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Against Boeotus 1

39.1It was not from any love of litigation I protest by the gods, men of the jury, that I brought this suit against Boeotus, nor was I unaware that it will seem strange to many people that I should bring suit because somebody thought right to have the same name as myself; but it was necessary to have the matter decided in your court, in view of the consequences that must result if I do not get this matter righted. 39.2If the defendant declared himself the son of another father and not of my own, I should naturally have seemed meddlesome in caring by what name he chose to call himself; but, as it is, he brought suit against my father, and having got up a gang of blackmailers note to support him—Mnesicles, whom you all probably know, and that Menecles who secured the conviction of Ninus, note and others of the same sort—he went into court, alleging that he was my father's son by the daughter of Pamphilus, and that he was being outrageously treated, and robbed of his civic rights. 39.3My father (for the whole truth shall be told you, men of the jury) feared to come into court lest someone, on the ground of having elsewhere received some injury from him in his public life, should confront him here; and at the same time he was deceived by this man's mother. For she had sworn that if he should tender her an oath in this matter, she would refuse it, and that, when this had been done, all relations between them would be at an end; and she had also had money deposited in the hands of a third party on her behalf note;—on these conditions, then, my father tendered her the oath. 39.4But she accepted it, and swore that not only the defendant, but his brother too, her other son, was my father's child. When she had done this it was necessary to enter them among the clansmen, note and there was no excuse left. My father did enter them; he adopted them as his children and (to cut short the intervening matters) he enrolled the defendant at the Apaturia note as Boeotus on the list of the clansmen, and the other as Pamphilus. But I had already been enrolled as Mantitheus. 39.5My father's death happened before the entries were made on the register of the demesmen, note but the defendant went and enrolled himself on the register as Mantitheus, instead of Boeotus. How great a wrong he did in this—to me, in the first place, but also to you—I shall show, as soon as I have brought forward witnesses to prove my assertions.Witnesses

39.6You have heard from the witnesses the manner in which our father enrolled us; I shall now show to you that, as the defendant did not choose to abide by this enrollment, it was both just and necessary for me to bring suit. For I am surely not so stupid nor unreasonable a person as to have agreed to take only a third of my father's estate (though the whole of it was coming to me), seeing that my father had adopted these men, and to be content with that, and then to engage in a quarrel with my kin note about a name, were it not that for me to change mine would bring great dishonor and a reputation for cowardice, while for my opponent to have the same name as myself was on many accounts impossible.

39.7To begin with (assuming that it is best to mention public matters before private), in what way will the state give its command to us, if any duty is to be performed? The members of the tribe will, of course note, nominate us in the same way as they nominate other people. Well then; they will bring forward the name of Mantitheus, son of Mantias, of Thoricus note if they are nominating one for choregus note or gymnasiarch note or feaster of the tribe note or for any other office. By what, then, will it be made clear whether they are nominating you or me? 39.8You will say it is I; I shall say it is you. note Well, suppose that after this the Archon summons us, or any other magistrate, before whom the case is called. We do not obey the summons; we do not undertake the service. Which of us is liable to the penalties provided by law? And in what manner will the generals enter our names, if they are listing names for a tax-company? or if they are appointing a trierarch? Or, if there be a military expedition, how will it be made clear which of us is on the muster-roll? 39.9Or again, if any other magistrate, the Archon, the King-Archon, the Stewards of the Games, makes an appointment for some public service, what sign will there be to indicate which one of us they are appointing? Are they in heaven's name to add the designation “son of Plangon,'' if they are entering your name, or add the name of my mother if they are entering mine? But who ever heard of such a thing? or by what law could this special designation be appended, or anything else, accept the name of the father and the deme? And seeing that both of these are the same great confusion must result. 39.10Again, suppose Mantitheus, son of Mantias, of Thoricus should be summoned as judge, note what should we do? Should we go, both of us? For how is it to be clear whether he has summoned you or me? Or, by Zeus, suppose the state is appointing to any office by lot, for example that of Senator, note that of Thesmothet, note or any of the rest; how will it be clear which one of us has been appointed?—unless some mark shall be attached to the tablet, note as there might be to anything else; and even then people will not know to which of us two it belongs. Well then, he will say that he has been appointed, and I shall say that I have. 39.11The only course left is for us to go into court. So the city will order a court to be set up for each of the cases; and we shall be cheated of the fair and equal right, that the one chosen by lot shall hold office. Then we shall berate each other, and he who shall prevail by his words will hold office. And in which case should we be better off—by trying to rid ourselves of our existing resentments, or by arousing fresh animosities and recriminations? For these must of necessity result, when we wrangle with one another about an office or anything else. 39.12But suppose again (for we must examine every phase of the matter), one or the other of us persuades the other, in case he is chosen, to yield the office to him, and so obtains the appointment? What is this but one man drawing lots with two tablets? Shall it, then, be permitted us to do with impunity a thing for which the law appoints the penalty of death? “Why, certainly, for we should not do it,” you may say. I know that, at least so far as I am concerned; but it is not right that some persons should even be liable to this penalty, when they need not be.

39.13Very well; but in these cases it is the state that is injured: what harm does it do me individually? Observe in what serious ways I am harmed, and consider if there be anything in what I say. Indeed the wrong done to me is far more grievous than what you have heard. You all know, for instance, that he was intimate with Menecles during his lifetime, and with his crowd, and that he now associates with others no better than Menecles, and that he has cherished the same ambitions, and desires to be thought a clever fellow note; and, by Zeus, I dare say he is. 39.14Now, if, as time goes on, he undertakes to set on foot any of the same practices as these men (these are indictments, presentments for contraband, informations, arrests) and on the basis of one of these he is condemned to pay a fine to the state (for there are many vicissitudes in mortal affairs, and you know well how to keep in due bounds even the most clever people on any occasion when they overreach themselves), why will his name be entered on the record any more than mine? 39.15“Because,” it may be said, “everybody will know which of us two was fined.” Very good; but suppose (what might very well happen) that time passes and the debt is not paid; why is there any greater likelihood that the defendant's children will be entered on the list of state debtors any more than my own when the name of the father and the tribe, and all else are identical? Suppose, now, somebody should bring a suit for ejectment against him, and should state that he had nothing to do with me, but, having had the writ registered, should enter the name, why will the name he has entered be that of my opponent any more than my own? What if he fails to pay any of the property-taxes? 39.16What if the name be involved in the filing of any other suit, or, in general, in any unpleasant scandal? Who, among people at large, will know which of the two it is, when there are two Mantitheuses having the same father? Suppose, again, that he should be prosecuted for evasion of military service, and should be serving as chorister when he ought to be abroad with the army—as, a while ago, when the rest went over to Tamynae, note he was left behind here keeping the feast of Pitchers, note and remained here and served in the chorus at the Dionysia, note as all of you who were at home saw; 39.17then, after the soldiers had come back from Euboea, he was summoned on a charge of desertion, and I, as taxiarch of our tribe, note was compelled to receive the summons, since it was against my name, that of my father being added; and if pay had been available for the juries, note I should certainly have had to bring the case into court. If this had not occurred after the boxes note had already been sealed, I should have brought you witnesses to prove it. 39.18Well then; suppose he were summoned on the charge of being an alien. And he does make himself obnoxious to many, and the way in which my father was compelled to adopt him is no secret. You, on your part, while my father was refusing to acknowledge him, believed that his mother was telling the truth; but when, with his parentage thus established, he makes himself odious, you will some day on the contrary conclude that my father's story was true. Again, what if my opponent, in the expectation of being convicted of perjury for the services note which he freely grants his associates, should allow the suit to go by default? Do you think it would be a slight injury that I should be my whole life long a sharer of his reputation and his doings?

39.19Pray observe that my fear regarding the things I have set forth to you is not a vain one. He has already, men of Athens, been defendant in certain suits, in which, although I have been wholly innocent, odium has attached to my name as well as his; and he has laid claim to the office to which you had elected me; and many unpleasant things have happened to me because of the name; regarding each one of which I will produce witnesses to inform you fully.Witnesses

39.20You see, men of Athens, what keeps happening and the annoyance resulting from the matter. But even if there were no annoying results, and if it were not absolutely impossible for us both to have the same name, it surely is not fair for him to have his share of my property by virtue of the adoption which my father made under compulsion, and for me to be robbed of the name which that father gave me of his own free will and under constraint from no one. I, certainly, think it is not. Now, to show you that my father not only made the entry in the list of the clansmen in the manner which has been testified to you, but that he gave me this name when he kept the tenth day after my birth, note please take this deposition.Deposition

39.21You hear then, men of Athens, that I have always been in possession of the name Mantitheus; but that my father, when he was compelled to enter him, entered the defendant in the list of clansmen as Boeotus. I should be glad, then, to ask him in your presence, “If my father had not died, what would you have done in the presence of your demesman? Would you not have allowed yourself to be registered as Boeotus?” But it would have been absurd to bring suit to force this and then afterwards to seek to prevent it. And yet, if you had allowed him, my father would have enrolled you in the register of demesmen by the same name as he did in that of the clansmen. Then, O Earth and the Gods, it is monstrous for him to claim that Mantias is his father, and yet to have the audacity to try to make of none effect what Mantias did in his lifetime.

39.22He had the effrontery, moreover, to make before the arbitrator the most audacious assertions, that my father kept the tenth day after birth for him, just as for me, and gave him the name Mantitheus; and he brought forward as witnesses persons with whom my father was never known to be intimate. But I think that not one of you is unaware that no man would have kept the tenth day for a child which he did not believe was rightly his own; nor, if he had kept the day and shown the affection one would feel for a son, would afterward have dared to deny him. 39.23For even if he might have got into some quarrel with the mother of these children, he would not have hated them, if he believed them to be his own. note For man and wife are much more apt, in cases where they are at variance with one another, to become reconciled for the sake of their children, than, on the ground of the injuries which they have done one to the other, to hate their common children also. However, it is not from these facts alone that you may see that he will be lying, if he makes these statements; but, before he claimed to be a kinsman of ours, he used to go to the tribe Hippothontis to dance in the chorus of boys. note 39.24And yet, who among you imagines that his mother would have sent him to this tribe, if, as she alleges, she had been cruelly treated by my father, and knew that he had kept the tenth day, and afterward denied it? Not one, I am sure. For it would have been just as much your right to go to school to the tribe Acamantis, and then the tribe would have been in manifest agreement with the giving of the name. To prove that I am speaking the truth in this, I shall bring before you as witnesses those who went to school with him, and know the facts.Witnesses

39.25Nevertheless, although it is so plain that by his mother's oath and the simplicity of him who tendered the oath to her, he has obtained a father and established his birth in the tribe Acamantis, instead of Hippothontis, the defendant Boeotus is not content with this, but has actually entered two or three suits against me for money, in addition to the malicious and baseless actions which he brought against me before. And yet I think you all know what sort of a man of business my father was. note 39.26I will say nothing about this; but if the mother of these men has sworn truly, it absolutely proves that the fellow is acting as a malicious pettyfogger in these suits. For if my father was so extravagant that after having married my mother in lawful wedlock, he kept another woman, whose children you are, and maintained two establishments, how pray if he were a man of this sort, could he have left any money?

39.27I am well aware, men of Athens, that the defendant, Boeotus, will have no valid argument to advance, but will have recourse to the statements he is always making, that my father was induced by me to treat him with despite; and he claims the right, alleging that he is older than I, to bear the name of his paternal grandfather. As to this, it is better for you to listen to a few statements. I remember seeing him, before he became a relative of mine, casually, as one might see anyone else, and thought him younger than I, and to judge by appearances, much younger; but I will not insist upon this, for it would be silly to do so. 39.28However, suppose one should ask this Boeotus the following questions: “When you thought it right to join the chorus in the tribe Hippothontis before you claimed to be the son of my father, what name would you have set down as rightly belonging to you? For if you should say, Mantitheus, you could not do so on the plea that you are older than I, for since at that time you did not suppose you had any connection even with my tribe, how could you claim to be related to my grandfather? 39.29Besides, men of Athens, not one of you knows the number of the years, for I shall say that I am the elder, and he will say that he is, but you all understand the just way of reckoning. And what is this? That these men should be considered children of my father from the date when he adopted them. Well then, he entered me on the register of the demesmen as Mantitheus, before he introduced this man to the clansmen. Therefore not by virtue of time only, but also by virtue of justice I have the right to bear this name as a mark of seniority. 39.30Very well. Now, suppose one should ask you this question? “Tell me, Boeotus, how is it that you have now become a member of the tribe Acamantis, and of the deme Thoricus, and a son of Mantias, and have your share in the property left by him?” You could give no other answer than, “Mantias while living acknowledged me, too, as his son.” If one should ask you what proof you had of this or what evidence, you would say, “He introduced me to the clansmen.” But if one asked under what name he enrolled you, you would say, “Boeotus,” for that is the name by which you were introduced. 39.31It is, then, an outrage that whereas thanks to that name you have a share in the right of citizenship and in the estate left by my father, you should see fit to fling it aside and take another name. Come; suppose my father were to rise from the grave and demand of you either to abide by the name under which he adopted you, or to declare yourself the son of some other father, would his demand not be thought a reasonable one? Well then, I make this same demand of you, either to add to your name that of another father, or to keep the name which Mantias gave you. 39.32Ah, you may say, but that name was given you by way of derision or insult. No; very often, during the time when my father refused to acknowledge them, these men used to say that the kinsfolk of the defendant's mother were quite as good as those of my father. Boeotus is the name of his mother's brother; and when my father was compelled to bring them into the clan, when I had already been introduced as Mantitheus, he introduced the defendant as Boeotus, and his brother as Pamphilus. For I challenge you to show me any Athenian who ever gave the same name to two of his sons. If you can, I will grant that my father gave you this name by way of insult. 39.33And yet, if your character was such that you could force him to adopt you, but not study how you might please him, you were not what a true son ought to be toward his parents; and, if you were not, you would have deserved, not only to be treated with indignity, but even to be put to death. It would indeed be an outrageous thing, if the laws concerning parents are to be binding upon children whom the father recognizes as his own, but are to be of no effect against those who have forced themselves in note and compelled an unwilling adoption.

39.34You unconscionable Boeotus, do, pray, give up your present ways; but, if indeed you are unwilling to, do, in Heaven's name, accept advice in this at least; cease to make trouble for yourself, and cease bringing malicious and baseless charges against me; and be content that you have gained citizenship, an estate, a father. No one is trying to dispossess you of these things; certainly not I. Nay, if, as you claim to be a brother, you also act as a brother, people will believe that you are of our blood; but if you go on plotting against me, suing me, evincing malice toward me, slandering me, you will be thought to have intruded yourself into what belonged to others, and then to be treating it as though it were not rightly yours. 39.35I certainly am doing you no wrong, even if it were never so true that my father refused to recognize you, though you were really his son. It was not my part to know who were his sons, but it was his to show me whom I must regard as a brother. Therefore, during the time in which he refused to recognize you, I also counted you as no relative; but ever since he, adopted you, I too regard you as a kinsman. What is the proof of this? You possess your portion of my father's estate after his death; you share in the religious rites, and civic privileges. No one seeks to exclude you from these. What is it that you would have? But if he says that he is being outrageously treated, if he weeps and wails, and makes charges against me, do not believe what he says. It is not right that you should, since our argument is not now about these matters. But take this attitude—that he can just as well get satisfaction under the name of Boeotus. 39.36Why are you, then, so fond of wrangling? Desist, I beg you; do not be so ready to cherish enmity against me. I am not so minded toward you. For even now—lest the fact escape your notice—I am speaking rather in your interest than in my own, in insisting that we should not have the same name. If there were no other reason, at least anyone hearing it must ask which of us is meant if there are two Mantitheuses, sons of Mantias. Then he will say, “The one whom he was compelled to adopt,” if he means you. How can you desire this? Now take, please, and read these two depositions, proving that my father gave me the name Mantitheus, and him the name Boeotus.Depositions

39.37It remains, I think, to show you, men of Athens, that not only will you be fulfilling your oaths, if you give the verdict for which I ask, but also that the defendant has given judgement against himself, that he should rightly bear the name of Boeotus, and not Mantitheus. For when I had entered this suit against Boeotus, son of Mantias, of Thoricus, at the first he accepted service of the suit, and put in an oath for delay, as being Boeotus; but finally, when there was no longer room for evasion, he allowed the arbitrators to give judgement against him by default, and then, in Heaven's name, see what he did— 39.38he got this judgement for non-appearance set aside, entitling himself Boeotus. And yet he ought in the first place to have allowed me to get my suit finished as against Boeotus, if that name did not, in fact, pertain to him at all, and not subsequently be found getting the judgement for non-appearance set aside under this name. When, a man has thus given judgement against himself that he is properly Boeotus, what verdict can he demand that you sworn jurors shall give? To prove that I am speaking the truth in this, take the decision setting aside the judgement for non-appearance and this complaint.Decision

39.39If, now, my opponent can point out a law which gives children the right to choose their own names, you would rightly give the verdict for which he asks. But if the law, which you all know as well as I, gives parents the right not only to give the name in the first place, but also to cancel it and renounce it by public declaration, if they please; and if I have shown that my father, who had this authority under the law, gave to the defendant the name Boeotus, and to me the name Mantitheus, how can you render any other verdict than that for which I ask? 39.40Nay, more, in cases which are not covered by the laws, you have sworn that you will decide as in your judgement is most just, so that even if there were no law concerning these matters, you would have been bound to cast your votes in my favor. For who is there among you who has given the same name to two of his children? Who, that is as yet childless, will do so? 39.41No one, assuredly. Well then, what in your minds you have decided to be right for your own children, it is your sacred duty to decide also in our case. Therefore on the basis of what you deem most just, on the basis of the laws, your oaths, and the admissions this man has made, my request of you, men of Athens, is reasonable, and my claims just; while my opponent asks what is not only unreasonable, but contrary to established usage.

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