The Case of Corax and Tisias


Corax, a teacher of Rhetoric in Syracuse, Sicily around 476 BC sued his pupil, Tisias, for not paying his tuition.


In court, Tisias argued that he should not have to pay, regardless of outcome, because:

·       Either he will prove his case, and therefore not have to pay as the result of winning the suit; or he will lose the suit and that will be proof that Corax did not teach him well enough to deserve being paid his tuition.


Corax argued that he should be paid, regardless of outcome, because:

·       If he wins the suit, then the court will require him to be paid, and if he loses the suit, that will be proof that he taught Tisias well enough to beat him and therefore he deserves to be paid his fee.


Who is right?

The judge ruled, “Mali corvi, mali ovum.”