Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ Apophasis invoked for cases of treason, bribery, and attempts to overthrow the democracy, but also for lesser crimes.
Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of March 21, 2003
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In Dinarchus’ speech against Demosthenes, part of an apophasis, the orator’s rhetoric suggests that the trial was about more than bribery (the actual accusation; see Din. 1.1), but was about the security of the Athenian democracy. Dinarchus says that anyone who would defend Demosthenes is an enemy of Athens: “And whenever anyone comes forward to speak for him, bear in mind that he who does so, even if not involved in the reports [ἀποφάσεσιν] we are about to hear, is hostile to the constitution, unwilling to see punished those who take bribes against the people and anxious that the general protection of your persons, for which the Areopagus is responsible, should be abolished and every right in the city overwhelmed” (Din. 1.112). According to Dinarchus, the Areopagus investigated the question of bribery because any case of Macedonians bribing prominent Athenians would put the city in danger (Din. 1.3-4).
Apophasis was also used in cases when the city itself was thought to be in danger from some external enemy. Antiphon was the subject of apophasis because, after being exiled as a spy and saboteur for the Macedonians, he was caught back in Athens (Dem. 18.132; Din. 1.63). A man named Polyeuctus of Cydantidae was the subject of an apophasis because he had made suspicious trips to Megara (although he was cleared of all suspicion when it was discovered that he had relatives there) (Din. 1.58). And Charinus was exiled, after an apophasis, on a charge of treason (ἐπὶ προδοσίᾳ) (Din. 1.63).
In a brief passage, however, Dinarchus mentions some lesser offenses that were first brought before the Areopagus and then referred to a jury—a defendant who robbed the captain of a ferry-boat, someone fraudulently collecting five drachmas (a public subsidy for attending the theater), and a member of the Areopagus who was given a portion of meat from a public sacrifice (a benefit of service on the Areopagus) who sold the portion illegally (Din. 1.56).
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