54. AGAINST CONON

INTRODUCTION

From antiquity1 until the present day, Against Conon has been one of the favorite speeches of the Demosthenic corpus. Moderns are amused by its vivid portrayal of drunken brawling in an army camp and in the streets of Athens itself, as well as the other forms of shocking behavior the speaker describes. There is, moreover, much interest in the speaker’s discussion of the choices available to a man contemplating a lawsuit and his account of an arbitration hearing.

If we are to believe Ariston, the speaker, there was no enmity between himself and Conon until he had the bad luck to find himself bivouacked near Conon’s sons, who for no good reason directed what we can term frank anal aggression against Ariston’s slaves. The hostilities continued and escalated when Ariston returned from military duty. This time (so we are told) Conon, the defendant, was not only an active participant in the abuse but took the lead. The actual charge is battery (aikeia), but Ariston repeatedly refers to hybris. That term, much studied in recent years,2 may suggest maltreatment intended to diminish the victim’s status, but in this speech, “assault” seems a sufficient

1 If we can believe a fourth-century ad account by Eusebius, admiration for the work was first manifested by the plagiarism of Against Conon by Demosthenes’ enemy Dinarchus in Against Cleomedon for Battery.

2 The matter is highly controversial. Recent discussions include M. Gagarin, “The Athenian Law against hubris” in G. W. Bowersock, W. Burkert, and M. C. J. Putnam (eds.), Arktouros: Hellenic Studies Presented to B. M. W. Knox (Berlin, 1979), 229–236; N. R. E. Fisher, “The Law of hubris in Athens,” in P. Cartledge, P. Millett, and S. C. Todd (eds.), Nomos (1990), 123–145; and Johnstone 1999, 58.

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Speeches 50-59
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Editor’s Preface ix
  • Translator’s Preface xi
  • Series Introduction Greek Oratory xiii
  • Introduction to Demosthenes 3
  • Introduction to This Volume 9
  • 50- Against Polycles in the Matter of a Period of Supplementary Service as Trierarch 19
  • 51- On the Trierarchic Crown 39
  • 52- Against Callippus 46
  • 53- Against Nicostratus 56
  • 54- Against Conon 66
  • 55- Against Callicles for Damage to Property 81
  • 56- Against Dionysodorus for Damages 92
  • 57- Appeal against Eubulides 107
  • 58- Against Theocrines 129
  • 59- Against Neaera 151
  • Index 195
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