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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Therefore, my fellow citizens, I call upon you to make your decision in this case in the same manner. In the first place, let nothing be more credible in your eyes than your own knowledge and conviction regarding this man Timarchus. In the second place, look at the case in the light, not of the present moment, but of the time that is past. For the words spoken before today about Timarchus and his practices were spoken because they were true; but what will be said today will be spoken because of the trial,and with intent to deceive you. Give, therefore, the verdict that is demanded by the longer time, and the truth, and your own knowledge.


And yet a certain speech-writer who is concocting his defense [Note] says that I contradict myself; since it seems to him impossible, he says, for the same man to have been a prostitute and to have consumed his patrimony. For, he says, to have sinned against one's own body is the act of a boy, but to have consumed one's patrimony is that of a man. And furthermore he says that those who defile themselves exact pay for it. He therefore goes up and down the marketplace expressing his wonder and amazement that one and the same man should have prostituted himself and also have consumed his patrimony.


Now if anyone does not understand the facts of the case, I will try to explain them more clearly. Hegesandrus, who kept Timarchus, had married an heiress. So long as her inheritance held out, and the money that Hegesandrus had brought back with him from his voyage with Timomachus, they lived in all luxury and lewdness. But when these resources had been wasted and gambled away and eaten up, and this defendant had lost his youthful charm, and, as you would expect, no one would any longer give him anything, while his lewd and depraved nature constantly craved the same indulgences, and with excessive incontinence kept making demand after demand upon him,


then, at last, incessantly drawn back to his old habits, he resorted to the devouring of his patrimony. And not only did he eat it up, but, if one may so say, he also drank it up! He sold one piece of property after another, not for what it was worth—he couldn't wait for a higher offer nor even for the bare value, but let it go for what it would fetch on the instant, so urgently did he hasten to gratify his lusts.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 1.81 Aeschin. 1.92 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 1.100

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