Témoigner et convaincre : le dispositif de vérité dans les discours judiciaires de l'Athènes classique

Abstract : How did the Athenians trust or doubt the words of someone who came up to the tribune during a trial? The speakers used a whole range of evidence to make their speech credible for the judges. All these techniques and the witnesses were a very important part of this process can be qualify as the truth apparatus in the orators’ speeches, i.e. the texts from the ten authors chosen as the canon of the Attic orators of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.: Antiphon, Andocides, Lysias, Isocrates, Isaeus, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Hyperides, Lycurgus, and Dinarchus. Even if no proof theory has been found out, the witnesses were crucial in the courtroom, as we can see from the many times a litigant called a witness to testify. The relation between testimony and written documents also shows the convincing value of the witness statement. Therefore, to what extent could a testimony be considered as truthful? The witnesses were usually trusted because their responsibility was at stake: they could incur a divine punishment, if they swore an oath, or a humane penalty, if they were put on trial for false witnessing. Besides, the witnesses must have a direct knowledge of the events. Yet, there was a paradox in this requirement: they were the first part of the demarcation between the facts and the public of the trial. Thus, the litigants often reminded the judges about some elements already known in order to make them witnesses. Litigants also tried to erase their own role in the demonstration, by presenting their words as simple and by minimising their oratory skills.
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Nicolas Siron. Témoigner et convaincre : le dispositif de vérité dans les discours judiciaires de l'Athènes classique. Histoire. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PA01H101⟩. ⟨tel-01940976⟩

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