The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds, by George de la Tour, c. 1635. Louvre Museum, Paris.

Swindle & Fraud

Volume VIII, Number 2 | spring 2015


In the law courts of democratic Athens in the fifth century bc, citizens on trial were compelled to offer their own defenses, often hiring speechwriters. “If I make a mistake in speaking, pardon me and treat it as due to inexperience rather than dishonesty,” pleaded one defendant, who had hired the orator Antiphon to compose the entire speech.

Men were born to lie, and women to believe them.

—John Gay, 1728