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Krateros and the Decrees in Andokides On the Mysteries

Edwin Carawan

Missouri State University

     The manuscript of Andokides’ speech On the Mysteries (Burney 95) includes three decrees from 410–403 BCE: Patrokleides’, Teisamenos’ and Demophantos’ (§§77-9, 83-4, 96-8). For centuries scholars have found these documents reliable and often supposed that they derive from a collection of decrees made by Krateros the Macedonian (FGrH/BNJ 342). But in recent work their authenticity is much disputed: Canevaro and Harris (2012) have concluded that all three decrees are “forgeries,” fabricated (largely) from clues in the speeches. In response, Sommerstein (2014) defended Demophantos’, and now Hansen (2015-16) mounts a defense of all three decrees.  Both sides assume that each inserted document should represent  (whether genuine or not) a close copy from official record, something like a transcript, and that Krateros was a likely source or model for such copies. Thus, on one side, Canevaro and Harris argue that the host of defects and departures from official usage indicate clumsy imitation; Sommerstein and Hansen, on the other, find parallels or explain away the defects, to confirm that the source was a close copy such as Krateros supposedly provided. This paper argues against that documentary model on both counts: (1) These inserts are neither copies nor “forgeries” (in the strict sense) but reconstructions based upon an historical account with a particular focus. And (2) Krateros’ On Decrees appears, after all, to be a likely source for such material, as he often provided abridged versions, not complete documents.

     (1) The three decrees present a pattern of disparity that neither side has squarely addressed: aside from the faulty formalities (e.g., in the prescripts), each of the inserted documents is a poor match for the content required. Thus, as though prompted by Andokides’ comment, Patrokleides’ decree calls for the same measures as enacted in the Persian Wars, but it never defines that amnesty; it focuses on deleting documentation of old debts and disabilities (far beyond the archaic model). Similarly Teisamenos’ decree never mentions the confirmation of old laws that Andokides emphasized but, instead, describes an approval process for new legislation, “whatever is needed in addition.” Demophantos’ decree may have restated Solonian law against tyranny and subversion, such as Andokides called for, but the document focuses on an oath that Andokides does not mention and could hardly have ignored.

     (2) Changes affecting the publication and revision of statutes were indeed important for Krateros in his ninth book, but the old theory about who he was and how he worked are largely discredited. Krech’s dissertation (1888) accepted the traditional identification of Krateros, the collector of decrees, as the son of Alexander’s general of the same name; and Krech identified many of the full-text documents transmitted in later sources as Krateros’ fragmenta latentia. But Jacoby suggested that Krateros was an early Peripatetic, not a Periegete—more like Theophrastos than Polemon (followed by Erdas 2002, Carawan 2007). After all, there is little evidence to suggest that Krateros provided full transcripts. Plutarch is perhaps our best witness for the scope of the work, and he is decidedly ambivalent about Krateros’ methods. All told, the evidence suggests that Krateros himself often excerpted key provisions and explained context, within a framework describing the rise and fall of an empire governed by the people’s decree. The only fragment that transmits a complete copy is in fact a “latent” one, F 5b, the condemnation of Antiphon et al.:  Pseudo-Plutarch attributes the text to Caecilius (F 2 Woerther); Krateros is presumed to be the source only because Harpokration tells us (F 5a) that Krateros identified the mover (Andron).

     In sum, the fragments themselves suggest that Krateros regularly provided abridged documents rather than transcripts; he saw his project as a companion to Theophrastos’ Peri Nomon (cf. F 636B Fortenbaugh). And if so, he is a likely source for key provisions of historic decrees such as those roughly reconstructed in Andokides’ On the Mysteries.

Session/Panel Title

Legal Authority

Session/Paper Number

27.2

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