The Orations of Lysias
by Lysias
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1. If I thought it were possible, O fellow-citizens who are assembled at this burial-place, to set forth in words the valor of those who lie here, I should blame the men who invited me to speak about them at a few days' notice. But as all time would not be sufficient for (the combined efforts) of all men to prepare an address adequate to their deeds, the city seems to me, in providing for men to speak here, to make the appointment at short notice, on the supposition that the speakers would under the circumstances meet with less adverse criticism.

2. And though my words relate to these men, the chief difficulty is not concerning their deeds, but with those who formerly spoke upon them. For the valor of these men has been the occasion of such abundance (of composition), both by those able to compose, and those wishing to speak, that, although many noble sentiments have been uttered about them by men in the past, yet much has been left unsaid, and enough can yet be spoken at the present time. For they have experienced perils on land and sea, and everywhere and among all men, who, while bewailing their own hard fate, yet sing the praises of the courage of these men.

3. First, then, I will review the hardships of our ancestors, following the traditions. For all men should keep them too in mind, both celebrating them in song, speaking of them in maxims about the good, honoring them at such times as this, and instructing the living by the deeds of the dead.

4. The Amazons were once the daughters of Ares, living by the river Thermodon, and they alone of the inhabitants of that region were armed with metal, and first of all they mounted horses, by which they unexpectedly, because of the inexperience of their adversaries, overtook those who fled from them, and they left their pursuers far behind. So for their spirit they were thought men, rather than women for their nature. For they seemed to surpass men in spirit rather than to be inferior in physique.

5. And after they had subdued many tribes and in fact enslaved the surrounding nations, they heard great reports about this country, and for the sake of glory took the most warlike of their tribes and marched against this city. And after they met these brave men, they came to have their souls like their nature, and with changed hearts seemed to be women rather from their conduct in danger than from their forms.

6. And they alone were not allowed to learn from experience and to plan better for the future, and they might not go homeward and tell of their discomfiture and the valor of our ancestors; for they died here and paid the penalty for their rashness, and made the memory of this city immortal through valor, and rendered their own country nameless through their defeat here. These women then, through their unjust desire for a country not their own, justly lost their own.

7. After Adrastus and Polyneices had joined in the expedition against Thebes and had been worsted in battle, the Thebans would not let them bury their dead. So the Athenians, who believed that if these men did wrong they had (already) the greatest punishment in death, and that the gods of the lower world were not receiving their due, and that by the pollution of holy places the gods above were being insulted, first sent heralds and demanded them to grant the removal of the dead, (8) thinking it the part of brave men to punish their enemies while alive, but of men who distrusted themselves to show their courage on the bodies of the dead. As they were unable to obtain this favor, they marched against the Thebans, although previously there was no reason for hostility against them, and not because they were trying to please the living Argives, (9) but because they believed those who died in battle should obtain the customary rites, they ran into danger against the Thebans in the interests of both, on the one hand, that they might never again offer insult to the gods by their treatment of the dead, and on the other, that they might not return to their country with disgrace attached to their names, without fulfilling Greek customs robbed of a common hope. 10. With this in mind, and thinking that the chances of war are common to all men, they made many enemies, but with right on their side they came off victorious. And they did not, roused by success, contend for a greater punishment for the Thebans, but they exhibited to them their own valor instead of their impiety, and after they had obtained the prizes they struggled for, the bodies of the Argives, they buried them in their own Eleusis. Such were they (who fought) for the dead of the Seven at Thebes.

11. And afterwards, after Heracles had disappeared from men, and his children fled from Eurystheus and were hunted by all the Greeks, who, though ashamed indeed of what they did, feared the power of Eurystheus, they came to this city and took refuge at the altars. 12. And though Eurystheus demanded it, the Athenians would not give them up, but they reverenced the bravery of Heracles more than they feared their own danger, and they thought it more worthy of themselves to contend for the weak on the side of justice than to please those in power and surrender those wronged by them. 13. And when Eurystheus marched on them at that time at the head of the Peloponnesus, they did not change their minds on the approach of danger, but held the same opinion as before, though the father (Heracles) had done them no special good, and the Athenians did not know what sort of men these (children) would turn out to be. 14. But they thought it was a just course of action, though there was no previous reason for enmity with Eurystheus, and they had no longer hope of reward except that of a good reputation; so they incurred this danger for the boys, because they pitied the down-trodden, and hated the oppressors, and tried to hinder the latter and aid the former, believing it a mark of liberty to do nothing by compulsion, and of justice to aid the wronged, and of courage to die, if need be, fighting for both. 15. And both were so proud that Eurystheus and his party did not seek to gain any favor from willing men, and the Athenians were unwilling that Eurystheus, even if he came as a suppliant, should drive out their suppliants. So they summoned a force and fought and conquered the army from the whole of Peloponnesus, and brought the children of Heracles to safety, dispelled their fear and freed their souls, and because of their father's courage they crowned them with their own perils. 16. And they, while children, were much more fortunate than their father; for he, though bringing much happiness to all men, made his own life full of toil and strife and emulation, and punished others who were wrong-doers, but he could not punish Eurystheus who was his enemy and had sinned against him. But his sons through this city saw on the same day their own safety and the punishment of their enemies.

17. So many occasions came to our ancestors for fighting for this idea of justice. For the commencement of their life was just. For they were not, like many, collected from all quarters, and they did not settle here after expelling the earlier inhabitants, but they sprang from the soil and it was both their mother and country. 18. And they were the first and only ones at that time to banish the ruling families and establish a democracy, in the belief that freedom of all is the greatest harmony, and making the rewards of their dangers common, they administered the government with free minds, (19) by law honoring the good and punishing the bad, for they thought the wild beasts struggle with one another, but it is fitting for men to define justice by law, and to obey argument, and to serve these by their actions ruled by law and taught by argument.

20. So being of noble descent and of one mind, the ancestors of these who lie here did many brave and wonderful things, and their descendants everywhere left by their valor everlasting memorials of themselves. For in behalf of all Greece they risked their lives before the countless hordes of barbarians. 21. For the king of Asia, not satisfied with his own fortunes, but hoping to enslave Europe, sent an army of five hundred thousand. And thinking, if they could make this city a willing ally or subdue against its will, they would easily reduce the rest of Greece, they went to Marathon, believing that the Greeks would be deserted by their allies, if they should bring on the conflict while Greece was still undecided how it was best to ward off the invaders. 22. And still such an opinion prevailed among them about the city from the previous conflicts, that they believed if they should advance against another city, they would contend with both that and the Athenians; for these would eagerly come to aid the oppressed; but if they should come here first, no other Greeks would dare by aiding others to bring on themselves open hostility (for the sake of the Athenians). 23. These then were their plans; but our ancestors, taking no account of the dangers in war, but believing that glorious death left immortal testimony to good deeds, did not fear the multitudes of the enemy, but trusted their own valor. And being ashamed that the barbarians were in their country, they did not wait for their allies to learn of the matter and aid them, and they did not think they ought to be indebted for their rescue to others, but the other Greeks to them. 24. With one accord they rushed forward, few against many; for they believed death was theirs in common with all men, and they were brave with only a few, and on account of death their lives were not their own, and they would leave a memory of themselves from their dangers. And they thought that even with allies they could not have conquered those whom they did not conquer alone. And if worsted, they would perish only a little before the rest, and if they conquered, they would free the others. 25. And becoming brave men they did not spare themselves, and did not grudge their lives for valor, rather reverencing the traditions among them, than fearing the danger from the enemy. So they erected trophies for Greece in their country on the borders, over the barbarians who for gain had invaded a foreign land. 26. So quickly they incurred this danger that the same messengers announced to the other Greeks that the barbarians had made the invasion, and that our ancestors had conquered. No one of the rest (of the Greeks) feared for a coming danger, but rejoiced over their own safety. So it is not remarkable when such things happened long ago if the glory of them as if recent is still lauded by all men. 27. And after this, Xerxes, the king of Asia, despising Greece, and buoyed up by false hopes, and disgraced by the past, and grieved at the disaster, angry at its causes, untried by defeat, and with no experience with brave men, prepared for ten years and came with twelve hundred ships, and led a multitude of foot so vast that it would be a task indeed to recall all the tribes collected with him. 28. And the greatest proof of its size is this; when he could have transported his infantry on a thousand boats across the narrowest part of the Hellespont from Asia to Europe, he did not wish to, believing it would take much time. 29. But overlooking the natural obstacles and the deeds of the gods and human intelligence, he made a road through the sea, and forced a voyage through the earth, joined the Hellespont, and channeled Athos. No one agreed, but some reluctantly submitted, and others gave way willingly. For they were not able to ward him off, but some were corrupted by bribes. And both were persuasive, gain and fear. 30. But the Athenians, while Greece was in this condition, embarked and helped at Artemisium, and the Lacedaemonians and some of the allies met at Thermopylae, thinking on account of the narrowness of the pass they could check their advance. 31. But when the crisis came, at the same time the Athenians conquered in the naval battle, but the Lacedaemonians (perished), not failing in courage, but deceived in the number (of the enemy). For they thought they would ward off the enemy and so risk (their lives), (and they were) not worsted by the enemy, but died where they were ordered to fight, (32) and in this way the Spartans were unfortunate while the Persians gained entrance. They marched to this city, and our ancestors, learning of the misfortune of the Spartans, and in perplexity in the dangers which surrounded them, knowing that if they should attack the enemy by sea they would sail with a thousand ships and take the city deserted, and if they embarked on triremes they would be taken by the land army, and they could not do both, ward off (the enemy) and leave sufficient guard behind, (33) while these two questions were before them, whether it was best to leave their country or going over to the barbarians to enslave the Greeks, they believed that freedom with virtue, poverty and exile was better than slavery of the country with disgrace and plenty, so for the sake of Greece they left the city, that against each in turn but not against both they might risk their forces. 34. So they placed the children and women in Salamis, and collected the naval force of the allies. Not many days after, the infantry and the sea-force of the barbarians came, (a force) which any one would fear, considering how great and terrible a danger was encountered for the sake of the freedom of Greece. 35. And what feelings had those who saw them in those ships, while their safety was hazardous and the approaching conflict of doubtful issue, or those who were about to contend for their loved ones, for the prizes in Salamis? 36. Such a multitude of the enemy surrounded them from all sides that the least of their impending dangers was the prospect of death, and the greatest calamity was what they expected to suffer in subjection to the victorious barbarians. 37. Doubtless through their trials they frequently pledged one another, and probably commiserated their own fortunes, knowing how few were their own ships and seeing many of the enemy's, and realizing that the city was being devastated and filled with barbarians, and the temples burned, and ruin close at hand. 38. They heard together the paean of Greek and barbarian, the exhortations of both and the cries of the vanquished, the sea full of the dead, wrecks coming together, both friend and foe, and because the battle was long undecided, thinking now they have conquered and are saved, now they are worsted and lost. 39. Surely through their fear they thought to see much they did not see, and to hear much they did not hear. What prayers did not rise to the gods, or reminders of sacrifices, compassion for children, longing for wives, pity for parents and meditations on what would result in case of defeat? 40. What god would not pity them for the magnitude of the danger? What man would not weep? Who would not wonder at their daring? Truly these surpassed all men by far in point of courage, both in their plans and in the face of the danger, leaving the city, embarking upon the ships, opposing their own lives, few as they were, to the Persian host. 41. And they showed all men by their naval victory that it is better to struggle for freedom with a few than for their own slavery with many subjects of the king. 42. These made the greatest and most honorable contribution in behalf of the freedom of the Greeks, the general Themistocles, best able to speak, to understand and to act; more ships than the allies, and men of the most experience. And who of the other Greeks would have claimed to be equal in intelligence, numbers and courage? 43. So that justly they took without dispute the rewards of the naval battle from Greece, and gained success in proportion to their dangers and proved to the Asiatic barbarians that their courage was genuine and native.

44. So in the naval battle they conducted themselves thus and incurred the greatest part of the danger, and by their own valor gained freedom for themselves and the rest. Afterwards when the Peloponnesians were putting a wall across the Isthmus and were content with their own safety, supposing they were rid of the danger by sea, and intending to watch the rest of the Greeks falling into the power of the barbarians, (45) the Athenians were angry and advised them if they had this idea to put a wall about all the Peloponnesus; for if they, betrayed by the Greeks, should act with the Persians, they would have no need of their thousand ships, nor would the Isthmian wall help the Peloponnesians. For the control of the sea would be the king's without trouble. 46. And they were convinced and realized they were doing wrong and making poor plans, and that the Athenians spoke fairly and were giving them the best advice, and so they sent aid to Plataea. And when most of the allies under cover of night fled from the ranks because of the numbers of the enemy, the Lacedaemonians and the Tegeans put the barbarians to flight, and the Athenians and the Plataeans conquered in the fight all the Greeks who had despaired of freedom and submitted to slavery. 47. And on that day they brought about the most glorious conclusion of all their trials, and secured freedom for Europe, and in all times of danger they are acknowledged by all, both those with whom and against whom they fought, to have proved their own valor, both alone and with others, both on land and on sea, against barbarians and Greeks, and to have become the leaders of Greece.

48. Later, when the Greek war broke out through jealousy as to the past and envy of what was done, while all were envious and each needed but small grievances, when a naval battle was fought by the Athenians against the Aeginetans and their allies, they took seventy triremes. 49. And while they were struggling with Egypt and Aegina at the same time, and while the men of military age were away on sea and in the army, the Corinthians and their allies, thinking they would either attack a deserted country or they (the Athenians) would withdraw from Aegina, marched out and took Gereneia. 50. And the Athenians, some being at a distance and some near, did not dare to summon either, but trusting their own spirits and despising the invaders, the old men and the boys thought they alone could face the danger, (51) the former gaining courage from experience and the latter from their natures. And they in themselves became brave and the boys imitated them, the older men knowing how to command and the boys being able to obey commands. 52. Under the leadership of Myronides they set out for Megaris and conquered in battle all the forces (of the enemy), by those past service and those not yet ready for it, going into a foreign country to meet those who presumed to invade theirs. 53. And they set up a trophy for this glorious deed of theirs, and shameful act of the enemy, and the men, some no longer strong in body, the rest not yet strong, became greater in spirit and went back home with great renown, the latter to their teachers, the former to meditate on the future.

54. It is no easy task for one man to enumerate the brave deeds of so many, nor to tell in a single day the acts of all time. For what speech or time or orator could adequately testify to the valor of these men lying here? 55. For after countless struggles and signal contests and glorious encounters they have made Greece free, and proved their country the greatest, which ruled the sea for seventy years, kept the allies from revolt, (56) not permitting the many to be enslaved by the few, but forcing all to share alike, nor weakening the allies, but establishing them, so that the great king no longer longed for others' goods, but yielded up some of his own possessions and trembled for the future. 57. No ships sailed for Asia in that time, nor was a tyrant established among the Greeks, nor was a Greek city enslaved by the barbarians. Such was the moderation and fear their valor produced on all men. For this reason they alone must be the champions of the Greeks and leaders of the cities.

56. And also in adversity they showed their valor. For when the ships were lost in the Hellespont, either through the fault of the commander or by the will of the gods, and when that great disaster resulted to us and all the Greeks, they showed not long after that the power of the city was the safety of Greece. 59. For under the leadership of others those conquered the Greeks in naval battle who formerly had not embarked upon the sea, and they sailed to Europe, and enslaved Greek cities and established tyrannies, some after our disaster, and some after the victory of the barbarians. 60. So it would be fitting for Greece to grieve at his tomb, and bewail those who lie there, as if her freedom were buried with their valor, so unfortunate is Greece in being bereft of such men, and so fortunate is the king of Asia in meeting other leaders; for bereft of these, slavery is their fate, while in the others a desire springs up to emulate the wisdom of their ancestors.

61. But I have been led off to lament for all Greece; but it is fitting to remember these men both in private and in public, who hated slavery and fought for justice and struggled for the democracy, and having made all men their enemies they went to the Piraeus, not compelled by law, but impelled by instinct, imitating in fresh dangers the valor of their ancestors, (62) and by their own courage securing the city as a common possession for the rest also, choosing death and liberty rather than life and slavery, no less through shame of their lack of success than through anger at their enemies, preferring to die in their own country to living in a foreign land, having as allies oaths and agreements, and as enemies both the former ones and their own citizens. 63. But not fearing the number of their opponents, but risking their own lives, they set up a trophy to their enemies, and as evidence of their valor they buried the Lacedaemonians near this memorial. For they proved the city great and not small, and rendered it harmonious and not dissentious, and erected the walls instead of pulling them down. 64. And those of them who returned, showing plans like the deeds of those who lie here, devoted themselves not to the punishment of their enemies but the safety of the city, and neither being able to suffer encroachment on their privileges nor desiring to have more, give a share of their freedom even to those wishing to be in slavery, but they were not willing to share their slavery. 65. And with the bravest and most glorious deeds they repelled the charges against them, that the city met with disaster, not by their cowardice nor the enemy's valor. For if in dissension with one another they could enter their own country in spite of the presence of the Peloponnesians and their other enemies, evidently if they had been agreed they would have made a stand against them.

66. So those are admired by all men for their perils at the Piraeus. And it is also fitting to praise those lying here, who aiding the people and fighting for our safety, regarded valor as their country and so ended life. For this the city bewailed them and gave them a public funeral and granted them to have for all time the same honor as the citizens.

67. Those who are now buried, aiding the Corinthians who were wronged by their old friends, became renewed allies, not sharing the ideas of the Lacedaemonians, (for they envied their good fortunes, while the former pitied them when wronged, not remembering the previous hostility, but caring more for the present friendship) made evident to all men their own valor. 68. For they dared, trying to make Greece great, not only to incur danger for their own safety but to die for the liberty of their enemies; for they fought with Sparta's allies for their freedom. And when victorious they thought them worthy of the same privileges which they enjoyed, and if unsuccessful they would have fastened slavery firmly on the Peloponnesians.

69. As they so conducted themselves their life was pitiful, and their death desired; but these lived and died praised, being brought up in the virtues of their ancestors, and on becoming men they kept their fame untarnished and exhibited their own valor. 70. For they brought many benefits to their country, and made good the ill-successes of others, and carried war far from their own land. And they ended their lives as the good should die, having paid what is due to the country and leaving grief for those who trained them. 71. So it is fitting for the living to bewail these men and pity themselves and pity their relatives in future. For what pleasure will there be left them after these men are buried, who from their belief in the importance of virtue before all else lose their lives, made their wives widows and their children orphans, and rendered desolate their brothers, fathers and mothers. 72. For their many sufferings, I envy the children who are too young to know of what sort of parents they are bereft, and I pity their parents who are too old to forget their trial. 73. For what could be more terrible than this, to have and bring up children, and in old age become helpless and without hope, become friendless and without resources, and be pitied by the same ones who once envied them, and have death seem more to be desired than life? The braver men they were, the greater the grief for those left behind. 74. And how are they to cease grieving? In the crises of the state? But others should fittingly remember them at such a time. In the time of common prosperity? But is it then reasonable that they grieve, as their children are dead, and the living are reaping the benefits of their valor? But in private troubles, when they see those formerly their friends leaving them in their distress, and their enemies exulting over their misfortunes? 75. It seems to me that the only return we can make to these lying here is to treat their parents as themselves, and show a father's love to their children, and render such aid to their wives as they would if living. 76. For to whom do we owe greater thanks than to these men before us? Whom living should we make more of than their relatives, who like the others share their valor, but at their death have only sorrow.

77. But I know not why we should grieve. For we were not unaware that we were mortal. So why should we now mourn for those (who have suffered) what we have long realized we should suffer, or why be so downcast at natural occurrences, in the knowledge that death is the common experience of the evil and the good? For he (Death) neither overlooks the base nor loves the good, but comes equally to all. 78. For if it is possible for men who escaped dangers by word to be immortal for all time, the living would bewail the dead for all time. But now nature, subject to diseases and old age and the divinity who presides over our fates are inexorable. 79. So it is fitting to regard those men most fortunate, who have met their end, risking their lives for the noblest and best things, not entrusting themselves to fortune, nor waiting the appointed death, but choosing the noblest. For memories of them are undying, and their honors envied by all men. 80. They are mourned as mortal for nature's sake, but are sung of immortal for their valor. For they are publicly buried, and for them are held contests of strength and wisdom and wealth, as if those dying in war are to receive the same honor as the immortals. 81. Thus I praise their death and envy (them), and they are the ones of all men who I believe are the happiest in coming into the world, who, though in possession of mortal bodies, have left an immortal memory for their valor. But yet we must observe the usual customs and keeping our ancestral rites, mourn the dead.



1. If Callias were contending for anything else than for his freedom, gentlemen of the jury, I should be satisfied with what the others have said. But now I think it would be a shame not to aid Callias as well as I can, as far as justice warrants it, for he demands and begs me (for the service), and is a friend of mine and (was) of my father as long as he lived, and many business transactions took place between us. 2. I used to think that he so conducted himself in the city as to obtain some honor at your hands much rather than be brought into such danger on such a charge (as this). But now designing men make life no less dangerous for the innocent than for wrong-doers.

3. And you ought not to reward as trustworthy the testimony of his slaves, and as unreliable the evidence of these men, when you recall that no one, either a private citizen or an official, ever brought an action against Callias, but while living in this city, he benefited you in many ways, and he has reached this time of life without incurring any charge at all. These, on the other hand, while they have suffered greatly during their lives, and gone through much misery, just as if they worked much good, make speeches on questions of freedom. And I do not wonder. 4. For they know that if they are caught in lies they will have no worse lot than at present, and if they pull the wool over your eyes they will be freed from their present miseries. Moreover, it is not right to consider as trustworthy, either as accusers or witnesses, such men as give testimony about others at a great gain to themselves, but much rather such only who run some risk by aiding public interests. 5. Also it seems to me fair to consider that the trial is not confined to these men, but is of importance to all in the city. For these are not the only ones who own slaves, but all other citizens also. And the (slaves), fixing their attention on the fate of these, will no longer watch to see what good action they may do to their masters to gain their freedom, but what slanderous accusation they may make (to obtain it).



1. I used to think, (members of the) Boule, that it was possible, if one wished, to keep quiet, and not to be troubled with lawsuits and vexatious business; but I have now fallen in with such unlooked-for charges and such villainous accusers that, were it possible, it seems to me even unborn generations must fear for what is before them. For through this sort of men those who have done no wrong are in as great danger as those who have committed the greatest crimes. 2. The trial is the more perplexing to me, as I was first charged on the indictment with having cut down a sacred olive on my land; and my accusers went to the men who had bought the fruit of the olives, making inquiries. As they could find no proof against me in this way, they now charge me with having cut down an old stump, thinking that this charge will be the hardest for me to gainsay, and the easiest for them to prove what they wish. 3. And I am compelled, on matter which they have brought into court fully worked up, to fight for the enjoyment of country and property, having only heard the charges at the same moment as you who are to decide the case. So I shall tell you everything from the beginning.

4. The place formerly belonged to Peisander. When his estate was confiscated, it was given by the people to Apollodorus of Megara. He farmed it some time and a little while before the time of the Thirty, Anticles bought it of him and let it. And I bought it of Anticles in time of peace. 5. So I think, (members of the) Boule, that it is my duty to prove that when I bought the place there was not an olive tree nor stump upon it. For, if before that time there had been ten thousand olives, I don't think I could justly be made to suffer for it. If the olives were not injured by me, I could not be held accountable for the crimes of others. 6. You all know that among the other evils caused by the war was this, that while estates at a distance from the city used to be plundered by the Lacedaemonians, the estates near it used to be sacked by our own citizens. Would it be at all just for me to pay the penalty for the damage done by our public disasters? Especially as the place, on account of its confiscation, was abandoned for more than three years. 7. It is not to be wondered at if olive trees were destroyed at a time when it was impossible for us to protect our own property. You know, (members of the) Boule, especially such of you as have charge of these things, that there were at that time many places thick with olives, both private and sacred ones, most of which have now been cut down, and the land has become bare. You would not think of inflicting punishment on those who owned the place in peace and war, when it was other people who out them down. 8. If those who farmed the place at different times of the period are not held responsible, all the more ought those who did not buy until the peace, be considered harmless by you.

9. However much I might say about the place before I bought it, I think I have said enough. Within five days after I obtained the place I let it out to Callistratus in the archonship of Pythodorus. 10. He farmed it two years, receiving no olive tree, sacred or otherwise, nor any olive stump. Demetrius had it the third year. In the fourth year I let it to Alcias, a freedman of Antisthenes who has been dead three years. Finally, Proteus hired it. Come here, witnesses.


11. When that time elapsed I farmed it myself. My accuser says that it was during the archonship of Sumiades that I out down the olive. But those who farmed it before I did, and hired it many years of me, assure you that there was no olive on the place. What can be clearer than that my accuser is lying? It could not be possible if there were no tree there, that I, farming the place last, cut it down.

12. Formerly, (members of the) Boule, when men said that I was sharp and careful, and would do nothing without a plan and purpose, I was annoyed and preferred that they should speak of me as they ought; now, however, I should like all of you to have this opinion about me, that you may believe that I took good care to see—since (as he says) I was taking such matters in hand—what profit there was in cutting it down, and what penalty for so doing, what good I should have had if I escaped detection, and what I should have suffered at your hands if I was detected. 13. For men do not do things of this kind out of lawlessness, but for gain. And it is fitting for you to see to it that the prosecutors make their charge on this ground, proving what advantage (the accused have) in doing this wrong. 14. (Nicomachus) cannot show that I did it on account of my poverty, nor that the value of the place was lessened for me by the olive being there, nor that it interfered with the vines, or was near the house, nor that I was ignorant of the danger I was in before you for doing it. But I can show you that a tremendous penalty would have been the result, had I cut it down. 15. For I was cutting the olive in broad daylight, as though, so far from keeping it a secret from all, it was necessary for every Athenian to know it. If the deed had been merely a disgrace, perhaps a chance passer-by would not have troubled himself about it. I was risking not disgrace, but great punishment. 16. Should I not be the most wretched of all men if my slaves, being acquainted with my crime, became no longer my slaves, but my masters for the rest of my life? For I could not punish them for the greatest offense they might choose to give. For they would know well that it was in their power, by turning informers, to be revenged on me and get their own freedom. 17. Supposing it had entered my head to disregard my slaves, how should I have dared, when so many persons had rented the place, and every one of them would have known it, to cut down the olive merely for gain? Especially since, as there is no limit to the liability of those who farmed the place, it equally concerned them all that the stump should remain intact, so that if any one charged them they could transfer the charge to their successor. They have evidently cleared me, and if they have lied have become participants in the crime.

18. Again, supposing I had squared matters with them, how could I have bribed all who are present or the neighbors, who not only know about each other's public affairs, but also about those we try to keep a secret from all. Some of these are my friends, but others are not on good terms with me. 19. These my accuser should have brought as witnesses, and not made the charge at random. He says I stood near while my slaves cut out the stump and the driver put the stump in his cart and went away with the wood. 20. Then was the time, Nicomachus, for you to summon the witnesses who were there and show up the crime. You would have left me no escape, and if I were hated by you, you would have had revenge in this way. If you did it from patriotism, having (21) exposed me in this manner, you would not seem to be an informer, and if you desired gain, in this way could you have obtained most. As the crime was clear I should have had no means of safety if I did not bribe you. As you did none of these things, you seem, by your assertions, to be destroying me, having said in the prosecution that no one wishes to testify on account of my influence and wealth. 22. If, when you said you saw me cutting down the olive, you had brought the nine archons or some one else from the Areopagus, no further witnesses would be needed. For thus the very men who judge the case would have known that you spoke the truth. 23. I am placed in a very unfair position. If he had produced witnesses he would have expected you to believe them, but since he has none he thinks to turn this to my disadvantage. And I do not wonder at this. For in a case like this he would not lack witnesses and arguments at the same time. But I do not think you hold the same opinion he does. 24. You know that there were in the country, in other places of mine, many olives and burnt stumps which, if I had set my heart, upon it, it would have been much easier for me to injure, cut down and encroach upon, as my crime was likely to be less apparent on account of the number of trees. 25. Thus I make them as much account as my country and other possessions, running the risk I do of losing both. I shall bring before you as witnesses those men who act as inspectors every month, and send collectors every year. No one of these men ever fined me for farming the ground about the olive. 26. It is very probable that taking such care about the small fines I should pay no attention whatever to my bodily safety. Am I shown to take such care of the many olives, against which I might have committed the trespass, but called to account for the very olive which it was not possible to dig up without detection? 27. Was it not easier for me, (members of the) Boule, to break the laws during the Democracy than under the Thirty? I do not say this because I had any influence at that time or as being now in a position of distrust, but it was easier for any one who wished to do wrong then than it is now. I am not charged with doing this or any other wrong during that time. 28. Unless I of all men had been most ill-disposed to myself, how could I have attempted to cut an olive from a piece of ground on which there was not a single tree except, as he says, the stump of one olive, about which the road ran on both sides, with neighbors dwelling on all sides, and perfectly open to the view of all? Would any one have been so utterly reckless, such, being the case, as to have done such a deed? 29. I think it strange that those men appointed by the city to look after the sacred olives never fined me for encroaching upon the trees nor brought me to trial on the charge of cutting them down, but that this man, who is not a neighbor, nor an inspector, nor old enough to know about such things, has entered me on the indictment as having destroyed an olive.

30. I wish you not to place more trust in the assertions of my accuser than you do in the facts themselves, nor accept the word of my personal enemies in matters which you yourself know about, but to form your opinions from what I have told you and from the rest of my conduct as a citizen. 31. For I did everything allotted to me in a grander manner than I was compelled to do by the state: equipped a trireme, supplied a chorus, and performed all my other duties more expensively than the rest of the citizens. 32. If I had done these things in a moderate way, and not expensively, I should not be fighting against exile and for my possessions, but should be worth more and not unjustly be on trial for my life. If I had committed the crime with which he charges me I should have gained nothing, but only brought myself into difficulty. 33. You all would agree that it is more just to accept weighty proofs in a great case and to regard as more trustworthy those things to which the whole city testifies, than those which the prosecutor alone asserts.

34. Look at the case, (members of the) Boule, from what took place besides. I went to him, and in the presence of witnesses said that I now had all the slaves of which I had been possessed at the time I bought the place, and I was ready, if he wished, to give them up to be tortured, thinking that this would be the strongest test of his assertions and of the facts. 35. But he would not take them, saying that there was no trusting slaves. It seems to me strange that slaves when tortured make damning statements about themselves, knowing well that it will kill them, but prefer to be tortured than to inform on their masters to whom they are naturally ill-disposed, when by doing so they could free themselves. 36. If Nicomachus had asked for them, and I had refused to give them up, it would be evident that I thought them conscious of my guilt. As he did not wish to take them when offered, you rightly can have the same opinion about him, for the danger was not by any means evenly divided. 37. Had they denounced me, there would have been no escape for me. If they had not testified what he wished he would have suffered no penalty. So that it devolved a great deal more on him to take them than on me to offer them. But I was thus zealous, thinking it was for my interest to have you learn the truth of the matter either from the evidence of slaves or freedmen or facts.

38. Consider then, (members of the) Boule, whether you ought to trust me for whom many persons have given testimony, or my accuser for whom no one dares testify, and whether it is more likely that he lied when there was no risk to himself, or that in the face of such great danger I committed the act, and whether you think he made the accusation merely for the good of the city or as an informer.

39. For I think you know that Nicomachus, induced by my personal enemies, brought the case into court, not hoping to prove me guilty, but expecting to be bribed. For, in proportion as such charges are most easily imputed and most difficult to refute, so much the more do all men endeavor to avoid them. 40. I, (members of the) Boule, did not think it right (to shun trial), but when he brought the charge submitted myself entirely to your disposal, nor did I try to conciliate any one of my enemies who speak evil of me rather than praise themselves. No one ever attempted to do me any open injury, but set on me men of such a character as these in whom you cannot justly place any confidence. 41. I should be the most wretched of all men if I were driven unjustly into exile, childless and alone, leaving my home desolate, my mother in need of everything, deprived of my country on the most disgraceful charges, although I have been engaged in many sea-fights and many battles, and have conducted myself in an orderly manner both under the Democracy and under the Oligarchy.

42. I do not know, (members of the) Boule, that it is necessary for me to say anything more. I have shown you that there was not an olive on the place, and I have brought witnesses and proof. You must judge the case, bearing in mind that you should learn from this man why, when it was possible to catch me in the act, he brings the accusation after so long a time, (43) and why, although bringing no witness, he wants you to trust his mere assertions when he could have arrested me in the act, and why, although I offered him all the slaves who he says were present, he refused to take them.



1. What purpose have the prosecutors in disregarding the main point, and trying to attack my character? Are they not aware that they should speak about the question at issue? Or do they indeed understand this, but thinking to divert your attention, present more arguments in regard to every sort of matter than about what they should (speak)? 2. I see clearly that they speak, not because they have a small opinion of me, but of their case. I should not be surprised if they supposed that you would be persuaded by their slanders and convict me. 3. I did think, gentlemen of the jury, that my trial was in regard to the accusation, not in regard to my character. But since the prosecutors attack that, I must make my defense on all sides. First then, I shall tell you about the writ.

4. Two years ago I came to the city, but lived here only two months when I was put on the list for military service. When I found out it had been done, I immediately surmised I had been chosen for no honest reason. So I went to the Strategus and showed I had served, but I met with no satisfaction. I was angered at their insults, but held my peace. 5. And not knowing what to do, and consulting a citizen about my course of action, I found out that they threatened me with imprisonment, saying that (I), Polyaenus, had lived in the city no less time than Callicrates. This conversation had been held at the bank of Philias. 6. So Ctesicles, the archon, and his associates imposed a fine upon me contrary to law, upon the accusation of some one that I spoke evil of them, the law really declaring "if any one speak evil of the government in council." They made the accusation, but did not attempt to enforce the penalty, but at the end of their term of office entered it on the register and gave it to the stewards (of the treasury). 7. The stewards however held a different view of the matter, and calling up those who gave them the item, demanded the reason for the charge. After they had heard what had happened, and understood the treatment I had received, at first they tried to persuade them to drop the matter, showing that it was not right for any citizen to be registered as owing a fine; but being unable to persuade them otherwise, they ran the risk (of being called to account) by you and decided to cancel the fine. 8. That I was then released by the stewards, you are well aware. But although believing that in reality I have been cleared from the charge by this showing, yet I will bring further laws and other pleas.


9. You have heard that the law expressly states that a fine is imposed on those who speak evil in the council; but I have brought witnesses that I did not enter the place of assembly, nor ought I to have been fined unjustly, nor could I with justice pay that amount. 10. For if it was plain I did not enter the council, and the law states that those who misbehave within it are to be fined, I am shown not to have transgressed in any way, but to have been fined unreasonably from motives of personal dislike without ill-doing (on my part). 11. And they were conscious that they acted wrongly; for they neither submitted an account of the matter nor came to the courts and established their proceedings as legal by a (judicial) vote. But then, even if these men fined me legally, and established their accusation before you, as the stewards remitted the fine, really I should have been acquitted of the charge. 12. For if they were competent to enforce or remit the fine, I would not with reason have to pay the money, though fined legally; and if it is possible for them to remit and they give account of their doings, if they have proceeded illegally, they will easily obtain the penalty which they deserve.

13. You know now how I was transferred and fined; but you ought to know not only the reason for the charge, but the pretext for their enmity. For I was a friend of Sostratus before incurring their hatred, knowing that he had materially benefited the state. 14. But although his friend, I never took advantage of his power to punish an enemy nor aid a friend. For during his life I remained inactive through necessity and on account of my age, and when he died neither by word and deed did I injure any of his accusers, and I can say so much, from which I should deserve much more gratitude from my opponents than ill-treatment. Their enmity they showed for the reasons which have been given, although (in reality) they had no reason for enmity. 15. So while on oath to enroll those who had not served, they violated their oaths and proposed to the assembly to deliberate about my freedom, (16) fining me on the ground that I spoke evil of the government, and utterly disregarding justice, being bound to injure me on some plea or other. What would they have done if they were really going to injure me greatly and benefit themselves, they who care so little for their unfairness (even) when neither of these objects is accomplished? 17. For they had small opinion of your assembly and had no respect for the gods, but behaved so contemptuously and illegally as not to attempt to defend their acts, and at last, thinking they had not punished me sufficiently, finally banished me from the city. 18. While acting so illegally and violently, they did not care to conceal their unfairness, but bringing me up again on the same charges, though I have done no wrong, they accuse and revile me, bringing charges not at all corresponding to my habits, but which harmonize and accord with their own characters.

19. These men are then eager in every way for me to meet punishment; but do not, I beg you, be swayed by their slanders and condemn me, nor set aside those who came to a better and juster decision. For these have acted both in accord with custom and precedent, and evidently have done no wrong, caring most for justice. 20. So if these (the prosecutors) act illegally, I would be somewhat disturbed, considering it is established to treat enemies ill and friends well; but if I did not meet fair treatment at your hands, I should be much more troubled. For then I should not seem to have been ill-treated through private enmity, but through the viciousness of the state. 21. Nominally I am contending about the writ, but actually about my citizenship. For with fair treatment I would remain in the city (for I trust to your decision); but if, being brought up by these men, I should be unjustly convicted, I should have to leave the city. What hope would I have to buoy me up in living with you, or why should I intend (to do so), knowing the desire of my accusers, and not knowing at whose hands to expect justice? Care then more for justice (than for anything else) and bear in mind that you grant pardon about charges evidently unjust, and do not allow those who have committed no wrong to meet through individual malice the most unfair treatment.



1. I think, gentlemen of the jury, that I shall have no lack of witnesses, for I see many of you sitting on the jury who were present when Lysithous was impeaching Theomnestus for speaking in the Assembly when it was illegal, as he had thrown away his shield. In that trial he said I had killed my father. 2. Now if he had claimed I had killed his father, I should have overlooked his words, (for I thought him of no account and insignificant), (3) but now it seems a disgrace not to punish, a man who said this in relation to my father, who benefited you and the state so signally. And now I wish to know from you whether he shall pay the penalty, or whether he alone of the Athenians is allowed to act and speak illegally just as he pleases.

4. This is my thirty-third year, gentlemen of the jury, and the twentieth since the restoration (of the Democracy). So I was clearly thirteen years old when my father died at the hands of the Thirty. At that age I neither understood what an oligarchy was, nor could I have helped my father under his unjust treatment. 5. And I could not have had reason to plot against him for the sake of the money, for my elder brother Pantaleon took everything and as guardian took our patrimony, so that on many accounts, gentlemen of the jury, it was for my interest to desire my father's life. So it is necessary to call these facts to your minds, and I shall need but few words; you know well enough that I speak the truth. And nevertheless I will furnish evidence for these facts.


6. Now probably, gentlemen of the jury, he will make no denial of these facts, but will say before you, as he dared to affirm before the arbiter, that one does not use a forbidden word in saying some one has "killed" his father, for the law does not forbid this, but forbids the use of the word "homicide." 7. But I think that you should make your decision not about the letter of the law, but its intention. You all know that those who kill others are homicides, and those who are homicides kill others. For it would be a great task for a lawgiver to write all the words having the same signification, but in mentioning one term, his meaning covers all. 8. This is the case then, is it not, Theomnestus,—if any one called you a beater of father or mother, you would think he should be punished, but if any one said you beat your father or mother, you would then think he should go unfined as saying no forbidden word! 9. For I should like to hear from you (for in this you are skilled in practice and speech). If any one should say you "flung away" your shield, and in the law was written that a man was liable to punishment if any one declares he "threw it away," would you not have prosecuted him, and would it have been enough for you to say if some one declared you "flung it away," I do not care, for flinging and throwing are not the same thing. 10. Now could you admit the charge as one of the Eleven, if some one brought in a man on the charge of having stripped off his cloak or shirt but you would have discharged him because he was not called a "clothesstealer." And if any one should be caught carrying off a boy, you would not say he was a kidnapper, if you quibble with terms, and will not pay attention to the facts to express which terms are invented. 11. Consider this now, gentlemen of the jury. For this man seems never to have gone to the Areopagus through indolence and indifference. For you all know that there, whenever they are conducting a trial for murder, they do not make their depositions with this term, but with that by which I have been abused. For the prosecutor makes a deposition that "he killed," the defendant that "he did not kill." 12. Accordingly it would be absurd to acquit the one who evidently committed murder because he pleads he is a murderer, when the prosecutor charges the defendant of "killing." For what is the difference of which this man speaks? And you yourself brought suit against Theon for saying you "flung away" your shield. Nothing is said in the law about "flinging," but if any one declared he has "thrown away" his shield, it decrees a fine of 500 drachmae. 13. Would it not be terrible if whenever it were necessary for you to punish your enemies for slander, for you to interpret the laws as I do now, but whenever you speak illegally of another, to think you ought not to be punished? Are you so powerful as to be able to employ the laws as you wish, or have you such influence as to believe that those whom you wrong will not get a recompense? 14. Are you not ashamed to have the thought that you should claim advantages, not from your services to the state, but from your unpunished deeds? But read me the law.


15. I now, gentlemen of the jury, assume that you all know that I speak to the point, but he is so clumsy that he cannot understand what is said. So I wish to inform him also from other laws about these things, that even now while he is on the platform, he may be informed and may give you no further trouble. Now read me the old laws of Solon.

16. Law. Let him be bound, in the stocks by the feet, if the court decrees it in addition.

The "stocks," Theomnestus, is the same thing which is now called the "pillory." If then a man who has been bound should on his release complain when the Eleven were undergoing their audit that he had not been bound in stocks but in the pillory, would they not think him crazy? Read another law.

17. Law. Let him give security, having sworn by Apollo, fearing to escape on account of the penalty.

The (old-fashioned) "swearing falsely" now means "swearing by," and "running off" is our "escape."

And whoever shuts a door with a thief inside.

The "close" is our "shut" and means the same.

18. Money may be at interest at whatever rate the lender wishes.

The "interest," my good friend, is not "weighed," but draws whatever percent is wished. Read now the last law.

19. As many as go about in plain view, and He shall be responsible for injury to a domestic or female slave.

Now attend. The "in plain view" is "openly," the "go about" is "walk the streets," the "domestic" is "servant." And there are many other such cases, gentlemen of the jury. 20. And unless this man is stupid, I think he understands that these matters are the same now as in antiquity, but that we now employ different terms for them. And he will show (his consciousness), for he will withdraw from the platform in silence. 21. And if he does not, I beg you, gentlemen of the jury, to vote what is just, bearing in mind that it is a much greater evil to hear that one has killed his father than to hear that he has thrown away his shield. I at least would rather have thrown away all my shields, rather than to have such a report (circulated) in relation to my father. 22. So this man, being liable to that charge, for which the penalty would have been less (than mine for this), not only was acquitted by you, but brought disfranchisement upon a witness. And I have seen him doing that which you know of, and I myself rescued his shield and yet am charged with a deed so lawless and terrible. Now as I shall have the worst fate if he escapes, and his penalty if convicted of slander will not be what he deserves, shall I not obtain satisfaction from him? What charge have you against me? 23. That there was justice in his accusation? But you yourselves would not say so. That the defendant is a nobler man and from nobler family than I? Not even he would claim that. That, having thrown away my shield, I am accused of libel by the one who rescued it? Such is not the story about town. 24. But remember that you rendered him that great favor. In this matter who would not pity Dionysius that he met with such misfortune, a noble man who fell into danger, coming from the dicastery, saying (25) that we had made a most unfortunate expedition, where many lost their lives and others who saved their shields were convicted of perjury by those who threw theirs away? Were it not better for him to have died there rather than to come home to such a fate? 26. So do not pity Theomnestus that he is ill-spoken of as he deserves, and do not give judgment in his favor while he insults (me) and speaks illegally. For what greater sorrow could befall me than this, to hear such base charges in relation to such a father? 27. He often served as Strategus, and ran many other risks for you. And he was never made prisoner by the enemy, nor lost a suit to the state through his audit, and at sixty years of age he was put to death under the oligarchy through his devotion to the people. 28. Am I not justified in my anger against the slanderer, and in coming to my father's rescue as if he were slandered by this charge? For what could be more distressing to him than this, to die at the hands of enemies and to have the reproach of having been put to death by his own children. His trophies of valor, gentlemen of the jury, even now hang on your shrines, but the trophies of the cowardice of this man (Theon) and his father are in an enemy's temple, so inborn is their baseness. 29. And so, gentlemen of the jury, the more these are brave to all appearances, the more they deserve our anger, for they are evidently strong in body, but weak in spirit.

30. I hear, gentlemen of the jury, that he will resort to the argument that he spoke in anger as I offered the same testimony as Dionysius. Bear in mind, gentlemen of the jury, that the law gives no pardon to anger, but fines one who cannot prove the truth of his words. And I twice gave evidence, not realizing that you punish witnesses and pardon those who throw away their shields. 31. So about these things I do not know what more I ought to say. But I beg you to condemn Theon, bearing in mind that no trial could be more important to me. For I prosecute him for slander and by the same vote I am acquitted of the murder of my father, I, who by myself, as soon as I came of age, indicted the Thirty in the Areopagus. Recalling this, aid me and my father, and (stand by) the laws and the oaths which you have taken.



1. It does not seem to me difficult to begin the accusation, jurors, but to cease speaking; things so important, and so many in number, have been done by them, that neither by lying could I make the accusation worse than it really is, nor, if I were willing, should I be able to tell the whole truth; but it is necessary either for the accuser to grow weary, or for time to fail. 2. But I think my experience will be just the opposite of what (it has been) formerly. For formerly it was necessary for the accusers to show the enmity which they had toward the accused; but now it is necessary to ask from the accused what enmity they had toward the state, on account of which they venture to do such wrongs to it. But I do not use these words as if not having private enmities and misfortunes, but as if there were plenty of reason for all to be angry, on account of their private and public affairs. 3. In my own case, jurors, having never pleaded either my own cause or that of others, I now have been compelled by what has taken place, to accuse this man, so that I often have felt the greatest despondency, lest, on account of my inexperience, I should make the accusation, for my brother and myself, unworthily and unskillfully; still, I will endeavor to run over the facts as briefly as I can.

4. My father, Cephalus, was persuaded by Pericles to come to this land, and lived there thirty years; and neither we nor he ever brought an accusation against anybody, or were accused ourselves; but we lived in such a manner under the Democracy, that we neither wronged others nor were wronged by others. 5. But when the Thirty, being villains and sycophants, were established in power, affirming that it was necessary to rid the city of those doing wrong, and turn the remaining citizens to virtue and justice,—though making such professions, they did not venture to do such things, as I, speaking first in my own behalf, and in behalf of you, shall try to remind you. 6. For Theognis and Piso said, among the Thirty, in regard to the metics, that there were some dissatisfied with the form of government; therefore there was a very good pretext to seem to punish them, but in reality to get their money, for the city was poor in every respect, and the government needed money. 7. And they had no difficulty in persuading their hearers, for they thought it of no account to kill men, but to take their money they considered of the utmost importance. Therefore they decided to arrest ten, and, of these, two poor men, in older that they might have a defense, in respect to the others, that these things were not done for the sake of money, but in the interest of the state, as if doing something reasonably. 8. Accordingly they distributed the houses and went to them. They found me entertaining guests, whom they drove out, and then gave me up to Piso, and others, going to the workshop, took an inventory of the slaves. And I asked Piso if he was willing to save me, taking a bribe; and he said he would, if there was much of it. 9. Therefore I said that I was ready to give him a talent of silver, and he agreed to do it. I knew that he regarded neither gods nor men; still, in view of the existing state of affairs, it seemed to me to be absolutely necessary to take a pledge from him. 10. And when he swore, imprecating destruction upon himself and children, that he would save me, on condition of receiving a talent, I went to my chamber and opened the chest. Piso seeing this came in, and, seeing what was therein, called two of his servants, and commanded them to take what was in the chest. 11. But as he did not confine himself to the sum agreed upon, jurors, but took three talents of silver, four hundred cyziceni, a hundred darics, and four bowls of silver, I besought him to give me my traveling expenses; whereupon he told me to rejoice if I saved my life. 12. Melobius and Mnesitheides, returning from the workshop, met Piso and myself, coming out (of the house). They overtook us at the very doors, and asked us where we were going; he said to my brother's (house), to see what was in that house; then they told him to go on, but bade me accompany them to Damnippus. 13. And Piso, approaching me, told me to keep silence, and be of good cheer, as he would come there; and we found Theognis there, guarding the others; having given me up to him, they went back; and, under such circumstances, it seemed best to me to run any risk whatever, as if death were already at hand. 14. So, having called Damnippus, I spoke to him as follows: "You happen to be a friend of mine, and I have come to your house; I have done no wrong, but I am about to be put to death on account of my property; do you, therefore, in consideration of my wretched plight, kindly use your influence in my behalf to secure my safety." And he promised to do it. But it seemed better to him to mention it to Theognis, for he thought that he would do anything, if one should give him money. 15. And, while he was conversing with Theognis (as I happened to be acquainted with the house, and knew that there were two doors), it seemed best to me to try to save myself, thinking that, if I should escape detection, I should be safe, but, if I should be taken, I thought that, if Theognis should be persuaded by Damnippus to receive a bribe, I should get off nevertheless, but otherwise I should die all the same. 16. Having thought of these things, I fled while they were stationing a guard at the hall-door, and of the three doors through which I must pass, all happened to be open; then, coming to the (house) of Archeneus, the shipmaster, I sent him to the town to learn about my brother; and he came, and said that Eratosthenes had seized him in the road and led him off to prison, (17) and I, having learned these things, on the following night sailed to Megara. And the Thirty gave the command to Polemarchus, made customary by them, to drink hemlock, before telling the accusation, on account of which he was about to die, so far he failed of trial, and making his defense. 18. And when he was carried out the prison-house dead, although we had three houses, they permitted him to be carried out from neither of them; but, having hired a bier, they laid him out. And, although there was much clothing, they gave none to us, when we asked it for his burial, but of his friends, one gave a garment, another a pillow, and what each one happened to have, he gave for his burial. 19. And although we had seven hundred shields belonging to us, together with gold, silver, brass, ornaments, furniture and women's clothing to an amount far beyond their expectations, besides a hundred and twenty slaves, of whom they took the best, and threw the rest into prison, they reached such a pitch of insatiable desire and avarice, that they showed their character; for from the ears of the wife of Polemarchus, Melobius took the golden earrings which she happened to be wearing, as soon as he came into the house. 20. And not in the least part of our property did we receive compassion from them; but they so wronged us, on account of our property, as others would in anger for great wrongs, though we did not deserve these things from the city, but we had paid the expenses of all the choruses, and many taxes, and showed ourselves orderly, and did everything ordered, and had no private enemy, but freed many of the Athenians from their enemies. Such things they thought we deserved, although as metics we had conducted ourselves better than those who are citizens. 21. For they drove out many of the citizens to their enemies, and, killing many unjustly, left them unburied; and many who enjoyed the full rights of citizenship in this city, they deprived of them; and they prevented the daughters of many from being married. 22. And now they have become so audacious, that they come here to defend themselves, declaring that they have done nothing wrong or disgraceful; and I wish that they spoke the truth, for not the least share in this good would come to me. 23. But now they have no such pleas either before the city or me, for, as I said before, Eratosthenes killed my brother, not having been wronged by him privately, or seeing him injuring the city, but zealously assisting his own transgression of the law.

24. And having come up here, I wish, to question him, jurors, for this is my opinion; with a view to this man's advantage, I think it impious to converse even with another about him; but to his injury I consider it to be holy and honorable to speak even to himself; therefore rise up, and answer me what I ask you. 25. Did you lead away Polemarchus, or not? "Through fear I did what was commanded by the Thirty." Were you in the council chamber when speeches were made about us? "I was." Did you agree with those advising to kill, or did you oppose? "I opposed." That we might not be killed? "That you might not be killed." Thinking that we would suffer unjustly or justly? "Unjustly." 26. Then, O basest of all men! did you oppose, in order to save us, but arrest us, in order to kill us? And, when the majority of you had our safety in your hands, do you say you opposed those wishing to destroy us, but, when it was in your power alone both to save Polemarchus and not, did you lead him away to prison? Then because, as you say, by opposing you did no good, do you claim to be considered an honest man? But, because you arrested and tried to kill us, do you not think that you should suffer punishment for this?

27. And, moreover, it is not reasonable to believe him in this (if he speaks the truth in saying that he opposed), that it was commanded him. For surely, in the case of the metics, they did not take a pledge from him. To whom then was it less likely to be commanded than (to one) who happened to oppose them, and declared his opinion? For who was less likely to be a servant in these things than the man who opposed what they wished to be done? 28. And still it seems to me that there is a sufficient excuse for the other Athenians, to lay the blame of what has happened upon the Thirty. But how is it reasonable for you to accept the statements of the Thirty themselves, if they throw the blame on each other? 29. For, if there had been in the city any greater power than that by which he was ordered to kill men unjustly, you might justly pardon him; but now from whom will you ever exact punishment if it shall be possible for the Thirty to say that they did what was commanded by the Thirty? 30. And while it was possible to save him and abide by the commands of the Thirty, he arrested him, not in his house, but in the street, and led him off. And you are all angry with as many as came into your houses making a search for you or for anything of yours. 31. But, if it was necessary to pardon those who have killed others for their own safety, you would more justly pardon these, for it was dangerous for those who were sent not to go, and if caught to deny it. But it was possible for Eratosthenes to say, first, that he did not meet him; secondly, that he did not see him; for these things had neither proof nor trial, so that they would not have been investigated, even by those wishing to be enemies. 32. But you ought, Eratosthenes, if you had been an honest man, far rather to have informed those about to be put to death unjustly, than to arrest those about to perish unjustly; but now your acts have been evident as those not of one troubled, but of one pleased with what has taken place. 33. So that it is necessary for the jury to give their decision from facts rather than from words, taking as proofs of the things then said, what they know to have happened, since it is not possible to furnish witnesses about these things; for it was not only impossible for us to be present, but in our homes, so that it is in the power of those who have done it for their own safety! 34. I do not, however, shrink from the issue, but rather confess to you that I am utterly opposed (to their statements). Indeed, I wonder what in Heaven's name you would have done if in harmony with the Thirty, since when opposing them you killed Polemarchus. Come now, what would you do if you happened to be brother or son of his? Would you acquit him? For Eratosthenes, jurors, must show one of two things, either that he did not lead him away, or that he did this justly; but he has confessed that he arrested him unjustly, so that he has made your decision about him easy. 35. And now many, both of the citizens and of the strangers, have come to learn your opinion about these things, some of whom, being your own citizens, will go away having learned either that they will suffer punishment for the crimes they shall commit, or, having done what they desire, will become tyrants of the city, but, failing, will be on equal terms with you; but the foreigners in the city will know whether they banished the Thirty from their city justly or unjustly, for, if the very men who have suffered ill, shall acquit those whom they arrested, truly they will think that they themselves have been over-zealous in taking vengeance in your behalf. 36. Is it not then a hard thing if you punished by death the generals who conquered in the naval battle because they said they were not able to rescue their companions from the sea on account of the storm, thinking it was necessary to exact punishment from them on account of the valor of the dead, but these, who, as private citizens, did all in their power to be defeated in the naval battle, and, when they were established in power, confessed that they willingly put to death many of the citizens without a trial,—is it not necessary that both they themselves and their children should be punished by you with the most extreme punishments?

37. I then, jurors, think that sufficient accusation has been made, for I think it is necessary to carry the accusation up to this point until the accused shall appear to have done things worthy of death; for this is the most extreme punishment we can inflict upon them, so that I do not know what need there is to make many accusations against men who would not be able to give satisfaction for each of their offenses even by dying twice. 38. For it is not fitting for him to do that which is customary in this city, to make no defense against the accusations but, speaking much of themselves, they sometimes deceive, showing to you how good soldiers they are, or how many ships of the enemy they took when in command of triremes, or how many cities which were hostile they made friendly. 39. For command him to show where he killed as many of the enemy as of the citizens, or where he took as many ships as they themselves betrayed, or what city they acquired so great as this one of ours which they enslaved. 40. For did they take as many arms from the enemy as they have taken from you? Did they take such walls as those of their own country which they dismantled? Who took away the garrisons about Attica, and made it plain to you that they did not dismantle the Piraeus because the Lacedaemonians commanded it, but because they thought that thus their own power would be firmer?

41. Therefore I often wondered at the audacity of those speaking in their behalf, except when I consider that it is in their power both to do all evils and to praise those like them. 42. For this is not the first time he has acted contrary to your majority; but in the time of the Four Hundred, having set up an oligarchy in the camp, he fled from the Hellespont, deserting his ship, although the commander of it, with Iatrocles and others whose names I do not need to mention; and, having come here, he opposed those who favored a democracy. And of these things I will bring you witnesses.


43. I will pass over then his intervening life; but after the sea-fight and the disaster to the city took place, there being still a democracy, five men were made Ephors by the so-called secret societies (whence they began a sedition), to assemble the citizens, lead the conspirators, and oppose your democracy. Among them were Eratosthenes and Critias. 44. And they appointed commanders over the guards, and they directed what ought to be voted and who ought to rule, and, if they wished to do anything else, they were masters; so not only enemies, but also those who were citizens plotted against you, in order that you might vote nothing good, and might be in want of many things. 45. For this they knew, that they could not get the upper hand in any other way, but success for them depended on your misfortune; and they thought that you, wishing to be freed from your present evils, would not consider about future ones. 46. That it was in the power of the Ephors at that time, I will bring witnesses to you, not those then co-operating with him (for I should not be able), but those who heard Eratosthenes himself. 47. But, if they had been prudent, they would have borne witness against them, and would have severely punished the teachers of their crimes, and, if they had been wise, would not have considered their oaths binding to the extent of wronging the citizens, but for the good of the state they would have easily transgressed them; therefore I say such things to them. Call witnesses for me, and come forward.


48. You have heard the witnesses. At last, being established in power, he took part in no good deed, but in many of an opposite character. If, however, he were an honest man, he ought, in the first place, not to rule contrary to law; secondly, to inform the council concerning all the reports, that they were false, and that Batrachus and Aeschylides did not announce the truth, but told things invented by the Thirty, as agreed upon for the injury of the citizens. 49. And indeed, jurors, all who were ill disposed toward you, remained quiet just the same; for there were others saying and doing things which were greater evils than what could (otherwise) come to the city. But for those who said they were well disposed, why did they not show it there, both by speaking what was best themselves, and preventing men from doing wrong?

50. But perhaps he might be able to say he was afraid, and this will be a sufficient excuse to some of you. (Observe) then, if he shall appear to be opposing the Thirty in speech; otherwise it will be evident that these things pleased him, and he had so much power that, although, he opposed, he suffered no evil from them. And he ought to have this zeal for your safety, but not for Theramenes, who has wronged you in many respects. 51. But that he considered the city hostile and your enemies his friends, I shall establish by many proofs; likewise that the quarrels with each other arose not on your behalf, but on theirs, to determine who shall do these things and govern the state. 52. For, if they made the revolt in behalf of those who had been wronged, when would there have been a better opportunity for a ruler to show his friendship than when Thrasybulus had taken possession of Phyle? But he, instead of announcing or doing anything good toward those at Phyle, came with his fellow-rulers to Salamis and Eleusis, and led away three hundred of the citizens to prison, and by one vote condemned them all to death. 53. But when we came to the Piraeus, and disputes arose, and speeches were made about a reconciliation, we each had many hopes of behaving towards each other, as both parties gave indications; for the Piraeus party, being superior, permitted them to depart, (54) and they, having come to the city, drove out the Thirty, except Pheido and Eratosthenes, and chose as leaders those most opposed to them, thinking justly that by the same persons both the Thirty would be hated, and the Piraeus party loved. 55. Of these, then, Pheido, who had been one of the Thirty, and Hippocles, and Epichares of Lamptrae, and others seeming to be the most opposed to Charicles and Critias and their club, when they were established in power, created much greater party-feeling against the Piraeus party for the city party. 56. And they openly showed that they were making the disturbance, not on behalf of the Piraeus party, nor on behalf of those perishing unjustly, neither did they trouble themselves about the dead, nor those who were going to be put to death, but those who had more power and were getting rich faster. 57. For, having seized the offices and the city, they made war upon both parties, both the Thirty who had done all evils, and you who had suffered all evils; and this was evident to all, that, if the former were accused unjustly, you (were accused) justly, but if you unjustly, the Thirty justly, for they were banished from the city, not having been guilty of other things, but of these things. 58. So that it is necessary to be exceedingly indignant that Pheido, having been chosen to conciliate you and restore you, did the same things as Eratosthenes, and with the same mind was ready to injure those who were in the majority in their own party by means of you; and he was not willing to restore the city to you in unjust exile, but, having come to Sparta, he tried to persuade them to begin hostilities, falsely saying that the city would fall into the power of the Boeotians, and other things besides by which he hoped to persuade them. 59. But not being able to obtain this, either because the sacred rites were in the way, or because they themselves did not wish it, he borrowed a hundred talents in order that he might be able to hire mercenaries; and they chose Lysander as leader, who was very friendly to the oligarchy, and most hostile to the state, especially the Piraeus party. 60. Then having hired all men for the destruction of the city, and inciting cities, and finally the Lacedaemonians, and such of their allies as they could persuade, they made preparations not to restore but to destroy the city (and would have succeeded), had it not been for certain brave men, to whom I charge you to show your gratitude by punishing these wretches. 61. You know these things yourselves, and I know it is not necessary to provide witnesses, nevertheless (I will), for I need to stop speaking, and it is more pleasant for you to hear the same words from as many as possible.


62. Come now, I will show you about Theramenes as briefly as I can, and I request you to hear me, both on behalf of myself and the city. And let no one think that I am accusing Theramenes while Eratosthenes is on trial. For I learn that he will make this defense, that he was a friend of his, and took part in the same acts. 63. But I suppose that he, as a citizen, would pretend that he was acting with Themistocles, in order that the walls might be built, since (he says he is acting) with Theramenes, in order that they may be destroyed; for they do not seem to me to be worthy of a comparison, for he built them up against the will of the Spartans, but this man has torn them down, after deceiving the citizens. 64. For the opposite has happened to the city from what was natural. For it was right that the friends of Theramenes should be ruined with him, except if one happened to be acting in opposition to him; but now I see that the defense is thrown upon him, but that his companions are trying to get honor, as if he had been the cause of many blessings, and not of great evils. 65. In the first place, he was the chief cause of the former oligarchy, having persuaded you to choose the constitution, in the time of the Four Hundred. His father, being one of the commissioners, did these things, and he himself seeming to be in full sympathy with the affair, was chosen general by them. 66. And while he was in office, he showed himself faithful (to the city); but, when he saw that Pisander and Callaeschrus and others were superior to him, and that you no longer wished to hear them, then, on account of his enmity towards them, and his fear of you, he took part with Aristocrates. 67. And, wishing to seem to be faithful to you, he accused and put to death, Antiphon and Archeptolemus, who were great friends of his, and reached such a pitch of wickedness, that at the same time, on account of his faith to them, he enslaved you, and on account of his (faith) to you he destroyed his friends. 68. Then being honored, and thought worthy of the greatest things, he himself, having announced that he would save the city, destroyed it, saying he had done a great and valuable thing. And he promised to make peace, without giving hostages, without dismantling the walls, and without giving up the ships, and wishing to say these things to no one, he commanded you to trust him. 69. But you, Athenians, while the council of the Areopagus was acting for safety, and many were opposing Theramenes, though you knew that other men keep secrets on account of the enemy, while he, even among his own citizens, was unwilling to state those things which he was going to state to the enemy, nevertheless intrusted to him your country, children, wives and yourselves. 70. But he did nothing which he promised; on the contrary, he reflected that the city ought to be small and weak, so that he endeavored to persuade you to do those things which no one of the enemy ever mentioned, or of the citizens ever expected; not being compelled by the Lacedaemonians, but himself giving orders to them, both to destroy the walls of the Piraeus, and to break up the existing state of government, well knowing that, if you were not in despair, you would inflict speedy punishment upon him. 71. And finally, jurors, he did not permit the assembly to be held until the opportunity mentioned by him (Lysander) was carefully watched by him, and he had summoned the ships from Samos with Lysander, and the camp of the enemy was in the city. 72. Then, this being the state of affairs, and Lysander and Philochares and Miltiades being present, they made an assembly concerning the constitution, in order that no orator might oppose or threaten them, and that you might not choose what was advantageous, but might vote what seemed best to them. 73. And Theramenes stood up, and advised you to commit the city to thirty men, and abide by the constitution which Dracontides proposed, but you, nevertheless, being so disposed, made a tumult as if you would not do these things, for you knew that you were deliberating that day concerning slavery and liberty. 74. But Theramenes, jurors, (and of these things I will bring you yourselves as witnesses,) said he cared nothing for your tumult, since he knew that many of the Athenians were doing things like himself, and he said things which seemed good to Lysander and the Lacedaemonians; and after him Lysander rose and said a great deal, but particularly that he considered you faithless, and that the question would be to you, not about a constitution, but about safety, unless you did what Theramenes commands. 75. And of those in the assembly, the better portion were aware of the preparation and the crisis, and some remained and kept quiet; but others went off, knowing this, at least, that they had voted nothing wrong to the city; while a few base and evil schemers voted what was commanded. 76. For they were commanded to elect ten whom Theramenes proposed, and ten whom, those elected Ephors advised, and ten from those present; for they saw your weakness, and they knew their own power, so that they knew beforehand what was going to take place in the assembly. 77. And in these things it is not necessary to believe me, but him, for all those things said by me he said, in his defense in the council, reproaching the exiles, because they came back through his means,—the Lacedaemonians not caring about it,—and reviling those taking part in the government, because he himself met with such treatment, after having been the cause of all the things done in the ways mentioned by me, having himself given many pledges, and received many from them. 78. And though he has been the cause of so many other evils and disgraces, both long ago and recently, both small and great, they will venture to declare that they are friends of his, when Theramenes died not on your behalf, but on account of his own wickedness, and was justly punished in an oligarchy (for he destroyed it); as he would have been justly in a democracy; for he twice enslaved you, despising what was present, and desiring what was absent, setting himself up as a teacher of most horrible things, while using a most honorable name.

79. Concerning Theramenes then, the accusations seem to me to be sufficient; and the time has come when it is necessary not to have pardon and pity in your decision, but to punish Eratosthenes and his fellow- rulers, and not by fighting to be superior to our (public) enemies, and by voting to be weaker than our private enemies. 80. Accordingly do not favor them more for what they say they are going to do, than be angry for what they have done; neither plot against the Thirty when absent, and acquit them when present; neither aid yourselves in a manner worse, than fortune has, which has given them to the city. 81. Act against Eratosthenes and his friends, upon whom he will lay the defense, and with whom these things were done by him; but the contest between the city and Eratosthenes is not equal, for he was at once the accuser and judge of what was taking place; but we are brought now to an accusation and defense. 82. They put to death without a trial those doing no wrong; but you think it right to try according to law those who have destroyed the city; from whom even if you wished to exact punishment, contrary to law, you could not exact one worthy of the crimes which they have done to the city; for by what suffering could they suffer a punishment proportionate to their deeds? 83. If you should kill these, and their children, should we exact an adequate punishment for the murder of those whose fathers and sons and brothers they put to death without a trial? Or if you should confiscate their real estate, would it be well either for the state from which they have taken much, or for the citizens whose houses they have plundered? 84. Since, then, by most stringent measures you could not exact a sufficient punishment from them, is it not a shame for you to neglect any (penalty) whatsoever which one might wish to exact from them? It seems to me, that he must be an audacious wretch who when no others are the jurors except those very ones who have suffered ill, has come to make his defense, before the very witnesses of his villainy; so much has he either despised you or trusted others. 85. Both of these things it is worth while to consider, reflecting that they would not be able to do these things without the co-operation of others, neither would they have attempted to come now, unless they thought they would be saved by those same persons who have come here, not to rescue them, but in the belief that there would be great security to them for what they have done, and in future the power to do whatever they wish, if, having made the arrest, you shall acquit those who are guilty of the greatest crimes.

86. But it is worth while to wonder about those who take their part, whether they make their accusations as good and honorable men, showing their own virtue worth more than the baseness of these. I wish that they were as zealous to save the city as these to destroy it—or whether they will defend them as skillful in speech, and will show their deeds to be worthy. But no one of them ever endeavored to speak justly in your behalf. 87. Again it is worth while to see the witnesses who, testifying to these things, accuse themselves, thinking that you are very forgetful and simple-minded, if, they think without fear to save the Thirty through you; but thanks to Eratosthenes and his fellow-rulers, it became a fearful thing to go even to the carrying out of the dead. 88. But these men, if saved, would again be able to destroy the state, but those whom they destroyed, having died, gave their life beyond the vengeance of their enemies. Is it not a hard thing if their friends were likely to perish with those who died unjustly, while many will undertake the funeral of those who destroyed the state, seeing that so many are prepared to go to the rescue? 89. And I think it far easier to resist your wrongs than to defend the conduct of these men. But they say that Eratosthenes did the fewest evils of the Thirty, and, on this account, they demand that he shall be saved; but because, of (all) other Greeks, he has done you the most wrongs, they do not think he ought to perish. 90. Now therefore you will show what opinion you hold in regard to these matters; if you convict him, it will be evident that you are indignant at what has taken place; but, if you acquit him, you will seem to desire the same things as they, and yet you will not be able to say that you did what was commanded by the Thirty. 91. For in the present case, no one compels you to acquit contrary to your opinion. So I advise you not to convict yourselves by acquitting these, nor think that your vote is secret, for you will make your decision known to the city.

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