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Demosthenes, or Pseudo-Demosthenes, xlv (In Stephanum i)*

  • L. Pearson (a1)

The First Oration Against Stephanus stands apart from the other speeches delivered by Apollodorus which, though certainly spurious, are included in the Demosthenic corpus. It does not share their amateurish qualities and is commonly regarded as a genuine work of Demosthenes. But admirers of the orator would be happier if it could be proved spurious. It may, for all we know, have been an acceptable practice in the fourth century for Athenian speech-writers to write for both sides, but (like Plutarch) we cannot help thinking the worse of him if he supported Apollodorus in an attack on Phormio, after previously writing a speech for Phormio. The Pro Phormione was delivered in support of a paragraphe to show that Apollodorus had no basis for an action against Phormio. It made such an impression on the jury that they would not even listen to any reply, and Apollodorus now tries to recover himself by bringing an action for false evidence against Stephanum, who had been one of Phormio’s witnesses. Like the other speeches delivered by Apollodorus In Stephanum i seems to have been recognized and accepted by Callimachus in his collection of Demosthenic speeches, and Plutarch takes it to be genuine. Aeschines charges Demosthenes with letting Apollodorus see the speech that he wrote for Phormio, before it was delivered. He regards this an an indication of his lack of integrity, but says nothing about writing for both sides. It has been argued that Demosthenes wrote the speech as a political favour for Apollodorus, who shared his views about the Theoric Fund, but this explanation, though widely accepted by modern scholars, is not supported by any ancient writer.

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1 For discussion of this whole group of speeches cf. Pearson, L., ‘Apollodorus, the eleventh Attic orator’ in The Classical Tradition, Studies in Honor of Harry Caplan (Cornell University Press, 1966), pp. 347–59.

2 Dem. 15, Comp. Dem. et Cic. 3. He says it was like selling arms to both sides from the same arms-factory.

3 xlv 6. Speeches in the Demosthenic corpus will be cited by number without regard to supposed authenticity.

4 Plut. Mor. 847 E accepts sixty-five speeches as genuine, and this number must include the Apollodorus speeches; Dionysius of Halicarnassus rejects some speeches that Callimachus had included in his collection, but the only speech of Apollodorus that he specifically rejects is In Neaeram (De Dem. 44 & 57; De Dinarcho 10).

5 Aesch. ii 165; cf. iii 173. The scholiast concludes, quite improperly, that Aeschines took the speeches Against Stephanus to be the work of Demosthenes.

6 Cf. Blass, F., Die Attische Beredsamkeit, vol. 3 i (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1893), pp. 32–4,Gernet, L., Dimosthène, Plaidoyers civils (ed. Bude, 1957) 2, p. 154, and the judicious remarks of Pickard-Cambridge, A.W., Demosthene (London-New York, 1914), pp. 201–2, 220–7. There is no suggestion that Demosthenes gave Apollodorus any active help in preparing his defence when he was prosecuted (in a graphe paranomon) for his proposal to use the theoric money for military purposes (lix 4–5). But Blass is prepared to believe that Apollodorus was induced to risk this prosecution because Demosthenes wrote oration xlv for him.

7 The speeches of Apollodorus, apart from xlv, have so many characteristics in common that they must be either his own work or the work of a single speech-writer.

8 Cf. Blass, op. cit. pp. 467–73, Sandys, J.E., and Paley, F.A., Select Private Orations of Demosthenes (3rd ed., Cambridge, 1896), vol. 2, pp. 3947, and especially Hüttner, G., Demosthenis oratio in Stephanum prior num vera sit inquiritur (Ansbach, 1895). Hüttner’s analysis is very thorough (‘trop exhaustive’ is the verdict of Gernet, loc. cit.), and he offers aformidable array of evidence to show the Demosthenic character of the speech. His discussion supersedes the earlier attempts to find evidence against authenticity by Schäfer, A., Demosthenes und seine Zeit (1st ed., 1858), 3 ii, pp. 184–99,Hornbostel, W., Uber die von Demosthenes in Sachen des Apollodor verfassten Gerichtsreden Ratzeburg, 1851),Lortzing, F., De orationibus quas Demosthenes pro Apollodoro scripsisse fertur (Berlin, 1863), and Sigg, J., ‘Der Verfasser neun angeblich von Demosthenes für Apollodor geschriebenen Reden’, Jahrbb.f. class. Phil., Suppl. 6 (1873), 397434.

Hüttner is, nevertheless, not totally convinced by his own arguments and finishes by saying: ‘sed usus monet, ne nimis confidamus argumentis nostris. fortasse quandoque exsistet, qui probare se posse… orationem non esse Demosthenis affirmet.’ (p. 65)

9 It has been disputed whether this text represents an authentic document (for the literature on both sides see Blass, op. cit. p. 467, n. 3), but it is not a matter of great importance for the present argument, since Apollodorus tells us himself in sufficient detail what Stephanus said; and we must believe him to be accurate, because the text of the deposition would be presented in writing and read out to the court (cf. xlv 44, where he cites the law which requires evidence to be presented in written form).

10 There has been very little comment on this narrative in previous discussion of the speech. Blass is content to call it ‘short’, and Sandys and Paley (in their note on 5) commit the error of taking for granted that Phormio’s version is the correct one and that the jury are likely to start out with this point of view: ‘The reason for the speaker’s hurrying over this part of his statement is partly because the overtures of reconciliation on Phormio’s side, which he takes credit to himself for candidly admitting, are really more to Phormio’s credit than to his own.’ But if Phormio had behaved ‘disgracefully’ (as Apollodorus takes for granted), it is no credit to him if he offers to make peace and his concessions might even have been presented as indications of his guilt. Most modern readers are convinced by Phormio’s version; but the jury are assumed not to have heard it yet. One might perhaps compare the manner of Cicero’s equally brief narrative in Pro Milone 9.24–10.29, which never suggests that a different version could be entertained by anyone unless he were exceptionally obtuse (cf. especially 10.28). This was a written account for readers who would not have the prosecutor’s speech fresh in their minds.

11 Here too we have to remember that Apollodorus is speaking with full knowledge of the facts, while refusing firmly to share his knowledge with the jury. Sandys and Paley (note on 9) remark that Apollodorus ‘had a strong reason for refusing to open the “will”, and thus give express recognition’ to it. It may be doubted if this remark is strictly true, but Apollodorus certainly did not want the jury to think along these lines. He accordingly tries to make them see that Phormio wanted him to decline the challenge, that it was part of their design to represent him as declining it. This may indeed not be the truth, but the jury are not necessarily aware of that; the strength of Apollodorus’ argument must be measured against that circumstance, not against ‘the facts’. We know what was in the ‘will’ and are perhaps satisfied that it is authentic. But the jury have not been told yet what was in it; that was a detail carefully left out of the narrative.

12 Apollodorus does not go to the trouble of citing the law about proklesis verbatim, though in the second speech and his other speeches he takes every opportunity to have extracts from statutes read out to the jury, sometimes without much regard for their strict relevance.

13 xxvii 41; xxviii 5, 6, 10. No text of a will is offered in evidence by either side in the speeches against Aphobus; Demosthenes has to rely entirely on witnesses. The fears of Phormio that Apollodorus might steal the will are substantiated by what Apollodorus himself says later in the speech: (41)

14 In the case of Demosthenes against his guardians it appears that Aphobus may have given the jury the choice of thinking Demosthenes rich or poor, as they preferred; and Demosthenes finds fault with him for this inconsistency (xxvii 54).

15 In a similar manner, when he comes to speak of the , the release from all claims that he is supposed to have granted, he says: ‘I know that this is a fabrication, but if you should happen to think it authentic you will find it the clearest evidence that Stephanus has given false testimony and has testified to a forged will. For who would be such a fool…?’ (Seen. 13 above.)

16 xxxvi 4–16.

17 Op. cit. pp. 472–3: ‘Aber Demosthenes schrieb, wie Apollodor fühlte und geschrieben wünschte; was der Erfolg war, kümmerte ihn so weniger, als er wohl kaum dem Apollodor die Anstellung des Processes gerathen haben wird, auch nicht sein Rechtsbeistand in der ganzen Sache, sondern nur der Anfertiger einer Rede war.’

* Discussion with colleagues at the University of Sydney, when I was a visiting professor in 1968, added much to my understanding of ancient oratory. I am happy to acknowledge my indebtedness to them, and not least to the legal acumen of Richard Bauman. They are not of course responsible for any foolishness that this article may contain.

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