Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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But he dared to say that I am tripped up by my own words. For he says [Note] that when I was prosecuting Timarchus I said that his lewdness was a matter of common report, and that Hesiod, a good poet, says, “But Common Report dies never, the voice that tongues of many men do utter. She also is divine.” [Note] He says that this same god comes now and accuses me, for everybody says, according to him, that I have got money from Philip.


But be assured, fellow citizens, there is the greatest difference between common report and slander. For common report has no affinity with malice, but malice is slander's own sister. I will define each of them specifically: it is a case of common report when the mass of the people, on their own impulse and for no reason that they can give, say that a certain event has taken place; but it is slander when one person, insinuating an accusation in the minds of the people, calumniates a man in all the meetings of the assembly and before the senate. To Common Report we offer public sacrifice, as to a god, but the slanderer we prosecute, in the name of the people, as a scoundrel. Do not, therefore, join together the most honourable and the most shameful things.


At many of his charges I was indeed angry, but most of all when he accused me of being a traitor. For to bring such charges as those was to hold me up to public view as a brute, without natural affection, and chargeable in the past with many other sins. Now of my daily life and conduct I think you are competent judges. But facts that escape the public eye, yet are of greatest importance in the opinion of men of character, I will bring into court as my witnesses—facts very many in number and to my credit in the eyes of the law—in order that seeing them you may know what pledges I left at home when I set out for Macedonia on the embassy.


For you, Demosthenes, fabricated these charges against me, but I will tell my story, as I was taught to do from childhood, truthfully. Yonder is my father, Atrometus; there are few older men among all the citizens, for he is now ninety-four years old. When he was a young man, before the war destroyed his property, he was so fortunate as to be an athlete; banished by the Thirty, he served as a soldier in Asia, and in danger he showed himself a man; by birth he was of the phratry [Note] that uses the same altars as the Eteobutadae, from whom the priestess of Athena Polias comes; and he helped in the restoration of the democracy, as I said a little while ago. [Note]


It is my good fortune, too, that all the members of my mother's family are free-born citizens; and to-day I see her here before my eyes in anxiety and fear for my safety. And yet, Demosthenes, this mother of mine went out to Corinth an exile, with her husband, and shared the disasters of the democracy; but you, who claim to be a man—that you really are a man I should not venture to say—you were once indicted for desertion, and you saved yourself by buying off the man who indicted you, Nicodemus of Aphidna, whom afterward you helped Aristarchus to destroy; [Note]

wherefore you are polluted, and have no right to be invading the market-place. [Note]


Philochares yonder, our eldest brother, a man not of ignoble pursuits, as you slanderously assert, [Note] but a frequenter of the gymnasia, a one-time comrade of Iphicrates in the field, and a general now for the past three years, has come to beg you to save me. Our youngest brother, too, Aphobetus yonder, who as ambassador to the king of Persia has served you to the credit of the city, who administered your revenues honestly and well when you called him to the department of the treasury, who has gotten him children lawfully—not by putting his wife in Cnosion's bed, as you, Demosthenes, did yours—he also is here, despite your slanders ;for defamation goes no further than the ears.


But you dared to speak about my wife's family also—so shameless you are and so inherently thankless, you that have neither affection nor respect for Philodemus, [Note] the father of Philon and Epicrates, the man by whose good offices you were enrolled among the men of your deme, as the elder Paeanians know. [Note] But I am amazed if you dare slander Philon, and that, too, in the presence of the most reputable men of Athens, who, having come in here to render their verdict for the best interest of the state, are thinkingmore about the lives we have lived than what we say.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 2.140 Aeschin. 2.147 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 2.153

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