends and relatives together and we read my copy of the agreement. In it the names of Pankalos and Prokles were explicitly entered, and the fact that the price of perfumes was owed (these were small amounts and my opponents could claim that the value of the perfume in the shop was sufficient to cover them), but the majority, and the largest, of the debts were not entered by name but as an afterthought as though of no importance, with ‘and any other debt which Midas owes’. [11] And only one of the friendly loans was entered, on which there were three instalments outstanding. This was registered under the name of Dikaiokrates; but the others, which accounted for the whole of Midas’ borrowing, were new, and my opponent did not enter them in the agreement but concealed them. [12] We deliberated and decided to approach Athenogenes and talk to him. We found him near the perfume stalls, and we asked him if he wasn’t ashamed to lie and use the agreement to trap me by not disclosing the debts. He replied that he did not know the debts of which we spoke and was not interested in us, and that he had in his possession a written agreement with me dealing with this. A large crowd gathered and listened to the affair, since the discussion was taking place in the agora; though they shouted him down and encouraged us to arrest him as an enslaver, we were unwilling to do this but summoned him to your court as the law requires. First of all the clerk will read out to you the agreement; from the text itself you will recognize the trickery, which is Athenogenes’ own work.


[13] So then, you have heard what happened in detail. Athenogenes will shortly tell you that the law instructs that all agreements made by one man with another are to be binding. Yes, just agreements, mister. Unjust agreements, on the contrary, it does not allow to be binding. I shall use the actual laws to clarify this for you. For you’ve actually reduced me to such a state of abject fear that you and your cleverness may be the ruin of me as to make me examine the laws and study them day and night and treat everything else as irrelevant.

[14] There is one law, which bids one speak the truth in the agora, the most decent of all instructions; but you have lied in the middle of the agora and made an agreement with the intention of harming me. For if you demonstrate that you warned me about the friendly loans and the debts or that you included in the agreement all that I later found them to be, I offer no opposition but admit that I owe the money. [15] Then there’s another law dealing with agreements which people make with each other, that when someone is selling a slave they must state in advance any physical disability the slave has, or else there is a right to bring the slave back. Yet when there is a right, should anyone when selling a servant fail to disclose chance infirmities, to bring it back, why shouldn’t you accept responsibility for misdeeds contrived by you? Yet a slave prone to fits does not ruin his purchaser’s fortune besides, but Midas, whom you sold to me, has ruined not just mine but my friends’.

[16] But Athenogenes, observe the way the law deals not only with slaves but also with free persons. You know, I’m sure, both you and everyone else, that it is the children of women who are formally married who are legitimate. Yet the lawgiver was not satisfied that the woman should have been formally betrothed by her father or brother, but he added explicitly in the law: ‘the children of any woman a man justly betroths as bride are to be legitimate’, not ‘if someone betroths some other woman misrepresenting her as his daughter’. No, he makes just betrothals valid and unjust ones void.

[17] Furthermore, the law on wills is similar to these. It grants the right for a man to bequeath his property as he wishes except when affected by age or illness or insanity or under the influence of a woman or subject to imprisonment or compulsion. Now if unjustly made wills are not valid even for one’s own property, how when Athenogenes has made an agreement to the detriment of my property can this be valid? [18] And it seems that if someone writes a will under his own wife’s influence, this is to be invalid; yet when I was influenced by Athenogenes’ mistress, must I be ruined, despite having the most cogent support in the text of the law, since I was compelled by these people to make this agreement? And do you actually emphasize the agreement with which you ambushed me so that you and your mistress could seal them, for which … conspiracy … on these grounds … And it wasn’t enough for you that you had got the forty mnai for the perfume shop; you actually extracted another five talents from me, as though I were caught …

[19] (Perhaps Athenogenes will claim that) he did not know … Midas… (It is incredible that I, who have no experience) in market business discovered all the debts and friendly loans in three months without any effort, while this man, a third generation perfume seller, sitting in the agora every day, the owner of three perfume shops from which he received accounts every month, did not know the debts. In other matters he is no layman, but in dealing with his slave he was so naive that apparently he knew some of the debts, but he claims that he did not know others, as it suits him. [20] An argument of this sort from him is not a defence but an admission that I should not pay the debts. For when he claims that he did not know all the sums owed, he surely cannot maintain that he informed me in advance of the debts; and it’s not right that I should pay any debts of which I was not told by the vendor. Now, Athenogenes, there are many things which make it, in my opinion, obvious to everyone that you did know that Midas owed this money, including the fact that you asked for Nikon as guarantor for me … able (to meet) the debts [21] … I (could) not … this argument of yours … in this way. If you failed to inform me of all the debts because you did not know, and I made the agreement in the belief that the extent of the debts was what I heard from you, which of us should more rightly pay them, the subsequent purchaser or the long-standing owner at the time the money was borrowed? You, in my opinion. But if we dispute this point, let our arbitrator be the law, which was passed not by people in love or plotting to get the property of others but the most democratic of men, Solon. [22] Aware that many purchases take place in the city, he passed a law whose justice is admitted by everyone, that damage or wrongdoing committed by slaves is to the responsibility of the master at the time. And this is right. For if a slave achieves some success or makes a profit, this becomes the property of his owner. But you ignore the law and talk about breach of agreement. And though Solon does not hold that even a justly drafted decree should have greater authority than the law, you expect your unjust agreement to prevail over all the laws.

[23] On top of this, judges, he told (my father and the rest of those close to me that) … willing … gift … he told me to leave Midas to him and not buy him, but that I refused and wanted to buy all of them. And they say that this is what he will say to you too, to appear reasonable, as though he would be talking to idiots who would not recognize his cheek. [24] I must tell you what happened; it will be clear that it is consistent with the rest of their trickery. He sent the boy I mentioned just before to me to say that he would not go with me if I did not secure the freedom of his father and brother. When I had already agreed that I would pay the money for all three of them, Athenogenes approached some of my friends and said:‘Why does Epikrates want all this trouble, when he can take the boy and use him …’ [25] … chicanery he was up to … wrongdoing … I trust that… the boy … I refused … forty mnai … five talents … [26] I am not a perfume seller nor do I have any other trade; I farm the land my father left me, and I was bounced into the purchase by these people. Which is more likely, Athenogenes, that I yearned for your trade, of which I was ignorant, or that you and your mistress conspired against me? I think the latter. And so, judges, I deserve your understanding for being tricked … and coming to grief from falling in with a man such as this, while Athenogenes …

[27] … all be mine but the profits of deception his. And that I got Midas, his bold accomplice, whom he says he let go reluctantly, while for the boy, whom he claims he offered me for free at that time, he should now receive a sum of money far above his value, not for me to own him but for him to be set free by your vote. [28] Personally however I have no intention of being disfranchised by Athenogenes on top of my other calamities. For it would be a harsh fate, judges, if … I made a mistake … has wronged … guilty… penalty assessment … citizen … on occasion …

… the most … of the metics to go unguarded. [29] And in the war against Philip, shortly before the battle he fled the city; he did not join you for the campaign at Chaironeia but went to live in Troizen, in contravention of the law, which allows impeachment and summary arrest against anyone who moves abroad during war, if he returns. In doing this he anticipated, it seems, that their city would survive but he had sentenced ours to death. He brought up his daughters amid your prosperity … he gave them in marriage … intending to carry on his business on his return, now that peace has come. [30] For this is what … these loyal people … the peace … in times of danger … at Plataia … they bound … Athenogenes … though he broke the agreement we all have with the city, he insists on his private agreement with me, as though anybody could be convinced that the man who despised his duty to you would have paid attention to his duty to me; [31] this man who is such a criminal through and through that after the people of Troizen had made him a citizen on his arrival there he fell under the influence of Mnesias of Argos and having been put in authority by him drove the citizens from the city, as they will testify themselves, since they are in exile here. When they were exiled you received them, judges, and made them citizens, granting them a share of all your privileges; you remembered their service against the barbarians over one hundred and fifty years previously and felt that men who had proved loyal in times of danger should be saved by you when in distress. [32] But this wretch, the man who abandoned you and enrolled himself there, behaved in a way quite unworthy either of his citizenship or the city’s kindness; he treated the people who had welcomed him so brutally that after … in the Assembly … in this respect … in fear of their revenge he fled back.

[33] And to prove the truth of my statements, he will read out to you first of all the law which forbids metics to move abroad in wartime, then the deposition of the Troizenians, and in addition to these the decree which the Troizenians passed in honour of your city for receiving them and making them citizens. Read it.

Law, deposition, decree

[34] Now please take the deposition of his in-law … property … bequeathed … in order … Antigona … deposition …

[35] … events, and the way Athenogenes has plotted against me, and how he has behaved toward you. When a man is wicked in his private life, gave up hope of the city’s survival, abandoned you and overthrew the city to which he moved, now you have caught him will you fail to punish him? For myself, judges, I beg and implore you to pity me, bearing in mind that in this case you should … feel pity not for the defendant, who if he loses the case, stands to suffer nothing, … if he is acquitted … I shall be ruined. For I should be unable [to pay] … even the smallest fraction … judges … themselves …

The speaker is evidently in a difficult position. He may well have been misled by Athenogenes. But he appears to have agreed to an open-ended contract (§10) which committed him to honouring any debts incurred by Midas. It is doubtful that the law gave him much protection. Under Athenian law agreements freely entered into were binding. To counter this obvious rejoinder from Athenogenes the speaker responds that the law says that fair agreements freely entered into were binding (§13). The problem here of course is that Athenogenes had actually declared the existence of debts, even if he had withheld the number and scale. The plaintiff then strives to find a number of laws that can be used to support his suit. He cites the law forbidding the telling of lies in the agora (§14); but the contract was not made in the agora. He also cites the law which instructs that anyone selling a slave must declare any physical defects for the sale to be valid (§15). The fact that this is the closest law he can find to his own circumstances suggests that there was no law specifically covering undisclosed debts incurred by a slave. Likewise, his appeal to the law which made the master liable for the offences committed by a slave is beside the point, since although the debts were incurred under Athenogenes’ ownership the speaker had voluntarily accepted those debts (§21). He draws on the law of betrothals, which validates only honest compacts (§16), and the law of wills (§17), which limits the power of an individual to dispose even of his own property by invalidating wills in which there is duress or pressure; specifically he notes that wills made under the influence of a woman (as his agreement to buy was made under the influence of Antigona) were invalid under the law. But what this amounts to is an argument from analogy, not direct legal support. For the rest, all he can do is insist that Athenogenes as a member of a family of perfumiers, cannot have been ignorant of the debts, while he as a man from a farming background with no commercial experience was a complete innocent, and indulge in character assassination. He also makes effective use of stereotypes, female cunning, the unscrupulousness of the pimp and his own infatuation as the lover of the slave boy to sustain his version of events.

The speech casts an interesting light on the activities of slaves. There is no doubt that Midas was a slave. He evidently fell into a class called the choris oikon, ‘(slave) living apart’; such slaves would operate a trade independently and pay their master a regular commission (apophora). As a slave he had no legal personality and could not make binding legal agreements. Yet evidently Midas had no difficulty in persuading Athenians to advance substantial sums of money. Presumably they would expect to recoup any debts from the master in the event of default by the slave. But clearly the practical situation of slaves engaged in commercial activity was different from the strict legal position.


This case arose out of a maritime loan. In Athens loans on sea trade were usually secured on the ship or the cargo. In the event of the loss of the security, the loan was cancelled. The modern term for such loans is ‘bottomry’. In view of the high risk attached to such loans, it is not surprising that the interest rates were much higher than those secured on realty. Thus in the contract preserved in §10 the interest rate is set at 22.5 per cent or 30 per cent depending on the date when the ship enters the Black Sea (which of course has implications for weather and therefore for risk). These were of course per voyage irrespective of duration. In contrast, the standard rate on realty was 12 per cent per annum. In the fourth century the Athenian laws recognized the importance of the grain trade by allowing for accelerated procedures to deal with mercantile suits (dikai emporikai). The conditions for the use of these processes were: (a) that one of the parties must be a ship’s captain or merchant; (b) that the case must concern an agreement to sail to or from Athens; (c) that there must be a written contract. The importance of contracts in maritime trade reflects the greater degree of uncertainty involved, since the lender loses control of the security once it sets sail, unless he also travels on board.

The speaker, Androkles, an Athenian, together with Nausikrates of Karystos, had loaned money to two brothers, Artemon and Apollodoros, merchants from Phaselis, for a voyage to the Black Sea; the loan was secured on cargo to be shipped by the two brothers (the ship was independently security for another loan). Androkles is alleging breach of contract. Artemon is now dead, and Androkles is suing his brother Lakritos for the money. Lakritos has entered a special plea in bar of action (paragraphe). The paragraphe was a later development than the other formal means of barring action, the diamartyria (for which see the introduction to Case IX, Isai. 3 on pp. 100–101). It came into existence at the end of the fifth century in connection with the amnesty which followed the restoration of democracy after the fall of the oligarchic regime of the Thirty. In the paragraphe the defendant in a suit countersues the plaintiff alleging that the action is inadmissible on technical grounds. The roles of the two parties were therefore reversed for the paragraphe hearing. The main suit was suspended while a panel of judges heard the paragraphe case. If the paragraphe succeeded the main action was either terminated outright (if the plea was that the action could not be pursued because it had been adjudicated already or otherwise formally resolved) or (if the wrong procedure or court had been used) must be initiated afresh in the correct way. If it failed the main action could proceed. To prevent casual recourse to the procedure there was a penalty (epobelia) of one-sixth of the sum at issue, which fell on the losing party in the paragraphe hearing. The paragraphe steadily advanced in use at the expense of the diamartyria, except in inheritance cases where, because there were only rival claimants (possibly more than two) rather than plaintiff and defendant, there was nobody to countersue, and where the dispute could be checked by a simple statement of fact (the existence of legitimate issue). Since the speech presupposes the existence of the special rapid procedures for settling maritime disputes, it should be dated after 355. Section 40, which suggests that the rhetorician Isokrates is still alive (he died in 338), offers a lower terminus. A date some time in the 340s would suit.

For loans in Athens the reader should consult P. Millett, Lending and Borrowing in Ancient Athens (Cambridge 1991) and E.E. Cohen, Athenian Economy and Society: A Banking Perspective (Princeton 1992). The speech is discussed by D.M. MacDowell, Demosthenes (Oxford 2009), 261ff.

[1] The Phaselites are not up to anything new, judges, but their usual practice. These people are exceedingly clever at borrowing money in the trading zone and then, when they’ve received it and made a maritime contract, straight away they’ve forgotten the contract and the laws and their duty to repay what they received. [2] They think that if they pay it back they’ve virtually lost their own property, and instead of repayment they invent sophistries and special pleas and excuses; they are the most villainous and dishonest people in the world. Here is proof of this: though many people, both Greek and barbarian, come to your trading zone, there are regularly more lawsuits involving Phaselites alone than the rest put together.

[3] This is the way they are. Now, judges, I loaned money to this man’s brother Artemon under the trading laws for a voyage to the Pontos and back to Athens. Since Artemon died before he could repay the money to me, I have brought this suit against Lakritos here under the same laws under which I made the contract, [4] on the grounds that my opponent is Artemon’s brother and possesses all his property, both what he left behind here and what he owned in Phaselis, and is the heir to his whole estate. He could not demonstrate any law that allows him to own his brother’s property and to have dealt with it as he saw fit but not to pay back money belonging to others while claiming that he is not his heir but has disowned the estate. [5] Such is Lakritos’ unscrupulousness. But I urge you, judges, to give me a kindly hearing on this issue; and if I prove that he has done wrong to us, the lenders, and to you no less, help as is right.

[6] For myself, judges, I had no personal knowledge at all of these people. But Thrasymedes son of Diophantes, the one from Sphettos, and his brother Melanippos are friends of mine, and we are as close as it is possible to be. They approached me in the company of Lakritos here, whom they had got to know somehow (I don’t know how), [7] and they asked me to lend money for a voyage to the Black Sea to Artemon, his brother, and Apollodoros, so that they could engage in trade. Even Thrasymedes, judges, was ignorant of this man’s unscrupulousness; he thought they were decent men and exactly the sort of people they pretended and claimed to be, and he believed they would do all that Lakritos here promised and undertook. [8] He was, it transpires, completely deceived; he had no idea what sort of beasts he was dealing with in these people. I in turn was persuaded by Thrasymedes and his brother, and by this man Lakritos who undertook that I would receive all that was my due from his brothers, and I loaned thirty silver mnai together with a guest-friend of ours from Karystos. [9] Now I want you first of all to hear the contract under which we loaned the money and the witnesses who were present when the loan was made; then I shall prove the rest and show how these people burgled us on the loan. Read out the contract, then the depositions.


[10] Androkles of Sphettos and Nausikrates of Karystos loaned three hundred silver drachmas to the Phaselites Artemon and Apollodoros for a voyage from Athens to Mende or Skione, and from there to Bosporos, if they choose, keeping to the lefthand coast as far as Borysthenes, and then hack to Athens, at a rate of two hundred and twenty five drachmas per thousand, or three hundred drachmas to the thousand if they sail out of the Black Sea to Hieron after Arktouros, on the security of three thousand jars of Mendaian wine which is to be transported from Mende or Skione in the twenty-oared ship whose master was Hyblesios. [11] They offer these goods as security owing no money to anyone else at all on them and will take out no additional loan. They will bring back the replacement cargo from the Black Sea to Athens in its entirety in the same boat. If the goods reach Athens safely, the borrowers will repay the lenders within twenty days of their return to Athens the money which due under the contract completely except for jettison which is made on a collective vote of those on board or any payments made to enemy forces. And they will deliver the goods offered as security intact into the lenders’ control until they repay the money due under the contract. [12] If they do not pay within the agreed period, the lenders are to have the right to borrow on the goods or sell them at the price obtaining. If there is any shortfall in the sum due to the lenders under the contract, the lenders both individually and collectively are to have the right to recover it from Artemon and Apollodoros, and from all their possessions everywhere, on land and sea, wherever they may be, as if they had lost a suit at law and were in default on payment. [13] If they do not enter the Black Sea, they are to wait in the Hellespont for ten days after the dogstar, unload the goods wherever there is no right of seizure against the Athenians and after sailing from there to Athens pay back the interest written in the contract for last year. If the ship in which the goods are travelling suffers irreparable damage but the goods offered as security are saved, what survives is to be the shared property of the lenders. On this issue nothing else is to have greater authority than the contract.

The witnesses are Phormion of the Peiraieus, Kephisodotos the Boiotian, Hierodoros of Pithos.

[14] Read the depositions as well.

Archenomides son of Archedamas of Anagyros testifies that Androkles of Sphettos, Nausikrates of Karystos, and Artemon and Apollodoros of Phaselis lodged an agreement with him, and that the agreement is still lodged with him.

Read out also the deposition of those who were there.

Theodotos metic with privileged status, Charinos son of Epichares of Leukonoe, Phormion son of Ktesiphon of Peiraieus, Kephisodotos of Boiotia, Heliodoros of Pithos testify that they were present when Androkles loaned three thousand silver drachmas to Apollodoros and Artemon, and that they know that they lodged the contract with Archenomides of Anagyros.

[15] This, judges, was the contract under which I loaned the money to my opponent’s brother Artemon. Lakritos here encouraged me and under-took that I would have all that was my due under the contract on which I made the loan; he drafted it himself and joined in sealing it when it was written. For his brothers were rather young still, virtually boys, while this man, Lakritos of Phaselis, was something big, a pupil of Isokrates. [16] He was the organizer of the whole thing, and he told me to deal exclusively with him. He said that he would do all that was right by me and would remain in Athens while his brother Artemon would sail with the goods. At that point, judges, when he wanted to receive the money from us, he said he was both brother and partner of Artemon, and he spoke with remarkable persuasiveness. [17] But as soon as they got hold of the money, they divided it up and used it as they chose, but as for the contract under which they had received the money, they obeyed none of its conditions, great or small, as the result showed. And this Lakritos was the leading figure in the whole business. With each clause written in the contract I shall demonstrate in detail that they have done nothing that was right.

[18] To begin with, the contract states that they borrowed the thirty mnai from us on security of three thousand jars of wine, maintaining that they had security for another thirty mnai so that the total value of the wine was about a talent, including the payments they had to make for the shipment of the wine; these three thousand jars were to be shipped to the Black Sea on the twenty-oared vessel captained by Hyblesios. [19] This is what is written in the contract, which you have heard, judges. But instead of three thousand jars these men loaded not even five hundred jars on the boat, and instead of having bought the amount of wine they should they used the money as they chose with no intention or inclination to load the three thousand jars on the boat as in the contract. To prove the truth of this statement, take the deposition of the passengers who sailed on the same boat with them.


[20] Erasikles testifies that he was steersman on the ship captained by Hyblesios, and that he knows that Apollodoros carried on the boat four hundred and fifty jars of Mendaian wine, no more, and that Apollodoros carried no other freight on the boat to the Black Sea.

Hippias son of Anthippos of Halikarnassos testifies that he sailed on Hyblesios’ boat as overseer and that he knows that Apollodoros the Phaselite carried four hundred and fifty jars of wine from Mende to the Black Sea but no other freight.

They gave their absentee testimony to the following people: Archiades son of Mnesonides of Archarnai, Sostratos son of Philip of Histiaia, Eumarichos son of Euboios of Histiaia, Philtades son of Ktesias of Xypete, Dionysios son of Demokratides of Cholleidai.

[21] So in the matter of the quantity of wine they were obliged to load on the boat this was their conduct; they began with the first clause to default and fail to carry out the written agreements.

Next in the contract is a statement that they offer these goods as security unencumbered, owing nothing to anyone, and that they will take out no additional loan on them from anyone. This is explicitly stated in writing, judges. [22] But what did these men do? Ignoring what was written in the contract they borrowed money from some stripling, whom they tricked by claiming that they owed no debt to anyone. They both cheated us and secretly borrowed on our property and they tricked that young man who loaned the money by pretending that the goods on which they were borrowing were unencumbered. That’s the sort of villainy they practise. And all this is the clever ruse of this Lakritos. To prove that I am speaking the truth and that they borrowed additional money in breach of the contract, he will read out to you the deposition of the very man who made the loan. [23] Read the deposition.


Aratos of Halikarnassos testifies that he loaned eleven silver mnai to Apollodoros on the security of the merchandise which he was carrying to the Black Sea on the ship of Hyblesios and the replacement goods purchased there for the return, and that he did not know that Apollodoros had borrowed money from Androkles; otherwise he would not have loaned the money to Apollodoros.

[24] Such are the devious tricks of these people.

The next thing written in the contract, judges, is that when they have sold the cargo in the Black Sea they are to purchase replacement goods in turn, load them as return cargo and export the return cargo to Athens, and that on their return to Athens they are to ‘repay the money’ to us within twenty days in good coin. And until they pay, we are to control the goods and they are to provide them intact until we receive the money. [25] This is written in these precise terms in the contract. But it is precisely here that these people especially showed their arrogance and lack of shame and the fact that they had not the slightest regard for the written terms of the contract but thought that the contract was mere rubbish and nonsense. For they neither bought any replacement goods in the Black Sea nor loaded a return cargo and brought it to Athens. And we, the ones who lent the money, had nothing to seize and nothing to control while waiting to get back our own money. For these men brought nothing into your harbour. [26] Instead we have been treated in a manner without precedent, judges. In our own city, though we have done no wrong nor lost any lawsuit to these men, we have had our own property seized by these people who are Phaselites, as though Phaselites had been granted legal right of seizure against Athenians. For when they refuse to pay back what they received, what other term could one use of such conduct than that they are taking other people’s property by force? Personally I have never yet heard of a more vile action than what they have done to us, and all this while admitting that they received the money from us. [27] All matters relating to an agreement which are subject to dispute require a judgment, judges; but matters which are admitted by both contracting parties and which are dealt with in maritime contracts are regarded by everyone as final and it is proper to carry out what is written. That they have in no way whatsoever acted according to the contract, but immediately – right from the very start – they connived and plotted to act quite dishonestly is unambiguously proved both by the depositions and by themselves.

[28] You must now hear the most wicked action of Lakritos here – for he was the manager of all this. When they arrived here, they did not sail into your trading zone but moored in the Thieves’ Harbour, which lies outside the markers of your trading zone. Mooring in the Thieves’ Harbour is the same as if someone were to moor at Aigina or Megara, for it’s possible to set sail from this harbour anywhere one wishes whenever one chooses. [29] And the boat was at anchor there for over twenty-five days, while they wandered around your display-market, and we approached and spoke to them, demanding that they take steps to ensure we received our money as soon as possible. They agreed and said that this was just what they were trying to manage. And at the same time as we approached them we kept watch to see if they were unloading anything from any part of the boat or paying the 2 per cent duty.

[30] When they had been in town for many days and we could not discover that anything had been unloaded or any duty paid in their name, at that point we began to demand payment more urgently. As we made ourselves a nuisance to them, Lakritos here, the brother of Artemon, replied that they were unable to pay and all their goods had been lost. Lakritos stated that he could make a good case on this issue. [31] As for ourselves, judges, we expressed our anger at what he said, but our anger achieved nothing; these people were not bothered at all. Nonetheless, we asked them in what way the goods had been lost. Lakritos here said that the boat had been wrecked sailing along the coast from Pantikapaion to Theodosia and that with the boat wrecked his brothers had lost their goods, which happened to be on the boat. On board were salt fish, wine from Kos and various other things, and all these they said were replacement cargo which they were meaning to transport to Athens, if they had not been lost on the boat. [32] This is what he said. But it is important to hear the vileness and duplicity of these people. They had no contract in relation to the boat which was lost. It was someone else who had loaned money on the cargo from Athens to the Black Sea and the boat itself (the lender’s name was Antipatros and he was a native of Kition). The Koan wine (eighty jars of soured wine) and the salt fish were being carried along the coast on the boat from Pantikapaion to Theodosia for some farmer for the use of his farm labourers. Why do they make these excuses? It is not right.

[33] Please take the deposition, firstly that of Apollonides, to show that it was Antipatros who lent the money on the boat and that the shipwreck has no relevance to my opponents, and then that of Erasikles and that of Hippias to show that only eighty jars of wine were being carried on the boat.


Apollonides of Halikarnassos testifies that he knows that Antipatros, a native of Kition, loaned money to Hyblesios for a voyage to the Black Sea on the boat captained by Hyblesios and the cargo going to the Black Sea; that he himself was joint owner of the boat with Hyblesios and that his own slaves were sailing on the ship and when the ship was wrecked his slaves came to him and informed him that the ship was sailing empty from Pantikapaion to Theodosia when it was wrecked.

[34] Erasikles testifies that he was sailing with Hyblesios to the Black Sea as steersman of the ship, and that when the ship was sailing along the coast to Theodosia from Pantikapaion he knows that it was sailing empty, and that there was no wine on the boat belonging to Apollodoros, the defendant in the present suit himself, but about eighty jars of Koan wine were being transported for one of the people of Theodosia.

Hippias son of Anthippos of Halikarnassos testifies that he was sailing with Hyblesios supervising the ship’s cargo, and when the ship was sailing along the coast to Theodosia from Pantikapaion Apollodoros had a container or two of wool loaded on the ship and eleven or twelve jars of wine and some goat skins, two or three bundles, and nothing else.

They gave their absentee testimony to the following people: Euphiletos son of Damotimos of Aphidnai, Hippias son of Timoxenos of Thymaitidai, Sostratos son of Philippos of Histiaia, Archenomides son of Straton of Thria, and Philtades son of Ktesias of Xypete.

[35] Such is the effrontery of these people. As for you, judges, consider in your own minds if you have ever known or heard of people bringing wine to Athens from the Black Sea as merchandise, especially Koan. Quite the opposite, wine is imported to the Black Sea from our area, from Peparethos, Kos, Thasos and Mende and all sorts of other places. The goods imported here from the Black Sea are different.

[36] When they were pressed by us and questioned whether any of the goods had been saved in the Black Sea, Lakritos here replied that a hundred Kyzikene staters remained, and his brother had loaned this gold in the Black Sea to a certain sailor from Phaselis, a fellow citizen and acquaintance of his own, and was unable to recover it but had more or less lost this as well. [37] This is what this Lakritos said. But the contract does not say this, judges; it instructs them to load a replacement in the Black Sea without our agreement but to provide it intact in Athens for us until we receive back in full the money we lent. Please read out the contract again.


[38] Does the contract instruct them, judges, to lend our property, and furthermore to a person we do not know and have never seen before, or to load a replacement cargo, transport it to Athens and display it to us intact? [39] For the contract allows nothing to have greater authority than what is written therein nor to bring to bear either law or decree or anything else at all against the contract. But these people right from the start were not concerned about this contract; no, they used our money as though it were their own private property. That’s the kind of wicked sophists and unjust sort they are. [40] Personally, by the lord Zeus and all the gods, I have never had a grudge against any man or criticized him, judges, if someone chooses to be a sophist and pay money to Isokrates – I should be mad if I concerned myself in any way with these things. Still, I don’t think – by Zeus! – that persons who despise the laws and think they’re clever should covet the property of others or try to take it away from them, relying on their skill in speaking. That’s the practice of a devious and detestable sophist. [41] Lakritos here, judges, in coming to court in this suit is not relying on the justice of his case, but in full knowledge of their conduct in relation to this loan, and because he thinks he is smart and will easily furnish arguments for an unjust cause, he expects to lead you astray in any direction he chooses. This is what he claims to be clever at, and he demands payment and collects pupils, professing to teach just these skills. [42] To begin with he gave his brothers this training, which you are aware is wicked and dishonest, judges, how to borrow money on maritime loans in the trading zone and rob people of it and avoid payment. Could any human beings be more wicked than the man who teaches such skills and the people taught by him? But anyway, since he is smart and is confident of his speaking skill and the thousand drachmas he paid to his teacher, [43] tell him to demonstrate to you either that they did not receive the money from us or that after receiving it they paid it back, or that maritime contracts should not be binding, or that the money should be used for some purpose other than on the terms on which they received it under the contract. Let him convince you of any of these things he wishes; and I too for my own part admit that he is supremely clever, if he can convince you, the people who judge cases for mercantile contracts. But I am fully aware that he could not demonstrate or convince you of any of this.

[44] Apart from all this, in heaven’s name, judges, if the opposite had happened, and instead of his dead brother owing money to me I owed his brother a talent or eighty mnai, or thereabouts, surely you don’t think, judges, that Lakritos here would be using the same arguments which he has now used to excess or would be claiming that he is not the heir or is relinquishing his brother’s estate? Don’t you think he would be demanding payment from me in a very nasty way, just as he has exacted payment from everyone else who owed the dead man either in the territory of Phaselis or anywhere else? [45] And if any of us when sued by him had dared to enter a plea barring suit alleging that the case was not admissible, I know full well that he himself would be indignant and would complain against us, claiming that he was being monstrously abused in defiance of the law if anyone were to vote that the case was not admissible, when it is a mercantile suit.

So, Lakritos, if you think this right for you, why should it not be right for me? Aren’t the same laws written down for all of us? Don’t we all have the same rights in mercantile cases? [46] But he’s such a vile sort, surpassing all mankind in wickedness of character, that he is trying to persuade you to vote that this mercantile suit is not admissible, when you are now judging the mercantile cases. What is it you’re demanding, Lakritos? That it shouldn’t suffice that we’re robbed of the money we lent you but in addition we must be handed over to the prison for owing the penalty fee, if we should fail to pay it? [47] Wouldn’t it be outrageous and monstrous and a disgrace to you, judges, if people who have made maritime loans in your trading zone and are cheated should be hauled off to prison by the ones who borrowed the money and are cheating them?

This, Lakritos, is what you are trying to persuade these people to approve. But where should one get satisfaction, judges, in relation to mercantile agreements? Before which official, at what period? [48] Before the Eleven? But they admit prosecutions of burglars, thieves and other felons facing death. Before the Archon? The Archon is charged with taking care of heiresses, orphans and parents. Oh, but the King-archon. But we’re not gymnasiarchs and we’re not indicting anyone for impiety. Well, the Polemarchos will preside. Oh yes, for abandoning a patron or not having a patron. So all that remains is the generals. But they appoint the trierarchs; they never admit a mercantile case into court. [49] I am a merchant, and you are brother and heir to a merchant, the one who received a mercantile loan from me. Where then should this suit come to court? Instruct me, Lakritos, but just say something that’s fair and accords with the laws. But there is no man so clever that he could say something fair in support of a case such as this.

[50] This is not my only outrageous treatment from this fellow Lakritos, judges; apart from being deprived of my money I might have found myself in the most extreme danger as far as he was concerned, had not the contract protected me against them and testified that I gave the money for a voyage to the Black Sea and back to Athens. For you know, judges, how severe the law is, if any Athenian transports grain to any place but Athens or lends money for a shipment to any trading centre but Athens, and how grave and severe the penalties are for these acts. [5l] Better still, read the law to them so that they may have a clearer understanding.


No Athenian or metic residing in Athens, nor anybody under their authority, is to be allowed to grant money for a ship which does not intend to transport grain to Athens (and so on and so forth). If anyone grants money in contravention of this law, denunciation and a written schedule of the money may be made before the overseers of the port in the same manner as has been described for the ship and the grain. And the owner is to have no right of suit for such money as he lends for a voyage anywhere but Athens, and no official is to admit a suit on the matter to court.

[52] This is how severe the law is, judges. But these people, the vilest men in the world, though it is written explicitly in the contract that the goods must return to Athens, allowed what they borrowed from us in Athens to be shipped to Chios. For when the Phaselite captain was borrowing a further sum from some Chian and the Chian said he would not lend unless he received as security all the goods which were with the captain and the existing lenders agreed, they allowed these goods, our property, to become security for the Chian and the Chian to gain control of everything, [53] and so they sailed out of the Black Sea with the Phaselite captain and the Chian lender and anchored in the Thieves’ Harbour, not in your trading zone. And now, judges, money loaned from Athens for a voyage to the Black Sea and back from the Black Sea to Athens has been taken to Chios by these men. [54] This is what I supposed at the beginning of my speech, that you too are the victims no less than we who gave the money. Think about it, judges: surely you’re the victims, when someone tries to set himself above your laws and invalidates maritime contracts and destroys them and has diverted the money from us to Chios – surely a man like this wrongs you as well?

[55] My argument, judges, is now with these men (these are the ones I gave the money to); their argument will be with that Phaselite captain, their fellow countryman, to whom they say they lent the money without our agreement in breach of the contract. Not even we know their dealings with their countryman, though they themselves do. [56] But this is what we think is right, judges, and this is our request, that you aid us, the victims of wrong, and punish those who connive and play sophistic tricks as these people do. And if you do this, you will both have cast a vote in your own interest and you will strip unscrupulous people of the cunning tricks that some people contrive in relation to maritime agreements.