Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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at the same time he called forward another of the Lacedaemonians, a certain man who was not gifted in speech, but brilliant in war and distinguished for justice and sobriety, and he ordered him to express as best he could the same sentiments that the former orator had uttered, “In order,” he explained, “that a good man may speak before the Lacedaemonians vote, but that they may not even receive into their ears the voices of proven cowards and rascals.” Such was the advice that the old man, who had lived a pure life from childhood, gave to his fellow citizens. He would have been quick, indeed, to allow Timarchus or the low-lived Demosthenes to take part in public affairs!


But that I may not seem to be flattering the Lacedaemonians, I will make mention of our ancestors also. For so stern were they toward all shameful conduct, and so precious did they hold the purity of their children, that when one of the citizens found that his daughter had been seduced, and that she had failed to guard well her chastity till the time of marriage, he walled her up in an empty house with a horse, which he knew would surely kill her, if she were shut in there with him. And to this day the foundations of that house stand in your city, and that spot is called “the place of the horse and the maid.”


and Solon, the most famous of lawgivers, has written in ancient and solemn manner concerning orderly conduct on the part of the women. For the woman who is taken in the act of adultery he does not allow to adorn herself, nor even to attend the public sacrifices, lest by mingling with innocent women she corrupt them. But if she does attend, or does adorn herself, he commands that any man who meets her shall tear off her garments, strip her of her ornaments, and beat her (only he may not kill or maim her); for the lawgiver seeks to disgrace such a woman and make her life not worth the living.


and he commands that procurers, men and women, be indicted, and if they are convicted, be punished with death, because to people who lust after sin but hesitate and are ashamed to meet one another, the procurers offer their own shamelessness for pay, and make it possible to discuss the act and to accomplish it.


Such, then, was the judgment of your fathers concerning things shameful and things honorable; and shall their sons let Timarchus go free, a man chargeable with the most shameful practices, a creature with the body of a man defiled with the sins of a woman? In that case, who of you will punish a woman if he finds her in wrong doing? Or what man will not be regarded as lacking intelligence who is angry with her who errs by an impulse of nature,while he treats as adviser [Note] the man who in despite of nature has sinned against his own body?


How will each man of you feel as he goes home from court? For the person who is on trial is no obscure man, but well known; the law governing the official scrutiny of public speakers is not a trivial law, but a most excellent one; and we must expect that the boys and young men will ask the members of their families how the case was decided.


What then, pray, are you going to answer, you in whose hands the decision now rests, when your sons ask you whether you voted for conviction or acquittal? When you acknowledge that you set Timarchus free, will you not at the same time be overturning our whole system of training the youth? What use is there in keeping attendants for our children, or setting trainers and teachers over them, when those who have been entrusted with the laws allow themselves to be turned into crooked paths of shame?


I am also surprised, fellow citizens, that you who hate the brothel-keeper propose to let the willing prostitute go free. And it seems that a man who is not to be permitted to be a candidate for election by lot for the priesthood of any god, as being impure of body as that is defined by the laws, this same man is to write in our decrees prayers to the August Goddesses [Note] in behalf of the state. Why then do we wonder at the futility of our public acts, when the names of such public men as this stand at the head of the people's decrees? And shall we send abroad as ambassador a man who has lived shamefully at home, and shall we continue to trust that man in matters of the greatest moment? What would he not sell who has trafficked in the shame of his own body? Whom would he pity who has had no pity on himself?


To whom of you is not the bestiality of Timarchus well known? For just as we recognize the athlete, even without visiting the gymnasia, by looking at his bodily vigor, even so we recognize the prostitute, even without being present at his act, by his shamelessness, his effrontery, and his habits. For he who despises the laws and morality in matters of supreme importance, comes to be in a state of soul which is plainly revealed by his disorderly life.


Many men of this sort you could find who have overthrown cities and have fallen into the greatest misfortunes themselves. For you must not imagine, fellow citizens, that the impulse to wrong doing is from the gods; nay, rather, it is from the wickedness of men; nor that ungodly men are, as in tragedy, driven and chastised by the Furies [Note] with blazing torches in their hands.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 1.176 Aeschin. 1.185 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 1.194

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