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Demosthenes

Lampis set out, but the vessel was wrecked; and Phormio after his own return to Athens claimed that this relieved him of all responsibility. Subsequently, however, he shifted his ground and claimed that he had paid to Lampis, before the latter left Pontus, the full amount due under the contract.

Lampis plays a sorry part in the whole affair. On his return to Athens he had told his story of the shipwreck, and had denied receiving the money from Phormio; but later on, when he appeared as a witness before the arbitrator, he had reversed his story and claimed that he must have been out of his mind when he made his previous statements, asserting now that Phormio had indeed paid him the money in Pontus, and that it had been lost with the wrecked ship.

Chrysippus, then, and his partner brought suit against Phormio to recover the amount due, and Phormio countered by entering a special plea (παραγραφή), asserting the action was not admissible, inasmuch as he (Phormio) had in no way violated the terms of the contract.

This matter was brought before the court. Phormio made his argument, and the present oration is a reply, delivered by the two plaintiffs, speaking in turn. Their contention is that the special plea in bar of action is inadmissible in this case, since the law expressly stated that all disputes regarding contracts made in connexion with shipments to or from Athens should be settled in the Athenian courts. They hold that Phormio’s claim that the loss of the vessel freed him from his liability is invalid, since he had shipped no return cargo; and that his subsequent

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Demosthenes

claim that he had paid the money to Lampis in Bosporus is to be ruled out as wholly unworthy of credence.

This speech is discussed in Schaefer, iii.2 pp. 300 ff., and in Blass, iii. pp. 576 ff.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_xxxiv_plea_chrysippus_partner_phormio.1936