Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ § 53 (Dem. 48).
Craig Gibson, trans., edition of April 30, 2003
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Plot on a Map
(1) This speech features a colorful turn of events. An Athenian man named Conon49 died childless, so that his estate came into dispute by his relatives. (2) Callistratus, the man who is delivering the present speech, says that the entire estate belongs to him; for he is Conon’s closest relative. However, he may perhaps be lying about this and simply making it up, based on no real evidence. (3) But Olympiodorus (the man against whom the suit has been brought) and the speaker initially disputed for the estate. Olympiodorus and Callistratus were both relatives; Callistratus’ wife was Olympiodorus’ sister. (4) So they decided not to disagree with each other, but rather to divide equally whatever part of the dead man’s estate was visible and granted by both parties, and to investigate the invisible property together and to do everything concerning it together. For they were expecting that other people would come to dispute with them for the estate. They drew up an agreement about this and deposited it with Androcleides, a friend they had in common. (5) Moschion was a slave of Conon, who was believed to be very loyal to him. Olympiodorus took him and along with Callistratus examined him by torture, because he was slanderously said to have stolen a thousand drachmae from Conon. And when the slave confessed to stealing the money, Olympiodorus split it, too, with Callistratus in accordance with their agreement. But Olympiodorus suspected that the man had even more money, so he went by himself (without taking Callistratus along), tortured Moschion, and got seventy additional mnae for himself. (6) Around this time a number of others laid claim to Conon’s estate, including Callippus, Callistratus’ brother by the same father. Olympiodorus and Callistratus plotted together about the lawsuits and agreed that Olympiodorus would lay claim to the whole estate, while Callistratus would sue for half. (7) When the Athenians were marching to Acarnania, Olympiodorus went, too; for he was one of those on the list for service. When the day appointed for the trial arrived, the jury was made to believe that this military campaign was simply a pretext, and so they dismissed his claim to the inheritance. Because of this Callistratus says that he, too, dropped his suit for half the estate, abiding by their agreement, which compelled them to act on everything jointly. (8) But when Olympiodorus came back from the campaign, he and Callistratus introduced a second action against the winners, as the law allows. And they disputed over the estate, just as they did before: the one seeking half the estate, the other the whole. (9) Olympiodorus spoke first and won the estate. But although he won and obtained the whole estate, he did not abide by the agreement that he had made previously, nor did he give half the estate to Callistratus. (10) Callistratus demands from him half of the seventy mnae that he got from Moschion and half of the estate, basing his claim on their agreement. He says that he had teamed up with Olympiodorus in the last trial, agreeing to deliver the speeches that Olympiodorus wanted and to provide perjurous witnesses; and unless it had been part of their joint plan to go to court against each other (he says), he could easily have refuted those witnesses and not allowed Olympiodorus to win.
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— Notes —
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