BMCR 1999.10.39

Lysias. Five Speeches

, , Five speeches : speeches 1, 12, 19, 22, 30. London: Bristol Classical Press, 1999. vii, 192 pages ; 21 cm. ISBN 9781853994470 £11.95.

Edwards’ commentary on Lysias 1, 12, 19, 22, and 30 is intended to replace an abbreviated version of Shuckburgh’s edition (1882) published by Bristol Classical Press in 1979. Of the speeches selected by E. for treatment here, all but Lys. 1, On the Killing of Eratosthenes, were included among the sixteen speeches in Shuckburgh’s original edition. E. writes of his inclusion of speech 1 in the present volume that “it is widely acknowledged to be one of Lysias’ most important speeches for a variety of reasons (grammatical, rhetorical, stylistic and historical) and has received considerable attention in recent years” (p. vii). Some of this attention was paid by Christopher Carey, whose commentary on speeches 1, 3, 7, 14, 31, and 32 was published in the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series in 1989. Inevitably, E.’s commentary on Lys. 1 will be compared with Carey’s excellent work on the same speech. Commentaries on Lysias’ first speech have also been published in recent years by Usher (1985) and Scodel (1986), but neither is comparable to E.’s volume in focus, and their overlap with the present work is negligible. Commentaries are likewise available for the other four speeches included in the present volume, but apart from Usher’s work none of these is recent.1 A reassessment of these speeches in light of the considerable attention given to Greek law in recent decades is clearly desirable, and E.’s edition is welcome indeed.

In addition to E.’s introductions to and commentaries on each of the speeches, the book includes a fifteen-page general introduction, a text based on Hude’s OCT, a bibliography, an index, and a glossary of rhetorical terms. E.’s general introduction is a clearly-written and appropriately pitched discussion of Lysias’ life, works, writing style, etc. It covers much of the same ground as Carey’s introduction, but E.’s discussion of Lysias’ style is somewhat more extensive (though he might have defined here the terms λέξις εἰρομένη and λέξις κατεστραμμένη, which crop up on p. 90), and he includes as well a discussion of the Thirty, where Carey had no need to do so. The introductions to each of the speeches are likewise very well crafted — concise and pellucid: see for example E.’s very neat summary of the possible processes by which Nicomachus of speech 30 may have been charged (pp. 155-156). In his commentary E. focuses on rhetorical, historical, and legal matters. While he does not neglect grammatical explanations entirely, elementary students will probably want to supplement the present volume with the commentaries of Scodel (for speech 1) and Adams (speeches 12, 19, and 22).

As I suggested above, E.’s treatment of Lys. 1 is bound to be compared with Carey’s commentary on the same speech. My own opinion is that E.’s work approaches Carey’s in value but is largely redundant: there is much in Carey’s introduction to and commentary on the speech that is duplicated in the present work. This is not to say that E.’s discussion of the speech is thoroughly unoriginal. He has much to say that Carey did not. His edition, moreover, offers one great advantage over Carey’s earlier volume: E. is able to provide references to scholarship published since Carey’s edition appeared, and he does so often. But the overlap between the two works is considerable, and I expect E. would have provided a greater service had he given his attention instead to a Lysianic speech less recently treated. E. has certainly provided a great service in his treatment — attentive to historical issues and Lysias’ rhetorical machinations — of the other speeches included in this volume.

There follow some remarks about E.’s discussion of specific passages. A few of these are in the form of comments E. might have made (e.g., my note on 1.4). Recognizing that no single commentator can be all things to all classicists, I offer these not as evidence that E.’s treatment is deficient but as supplementary material which might be of interest to those using his text.

1.4: Euphiletus follows a description in Sect. 4 of the outrage committed against him and his family by Eratosthenes with a discussion of his own motivation: “… and neither was there any hostility between him and me except for this [the hostility arising from Eratosthenes’ moicheia ], nor did I do it [ ἔπραξα ταῦτα ] for money, so that I might turn into a rich man from a poor one, nor for any other profit except vengeance in accordance with the laws.” E. mentions in his note ad loc. that enmity and money are “standard motives alleged by prosecutors” and that the motive of enmity was “especially important in homicide cases…” (on Euphiletus’ motives see also E.’s note ad Sect. 43). Three further points might be made. (1) ἔπραξα ταῦτα is delightfully unspecific. What did Euphiletus do? Well, he murdered a man, not that a juror would know that from the proem to Euphiletus’ defense speech. (2) E. notes in his introduction to Lys. 1 (pp. 59-60) that “Throughout the speech Euphiletus speaks very much as if he were himself the plaintiff (see Sect. 1-5n.).” Euphiletus’ use of ταῦτα here in referring to his murder of Eratosthenes is a particularly nice example of how he goes about portraying himself as a prosecutor. A juror could be forgiven for thinking for a moment that by ἔπραξα ταῦτα Euphiletus is referring to his having brought an accusation against the malefactor whose offense, moicheia, he has just described. (3) This sense of Euphiletus as the aggrieved plaintiff is heightened by the discussion of his motives. The speaker tells us in Sect. 4 that there was no other source of enmity between himself and Eratosthenes, that he was not motivated by money, and that he was motivated by a desire for vengeance. As E. notes, enmity and money were “standard motives alleged by prosecutors.” But enmity, money, and vengeance were also topics addressed by prosecutors seeking to dispel suspicion that they were sykophants: a man who was interested in revenging himself against a personal enemy will not have been in it for the money.2 In his discussion of his motivation for having done ταῦτα, Euphiletus sounds very much like a prosecutor.

1.12: Of the παιδίσκη whom Euphiletus’ wife jokes her husband would like to “have a go at” in her absence, E. writes: “Carey ( ad loc.) distinguishes this ‘little maid’ from the servant-girl [ θεράπαινα ] of Sect. 8, 11, who he thinks was downstairs at this point. But Euphiletus does not necessarily imply that the baby was downstairs with the servant-girl; rather, if the wife was intending (or so it seemed) to sleep upstairs with her husband, her maid will have been upstairs too, probably sleeping outside the bedroom….” I may be misunderstanding him, but I think that E. is suggesting here two things, (1) that the παιδίσκη and the θεράπαινα are the same person and (2) that the baby was either alone on the first floor or upstairs with the παιδίσκη / θεράπαινα. Taking the second of these points first: the implication of Sect. 11 — where we are told that the θεράπαινα was pestering the baby precisely so it would cry — is surely that the θεράπαινα was (a) with the baby and (b) not in the same room as Euphiletus and his wife. The baby, therefore, cannot have been alone downstairs. It is unlikely, moreover, that the child had been brought upstairs by the θεράπαινα : Euphiletus emphasizes in his speech the hazards of climbing the κλῖμαξ with infant in hand — the very reason that the women’s quarters in his οἰκίδιον had been moved downstairs (Sect. 9). We may conclude, therefore, that the θεράπαινα was downstairs with the baby. It remains possible that the παιδίσκη and the θεράπαινα are the same person: Euphiletus’ wife can have been suggesting that her husband would act on his erotic impulses once the θεράπαινα, relieved of her babysitting duties by her mistress’s arrival downstairs, was free. But it is probably more likely, as Carey suggests, that the reference is to a different servant who is already on the second floor (but not in the bedroom).

1.14: E. cites Goodwin’s grammar when he notes that τὸ πρόσωπον in Sect. 14 is an accusative of specification. Two points. (1) For an American audience, at least, it would be preferable to cite Smyth rather than Goodwin, as students are more likely to have access to the former. (2) What really needs explaining here is the Greek preference for the personal construction with δοκεῖ (see Smyth section 1983), which explains why τὸ πρόσωπον in the clause ἐδοξει δέ μοι, ὦ ἄνδρες, τὸ πρόσωπον ἐψιμυθιῶσθαι… should be an accusative of respect rather than the subject of the infinitive. Cf. Euphiletus’ second reference to his wife’s cosmetics in Sect. 17: … ἔδοξέ τέ μοι ἡ γυνὴ ἐψιμυθιῶσθαι.

1.16: For discussion of the oratio recta in Sect. 12, 16, 18, 21, and 26 see now also V. Bers, Speech in Speech: Studies in Incorporated Oratio Recta in Attic Drama and Oratory (Lanham, MD, 1997), pp. 145-147 and 182-183. Against the view of Usher, cited by E. ad Sect. 16, that the direct speech in Sect. 16, 18, 21, and 26 is “cumbersome and artificial,” Bers argues that the formality of the quoted speech need not have struck jurors as being inappropriate for the dramatic scenario described by the speaker.

1.21-29: Lysias is careful to make two details of Euphiletus’ murder of Eratosthenes clear to jurors. (1) Eratosthenes was caught in the act ( ἐπ’ αὐτοφώρῳ): see Sect. 21 and 24. (2) Eratosthenes confessed his guilt: see Sect. 25 and 29. E. draws attention to these elements of the defense speech where appropriate. Of the former he writes, for example: “it was vital, from the legal point of view, that Eratosthenes be caught in the act, since this legitimated the killing…” ( ad Sect. 24). At Sect. 25 E. writes: “His confession may have been required by the law on adultery in order to justify the killing, hence Euphiletus’ insistence on this again in Sect. 29. See Carey (1995: 412).” In addition to Carey’s explanation for the emphasis on Eratosthenes’ confession, E. might also have mentioned the suggestion of David Cohen3 that Lysias’ references to discovery ἐπ’ αὐτοφώρῳ and to Eratosthenes’ confession are allusions to the apagoge procedure which could be employed against kakourgoi — a procedure to which, in Cohen’s view, Eratosthenes could have been subjected as a moichos. (Certain types of malefactors, among them andrapodistai, kleptai, and lopodytai, were classified as kakourgoi and could, if caught ἐπ’ αὐτοφώρῳ, be arrested and brought to the Eleven. If a kakourgos confessed his guilt to the Eleven, he was executed without trial.4) Cohen’s suggestion rests on the understanding that moichoi were classified as kakourgoi, a view of the law which has been argued by Hansen but is not universally accepted.5 Cohen may indeed be wrong, but it is worth mentioning here the possibility that Euphiletus is defending his summary execution of Eratosthenes by reference to a legal procedure that culminated in the state-sanctioned execution of a confessed criminal at the hands of representatives of the polis.

1.29: In his gloss on τιμήματι E. writes that the word alludes to the proposal of alternative penalties in agones timetoi, but he then adds that “Euphiletus acts as if the case is an ἀγὼν ἀτίμητος….” I assume that E.’s reference here to agones a-timetoi is a slip: I do not see how Euphiletus’ rejection of Eratosthenes’ proposal can be viewed as reminiscent of that type of trial.

In his note on ὑμεῖςἐτάξατε E. might have mentioned the debate over the identification of the demos with the dikasteria. See M.H. Hansen, The Athenian Ecclesia II (Copenhagen, 1989), pp. 213-218; S.C. Todd, The Shape of Athenian Law (Oxford, 1993), pp. 298-299.

12.14: On the oratio recta here see Bers (1997), pp. 148-149.

12.16: On the Athenian desmoterion see now V. Hunter, Phoenix 51 (1997), pp. 296-326.

12.20; 19.59: See W.K. Pritchett, The Greek State at War, Vol. 5 (1991) pp. 245-297, for the ransoming of captives. Private ransoming such as that mentioned in these passages is discussed on pp. 284-288.

12.36: E. mentions “Philocles’ decree that in the event of an Athenian victory [at Aigospotami] the right hands of all enemy prisoners should be cut off.” Plutarch ( Lys. 9.5) may be wrong, however, in suggesting that Philocles was the proposer of the “mutilation decree.” Xenophon ( Hell. 2.1.32) does not name the proposer. See D. Hamel, Athenian Generals: Military Authority in the Classical Period (Leiden, 1998), p. 51 n. 36.

12.42: Of Eratosthenes καταλιπὼν τὴν ναῦν while a trierarch E. writes: “if true he was guilty of desertion, for which the penalty was ἀτιμία.” Specifically, Eratosthenes will probably have been guilty of liponaution, as opposed to lipostration (cf. Frohberger ad loc.; see Pollux 8.40, 42-43). But in the upheaval occasioned by the oligarchic revolution Eratosthenes’ desertion of his ship was perhaps unlikely to lead to prosecution.

12.71: That Theramenes οὐεἴασε τὴν ἐκκλησίαν γενέσθαι is reminiscent of what we are told of Perikles’ avoidance of an ekklesia at Thuc. 2.22.1, an important passage for the consideration of his constitutional authority (See Hamel [1998], pp. 8-12). See Christensen and Hansen, p. 205 n. 23, in Hansen (1998) for the view that Theramenes was not overstepping his authority by not convening an assembly.

12.72: E. elects (following Adams?) to define ῥήτωρ in Sect. 72. This may not have been necessary — or at least the decision to define the term is out of keeping with the level at which E. pitches most of his notes. That said, E.’s gloss — “the term for an orator who addressed the assembly” — is too simplistic. For a more complete definition see Hansen (1989), pp. 39-40.

19: On p. 122 E. writes: “strictly speaking he [the speaker] is defending an action (hence πρός) brought by an individual, not by the treasury.” This allusion to the distinction between πρός and κατά is an abbreviated version of the comment Adams includes at the beginning of his introduction to the speech (p. 176). But in this condensed form I believe the note will leave many readers puzzled.

19.25: Of the trierarch Demus seeking to borrow money from Aristophanes to equip a trireme, E. writes: “It is interesting that, though a trierarch, Demus needed money.” But it was evidently not unusual for trierarchs to resort to borrowing money to meet the expenses of their liturgies. See V. Gabrielsen, Financing the Athenian Fleet (Baltimore and London, 1994), p. 52.

19.29, 42: On the expenses incurred by trierarchs see also Gabrielsen (1994), pp. 125 and 215-216.

19.62: E. writes that “the qualification for the trierarchy was three talents.” But there evidently was no clearly defined economic limit separating those who were able to bear liturgical expenses from those who were not. See Gabrielsen (1994), pp. 45-53.

22.14: On the role of traders in spreading news — and misinformation — see S. Lewis, News and Society in the Greek Polis (Chapel Hill, 1996), pp. 79-80.


1. In preparing this review I have consulted the following: H. Frohberger, Ausgewählte Reden des Lysias (Leipzig, 1866-1871): speeches 1, 12, 19, 30; E.S. Shuckburgh, Lysiae Orationes XVI (London, 1882): 12, 19, 22, 30; J.M. Whiton, Select Orations of Lysias (Boston, 1892): 12; C.D. Adams, Lysias. Selected Speeches (New York, 1905 [repr. 1989]): 12, 19, 22; M. Edwards and S. Usher, Greek Orators I: Antiphon and Lysias (Warminster, 1985): 1,12, 22; R. Scodel, Lysias Orations I, III (Bryn Mawr, 1986).

2. For discussion see D. Cohen, Law, Violence and Community in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 66-72, 83-84, 102-106; M.H. Hansen, The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes (Oxford, 1991 [repr. 1998]), pp. 194-196.

3. RIDA 31 (1984), pp. 155-157; Law, Sexuality, and Society (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 111-113.

4. For the relevant ancient testimonia see M.H. Hansen, GRBS 22 (1981), pp. 22-23. Kakourgoi may have confessed only exceptionally. See E.M. Carawan, GRBS 25 (1984), pp. 111-121; S.C. Todd, The Shape of Athenian Law (Oxford, 1993), pp. 80-81.

5. M.H. Hansen, Apagoge, Endeixis and Ephegesis Against Kakourgoi, Atimoi and Pheugontes (Odense, 1976), pp. 244-45, and GRBS 22 (1981), pp. 21-25. Against Hansen’s view see M. Gagarin, GRBS 20 (1979), p. 320