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Isaeus

had been sold or mortgaged, and quarrels arose about expenditure on building and repairs. Finding that there was practically nothing to be recovered from Dicaeogenes III., the claimants sued Leochares as surety. The cause of the nephews was this time championed by Menexenus III., the son of Polyaratus and the eldest sister of Dicaeogenes II.; it was on his behalf that Isaeus wrote the present speech. The suit, though ultimately concerned with the estate of Dicaeogenes, is strictly speaking an action to compel Leochares to discharge his liability as surety.

Only a fraction of the speech deals with the subject of the surety. It is clear that Leochares would defend himself by arguing that Dicaeogenes III. had done his best to restore the two-thirds of the estate and pointing out that the written agreement made in court (which the speaker is careful not to produce) had never stated that the property was to be handed over free of all claim and liabilities. In reply the speaker can only urge that this document was hastily drawn up and did not contain all the conditions and must be supplemented by certain verbal agreements, in support of which he offered the evidence of witnesses who had been present in court when the compromise was effected. This argument would hardly recommend itself to a court of law and constitutes a great weakness in the case. The rest of the speech is devoted to blackening the character of Dicaeogenes III., who is represented as a plunderer of widows and orphans, an unpatriotic citizen and a shirker of military service, and eulogizing the disinterestedness, generosity, and patriotism of his opponents.

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The question of the date of the speech turns on the date of the action at Cnidus during which Dicaeogenes II. was killed, which had taken place twenty-two years earlier. The famous battle at Cnidus in 394 b.c., in which Conon defeated the Spartan fleet, cannot possibly be meant, since the suit claiming the whole estate, which was brought by Dicaeogenes III., twelve years after the death of Dicaeogenes II., was tried during the years of political disturbance which followed the close of the Peloponnesian war (δυστυχησάσης τῆς πόλεως καὶ στάσεως γενομένης, § 7). It is probable, therefore, that the action off Cnidus was the engagement near Syme in 411 b.c. (Thuc. viii. 42). The date of the speech must therefore be about 389 b.c. This theory is supported by the fact that at the date of the speech Athens was engaged in a serious war (§ 46)—no doubt the Corinthian war (394–386 b.c.)—and by the apparent allusion to the capture of Lechaeum (392 b.c.) as a recent event (§ 37).

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.isaeus-v_estate_dicaeogenes.1927