"Murderers of the Dead" in Antiphon 1
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The anonymous speaker of Antiphon 1 is prosecuting his stepmother for the murder of his father. Yet, in his prooemium and prokataskeue, he exerts more effort to discredit his stepmother's defenders (i.e., his half-brothers ...) than to attack the defendant. He even makes the surprising allegation that his half-brothers are "murderers of the dead man" ... even though, according to the prosecutor's own admission, his father died as a result of potion acquired by the stepmother but administered by an unwitting slave woman (1.14-20).1 The phrase "murderers of the dead man" is paradoxical, for how can someone become the murderer of a man who is already dead at the hands of someone else? Even if we use the translation "murderers of the victim," some sense of paradox remains to catch our attention. Why does Antiphon have the prosecutor include such an allegation? Would it surprise Athenian jurors, or is it merely a topos or a feature of Antiphon's style? To the contrary, as an examination of some of the prosecutor's options and tactics will show, this accusation reveals a crucial element of his strategy.--Page 1.