Presentation on theme: "The Case Against Timarchos. The Law Athenian Law did not penalize prostitution However, male prostitutes could not be active in politics, as the city."— Presentation transcript:
The Case Against Timarchos
The Law Athenian Law did not penalize prostitution However, male prostitutes could not be active in politics, as the city did not consider it appropriate for men who had sold their bodies for money to be advising, representing or leading the city. The law was possibly enacted around 425, and was certainly valid around 400 BC. As prostitution became more widespread in Athens, the city felt the need to draw a line when it came to prostitutes leading the city.
The Misinformation The Speech Against Timarchos has often been used as a source for Athenian attitudes towards homosexuality. However, the laws invoked by Aeschines were only dealing with prostitutes in politics, not homosexuality. The speech is filled with bombastic moralizing. Scholars sometimes take these statements as representative of Athenian attitudes, but they are not. There has never been any other case like this. The case against Timarchos was unique, and thus cannot represent the median of Athenian society. Besides, much of the legal material quoted by Aeschines is irrelevant, obsolete or misrepresented, as is most of the evidence about this case.
The political background This case has nothing to do with morals. It was a political trial. In 346, when the trial took place, the Athenians were negotiating the peace of Philocrates with Philip II. Aeschines had supported the peace, but Timarchos and Demosthenes had opposed it. The attack against Timarchos was not born out of moral outrage, but the desire to strike back at a political opponent and remove him from politics. If Timarchos lost, he would lose his civil rights (atimia), and could not participate in politics in future.
The accusations Timarchos was unfit to advise the Assembly because A. He had been a male prostitute B. He had squandered his parental estate C. He had treated the weaker members of his family with disrespect D. He had been corrupt and a failure in all the offices he had already accepted.
The Proof NONE
The legal narrative When Timarchos was young he pretended to be learning medicine, in order to meet men at the doctor’s surgery (Highly unlikely that sickness and sexual attraction went together) Then an older man (na aristocratic and respectable gay citizen named Misgolas) took Timarchos in and kept him as his toy-boy. (Timarchos was actually older than Misgolas and just as affluent, if not more affluent) A public slave named Pittalakos took Timarchos in as his whore. (But Pittalakos was an affluent metic) An influential Athenian named Hegesandros became the lover of Timarchos and together they engaged in shameful behaviors. (There is no evidence that Timarchos and Hegesandros were anything more than rowdy friends, and even if they were lovers, there is no reason to believe that the relationship was based on money, not love or influence)
More accusations Timarchos squandered his parental estate (He liquidated some properties for which he had no use. Timarchos was not poor at the time of the trial) He disregarded the wishes of his mother and neglected to look after his blind uncle. The blind uncle appeared to testify against his nephew; his testimony was legally irrelevant but probably devastating. He was a terrible officer who accepted many bribes. (Timarchos, if anything, appears to be much more honest than most politicians of his time, if all he was ever convicted was one bribe).
Additional materials The laws about the orderly conduct of boys The citations from poetry The precedents and references to whorish and decent boys of his time The moralizing arguments All this material is legally irrelevant, but probably had an emotional impact upon the jury.
The outcome In the end the politics of the day decided the case. Athens at the time was cozying up to Philip and believed that peace is possible and desirable. Naturally its advocate, Aeschines, was in favor, while the enemy of peace, Timarchos, needed to be removed from politics. Aeschines scored a stunning and unexpected victory with a very weak case. Timarchos lost and was disfranchised. Ironically, 16 years later, when the politics of Aeschines were no longer favored he suffered the same fate as Timarchos. He lost the case against Ktesiphon, even though he was technically right, and was disfranchised himself.