Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ § 34 (Dem. 39).
Craig Gibson, trans., edition of April 30, 2003
page 35 of 58
(1) Mantias, a former Athenian politician, legally married a woman and had a son by her; this is the man who is now pleading his case. Out of lustful desire Mantias used to visit a certain Plangon, an Attic woman. (2) When her two sons reached manhood, they took Mantias to court claiming that he was their father. But he denied it. Then he acknowledged the boys; he was forced to do so because of a peculiar challenge which he was tricked into making. (3) For he challenged Plangon to swear that the children were really his, promising, if she so swore, that he would abide by the oath; he challenged the woman with the mistaken understanding that she would refuse the oath, for he had promised her a lot of money to do that. (4) But as the man delivering the speech says, Plangon also secretly swore to Mantias that she would refuse the oath when it was offered. But when he issued the challenge, she broke the agreement and accepted the oath. And thus he was forced to acknowledge the children as his own; he later died. (5) So the son by the lawfully married woman takes one of the two adopted sons to court over the name, saying that he should rightfully be called Boetus, which was his original name, rather than Mantitheus. For the name Boetus, the speaker claims, had originally been given to him by his father. (6) At first, then, someone might seem overly fond of meddling and quarreling, in disagreeing over names like this, but the speech provides sufficient proof of how identical naming can be harmful both in public and in private life.
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