Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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3.193

And already as a result of the tricks of Demosthenes you have admitted a shameful custom into your courts; for you have allowed your legal procedure to become perverted: the accuser is on the defensive, and the defendant plays the part of accuser; and the jurors sometimes forget what they are to judge, and are forced to bring in a verdict on matters which were never committed to their decision; while the defendant, if by any chance he does touch on the question at issue, pleads, not that his motion was lawful, but that on some past occasion another man has made an equally unlawful motion and been acquitted; a plea in which I hear Ctesiphon now places great confidence.

3.194

Once the famous Aristophon of Azenia dared in your presence to boast that he had been acquitted seventy-five times on charge of making illegal motions. Not so the venerable Cephalus, famous as the truest representative of democracy—not so, but he took pride in the very opposite fact, saying that although he had been the author of more measures than any other man, he had never once been indicted for an illegal motion; an honorable pride, I think. For indictments for illegal motions were in those times brought, not only by political rivals against one another, but by friend against friend, if one was responsible for any error toward the state. Yes, the following shall serve as an illustration:

3.195

Archinus of Coele brought an indictment for an illegal motion against Thrasybulus of Steiria, one of his own companions in the return from Phyle; and he convicted him and though his services were recent, the jurors did not take them into account; for they thought that, just as Thrasybulus had brought them back from exile then, so now when they had been restored, by making a motion which was against the laws he was driving them into exile again.

3.196

But it is not so today; the very opposite is done. For your worthy generals, and some of those who have received maintenance in the Prytaneum, beg men off who have been indicted for illegal motions. [Note] But you ought to regard them as ungrateful. For if any man who has been honored in a democracy, a government which owes its safety to the gods and to the laws, dares to aid men who make illegal motions, he is undermining the government from which he received his honors.

3.197

But I will tell you what plea is in order from the honest advocate. When an indictment for an illegal motion is tried in court, the day is divided into three parts. The first water is poured in [Note] for the accuser, the laws, and the democracy the second water, for the defendant and those who speak on the question at issue; but when the question of illegality has been decided by the first ballot, [Note] then the third water is poured in for the question of the penalty and the extent of your anger.

3.198

Whoever therefore in the discussion on the penalty asks for your vote, [Note] is begging you to mitigate your anger; but he who in the first speech asks for your vote is asking you to surrender your oath, to surrender the law, to surrender the democratic constitution things which no man has a right to ask you to surrender, nor any man to grant another for his asking. Bid them, therefore, to allow you to cast your first ballot according to the laws, before they plead on the question of penalty.

3.199

In short, fellow citizens, for my part I am almost ready to say that we ought to pass a special law governing indictments for illegal motions, which shall forbid either accuser or defendant to call in advocates. For the question of right involved is not an indefinite one, but is defined by your own laws. For as in carpentry, when we wish to know what is straight and what is not, we apply the carpenters' rule, which serves as our standard,

3.200

so in indictments for illegal motions there lies ready to our hand as a rule of justice this tablet, containing the measure proposed and the laws which it transgresses. [Note] Show that these agree one with another, Ctesiphon, and then take your seat. Why need you call Demosthenes to your support? When you overleap the just defence and call forward a rascal and a rhetorician, you cheat the ears of the jury, you injure the city, you undermine the democracy.

3.201

How you may avert speeches of that sort, fellow citizens, I will tell you. When Ctesiphon comes forward here and recites to you that introduction which has of course been composed for him, [Note] and when he then tries to kill time, and makes no answer to the charge, suggest to him, quietly, that he take the tablet and read the laws and his resolution side by side. If he pretends that he does not hear you, then do you refuse to hear him. For you have not come here to listen to men who dodge an honest defence, but to those who are willing to defend themselves with justice.



Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.188 Aeschin. 3.197 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.205

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