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This slim volume collects all references to slaves and slavery in Antiphon’s corpus according to the classification of the Index thématique de l’esclavage. It consists of a short introduction (ch. 1) on Antiphon himself, with particular reference to the question of the identification of the sophist with the rhetor (or otherwise), the passages of Antiphon’s speeches that contain references to slaves and slavery (ch. 2), the index thématique itself (ch. 3), followed by a short discussion that expands on the main categories of the index in focusing on terminology, the law, economy, and society and politics (ch. 4).

The book requires some familiarity with the Besançon Index thématique des références à l’esclavage et à la dépendance series (readers are expected to know the scope of the project: there is little here that explains it and no reference to any other volumes in this series). Here, 75 Antiphon passages are collated in chapter 2, each with Greek text, French translation, critical apparatus, a brief comment on the status of the person involved, and cross-references to the thematic index in chapter 3. Some passages are duplicated (1.20, 6.23) to bring out different aspects or important terms. On the face of it, there are many references to slaves and slavery in Antiphon 5 in particular (34 passages: the largest in the corpus) but this amounts to one long section in the middle describing the efficacy of the torture of the crew (5.29-56) with a few references to other circumstances. The 17 passages collated from Antiphon 1 predominantly describe two things: the role that torture of slaves plays in testimony (1.6-13) and the actions of the pallakê executed for poisoning Philoneos and the speaker’s father (1.14-20).

Philologists will be able to compare easily the frequency of words used and lexical patterns via the methodology of the index and this allows for examinations of the discourses of slavery within the speeches. For the social historian, however, caution is required when using it: entries are added according to the numbering of the passages rather than theme, episode, context, or person, which gives the impression that some themes are more prevalent than they actually are. When the discussion in chapter 4 states, for example, that references to enslaved men are more frequent than those to enslaved women (p. 88), it is not untrue as such. Here, the author lists 30 passages for enslaved men, 18 of which are from Antiphon 5, reproducing almost in its entirety the references in the index on p. 68 (410c: one of the longest entries).

However, it is misleading to imply that there are 18 enslaved men in this speech: there are the unknown number of slaves Herodas was planning to ransom to the Thracians, some, if not most, of whom were highly likely to have been women given the practices of warfare (5.20),[1] the speaker’s presumably enslaved attendant (akolouthos) dispatched to Mytilene to raise the alarm (5.24), the two men seized and tortured (5.29-30), one of whom was not a slave (5.49), possibly the accomplice (koinônos) who helped move Ephialtes’ corpse, though this seems unlikely (5.68),[2] and the twelve-year old who stabbed his owner in another case referred to here (5.69). These are spread out over 18 (artificially numbered) passages describing three thematic episodes: the setting of the scene on the boat (5.20-22), the disappearance of Herodas and its aftermath (5.23-27), and the investigation involving the torture of the crew (5.29-56).

Such is the difficulty of a project like this. Readers interested in discourses about slavery will be well served, as will those for whom stylistic elements are important (p. 75-7). The index provides a good first port of call for those wishing to pursue specific topics: p. 86-7, for example, provides the references to masters in the speeches, followed by those related to the uses of slaves (though it expands on entries 351 and 353a (p. 67) only by adding a brief sentence describing the passage rather than any substantive discussion).

Necessarily this kind of project requires a wide net to be cast: difficult in this regard is the status of those like the paidotribês and paidogôgos in Tetralogies 2 or the doctor in Tetralogies 4. Whilst it is reasonable to argue, based on context or on other evidence, that the first two were enslaved, there is much greater uncertainty about the iatros (as the author admits: see brief discussion on p. 79). Much more problematic, though, is the pallakê in Antiphon 1. She is, according to the author, definitely enslaved because she was tortured and executed for the poisoning, but this assumes the primacy of the law over social interaction with the assumption that the law always worked as (we think) it should. Her servility does not need to be the case, however, and it is easy to envisage a situation where a (poor? non-Greek? freed? refugee?) woman with a romantic partner recently deceased in suspicious circumstances suddenly became incredibly vulnerable.[3] That she was a woman with few friends to call on is clear from her status as pallakê as well as in the turn of events described in the speech (her torture and execution); that she could be mistaken for and/or treated as a slave seems entirely possible in such circumstances. Furthermore, that this speech provides evidence for the prostitution of domestic slaves (p. 83) is difficult to maintain seriously: sending the pallakê to a porneion is clearly a threat on a par with that made by Euphiletos in Lysias 1 to send his therapaina to the mill. Here we see in stark terms the dynamics of power between owner and slave and especially those between free men and enslaved, or otherwise vulnerable, women.

There are two benefits to this type of study: one is a close reading of Antiphon’s works to reveal aspects of the discourse on slaves and slavery. The author does an excellent job in bringing together these references, providing material for other researchers to explore in greater depth and make connections they perhaps would not have made otherwise. Unsurprisingly, there are few references to slaves and slavery in the Tetralogies, and for the most part, Antiphon is concerned with the rhetoric of torture in the law courts. The volume therefore provides a useful compendium of references for scholars interested in the discourses of the basanos procedure. Second is a cross-text comparison, especially with the other orators. Impressionistically, it seems that there are important differences here: as the author notes, the main role of slaves in Antiphon’s speeches is in their use by the jury (p. 83-4) and the corpus reveals less about other aspects (or incidentals) of slave life that we find in, say, inheritance speeches. Antiphon refers, it seems, to paides and therapontes much less frequently than, say, Demosthenes or Lysias, but one would not know this from this volume where similarities and differences to other authors are rarely highlighted. Instead the constraints of the index thématique format requires that the text is read in isolation—at least until further volumes are published.

In sum, the author has provided a service in bringing these passages together, but the main work remains to be done.

Claire Taylor, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Publié le 17 décembre 2021.

[1] K. L. Gaca, “The andrapodizing of war captives in Greek historical memory,” TAPA 140, 2010, p. 117–161.

[2] The argument would presumably be based on corpse disposal being the type of work that slaves often would do, though the secrecy of the plot might tell against this. This person is not included in the list on p. 88 however.

[3] E. Eidinow, Envy, Poison, and Death: Women on Trial in Classical Athens, Oxford 2016; L. Rubinstein, “Immigration and refugee crises in fourth-century Greece: an Athenian perspective,” The European Legacy 23, 2018, p. 1-20; E. Hartmann, Heirat, Hetärentum und Konkubinat im klassichen Athen, Frankfurt 2002.