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Against Lacritus

Introduction

The present speech is, like the preceding one, an answer to one delivered by the opposing party in support of the special plea in bar of action which he had entered; and, also as in the preceding case, it deals more largely with the facts of the suit itself than with the grounds for holding the special plea to be inadmissible.

Androcles, an Athenian, and Nausicrates, of Carystus in Euboea, had lent thirty minae to Artemo and Apollodorus, both of Phaselis in Bithynia. The terms on which the loan was made were that the borrowers should sail from Athens to Mendê or Scionê (towns in the peninsula of Pallenê in Chalcidicê) and there purchase and put on board the ship a cargo of three thousand jars of Mendaean wine, which they were to transport to the Pontus. Then, after disposing of the wine and shipping a return cargo, they were to sail back to Athens, and from the proceeds of the double voyage were to discharge the debt with interest. (The agreement is given in full in §§ 11–15 of the oration, although the genuineness of all such inserted documents is open to question.)

The speaker, Androcles, charges that the borrowers violated the terms of the agreement in that they shipped less than the prescribed quantity of wine; that they secured additional loans upon the security

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Against Lacritus

already pledged to himself and his partner; and that they failed to ship an adequate return cargo. Finally, when payment was demanded of them, they falsely asserted that the vessel had been wrecked.

Suit is therefore brought against Lacritus, the brother of Androcles, the latter himself having died in the interim. It is claimed that he, being the inheritor of his brother’s estate, should also meet that brother’s obligations; and it is further claimed that Lacritus had, at least verbally, guaranteed the performance of the agreement.

Lacritus enters a special plea on the ground that no contract had been made between Androcles and himself; and further declares that, having relinquished his claim to his brother’s property, he cannot be held liable for his debts.

Lacritus was a pupil of Isocrates, and § 41 of the speech shows that the speaker sought to make capital out of the general unpopularity of the sophists as a class; for in the popular mind a teacher of rhetoric would be regarded as belonging to that class.

Consult further Schaefer, iii.2 pp. 286 ff., and Blass, iii. pp. 562 ff.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_xxxv_androcles_lacritus.1936