Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Hybris in Athens1

  • Douglas M. MacDowell
Extract

In the speech Against Konon the speaker, a young man named Ariston, complains that one evening when he and a friend were walking in the Agora they were victims of what would now be called ‘a mugging’. They were set upon by Konon and some other men, who pulled Ariston's cloak off him, tripped him up, threw him into the mud, and jumped on him. While he was lying on the ground, they said a lot of things which Ariston does not like to repeat in front of a jury of respectable men; ‘but’ he goes on ‘the thing which shows Konon's hybris, and indicates that he was the ringleader, I will tell you: he crowed in imitation of cocks that have won fights, and the others suggested he should beat his sides with his elbows like wings’ (Dem. 54. 8–9). So Ariston has taken steps to prosecute Konon. But his prosecution is not for hybris, although hybris was an offence in Athenian law, but for assault (aikeia).

Copyright
References
Hide All

Notes

2. Story Patterns in Greek Tragedy (London 1964), 22–8; cf. Vickers, Brian, Towards Greek Tragedy (London 1973), 2932.

3. Eur. Ba. 743, Pin. Nem. 1. 50. Other references to hybris in animals: Arkhilokhos (West, IEG) 177, Pin. Pyth. 10. 36.

4. Pl. Laws 808 d, Soph. fr. 786 (Pearson), Xen. Lak. Pol. 3. 2, Pl. Euthd. 273 a; cf. Eur. Supp. 232–5, Pl. Ap. 26 e, Dem. 21. 18. But Ant. 4 d 2 denies that hybris is confined to the young.

5. Anakreon (Page, PMG) 356(a), Xenophanes 1. 17, Ant. 4 a 6–7, d 6; cf. Th. 8. 45.2, Ar. Ekkl. 664, PI. Phdr. 238 a–b.

6. Theognis 541–2, Soph. Tr. 1096, Eur. Her. 181.

7. Solon (West, IEG) 6, Theognis 153, Pin. Ol. 13. 10, Hdt. 8. 77.

8. Eur. fr. 438, Xen. Kyr. 8. 4. 14; cf. Theognis 751, Soph. O.T. 873–4, Eur. Supp. 464, 741–3, fr. 437, Ar. Wasps 1309, Wealth 564, Th. 3. 45. 4, Dem. 21. 98. See also Dover, K. J., Greek Popular Morality (Oxford 1974), 110–11.

9. Hdt. 6. 137. 3, Arkhilokhos (West, IEG) 295 (f), Ar. Thesm. 63, Pl. Phdr. 254 c–e, Eur. El. 947, Hipp. 1073, Hel. 785.

10. Not counting Prom. 970, obelized in Page's text.

11. Aiskh. Supp. 29–30 ⋯ρσενοπληθ δ' ⋯σμ⋯ν ύριστήν Αίγυπτογεν, 81, 104, 426 ῠβριν ⋯νέρων 487 ῠβριν … ἂρσεος στόλον, 528 άνδρν ῠβριν, 817–18 ῠβρει … ⋯ρσενογενε, 845, 880, 881.

12. Eur. Cyc. 665, Her. 313, 741, Ar. Wasps1418, Birds 1046, Dem. 21, Hdt. 3. 118.

13. Horn. Il. 1. 203, 214, Soph. Phil. 342, 397, 1364, Ai. 1092, 1151, Th. 6. 57. 3.

14. Horn. Od. 17. 487 may refer to hybris taking the form of disobedience to the gods, but it is too vague for the point to be clear.

15. Hymn to Apollo 278–9, Eur. Hipp. 474–5, Supp. 495–9, Ba. 375, 516, 555, 1297, 1347, Aiskh. Prom. 82, Per. 807–22.

16. Aiskh. Ag. 763–6, Soph. O.T. 873. Alternative readings in the latter passage are discussed by Winnington-Ingram, R. P., JHS 91 (1971), 124–7.

17. Pin. Ol. 13. 10 θρασύμυθον, Isth. 4. 8 κελαδεννς.

18. Soph. Ai. 955–7 ⋯Φυβρί ει πολύτλας ⋯νήρ, γελ δ⋯ …: cf. 367 οἰ´μοι γέλωτος, οον ὑβρίσθην ἄρα.

19. Aiskh. Ag. 218, άνάγκας ἔδν λέπαδνον is not relevant here, because the word hybris is not used in that passage.

20. Eur. Alk. 675–9, Her. 261 (cf. 251), Tro. 1020–1.

21. Th. 1. 84. 2; 4. 18. 2. The oligarchic government of the Thirty is said by a democratic speaker to have treated the citizens of Athens with hybris (Isok. 20. 4, 10).

22. Op. cit. 54, 147.

23. We are actually offered two texts, one in Dem. 21. 47 and one in Aiskhines 1. 16. But the document preserved in the Aiskhines speech is a forgery; all the references to the hybris law which occur in the words both of Demosthenes and of Aiskhines clearly fit the document which we find in the Demosthenes speech, not the one which we find in the Aiskhines speech, and it is generally accepted that the document in Dem. 21. 47 is the genuine Athenian law about hybris

24. Ar. Wasps 1418, Birds 1046; cf. Ekkl. 663–4, Dem. 21. 36.

25. δίκη Φόνον, δίκη βιαίων, γραΦ⋯ μοιΧείας, δίκη κακηγορίας.

26. And. 1. 85. In the fourth century, when paranomon generally meant ‘contrary to written law’, this phrase in the hybris law had probably become a dead letter.

27. ZSSR 82 (1965), 302–9.

1 This article is a modified version of a lecture given to the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies in London on 20 March 1975.

Recommend this journal

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

Greece & Rome
  • ISSN: 0017-3835
  • EISSN: 1477-4550
  • URL: /core/journals/greece-and-rome
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

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

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed