{NB: This is an old unedited paper from a classical Greek course I took after seminary. There is much I would probably change in it now that I have read more primary and secondary literature since then. However, I don’t have time to go back through and make adjustments so I am keeping it the way it was. I hope it is still of some use to someone somewhere.}


The argument from probability, or the εἰκός (eikos) argument, is a staple of ancient rhetoric and persuasion. The following paper will look at the way Lysias uses the argument from probability, with special attention to the narrative portion of his defense speeches in On the Murder of Eratosthenes and Against Simon. These two speeches were chosen because of how the characters contrast with each other, which will show the breadth of possibilities in the applications of the argument from probability. This paper will argue that Lysias’ use of the argument from probability is enhanced by his use of narrative to create a persona against which the jury is then asked to judge the likelihood of the opponents anticipated counterargument.[1] To show this, the following paper will first discuss what the argument from probability is and its role in classical rhetoric. Secondly, the role of the narrative in Lysias will be addressed with close attention paid to speeches I (On the Murder of Eratosthenes) and III (Against Simon).

The Argument from Probability

In order to show how Lysias uses narrative to enhance his arguments from probability, it is important to first understand what the argument from probability actually is. The following description will be an overview as there have been many treatments, including full-length monographs, on the subject.[2] First will be noted the root of the word εἰκός, which may give a clue to its meaning. Then brief mention will be made of how early rhetorical theorists articulated their understanding of probability and what is most likely the best way to understand it in Lysias.

Εἰκός is the neuter perfect participle form of ἔοικα (eoika), which has four senses: to be similar, to seem, to befit, and to be likely.[3] Granted, these senses have a wide semantic range within English, but it is possible to find a common source in Greek around the idea of likeness. First, etymologically, εἰκός is closely related to εἰκάζω (eikazo) and εἰκών (eikon), which both have the sense of likeness.[4] Secondly, the earliest examples of εἰκός used in juridical settings makes the most sense if seen in the light of likeness.[5] For example, in Homer’s Hymn to Hermes, a story is related in which Hermes steals some cattle from Apollo who subsequently takes him to court (i.e., before Zeus). In an elaborate speech, Hermes characterizes himself as a small and weak child, asking the judge if he looks like (ἔοικα) a mighty man who herds cattle.[6] Hermes is arguing that he couldn’t have stolen the cattle because only a mighty man could do such a thing, and he looks nothing like a mighty man. Here one sees, then, how the idea of likeness works within the ancient Greek understanding of probability.[7]

However, when studying ancient rhetoric, one often jumps straight to the theorists, specifically the criticisms of Plato in the Phaedrus and the systematic presentations of Aristotle’s On Rhetoric, and Rhetoric to Alexander, often attributed to Anaximenes of Lampsacus.[8] All of these works come after the “invention” of probability argument by Corax and Tisas, and can be seen as an attempt to restrain the abuses of such argumentation by the “sophists.”[9] Plato is characteristically harsh against the use of probability in arguments. For him, what is probable is distinct from what is true. Probability is a matter of opinion of the way things seem. The goal of philosophy, on the other hand, is to know truth, and rhetoric must be subsumed under the guise of philosophy else it become a tool for manipulation.[10] In this sense, then, if Plato is to have anything to do with probability arguments, the value of εἰκός is in its relation to truth. Probability isn’t truth itself, but likeness to it.[11]

Aristotle and Anaximenes agree, though, without coming out as strongly against rhetoric or the argument from probability as Plato does, that rhetoric is distinct from the activity of philosophy. Aristotle places probability within the larger framework of his logic defining probability as, “For that which is probable is that which generally happens, not however unreservedly, as some define it, but that which is concerned with things that may be other than they are, being so related to that in regard to which it is probable as the universal to the particular (1357a35-b1).”[12] That is, what is probable is what generally happens, though this is not the same as modern statistical probability. Even if Aristotle here is articulating something that would later become modern statistical probability, he lacks the conceptual tools of inductive logic (not yet invented) to mean the same thing that a modern might mean when saying that something is probable.[13] Such a reading is anachronistic and unhelpful for understanding Lysias.

Anaximenes, on the other hand, defines probability thusly:

It is probability when one’s hearers have examples in their own minds of what is being said. For instance, if any one were to say that he desires the glorification of his country, the prosperity of his friends, and the misfortune of his foes, and the like, his statements taken together will seem to be probabilities; for each one of his hearers is himself conscious that he entertains such wishes on these and similar subjects. (1428a27-31)[14]

Note that here Anaximenes relates the persuasiveness of probability to the expectations of the hearers, and important technique in oratory. The persuasiveness of an argument from probability must factor in, or work itself around, the mental perceptions of the audience. This is not merely playing on the audience’s empathy, as if one need simply coax sympathy by having the hearers imagining themselves in a similar situation.[15] Instead, it is also to play off of the preexistent expectations of the audience about justice or character, and to locate ones argument in such a place where they will be persuaded.

While there are different ways to approach the argument from probability, for the purpose of examining Lysias, this paper will focus on a mixture of Plato’s likeness to truth, and Anaximenes mental expectation.[16] Thus, when reading Lysias I and III, it will be proposed, the best way to understand how Lysias is using the argument from probability is to see Lysias constructing arguments in which the character’s actions are said to be appropriate because they conform (i.e., are like) to the mental perceptions of the audience. These mental perceptions, it will be argued, are reinforced by Lysias’ narrative.

The Role of Narrative

When analyzing arguments from probability, it is easy to isolate specific arguments (either through their use of the term εἰκός or other rhetorical features) and attempt to determine whether or not the argument is valid.[17] Or, if one considers the mental perceptions of the audience, to ask questions concerning ancient Greek social expectations or customs. While these are important questions and deserve considering in their own right, it is also important to consider the role of narrative. Specifically, and for present purposes, one should consider how the narrative produces a persona against which the audience is then asked to make a judgment concerning the actions that the persona took. Lysias, is an interesting case study in that he is known for his subtle style and use of ethopoeia.[18] The following, however, will not focus solely on ethopoeia, but on the narrative as a whole.[19] Lysias I, On the Murder of Eratosthenes, and Lysias III, Against Simon, will be analyzed according to the narrative presentation of the events for which defendants are on trial, and the implied personas created by the narrative. These two speeches offer an interesting comparison in that they present two distinctly different personas, illustrating the flexibility of the argument from probability.

Lysias I

On the Murder of Eratosthenes is a titillating tale of adultery and revenge.[20] The man on defense is Euphiletos, and he is charged with the equivalent of what would be called today premeditated murder. His goal, then, in defending himself is to show that it was not premeditated but an act of passion. More so, Lysias subtly crafts the argument to move even beyond positing an act of passion, and to argue that it was really an act of justice. However, both of these points would only be persuasive if Euphiletos can convince the jury that his version of the story is true and Eratosthenes’ is not. Thus, in 1.28, after listing anticipated objections from his opponents, Euphiletos presents a masked εἰκός argument, “But, men of the jury, I think and you know that if one doesn’t act justly then they do not concede that their enemies speak the truth, but themselves lie and use such contrivances to build up anger in their hearers against those who act justly.”[21] Implied is the argument that people who do the things done by Eratosthenes are liars, and people of upright character like Euphiletos are not. Both of these premises are subtly crafted in the narrative of his argument.

The narrative, beginning in 1.6, has about 20 discreet events pointed out by Euphiletos, all of which aim to characterize Euphelitos as a just, though rather foolish, citizen and Eratosthenes as a city-destroying disease.[22] The first ten events show a movement in Euphiletos from hesitantly trusting his wife to a state of suspicion against her. First is his marriage (1.6) at which point he is only slightly suspicious of wife. This fades when the child is born, thus fully integrating his wife into the family. He subsequently places all of his trust in her as a manager of the household, and rightfully so considering her characteristics.[23] His description, it might be suggested, conforms to what might have been the ideal wife according to the expectations of his hearers. As such, his audience would think that he has so far acted reasonably. He was slow to trust his wife at first, only doing so after the child was born, and her character as he describes it justifies his doing so. But the next event he mentions is the death of his mother. As he paints the scene, Erotosthenes espies Euphiletos’ wife as she processes to her mother-in-law’s funeral, and arranges a clandestine meeting through one of Euphiletos’ servants (1.7-8). Not only does he corrupt Euphiletos’ wife, but he preys on grieving women by stalking funeral processions.

At this point in the narrative, Euphiletos digresses on a description of his house. It is meager, being only two floors, and while this would be embarrassing, the details are necessary for what happens next.[24] For the safety of his wife, Euphiletos switches living quarters, moving upstairs so that his wife need not tread the precarious stairs in the dark of the night when the child needed feeding. All the while, he suspected nothing until a fateful day when he returned unexpectedly from a journey. After dinner he noticed the child crying (unawares that the servant was provoking the child hoping to mask the presence of the intruder), and when he told his wife to pacify it, she refused feigning delight in his return and then accusing him of wanting a chance with the maidservant. At this, she returned to her room (downstairs), and locked it, leaving Euphiletos upstairs to sleep ignorant of what was happening. Here one might notice the sudden shift in the behavior of the wife. Before she was upright, and most admirable, but now her character has been reduced to that of a liar–all at the hands of Eratosthenes.

These lies continue into the morning, when upon inquiring about the door making noise in the night, the wife claims that the child’s lamp had extinguished and she went to the neighbors to light it again. Euphiletos believes her, at this point having no reason to distrust his once upstanding wife. But this changes when he encounters a servant of another one of Eratosthenes’ lovers who is distraught from having been scorned by Eratosthenes and so informs Euphiletos concerning Eratosthenes’ clandestine activities with his wife. Euphiletos’ trust of his wife seems adamant, even though he now looks back and can see all of the signs, for he is not willing to act until he knows for sure that what has been reported to him is true. To do so, he enlists the aid of the servant and waits about four or five days.[25] It is interesting that Euphiletos would paint himself in this light, as one of his goals is to argue that the murder was in some sense an act of passion. It may be that he is constrained by the actual events, or it may be that he wants to show that he is not one often given over to his passions. Whatever it may be, he treads a thin line at this point of the narrative.

After a few days had passed, Euphiletos’ friend, Sosthenes, comes over for diner, leaves, and Euphiletos falls asleep. Not, he will argue later, a smart move for someone conducting an entrapment (1.41). At this point, Eratosthenes enters the house, and the maidservant notifies Euphiletos. He proceeds to gather his friends, some of whom were not home, and torches and returns to his home where he finds Eratosthenes naked with his wife. Preventing him from reaching the hearth, Euphiletos binds his hands behind his back.[26] Eratosthenes confesses his guilt and offers Euphiletos money as compensation, but Euphiletos will have none of it, and proclaims in front of all that his act of vengeance is in reality the execution of justice according to the laws of the city.

Here one comes to the crux of his characterization. Euphiletos is a man, though slow as he may be, who is ultimately concerned with the welfare of the city. He is not overly trusting of his wife until the right time, and has no reason to suspect her until he is told otherwise (and he doesn’t even act on mere word-of-mouth, but insists on seeing it for himself). He is not overwhelmed by his passions, but is a just citizen. Eratosthenes, on the other hand, is a serial predator, slithering in the shadowy corners of the city, looking for women in distress on whom he can prey, and whose families (by adding confusion to the question of lineage and property inheritance) he also corrupts. As such, he is a poison to the welfare of the city, and is of an untrustworthy character and should not be believed.

Lysias III

In Lysias III, Against Simon, one finds a different character in a different social situation. The defendant is an older man who has as a lover a young man, Theodotus, who is also desired by Simon.[27] This love triangle eventually culminated in a conflict in which Simon was injured, and for which he charges the defendant with wounding with the intent to kill. The defendant doesn’t display the incompetence of Euphiletos, but he is sheepish about his relationship with the young man as he was too old to be pursuing such a relationship.[28] The narrative takes place from 3.5-3.20, but unlike Euphiletos, the defendant in this speech is more blatant to attack the character of the prosecution after the narrative portion.[29] However, this paper has been concerned so far with the ways in which narrative supports later arguments, whether subtle or overt, by the creation of a persona, so the following analysis will focus on section 3.5-3.20.

First, the defendant declares the intentions of Simon and himself toward Theodotus: he sought to win him by kindness; Simon by force.[30] While there are many examples of such a character, the defendant begins with one in which Simon burst into the women’s quarters of the defendant’s house in a drunken rage looking for the boy.[31] Even more so, he wouldn’t leave the house until he got to Theodotus, even when his own companions were dragging him away. Lest one think that this was a rare occasion, the defendant provides another incident in which Simon came to his house, beckoning the defendant to come outside, at which point he attempted to pelt him with rocks after his initial attempt at hand-to-hand combat failed.[32]

Now, one might expect the defendant to bring some charge against Simon, and he would have, had the awkwardness of the situation between him and Theodotus (as noted above) not prevented him. Instead, the defendant decided to go abroad with the boy, hoping that Simon may come to his senses. At this point in the narrative, one gets a clear picture of the two main characters. Simon is someone controlled by his passions, a drunken rabble-rouser, a man who will not even heed the advice of his own companions. The defendant, on the other hand, knows how one should conduct oneself as a citizen, even if he is a little foolish to be in a relationship with someone as young as Theodotus. Nevertheless, he still is able to recognize the social unacceptability of the situation and act accordingly, in a well-reasoned manner.

Upon return, the defendant went to the Peiraeus, and Theodotus stayed with Lysimachus, who unfortunately lived near a house Simon had rented. Hearing this, Simon invited all of his friends over for an afternoon drink, and posted look-outs to watch for the boy. When the defendant went to Lysimachus’ house and came out with the boy, Simon and his friends pounced upon them in a drunken rage.[33] Narrowly escaping the grasp of Simon and his friends, Theodotus took off away from the crowd. Indeed, the defendant thought that the boys escape would be the end of it and that maybe Simon and his companions would realize how foolish they are acting and be ashamed. Unfortunately, this was not the case.[34] Instead, they chased after the boy, and the defendant went another way only to meet up again in another part of the city where the violence in question took place.

Simon and his motley crew caught up to him in the fuller’s shop, from where they rent him and began to beat him. Understandably so, the boy cried out for help and when Molon, the fuller, and some others attempted to aid him, they were beaten as well. The crowd was in an uproar at the injustice, but the attackers did not abate. At this point, the defendant came upon them and tore the boy from their grasps asking why they behaved in such a lawless fashion only to be ignored and beaten himself. The boy coming to the aid of the defendant started throwing stones at the attackers, at which point a barrage of stones flew from all parties involved, and it is here that Simon (as well as everyone else involved) received his injury. And it was a whole four years before Simon even attempted to prosecute the defendant. Yet, upon hearing that the defendant was being prosecuted on other matters, he suddenly brings up this case and formally charges him.

Once again, the differences in persona are startling. While the defendant was willing to forget the whole thing, for the sake of propriety, Simon was eager to get the boy as soon as he discovered that he had returned. As he notes later on (3.39), such passion usually abates with time, but Simon is consumed with irrational desire. In fact, he is so irrational that he invites all of his friends over to get drunk while waiting for the boy to appear! Even then he cannot wait, so driven by his desires, that he attacks as soon as the boy is sighted. He is not dissuaded by failure, nor did shame arise when the boy escaped. Instead, he pursued him further, beating away anyone who got in his way. It might be worth asking whether such a person is corrosive to the city as a whole. More so, he is a sycophant, an opportunist, who is concerned for only his own welfare. The question any juror must ask himself is whether such a person can be trusted to tell the truth about such matters. Or, would it be more likely that someone such as the defendant, a reasonable, law-abiding citizen who is willing to put his own life at risk to stop a lawless action such as the beating of Theodotus, would tell the truth.


Lysias subtle uses narrative to create personas which force the hearer to makes his judgment upon the character presentation he has received at the skilled hands of Lysias. Lysias I, On the Death of Eratosthenes, and Lysias III, Against Simon, offer two distinct examples of this technique. In the first case, one sees a slightly foolish, but reasonably trusting husband who places as his top priority the maintenance of the cities laws. This is contrasted to Eratosthenes, who as a serial seducer places the cohesion of the city at risk. In Against Simon, on the other hand, one finds a slightly sheepish old man who is well aware of social propriety versus a raging sycophant. In both cases, the persona of the defendant is, while slightly flawed, ultimately a law-abiding citizen whose concern for law and order drives his actions. On the other hand, their opponents are self-centered to the point of hubris, caring only for their own desires at the risk of the city.

Knowing that Lysias wrote after the fall of the Thirty Tyrants and the reinstallation of the rule of Athenian law, it is easy to see how this would play an important part in his rhetorical persuasion.[35] Knowing the fear of his audience about returning to the terrible rule of the Tyrants, Lysias is able to transform that preconceived notion to his own advantage. This is why Lysias’ use of narrative for his argument from probability is a mixture of Plato and Anaximenes’ understanding of εἰκός. Lysias takes the mental perceptions of his hearers and establishes it as a truth against which his two manufactured personas are compared. The hearers are asked implicitly (and sometimes explicitly), to identify which persona is more like the truth of their own mental perception. Thus, Lysias shows his skill in adapting the established argument from probability into a subtly deceptive narrative.

Whether the audience bought his arguments or not is another question entirely. Nonetheless, by looking at the way Lysias uses narrative, one is able to understand how the argument from probability is used beyond the explicit use of the word εἰκός or rhetorical questions. Indeed, by bringing narrative into focus, the argument from probability is seen to constitute a substructure of Lysias’ speeches.[36] Individual arguments from probability are best understood according to the structure of the speech as a whole, which is built upon narrative.


The argument from probability constitutes a major rhetorical technique in ancient Greek oratory. It went through various stages even by the time one gets to Lysias where one no longer sees the elaborate and convoluted arguments of Gorgias, or the repetition of Antiphon. Lysias approaches probability more subtly, instead using narrative to created two personas against which the audience is asked, explicitly or implicitly, to make a judgment about the persons character. It is that judgment which gives credence to the all of the individual arguments from probability that may be found scattered throughout the text. While these are important, it is his use of narrative that constitutes the heart of Lysias’ argument from probability. This was shown by comparing the two speeches On the Death of Eratosthenes and Against Simon. What was seen were two different characters who shared a common concern for the welfare of the city while their enemies sought only for their own pleasures. The conclusion meant to be inferred is that the the two personas represent two visions for the city, one marked by adherence to the rule of law, and the other by self-seeking hubris. Only those law-abiding citizens are to be trusted, for it is more likely (εἰκός) that such a person would act according to that law, than the other one who is only marked by hubris. Thus, by paying close attention to narrative, one is able to get at the substructure of Lysais as a persuasive speech writer.


Carey, C., ed. Lysias: Selected Speeches. Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 1989.

Fairchild, William D. “The Argument from Probability in Lysias.” Classical Bulletin 55, no. 4 (1979): 49-55.

Goebel, George H. “Probability in the Earliest Rhetorical Theory.” Mnemosyne 42, no. 1/2 (1989): 41-53.

Hoffman, David C. “Concerning Eikos: Social Expectation and Verisimilitude in Early Attic Rhetoric.” Rhetorica 26, no. 1 (2008): 1-29.

Kennedy, George A. A New History of Classical Rhetoric. (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 1994.



[1] While the prosecution may go first, Lysias as a speechwriter must anticipate the arguments of his opponents when he writes the speech beforehand.

[2] For the list of relevant sources, cf. David C. Hoffman, “Concerning Eikos: Social Expectation and Verisimilitude in Early Attic Rhetoric,” Rhetorica 26, no. 1 (2008): 1-2.

[3] That is, according to the standard Greek lexicon of Liddell, Scott, and Jones.

[4] Hoffman, “Concerning Eikos,” 6.

[5] George Kennedy, A New History of Classical Rhetoric (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), 14.

[6] Line 265, “οὐδὲ βοῶν ἐλατῆρι, κραταιῶι φωτί, ἔοικα.” The dative is used for the object of comparison (Smyth, 1466).

[7] Hoffman goes on to a more thorough analysis of the use of the word εἰκός in the Attic orators and shows how “likeness” is the primary meaning. Thus, “likely” or “appropriate” would be better translations than “probable.”

 [8] Plato’s Republic and Gorgias are also important works on rhetoric, but the Phaedrus stands out for its analysis on the details of rhetorical theory and practice.

[9] At this time, there are reports of rhetorical handbooks for the juridical setting. While none of them survive, save for quotations preserved by Aristotle, later evidence, such as the reports of Plato and Aristotle, point to their existence. Cf. George H. Goebel, “Probability in the Earliest Rhetorical Theory,” Mnemosyne 42, no. 1/2 (1989): 43.

[10] One of the common sophistical practices was to argue the weaker case as if it were the strong. An example of this is Gorgias famous Encomium of Helen which argues that she was without blame for leaving her husband. For a summary of the argument, cf. Kennedy, A New History of Classical Rhetoric, 20-21.

[11] Phaedrus 272 D-E, P, “Tisias, some time ago, before you came along, we were saying that this probability of yours was accepted by the people because of its likeness to truth; and we just stated that he who knows the truth is always best able to discover likeness.”

[12] That it is imbedded within his logic, only one need to continue reading, “As to signs, some are related as the particular to the universal, others as the universal to the particular. Necessary signs are called tekmeria ; those which are not necessary have no distinguishing name. I call those necessary signs from which a logical syllogism can be constructed, wherefore such a sign is called tekmerion; for when people think that their arguments are irrefutable, they think that they are bringing forward a tekmerion, something as it were proved and concluded; for in the old language tekmar and peras have the same meaning (limit, conclusion).” Cf. Goebel, “Probability in the Earliest Rhetorical Theory,” 42.

[13] Hoffman, “Concernnig Eikos,” 4-6.

[14] Ibid., 8.

[15] The theory is more complex than that. Anaximenes divides the argument from probability into three categories: πάθος (pathos, or the natural feels of humankind), ἔθος (ethos, or habits of character or custom), and κέρδος (kerdos, or the natural tendency to seek advantage), cf. Goebel, “Probability in the Earliest Rhetorical Theory,” 44-45. Thus, while in part probability is persuasive on account of emotions stirred up by similar experiences, that is only a third of the idea.

[16] This is, admittedly, an oversimplification. First, while Lysias and Plato were contemporaneous, the more systematic work of Aristotle and Anaximenes comes later, and thus one should be cautious about reading hard and fast categories back into Lysias. What Lysias does can best be described as a mixture of the two in a very vague way. Aristotle is avoided completely because, as was stated above, his definition of probability is set within the context of his logic, and it is also the means by which modern readers read statistical probability back into the ancient orators. As such, it is best to avoid his definition in this analysis.

[17] I.e., lengthy rhetorical questions, contrary-to-fact conditionals, or a collection of statements that imply probability. Cf. William D. Fairchild, “The Argument from Probability in Lysias,” Classical Bulletin 55, no. 4 (1979): 53.

[18] Ethopoeia is a technique of producing realistic characters, often by introducing some flaw or weakness. This was intended to produced rapport with the audience, and thus persuasion cf. Kennedy, New History of Classical Rhetoric, 66.

[19] That is, while ethopoeia is an important feature of Lysias’ technique, it is a piece of the larger puzzle, which is narrative.

[20] Whether it actually happened, or Lysias wrote it as a specimen of his skill, is not entirely clear.

[21] ἀλλ᾽, ὦ ἄνδρες, οἶμαι καὶ ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι ὅτι οἱ μὴ τὰ δίκαια πράττοντες οὐχ ὁμολογοῦσι τοὺς ἐχθροὺς λέγειν ἀληθῆ, ἀλλ᾽ αὐτοὶ ψευδόμενοι καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα μηχανώμενοι ὀργὰς τοῖς ἀκούουσι κατὰτῶν τὰ δίκαια πραττόντων παρασκευάζουσι. The Greek for Lysias’ speeches that are quoted in this paper comes from C. Carey, ed., Lysias: Selected Speeches, Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). English translations, unless noted, are mine.

[22] It is difficult to count precisely how many events there are and which information is added to support a more important event. As such, 20 is an approximation.

[23] Cf, 1.7, “…she was a skillful, thrifty housekeeper, and kept everything precisely” (καὶ γὰρ οἰκονόμος δεινὴ καὶ φειδωλὸς ἀγαθὴ καὶ ἀκριβῶς πάντα διοικοῦσα).

[24] He describes the blueprints begrudgingly in 1.9, “δεῖ γὰρ καὶ ταῦθ᾽ ὑμῖν διηγήσασθαι.”

[25] One of the interesting details he discovers in this interrogation is that his wife went to the Thesmophoria, an Athenian festival in honor of Demeter, with Eratosthenes’ mother, which would be completely inappropriate.

[26] In ancient Greece, the heart was space protected by the gods. There none could do one harm without incurring the wrath of the gods.

[27] It should be noted that Theodotus was a Plataean whose Athenian citizenship is unclear throughout this speech. If he is an Athenian, then the vague statement that Simon paid for him later in the speech implies the prostitution of a citizen, a reprehensible act in Athenian eyes.

[28] This the defendant states in 3.4, noting that those who hear of the tale may think him “senseless” (ἀνοητότερον) for desiring the boy at his age, “ἄλλως δὲ ὑμῖν φαίνωμαι παρὰ τὴν ἡλικίαν τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ ἀνοητότερον πρὸςτὸ μειράκιον διατεθείς.”

[29] E.g., his statement in 3.23, “You ought to take all this, gentlemen, as primary proof that he is lying to you.”

[30] He also adds, “and by defiance of the law,” but what law that entails is unclear. This may be meant to imply Theodotus’ Athenian citizenship, but since he does not come right out and say it, one must wonder whether this was a fact known to the jury, or an idea he wished to put in there.

[31] The speaker makes the act even more hideous by noting that the women were so well ordered (κοσμίως) that they weren’t even seen by their own kinsmen!

[32] The stone, sadly, fell upon the innocent Aristocritus, Simon’s own companion.

[33] Although, he notes, some of Simon’s companions refused (οὐκ ἠθέλησαν συνεξαμαρτεῖν) to join him.

[34] At this point in the narrative, the defendant points out that Simon accused him of wounding him with intent to kill at this location, which he claims is false and produces witness that say so.

[35] The Thirty Tyrants was an oligarchy that established itself after Athen’s defeat (404 BCE) at the hands of Sparta in the Peloponnesian War and was subsequently overthrown in 403 BCE. Cf. C. Carey, ed., Lysias: Selected Speeches, Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 2-3.

[36] This is said, of course, reservedly, knowing that such a bold statement requires evidence from all of the extent speeches of Lysias which this paper does not cover.


One thought on “Narrative and Probability in Lysias I and III by Ryan Clevenger

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