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Summary.

Introduction.

→ Aphophasis First Appears in the later 4th century.

Apophasis invoked for cases of treason, bribery, and attempts to overthrow the democracy, but also for lesser crimes.

The Procedure.

The advantage of a complex system of investigation.

Secondary Works Cited.

Index of Citations

General Index

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Apophasis (Special Investigations) 

Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of March 21, 2003

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· Aphophasis First Appears in the later 4th century ·

Read about the evidence
Dinarchus (Din. 1).
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
Demosthenes (Dem. 23).

In a speech delivered in 323 BCE, Dinarchus refers to a decree, moved in the Assembly by Demosthenes, that that Areopagus should investigate a matter of bribery “as was its traditional right” ( ὡς αὐτῇ πάτριόν ἐστι ) (Din. 1.4; source for date: Hansen, 292). But we do not have much other evidence that the Areopagus regularly investigated matters of bribery. When Aristotle describes the Areopagus’ duties in the 4th century, he says that, “Trials for deliberate murder and wounding are held in the Areopagus, and for causing death by poison, and for arson” (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 57.3; Dem. 23.22).

Read about the evidence
Aeschines (Aeschin. 1).

There is however some evidence for the Areopagus issuing reports to the Assembly apart from the procedure we call apophasis. Sometime before 343 BCE, we hear of the Areopagus reporting to the Assembly on the matter of some dwellings on the Pnyx (Aeschin. 1.81; source for date: Harris, Aeschines and Athenian Politics).

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 18).
Demosthenes (Dem. 37).
Demosthenes (Dem. 41).
Apollodorus (Dem. 47).

But this is not called an apophasis, and does not seem to have been similar to the later procedure. In fact, none of the evidence from oratory before the second half of the 4th century mention apophasis (this includes the orators Andocides, Isaeus, Antiphon, Lysias, Isocrates, Lycurgus, and Aeschines). Demosthenes uses the term several times, (Dem. 18.60, Dem. 37.21, Dem. 37.34, Dem. 41.1, Dem. 41.2, Dem. 41.11, Dem. 41.12, Dem. 41.14, Dem. 41.17, Dem. 41.25, Dem. 41.26, Dem. 41.27, Dem. 41.28, Dem. 41.30, Dem. 47.45), but in each case he seems to use the word generically, “an account”, such as someone might give when returning from a voyage, or (often) when itemizing an estate so the inheritance can be settled.

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 18).
Dinarchus (Din. 1).
 
Plot on a Map
Athens.
Piraeus.

In Demosthenes speech “On the Crown,” delivered in 330 BCE (Dem. 18; source for date: OCD3), he mentions two events that might be the first instances of apophasis, although he does not use the term. Demosthenes mentions a man named Antiphon (not the orator Antiphon) who had been exiled from Athens, and then apprehended at the port of the Piraeus; he was acquitted, either by the People’s Court or by the Assembly, but the Areopagus investigated the matter and secured his conviction (Dem. 18.133). Then, Demosthenes describes how Aeschines, having been selected to be an ambassador by the Assembly, was investigated by the Areopagus, which “rejected him as a traitor” ( ἀπήλασεν ὡς προδότην ) (Dem. 18.134). There is some reason to think that these might be the first attested instances of the procedure we call apophasis. Dinarchus, in a speech seven years later, mentions the case of Antiphon and says that he was tortured and killed as a result of the Areopagusapophasis ( ἐστρέβλωσαν Ἀντιφῶντα καὶ ἀπέκτειναν οὗτοι τῇ τῆς βουλῆς ἀποφάσει πεισθέντες ) (Din. 1.63). He then says that Demosthenes himself had been instrumental in giving this authority to the Areopagus, citing the cases not only of Antiphon, but also of a descendant of the hero Aristogiton, and a man named Charinus (Din. 1.63). So we can conclude that the procedure probably came into existence before 330, and came to be referred to as apophasis before 323 BCE (source for dates: Hansen, 292).

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