Case 3 A Husband's Defense

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Case III: A husband’s defense. Athens, ca. 400 B.C.
The legal system of the Classical period of Ancient Greece is in effect, as the case date falls between 550 and 325 BC. The case falls under the laws of Solon, as cited within the passage, contrasting greatly with Drako’s harsher law regarding homicide (passed in 409 or 408 BC). The fact that the defendant is given “the right to appeal to the jury-court” is another indication of Solon’s legal system being in play (Shaffern 25).
The defendant is clearly Euphiletus, who admits to committing the murder. Although it is not specified, it can be assumed that, based on the fact that murder was “a matter Athenian law left largely to the families involved,” the case was brought against Euphiletus by a kinsman of the murdered Eratosthenes.
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Euphiletus defends himself against the accusation that he unlawfully killed Eratosthenes. The act is not necessarily murder, as it was intentionally performed in the presence of witnesses, making it far from a secret killing.
Euphiletus describes the series of events, specifically stating that the deceased “begged [Euphiletus] not to kill him.” He specifically cites the Law of Solon (“that an adulterer may be put to death by the man who catches him”) and concludes, “Thus, members of the jury, this man met the fate that the laws prescribe for wrongdoers of his kind.” Although he never outright claims responsibility for the homicide, Euphiletus’ words give the implication that he is responsible for the death of
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