Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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1.83

Autolycus, however, did not catch the point of your uproar; he frowned and stopped a moment; then he went on: “But, fellow citizens, we members of the Areopagus neither accuse nor defend, for such is not our tradition, but we do make some such allowance as this for Timarchus: he perhaps,” said he, “thought that where everything is so quiet, there will be but little expense for each of you.” Again, at the words “quiet” and “little expense,” he encountered still greater laughter and shouting from you. [Note]

1.84

and when he spoke of the “house sites” and the “tanks” you simply couldn't restrain yourselves. [Note] Thereupon Pyrrandrus came forward to censure you, and he asked the people if they were not ashamed of themselves for laughing in the presence of the Senate of the Areopagus. But you drove him off the platform, replying, “We know, Pyrrandrus, that we ought not to laugh in their presence, but so strong is the truth that it prevails—over all the calculations of men.”

1.85

This, then, I understand to be the testimony that has been offered you by the people of Athens, and it would not be proper that they should be convicted of giving false testimony. When I, fellow citizens, say not a word, you of yourselves shout the name of the acts of which you know he is guilty; strange, then, it would be if when I name them, you cannot remember them; even had there been no trial of this case, he would have been convicted; strange indeed then if when the charge has been proved, he is to be acquitted!

1.86

But since I have mentioned the revision of the lists and the measures proposed by Demophilus, [Note] I wish to cite a certain other illustration in this connection. For this Demophilus had previously brought in a measure of the following sort: he declared that there were certain men who were attempting to bribe the members of the popular assembly and the courts as well—the same assertion that Nicostratus also has made very recently. Some cases under this charge have been in the courts, others are still pending.

1.87

Come now, in the name of Zeus and the gods, if they had resorted to the same defence that Timarchus and his advocates now offer, and demanded that someone should testify explicitly to the crime, or else that the jurors should refuse to believe the charge, surely according to that demand it would have been absolutely necessary for the one man to testify that he gave a bribe, the other, that he took a bribe, though the law threatens each of them with death precisely as in this case if anyone hires an Athenian for a disgraceful purpose, and again if any Athenian voluntarily hires himself out to the shame of his body.

1.88

Is there any man who would have testified, or any prosecutor who would have undertaken to present such proof of the act? Surely not. What then? Were the accused acquitted? No, by Heracles! They were punished with death, though their crime was far less, by Zeus and Apollo, than that of this defendant; those poor wretches met such a fate because they were unable to defend themselves against old age and poverty together, the greatest of human misfortunes; the defendant should suffer it because he is unwilling to restrain his own lewdness.

1.89

Now if this trial were taking place in another city, and that city were the referee, I should have demanded that you should be my witnesses, you who best know that I am speaking the truth. But since the trial is at Athens, and you are at the same time judges and witnesses of the truth of what I say, it is my place to refresh your memory, and yours not to disbelieve me. For I think Timarchus' anxiety is not for himself alone, fellow citizens, but for all the others also whose practices have been the same as his.

1.90

For if in the future, as always in the past, this practice is going to be carried on in secret, and in lonely places and in private houses, and if the man who best knows the facts, but has defiled one of his fellow citizens, is to be liable to the severest punishment if he testifies to the truth, while the man on trial, who has been denounced by the testimony of his own life and of the truth, is to demand that he be judged, not by the facts that are notorious, but by the testimony of witnesses, then the law is done away with, and so is the truth, while a plain path is marked out by which the worst wrongdoers may escape.

1.91

For what foot-pad or adulterer or assassin, or what man who has committed the greatest crimes, but has done it secretly, will be brought to justice? For whereas such of these criminals as are caught in the act are instantly punished with death, if they acknowledge the crime, those who have done the act secretly and deny their guilt, are tried in the courts, and the truth can be determined by circumstantial evidence only.

1.92

Take the example of the Senate of the Areopagus, the most scrupulous tribunal in the city. I myself have before now seen many men convicted before this tribunal, though they spoke most eloquently, and presented witnesses; and I know that before now certain men have won their case, although they spoke most feebly, and although no witnesses testified for them. For it is not on the strength of the pleading alone, nor of the testimony alone, that the members of the court give their verdict, but on the strength of their own knowledge and their own investigations. And this is the reason why that tribunal maintains its high repute in the city.



Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 1.76 Aeschin. 1.87 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 1.96

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