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


Which think you would they pray heaven to give them, ten thousand hoplites like Philon, so fit in body and so sound of heart, or thrice ten thousand lewd weaklings like you? You try to bring into contempt the good breeding of Epicrates, Philon's brother; but who ever saw him behaving in an indecent manner, either by day in the Dionysiac procession, as you assert, or by night? For you certainly could never say that he was unobserved, for he was no stranger.


And I myself, gentlemen, have three children, one daughter and two sons, by the daughter of Philodemus, the sister of Philon and Epicrates; and I have brought them into court with the others for the sake of asking one question and presenting one piece of evidence to the jury. This question I will now put to you; for I ask, fellow citizens, whether you believe that I would have betrayed to Philip, not only my country, my personal friendships, and my rights in the shrines and tombs of my fathers, but also these children, the dearest of mankind to me. Do you believe that I would have held his friendship more precious than the safety of these children? By what lust have you seen me conquered? What unworthy act have I ever done for money? It is not Macedon that makes men good or bad, but their own inborn nature; and we have not come back from the embassy changed men, but the same men that you yourselves sent out.


But in public affairs I have become exceedingly entangled with a cheat and rascal, who not even by accident can speak a truthful word. No: when he is lying, first comes an oath by his shameless eyes, and things that never happened he not only presents as facts, but he even tells the day on which they occurred; and he invents the name of some one who happened to be there, and adds that too, imitating men who speak the truth. But we who are innocent are fortunate in one thing, that he has no intelligence with which to supplement the trickery of his character and his knack of putting words together. For think what a combination of folly and ignorance there must be in the man who could invent such a lie against me as that about the Olynthian woman, [Note] such a lie that you shut him up in the midst of his speech. For he was slandering a man who is the farthest removed from any such conduct, and that in the presence of men who know.


But see how far back his preparations for this accusation go. For there is a certain Olynthian living here, Aristophanes by name. Demosthenes was introduced to him by some one, and having found out that he is an able speaker, paid extravagant court to him and won his confidence; this accomplished, he tried to persuade him to give false testimony against me before you, promising, namely, to give him five hundred drachmas on the spot, if he would consent to come into court and complain of me, and say that I was guilty of drunken abuse of a woman of his family, who had been taken captive; and he promised to pay him five hundred more when he should have given the testimony.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 2.143 Aeschin. 2.151 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 2.158

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