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Presbeis Autokratores: A Study in Ancient Greek Diplomacy and Constitutional Law

Presbeis Autokratores: A Study in Ancient Greek Diplomacy and Constitutional Law To conduct diplomacy the communities of ancient Greece often sent ambassadors to other communities to negotiate about interstate agreements. These were temporary appointments, and the ambassadors did not reside in foreign communities. Ambassadors were given specific instructions by their communities and were expected to abide by these instructions.On instructions given to ambassadors see Aeschin. 2.101–7; Demosth. or. 19.4, 6; and Xen. hell. 5.1.32; 7.1.39 with Mosley 1973, 21–29. At Athens ambassadors were accountable like other officials: they had undergo a review of their conduct (euthynai) after their return and could be punished for any illegal activity while abroad.On accountability of all officials see Aeschin. 3.17. For punishment of ambassadors see, for instance, the case of Timagoras: Xen. hell. 7.1.33–38; Demosth. or. 19.137. See in general Mosley 1973, 39–42. In some cases Greek communities sent presbeis autokratores, ambassadors with special powers, on missions abroad.Before 1973 the term presbeis autokratores received only brief discussion. In 1934 A. Heuss stated that the typical feature of presbeis autokratores was their authorization to negotiate freely without the power of swearing the oaths to a treaty unless the provisions were already known.Heuss 1934. He rejected the view of Poland 1885, 37 that presbeis autokratores could conclude treaties without consulting the Assembly. In his article on presbeia in Pauly-Wissowa, D. Kienast wrote:‘War also im allgemeinen der Verhandlungsspielraum der Gesandten durch den ihnen erteilten Auftrag begrenzt, so konnten doch in wichtigen Angelegenheiten πρέσβεις αὐτοκράτορες (oder τέλος ἔχοντες: Thuk. IV 118, 10. Tod 61, 25. Dazu Poland 36 f.) entsandt werden. Diese Gesandten hatten nicht allein das Recht, frei zu verhandeln, sondern konnten auch Verträge und Abmachungen schließen, die ihre Gemeinde banden.’Kienast 1973, 564–565.In his book ‘Envoys and Diplomacy in Ancient Greece’ of 1973, D. J. Mosley devoted a chapter to ‘ambassadors plenipotentiary’, his translation of the term presbeis autokratores. Mosley briefly examined some of the evidence for the term and came to the following conclusions.Mosley 1973, 30–38. First, according to Mosley, ‘in no instance of genuine negotiations was a delegation given free authority to accept terms of which there had been no previous consideration’.Mosley 1973, 35. He further noted that ‘In only one instance is it known that the envoys with full powers gave the oaths without reference home’ and that ‘In the episodes concerning Andocides and Theramenes there is ample demonstration that ambassadors plenipotentiary could not automatically commit their states to an agreement which had the binding force of international sanction’. Second, MosleyMosley 1973, 36. claimed that ‘it seems that ambassadors who were given full powers had little opportunity to use their own discretion in genuine negotiation.’ As a result, Mosley thought that the title presbeis autokratores was ‘a mark of respect to a major state to send envoys whose credentials bore the title plenipotentiaries.’ He further suggested that ‘the title of plenipotentiaries became gradually debased, just as that of an ambassador has been in modern diplomacy.’ Third, Mosley believed that ‘they, like most envoys, were chosen for their personal eminence rather than for purely administrative ability and that their position was definitely rather a special one’ but did not explain how their position was more special than that of normal ambassadors. Because they enjoyed an allegedly special status, their ‘recommendations may well have possessed sufficient weight for them to have been able to virtually commit their state as far as possible without the sovereign authorities forfeiting the right of formal ratification and direction of the administration of oaths.’ It is not clear what Mosley means by ‘virtually commit’ and Mosley does not illustrate with any specific example how this worked in practice. Finally, Mosley stated that there was no reason to doubt that ‘envoys who were appointed with full powers were not free from rendering accounts.’ His argument was that ‘Since envoys with full powers did have instructions it would be natural to suppose that they would be accountable.’ He therefore rejected the statement of the Suda (s.v. αὐτοκράτορα) that a person who was autokrator was not subject to euthynai, which he argued was based on a mistaken inference from a passage in Plato’s ‘Laws’ (875B).In 1987 A. Missiou-Ladi published a study of ‘Coercive Diplomacy in Greek Interstate Relations’ in which she discussed the term presbeis autokratores. She claimed that ‘ambassadors sent to capitulate were designated as presbeis autokratores’.Missiou-Ladi 1987, 337. In this form of diplomacy ‘one of the protagonists does not, for whatever reason, destroy his adversary through coercive diplomacy but tries to influence his motivation or will so that he eventually accepts any terms given’. She then examined two cases in which presbeis authokratores were sent: first, the negotiations leading to the surrender of Athens in 405 BCE, and, second, the ambassadors sent by the Olynthians to the Spartans in 397 BCE. In the first case, ‘the function of the embassy with Theramenes was not to discuss Athens’ proposals but to listen and finally take home Sparta’s declaration calling upon Athens to surrender ‘unconditionally’.Missiou-Ladi 1987, 341. In the second case, ‘consensus within the embassy may perhaps be seen as the principle that allowed the presbeis autokratores from Olynthus to accept and swear to the treaty proposed by Sparta’.Missiou-Ladi 1987, 342. Missiou-Ladi then discussed several embassies sent by states that were surrendering although in not one of these cases is the term presbeis autokratores found. She concluded that presbeis autokratores ‘were special envoys dispatched by a city to capitulate to its stronger opponent; they were not expected to make any proposals on behalf of their own city but only to accept, either by ‘signing’ or taking back home, whatever the conqueror wanted to propose.’Missiou-Ladi 1987, 344. Although her explanation applies in some measure to these two cases, it does not apply to other situations in which the term presbeis autokratores is used such as the negotiations between the Spartans and the Athenians in 421 about the peace of Nicias (Thuc. 5.45) or those in 369/8 about the alliance between the Athenians and the Peloponnesians (Xen. hell. 7.1.1–14).In an essay on the term presbeis autokratores in ‘On the Peace’ attributed to Andocides, Pownall followed much of Mosley’s analysis without examining the evidence for the term in other sources. In general, she agreed that ‘these “full powers” were in point of fact quite limited and such ambassadors had little discretion in negotiation’ and that ‘presbeis autokratores were sent specifically when there was little need or opportunity for negotiation.’Pownall, 1995, 145. Pownall lists other cases of this type of ambassador in note 23 but does not analyze them in detail. On the other hand, she noted that in some cases ‘presbeis autokratores could be employed with the authority to execute on the spot the decision already reached by the state which had sent them. In this way, there would be no unnecessary delay in making the agreement binding.’In the case of the Athenian ambassadors sent to Sparta mentioned in ‘On the Peace’, she claims without evidence that they were sent with instructions ‘not to accept the peace terms as proposed.’Pownall 1995, 146. Cf. 147: ‘on an embassy not to accept the peace terms.’ She suggests that the only reason to send the embassy was to keep on good terms with Persia. After the Spartan victory at Lechaeum the ambassadors decided to ‘defy their instructions and give at least a provisional acceptance (that is, one dependent upon final ratification by the Athenian Assembly) to the peace terms offered by Sparta.’Pownall 1995, 147. After the ambassadors returned to Athens and recommended acceptance of the peace, the Athenians were still not prepared to accept the treaty and ‘expressed their disapproval not merely by a rejection of the proposed treaty but by condemning the ambassadors.’Pownall 1995, 148.In an essay published in 2000 about the authenticity of the speech ‘On the Peace’ attributed to Andocides, I analyzed many of the passages in which the term presbeis autokratores occurs and divided them into two categories: first, cases in which one state surrenders to another state, and second, cases in which two states negotiate about the terms of a treaty previously concluded.Harris 2000, 487–495. I also observed that in no set of negotiations did two states each send presbeis autokratores to each other. In all cases, one side sent presbeis autokratores to the other. I noted that in ‘On the Peace’ the missions of the presbeis autokratores do not fit into either of these categories and that both Sparta and Athens sent presbeis autokratores to each other during the alleged negotiations of 391 BCE. These two departures from the standard use of presbeis autokratores were adduced as evidence against the authenticity of ‘On the Peace’.The overall case I made against the authenticity of ‘On the Peace’ was accepted by Martin 2009, 220, note 4; Conwell 2008, 220; Couvenhes 2012, 109–114; Canevaro 2019, 136–157, at 140; and Zaccarini 2017, 34, note 46 (‘probably a gross forgery’). On the attempt by Rhodes 2016, 182–186, to defend the authenticity of the speech see below.In an essay published in 2013 A. Magnetto revisited the topic and studied all the cases in which presbeis autokratores were sent as well as cases in which ambassadors ‘having authorization’ were sent (e.g. IG I3 61, lines 24–27; Thuc. 4.118.10).Magnetto 2013, 236–237. In response to my view that presbeis autokratores were employed in only two situations, Magnetto claims that they were used in other kinds of situations. She rejects Mosley’s view that the title presbeis autokratores was only honorary and claims that they must have had a distinct institutional role. What that role was is not made clear in her analysis. She concentrates on two issues: the power to negotiate and the power to conclude binding agreements on behalf of their community. Magnetto also assumes that ‘On the Peace’ is a genuine work of Andocides. She contrasts ambassadors sent on missions in which there was a possibility of negotiation and those in which there was not any possibility of negotiation but does not indicate how the role of presbeis autokratores differed from that of regular ambassadors in each case. She notes that in the case of the presbeis autokratores sent by the Olynthians in 379 they did have the power to swear the oaths for a treaty. On the other hand, Magnetto claims that swearing oaths to a treaty was not one of the distinctive features of presbeis autokratores (‘Tuttavia è lecito domandarsi se quest’unico criterio – la menzione del giuramento dei delegati – sia davvero efficace e decisivo per definire compiutamente le loro prerogative. La risposta è, a mio avviso, negative, per due ragioni.’).Magnetto 2013, 236. Yet she then makes the claim that ‘the oath itself did not guarantee the enforcement of a treaty’ but does not explain what was required beyond swearing the oaths by presbeis autokratores to guarantee enforcement. Magnetto notes the treaty between Alexander and the presbeis autokratores sent by Aspendus (Arr. an. 1.26.2–3), but in this case Alexander certainly considered the treaty binding because he punished the people of Aspendus when they violated the terms of the treaty (Arr. an. 1.27.1–4). She next attempts to support this claim by citing the negotiations between King Ptolemy V and the Achaean League (Pol. 22.35–6 and 9.1–12).Magnetto 2013, 236–237. What rendered the treaty between King Ptolemy V and the Achaean League invalid however was the confusion about its precise terms (it was not clear which alliance the parties had ratified), not the fact that oaths were insufficient to conclude a treaty. Magnetto cites an essay by Lonis about oaths for interstate agreements,Magnetto 2013, 236, note 31. but Lonis actually states that all Greek treaties became effective when the oaths were sworn.Lonis 1980, 267: ‘l’accord est toujours scellé par un serment.’ Cf. Low 2007, 119: ‘The swearing of the oaths by the parties to the treaty represents the sign that the treaty has been accepted by both sides.’ Lonis doubts that the oaths sworn to a treaty were effective in assuring that the parties would abide by their terms in the future, but that is another matter. Not all the arguments of Lonis are convincing. He claims that oaths bounds only those who swore to them, but this ignores passages indicating that officials could swear oaths ‘on behalf of’ their community, which effectively bound all members. See Xen. hell. 5.1.32. At the end of her study, she claims that the Greeks used the term presbeis autokratores with a precise connotation and with an awareness of indicating a specific instrument of Greek diplomacy (‘con una connotazione e precisa e con la consapevolezza di indicare uno strumento specifico della diplomazia greca’). Yet at the same time she paradoxically finds ‘a lack of precision and coherence’ (‘la loro mancanza di precisione e di coerenza’) in their use of the term.Magnetto 2013, 240. It is difficult to understand how Magnetto can hold these contradictory views. Yet she claims that presbeis autokratores had wide negotiating powers, drafted the provisions of a treaty, and their decisions had an immediate impact on community life but never explains how presbeis autokratores differed from regular ambassadors. As seen above, she equivocates on the issue of the power of presbeis autokratores to conclude treaties and cannot explain why presbeis autokratores have one set of powers in one set of circumstances and another set of powers in different circumstances. She also agrees with Mosley that like other officials presbeis autokratores were accountable for their conduct.After these analyses, which attempt to reduce the powers of presbeis autokratores to a single set of prerogatives and do not explain the variations in their powers, it is clear that the topic requires fresh study. This essay takes a new approach. First, we need to examine the term autokrator and see how it is used in other contexts. Officials can be given special powers for different reasons. We should therefore not rule out the possibility that ambassadors were given special powers for different reasons in different circumstances. In each case we should seek the specific rationale for granting special powers. Second, we need to examine how presbeis autokratores are different from other ambassadors. Only by comparing the activities of presbeis autokratores with those of regular ambassadors can we discover what is distinctive about the former. Third, we should not examine the passages about presbeis autokratores in ‘On the Peace’ until after examining the use of the term in reliable sources. We must first look at reliable sources and compare the evidence in these sources with the information found in ‘On the Peace’. If the use of the term in ‘On the Peace’ is not consistent with its use in reliable sources, this finding should be considered additional evidence against the authenticity of ‘On the Peace’.The Meaning of Autokrator when Applied to Officials and Official BodiesThe term autokrator is found in the account given by Andocides (1.15) about the events of 415.For discussion see Esu 2018, 61–62. Andocides recalls that Teucer, a metic who had left and gone to Megara, announced that he would provide information about the parody of the Mysteries if the Council would grant him immunity. The Council then voted to give him immunity ‘because it had the power to do so’ (ἦν γὰρ αὐτοκράτωρ). As a result, Teucer gained immunity and named names. The word autokrator shows that the Council had a specific power, namely, to grant immunity, which it normally did not have.Cf. MacDowell 1962, 74: ‘This phrase appears to imply that the council did not normally have the power to confer immunity.’ MacDowell does not observe that normally the Assembly had this power. One should note that prior to this part of the narrative, Andocides (1.11–12) states that the Assembly granted Andromachus immunity in return for information, which was the normal procedure.For the Assembly granting immunity see Thuc. 2.24; 6.27; IG I3 52B, lines 12–17; [Aristot.] Ath. pol. 45.8. The verb in the imperfect indicates that the Council held this power at this time and implies that it did not hold this power anymore. In other words, the power to grant immunity was a special power granted temporarily in an emergency and one outside the Council’s normal jurisdiction.There is a similar use of the term autokrator in regard to the Council in two inscriptions. One is a decree for three Boeotian proxenoi dated to 424/3 BCE (IG I3 73). The prytaneis and the generals are ordered to bring Potamodorus before the Council and Assembly (lines 5–7) and Potamodorus and Eurytion are granted the privilege of access to the Council and Assembly when they are in Athens (lines 12–16). The Council is then given the power to vote about anything they need (lines 39–40: hε δὲ βο]λέ, ἐὰν το δέ[οντ]|[αι,] αὐτο[κράτορ ἔστο τὸ δέον φσεφίζεσ]θαι). The phrase does not grant the Council general or unfettered power but only the power to take decisions about these two men and to implement the general aims of the decree of the Assembly.For discussion see Esu 2018, 54–58. The other inscription is a decree dated to 413/2 BCE about the cult of the Thracian god Bendis (IG I3 136). The fragmentary decree lays down rules about finances, cult taxes and sacrifices, then directs the Council to do anything additional that is needed as it decides (lines 36–37: [. . . hoπόσον δ ̓ ἂν προσδέει παρὰ τ]|[αῦτ]α, τὲν βολὲν αὐτοκράτορα ἐ͂ναι [ποε̃ν καθότι ἂν αὐτε̃ι δοκε̃ι).For similar clause with the adjective kyria see IG II2 127 (356/5), lines 34–5; 204 (352/1), lines 85–6; 435 (after 336), lines 7–9; 1629 (325/4), lines 264–69. For the pairing of the terms kyrios and autokrator [Aristot.] Ath. pol. 39.1. One should note that the power of the Council was also limited in these cases by the law that limited the validity of its decrees to one year. See Demosth. or. 23.92 with Harris 2019, 86–93, Rhodes 1972, 63. The contents of the decree make it clear what the powers of the Council are in respect to the cult and its duties.For discusssion see Esu 2018, 62–67. The use of the term autokrator for the Council given special powers is similar to the clauses making the Council kyria to perform certain tasks. In the Charter of the Second Athenian League the Council is given the authority (κυ[ρ]ίαν εἶναι) to destroy any stelai with provisions contrary to those found in the charter (IG II2 43 [378/7], lines 31–35). In 346 BCE the Assembly made the Council responsible for supervising the departure of the Second Embassy to King Philip (Demosth. or. 19.154).For discussion of these clauses see Esu 2018, 75–104.In a decree of the Assembly dating around 433 BCE, the Assembly gives Diocleides the power to found the colony at Brea (IG I3 46, line 12–13).For the circumstances and date see Psoma 2009. The decree states that Diocleides is to have power and then specifies the task he is to perform. In his account of the events of 411, Thucydides (8.67.3) recounts that Peisander proposed that ten men be elected as commissioners (xyngrapheis) and that they have powers. What these powers were is specified in the next phrase: they were to draft a proposal to be brought to the Assembly on a certain day about how best to administer the state. It is clear that these commissioners had only the power to make a proposal, which the Assembly could either enact or reject.For a similar grant of power to draw up proposals for constitutional matters see the isopoliteia between Xanthos and Myra in Bousquet – Gauthier 1994, 321, line 9 (συνεγράψαμεν ἔχοντες τὴν κυριείαν). Note that this kind of officials are not called ambassadors. When the Assembly met, the commissioners brought forward these proposals (no pay for office, a Council of Four Hundred, and consultation of the Five Thousand), which were ratified by the Assembly (Thuc. 8.69.1). Normally, the power of formulating proposals and introducing them to the Assembly was in the power of the Council, but in this special circumstance, the commissioners were to be given this power on an ad hoc basis. It is important to observe that despite granting this special power, the Assembly reserved its right to make the final decision.In 415 the Assembly voted to make Alcibiades, Nicias and Lamachus generals with the power (autokratores) to help the people of Segesta, to restore the people of Leontini and to do anything else in Sicily that they thought best for the Athenians (Thuc. 6.8.2). The term autokratores does not mean that they gave the generals “carte blanche” to do whatever they wanted to, but rather the power to perform specific tasks in Sicily. The generals had some discretion, but this discretion was to be exercised within certain limits specified in the decree.Cf. Dover in Gomme – Andrewes – Dover 1970, 228 (‘As a rule, the respect in which an official is made αὐτοκράτωρ is specified [e.g. 26.1, IG I2. 91.9] or obvious from the context [e.g. v.45.2, And. i.15]. If we are to be guided by the context here, the generals were empowered to decide, without reference back to Athens, when the objects detailed in βοηθοὺς μὲν κ.τ.λ. had been effected, and to decide on the military and diplomatic means to be used.’). Later the Athenian Assembly also voted to make the same generals autokratores to do whatever they thought best both about the size of the army (περὶ στρατιᾶς πλήθους) and about the entire voyage (περὶ τοῦ παντὸς τοῦ πλοῦ) (Thuc. 6.26.1). Once again, the powers granted to the generals were specified. They were given powers within certain limits to carry out specific tasks. In each case, the powers granted were slightly different. In his account of the measures taken by the Syracusans in 415/4 BCE, Thucydides (6.72.5) states that Hermocrates recommended that it was necessary to elect a few generals with special powers (αὐτοκράτορας) and to swear an oath to them to allow them to lead in whatever way they wished. This would ensure that what needed to be kept secret would not be revealed and that other matters would be orderly and prepared without delay. The new power of the generals is specified and allows them to make plans in secret and without consulting the Assembly. The context reveals the nature of the powers given to the generals. Thucydides (1.126.8) also uses the term to describe powers given to the nine archons about Cylon and his followers. After the Athenians besieged Cylon and his followers on the Acropolis, they became exhausted by the siege, and most departed after entrusting the task of guarding the citadel to the nine archons and giving them the power (αὐτοκράτορσι) to manage (διαθεῖναι) the situation as they saw best. The archons were given a special power in a particular situation in regard to Cylon and his followers. The use of the term is probably anachronistic, but once again the limited power given to those who are autokratores is implied by the context.Gomme 1945, 426: ‘Thucydides’ use of the word is probably anachronistic’.Thucydides (5.27.2, 28.1) also uses the term autokratores about the powers granted to a board of officials at Argos established in 421 BCE. After the conclusion of the Peace of Nicias, the Corinthians advised the Argives to pass a decree allowing any independent Greek city to conclude a defensive alliance with the Argives. The applications would be heard by a board of elected officials without going before the Assembly. The Argives followed this advice and voted to elect twelve men to whom any community that wished could make a defensive alliance except the Spartans and the Athenians.Magnetto 2013, 228 claims that these officials form an exception to the two categories I identified, but this is not correct because these officials are not ambassadors who are sent abroad to a foreign community with proposals. If they are to be included in this category, this example would contradict her claim that officials who are autokratores could not conclude agreements binding on their communities. Alliances were then made with the Mantineans (Thuc. 5.29), the people of Elis (Thuc. 5.31.2–5), and the Corinthians together with the Chalcidians of Thrace (Thuc. 5.31.6). As in the other cases above, the powers implied by the term autokratores are clearly delimited. One finds a similar use of the term in the speech ‘Against Neaira’ of Apollodorus ([Demosth.] or. 59.80). When the Areopagus discovered that Theogenes as basileus was married to a woman who was neither an Athenian citizen nor a virgin when she married, the members were about to impose punishment on Theogenes in secret to the extent that they were authorized. Apollodorus notes that they do not have the power to punish in any way they wish (οὐ αὐτοκράτορές εἰσι ὡς ἂν βουλώνται Ἀθηναίων τινὰ κολάσαι). In these cases however the term is used to indicate powers inherent in a certain office as opposed to special powers granted on an ad hoc basis.Demosthenes (19.173) uses the term autokrator to denote actions over which he had control in contrast to actions subject to the decision of the other ambassadors. As MacDowell 2000, 275, observes, the word does not mean that Demosthenes had ‘been given some formal power.’This analysis of the use of autokrator is important for the analysis of the term presbeis autokratores. First, it is clear that the Council when it was autokrator for some specific task was not a different institution from the normal Council. It still consisted of five hundred members selected by lot serving for a year with certain traditional duties. The Council that was made autokrator was the normal Council that performed the normal duties of the Council but was given a specific power for one specific task during a limited period of time. The same can be stated for other officials: when the generals were made autokratores, they did not become a different institution or a different type of general, but were generals who were given special power outside their normal powers for a limited amount of time for a specific task.Rhodes 1981, 402 claims that those who were autokratores ‘were given a free hand to do a particular job with less interference or need to secure approval of their actions than they would otherwise be subject to, but precisely how far and in what respects they were to be free tends not to be specified’. Pace Rhodes, as the evidence examined here shows, the powers granted to those who were autokratores are for the most part carefully specified. Todd 2007, 451, note 14 uncritically follows Rhodes. One should also note that this special power might differ according to circumstances. In one case officials might be made autokratores to perform one task, but in another they might be made autokratores to perform another kind of task. If we apply this finding to ambassadors, we can see that presbeis autokratores were not a different type of ambassadors, but ambassadors who were given a special power that ambassadors did not normally have. Yet in other respects they were just like normal ambassadors: they were appointed by one state to go to another state and convey messages about international agreements. On the other hand, they could be given one type of special power in one situation but another kind of special power in another case.Presbeis Autokratores Sent to Initiate Negotiations about an Alliance or a TreatyIt is best to start with the more detailed accounts about the role of presbeis autokratores in negotiations. In 405/4 during the siege of Athens by King Agis, the Athenians sent several embassies to the Spartans, the last of which contained presbeis autokratores. Xenophon gives a detailed narrative, which can be supplemented by information provided by other sources.On Xenophon’s account see Kelly 2019, 275–301. The first embassy was sent to King Agis with a proposal to join the Spartan alliance in return for keeping their walls and the Piraeus (Xen. hell. 2.2.11). Agis told them to go to Sparta because he did not have the authority to make a decision (Xen. hell. 2.2.12). When the ambassadors reached the border at Sellasia, the ephors heard their proposals and ordered them to return to Athens and send better proposals (Xen. hell. 2.2.13).Krentz 1982, 32–33 believes that the ephors came to Sellasia to give their reply, but Kelly 2019, 278–279 believes that they only sent a message. After they returned, they reported the Spartan rejection, and the people became despondent (Xen. hell. 2.2.14). At a meeting of the Council, Archestratus recommended that the Athenians make peace on the terms offered by the Spartans, one of which was to tear down the long walls for ten stades. Archestratus alludes to the proposals made by an earlier Spartan embassy and rejected by Cleophon, events which are reported by Lysias (13.6–8. Cf. Aeschin. 2.76) but not by Xenophon. Archestratus was thrown into prison and a decree passed forbidding any discussion of these terms (Xen. hell. 2.2.15).This was probably a decree of the Assembly. See Kelly 2019 (note 38), 280.At this juncture Theramenes asked to be sent as ambassador to Lysander. This was a fact-finding mission aimed at discovering whether the demand about destroying the walls was an attempt to enslave Athens or requested as a pledge of good faith. According to Xenophon (hell. 2.2.16–17), Theramenes stayed with Lysander for three months and returned to Athens and reported that Lysander told him to go to Sparta. At this point, the Athenians sent Theramenes with nine others as presbeis autokratores to Sparta. Lysias (13.9–11) gives a different version and says that Theramenes was appointed autokrator when he was sent to Lysander, but seems to combine his mission to Lysander with his later mission to Sparta.See Kelly 2019, 281–282: ‘Lysias does not provide us with firm ground, as he appears to have conflated the two missions of Theramenes into one and is our only authority for the exceptional powers allegedly voted to him and the unfufilled boast that he would negotiate more favourable terms.’ Cf. Magnetto 2013, 233–234: ‘Non abbiamo certezza sulla veridicità storica di questo dettaglio, che si inserisce in un racconto non privo di inesattezze cronologiche, sapientemente dosate per ottenere i risultati voluti.’ At Sellasia, the ephors asked the Athenian ambassadors what their mission was. They replied that they had come as autokratores to discuss peace (Xen. hell. 2.2.19). It is clear that these ambassadors were not bringing a set of proposals to present to the Spartans.Cf. Magnetto 2013, 233: ‘Atene non pone più alcuna condizione, i suoi ambasciatori sono abilitati a discutere della pace sulle basi che vorranno porre gli Spartiani (e i loro alleati).’ At a meeting of the Spartan assembly with representatives from Thebes and Corinth, proposals were debated.For the debate see Kelly 2019, 285–293 with discussion of the various sources. The Spartans finally offered to make peace on the following terms: the Long Walls and the fortifications of the Piraeus are to be destroyed; all ships are to be surrendered except for twelve; the exiles are to be restored; and the Athenians are to have the same friends and enemies as the Spartans and to follow their leadership on land and sea (Xen. hell. 2.2.20). Theramenes and the other ambassadors brought these proposals back to Athens where the Assembly debated them and finally accepted the Spartan version of the treaty (Xen. hell. 2.2.21–22). It is important to note the difference between the first Athenian embassy, which presents Athenian proposals to the Spartans but does not negotiate, and the embassy with presbeis autokratores which comes with an open mandate to discuss peace and receives a proposal from the Spartans, which is brought back to Athens.Cf. Missiou-Ladi 1987, 341: ‘the function of the embassy with Theramenes was not to discuss Athens’ proposals but to listen and finally to take home Sparta’s declaration calling upon Athens to surrender “unconditionally”.’Missiou-Ladi does not however notice the different instructions given to the presbeis autokratores. The other significant feature is that the embassy with presbeis autokratores has the power to negotiate but cannot make a decision binding on the Athenians; the proposal they bring back to Athens has to be ratified in the Assembly.Cf. Heuss 1934, 26: ‘Wie der Fortgang der Erzählung beweist, wird mit αὐτοκράτωρ keine Ermächtigung zum endgültigen Abschluß des Vertrages gemeint.’ Magnetto 2013, 235: ‘Teramene e i suoi colleghi [. . .] annunciano al popolo ateniese le condizioni di pace chiedendo di acocogliere, in un prendere o lasciare che non ha più margini di trattativa.’ The powers held by the presbeis autokratores are clearly implied in the narrative.During the Theban invasion of the Peloponnese (370/69), the Spartans and their allies sent an embassy to Athens to ask for help (Xen. hell. 6.5.49). After a debate in the Assembly, the Athenians voted to send help to the Spartans (Xen. hell. 6.5.49). The next year, the Spartans and their allies sent another embassy to Athens, this one with presbeis autokratores (Xen. hell. 7.1.1). In this case, the Spartan ambassadors who come as presbeis autokratores do not come with specific proposals but to discuss the terms of the alliance between the Spartans and the Athenians (βουλευσόμενοι καθ᾽ ὅ τι ἡ συμμαχία Λακεδαιμονίους καὶ Ἀθηναίους ἔσοιτο). During the debate in the Assembly, Procles from Phleious supports the proposal of the Council to have the Athenians hold the command on the sea and the Spartans to hold the command on land (Xen. hell. 7.1.2–11). After his speech, Cephisodorus arose and made a different proposal: the Athenians and the Spartans should each hold command for five days at a time (Xen. hell. 7.1.12–13). The Spartans had clearly come to discuss proposals because Cephisodorus asks the Spartan ambassador Timocrates to respond to a question about the treaty (Xen. hell. 7.1.13–14). The Athenians then voted to accept this proposal (Xen. hell. 7.1.14). In this case again, presbeis autokratores come to discuss an issue about an alliance with an open mandate, offer no specific proposals, and accept a proposal made by the other side.Pownall 1995, 145 claims that the reason for sending presbeis autokratores would be ‘to bring to a speedy conclusion negotiations in which there was little room for movement,’ but the negotiations in this case and the case described by Aeschines (3.63) show that there was some room to negotiate in two cases in which presbeis autokratores were sent. There is no reason to believe that Aeschines mentions that these ambassadors came to swear the oaths to the treaty because we know that it was Philip who swore the oaths to the treaty (Aeschin. 2.102–3 and Dem. 19.151–2). Xenophon skips over the rest of the negotiations but implies that the Spartan ambassadors took these proposals back home where they were accepted because the alliance continued.In his speech Against Ctesiphon delivered in 330 Aeschines (3.63) says that the negotiations with Philip of Macedon began when Philocrates passed a decree calling for the election of ten ambassadors to travel to the king and to ask him to send ambassadors with full powers (πρέσβεις αὐτοκράτορας) to Athens about peace (ὑπὲρ εἰρήνης). This appears to be the same decree Aeschines (2.18–19) mentions in his speech of 343, but in this version Aeschines says only that the decree called for the election of ten ambassadors who would discuss with Philip peace and matters of common benefit. This later version is supported by the evidence of the decree, which was read out. This is not the place to discuss the different versions given by Aeschines about the negotiations in Elaphebolion of 346. To understand why he adds the detail about ambassadors with full powers in the later speech, we need to examine the rest of the speech given in 330.For analysis of the different versions of these meetings see Harris 1995, 70–74. If the Macedonian ambassadors who came in 346 were sent as presbeis autokratores, this would mean that they had the power to negotiate with the Athenians, that is, to listen to proposals made by the Athenians and to discuss them. Aeschines (3.68) then recalls that after the Macedonian ambassadors arrived in Athens, Demosthenes passed a decree calling for two meetings of the Assembly, one on 18 Elaphebolion, the other on 19 Elaphebolion. At the first meeting, Aeschines (3.69–70) claims to have supported a resolution of the allies calling for peace without an alliance and with the possibility of other Greek states joining and the establishment of a synedrion to punish those violating the peace. According to Aeschines (3.71–72), on the next day Demosthenes arose and said that the discussion on the previous day was useless and that the Athenians could not ‘rip off’ the alliance from the peace. He then called Antipater to the platform and asked him a question. Aeschines does not say how Antipater responded, but as a result of the discussion, the proposal of Philocrates was voted, which implies the resolution of the allies was rejected. The reason why Aeschines adds the detail about the Macedonian ambassadors being autokratores is that he wants to create the impression that there was a possibility of negotiating with them in 346. Had Demosthenes not coached them to give a certain answer, the resolution of the allies might have been accepted instead. Once more, we see that ambassadors who came with full powers did not just present a fixed proposal but were in a position to negotiate about the terms of a treaty.After the defeat of the Greek forces at Crannon in 322 BCE, Antipater led his army to Thebes. The Athenians no longer had the support of their allies and held a meeting of the Assembly about what to do (Plut. Phoc. 26.1–2).Pownall 1995, 145 with notes 22 and 23 does not analyze this example of presbeis autokratores. Even though Demades had lost his right to speak in the Assembly, the Athenians granted him immunity, which allowed him to pass a decree calling for the Athenians to send presbeis autokratores to Antipater about peace. Phocion, Demades and several others were sent to negotiate with Antipater (Diod. 18.18.2). When they met, Phocion requested that Antipater remain in Boeotia and not invade Attica (Plut. Phoc. 26.3). Strictly speaking this was a request and had nothing to do with the terms of the treaty. According to Plutarch (Phoc. 26.3), despite the protest of Craterus, Antipater agreed to grant Phocion this favor, but said that as for the terms of the peace, the victors would set them. Diodorus (18.18.3) has a slightly different version but states that Antipater insisted that if the Athenians entrust their affairs to him (τὰ καθ᾽ἑαυτοὺς ἐπιτρέψουσιν αὐτῷ) he would not invade Attica. According to Plutarch (Phoc. 27.1), the ambassadors presented these proposals to the Assembly, which ratified them under pressure. Phocion and the ambassadors returned to Thebes where Antipater imposed his conditions: the Athenians surrender Demosthenes and Hyperides, return to their ancestral constitution on the basis of a property qualification, receive a garrison in the Munychia, and pay the costs of the war and a fine. Diodorus (18.18.3–4) gives a similar account about the ratification and the conditions. Despite the slightly different details, it is clear that Phocion and the other ambassadors came to Antipater with an open mandate to discuss terms and received those terms from Antipater, which were then ratified by the Assembly. The initial condition set by Antipater was that the Athenians turn over their affairs to him without specifying his exact terms, which were given after ratification.In the next example the negotiations in which presbeis autokratores participate are sabotaged by Alcibiades and do not lead to an agreement. In 420 BCE the Spartans sent presbeis autokratores to the Athenians. During the previous year, the Athenians and the Spartans had concluded the Peace of Nicias (Thuc. 5.18). A year later, the Athenians were angry because they believed that the Spartans had not honored their promises about Panactum and about an alliance with the Boeotians (Thuc. 5.43). Alcibiades tried to exploit this tension by inviting the Argives to come to Athens with representatives from Mantinea and Elis (Thuc. 5.43–44.2). To prevent an alliance between Athens and Argos, the Spartans reacted by sending an embassy and intended to exchange Pylos for Panactum and to reassure the Athenians about their alliance with Boeotia (Thuc. 5.44.3). When they reported to the Council, the Spartan ambassadors stated that they had come with full powers to negotiate about all their disputes (Thuc. 5.45.1: αὐτοκράτορες . . . περὶ πάντων ξυμβῆναι τῶν διαφόρων) but did not mention the proposal about Panactum. There were other ambassadors in Athens at the time, but they were negotiating about a different and separate issue and not involved in the negotiations between Athens and Sparta, which were striclty bilateral. What is important to note is that the Spartan ambassadors came with an open mandate to discuss existing disputes.Hornblower 2008, 105 does not discuss the term and only refers to Cawkwell 1977, 70, note 4, who merely states ‘Ambassadors could be fully empowered αὐτοκράτορες but only within limits, stated or understood’ without any citation of ancient evidence or modern scholarship. This description does not see the difference between regular ambassadors and presbeis autokratores, both of whom received orders. After relying on Cawkwell’s vague statement, Hornblower then devotes two entire pages to a literary analysis of the word μηχανᾶται, which reflects his priorities. This frightened Alcibiades, who wished to sabotage relations between Athens and Sparta. Alcibiades therefore told the Spartan ambassadors that when reporting to the Assembly, if they would not say that they had come with full powers (ἢν μὴ ὁμολογήσωσιν ἐν τῷ δήμῳ αὐτοκράτορες ἥκειν), he would arrange the return of Pylos and the resolution of other disputes (Thuc. 5.45.2). When the Assembly met, Alcibiades double-crossed the Spartans: after they stated that they had not come with full powers as they had in the Council (οὐκ ἔφασαν ὥσπερ ἐν τῇ βουλῇ αὐτοκράτορες ἥκειν. Cf. 5.46.1), Alcibiades denounced them for saying one thing in the Council and another in the Assembly. He thereby succeeded in making the Athenians angry and willing to conclude an alliance with the Argives (Thuc. 5.45.4).In an attempt to repair relations between Athens and Sparta, Nicias persuaded the Athenians to send an embassy to Sparta with proposals that they rebuild Panactum, return it with Amphipolis and renounce their alliance with the Boeotians (Thuc. 5.46.1–2). The Athenians sent them with these instructions. When these ambassadors arrived in Sparta, they presented these proposals with the threat to conclude an alliance with the Argives, but the Spartans rejected their proposals (Thuc. 5.46.4). What is significant here is the difference between the remit of the Spartan embassy and that of the Athenian embassy. The Spartan embassy came with an open mandate to negotiate but did not present specific proposals to the Council.Gomme in Gomme – Dover – Andrews 1970, 52 does not understand the difference between regular ambassadors and ambassadors with full powers (‘Such “full powers” need not amount to much’) but realizes that they could not commit their city to any conditions. Hatzfeld 1951, 91–92, thought that the Spartans had nothing new to offer, but this misunderstands the remit of ambassadors with full powers. It is interesting to compare the account in Plutarch (Alc. 14; Cf. Nic. 10.4–5), who clearly drew on Thucydides but elaborated on this narrative.Gomme in Gomme – Andrews – Dover 1970, 51: ‘Plutarch elaborates part of Thucydides’ narrative.’ Plutarch (Alc. 14.7) claims that Alcibiades told the Spartans to deny in the Assembly that they had come with full powers (κύριοι . . . αὐτοκράτορες) because if they did, the Athenians would make demands (προστάττων καὶ βιαζόμενος), which they would not do if they had not come with full powers. It is not clear if Plutarch completely understood the full meaning of the term, but he saw that there was a difference between the two types of embassies and that Spartan ambassadors with full powers had the authority to receive proposals from the Athenians.In contrast to the Spartan embassy, the embassy of Nicias, which was not an embassy with full powers, made specific proposals to the Spartans, which the Spartans then rejected. Another important point is that Alcibiades was worried that if the Spartan ambassadors reported to the Assembly that they had come with full powers, the Athenians would have viewed them favorably, which would have increased the chance of a settlement. By contrast, when the Athenians presented proposals to the Spartans, the Spartans reacted negatively. We will return to this point.The use of presbeis autokratores by the Carthaginians in 480 BCE appears to fall into this same category. After their defeat at Himera in 480 BC, the Cathaginians send presbeis autokratores to negotiate with Gelon. Gelon imposed conditions, which the ambassadors brought back to Carthage, and the Carthaginians accepted his terms. Here we find the same pattern as in other negotiations about capitulation: the presbeis autokratores are given an open mandate by the defeated community, and the victor imposes conditions, which the presbeis autokratores bring back to their community for ratification (Diod. 11.24.3–4; 26.2–3).In these cases the powers given to presbeis autokratores are either explicitly or implicitly specified. The ambassadors go with an open mandate and can negotiate about proposals made by the other side. They can also bring back proposals made by the other community, but must bring them back to their own community for ratification. In none of these cases do presbeis autokratores accept proposals made by the other side and conclude an agreement without the approval of their community. When presbeis autokratores are given an open mandate, they are not given the power to swear the oaths to a treaty.Presbeis Autokratores Empowered to Swear the Oaths to a TreatyIn the examples studied so far presbeis autokratores are involved in negotiations about a treaty and are empowered to receive proposals from the foreign state and bring them back for ratification. In the following cases presbeis autokratores are authorized to take the oaths on behalf of their own city after the treaty has been ratified. In 380/79 the Spartans besieged the Olynthians and reduced them to starvation because they could not collect food from their territory or import it by sea (Xen. hell. 5.3.26; Cf. Diod. 15.23.3). This situation compelled them send presbeis autokratores about peace. These ambassadors came to Sparta and made the agreement (συνθήκας ἐποιήσαντο) to have the same friends and enemies as the Spartans, to follow wherever they would lead, and to be allies. These ambassadors swore the oaths to abide by these conditions (ὀμόσαντες ταύταις ἐμμενεῖν) and returned home. It is clear that the Olynthians decided to accept the treaty before the ambassadors left for Sparta. The ambassadors were not empowered to discuss terms for peace, which were already set and accepted by the Olynthians, but to take the oaths on behalf of their community. This is a different use of the term for which there are several parallels in Hellenistic inscriptions that we will examine later. In the previous cases, ratification followed the return of the presbeis autokratores with proposals made by the other party.Missiou-Ladi 1987, 342 sees the difference between the role of presbeis autokratores led by Theramenes in 405/4 and those sent by Olynthus, but tries to explain the difference on the grounds that ‘consensus within the embassy may perhaps be seen as the principle that allowed the presbeis autokratores from Olynthos to accept and swear to the tresty proposed by Sparta, whereas dissension among themselves forced the Athenian presbeis autokratores in 405 to refer the proposals to their assembly’. There is however no evidence for disagreement among the Athenian ambassadors. The difference between the two embassies is the result of different situations giving rise to different orders for each embassy. In this case the decision to accept terms preceded the sending of the presbeis autokratores, who had a different remit.There is no reason to believe that the Spartans insisted that the Olynthians leave the cities of the Chalcidian League autonomous because the league continued its existence after 379. See Psoma 2001, 228–231. The Olynthians clearly knew what terms the Spartans expected them to accept and sent ambassadors with instructions to swear the oaths to these terms.Cf. Heuss 1934, 27: ‘Dazu kommt, daß es nicht ausgeschlossen ist, daß die Gesandten die Vollmacht bekommen hatten, unter diesen bestimmten typischen Bedingungen den Vertrag abzuschließen, d.h. diese werden den Olynthiern schon bekannt gewesen sein.’ He compares the use of presbeis autokratores in OGIS 229, line 27. Heuss sees this as an exception to the normal practice, but adduces several similar cases. What is unusual about the role of ambassadors in this case is their power to swear the oaths on behalf of their community.Mosley 1961, 59–63. Normally, the leading officials of a community swore the oaths to a treaty, but in this case ambassadors were given this authority instead.The next two examples are recounted in Arrian’s Anabasis. In 334/3 BCE when Alexander marched from Perge, presbeis autokratores from Aspendus met him on the road, surrendering their city to him and asking him not to impose a garrison (Arr. an. 1.26.2–3).Bosworth 1980, 166 does not comment on the use of the term. They gained their request about the garrison, but Alexander ordered them to give fifty talents to his army for pay and the horses that they raised as tribute for the Persian king. The ambassadors agreed about the money and to turn over the horses.In 326/5 BCE from the Oxydracae the leaders of the cities, the nomarchs and one hundred and fifty of their most distinguished men came to Alexander with full powers to discuss a treaty, bringing very great gifts and surrendering their tribe (ethnos) (Arr. an. 6.14.1–3). The next phrase makes it clear that they came as ambassadors (πρεσβευσάμενοι). Unlike ambassadors from Greek states, who are elected by the assembly, however, these ambassadors were leaders of the community and therefore had the power to negotiate. These leaders apologized for not approaching Alexander earlier, then requested freedom and autonomy. They offered to accept a satrap, pay the tribute set by the king, and to send as many hostages as he wished. Alexander demanded one thousand men either to be kept as hostages or to serve in his army until his campaign in India was over. The Oxydracae sent the thousand hostages and voluntarily in addition five hundred chariots with drivers. Alexander returned the hostages but kept the chariots.These two examples of presbeis autokratores resemble the case involving the Olynthians and the Spartans. In each case, the community decided to submit to a more powerful party and sent ambassadors who had the authority to offer these terms to the other party. Though Arrian, whose account is very brief, does not say so, both sets of presbeis autokratores sent to Alexander would have sworn the oaths to the treaty just as the Olynthian ambassadors did.Pownall 1995, 145 does not see the difference between the two kinds of circumstances in which presbeis autokratores could be sent.We find a similar use of the term in a similar way in a sympoliteia agreement between Temnos and Pergamon (late fourth to mid-third century BCE). After both sides agreed to the arrangement, the ambassadors elected by the Temnitai were ‘to have power’ to conclude the agreement (OGIS 265, lines 9–11: ἐὰν δὲ φαίν[η]ται | [Τη]μνίταις ἐπιτήδειον εἶναι συνθεῖναι περὶ τ[ο]ύ̣|του, |τ̣οὺς ἀφεσταλμένους αὐτοκράτορας [εἶναι]). There is another similar use of the term in an agreement between Pidasa and Miletus (Milet I 3, 149 – early second century BCE, lines 7–8: ὑ̣πὲρ δὲ τοῦ δήμου τοῦ Πιδασέων οἱ πεμφθέντες ὑφ’ αὐτῶν αὐτο|κράτορες πρεσβευταί). It is clear from lines 51–54 (ὁρκισάτω δὲ ὁ στεφανηφόρος μετὰ τοῦ ἱεροκήρυκος ̣|[τ]ούς̣ τε ἥκοντας ἐκ Πιδασέων πρεσβευτὰς καὶ τοὺς πρυτάνεις καὶ |τοὺ[ς] εἱρημένους ἐπὶ τῆι φυλακῆι καὶ τοὺς κεχειροτονημένους συν|έδρου̣ς̣ ̣τὸν ὅρκ̣ο̣ν τόνδε), which state that the stephanephoros will take the oaths from these two groups, that the role of the presbeis autokratores was to swear the oaths and not to negotiate the agreement, which had been worked out before the ambassadors from Pidasa arrived in Miletus (τάδε ὡμολόγησαν καὶ συνέθεντο Μιλήσιοι καὶ Πιδασ̣ε̣ῖς). There may be another example in a fragmentary decree dated around 200 BCE from Rhodes about relations with Rome (SEG 33:637).Presbeis autokratores are also mentioned in a failed attempt to conclude a treaty around 180 BCE mentioned by Polybius (24.15.9). King Pharnaces was at war with Eumenes and Ariarathes in Asia (Pol. 24.14.1–11). The Romans sent legates to arrange a truce, and Eumenes and Ariarathes expressed their willingness to meet with Pharnaces or at least to negotiate with him (Pol. 24.15.1–3). The Romans insisted that Eumenes and Ariarathes withdraw their army, and they obeyed the request (Pol. 24.15.4–6). The Romans then met with Pharnaces, who refused to meet in person with Eumenes and Ariarathes (Pol. 24.15.7). The Romans then convinced him to send presbeis autokratores to conclude the peace (αὐτοκράτορας . . . συνθησομένους τὴν εἰρήνην) on the terms proposed by the legates (ἐφ᾽οἷς ἂν οἱ πρεσβευταὶ κελεύσωσι). In this case the Roman legates convinced Pharnaces to make peace; the ambassadors Pharnaces sent were to have the power to swear the oaths on his behalf. What they had power to do is specified by the Roman legates and accepted by Pharnaces. As in the cases above, the decision to accept the treaty by Pharnaces precedes the sending of ambassadors to conclude the agreeement. Unfortunately when these ambassadors arrived, there were disagreements about the terms. As a result, the negotiations came to nothing, and the war continued (Pol. 24.15.1–13). A similar use of an ambassador sent to conclude a treaty is found in a letter of Antigonus to the city of Scepsis dated to 311 BCE.For the text see Welles 1934, note 1. Cassander had sent Prepelaus to Antigonus with a set of demands, which Antigonus accepted (lines 9–26). Because Antigonus accepted the terms of the treaty and Prepelaus had the authority to conclude the treaty (lines 28–29: αὐτοκράτορα) with Antigonus on behalf of Cassander and Lysimachus, the treaty was concluded (lines 26–27: συντετελεσμένων).As these examples demonstrate, it is a mistake to consider presbeis autokratores a distinct type of institution with consistent features as Missiou, Pownall and Magnetto claim. Presbeis autokratores were ambassadors, whose duties conformed to the basic features of this institution. In certain cases, these ambassadors could be given special powers, but what those special powers were differed from one situation to another. In the cases studied in the previous section, presbeis autokratores were sent with an open mandate to negotiate and bring proposals made by the other community back to their community for ratification. In those studied in this section, presbeis autokratores were given the power to conclude agreements whose terms the community had already decided to accept. Pace Magnetto there is no reason to believe that oaths sworn by presbeis autokoratores in this case did not bind the community.Magnetto 2013, 235–236. In both cases, the main deliberative body of the community, whether it was the Assembly or a monarch, retained the sole power to conclude interstate agreements as Aristotle states in the ‘Politics’ (4.11.1.1298a. Cf. IG I3 105, lines 34–35: ἄν]|[ευ το͂ δέμο το͂ Ἀθεναίον πλεθ]ύ̣ο̣[ντ]ος μὲ ἐ͂ν̣αι πόλεμον ἄρασθα̣ι̣ [μέτε καταλ]ῦ̣[σ]α[ι]). As in the previous cases, one side sent presbeis autokratores to the other side, but in no set of negotiations do two communities send presbeis autokratores to each other.Because the institution of presbeis autokratores is only relevant in bilateral negotiations in which one side must take the initiative in making proposals or one side sends presbeis autokratores to swear the oaths to the other party, presbeis autokratores are never found in multilateral negotiations in which one community summons several other communities to conclude a general agreement. In this case, the leading power summons other communities to send ambassadors to their community, and consequently there is no need to send presbeis autokratores to initiate the negotiations. For this reason, one does not find presbeis autokratores in the discussions of the Peloponnesian League that led to the declaration of war against Athens and its allies in 431 BCE (Thuc. 1.67, 119–125), the negotiations about the Peace of Antalcidas (Xen. hell. 5.1.30–34), the discussions about the Common Peace in 367/6 (Xen. hell. 7.1.33–40), or the formation of the League of Corinth (Diod. 16.89.2–3).Those Sent ‘With Power’ (τέλος ἔχοντες)Before examining the use of the term presbeis autokratores in ‘On the Peace’, it is necessary to examine two passages in which the expression ambassadors ‘having authority’ (τέλος ἔχοντες) is found. The first is in a decree of the Assembly in which the Athenians invite Perdiccas II, the king of Macedon, and the people of Methone to send ambassadors ‘having authority’ (τέλος ἔχοντες) to come to Athens and present their cases to the Council and Assembly if they cannot come to an agreement (IG I3 61). This is a case in which two sides send ambassadors having authority simultaneously to a third party, which helps them to mediate an agreement.Cf. Magnetto 2013, 227: ‘Il decreto prefigura dunque una mediazione della boulé e del popolo di Atene con lo scopo di raggiungere un accordo.’ I was mistaken in Harris 2000, 493 in calling this an example of negotiations about a treaty already in existence. This is not a case in which one community sends presbeis autokratores to another and then later the latter sends presbeis autokratores to the former.This clause does not therefore provide a parallel to the situation in ‘On the Peace’ in which the Athenians send presbeis autokratores and then later the Spartans send presbeis autokratores to the Athenians. It therefore does not form an exception to the rule stated above. This case is similar to third party arbitration in which two sides send representatives to a third community, which helps to arbitrate the dispute. Strictly speaking, this arrangement does not belong to the category of standard diplomacy between states negotiating about a treaty but to interstate arbitration. These ambassadors are therefore not similar to presbeis autokratores and do not form an exception to the rules stated above.The use of envoys sent with authority in this inscription is similar to the use of ambassadors sent with special powers in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (1011: περὶ διαλλαγῶν | αὐτοκράτορας πρέσβεις). Both the Athenians and the Spartans send ambassadors, and Lysistrata mediates their differences (1104: διαλλάξειεν) and brings about a resolution of their differences (1114: διαλλαγή). Cf. Magnetto 2013, 238, note 37 (‘mediazione’). For the language and terminology of mediation see Harris 2018, 214, 219–220. I was mistaken in Harris 2000, 489–490 in calling this a case of capitulation. This is not similar to the other uses of the term because the ambassadors with special powers here are not sent to conclude a peace treaty or negotiate about an alliance.The second occurs in the text of the one-year truce preserved by Thucydides (4.118–119) in his account of the year 423 BCE. Thucydides (4.117.1–2) introduces the document by stating that the Athenians and the Spartans concluded a truce for a year and discusses the motives of each side for making the truce. At the end of this discussion he states that the truce was made for the Spartans and their allies (4.117.3). This clearly implies that the truce was ratified by the assemblies of Athens and Sparta. There follow the text of the treaty and the decree of the Athenians, in which the people voted to accept the truce with the Spartans and their allies (Thuc. 4.118.1–14). The decree of the Athenian Assembly mentions ambassadors now present in Athens and votes that they should swear the oaths for the truce (Thuc. 4.118.14). These ambassadors are simply designated as πρέσβεις and not given any other title. As a separate measure, the Athenians vote to have the treaty start on the 14th of Elaphebolion (Thuc. 4.118.13) and during that time to allow heralds and ambassadors go back and forth to negotiate an end to the war, which must be distinguished from the one-year truce (Thuc. 4.118.14). These ambassadors are also called πρέσβεις and given no more extensive a title. After these texts are given, Thucydides (4.119.1) again states that the treaty was concluded between the two parties, then specifies who swore the oaths on behalf of the parties (Thuc. 4.119.2). This was standard procedure: after each side voted to accept a treaty, ambassadors were sent from one side to accept the oaths from the other side, and then ambassadors were sent from the latter to take the oaths from officials in the former. (e.g., Aeschin. 2.98).One of the terms of the treaty is a statement from the Spartans that if the Athenians have any better proposals about any provision, they should send ambassadors with full powers (οἱ δὲ τέλος ἔχοντες). The document adds that the Athenians have issued the same invitation to the Spartans. This designation is different from that given to the other ambassadors in the decree of the Assembly. In each case it is clear that either the Athenians will send delegates with powers to negotiate with the Spartans or the Spartans will send delegates to negotiate with the Athenians. But the passage does not indicate that each side would send such delegates at the same time.Magnetto however claims that ‘When the truce was ratified and the oaths were taken, an embassy of the Spartans and their allies was present in Athens, and their names are listed at 119.2 as signers of the truce along with three Athenian generals. At 118.10 it is implied that before the embassy’s arrival, there had been preliminary meetings but the Athenians asked for sending ambassadors telos echontes for that meeting. The Peloponnesian ambassadors were thus given that title.’Magnetto 2013, 218. This description of Thucydides’ account is not accurate. First, there is no reason to believe that those named at 4.119.2 are the same as the ambassadors mentioned in the decree of the Assembly at 4.118.14. In fact, Thucydides clearly differentiates between the two groups because the Spartan ambassadors swear the oaths at Athens while the official named at 4.119.2 swears the oath at Sparta (Thuc. 4.114.1). These two groups cannot be identical. Second, it appears that the terms of the truce were agreed though Thucydides does not describe the stages of the negotiations. The Spartans then sent ambassadors to Athens to convey to the Assembly that the Spartans and their allies were willing to conclude the truce and swore the oaths in Athens. They then brought the truce back to Sparta, where it was sworn by Spartan officials. The ambassadors with full powers are mentioned in a clause about future renegotiations regarding the terms of the treaty. There is no evidence in the text of Thucydides to justify the claim of Magnetto that ‘The Peloponnesian ambassadors were thus granted that title.’ They are called presbeis and nothing more. This passage cannot therefore be cited as an exception to my observation that presbeis autokratores are sent from one state to another, but in no case do two states each send presbeis autokratores to the other during a single set of negotiations. As we observed above, the nature of the institution of presbeis autokratores excluded the possibility of two sides sending presbeis autokratores in bilateral negotiations about a treaty or alliance.Presbeis Autokratores in [Andocides] ‘On the Peace’Doubts about the authenticity of the speech ‘On the Peace’ attributed to Andocides were expressed in antiquity. The ancient preface to the speech records the view of Dionysius of Halicarnassus that it was not a genuine oration of Andocides, and in three entries Harpocration expressed doubts (s.vv. Hellanotamiai, neoria kai neosoikoi, Pegai). Their verdict is confirmed by the several unusual features and the numerous errors about recent events and those in the more distant past.On the evidence against authenticity, see Harris 2000 and Harris 2021–2022, which refutes in detail Rhodes 2016 and adds more evidence against authenticity. These are:1)The account of Athenian history in the fifth century in ‘On the Peace’ (3–9) contains more errors than the similar account found in Aeschines’ ‘On the False Embassy’ (2.172–5). Because Aeschines is celebrating the benefits of peace, we would expect him to make these advantages appear more impressive if he were drawing from ‘On the Peace’, but the opposite is true.2)‘On the Peace’ (9) states that the Athenians held only two thirds of Euboea, when contemporary sources show that they held the entire island until 411 (Thuc. 1.114.3; 8.95.7).See also Meiggs 1972, 565–570.3)Speakers addressing the Assembly as a rule do not mention the names of their ancestors, but in ‘On the Peace’ (6, 29) we find the names of Andocides’ grandfather and uncle.For this informal rule in Assembly speeches see Harris 2016.4)‘On the Peace’ (23, 36, 39) states that the Athenians did not have walls or a fleet in 391, but contemporary sources show that they possessed both at the time (Xen. hell. 4.8.9–10. Cf. Diod. 14.85.3; Demosth. or. 20.68, 72–74).5)In speeches addressed to the Assembly one does not find lengthy accounts of historical events, which are alluded to briefly. ‘On the Peace’ (3–9) contains a lengthy account of past events that has no parallel in other speeches to the Assembly.6)‘On the Peace’ (13, 18, 20, 24, 28, 32) states that in 391 the Athenians and Spartans were negotiating with the Boeotians, but contemporary sources state that at this time the Thebans negotiated on behalf of the Boeotians (Xen. hell. 4.8.15; 5.1.32–33).7)‘On the Peace’ (13, 20, 28, 32) states that the Boeotians made peace with the Spartans in 391, but contemporary sources state that they remained at war with the Spartans until 387/6 (Xen. hell. 5.1.32–33).8)‘On the Peace’ (30) states that the Syracusans offered the Athenians an alliance in 415, but this is contradicted by the narrative of Thucydides (6.6–8).9)‘On the Peace’ (29) claims that the Persian King sided with the Spartans in 412 because the Athenians had supported Amorges, but Thucydides (8.6) gives very different reasons for the alliance.10)‘On the Peace’ (29) states that there was a peace treaty between the Great King and the Athenians negotiated by Epilycus, but Thucydides (8.6) clearly indicates that there was no such treaty in 412.11)It is highly unlikely that after rejecting the proposals of Tiribazus in 392 the Athenians, Thebans and Argives would have entered into negotiations with the Spartans when there was even less reason to do so in 391. It is also hard to believe that if a major conference was held at Sparta, Xenophon would have omitted it in his account of the Corinthian War.12)‘On the Peace’ (11) uses the term spondai in a way that it is never used in sources from the Classical period.The term presbeis autokratores is used three times in the speech. In the first passage ‘On the Peace’ (6) states that ten ambassadors were sent with full powers to negotiate with the Spartans about peace. The passage does not say enough about this embassy to compare this information with the other sources for the institution. Further on, the speaker of ‘On the Peace’ (33) states that he and his fellow ambassadors were sent to Sparta with full powers ‘so that we would not have to refer back’ (αὐτοκράτορας γὰρ πεμφθῆναι εἰς Λακεδαίμονα διὰ ταῦθ᾽ ἵνα μὴ πάλιν ἐπαναφέρωμεν). Despite their powers, they have decided to grant the Assembly the right to discuss the terms they have brought back (πεμφθέντες αὐτοκράτορες ἔτι ἀποδώσομεν ὑμῖν περὶ αὐτῶν σκέψασθαι). This is completely at odds with the information about presbeis autokratores in contemporary sources, which show that any proposals received by such ambassadors had to be brought back home to be ratified in the Assembly. This was not left up to the discretion of the ambassadors. Presbeis autokratores could swear the oaths only to treaties whose terms were already approved by their communities, which is not the case here. Finally, ‘On the Peace’ (39) states that the Spartans have sent presbeis autokratores restoring the securities and allowing us to acquire walls and ships and the islands. This is inconsistent with the practice attested in contemporary sources in four ways. First, presbeis autokratores are sent to start negotiations, not once they are already underway. Second, presbeis autokratores are sent by one party with an open mandate and receive proposals from the other party; here they are making proposals, not receiving them. Third, in ‘On the Peace’ (33, 39) both sides send presbeis autokratores, but this never happens in the sources about negotiating a treaty or an alliance for the Classical period and is inconsistent with the rationale behind the institution. The only case where we find two parties sending representatives with special powers to a third party is in the case of interstate arbitration, but this is clearly not the case here. Fourth, the negotiations in ‘On the Peace’ (24–26, 32, 34, 41) are multilateral and include the Spartans, the Athenians, the Argives, and the Boeotians, not bilateral; as noted above, presbeis autokratores are never used in multilateral negotiations where they would be out of place.Pownall 1995 does not see how the use of the term in ‘On the Peace’ is not consistent with its use in Classical sources. Magnetto 2013, 231–232 also misses this key point. Fifth, the speaker of ‘On the Peace’ claims that the ambassadors had the option to ask for approval for any proposals made by the Spartans, implying that it was not compulsory as we know it was.Pownall 1995 does not see how the use of the term differs from the standard use in other sources. The way in which the term is used in ‘On the Peace’ is clearly inconsistent with the way it is used in contemporary sources, and this evidence provides additional grounds against the authenticity of this speech.ConclusionThe findings of this essay can be briefly summarized. First, the evidence has shown that the powers held by presbeis autokratores are not the same in each case. In some cases, a community sent presbeis autokratores to negotiate about an interstate agreement and to receive proposals from another community. In this case, the proposals were brought back to the community for ratification. In other cases, a community or monarch sent presbeis autokratores to swear the oaths to a treaty the terms of which had already been agreed by that community. In one case two communities sent envoys having authority (τέλος ἔχοντες) to a third party for the mediation of differences. In each case, the ambassadors were given different instructions and different powers in accordance with those instructions. There was therefore not one distinct institution of presbeis autokratores as Magnetto incorrectly assumes. As in the case of other magistrates and public bodies, different powers could be granted in different situations. Second, the sources indicate that for the Greek polis the authority to conclude interstate agreements resided in the main deliberative body, that is, the Assembly (Aristot. pol. 1298a). One should note that this is true for both democratic and non-democratic regimes. Third, presbeis autokratores were only sent by one side in bilateral negotiations and never in multilateral negotiations except in the case of interstate arbitration. Fourth, the statements about presbeis autokratores in ‘On the Peace’ attributed to Andocides are inconsistent with the practice of the Classical and early Hellenistic period, which is additional evidence against the authenticity of that speech. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Klio de Gruyter

Presbeis Autokratores: A Study in Ancient Greek Diplomacy and Constitutional Law

Klio , Volume 105 (2): 28 – Nov 1, 2023

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de Gruyter
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© 2023 the author(s), published by De Gruyter.
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2192-7669
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2192-7669
DOI
10.1515/klio-2022-0031
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Abstract

To conduct diplomacy the communities of ancient Greece often sent ambassadors to other communities to negotiate about interstate agreements. These were temporary appointments, and the ambassadors did not reside in foreign communities. Ambassadors were given specific instructions by their communities and were expected to abide by these instructions.On instructions given to ambassadors see Aeschin. 2.101–7; Demosth. or. 19.4, 6; and Xen. hell. 5.1.32; 7.1.39 with Mosley 1973, 21–29. At Athens ambassadors were accountable like other officials: they had undergo a review of their conduct (euthynai) after their return and could be punished for any illegal activity while abroad.On accountability of all officials see Aeschin. 3.17. For punishment of ambassadors see, for instance, the case of Timagoras: Xen. hell. 7.1.33–38; Demosth. or. 19.137. See in general Mosley 1973, 39–42. In some cases Greek communities sent presbeis autokratores, ambassadors with special powers, on missions abroad.Before 1973 the term presbeis autokratores received only brief discussion. In 1934 A. Heuss stated that the typical feature of presbeis autokratores was their authorization to negotiate freely without the power of swearing the oaths to a treaty unless the provisions were already known.Heuss 1934. He rejected the view of Poland 1885, 37 that presbeis autokratores could conclude treaties without consulting the Assembly. In his article on presbeia in Pauly-Wissowa, D. Kienast wrote:‘War also im allgemeinen der Verhandlungsspielraum der Gesandten durch den ihnen erteilten Auftrag begrenzt, so konnten doch in wichtigen Angelegenheiten πρέσβεις αὐτοκράτορες (oder τέλος ἔχοντες: Thuk. IV 118, 10. Tod 61, 25. Dazu Poland 36 f.) entsandt werden. Diese Gesandten hatten nicht allein das Recht, frei zu verhandeln, sondern konnten auch Verträge und Abmachungen schließen, die ihre Gemeinde banden.’Kienast 1973, 564–565.In his book ‘Envoys and Diplomacy in Ancient Greece’ of 1973, D. J. Mosley devoted a chapter to ‘ambassadors plenipotentiary’, his translation of the term presbeis autokratores. Mosley briefly examined some of the evidence for the term and came to the following conclusions.Mosley 1973, 30–38. First, according to Mosley, ‘in no instance of genuine negotiations was a delegation given free authority to accept terms of which there had been no previous consideration’.Mosley 1973, 35. He further noted that ‘In only one instance is it known that the envoys with full powers gave the oaths without reference home’ and that ‘In the episodes concerning Andocides and Theramenes there is ample demonstration that ambassadors plenipotentiary could not automatically commit their states to an agreement which had the binding force of international sanction’. Second, MosleyMosley 1973, 36. claimed that ‘it seems that ambassadors who were given full powers had little opportunity to use their own discretion in genuine negotiation.’ As a result, Mosley thought that the title presbeis autokratores was ‘a mark of respect to a major state to send envoys whose credentials bore the title plenipotentiaries.’ He further suggested that ‘the title of plenipotentiaries became gradually debased, just as that of an ambassador has been in modern diplomacy.’ Third, Mosley believed that ‘they, like most envoys, were chosen for their personal eminence rather than for purely administrative ability and that their position was definitely rather a special one’ but did not explain how their position was more special than that of normal ambassadors. Because they enjoyed an allegedly special status, their ‘recommendations may well have possessed sufficient weight for them to have been able to virtually commit their state as far as possible without the sovereign authorities forfeiting the right of formal ratification and direction of the administration of oaths.’ It is not clear what Mosley means by ‘virtually commit’ and Mosley does not illustrate with any specific example how this worked in practice. Finally, Mosley stated that there was no reason to doubt that ‘envoys who were appointed with full powers were not free from rendering accounts.’ His argument was that ‘Since envoys with full powers did have instructions it would be natural to suppose that they would be accountable.’ He therefore rejected the statement of the Suda (s.v. αὐτοκράτορα) that a person who was autokrator was not subject to euthynai, which he argued was based on a mistaken inference from a passage in Plato’s ‘Laws’ (875B).In 1987 A. Missiou-Ladi published a study of ‘Coercive Diplomacy in Greek Interstate Relations’ in which she discussed the term presbeis autokratores. She claimed that ‘ambassadors sent to capitulate were designated as presbeis autokratores’.Missiou-Ladi 1987, 337. In this form of diplomacy ‘one of the protagonists does not, for whatever reason, destroy his adversary through coercive diplomacy but tries to influence his motivation or will so that he eventually accepts any terms given’. She then examined two cases in which presbeis authokratores were sent: first, the negotiations leading to the surrender of Athens in 405 BCE, and, second, the ambassadors sent by the Olynthians to the Spartans in 397 BCE. In the first case, ‘the function of the embassy with Theramenes was not to discuss Athens’ proposals but to listen and finally take home Sparta’s declaration calling upon Athens to surrender ‘unconditionally’.Missiou-Ladi 1987, 341. In the second case, ‘consensus within the embassy may perhaps be seen as the principle that allowed the presbeis autokratores from Olynthus to accept and swear to the treaty proposed by Sparta’.Missiou-Ladi 1987, 342. Missiou-Ladi then discussed several embassies sent by states that were surrendering although in not one of these cases is the term presbeis autokratores found. She concluded that presbeis autokratores ‘were special envoys dispatched by a city to capitulate to its stronger opponent; they were not expected to make any proposals on behalf of their own city but only to accept, either by ‘signing’ or taking back home, whatever the conqueror wanted to propose.’Missiou-Ladi 1987, 344. Although her explanation applies in some measure to these two cases, it does not apply to other situations in which the term presbeis autokratores is used such as the negotiations between the Spartans and the Athenians in 421 about the peace of Nicias (Thuc. 5.45) or those in 369/8 about the alliance between the Athenians and the Peloponnesians (Xen. hell. 7.1.1–14).In an essay on the term presbeis autokratores in ‘On the Peace’ attributed to Andocides, Pownall followed much of Mosley’s analysis without examining the evidence for the term in other sources. In general, she agreed that ‘these “full powers” were in point of fact quite limited and such ambassadors had little discretion in negotiation’ and that ‘presbeis autokratores were sent specifically when there was little need or opportunity for negotiation.’Pownall, 1995, 145. Pownall lists other cases of this type of ambassador in note 23 but does not analyze them in detail. On the other hand, she noted that in some cases ‘presbeis autokratores could be employed with the authority to execute on the spot the decision already reached by the state which had sent them. In this way, there would be no unnecessary delay in making the agreement binding.’In the case of the Athenian ambassadors sent to Sparta mentioned in ‘On the Peace’, she claims without evidence that they were sent with instructions ‘not to accept the peace terms as proposed.’Pownall 1995, 146. Cf. 147: ‘on an embassy not to accept the peace terms.’ She suggests that the only reason to send the embassy was to keep on good terms with Persia. After the Spartan victory at Lechaeum the ambassadors decided to ‘defy their instructions and give at least a provisional acceptance (that is, one dependent upon final ratification by the Athenian Assembly) to the peace terms offered by Sparta.’Pownall 1995, 147. After the ambassadors returned to Athens and recommended acceptance of the peace, the Athenians were still not prepared to accept the treaty and ‘expressed their disapproval not merely by a rejection of the proposed treaty but by condemning the ambassadors.’Pownall 1995, 148.In an essay published in 2000 about the authenticity of the speech ‘On the Peace’ attributed to Andocides, I analyzed many of the passages in which the term presbeis autokratores occurs and divided them into two categories: first, cases in which one state surrenders to another state, and second, cases in which two states negotiate about the terms of a treaty previously concluded.Harris 2000, 487–495. I also observed that in no set of negotiations did two states each send presbeis autokratores to each other. In all cases, one side sent presbeis autokratores to the other. I noted that in ‘On the Peace’ the missions of the presbeis autokratores do not fit into either of these categories and that both Sparta and Athens sent presbeis autokratores to each other during the alleged negotiations of 391 BCE. These two departures from the standard use of presbeis autokratores were adduced as evidence against the authenticity of ‘On the Peace’.The overall case I made against the authenticity of ‘On the Peace’ was accepted by Martin 2009, 220, note 4; Conwell 2008, 220; Couvenhes 2012, 109–114; Canevaro 2019, 136–157, at 140; and Zaccarini 2017, 34, note 46 (‘probably a gross forgery’). On the attempt by Rhodes 2016, 182–186, to defend the authenticity of the speech see below.In an essay published in 2013 A. Magnetto revisited the topic and studied all the cases in which presbeis autokratores were sent as well as cases in which ambassadors ‘having authorization’ were sent (e.g. IG I3 61, lines 24–27; Thuc. 4.118.10).Magnetto 2013, 236–237. In response to my view that presbeis autokratores were employed in only two situations, Magnetto claims that they were used in other kinds of situations. She rejects Mosley’s view that the title presbeis autokratores was only honorary and claims that they must have had a distinct institutional role. What that role was is not made clear in her analysis. She concentrates on two issues: the power to negotiate and the power to conclude binding agreements on behalf of their community. Magnetto also assumes that ‘On the Peace’ is a genuine work of Andocides. She contrasts ambassadors sent on missions in which there was a possibility of negotiation and those in which there was not any possibility of negotiation but does not indicate how the role of presbeis autokratores differed from that of regular ambassadors in each case. She notes that in the case of the presbeis autokratores sent by the Olynthians in 379 they did have the power to swear the oaths for a treaty. On the other hand, Magnetto claims that swearing oaths to a treaty was not one of the distinctive features of presbeis autokratores (‘Tuttavia è lecito domandarsi se quest’unico criterio – la menzione del giuramento dei delegati – sia davvero efficace e decisivo per definire compiutamente le loro prerogative. La risposta è, a mio avviso, negative, per due ragioni.’).Magnetto 2013, 236. Yet she then makes the claim that ‘the oath itself did not guarantee the enforcement of a treaty’ but does not explain what was required beyond swearing the oaths by presbeis autokratores to guarantee enforcement. Magnetto notes the treaty between Alexander and the presbeis autokratores sent by Aspendus (Arr. an. 1.26.2–3), but in this case Alexander certainly considered the treaty binding because he punished the people of Aspendus when they violated the terms of the treaty (Arr. an. 1.27.1–4). She next attempts to support this claim by citing the negotiations between King Ptolemy V and the Achaean League (Pol. 22.35–6 and 9.1–12).Magnetto 2013, 236–237. What rendered the treaty between King Ptolemy V and the Achaean League invalid however was the confusion about its precise terms (it was not clear which alliance the parties had ratified), not the fact that oaths were insufficient to conclude a treaty. Magnetto cites an essay by Lonis about oaths for interstate agreements,Magnetto 2013, 236, note 31. but Lonis actually states that all Greek treaties became effective when the oaths were sworn.Lonis 1980, 267: ‘l’accord est toujours scellé par un serment.’ Cf. Low 2007, 119: ‘The swearing of the oaths by the parties to the treaty represents the sign that the treaty has been accepted by both sides.’ Lonis doubts that the oaths sworn to a treaty were effective in assuring that the parties would abide by their terms in the future, but that is another matter. Not all the arguments of Lonis are convincing. He claims that oaths bounds only those who swore to them, but this ignores passages indicating that officials could swear oaths ‘on behalf of’ their community, which effectively bound all members. See Xen. hell. 5.1.32. At the end of her study, she claims that the Greeks used the term presbeis autokratores with a precise connotation and with an awareness of indicating a specific instrument of Greek diplomacy (‘con una connotazione e precisa e con la consapevolezza di indicare uno strumento specifico della diplomazia greca’). Yet at the same time she paradoxically finds ‘a lack of precision and coherence’ (‘la loro mancanza di precisione e di coerenza’) in their use of the term.Magnetto 2013, 240. It is difficult to understand how Magnetto can hold these contradictory views. Yet she claims that presbeis autokratores had wide negotiating powers, drafted the provisions of a treaty, and their decisions had an immediate impact on community life but never explains how presbeis autokratores differed from regular ambassadors. As seen above, she equivocates on the issue of the power of presbeis autokratores to conclude treaties and cannot explain why presbeis autokratores have one set of powers in one set of circumstances and another set of powers in different circumstances. She also agrees with Mosley that like other officials presbeis autokratores were accountable for their conduct.After these analyses, which attempt to reduce the powers of presbeis autokratores to a single set of prerogatives and do not explain the variations in their powers, it is clear that the topic requires fresh study. This essay takes a new approach. First, we need to examine the term autokrator and see how it is used in other contexts. Officials can be given special powers for different reasons. We should therefore not rule out the possibility that ambassadors were given special powers for different reasons in different circumstances. In each case we should seek the specific rationale for granting special powers. Second, we need to examine how presbeis autokratores are different from other ambassadors. Only by comparing the activities of presbeis autokratores with those of regular ambassadors can we discover what is distinctive about the former. Third, we should not examine the passages about presbeis autokratores in ‘On the Peace’ until after examining the use of the term in reliable sources. We must first look at reliable sources and compare the evidence in these sources with the information found in ‘On the Peace’. If the use of the term in ‘On the Peace’ is not consistent with its use in reliable sources, this finding should be considered additional evidence against the authenticity of ‘On the Peace’.The Meaning of Autokrator when Applied to Officials and Official BodiesThe term autokrator is found in the account given by Andocides (1.15) about the events of 415.For discussion see Esu 2018, 61–62. Andocides recalls that Teucer, a metic who had left and gone to Megara, announced that he would provide information about the parody of the Mysteries if the Council would grant him immunity. The Council then voted to give him immunity ‘because it had the power to do so’ (ἦν γὰρ αὐτοκράτωρ). As a result, Teucer gained immunity and named names. The word autokrator shows that the Council had a specific power, namely, to grant immunity, which it normally did not have.Cf. MacDowell 1962, 74: ‘This phrase appears to imply that the council did not normally have the power to confer immunity.’ MacDowell does not observe that normally the Assembly had this power. One should note that prior to this part of the narrative, Andocides (1.11–12) states that the Assembly granted Andromachus immunity in return for information, which was the normal procedure.For the Assembly granting immunity see Thuc. 2.24; 6.27; IG I3 52B, lines 12–17; [Aristot.] Ath. pol. 45.8. The verb in the imperfect indicates that the Council held this power at this time and implies that it did not hold this power anymore. In other words, the power to grant immunity was a special power granted temporarily in an emergency and one outside the Council’s normal jurisdiction.There is a similar use of the term autokrator in regard to the Council in two inscriptions. One is a decree for three Boeotian proxenoi dated to 424/3 BCE (IG I3 73). The prytaneis and the generals are ordered to bring Potamodorus before the Council and Assembly (lines 5–7) and Potamodorus and Eurytion are granted the privilege of access to the Council and Assembly when they are in Athens (lines 12–16). The Council is then given the power to vote about anything they need (lines 39–40: hε δὲ βο]λέ, ἐὰν το δέ[οντ]|[αι,] αὐτο[κράτορ ἔστο τὸ δέον φσεφίζεσ]θαι). The phrase does not grant the Council general or unfettered power but only the power to take decisions about these two men and to implement the general aims of the decree of the Assembly.For discussion see Esu 2018, 54–58. The other inscription is a decree dated to 413/2 BCE about the cult of the Thracian god Bendis (IG I3 136). The fragmentary decree lays down rules about finances, cult taxes and sacrifices, then directs the Council to do anything additional that is needed as it decides (lines 36–37: [. . . hoπόσον δ ̓ ἂν προσδέει παρὰ τ]|[αῦτ]α, τὲν βολὲν αὐτοκράτορα ἐ͂ναι [ποε̃ν καθότι ἂν αὐτε̃ι δοκε̃ι).For similar clause with the adjective kyria see IG II2 127 (356/5), lines 34–5; 204 (352/1), lines 85–6; 435 (after 336), lines 7–9; 1629 (325/4), lines 264–69. For the pairing of the terms kyrios and autokrator [Aristot.] Ath. pol. 39.1. One should note that the power of the Council was also limited in these cases by the law that limited the validity of its decrees to one year. See Demosth. or. 23.92 with Harris 2019, 86–93, Rhodes 1972, 63. The contents of the decree make it clear what the powers of the Council are in respect to the cult and its duties.For discusssion see Esu 2018, 62–67. The use of the term autokrator for the Council given special powers is similar to the clauses making the Council kyria to perform certain tasks. In the Charter of the Second Athenian League the Council is given the authority (κυ[ρ]ίαν εἶναι) to destroy any stelai with provisions contrary to those found in the charter (IG II2 43 [378/7], lines 31–35). In 346 BCE the Assembly made the Council responsible for supervising the departure of the Second Embassy to King Philip (Demosth. or. 19.154).For discussion of these clauses see Esu 2018, 75–104.In a decree of the Assembly dating around 433 BCE, the Assembly gives Diocleides the power to found the colony at Brea (IG I3 46, line 12–13).For the circumstances and date see Psoma 2009. The decree states that Diocleides is to have power and then specifies the task he is to perform. In his account of the events of 411, Thucydides (8.67.3) recounts that Peisander proposed that ten men be elected as commissioners (xyngrapheis) and that they have powers. What these powers were is specified in the next phrase: they were to draft a proposal to be brought to the Assembly on a certain day about how best to administer the state. It is clear that these commissioners had only the power to make a proposal, which the Assembly could either enact or reject.For a similar grant of power to draw up proposals for constitutional matters see the isopoliteia between Xanthos and Myra in Bousquet – Gauthier 1994, 321, line 9 (συνεγράψαμεν ἔχοντες τὴν κυριείαν). Note that this kind of officials are not called ambassadors. When the Assembly met, the commissioners brought forward these proposals (no pay for office, a Council of Four Hundred, and consultation of the Five Thousand), which were ratified by the Assembly (Thuc. 8.69.1). Normally, the power of formulating proposals and introducing them to the Assembly was in the power of the Council, but in this special circumstance, the commissioners were to be given this power on an ad hoc basis. It is important to observe that despite granting this special power, the Assembly reserved its right to make the final decision.In 415 the Assembly voted to make Alcibiades, Nicias and Lamachus generals with the power (autokratores) to help the people of Segesta, to restore the people of Leontini and to do anything else in Sicily that they thought best for the Athenians (Thuc. 6.8.2). The term autokratores does not mean that they gave the generals “carte blanche” to do whatever they wanted to, but rather the power to perform specific tasks in Sicily. The generals had some discretion, but this discretion was to be exercised within certain limits specified in the decree.Cf. Dover in Gomme – Andrewes – Dover 1970, 228 (‘As a rule, the respect in which an official is made αὐτοκράτωρ is specified [e.g. 26.1, IG I2. 91.9] or obvious from the context [e.g. v.45.2, And. i.15]. If we are to be guided by the context here, the generals were empowered to decide, without reference back to Athens, when the objects detailed in βοηθοὺς μὲν κ.τ.λ. had been effected, and to decide on the military and diplomatic means to be used.’). Later the Athenian Assembly also voted to make the same generals autokratores to do whatever they thought best both about the size of the army (περὶ στρατιᾶς πλήθους) and about the entire voyage (περὶ τοῦ παντὸς τοῦ πλοῦ) (Thuc. 6.26.1). Once again, the powers granted to the generals were specified. They were given powers within certain limits to carry out specific tasks. In each case, the powers granted were slightly different. In his account of the measures taken by the Syracusans in 415/4 BCE, Thucydides (6.72.5) states that Hermocrates recommended that it was necessary to elect a few generals with special powers (αὐτοκράτορας) and to swear an oath to them to allow them to lead in whatever way they wished. This would ensure that what needed to be kept secret would not be revealed and that other matters would be orderly and prepared without delay. The new power of the generals is specified and allows them to make plans in secret and without consulting the Assembly. The context reveals the nature of the powers given to the generals. Thucydides (1.126.8) also uses the term to describe powers given to the nine archons about Cylon and his followers. After the Athenians besieged Cylon and his followers on the Acropolis, they became exhausted by the siege, and most departed after entrusting the task of guarding the citadel to the nine archons and giving them the power (αὐτοκράτορσι) to manage (διαθεῖναι) the situation as they saw best. The archons were given a special power in a particular situation in regard to Cylon and his followers. The use of the term is probably anachronistic, but once again the limited power given to those who are autokratores is implied by the context.Gomme 1945, 426: ‘Thucydides’ use of the word is probably anachronistic’.Thucydides (5.27.2, 28.1) also uses the term autokratores about the powers granted to a board of officials at Argos established in 421 BCE. After the conclusion of the Peace of Nicias, the Corinthians advised the Argives to pass a decree allowing any independent Greek city to conclude a defensive alliance with the Argives. The applications would be heard by a board of elected officials without going before the Assembly. The Argives followed this advice and voted to elect twelve men to whom any community that wished could make a defensive alliance except the Spartans and the Athenians.Magnetto 2013, 228 claims that these officials form an exception to the two categories I identified, but this is not correct because these officials are not ambassadors who are sent abroad to a foreign community with proposals. If they are to be included in this category, this example would contradict her claim that officials who are autokratores could not conclude agreements binding on their communities. Alliances were then made with the Mantineans (Thuc. 5.29), the people of Elis (Thuc. 5.31.2–5), and the Corinthians together with the Chalcidians of Thrace (Thuc. 5.31.6). As in the other cases above, the powers implied by the term autokratores are clearly delimited. One finds a similar use of the term in the speech ‘Against Neaira’ of Apollodorus ([Demosth.] or. 59.80). When the Areopagus discovered that Theogenes as basileus was married to a woman who was neither an Athenian citizen nor a virgin when she married, the members were about to impose punishment on Theogenes in secret to the extent that they were authorized. Apollodorus notes that they do not have the power to punish in any way they wish (οὐ αὐτοκράτορές εἰσι ὡς ἂν βουλώνται Ἀθηναίων τινὰ κολάσαι). In these cases however the term is used to indicate powers inherent in a certain office as opposed to special powers granted on an ad hoc basis.Demosthenes (19.173) uses the term autokrator to denote actions over which he had control in contrast to actions subject to the decision of the other ambassadors. As MacDowell 2000, 275, observes, the word does not mean that Demosthenes had ‘been given some formal power.’This analysis of the use of autokrator is important for the analysis of the term presbeis autokratores. First, it is clear that the Council when it was autokrator for some specific task was not a different institution from the normal Council. It still consisted of five hundred members selected by lot serving for a year with certain traditional duties. The Council that was made autokrator was the normal Council that performed the normal duties of the Council but was given a specific power for one specific task during a limited period of time. The same can be stated for other officials: when the generals were made autokratores, they did not become a different institution or a different type of general, but were generals who were given special power outside their normal powers for a limited amount of time for a specific task.Rhodes 1981, 402 claims that those who were autokratores ‘were given a free hand to do a particular job with less interference or need to secure approval of their actions than they would otherwise be subject to, but precisely how far and in what respects they were to be free tends not to be specified’. Pace Rhodes, as the evidence examined here shows, the powers granted to those who were autokratores are for the most part carefully specified. Todd 2007, 451, note 14 uncritically follows Rhodes. One should also note that this special power might differ according to circumstances. In one case officials might be made autokratores to perform one task, but in another they might be made autokratores to perform another kind of task. If we apply this finding to ambassadors, we can see that presbeis autokratores were not a different type of ambassadors, but ambassadors who were given a special power that ambassadors did not normally have. Yet in other respects they were just like normal ambassadors: they were appointed by one state to go to another state and convey messages about international agreements. On the other hand, they could be given one type of special power in one situation but another kind of special power in another case.Presbeis Autokratores Sent to Initiate Negotiations about an Alliance or a TreatyIt is best to start with the more detailed accounts about the role of presbeis autokratores in negotiations. In 405/4 during the siege of Athens by King Agis, the Athenians sent several embassies to the Spartans, the last of which contained presbeis autokratores. Xenophon gives a detailed narrative, which can be supplemented by information provided by other sources.On Xenophon’s account see Kelly 2019, 275–301. The first embassy was sent to King Agis with a proposal to join the Spartan alliance in return for keeping their walls and the Piraeus (Xen. hell. 2.2.11). Agis told them to go to Sparta because he did not have the authority to make a decision (Xen. hell. 2.2.12). When the ambassadors reached the border at Sellasia, the ephors heard their proposals and ordered them to return to Athens and send better proposals (Xen. hell. 2.2.13).Krentz 1982, 32–33 believes that the ephors came to Sellasia to give their reply, but Kelly 2019, 278–279 believes that they only sent a message. After they returned, they reported the Spartan rejection, and the people became despondent (Xen. hell. 2.2.14). At a meeting of the Council, Archestratus recommended that the Athenians make peace on the terms offered by the Spartans, one of which was to tear down the long walls for ten stades. Archestratus alludes to the proposals made by an earlier Spartan embassy and rejected by Cleophon, events which are reported by Lysias (13.6–8. Cf. Aeschin. 2.76) but not by Xenophon. Archestratus was thrown into prison and a decree passed forbidding any discussion of these terms (Xen. hell. 2.2.15).This was probably a decree of the Assembly. See Kelly 2019 (note 38), 280.At this juncture Theramenes asked to be sent as ambassador to Lysander. This was a fact-finding mission aimed at discovering whether the demand about destroying the walls was an attempt to enslave Athens or requested as a pledge of good faith. According to Xenophon (hell. 2.2.16–17), Theramenes stayed with Lysander for three months and returned to Athens and reported that Lysander told him to go to Sparta. At this point, the Athenians sent Theramenes with nine others as presbeis autokratores to Sparta. Lysias (13.9–11) gives a different version and says that Theramenes was appointed autokrator when he was sent to Lysander, but seems to combine his mission to Lysander with his later mission to Sparta.See Kelly 2019, 281–282: ‘Lysias does not provide us with firm ground, as he appears to have conflated the two missions of Theramenes into one and is our only authority for the exceptional powers allegedly voted to him and the unfufilled boast that he would negotiate more favourable terms.’ Cf. Magnetto 2013, 233–234: ‘Non abbiamo certezza sulla veridicità storica di questo dettaglio, che si inserisce in un racconto non privo di inesattezze cronologiche, sapientemente dosate per ottenere i risultati voluti.’ At Sellasia, the ephors asked the Athenian ambassadors what their mission was. They replied that they had come as autokratores to discuss peace (Xen. hell. 2.2.19). It is clear that these ambassadors were not bringing a set of proposals to present to the Spartans.Cf. Magnetto 2013, 233: ‘Atene non pone più alcuna condizione, i suoi ambasciatori sono abilitati a discutere della pace sulle basi che vorranno porre gli Spartiani (e i loro alleati).’ At a meeting of the Spartan assembly with representatives from Thebes and Corinth, proposals were debated.For the debate see Kelly 2019, 285–293 with discussion of the various sources. The Spartans finally offered to make peace on the following terms: the Long Walls and the fortifications of the Piraeus are to be destroyed; all ships are to be surrendered except for twelve; the exiles are to be restored; and the Athenians are to have the same friends and enemies as the Spartans and to follow their leadership on land and sea (Xen. hell. 2.2.20). Theramenes and the other ambassadors brought these proposals back to Athens where the Assembly debated them and finally accepted the Spartan version of the treaty (Xen. hell. 2.2.21–22). It is important to note the difference between the first Athenian embassy, which presents Athenian proposals to the Spartans but does not negotiate, and the embassy with presbeis autokratores which comes with an open mandate to discuss peace and receives a proposal from the Spartans, which is brought back to Athens.Cf. Missiou-Ladi 1987, 341: ‘the function of the embassy with Theramenes was not to discuss Athens’ proposals but to listen and finally to take home Sparta’s declaration calling upon Athens to surrender “unconditionally”.’Missiou-Ladi does not however notice the different instructions given to the presbeis autokratores. The other significant feature is that the embassy with presbeis autokratores has the power to negotiate but cannot make a decision binding on the Athenians; the proposal they bring back to Athens has to be ratified in the Assembly.Cf. Heuss 1934, 26: ‘Wie der Fortgang der Erzählung beweist, wird mit αὐτοκράτωρ keine Ermächtigung zum endgültigen Abschluß des Vertrages gemeint.’ Magnetto 2013, 235: ‘Teramene e i suoi colleghi [. . .] annunciano al popolo ateniese le condizioni di pace chiedendo di acocogliere, in un prendere o lasciare che non ha più margini di trattativa.’ The powers held by the presbeis autokratores are clearly implied in the narrative.During the Theban invasion of the Peloponnese (370/69), the Spartans and their allies sent an embassy to Athens to ask for help (Xen. hell. 6.5.49). After a debate in the Assembly, the Athenians voted to send help to the Spartans (Xen. hell. 6.5.49). The next year, the Spartans and their allies sent another embassy to Athens, this one with presbeis autokratores (Xen. hell. 7.1.1). In this case, the Spartan ambassadors who come as presbeis autokratores do not come with specific proposals but to discuss the terms of the alliance between the Spartans and the Athenians (βουλευσόμενοι καθ᾽ ὅ τι ἡ συμμαχία Λακεδαιμονίους καὶ Ἀθηναίους ἔσοιτο). During the debate in the Assembly, Procles from Phleious supports the proposal of the Council to have the Athenians hold the command on the sea and the Spartans to hold the command on land (Xen. hell. 7.1.2–11). After his speech, Cephisodorus arose and made a different proposal: the Athenians and the Spartans should each hold command for five days at a time (Xen. hell. 7.1.12–13). The Spartans had clearly come to discuss proposals because Cephisodorus asks the Spartan ambassador Timocrates to respond to a question about the treaty (Xen. hell. 7.1.13–14). The Athenians then voted to accept this proposal (Xen. hell. 7.1.14). In this case again, presbeis autokratores come to discuss an issue about an alliance with an open mandate, offer no specific proposals, and accept a proposal made by the other side.Pownall 1995, 145 claims that the reason for sending presbeis autokratores would be ‘to bring to a speedy conclusion negotiations in which there was little room for movement,’ but the negotiations in this case and the case described by Aeschines (3.63) show that there was some room to negotiate in two cases in which presbeis autokratores were sent. There is no reason to believe that Aeschines mentions that these ambassadors came to swear the oaths to the treaty because we know that it was Philip who swore the oaths to the treaty (Aeschin. 2.102–3 and Dem. 19.151–2). Xenophon skips over the rest of the negotiations but implies that the Spartan ambassadors took these proposals back home where they were accepted because the alliance continued.In his speech Against Ctesiphon delivered in 330 Aeschines (3.63) says that the negotiations with Philip of Macedon began when Philocrates passed a decree calling for the election of ten ambassadors to travel to the king and to ask him to send ambassadors with full powers (πρέσβεις αὐτοκράτορας) to Athens about peace (ὑπὲρ εἰρήνης). This appears to be the same decree Aeschines (2.18–19) mentions in his speech of 343, but in this version Aeschines says only that the decree called for the election of ten ambassadors who would discuss with Philip peace and matters of common benefit. This later version is supported by the evidence of the decree, which was read out. This is not the place to discuss the different versions given by Aeschines about the negotiations in Elaphebolion of 346. To understand why he adds the detail about ambassadors with full powers in the later speech, we need to examine the rest of the speech given in 330.For analysis of the different versions of these meetings see Harris 1995, 70–74. If the Macedonian ambassadors who came in 346 were sent as presbeis autokratores, this would mean that they had the power to negotiate with the Athenians, that is, to listen to proposals made by the Athenians and to discuss them. Aeschines (3.68) then recalls that after the Macedonian ambassadors arrived in Athens, Demosthenes passed a decree calling for two meetings of the Assembly, one on 18 Elaphebolion, the other on 19 Elaphebolion. At the first meeting, Aeschines (3.69–70) claims to have supported a resolution of the allies calling for peace without an alliance and with the possibility of other Greek states joining and the establishment of a synedrion to punish those violating the peace. According to Aeschines (3.71–72), on the next day Demosthenes arose and said that the discussion on the previous day was useless and that the Athenians could not ‘rip off’ the alliance from the peace. He then called Antipater to the platform and asked him a question. Aeschines does not say how Antipater responded, but as a result of the discussion, the proposal of Philocrates was voted, which implies the resolution of the allies was rejected. The reason why Aeschines adds the detail about the Macedonian ambassadors being autokratores is that he wants to create the impression that there was a possibility of negotiating with them in 346. Had Demosthenes not coached them to give a certain answer, the resolution of the allies might have been accepted instead. Once more, we see that ambassadors who came with full powers did not just present a fixed proposal but were in a position to negotiate about the terms of a treaty.After the defeat of the Greek forces at Crannon in 322 BCE, Antipater led his army to Thebes. The Athenians no longer had the support of their allies and held a meeting of the Assembly about what to do (Plut. Phoc. 26.1–2).Pownall 1995, 145 with notes 22 and 23 does not analyze this example of presbeis autokratores. Even though Demades had lost his right to speak in the Assembly, the Athenians granted him immunity, which allowed him to pass a decree calling for the Athenians to send presbeis autokratores to Antipater about peace. Phocion, Demades and several others were sent to negotiate with Antipater (Diod. 18.18.2). When they met, Phocion requested that Antipater remain in Boeotia and not invade Attica (Plut. Phoc. 26.3). Strictly speaking this was a request and had nothing to do with the terms of the treaty. According to Plutarch (Phoc. 26.3), despite the protest of Craterus, Antipater agreed to grant Phocion this favor, but said that as for the terms of the peace, the victors would set them. Diodorus (18.18.3) has a slightly different version but states that Antipater insisted that if the Athenians entrust their affairs to him (τὰ καθ᾽ἑαυτοὺς ἐπιτρέψουσιν αὐτῷ) he would not invade Attica. According to Plutarch (Phoc. 27.1), the ambassadors presented these proposals to the Assembly, which ratified them under pressure. Phocion and the ambassadors returned to Thebes where Antipater imposed his conditions: the Athenians surrender Demosthenes and Hyperides, return to their ancestral constitution on the basis of a property qualification, receive a garrison in the Munychia, and pay the costs of the war and a fine. Diodorus (18.18.3–4) gives a similar account about the ratification and the conditions. Despite the slightly different details, it is clear that Phocion and the other ambassadors came to Antipater with an open mandate to discuss terms and received those terms from Antipater, which were then ratified by the Assembly. The initial condition set by Antipater was that the Athenians turn over their affairs to him without specifying his exact terms, which were given after ratification.In the next example the negotiations in which presbeis autokratores participate are sabotaged by Alcibiades and do not lead to an agreement. In 420 BCE the Spartans sent presbeis autokratores to the Athenians. During the previous year, the Athenians and the Spartans had concluded the Peace of Nicias (Thuc. 5.18). A year later, the Athenians were angry because they believed that the Spartans had not honored their promises about Panactum and about an alliance with the Boeotians (Thuc. 5.43). Alcibiades tried to exploit this tension by inviting the Argives to come to Athens with representatives from Mantinea and Elis (Thuc. 5.43–44.2). To prevent an alliance between Athens and Argos, the Spartans reacted by sending an embassy and intended to exchange Pylos for Panactum and to reassure the Athenians about their alliance with Boeotia (Thuc. 5.44.3). When they reported to the Council, the Spartan ambassadors stated that they had come with full powers to negotiate about all their disputes (Thuc. 5.45.1: αὐτοκράτορες . . . περὶ πάντων ξυμβῆναι τῶν διαφόρων) but did not mention the proposal about Panactum. There were other ambassadors in Athens at the time, but they were negotiating about a different and separate issue and not involved in the negotiations between Athens and Sparta, which were striclty bilateral. What is important to note is that the Spartan ambassadors came with an open mandate to discuss existing disputes.Hornblower 2008, 105 does not discuss the term and only refers to Cawkwell 1977, 70, note 4, who merely states ‘Ambassadors could be fully empowered αὐτοκράτορες but only within limits, stated or understood’ without any citation of ancient evidence or modern scholarship. This description does not see the difference between regular ambassadors and presbeis autokratores, both of whom received orders. After relying on Cawkwell’s vague statement, Hornblower then devotes two entire pages to a literary analysis of the word μηχανᾶται, which reflects his priorities. This frightened Alcibiades, who wished to sabotage relations between Athens and Sparta. Alcibiades therefore told the Spartan ambassadors that when reporting to the Assembly, if they would not say that they had come with full powers (ἢν μὴ ὁμολογήσωσιν ἐν τῷ δήμῳ αὐτοκράτορες ἥκειν), he would arrange the return of Pylos and the resolution of other disputes (Thuc. 5.45.2). When the Assembly met, Alcibiades double-crossed the Spartans: after they stated that they had not come with full powers as they had in the Council (οὐκ ἔφασαν ὥσπερ ἐν τῇ βουλῇ αὐτοκράτορες ἥκειν. Cf. 5.46.1), Alcibiades denounced them for saying one thing in the Council and another in the Assembly. He thereby succeeded in making the Athenians angry and willing to conclude an alliance with the Argives (Thuc. 5.45.4).In an attempt to repair relations between Athens and Sparta, Nicias persuaded the Athenians to send an embassy to Sparta with proposals that they rebuild Panactum, return it with Amphipolis and renounce their alliance with the Boeotians (Thuc. 5.46.1–2). The Athenians sent them with these instructions. When these ambassadors arrived in Sparta, they presented these proposals with the threat to conclude an alliance with the Argives, but the Spartans rejected their proposals (Thuc. 5.46.4). What is significant here is the difference between the remit of the Spartan embassy and that of the Athenian embassy. The Spartan embassy came with an open mandate to negotiate but did not present specific proposals to the Council.Gomme in Gomme – Dover – Andrews 1970, 52 does not understand the difference between regular ambassadors and ambassadors with full powers (‘Such “full powers” need not amount to much’) but realizes that they could not commit their city to any conditions. Hatzfeld 1951, 91–92, thought that the Spartans had nothing new to offer, but this misunderstands the remit of ambassadors with full powers. It is interesting to compare the account in Plutarch (Alc. 14; Cf. Nic. 10.4–5), who clearly drew on Thucydides but elaborated on this narrative.Gomme in Gomme – Andrews – Dover 1970, 51: ‘Plutarch elaborates part of Thucydides’ narrative.’ Plutarch (Alc. 14.7) claims that Alcibiades told the Spartans to deny in the Assembly that they had come with full powers (κύριοι . . . αὐτοκράτορες) because if they did, the Athenians would make demands (προστάττων καὶ βιαζόμενος), which they would not do if they had not come with full powers. It is not clear if Plutarch completely understood the full meaning of the term, but he saw that there was a difference between the two types of embassies and that Spartan ambassadors with full powers had the authority to receive proposals from the Athenians.In contrast to the Spartan embassy, the embassy of Nicias, which was not an embassy with full powers, made specific proposals to the Spartans, which the Spartans then rejected. Another important point is that Alcibiades was worried that if the Spartan ambassadors reported to the Assembly that they had come with full powers, the Athenians would have viewed them favorably, which would have increased the chance of a settlement. By contrast, when the Athenians presented proposals to the Spartans, the Spartans reacted negatively. We will return to this point.The use of presbeis autokratores by the Carthaginians in 480 BCE appears to fall into this same category. After their defeat at Himera in 480 BC, the Cathaginians send presbeis autokratores to negotiate with Gelon. Gelon imposed conditions, which the ambassadors brought back to Carthage, and the Carthaginians accepted his terms. Here we find the same pattern as in other negotiations about capitulation: the presbeis autokratores are given an open mandate by the defeated community, and the victor imposes conditions, which the presbeis autokratores bring back to their community for ratification (Diod. 11.24.3–4; 26.2–3).In these cases the powers given to presbeis autokratores are either explicitly or implicitly specified. The ambassadors go with an open mandate and can negotiate about proposals made by the other side. They can also bring back proposals made by the other community, but must bring them back to their own community for ratification. In none of these cases do presbeis autokratores accept proposals made by the other side and conclude an agreement without the approval of their community. When presbeis autokratores are given an open mandate, they are not given the power to swear the oaths to a treaty.Presbeis Autokratores Empowered to Swear the Oaths to a TreatyIn the examples studied so far presbeis autokratores are involved in negotiations about a treaty and are empowered to receive proposals from the foreign state and bring them back for ratification. In the following cases presbeis autokratores are authorized to take the oaths on behalf of their own city after the treaty has been ratified. In 380/79 the Spartans besieged the Olynthians and reduced them to starvation because they could not collect food from their territory or import it by sea (Xen. hell. 5.3.26; Cf. Diod. 15.23.3). This situation compelled them send presbeis autokratores about peace. These ambassadors came to Sparta and made the agreement (συνθήκας ἐποιήσαντο) to have the same friends and enemies as the Spartans, to follow wherever they would lead, and to be allies. These ambassadors swore the oaths to abide by these conditions (ὀμόσαντες ταύταις ἐμμενεῖν) and returned home. It is clear that the Olynthians decided to accept the treaty before the ambassadors left for Sparta. The ambassadors were not empowered to discuss terms for peace, which were already set and accepted by the Olynthians, but to take the oaths on behalf of their community. This is a different use of the term for which there are several parallels in Hellenistic inscriptions that we will examine later. In the previous cases, ratification followed the return of the presbeis autokratores with proposals made by the other party.Missiou-Ladi 1987, 342 sees the difference between the role of presbeis autokratores led by Theramenes in 405/4 and those sent by Olynthus, but tries to explain the difference on the grounds that ‘consensus within the embassy may perhaps be seen as the principle that allowed the presbeis autokratores from Olynthos to accept and swear to the tresty proposed by Sparta, whereas dissension among themselves forced the Athenian presbeis autokratores in 405 to refer the proposals to their assembly’. There is however no evidence for disagreement among the Athenian ambassadors. The difference between the two embassies is the result of different situations giving rise to different orders for each embassy. In this case the decision to accept terms preceded the sending of the presbeis autokratores, who had a different remit.There is no reason to believe that the Spartans insisted that the Olynthians leave the cities of the Chalcidian League autonomous because the league continued its existence after 379. See Psoma 2001, 228–231. The Olynthians clearly knew what terms the Spartans expected them to accept and sent ambassadors with instructions to swear the oaths to these terms.Cf. Heuss 1934, 27: ‘Dazu kommt, daß es nicht ausgeschlossen ist, daß die Gesandten die Vollmacht bekommen hatten, unter diesen bestimmten typischen Bedingungen den Vertrag abzuschließen, d.h. diese werden den Olynthiern schon bekannt gewesen sein.’ He compares the use of presbeis autokratores in OGIS 229, line 27. Heuss sees this as an exception to the normal practice, but adduces several similar cases. What is unusual about the role of ambassadors in this case is their power to swear the oaths on behalf of their community.Mosley 1961, 59–63. Normally, the leading officials of a community swore the oaths to a treaty, but in this case ambassadors were given this authority instead.The next two examples are recounted in Arrian’s Anabasis. In 334/3 BCE when Alexander marched from Perge, presbeis autokratores from Aspendus met him on the road, surrendering their city to him and asking him not to impose a garrison (Arr. an. 1.26.2–3).Bosworth 1980, 166 does not comment on the use of the term. They gained their request about the garrison, but Alexander ordered them to give fifty talents to his army for pay and the horses that they raised as tribute for the Persian king. The ambassadors agreed about the money and to turn over the horses.In 326/5 BCE from the Oxydracae the leaders of the cities, the nomarchs and one hundred and fifty of their most distinguished men came to Alexander with full powers to discuss a treaty, bringing very great gifts and surrendering their tribe (ethnos) (Arr. an. 6.14.1–3). The next phrase makes it clear that they came as ambassadors (πρεσβευσάμενοι). Unlike ambassadors from Greek states, who are elected by the assembly, however, these ambassadors were leaders of the community and therefore had the power to negotiate. These leaders apologized for not approaching Alexander earlier, then requested freedom and autonomy. They offered to accept a satrap, pay the tribute set by the king, and to send as many hostages as he wished. Alexander demanded one thousand men either to be kept as hostages or to serve in his army until his campaign in India was over. The Oxydracae sent the thousand hostages and voluntarily in addition five hundred chariots with drivers. Alexander returned the hostages but kept the chariots.These two examples of presbeis autokratores resemble the case involving the Olynthians and the Spartans. In each case, the community decided to submit to a more powerful party and sent ambassadors who had the authority to offer these terms to the other party. Though Arrian, whose account is very brief, does not say so, both sets of presbeis autokratores sent to Alexander would have sworn the oaths to the treaty just as the Olynthian ambassadors did.Pownall 1995, 145 does not see the difference between the two kinds of circumstances in which presbeis autokratores could be sent.We find a similar use of the term in a similar way in a sympoliteia agreement between Temnos and Pergamon (late fourth to mid-third century BCE). After both sides agreed to the arrangement, the ambassadors elected by the Temnitai were ‘to have power’ to conclude the agreement (OGIS 265, lines 9–11: ἐὰν δὲ φαίν[η]ται | [Τη]μνίταις ἐπιτήδειον εἶναι συνθεῖναι περὶ τ[ο]ύ̣|του, |τ̣οὺς ἀφεσταλμένους αὐτοκράτορας [εἶναι]). There is another similar use of the term in an agreement between Pidasa and Miletus (Milet I 3, 149 – early second century BCE, lines 7–8: ὑ̣πὲρ δὲ τοῦ δήμου τοῦ Πιδασέων οἱ πεμφθέντες ὑφ’ αὐτῶν αὐτο|κράτορες πρεσβευταί). It is clear from lines 51–54 (ὁρκισάτω δὲ ὁ στεφανηφόρος μετὰ τοῦ ἱεροκήρυκος ̣|[τ]ούς̣ τε ἥκοντας ἐκ Πιδασέων πρεσβευτὰς καὶ τοὺς πρυτάνεις καὶ |τοὺ[ς] εἱρημένους ἐπὶ τῆι φυλακῆι καὶ τοὺς κεχειροτονημένους συν|έδρου̣ς̣ ̣τὸν ὅρκ̣ο̣ν τόνδε), which state that the stephanephoros will take the oaths from these two groups, that the role of the presbeis autokratores was to swear the oaths and not to negotiate the agreement, which had been worked out before the ambassadors from Pidasa arrived in Miletus (τάδε ὡμολόγησαν καὶ συνέθεντο Μιλήσιοι καὶ Πιδασ̣ε̣ῖς). There may be another example in a fragmentary decree dated around 200 BCE from Rhodes about relations with Rome (SEG 33:637).Presbeis autokratores are also mentioned in a failed attempt to conclude a treaty around 180 BCE mentioned by Polybius (24.15.9). King Pharnaces was at war with Eumenes and Ariarathes in Asia (Pol. 24.14.1–11). The Romans sent legates to arrange a truce, and Eumenes and Ariarathes expressed their willingness to meet with Pharnaces or at least to negotiate with him (Pol. 24.15.1–3). The Romans insisted that Eumenes and Ariarathes withdraw their army, and they obeyed the request (Pol. 24.15.4–6). The Romans then met with Pharnaces, who refused to meet in person with Eumenes and Ariarathes (Pol. 24.15.7). The Romans then convinced him to send presbeis autokratores to conclude the peace (αὐτοκράτορας . . . συνθησομένους τὴν εἰρήνην) on the terms proposed by the legates (ἐφ᾽οἷς ἂν οἱ πρεσβευταὶ κελεύσωσι). In this case the Roman legates convinced Pharnaces to make peace; the ambassadors Pharnaces sent were to have the power to swear the oaths on his behalf. What they had power to do is specified by the Roman legates and accepted by Pharnaces. As in the cases above, the decision to accept the treaty by Pharnaces precedes the sending of ambassadors to conclude the agreeement. Unfortunately when these ambassadors arrived, there were disagreements about the terms. As a result, the negotiations came to nothing, and the war continued (Pol. 24.15.1–13). A similar use of an ambassador sent to conclude a treaty is found in a letter of Antigonus to the city of Scepsis dated to 311 BCE.For the text see Welles 1934, note 1. Cassander had sent Prepelaus to Antigonus with a set of demands, which Antigonus accepted (lines 9–26). Because Antigonus accepted the terms of the treaty and Prepelaus had the authority to conclude the treaty (lines 28–29: αὐτοκράτορα) with Antigonus on behalf of Cassander and Lysimachus, the treaty was concluded (lines 26–27: συντετελεσμένων).As these examples demonstrate, it is a mistake to consider presbeis autokratores a distinct type of institution with consistent features as Missiou, Pownall and Magnetto claim. Presbeis autokratores were ambassadors, whose duties conformed to the basic features of this institution. In certain cases, these ambassadors could be given special powers, but what those special powers were differed from one situation to another. In the cases studied in the previous section, presbeis autokratores were sent with an open mandate to negotiate and bring proposals made by the other community back to their community for ratification. In those studied in this section, presbeis autokratores were given the power to conclude agreements whose terms the community had already decided to accept. Pace Magnetto there is no reason to believe that oaths sworn by presbeis autokoratores in this case did not bind the community.Magnetto 2013, 235–236. In both cases, the main deliberative body of the community, whether it was the Assembly or a monarch, retained the sole power to conclude interstate agreements as Aristotle states in the ‘Politics’ (4.11.1.1298a. Cf. IG I3 105, lines 34–35: ἄν]|[ευ το͂ δέμο το͂ Ἀθεναίον πλεθ]ύ̣ο̣[ντ]ος μὲ ἐ͂ν̣αι πόλεμον ἄρασθα̣ι̣ [μέτε καταλ]ῦ̣[σ]α[ι]). As in the previous cases, one side sent presbeis autokratores to the other side, but in no set of negotiations do two communities send presbeis autokratores to each other.Because the institution of presbeis autokratores is only relevant in bilateral negotiations in which one side must take the initiative in making proposals or one side sends presbeis autokratores to swear the oaths to the other party, presbeis autokratores are never found in multilateral negotiations in which one community summons several other communities to conclude a general agreement. In this case, the leading power summons other communities to send ambassadors to their community, and consequently there is no need to send presbeis autokratores to initiate the negotiations. For this reason, one does not find presbeis autokratores in the discussions of the Peloponnesian League that led to the declaration of war against Athens and its allies in 431 BCE (Thuc. 1.67, 119–125), the negotiations about the Peace of Antalcidas (Xen. hell. 5.1.30–34), the discussions about the Common Peace in 367/6 (Xen. hell. 7.1.33–40), or the formation of the League of Corinth (Diod. 16.89.2–3).Those Sent ‘With Power’ (τέλος ἔχοντες)Before examining the use of the term presbeis autokratores in ‘On the Peace’, it is necessary to examine two passages in which the expression ambassadors ‘having authority’ (τέλος ἔχοντες) is found. The first is in a decree of the Assembly in which the Athenians invite Perdiccas II, the king of Macedon, and the people of Methone to send ambassadors ‘having authority’ (τέλος ἔχοντες) to come to Athens and present their cases to the Council and Assembly if they cannot come to an agreement (IG I3 61). This is a case in which two sides send ambassadors having authority simultaneously to a third party, which helps them to mediate an agreement.Cf. Magnetto 2013, 227: ‘Il decreto prefigura dunque una mediazione della boulé e del popolo di Atene con lo scopo di raggiungere un accordo.’ I was mistaken in Harris 2000, 493 in calling this an example of negotiations about a treaty already in existence. This is not a case in which one community sends presbeis autokratores to another and then later the latter sends presbeis autokratores to the former.This clause does not therefore provide a parallel to the situation in ‘On the Peace’ in which the Athenians send presbeis autokratores and then later the Spartans send presbeis autokratores to the Athenians. It therefore does not form an exception to the rule stated above. This case is similar to third party arbitration in which two sides send representatives to a third community, which helps to arbitrate the dispute. Strictly speaking, this arrangement does not belong to the category of standard diplomacy between states negotiating about a treaty but to interstate arbitration. These ambassadors are therefore not similar to presbeis autokratores and do not form an exception to the rules stated above.The use of envoys sent with authority in this inscription is similar to the use of ambassadors sent with special powers in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (1011: περὶ διαλλαγῶν | αὐτοκράτορας πρέσβεις). Both the Athenians and the Spartans send ambassadors, and Lysistrata mediates their differences (1104: διαλλάξειεν) and brings about a resolution of their differences (1114: διαλλαγή). Cf. Magnetto 2013, 238, note 37 (‘mediazione’). For the language and terminology of mediation see Harris 2018, 214, 219–220. I was mistaken in Harris 2000, 489–490 in calling this a case of capitulation. This is not similar to the other uses of the term because the ambassadors with special powers here are not sent to conclude a peace treaty or negotiate about an alliance.The second occurs in the text of the one-year truce preserved by Thucydides (4.118–119) in his account of the year 423 BCE. Thucydides (4.117.1–2) introduces the document by stating that the Athenians and the Spartans concluded a truce for a year and discusses the motives of each side for making the truce. At the end of this discussion he states that the truce was made for the Spartans and their allies (4.117.3). This clearly implies that the truce was ratified by the assemblies of Athens and Sparta. There follow the text of the treaty and the decree of the Athenians, in which the people voted to accept the truce with the Spartans and their allies (Thuc. 4.118.1–14). The decree of the Athenian Assembly mentions ambassadors now present in Athens and votes that they should swear the oaths for the truce (Thuc. 4.118.14). These ambassadors are simply designated as πρέσβεις and not given any other title. As a separate measure, the Athenians vote to have the treaty start on the 14th of Elaphebolion (Thuc. 4.118.13) and during that time to allow heralds and ambassadors go back and forth to negotiate an end to the war, which must be distinguished from the one-year truce (Thuc. 4.118.14). These ambassadors are also called πρέσβεις and given no more extensive a title. After these texts are given, Thucydides (4.119.1) again states that the treaty was concluded between the two parties, then specifies who swore the oaths on behalf of the parties (Thuc. 4.119.2). This was standard procedure: after each side voted to accept a treaty, ambassadors were sent from one side to accept the oaths from the other side, and then ambassadors were sent from the latter to take the oaths from officials in the former. (e.g., Aeschin. 2.98).One of the terms of the treaty is a statement from the Spartans that if the Athenians have any better proposals about any provision, they should send ambassadors with full powers (οἱ δὲ τέλος ἔχοντες). The document adds that the Athenians have issued the same invitation to the Spartans. This designation is different from that given to the other ambassadors in the decree of the Assembly. In each case it is clear that either the Athenians will send delegates with powers to negotiate with the Spartans or the Spartans will send delegates to negotiate with the Athenians. But the passage does not indicate that each side would send such delegates at the same time.Magnetto however claims that ‘When the truce was ratified and the oaths were taken, an embassy of the Spartans and their allies was present in Athens, and their names are listed at 119.2 as signers of the truce along with three Athenian generals. At 118.10 it is implied that before the embassy’s arrival, there had been preliminary meetings but the Athenians asked for sending ambassadors telos echontes for that meeting. The Peloponnesian ambassadors were thus given that title.’Magnetto 2013, 218. This description of Thucydides’ account is not accurate. First, there is no reason to believe that those named at 4.119.2 are the same as the ambassadors mentioned in the decree of the Assembly at 4.118.14. In fact, Thucydides clearly differentiates between the two groups because the Spartan ambassadors swear the oaths at Athens while the official named at 4.119.2 swears the oath at Sparta (Thuc. 4.114.1). These two groups cannot be identical. Second, it appears that the terms of the truce were agreed though Thucydides does not describe the stages of the negotiations. The Spartans then sent ambassadors to Athens to convey to the Assembly that the Spartans and their allies were willing to conclude the truce and swore the oaths in Athens. They then brought the truce back to Sparta, where it was sworn by Spartan officials. The ambassadors with full powers are mentioned in a clause about future renegotiations regarding the terms of the treaty. There is no evidence in the text of Thucydides to justify the claim of Magnetto that ‘The Peloponnesian ambassadors were thus granted that title.’ They are called presbeis and nothing more. This passage cannot therefore be cited as an exception to my observation that presbeis autokratores are sent from one state to another, but in no case do two states each send presbeis autokratores to the other during a single set of negotiations. As we observed above, the nature of the institution of presbeis autokratores excluded the possibility of two sides sending presbeis autokratores in bilateral negotiations about a treaty or alliance.Presbeis Autokratores in [Andocides] ‘On the Peace’Doubts about the authenticity of the speech ‘On the Peace’ attributed to Andocides were expressed in antiquity. The ancient preface to the speech records the view of Dionysius of Halicarnassus that it was not a genuine oration of Andocides, and in three entries Harpocration expressed doubts (s.vv. Hellanotamiai, neoria kai neosoikoi, Pegai). Their verdict is confirmed by the several unusual features and the numerous errors about recent events and those in the more distant past.On the evidence against authenticity, see Harris 2000 and Harris 2021–2022, which refutes in detail Rhodes 2016 and adds more evidence against authenticity. These are:1)The account of Athenian history in the fifth century in ‘On the Peace’ (3–9) contains more errors than the similar account found in Aeschines’ ‘On the False Embassy’ (2.172–5). Because Aeschines is celebrating the benefits of peace, we would expect him to make these advantages appear more impressive if he were drawing from ‘On the Peace’, but the opposite is true.2)‘On the Peace’ (9) states that the Athenians held only two thirds of Euboea, when contemporary sources show that they held the entire island until 411 (Thuc. 1.114.3; 8.95.7).See also Meiggs 1972, 565–570.3)Speakers addressing the Assembly as a rule do not mention the names of their ancestors, but in ‘On the Peace’ (6, 29) we find the names of Andocides’ grandfather and uncle.For this informal rule in Assembly speeches see Harris 2016.4)‘On the Peace’ (23, 36, 39) states that the Athenians did not have walls or a fleet in 391, but contemporary sources show that they possessed both at the time (Xen. hell. 4.8.9–10. Cf. Diod. 14.85.3; Demosth. or. 20.68, 72–74).5)In speeches addressed to the Assembly one does not find lengthy accounts of historical events, which are alluded to briefly. ‘On the Peace’ (3–9) contains a lengthy account of past events that has no parallel in other speeches to the Assembly.6)‘On the Peace’ (13, 18, 20, 24, 28, 32) states that in 391 the Athenians and Spartans were negotiating with the Boeotians, but contemporary sources state that at this time the Thebans negotiated on behalf of the Boeotians (Xen. hell. 4.8.15; 5.1.32–33).7)‘On the Peace’ (13, 20, 28, 32) states that the Boeotians made peace with the Spartans in 391, but contemporary sources state that they remained at war with the Spartans until 387/6 (Xen. hell. 5.1.32–33).8)‘On the Peace’ (30) states that the Syracusans offered the Athenians an alliance in 415, but this is contradicted by the narrative of Thucydides (6.6–8).9)‘On the Peace’ (29) claims that the Persian King sided with the Spartans in 412 because the Athenians had supported Amorges, but Thucydides (8.6) gives very different reasons for the alliance.10)‘On the Peace’ (29) states that there was a peace treaty between the Great King and the Athenians negotiated by Epilycus, but Thucydides (8.6) clearly indicates that there was no such treaty in 412.11)It is highly unlikely that after rejecting the proposals of Tiribazus in 392 the Athenians, Thebans and Argives would have entered into negotiations with the Spartans when there was even less reason to do so in 391. It is also hard to believe that if a major conference was held at Sparta, Xenophon would have omitted it in his account of the Corinthian War.12)‘On the Peace’ (11) uses the term spondai in a way that it is never used in sources from the Classical period.The term presbeis autokratores is used three times in the speech. In the first passage ‘On the Peace’ (6) states that ten ambassadors were sent with full powers to negotiate with the Spartans about peace. The passage does not say enough about this embassy to compare this information with the other sources for the institution. Further on, the speaker of ‘On the Peace’ (33) states that he and his fellow ambassadors were sent to Sparta with full powers ‘so that we would not have to refer back’ (αὐτοκράτορας γὰρ πεμφθῆναι εἰς Λακεδαίμονα διὰ ταῦθ᾽ ἵνα μὴ πάλιν ἐπαναφέρωμεν). Despite their powers, they have decided to grant the Assembly the right to discuss the terms they have brought back (πεμφθέντες αὐτοκράτορες ἔτι ἀποδώσομεν ὑμῖν περὶ αὐτῶν σκέψασθαι). This is completely at odds with the information about presbeis autokratores in contemporary sources, which show that any proposals received by such ambassadors had to be brought back home to be ratified in the Assembly. This was not left up to the discretion of the ambassadors. Presbeis autokratores could swear the oaths only to treaties whose terms were already approved by their communities, which is not the case here. Finally, ‘On the Peace’ (39) states that the Spartans have sent presbeis autokratores restoring the securities and allowing us to acquire walls and ships and the islands. This is inconsistent with the practice attested in contemporary sources in four ways. First, presbeis autokratores are sent to start negotiations, not once they are already underway. Second, presbeis autokratores are sent by one party with an open mandate and receive proposals from the other party; here they are making proposals, not receiving them. Third, in ‘On the Peace’ (33, 39) both sides send presbeis autokratores, but this never happens in the sources about negotiating a treaty or an alliance for the Classical period and is inconsistent with the rationale behind the institution. The only case where we find two parties sending representatives with special powers to a third party is in the case of interstate arbitration, but this is clearly not the case here. Fourth, the negotiations in ‘On the Peace’ (24–26, 32, 34, 41) are multilateral and include the Spartans, the Athenians, the Argives, and the Boeotians, not bilateral; as noted above, presbeis autokratores are never used in multilateral negotiations where they would be out of place.Pownall 1995 does not see how the use of the term in ‘On the Peace’ is not consistent with its use in Classical sources. Magnetto 2013, 231–232 also misses this key point. Fifth, the speaker of ‘On the Peace’ claims that the ambassadors had the option to ask for approval for any proposals made by the Spartans, implying that it was not compulsory as we know it was.Pownall 1995 does not see how the use of the term differs from the standard use in other sources. The way in which the term is used in ‘On the Peace’ is clearly inconsistent with the way it is used in contemporary sources, and this evidence provides additional grounds against the authenticity of this speech.ConclusionThe findings of this essay can be briefly summarized. First, the evidence has shown that the powers held by presbeis autokratores are not the same in each case. In some cases, a community sent presbeis autokratores to negotiate about an interstate agreement and to receive proposals from another community. In this case, the proposals were brought back to the community for ratification. In other cases, a community or monarch sent presbeis autokratores to swear the oaths to a treaty the terms of which had already been agreed by that community. In one case two communities sent envoys having authority (τέλος ἔχοντες) to a third party for the mediation of differences. In each case, the ambassadors were given different instructions and different powers in accordance with those instructions. There was therefore not one distinct institution of presbeis autokratores as Magnetto incorrectly assumes. As in the case of other magistrates and public bodies, different powers could be granted in different situations. Second, the sources indicate that for the Greek polis the authority to conclude interstate agreements resided in the main deliberative body, that is, the Assembly (Aristot. pol. 1298a). One should note that this is true for both democratic and non-democratic regimes. Third, presbeis autokratores were only sent by one side in bilateral negotiations and never in multilateral negotiations except in the case of interstate arbitration. Fourth, the statements about presbeis autokratores in ‘On the Peace’ attributed to Andocides are inconsistent with the practice of the Classical and early Hellenistic period, which is additional evidence against the authenticity of that speech.

Journal

Kliode Gruyter

Published: Nov 1, 2023

Keywords: Ambassadors; Diplomacy; Greek Political Institutions; Demosthenes; Aeschines; Thucydides; Xenophon; Arrian

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