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7 On The Estate of Apollodorus

7.hypothesisEupolis, Thrasyllus (I.), and Mneson were brothers. Mneson died without issue; Thrasyllus (I.) died leaving a son, Apollodorus; Eupolis, the sole survivor of the three, acted with great injustice towards Apollodorus. Archedamus, therefore, the grandfather of the man who makes the speech, being married to Apollodorus's mother after her first husband's death, pitying Apollodorus because he was an orphan, claimed a large sum of money from Eupolis on account of the wrongs committed by the latter against Apollodorus. Mindful of this kindness Apollodorus introduced Thrasyllus, the son of his half-sister and grandson of Archedamus, to his fellow-wardsmen as his adopted son. Thrasyllus (II.) had already been inscribed among the members of the families and of the ward, but had not yet been placed on the official register of the deme, when Apollodorus died. After Apollodorus's death Thrasyllus (II.) was inscribed on the register; nevertheless the daughter of Eupolis, the uncle of Apollodorus contested the succession against Thrasyllus (II.), alleging that it was not by any means in accordance with the wishes of Apollodorus that Thrasyllus had been inscribed among the wardsmen and kindred, and that the adoption was fictitious. Such is the subject of the trial; the discussion turns on a question of fact, and so, with great skill and ingenuity, the speaker explains the enmity of Apollodorus towards Eupolis, which supplies a strong presumption that he did not wish that his property should be inherited by Eupolis's daughter.

7.1I should have thought, gentlemen, that there was one class of adoptions which could not be disputed, namely, those which are made by the adopter personally in his lifetime and in full possession of his faculties, after he has led his adopted son to the domestic shrines and presented him to his kindred and inscribed him in the official registers, and himself carried out all the proper formalities. 7.2On the other hand, a dispute might well arise when a man, feeling that his end is near, has disposed of his property in favor of another, if anything should happen to him, and putting his wishes in a written document has sealed it up and deposited it in the custody of others. By the former method the adopter sets forth his wishes with perfect clearness, making the whole transaction valid in the manner permitted by the laws; whereas the man who commits his wishes to a sealed-up will makes them secret, with the result that claimants often think fit to contest the succession against adopted sons, alleging that the will is a forgery. It appears, however, that this distinction is of little practical value; for though my adoption was quite openly carried out, yet representatives of Eupolis's daughter have come forward to contest my right to Apollodorus's estate. 7.3If I observed that you prefer a protestation note to a direct action, I should have brought forward witnesses to show that the estate is not liable to adjudication, seeing that Apollodorus adopted me in the proper legal form; but since I am sensible that by the former method the rights of the case cannot fully be made known to you, I have myself come forward to explain the facts so that they may bring no charge against us of being unwilling to submit to such a trial. 7.4I shall prove to you, not only that Apollodorus was prevented from leaving his estate to his nearest relatives by the many injuries which he had sustained at their hands, but also that he legally adopted me, his nephew, after having received great benefits from my family. I beg you all, gentlemen, to accord me your goodwill, and, if I can prove that my opponents are laying impudent claim to the estate, to help me to obtain my just rights. I will speak as briefly as I can, relating to you all that has happened from the beginning.

7.5Eupolis, Thrasyllus, and Mneson were brothers, children of the same father and mother. Their father left them a large property, so that each of them was considered able to perform public offices in the city. This fortune the three brothers divided amongst themselves. Two of them died about the same time, Mneson here in Athens, unmarried and without issue, Thrasyllus in Sicily, note having been chosen as one of the trierarchs, leaving a son Apollodorus, who afterwards adopted me. 7.6Eupolis, the sole survivor of the three brothers, was not content to enjoy only a part of the family fortune, but seized for himself the whole of Mneson's estate, half of which belonged to Apollodorus, alleging that his brother had given it to him, and, as guardian, so administered the affairs of Apollodorus that he was condemned to restore three talents to him. 7.7For my grandfather Archedamus, from the time that he married Apollodorus's mother, my grandmother, seeing that he was deprived of all his fortune, took him to his own house and to his mother and brought him up while he was a boy, and, when he came to man's estate, assisted him to bring an action and secured the restitution of the half-share of the estate left by Mneson and all that Eupolis embezzled in his capacity as guardian, winning two law-suits, and so enabled Apollodorus to recover all his fortune. 7.8As a result Eupolis and Apollodorus were always at enmity with one another, while my grandfather and Apollodorus were naturally close friends. The acts of Apollodorus supply the best evidence that he has received kind treatment for which he thought fit to make return to his benefactors. For, when my grandfather met with misfortune and was taken a prisoner of war, Apollodorus consented to contribute money for his ransom and act as a hostage for him until he could raise the necessary sum of money. 7.9When Archedamus had been reduced from affluence to embarrassment, Apollodorus helped him to look after his affairs, sharing his own money with him. Again, when he was on the point of starting for Corinth on military service, note he made a will in case anything happened to him and devised his property to Archedamus's daughter, his own sister and my mother, providing for her marriage with Lacratides, who has now become hierophant. note Such was his conduct towards us who had originally saved him from ruin. 7.10To prove the truth of my statements that Apollodorus won two actions against Eupolis, one in respect of his guardianship and the other concerning the half-share of Mneson's estate, my grandfather having supported his case and speaking on his behalf, and that it was thanks to us that he recovered his fortune, and that he requited these good services of ours—on all these points I wish first to produce the witnesses. Please summon them hither.Witnesses

7.11Such is the nature and importance of the benefits which Apollodorus received from us; on the other hand, his feelings of enmity towards Eupolis had their origin in disputes about such large sums of money that it is impossible to pretend that they could ever make up their quarrel and become friends. A convincing proof of their enmity is the fact that, though Eupolis had two daughters and was descended from the same ancestors and saw that Apollodorus was possessed of money, yet he gave neither of them to him in marriage. 7.12Yet it is generally held that marriages reconcile serious animosities not only between relatives but also between ordinary acquaintances, when they entrust one another with what they value most. Whether Eupolis has been to blame in not wishing to give his daughter or Apollodorus in being unwilling to accept her, the fact has proved that their enmity continued.

7.13What has been said about their quarrel is, I think, sufficient; for I know that the older men among you remember that they were opponents in the law-courts, for the importance of the cases and the fact that heavy damages were obtained by Archidamus gave publicity to their quarrel. I must now ask you, gentlemen, to give your kind attention to the proofs, that Apollodorus himself adopted me during his lifetime and gave me power over his property and inscribed me in the registers of the members of the families and of the ward. 7.14Now Apollodorus had a son whom he brought up and dearly cherished, as indeed was only natural. As long as this child lived, he hoped to make him heir to his property; but when he fell ill and died in the month of Maemacterion note of last year, Apollodorus, depressed by his misfortunes and viewing his advanced age with regret, did not fail to bethink him of the family at whose hands he had in earlier years received kindness; so he came to my mother, his own sister, for whom he had a greater regard than for anyone else, and expressed a wish to adopt me and asked her permission, which was granted. 7.15He was so determined to act with all possible haste that he straightway took me to his own house and entrusted me with the direction of all his affairs, regarding himself as no longer capable of managing anything himself, and thinking that I should be able to do everything. When the Thargelia note came round, he conducted me to the altars and to the members of the families and ward. 7.16Now these bodies have a uniform rule, that when a man introduces his own son or an adopted son, he must swear with his hand upon the victims that the child whom he is introducing, whether his own or an adopted son, is the offspring of an Athenian mother and born in wedlock; and, even after the introducer has done this, the other members still have to pass a vote, and, if their vote is favorable, they then, and not till then, inscribe him on the official register; such is the exactitude with which their formalities are carried out. 7.17Such being the rule, the members of the families and of the ward having full confidence in Apollodorus and being well aware that I was his sister's son, passed an unanimous vote and inscribed my name in the public register, after Apollodorus had sworn with his hand upon the victims. Thus I was adopted by him in his lifetime and my name inscribed in the public register as Thrasyllus the son of Apollodorus, after he had adopted me in this manner, as the laws have given him the power to do. To prove that I am speaking the truth, please take the depositions.Depositions

7.18I imagine, gentlemen, that you would more readily believe those who have given evidence, if certain of the relatives of the same degree as my opponent have obviously attested by their conduct that Apollodorus carried out the adoption in a correct and legal manner. Now Eupolis left two daughters, one who is the present claimant and the wife of Pronapes, and another whom Aeschines of Lusia married and who is dead, but left a son Thrasybulus, who is now of full age. 7.19There is a law which provides that, if a brother by the same father dies without issue and intestate, his property shall be divided equally between his surviving sister and any nephew who has been born from another sister. My opponents themselves are well aware of this, as their actual conduct has proved; for, Eupolis's son, Apollodorus (II.), having died without issue, Thrasybulus has received half his estate, which may fairly be estimated at five talents. 7.20Thus the law gives the sister and the sister's son an equal share of their father's and their brother's estate; but when a first cousin, or any other kinsman in a remoter degree, dies, it no longer grants such equality, but gives the male relatives the right of succession as next-of-kin in preference to the female. For it declares that “the males and the issue of the males, who are descended from the same stock, shall be preferred, even though their relationship to the deceased is more remote.” The wife of Pronapes, therefore, had no right to claim a share at all, and Thrasybulus ought to have claimed the whole if he regarded my adoption as invalid. 7.21Yet from the first he has never disputed my title nor has he now made any claim at law to the estate, but has admitted that everything is in order. On the other hand, those who are acting for this woman have dared—such is their impudence—to claim the whole estate. Take the clauses of the law note which they have violated and read them to the court.Clause of the Law

7.22Under this clause the sister and the nephew share and share alike. Now take this clause and read it to the court.Clause of the Law

If there are no first cousins or their children or other relatives on the father's side, then the law gives the right of inheritance to the relatives on the mother's side, specifying the order of succession. Now take this clause and read it to the court.Clause of the Law

7.23Such being the provisions of the law, Thrasybulus, a male relative, has not claimed even a portion of the estate, but those who are acting for this woman, a female relative, have claimed the whole of it; so persuaded are they that loss of honor is no loss. With this object, to prove that the whole estate ought to be awarded to them, they will have the impudence to use the argument that Thrasybulus has been adopted out of his own family into that of Hippolochides. While the fact is true, the conclusion drawn from it does not apply. 7.24For what detriment was caused by this adoption to the bond of kinship which is in question? For it was not in the right of his father but in that of his mother that he has received half the estate of Apollodorus (II.), the son of Eupolis; and by this right of kinship he might have claimed the estate now in dispute, since he has a claim prior to that of this woman, if he thought that the act of adoption was not valid; 7.25he is not, however, so devoid of honor. Now the act of adoption into another family does not detach a son from his mother; she is his mother just the same, whether he remains in his father's house or is adopted out of it. That is why Thrasybulus was not deprived of his share of the fortune of Apollodorus (II.), but has received half of it, sharing it with this woman. And to prove that I am speaking the truth, please call the witnesses to these facts.Witnesses

7.26Thus not only have the members of the families and of the ward borne testimony to my adoption, but also Thrasybulus has made it clear, by his conduct in not himself claiming the estate, that he considers the acts of Apollodorus note to be valid and in conformity with the laws; for otherwise he would not fail now to claim so large a fortune. But there have been other witnesses to these facts. 7.27For before my return from the Pythaid festival, note Apollodorus informed his fellow demesmen that he had adopted me as his son and had registered me with the members of the families and of the ward and had committed his property to my care, and he begged them, if anything should happen to him before my return, to enroll me on the public register as Thrasyllus the son of Apollodorus and not to fail him in the matter. 7.28Having heard this expression of his wishes, although our opponents complained at the electoral meeting of the deme and declared that Apollodorus had not adopted me, the members, as a result of what they had heard and from their own knowledge of the facts, took the oath over the victims and registered my name in accordance with Apollodorus's injunctions; so notorious among them was the fact of my adoption. And to prove the truth of my statements, please call the witnesses to these facts.Witnesses

7.29It was before all these witnesses, gentlemen, that my adoption took place, at a time when an inveterate enmity existed between Apollodorus and my opponent, and a close friendship as well as kinship between Apollodorus and us. But it is, I think, quite easy to prove to you, that, even if he had had neither of these sentiments—enmity towards my opponents and affection towards us—Apollodorus would never have left his estate to them. 7.30All men, when they are near their end, take measures of precaution on their own behalf to prevent their families from becoming extinct and to secure that there shall be someone to perform sacrifices and carry out the customary rites over them. And so, even if they die without issue, they at any rate adopt children and leave them behind. And there is not merely a personal feeling in favor of this course, but the state has taken public measures to secure that it shall be followed, since by law it entrusts the archon with the duty of preventing families from being extinguished. 7.31Now it was quite clear to Apollodorus that, if he left his estate in the hands of my opponents, he would be securing the extinction of his house. For what did he see before his eyes? He saw that these sisters of Apollodorus (II.) inherited their brother's estate, but never gave him a son by adoption, though they had sons of their own, and that their husbands had sold the landed property which he left behind him and his possessions for five talents and divided up the proceeds, but that his house had been left shamefully and deplorably desolate. Knowing that their brother had been treated thus, could he himself have ever expected, even if there had been friendship between him and them, to receive the customary rites from them, being only their cousin and not their brother? 7.32Surely he could have no such expectation. And now please summon the witnesses to show that my opponents have viewed with indifference their brother's childlessness, and are in possession of his fortune, and have allowed a family to die out which was obviously capable of supporting the expense of a trierarchy.Witnesses

7.33Since such was the disposition of the cousins towards one another and so grave the resentment towards Apollodorus who adopted me, how could he have done better than follow the course which he did? Would he, in Heaven's name, have done better if he had chosen a child from the family of one of his friends and adopted him and given him his property? But even such a child's own parents would not have known, owing to his youth, whether he would turn out a good man or worthless. 7.34On the other hand, he had had experience of me, having sufficiently tested me; he well knew what had been my behavior towards my father and mother, my care for my relatives and my capacity for managing my own affairs. He was well aware that in my official capacity as thesmothete note I have been neither unjust nor rapacious. It was then not in ignorance, but with full knowledge, that he was making me master of his property. 7.35Further, I was no stranger but his own nephew; the services which I had rendered him were not unimportant but very considerable; he knew that I was not a man devoid of public spirit, who would be likely to squander his possessions, as my opponents have squandered the property which composes the estate, but that I should be anxious to act as a trierarch and go on service and act as choregus and do everything else that the state requires, as he himself had done. 7.36Since I was his kinsman, his friend, his benefactor, and a man of public spirit, and had been approved as such, who could maintain that my adoption was not the act of a man of sound judgement? Indeed, I have already performed one of those acts, the promise of which had won his approval; for I have acted as gymnasiarch note at the festival of Prometheus in the present year with a liberality which all my fellow-tribesmen acknowledge. Please call the witnesses to prove that these statements are true.Witnesses

7.37These, gentlemen, are the just grounds on which we claim that we are entitled to keep the estate; and we beseech you to help us for the sake of Apollodorus and his father, for you will find that they were useful citizens and as zealous as possible for your interests. 7.38His father not only performed all the other state services but also acted continuously as a trierarch, not contributing jointly with several others, note as is the practice nowadays, but bearing the expenses out of his own fortune, and not jointly with one other but by himself alone; nor did he intermit his duties for two years note but served continuously, not performing his duties in a perfunctory manner but providing the most perfect equipment. Wherefore, mindful of these services you honored him and saved his son when he was being robbed of his fortune, forcing those who were in possession of his property to restore it. 7.39Again, Apollodorus himself did not, like Pronapes, assess his property below its value, but, paying taxes as a knight, aspired to hold the offices open to that rank, nor did he seek to possess himself by violence of the property of others and think that you ought to have no advantage from his wealth, but he openly declared the amount of his fortune and met whatever demands for service you made upon him, and wronging no man he tried to live honorably on his own fortune, considering that he ought to be moderate in his personal expenditure and dedicate the surplus to the service of the state, so that it might meet its expenses. 7.40As a result of these principles, what public service did he fail perfectly to discharge? To what war-tax was he not among the first to contribute? What duty has he ever failed to perform? When he undertook the provision of a choir of boys, he was victorious in the competition, and the well-known tripod still stands as a memorial of his honorable ambition. And what is the duty of a respectable citizen? Was it not his duty, while others were trying to take by force what did not belong to him, to do no such thing himself but to try and preserve what was his own? Is it not his duty, when the state needs money, to be among the first to contribute and not to conceal any part of his fortune? 7.41Such then was Apollodorus; and you would make a just return for his services if you ratified his intentions as to the disposal of his own property. As for myself, you will find me, as far as my youth allows, neither a bad nor a useless citizen. I have served on your military expeditions, I perform all the duties which are laid upon me; for this is the function of men of my age. 7.42For the sake, then, of Apollodorus and his father and for the sake of me and my family you would be justified in considering our case with benevolence, especially since our adversaries have made away with and sold an estate that supported the trierarchy and reduced it to desolation, whereas we have already supported public burdens and will continue to do so in the future, if you ratify the intentions of Apollodorus by restoring to us this estate.

7.43But, in order that I may not seem tedious by dwelling any longer on these facts, I should like, before I step down, to lay before you, by way of brief reminder, the points on which each party bases its claim. My mother was Apollodorus's sister, and a close affection, never interrupted by any quarrel, existed between them; being his nephew and having been adopted by him as his son during his lifetime and when he was in full possession of his faculties, and having been registered with the members of the families and of the ward, I claim to possess the estate which he gave me and demand that my opponents should not be in a position to make his house desolate. What does Pronapes claim on behalf of the plaintiff? 7.44He claims to keep half of the estate of his wife's brother, valued at two-and-a-half talents, and also to receive this estate, although there are others more nearly related to the deceased than his wife; yet he has not given him a son by posthumous adoption but has left his house desolate, and he would similarly fail to give Apollodorus a son by adoption and would leave his house likewise desolate; and he makes this claim although such enmity existed between them and no subsequent reconciliation took place. 7.45You must take these facts into consideration, gentlemen, and remember that I am the nephew of the deceased, while the plaintiff is only his cousin; that she claims two estates, I claim only one, to which I have a right by adoption; that she was not on good terms with him who left the property, whereas I and my grandfather have been his benefactors. Having considered all these points and weighing them in your own minds, give your verdict in accordance with justice.

I do not know of anything more that I need say; for I think that no part of my argument has escaped your attention.

Isaeus, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Isae.].
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