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Xenophon and Lysias on the Arginousai Trial

Angelos Kapellos


Lysias argues in XII 36 that if the Athenians condemned the Arginousai generals it would be right to condemn the Thirty. This argument implies that the generals were guilty and asserts that there was a strong conviction on the part of the Athenians that they should punish the generals. This is a clever rhetorical argument, which conformed to the Athenian ideology according to which the demos was blameless. However, Lysias avoids mentioning that the Athenians violated their law and tried the generals without a proper trial. This happens because the orator comments on the trial retrospectively. If he had to admit that the procedure was illegal, this would clearly have weakened his case; so he does not make this mistake.


Arginousai trial; generals; Lysias; Plato; Xenophon – Lisia; Platone; processo delle Arginuse; Senofonte; strateghi.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/erga-2019-002-kape

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