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Introduction

This speech, also written by or for Apollodorus, is in support of information (ἀπογραφή) lodged by him to prove that two slaves, asserted by Nicostratus and Deinon, brothers of Arethusius, to be their property, belonged of right to Arethusius, and were therefore subject to seizure, inasmuch as Arethusius was a debtor to the state for the fine of a talent which had been imposed upon him by the jury before whom Apollodorus had secured his conviction for bearing false testimony.

In a proceeding like this any Athenian might lodge information regarding the property of a state debtor, and if he could make good his case in a court of law he was entitled to receive three fourths of the property listed in his written statement; if he failed to prove his case, he was liable to a fine of a thousand drachmae and was debarred from the right of again appearing as a public prosecutor.

In the present instance Apollodorus voluntarily relinquishes the right to any reward for the information given by him, stating frankly that his reason for taking up the matter is a desire to be revenged on Nicostratus and Arethusius for the wrongs they had done him; and the speech is devoted largely to a recital of those wrongs.

He had, he declares, lived as neighbour to Nicostratus

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and had been on the friendliest terms with him, leaving him indeed in charge of his affairs when he was himself absent on public or private business. He had befriended Nicostratus in many ways, having even contributed a thousand drachmae toward his ransom, when he had been captured by privateers, and he had later on mortgaged his property to provide sixteen minae more. Notwithstanding this generous treatment Nicostratus, the plaintiff claims, had not only shown utter ingratitude, but had gone so far as to conspire with the enemies of Apollodorus to bring about his ruin. Availing himself of false testimony he had caused Apollodorus to be fined six hundred and ten drachmae for non-appearance in answer to a citation which had in fact never been served; he had again procured a judgement against him as a debtor to the treasury for ten drachmae, and had then entered the plaintiff’s house and seized property to the amount of more than twenty minae, and had thereafter indulged in acts of vandalism against him.

For these wrongs the plaintiff had obtained partial satisfaction by a judgement imposing a fine of a talent upon Arethusius, and he now further satisfies his desire for revenge by this ἀπογραφή. He finally gives evidence regarding the ownership of the slaves in question.

The speech is regarded by all critics as the work of some one other than Demosthenes. See Schaefer, iii. pp. 143 ff., and Blass. iii. pp. 518 ff.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_liii_apollodorus_nicostratus_matter_slaves_arethusius.1939