LCL 351: 192-193
never returned to Peiraeus as the contract required him to do.
The creditors demanded settlement from Dionysodorus, but met with no satisfaction. Dionysodorus offered, to be sure, to pay the principal with interest calculated in proportion to the voyage actually completed, that is, as far as Rhodes instead of to the Peiraeus, stating that other creditors had acceded to this proposal, and claiming also that the ship had been too severely damaged to be in condition to complete the entire voyage. To this Dareius made the obvious reply that arrangements made with other creditors had no bearing on the contract entered into by the borrowers with Pamphilus and himself, and that the claim that the ship was damaged was patently false, since she had continued to make trips between Rhodes and Egypt. On the other hand, the borrowers had plainly broken their contract inasmuch as the ship had not been brought back to the Peiraeus, but had been used by them for their own ends.
Dareius proposed that the matter should be referred for arbitration to a group of men engaged in foreign trade, and when this proposal was refused, brought the present suit, which in most mss. is named as a suit for damages (βλάβη). By this we may understand that the breach of contract entailed loss for the plaintiff. On this point Sandys remarks, following Kennedy: “As the injury in this case was a wrong done ex delicto, and not merely a breach of obligation ex contractu, it (the oration) is entitled κατὰ Διονυσοδώρου and not πρὸς Διονυσόδωρον.
Two facts call for comment. In the first place, no witnesses are summoned, and this unique feature of the speech has given rise to the view that it is not
a genuine plea in a court of law, but a composition by some later writer. However, as the contract was admitted by the defendant and it was not claimed that the ship had been brought back to the Peiraeus, it would seem that the plaintiff had no need of witnesses to support his demand for payment of the amount due. Again, the allusion to Cleomenes as a former governor of Egypt fixes the date of the speech as later than 323 b.c., the date of the execution of Cleomenes. As Demosthenes died in 322 b.c., it is hard to think of him as the writer of the speech. Yet at the end Dareius calls upon Demosthenes to come forward and speak in his behalf. This fact has been variously interpreted. The view of Blass is that the reading was originally δεῦρ᾿ ὁ δεῖνα (compare Oration LVIII § 70) and that someone, after the speech had found a place in the Demosthenic collection, inserted the proper name.
The reader may consult Schaefer, iii. pp. 307 ff., and Blass, iii. pp. 582 ff.