Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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“Or the man who has failed to perform all the military service demanded of him, or who has thrown away his shield.” And he is right. Why? Man, if you fail to take up arms in behalf of the state, or if you are such a coward that you are unable to defend her, you must not claim the right to advise her, either. Whom does he specify in the third place? “Or the man,” he says, “who has debauched or prostituted himself.” For the man who has made traffic of the shame of his own body, he thought would be ready to sell the common interests of the city also. But whom does he specify in the fourth place?


“Or the man,” he says, “who has squandered his patrimony or other inheritance.” For he believed that the man who has mismanaged his own household will handle the affairs of the city in like manner; and to the lawgiver it did not seem possible that the same man could be a rascal in private life, and in public life a good and useful citizen; and he believed that the public man who comes to the platform ought to come prepared, not merely in words, but, before all else, in life.


And he was of the opinion that the advice of a good and upright man, however simple and even awkward the words in which it is given, is profitable to the hearers; but the words of a shameless man, who has treated his own body with scorn and disgracefully squandered his patrimony—the words of such a man the lawgiver believed could never benefit the hearers, however eloquently they might be spoken.


These men, therefore, he debars from the speaker's platform, these he forbids to address the people. But if any one, in violation of these prohibitions, not only speaks, but is guilty of blackmail and wanton scurrility, and if the city is no longer able to put up with such a man, “Let any citizen who chooses,” he says, “and is competent thereto, [Note] challenge him to a suit of scrutiny;” and then he commands you [Note] to render decision on the case in a court of justice. This is the law under authority of which I now appear before you.


Now these regulations of the law have long been in force; but you went further and added a new law, after that charming gymnastic exhibition which Timarchus gave in an assembly of the people [Note]; for you were exceedingly ashamed of the affair. By the new law, for every meeting of the assembly one tribe is to be chosen by lot to have charge of the speaker's platform, and to preside. [Note] And what did the proposer of the law prescribe? That the members of the tribe should sit as defenders of the laws and of the democracy; for he believed that unless we should summon help from some quarter against men who have lived such a life, we should not be able even to deliberate on matters of supreme importance.


For there is no use in attempting, fellow citizens, to drive such men from the platform by shouting at them, for they have no sense of shame. We must try, rather, to break them of their habits by pains and penalties; for so only can they be made endurable.

The clerk shall therefore read to you the laws that are in force to secure orderly conduct [Note] on the part of our public men. For the law that introduced the presidency of a tribe [Note] has been attacked in the courts by Timarchus here, in conspiracy with other men like himself, as being inexpedient, their object being to have license to speak, as well as to behave, as they choose.



[If any public man, speaking in the senate or in the assembly of the people, shall not speak on the subject which is before the house, or shall fail to speak on each proposition separately, or shall speak twice on the same subject in one day, or if he shall speak abusively or slanderously, or shall interrupt the proceedings, or in the midst of the deliberations shall get up and speak on anything that is not in order, or shall shout approval, or shall lay hands on the presiding officer, on adjournment of the assembly or the senate the board of presidents are authorized to report his name to the collectors, with a fine of not more than 50 drachmas for each offence. But if he be deserving of heavier penalty, they shall impose a fine of not more than 50 drachmas, and refer the case to the senate or to the next meeting of the assembly. After due summons that body shall pass judgment; the vote shall be secret, and if he be condemned, the presiding officers shall certify the result to the collectors.]


You have heard the laws, fellow citizens, and I am sure that you approve of them. But whether these laws are to be of use or not, rests with you. For if you punish the wrong-doers, your laws will be good and valid; but if you let them go, the laws will still be good, indeed, but valid no longer.


Now that I have finished with the laws, I wish next, as I proposed at the outset, to inquire into the character of Timarchus, that you may know how completely at variance it is with your laws. And I beg you to pardon me, fellow citizens, if, compelled to speak about habits which by nature are, indeed, unclean, but are nevertheless his, I be led to use some expression that is as bad as Timarchus' deeds.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 1.24 Aeschin. 1.33 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 1.41

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