One of the court cases for which Demosthenes wrote a speech is quite unusual in that it is not about any crime or breaking of a contract. The case is being brought by an Athenian citizen by the name of Mantitheus against his half brother who used to be called Boeotus but now calls himself Mantitheus. Mantitheus claims that Boeotus has no right to his name.
An Athenian had three parts to his name by which he was uniquely identified. His given name, the name of his father, and the name of his deme. The deme was an area of Attica. If he was the eldest son, he usually took his given name from his grandfather.
So Manthitheus’ full name was Mantitheus, the son of Manthius, from the deme of Thoricus.
The background to this was as follows. Mantius, the father of Mantitheus, kept two households, his official one and another surreptitious one with a woman called Plangon who like Mantius’ official wife was an Athenian citizen. This was important as you could only be a citizen with the civil rights which went with it if both your parents were Athenian citizens. According to the speech, Mantius was forced by a trick to admit that Plangon’s children were his.
Now although the son from Plangon had been named Boeotus at the naming ceremony ten days after birth, when he was registered in his father’s deme at the age of eighteen after Mantius’s death, he enrolled himself as Mantitheus. Presumably because he claimed to be older than the first Mantitheus and thus entitled to his grandfather’s name. So now you had two people with exactly the same name, the original one (good Mantitheus) and the new one (bad Mantitheus).
According to the speech, this had led to many complications and could lead to more. Here are some of them
If the state imposed a duty, as it could do on its wealthy citizens, each of them would argue it was the other who was named.
πρῶτον μὲν γάρ, εἰ δεῖ τὰ κοινὰ τῶν ἰδίων εἰπεῖν πρότερον, τίν᾽ ἡμῖν ἡ πόλις ἐπιτάξει τρόπον, ἄν τι δέῃ ποιεῖν; οἴσουσι νὴ Δί᾽ οἱ φυλέται τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον ὅνπερ καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους. οὐκοῦν Μαντίθεον Μαντίου Θορίκιον οἴσουσιν, ἐὰν χορηγὸν ἢ γυμνασίαρχον ἢ ἑστιάτορ᾽ ἢ ἐάν τι τῶν ἄλλων φέρωσιν. τῷ δῆλον οὖν ἔσται πότερον σὲ φέρουσιν ἢ ἐμέ; σὺ μὲν γὰρ φήσεις ἐμέ, ἐγὼ δὲ σέ.
First, if we have to talk about public duties before how it affects us privately, how is the city going to tell us if we have to perform any duty. The clan members will nominate us the same way as anyone else. They will nominate Mantitheus, the son of Manteus from the deme of Thoricus whether we have to supply a chorus or a team for the torch race or provide the dinner for the tribe. Is it going to be clear whether they mean you or me? I will say it is you and you will say it is me.
Or if it was a public office that they wanted (such appointments were chosen by lot) and one of their lots came up, they would both claim it was theirs.
πρὸς Διός, ἂν δ᾽ ἀρχὴν ἡντινοῦν ἡ πόλις κληροῖ, οἷον βουλῆς, θεσμοθέτου, τῶν ἄλλων, τῷ δῆλος ὁ λαχὼν ἡμῶν ἔσται; πλὴν εἰ σημεῖον, ὥσπερ ἂν ἄλλῳ τινί, τῷ χαλκίῳ προσέσται: καὶ οὐδὲ τοῦθ᾽ ὁποτέρου ἐστὶν οἱ πολλοὶ γνώσονται. οὐκοῦν ὁ μὲν ἑαυτόν, ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἐμαυτὸν φήσω τὸν εἰληχότ᾽ εἶναι.
By God, supposing the city was choosing for a public office by lot, such as membership of the council or as one of the minor archons or whatever, who can be certain which one of us got the appointment. Except if some sort of marker, like happens with other things, was added to the bronze tablet used for the lot. But this is not something that most people would recognise. So he will say it was him and I will say it is me who has drawn the lot.
Turning to private affairs, supposing bad Mantitheus is fined by the state as from his character and the company he kept seemed quite likely. Although it would be obvious which one is fined, such fines could be passed on to children and it may be forgotten which of them was originally fined.
ἂν δέ, ὃ τυχὸν γένοιτ᾽ ἄν, χρόνος διέλθῃ καὶ μὴ ἐκτεισθῇ τὸ ὄφλημα, τί μᾶλλον οἱ τούτου παῖδες ἔσονται τῶν ἐμῶν ἐγγεγραμμένοι, ὅταν τοὔνομα καὶ ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ἡ φυλὴ καὶ πάντ᾽ ᾖ ταὐτά; τί δ᾽,
If then, as happens, time should pass and the fine not paid, how will his children be registered as the debtors any more than mine when the name, the father, the deme and all these things are the same. Well?
Worst of all, bad Mantitheus had already been charged for desertion for not taking part in a military campaign but it was good Mantitheus who got the summons and the case would have gone to trial if money had not run out to pay the jury.
ἀπελθόντων δ᾽ ἐξ Εὐβοίας τῶν στρατιωτῶν λιποταξίου προσεκλήθη, κἀγὼ ταξιαρχῶν τῆς φυλῆς ἠναγκαζόμην κατὰ τοὐνόματος τοῦ ἐμαυτοῦ πατρόθεν δέχεσθαι τὴν λῆξιν: καὶ εἰ μισθὸς ἐπορίσθη τοῖς δικαστηρίοις, εἰσῆγον ἂν δῆλον ὅτι.
When the soldiers returned from Euboea, he was summoned for desertion, but I, a commander in my tribe, was forced to receive the initial summons against my name and my father’s. And if pay had been available for the jurors, I certainly would have brought the case to court
These are just selection of the complications of having the same name. Surprisingly we know that good Mantitheus lost the case and that bad Mantitheus aka Boeotus carried on using his new name. We know this because Mantitheus brought another case against his brother which makes it clear that he was still using his new name and because a contemporary inscription survives which lists both brothers as Mantitheus.
Μαντ[ίας Θορίκιος], ταμία[ς γενόμενος εἰς τὰ νεώ]ρια Κα ¯ ¯ [ἄρχοντος]: ὑπὲρ το[ύτου ἀπέδω]καν κλη[ρονόμοι] Πάμφιλος [Θορίκιος] ΗΗΗΔΠ[ρουγη ], Μαντίθεος Θ[ορίκ]ιος – -, Μαντἰθεος [Θορίκ]ιος – -”
Mantias of the deme of Thoricus who was steward of the shipyard when Ka….. was archon. On his behalf, Pamphilus of the deme of Thoricus ….,Mantitheus of the deme of Thoricus, Mantitheus of the deme of Thoricus paid
(IG II2 1622.442–443). 342/1