Kinky stories from the rostrum: storytelling in Apollodorus' Against Neaira


  • Dimos Spatharas


In this paper I explore Apollodorus’ narrative in his speech Against Neaira. By using recent scholarly work on the function and purposes of forensic narratives, I argue that the diegesis of the speech compensates for Apollodorus’ lack of factual evidence. Apollodorus’ story is so designed as to assimilate Phano with Neaira. This assimilation enabled Apollodorus to stress the repercussions of Stephanus’ cohabitation with a former courtesan upon the stability of the city. At the same time, Apollodorus’ narrative aims at simplification, thereby providing jurors with a clear (yet misleading) conceptual framework on the basis of which he invites them to decide the case. Finally, Apollodorus’ story, like all good lawyers’ stories, is marked by timelines and therefore incorporates current social anxieties concerning civic identity.

Dimos Spatharas teaches ancient Greek Literature at the Department of Philology of the Universityof Crete. He has recently produced a commentary on Isocrates’ Against Lochites. His published papers focus on the Sophists, the Attic orators and the law and society of classical Athens.