Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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There are, fellow citizens, three classes of public officers. The first and most obvious class are all who are appointed by lot or by election; the second class are those who administer some public business for more than thirty days, and the Commissioners of Public Works; but third it stands written in the law that if any others receive presidencies of courts, [Note] they also shall “hold office on passing their scrutiny.”


Now when you subtract those officials who are chosen by popular election and those appointed by lot, there remain those whom the tribes, the trittyes, [Note] and the demes appoint from among their own number to administer public funds. This happens when, as in the present case, some work is assigned to the several tribes, like the digging of trenches or the building of triremes. That what I say is true, you shall learn from the laws themselves.Laws


Recall now what has been said: the lawgiver directs that after approval in court [Note] those appointed by the tribes shall “hold office”; but the tribe Pandionis appointed Demosthenes an “officer,” a Builder of Walls; and he has received for this work from the general treasury nearly ten talents. Another law forbids crowning an official before he has rendered his accounts, and you have sworn to vote according to the laws; but yonder politician has moved to crown the man who has not yet rendered his accounts, and he has not added “when he shall have rendered account and submitted to audit” and I convict him of the unlawful act, bringing as my witnesses the laws, the decrees, and the defendants. How could one more clearly prove that a man has made an unlawful motion?


Furthermore, I will show you that the proclamation of the crown, as proposed in his decree, is to be made in an illegal manner. For the law expressly commands that if the Senate confer a crown, the crown shall be proclaimed in the senate-house, and if the people confer it, in the assembly, “and nowhere else.” Read me the law.Law


This, fellow citizens, is an excellent law. For it seems that it was the idea of the lawgiver that the public man ought not to be thinking of outsiders as he receives his honors, but to be well content with honor received in the city itself and from the people; and that he ought not to treat such proclamations as a source of revenue. So thought the lawgiver. But Ctesiphon how? Read his decree.Decree


You hear, fellow citizens, how the lawgiver commands that the man who is crowned by the people be proclaimed among the people, on the Pnyx, at a meeting of the assembly, “and nowhere else”; but Ctesiphon, in the theater—not only overriding the laws but also changing the place; not when the Athenians are in assembly, but when tragedies are being performed; not in the presence of the people, but in the presence of the Hellenes, that they also may know what sort of man we honor.


Having, then, made a motion that is so manifestly illegal, he will call Demosthenes as his ally and bring up the artifices of rhetoric for the assault on the laws. These tricks I will reveal and of these I will forewarn you, lest you be taken unawares and deceived.

They will not be able to deny that the laws forbid the man who is crowned by the people to be proclaimed outside the assembly, but they will present for their defence the Dionysiac law, and will use a certain portion of the law, cheating your ears.


For they will offer a law that has nothing to do with this case, and will say that the city has two laws governing proclamations: one, the law that I now offer in evidence, which expressly forbids the man who is crowned by the people to be proclaimed outside the assembly; but they will say that there is another law, contradictory to this, and that that law has given authority for the proclamation of the crown at the time of the tragedies in the theater, “if the people vote.” And so they will say that it is in accordance with that law that Ctesiphon has made his motion.


Now against their tricks I will introduce your own laws as my advocates, as indeed I earnestly try to do throughout this whole prosecution. For if what they say is true, and such a custom has crept into your government that invalid laws stand written among the valid, and that there exist two laws concerning one and the same action, which contradict each other, how could any man longer call this a “government,” if in it the laws command to do and not to do one and the same thing?


But that is not the case. May you never reach the point where your laws are in such disorder as that! Nor was the lawgiver who established the democracy guilty of such neglect; he has expressly laid upon the Thesmothetae [Note] the duty of making an annual revision of the laws in the presence of the people, prescribing sharp investigation and examination, in order to determine whether any law stands written which contradicts another law, or an invalid law stands among the valid, or whether more laws than one stand written to govern each action.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.25 Aeschin. 3.32 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.42

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