Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ § 40 (Dem. 37).
Craig Gibson, trans., edition of April 30, 2003
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(1) Pantaenetus purchased a mining establishment in Maroneia (this is a place in Attica) and thirty slaves along with it from a man named Telemachus, borrowing a talent from Mnesicles and forty-five mnae from Phileas and Pleistor. (2) Mnesicles was registered as the buyer and so held the deed. Later, when Pantaenetus was being asked to repay the loan, he obtained a second group of creditors—Nicobulus, the man who is bringing the present indictment for an illegal prosecution, and a man named Euergus—and mortgaged the mining establishment and the slaves to them. No record of the mortgage was made, only of the sale. (3) And Mnesicles, the man who made the first loan and was holding the title, became the seller and guarantor for the second group of creditors. Euergus and Nicobulus rented the slaves and the mining establishment to Pantaenetus, behaving as though they were actually the owners. (4) They rented it at the rate at which the loan was accruing interest. For they had loaned him 105 mnae, and there had to be interest of a drachma per mna. So they agreed that they would get 105 drachmae; this was actually interest, but they called it rent. (5) After all this, Nicobulus went abroad, and during his absence the following took place at Athens. Accusing Pantaenetus of refusing to do any of the things that they had agreed upon, Euergus (Nicobulus’ partner in the loan) went to the mining establishment and took possession of it. In addition, watching out for the silver that was being transported from the mines to Pantaenetus—silver which Pantaenetus intended to pay as an installment into the treasury—he forcibly took it from the slave who was transporting it. Because of this, Pantaenetus also (as he said) had to pay a double installment into the treasury, failing to meet the appointed deadline because of Euergus. (6) For these things he also took Euergus to court for damages and won a conviction. When Nicobulus returned from his trip and a number of Pantaenetus’ creditors turned up, although at first nobody understood what anybody else was saying, they all finally came to an agreement. The result of this agreement was that Nicobulus and Euergus got back 105 mnae and relinquished the mining establishment and the slaves, which the other creditors purchased. (7) And again, when the creditors were refusing to purchase the property unless Nicobulus and Euergus should become the actual sellers and guarantors, Nicobulus was convinced to do so by Pantaenetus himself, who (according to Nicobulus) was insistent on it, but he did not agree until Pantaenetus had first granted him a release from every legal complaint. (8) Pantaenetus granted the release and the property was sold; nevertheless, he took Nicobulus to court on the same charge as Euergus, bringing a mining suit against him on the grounds that he was actually one of those who worked the mines and had been wronged with regard to the mine. (9) He brings an accusation against Nicobulus concerning the taking of the goods that were being transported by the slave, the selling of the workshop and the slaves (which was done contrary to the contract), and moreover about certain other things. (10) And Nicobulus brings an indictment for an illegal prosecution against the case. First, he says that it is illegal because of the law which orders that a case not be allowed to come to trial again once a discharge and release have been given. Second, in accordance with the law which expressly and clearly defines for what offenses mining suits may be brought, he says that it is inappropriate for Pantaenetus, who has not suffered any such offense, to bring him to court on a mining charge. (11) Morever, he adduces a third law, which defines which courts must judge which complaints and which officials are required to introduce cases. He says that Pantaenetus is making his multifaceted complaints contrary to this law, by lumping all his complaints together into one case and bringing an accusation before the court about everything that happened <in> the mine. (12) Therefore, he uses the law about releases at the beginning, but uses the other two at the end, so that he opens and closes with the indictment for an illegal prosecution. In the middle he makes the primary case, whose greatest and strongest aspect is that Nicobulus was not actually in the area when Pantaenetus <suffered> the things for which he previously took Euergus and is now taking Nicobulus to court.
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