Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ § 20 (Dem. 21).
Craig Gibson, trans., edition of April 30, 2003
page 21 of 58
(1) The Athenians used to conduct a festival to Dionysus, which they named the “Dionysia” after the god. Tragedians, comic poets, and choruses of flute-players competed in it. The ten tribes would appoint the choruses by lot, and the choregus of each tribe was the man who provided for expenditures pertaining to the chorus. (2) Now then, Demosthenes volunteered to take on the job of choregus for the tribe Pandionis. With Meidias (one of the rich) as his enemy, Demosthenes says that he had suffered a number of bad things at that man’s hands in addition to those suffered during the course of his job as choregus, but the last straw was when he was punched in the orchestra in front of all the spectators. For this, he accused Meidias before the people of committing impiety against the festival and Dionysus. Such an accusation was called a probole. (3) So the people have found Meidias guilty of impiety, but now Demosthenes and Meidias are contending in court about the people’s vote against Meidias. For when the people found someone guilty, it was necessary for a court to hear the case a second time. So the trial is about the penalty to be imposed. For Meidias is not contending about the fact that he has done nothing wrong, but rather is contending about whether he is to pay the penalty for hubris or for impiety. (4) So the issue of the speech is one of definition (horikos), because Meidias says that what he did was hubris, since he struck a free man, while Demosthenes says that it is impiety, since it was a choregus who was struck both at the Dionysia and in the theater. For he says that Meidias, through these actions, has also committed impiety, so that this is now a matter of double definition by inclusion (diplous horos kata syllepsin). (5) <It is by inclusion> whenever we do not reject the charge proposed by our opponents, but we add another one to it: just as here, when Meidias says that he has committed hubris, Demosthenes does not reject the charge of “hubris” but adds “impiety” on top of it.
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