Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Did the Athenians Regard Seduction as a Worse Crime than Rape?

  • Edward M. Harris (a1)

One of the most ingenious arguments in all of Attic oratory is to be found in the speech Lysias wrote for Euphiletus to deliver at his trial for the murder of Eratosthenes (Lys. 1.30–5). In his speech Euphiletus first describes to the court how his wife was seduced by Eratosthenes, then recounts how he discovered the affair, caught the adulterer in the act, and, despite an offer to pay compensation, slew him. Euphiletus defends his action by citing the law of the Areopagus that whoever kills an adulterer caught in flagranti with his wife cannot be convicted of murder. Euphiletus further points out that the same exemption applies to the man who catches someone seducing his pallakē. If the lawgiver regarded the seduction of a pallakē as so serious that it merited the death penalty, Euphiletus argues, he must have regarded the seduction of a wife as even more reprehensible, deserving a penalty worse than death.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. F. Willetts , The Law Code of Gortyn (Kadmos Suppl. 1; Berlin, 1967)

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Classical Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0009-8388
  • EISSN: 1471-6844
  • URL: /core/journals/classical-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 54 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 341 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.