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6 On the Estate of Philoctemon

6.hypothesisPhiloctemon, a son of Euctemon, adopted Chaerestratus, the son of one of his two sisters and of Phanostratus, in a will which was deposited with Chaereas, the husband of the other sister, and died during his father's lifetime. When the latter also died, Chaerestratus claimed possession in accordance with the law. When Androcles lodged a protestation that the estate was not adjudicable because Euctemon had a legitimate son, namely, Antidorus, note Chaerestratus and his supporters impugned the protestation, declaring that both Antidorus and his sister note were illegitimate and that the law ordains that an illegitimate son or daughter cannot inherit as next-of-kin. The discussion turns on questions of fact; for it is uncertain whether Philoctemon adopted Chaerestratus as his son, and further, whether Antidorus and the other child are legitimate.

6.1That I am on terms of very close friendship with Phanostratus and with Chaerestratus here, I think most of you, gentlemen, are aware, but to those who are not aware of it I will give a convincing proof. When Chaerestratus note set sail for Sicily in command of a trireme, although, having sailed thither myself before, I knew well all the dangers which I should encounter, yet, at the request of these friends of mine, I sailed with him and shared his misfortune, and we were both made prisoners of war. 6.2It would be strange if I endured all this in the face of evident danger because of my friendship and affection for them, and yet were not now to attempt so to plead their cause that you shall pass a sentence in accordance with your oath and that justice shall be done to my clients. I entreat you, therefore, to grant me indulgence and to listen to me with goodwill; for the suit is of no slight importance to them, but their most vital interests are at stake.

6.3Philoctemon of Cephisia was a friend of Chaerestratus here, and died, having bequeathed to him his property and having adopted him as his son. Chaerestratus in accordance with the law note claimed the estate. But, since it is lawful for any Athenian who wishes to do so to dispute an inheritance by bringing a direct action before you, and if he can establish a better claim, to obtain possession of the estate, 6.4Androcles here put in a protestation declaring that the succession was not adjudicable, thus depriving my client of his right to claim the estate and you of your right to decide who ought to be declared heir to Philoctemon's property. He thus thinks by a single verdict and by a single suit to establish as brothers of the deceased men who have no sort of connection with him, to place himself in possession of the estate without further legal procedure, to, become legal representative of the sister of the deceased, and to annul the will. 6.5Androcles has made a number of extraordinary allegations in his protestation; I will take one point first and prove that Philoctemon made a will and adopted Chaerestratus here as his son. Seeing that Philoctemon had no issue by the woman to whom he was married, and since, as it was war-time, he was running considerable risks, serving in the cavalry and often sailing as trierarch, he resolved to dispose of his property by will, so that he might not leave his house desolate if anything happened to him. 6.6He had had two brothers, both of whom died without issue: of his two sisters one, who was the wife of Chaereas, had no son and had never had one, though she had been married for many years; the other, who was wife of Phanostratus here, had two sons. It was the elder of these, Chaerestratus here, whom Philoctemon adopted as his son. 6.7Under the terms of his will, if he had no child by his wife, Chaerestratus inherited his estate. He deposited his will with Chaereas, his brother-in-law, the husband of his other sister. This will shall now be read to you, and those who were present at its execution shall give evidence. Please read it.Will. Witnesses

6.8You have now heard that Philoctemon made a will, and on what conditions he adopted Chaerestratus as his son. To prove that he had a right to do so, I will produce the text of the law which is in my opinion the best source of information in such matters. Please read it.Law

6.9This law, gentlemen, holds good for all men alike, permitting anyone to dispose of his property in default of male issue, providing that, at the time of doing so, he is not insane or mentally incapacitated by old age or any other of the causes mentioned in the law. That Philoctemon did not fall under any of these exceptions, I will prove to you in a few words. For how could anyone dare to say that a man was not in full possession of his faculties, who all his life showed himself so good a citizen, that, owing to your esteem for him, he was considered worthy to hold command, and who died fighting against the enemy?

6.10That he made a will and adopted a son when he was in full possession of his faculties, as he was entitled to do, has been proved to you; it follows from this that Androcles has been proved to have committed perjury. But since he has further stated in his protestation that my opponent is a legitimate son of Euctemon, I will prove this also to be false. The real sons of Euctemon, the father of Philoctemon, namely, Philoctemon himself, Ergamenes, and Hegemon, and his two daughters and their mother, Euctemon's wife, the daughter of Meixiades of Cephisia, are well known to all their relatives and to the members of the ward and to most of the demesmen, and they shall testify to you; 6.11but no one is aware or ever heard a word during Euctemon's lifetime of his having married any other wife who became mother by him of our opponents. Yet it is only natural that these should be most trustworthy witnesses; for relatives ought to know about such matters. Please call them first and read the depositions.Depositions

6.12Further, I will prove that our adversaries have actually given evidence in support of these facts. When the interrogations took place before the archon, and my opponents paid money into court in support of their claim that these young men were the legitimate sons of Euctemon, on being asked by us who, and whose daughter, their mother was, they could not supply the information, although we protested and the archon ordered them to reply in accordance with the law. It was surely a strange proceeding, gentlemen, to make a claim on their behalf as legitimate and to lodge a protestation, and yet not be able to state who was their mother or name any of their relatives. 6.13At the time they alleged that she was a Lemnian and so secured a delay; subsequently, when they appeared at the interrogation, without giving time for anyone to ask a question, they immediately declared that the mother was Callippe and that she was the daughter of Pistoxenus, as though it was enough for them merely to produce the name of Pistoxenus. When we asked who he was and whether he was alive or not, they said that he had died on military service in Sicily, leaving a daughter, this Callippe, in the house of Euctemon, and that these two sons were born to her while she was under his guardianship, thus inventing a story surpassing the limits of impudence and quite untrue, as I will prove to you first of all from the answers which they themselves gave. 6.14Fifty-two years have passed since the Sicilian expedition, reckoning from the date of its departure in the archonship of Arimnestus; note yet the elder of these two alleged sons of Callippe and Euctemon has not yet passed his twentieth year. If these years are deducted, more than thirty years still remain since the Sicilian expedition; so that Callippe, if she were thirty years of age, note ought to have been no longer under a guardian, nor unmarried and childless, but long ago married, given in marriage either by her guardian, according to the law, or else by an adjudication of the court. 6.15Furthermore, she must necessarily have been known to the relatives and to the slaves of Euctemon if she had really been married to him and lived so long in the house. It is not enough merely to produce such statements at the interrogations, but it must be proved that the alleged events really took place and they must be supported by the testimony of the relatives. 6.16When we insisted that they should indicate one of Euctemon's family who knew of anyone of the name of Callippe as having been either married to him or under his guardianship, and that they should make an inquiry from our slaves, or hand over to us for examination any of their slaves who said they had knowledge of these facts, they refused to take any of our slaves for examination or to hand over any of their own to us. Now please read their answer to the interrogation and our depositions and challenges.Answer to Interrogation. Depositions. Challenges

6.17My opponents, then, avoided a mode of proof so vital to their case; but I will show you the origin and position of these men whom my opponents testified to be legitimate and are seeking to establish as heirs of Euctemon's property. It is perhaps painful, gentlemen, to Phanostratus to bring to light the misfortunes of Euctemon; but it is essential that a few facts should be given, so that, knowing the truth, you may more easily give your verdict aright. 6.18Euctemon lived for ninety-six years, and for most of this period had the reputation of being a fortunate man; he possessed considerable property and had children and a wife, and in all other respects enjoyed a reasonable degree of prosperity. In his old age, however, a serious misfortune befell him, which brought ruin to his house, caused him great financial loss, and set him at variance with his nearest relatives. 6.19The cause and manner of it I will set forth in the fewest possible words. He had a freed-woman, gentlemen, who managed a tenement-house of his at the Peiraeus and kept prostitutes. As one of these she acquired a woman of the name of Alce, whom I think many of you know. This Alce, after her purchase, lived the life of a prostitute note for many years but gave it up when she became too old. 6.20While she was still living in the tenement-house, she had relations with a freedman whose name was Dion, whom she declared to be the father of these young men; and Dion did, in fact, bring them up as his own children. Some time later Dion, having committed a misdemeanor and being afraid of the consequences, withdrew to Sicyon. The woman Alce was then installed by Euctemon to look after his tenement-house in the Cerameicus, note near the postern gate, where wine is sold. 6.21Her establishment there, gentlemen, had many evil consequences. Euctemon, going there constantly to collect the rent, used to spend most of his time in the tenement-house, and sometimes took his meals with the woman, leaving his wife and children and his own home. In spite of the protests of his wife and sons, not only did he not cease to go there but eventually lived there entirely, and was reduced to such a condition by drugs or disease or some other cause, that he was persuaded by the woman to introduce the elder of the two boys to the members of his ward under his name. 6.22When, however, his son Philoctemon refused to agree to this, and the members of the ward would not admit the boy, and the victim for the sacrifice of admission was removed from the altar, note Euctemon, being enraged against his son and wishing to pay him out, announced his intention of marrying a sister of Democrates of Aphidna and recognizing any children who should be born to her and bringing them into the family, unless he consented to allow Alce's son to be introduced. 6.23His relatives, knowing that no more children would be born to him at his time of life but that they would be forthcoming in some other manner, and that, as a result, still more serious quarrels would arise, advised Philoctemon, gentlemen, to allow him to introduce this child on the conditions which he demanded, giving him a single farm. 6.24And Philoctemon, ashamed at his fathers folly but at a loss how to deal with the embarrassment of the moment, made no objection. An agreement having been thus concluded, and the child having been introduced on these terms, Euctemon gave up his project of marriage, proving thereby that the object of his threatened marriage was not to procure children but to obtain the introduction of this child into the ward. 6.25For what need had he to marry, Androcles, if these children had been born to him from a marriage with an Athenian citizen, as you have affirmed them to have been in your evidence? If they were legitimate, who could prevent him from introducing them? And why did he introduce them on special terms, when the law ordains that all the legitimate sons have an equal right to share in their father's property? 6.26And why did he introduce the elder child on special terms, but said not a word about the younger child during the lifetime of Philoctemon either to Philoctemon or to his other relatives? Yet you have explicitly borne witness that they are legitimate and heirs to the property of Euctemon. In proof of the truth of these assertions, read the depositions.Depositions

6.27It was after this, then, that Philoctemon died by the enemy's hands while commanding a trireme off Chios. note Some time later Euctemon informed his sons-in-law that he wished to make a written record of his arrangement with his son and place it in safe place. Phanostratus was on the point of setting out with Timotheus note in command of a trireme, and his ship lying at anchor at Munychia, note and his brother-in-law Chaereas was there bidding him farewell. Euctemon, taking certain persons with him, came to where the ship was anchored, and having drawn up a document detailing the conditions under which he introduced the child, deposited it in the presence of those men with his relative Pythodorus of Cephisia. 6.28The very fact that he acted thus is sufficient proof, gentlemen, that Euctemon was not dealing with them as legitimate children, as Androcles has declared in his evidence; for no one ever makes a gift by will of anything to the sons of his own body, because the law of itself gives his father's estate to the son and does not even allow anyone who has legitimate children to dispose of his property.

6.29When the document had remained deposited for almost two years and Chaereas had died, my opponents, having come under the influence of Alce and seeing that the property was going to ruin and that the old age and imbecility of Euctemon gave them an excellent opportunity, made a combined plan of attack. 6.30They first urged Euctemon to cancel the will on the ground that it was not to the boys advantage; for no one would have any claim to the real estate on Euctemon's death except the daughters and their issue; whereas, if he sold part of the property and left it in cash, they would get secure possession of it. 6.31Euctemon listened to them and immediately demanded the document back from Pythodorus and served upon him a summons to produce it. When Pythodorus appeared before the archon, Euctemon stated that he wished to annul the will. 6.32Pythodorus was prepared to agree with Euctemon and Phanostratus, who was present, that the document should be destroyed; but, as Chaereas, who had been a party to its deposition, had left an only daughter, he suggested that it should be destroyed only in the presence of her legal representative, and the archon decided in favor of this course. Euctemon, after agreeing to this in the presence of the archon and his assessors, called many persons to witness that the will deposited by him no longer existed and then went his way. 6.33In a very short time—and this was the object of their advice to Euctemon to annul the will—he sold a farm at Athmonon note to Antiphanes for seventy-five minas and the bath-house at Serangion note to Aristolochus for 3000 drachmas; and he realized a mortgage of forty-five minas on a house in Athens from the hierophant. note Further, he sold some goats with their goat-herd for thirteen minas and two pairs of mules, one for eight minas and the other for five hundred and fifty drachmas, and all the slaves he had that were craftsmen. 6.34In all, the value of the property which he hurriedly sold after Philoctemon's death, was more than three talents. And to prove that I am speaking the truth, I will first call witnesses in support of each of my statements.Witnesses

6.35So much for these transactions. They then immediately began scheming to obtain the rest of the property and planned the most outrageous plot of all, which merits your careful attention. Seeing that Euctemon was completely incapacitated by old age and could not even leave his bed, they began to look about for a means whereby all his property should be under their control after his death. And what did they do? 6.36They inscribed these two boys before the archon as adopted children of the sons of Euctemon who had died, note inscribing themselves as guardians, and requested the archon to grant a lease of the house-property as being the property of orphans, in order that part of the property might be leased and part might be used as a security, and mortgage notices adfixed to it in the children's names during the lifetime of Euctemon, and they themselves might become lessees and receive the income. 6.37On the first day that the courts met, the archon put the lease up for auction and they offered to lease the property. Certain persons, however, who were present, denounced the plot to the relatives, and they came and informed the judges of the real state of affairs. The result was that the judges voted against allowing the houses to be leased. If the plot had not been detected, the whole property would have been lost. Please call as witnesses those who were present.Witnesses

6.38Before my opponents had made the woman's acquaintance and plotted with her against Euctemon, he and his son Philoctemon possessed so large a fortune that both of them were able to undertake the most costly public offices without realizing any of their capital, and at the same time to save out of their income, so that they continually grew richer. After the death of Philoctemon, on the other hand, the property was reduced to such a condition that less than half the capital remains and all the revenues have disappeared. 6.39And they were not even content, gentlemen, with this misappropriation; but, when Euctemon died, they had the impudence, while he was lying dead in the house, to shut up the slaves, so that none of them might take the news to his two daughters or to his wife or to any of his relatives. Meanwhile, with the aid of the woman they conveyed the furniture from within to the adjoining house, which was leased and occupied by one of their gang, the infamous Antidorus. 6.40When Euctemon's daughters and wife arrived, having learnt the news from others, even then they refused them admittance and shut the door in their faces, declaring that it was not their business to bury Euctemon. They only obtained admittance with difficulty about sunset. 6.41When they entered, they found that he had been dead in the house for two days, as the slaves declared, and that everything in the house had been carried off by these people. While the women, as was right, were attending to the deceased, my clients here immediately called the attention of those who had accompanied them to the state of affairs in the house, and began by asking the slaves in their presence to what place the furniture had been removed. 6.42When they replied that our opponents had conveyed it away to the next house, and my clients immediately claimed the right to search the house in the proper legal manner, and requested that the slaves who had removed it should be produced, our opponents refused to accede to any of their just demands. And to prove that I am speaking the truth, take and read these documents.Depositions

6.43Having removed all this furniture from the house, and sold so much property and kept the proceeds, and having further made away with the revenue which accrued during that period, they yet expect to obtain possession of what remains; and their impudence is such that, not daring to bring a direct action, they lodged a protestation—as though it were a question of legitimate children—which is at once false and in contradiction to their own previous action. 6.44For, whereas they had inscribed the children before the archon, one as the son of Philoctemon and the other as the son of Ergamenes, they have now stated in their protestation that they are the sons of Euctemon. Yet if they were Euctemon's legitimate sons and had afterwards been adopted, note as our opponent states, even so they cannot be described as the sons of Euctemon: for the law does not allow the return of an adopted son to his original family, unless he leaves a legitimate son in the family which he quits. So that in the light of their own acts their evidence is necessarily untrue. 6.45If our opponents had then so contrived that the houses were leased, my clients would no longer have been able to claim them; but, as it is, since the judges decided against them as having no right, they have not dared to put in a claim, but, to put the finishing touch to their impudence, they have submitted additional evidence to the effect that these young men, whom you excluded by your verdict, are heirs.

6.46Further, mark the effrontery and impudence of the witness himself, who has claimed for himself Euctemon's daughter note as being an heiress and a fifth part note of Euctemon's estate as being adjudicable, while he has given evidence that Euctemon has a legitimate son. In doing so does he not clearly convict himself of having given false evidence? For obviously, if Euctemon had a legitimate son, his daughter could not be heiress or the estate adjudicable. To prove, then, that he made these claims, the clerk shall read you the depositions.Depositions

6.47Thus the contrary has been done of that which the law has prescribed; for according to the law no male or female bastard has any right, based on kinship, to participate in the cults or property of a family since the archonship of Eucleides note; yet Androcles and Antidorus consider themselves entitled to rob the legitimate daughters of Euctemon and their issue, and to possess the property both of Euctemon and of Philoctemon. 6.48And the woman who destroyed Euctemon's reason and laid hold of so much property is so insolent, that relying on the help of our opponents, she shows her contempt not only for the members of Euctemon's family but for the whole city. When you have heard a single instance, you will easily realize the lawlessness of her conduct. Please take and read this law.Law

6.49Such are the solemn and pious terms in which you gave legal expression to the importance which you attach to piety towards these goddesses and all the other deities. Yet the mother of these young men, being admittedly a slave, and having always lived a scandalous life, 6.50who ought never to have entered the temple and seen any of the rites performed there, had the effrontery to join in the procession when a sacrifice was being made in honor of these goddesses and to enter the temple and see what she had no right to see. That I am speaking the truth you will learn from the decrees which the Council passed concerning her. Take this decree.Decree

6.51You have, therefore, gentlemen, to consider whether this woman's son ought to he heir to Philoctemon's property and go to the family tombs to offer libations and sacrifices, or my client, Philoctemon's sister's son, whom he himself adopted; and whether Philoctemon's sister, formerly the wife of Chaereas and now a widow, ought to pass into the power of our opponents and be married to anyone they choose or else be allowed to grow old in widowhood, or whether, as a legitimate daughter, she ought to be subject to your decision as to whom she ought to marry. 6.52These are the points which you have now to decide by your verdict; for the purpose of their protestation is to throw all the risk upon my clients, and that our opponents, even if they lose their case on this occasion and the estate is held to be adjudicable, may, by bringing forward a competing claim, fight a second action about the same property. Yet if Philoctemon disposed of his property by will when he was not entitled to do so, the point against which they ought to have protested is that he was not legally capable of adopting my client as his son; but if is lawful to make a will, and our opponent claims on the ground that Philoctemon made no donation or will, he ought not to have hindered proceedings by a protestation, but to have proceeded by means of a direct action. 6.53As it is, what clearer method is there of convicting him of perjury than by putting the following question to him: “How do you know, Androcles, that Philoctemon neither made a will nor adopted Chaerestratus as his son?” For when a man has been present, gentlemen, it is just that he should give evidence of what he has seen, and when he has not been present but has heard someone else describe what happened, he can give evidence by hearsay; 6.54but you, though you were not present, have given explicit evidence that Philoctemon made no will and died childless. How, gentlemen, can he possibly know this? It is as though he were to say, not having been present, that he knows about all the acts of you all. Impudent as he is, he will scarcely assert that he was present at and is acquainted with all the acts of Philoctemon's life; 6.55for Philoctemon regarded him as his bitterest enemy, both because of his general bad character, and because he was the only one of his kinsmen who, in league with the infamous Alce, plotted with this friend of his note and his other accomplices against the property of Euctemon, and committed the acts which I have described to you.

6.56But what calls for the greatest indignation is the wicked use which our opponents make of the name of Euctemon, my client's grandfather. For if, as they assert, Philoctemon had no right to make a will, and the estate was Euctemon's, who have a better right to inherit Euctemon's property? His daughters, who are admittedly legitimate, and we note who are their sons? 6.57Or men who bear no relation to him, and whose claims are refuted not only by you but also by the acts which they have themselves committed as guardians? For I beg and earnestly beseech you, gentlemen, to remember the point which I put before you a short while ago, that Androcles here declares that he is guardian of my clients as being the legitimate sons of Euctemon, and has also himself claimed for himself the estate of Euctemon and his daughter as heiress; and evidence of this has been placed before you. 6.58By the gods of Olympus, is it not extraordinary, gentlemen, that, if the children are legitimate, their guardian should claim for himself the estate of Euctemon and his daughter as an heiress, and, if they are not legitimate, that he should have given evidence now in support of their legitimacy? For these acts are the very contrary of one another; so that he is convicted of perjury not only by us but by his own acts. 6.59No one is putting in a protestation that the estate is not adjudicable, and Androcles was at liberty to proceed by means of a direct action; now he is depriving everyone else of their right to claim. Having explicitly stated in his evidence that the children are legitimate, he thinks that you will be satisfied with rhetorical digressions, and that if he does not attempt to prove his point or dwells only very lightly upon it, but rails against us in a loud voice and says that my clients are rich, while he is poor—all this will make it appear that the children are legitimate. 6.60Now the family fortune, gentlemen, is being spent rather upon the city than upon the members of the family themselves. Phanostratus has already been trierarch seven times, and he has performed all the public services and has generally been victorious. Chaerestratus here, young as he is, has been trierarch; he has been choregus in the tragic competitions; he has been gymnasiarch at the torch-races. Both of them have paid all the special war-taxes, being numbered among the three hundred. note Formerly only these two members of the family contributed, but now the younger son here is choregus in the tragic competitions and has been enrolled among the three hundred and pays the war-tax. 6.61No grudge ought, therefore, to be felt against them, but rather, by Zeus and Apollo, against our opponents, if they obtain what does not belong to them. If the estate of Philoctemon is adjudicated to my client, he will hold it in trust for you, performing all the public services which you lay upon him, as he has done hitherto, and with even greater generosity. If, on the other hand, our opponents receive it, they will squander it and then seek other victims.

6.62I beseech you, therefore, gentlemen, in order that you may not be misled, to give your careful attention to the protestation about which you are going to give your verdict. Instruct him to make that the subject of his defence, just as it has been the subject of our accusation. The text of the protestation has stated that Philoctemon made no gift of property or will; this has been proved to be false, for those who were present are witnesses that he did so. 6.63What further do they say? That Philoctemon died childless. How could he be childless, when he adopted and was survived by his own nephew, to whom the law gives the right of inheritance just as much as to children of his own body? Indeed, it is expressly stated in the law that, if children are born subsequently to one who has adopted a son, each child takes his share of the estate and both classes of children alike inherit. 6.64Let Androcles, therefore, prove that the children are legitimate, as any one of you would have to do in similar circumstances. His mere mention of a mother's name does not suffice to make them legitimate, but he must prove that he is speaking the truth by producing the relatives who know that she was married to Euctemon, and the members of the deme and of the ward, if they have ever heard or have any knowledge that Euctemon performed any public services on her behalf. 6.65We must know where she is buried and in what sort of tomb, and who has ever seen Euctemon performing the customary rights over her, and whither her sons still go to offer sacrifices and libations, and who of the citizens or of the slaves of Euctemon has ever seen these rites being performed. It is all these details, and not mere invective, which constitute a proof. If you bid him prove the actual contention which is the subject of his protestation, youwill give a verdict which accords with your oath and with the laws, and justice will be done to my clients.

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