Themistocles, the first person in Athens to prepare for public life by practicing law?

Feb 2019
191
Thrace
#1
In his book "Persian Fire" Tom Holland says "Concerned not to have the great and the good put off visiting this ill-omened spot, he began inviting celebrated musicians to rehearse inside his home; keen to make friends and influence people, he set up as an attorney, the first candidate ever in a democracy to rehearse for public life by practicing the law."

I'm wondering where did he get this from? I can't find this in ancient sources.
 
Apr 2018
828
Upland, Sweden
#2
In his book "Persian Fire" Tom Holland says "Concerned not to have the great and the good put off visiting this ill-omened spot, he began inviting celebrated musicians to rehearse inside his home; keen to make friends and influence people, he set up as an attorney, the first candidate ever in a democracy to rehearse for public life by practicing the law."

I'm wondering where did he get this from? I can't find this in ancient sources.
If my memory from reading Danish historian Mogens Herman Hansen standardwork "The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes" serves then...

... There were never any real attorneys in the Athenian legal system to begin with, so if you want to be technical Holland is just plain wrong. Also, most of our sources about the "People's court" and the Athenian legal system are from the 300s, which is a bit of a problem here given that Themistocles operated in the 500s and early 400s at a time when the Democracy was quite new. If I'm not entirely wrong then I think legal matters were still handled by the Archons at the time of Themistocles, which makes Holland's claim suspiciously imprecise. Themistocles was elected Archon sometimes after 500, which means that legal matters would have been part of his job description.

Just generally speaking the Athenians did not have the divison of power into "Executive/ Legislative/ Juridical" - that modern Western countries have. They did have a division of power certainly, but there was not a clear cut division based on those "Montesqieu:an" criteria, assuming that it would be is a bit anachronistic. I suppose what Holland means is that Themistocles started speaking in the assembly and possibly writing speeches for others in legal matters, that he started rabble rousing among the poor etc. and was eventually elected Archon. This is true.
 
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